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

Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 3000

post #89971 of 93688
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SATURDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - College Football: Ohio State at Northwestern (LIVE)

8PM - The Millers
(R - Oct. 3)
8:30PM - We Are Men
(R - Sep. 30)
9PM - Person of Interest
(R - Mar. 7)
10PM - 48 Hours

7:30PM - College Football: Arizona State vs. Notre Dame (LIVE)
* * * *
11:29PM - Saturday Night Live (Miley Cyrus hosts and performs; 93 min.)

7PM - College Football: Texas Christian at Oklahoma (LIVE)
* * * *
11PM - Animation Domination High-Def (60 min.)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Austin City Limits: Juanes; Jesse & Joy (Season Premiere)

8PM - Sábado Gigante (3 hrs.)

7PM - Movie: 16 Blocks (2006)
9PM - Fútbol Mexicano Primera División: Club León vs. Puebla FC (LIVE)
post #89972 of 93688
Checking in for page 3,000 biggrin.gif

Maybe a landmark page?
post #89973 of 93688
TV Review
Better Sharpen Your Talons, Country Girl
‘The Paradise,’ a British Period Drama, Comes to PBS
By Mike Hale, The New York Times - Oct. 5, 2013

If soap opera could be sold by the yard, “The Paradise” would be a bolt of beaded polyester chiffon. It’s not silk, but if you’re looking for something a little sexy on a budget, it’ll do.

Set in the fictional department store of the title in northern England, at an indeterminate time when women are buttoned into dresses and deliveries are made by handcart, it’s the kind of shamelessly artificial show in which an episode revolves around the discovery of a foundling in ladies’ wear. Its methods are clear in the opening minutes when the spunky country girl Denise (Joanna Vanderham) arrives in the city and locks eyes — through the Paradise’s plate-glass window — with a stubbled cutie who happens to be the store’s owner. It may look like a coincidence, but in this story, nothing is left to chance.

The eight-episode first season of “The Paradise” was shown on the BBC a year ago and arrives here Sunday night (on PBS’s “Masterpiece Classic”) feeling like a straggler. It’s the last of the big-four British costume dramas of recent years to make its American public-television debut, after “Downton Abbey,” “Call the Midwife” and “Mr. Selfridge,” and it’s the most frivolous of the bunch, which is saying quite a bit. (It’s based, incongruously enough, on a novel by the great French naturalist Émile Zola.)

But if this kind of frippery sends a squiggle of pleasure down your spine, step up to the counter. The cast, largely unknown in the United States, does most of its acting with its eyes, and exaggerated expressions are available in bulk — wide-eyed surprise, stern frowns, proud glares, cutting sideways glances. Also abundant is arch Victorianish dialogue, the kind in which a thought like, “What’s on your mind, Denise?” is rendered as, “Your words form a statement, Denise, but your face wears a question.”

That gem can be credited to the show’s creator and writer, Bill Gallagher, known for “Lark Rise to Candleford,” another story of a 19th-century girl who moves to town and improves herself. (“Lark Rise” can be seen Wednesday nights on Channel 21 in New York.) Here Mr. Gallagher’s heroes are Denise, who wins a job as a salesclerk, and her partner in retail innovation, the store owner, Moray, who appears to invent clearance sales, contests and charge accounts before our eyes.

Class is an issue, as it is in any British period drama — the gentlewomen are not keen on shopping alongside the grocer’s wife or the butcher’s daughter. And there are some minor elements of mystery, like Moray’s suspicious guilt over the death of his wife.

But what “The Paradise” is really about is seduction. There are romances, including an incipient triangle involving Denise, Moray and Moray’s wealthy admirer, Katherine (Elaine Cassidy), but more interestingly there is the intersection of sex and shopping, with Moray as the master seducer of bored, rich housewives. The Scottish actor Emun Elliott — he starred in “Black Watch” at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn — is not a stereotypically romantic leading man, but he purrs convincingly in the ears of Moray’s initially reluctant customers.

He must also persuade Katherine’s father to invest in the store, and his pitch is, “There’s weakness in women which we must exploit to the advantage of business.” That’s a strong theme in “The Paradise,” as is the mean competitiveness in work and love among the sales clerks.

Not all female viewers — the ones this type of show is generally aimed at — may be as easily wooed as the character who walks into the store and declares: “This isn’t a shop. This is a kind of heaven!”

On PBS stations on Sunday nights (check local listings).

post #89974 of 93688
Originally Posted by Young C View Post

Checking in for page 3,000 biggrin.gif

Maybe a landmark page?

Fredfa used to keep track of these. frown.gif
post #89975 of 93688
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Fredfa used to keep track of these. frown.gif


You do not?

I remember those times, I was named!
post #89976 of 93688
TV Review
‘House of Versace’ (Lifetime)
By Laura Fries, Variety.com - Oct. 3, 2013

Before Syfy channel perfected the production — or more accurately — the promotion of so-bad-it’s-good movies, Lifetime was synonymous with satisfying guilty pleasures. The net’s latest original, a behind the chiffon look at the Versace fashion dynasty titled “House of Versace,” is a gilded guilt fest certain to leave viewers with 24-karat regret. Even top-notch stars appearing as impeccable real-life knock-offs can’t help the flimsy script, which wears as badly as a cheap polyester blend. It’s the kind of melodramatic TV movie that has one pining for more wire hangers.

Versace fashion was once known almost exclusively for Gianni (Enrico Colantoni) – flamboyant creator of the safety-pin dress and self-proclaimed inventor of the supermodel. The fashion empire of the ’80s and early’ 90s, however, was a family business, run financially by brother Santo (Colm Feore), creatively by Gianni and inspirationally by Donatella (Gina Gershon). They learned their trade from their seamstress mother growing up in Calabria, Italy. As the joke goes, Calabrians are like Sicilians, only with a bad attitude. If the family reality TV boom had only occurred earlier, this triumvirate would have knocked the Kardashians off the map.

At times close knit, the siblings are often at odds over money and power. Gianni seems both enamored and jealous of Donatella’s public-relations skills, while Santo frets over every dollar and diamond. After Gianni’s murder in 1997, the burden of carrying on the family name falls to Donatella. Although she has natural gifts for the business, Donatella lacks the self-confidence to listen to her instincts. Gianni’s will, which snubs Donatella in favor of her daughter Allegra, adds to her rapidly escalating insecurity.

Fashion is fickle, and any loyalty to the family after Gianni’s death rapidly dries up along with buyers and distributors. Donatella takes on the business, seemingly surviving on cocaine and cappuccinos at the expense of her marriage and children. Trying to recreate Gianni-like apparel nearly bankrupts the company, and Donatella is forced into rehab by her family.

Based on Deborah Ball’s “House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genius, Murder, and Survival,” director Sara Sugarman presents less a tale of love and redemption than a colorful how- to on losing $97 million in a few short years. Donatella skates through rehab as an afterthought, resulting in a comeback story lacking any emotional investment.

The average sandal-wearing, yoga pants-loving viewer may not feel the needed empathy for someone entering rehab with a full set of Louis Vuitton luggage. (Aesthetically opposed to flat shoes, Donatella claims giving up heels was harder than cocaine.) Rama Stagner’s script also skips other important dramatic facts, such as Gianni’s cancer diagnosis and daughter Allegra’s subsequent anorexia.

Gershon is nearly unrecognizable as Donatella, portraying the fashion icon before her cartoonish fish lipped, cat-eyed post-surgery strangeness. Her style and personal appetites are so outrageous as to make for campy fun, but that dampens the underpinnings of what could have been an intriguing story.

Supporting perfs are burdened with laughable dialogue such as, “I am the sun and you are the moon. Your job is to reflect my glow.” Meanwhile, the Italian accents, especially by Feore and Raquel Welch, vacillate between Father Guido Sarducci and Russian mobster.

Seemingly as a reality check, Lifetime airs the documentary ”Versace: Beyond the Headlines,” immediately after the premiere.

Lifetime, Sat. Oct. 5, 8 p.m.

post #89977 of 93688
Originally Posted by Young C View Post

You do not?

I remember those times, I was named!

I was name-dropped too, I was a happy boy then. smile.gif

Now I'm a sad middle-aged man with a broken heart. frown.gif Oh well, we still have "HOTP" to keep us both going. wink.gifbiggrin.gif
post #89978 of 93688
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Now I'm a sad middle-aged man with a broken heart. frown.gif

wow :/

Hope all is well with you. PM me if you need to talk smile.gif

*My mom is a Licensed Clinical Masters Social Worker.. I get it from her
post #89979 of 93688
TV Notes
Halle Berry to Star in CBS' Steven Spielberg Drama 'Extant'
By Lacey Rose and Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Oct. 4, 2013

Halle Berry is heading to the small screen.

The Oscar winner has been tapped to star in Steven Spielberg's CBS summer drama Extant and signed a two-year first-look production deal with the series' studio, CBS Television Studio.

The project found itself at the center of a heated bidding war between broadcast networks and cable networks, with CBS ultimately proving triumphant by committing to a 13-episode straight-to-series order. Extant has been billed as a futuristic thriller about a female astronaut (Berry) trying to reconnect with her family when she returns after a year in outer space. The character's experiences lead to events that ultimately change the course of human history. The casting coup of Berry is as much a commentary on the strength of the spec script as it is on the state of the film business, particularly for actresses over 40.

"Halle is the type of award-winning actress you dream of collaborating with for an event project such as Extant," said CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler. "Her talent and ability to immerse herself into every performance has created memorable roles that have resonated with audiences everywhere. It's a big coup for CBS to have Halle star in her first television series, especially with such an exciting original concept and a role layered with mystery and humanity."

Added Berry: "I'm always on the lookout for amazing roles, and when you see material that contains this strong of auspices, nuance and complexity, it compels me to run toward it no matter the medium. For five months a year I'll get to live with and play this incredibly intelligent and vulnerable woman. And for the remainder of the year, I'll continue to look for other roles that move me as deeply as this one. I've found amazing partners in CBS's Nina Tassler and Les Moonves, and the incredible Steven Spielberg, along with his Amblin production team, whose vision and creativity in storytelling is unparalleled."

Spielberg, along with Greg Walker and Mickey Fisher, who penned the script, will executive produce with Brooklyn Weaver, Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. CBS Television Distribution will handle domestic distribution, while CBS Studios International will handle worldwide rights. Adam Rodin will co-exec produce. Said Spielberg: "There's only one Halle Berry, and we are incredibly honored that she has chosen Extant to expand her illustrious career. As she does with everything she touches, she will bring a deep authenticity to her role, and I very much look forward to working with her."

The drama reteams CBS with Spielberg's Amblin, which also is behind this summer's top scripted drama Under the Dome. The network has already renewed Dome for a second season after the pricey series proved that there's a home for high-quality original scripted programming during the typically low-rated summer months.

To make the latter feasible, CBS struck an early content licensing deal with Amazon, giving Amazon Prime members unlimited access to the serialized drama four days after it aired on the network broadcast.

To be sure, this isn't Berry's first foray into TV. Her small-screen roles have included HBO's Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, for which she earned an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award. She also earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for Oprah Winfrey's Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Berry, who is repped by Vincent Cirrincione and CAA, won the Academy award for Monster's Ball. Her other feature film credits include X-Men and Die Another Day.

post #89980 of 93688
Originally Posted by Young C View Post

Hope all is well with you. PM me if you need to talk smile.gif

*My mom is a Licensed Clinical Masters Social Worker.. I get it from her

My mom is a shrink. I didn't get what I have from her. tongue.gif

And thanks for the offer but this is a self-imposed cross I have to carry myself. Although who knows, maybe watching "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (which I've never seen) is what the doctor ordered... or not. frown.gif
post #89981 of 93688
@dad: In 7 years, you've never made me mad, frustrated, or disappointed.
post #89982 of 93688
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

My mom is a shrink. I didn't get what I have from her. tongue.gif

And thanks for the offer but this is a self-imposed cross I have to carry myself. Although who knows, maybe watching "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (which I've never seen) is what the doctor ordered... or not. frown.gif

Ha. I gotcha.

I understand where you're coming from
post #89983 of 93688
TV Notes
USA renews ‘Covert Affairs’ for season five
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Oct. 4, 2013

“Covert Affairs” will be going on more missions.

The USA spay drama received a fifth-season pickup yesterday, leading up to its fourth-season finale Nov. 17.

The show averaged 3.95 million total viewers this season, according to Nielsen, finishing among the top 10 scripted series on cable.

* * * *

Meanwhile, in other programming, MTV has renewed “The Challenge” (formerly known as “Real World/Road Rules Challenge”) for a 25th season.

The most recent season of the show was up 27 percent over last year in the network’s target 12-34 demo, to a 1.9.

Syndicated talker “The Rachael Ray Show” has been picked up for two more years by CBS Television Distribution. It has been cleared for the renewal in 90 percent of the country.

TLC’s “Little People, Big World” returns for its latest season on Oct. 29 at 9 p.m.

Season four of Discovery’s “Gold Rush” bows Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. with a two-hour premiere.

And ABC has ordered a special from David Blaine entitled “David Blaine: Real or Magic.” It will air during the November sweeps.

post #89984 of 93688
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

My mom is a shrink.

I wish I had the same degree. Sucks that my whole family has Masters Degree but I'm left behind frown.gif

Damn dedication rolleyes.gif
post #89985 of 93688
Originally Posted by tomhunter8 View Post

Or in this case Off Topic Again. tongue.gif

Exactly what is the topic of this thread? biggrin.gif
post #89986 of 93688
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

I was name-dropped too, I was a happy boy then. smile.gif

Now I'm a sad middle-aged man with a broken heart. frown.gif Oh well, we still have "HOTP" to keep us both going. wink.gifbiggrin.gif

/hugs Dad
post #89987 of 93688
^^^ Thanks. smile.gif

FRIDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #89988 of 93688
TV Notes
'Drop Dead Diva': Brooke Elliott teases show's return
By Mandi Bearly, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Oct. 4, 2013

On Sunday, Drop Dead Diva returns for the remaining five episodes of its fifth season (9 p.m. ET on Lifetime). It’s an episode fans have probably been curious about since creator Josh Berman first teased it: Grayson (Jackson Hurst) is asked to represent a young man who was kicked off an airplane after he refused to open his window because, he claims, he’s a vampire and the sunlight will burn his skin.

“We wanted to find a Diva way in to a bullying story that would not seem like your typical bullying story,” Berman told EW before the season began. “We also wanted to write an emotional storyline for Grayson that ties into something that we’ve always suspected had gone on in his past. So Grayson ends up bonding with this boy who thinks he’s a vampire and it helps both of them gain closure on events in their past.”

Star Brooke Elliott (Jane) loves the episode because there’s drama at the firm — Parker tries to sell it out from underneath them — and Jane gets wrapped up in her own case trying to gain her client (Dawson’s Creek‘s Meredith Monroe), a former party-girl socialite turned do-gooder, access to money in her trust fund. “I kinda make some mistakes, and I’ve got to get my way out of it,” Elliott says. “I love the twists and turns. It’s different from some of the other episodes that we’ve done.”

Jane is still dealing with the discovery that Grayson is now dating Nicole (Annie Ilonzeh, pictured with Hurst) — “Of course, because now Jane’s available,” Elliott laments — but Elliott herself enjoys it when Jane’s single. “I think a lot of times we’re so told in our world that marriage is everything and having a partner is everything. If you look at our movies and things, it’s all directed around that love, and if you don’t have that love how sad you are. And that happens a little bit on our show as well, but I like it when Jane’s single sometimes and just figuring out who she is.”

The hour ends with a big twist.

post #89989 of 93688
Critic's Notes
Stability, a Real Suburban Curve Ball
‘Eastbound & Down’ Is Back for a Fourth Season
By Jon Caramanica, The New York Times - Oct. 4, 2013

Last week, on the season premiere of “Eastbound & Down,” Kenny Powers was back, sort of. A schlub in a company-issued shirt and a would-be Michael Scott for a boss, he was a shell of the boorish ex-big leaguer he once was. The first words he uttered, sitting in his car on the way to work, were, “Love NPR.” He might as well be dead.

Over its three previous seasons, “Eastbound & Down,” seen on Sundays on HBO (10 p.m. ET/PT), has often appeared to exist solely for the purpose of devising appropriate contexts to utter the completely inappropriate. Kenny (Danny McBride) has been an antihero, foulmouthed and smug and bigoted and concerned with his own celebrity above all. The show has served as an implicit rebuke to those who want television to grapple with unlikable, complicated characters. Kenny isn’t complicated, and that’s exactly what made him likable.

So it’s odd that in this fourth season, the show’s last, he’s threatening to become an anti-antihero or, Heaven forbid, an actual hero. The square job; the gorgeous wife, April (Katy Mixon), whom he finally settled down with after faking his death and quitting baseball; the two kids; the NPR — by other peoples’ rules, he’s a king.

But here are some phrases from later this season, presented without context: “Ignore this Taliban cleric over here,” and, “The only thing that would make me happy was if all these kids had AIDS.”

No recent television show has toggled so violently between brilliant and execrable as “Eastbound,” which at its heart is about pieties and their uselessness. In its best moments, it has made Kenny a magical figure, while he thumbs his nose at propriety at every turn. It upends the usual moral frameworks.

Whether Kenny is evil or just a numbskull is always a question, one that this final season of “Eastbound” intends to clarify by introducing a foil with bad intentions: Guy Young (Ken Marino) is a former baseball player who now hosts a rowdy sports-talk show, and gives Kenny a shot at on-air career redemption.

For Kenny, the casual prejudice of the show’s banter is a comfort, and after he takes a few lumps, he finds his old rhythm of awfulness. Of course, the price is his wife’s happiness, though even beleaguered April, the breadwinner during Kenny’s hiatus, comes around to his new life, after admitting, “I’m scared that I can’t have my husband, Kenny, and the famous Kenny at the same time, and I don’t wanna lose you.”

Only she knows the truth, that the suburban sandpapering of Kenny’s rough edges has had a real effect. As Guy inevitably becomes Kenny’s nemesis, a showdown looms, with Kenny probably on the side of right, of family, of NPR. Which means this series will probably end with a question: If Kenny Powers doesn’t speed off into the sunset, middle fingers in the air, did he really win?

post #89990 of 93688
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Oct. 5, 2013

TBs, 5:30 p.m. ET

Only two postseason games are played today, as a doubleheader televised by TBS. First up, at 5:30 p.m. ET, is Game 2 in the Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox series, a series in which Boston has the edge by clobbering the Rays 12-2 in Game 1. Next, at 9 p.m. ET, is Game 2 in the Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics, a contest which, to this point, has been much more competitive: Detroit won Game 1 by a score of 3-2.

HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

This new HBO telemovie is about Muhammad Ali’s U.S. Supreme Court battle to defend his conscientious objection status in refusing to be drafted during the Vietnam War. Ali is seen only in vintage footage, but the Supreme Court justices are played by others. And what others: Christopher Plummer, Frank Langella and Danny Glover star. For a full review, see Gerald Jordan’s Crossing Jordan.

IFC, 8:00 p.m. ET

One of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpieces. This 1971 movie, based on the book by Anthony Burgess, is the movie that made me want to be a critic, because it disturbed yet impressed me at the same time, and I kept returning to it to figure out why. (The answer: It’s a brilliant piece of filmmaking, basically.) Malcolm McDowell stars as a futuristic teen thug who, over the course of the movie, experiences being both predator and prey.

Lifetime, 8:00 p.m. ET

I’m not remarking on the quality of this new Lifetime movie – just on the casting, which is reason enough to tune in on a slow Sarturday night. Gina Gershon stars as Donatella Versace, the fashion designer who, until now, has been most visibly and famously portrayed by Maya Rudolph on Saturday Night Live. And also featured in this movie, in a supporting role: Raquel Welch. The stars of Showgirls and One Million Years B.C. in the same movie? Here we go…

NBC, 11:29 p.m. ET

There have been two pop-culture tsunamis so far this fall: the build-up to the end of Breaking Bad, and the series of successfully attention-demanding antics by Miley Cyrus. Posturing at MTV’s Video Music Awards. Riding her “Wrecking Ball” video, naked, to unprecedented first-day views. And now, appearing on Saturday Night Live, as both guest host and musical guest. Nice twerk if you can get it.


* * * *

Critic's Notes
'Mind of a Chef' Cooks Up Innovation
By Gabriela Tamariz, TVWorthWatching.com - Oct. 5, 2013

If there’s one job in the world we can agree is worth the delayed flights, long layovers and blistering hangovers, it belongs to Anthony Bourdain. But he quickly changed my mind when he introduced us to another: that of Momofuku genius David Chang, in PBS’s The Mind of a Chef.

Combining the best of food, science and art, The Mind of a Chef won a James Beard Award for Best Television Program this year. It’s clever and insatiably delicious and it’s back this fall on Saturday nights, with new hosts and new flavors to make your stomach growl with hunger for the 22-minute-long episodes. (Check local listings.)

Narrator and executive producer Anthony Bourdain introduced us to David Chang in season 1, which is available for binge-consumption on Netflix. Chang is a young and charismatic host with a distinctive sense of humor. He successfully combines innovation with tradition as a versatile chef. He takes old-school practices that he’s picked up across the globe and modernizes them to perfection.

Chang does unimaginable things with food. In Episode 1, "Noodle," he blends cooked instant ramen, milk and eggs into a gloppy consistency before squeezing out small gnocchi pieces—traditionally a potato pasta—with a pastry bag. And yes, I’m talking about cheap, 10-for-$1.99, instant ramen. The same kind of instant ramen that Walter White and Elliott Schwartz lived on when they started Gray Matter (see season 1 of AMC’s Breaking Bad). Chang achieved the unimaginable and turned the cheap college diet staple into an impressive and appetizing meal. He even seasoned it to perfection. GBD: golden, brown and delicious.

Yakitori and high-end sushi in Japan, pork bushi in Spain: Chang explored dishes from his past and found the sweet side of rotten food. The young chef even hung out with world’s top chef, Rene Redzepi. He insists, however, that some of the best restaurants in the world are located in train stations and metro stations.

In season 2, we follow Chef Sean Brock (right) from McCrady’s and Husk Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, for episodes 1-8. Chang certainly is missed, but Brock indulges in regional cuisines of the South that will make your mouth water and your palms sweaty.

“I am the opposite of bored,” says Brock after ingesting extra hot, “suicidal chicken” from Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville, TN. “I think I’m hallucinating.”

The Mind of a Chef is more than just a cooking show. Beware of the exotic ingredients, the unsuspecting delivery of food education and the sudden urge to start innovating in your kitchen. It will forever change the way you look at food.

The remainder of season 2 will follow Chef April Bloomfield, co-owner of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, The John Dory Oyster Bar and Salvation Taco in New York City.

Season 2, Episode 1, already is available on PBS.org. Additional episodes will be available online on Nov. 1. On broadcast TV, the show airs on different days and at different times, depending on your local station. Many broadcast it on Saturdays, so be on the lookout.

post #89991 of 93688
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
‘Last Man Standing’ & ‘20/20’ Up, ‘Masterchef Jr.’ & ‘Bloods’ Down
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Oct. 5, 2013

ABC‘s Last Man Standing (1.4 in adults 18-49) lived up to its name last night as the only scripted or unscripted program to post week-to-week gains, 17%. But it was the other ABC bookend program, newsmagazine 20/20 at 10 PM, that posted the biggest overall week-to-week increase, and that may be saying something about our society. An hour devoted to “people engaging in behavior that is thoughtless, questionable, or wrong” shot up 33% in adults 18-49 (1.6) and 33% in total viewers (5.9 million) to log 20/20‘s biggest audience and highest Adult ratings since March and May, respectively. What’s more, that edition of 20/20 topped everything else on TV last night besides ABC’s Shark Tank (1.8, down a tenth from its fast national last week). With The Neighbors (1.0) flat week to week, ABC edged CBS to reclaim the Friday 18-49 crown (1.5 vs. 1.4).

CBS, which was the demo winner on Premiere Friday, was hurt by a 18-49 decline for anchor Blue Bloods (1.4), which was down 17% airing against 20/20 but the biggest audience draw with a massive for Friday standards 11.1 million viewers. Undercover Boss (1.4) was down a tenth, while Hawaii Five-0 (1.5) matched its fast national from last week. In total viewers, which is the main currency on the older-skewing Friday night, CBS had no competition with 9.4 million viewers, dwarfing everyone else (ABC, 5.8 million; NBC, 4.9 million; Fox, 3.1 million)

After its promising debut last week, Fox’s Masterchef Jr. (1.3) was down 19% in Week 2. NBC’s Dateline (1.2) was down a tenth, followed by an Elizabeth Smart news special (1.2). The CW’s America’s Next Top Model (0.4) was flat.

post #89992 of 93688
TV Notes
The Golden Age of TV Theme Songs
In the age of binge-viewing, it's more important than ever that a show's theme music be engineered to reward multiple plays
By Steve Knopper, Wall Street Journal

Illustration by Kagan McLeod

Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" was never a hit, but these days people are listening to the 39-year-old rock classic so frequently that it may as well be on Top 40 radio. It's the opening theme to NBC's "Parenthood," a binge-watching fixture on Netflix, Hulu and DVRs everywhere. Like "Breaking Bad," "The Wire," "Lost" and other TV series with rich character development and abundant cliffhangers, "Parenthood" is made for living-room marathons, and it comes with a main-title theme built to withstand repetition.

"It's a lyric where you don't get tired of listening to it after a few times," says Jason Katims, executive producer of "Parenthood," which recently premiered its fifth season. "You tend to gravitate toward it, and you want to watch it over and over again, as opposed to saying, 'OK, I know what this is. I don't need to see it again.' "

In the age of binge-viewing, it's more important than ever that a theme song be catchy. Now that viewers can watch any show at any time, a familiar song can provide an anchor for a series and preserve the sense of ritual attached to following it. A great theme becomes part of a show's core spirit, so a burst of spooky slide guitar instantly evokes "Breaking Bad" character Walter White's ingenuity and menace. Some shows use theme music to add artistic or mysterious touches for regular viewers. Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black" links Regina Spektor's "You've Got Time" to a series of fast-cutting close-ups, mesmerizing viewers into finding new things in both the music and images upon every viewing.

"Weeds" and "The Wire" use alternate versions of distinctive songs to reward repeat plays. "With binge-watching, [the theme] is unbelievably important," says rapper Jason Keaton, who goes by the name T.O.N.E.-z and who co-wrote the theme to FX's "Justified." "You never skip past the theme song when it's that good. Subconsciously you're thinking, 'I want to hear the rest of it.' "

The rise of binge-watching has played a significant role in the evolution of television theme songs. In earlier days, the songs were a form of preshow narration, setting up for new viewers the premises of shows like "Mister Ed," "The Addams Family" and "The Beverly Hillbillies." As the songs evolved, they became beloved—viewers of a certain age have a Pavlovian habit of saying, "Book 'em, Danno," upon hearing the Ventures' "Hawaii Five-O" theme, for example. "For me, these are almost like folk songs," says Sean Callery, an Emmy Award-winning composer who wrote the scores for "Homeland," "24" and others. "Most everybody knows the licks to 'The Simpsons' or 'Star Trek.' "

As viewers intuited more easily what shows were about and TV no longer needed elaborate explanations, the songs shrunk. From "Cheers" to "Friends" to the instrumental snippets that began "Seinfeld" and "Lost," themes aimed to quickly establish a mood rather than lay out a complex back story.

"Think about the long version of the 'Gilligan's Island' theme—that thing was, like, six minutes long! That son of a bitch had a bridge!" says Craig Thomas, executive producer of the CBS show "How I Met Your Mother," which has an 11-second theme that Mr. Thomas wrote with the show's co-creator Carter Bays. (The two used to be in a band called the Solids.)

Mr. Keaton (T.O.N.E.-z) studied classic television theme songs when he created the vocal for FX's "Justified." Almost a decade ago, he met Brooklyn producer Oscar "Rench" Owens, who agreed to let him work in his studio. Mr. Keaton recorded several vocals, and Mr. Owens asked if he could synchronize one of them with a bluegrass track. The "Justified" producers heard one of these tracks, "On the Run," from a mix tape floating around the Internet, and invited the duo to submit a possible theme song. In 2010, "Long Hard Times to Come," by Gangstagrass featuring T.O.N.E.-z, was nominated for an Emmy Award for original main title theme music.

"I thought about that TV show 'Friends,' and I came up with something simple that's easy to learn," says the rapper. "It's still new to people three years later. "It's not like 'Thank You for Being a Friend' where after four episodes, you're like, 'All right, man!' and you want to fast-forward it."

Mr. Callery, Mr. Keaton and other composers say the formula for an ideal theme is relatively simple. As with pop songs engineered for maximum radio play, it has to be good. Bruce Gilbert, music supervisor of "Orange Is the New Black," insists neither producers nor Ms. Spektor had binges in mind when they created the theme. "From the creative perspective, that wasn't a concern," he says. "We lucked into something."

Mr. Gilbert was also music supervisor for "Weeds," which opened in 2005 with a long-forgotten song—Malvina Reynolds's satirical "Little Boxes," a '60s hit for folk singer Pete Seeger. The song became such an important part of the show that Mr. Gilbert asked musical stars from Elvis Costello to Rise Against to cover it every week, a unique way of using the opening theme to reward repeat viewing. "We were already of the mind that people would be checking out the main titles every time," he says.

Roughly four years ago, when Mr. Katims and his crew were readying "Parenthood," they were looking for an iconic theme with "a sort of grandness." They choose Bob Dylan's "Forever Young." The producer has since come to think of the nuanced song as the perfect work for this type of viewing.

"Main titles go by so fast," Mr. Katims says. "You often have a lot of layering, visually. You're throwing a lot at the audience at once. Sometimes that could be considered a negative, because it's too much to take in. With binge-watching, it actually becomes a positive—the more complexity there is in a main title, the more you get to see new things in it as you watch. Similarly, with the song, the more you listen to it, the more layers it has."

One of the first theme songs of the modern binge-watching era was "Woke Up This Morning," an electronic-blues anthem by Alabama 3 of London, England and used on "The Sopranos." The band's frontman, Larry Love, wrote the dark lyrics about Sara Thornton, a British woman who killed her husband, claiming years of domestic violence.

In addition to being catchy, the song has different levels of meaning that reveal themselves as viewers absorb its lyrics—they gradually figure out the song isn't about New Jersey mobsters. "It sticks in your head. It's the same commercial insistence of a radio jingle," Mr. Love says. "Most people say they might get up to make a cup of tea [during the opening titles], but they still keep the damn thing on."

post #89993 of 93688
Critic's Notes
'Peg + Cat' (PBS)
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Oct. 6, 2013

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- A year after the launch of "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood," South Side's The Fred Rogers Company is ready to launch another animated, children's series on PBS. But TFRC's relationship to "Peg + Cat" is different.

The company that the late Fred Rogers built did not create or develop "Peg + Cat" (9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays beginning Monday, WQED-TV/PBS). Instead, it partnered with the show's creators to help shepherd the production from pilot to series.

TFRC is the producer of the show, whose copyright is essentially a 50-50 split between TFRC and the show's creators, Billy Aronson ("Rent," "Postcards from Buster") and Jennifer Oxley ("Little Bill," "The Wonder Pets!").

"Peg + Cat" also takes TFRC into new territory as a math and problem-solving show. And it's the company's first series without an on-air tie to the original "Mister Rogers Neighborhood."

"Peg + Cat" focuses on spirited, sometimes frustrated Peg and her sidekick Cat, who find themselves in the midst of a problem -- messy room, a need to feed a horde of pirates with just one banana -- and use math skills to save the day while modeling resilience, collaboration and perseverance through original songs.

"Every show ends with a big music video that features a math principle," Mr. Aronson said during an August PBS press conference. "There's so much math in music.

So much of it's about beats, it's about patterns. But also just because a lot of what we're teaching needs to be repeated over and over again. Counting to 100 by 10s or to 50 by 5s, you can't just watch one 12-minute episode and get that right away. So we have songs in there that we think you're going to want to hear over and over and over again."

Each half-hour episode features two stories. In "The Farm," Peg and Cat have to get 100 chickens back into a coop (primary content: size correspondence; secondary content: the number 100). In "Peg's Room," Peg and Cat have to clean her messy room before company arrives to see Peg's art masterpiece, "The Circles" (primary content: sorting; secondary content: shapes).

"As much as it's a math show, we feel like more it's a problem-solving show," said Paul Siefken, TFRC vice president of broadcast and digital media. "And, of course, the Fred Rogers Company's been known for social-emotional development with children. And when you think about problem-solving, I dare anybody to come up with a problem, no matter how academic, that didn't involve emotions. Peg and Cat come up with problems that they have to solve, and the emotions that come with it, and then they persevere. ... There's always a celebration; they give a musical high five at the end. And that's something that I think really fits with the Fred Rogers philosophy."

Ms. Oxley and Mr. Aronson both were good at math in school, but "Peg + Cat" is "not a hardcore math show," he said. "It's foundational and sets up to pave the way to all kinds of advanced stuff."

The pair, who are based in New York (the show's animation work is completed in Toronto), met while working on "Wonder Pets" where Mr. Aronson was head writer and Ms. Oxley was creative director. They joined forces when PBS asked for a math show.

When PBS ordered "Peg + Cat" to series, Ms. Oxley called up TFRC's chief operating officer, Kevin Morrison, for advice on financing and how best to gear up for series production.

"He took an hour of his day and walked us through every part of the process," Ms Oxley said. "Then he got curious and searched online to find the pilot and he talked with [TFRC president] Bill Isler about it and called me late on a Friday and said, 'Jennifer, I have a proposal for you. The Fred Rogers Company loves what you're doing and we would love to be a part of it. We'll let you guys do [what you do creatively] and we'll handle all the financials,' and that was a dream come true for us."

A "Peg + Cat" book, "The Chicken Problem," was published in 2012. It features Peg, Cat and the same story as found in an early "Peg + Cat" episode.

"Our editors really didn't want to tag it as a TV tie-in book," Ms. Oxley said. "They wanted it to stand alone as a picture book."

With the TV show hitting the air, that approach is likely to change just as TFRC's approach to television production has evolved.

With "Peg + Cat," TFRC is taking on more of a facilitator role. Unlike on "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood," the company is not giving notes on "Peg + Cat" scripts.

"We're working with PBS to make sure it's delivered on time," Mr. Siefken said. "We liaison with PBS to make sure once the creative is done that we're getting it on the air and on the Web through mobile apps in the best ways possible. As we've been working on 'Peg + Cat,' and before that on 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood,' the philosophy we're taking on now is partnering with the best."

For "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" that meant working with Angela Santomero, an experienced, successful children's TV producer ("Super Why!" and "Blue's Clues").

"Moving forward, I think that we'd like to continue to look for opportunities to partner with brilliant creatives who believe in the Fred Rogers philosophy of putting kids first and what's best for them," Mr. Siefken said, "but also in putting innovation first and figuring out how to use the medium in the best way to innovate and do groundbreaking educational content."

post #89994 of 93688
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SUNDAY Network Primetime Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET)

7PM - Once Upon A Time
(R - Sep. 29)
8PM - Once Upon A Time
9PM - Revenge
10:01PM - Betrayal

7PM - NFL Football: Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys (contined from 4:25 PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - 60 Minutes
8:30PM - The Amazing Race
9:30PM - The Good Wife
10:30PM - The Mentalist

7PM - Football Night in America (80 min., LIVE)
8:20PM - NFL Football: Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers (LIVE)

7PM - The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XX
(R - Oct. 18, 2009)
7:30PM - The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIII
(R - Oct. 7, 2012)
8PM - The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIV
8:30PM - Bob's Burgers
9PM - Family Guy
9:30PM - American Dad

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Last Tango in Halifax
9PM - Masterpiece Classic: The Paradise (Series Premiere, 120 min.)

7PM - Aquí y Ahora
8PM - Mira Quién Baila (120 min.)
10PM - Sal y Pimienta

7PM - Movie: Carriers (2009)
8:30PM - Movie - The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
post #89995 of 93688
TV Notes
Sunday guests: John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul
By Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel's 'TV Guy' Blog - Oct. 4, 2013

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will be making the Sunday morning rounds to talk about the government shutdown.

Lew will be on CBS' "Face the Nation," NBC's "Meet the Press," CNN's "State of the Union" and "Fox News Sunday."

The other guests:

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks to ABC's "This Week" at 11 a.m. on WFTV-Channel 9. Other guests are Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C. The panel will be ABC's Jonathan Karl and Cokie Roberts, Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal, journalist Soledad O'Brien and Steven Rattner, former counselor to the treasury secretary. The program salutes Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit.com.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, talks to CNN's "State of the Union" at 9 a.m. and noon on CNN. The panel will be Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa; Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md.; "Crossfire" host Stephanie Cutter; and Ross Douthat of The New York Times.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is a guest on NBC's "Meet the Press" at 9 a.m. on WESH-Channel 2. The panel will be Rich Lowry of National Review, Steve Inskeep of NPR's "Morning Edition," Republican strategist Mike Murphy and Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit CBS' "Face the Nation" at 10:30 a.m. on WKMG-Channel 6. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is another guest. The panelists are PBS' Gwen Ifill, CBS' John Dickerson, Dana Milbank of The Washington Post and Jim VandeHei of Politico.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., are guests on "Fox News Sunday" at 10 a.m. on WOFL-Channel 35. The panel will be George Will, Karl Rove, Joe Trippi and Kirsten Powers of The Daily Beast. The program will salute Lt. Gen. Flora Darpino, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General, as the Power Player.

Bono is a guest on "Fareed Zakaria GPS" at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on CNN. Another guest is Mohammad Javad Zarif, foreign minister of Iran.

post #89996 of 93688
TV Review
'The Paradise' on PBS a soapy take on retail store's rise
Shopgirls and class distinctions abound in the 'Masterpiece' work about the advent of the British department store.
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times - Oct. 5, 2013

A pleasingly soapy story of beating hearts and changing times, "The Paradise," which begins Sunday on PBS, takes the 1883 Émile Zola department-store novel "Au Bonheur des Dames" (The Ladies' Paradise) and transfers the action from Paris to the north of England.

As a sort of upstairs-downstairs period piece set in the world of retail, it's a cousin to another recent "Masterpiece" presentation, "Mr. Selfridge," about the real-world British emporium, minus the P.T. Barnum antics and baggage of historical facts.

Emun Elliott plays John Moray, a self-made man of the future who has turned an old block of Victorian shops into a single gleaming white immensity of fancy goods. Zola, and "The Paradise," highlight the dark side of this business: The old shops are withering in its shadow. Substitute Target or Amazon for the Paradise, and you have yourself a drama that (at times) is as good as topical.

"Men who slow down, men who take their time, they come second," says Moray. "I don't want to do that."

Young and handsome, he is a hands-on retailer who makes a store-wide sale into a swashbuckling gesture. He is also potentially the metaphorical Archie to Elaine Cassidy's Katherine Glendenning, a dark-haired banker's daughter, and Joanna Vanderham's Denise Lovett, a spunky blond shopgirl just up from the country — the Veronica and the Betty, respectively.

Surrounding the leads are a rich assortment of dreamers and schemers. Series creator Bill Gallagher ("Lark Rise to Candleford") gives each her or his due, including many characters who might elsewhere make cardboard villains: Jonas (David Hayman), the one-armed store detective; Clara (Sonya Cassidy), a feckless shopgirl; and Katherine's banker-father (Patrick Malahide). They are all in love with something or someone.

Class is a subject here, as it must be in British period drama, but there is none of the affection or patience for the bumbling old rich that affects a show like "Downton Abbey."

"Some people, let's call them our betters, if we want them to come into the store we must practice the art of letting them believe they are the masters of every situation," Moray tells Denise, who is full of ideas and ideals. "It's best not to let them know what we're thinking. Especially what we think of them."

More to the point, and profitably, the whole retail enterprise reeks of seduction, if in a mostly genteel 19th-century way. Sex is sublimated through the discussion of dry goods: "Isn't the whole point of temptation to succumb," Moray asks a customer in a crushed-velvet voice. Pitching fabric, Denise waxes sensual: "The crepe has a flecked feel to it, as though it is made of tiny shadows, floating like secrets."

Even more to the point, "The Paradise" charts (perhaps prematurely) the emergence of the career woman. Ladies-wear head Mrs. Audrey (Sarah Lancashire, also currently on PBS in "Last Tango in Halifax") lives for her work. Denise looks upon her boss and says, "I don't want to marry Moray, I want to be him." But she also wonders if both things are possible.

Where: KOCE/PBS (Check Local Listings)
When: 9 p.m. Sunday

post #89997 of 93688
TV Review
Neil LaBute’s ‘Full Circle’ (Direct TV)
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Oct. 4, 2013

Neil LaBute operates at such a lacerating, brusque level as to be an acquired taste, as his movies and plays (“In the Company of Men,” “Your Friends & Neighbors”) would attest. Yet his first foray into TV, “Full Circle,” a half-hour series premiering on DirecTV’s Audience Network, shrewdly taps into those talents, and employs a tightly constructed format sure to attract big-name actors, who can flit in for what amount to limited engagements. Granted, performers might love it more than a lot of viewers do, but the show’s “La Ronde”-style story should appeal to a discerning premium-TV-caliber audience.

The 10-episode format is relatively simple: Each takes place in the same restaurant, where two characters have dinner. One of them then appears in the next half-hour, having dinner with someone else, as the stories intersect (two will air each week) and build toward what DirecTV describes as “an explosive conclusion.”

How explosive can’t be determined from the four chapters previewed, but they do offer a snippet of LaBute’s penchant for profane, blistering dialogue and provocative Hollywood-centric situations, from a young woman (Minka Kelly) being unfaithful to her high-powered entertainment attorney husband (Julian McMahon), who in turn dines with his comedian client (David Boreanaz), whose gay-baiting material and ill-thought-out tweets have been associated with contributing to the death of a teenage boy. And so on.

Working with topnotch directors, LaBute (who wrote all the episodes) loosely divides the episodes by appetizer, main course and dessert, while incorporating restaurant employees into the ongoing scenario.

The result self-consciously approximates the feel of a stage play — a trifle theatrical and showy, admittedly, but nevertheless oddly addictive as you wait to see how one story will bleed into the next.

The format, moreover, is nicely tailored to LaBute’s fondness for long, shock-filled monologues and explorations of cruelty, with words cutting as deeply as any weapon — or, in the case of an anniversary dinner featuring Billy Campbell and Kate Walsh, provoking extreme discomfort.

DirecTV has been shrewd about using original acquisitions in an attempt to fortify its bond with subscribers, albeit with a hit-and-miss track record (“Hit & Miss,” by the way, being one of its best offerings).

“Full Circle” wouldn’t work in a lot of TV venues, but in this context, it’s a touch of Broadway in the comfort of your living room, complete with front-row-seat close-ups — LaBute’s twisted version of dinner, and a show.

DirecTV Audience Network, Wed. Oct. 9, 9 p.m.

post #89998 of 93688
Critic's Notes
The Late-Night Wars Can Finally Declare a Winner: David Letterman
By Josef Adalian, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Oct. 3, 2013

The term “late-night wars” entered the vernacular in 1992, when Jay Leno and David Letterman ferociously jockeyed to take over The Tonight Show. The use of “wars” underlined just how dramatic the passing of the Tonight desk was in America: This was Johnny Carson’s stage, the one that allowed a host to talk to the bulk of America. The silly pulpit, if you will. The term has resurfaced every time there is unrest in the Dave/Jay hour, though by now its usage is purely ceremonial and habitual, as the real battle is elsewhere: Comedy Central and Adult Swim have been beating the broadcasters among viewers under 50 at least since 2011. But now, after 21 years, the war can be declared over, with NBC announcing Leno’s second (and likely final) retirement from Tonight, this time to make room for Jimmy Fallon. Because this is America, a victor will need to be declared. The Nielsen verdict will be decisive, of course: Jay has drawn more viewers (old and young) almost every year he and Dave have faced each other at 11:35. But history's judgment could be different. While he may have rarely worn a ratings crown, David Letterman will be remembered as the last true King of Late Night, the final legend of a TV genre – the network talk show – that is quickly going the way of the soap opera.

This is not to bash or demean or belittle Leno. (Sadly, he's done enough on his own to diminish his reputation, particularly with his continued insistence that he never agreed to turn over The Tonight Show to Conan O'Brien). Maintaining a lead over Letterman (and now Jimmy Kimmel), even as NBC's prime-time lineup has collapsed around him, is no small feat. By all accounts, he's been commendably loyal to his writers and staff, fighting as long as he could to keep their salaries high and jobs secure even as ratings for all the late-night shows plunged. And while Letterman almost never lifts a finger to promote Late Show, Leno has been relatively accessible to the media through most of his tenure, even showing up at NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt's Christmas party two years ago (not that Greenblatt appreciated that). I've talked to Jay a few times by phone, and will never forget the time, about fifteen years ago, when I was visiting Tonight's Burbank offices and Leno surprised me by popping into the break room … just as I was shoving a jelly donut into my piehole. (He didn't miss a beat, rattling off a couple jokes at my expense; it was awesome.) But the final judgment on Leno and Letterman has nothing to do with what kind of man either is. If it did, Letterman's Don Draper dalliances wouldn't help his cause.

Unlike with real wars, the history of pop culture isn’t written by the victors. The Wire didn't win anything when it was on the air: Emmys, ratings, or much respect from HBO. But five years after its last episode aired, the show is widely regarded as one of TV's best dramas ever and pops up as a pop-culture reference in everything from Salmon Fishing in the Yemen to Lil Wayne lyrics. Ratings rock star Two and a Half Men, on the other hand, only pops up elsewhere as a punchline. Dave has been a critical darling since his short-lived 1980 NBC morning show and cemented his legacy as a comedy innovator during the early years of Late Night. His refusal to lobby for Carson's gig cost him the Tonight job, but it also cast him as the underdog, the man who wouldn't play the corporate game. He mocked NBC execs on air, and later, at CBS, Les Moonves. It doesn't matter that Letterman has been every bit as money-hungry as Leno, repeatedly forcing CBS to break the bank during the 1990s and early 2000s to keep him happy or prevent him from jumping to ABC or Fox. Dave's a rebel, and we love rebels. We remember rebels.

Leno hurt his chances at leaving a legacy by opting to do a show that, almost by design, has been completely disposable. His Tonight had a couple sketch franchises – "Headlines" and "Jaywalking" — but neither is particularly inspired or enduring. The main reason he first jumped ahead of Dave in the ratings was because he focused on (and super-sized) his monologue, to the detriment of almost everything else on Tonight. It was a smart move for Leno for the near-term: Everyone watched Jay to hear his O.J. jokes, to see him skewer Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. But monologues don’t stick in the mind. Making the first fifteen minutes of Tonight must-see TV was the right move for winning the ratings race, but it contributed nothing to defining Leno for history, except perhaps introducing his Dancing Itos. Johnny Carson’s monologue was also a core staple of his show, something no one missed. But his interplay with Ed McMahon and his frequent sketches were just as important: When you think of the endless tribute reels to Carson, you think of Ed Ames and the tomahawk and Carson doing Carnac, you don’t think of any of his jokes. Letterman too does a monologue, but it’s more obligatory: In the early years he would only do four or five jokes, and they served more as a parody of a monologue. In recent years it has grown longer, most likely because the notoriously rehearsal-phobic host seems no longer interested in innovating any kind of desk bit. But if you take a longer-range look at his late-night career, you can instantly fondly conjure many memorable moments, whether ongoing segments (Stupid Human Tricks, Viewer Mail, Will It Float?) or frequent guests with whom he had such memorable – and often confrontational – chemistry (Rupert Jee, Jack Hanna, Kamarr the Discount Magician). His recurring bits will linger because they were conceptual, not topical; Jay told jokes.

Ironically, another reason Letterman will be remembered as an icon rather than just a popular personality may be because he lost the Tonight gig: Dave has created two TV franchises from whole cloth, injecting both Late Night and Late Show with his comic DNA. Leno got to replace Carson on Tonight, but that condemned him to be caretaker instead of creator. Johnny's shadow hasn't hung over Jay for years, but that's mostly because the shadow faded, not because Leno established another enduring personality. I have no idea whether Letterman has finally shaken off the bitterness from not getting Tonight, but he should be forever grateful he "lost." That so-called failure forced Letterman (and his team) to build something new, taking his Late Night sensibility and amping it up for a larger crowd and bigger stage, free of worrying about whether they were honoring the history of Dave’s idol Johnny. And Letterman allowed CBS to finally be a competitor in late night. While NBC has been the late-night leader since at least the advent of color television, CBS was a pathetic also-ran for decades, trying everything from giving Pat Sajak a talk show (really!) to cheaply produced crime shows. Letterman instantly transformed the Eye into a late-night contender and opened up a profit spigot from which hundreds of millions in profits flowed for years. And while Letterman has had years when his relationship with CBS has been icy, for the most part, CBS has let Dave do whatever he wants, however he wants. It stood by him during the scandals and the heart surgery. And while Leno has now been battered and bullied by two different NBC regimes and forced to give up his throne twice, CBS has wisely said Dave can stay for as long as he wants. (In part, that's because CBS wisely realizes what NBC doesn't: There may be talk show hosts after Dave and Jay, but the replacements are likely to score lower ratings. Better to hold on to the legacy franchises as long as you can.)

It's quite possible that Letterman won't stay on when his contract expires at the end of next year. He may only outlast Leno by a few months. But it doesn't matter. The winner of Leno-Letterman won't be judged on how many years each man lasted, or who got the bigger ratings. It will all come down to who built a legacy. I bet it won't even be close.

post #89999 of 93688
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
The Golden Age of TV Theme Songs

What theme songs? Most shows haven't had theme songs for years, and all of the credits get thrown up during the first ten minutes of the episode. The ever expanding duration of commercial interruptions has made most showrunners unwilling to "waste" time on having an opening sequence, which is a depressing state of affairs, especially on broadcast television. At least some cable shows still have theme music, but there is no way that this is the "golden age" of TV theme songs. A five-second tune played during the title card doesn't qualify as a theme song.
post #90000 of 93688
The golden age of TV theme songs was from the 60's through the 80's.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: HDTV Programming
AVS › AVS Forum › HDTV › HDTV Programming › Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information