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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2992

post #89731 of 93674
MAOS did a 4.6 last night seems to be in line with expectations for a hyped but 8:00 show with no leadin so now we see where it settles.
post #89732 of 93674
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnappo View Post

I realize you said this somewhat in jest,
More like "completely."
post #89733 of 93674
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

More like "completely."

Fair enough - there are others out there who would say it and completely mean it - I knew you were not one of them.

xnappo
post #89734 of 93674
TUESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #89735 of 93674
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
A super start for ABC’s ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’
Bows to a 4.6 in 18-49s, best drama debut since 2009
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 25, 2013

ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” got off to the big start everyone had anticipated last night.

The show averaged a 4.6 adults 18-49 rating in its 8 p.m. debut, according to Nielsen overnights, finishing tied with “The Voice” as the night’s top program in the demo.

It marked the highest-rated bow for any new broadcast drama since 2009. Equally promising for ABC, the show’s rating actually grew slightly from its first half hour to its second, from a 4.5 to a 4.6.

It’s usually a sign of viewer dissatisfaction if the rating declines in the second half hour.

“S.H.I.E.L.D.” also lifted lead-out “The Goldbergs” to a 3.2, making it the top comedy debut this season and the best for any ABC sitcom in two years.

It wasn’t entirely rosy news for the network’s all-new lineup, however. The 9:30 p.m. comedy “Trophy Wife” dipped to a 2.3, and the 10 p.m. drama “Lucky 7” drew a mere 1.3, the lowest bow for any new show so far this fall.

Elsewhere last night, “Voice” continued its strong premiere week, averaging a 4.6 despite facing “S.H.I.E.L.D.” and CBS’s “NCIS,” the night’s top show in total viewers (19.5 million).

“Voice” paced NBC to a Tuesday night victory, its first Tuesday win on premiere week since 2005 and its third straight victory of the week.

“Voice” also lifted second-year drama “Chicago Fire” to a series-high 2.8, up 47 percent over last season’s premiere, when it did not air behind “Voice” and giving NBC a win in the 10 p.m. timeslot opposite “Lucky” and CBS’s relocated “Person of Interest.”

The latter averaged a series-low 2.3, off from a 2.9 for last year’s debut in its old Thursday timeslot.

CBS had a solid night overall, tying ABC for second behind NBC. Though “NCIS” and “NCIS: Los Angeles” (3.0 at 9 p.m.) were both down from last year’s debuts in 18-49s, they were easily the night’s top two shows in total viewers.

Fox suffered the most from the strong competition on the night. It wisely premiered its comedy lineup last week to get a jump on the competition, and all of its shows suffered week-to-week declines.

New 8 p.m. comedy “Dads” fell 32 percent, from a 2.2 to a 1.5. Lead-out “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” dipped 31 percent from last week from a 2.6 to a 1.8.

At 9 p.m., “New Girl” was fourth in its timeslot with a 2.1, off 28 percent from last week’s 2.9. The 9:30 comedy “The Mindy Project” held up the best, falling 21 percent from a 1.9 to a 1.5.

NBC finished first for the night among 18-49s with a 4.0 average overnight rating and an 11 share. ABC and CBS tied for second at 2.9/8, Fox was fourth at 1.7/5, Univision fifth at 1.2/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.5/1 and CW seventh at 0.5/1.

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.

ABC began the night in the lead with a 4.6 at 8 p.m. for “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” followed by NBC with a 4.0 for “Voice.” CBS was third with a 3.4 for “NCIS,” Fox fourth with a 1.6 for “Dads” (1.5) and “Brooklyn” (1.8), Univision fifth with a 1.5 for “Porque el Amor Manda,” CW sixth with a 0.5 for an hour of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” (0.5 for an original at 8, 0.4 for a repeat at 8:30) and Telemundo seventh with a 0.4 for “Dama y Obrero.”

NBC took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 5.2 for more “Voice,” while CBS moved to second with a 3.0 for “NCIS: Los Angeles.” ABC was third that hour with a 2.7 for “Goldbergs” (3.2) and “Wife” (2.3), Fox was fourth with a 1.8 for “Girl” (2.1) and “Mindy” (1.5), Univision fifth with a 1.1 for “La Tempestad,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “Marido en Alquiler” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for “Capture.”

At 10 p.m. NBC was first again with a 2.8 for “Chicago,” with CBS second with a 2.3 for “Interest.” ABC was third with a 1.3 for “Lucky,” Univision fourth with a 1.1 for “Que Bonito Amor” and Telemundo fifth with a 0.6 for “Santa Diabla.”

CBS led the night among households with a 10.0 average overnight rating and a 16 share. NBC was second at 7.7/12, ABC third at 4.8/8, Fox fourth at 2.4/4, Univision fifth at 1.7/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.7/1 and CW seventh at 0.6/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/super-start-abcs-s-h-e-l-d/

* * * *

TV Notes
An evolution for ‘Revolution’
Second-year drama moves out of cushy spot behind 'Voice'
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 25, 2013

Tonight the training wheels come off for NBC’s second-year drama “Revolution.”

The show, which bows at 8 p.m.
, aired behind “The Voice” last fall and benefitted from the cushy timeslot, finishing as last season’s No. 2 new show among adults 18-49, averaging a 2.5 Nielsen rating.

Now “Revolution,” about a post-apocalyptic world that has lost all power sources, is being pushed out on its own. The show will lead off NBC’s Wednesday lineup, where the network clearly thinks it can be a self-starter.

That may be an optimistic view.

While “Revolution” had strong ratings last fall, its numbers fell notably in the spring when it returned from a midseason hiatus, despite coming back to the same timeslot behind “Voice.”

To be fair, many broadcast shows’ ratings dip during the spring, and sometimes they rebound in the fall. Still, “Revolution” managed just a 2.0 for its first-season finale in June, and that has to be a concern for a network that has struggled on Wednesday nights the past few seasons.

The key for “Revolution” will be whether viewers still feel invested in the show’s plotline. Serialized shows have a tendency to premiere big, then see ratings fall as viewers become frustrated by the lack of answers or slow-moving storylines.

There are exceptions, of course, like “Lost” or “Breaking Bad,” but generally once the show starts losing viewers, it doesn’t return to earlier levels.

Still, “Revolution” is a highly time-shifted show, and if it maintains even last spring’s numbers, NBC will be happy with its Wednesday move.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/killer-series-finale-dexter/
post #89736 of 93674
TV Notes
Tom Green To Host AXS TV Talk Show
By The Deadline.com - Sep. 25, 2013

Tom Green has signed with AXS TV to host a live one-hour weekly talk show, premiering Thursday, October 3 at 9 PM ET. Richard Belzer is booked as his first guest. The show will feature live video Internet calls from viewers. “Live television works best with an element of danger and when results are unpredictable,” said AXS TV founding partner Mark Cuban. “Throughout his career, Tom has embodied the skill-set you look for in a live performer. Adding the unedited viewer element means that anything can happen. Tom Green Live was exactly the type of show I envisioned when we decided to develop the network as a vehicle to deliver the best in live entertainment.”

Green, a talk-show veteran, has guest-hosted Late Night With David Letterman on CBS, The New Tom Green Show on MTV, and his Internet talk show Tom Green’s House Tonight direct from his living room. He first gained popularity with the groundbreaking Tom Green Show on MTV.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/09/tom-green-to-host-axs-tv-talk-show/
post #89737 of 93674
Q&A
'Back in the Game' Creators on Finding Big Laughs From Little League
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Sep. 25, 2013

Brothers Mark and Robb Cullen found inspiration close to home for ABC's freshman comedy Back in the Game. The baseball-themed comedy was based on years of playing Little League with their over-the-top father and, later, returning to the field as coaches of Mark's two sons.

The duo, who will reteam with Las Vegas star James Caan for the Maggie Lawson starrer, hope the Little League setting serves as the perfect dynamic to connect with viewers who recall their own youth sports experiences, be it softball or baseball.

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the Cullens to discuss the appeal of drawing inspiration from their family, former teammates and players, the rise of semi-autobiographical fare and getting network notes on their lives.

Who first pitched the idea of doing something semi-autobiographical?
Mark Cullen:
I was thinking about it because of all these characters that were in the league I was in while Robb and I were coaching my sons. I'd never seen such interesting and petty politics in all my life; there was a lot of drama in everything you did. We knew we wanted to do a family show, and I wanted to explore my family. We wanted to explore our past with our father, and we thought baseball was a great backdrop.
Robb Cullen: We coached both of Mark's sons through Little League, and it seemed to never fail that every time we'd have a practice or every time we'd have a game, one of the kids would come up and say something to the effect of, "I think my mom and dad are breaking up," or "I'm having this problem with my sister," or "This is going on at school," or "I feel like I'm being bullied." Kids were coming to us with this stuff, and it felt very organic to us.

How much of what we're seeing actually happened to you guys as coaches or as kids?
MC:
There's a lot of truth to all of it, not only in the relationships between the characters but also what happens on the field. We're drawing from hundreds of games and years of experience of what went on. So everything that we do on a baseball field, we're like, "Remember the time that the kid from the Tigers did that thing and that coach was thrown out?" And we'll write that.
RC: Our dad was also a very aggressive coach when we were young. If we were ever hit by a pitch, our dad would tell us to throw at the kid 'cause we generally pitched and played shortstop. So when someone was beating us, accidentally or not, we would scare the hell out of them and throw at them. And oftentimes, our dad would say, "If you don't throw at this kid, you're not getting in this car -- you're walking home." And it was a good eight miles to home. (Laughs.) We have some of that in the pilot, and we've learned a lot from all the things we've encountered from all our years of coaching and playing.

Have you heard from any of your coaches or players?
MC:
Yes. The guys that I coached with and some of the players are looking forward to seeing the show. Some of them have already seen it online and ask, "Is this that person?" My answer is always that it's a mix of people. If it's resonating, it's probably true.

ABC has two semi-autobiographical comedies -- yours and Adam F. Goldberg's The Goldbergs. Why do you think we're seeing so many semi-autobiographical projects now?
RC:
Some of it has to do with the way things are playing out with the country now. A lot of kids are moving back home with their folks because times are tough, and it's bringing up a lot of childhood memories and the idea that all of our families are pretty crazy. Why not put that down? It feels like the environment is such that there are a lot of families coming back together after a long time, and I think it's reflecting in what we see on TV.
MC: I also think if you're honest in what you're writing about in your own life, then people can see themselves in it, and that makes it more enjoyable. The more honest it is, the more that they can relate to it in their own lives. And it's like, "Oh, yeah, my family is like that."

Adam mentioned the note process was actually easier because he could go back and explain how events on the show happened to his family when ABC questioned certain points, and ABC in turn signed off on it. Has that been your experience?
MC:
Like us, I bet you he's lying. (Laughs.)
RC: Unfortunately we didn't get to tape our Little League. (Laughs.) When we set out to write a show, we didn't set it for any specific time or specific place. ABC's been tremendous with it. We're trying to make it as real as possible in terms of the way kids talk. The network notes have been really supportive. It's our job as writers to push as hard as we can, and they push back, but they've been really great.
MC: They have their notes about the scripts, and we'll explain how it happened. And their note is, "OK, that's good, it gives it more validity." It lets you run with it a little bit more.

Considering the show has so much of your lives in it, how do you plan to handle the instant feedback when the show airs?
MC:
I'm going to be with my family, and we're all going to hang out and watch the show -- and maybe I'll throw the ball around with my boys.
RC: We make shows that make us laugh. We're starting the seventh episode, and so far it's made us laugh out loud. We get to watch little pieces of our history, little pieces of our dad, and Caan playing it makes us laugh. We're thrilled, and the idea that a lot of people will get to see it is very exciting to us.

Do you have any current or former Major League Baseball players coming in?
MC:
We have plans to bring some people in; it's coming together. They're good names. We are doing the show during baseball season, so it's hard to get guys, but there are some really good names we're talking to.
RC: We already had a couple former baseball players who recently retired who have been on the show. We won't tell you in what capacity, but they've been really funny and incredibly great with the kids.

Anyone you can share?
RC:
Rob Dibble. He's still involved with the game. He's scary-looking if he's throwing a pitch to a 10-year-old kid. (Laughs.)

Who's on your dream list?
RC/MC (In unison):
Greg Luzinski!

Back in the Game airs on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/back-game-creators-finding-big-633318
post #89738 of 93674
Technology Notes
Amazon Updates Kindle Fire Line
By David Streitfield, The New York Times' 'Bits' Column - Sep. 25, 2013

In the dark of night, very late on Tuesday, Amazon.com announced a refresh of its Kindle Fire tablet line: lighter, faster, cheaper. The Fires were introduced two years ago, and this is their second update in a tablet environment that is brutally competitive.

Microsoft, for instance, announced the new generation of its struggling Surface tablets earlier this week. And the devices are getting more proprietary. Tesco, a supermarket chain in Britain, introduced a tablet this week for its customers.

Amazon said the Kindle Fire HDX, at 8.9 inches, would be 34 percent lighter than the previous model. It would have a faster memory and a faster processor, and 11 hours of battery time for mixed use. If you did nothing but read, it would be 17 hours.

In its announcement, Amazon trumpeted the Fire’s new “Mayday” button, which it will be promoted in television commercials. Tap the button and you will be connected to an Amazon expert “24×7, 365 days a year.”

Which brings up the question: Why is this feature needed? Were the previous Fires so complicated that they confused customers?

The Amazon public relations team was not as voluble as the Mayday squad, and no answer was forthcoming Tuesday night.

The cheapest Fire will sell for $139, a substantial discount from the previous version. But it is hard to tell how the Fire is doing because Amazon does not release sales figures. This is clear: It is very far behind the iPad. Apple sold about $33 billion worth of iPads in the last year. Amazon’s total revenue in 2012 was less than twice that, and Amazon sells many, many other things besides Kindles.

“The challenge for Amazon is expanding its appeal beyond Amazon’s super fans,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forester analyst. “They’re not the market leader, or anywhere near it. The risk is they fall by the wayside like Barnes & Noble — max out their base and then have nowhere to go.”

Next up, according to the rumors: Kindle TV, a set-top device that will feed Amazon’s growing selection of video content directly into living rooms. Stay tuned.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/25/amazon-updates-kindle-fire-line/?ref=technology&_r=0
post #89739 of 93674
TV Notes
Robin Williams goes a little 'Crazy' for CBS
By Bill Keveney, USA Today - Sep. 25, 2013

LOS ANGELES – The script has a four-word description: "As they sashay out."

For Robin Williams, it's a veritable novel. The Oscar-winning actor, playing a brilliant but eccentric Chicago ad executive in CBS' The Crazy Ones (Thursday, 9 p.m. ET/PT), runs with it.

And sways. And glides. And limps. And saunters.

As Williams' Simon Roberts leaves a meeting with his partner (and daughter) Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and art director Andrew (Hamish Linklater), the character channels his inner Southern belle, politely asking protégé Zach (James Wolk) to walk with him to a conference room to meet a female client both adore.

"Ahm going taw'd the light lahk a honey bee to a bug zappah," he says, walking through an airy, desk-filled office.

In one take, Williams swings his arms. In another, he and Wolk hold hands, as Wolk briefly flops to his knees before bouncing back up.

Before yet another, Williams starts to bring up a new idea with director Jason Winer. "Can we try …"

"Yes," Winer interrupts. "Whatever it is, yes."

This is Robin Williams, folks. You give the man some room.

The other actors in the new comedy are happy to play along with Williams, starring in his first TV series role since he played an alien on Mork & Mindy more than 30 years ago.

"He's the king and we're all a bunch of jesters in his court, so he sets the tone and we figure out how many bells and whistles we can throw in alongside to harmonize," Linklater says. "He's like a Buddhist, Krishna saint. He's the sweetest, gentlest soul between takes, but when you're going, you put all your weapons on the table. You **** them and go. It's fast and furious there."

Freedom to improvise is part and parcel of working with Williams, but playtime comes after the actors have recorded the scripts that are put together by a team headed by Emmy winner David E. Kelley.

Williams "wants to serve the material and make his scene partner look good," says Winer (Modern Family), also an executive producer. "He actually needs to be coaxed into doing that thing, that Robin Williams thing. Hopefully, the show will find a balance between being a hilarious showcase for him but also having real emotional relationships between these characters you care about."

Simon's "kind of similar to me," Williams says. "I think he's had a very interesting life, multiple marriages, rehab. He's an idea guy trying to be relevant in these times. In an age of social networking, he's trying to catch up, literally."

Crazy Ones, which follows the offbeat advertising adventures of Simon and his colleagues, gets some of its feel from a real Chicago ad executive, John Montgomery, whose "stories are totally insane. It's so fun to hear them. And a lot of them are making their way into our show," says Wolk, who had a standout turn as Bob Benson, an adman from another era on AMC's Mad Men.

The comedy seeks authenticity by mentioning real as well as fictional companies, with McDonald's a focus of Thursday's premiere. Simon's office is decorated with a wall of brand logos that includes Coca-Cola, Kellogg's and USA TODAY. Producers say no money has changed hands.

Some critics have questioned the product placement, but Wolk says it helps ground the ad agency. "When you have some names that people recognize, it brings a realness that brings people into (the characters') world."

At Lewis, Roberts + Roberts (Brad Garrett will play agency co-founder Lewis in two upcoming episodes), the core relationship is between Simon and Sydney, the creative director and more cautious soul initially afraid of taking the risky leaps that are second nature to her father.

"There's this man, this crazy genius, who just wants to be normal for her and all she wants is that little bit of him. And she doesn't understand that she has a lot of that in her and he's going to slowly help her discover the crazy one within her," Gellar says.

"She's great to ground him, because I'll kind of go out and try wild stuff and she's like, 'Dad, come back,' " Williams says. "I'm infusing her with a little bit of like, 'Take a chance, girl. Break out.' "

Surrounding the pair are the self-centered, libidinous, golden-boy copywriter Zach; the wickedly dry, nerdy, less-than-confident Andrew; and the flighty but definitely not dumb assistant, Lauren (Amanda Setton).

The actors cite Kelley as a motivation for taking their roles and they've worked with the top writers in Hollywood (Gellar with Joss Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Linklater with Aaron Sorkin on The Newsroom; and Wolk with Matthew Weiner on Mad Men).

"Before I read it, I was like: Robin Williams and David Kelley?" Gellar says of the no-brainer. David "writes for women. What's so great about David, too, when you think about his ensemble shows, is he writes for everybody. It may have been called Ally McBeal, but Lucy (Liu) had great stuff and Portia (de Rossi) had great stuff. He really knows how to balance that and he's so smart. I love smart comedy."

Williams likes the character-driven nature of Kelley's writing and says Crazy Ones has the feel of a 1940s comedy.

"The pace is so much. Everyonetalksabitlikethis. Everything's so quick and you've got to pick up your cues. It's driven like the old Preston Sturges (movies) he says. "You really have to get up to speed very quickly, verbally, and be prepared to jump back and forth, which is very exciting."

He's quick, too, to share the wealth, crediting his co-stars.

"Everyone's got great skills," he says. "It's freeing. The pressure's really taken off."

In the end, however, it's Williams' face on all those billboards and buses, as CBS heavily promotes the new comedy. He knows the showbiz reality.

"The big name doesn't mean anything if it doesn't work. Those posters come down really quick," he says, adding that it seems surreal to see his picture all over Los Angeles. "I hope, once it opens, those start to go away. There are huge ones, little ones. None on a Portosan. That's good."

THE CRAZY ONES
Thursday on CBS, 9 p.m. ET/PT


http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2013/09/24/the-crazy-ones-robin-williams-feature/2860889/
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TV Notes
Robert De Niro Succeeds James Gandolfini In HBO Miniseries ‘Criminal Justice’
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Sep. 25, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: HBO is carrying on James Gandolfini’s legacy with Criminal Justice. Oscar winner Robert De Niro has stepped in to take over the role originally played by the beloved Sopranos star in the pilot. De Niro is attached to act in Criminal Justice, a seven-hour miniseries, with Gandolfini remaining an executive producer posthumously. (HBO previously greenlighted Criminal Justice with Gandolfini as a seven-part limited series in May). Steven Zaillian, who has been shepherding the project for over four years, is set to direct the first hour. Richard Price wrote Criminal Justice based on the BBC series created by Peter Moffat. On the mini, produced by HBO in association with BBC Worldwide Prods., Film Rites and Tribeca Films, De Niro joins originally cast Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp, Payman Maadi and Poorna Jagannathan. Production is eyed to begin in March.

It was unclear in the immediate aftermath of Gandolfini’s untimely June death in Rome whether HBO would proceed with Criminal Justice. But because Gandolfini had been so committed and passionate about the project, which he was getting ready to start filming upon his return from Rome, the network and Zaillian began exploring ways to do Criminal Justice in his honor. The New York crime story centers on an ambulance-chasing New York City attorney, the role originally played by Gandolfini, who gets in over-his-head when he takes on the case of a Pakistani (Ahmed) accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side. While the lawyer part is central to the overall story, in the pilot the character only appears in the final scene. That led to discussions between HBO and Zaillian about recasting the part, not an easy task as I hear the network and Zaillian were looking for a great actor whom Gandolfini would have wanted for the role and who would honor Gandolfini’s memory with his performance. I hear their list consisted of one name only, Robert De Niro, who responded and came on board.

Criminal Justice is executive produced by Gandolfini, Zaillian, Price, Moffat, BBC Worldwide’s Jane Tranter and Tribeca’s Jane Rosenthal, with Film Rites’ Garrett Basch and Attaboy’s Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders serving as co-executive producers and Berry Welsh as co-producer.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/09/robert-de-niro-james-gandolfini-hbo-miniseries-criminal-justice/
post #89741 of 93674
TV Notes
ABC Renews ‘Mistresses’ for Season 2
By Jethro Nededog, TheWrap.com - Sep. 25, 2013

Prepare yourself for another season of bed-hopping and backstabbing on ABC’s “Mistresses.”

The drama will be back next summer for a second season, a network representative told TheWrap.

“Mistresses,” though never a ratings barn-burner, did snag 3.91 million viewers to its Sept. 9 finale and a 3 rating among the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic. It ranked No. 2 for summer scripted series second only to CBS’s “Under the Dome.”

It stars Alyssa Milano, Rochelle Aytes, Jes Macallan and Yunjin Kim.

Adapted from a UK series, it is executive produced by Rina Mimoun (“Privileged,” “Gilmore Girls”), K.J. Steinberg (“Gossip Girl”), Robert Sertner (“Revenge,” “No Ordinary Family”) and Douglas Rae (“Wuthering Heights,” “Camelot,” “Mistresses,” “Raw,” “Meadowlands”) at ABC Studios.

http://www.thewrap.com/abc-renews-mistresses-for-season-2/
post #89742 of 93674
TV Review
‘The Michael J. Fox Show,’ easy to like
In this NBC sitcom, a beloved actor essentially plays himself
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine

Sitcoms starring name actors — especially those starring name actors whose careers aren’t currently peaking — often contain inside jokes that refer to the actor’s biography: Think of all the substance-abuse jokes aimed at Charlie Sheen’s character on “Two and a Half Men.” But it’s rare when an entire comedy is built around biography.

NBC’s new fall sitcom “The Michael J. Fox Show” not only bases its premise closely on the star’s real life but even predicts our critical response. Its main character, Michael Henry (Fox), like Fox himself, put his career on hold for some years because of Parkinson’s disease but says that as a bonus he has been able to spend more time with his family.

The character says that he can get a standing ovation just by showing up. Since Fox has earned so much goodwill from his convincing portrayals of nice guys on TV and in movies and from his apparent strength and bravery in the face of Parkinson’s, the same goes for him. It’s impossible not to root for him to succeed in this new project.

Viewed objectively, the show is an effective vehicle that finds the humor in Fox’s current situation without appealing too hard to our sympathy. Fox hasn’t lost his gifts as a sitcom actor, and the other players step up to his level. Though the show doesn’t warrant a standing ovation, it deserves warm applause.

The premiere episode, airing on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 9 p.m., uses a familiar device: The main characters talk to the camera between scenes. It turns out that Michael’s teenage daughter, Eve (Juliette Goglia), is making a video about her family for a school project about “The Grapes of Wrath.”

“My dad’s condition is the dust bowl of my family,” she says. “And we are the grapes. Wait. Are we the grapes or the wrath?”

In subsequent episodes, the characters keep talking to a camera, but we don’t know who is holding it or why.

Michael, a beloved former New York City news anchor, is now an over-involved stay-at-home dad. Since his wife, Annie (Betsy Brandt), is working as a teacher and his kids are getting older, he is increasingly frustrated at the family’s lack of togetherness. He tries to get them to go to the park for a leaf fight or at least sit down at the same table for dinner.

The older son, Ian (Conor Romero), has moved back home after leaving college; he says he’s developing a new search engine. The younger son, Graham (Jack Gore), is sometimes left in the care of Michael’s sister, Leigh (Katie Finneran), an unfocused thirtysomething who lives in the same apartment building.

Michael runs into his old boss, Harris (Wendell Pierce), who tries to persuade him to come back to work. Michael reminds him of the “rolling-chair thing,” and we see video of him at the news desk gliding uncontrollably out of the camera frame.

Michael’s condition is addressed squarely. On the plus side, he does get a standing ovation from his colleagues when he visits the studio. On the negative side, he has a hard time passing the eggs at breakfast but soldiers on.

“Could you not have a personal victory right now?” says Annie, grabbing the platter. “We are starving.”

The second episode, airing right after the premiere, puts Parkinson’s in the background. Michael is excited when an attractive neighbor, Kelly (played by Fox’s real-life wife, Tracy Pollan), seems to be flirting with him, but then he becomes jealous when Annie sets Kelly up with Harris.

Meanwhile, Eve tries to make sure the family can deal with her new lesbian friend; Ian decides he needs to hire an intern; and Leigh enjoys the attention she gets when she pretends that she’s the single mother of Graham.

A third episode provided for review, which has not yet been scheduled, introduces an office foil, Susan (Anne Heche, who will reportedly appear in a series of episodes).

The scattershot nature of these plotlines suggests that the show is still a work in progress and that the creators aren’t sure what it’s going to be about. But Fox shines whether or not he is the focus of the story. He’s the kind of actor who makes other actors better.

Although “The Michael J. Fox Show” isn’t about the character’s personal victories, we can still appreciate that it is a victory for Fox. But even if the shine wears off, the show should still be worth watching.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/michael-j-fox-show-easy-to-like/
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TV/Business Notes
Can Intel Handle HBO, TBS? Time Warner’s Bewkes Has Doubts
By Brian Steinberg, Variety.com - Sep. 25, 2013

TIme Warner topper Jeff Bewkes pooh-poohed the notion of broadband-only distribution of traditional TV programs, suggesting that Intel Corp., Sony Corp., Microsoft Corp. and other potential players in the space faced a bevy of challenges.

“I’m a little skeptical about whether that’s really going to happen and be done in a healthy way that can take the traffic that used to be on the interstate, which is what you are doing on your TV, and move it over,” said the TIme Warner chairman and chief executive, speaking at an investor conference being held by Goldman Sachs. He cited questions about “capacity” and “quality of service” as well as “questions of advertising measurement.”

Intel is one of several tech or media concerns that has evidenced interest in offering a package of TV-networks via broadband, without a subscriber having to also receive traditional TV service. But Bewkes suggested the amount of traffic such services might create in terms of bandwidth and downloads would cause a strain and issues of capacity that would require usage fees, rather than a simple subscription.

Bewkes did say, however, that TIme Warner was open to the idea of packaging HBO with a broadband offering from cable,satellite and telecommunications companies. The broadband package would give distributors an edge in trying to sell their services to subscribers, while protecting them from people who might want to watch their favorite TV networks without subscribing, he said.

“They need to be healthy for this to work,” he said of distributors.

http://variety.com/2013/tv/news/can-intel-take-on-hbo-tbs-time-warners-bewkes-has-doubts-1200667862/
post #89744 of 93674
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

And if they actually cranked out a DVR that worked as well as a TiVo, TiVo would sue them for patent infringement or some such. biggrin.gif
Personally, I prefer D*'s DVR to TiVo. There was a time that I wanted to go the TiVo route, but D*'s DVR has evolved to the point that it's a really great unit. It started off terrible, but it's done a complete 180 in the last few years to become a solid, well outfitted unit.

I haven't used it, but I know a lot of people really like E*'s DVR.

Any time I hear how much better TiVo is supposed to be, it's always "it's just better". No one ever backs it up with specific things that are better to make it worth the cost.

Honestly, the DVR I loved was UltimateTV from Microsoft. I wish that had continued into the HD world. That thing was rock solid and had features that are sadly missing from many modern DVRs - including TiVo. Some of my favorites:

- The checkbox labeled "Exact Title Only". This was an awesome feature that let you set up to automatically record a show exactly matching a title even it it wasn't in the guide. It means you could set up series records for show premieres months in advance based only on the title. So, if I typed in "Lost" and checked that box, only "Lost" would record - not "Lost in Space", "Land of the Lost" or "The Lost Boys". It would only look at the title, so it would ignore descriptions, keywords and names.

- The ability to limit what channels will be searched for a show. Say you want to record the syndicated version of a show you missed the first time around. The problem is, it airs on TNT and your local CW affiliate. Plus, the show is technically repeats, so you can't narrow it down to "new episodes only". You only want to record the TNT version, but most DVRs would come up with both versions. UTV let you choose to ignore the ones you don't want.

- Automatic Padding. If a tuner was available, the UTV would pad every recording by 5 minutes. That saved me missing the ends of a good number of shows when those quick breaking news breaks pushed things back a few minutes. It even helped when a show ran past the hour, but wasn't properly listed that way in the guide.

- Live Programming Extension. In the last software upgrade, UTV added a feature that would add 30 minutes to a show recording that followed a live event.

- The best manual recording function ever. Most DVRs have some form of manual recording function. The UTV took it to a new level making it not only easier than a VCR, but repeatible.

- The nearly infinite live buffer. Most DVRs limit the live buffer to 30 minutes or so, with a few going an hour or two. The UTV allowed you to go back just about as far as you had hard drive space for.

- The Internet. While dialup WebTV sucked, especially on SD TVs, it would have been awesome with an upgrade to broadband using a modern HDTV set (which often has better resolution than a laptop screen). The best part was, you could still watch your show in a window while you looked things up online. Imagine being able to view the real IMDB, the real Wikipedia and the real TouTube instead of limited feature apps. You could even hook up a webcam for video chats, though it didn't work well with dial-up.

- A Keyboard. That's right, you could use a wireless keyboard that made surfing the internet, typing an email or just typing in a show title in the guide search a breeze.

Man, I miss that unit.
Edited by NetworkTV - 9/25/13 at 6:57pm
post #89745 of 93674
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
THURSDAY 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)

ABC:
8PM - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
(R - Sep. 24)
9PM - Grey's Anatomy (Season Premiere; 120 min.)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Rebel Wilson; chef Anthony Bourdain; Avril Lavigne performs; Unnecessary Censorship)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Big Bang Theory (Season Premiere)
8:31PM - The Big Bang Theory
9:01PM - The Crazy Ones (Series Premiere)
9:31PM - Two and a Half Men (Season Premiere)
10:01PM - Elementary (Season Premiere)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Bono; Johnny Galecki; Kings of Leon perform)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Maggie Grace)

NBC:
8PM - Parks and Recreation (Season Premiere; 60 min.)
9:01PM - The Michael J. Fox Show (Series Premiere)
9:31PM - The Michael J. Fox Show
10:01PM - Parenthood (Season Premiere)
* * * *
11:34AM - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (Julia Louis-Dreyfus; author Ron Paul; Little Big Town performs)
12:36AM - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (Tina Fey; Goldfrapp performs; Thundercat performs with The Roots)
1:36AM - Last Call With Carson Daly (Singer Davey Havok; Kitten performs)
(R - May 14)

FOX:
8PM - The X-Factor
9PM - Glee (Season Premiere)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The 'This Old House' Hour (R - Mar. 28)
9PM - Frontline: Life and Death in Assisted Living
(R - Jul. 30)
10PM - Antiques Roadshow: Grand Rapids. MI
(R - May 4, 2009)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Porque El Amor Manda
8:59PM - Amores Verdaderos
10:06PM - El Señor de los Cielos

THE CW:
8PM - The Vampire Diaries
(R - May 16)
9PM - America's Next Top Model
(R - Sep. 20)

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

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Robin Williams)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Shark wrangler Chris Fischer)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Andy Samberg; musician Slash)

E!:
11PM - Chelsea Lately (Chef Cat Corai; comic Jeff Wild; comic Fortune Feimster; actor Ross Mathews)
post #89746 of 93674
TV Reviews
Stars return for 'The Michael J. Fox Show' & Robin Williams in 'The Crazy Ones'
Do these former sitcom icons still have what it takes to carry a show in 2013?
By Alan Sepinwall, HitFix.com - Sep. 25, 2013

Robin Williams and Michael J. Fox became TV stars about four years apart, Williams with "Mork & Mindy" and Fox with "Family Ties." They made their first big movies about five years apart, Williams with "Popeye," Fox with "Back to the Future." The movie business took much longer to figure out how to harness Williams' unique gifts, but he's worked steadily and topped call sheets for decades. Marty McFly was instantly a perfect film role for Fox, but his run as a successful leading man only ran a few years, up through "Doc Hollywood," before he starred in some flops, went back to TV, then semi-retired due to complications from Parkinson's.

Their careers are not identical, and yet it feels somehow appropriate for these two to be returning full-time to television on the same night, at the same time, with a pair of shows — Williams' "The Crazy Ones" (9 p.m. Thursday, CBS) and Fox's"The Michael J. Fox Show" (9 & 9:30 p.m., NBC) — that seem built with the same guidelines: Step 1. Build star vehicle that lets beloved actor do the thing people love watching them do. Step 2. ________ Step 3. Profit!

"The Michael J. Fox Show" is clearly the better of the two. At this point (I've seen three episodes), it's more likable than funny, but it has a very clear sense of what it wants to do and how it wants to frame its star. Created by Will Gluck and Sam Laybourne, it's sitcom-as-autobiography: Fox plays Mike Henry, beloved former New York TV news reporter who was also forced into early retirement due to Parkinson's (when Fox has done guest appearances on shows like "The Good Wife" the last few years, they go out of their way to explain his twitching via another condition), got to spend a lot of time with his wife (played here by Betsy Brandt, enjoying herself much more than she's gotten to of late as Marie on "Breaking Bad") and kids, then went back to work once the drugs improved and his family got annoyed having him around so much.

It's so meta that the first episode is largely devoted to making the audience comfortable with laughing at the guy with the serious medical condition, while the second episode (also airing tomorrow) features Tracy Pollan as a sexy neighbor Mike develops a crush on, as we're asked to watch Fox's TV wife be annoyed by his focus on his real-life wife, while also being invited to appreciate just how hot the former Ellen Reed still is.

And yet a lot of it works because Fox really is that good — a sitcom Hall of Famer whose Swiss watch timing has miraculously not been impaired by his physical limitations — and that charming. It's just such a pleasure to see him back in his own show, both for what it says about his health and for the greater appeal of his work.

A lot of the material's very broad — especially anything involving Katie Finneran as Mike's flaky sister or Conor Romero as his oldest son, a college dropout who claims to be developing on a new search engine — and at times feels better suited to the old multi-camera rhythms of "Family Ties" or "Spin City" than to a single-cam show that very transparently models itself after "Modern Family," with characters addressing the camera and a heartwarming voiceover to wrap up each show. But there's abundant chemistry between Fox and Brandt, between Fox and Juliette Goglia (Little Girl God from "Joan of Arcadia") as his teenage daughter, and between Fox and Wendell Pierce (Bunk from "The Wire") as his boss at the TV station. The rest will hopefully come in time, but for now I'm just glad to see the man practicing his craft again.

Because Williams has been working much more steadily over a greater period of time, his particular persona doesn't feel as fresh. Over the course of "The Crazy Ones" pilot, in which he plays Chicago ad executive Simon Roberts, Williams busts out all his greatest hits know from the '80s, '90s, and today: Marlon Brando, kung fu, an elderly Eskimo chief. In an early scene, an underling laughs at his voices, leading his frustrated daughter/partner Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar) to yell, "Do not encourage him!" "The Crazy Ones" is a show meant to encourage him to be Robin Williams to do all the material you know so well, whether you still love it or not.

But it's also a strange show, wildly off-brand for CBS — a mix of drama and comedy, shot on film with no laughtrack — and created by David E. Kelley, who has certainly written lots of wacky jokes into his serious shows (and whose "Ally McBeal" won an Emmy for comedy series back in the '90s), but who seems a loss for how to integrate the two tones here. There are a few suggestions that Simon is genuinely crazy and has recovered from a previous breakdown, and then others where he's just the furry guy who won't stop doing impressions.

The pilot episode is unusually short — the version sent to critics was less than 19 minutes, one of which was just outtakes of guest star Kelly Clarkson laughing at Williams' improvisation, when a typical network sitcom can run 21-23 minutes when you remove the ads. It may not seem like a lot of time on paper, but in practice it creates a half-finished feeling to everything. Simon, Sydney and their colleagues work in a giant office that seems much too underpopulated, just as the first episode feels like a rough draft.

Gellar is largely stuck in killjoy mode, and in her one big comic moment comes across as too flop-sweaty by half. The biggest laughs in the pilot come, strangely, from Clarkson (playing herself as a possible jingle singer for one of Simon's campaigns) and James Wolk (Bob Benson from "Mad Men") as office himbo Zach. There's a surprising ease to Wolk's performance, so that when he's riffing with an improv master like Williams, even though the older actor is clearly the one leading the way, Wolk is the one just relaxed enough to sell the jokes. (It's also possible that Williams is a better point guard than he is a scorer these days, though he's not able to do much to set up Gellar.)

If you don't count "Ally" (a short-lived attempt to repurpose old "Ally McBeal" episodes at half the size), this is the first half-hour show Kelley's been involved with since he created "Doogie Howser, M.D." 24 years ago. Kelley seems in a more experimental mode these days: his low-rated TNT medical drama "Monday Mornings" was the most straightforward, non-quirky show he's done in forever, and now he's trying a more overt comedy, but doesn't seem quite sure how to do it — or if he wants to — even with Williams at the center.

Neither show is a classic return to the form that made Williams and Fox into huge stars, but "The Michael J. Fox Show" has a more solid foundation, and a leading man whose schtick has aged much better, in part due to a forced absence. Both shows have a lot of growing to do, but I'm much more interested to see what Fox's show can become than Williams'.

GRADES: "The Michael J. Fox Show" B / "The Crazy Ones" C

http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/review-stars-return-for-the-michael-j-fox-show-robin-williams-in-the-crazy-ones#~oiwP9OANs3PyI6
Edited by dad1153 - 9/25/13 at 11:58pm
post #89747 of 93674
TV Notes
Vince Gilligan & David Shore Detective Drama Gets Series Order At CBS
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Sep. 25, 2013

In a dream pairing, the man of the hour, Vince Gilligan, coming off a best series win on Sunday for his hit AMC drama Breaking Bad, has teamed with House creator David Shore for Battle Creek, which has closed at CBS with a series production order for the 2014-15 season. The drama project, which I hear has a 13-episode commitment, was originally created by Gilligan a decade ago. It comes from Sony TV, which produced Breaking Bad and has an overall deal with Shore. Sony will co-produce with CBS TV Studios, with Gilligan, Shore and Breaking Bad EP Mark Johnson executive producing. Shore will serve as showrunner, with Gilligan interested in directing. It’s been a very strong last few days for Sony TV, which scored a best drama series win on Sunday for Breaking Bad, a strong opening for its new NBC series The Blacklist on Monday, followed by the series order for Battle Creek today.

Battle Creek centers on two detectives with very different world views who are teamed up. They must answer the question: is cynicism, guile and deception enough to clean up the semi-mean streets of Battle Creek, Michigan in the face of a complete lack of resources; or is the exact opposite true – it takes naïveté, trust and a boatload of resources? The deal brings the project back to CBS where Gilligan, pre-Breaking Bad, developed it in 2002. While the script didn’t go forward at the time, I hear it stayed on entertainment president Nina Tassler’s radar as she considered revisiting it multiple times. Meanwhile, after Breaking Bad wrapped production on its final season, Sony TV and ICM Partners paired their marquee drama creators Gilligan and Shore. (Gilligan’s overall deal at Sony TV is up but there have been discussions for a new one.). Gilligan and Shore took a pass at the original script and the project was taken to CBS.

This is Gilligan’s second post-Breaking Bad series; he also is executive producing ABC/Sony TV’s Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. Shore is also with the Shuman Co.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/09/vince-gilligandavid-shore-detective-drama-gets-series-order-at-cbs/
post #89748 of 93674
Business/Nielsen Notes
Can Nielsen Innovation Finally Outpace Industry Frustration?
By Todd Spangler, Variety.com - Sep. 25, 2013

nielsen-scrambles-to-create-new-measurments.jpg?w=490&h=276&crop=1

No conversation about Nielsen in the media business is complete without the word “frustration.”

There’s little about the pre-eminent TV measurement company that hasn’t drawn complaints, particularly its slowness to track viewing across VOD and mobile devices. As NBC Broadcasting chairman Ted Harbert told a packed industry crowd at the Hollywood Radio Television Society luncheon earlier this month, “They say they’re on it, but everybody in this room knows that they’re a monopoly, and they’ll get to it when they get to it,” he said. “It’s always coming next year. And I’m actually hoping it comes next year.”

Harbert may finally get his wish. With the new fall TV season just under way, Nielsen is about to officially announce new details of a twofold initiative that may represent the biggest step forward the company has made toward tracking viewing across multiplying screens. It certainly won’t be enough to assuage all of the company’s many critics, but it should at least help ease the first of the two distinct crises facing the entertainment biz due to the rise of digital distribution.

The first problem is that there’s no satisfactory way to harmonize data about video content and advertising viewed on TV, online, mobile and other platforms. The second worry, which may prove just as vexing, is a business issue: Digital distributors like Netflix, Amazon and Google keep much of their usage data proprietary — they see it as a strategic advantage to hold that information close to the vest.

But in the near term, the pressure is on Nielsen. “Networks are starving for a number they can publish that really represents their audience not just on TV but across all platforms,” said Eric Solomon, Nielsen’s senior VP of global audience measurement. “I think it will start changing the narrative that ‘people are not watching TV shows.’ It’s that they’re watching on different platforms.”

Viacom Media Networks chief research officer Colleen Fahey Rush is taking a wait-and-see attitude toward Nielsen’s promised improvements.

“They have a lot to deliver,” she said, describing the measurement company as “kind of like the bad boyfriend who keeps letting you down but you can’t break up with him, because he’s the only boy in the whole school.”

This week, Nielsen is expected to publicly announce to clients a timetable for a long-awaited development: In September 2014, the firm is aiming to be able to attribute linear TV viewed on smartphones and tablets as part of its National TV ratings. The approach, the culmination of more than three years’ work, will for the first time provide a single, consistent measure of live programming viewing across both TV and digital, according to the firm.

That means live TV streamed through such apps as ABC’s WatchABC, as well as on iPad video apps from cable operators, can now be counted toward the total numbers on which programmers get paid by TV advertisers.

“What we’re trying to do is bring a lot of the TV model to the digital world,” Solomon said. “This will find Nielsen-coded content on any platform.”

In tandem, Nielsen is working to deliver Digital Program Ratings, which measure consumption of TV content online delivered without the national commercials (replaced with digitally inserted online ads), in the first quarter of next year. The firm announced a pilot program in April that includes participation from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, A&E, CW, Discovery, Univision and AOL.

The Digital Program Ratings data uses the same methodology as Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings service, which is based on about half of the homes in its National People Meter panel (about 10,000 households that also have agreed to let the company monitor their online consumption). To glean age and gender data, and cross-reference those with the viewing numbers, Nielsen cut a pact with Facebook, which has about 179 million monthly active users in the U.S.

The two Nielsen digital initiatives support both linear TV and digital ad models, according to Solomon. “A key learning (point) for us was that no two clients are approaching this question of distribution in the same way — they need flexibility to choose the monetization model they use,” he said.

Do the Nielsen efforts go far enough? Industry observers are encouraged by the projects, calling them a step in the right direction, but said they’re not a panacea. “The fact that (incorporating mobile viewing into TV ratings) is still a year of shows we’re not moving at the speed that marketers and consumers are,” said David Cohen, chief media officer for ad agency Universal McCann.

About the grumbling that Nielsen has taken far too long to progress in this area, Solomon said the company can’t unilaterally alter its national TV ratings given the billions of dollars in advertising that’s sold based on the data. “Any change to that is thought through and analyzed to death, and that’s one of the reasons why this seems to take so long,” he said.

How big was the total audience for an individual episode or an entire season run, as seen on television, DVR, video-on-demand, websites, smartphones, tablets and other devices? And what’s the composition of that audience? Today what’s available are, at best, educated guesses. TV programmers have taken the lead in trying to solve this puzzle to support their advertising goals. Now, Nielsen and other research firms may be on the cusp of delivering useful metrics that content companies and marketers have been impatiently waiting to get their hands on.

This has been an elusive pipe dream in the TV biz for years. Networks need a consistent measure of unduplicated reach and frequency across all screens — something that the standard bearer for TV ratings, Nielsen, has been unable to deliver. Programmers also want data-driven insights so they can fan out their content based on what works on each platform, given that a growing segment of their audience is migrating to mobile and Internet viewing.

At a higher level, they need metrics to show that TV, with traditional ratings eroding, is not dying: It’s only fragmenting across distribution points.

“My company is evaluated by Wall Street on our (television) ratings, and that’s an increasingly poor way to understand our performance,” said Fahey Rush.

Why is measuring content consumption across disparate touch points so hard? To date no single entity, neither Nielsen nor anyone else, can compile the information across a single, consistent source. Melding different panel- and census-based data sets together — into what industry execs term “Frankenmetrics” — is fraught with complexity because that information is collected based on different methodologies.

“On one hand, I feel like we get more and better data from a variety of channels we didn’t used to have,” said Tim Van Hoof, assistant VP of marketing communications for State Farm, which spent $778 million on advertising in 2012, according to research service SNL Insurance. “Where we are falling short is, how do you weave through the volume and variety of data sources we get and aggregate them in a sensible way?”

In the absence of action by Nielsen, several programmers have placed bets on other research initiatives.

Perhaps the most ambitious is ESPN’s hybrid Project Blueprint, which the sports cabler began testing in February with a mix of data derived from cable set-top boxes, comScore and Arbitron. “It is a layer of quantitative data that the industry desperately needs to understand net reach across platforms over an extended period of time,” said Artie Bulgrin, ESPN’s senior vice president of research and analytics.

ESPN plans to present a full year of usage data showing the network’s cross-platform programming reach at its 2014 upfront next spring.

Nobody aside from ESPN, however, is using Project Blueprint today, and the methodology still awaits industry vetting. (Meanwhile, Nielsen is in the process of acquiring Arbitron for $1.3 billion; under an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission announced last Friday, the company must continue to support the Project Blueprint initiative.)

Today, no other cross-platform research is as far along as Project Blueprint, said Jane Clarke, managing director of Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement. CIMM, whose two dozen members include media congloms, ad agencies and advertisers, was formed in 2009 to promote new research approaches in response to what the founders perceived as Nielsen’s lethargy in the area.

“People have been complaining about this for years, ever since we started going cross-platform,” Clarke said. “I think we’re starting to see the potential with Project Blueprint.”

A separate data shortfall for Hollywood has arisen with the emergence of tech players like Netflix, Google and Amazon as significant content distributors.

Third-party estimates exist for electronic sell-through services such as Apple’s iTunes; that’s because individual suppliers know exactly how many titles they move through EST partners in any given period. But no such data is available for streaming services, which are a black hole for the biz.

Exhibit A is Netflix, which refuses to release information about what its 30 million U.S. subscribers watch in any detail, either publicly or privately, to content suppliers. For competitive reasons, the company doesn’t even cite how many titles it offers through its streaming service.

Netflix says it does not provide usage figures because it isn’t an ad-supported service — unlike traditional TV networks, it doesn’t have to tell an advertiser how many people tuned in to, say, an episode of “House of Cards.”

Company execs defend the policy by saying divulging metrics would establish a negative public perception about the content it carries, a downside that it, as a subscription service, doesn’t need to expose itself to. Releasing viewing numbers for Netflix originals, for example, would create “performance pressure around these shows, which is very unnecessary,” chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a recent interview with British newspaper the Guardian.

And with Netflix’s expansion into original series, the data vacuum also lets the newcomer build buzz it might not enjoy if it reported audience size.

“People get carried away with these perceptions that (Netflix’s) ‘Orange Is the New Black’ is the new must-see show,” said Will Somers, head of network research for Fox Broadcasting.

The fact that the cloak of secrecy extends even to the content companies that license their products to Netflix makes it difficult for studios to figure out how valuable its deals with Netflix are relative to other distributors.

Netflix’s “opaqueness about the consumption data was very unfamiliar to me,” said a top media research executive who requested anonymity because the exec’s company still has a business relationship with the Internet streaming company. By keeping the numbers vague, “They have all the leverage in negotiating the next deal.”

FX Networks CEO John Landgraf went on record on the subject at the HRTS event a few weeks ago. “Part of Netflix’s strategy is not only not to release that information to the public but not to tell the content producers and providers what the value of their content is on Netflix’s system,” he said. “And that’s a huge disadvantage to sellers.”

Netflix declined to comment for this story, referring to Sarandos’ previous remarks.

Meanwhile, Google also keeps its big data to itself, preferring to steer businesses toward Google Analytics for information about the Internet giant’s services. That extends to YouTube, the Internet’s No. 1 video site by a long shot, which serves more than 17 billion views monthly in the U.S. alone, according to comScore. Services like comScore tabulate aggregate data for websites, but don’t have the granularity to report on the performance of individual titles.

“If I run a clip of ‘Conan’ on YouTube, Nielsen can’t count it, because Google will not share their data with Nielsen,” said Jack Wakshlag, chief research officer for Turner cablers.

If Internet publishers pooled data, it would provide much greater transparency for the industry, according to Wakshlag. “I would know what my share of the business is, and I can figure out if you underspent with me,” he explained.

Added Seth Demsey, AOL’s senior VP of advertising product and strategy: “Everybody has their own proprietary data they’re sitting on. It’s a little disheartening. If we share across industries in more productive ways, we could meet client objectives better.”

Google, in a statement, said it’s continuing to explore new measurement options without explicitly committing to sharing data externally. “We know buyers want meaningful measurement, which is why we’re investing broadly in brand-friendly metrics,” the company said.

In reality, there will never be a perfect way to measure content consumption across all distribution points. “I don’t think there’s any such thing as a silver bullet,” said Nielsen’s Solomon.

Jon Mandel, CEO of PrecisionDemand and a longtime ad industry exec, has a vested interest in attacking the status quo. His company analyzes set-top box data, with the promise of letting marketers match up ads aimed at specific consumer segments with TV shows — correlated with purchasing data. It’s an approach that’s far more accurate than they can achieve using Nielsen’s age and gender data.

From 2006 to 2009, Mandel worked for Nielsen as CEO of NielsenConnect, a now-defunct division whose mission was similarly intended to connect ad buys with consumer buying behavior.

“The problem is, the current (Nielsen) system works well enough for the way the business has run,” he said. “But one day they are going to wake up and find they don’t have a business.”

http://variety.com/2013/biz/news/nielsen-innovation-outpace-industry-frustration-1200665880/
post #89749 of 93674
TV Notes
Hoarders cancelled, but Matt Paxton continuing its work with ServiceMaster
By Andy Dehnart, RealityBlurred.com - Sep. 25, 2013

A&E has officially cancelled Hoarders, the series that brought national attention to a previously hidden mental disorder. The show’s end has been clear since earlier this year, but A&E’s silence gave hope.

Alas, while A&E gave Intervention an official send-off, it did not do that with Hoarders. Instead, a publicist quietly confirmed its cancellation late last week, citing no reason. But the reason is clear: scripted frivolity with bearded men is far more lucrative for the network, and what matters to networks is cash and ratings. Still, it’s ****** that the network discarded the series without even contacting cast members to let them know.

With as many as 14 million hoarders, the need for assistance hasn’t gone away, and one of the show’s cast members is continuing its work off-camera.

Hoarders extreme cleaning specialist Matt Paxton, the show’s best cast member, has partnered with ServiceMaster to become “a consultant and valuable training resource for the ServiceMaster Restore franchise network” and “a media spokesperson for the brand and ServiceMaster consumer cleaning products,” the company said in a press release.

Matt told me this morning that “we’re kind of recreating what we did on Hoarders,” he said, “training literally franchise by franchise” so that they have the skills and understanding necessary to work with hoarders. Those 50 hours of training for each ServiceMaster Restore franchise will take about four years to complete. Previously, Matt’s company Clutter Cleaner received 10,000 leads a year from people who needed help, but they were only able to work with 50 in a good year. “I keep getting all these requests and I just couldn’t handle them,” he said, calling it “an awesome problem.”

A&E “were years of everyone else” with hoarding shows, but while the “show pulled the covers off a massive disorder,” Matt said, “A&E’s job is not to make a social statement; A&E’s job is to sell ads” and “it doesn’t matter how loved we were.”

After realizing that the show wasn’t coming back—A&E’s usual holiday gift didn’t arrive last year—Matt said he tried to find other opportunities on television, but no one was interested. “I got used to being a TV star, and now that’s gone.” Instead, he decided to focus on helping people, and the ServiceMaster partnership was born. Matt will continue his podcast and also produce Clutter Cleaner products.

Hoarding was recently added to the DSM-5, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, becoming its own diagnosable disorder. Thus, Matt said, “awareness is getting bigger and louder” and “the need for help is growing.”

“The TV show forced people to look at the disorder,” Matt said. “For a show about trash, we had an amazing run.”

http://www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/archives/hoarders/2013_Sep_25_cancelled-paxton-servicemaster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
A super start for ABC’s ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’
Bows to a 4.6 in 18-49s, best drama debut since 2009
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 25, 2013
At 10 p.m. NBC was first again with a 2.8 for “Chicago,” with CBS second with a 2.3 for “Interest.” ABC was third with a 1.3 for “Lucky,” Univision fourth with a 1.1 for “Que Bonito Amor” and Telemundo fifth with a 0.6 for “Santa Diabla.”

CBS led the night among households with a 10.0 average overnight rating and a 16 share. NBC was second at 7.7/12, ABC third at 4.8/8, Fox fourth at 2.4/4, Univision fifth at 1.7/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.7/1 and CW seventh at 0.6/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/super-start-abcs-s-h-e-l-d/

* * * *

Still disappointed CBS moved Person of Interest to Tuesday nights.
post #89751 of 93674
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
An evolution for ‘Revolution’
Second-year drama moves out of cushy spot behind 'Voice'
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 25, 2013

The show, which bows at 8 p.m., aired behind “The Voice” last fall and benefitted from the cushy timeslot, finishing as last season’s No. 2 new show among adults 18-49, averaging a 2.5 Nielsen rating.
Now “Revolution,” about a post-apocalyptic world that has lost all power sources, is being pushed out on its own. The show will lead off NBC’s Wednesday lineup, where the network clearly thinks it can be a self-starter.

That may be an optimistic view.
1.8

Non optimists = 1
Optimists = 0

Wait for those timeshifting #s though. biggrin.gif
post #89752 of 93674
+1 MRM4, too much to watch on Tuesday night. Think I'm going to move my 24 Block to Thursday's as there seems to be nothing on tonight.
10 pm Tuesday's... POI and Sons of Anarchy, tough call...
The scene with Sarah Shahi eating steak , didn't sit right..
post #89753 of 93674
WEDNESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
ABC wins first Wednesday with ‘Family’
Veteran sitcom finishes as the night's top show with a 4.1
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 26, 2013

ABC won the first Wednesday of the new season, but the network saw ratings declines compared to last year.

Buoyed by the night’s top show, “Modern Family,” ABC averaged a 2.8 adults 18-49 rating and 8 share for the night, according to Nielsen, just ahead of Fox at 2.5/7, on a night where every network posted solid numbers.

“Family” bowed to a 4.1 at 9 p.m. with back-to-back episodes, down 25 percent from last year’s premiere.

Earlier in the night, “The Middle” bowed to a 2.4 at 8 p.m., falling 17 percent from last year’s premiere. Lead-out “Back in the Game,” a new comedy, hung on to most of “Middle’s” rating with a 2.2, though that was still the lowest-rated comedy premiere on ABC’s Wednesday since “Hank” four years ago.

The network’s 10 p.m. drama “Nashville” returned for season two with a 2.1, tying CBS’s “CSI” for second in the timeslot. That was well off from last year’s premiere, which averaged a 2.8, but it was not a series low.

ABC’s bigger concern is likely how “Nashville” will perform next week without the huge lead-in from “Family,” when “Super Fun Night” takes over the 9:30 spot.

The biggest surprise of the night came on NBC, whose “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” scored its best rating in two years. The two-hour bow averaged a 2.7 from 9 to 11 and dominated the 10 p.m. hour over ABC and CBS, averaging a 2.9.

Earlier in the night, NBC’s second-year drama “Revolution” averaged a 1.8 in its new 8 p.m. timeslot. That was down 28 percent from the show’s 2.5 average last season, when it aired in the cushy Monday 10 p.m. spot behind “The Voice.”

The show’s numbers were falling long before last night, however. Last night’s rating was off only 0.1 from June’s first-season finale, which also aired behind “Voice.”

NBC has had a strong premiere week. After winning the first two nights of the week, it posted its highest-rated opening Wednesday in three years.

Fox’s “The X Factor” actually saw ratings gains compared to last week despite the stronger competition. “Factor” averaged a 2.5, up 14 percent.

With ABC in first place and Fox second in primetime, CBS and NBC tied for third at 2.4/7. Univision was fifth at 1.4/4, Telemundo sixth at 0.4/1 and CW seventh at 0.3/1.

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

Fox started the night in the lead with a 2.4 at 8 p.m. for “Factor,” while ABC and CBS tied for second at 2.3, ABC for “Middle” (2.4) and “Game” (2.2) and CBS for “Survivor.” NBC was fourth with a 1.8 for “Revolution,” Univision fifth with a 1.6 for “Porque el Amor Manda” and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.3, CW for a repeat of “Arrow” and Telemundo for “Dama y Obrero.”

ABC took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 4.1 for “Family,” followed by CBS with a 2.8 for “Criminal Minds,” down 10 percent from last season’s bow. Fox was third with a 2.6 for more “Factor,” NBC fourth with a 2.5 for “SVU,” Univision fifth with a 1.3 for “La Tempestad,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for “Marido en Alquiler” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for “Capture.”

NBC moved to first at 10 p.m. with a 2.9 for more “SVU,” with ABC and CBS tied for second at 2.1, ABC for “Nashville” and CBS for “CSI.” Univision was fourth with a 1.2 for “Que Bonito Amor” and Telemundo fifth with a 0.5 for “Santa Diabla.”

CBS was first for the night among households with a 6.2 average overnight rating and a 10 share. NBC was second at 5.6/9, ABC third at 5.5/9, Fox fourth at 4.6/7, Univision fifth at 1.8/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.7/1 and CW seventh at 0.6/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/abc-wins-first-wednesday-family/

* * * *

TV Notes
This fall, it’s all about the big names
And there's none bigger than Robin Williams in 'Crazy Ones'
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 26, 2013

If there’s one common thread among the networks’ new shows, it’s the big names.

This fall boasts arguably the biggest roster of well-known names ever across the Big Four, from up-and-comers like Rebel Wilson and Andy Samberg to well-established stars like James Caan, Michael J. Fox and James Spader to those hoping for a comeback like Sean Hayes.

The biggest name of all, Robin Williams, makes his debut tonight in the new CBS comedy “The Crazy Ones,” bowing at 9 p.m.

Williams, of course, got his start on TV in “Mork & Mindy,” where he played a nutty alien. In his TV return, he plays a nutty ad agency executive who clashes with his sensible daughter, played by another big TV name, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s” Sarah Michelle Gellar.

CBS promoted “Crazy” heavily during the Emmys Sunday night, and it clearly has a lot of confidence in the show, putting it in the pivotal 9 p.m. anchor slot of TV’s most lucrative advertising night, Thursday.

“Crazy” has the good fortune to air on the same night as the CBS hit “The Big Bang Theory,” broadcast’s No. 1 scripted show, which averaged a 5.3 adults 18-49 rating last season. It leads off the night at 8.

“Crazy” probably won’t come close to matching “Bang’s” numbers, especially airing against the highly anticipated series premiere of NBC’s “The Michael J. Fox Show” tonight.

There’s a good chance many of fall’s big names won’t make it till spring, but if “Crazy” can average a 3.0 or above, Williams will be one of them.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/fall-big-names/
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TV Notes
ITV Reups ‘Law & Order: UK’ For Season 8
By Nancy Tartaglione, Deadline.com - Sep. 26, 2013

After Season 7 consistently won its time slot this year on ITV, the network has ordered an eighth season of Law & Order: UK. Shooting starts next month on the British version of the franchise for broadcast in 2014. Bradley Walsh, Georgia Taylor, Paterson Joseph and Dominic Rowan are returning with newcomer Ben Bailey Smith (Derek) joining the force. The new season will be produced by Jane Dauncey. Alison Jackson and Jane Featherstone will executive produce for Kudos Film and Television. The scripts are written by Nick Hicks Beach, Tom Grieves, Richard Stokes, Matt Evans, Jamie Crichton, Louise Ironside and Noel Farragher. Mat King, Joss Agnew and Jill Robertson will direct.

Averaging 5.4M viewers, Season 7 maintained a 21.3% share. Previous seasons have aired in the U.S. on BBC America.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/09/itv-renews-law-order-uk-for-season-8/
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TV Notes
HBO Renews 'Boardwalk Empire' for Fifth Season
By Michael O'Donnell and Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Sep. 26, 2013

HBO is staying put at Boardwalk Empire. The Terence Winter series has been renewed for a fifth season.

The news comes on the heels of a very successful stint at the Emmys for the period drama, with five wins topping the total of any other TV series. (HBO telepic Behind the Candelabra led all TV efforts with 11 wins.)

“Thanks to Terry Winter, Martin Scorsese, Tim Van Patten, Howard Korder and their stellar team, Boardwalk Empire remains in a class by itself,” said HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “I look forward to another electrifying season of this impeccably crafted series.”

Returning to a modest ratings dip earlier in September, the Boardwalk Empire premiere recently took in 2.4 million viewers. And like all HBO series, it sees its greatest viewership in gross numbers. Roughly 7.5 million viewers are tuning in this season between original broadcasts, encores, DVR and HBO GO streams.

Boardwalk Empire's renewal comes as HBO is poised to say farewell to vampire drama True Blood next year. The future of Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom remains in limbo pending the busy writer/producer's schedule -- though a third run looks very likely.

In addition to a lineup that includes Game of Thrones, HBO recently picked up Damon Lindelof's adaptation of The Leftovers to series. On the pilot side, the cabler has dramas Open (Ryan Murphy) and The Missionary, among others, in contention as HBO looks to replenish its roster.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/hbo-renews-boardwalk-empire-fifth-637392
post #89757 of 93674
Washington Notes
FCC proposes eliminating UHF discount from TV ownership rules
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Sep. 26, 2013

Remember when you had to jiggle an antenna on your TV set to get good reception for a UHF signal?

Well, those days are long gone and the Federal Communications Commission thinks it is time to stop treating a UHF channel as a weak sister to a VHF channel.

For those of you born after the days of rabbit ears, UHF stands for ultra high frequency and refers to channels above 13. A UHF signal was not as strong as a VHF signal. VHF stands for very high frequency and refers to channels 2 through 13. Why "ultra" was weaker than "very" when it seems that it should have been the other way around will just have to remain a mystery.

The transition from analog to digital spectrum has actually made UHF signals stronger than VHF. That, coupled with the fact that most viewers receive broadcast signals via a pay-TV distributor and not an antenna on the roof, makes the UHF discount seem outdated.

Because of the original disparity, a UHF TV station is not treated the same as VHF station when the FCC is determining whether a broadcaster is in compliance with its television ownership rules, which limit a broadcaster to reaching 39% of the country. In determining reach, a UHF signal is valued at 50% of a VHF signal. For example, a VHF signal in Los Angeles counts as 4.92% toward the national cap while a UHF signal counts for just 2.46%.

That discount has allowed several big broadcasters to gobble up TV stations without running afoul of the 39% cap.

But that all could change if an FCC proposal to gut the so-called UHF discount is approved. On Thursday, the regulatory agency voted to launch a review of the UHF loophole which, if passed, may put a crimp on media consolidation.

Some broadcasters, such as Fox, would see their reach grow from about 25% to almost 39% without the UHF discount. Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is currently just over 20%, would also be very close to the cap with no discount factored in. A handful -- including ION and Univision -- would actually exceed the cap without the discount.

The FCC's proposal would grandfather companies who would exceed the 39% cap without the UHF discount. Also grandfathered are announced mergers that have yet to receive FCC approval.

Once the FCC issues the official notice of its proposed changes to the UHF discount, the industry, advocacy groups and general public will have several weeks to file comments on the matter. Many of the big broadcasters whose growth opportunities would be limited without the discount are expected to argue that no change should be made.

Media watchdogs will counter that the discount has long outlived its purpose.

"The rule lost its technical justification long ago and became nothing more than a gift for large conglomerates," said Matt Wood, policy director for Free Press, a media advocacy group concerned about consolidation.

Although acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, both Democrats, voted for the review, Commissioner Ajit Pai, a Republican, dissented. However, the reason for his dissent was not because he wants to keep the discount but rather because he wants a broader review of the ownership rules including further relaxing the 39% cap.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-fcc-uhf-discount-20130926,0,3820571.story
Edited by dad1153 - 9/26/13 at 12:55pm
post #89758 of 93674
TV Review
‘Hello Ladies’ (HBO)
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Sep. 26, 2013

Like an early Woody Allen character stretched through a fun-house mirror, Stephen Merchant plays a haplessly girl-obsessed, amiable loser in “Hello Ladies,” an HBO series that’s occasionally amusing but as conceptually slim as its leading man. Best known as Ricky Gervais’ other half, Merchant’s go-it-alone comedy casts him as a British expat who sees L.A. as a world of opportunity, but mostly encounters awkward and embarrassing rejection. Despite clever and uncomfortable moments, “Ladies” falls short of the pay-TV plateau, and paired with the “Is that still on?” half-hour “Eastbound & Down,” doesn’t appear worthy of behind-the-velvet-rope access.

Merchant’s Stuart Pritchard is a Web designer, sharing his house with struggling actress Jessica (“Go On’s” Christine Wood), who is busy working on her own Web series. Seemingly oblivious to his shortcomings, Stuart cheerfully spends his time patrolling bars and trying to talk his way into posh clubs, bringing along his friend Wade (Nate Torrence), a sad-sack separated from and pining for his wife, as the world’s worst wing man. They even have a third partner in crime, the wheelchair-bound, foul-mouthed Kives (“Alias’ ” Kevin Weisman), who to Stuart’s chagrin invariably fares better in the wooing department than he does.

Working with Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (ABC’s “Trophy Wife”), the lanky, pencil-thin Merchant does strike a comic figure, especially when paired with Torrence, creating an Abbott-and-Costello-like visual.

As in his work with Gervais, though, the emphasis here is on delivering awkward encounters steeped in humiliation, as Stuart keeps hitting on women who clearly have no interest in him. (He tells one of Jessica’s friends he’ll design a Website for her, saying, “I can be your Spider-Man.”)

A second half-hour has slightly more depth than the premiere, as the three guys try to turn a rented limousine into a night on the town, while Jessica endures a girls night with three actress friends, only to flummox them when she attempts to bring conversation about North Korea into their empty, diet-oriented blather.

Woods, in fact, might have the best sequence, which comes in the third episode, when an embarrassed Jessica goes to an audition for a Tampax commercial and runs into an acquaintance who’s there for the “Untitled Scorsese Project.”

Merchant isn’t bad in this solo venture, but as the Woody Allen reference makes clear, this is well-worn territory, and not the kind of stuff that can readily rise to pay-TV’s upper echelons without a fresh or distinctive take. Instead, the writing mostly settles for familiar L.A. stereotypes and situations, albeit while augmenting them with clever song choices. (It’s been awhile, one suspects, since anyone has heard Exile’s “I Want to Kiss You All Over” in its entirety.)

In a way, Merchant’s relocated character brings to mind the slogan for another strange visitor, Howard the Duck: “Trapped in a world he never made.” Stuart might have willingly chosen to become an L.A. exile, but like poor Howard, “Hello Ladies” is one of those ungainly birds that just doesn’t quite fly.

HELLO LADIES
HBO, Sun. Sept. 29, 10:30 p.m.


http://variety.com/2013/tv/reviews/tv-review-hello-ladies-1200615315/
Edited by dad1153 - 9/26/13 at 1:02pm
post #89759 of 93674
TV Review
‘MasterChef Junior’ edition, tasty
Fox spinoff introduces viewers to some talented young chefs
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 26, 2013

Precocious behavior in an 8-year-old is usually cute, but those same character traits in a 14-year-old can make them social outcasts. That’s why shows featuring talented children can be both touching and disturbing for parents.

The “Junior” edition of Fox’s reality competition show “MasterChef ” will move grown-up viewers with its cast of talented 8-to-13-year-old would-be chefs. The kids are generally adorable, and the lack of the usual reality-TV rudeness and hostility makes it an unguilty pleasure that families could enjoy together.

But some of the ingredients that go into a good reality-TV cook — fussiness, single-mindedness, flamboyance, arrogance, emotional volatility — don’t make for a popular high schooler. Overly sensitive viewers with kids of their own might find themselves worrying less about whether contestants will be eliminated and more about how they’ll survive till college.

Premiering this Friday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m., the “Junior Edition” has the same judges as the usual “MasterChef” — Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot — but even the notoriously abrasive Ramsay tones his criticism down for the child contestants.

masterchefjr2Twenty-four kids show up for the first episode and are reduced to 12 by the end of the hour. In introductory sound bites, one says, “I think of my palate as very sophisticated.” Another says, “In the 10 years that I have been here on earth, I have never ever done anything as exciting as this.” Cute now, bully bait sophomore year.

In groups of eight, they’re given a 60-minute challenge based on a certain type of food.

The first group has to create a restaurant-quality dish with seafood. We really know that we’re not dealing with regular kids when they’re excited rather than grossed out at the sight of raw octopus, squid, oysters and a live lobster.

Viewers’ credibility will be strained by the fact that each little contestant immediately has a complicated dish in mind. Watching a boy at work, Ramsay asks the other judges, “How many 11-year-olds do you know who can braise an octopus?” But since TV-game-show rules are strict, we can assume there’s no off-screen coaching going on.

The results both look and sound impressive. A 12-year-old girl makes fish tacos with homemade tortillas and pomegranate salsa. A boy makes almond-crusted Chilean sea bass with wilted spinach and baby eggplant.

The judges are either enthusiastic or kind, even if the kids are sometimes amusingly abrupt. When Bastianich asks one little boy if he’d like to open a restaurant with him, the boy says, “Probably not.”

Watching from above, the children’s parents look alternately nervous and proud. It’s good to know they’re there to console the eliminees, who in general take their fate better than many adult reality contestants.

masterchefjr1The next group has to create a pasta dish from scratch, including the pasta itself. Believably or not, in an hour they produce dishes like herb and cheese spaetzle with rack of lamb and Greek yogurt and chicken milanesa with fettuccine and chimichurri.

The final group, which has to create a dessert, includes the star of the episode, Nathan, who at 8 is the youngest contestant and has to use a stepstool to get a pastry mixer onto a counter. “Some of the equipment is bigger than me,” he says. His dish is a meringue roulade with balsamic glazed berries.

No one gets yelled at or humiliated, and the eliminations are mercifully brief, with a minimum of the usual reality-TV stalling.

“Look at the determination on their faces — extraordinary,” Ramsay says to the other judges as the kids make their desserts.

That’s probably what’s most appealing about this edition of “MasterChef”: the idea that these kids, who may be misfits outside the kitchen, have found something engrossing that they love to do. Both older and younger viewers will find that touching and inspiring.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/masterchef-junior-edition-tasty/
post #89760 of 93674
An equivalent show has been running on the Food Channel for several weeks.
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