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Technology/Business Notes
Can Kodak reinvent itself after bankruptcy?
By Matthew Daneman, Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle - Sep. 1, 2013

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- It looks like a magic trick. A sheet of ordinary office paper rotates rapidly on a spinning drum. In literally the blink of an eye, the sheet is covered in black text, using drops of ink measured in picoliters - a picoliter being a millionth of a millionth of a liter.

Eastman Kodak Co. scientists are tinkering with the technique, called Stream Inkjet Technology, to improve performance. Nearby, scientists are working on further perfecting SquareSpot laser-writing technology and potentially toward breakthroughs in spatial atomic layer deposition, bonding an atomic-level layer of film onto the contours of a surface.

Done right, such work could find its way into even higher-speed printing presses and products such as foldable smartphones, a new generation of solar cells and wearable gadgets that monitor vital signs.

More immediately, the hope is that this kind of technology can save a 121-year-old company emerging from 20 months of bankruptcy this week.

The question of whether Kodak can succeed will take years to answer. But, sink or swim, the company is now officially entering its next era with a much smaller workforce, dramatically cut costs and a narrower focus on a specific set of markets and offerings.

The new old technology

Stripped to its basics, the company has always been one of the world's foremost experts at coating. It became a household name by layering a plastic base with light-sensitive chemicals and selling it in little yellow boxes by the billions. Essentially, Kodak's plan for survival is to continue putting stuff atop other stuff.

Kodak has bet its immediate survival in part on commercial printing. But for tomorrow, it has that atomic layer research and other similar technology, bonding microscopically thin materials to surfaces.

It's a fitting technology for Kodak. For the company that brought photography to the masses, smartphones and computer tablets were too rich a realm to pass up.

The company has signed agreements with Kingsbury Corp. and Uni-Pixel Inc. to churn out miles worth of thin sheets of touch sensors at Eastman Business Park in Rochester to be used in screens of consumer electronic devices. The touch-sensor module market is expected to reach $32 billion by 2018, according to Kodak.

Likewise, Kodak wants to turn semiconductor production on its head. Today, making these building blocks of virtually all digital products is an onerous, laborious process. Big, industrial clean rooms are needed, with work done in sterile vacuum chambers. The staff is often covered head to toe in special protective clothing to eliminate the chance of even the slightest mote of contamination or dirt.

A breakthrough in spatial atomic layer deposition could fundamentally change how semiconductors are produced, essentially "printing" them onto circuit boards and eliminating the need for those vacuum chambers.

'On the top' in printing

When Mercury Print Productions Inc. of Rochester installed its first Kodak Prosper press in April 2011, "it was a train wreck," said company President Christian Schamberger. "They were on the bottom on image quality."

But then came a series of upgrades and new inks. "Now," he said, "they're on the top."

Kodak today often sends prospective customers to Mercury to see the Prosper technology in action; Mercury has two Prosper presses for its textbook and educational material printing work. Mercury owner John Place is hoping that Kodak will further formalize its relationship with Mercury, making it a test site for new Kodak printing technology.

"They need someone like that," Place said. "That's one of the problems Kodak's always had. They've got to give (prospective customers) a wow experience. They need a partner to show a wow experience. They're very bad at that. They're very good at technology, but bringing it to the market â?¦"

Added Schamberger, "We always joke, they've been a company of engineers. They just don't know how to market it."

However, Place said, Kodak's technology is good enough to ensure its survival in the commercial printing industry. "They're really the top in a lot of areas," Place said. "They're positioned very well for the future."

Even if the company itself stumbles and falls, he added, "I think their technology is that good; somebody will buy it out."

And as functional printing - layering materials, not ink - becomes a bigger part of Kodak, Place said he sees it becoming a bigger part of Mercury's business. "We're going to hook right onto Kodak and be their guy."

While it has banked for some years on its high-speed inkjet printing presses to be one of its success stories, sales have not been inspiring. Kodak last year had only about 5 percent of the market, according to industry watcher Infotrends.

And in such realms as black-and-white digital presses and toner color presses, Kodak also lags well behind such competitors as Xerox Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Ricoh Co. Ltd. and Canon Inc. in market share, according to Infotrends.

The printing industry itself is in the midst of a steep decline. Commercial printing in the United States in 2012 was a $78 billion industry - down more than 20 percent from a 2001 peak of $101 billion, according to the National Association for Printing Leadership. Consider that Xerox has seen its traditional printing technology business eclipsed by its foray into business services, which now accounts for more than half of the company's sales.

Even if the print market is declining, Kodak Chief Technology Officer Terry Taber said, the digital printing portion is growing. "We're well-positioned for that transformation," he added.

In printing, particularly the high-speed inkjet world, "I think it's their market to lose," said Frank Romano, professor emeritus at Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Print Media. Kodak has sold many digital inkjet printheads that attach onto traditional, non-digital printing presses. "They're ahead of most of their competition because of their experience in inkjet."

Big plans

If all of Kodak's plans pan out, it will stop a slide in revenues that dates back to 2005 - the last year Kodak grew. Kodak projections have it bottoming out this year with sales of $2.5 billion, and then slowly growing to $3.2 billion in 2017.

And by one measure of profitability, Kodak expects to be in the black this year after two consecutive years of losses, and then grow from there. That growth, the company told U.S. Bankruptcy Court, is expected to be the result "of both Kodak's increase in the installed base of new products introduced in the last four years ... plus a strong focus on new growth markets and new product introductions that drive higher gross profits, as well as the concerted actions to reduce corporate cost structure."

Post-bankruptcy, "Kodak is not for the most part a big revenue growth story at all," testified David Kurtz, global head of the Restructuring Group of Lazard Frères & Co. LLC, one of Kodak's bankruptcy consultants, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court last month. But where the company does expect to see big growth is in its cash flow through tighter control of expenses and as it shifts its business mix, Kurtz said.

However, the company has a lengthy history of promising that it's finally turned the corner and starting next year, things are going to be better. In early 2011, CEO Antonio M. Perez told a crowd of financial analysts that 2012 would be a profitable year for Kodak. "It's almost inevitable we get to that point (of sustained profitability). This is going to happen."

Perez, who has been in charge since 2005, has announced plans to step down within the next 12 months, though he will remain as a paid consultant. He declined requests to be interviewed for this special report.

That printing-centric strategy is one of Perez's key legacies, one he latched onto when he came to Kodak in 2003 and saw the inkjet technology the company had in its labs, said Art Roberts, head of the Kodak retiree group EKRA Ltd. And the strategy largely reversed steps Kodak took in the 1990s that jettisoned printing from the mainstream of Kodak as the company was expanding its presence in China with photographic film and paper plants, Roberts said.

Kodak has argued that bankruptcy gave it the ability to essentially catch its breath and unload a variety of costs - including retiree health care coverage and some pensions - and it is ready to soar. Now comes the challenge of taking that revamped and slimmed-down Kodak and making it into something the old Kodak has not been for years: consistently profitable.

Confidence and doubt

"I'm not sure my job will change" with the end of bankruptcy, said Pablo C. Biggs, who was hired in fall 2011, just a couple of months before the bankruptcy, to oversee strategic alliances and partnerships for Kodak's business solutions and services group. But, he added, "I think it'd be a good place to have a long-term opportunity."

Even though Kodak has made big changes, it's not automatic that it will be successful this time.

At least statistically speaking, it's not inconceivable that Kodak might end up in Chapter 11 bankruptcy again in a few short years. According to the University of California at Los Angeles LoPucki Bankruptcy Research Database, roughly one in five companies ends up back in bankruptcy in five years.

While a court approving a reorganization plan, as happened with Kodak on Aug. 20, is supposed to be an indicator that the company is on solid financial ground, "I think what happens frequently is that in the reorganization process, the underlying pathology that led the debtor to Chapter 11 in the first place has not really been rectified," said Robert Rock, senior counsel with the bankruptcy practice at Tully Rinckey PLLC.

"The core problem Kodak had was that its core business no longer existed," Rock said. "Nobody uses film anymore. My suspicion is that Kodak has a very good chance of succeeding because its underlying pathology ... was abundantly obvious and has been dealt with. The question becomes, is what is left independently economically viable?"

Moody's Investors Service in July was fairly pessimistic as it rated the odds of Kodak defaulting on its various bonds.

While printing gives Kodak "the most promising opportunity to resume revenue growth," its future is also tied to an ongoing decline of printed materials, Moody's said. And while Kodak has slashed billions of dollars worth of liabilities, "there is limited visibility in whether the company has sufficiently stabilized its operations and cut expenses â?¦ to stem further weakening of its financial obligation."

"Jack Welch, the very successful CEO of General Electric, had a rule of thumb of GE that if you can't be number one or number two in market share, you're not going to be successful," said retired Kodak Vice President Terry Faulkner. "That's going to be the problem (for Kodak) as I see it. It will be limited on its resources; how is it successfully going to compete with these other (commercial printing) companies that are much larger and much richer?"

But Kodak also has its champions who see big potential and opportunities.

David King McMullin, president of WhiteSand Research LLC, an investment firm that specializes in companies in bankruptcy and turnaround, said that while Kodak faces competitive challenges in its business-to-business strategy, its recent cost-cutting should help its business focus. "Should the newly appointed CEO effectively execute the company's go-forward business plan, we believe Kodak would have nearly all the necessary ingredients needed for success - a patent-differentiated business model ... growth prospects, a streamlined cost structure and a well-capitalized balance sheet."

EKRA's Roberts said that if anything gives retirees confidence in the company's future, it's that different investment groups bought the IOUs of unsecured creditors at more than what Kodak was going to pay - the implication being that those investment groups wanted the IOUs because it gave them a way of buying stock in the new Kodak before it begins trading openly.

"There's some analysis these places are doing that says there's value, and they've got access to a lot deeper kinds of analysis than any one of us do," Roberts said. "If they're saying, 'We're willing to buy (one of those IOUs) for 17 cents or 18 cents on the dollar' â?¦ while Kodak is saying the claims are going to be paid out at about 5 percent ... there are some financial markets that are valuing Kodak. So that would say to me they don't look at it as a fool's errand or else their jobs are in jeopardy. That gives you a little confidence, a little wind in your sail, if you will."

Always a challenge

Even in promising technology, the challenge for Kodak and its partners Kingsbury and Uni-Pixel is that a number of other companies - such as an old film nemesis, FujiFilm - also are looking at that touch-sensor market, said Kingsbury CEO Bill Pollock. But given the potential size of that industry, he said, "Neither of us is going to dominate. We want very much to succeed, so we want Uni-Pixel to succeed."

As far as Kodak's Taber is concerned, the company is ready for its comeback story. "We believe in what we're doing. We have creative, innovative people. We have strong technology platforms. We've been able to maintain and encourage and motivate (during the bankruptcy), and that passion is going to be unleashed."

The latest generation of Kodak employees is trying to focus on the potential, not the pain of downsizing and lost glory. Maria Celeste "Cel" Tria of Greece started with Kodak in the summer of 2011 as a research scientist specializing in functional printing.

At the time, the company already was dealing with growing rumors about its potential insolvency. And the bankruptcy definitely "dampened the mood," she said.

"At first I was worried. But the way I see how we've progressed during the bankruptcy ... and we have the right direction and focus. Now I can really see the brighter future."

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FRIDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog

SATURDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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TV Notes
Seeking younger viewers, FX transfers three shows to FXX, its new comedy neighborhood
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Sep. 1, 2013

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- FX is getting split in two with the spinoff network FXX, which will be aimed at a slightly younger audience and have a greater emphasis on comedy series.

FXX launches Monday, taking over the Fox Soccer Channel position on many cable systems and three comedy series will migrate to the network: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (new season starts at 10 p.m. Wednesday), "The League" (10:30 p.m. Wednesday) and "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell" (becomes a nightly show at 11 p.m. starting Wednesday). "Legit" will air its second season on FXX in January.

(Fox Movie Channel also becomes FXM but doesn't really change that much beyond a shortened name.)

Comcast will carry FXX on Channel 267/920 in traditional Comcast areas and on Channel 125/1715 on former Adelphia systems.

At deadline, DirecTV is in negotiations to add FXX. DISH had no comment on the network's availability. Verizon is in negotiations with Fox to carry FXX on FiOS TV. Armstrong will add FXX in 2014.

FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said the FXX spinoff is about age and demography.

"It is and will be an increasingly challenging environment to have a relevant brand when you think about how potent the broadcast networks are and AMC and Showtime and HBO and now Netflix," he said. "If we were going to have multiple channels -- and there were a number of reasons why we felt we needed to have multiple channels -- we wanted them all to support one brand. We didn't want to go with a model in which you have AMC, IFC, Sundance and We, who are part of the same group, and all doing, I think, pretty good scripted series at this point, but really nobody would connect them into one brand."

Mr. Landgraf said FXX is aimed at young adults ages 16-34, FX is broader and more focused on adults 16-60 and FXM remains older-skewing, targeting adults 25-60.

". . . FXX might have some content that's maybe a little bit more in the Comedy Central vein," he said. "I do think the spirit of the brand will be the same across [all three networks]. Even if you like really challenging, highly original programming, your taste is going to be different when you're 18 than when you're 30, than when you're 45, than when you're 60. And I think what we hope with our brand is we'll be able to capture people when they're young and keep them in our brand as they move through their life."

Mr. Landgraf rejected the suggestion that there could be cannibalization of FX by viewers shifting to FXX.

"I think there would be cannibalization if we were just taking our existing resources and spreading them out across more shelf space," he said. "But we made a decision to double down on our resources."

FX plans to increase its output of scripted series from 13 to 25 over the next few years across FX, FXX and FXM.

"We're going to have ultimately a dozen scripted comedy series," Mr. Landgraf said. "So we do have to do some back filling of things that are leaving and going to FXX."

In addition to original series, the channels will continue to be the first non-premium cable destination for many theatrical films.

"We're now at the point where we're licensing about two thirds of all of the Hollywood blockbusters that are released in North America," Mr. Landgraf said. "That means that we have more than twice as many films as all of our competitors combined in terms of films [that earned] over $100 million [at the box office]. And so we just need more shelf space. We need three primes instead of one prime."

Here's what to expect from the FX series that will shift to FXX this week:

'It's Always Sunny'

Entering its ninth season, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" may not get any respect from the Emmys. So the characters will tackle those snubs in their own way in the episode, "The Gang Desperately Tries to Win an Award."

"They realize that all these other bars win awards, and they've never won any award," said cast member Charlie Day. "So they go to these other bars to try and figure out what they're doing that they're not doing. And they try to change themselves to fit in that formula. It doesn't go so well."

In a Thanksgiving episode, the gang invites their enemies over to bury the hatchet. Seems likely that plan could backfire, too.

'The League'

What a difference it makes when a program has been on the air for a few years. In its first season, FXX's "The League," about a group of friends who play fantasy football, was able to find a few professional football players who were willing to take a chance and make appearances on the series. Now that "The League" has aired four seasons, NFL players reach out to the show.

"It's a courtship process," said executive producer Jackie Marcus Schaffer. "They tell us they like us. We send them a DVD. They tell us, 'Thank you for the DVD.' We say, 'Hey, you should come on.' Or sometimes it's a player just saying to us or to their agent, 'I'm the biggest fan of "The League." I must, must, must be on "The League." ' And we have a few of those this season. "

'Totally Biased'

Making the switch from hosting a weekly show to a nightly late-night, topical talk show, W. Kamau Bell said he generally lives in fear so this latest adventure in television won't make much of a change for him.

"Fear is the engine that keeps me going forward," he said. "Whenever I feel totally confident, things go really badly."

Viewers can expect to see correspondent segments and man-on-the-street interviews become a more regular presence on the show.

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Technology Notes
This is Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch: A blocky health tracker with a camera
By Christina Farr, VentureBeat.com - Sep. 1, 2013

Samsung is set to reveal its Galaxy Gear smartwatch next Wednesday, Sept. 4, in Berlin. But this weekend, we got a first look at the watch.

Here it is.

The press has been speculating about the hardware and design, and leaking information, since word got out that the company would be designing its smartwatch to rival new and yet-to-be-released gadgets from Sony, Apple and Pebble.

We’ve been speaking with sources to separate fact from fiction. And this weekend, a source showed us one of the prototypes sent to developers and a few select partners. Note that Samsung is highly security conscious in protecting its designs, and occasionally sends off prototypes that don’t mirror the final design. But it won’t be far off.

For more images of the smartwatch in action, don’t miss our gallery below. [CLICK LINK AT BOTTOM]

My source, who requested anonymity, also showed me an internal promotional marketing video for the watch. The video was not developed by Samsung, but by an independent team working closely with Samsung. I wasn’t allowed to photograph the smartwatch itself, but I snapped a few stills from the video, which clearly shows the high-quality OLED display, with its square screen. I also made some sketches based on my time with the watch.

I’ll walk you through the specs, and then offer a few insights about potential use-cases for Samsung’s smartwatch. Health and fitness junkies will be intrigued. My initial impression was that it’s a new wearable fitness device to rival a Nike Fuelband or Fitbit Flex — a smartphone companion rather than a smartphone alternative.

At about 3 inches diagonally, the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch is quite large. Although its screen is square, large bezels on the top and bottom give it a chunky, rectangular shape, with rounded corners.

The color is fairly basic — dark black and grey, although it may be enhanced in the final version. The wristband is clunky and masculine, large enough to hold speakers in the clasp. It’s not heavy to hold, but it dwarfed my tiny lady wrists when I tried it on. Women may instead opt for a Misfit Shine, which isn’t a watch but is a small jewel-like button.

The smartwatch prototype has Bluetooth to connect with the Galaxy S family of smartphones and tablets, although it may also connect to all Android devices. It also has Wi-Fi for Internet access, including e-mail, even when it’s not connected to a smartphone, but I didn’t see that in action.

It has a 4-megapixel camera built into the strap, and tiny speakers in the clasp. You can measure health data through the camera. Take a picture of your food, and you can tag it according to what type of food it is, such as “grains” or “fat.” It’s a clear swipe at Google Glass — but would anyone take photos of their meals from a watch, other than for spy movie appeal?

In addition, here are some of the smartwatch’s specs:

--Samsung S Voice for voice commands
--Preloaded with Android apps for social media, health tracking, etc. with a companion Galaxy S phone or tablet
--An easy-to-use swipe function to access apps, the built-in camera, and the photo gallery
--Call logs (A cool use-case: You can initiate a call from the watch to a Samsung smartphone device)
--Internet access
--Power button on the side
--Social media integration — you can share to your Facebook or Twitter account from the watch
--10+ hours battery life

And a few potential use-cases for fitness junkies:

--While you’re at the gym working out, the smartwatch can track your health data, including steps, heart rate, calorie intake.
--You can measure your heart rate at any time via a built-in heart rate monitor.
--The watch will help you devise the perfect workout — one of the first apps devised for the watch suggests workouts to help you lose weight, gain energy or tone up, for instance.
--Track your food intake by taking photos of your meals — plenty of apps are already on the market that help you keep a food diary of sorts. What would be truly innovative is if Samsung could detect the nutritional value of food, based on a smartwatch photograph.

A source also revealed that a health startup, based in Palo Alto, Calif, has been working with Samsung to develop fitness apps for the watch for several months.

The watch’s health-and-fitness focus is not all that unexpected, given Samsung’s burgeoning interest in health tracking technology. Samsung recently launched its health app S Health, which tracks the number of steps you take via an in-built pedometer, measures the humidity and temperature of the room you’re in, and helps you diet-track.

Samsung will do well with the health-concious market, and those who are looking to lose weight. I could envision using the watch at the gym or during a run, as it can be cumbersome to carry a smartphone device. You can track your steps, measure your heart rate, take a photo, call a friend, and share your excitement that you completed a marathon — all from your wrist.

The wrist wars

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch appears to be a pre-emptive strike in a smartwatch war that has yet to get underway.

Apple is widely believed to be working on an iOS-based watch, called “iWatch.” The company is rumored to have hired a team of 80 people to work in secret in the Cupertino, Calif. headquarters, so it’s unlikely the design will be leaked to the press. Apple has yet to confirm any new health and fitness gadgets, and it has not confirmed the existence of the iWatch.

But, as Time‘s Harry McCracken recently wrote, we’re still in need of killer use-cases for smartwatches. The lack of battery life and apps remain a problem, one that the biggest contender in this space, Sony, has yet to solve with the second version of its smartwatch.

Apart from Sony, the leading smartwatch contenders have come from outside mainstream electronics companies, with the Kickstarter-funded Pebble being the most prominent example. That’s a sign that the category is not quite yet ready for primetime.

Besides, the wrist may not even be the body part of choice for sporting wearable technology. If you’re in the market for a new gadget to supplement that smart mobile experience, you might prefer to have something head-mounted, like Google Glass. Samsung’s smartwatch seems to have borrowed from Google with its “always available” camera and voice function, although it’s a tossup whether it’s more awkward to take pictures from your watch or from your glasses.

Perhaps you’ll opt out of purchasing either device, and wait to see whether Apple will enter the space.

For those who will remain loyal to iOS, my prediction is that Apple’s iWatch will be a platform of sorts, a “sensor network” on the wrist that compiles data from devices worn around the body. More on that here.

As for Samsung, it clearly believes it will be the vendor to make smartwatches a must-have item for both gadget lovers and fitness fans. With that goal in mind, the company has the right idea by working with third party developers and startups on both social and health apps. Samsung, like Sony, will likely release multiple versions of its smartwatch in the next few years — boasting more and more apps and, we hope, increasing battery life.

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Critic's Notes
Ballet and TV Make Uneasy Pas de Deux
'Bunheads' Is Gone; ‘Breaking Pointe’ Endures
By Gia Kourlas, The New York Times - Sep. 2, 2013

“Breaking Pointe,” a reality-television show about Ballet West, is breaking my heart. “So You Think You Can Dance” is as feckless as ever. And Amy Sherman-Palladino’s wise, snappy “Bunheads” was canceled. When it comes to dance on television, the best move is to reach for the remote.

While competition shows have become so embedded in pop culture that the idea of another season of Fox’s “So You Think” is merely ignorable, the demise of “Bunheads,” which ran on ABC Family, is crushing. The series starred Sutton Foster as Michelle, a Las Vegas showgirl who winds up in a coastal California town teaching ballet at a studio run by Fanny Flowers (Kelly Bishop). Can nothing be done to extend its life? Netflix? HBO? I’d take Lifetime.

Last week, Ms. Sherman-Palladino released a farewell video featuring members of her cast — “Formerly Known As Bunheads” — in a poignant last dance. All the trademarks of a “Bunheads” number were there: youthful exuberance, adherence to line, winsome musicality and, most refreshing, dancers in full-body shots.

In the piece, set to Elton John’s “Blues for Baby and Me” and posted on YouTube, dancers enter from the sides and sweep across the stage, where two ballet barres dissect the space. In unison, each of six young women leans forward in an arabesque penché before stepping forward to rise on point and arching back. Their feet snap into first position, and even though the moment lasts for a millisecond, it seems like a testament to Ms. Sherman-Palladino’s reverence for ballet. The uncanny part about “Bunheads” is how it presents the art form. There are no tricks; ballet may be magical, but it’s not magic.

It’s distressing when a fictionalized landscape gets to the heart of dance — “Bunheads” is not unlike “Billy Elliot” — with greater ease than a reality show about a professional ballet company. The provincial “Breaking Pointe,” now in its second season through Sept. 16 on the CW network, is breathtakingly bad. Here, the subject is largely the backstage drama at Ballet West, a Salt Lake City company led by artistic director Adam Sklute.

There’s more football on “Friday Night Lights” than there is ballet on “Breaking Pointe.” Even when it’s shown, it’s virtually ignored. Last season, the company worked on George Balanchine’s haunting ballet “Emeralds,” but I can’t recall having heard his name mentioned once. This time, the company is gearing up to perform Frederick Ashton’s “Cinderella.” I’m fairly sure that a dancer mentioned “Ashton” under her breath, but that’s about it for context.

Unfortunately, there are many things I do know, as they are repeated to the breaking point of nausea. The marriage between Christiana Bennett and Christopher Rudd, two principals, is on the rocks. Allison DeBona is struggling with her decision between moving to Detroit to join her doctor-boyfriend or continuing to perform and possibly getting back together with Rex Tilton, a dancer whose monotone pining for Ms. DeBona is disturbing to witness.

The current season also unveiled a rivalry between two dancers in Ballet West 2 competing for contracts in the main company. Zachary Prentice, the shorter, stockier of the two, got the job. A born busybody, he is the Perez Hilton of Ballet West. “I love petty drama,” he said once with his usual assurance of knowing that the line would make the cut.

Yet most of the drama in “Breaking Pointe” is conveyed through a series of recaps with a sparkly line thrown in here and there. “Ballerinas are crazy,” Mr. Tilton said in the last episode. Nice. He had just been talking about Ms. DeBona, who, relationship choices aside, seems to have more wits about her than most. In a recent Facebook post, she even defended her decision to appear on the program: “I hope I don’t offend anyone, but we are human and not glass dolls.”

She has a point, but where is the art? Sometime in the late fall, the reality-ballet bug will bite closer to home with “city.ballet.,” a Web series for AOL On about the New York City Ballet produced by the actress Sarah Jessica Parker, a board member. Until then, there is great pleasure to be had in re-watching the dances of “Bunheads” on YouTube.

During its reign, the show produced a wealth of dances, choreographed by Marguerite Derricks, as succinct as they were fresh; they showed how movement could express the rage, passion, cynicism and humor of a generation. But these dancers weren’t mute. Ms. Sherman-Palladino, with her vivid dialogue, choreographed lives for them outside the studio, too, showing the world that while a ballet bubble surely exists, there’s no such thing as a dumb dancer.

The bittersweet farewell dance is both a summation and a homage, which, like a dream sequence, includes quotations from the series’s past dances. It begins with a cast reunion — squeals and hugs — and ends as a camera pulls away to reveal the back of Ms. Sherman-Palladino, wearing one of her signature top hats, in a director’s chair. The dedication is “for everyone who came to play in our sandbox.”

The first season was my favorite, mainly because the second introduced a new character, Cozette (Jeanine Mason), whose grasping-at-the-air aesthetic pushed all of my wrong buttons. Ms. Mason comes from “So You Think You Can Dance,” and her mode of expression — rooted in lyrical yearning — seeped into the show. Mercifully, it wasn’t enough to uproot “Bunheads.”

A couple of tributes in the farewell dance stand out: Bailey Buntain (Ginny) is effervescent in a section from a jazzy, Fosse-inspired number originally set to “It’s Oh So Quiet.” Jumping twice in place, she kicks a leg sharply to the side and eventually spins out of focus with her head thrown back and her arms out to the side. It’s marvelous: Ms. Buntain retains all of her sweetness yet also shows her guts.

As the talented, haughty and vulnerable Sasha, Julia Goldani Telles was a standout in every episode, but her angry dance, a simmering performance to “Istanbul (Not Constantinople”), is a classic. Then, she was all legs and arms — part cat burglar, part beatnik — using her gangly grace and formidable gaze to pull the viewer deep within her restless mind. In the farewell dance, which reprises part of that number, Ms. Telles wears a pale blue dress; her anger is tinged with sadness and a hint of fragility. No longer just a bunhead, she is a ballerina.

But what if Ms. Sherman-Palladino’s characters could really come to life? I can’t stop imagining “Bunheads” as a musical. The dances are already choreographed. The stellar cast, after all, featured the Broadway veterans Ms. Foster and Ms. Bishop. The farewell dance could be the encore. Maybe all we need is a bigger sandbox.

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TV Notes
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8PM - Shark Tank
(R - May 18)
9PM - Mistresses
10PM - Castle
(R - Apr. 15)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Harrison Ford; Keri Russell; Joan Jett performs)
(R - Aug. 8)
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - How I Met Your Mother
(R - Apr. 29)
8:30PM - Mike & Molly
(R - Oct. 15)
9PM - 2 Broke Girls
(R - Apr. 15)
9:30PM - Mike & Molly
(R - Nov. 5)
10PM - Under the Dome
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Tennis player Serena Williams; comic Sean Donnelly; MGMT performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Angela Kinsey; sports broadcaster David Feherty)

8PM - America Ninja Warrior (121 min.)
10:01PM - Siberia
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Jason Sudeikis; Fry It & Try It with Jim Stacy; KT Tunstall performs)
(R - Aug. 9)
12:36AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (MLB player Derek Jeter; Emma Roberts; Jake Owen performs)
(R - Aug. 8)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Regis Philbin; filmmaker Sean Dunne; Curtis Peoples performs)
(R - Apr. 9)

8PM - Raising Hope
(R - Feb. 5)
8:30PM - Raising Hope
(R - Feb. 19)
9PM - New Girl
(R - May 14)
9:30PM - The Mindy Project
(R - May 14)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Tasty Treasures (R - Nov. 14, 2011)
9PM - The National Parks: America's Best Idea - The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890) (120 min.)
(R - Sep. 27, 2009)

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

8PM - Hart of Dixie
(R - Apr. 16)
9PM - Breaking Pointe

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

11PM - Conan (Kevin Hart; Chris Kluwe; Eve)
(R - Jun. 27

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Dan Levy, Fortune Feimster, Jo Koy)
post #89287 of 93675
Critic's Notes
TV Picks: Franco roast, late-night, 'Blandings,' 'Regular Show'
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

"Comedy Central Roast of James Franco" (Comedy Central, Monday). James Franco keeps busy in a way that troubles some people; he is perceived as a dilettante, a man whose reach – here, there and everywhere – often exceeds his grasp. "James Franco, acting, teaching, directing, writing, producing, photography, soundtracks, editing – is there anything you can do?" Natasha Leggero will ask in this already-filmed special, as the actor-cum-you-name-it is turned on a spit by some of his famous friends and a few people he knows less well, or possibly not at all. And yet, it is hard not to admire his go-for-it attitude. Life is short, and whether or not art is long (most of it is shorter even than a short life), you might as well do what you feel, however much the less lucky may deride you for it. And Franco's side projects (all his projects are side projects, in a way) are not limited to arty overreach (short stories, painting); he's also been on "General Hospital," and not just as a walk-on. Now he has said yes to following the likes of William Shatner, Flavor Flav, David Hasselhof, Charlie Sheen and Donald Trump as the object of a Comedy Central roast.

Hosted by Seth Rogen -- Ken Miller to Franco's Daniel Desario in "Freaks & Geeks," and lately his co-star and director (with Evan Goldberg) in "This Is the End" -- it may be seen, after that film and Franco's misadventurous hosting of the Academy Award ("Look at me doing all the talking while you sit there doing nothing," Rogen will say, "I feel like I'm co-hosting the Oscars with you"), as the third installment of a deconstructionist self-referential post-modern meta-trilogy. Indeed, that is how Franco will play it when he finally takes the stage: "This is not a roast. This is my greatest, most elaborate art installation ever." Still, there is no indication that the participants -- also including Jonah Hill, Aziz Ansari, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg and Nick Kroll, Jeff Ross and Sarah Silverman -- will hijack the form to some subversive, piratical end; it looks to be the usual mix of tuxedos and uncomfortable near-truths. (Nick Kroll: "James Franco is truly our generation's James Dean: so handsome that you forget he's only been in two good movies.") Still, the relative youth of the company does suggest at least a generational shift. Hill on Silverman: "Everyone's like, 'She's hot for a comic.' I don't agree. She's not just hot for a comic. She's hot for someone her age." (Silverman on Hill: "Right before the show started, Seth Rogen rolled a gigantic fatty. Because that was the only way we could get Jonah Hill onto the stage.") Kids!

"The Daily Show" (Comedy Central, weeknights); "Totally Biased with Kamau Bell" (FXX, weeknights). Jon Stewart returns to "The Daily Show" this Tuesday (post-holiday weekend), having spent his summer working vacation as a first-time movie director. (See James Franco, above.) With all due respect to John Oliver, his more-than-able stand-in over the last several weeks, Stewart is the Dean of Fake News -- he has the gray hair, anyway. And though he was not the first host of this show, it is indisputably his. Another late-night topical-comedy talk show, "Totally Biased with Kamau Bell," also returns to the air after a break this week, moving from FX to the new FXX, the laffcentric FX offshoot that has an extra "X" in it, and going from weekly to daily in the bargain. Though they share certain aspects, including a cast of writer-"correspondents," there are of course great gulfs between them. Stewart, according to a recent report by TV Guide, is the highest paid host in late-night (and makes oodles more than non-fake-news anchors); Bell must be somewhere near the bottom of that list. Stewart's show is big and flashy, amplifying the casino-spaceship aesthetic of cable news; Bell's has the flavor of folding chairs in a rented room, an informality that works well for him -- he comes off sweet and approachable, a friendly presence even when relating some particularly outrageous bit of news. He's black too, which is not beside the point, and young, which is also not beside the point.

"Blandings" (Acorn Media DVD). I must have been about 17 when I first encountered the works of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse in a small collection I found in a used bookstore – I will explain "books" and "stores" to you another time -- they were just something we used to have, back in the 20th century. There is now a corner of my brain that is forever England, peopled with comical aristocrats, capable servants and colorful assorted others, their speech full of singular similes and metaphors and original figures of speech. ITV's six-episode "Blandings," which ran in the U.K. earlier this year and arrives here on DVD this week (another season has been ordered), adapts the second most famous of Wodehouse's creations, the Blandings Castle stories surrounding Clarence Threepwood, ninth Earl of Emsworth, his kin, butler and prize pig, the Empress of Blandings. While not on the sublime order of "Jeeves and Wooster" (1990-1993) in which Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie made that man and valet theirs for the foreseeable future, or "Wodehouse Playhouse," in the 1970s, in which Pauline Collins and John Alderton played a variety of love-challenged couples, it does have Timothy Spall, Jennifer Saunders and Mark Williams in it. (Americans will most readily know the men from "Harry Potter" movies and Saunders from "Absolutely Fabulous.")

Some critics have pointed out that Spall, who is short and round is not Lord Emsworth as Wodehouse described him -- Ralph Richardson, who played him in a 1960s series, and Peter O'Toole, who took the part in the BBC's 1995 "Heavy Weather," were closer to the mark -- but most viewers will not be afflicted with such knowledge, and he is the right size to fit comfortably with Saunders (as his imperious sister, Lady Constance Keeble) in a medium-close two-shot. Guy Andrews' adaptations are at times a little broad -- a strange accusation to make against material so bumptious at its source, even as the pace can seem, paradoxically, to drag a little. Red flags go up here and there: I'm pretty sure no character in a Wodehouse book ever said, "How the hell are you?," nor can I remember any flatulence jokes or badminton-based euphemisms for homosexuality, or a butler playing Meade Lux Lewis's "Honky Tonk Train." There is a weak running gag in which Clarence's son Freddie (Jack Farthing) who out-Woosters even Bertie and whose hair in some scenes seems to have been styled by Munchkins, runs his car into a tree. And yet for those who prefer their stately homes more comical than tragical, and who like their comedy in period dress, this is a pleasant and stimulating diversion, full of farcical intrigue and romance (and avoidance thereof). David Walliams, from "Little Britain." shows up in a couple of episodes.

"Regular Show" (Cartoon Network, Mondays). Regular Show, the Cartoon Network cult item that isn't "Adventure Time," returns for a fifth season (which is not to say year -- it debuted in 2010). Its cast: a blue jay, a raccoon, a kind of lollipop man, a Yeti with the voice of Lionel Stander (Mark Hamill, actually), a fat little green monster, Hi-Five Ghost (a video-game spook with a hand growing out of the top its body-head and a walking gumball machine, the boss of them all. (The characters live and work together in "a park.") For all its eccentricity, it seems the less original series; nevertheless, I recently watched a million episodes in a row -- I think it was a million -- and have come to like its unique and assured mix of slacker buddy-comedy, workplace sitcom (work-avoidance sitcom, better said), funny-animal cartoon and dimension-slipping monster movie. (There are almost always monsters, eventually, and they are splendidly conceived.) Not to deal in gender stereotypes, but the series (created by J. G. Quintel, also the voice of the blue jay, Mordecai) is very much a Comedy of Dudes; female characters, when they appear, seem to have been created mostly for form, or to distract the males, who would mostly rather hang out with one another and play games, watch movies or party. Which mostly leads to trouble. There is some sad human truth in this.

post #89288 of 93675
Critic's Notes
'Alive and Kicking': Old Dogs, New Tricks
By Gabriela Tamariz, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 1, 2013

From their retirement home in Woodland Hills, California, two old guys named Tony Lawrence and Larry Kelem have created and delivered a meaningful modern-media message: creativity is ageless…

Alive and Kicking follows the two residents in their documentary-style web series, released by the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) on its YouTube channel.

Established in 1921 by such Hollywood heavyweights as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and other artists, MPTF has been a home to actors, agents, producers and many more from Hollywood’s Golden Age onward. The community prides themselves in “taking care of their own.”

Self-described as an adaptable Hollywood writer, Lawrence (top photo, left) is best known for his writing in such TV shows as Marcus Welby M.D.(1969-1976), Hawaii Five-O (1968-1980), and Gunsmoke (1955-1975). He has also co-written several Elvis Presley films, including 1964’s Roustabout.

Kelem (top, right) claims an equally noteworthy career, as a music composer and arranger, agent, and manager for more than 60 years. Sadly, he passed away in December 2012, at the age of 91.

But earlier, when the two show-biz veterans decided to take on the task of writing a musical, it proved to be a reawakening collaboration worth documenting. The duo takes us on a journey as they reminiscence, cooperate, and grow as artists and as senior citizens on Wasserman campus.

“So what if we’re in our 80’s in a retirement community?” said Lawrence. “Why don’t we write a musical?”

The web series allows viewers to track the creative process to which they submit themselves as they write, sing and—inevitably—become impatient and exhausted. It’s a gradual learning experience, and especially rewarding to see Lawrence grow from writing an 18-bar verse to finally completing the musical and watching it come to life in Episode 11: "Grand Finale", with director Doug Wood.

Throughout the series, we sit down with Lawrence and Kelem as they remember their deceased wives and express the grief and recovery process of losing a spouse. Their love and adoration for their wives is romantic and comforting, much like the era from which they come, and which they so admirably represent. Lawrence reminds us there are compensations to growing old: “If you’ve learned, if you’ve gained some wisdom, if life doesn’t hurt you as much as it used to,” Lawrence said. “There are all kinds of benefits.”

He talks openly about his depression, and credits it to all the hours he has spent writing so many stories. But he commendably combats the exhaustion and frustration that is no stranger to the creative process, and he learns to adapt.

“The only deadline we have is dead,” he jokes as he prepares for a table read.

It’s funny, at times, to see the pair regress in their behavior. Like a child not doing his homework, Kelem is forgetful, and Lawrence quickly realizes he can’t collaborate with him in the same room like “normal songwriters.” But they learn to adapt.

The end result is more than just a musical. Tony Lawrence and Larry Kelem dug in deep, trusted their instincts and wrote from the heart. They produced beautiful words and music, and a resounding message from Old Hollywood about love and redemption.

Episode 7: “Oh Larry!"
Episode 3: “Book+Music”
Episode 10: “Casting/Rehearsals”

post #89289 of 93675
TV Review
‘Cold Justice,’ but served up well
Sharp-eyed investigators crack open old cases in this TNT series
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine

Our motivation to watch true-crime shows is a combination of morbid curiosity and a desire to see justice done. Some shows are almost all about the first motivation; a few manage to appeal to our better nature.

TNT’s new documentary series “Cold Justice” is nearly guilt-free. Featuring a former prosecutor and a former crime-scene investigator who try to help indict the murderers in small-town cold cases, it lets us root for the good guys without wallowing too much in the sordid details of the crime. Although one might wish for a stronger resolution in some episodes, the series holds and rewards our attention throughout.

In the premiere episode, airing next Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 10 p.m., the two stars, Yolanda McClary and Kelly Siegler, go to Cuero, Texas, where in 2001, a single mother named Pam Shelly died of a close-range gunshot to the head. She and her boyfriend, Ronnie Hendrick, had been arguing after she had said she was going to move out of his house, but the case was ruled a suicide.

Although Dick Wolf, the creator of “Law & Order,” is one of the executive producers, the hour isn’t split in halves featuring first McClary, the former CSI, and then Siegler, the former prosecutor. They work together throughout, aided by local law enforcement and hired guns they bring with them.

Helped by a private homicide investigator named Johnny Bonds, the women put together lists of things indicating either murder or suicide and then seek to prove or disprove each. Going to the scene of the crime with the victim’s grown daughter, they put together a scenario that would explain why a bullet wound that suggested suicide could have happened in a struggle.

A DNA test on the handgun proves inconclusive, but Siegler says that the frequency with which cases are solved by DNA is greatly exaggerated on TV.

Chillingly, several family members of Hendrick’s, who were at or near the crime scene, make blatantly false statements to the investigators. Hendrick himself is seen telling a version of events that conflicts with things he said in 2001 and 2008.

The investigators decide to present their evidence to the local district attorney. The triumphant soundtrack music kicks in even before they have heard whether he has persuaded a grand jury to hand up an indictment. Although we know that the wheels of justice turn slowly, it’s disappointing not to learn whether Hendrick has been convicted.

The episode airing on Sept. 10 is more satisfying, although sadder. It concerns the case of an elderly murder victim named Mattie Williams, the mother of 13 children. She was assaulted in her home in Collinston, La., late one night in 2006; her body was found stabbed to death four miles away.

A jailhouse informant who was the cellmate of one of the suspects tells the investigators that the suspect told him that he hit Williams with a brick. McClary spots a brick in a police video taken in 2006 and then finds what seems to be the same one placed in plain sight outside the house.

That kind of luck would have a defense attorney crying fraud, but we’ll have to accept it on faith.

Armed with that evidence, Bonds believes he can get a possible accomplice of the first suspect to give up some incriminating evidence. When Bonds fails to pressure the man to speak, a second detective brought along for the case, Armando Perez, tells the camera, “My role is to go in there and be the nice guy.” Incredibly, the old good-cop-bad-cop routine actually works.

The identity of a third accomplice has been hinted at early, but its confirmation ends the episode on a sober note.

Again, we don’t hear whether anyone was actually convicted of the crimes.

McClary and Siegler are likable women who, if they’re not actually selfless, dedicated crusaders for justice, do a good job of playing ones on TV.

Justice isn’t a dish best served cold, but this show is definitely a case of better late than never.

post #89290 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Technology Notes
This is Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch: A blocky health tracker with a camera
By Christina Farr, VentureBeat.com - Sep. 1, 2013

Samsung is set to reveal its Galaxy Gear smartwatch next Wednesday, Sept. 4, in Berlin. But this weekend, we got a first look at the watch.

Found it funny that nowhere is anything mentioned about the thing keeping time.
post #89291 of 93675
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 2, 2013

TCM, 5:45 p.m. ET

This 1982 documentary by Les Blank follows director Werner Herzog as he attempts to make a movie, the same year’s Fitzcarraldo, about an indefatigable visionary who had a dream, against all odds, to drag a steamship across a strip of mountainous dry land in Peru to reach an otherwise inaccessible Amazon tributary. In making the film, Herzog tries the same thing, rather than relying on special effects – and Blank’s movie is almost as amazing as Herzog’s, which originally starred Mick Jagger, and ended up starring Klaus Kinski. It’s followed, at 7:30 p.m. ET, by another documentary showing the insane genius, or stubborn persistence, of Werner Herzog. It’s the filmed culmination of his loss of a bet. The title of this documentary short, shown at 7:30 p.m. ET, says it all: Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe.

AN EDISON ALBUM (1893-1912)
TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

A prime-time look at the origins of cinema begins with this TCM compilation, which spends 90 minutes showing some of the earliest films to emerge from the Edison Studios under the auspices of inventor Thomas Edison. My film students will be covering this next week, so they can get a head start here. But everyone should watch this, because I’m sure it will include one of my favorite Edison productions, a film that makes a clear link between the earliest film shorts made for public consumption and the rise of YouTube more than a century later: 1894’s super-brief novelty film, Boxing Cats. And this compilation is followed by another from the earliest days of cinema: Lumiere’s First Picture Shows (1895-1897), at 9:30 p.m. ET.

CBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

In tonight’s new episode, Angie (Britt Robertson) tells Junior (Alexander Koch) that the two of them will never, ever, ever get back together, in part because he chained her up in his family's bomb shelter – and her Taylor Swift moment has him threatening to walk away, rather than help with her investigation of the mini-dome. Then again, he can’t walk very far, which is kind of the point.

Comedy Central, 10:00 p.m. ET

Seth Rogen is the Roastmaster for this new Comedy Central Labor Day special, a roast of actor James Franco. Nick Kroll asks Franco about his appearance hosting the Oscars with Anne Hathaway, which would seem to be hitting as far below the belt as possible. But with Sarah Silverman, Andy Samberg, Jonah Hill, and others on hand, it’ll get lower.

Sundance, 10:00 p.m. ET

Now here is a writers’ room I want to listen in on: Tonight’s show is devoted to FX’s American Horror Story, the first season of which was riveting and daring, and the second season of which, American Horror Story: Asylum, was… strange. Series creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who also collaborate on Fox’s Glee, will explain what they’ve been up to. And what’s coming next, with the coming season’s American Horror Story: Coven.

post #89292 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 2, 2013

CBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

In tonight’s new episode, Angie (Britt Robertson) tells Junior (Alexander Koch) that the two of them will never, ever, ever get back together, in part because he chained her up in his family's bomb shelter – and her Taylor Swift moment has him threatening to walk away, rather than help with her investigation of the mini-dome. Then again, he can’t walk very far, which is kind of the point.

Under the Sun???
post #89293 of 93675
Originally Posted by mscottc View Post

Under the Sun???
Theoretically, I guess the Dome is "Under the Sun." smile.gifsmile.gifsmile.gif
post #89294 of 93675
LOL. Fixed.
post #89295 of 93675
Originally Posted by mscottc View Post

Under the Sun???

Originally Posted by BoilerJim View Post

Theoretically, I guess the Dome is "Under the Sun." smile.gifsmile.gifsmile.gif
Well hold on now, "Under The Sun" could be a much better show! biggrin.gif
post #89296 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
Seeking younger viewers, FX transfers three shows to FXX, its new comedy neighborhood
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Sep. 1, 2013

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- FX is getting split in two with the spinoff network FXX, which will be aimed at a slightly younger audience and have a greater emphasis on comedy series.

To further emphasize what a stupid and unnecessary move this was for viewers, the network can't even give out the correct information. Their official site is telling me that FXXHD is on channel 536 as I am watching it on 1314.

Then you have the viewers that can't get the new channel and those that have found it being pushed into another tier and FXX is not starting out on a particularly well organized footing. Sure FX have more advertising to sell, but when the previously loyal viewers cannot even see the channel then it's going to be falling on dead televisions.
post #89297 of 93675
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

Found it funny that nowhere is anything mentioned about the thing keeping time.

Nobody mentions the ability to make phone calls in smartphone reviews, either, so at least they're consistent.
post #89298 of 93675
CBS and TWC reached a deal
post #89299 of 93675
Sorry about "Under the Sun" guys... I was high on life.rolleyes.gifbiggrin.gif

TV/Business Notes
Time Warner & CBS End Standoff, Reach Content Carriage Agreement
By The Deadline.com Team - Sep. 2, 2013

Time Warner Cable and CBS have settled the ongoing cable war that began August 2 and led to a network blackout of CBS and Showtime channels for TWC subscribers. With the NFL season and U.S. Open semis/finals looming a resolution seemed to be on the horizon as recently as Friday:

NEW YORK- September 2, 2013 – CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) and Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks have reached an agreement for carriage of CBS owned stations on Time Warner Cable systems across the country, as well as Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel, it was announced today by representatives for the companies. Programming on all networks will resume at 6:00 PM, ET today. Though specific terms of the deal are not being disclosed, the agreement includes retransmission consent, as well as Showtime Anytime and VOD, for CBS stations on Time Warner Cable systems in New York (WCBS and WLYW), Los Angeles (KCBS and KCAL) and Dallas (KTVT and KTXA.)

post #89300 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Sorry about "Under the Sun" guys... I was high on life.rolleyes.gifbiggrin.gif

TV/Business Notes
Time Warner & CBS End Standoff, Reach Content Carriage Agreement
By The Deadline.com Team - Sep. 2, 2013

Time Warner Cable and CBS have settled the ongoing cable war that began August 2 and led to a network blackout of CBS and Showtime channels for TWC subscribers. With the NFL season and U.S. Open semis/finals looming a resolution seemed to be on the horizon as recently as Friday:

NEW YORK- September 2, 2013 – CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) and Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks have reached an agreement for carriage of CBS owned stations on Time Warner Cable systems across the country, as well as Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel, it was announced today by representatives for the companies. Programming on all networks will resume at 6:00 PM, ET today. Though specific terms of the deal are not being disclosed, the agreement includes retransmission consent, as well as Showtime Anytime and VOD, for CBS stations on Time Warner Cable systems in New York (WCBS and WLYW), Los Angeles (KCBS and KCAL) and Dallas (KTVT and KTXA.)


I assume they mean CBS-owned WLNY (WLYW doesnt exist)
WLNY was never pulled from TWC...
post #89301 of 93675

Just in time for the NFL to start eek.gif

Tennis had a huge role as well
I'd be pissed if I missed Dexter & Ray Donovan if I had TWC
D*TV at La CasaSlappy here in downtown Slappyville
post #89302 of 93675
Originally Posted by Berk32 View Post

CBS and TWC reached a deal

Gee, I'm really going to miss the endless ads by both these jerk corporations accusing the other of being worse than Josef Stalin. rolleyes.gif
post #89303 of 93675
Originally Posted by ti-triodes View Post

Gee, I'm really going to miss the endless ads by both these jerk corporations accusing the other of being worse than Josef Stalin. rolleyes.gif
Don't worry. I'm sure another set will be along soon. smile.gif
post #89304 of 93675
TV Notes
In 'Luther,' Idris Elba is a coat-clad superhero
By Brian Truitt, USA Today - Sep. 2, 2013

He wears a heavy tweed coat instead of a cape and a steely, brooding façade instead of a dark cowl, but for Luther star Idris Elba, his British copper might as well be London's own Batman.

"In concept, we straddle between detective and superhero. Although there aren't any magic tricks or capes or anything like that, we put our central character through improbable — and probable — scenarios that ask the audience to suspend their belief," says Elba, the British actor who returns as Detective Chief Inspector John Luther for a third installment of the series running Tuesday through Friday (10 ET/PT nightly, except at 9 ET/PT Wednesday) on BBC America.

Over the course of a trio of seasons since 2010, Luther has dealt with masked serial killers, pedophiles, twin killers, snipers and the psychopathically endearing murderer Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), who's gone from Luther's arch-enemy to confidante.

That stuff is almost easiest for the grumpy lawman to deal with than other aspects of his life, like coming to grips with the death of his ex-wife and brandishing his own sense of justice that, while efficient, puts him at odds with most every other cop in town.

"He's a spiritually wounded man, and one of the great malicious pleasures of writing for the character and this particular actor is what kind of hell can I put him through next?" says Luther creator and writer Neil Cross.

Cross says that this final installment may be the last time we'll see Luther on a small screen — he and Elba want to take him to the big screen next to explore a different period of his life.

Elba feels the dramatically escapist elements of Luther set it aside from all the other cop dramas worldwide. It's been so well received, in fact, that the BBC gave Cross the OK to lean in even more to its "horror show" aspects, the creator says. "It was partly a case of being let loose in the toy shop and really, really wanting to do a show that scared the (stuff) out of people."

It's also become more of a stylized, slightly "comic book" series, Wilson says. "Even though it's incredibly brutal and scary, there's a lightness to it as well. It's more quirky and bold."

While there are some grim situations, Luther is shockingly enough in a decent place with his mind-set, even smiling a few times — especially when he meets a potential love interest in Mary Day (Sienna Guillory).

Cross recalls the script of the first episode of the season contained the line "John Luther is happy!" and his editor wrote him an e-mail saying, "I just read this sentence. Uh oh. Bad things lay ahead."

As a producer of the show, Elba wanted his character to reflect where the actor was in his own life, so he has a fresh haircut, is a little slimmer and exudes the feeling that he's really gone through something and come out the other side.

Turmoil is never far away from Luther, however, and that's a staple in Elba's wheelhouse of characters. Many, like Stringer Bell in The Wire and his upcoming turn as the famous South Africa leader in the movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, carry a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.

In Luther's case, it's symbolized in his ubiquitous heavy coat.

"I gravitate to these roles because they examine a very complex line of emotion and believability," Elba says. "The average person would die with that much turmoil in their lives, but they're quite interesting to play at the moment for me."

Cross feels that love is the ultimate kryptonite for his London super man — "It's kind of sad because if anything destroys him, it will be love," he says — but Elba disagrees, saying his curiosity and passion for getting to the truth are his greatest weaknesses.

"He wants to touch the sun so much," the actor says, "but he's not worried about being burned on the way up."

The most important thing for Cross, though, is that Luther's never scared, be it of his romantic travails or the villain du jour.

"He is unequivocally the hero," he says. "If you're going to have a serial killer crawl out from under your bed or hide in your attic, you want John Luther to turn up. You want him to be trudging through your house with his hands in his pockets.

"His job is to be indefatigable. The day we see Luther scared of a bad guy is a bad day indeed."

post #89305 of 93675
Business Notes
Huge Summer for Hollywood, but With Few Blockbusters
By Brooks Burnes, The New York Times - Sep. 2, 2013

LOS ANGELES — Here in Hollywood, the land of false-front movie sets and business-has-never-been-better studio spin doctors, summer ticket sales are being summed up with a single word: blockbuster.

Ticket revenue in North America for the period between the first weekend in May and Labor Day totaled $4.71 billion, a 10.2 percent increase over the same period last year, according to analyst projections. Attendance rose 6.6 percent, to about 573 million. Higher ticket prices contributed to the rest of the growth.

But behind that rosy picture lurk some darker realities.

Ticket sales rose in part because Hollywood crammed an unusually large number of big-budget movies into the summer, a period that typically accounts for 40 percent of box office revenue. Studios released 23 films that cost $75 million and up (sometimes way up), 53 percent more than in the same period last year.

The audience fragmented as a result, leaving films like “The Wolverine” and “The Hangover Part III” wobbling when they should have been slam dunks.

“Turbo” the animated snail was squished, taking in $80 million at North American theaters — one of the smallest totals in DreamWorks Animation history. (Only the unfortunately titled “Flushed Away” from 2006 did worse.)

“We’re very pleased with the overall strength of the summer,” said John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners, “but there was almost too much product. Some of these individual movies would have made more money if studios had spread them out a little more.”

Mr. Fithian noted that the $4.71 billion in total summer ticket sales represents a new high-water mark for the industry, not accounting for inflation, and the growth comes after several years of largely flat sales or declines.

It is not surprising that more films sold more overall tickets, but the total does demonstrate a resilience for cinema as competition for consumer attention continues to spike.

“To keep the exhibition business alive, we have to give people a darn good reason to put down all their electronics and get in their cars and get into theaters, and this summer we did it,” said Nikki Rocco, president of distribution at Universal Pictures, which printed money with “Despicable Me 2” and “Fast & Furious 6,” both of which took in roughly $800 million worldwide.

Still, appearances can be deceiving. “Pacific Rim,” for instance, has taken in more than $400 million worldwide — no small feat. The picture’s price tag, however, made it an everyone-or-nothing enterprise. Legendary Entertainment and Warner Brothers spent about $330 million to make and market the film, which could end its run in the red since theater owners take roughly 50 percent of ticket revenue.

With the notable exception of Paramount, which released just two films, “Star Trek Into Darkness” and the surprisingly successful “World War Z,” every studio suffered at least one major dud. In many cases, big hits were offset by big flops.

Disney, for instance, had the summer’s No. 1 movie in “Iron Man 3,” which took in $408.6 million in North America, for a global total of $1.2 billion. Disney’s Pixar also scored with “Monsters University,” a prequel that generated more than $700 million in global ticket sales.

But Disney also had the summer’s No. 1 box office bomb: “The Lone Ranger,” which cost at least $375 million to make and market, and has taken in about $232 million worldwide. After theater owners take their cut, Disney is looking at a write-down of $160 million to $190 million on the film.

Higher-priced 3-D tickets took another tumble, at least in the United States and Canada, as more consumers decided the visual gimmick was not worth paying a $2 to $5 premium per ticket. Family films fared the worst — those glasses don’t fit little faces very well — with “Turbo” setting a new industry low for the format, according to analysts: 3-D screenings accounted for only 25 percent of its opening-weekend results. (Last summer’s low was 35 percent.)

Over the weekend, the 3-D concert documentary “One Direction: This Is Us” took in $17 million at domestic theaters, enough for first place, according to Hollywood.com, which compiles box office data. Sony, which has had a particularly rough summer, spent $10 million to make the film. A Sony spokesman on Saturday wrote in an e-mail, “We are off to a fantastic start!”

“Instructions Not Included,” a Spanish-language comedy from Pantelion and Lionsgate, came out of nowhere over the weekend to take in $7.5 million at only 347 locations, an indication of the growing power of Hispanic moviegoers. “Getaway,” the only other new release of note, drove into a ditch, taking in just $4.5 million. The thriller, which was released by Warner, cost about $18 million to make and stars Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez. It was the worst-reviewed wide-release film of the summer, according to the review-aggregation site RottenTomatoes.com.

As usual, Hollywood paraded out a cavalcade of stars over the warm-weather months; as usual, only a very few emerged with their star power undiminished.

Brad Pitt pulled off “World War Z,” which took in more than $527 million worldwide and proved that studios can surmount negative advance chatter if they work hard enough. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy had the No. 1 comedy with “The Heat,” which took in $210 million worldwide for 20th Century Fox — not quite “Bridesmaids” money, but not chump change, either.

At the same time, Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Jamie Foxx, Channing Tatum and Matt Damon, among others, failed to turn out ticket buyers, at least to the degree that studios needed. In particular, a box office era ended when Mr. Smith’s “After Earth,” which cost Sony $135 million to produce and roughly $100 million to market worldwide, opened to $27.5 million in ticket sales, by far the worst summer showing of the once-infallible actor’s career. Its global sales were $244 million.

Movie companies continued to make most of their profits with sequels; eight of this summer’s top 12 films came from continuing franchises. And at least one major new series was born in “Man of Steel.” Warner has already announced casting for a sequel to that movie, which returned Superman to theaters and took in more than $290 million in North America, for a global total of about $650 million.

But audiences also revolted against more of the same, especially if quality came up short. “The Smurfs 2,” “Kick-Ass 2,” “Red 2,” “The Hangover Part III” and “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” all struggled and all received largely negative reviews.

In many ways, the summer belonged to smaller original movies, at least when it came to turning out larger-than-expected audiences.

Lionsgate’s “Now You See Me,” an old-fashioned midrange thriller, took in almost $300 million worldwide; it cost about $75 million to make. “This Is the End,” an R-rated apocalypse comedy from Sony, cost an estimated $32 million to produce and took in $114 million. With a budget of just $3 million, “The Purge,” a thriller starring Mr. Hawke, sold about $85 million in tickets for Universal.

And “The Conjuring,” a horror movie that cost New Line Cinema about $20 million to make, is closing in on ticket sales of $240 million worldwide.

“Films from other genres did exceptionally well this summer, proving that counterprogramming can work,” wrote Doug Creutz, an analyst at Cowen and Company, in a research note released on Thursday.

Still, Mr. Creutz did not seem to hold out much hope that Hollywood paid attention. “Looking ahead to next summer,” he wrote, “it already appears as if we are likely to have another sizable batch of money-losing blockbusters.”

post #89306 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Sorry about "Under the Sun" guys... I was high on life.rolleyes.gifbiggrin.gif

TV/Business Notes
Time Warner & CBS End Standoff, Reach Content Carriage Agreement
By The Deadline.com Team - Sep. 2, 2013

Time Warner Cable and CBS have settled the ongoing cable war that began August 2 and led to a network blackout of CBS and Showtime channels for TWC subscribers. With the NFL season and U.S. Open semis/finals looming a resolution seemed to be on the horizon as recently as Friday:

NEW YORK- September 2, 2013 – CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) and Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks have reached an agreement for carriage of CBS owned stations on Time Warner Cable systems across the country, as well as Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel, it was announced today by representatives for the companies. Programming on all networks will resume at 6:00 PM, ET today. Though specific terms of the deal are not being disclosed, the agreement includes retransmission consent, as well as Showtime Anytime and VOD, for CBS stations on Time Warner Cable systems in New York (WCBS and WLYW), Los Angeles (KCBS and KCAL) and Dallas (KTVT and KTXA.)


CBS wins, TWC wins, Viewers LOSE (and will face even higher Subscription Fees). mad.gif

There will be icicles in Gehenna before I ever re-subscribe to Pay TV
post #89307 of 93675
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Well hold on now, "Under The Sun" could be a much better show! biggrin.gif

... but will there be anything new in it?
post #89308 of 93675
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
TUESDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - Extreme Weight Loss (Season Finale; 120 min.)
10PM - Body of Proof
(R - May 7
* * * *
11:35AM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Vin Diesel; 11-year-old filmmaker Zachary Maxwell; John Legend performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

(R - Apr. 30)
9PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R - Apr. 30)
10PM - Person of Interest
(R - Apr. 25)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Jake Gyllenhaal; TV host Julie Chen; The Dodos perform)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (Jay Leno; model Elettra Wiedemann)

8PM - Hollywood Game Night
(R - Aug. 29)
9PM - America's Got Talent (120 min., LIVE)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Bill Maher; Aisha Tyler)
12:36AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Michael Strahan; Demi Lovato; Neko Case performs
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Natalie Zea; director Brandon Cronenberg; Niki & The Dove perform)
(R - Apr. 10)

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

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Mount Rushmore: American Experience
(R - Jul. 2)
9PM - The National Parks: America's Best Idea - The Last Refuge (1890-1915) (2 1/2 hrs.)
(R - Sep. 28, 2009)

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. 13)
9PM - Capture

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

11PM - The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Jon Stewart returns; Guest TBA)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Meteorologist Gary England)

11PM - Conan (Jason Biggs, Alison Pill, Rory Scovel)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Ben Gleib, Claire Titelman, Kurt Braunohler)
post #89309 of 93675
TV Notes
Showtime’s ‘Homeland’ Season 3 Premiere Leaked Online A Month Early
By The Deadline.com Team - Sep. 2, 2013

Showtime‘s Homeland became the latest victim of online piracy today when the show’s season 3 premiere was leaked ahead of its September 29 debut.Over 100K users of file-sharing site ********** have pirated the episode within hours of its upload, reports TorrentFreak. Homeland producer 20th Century Fox has its anti-piracy unit working on the issue. Showtime widely distributed screeners of its Homeland Season 3 premiere episode to press last month at TCA, although the leaked version is reportedly a workprint missing VFX and opening credits.

A spokesperson for ********** says true download numbers are not trackable on the platform except to the original uploader. The company is making continuing efforts to shake its reputation as a piracy site by teaming with content creators on co-branded campaigns, most recently on Converge Studios’ TV series Fly Or Die which generated over a million legit downloads after launching last month.

post #89310 of 93675
TV Sports
How to watch Web-only NFL Sunday ticket package on a TV
By Rob Perogaro, USA Today - Sep. 2, 2013

Question. I'm getting the NFL Sunday Ticket through EA's Madden deal. How would I play that on my TV from my laptop?

You're looking at a single wire or one of three wireless systems.

About the Madden reference in the question: This came from a New Yorker who bought Electronic Arts' $99.99 Madden NFL "anniversary edition" game in time to claim a season-long free trial of NFL Sunday Ticket online. That's an incredible deal compared to DirecTV's standard $299.95 price for streaming and satellite delivery; it's also an interesting example of an established TV property making a play for online-only viewers instead of pretending they don't exist.

To play it on a TV from a laptop, a plain old HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) cable, which carries both audio and video, is the cheapest option. You can buy one for as little $3 online; never pay extra for name-brand HDMI cables, which can't transmit more or less data than generic ones.

But wiring a laptop to the TV can trip you up in a few ways.

One is literally: If you keep the laptop parked on a coffee table so you can still use it, you'll have a thick HDMI cable running across the floor.

You can park the laptop next to the TV, but then you need some way to control it remotely (and can't employ it for much else until you move it back). A Bluetooth mouse and keyboard or a wireless keyboard with built-in touchpad will give you complete control of the thing from the couch, at a cost of $30 and up.

Apple users face an extra issue here: Since most Mac laptops lack HDMI outputs, they need to spring for adapters to connect an HDMI cable to the DisplayPort or Thunderbolt ports on their machines.

Among wireless systems, the cheapest, most compatible option is Google's new Chromecast. This handy little $35 pod plugs into an HDMI port on your TV and plays video relayed from some iOS and Android apps as well as also most content playing in Google's Chrome browser.

"Casting" video from a Chrome tab comes with a few prerequisites: You need to install a free browser extension from Google in your laptop's copy of that browser, you need a capable WiFi network and you need a reasonably fast computer.

That last part isn't so obvious, but sending video from the browser to a Chromecast requires Google's software to decode and then re-encode the footage. On a mid-2012 MacBook Air, the only sign of that hard work was the Chromecast playing footage maybe a second behind the laptop's own screen, but on a slower model you could see quality suffer.

If you own a second or third-generation Apple TV and a Mac running Apple's Mountain Lion version of OS X, you can use AirPlay mirroring to put the contents of your Mac's screen on TV. This also requires recent hardware: a mid-2011 or newer iMac, Mac mini, or MacBook Air, or a MacBook Pro laptop from early 2011 on.

Finally, some Windows laptops and several newer HDTVs support Intel's Wireless Display technology, which does the same basic job but has been around since 2010.

Tip: One Chromecast limit that may not apply, one that certainly does

Google's documentation for the Chromecast — currently out of stock, but its Play Store reports it will resume shipping in two to three weeks — says you need to plug this device's USB cable into a fully-functional USB port on a TV, not one labeled "service only." (That description usually means that input only works for installing firmware updates or running diagnostic routines.) If your TV only has the latter kind, Google says you need to run that USB cable to the power brick it tucks away in the box.

That hasn't matched my experience and that of some other users. In my case, a 2008 Sony set's service-only USB port provided enough electricity to run a Chromecast loaned by Google PR--freeing me from having to find a spare outlet.

But another limit mentioned in Google's online help, and which many readers have asked about, is for real: The Chromecast won't work on hotel WiFi "captive portal" networks that require you to log in through a Web page. The Chromecast can't handle that because it doesn't have a Web browser of its own. In theory, it could — the cut-down version of Android running inside is powerful enough — but that's something for Google or some enterprising hackers to fix.

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