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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 3007

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‘The Walking Dead’ Draws Record 16.1 Million Viewers
It's the fall's No. 1 series telecast in 18-49
Rick Kissell, Variety.com

AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” basic cable’s biggest series of all time, opened its fourth season Sunday with more record numbers.

Despite facing higher-rated sports competition this year from both football and postseason baseball, “Walking Dead” returned Sunday with a monster average audience of 16.1 million viewers — more than 5 million viewers better than last year’s 10.87 million and more than double where it kicked off its second season in October 2011 (7.26 million).

It also did a huge 8.2 rating in adults 18-49, making it easily the top-rated entertainment series telecast of the season, ahead of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (5.5 for its season premiere and a 6.1 for a special second episode right after it).

In adults 25-54, its 7.3 rating ties with the regular-timeslot episode of “NCIS” as the season’s best for an entertainment series. (The second “Big Bang” did an 8.0).

The previous series high for “Dead” — and the all-time best for a cable series — was its third-season finale last spring, which drew 12.42 million and a 6.4 rating in adults 18-49.

By comparison, AMC’s “Breaking Bad” wrapped its run last month with an average audience of 10.28 million and a 5.3 rating in adults 18-49 — easily the best scores for this series.

AMC also scored with post-show “The Talking Dead,” which drew a series-record 5.1 million viewers and a 2.6 rating in adults 18-49.

post #90182 of 93656
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV/Business Notes
Cable TV: Government to implement ‘pick and pay’ services
The Conservative government’s throne speech will force cable and satellite TV providers to offer ‘pick and pay’ services, James Moore says.
By Terry Pedwell, Toronto Star - Oct. 13, 2013

OTTAWA—The federal government will unveil plans this week to force cable and satellite TV providers to offer consumers so-called pick-and-pay services, says a prominent cabinet minister.

Before anyone gets all excited, this is about Canada, not the US.
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Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

Before anyone gets all excited, this is about Canada, not the US.
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

The Conservative government’s throne speech will force cable and satellite TV providers to offer ‘pick and pay’ services, James Moore says.

As indicated by the bold print; it’s obvious that h*ll hasn’t frozen over in The U.S of A.
post #90184 of 93656
AZ. Sen. McCain is or was advocating legislated Ala carte SAT/CATV in USA however it may be that this proposal lacks adequate safeguards against loopholes that the service providers can use to their advantage and in fact as proposed may cost more .
McCain himself said its chances were unlikely in 2013.

There is not a problem the government can't make worse you know! biggrin.gif
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TV Notes
Marvel Preps 60-Episode Package Of Four Series & A Mini For VOD & Cable Networks
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Oct. 14, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: The notorious secrecy that surrounds Marvel‘s projects has been heightened to the nth degree for this one. No one would breathe a word, with rumors that everyone from top to bottom is bound by strict nondisclosure agreements, but I hear that Marvel is quietly putting together a package of four drama series and a miniseries — a total of some 60 episodes — that would be taken out to the VOD and cable space, with Netflix, Amazon and WGN America rumored as potential candidates.

Feelers had been send out, and I hear there’s already interest from digital platforms and traditional cable networks in the package, which I hear is in very early stages with very little talent attached. Reps for Marvel refused any comment. The company has been so adamant about keeping its projects under wraps that ABC topper Paul Lee joked at TCA in August that critics who wanted to attend a screening of the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot — the only one in ages to not be distributed in advance — could expect to be asked to submit “a sample of your grandmother’s urine or the Marvel guys won’t let you in.”

In addition to S.H.I.E.L.D., which was just given a full-season order, as we first reported, Marvel is developing a potential TV series inspired by Agent Carter, a one shot featured on the Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3. It is unclear whether that project is being earmarked for ABC or would be part of the VOD/cable package. Committing to 60 episodes off the bat is a big undertaking for a network/digital service but would make sense for outlets new to scripted programming that are looking to quickly build up a slate and want to capitalize on the Marvel brand.

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TV Sports
Bankruptcy for Ailing Detroit, but Prosperity for Its Teams
By Joe Drape, The New York Times - Oct. 14, 2013

DETROIT — In this bankrupt city where even keeping the streetlights on has proved a struggle, one industry has continued humming along at a multibillion-dollar clip: professional sports.

The Tigers, who are playing in the American League Championship Series, have one of the highest payrolls in baseball at $148 million. Their star first baseman makes $23 million a year. And in a city that is contracting, the Tigers are expanding — their payroll is up 38 percent from 2011. The Pistons spent about $80 million to sign two second-tier players this summer. The Lions’ quarterback signed a three-year extension in July worth $53 million. And the pizza entrepreneur who owns the Tigers and the Red Wings plans to build an arena as part of a downtown development project partly supported by $285 million in public money.

Detroit’s glittering sports teams operate in a different economy than does the rest of the city. Because of billionaire owners, lucrative television deals, dedicated fans and public subsidies, the city’s teams have few of the problems that have dragged their hometown into the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in the nation’s history.

But that does not mean the yawning gap between the team’s star-studded locker rooms and the city’s boarded-up neighborhoods has no sting. A Lions defensive lineman has shrugged off more than $342,000 in fines and missed-game penalties — enough to pay the salaries of 10 rookie police officers.

“There’s a lot of disposable cash around, but it’s not intended for the right things or right people,” said Amzie Griffin, a vendor at Comerica Park, the downtown baseball stadium. “We need jobs for the city people, for the black folk.”

Mr. Griffin, still working at 79, is one of many people here worried about household bills and dismayed at publicly financed stadiums and inflated player contracts.

With gray hair peeking beneath his Tigers cap and bifocals balanced on his nose, Mr. Griffin occupies a rare perch in Detroit’s sports world. For more than a half-century, he has sold everything from popcorn to pennants. He worked at old Tiger Stadium and is now at Comerica, a sparkling $300 million stadium that opened in 2000. The public shouldered more than a third of its costs.

Last week, as the Tigers played the Oakland Athletics in the American League playoffs, Mr. Griffin arrived at work three and half hours before the first pitch to put on his uniform, as he has done for decades. He sold Tigers jerseys and tiny bats to fans, a predominantly white crowd of 44,000, many of whom drove in from the suburbs and drove out again after the ninth inning.

Mr. Griffin went to work last week ringing up merchandise, chatting with customers and sneaking peeks at the ballgame, but part of Detroit’s municipal work force stayed home because of an enforced furlough. The mayor’s office, the City Council, the Board of Ethics and the Finance Department’s purchasing division were all shuttered for the first of two furlough days scheduled in October. Much of the rest of the city was just as quiet. Buses ran late or not at all. Whole acres of downtown streets were vacant. Young men stood idle on street corners.

“I remember when we all took care of each other, instead of just our own,” Mr. Griffin said, taking his place behind his souvenir stand.

He calls himself a real Detroiter who knows his way around hardship, worked two jobs for much of his life and still lives in the heart of the city. His stadium job pays him on commission. Mr. Griffin is hardly the only one to notice the dissonance of pro sports in Detroit these days. The view looks just as strange from the batter’s box as it does from the souvenir stand, according to members of the Tigers’ organization.

At a recent news conference, a reporter asked Detroit catcher Alex Avila if he felt guilty earning nearly $3 million a year. It was a question few other baseball players would have to field, but one that Mr. Avila sounded as if he was expecting.

“We definitely are aware of the situation of where we play,” he said. “One thing that motivates us is that we want to be able to bring a championship to Detroit, a place that has longed for one.”

He added, “We feel we are a big part of the reason that people are coming back downtown.”

Jim Leyland, the Tigers’ manager, was also asked about earning $2 million a year in a city where the poverty rate tops 40 percent.

“I know how hard those people work, and it’s a tough thing,” he said.

Mr. Leyland cited his team’s generosity, pointing to the $1 million his ace pitcher Justin Verlander recently committed to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans returning to Detroit and his home state, Virginia. (Mr. Verlander signed a seven-year, $180 million contract in March.)

“The players are very conscientious about that type of thing,” Mr. Leyland said, “and we try to be very, very good about it. But it doesn’t heal all the wounds. We understand that.”

There is no doubt that the Tigers have remained popular despite the city’s financial travails. The team drew nearly 3.1 million fans this season, ranking sixth in attendance among the 30 major league teams. The Tigers’ television ratings are among the best in baseball.

But Mr. Griffin, who hawked popcorn for 20 cents a box before any of today’s Tigers were born, said he has seen the bonds between the players and the fans fraying. He remembered that when he was a young man working two jobs, one on the production line at Ford Motor Company and the other at the ballpark, first baseman Norm Cash made time for young and old fans alike. Willie Horton, a former outfielder, invited Mr. Griffin and other stadium employees to his home for fish fries.

“It’s a whole different world now,” Mr. Griffin said. “This generation of ballplayer, you can’t even approach them.”

At a time when there is no such thing as a spare dollar in Detroit, some people here are especially troubled by proposals to use public money for professional sports.

Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, a Republican, has supported a plan to put public money toward a $650 million downtown development project, with a stadium for the Red Wings as the centerpiece. The project, plans for which include apartments, offices, restaurants and shops, is led by Olympia Development, which is owned by Michael Ilitch, the owner of the Tigers and the Red Wings, and the founder of Little Caesars Pizza.

The project would create 8,300 jobs, most of which would go to Detroit residents, said John Hahn, a spokesman for Olympia Development. He defended the use of public money, saying, “Public-private partnerships are how sports arenas and large-scale catalyst developments are primarily financed throughout America.”

Some take exception to that.

Kevin Boyle, a native of Detroit who has written about the city and now teaches history at Northwestern University, said he saw no wisdom in the government’s contributing to new stadiums as cities fall into disrepair.

“It’s really troubling to me to see that much public money going to build a new stadium when there’s catastrophe in the neighborhoods,” Mr. Boyle said.

He said he did not believe the Red Wings, who now play in Joe Louis Arena along the Detroit River, needed to move to a more central location.

“I think suburbanites are going to come in to see sports teams like the Wings wherever they happen to be playing,” he said.

As for Mr. Griffin, he said he remembered how Detroit looked when he moved here from Alabama in 1953. The black-owned Gotham Hotel was the elegant center of a vibrant city, and his east side neighborhood was populated by people who cared about their property and one another.

“It was clean and beautiful,” Mr. Griffin said. “Now, it’s not. Put that in the paper.”

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TV Review
'Reign' (The CW)
By Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter - Oct. 14, 2013

Maybe it's time to stop mocking and laughing at The CW -- two things I've done extensively because, well, because the shows and the network often deserve it. In fact, just last week I made fun of Tomorrow People because, like so many shows on The CW, it was exponentially ridiculous.

Ah, but Reign, The CW's newest "historical" drama, is so relentlessly bad, so passionately inept, that in July the network felt compelled to defend to critics its right to take the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, and turn it into something immune to facts (because facts would make it boring to teenage girls) and maintain that interpreting history as nonsensical teen pabulum was the God-given right of creator and executive producer Laurie McCarthy.

I mean, this is a woman who will be introducing into the world "Hunky Nostradamus" -- a stretch that even by the standards of The CW is offensive. It's one thing to re-create Beauty and the Beast with a good-looking, totally buffed-out Beast (he has a tiny scar that only makes him more ruggedly handsome). But it's quite another to make Nostradamus a young, broodingly hot dude.

You're going to pull a muscle pandering like that.

At some point -- and I think this may that point -- it's time to speak the truth: The CW is ruining America. It is dumbing down an increasingly dumb country. Furthermore, The CW, already providing some of the worst role models for young women in this country, hired an actress to play Mary -- Adelaide Kane -- who drank their Kool-Aid and proudly scolded aghast critics who were troubled by the historical license and the message it sent to young women.

"How many teenage girls do you know who are obsessed with history?" Kane asked. "I know I wasn't at that age."

Says the actress who starred in Teen Wolf.

Choosing other interests besides history is fine for Kane. Perhaps she was off taking acting classes instead of trying to lead an examined life. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to have done her much good -- she's wooden and regrettable in her attempt to bring to life one of the most fascinating women in history.

Further stretching the boundaries of historical absurdism, McCarthy has created an entirely fictional love triangle in Reign. You've got Prince Francis, son of the French king, who was a sickly 14-year-old in real life, not the robust, handsome, womanizing young stud portrayed by Toby Regbo in Reign. Then there's Wooden Mary (Kane) and Francis' half-brother, the bastard Bash (Torrance Coombs), who never existed.

You know, because history is boring and Mary led such a dull life, let's set up a love triangle. And let's call the made-up brother Bash.

What The CW is doing here (and Kane perpetuates with her take on teenage girls and their intelligence) is approaching television with the perspective that the target audience is profoundly idiotic. Young girls can't be expected to pay attention to anyone who isn't outlandishly good looking. They can't live in a world where a character -- even one based in history -- is old. And to re-create the history of a woman who actually lived an incredible life would be too arduous a task. Better to have her pine over someone named Bash.

Worse, even though The CW believes girls are only pretty, thin and stupid -- and apparently frightened of men older than, say, 30 -- in Reign we nevertheless get one of Mary's ladies-in-waiting (the hottest one, of course) masturbating on a staircase, then caught in the act and overtaken by none other than the older, bald king.

What the what? Seriously, CW. She's masturbating (after running up the stairs she just seems to remember that she needs to knock that out, so she stops halfway up to her room and randomly gets busy). And then the many-years-her-senior king sticks his hand up her dress and leans in on her? The masturbation element has been minimally edited by The CW in an effort to tone it down.

Oh, wait, I see. You've taken historical fiction and turned it into pulp fiction. Got it.

The list of people who should be outraged at The CW, at McCarthy and Kane, goes beyond teenage girls with a brain, the parents of any self-respecting young woman, smart people in general, history buffs and America at large, but also Scotland and France. While British historical costume dramas have long ago given up on the idea of looking for, say, Italian actors, they usually can find a French actor or someone who can pull off a French accent. But not here. The French are decidedly English. And the Scots are decidedly English. No doubt those involved with Reign thought the youth of America couldn't understand a Scottish accent ("but we've seen Shrek -- give us a chance!").

Basically, the whole world should be mad at Reign and The CW. Remember when the WB and UPN (from their ashes came The CW) gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gilmore Girls? Remember when girls could be badass and smart?

What happened, CW? Why are they so shallow and boy crazy and annoying now?

Maybe I should be asking "hunky Nostradamus" that question.

Airdate: Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW, starting Oct. 17
The Bottom Line: Apparently Mary, Queen of Scots is too boring for series creator Laurie McCarthy, so she constructs a ridiculous love triangle around young, dumb Mary and hires an actress who thinks teenage girls aren't into, you know, being educated. That's why they'll accept a wafer thin slice of sugary stupidity like 'Reign' and the United States can continue its precipitous slide down the intelligence rankings of first world countries. Well, that's what I got out of the pilot, anyway. Oh, and Nostradamus is a hunk.

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TV Notes
Mark Burnett Lands Cooking Competition Show With TNT
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Oct. 14, 2013

Mark Burnett has cooked up some business with TNT.

The producer behind “The Bible,” “The Voice” and “Survivor” has landed a cooking competition series, with the working title “On the Menu,” for the cable network.

The new series, which has received a 10-episode order, follows news of Burnett’s reality show, “Trust Me, I’m a Game Show Host,” which will premiere Oct. 22 on TNT sister network TBS.

“On the Menu” is being billed as “the first cooking competition show ever to give viewers at home the chance to taste the dishes they see on screen.”

Each episode will center on a different food business – ranging from restaurant chains and stadium concession stands to amusement parks and cruise lines. Home cooks will work with professional chefs to try and create that business’ next signature menu item.

“The winning dish will immediately go on the menu, giving viewers at home the chance to go try the dish the very next day,” TNT said in a statement.

“We are excited to offer the viewer at home a unique opportunity to actually be part of our series,” Burnett said of the project. “To be able to taste the winning dish the next day brings the series tangibly into the viewer’s own life experience.”

TNT and TBS senior vice president of unscripted development David Eilenberg called the new show “a terrific concept, bringing together home cooks, professional chefs and popular eateries together in a competition setting, then giving viewers the chance to taste the winning dishes themselves,” going on to enthuse about working with Burnett again.

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

8PM - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9:01PM - The Goldbergs
9:31PM - Trophy Wife
10PM - Scandal
(R - Oct. 10)
* * * *
11:35AM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Johnny Knoxville and Jackson Nicoll; Julianne Hough; Ariana Grande performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

9PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
10PM - Person of Interest
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Sylvester Stallone; Anna Faris; Deltron 3030 performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (Michael C. Hall; Laura Bell Bundy)

8PM - The Biggest Loser (Season Premiere)
9PM - The Voice
10:01PM - Chicago Fire
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Robin Williams; entrepreneur Mark Cuban; Gavin DeGraw performs)
(R - Aug. 8)
12:36AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt; writer Stephen Merchant; The Avett Brothers perform)
(R - Sep. 24)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Guillermo Diaz; Clairy Browne & The Bangin' Rackettes; The Stepkids perform)
(R - May 1)

8PM - Dads
8:30PM - Brooklyn Nine-Nine
9PM - New Girl
9:30PM - The Mindy Project

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle (3 hrs.)

8PM - Porque el Amor Manda
9PM - La Tempestad
10PM - Mentir Para Vivir

8PM - The Originals
9PM - Supernatural

8PM - Junto Al Tri (Special)
9PM - La Antesala Rumbo al Mundial (Special)
9:15PM - Clasificación de la Copa Mundial de FIFA: Costa Rica vs. México (LIVE)

11PM - The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Michael Fassbender)
(R - Oct. 9)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Author David Finkel)
(R - Oct. 3)

After MLB Playoff Game - Conan (Rebel Wilson; Samantha Gordon; Jake Owen)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Jory Markiss; comic John Caparulo; comic Jen Kirkman; comic Jo Koy)

Check Local Listings - Arsenio (Blair Underwood; Cheryl Hines & Rachael Harris; Nelly Featuring Future)

Edited by dad1153 - 10/14/13 at 11:36pm
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TV Review
'Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle' on PBS examines how real world shaped comic book universe
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Oct. 14, 2013

With the Marvel Universe show "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." debuting this fall and plans for The CW spinoff "The Flash" from "Arrow," it's fortuitous timing that PBS will give over all of its Tuesday prime-time schedule to the three-part documentary series "Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle" (8 p.m., WQED-TV).

That its first hour will do battle with a new episode of "S.H.I.E.L.D." is somehow appropriate.

"We made this series so that no parent would ever throw out their kids' comic books again," said executive producer Michael Kantor, probably just half joking.

Narrated by Liev Schreiber, the series is not intended just for comic book geeks -- it's funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities -- as it attempts to contextualize the stories of comic book superheroes within a greater history that includes the Great Depression, World War II, the congressional witch hunts of the 1950s, Watergate and more.

"Our aim is to explore how these characters came into creation and what they reflect about America," Mr. Kantor said at an August PBS press conference. "We built this series with a broad viewership in mind, from age 8 to 88, both men and women, for both nerds and folks like my parents, who I learned this weekend had never heard of 'The Avengers' movie."

Mr. Kantor said the series title refers not only to superheroes' battles on the comic book pages but also to the creative struggles behind the scenes.

The 8 p.m. hour Tuesday, "Truth, Justice and the American Way" (1938-58), looks at the rise of patriotism that played into the birth of superheroes. At 9 p.m., "Great Power, Great Responsibility" (1959-77) explores the impact of atomic energy, space travel and relatable problems on superheroes. And at 10 p.m. "A Hero Can be Anyone" (1978-2013) chronicles the rise of darker, more sophisticated storytelling.

"The geeks have inherited the earth," said Len Wein, who co-created the Wolverine character in "The X-Men" comic book. "We won in the long run. All of us who got picked on in high school now are the top of the heap as opposed to the bottom."

Comic book movies, once marginalized, have become a force at the box office. This summer's top-grossing films included "Iron Man 3" and "Superman" reboot "Man of Steel." It wasn't always that way.

"When I first started writing in film and television, I had to hide the fact that I had been working in comic books -- that was in the late '70s or early '80s -- because the people that I was talking to were people who had grown up when comics were a dismissible form of art," said longtime "Spider-Man" comic book writer Gerry Conway. "Now, most of the people who are in the business, in the decision making part of the business, grew up reading comic books. So I think the reason we are seeing more of this in the culture in general is that the people who are in a position to decide, people like President Obama who read "Spider-Man" when he was a kid, they are the ones who are now influencing the decisions that get made for popular culture."

Todd McFarlane, creator of "Spawn," said comic book creators are happy to have their creations transfer to another medium, and not just for the monetary benefits.

"I think most of us are pretty proud of our creative children," he said. "We like to show the pictures of these children to as many people as possible. Comic book people aren't, sort of, elitists. ... So I'm looking forward to selling as many things that people can see on as wide a range as possible."

Different companies have different guidelines for how the creators of comic book characters get compensated when a studio makes a movie featuring one of their creations.

"When I work for DC, anything I create, I get a piece of," Mr. Wein said. "Lucius Fox, for example, who was in the last trilogy of 'Batman' movies played by Morgan Freeman, bought my new house."

But it's not always as profitable.

"The stuff at Marvel, I did see a check off the 'Wolverine,' the current film," Mr. Wein said. "But, as a rule, I don't see any of the ancillary money off of all of the toys and soaps and shampoos and skateboards and God knows what else that features the character."

As for the PBS show's ratings battle with "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," "Superheroes" can probably give up on winning that one. Even Mr. Wein's attention may be elsewhere.

"Let's be honest, most of the fanboy geeks, that's the thing we are most looking forward to this fall because Joss has found a way to keep it secret from everybody," Mr. Wein said of "S.H.I.E.L.D." before its premiere last month. "None of us know what's coming. But I'm looking forward to it. I can't tell you how much."

When: 8-11p.m. Tuesday, PBS.

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TV Review
Pixar’s ‘Toy Story of Terror!’ (ABC)
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Oct. 13, 2013

Breezily bringing the “Toy Story” franchise to TV as a half-hour Halloween special, “Toy Story of Terror!” makes deft use of the existing characters and introduces a few new ones. Although billed as Pixar’s first TV adventure, mastermind John Lasseter’s paw prints were all over the delightful “Prep & Landing” specs, and this small-scale use of the studio’s signature property is equally tinsel. Featuring first-rate animation and the existing vocal cast, holidays would be happier if ABC could persuade its corporate sibling to synergistically provide several more of these.

The story finds the toys and their new owner taking a trip, only to have car trouble force them to spend the night in a roadside motel. Yet when one of their number disappears, they’re treated to a Mwa-ha-ha lesson in the tropes of horror movies from Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton, again riotous), before they begin to realize toys are going missing for a nefarious reason.

What follows casts Jessie (Joan Cusack) as the reluctant heroine of the piece, getting helpful advice from a GI Joe-like action figure named Combat Carl (Carl Weathers). Forced to save the day, Jessie also has a positively hilarious encounter with a Transformers-like toy, reflecting how cleverly the “Toy Story” brain trust continue to tap into childhood memories, whether they have the actual use rights or not.

Written and directed by Angus MacLane, at roughly 21 minutes sans commercials “Toy Story of Terror!” is about a quarter the length of the average animated feature, but everything else here could easily be mistaken for the bigscreen version, from the pacing and humor to Michael Giacchino’s score.

Animated specials remains something of a throwback, but in these situations a valuable one — a way to keep these properties fresh in the minds of the toy-and-merchandise-buying public and at the same time put on network fare families can genuinely watch together, a benefit ABC discovered after acquiring rights to the “Charlie Brown” classics. Still, DreamWorks Animation has been more aggressive in this regard, which has included producing such projects for NBC.

There’s much to be said for exploiting such fare judiciously. Yet given that Pixar has the superior stable of titles and their shared parentage, one can hope that ABC will have a friend in Pixar — and be “Terror!”-ized a little more often.

ABC, Wed. Oct. 16, 8 p.m.

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TV Notes
Netflix orders thriller-drama from 'Damages' creators
By Yvonne Villareal, Los Angeles Times' 'Show Tracker' Blog - Oct. 14, 2013

Does the chatter about Netflix being the new black have another talking point to keep it going? The popular online streaming site announced Monday that it has ordered a new psychological thriller series from "Damages" creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler.

The yet-to-be-titled one-hour drama will center on a family of adult siblings whose troubled secrets and issues come to light when their black sheep brother returns home.

“We were spellbound after hearing Todd, Glenn and Daniel’s pitch, and knew Netflix was the perfect home for this suspenseful family drama that is going to have viewers on the edge of their seats,” said Cindy Holland, vice president of original content for Netflix, in a statement. “Their work on ‘Damages’ was truly ahead of its time and we’re proud to be bringing our viewers this upcoming series.”

The 13-episode first season will begin production in early 2014 and will be backed by Sony Pictures Television, the first major studio to get into business with Netflix. Kessler, Zelman and Kessler will serve as executive producers.

The trio, who dub themselves KZK, co-created the legal thriller "Damages," which originally aired on FX before moving to DirecTV channel Audience Network.

The announcement comes as Netflix has found success -- either through critical acclaim or buzz -- with its foray into original programming, which this year included "House of Cards," "Orange Is the New Black" and a rebooted "Arrested Development."

A launch date for the series has not been announced.

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TV Review
Some Stones Shine Brighter
By Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times - Oct. 13, 2013

A jewelry store is generally a staid, rather somber place, reminiscent of a museum or library. But a jewel’s journey to reach a glass case can have a considerably livelier start.

It’s that end of the process that concerns “Gem Hunt,” which begins on Tuesday night on the Travel Channel. The series follows three experts as they roam the world looking for precious stones, with the first stop being the trading markets and mines of Vietnam.

Ron LeBlanc, a Canadian gem dealer, is the most colorful member of the team, foulmouthed and not at all bashful about expressing his skepticism over what locals are trying to tell him and sell him. Diane Robinson has an M.B.A. and a marketing background in luxury goods, and Bernie Gaboury is a geologist whose job it is to spot fakes. The team is in Vietnam looking for rubies, but it’s a different stone that puts Mr. Gaboury to the test most memorably: A dealer brings out a green rock the size of a soccer ball that he says is an emerald. The show is daffier than most travel-with-a-mission fare, but it’s also informative.

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TV Sports
Roberto Duran says he didn’t actually say ‘No Mas’
By Chris Strauss, USA Today - Oct. 14, 2013

NEW YORK – The most famous of their three fights happened during the waning days of the Carter administration, but Sugar Ray Leonard says that 33 years later, people routinely inquire about his November 1980 rematch with Roberto Duran in New Orleans.

“I’m asked around the world about No Mas always,” Leonard, 57, told the audience last week at a New York screening of No Mas, the latest installment in ESPN Films’ “30 for 30″ series. “A day doesn’t go by that I’m not asked about the No Mas fight.”

The bout, which ended with Duran, now 62, withdrawing in the eighth round and sullied an otherwise excellent career, is best known as the “No mas” (meaning ‘no more’ in English) fight since that is was the Panamanian fighter reportedly said to referee Octavio Meyran before quitting. In the film, which debuts Tuesday night on ESPN, and later in person, Duran vows that he never actually uttered those words.

“From his mouth, he never actually said ‘no mas.’ The actual words ‘no mas,” Duran’s son Robin, who served as his translator on the screening panel, said. “He waved his hands and the referee said it. [This film is the] first time he sees the referee saying that, he actually thought it was Ray Arcel (one of Duran’s trainers) who said no mas.”

“It’s very hard for a fighter to speak with a mouthpiece on. He just waved his hand and this [is the] first time he sees the referee saying that he said no mas.”

Regardless who uttered the legendary phrase, it was Duran’s motivation to quit the fight and the mental toll that decision had taken on both him and Leonard through the years that led filmmaker Eric Drath to pursue the project. Drath proposed to Leonard that they fly to Duran’s native Panama for a filmed conversation between the two fighters.

Drath manages to tell an amazing story through just the footage alone, as the first half of the film relies heavily on archival clips of both their first fight in Montreal in June 1980 (which Duran won), the rematch and the logistics that went into there being just a five-month gap between the two.

Leonard (and the filmmaker) seemed to be searching for a bigger explanation for Duran’s actions during the fight, one other than his three decade claim that he withdrew due to stomach cramps. It would certainly make for a larger impact had Duran finally wavered from that excuse, especially as the pair’s conversation in Panama is set up with them standing opposite each other in a boxing ring, squaring off for what promises to be one final confrontation.

Duran, who had ballooned in weight after the first bout due to weeks of partying, has blamed his stomach issues on his struggle to rapidly shed excess baggage before the weigh-in. If Leonard and Drath were looking for him to admit to a fix or some other nefarious occurrence, it wasn’t happening. The film leaves a sense that Leonard didn’t exactly leave Panama with the answers he was looking for, despite him saying otherwise on camera. After viewing the movie for the first time at the New York screening, he vowed that he was satisfied with the outcome.

“I would accept that as 100 percent closure,” Leonard said. “The man is saying what he honestly feels is the truth and I take it for what it’s worth. Did it bother me? Yes, it bothered me for awhile, for a number of years I should say. Put it this way, when I finally surrendered and said that I was an alcoholic, my life is better. We all have to surrender at some point to make things better. So I do accept what he said.”

“What was shown on that screen was the truth, as far as I’m concerned. Roberto, I hated the son of a bitch back in the day but I love you now.”

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Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

Before anyone gets all excited, this is about Canada, not the US.
Not to mention, it's a bit more difficult to implement that here since it's the studios, not the cable and satellite providers, that decide how channels are bundled.

Right now, channels are purchased by the MSOs as packages and that's how they get sold to the customers.

It gets kind of sticky when the government decides they want to tell a company how to sell their product, especially when no one is forced to buy it. We're not talking bread, milk and gasoline here.

Even if you overcame that issue, there's still the matter of the media companies having a lot of power in our government. By the time any such legislation could ever pass, the system will have already moved to the next stage of technology and distribution anyway.

In other words, customer demand will make the system take care of itself - maybe more slowly than they want, but everything eventually goes where the money is.
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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Oct. 15, 2013

Fox, 4:30 p.m. ET

Sunday night’s game 2 – in which the Boston Red Sox loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, just in time for David Ortiz to hit a grand-slam homer and win the game against the Detroit Tigers, 6-5 – was an unexpected stunner. (Then again, I guess stunners, by definition, are unexpected.) So now the ALCS is tied at 1-1, and Game 3 is back in Detroit, in the daytime. Expect another tense, impressive pitching duel – and expect more surprises. (Then again, if you’re expecting them…)

ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET

Well, the dangerous anti-gravity machine is securd safely behind the door of a S.H.I.E.L.D. vault – for now, at least – but other aspects of this show remain up in the air. But not this show’s short-term future: ABC, pleased with its initial ratings, already has renewed it for the end of the season. In tonight’s new episode, a former operative returns with a vengeful agenda – even though it may not precisely be her own.

TBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Dodgers finally got on the board in its NLCS match against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards still have a 2-1 edge in this series – but for tonight’s prime-time Game 4, televised by TBS, the Dodgers, once again, have home-field advantage.

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Here’s a really enjoyable, yet totally defensible, topic for a three-hour PBS documentary special: an analysis of the history and impact of comic-book superheroes. Starting when Superman lifted that car in the first issue of Action Comics #1, the heroes of comics have waged a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way. Take the tour, with such guides as Stan Lee, Lynda Carter and Adam West. Check local listings.

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s episode was a bomb – or, at least, ended with one exploding in the clubhouse, leaving the bikers with no home base in Charming – and with Jax (Charlie Hunnam) having a confrontation, after some time apart, with Bobby (Mark Boone Junior).

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TV Notes
Tina Fey & Amy Poehler To Return As Golden Globes Hosts In 2014 And 2015
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Oct. 15, 2013

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have closed deals to host of the next two Golden Globe Awards, starting with the Jan. 12, 2014 ceremony. Fey and Poehler were approached about coming back over the summer, following the duo’s very successful first Golden Globes turn this year, which drew warm critical reception and big ratings. Fey and Poehler solidified their status as TV’s hottest comedy act last month with their scene stealing bit at the Primetime Emmys, which became the highlight of the show’s opening. Unlike Ricky Gervais’ original Golden Globes hosting deal, which had an option for a second year, Fey and Poehler had agreed to host the 2013 ceremony as a one-time thing with no obligation to come back. But, given their success, it was no surprise that NBC, Golden Globes producer Dick Clark Prods. and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. wanted to get them back. The Fey/Poehler-hosted January ceremony drew 19.7 million viewers, up 17% from last year and one of the most watched Globes ever. In the key adults 18-49 demo, the show posted a 6.4 rating, up 28% from 2012. “Tina and Amy are two of the most talented comedic writer/performers in our business and they were a major reason the Golden Globes was the most entertaining awards show of last season,” said NBC’s alternative programming president Paul Telegdy. “We’re elated they wanted to host together again and that they committed for the next two years.”

Both Fey and Poehler have impeccable live show credentials as Saturday Night Live veterans who both have returned to host the venerable late-night show, including hosting SNL season premiers (most recently Fey last month). “Tina and Amy have a truly unique chemistry making them one of the most talented and captivating pairings of all-time,” said DCP CEO Allen Shapiro. The two are able to fit the Globes into their busy schedules because of the show’s nature that doesn’t require months-log host preparation the way the Oscars do. 30 Rock creator Fey, in the first season under a mega four-year deal at Universal TV, is working on two high-profile comedy projects with a last-minute third sale a possibility. Poehler is the star-producer of NBC’s Parks And Recreation, and the two also have active movie careers. Poehler, who is working on her first book, will next be heard in the upcoming animated comedy Free Birds and seen in You Are Here.

Here is a highlight reel of Fey and Poehler’s first Golden Globe hosting stint as well as their Emmy bit: [CLICK LINK BELOW]

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TV Notes
'Goodfellas' Duo Prep Mafia Drama for Discovery
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Oct. 14, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Discovery Communications is teaming with Academy Award-nominated Goodfellas duo Irwin Winkler and Nicholas Pileggi for its first scripted drama series.

The cabler is developing The Five Families, the first-ever dramatic account of the founding families of the Mafia. Pileggi, who penned the screenplay for Goodfellas, will pen the pilot script. The drama marks the first series to invoke the real figures and actual events in the history of the Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese, Bonanno and Colombo Mafia families -- also known as the famed five crime families of New York.

Discovery Communications will produce The Five Families as a global event with plans to debut the drama on one or more of its U.S. and international networks.

For Discovery, Five Families marks its first scripted series and comes as the network is using miniseries to pushing into the original space. Discovery is readying limited series North and South, based on John Jakes' best-selling book trilogy, as well as an adaptation of Nigel Tranter's The Wallace and The Bruce Trilogy. The latter, like the network's first original miniseries -- Klondike, which will launch in December -- hails from Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions.

For their part, Winkler produced and Pileggi wrote Goodfellas, which was nominated in 1991 for best picture (for Winkler), screenplay (Pileggi and Martin Scorsese), editing (Thelma Schoonmaker) and directing (Scorsese). Joe Pesci won the Oscar for best supporting actor, and co-star Lorraine Bracco was nominated for her supporting turn as well.

Pileggi's recent small-screen credits include CBS' short-lived drama Vegas. He's also prepping a potential series based on Goodfellas for AMC with Winkler attached. He's repped by Danny Greenberg and Bloom Hergott.

Winkler's credits include The Wolf of Wall Street, The Mechanic and Rocky Balboa. He's repped by CAA, Chasen & Co. and Bloom Hergott.

Edited by dad1153 - 10/15/13 at 8:19am
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Oct. 15, 2013

Fox, 4:30 p.m. ET

Sunday night’s game 2 – in which the Boston Red Sox loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, just in time for David Ortiz to hit a grand-slam homer and win the game against the Detroit Tigers, 6-5 – was an unexpected stunner

It was the bottom of the 8th + it only tied it. tongue.gif

Im actually not even "stunned" when they get this stuff wrong anymore.
post #90200 of 93656
Originally Posted by kingpcgeek View Post

‘The Walking Dead’ Draws Record 16.1 Million Viewers
It's the fall's No. 1 series telecast in 18-49
Rick Kissell, Variety.com

I dont get why these articles dont count SNF its a series & it got an 8.4 this week....why is sports an exception.
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MONDAY'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)
‘Girls’ better ‘Men’ in new Monday timeslot
CBS sitcom draws a 2.5 in 18-49s, up from a 1.8 for axed show
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Oct. 15, 2013

Girls are apparently stronger than men.

CBS’s “2 Broke Girls” moved into a new timeslot last night, replacing the canceled “We Are Men” at 8:30 p.m. and showing big improvements over “Men’s” numbers last week.

“Girls” averaged a 2.5 adults 18-49 rating at 8:30 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, up from a 1.9 for “Men” last week.

In fact, “Girls” improved over the 2.3 it posted in its old 9 p.m. timeslot last week as well.

CBS has moved repeats of TV’s top scripted series, “The Big Bang Theory,” into the 9 p.m. slot, where the rerun drew a 2.2 last night, off just a tenth from the original “Girls” last week.

The lack of an original lead-in appeared to hurt the new 9:30 comedy “Mom,” which averaged a 1.9, down 10 percent from last week.

But CBS’s overall rating was up a tenth over last week.

It wasn’t the only network to rise. ABC also inched up by a tenth, with “Dancing with the Stars” growing 5 percent week to week, to a 2.1, and lead-out “Castle” matching a season high with a 2.2 at 10 p.m., 16 percent better than last week.

NBC easily won the night once again with the top two shows, “The Voice” (4.5) and “The Blacklist” (3.2, up 3 percent from last week). NBC’s schedule was preempted for football on its Indianapolis affiliate, which may have slightly inflated overnight totals.

Fox’s dramas both slipped from last week, with “Bones” down a tenth to a 2.0 and “Sleepy Hollow” falling 7 percent to a 2.6. The latter has been seeing very heavy DVR playback.

The CW’s dramas “Hart of Dixie” and “Beauty and the Beast” were both even to last week in 18-49s but “Dixie” grew 40 percent in the network’s target women 18-34, to a 0.7, and “Beast” was up 67 percent, to a 0.5.

NBC was first for the night among 18-49s with a 4.0 average overnight rating and an 11 share. Fox was second at 2.3/6, ABC third at 2.1/6, CBS fourth at 2.0/5, Univision fifth at 1.4/4, Telemundo sixth at 0.5/1 and CW seventh at 0.4/1.

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

At 8 p.m. NBC led with a 4.1 for “Voice,” followed by CBS with a 2.8 for “How I Met Your Mother” (3.0) and “Girls” (2.5). ABC was third with a 2.1 for “Stars,” Fox fourth with a 2.0 for “Bones,” Univision fifth with a 1.7 for “Porque el Amor Manda,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for “Dama y Obrero” and CW seventh with a 0.4 for “Dixie.”

NBC was first again at 9 p.m. with a 4.8 for more “Voice,” with Fox second with a 2.6 for “Hollow.” ABC and CBS tied for third at 2.1, ABC for more “Stars” and CBS for a rerun of “Bang” (2.2) and a new “Mom” (1.9), Univision was fifth with a 1.4 for “La Tempestad,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for “Marido en Alquiler” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for “Beast.”

At 10 p.m. NBC completed the nightly sweep with a 3.2 for “Blacklist,” while ABC moved to second with a 2.2 for “Castle.” CBS was third with a 1.2 for “Hostages,” even to last week. Univision took fourth with a 1.0 for “Mentir Para Vivir” and Telemundo fifth with a 0.5 for “Santa Diabla.”

ABC was first for the night among households with an 8.0 average overnight rating and a 12 share. NBC was a close second at 7.9/12, Fox third at 4.5/7, CBS fourth at 4.4/7, Univision fifth at 1.8/3, and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.7/1.


* * * *

TV Notes
Ruben Studdard, back on TV again
He won season two of 'American Idol' 11 years ago
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Oct. 15, 2013

It’s not unusual for former reality TV stars to show up on television again and again, wringing out every last second of their 15 minutes of fame. “Survivor” competitors pop up on “The Amazing Race” or one of the “Real Housewives” starts hosting a syndicated show.

But Ruben Studdard, who appears on the new season of “The Biggest Loser” debuting tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC, may be unique in the annals of TV reality shows, in that the programs he’s appeared on serve a real purpose in his life.

He became an overnight celebrity during season two of “American Idol,” winning the show’s title in what remains the most-watched episode ever for the Fox TV program with 38.1 million total viewers, according to Nielsen.

That launched Studdard’s musical career, and his first album went double platinum.

Now, 11 years later, he’s back on TV with a more sobering goal: Shaping up after becoming morbidly obese. Studdard has struggled since the halcyon days of “Idol.”

His most recent albums haven’t sold well, and he went through a painful divorce. He enters “Loser” as the season’s heaviest contestant at 462 pounds.

Studdard isn’t the first celebrity to join “Loser.” Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner, a wrestler, appeared on season 11.

Clearly Studdard’s casting is meant to help pump up ratings for “Loser,” now in its 15th season. Last spring the show averaged a 2.3 adults 18-49 rating, up a tenth from the previous season.

NBC has cut the show to just an hour this year after airing for two hours for years.

It’s also getting a strong lead-out from “The Voice,” NBC’s No. 1 non-sports show, which never hurts.

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TV Notes
Josh Lieb Tapped As Producer Of ‘Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Oct. 14, 2013

There has been a behind-the-scenes change at NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon as it prepares to morph into The Tonight Show in February. Former Daily Show executive producer/showrunner Josh Lieb is joining as producer, running day-to-day on Late Night and future Tonight Show, which are executive produced by Lorne Michaels. Lieb replaces veteran Late Night With Jimmy Fallon writer Amy Ozols, who will be leaving. She was named to the job in June. After a five-year stint on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, where he rose to executive producer/showrunner, Lieb left in 2011 when he moved his family to Los Angeles to return to primetime series.

Lieb had been considered for the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon job because of his late-night showrunner experience, but I hear he only recently became open to relocating back to New York where Late Night is based and so will be The Tonight Show. Lieb worked with Fallon just this past development season on an NBC comedy project, which Lieb co-created and Fallon produced through his company.

Before The Daily Show, for which Lieb shared seven Emmy Awards, Lieb was a co-executive producer on The Simpsons and an executive producer on NewsRadio. He recently wrote and directed four comedic shorts for Matt Damon’s clean water and sanitation charity, water.org.

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TV Sports
Will Fox Sports 1 Shake-Up MLB Playoffs in 2014?
By Tony Maglio, TheWrap.com - Oct. 14, 2013

“Big Papi” David Ortiz blasted the Red Sox right back into Sunday night’s Game 2 on Fox — Jarrod Saltalamacchia finished the Detroit Tigers off. It was a classic Boston playoff win.

But next year, it might not play out that way — at least not on the TV schedule. So if you want to catch Torii Hunter flipping over a wall, you might have to subscribe to cable.

Beginning in 2014, one of the two Major League Baseball League Championship Series may shift from Fox to Fox Sports 1. Fox has the rights, but not the obligation to move the games to cable.

The programming decision has yet to be made, Michael Mulvihill, senior vice president, Programming & Research, told TheWrap. And it likely won’t be made soon. The call could even potentially be made on super short notice after the 2014 League Division Series.

“It’s largely going to come down to our need to balance the needs of the broadcast business with the needs of the cable business,” Mulvihill told TheWrap.

There are myriad factors, Mulvihill said. ”This year’s ratings will be taken into account, the potential match-ups next year will be taken into account.”

He continued, ”[Fox Sports 1] is a realistic alternative right now,” Mulvihill told TheWrap, insisting that the young channel is ready with its 90 million home reach, adding that it has “no ratings benchmark to hit” to be worthy of the content’s honor.

Part of the League Division Series will definitely go from TBS to Fox Sports 1 next year. The World Series will remain on Fox, the wildcard play-in rounds will stay on TBS.

So far, Fox Sports 1 is not making a huge dent in the ratings battle, but it is still very early in the channel’s history and clearly marquee live events are what attract viewers in the sports broadcasting business.

When asked if keeping the ALCS and NLCS off of cable and on free over-the-air TV would be akin to waving a white flag for the venture, Mulvihill said, “Whatever we do I’m sure there are going to be people in the industry that interprets [it] in a way that suits their own agenda.”

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

8PM - Toy Story of Terror! (Special)
8:30PM - Back In The Game
9PM - Modern Family
9:31PM - Super Night Fun
10PM - Nashville
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Danny McBride; Chiwetel Ejiofor; Michael Franti performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - Survivor
9PM - Criminal Minds
10PM - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Bill O'Reilly; The Head & The Heart performs)
12:37AM - Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Robin Williams)

8PM - Revolution
9PM - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
10PM - Ironside
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (Julia Louis-Dreyfus; author Ron Paul; Little Big Town performs)
(R - Sep. 26)
12:36AM - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (Steve Harvey; "Duck Dynasty'' cast members; Kanye West performs)
(R - Sep. 9)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Greta Gerwig; artist Molly Crabapple; Pierce the Veil performs)
(R - May 16)

7:30PM - MLB Baseball - American League Championship Series, Game 4: Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers (LIVE)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Nature: Saving Otter 101 (Season Premiere)
9PM - NOVA: Making Stuff Faster
10PM - Raw to Ready: Komatsu (Series Premiere)

8PM - Porque El Amor Manda
9PM - Amores Verdaderos
10PM - Mentir Para Vivir

8PM - Arrow
9PM - The Tomorrow People

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Bill O'Reilly)
(R - Sep. 30)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Paul Giamatt)
(R - Oct. 8)

11PM - Conan (Kesha; Jesse Bering; Fitz & The Tantrums)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Mountaineer Melissa Arnot; comic Jeff Wild; comic Sarah Colonna; comic Ian Karmel)

Check Local Listings - Arsenio (Jackie Chan; Judy Greer; Tamar Braxton)
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TV Review
‘Toy Story of Terror!,’ lots of fun
ABC Halloween special does the 'Toy Story' movies proud
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Oct. 15, 2013

So many TV shows and movies have imitated the character in the 1996 movie “Scream” who kept pointing out all the clichés of horror movies as they happened that the character is now a cliché in itself. But he — he’s almost always a he — can still be funny.

ABC’s new Halloween special “Toy Story of Terror!” uses that character type well as it unwinds an engaging plot that should entertain kids and keep their parents amused. Although TV shows using well-known movie characters are almost always a letdown, this one does little damage to our fond memories of the movies.

Airing this Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m., the special starts out in the trunk of the car driven by the mother of Bonnie (voiced by Emily Hahn), the little girl who inherited Andy’s toys at the end of “Toy Story 3.” As the toys watch an old black-and-white vampire movie on a portable DVD player, Mr. Pricklepants (voiced by Timothy Dalton), a stuffed hedgehog introduced in the third “Toy Story” movie, tells the others that classic horror movies always start slowly.

When Bonnie and her mother check into a motel, he says, “The roadside motel is one of the classic settings.” When Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) sets off to look for free shampoo and soap, Pricklepants says that he’ll be the first to go. When the others try to find Mr. Potato Head, Pricklepants says that they’ll be picked off one by one.

toy story of terror2These predictions, of course, turn out to be true. The suspense is fun and won’t be too scary for kids past kindergarten.

The villain (spoiler alert!) isn’t a vampire or some other supernatural creature. He’s actually a bit too close to the big bad in “Toy Story 2,” but his partner in crime is original.

Once we know we’re not going to see any monsters — this will be a relief to little kids and their parents — the second half of the special is, like the ends of the last two movies, a set piece in which the toys work together to get out of a jam. Jessie (Joan Cusack) learns from another abducted toy, Combat Carl (Carl Weathers), to overcome her fears.

Like the movies, the special emphasizes the values of duty, loyalty, perseverance and friendship without getting too preachy.

But it has jokes that both kids and grownups will enjoy. Combat Carl refers to himself in the third person, saying things like “Combat Carl has learned you’ve got to keep moving or they find you.”

toy story of terror1Finally, Jessie asks him, “Are you Combat Carl?”

A character called Old Timer is literally an old timer.

Most of the famous voice actors, including Tom Hanks as Woody and Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, are back, though given the short running time, only 22 minutes, we don’t get to spend that much time with anyone. Jessie turns out to be the star and the heroine.

Disney and Pixar could have gotten away with less. “Toy Story of Terror!” is like finding a full-size candy bar in your Halloween bag.

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TV Notes
Kenan Thompson: Black female comics not 'ready' for 'SNL'
By Ann Oldenburg, USA Today - Oct. 15, 2013

Saturday Night Live kicked off its 39th season two weeks ago with six new cast members. Five are male. One is female. All are white.

When asked about what the show will do when the need to spoof a black female character arises, Kenan Thompson told TVGuide.com, "I don't know. We just haven't done them." He added, "Maybe [Jay Pharaoh] will do it or something, but even he doesn't really want to do it."

The show's stats are not good, notes TV Guide. SNL currently employs only three actors of color out of 16 cast members. (Thompson, Pharaoh and Iranian Nasim Pedrad.)

And since SNL has been on the air, the series has only had four black female cast members: Yvonne Hudson (1980-81), Danitra Vance (1985-86), Ellen Cleghorne (1991-95) and Maya Rudolph (2000-2007).

The trend applies to hosts, too, notes TVLine.com . Of the 90 episodes the show has aired since Season 35, only two black women (and four women of color in total) have hosted: Gabourey Sidibe (April 2010) and Maya Rudolph (February 2012), along with Latinas Jennifer Lopez and Sofia Vergara. And yet during this period, Miley Cyrus has hosted twice, as have January Jones, Taylor Lautner and Eli Manning.

Thompson blames the lack of quality black female comedians. "It's just a tough part of the business," he tells TV Guide. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."

Pharoah spoke more strongly about the diversity problem, recently telling TheGrio, "They need to pay attention" and add a black woman to the cast. He suggested Darmirra Brunson, who's currently on Tyler Perry's Love Thy Neighbor. "She's amazing. She needs to be on SNL. I said it. And I believe they need to follow up with it like they said they were going to do last year."

As to how the six new cast members are faring so far this season, Thompson says, "They're all contributing in different ways, I think. They've been doing a great job so far. They're all very, very smart and talented, so that's how it is. That's the kind of people I guess that get the job."

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TV/Nielsen Notes
Cancellation Clock Is Ticking for a Handful of New Series
By Rick Kissell, Variety.com - Oct. 15, 2013

It’s only three weeks into the new season, but the gap between the “hits” and “busts” among the rookie class has grown pretty large.

Dramas “The Blacklist” (NBC), “Sleepy Hollow” (Fox) and “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (ABC) have all impressed, while CBS is doing reasonably well with new Robin Williams comedy “The Crazy Ones.”

On the other hand, it’s already over for a pair of newbies — ABC’s “Lucky 7″ and CBS’ “We Are Men” were axed after just two airings — and the clock is ticking for a handful more.

The networks like to put their best foot forward in November for the sweep, so mid-to-late October is typically when decisions are made to shore up the schedule. DVR playback can certainly help keep a struggling series stay on the air longer, but most times the networks don’t need to wait for that data to know that a show simply isn’t clicking.

The rookie series that would seem to be the most in danger — and in dire need of a ratings uptick — are NBC’s Thursday comedy “Welcome to the Family” and ABC’s Sunday drama “Betrayal.” Both did a mere 0.8 rating/2 share in adults 18-49 in their timeslots last week, according to Nielsen.

Fairing only a bit better, with a 3 share, were CBS’ “Hostages” and NBC’s “Ironside” and “Sean Saves the World.” Another show that would be on this list based on its performance, NBC’s “The Michael J. Fox Show,” isn’t going anywhere because the Peacock has made a full-season commitment.

NBC’s entire Thursday lineup is generating tiny numbers, and some change is expected soon.

CBS has similarly struggled with some new shows on Monday, and is doing what it can to provide a stronger lead-in for “Hostages” at 10. The net canceled the ineffective “We Are Men” after two episodes, changed timeslots for “2 Broke Girls” and has slotted the return of “Mike & Molly” for the night starting Nov. 4. Another first-year show, “Mom,” continues to do OK in the 9:30 slot.

Looking at the third week of the season, “The Voice,” “Sunday Night Football” and hot new drama “The Blacklist” proved too much for the competition as NBC led in adults 18-49 for a third straight week. The net is off to its highest-rated start in three seasons, and its advantage over runner-up CBS (0.6) is the largest for any network at this point in 10 years.

Last week, NBC averaged a 2.7/8 in the demo, followed in the rankings by Fox (2.4/8), CBS (1.9/5) and ABC (1.8/5). NBC also won in adults 25-54, while CBS was on top as usual in total viewers.

NBC’s “The Voice” was the week’s No. 3-rated entertainment series in 18-49 (4.6/13), and is teaming with “The Blacklist” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 11.18m) to win Monday.

But while NBC beat its rivals in every half-hour on its “Voice” nights of Monday and Tuesday, it trailed them in every half-hour on Wednesday and Thursday. NBC should benefit next week from the debut of its Friday lineup, featuring “Grimm” and newcomer “Dracula.”

Elsewhere, Fox was led by Thursday’s “Glee” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 7.39m), whose tribute to Corey Montieth produced the show’s top same-night rating since its year-ago season premiere. Also for the net, “Junior MasterChef” continues to perform well on Friday (1.4/5 in 18-49, 3.92m), up a bit from the prior week.

At ABC, “Super Fun Night” held up OK on Wednesday in its second week (2.5/7 in 18-49, 6.64m), retaining 64% of the same-night demo rating of “Modern Family” (3.9/11 in 18-49, 10.64m) after holding 76% in its premiere a week earlier.

It was a lethargic bow, meanwhile, for Thursday’s “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.82m),

Second-year half-hour “The Neighbors” is looking shaky on Friday (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.12m), and it’s certainly making life more difficult for the shows it sandwiches on the schedule (“Last Man Standing” and “Shark Tank”). Still, “Shark Tank” is the night’s No. 1 show in 18-49.

CBS could be pleased with the second week of “The Millers” on Thursday (3.0/9 in 18-49, 11.73m), retaining 91% of its premiere — the best 18-49 hold of any new series this fall.

There were three notable cable performers last week, led by “The Walking Dead” (8.2/19 in 18-49, 16.11 million viewers overall), which shattered its previous record for the top-rated basic cable series telecast of all time. It was the week’s No. 2 program in 18-49, behind “Sunday Night Football” (8.4/22), but will easily overtake the game with DVR playback.

There was also FX’s “American Horror Story” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 5.54m), which opened its third season with record numbers and led its hour in 18-49, and “Sons of Anarchy” (2.5/7), 4.46m), which beat the broadcast series in its timeslot as well.

And of course, A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” continues to score big (3.2/10 in 18-49, 7.40m).


Adults 18-49

NBC 2.7/8
Fox 2.4/7
CBS 1.9/5
ABC 1.8/5
UNI 1.2/4
CW 0.7/2
TEL 0.5/1

Total Viewers:

CBS 9.23 million
NBC 8.44 million
Fox 7.49 million
ABC 6.99 million
UNI 3.19 million
CW 1.70 million
TEL 1.14 million


Adults 18-49
1. Sunday Night Football (NBC), 8.4/22
2. The Walking Dead (AMC), 8.2/19
3. The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 5.1/17
4. The Voice-Monday (NBC), 4.6/13
5. Monday Night Football (ESPN), 4.4/13
6. Modern Family (ABC), 3.9/11
7. Duck Dynasty (A&E), 3.2/10
8. The Blacklist (NBC), 3.1/9
8. Scandal (ABC), 3.1/9
8. Thursday Night Football (NFLN), 3.1/9
8. American Horror Story (FX), 3.1/9
12. The Millers (CBS), 3.0/9
12. The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 3.0/9
12. How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 3.0/9
15. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (ABC), 2.9/9
15. Glee (Fox), 2.9/8
17. NCIS (CBS), 2.8/9
17. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.8/8
17. Sleepy Hollow (Fox), 2.8/7
20. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 2.6/7
20. Criminal Minds (CBS), 2.6/7

Total Viewers (in millions):
1. Sunday Night Football (NBC), 22.07
2. NCIS (CBS), 18.33
3. The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 17.64
4. The Walking Dead (AMC), 16.11
5. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 14.84
6. The Voice-Monday (NBC), 14.64
7. Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 13.00
8. The Millers (CBS), 11.73
9. Person of Interest (CBS), 11.65
10. Monday Night Football (ESPN), 11.45
11. The Blacklist (NBC), 11.18
12. Criminal Minds (CBS), 10.98
13. Modern Family (ABC), 10.64
14. 60 Minutes (CBS), 10.62
15. Blue Bloods (CBS), 10.56
16. Castle (ABC), 10.51
17. The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 10.20
18. The Crazy Ones (CBS), 9.69
19. Survivor (CBS), 9.60
20. The Mentalist (CBS), 9.39

post #90209 of 93656
TV Notes
A Spark Snuffed by Drink and Ire
‘Burton and Taylor,’ Starring Helena Bonham Carter
By Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times - Oct. 16, 2013

Tempestuous love affairs cool down. Even Elizabeth Taylor couldn’t remain, as Richard Burton once described her in his diary, “an eternal one-night stand.”

“Burton and Taylor,” a BBC film about this legendary couple, doesn’t try to reproduce the movie stars’ early ardor, scandal and éclat. Instead, the principal actors, Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, explore the frayed bonds — and frictions — that remained between Burton and Taylor seven years after they divorced a second time. The result is surprisingly interesting, fun and, at times, even quite moving.

This biographical movie, which will be shown on Wednesday on BBC America, is mostly set in 1983, when the two reunited on Broadway in a revival of Noël Coward’s “Private Lives.” Taylor coaxed Burton to join her in that comedy about a divorced couple who meet again while both are on honeymoons with new spouses.

The parallels between the play and its notorious players were all too obvious and cynically milked. The reviews were brutal (Frank Rich wrote in The New York Times that the performance had “all the gaiety of a tax audit”), but the run sold out well in advance. Audiences savored the spectacle as much as the actual play.

The film shows the first day of rehearsals, when Taylor is late, of course, and Burton is aghast to learn that his former wife hasn’t actually read the play. “I always make it a rule never to look at anything until I’m starring in it,” she pertly explains.

It’s quickly evident that the two stars still have chemistry, yet very different reasons for wanting to work together again. Burton, still insecure about his standing as an actor, wants a co-star. Taylor, lonely and drinking heavily, wants a playmate.

He is on the wagon, shakily. She is in a pre-Betty Ford clinic frenzy, drinking full-throttle.

Inevitably, their ambitions clash.

And, in that sense, “Burton and Taylor” is instructive about how to make a movie about outsize movie stars. “Liz & Dick,” which was shown on Lifetime last year, didn’t work for many reasons, and Lindsay Lohan, as Taylor, was only one of them. That film tried to re-enact that famous Hollywood love affair from beginning to end, or near-end, and was at best an insipid copy.

“My Week With Marilyn,” with Michelle Williams, wisely took a sidelong approach to Marilyn Monroe by focusing on a young man’s infatuation with her during her backstage battles with Laurence Olivier on the set of “The Prince and the Showgirl.”

“Burton and Taylor” is woven around just one almost forgotten episode in the stars’ long and improbable story. In that sense, the film is a little like a Peter Morgan conceit: two characters collide at a critical juncture in modern history, like Queen Elizabeth II and Tony Blair around the time of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, or Richard M. Nixon and David Frost in the aftermath of Watergate.

Here, Taylor and Burton spar in the twilight of their own mystique.

It helps that Ms. Bonham Carter and Mr. West are instantly believable and likable in the roles, even though neither one closely resembles the original. Ms. Bonham Carter doesn’t have Taylor’s violet eyes or movie star magnetism, but she conveys the actress’s bawdy bad manners and capricious charm. Mr. West can do Burton’s famous voice as well as capture his intelligence and vulnerability. Burton was a highly respected Shakespearean actor who felt he lost a chance at greatness by becoming a movie star. In the film, Burton rather poignantly says that all he really wants to do is “King Lear.” He never got a chance: he died, at 58, in 1984, before he had the chance. Taylor was 79 when she died in 2011.

In this interpretation, Taylor doesn’t necessarily expect to win Burton back — he has a new girlfriend — but she wants to re-establish her primacy in his life. Burton feels pity and also enduring affection, but mostly fears that he will drown in her drinking. (In his diaries, Burton described Taylor this way: “E.’s face O.K. but figure splop! Also drinking. Also has not yet read the play! That’s my girl!”)

And each, when thwarted, knows best how to wound the other.

When Burton resists her advances and instead tries to give her acting notes, Taylor falls conveniently ill and lets a stand-in take her place at his side. The theater empties almost immediately. The producers close the show until Taylor returns.

“This is La Taylor saying loud and clear, ‘Don’t you forget, Boy-o, who the star of this show really is,’ ” Burton says bitterly. While the play is on hiatus, Burton runs off to Las Vegas for his fifth marriage, to Sally Hay. Taylor learns about it from the newspapers.

Taylor has plunged the knife into what matters most to Burton, his reputation. And he has retaliated just as brutally, stoking Taylor’s worst fear, that she can be replaced.

But the ex-lovers are too entwined to stay hostile for long, their memories too vivid — and carnal — to fade away entirely. “Burton and Taylor” distills the special pleasure those aging movie stars could still take in each other’s company long after their passion was spent.

BBC America, Wednesday night at 9, Eastern and Pacific times; 8, Central time.

post #90210 of 93656
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Oct. 16, 2013

TBS, 4:00 p.m. ET

The St. Louis Cardinals can advance to the 2013 World Series by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers one more time. The Cardinals lead this series, 3-1, but no one knows, just yet, whether a pennant-clinching Game 5 is in the Cards.

ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET

Given this organization’s track record of quality and success, Pixar’s first made-for-TV special is cause for celebration. That’s especially true since the cast here, in this Halloween treat, includes many of the favorite toys from the Toy Story toy box, including Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, and Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head. This spud’s for you!

Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

This postseason pitching duel has been a wonder to watch. Every game in this series has been decided by one run, and that winning margin has arrived in the late innings. Tonight is Game 4 in the Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers duel, and after another intense game last night, the Red Sox now lead the series, 2-1.

BBC America, 9:00 p.m. ET

Dominic West from The Wire and Helena Bonham Carter take on the iconic movie-star roles of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor for this BBC-4 import, presented tonight by BBC America. It focuses on a late-in-life onstage reunion by the two divorced celebrities – and by keeping its focus that tight, emerges with a very successful biographical portrait. For full reviews, see Ed Bark’s Uncle Barky’s Bytes – and my own review on today’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR.

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s season premiere of this series, which reboots itself each year with a new setting and a mix of new and returning players, drew the most viewers of any American Horror Story episode to date. And no wonder, given the freaky, arresting series of promos FX has been running for this series the past few weeks. Tonight’s episode lives up to that hype, too. Supreme witch Fiona (Jessica Lange) has a heart-to-heart with the recently unearthed Madame LaLaurie (Kathy Bates), who’s been buried alive for more than 150 years… but looks great for her age.


* * * *

Critic's Notes
Terrible Beauty: Lush Nightmares from FX's 'American Horror Story'
By Eric Gould, TVWorthWatching.com - Oct. 16, 2013

If you tally up last week's American Horror Story images, you'll get quite a nightmare laundry list (yes, spoiler alerts, folks). It will include a poisoning, a college party gang-rape, and, in an historical throwback, a 19th-century New Orleans slave unwillingly costumed as an impromptu Minotaur – with an actual hollowed out bloody bull's head for a headdress.

The parade of taboos continues Wednesday night (10 p.m. ET) on FX, with fleeting shots of hangings and satanically themed sex. This season's AHS miniseries, subtitled Coven and themed around a group of burgeoning teen witches descended from Salem, has Kathy Bates (top) guest-starring as a zombified Creole matriarch exhumed from the grave into modern day. Horror Story isn't without its tongue in cheek humor, though. Tonight, Bates' character, Mme. Delphine LaLaurie, goes pale when she sees and hears an iPhone ringing.

After last season's mishigas of raving psychiatrists gone amok in an insane asylum, you'd think that would have been quite enough shock television, or, as one TVWW reader commented, "torture porn."

But like some kind of Victorian collector's gallery of oddities, this series from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk has its literary roots, and its own kind of ill-sitting beauty as it frames conflicting impulses around gender, sex and power. The Charmed view of teen witches was feather-light; Coven is about as hard-hitting as it gets.

Now three seasons into what can sometimes feel like a perfunctory shock-fest, AHS builds on the 19th century tradition of gothic horror established by Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), and others. Those stories deliberately plucked at our innate fear reflexes, considered dormant and softened by modern civilization. Turns out, we loved to be scared silly, and that century gave birth to vampires, werewolves and zombies.

Fast-forward to our time, and to the hyper-disturbing Saw and Silent Hill film franchises, which make anything from Stephen King feel like a day at the park. Those films delivered cruel visions, but with a perverse beauty, rendering the deepest nightmares in moody and evocative pictures for all to see.

Their television nephew, FX's American Horror Story, continues the genre with its tableau of prettified unpleasantries. Often stunningly. Last week, Jessica Lange's character Fiona Goode – the high-flying socialite and the "Supreme" of the witchly Salem descendants – was incensed by a doctor's admonition for her pursuit of an elixir that would deliver renewed youth.

"We're organic, Fiona, we rot and we die," he scolds her. She responds by sucking the life out of him, dropping him to the floor as a sagging corpse in a matter of seconds.

He was right.

With the riveting Lange leading the way, AHS is the rare creature in modern television – an anthology series with a repertory cast. The recurring group includes Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy and Taissa Farmiga, and gets shuffled around from season to season in different roles. Yet there is – believe it or not – a familial sense to the show. It's kind of an electronic equivalent of campfire ghost stories, delivered each year by favorite cousins. As off-putting as it can sometimes be, American Horror Story oten exceeds on its visual poetry, as grainy images lurch and pulse on the screen to scratchy and distorted sound effects.

And the series still has legs, so to speak. Tonight's episode resurrects Mary Shelley's Frankenstein theme with, at one point, more than a few dismembered ones laying about a morgue.

As Bates' character recounts after being exhumed from the grave after 180 years, "Hell is real. I've seen it down in that box. Time disappears. The only thing that is left is what's in your mind's eye."

AHS conjures all that up for us in stylish slices. Sometimes literally.

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