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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 3046

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Nielsen Notes/TV Sports
NBA Games Up On ESPN, Down On ABC
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Dec. 26, 2013

The NBA‘s five-game Christmas Day marathon on ABC and ESPN was a mixed bag this year, with strong results on ESPN and soft numbers on ABC. The tripleheader on ESPN posted an all-time high for a second consecutive year: It averaged a 2.3 overnight rating, up 10% from 2012. ESPN’s coverage started slower, with the Chicago Bulls-Brooklyn Nets game at 12 PM logging a 2.3 rating, down 15% from last year’s Boston Celtics-Nets matchup.espn But it picked up speed later in the day with the primetime doubleheader averaging a 2.3 rating — up 21% from last year and the highest-rated NBA Christmas Day primetime doubleheader ever. It was led by the Houston Rockets-San Antonio Spurs game, which scored a 2.4 rating at 8 PM, an all-time best for an NBA Christmas Day primetime game and up 41% from last Christmas’ 8 PM game between the Rockets and Chicago Bulls. The 10:30 face-off between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors (2.3) was up 15% from last year’s Denver Nuggets-Clippers game.

When the NBA TV schedule was set in the summer, nobody could’ve predicted that both Christmas Day games on ABC would be missing two of the league’s biggest stars. With the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony and the LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant sidelined with injuries, ratings for ABC’s coverage — which featured the same four teams as last year — took a tumble. The early afternoon game, Oklahoma City’s lopsided victory over the Knicks, posted a 3.7, down 37% from last year’s Lakers-Knicks matchup. The second game, in which the Heat defeated the Bryant-less Lakers, drew a 4.9 rating, down 18% from last year’s Thunder-Miami Heat matchup. It was the lowest rated early game in four years, since 2009, and the lowest rated second game in six, since 2007.

lDespite a lower-than-usual Christmas primetime lead-in from basketball, ABC still finished No. 1 for the night in adults 18-49, paced by The Middle and Modern Family repeats, which logged the highest 18-49 rating of the night, a 1.3. CBS aired an I Love Lucy special, which managed a 0.6. Once rock-solid Fox comedy Raising Hope had a rough going, with one of its back-to-back reruns logging a 0.2 in 18-49, the lowest result in primetime last night. (Raising Hope‘s other episode tied as the second-lowest-rated program with a 0.4.)

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Technology Notes
Sony and Panasonic End OLED Partnership
By Lee Neikirk, Reviewed.com - Dec. 26, 2013

Yesterday, Japanese news outlet Nikkei reported that a recent partnership between Sony and Panasonic will be dissolved by the end of the year. The partnership, originating in June of 2012, would have helped create a means of mass-producing OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TV panels.

With current sales of OLED TVs remaining low and durability issues hamstringing long-term production plans, the partnership's goal has been deemed untenable at the current time. Sony and Panasonic will instead focus on the production of 4K (UHD) TVs, which can be produced more easily and are more profitable.

The partnership involved a dual effort by both manufacturers to establish a viable means of production by this year, with Panasonic printing organic material onto a panel substrate containing Sony's OLED technology. A reliable means of mass-producing OLED TVs would have been a boon to the technology's survival in the consumer market.

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TV Sports/Business Notes
For ESPN, Millions to Remain in Connecticut
By Steve Eder, The New York Times - Dec. 27, 2013

BRISTOL, Conn. — The governor of Connecticut arrived at ESPN’s expansive campus here to celebrate the groundbreaking of the sports media giant’s 19th building, a digital center that would be the new home of “SportsCenter.” It was August 2011, and this was the third visit in a year by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, whose first was about three weeks before his election.

This time, Mr. Malloy brought a hard hat, a shovel and an incentive package for ESPN potentially worth $25 million.

ESPN is hardly needy. With nearly 100 million households paying about $5.54 a month for ESPN, regardless of whether they watch it, the network takes in more than $6 billion a year in subscriber fees alone. Still, ESPN has received about $260 million in state tax breaks and credits over the past 12 years, according to a New York Times analysis of public records. That includes $84.7 million in development tax credits because of a film and digital media program, as well as savings of about $15 million a year since the network successfully lobbied the state for a tax code change in 2000.

For Mr. Malloy and other public officials in Connecticut, the conventional wisdom is that any business with ESPN is good business. After all, ESPN is Connecticut’s most celebrated brand and a homegrown success story, employing more than 4,000 workers in the state.

“After I was elected, this was one of the first companies that I came to,” Mr. Malloy told reporters after the groundbreaking ceremony, standing next to a senior ESPN executive, according to a recording of the event. “I made it clear that ESPN’s needs were not going to be ignored by my administration.”

This is peak season for ESPN, which is broadcasting 33 of the 35 college football bowl games, including the national championship game on Jan. 6 between Florida State and Auburn. This spring, it is scheduled to open the 193,000-square-foot Digital Center 2, which is being built with Malloy’s pledge of nearly $25 million in state support. Workers there recently constructed the massive studios that will house ESPN’s flagship lineup of shows. The main hallways in the building were designed to be wide enough to fit a racecar.

The state’s generosity toward ESPN, a multibillion-dollar conglomerate, is not unlike the treatment other major companies have received in Connecticut and throughout the country, like Boeing in South Carolina and General Motors in Michigan. But the breaks have been met with frustration by some political opponents of the Connecticut governor, who say the state’s resources would be better spent elsewhere.

The critics say incentives should be redirected to smaller companies that are more in need than ESPN, which accounts for nearly half the operating profit of Disney, its corporate parent. They also say ESPN, sitting on 123 acres in central Connecticut, is hardly a risk to move elsewhere.

“These people had courage and imagination, so they deserve their success,” State Senator Tony Guglielmo, a Republican, said. “But I don’t think the taxpayers here in our state should be funding it.”

The critics say ESPN has been successful in getting an audience at the State Capitol in Hartford partly because of its ability to communicate its needs effectively to the state’s decision makers. ESPN employs one of the top lobbying firms in Connecticut and has spent $1.2 million on lobbying expenses since 2007, records show.

But Mr. Malloy, a Democrat who will be up for re-election in 2014, says no lobbying is needed to convince him of what he considers obvious: ESPN is one of Connecticut’s best resources, and the state must use all tools available to aid its growth and keep its home base and the thousands of well-paying jobs it promises in Bristol.

He sees ESPN as a magnet for attracting other sports media jobs to his state. NBC Sports, which also received state benefits, recently opened its new headquarters in Connecticut. “I don’t want to imagine Connecticut without ESPN,” Mr. Malloy said in a telephone interview, adding that state incentive programs benefited large and small companies. “We want ESPN to have the biggest possible footprint in Connecticut, and we want them spending their dollars in Connecticut instead of any other state.”

Building Up Bristol

Everyone seems to agree that ESPN is a shining success story for Connecticut, in terms of the state’s early support of an upstart through its development into an international powerhouse. The company’s executives acknowledge that state and local officials have played important roles in their success. But they also say their company has provided an exceptional return on the investment. For the past 25 years, Connecticut has been last in the nation in job creation, with no net job creation over that period.

“Consistently since we launched, we’ve been a growth engine for economic development in central Connecticut,” said Mike Soltys, an ESPN spokesman, who has worked for the company since 1980. “We’ve added employees on a consistent basis for 33 years in a state that in recent years hasn’t had as much success bringing companies that hire people here.

“Because we are visible and highly successful, the state can point to us as a company that loves being here and has flourished being in Connecticut.”

Since 2000, ESPN has spent about $1 billion on construction in and around Bristol, a town of about 60,000, erecting 13 new buildings and expanding several others. During that period, the company’s work force in Connecticut has swelled from 1,700 to more than 4,000. That makes ESPN the 25th-largest employer in the state, according to rankings by the Hartford Business Journal.

The company has a reputation as a first-rate corporate citizen in Bristol, where ESPN laid roots in 1979. It is by far the city’s largest employer and taxpayer, with an assessment dwarfing that of the next nine companies combined. ESPN has also been a significant donor, underwriting the Boys and Girls Club in Bristol, donating to the hospital and children’s museum, and sending out employee volunteers to build a baseball diamond for a low-income housing complex, all with little fanfare.

“I wish everyone was that good,” said Frank N. Nicastro Sr., a Democratic state representative from Bristol and a former mayor. “I’ve watched them grow from a little acorn to an unbelievable size. They’ve done wonders for the city of Bristol.”

The network’s Connecticut origins stem from its founder, Bill Rasmussen, an executive with the Hartford Whalers who wanted to use satellites to beam Whalers and University of Connecticut games to cable television subscribers. The fact that ESPN made its home in Bristol, an old manufacturing town about halfway between New York and Boston, was a point of pride to locals.

Politicians who were not on board with ESPN did not find much success: One mayoral candidate campaigned against the network’s dishes, saying they were a danger to birds. That message did not register in a place that was quickly emerging as the home of ESPN.

“ESPN is huge,” said Ken Cockayne, a city councilman for several years who took over as mayor in November. “They are our largest taxpayer and they are a great corporate partner for our city.”

Incentives to Stay

By the spring of 2000, ESPN had shed its roots as a small start-up and was beginning to look more like a mature corporate behemoth.

Disney, its owner, looked to ESPN as a key part of its revenue machine and one poised for immense growth. The network had 1,700 employees in Bristol, and another 700 worked elsewhere — as the network now had facilities or subsidiaries in seven other states.

That is when ESPN did what other big, multinational companies had done: It went to the statehouse in Hartford and sought financial incentives in exchange for continued growth in Connecticut. At the top of ESPN’s agenda was supporting a measure by state lawmakers that would change the corporate tax formula in a way that would save broadcasters money.

The legislature had done this three years earlier for financial companies. If the adjustment was applied to broadcasters, ESPN stood to be the biggest beneficiary by far — reducing its taxes by about $15 million a year.

Edwin M. Durso, a senior ESPN executive, testified before lawmakers in March 2000 that such a change would encourage the network to embark on a major capital project that would include as much as $500 million in spending, and up to 1,000 new jobs. The network’s initiative was also likely to spur its suppliers and other nearby companies to grow, too, Mr. Durso said, creating a multiplier effect.

Asked by a lawmaker if ESPN would consider putting the development in another state, Mr. Durso referred to the corporate connection to Disney: “They have facilities in many different states.”

The lawmakers were pleased to have ESPN on hand; one even stated, “for the record,” that he watched “SportsCenter” “two nights a week during the legislative session” but “four nights a week the rest of the year.”

The lawmakers approved the change to the corporate tax formula, and a review by Connecticut’s Office of Legislative Research in 2004 showed that ESPN was fulfilling its promise to the legislature. That year, ESPN opened the 136,000-square-foot Digital Center 1.

In 2006, as ESPN continued to grow, the Connecticut General Assembly, along with Mr. Malloy’s predecessor, M. Jodi Rell, had designs on expanding the state’s digital media sector. They wanted to offer tax incentives to companies that use the state as a base for initiatives like making films, building studios and increasing their online operations. Since the program began, the state has awarded about $450 million in tax credits to businesses that have spent $1.6 billion in the state.

ESPN has been among the largest participants in that program, spending $318 million in Connecticut and receiving $84.7 million in tax certificates — about a fifth of the total amount awarded. Companies like Blue Sky Studios and World Wrestling Entertainment have also benefited.

The program has provided ESPN with financial incentives for the development of ESPN.com ($54 million) and ESPN Mobile ($3.2 million), as well as infrastructure credits for the construction of a research and development building ($6.6 million) and the Digital Center 2 ($14.4 million). ESPN also qualified for $6.2 million in credits to support the production of “The Bronx Is Burning,” a television mini-series.

ESPN regularly sells the tax credit certificates to other entities in private transactions, which could mean that the network receives less value than the amount on the voucher. Such transfers are common and within the rules of the program.

George Norfleet, the director of the state’s Office of Film, Television and Digital Media, said he was in regular contact with ESPN, treating the network as a “corporate constituent” with room for growth. “We want to make sure that happens here, not in Orlando or Los Angeles,” he said.

A recurring theme in ESPN’s dealings with the state is that the company could move its operations elsewhere. When Malloy announced ESPN’s inclusion in “First Five,” a state plan to create jobs and promote business development, he said the network had other places where it could have invested. He mentioned recent production facilities in Los Angeles and Austin, Tex.

Some lawmakers who oppose the governor have questioned whether such a shift was a legitimate concern. “If you listen to the governor, they always claim these companies are on the precipice of moving a large, important division,” said Larry Cafero, the Republican leader in the Connecticut House of Representatives.

“You scratch your head and say, Why are we giving them this money?” he said. “Why are we giving them these breaks if there’s no immediate threat to leave?”

Mr. Malloy, for his part, is comfortable with the state’s ties to ESPN. In fact, the governor said he would like more of them.

“We want a larger footprint for ESPN in Connecticut rather than a smaller footprint for ESPN in Connecticut because we know that a large footprint is harder to move out,” Mr. Malloy said.

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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY 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 - Last Man Standing
(R - Sep. 27)
8:30PM - The Neighbors
(R - Sep. 27)
9PM - Shark Tank
(R - May 17)
10:01PM - 20/20: Mirror, Mirror
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Will Ferrell; Adam Scott; Ron Burgundy and Christopher Cross perform; unnecessary censorship)
(R - Dec. 19)
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - Undercover Boss: Epic Employees
(R - May 10)
9PM - Garth Brooks, Live From Las Vegas (120 min.)
(R - Nov. 29)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Tom Selleck; comic Michael Somerville; Albert Hammond Jr. performs)
(R - Oct. 4)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Rosie Perez; comic Nick Cobb)
(R - Oct. 18)

8PM - Dateline NBC
(R - Apr. 3)
9PM - NBC News Special: What We Wasted Our Year On
10PM - Grimm
(R - Nov. 28)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (Quentin Tarantino; deep-fried cooking with Jim Stacy; Luke Bryan performs)
(R - Nov. 26)
12:36AM - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (Rashida Jones; singer Carrie Underwood; Ariana Grande performs with The Roots)
(R - Nov. 28)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Director Scott Cooper; Chvrches performs; comic Esther Povitsky)
(R - Dec. 10)

8PM - Bones
(R - Jan. 14)
9PM - Raising Hope (60 min.)
(R - Mar. 28)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Washington Week with Gwen Ifill
8:30PM - Charlie Rose: The Week
9PM - American Masters - Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did for Love (90 min.)
10PM - Return to Downton Abbey
(R - Dec. 1)

8PM - Por Siempre Mi Amor
9PM - Lo Que la Vida Me Robó (120 min.)

8PM - The Carrie Diaries
(R - Oct. 25)
9PM - Nikita (Series Finale)

8PM - Marido en Alquiler
9PM - La Reina del Sur
10PM - Santa Diabla

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Chef Curtis Stone; comic Jen Kirkman; comic Loni Love; comic Matt Braunger)

Check Local Listings - Arsenio (Mike Tyson; Niecy Nash; Nathan East)
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TV Notes
TV networks bathe viewers in a raft of new midseason shows
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Dec. 27, 2013

As 2014 dawns, broadcast and cable networks are getting ready to unveil dozens of new and returning programs at midseason. Here's a sneak peek:


"The Assets" (10 p.m. Thursday):
An eight-part limited series set in the 1980s (shades of "The Americans") about a real-life counterintelligence officer out to stop the mole who is eventually revealed to be Aldrich Ames (Paul Rhys).

"Killer Women" (10 p.m. Jan. 7): Tricia Helfer ("Battlestar Galactica") stars as Molly Parker, one of the first women to join the Texas Rangers.

"Mixology" (9:30 p.m. Feb. 26): A group of friends hang out at a bar in this sitcom.

"Resurrection" (9 p.m. March 9): The dead begin returning to life for no apparent reason in this drama that sounds similar to Sundance Channel's "The Returned."

"Mind Games" (10 p.m. March 11): Brothers Ross (Christian Slater) and Clark (Steve Zahn) are con artists who use their scamming skills to help others.

Returning series: "The Bachelor" (8 p.m. Jan. 6), "Suburgatory" (8:30 p.m. Jan. 15), "The Taste" (8 p.m. Thursday), "Revenge" (10 p.m. March 9).


"Intelligence" (previews at 9 p.m. Jan. 7; series premiere at 10 p.m. Jan. 13):
Josh Holloway ("Lost") stars as an intelligence operative with a computer chip in his brain. Marg Helgenberger ("CSI") co-stars as his boss.

"Friends With Better Lives" (9 p.m. March 31): Sitcom about six friends at different stages in their lives -- married, divorced, newly engaged, single -- who wonder if everyone else has it better than they do. Moves to 8:30 p.m. on April 7; on April 14, "2 Broke Girls" moves to 8 p.m.


"Rake" (9 p.m. Jan. 23):
Greg Kinnear plays the Dr. Gregory House of criminal defense attorneys in this remake of an Australian show.

"Enlisted" (9:30 p.m. Jan. 10): Three brothers (Geoff Stults, Parker Young, Chris Lowell) from an Army family find themselves working on the same backwater Army base in this sitcom from a producer of "Cougar Town."

Returning series: "American Idol" (8 p.m. Jan. 15), "The Following" (10 p.m. Jan. 19), "Glee" (8 p.m. Feb. 25).


"Chicago P.D." (10 p.m. Jan. 8):
A spinoff of "Chicago Fire," this drama stars Jason Beghe, Jon Seda and Sophia Bush as Windy City cops.

Returning series: "Community" (8 p.m. Thursday), "Hannibal" (10 p.m. Feb. 28).


"Chasing Shackleton" (10 p.m. Wednesdays Jan 8-22, WQED-TV): A modern crew re-creates Sir Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic expedition.

"Super Skyscrapers" (10 p.m. Wednesdays, Feb. 5-26): This series follows the creation of four buildings.

"Story of the Jews" (8 p.m. Tuesdays, March 25-April 1): Author Simon Schama explores the Jewish experience in this five-part series.

"NOVA: Inside Animals Minds" (9 p.m. Wednesdays, April 9-23): What the science of animal cognition reveals.

"Coming Back With Wes Moore" (8 p.m. Tuesdays, May 13-27): Returning U.S. veterans share their homecoming experiences with author Wes Moore.

Returning series: "Downton Abbey" (9 p.m. Jan. 5, WQED-TV), "Sherlock" (10 p.m. Jan. 19), "Call the Midwife" (8 p.m. March 30), "Mr. Selfridge" (9 p.m. March 30), "Pioneers of Television" (8 p.m. April 8), "The Bletchley Circle" (10 p.m. April 13).

The CW

The CW will shake up its schedule in the new year, with "The Tomorrow People" moving to Mondays in March and at the same time "Beauty and the Beast" goes on hiatus. "Hart of Dixie" will relocate to 9 p.m. Friday on March 21 after "The Carrie Diaries" ends its run.

"Star-Crossed" (8 p.m. Feb. 17, WPCW): Aliens come to Earth and are put in internment camps. A human and alien who met as children reunite as teens when a high school is desegregated and aliens and humans learn side by side.

"The 100" (9 p.m. March 19): Set in the future, this drama follows a group of humans who survived a nuclear holocaust that decimated Earth. Now, 97 years later, some of their descendants return to a slowly healing planet.

Returning series: "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" (8 and 8:30 p.m. March 21).


"Every Witch Way" (7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nickelodeon):
Emma, 14, discovers she's a witch and fights with an "evil witch" for the love of the boy next door.

"Kim of Queens" (10 p.m. Wednesday, Lifetime): Reality show about beauty pageant coach Kim Gravel.

"Tattoos After Dark" (11 p.m. Wednesday, Oxygen): Because you can never have too many competition series about tattoo artists.

"Cold River Cash" (10 p.m. Thursday, Animal Planet): Three teams of fishermen in Maine try to lure in elusive Elver eels.

"Do or Die" (10 and 10:30 p.m. Thursday, National Geographic Channel): Stories of real people caught in life or death situations, including at a bullfight gone wrong, tsunami and skydiving accident.

"Toned Up" (10:30 p.m. Thursday, Bravo): Exercise gurus Katrina Dawn and Karena Hodgson attempt to grow their fitness brand.

"Space Dandy" (11:30 p.m. Jan. 4, Adult Swim): Anime series from the creative team behind "Cowboy Bebop."

"Blood, Sweat & Heels" (9 p.m. Jan. 5, Bravo): Reality chronicle of five women in New York real estate, fashion and media circles.

"The Curse of Oak Island" (10 p.m. Jan. 5, History): Two brothers from Michigan explore a supposedly cursed island in the North Atlantic in this unscripted series.

"Escaping the Prophet" (10 p.m. Jan. 7, TLC): A former member of a polygamist church helps others flee the community.

"The Legend of Mick Dodge" (10 and 10:30 p.m. Jan. 7, National Geographic Channel): A survivalist lives in the woods of Northwest Washington.

"100 Days of Summer" (10 p.m. Jan. 7, Bravo): Reality chronicle of six young people in Chicago real estate, fashion and nightlife circles.

"Mind of a Man" (8 p.m. Jan. 8, GSN): Two female contestants try to figure out what men really think with the help of a celebrity panel in this game show.

"Appalachian Outlaws" (10 p.m. Jan. 9, History): A backwoods fight over a ginseng harvest.

"Spoils of Babylon" (10 p.m. Jan. 9, IFC): A six-part comedic soap that stars Jessica Alba, Will Ferrell, Val Kilmer, Tobey Maguire, Haley Joel Osment, Tim Robbins and Kristen Wiig.

"Helix" (10 p.m. Jan. 10, Syfy): Executive produced by "Battlestar Galactica's" Ron Moore, this thriller follows scientists who visit an Arctic research facility to investigate a possible disease outbreak. Billy Campbell ("The Killing") stars.

"10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty" (10 p.m. Jan. 10, Spike TV): Dean Cain hosts a search for Sasquatch.

"When Calls the Heart" (9 p.m. Jan. 11, Hallmark Channel): A young teacher from a large city gets her first classroom assignment in a small town on the Western frontier in Hallmark's second drama series.

"Beaver Brothers" (8 p.m. Jan. 12, Animal Planet): Reality series follows siblings Charlie and Eddie Landry, who run a company that helps contain critters in Nova Scotia.

"True Detective" (9 p.m. Jan. 12, HBO): Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson play Louisiana detectives on a 17-year hunt for a murderer.

"90-Day Fiance" (10 p.m. Jan. 12, TLC): Reality show follows five bi-national couples who have 90 days to decide whether they will stay together in America or if one will be returned to sender.

"Don't Trust Andrew Mayne" (10 p.m. Jan. 13, A&E): Illusionist Andrew Mayne attempts to reinvent revenge using illusions.

"Bitten" (10 p.m. Jan. 13, Syfy): Laura Vandervoort ("Smallville") stars as the lone female werewolf in existence who abandons her pack and moves to a new city.

"Chozen" (10:30 p.m. Jan. 13, FX): A gay, white, recently paroled rapper (voiced by Bobby Moynihan, "Saturday Night Live") is the focus of this animated comedy.

"Friday Night Tykes" (9 p.m. Jan. 14, Esquire Network): Docuseries follows five teams from the San Antonio region's Texas Youth Football Association through their 2013 season.

"Crazy Hearts: Nashville" (11 p.m. Jan. 15, A&E): Another reality show set in this music city about wannabe musicians.

"Under the Gunn" (9 p.m. Jan. 16, Lifetime): Tim Gunn ("Project Runway") hosts a new fashion competition among former "Runway" stars Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee and Nick Verreos, who mentor 15 designers, picking them for their teams "The Voice"-style.

"Jerks With Cameras" (10:30 p.m. Jan. 16, MTV): Comedians play hidden cameras games with unsuspecting people in public.

"The Brian Boitano Project" (11 p.m. Jan. 16, HGTV): The Olympic gold medalist travels to Italy to revive his old family home.

"SWV Reunited" (10 p.m. Jan. 16, WE tv): 1990s R&B trio Sisters With Voices reunite after 15 years.

"I Didn't Do It" (9:40 p.m. Jan. 17, Disney Channel): Olivia Holt ("Kickin' It") stars in a new comedy series about five teenagers who get into a predicament; flashbacks show how the mishap came to be.

"The Diamond Collar" (10 p.m. Jan. 17, OWN): "Reality" show about James "Head" Guiliani, a former street enforcer for the mafia, who now runs a Brooklyn dog grooming parlor.

"Mom's Got Game" (10 p.m. Jan. 18, OWN): Reality show about former WNBA star Pamela McGee and her 25-year-old NBA player son, JaVale McGee of the Denver Nuggets.

"HitRecord on TV" (10 p.m. Jan. 18, Pivot): Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars, created and directs this quasi-variety series that includes short films, performances, music and conversation created by a global online community with a different theme in each of the eight episodes.

"The Moaning of Life" (10 p.m. Jan. 18, Science Channel): Karl Pilkington ("An Idiot Abroad") looks at how other cultures experience happiness, marriage and death.

"We Move Animals" (10 p.m. Jan. 18, Nat Geo Wild): A reality show about a family business that involves moving wild cargo.

"Looking" (10:30 p.m. Jan. 19, HBO): Three gay friends in San Francisco pursue life and love while supporting one another.

"Horseplayers" (10 p.m. Jan. 21, Esquire Network): Reality show about horse-race handicappers.

"Opposite Worlds" (10 p.m. Jan. 21, Syfy): 14 competitors live in a house divided by a glass wall: On one side, players live in a simulation of the past; in the other, a simulation of the future.

"Broad City" (10:30 p.m. Jan. 22, Comedy Central): Best friends Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are odd couple best friends who navigate their 20s in New York City in this scripted comedy.

"Treasure King" (10 p.m. Jan. 22, ReelzChannel): Adventurer Richie Marcello travels the world to find lost treasures in this reality series.

"Wahlburgers" (10:30 p.m. Jan. 22, A&E): Reality shows follows the relatives of actors Donnie and "Marky" Mark Wahlberg as they operate a burger joint.

"The Fighters" (9 p.m. Jan. 23, Discovery Channel): Reality series about boxers in South Boston.

"The Capones" (10 p.m. Jan. 28, ReelzChannel): Reality show about an Italian family that is supposedly related to Al Capone.

"Review" (10 p.m. Feb. 27, Comedy Central): Forrest MacNeil (Andy Daly) reviews anything his audience suggests, whether it's the adrenaline rush of shoplifting or the perils of drug addiction.

"Sirens" (10 p.m. March 6, USA): Denis Leary ("Rescue Me") executive produces this scripted series about the antics of Chicago EMTs.

"Chrisley Knows Best" (10 p.m. March 11, USA): Reality family comedy that follows a Southern millionaire and his family. USA will pair with "Modern Family" reruns.

"TripTank" (10:30 p.m. April 2, Comedy Central): A showcase for animated shorts.

Returning cable series include:

Some cable series, including AMC's "Mad Men" and HBO's "Game of Thrones," have not been scheduled but are expected to premiere in the coming months. Here's what's been scheduled so far:

Wednesday: "Dance Moms" (9 p.m., Lifetime), "My Strange Addiction" (9 p.m., TLC).

Thursday: "Couples Therapy" (9 p.m., VH1), "Ridiculousness" (10 p.m., MTV).

Jan. 3: "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" (9 p.m., OWN), "Oprah's Lifeclass" (10 p.m., OWN).

Jan. 4: "Mythbusters" (8 p.m., Discovery Channel), "The Incredible Dr. Pol" (9 p.m., Nat Geo Wild), "Raising Whitley" (9 p.m., OWN).

Jan. 5: "Oprah's Next Chapter" (9 p.m., OWN).

Jan. 6: "Single Ladies" (9 p.m., VH1), "Hotel Impossible Undercover" (10 and 10:30 p.m., Travel Channel), "Teen Wolf" (10 p.m., MTV), "Cracked" (11 p.m., ReelzChannel), "@midnight" (Midnight, Comedy Central), "King" (Midnight, ReelzChannel).

Jan. 7: "Pretty Little Liars" (8 p.m., ABC Family), "My 600-lb Life" (9 p.m., TLC), "Ravenswood" (9 p.m., ABC Family), "The Haves and Have Notes" (9 p.m., OWN), "Justified" (10 p.m., FX).

Jan. 8: "Love Thy Neighbor" (9 p.m., OWN), "Psych" (9 p.m., USA), "The Real World: Ex-Plosion" (10 p.m., MTV).

Jan. 9: "White Collar" (9 p.m., USA).

Jan. 10: "Banshee" (10 p.m., Cinemax), "Treehouse Masters" (10 p.m., Animal Planet).

Jan. 12: "Girls" (10 p.m., HBO).

Jan. 13: "Lost Girl" (8 p.m., Syfy), "Switched at Birth" (8 p.m., ABC Family), "Being Human" (9 p.m., Syfy), "Brain Games" (9 p.m., National Geographic Channel), "The Fosters" (9 p.m., ABC Family), "Archer" (10 p.m., FX).

Jan. 14: "Face Off" (9 p.m., Syfy), "Kroll Show" (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central).

Jan. 15: "Melissa & Joey" (8 p.m., ABC Family), "Baby Daddy" (8:30 p.m., ABC Family), "Jim Rome on Showtime" (10 p.m., Showtime).

Jan. 16: "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" (9 p.m., TLC), "Trailer Park: Welcome to Myrtle Manor" (10 p.m., TLC).

Jan. 19: "The Following" (after NFC Championship game, Fox; time slot premiere 9 p.m. Jan. 27).

Jan. 21: "Teen Mom 2" (10 p.m., MTV).

Jan. 22: "Ghost Hunters" (9 p.m., Syfy), "Workaholics" (10 p.m., Comedy Central).

Jan. 23: "King of the Nerds" (10 p.m., TBS).

Feb. 11: "Twisted" (9 p.m., ABC Family).

Feb. 18: "Tosh.0" (10 p.m., Comedy Central).

Feb. 24: "Dallas" (9 p.m., TNT).

Feb. 25: "Rizzoli & Isles" (9 p.m., TNT), "Perception" (10 p.m., TNT).

Feb. 26: "The Americans" (FX, 10 p.m.).

Feb. 27: "Portlandia" (10 p.m., IFC), "Vikings" (10 p.m., History).

March 6: "Suits" (9 p.m., USA).

April 1: "Inside Amy Schumer" (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central).

April 19: "Orphan Black" (9 p.m., BBC America).

Channel surfing

CBS's telecast of the 36th annual "Kennedy Center Honors" airs at 9 p.m. Sunday on KDKA-TV. ... Syndicated talk show "Katie" has been canceled after two seasons and will wrap its run in June. ... Nickelodeon has renewed superhero comedy "The Thundermans" for a second season. ... Cable's Pivot TV will air reruns of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Veronica Mars" at 10 and 11 p.m. weekdays beginning Jan. 13.

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
TV networks bathe viewers in a raft of new midseason shows
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Dec. 27, 2013

As 2014 dawns, broadcast and cable networks are getting ready to unveil dozens of new and returning programs at midseason. Here's a sneak peek:


"Mixology" (9:30 p.m. Feb. 26): A group of friends hang out at a bar in this sitcom.

Can you say "Cheers"?
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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Dec. 26, 2013

AMC, 12:00 p.m. ET

What a great end-of-year TV present! If you’re averse to shelling out big bucks for the spectacular, recently issued complete-series DVD set of Breaking Bad, here’s the next best, much cheaper thing. Beginning at noon ET, AMC is presenting a marathon showing of the entire series, start to finish. And if you’ve never seen this series (shame on you!), you have to start with the opening scene of episode one. That’s what sold me on the series in the first place – a brilliant starting grabber that never let go. Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul star, and their chemistry is evident from the start. So to speak.

Disney Channel, 8:00 p.m. ET

Amy Adams is appearing in two movies in theaters right now – playing a sultry con artist in American Hustle and a lovelorn documentary filmmaker in Her. Those roles are poles apart, and they’re both very different from her starring role in this 2007 Disney film, a charming comedy about an animated fairy-tale princess who emerges, magically, into the real world, in modern-day Manhattan. She’s fabulous in the role, from her very first appearance, and whether singing, dancing, swooning over Patrick Dempsey or doing all manner of comic double-takes, she’s flawlessly delightful in her first starring film role.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 1942 Orson Welles movie is being presented tonight as part of TCM’s salute to Hollywood costume designers – but any excuse to catch The Magnificent Ambersons is a good one. Even though Welles’ follow-up to Citizen Kane was taken out of his hands and shaped and edited by others before its release, what remains is another compelling piece of filmmaking. Joseph Cotton, Agnes Moorehead, Anne Baxter star.

The CW, 9:00 p.m. ET
This series never registered as much more than occasionally diverting action fare on a slow Friday TV night – but Melinda Clarke, as the ruthless trainer-turned-enemy of Maggie Q’s Nikita, certainly injected Nikita with bits of flair and fun. For tonight’s series finale, expect a womano y womano showdown, as Nikita finally confronts Clark’s Amanda face to face. Although, since Amanda has been dabbling with lookalike double agents of late, who knows whose face is real?

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

As Stephen Sondheim does in HBO’s Six by Sondheim, composer Marvin Hamlisch here, in vintage film and TV clips, explains himself and his music and motivations better than anyone else. Though, in both cases, the “anyone else” group includes some of the biggest luminaries in Broadway and Hollywood. (Here, the roster includes Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Quincy Jones, and Christopher Walken.) Hamlisch, who died in 2012, scored hugely by composing A Chorus Line for Broadway, repopularizing the ragtime music of Scott Joplin with his movie score for The Sting, and also wrote the music for The Way We Were. But this American Masters biography by Dori Berenstein digs deeply enough to unearth some equally entertaining surprises. I had no idea, for example, that he was the young composer of an early Lesley Gore hit, “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows.” Check local listings.


* * * *

Critic's Notes
2013 - The Year In TV
By Eric Gould, TVWorthWatching.com - Dec. 26, 2013

We had some unforgettable pictures cross our TV screens in 2013 that should burn on long after 2014 arrives.

There were the five days in April following the Boston Marathon bombings that held a national audience until one suspect was shot dead and another apprehended. In Boston, the day after the arrest, the Red Sox kicked off their annnual Opening Day with a tribute to the victims and slugger David Ortiz giving a message about courage. His from-the-heart speech from the field in Fenway Park had the crowd wild with an unplanned F-bomb.

Later in the year, we marked the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination with a month-long string of documentaries, and saw footage from another period when the country gathered around their screens to follow a shocking news story of cold-blooded violence.

In October, Ortiz and the Red Sox would return to national TV, going worst to first and winning the World Series – after finishing last in their division the season before.

Earlier in the year, the 2013 Superbowl became infamous for a power failure that stopped the worldwide sports broadcast for 15 minutes while players and fans waited in the twilight gloom of the New Orleans Superdome. Later that night, Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show had his own hilarious backstage clip showing his version of, and reasons for, the blackout.

In May, on the eve of his return to Earth after nearly five months on board the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded his own version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." Here’s the edited version, that includes lyrics changed to Hadfield’s “lock your Soyuz hatch and put your helmet on.”

CNN premiered a new series with Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown, and another with Morgan Spurlock, Inside Man. Both brought more vital, and more hip, content to the cable news channel, but CNN ratings continued to drop.

In scripted TV, 2013 may be remembered for popularizing the term “binge-watching,” as Netflix dumped House of Cards and Orange is the New Black online in same-day full-season releases, making us bleary-eyed after nights of devouring the shows in 3-4 hour chunks.

2013 also delivered some of the best single episodes of some of the best shows of the decade. Mad Men gave us a regrettable childhood moment for Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka ) that may live on as one of the most poignant installments from that series. The Good Wife upturned its entire storyline for the 2013 season, particularly in October’s “Hitting the Fan” episode.

Likewise, The Walking Dead’s “Too Far Gone” face-off at the prison was a stunning and emotional blockbuster for the series that remains wildly unpredictable. Similarly, in the Game of Thrones' “The Rains of Castamere” episode, that series had its own storyline upheaval that became quickly known, in appreciative social-media shorthand, as simply the “Red Wedding” episode.

American Horror Story had its own signature moment in the “Burn, Witch, Burn!” episode, when angelic Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) weilded a chainsaw to eliminate an army of zombies, and finished, Carrie-style, spattered in blood. The series remains as one of the most gruesome, yet beautiful, series on televison.

2013 had its share of memorable imports with BBC America’s Broadchurch and PBS’s Last Tango in Halifax, and there were the quiet, but superb indie-like Sundance series Rectify, and the French import The Returned.

Scripted TV also saw some cancellations of very good shows that suffered from insufficiently large audiences, including HBO’s Enlightened, ABC’s Happy Endings and TNT’s Southland.

In comedy, HBO released the hilarious Louis C.K. special Oh My God, and Saturday Night Live said goodbye to Bill Hader’s “Stefon” character with an inventive signoff that had the character finally finding wedded bliss.

Stephen Colbert had arguably the best of the Vince Gilligan interviews after Breaking Bad signed off, and he certainly had one of the most hilarious bits – of all year – about fans not wanting to let go after the finish of that unforgettable series.

As with any year, 2013 saw the departure of many beloved celebrities, including Jonathan Winters and, most notably, James Gandolfini. For those of us at TVWW, loss struck way too close to home as our Managing Editor, Christy Slewinski, died suddenly and unexpectedly. While much of 2013 will eventually fade, the support and expertise that Christy brought to TVWW never will.

She continues to be missed.

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THURSDAY'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
'Big Bang Theory' Encore Topples Thursday Competition
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Dec. 27, 2013

Another mild holiday-week evening for the broadcast networks saw CBS take victories in both adults 18-49 (1.4 rating) and total viewers (6.5 million), thanks to Thursday's strongest performer: an encore of The Big Bang Theory (2.6 adults).

ABC News special Secrets of the Castle (1.0 adults) aired after a Shark Tank encore, giving ABC a 1.1 adults rating and 5.1 million viewers for the night.

NBC's encore special of The Women of Saturday Night Live (1.3 adults) helped the network match ABC's 1.1 rating with adults 18-49. NBC also netted 3.4 million viewers.

Glee repeats took a 0.4 rating among adults 18-49 and 1.5 million viewers, while encores from the CW's regular Thursday block averaged a 0.3 adults rating and 905,000 viewers.

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TV Notes
‘Game Of Thrones’ & ‘Breaking Bad’ Top List Of 2013′s Most Pirated Shows
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Dec. 26, 2013

There are very few surprises on the list of the Top 10 most pirated shows of 2013 released by TorrentFreak that includes only individual episodes downloaded via **********’s file-sharing protocol. HBO’s hit fantasy series Game Of Thrones, which has been setting piracy records, is the clear-cut No. 1 with 5.9 million downloads of the June Season 3 finale. Another piracy record breaker, AMC’s Breaking Bad, is No. 2 with its closer, 4.2 million.

The Top 10 features mostly cable shows, including the highest-rated series on television in adults 18-49, AMC’s The Walking Dead (3.6 million downloads), which edged the top-rated broadcast series, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (3.4 million). There are two popular CBS comedies on the list including How I Met Your Mother (3.0 million), which is not surprising given CBS’ particularly restrictive streaming rules. More surprising is the presence of the CW’s Arrow (at No. 10 with 2.2 million) as the CW has its shows readily available online on its website as well as Hulu and Netflix (for older seasons). But young-skewing shows tend to travel fast oversees; I remember a ton of teenagers in eastern Europe used to download new episodes of Fox’s The O.C. the day after they premiered in the U.S.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Showtime’s Dexter (3.1 million), USA Network’s Suits (2.6 million), Showtime’s Homeland (2.4 million), and History’s Vikings. (2.3 million).

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TV Notes
‘Duck Dynasty’: A&E Reverses Suspension; Phil Robertson Won’t Miss Any Episodes
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Dec. 26, 2013

“Duck Dynasty” supporters have won their standoff with A&E: The network has reversed its suspension of star Phil Robertson for making anti-gay comments, and he will not miss a single episode of the upcoming season.

Shooting will resume in the spring, and will be accompanied by a series of public service announcements “promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in ‘Duck Dynasty,’” the network said.

The network suspended Robertson last Thursday after he compared gays to “drunks” and “terrorists” in a GQ interview in which he also said African-Americans were perfectly happy before Civil Rights.

But the network suffered a huge backlash from “Duck Dynasty” fans and social conservatives, who said it had limited Robertson’s right to free speech.

A&E may face another backlash for the decision to cave on the suspension — but it tried to minimize it by dropping the news on the slow Friday evening between Christmas and New Year’s.

The standoff created a catch-22 for A&E: “Duck Dynasty” is the most popular reality show on cable, but ignoring Robertson’s comments would have made it appear insensitive. After Robertson was suspended, the rest of the cast put A&E in a bind by saying they couldn’t imagine doing the series without their patriarch.

When A&E suspended Robertson, it said in a statement that it was “extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty.’”

“His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community,” A&E added. “The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”

On Friday, it explained why it had abandoned that decision.

“While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the ‘coarse language’ he used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article,” the network said. “He also made it clear he would ‘never incite or encourage hate.’ We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.

“But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views,” A&E added. “It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.”

A&E spoke with both GLAAD and the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, both of which objected to Robertson’s remarks. Jackson said Monday that Robertson’s statements were more offensive than those of the Montgomery, Ala. bus driver who ordered Rosa Parks to give up her seat to a white passenger, a moment that launched the Civil Rights Movement.

But others rallied to Robertson’s defense. The petition IStandWithPhil.com, which called for his reinstatement on “Duck Dynasty,” yielded 250,000 signatures in a week.

Here’s the full statement from A&E: [CLICK LINK BELOW TO READ]

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Critic's Notes
How to Catch Up on 2013’s TV Essentials in a Few Minutes, a Few Hours, or a Few Days
By Margaret Lyons, Vulture.com (New York Magazine)

There was a lot of good TV in 2013. So much, perhaps, that a few things slipped through the cracks. Now that holiday breaks are here, though, it's the perfect opportunity to catch up on some of the best shows of the year — there's nothing new currently airing, and many of us have some unclaimed down time that's just crying out to be spent with a lovable television companion. Some of these shows are major investments, but some can be enjoyed in tiny increments. Something for everyone!

I Don't Want to Make Too Major a Time Commitment

Adventure Time

146 eleven-minute episodes, many of which are on Netflix, and some of which are also on Cartoon Network's website
Why is it worth catching up on? Because it's audaciously delightful and suitable for all ages, and many episodes include inspiring messages about committing to one's own creativity, about rejecting rigid gender roles, and about trusting yourself and your friends. (Much of this wisdom comes from a magical shape-shifting talking dog named Jake.)
Do I need to watch all of it? Not at all. Episodes are mostly self-contained, though the mythology gets richer the more you watch.

40 half-hour episodes, all on Amazon and iTunes
Why is it worth catching up on? Because it's super funny and brash. If you were ever into The League or It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Workaholics will be your jam.
Do I need to watch all of it? No. You can easily pick an episode at random and enjoy it, but a safe bet is season three's twelfth episode, "A TelAmerican Horror Story." And as funny as the show is, it's not compulsively watchable like, say, Bob's Burgers — after two or three eps of Workahlics, you'll probably be ready for a break.

Well, I'd Devote an Afternoon to the Show


Six one-hour episodes, available on iTunes
Why is it worth catching up on? Because one of these days, Abigail Spencer is going to be way more famous, and you'll be able to say you knew her when. (You might also recognize her as Sally's teacher from Mad Men or Scotty from Suits.) Rectify follows Daniel (Aden Young), who is freed from death row after nineteen years, and the six episodes only cover six days — six days of strained conversations, of frightening encounters, of confusion and conflict, but also surprises and joy and discovery. (Spencer plays Daniel's sister.) The cinematography alone would be worth it — you can practically feel the Georgia humidity sticking to your clavicle — but the show's dreamy, immersive feel comes from its characters and loose plotting, too.
Do I need to watch all of it? Yes. But it's only six episodes, and they work great in a marathon session.

Thirteen one-hour episodes, available on Amazon and iTunes
Why is it worth catching up on? Because it's spooky and cool and proof that sometimes Tumblr is right. It's a prequel of sorts to the Hannibal Lecter oeuvre, but more substantially, it's an arty and intriguing spin on murder-centric procedurals.
Do I need to watch all of it? No. Hannibal is interesting and visually captivating, but it is still mostly a procedural, and skipping episodes will cause only occasional, minor confusion. (Recurring secondary and tertiary characters' presence are usually re-explained.) Start with episode three, "Potage," and bounce around from there.

Eighteen half-hour episodes, all on Amazon, iTunes, and HBO Go
Why is it worth catching up on? Because it's not like other shows. Laura Dern stars as Amy Jellicoe, a mixed-up tragic heroine who's trying to lead a better life after a stint in a sort of spiritual rehab facility. She's deeply and wholly weird, but so is everyone on the show; it's not a fish-out-of-water story so much as a fish-in-a-tank-you-didn't-even-know-existed story. Sadly, these eighteen eps are all there is; HBO canceled the show earlier this year.
Do I need to watch all of it? No. You should, because it is great, but the first season can be a little tough to get into. Start with episode four, "The Weekend," and then skip to episode nine, "Consider Helen." (Again, it's always best to watch all of a show, but if you just want to test the waters, skip around and then go back when you are fully committed.) You can also start with season two, and what you miss in backstory you make up for in more action. This is probably the worst way to do Enlightened, but: You can try season two, episode five, "The Ghost Is Seen," as a stand-alone piece. If you fall in love, go back and watch everything. If you don't, call a coroner because you are deceased and will need a death certificate so your family can move forward in dealing with your estate.

I Am in It to Win It — I Have an Entire Day

The Americans

Thirteen one-hour episodes, available on Amazon and iTunes
Why is it worth catching up on? Because it returns in February, and it's going to be even buzzier this year than last. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as KGB spies living deep, deep undercover in eighties Washington, D.C. — posing as a married couple, with children who have no idea that their parents are actually secret agents.
Do I need to watch all of it? Yeah, it's very serialized, and watching every episode will help keep all the characters and their shifting allegiances straight. But there's a lot of action in the show, so thirteen episodes fly by.

Orphan Black
Ten one-hour episodes, available on iTunes
Why is it worth catching up on? Because there hasn't been a sci-fi show with this much mainstream appeal since Battlestar Galactica. Sarah Manning is a low-level grifter who bumps into a woman at a train station — a woman who looks exactly like her. That woman then kills herself, and Sarah decides, in a moment of panic, to take over her life, to pretend to be this other person. From there, things get more sci-fi-ish.
Do I need to watch all of it? Yes. The story is very propulsive, though — you will be hard-pressed to stop.

House of Cards
Thirteen one-hour episodes, all on Netflix
Why is it worth catching up on? HoC was supposed to be Netflix's calling card, birthed from internal viewing metrics that told the streaming service its fans liked David Fincher, politics, and Kevin Spacey. And the show is pretty good, though it works better in a binge format than if it were held to the scrutiny that week-to-week recapping entails. Spacey plays a corrupt politician, Robin Wright plays his elegant and brilliant wife, and Kate Mara plays a scheming blogger.
Do I need to watch all of it? You will probably want to watch all of it in order, but if a scene gets boring it's 100 percent okay to fast-forward: All the salient points and "twists" are repeated or explained at least a few times.

No, I Am Really in It to Win It — I Have Many Days to Devote to This Show


39 one-hour episodes; the first 29 are on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes; the most recent ten are on Amazon and iTunes, and the most recent five are also on Hulu Plus
Why is it worth catching up on? Because it is the breakout show of 2013, and it's thrillingly fast-paced. Kerry Washington stars as Olivia Pope, a D.C. fixer with plenty of secrets of her own, namely that she is the president's mistress.
Do I need to watch all of it? No. The first season is sort of blah, and certainly the first four episodes are totally skippable. Again, you'll be a little confused, but Scandal is a show where characters frequently tell other people who they are and what they should do. "You are the first lady, and you owe it to me to behave in [whatever] ways"; "I am your boss, and I am telling you to do [something]," etc. Season two is when things really start to take off.

Breaking Bad
62 one-hour episodes, most of which are available on Netflix and Amazon; the final eight episodes are available on Amazon
Why is it worth catching up on? Because all the hype is true: It really is that good. And you're nearing the point where the broad social expectation is that you've seen it, which means it's getting harder and harder to avoid spoilers.
Do I need to watch all of it? Yes, but the first season is a bit different than the rest of the series, so if you're not immediately captivated, power through. I will confess, I did not love the first season of BB the first time I watched it because it is so damn depressing: Sad dude gets a sad cancer diagnosis and sadly coughs himself to near-death, all while sadly trying to make sad crystal meth. It was too much! But later seasons do away with the feeling of happenstance — Walt becomes a character who's defined not by the bad things that happen to him but by the bad things he does to others, which is a lot more interesting.

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TV/Business Notes
Tribune Co. owns 39 TV stations with Local TV Holdings purchase
By Meg James, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Dec. 27, 2013

Tribune Co. on Friday completed its acquisition of the independent Local TV Holdings group, transforming the Chicago company into one of the largest broadcasters in the nation with 39 television stations.

The move, announced by Tribune Chief Executive Peter Liguori, is an important first step in the company's evolution from a company dependent on dwindling revenue from its newspapers and into a formidable broadcast group that reaches an estimated 50 million U.S. homes.

Tribune is the parent company of the Los Angeles Times.

Last week, Tribune received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to acquire 16 television stations owned by Local TV Holdings. The $2.7-billion deal was first announced in July.

Tribune separately plans to spin off its eight newspapers, including the Times and the Chicago Tribune, into a standalone company during the first half of 2014.

With the purchase of the new TV stations, which serve such markets as Denver; Salt Lake City; Kansas City, Mo.; and St. Louis, Tribune becomes the largest affiliate group of Fox Broadcasting, owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

It also is the largest affiliate of the small CW television network, owned by CBS Corp. and Warner Bros.

Also this month, the FCC and Department of Justice separately approved a $2.2-billion purchase by Gannett Co. of 19 television stations previously owned by Belo Corp.

Media watchdogs criticized the FCC's approval of the two large mergers, citing the risk of consolidating too much power into a handful of media conglomerates, which could stifle outside voices and lead to further journalism cuts.

Tribune also received permission from the FCC to help manage the operations of three of the former Local TV stations, including those in Scranton, Pa., and Norfolk, Va., which will be owned by a separate entity, Dreamcatcher Broadcasting.

"The increase in scale of Tribune broadcasting promises to enhance every aspect of our business including our relationships with programmers, advertisers, and cable and satellite partners," Liguori said in an email Friday to Tribune employees.

"However, what most excites me is not the sheer size of our broadcasting operation, but the possibilities it affords us," Liguori said. "As our industry continues to evolve, we will be in a position to work together to define the Tribune of the future."

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TV Review
CBS' ‘The Kennedy Center Honors’
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Dec. 27, 2013

“The Kennedy Center Honors” is always a joyous and classy affair, and this year’s telecast gets a modest upgrade — airing on a Sunday night, albeit still in the arid window between Christmas and New Year’s. Yet the 36th edition of this annual celebration of the arts features some truly out-of-the-box choices, with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly among the presenters. As usual, there are genuinely heartwarming moments — such as opera singer Martina Arroyo singing along to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” — but this might be the least memorable edition of the Honors in the last several years.

That may be in part because of the relatively narrow — if invariably eclectic — field of honorees, with four of the five coming from different disciplines of music, leaving Shirley MacLaine as the lone representative from the cinematic arts. In addition, Glenn Close subs in as mistress of ceremonies for Caroline Kennedy, recently named ambassador to Japan. While Kennedy was always a little stiff in her hosting capacity, the connection to her father traditionally added a compensating element of nostalgia to the proceedings. (In the night’s best line, Close introduces MacLaine as having lived “a life too big for just one lifetime.”)

The Kennedy Center draws its strength, in part, from seeing these esteemed artists clearly having a ball, along with the mix of political heavyweights and who’s who of celebrities filling the hall. It always looks like a dinner party that would be a blast to attend.

That said, the frequently arbitrary nature of the presenters and performers feels especially strained this year, from Snoop Dogg participating in the Herbie Hancock tribute (and trying to get the whole crowd to yell “Ho!”) to the introductions by Sotomayor, O’Reilly and Tony Bennett for, in sequence, Arroyo, Hancock and Billy Joel.

Not surprisingly, the Joel tribute is saved for last, and it’s a pull-out-the-stops affair, with Vietnam veterans coming onstage during Garth Brooks’ performance of “Goodnight Saigon,” and a choir — as well as most of the audience — helping Rufus Wainwright bang out “Piano Man.” Even that finishing kick, however, doesn’t rival the show-stopping highlights of past ceremonies.

Granted, there are other mild pleasures to be savored, from watching first lady Michelle Obama groove to the music to the annual guessing game of seeing at what point the camera will conspicuously find CBS CEO Leslie Moonves and his wife, Julie Chen.

Then again, if that nod to the network is all that’s required to keep “The Kennedy Center Honors” on broadcast TV — despite a demographic skew that’s probably older than even O’Reilly’s audience — then so be it. And if this year’s edition seemed slightly pallid compared to previous ones, it’s still a perfectly fine way to spent an evening basking in the glory of five lifetimes (and thanks to MacLaine, perhaps a few more) extremely well spent.

'The Kennedy Center Honors'
CBS, Sun. Dec. 29, 9 p.m.

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Critic's Notes
A Rousing Sleeper Series Stands Out
By Dorothy Rabinowtiz, Wall Street Journal - Dec. 26, 2013

A period piece set in the Cold War era, "The Americans" (FX) was the outstanding drama series of the year—a work of steely vision, imaginative range and riveting psychological portraiture, all of it adding up to the kind of suspense that left a viewer feeling, unfailingly, that the week's episode had ended intolerably soon. The Americans of the title are sleeper KGB agents, selected for long years of training and an arranged marriage that enable them to pass themselves off as regular Americans at home in suburbia—small-business owners working and rearing a family—even as they serve the Soviets' spy network full time.

The story, by writer-creator Joe Weisberg, unfolds in a time of special threat as perceived by the Soviets. It's 1981 and Ronald Reagan has been elected president—a veritable madman, as KGB officers instruct their agents.

Loyalists to the motherland, the spy couple known to their neighbors in the Washington area as Philip ( Matthew Rhys ) and Elizabeth Jennings ( Keri Russell ) are exemplary soldiers, superb specimens trained in martial arts, which we got to see quite a lot of in their various encounters with adversaries. The physicality is no minor feature. It is like all other reflections of the training that went into the making of these agents, their history—the force that colors all, explains all, in these exquisitely rendered characters, the element that adds irresistible human dimension to this spy saga. Philip and Elizabeth each have a past, families, loyalties to certain superiors—all strands Mr. Weisberg and company weave into this tale to immensely potent effect. As Philip, a loyal operative but also a man beginning to appreciate the nature of life in America, Mr. Rhys gives an outstanding performance. Exactly the same is true of Ms. Russell's Elizabeth, the hard-core member of the couple, unyielding in her devotion to country and duty.

"The Americans" returns Feb. 26.

In the disguise and masquerade department, HBO's "Behind the Candelabra" cast its own gaudy spell—one that owes its life to Michael Douglas, who plays Liberace, a portrayal that verges on the miraculous. So it feels the moment Mr. Douglas utters the first sentence in the peculiar twang he'd worked up for the role, and so it remains throughout his performance—he's Liberace himself. The film ( Steven Soderbergh directed) is based on a book by Liberace's former lover Scott Thorson, ably played by Matt Damon. Also on hand, a bewigged and more than a little deranged looking Rob Lowe, stealing scenes as Liberace's cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Startz.

"The Paradise" (PBS) was based on Emile Zola's novel "The Ladies' Paradise," set in a world of opulence and color, fitting for this buoyantly entertaining series about a large department store in an English city—a paradise indeed, for those who could afford its goods. And an enterprise meaningful, in a deeper way, to those who created and served it, the lowliest clerks included. A tale of upstairs-downstairs in a grand department store, complete with jealousy, heartbreak, misprized love—the works.

A conspiracy involving a physician (Toni Collette ) held captive by a terrorist (Dylan McDermott ) bent on a presidential assassination, "Hostages" (CBS) has gone from smashingly lean and tense early episodes to increasingly implausible plot lines. Still, however wildly improbable the story lines grow—and they grow apace—the show maintains its spark. A concoction that includes a home invasion by masked terrorists, a doctor ordered to kill the president during an operation she was scheduled to perform, isn't easily dispatched.

"The Blacklist" (NBC), a relentlessly blood-drenched enterprise, concerns an FBI profiler who has attracted the devoted attention of Raymond Reddington, former government agent turned rogue. It's a thriller with style—thanks, mainly, to James Spader's performance as Reddington, imperturbably haughty guide to the plans of the world's evil-doers.

About a fixer valued for his ability to make the problems of Los Angeles studio heads and their stars disappear, Showtime's "Ray Donovan" solves problems with dispatch and, when necessary, unhesitating brutality. Ray (an impressive Liev Schreiber ) is a family man with an active moral sense, a problem father (a superb Jon Voight ), and a tendency toward heavy silences. An enormously engaging drama, and a splendidly written one.

Season two of "Lilyhammer" arrived in time to be counted—an uproarious addition to the TV year and a continuation of this delectably derisive satire set in Norway, whose societal values come as a shock to a New York mobster, relocated there under the witness protection program. Steven Van Zandt stars as the transplanted American in this Netflix original, a man astounded by this society governed by social workers and multiculturalism run amok.

"The Crash Reel" traces the history of a promising athlete whose career hopes ended when he sustained a critical brain injury. It's a work of astonishing depth. Steering clear of clichés, and heroics, the HBO documentary reports on snowboarding champion Kevin Pearce and his parents and brothers. The result is an unexpected, revelatory picture of a family. No one who sees it is likely to forget its riches anytime soon.

"Our Nixon" is the product of 500 reels of home movies taken by top members of Richard Nixon's staff—aides, as this vivid CNN documentary shows, who had once considered themselves the luckiest of men to be serving in the Nixon White House. They worked countless hours, happily; they reveled in each other's company. The happiness came to an end with Watergate, whose story is recounted in detail, much of it from old film clips and interviews with John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman. Everyone who shot this footage—Ehrlichman, security adviser, and Haldeman, chief of staff, both deceased, and special assistant Dwight Chapin—saw prison time. A film full of an undeniable sadness, but one also with a plentiful quotient of humor and optimism.

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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 - Movie: Just Go With It (2011)
10:30PM - Trophy Wife
(R - Oct. 15)

8PM - Mike & Molly
(R - Feb. 11)
8:30PM - Mom
(R - Sep. 30)
9PM - 48 Hours
10PM - 48 Hours

8PM - WWE Tribute to the Troops
9PM - The Blacklist
(R - Nov. 4)
10PM - Saturday Night Live (Jimmy Fallon hosts; Justin Timberlake performs)
(R - Dec. 21)
* * * *
11:29PM - Saturday Night Live (Paul Rudd hosts; One Direction performs, 93 min.)
(R - Dec. 7)

8PM - Almost Human
(R - Nov. 25)
9PM - Bones
(R - Sep. 16)
* * * *
11PM - Animation Domination High-Def (60 min.)
(R - Dec. 28)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Austin City Limits: Rodrigo y Gabriela (R - Jan. 12)

8PM - Sábado Gigante (Three hours)

7PM - Movie: Muay Thai Fighter (2007)
9PM - Movie: The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
post #91367 of 93717
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV/Business Notes
Tribune Co. owns 39 TV stations with Local TV Holdings purchase
By Meg James, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Dec. 27, 2013

Tribune Co. on Friday completed its acquisition of the independent Local TV Holdings group, transforming the Chicago company into one of the largest broadcasters in the nation with 39 television stations.

The move, announced by Tribune Chief Executive Peter Liguori, is an important first step in the company's evolution from a company dependent on dwindling revenue from its newspapers and into a formidable broadcast group that reaches an estimated 50 million U.S. homes.

It just blows my mind that I have been in the middle of two of the largest broadcast deals in the last 20 years. FOX buying all the major stations they did in the 90's and changing the landscape from the Big Three to the Big Four and now in the Tribune deal, all from the same seat.

Just goes to show you never know where a little thing like being fired from a radio station in 1991 will get you in the long run.
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Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

Just goes to show you never know where a little thing like being fired from a radio station in 1991 will get you in the long run.
Amen to that, brother. I think I've been fired from 8 radio stations, two of which subsequently hired me back and one that hired me back twice.
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FRIDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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Nielsen Overnights
‘Nikita’ Flat In Finale, Univision Tops English-Language Networks
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Dec. 28, 2013

You can’t have high expectations when you schedule a series finale on Friday night between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In that context, the series closer of the CW drama Nikita did as well as could have been expected. The finale managed a 0.2 in adults 18-49, even with the last two airings that followed an original lead-in and tied for a series low.

The only other original offerings on the 5 English language broadcast networks were ABC News‘ 20/20, which pulled a 1.1, down 8% from last univisionweek, and the NBC News special What We Wasted Our Year On, which too looked like a wasted opportunity with a meager 1.0 rating. With a repeat of ABC’s Shark Tank (1.2) as the highest-rated program last night, it’s no surprise that the English-language networks were edged by Spanish language broadcaster Univision, which averaged a 1.1 18-49 rating in primetime, with ABC and CBS (1.0) tied for second place.

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TV Notes
Edward Snowden: Barton Gellman talks to 'Face the Nation'
By Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel's 'TV Guy' Blog - Dec. 27, 2013

Barton Gellman, who had this week's headline-making interview with Edward Snowden in The Washington Post, will be a guest this weekend on CBS' "Face the Nation." The program airs at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on WKMG-Channel 6.

Other guests are Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency; Thomas Drake, an NSA whistleblower; and Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project and a Snowden legal adviser. A panel on privacy, technology and 2014 brings together Jeffrey Kluger of Time, James Fallows of The Atlantic, Laura Sydell of NPR and Seth Fletcher of Scientific American.

Also on the Sunday guest list:

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, discuss Obamacare on NBC's "Face the Nation" at 9 a.m. on WESH-Channel 2. Another guest is the ACLU's Ben Wizner, who is a legal adviser to Snowden. A panel on the state of the United States and the world brings together former Gov. Jon Huntsman, R-Utah; Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post; Andrea Mitchell of NBC; and foreign policy analyst Robin Wright.

Former Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vt., and Dr. Scott Gottlieb of the American Enterprise Institute discuss Obamacare on "Fox News Sunday" at 10 a.m. on WOFL-Channel 35. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., weigh in on the NSA and Iran. The panel will be Brit Hume; Mara Liasson of NPR; former Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; and former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass.

"State of the Union" looks at the top political moments of 2013 at 9 a.m. and noon on CNN. The panel will be Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, Republican strategist Ana Navarro, S.E. Cupp of CNN's "Crossfire" and Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress.

ABC's "This Week" will offer a show on game changers for 2013 at 11 a.m. on WFTV-Channel 9.

"Fareed Zakaria GPS" presents a special, "India at a Crossroads," at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on CNN. The guests will include actor and talk-show host Aamir Khan; businessman Mukesh Ambani; actress and women's rights activist Shabana Azmi; Jay Panda, a member of Parliament; tech entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani; and Ratan Tata of the Tata Group.

CNN's "Reliable Sources," looks back at the year in media with Rosie Gray of Buzzfeed, Christina Warren of Mashable, Hunter Walker of Talking Points Memo and David Folkenflik of NPR and author of "Murdoch's World." Previewing New Year's Eve telecasts will be Ryan Seacrest, who will host ABC's show, and the team of Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, who will lead CNN's coverage.

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TV Notes
A Parade Wedding and a Dream Home
By Kathryn Shattuck, The New York Times - Dec. 29, 2013

The New Year is once again coming up roses for HGTV, that champion of the fantasy lifestyle, which heralds 2014 from its traditional perch at the 125th Rose Parade. Starting at 11 a.m., Vin Scully, the Hall of Fame sports broadcaster and grand marshal, will lead nearly 50 floats, centered on the theme “Dreams Come True” and adorned with more botanical elements — black lichen, Spanish mosses, safflower blossoms, cordon puffs, coconut flakes and even chive and onion seed — than the average florist might go through in five years, down Colorado Avenue in Pasadena, Calif. The “Property Brothers,” Drew and Jonathan Scott and Nancy O’Dell will provide a play-by-play of the nuptials of Danny Leclair and Aubrey Loots on the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s wedding-cake float with the tagline “Love Is the Best Protection.” And eight former Women Airforce Service Pilots from World War II expected to ride atop a float titled “Our Eyes Are on the Stars.”

The network moves into prime time with a tour of the latest “Dream Home” giveaway: a three-bedroom modern mountain house with soaring ceilings and glorious wilderness views near Lake Tahoe, outfitted with a GMC Yukon Denali. The winner also gets $250,000.

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

7PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R - Oct. 13)
8PM - Movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

7PM - NFL Football: Regional Action (continued from 4:25PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - 60 Minutes Presents: Going To Extremes (Special, 90 min.)
9PM - The 36th Annual Kennedy Center Honors (Special, 120 min.)

7PM - Football Night in America (80 min., LIVE)
8:20PM - NFL Football: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (LIVE)

7PM - NFL Football: Regional Action (continued from 4:25PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - The OT (LIVE)
8PM - The Simpsons
(R - Nov. 10)
8:30PM - The Simpsons
(R - Nov. 3)
9PM - Family Guy
(R - Nov. 11)
9:30PM - Animation Domination

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
7:30PM - Call The Midwife Holiday Special (90 min.)
9PM - Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (120 min.)
(R - Feb. 17)

7PM - Aqui y Ahora
8PM - Premio Lo Nuestro 2013 - 25 Aniversario (120 min.)
(R - Feb. 21)
10PM - Sal y Pimienta

6:30PM - Movie: Kick-Ass (2010)
8:30PM - Movie: Terminator Salvation (2009)
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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Dec. 29, 2013

NBC, 8:20 p.m. ET

This prime-time game has major postseason implications: The Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) and Dallas Cowboys (8-7) are battling for the NFC East crown in a win-or-walk game, with the season on the line. Both teams are starting backup quarterbacks, but with a decided edge to Philly. On the Dallas side, Tony Romo is missing the game and undergoing back surgery, giving backup QB Kyle Orton his first NFL start since the 2011 season finale. Meanwhile, on the Eagles’ side, backup QB Nick Foles has not only been playing for a while this season, he’s been playing brilliantly, amassing the highest QB rating in the league.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Tonight, TCM honors the late Peter O’Toole by presenting an evening of some of his best work. The night begins at 8 p.m. ET with his classic 1962 David Lean epic, Lawrence of Arabia. A midnight (ET) special, Peter O’Toole: Live from the TCM Film Festival, produced last year, follows, and the evening ends with a wonderful double feature: 1969’s Goodbye, Mr. Chips at 1 a.m. ET, paired with 1982’s delightful My Favorite Year at 3:45 a.m. ET.

CBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

Always one of the best and most inspiring TV specials of the year, the 2013 edition of the Kennedy Center Honors honors one actor (Shirley MacLaine), one opera singer (Martina Arroyo), and three popular musicians (Billy Joel, Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock). Vintage performance clips and new tributes put their lives and works in context, and each year’s show leaves me feeling better about what TV can do when it really, really tries to aim high.

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight, Season 3 of Downton Abbey concludes, setting up next Sunday’s Season 4 premiere. If you’re watching tonight’s season finale repeat for the first time, don’t leave early. Check local listings.

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET
The end of the fourth season of David Simon’s latest multilayered TV series also is the end of the series itself. This examination of life in post-Katrina New Orleans ends, fittingly, on a note of celebration, with both Mardi Gras and the music – always one of the key ingredients – taking center stage.

Edited by dad1153 - 12/29/13 at 12:12pm
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TV Notes
Real-Life 'Wolf of Wall Street' Shops Reality TV Show
By Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter - Dec. 28, 2013

The real-life inspiration for the hard-partying financial swindler played by Leonardo DiCaprio could be TV’s next reality star.

From the first pages of Jordan Belfort’s outrageous 2007 memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street -- in which he shares staggering tales of drug-taking excess as he scammed investors out of $110 million throughout the 1990s -- Electus
 CEO Chris Grant was hopelessly smitten with its larger-than-life narrator.

“I knew without even seeing a picture of him that he could be a talent
 both behind and in front of the camera,” says Grant, an enthusiastic book collector who runs the Ben Silverman founded studio behind such series as Fashion Star and Mob Wives.

Grant tracked down Belfort, 
who, after serving 28 months for his crimes, now works as a successful motivational speaker based out
 of Manhattan Beach, Calif. The pair then worked together to devise a pitch tailored to Belfort’s “unique set of business skills.”

The result is an uplifting show that sees Belfort, now 51, stepping in to help others who, like him, have hit rock bottom but still hold out some hope for redemption.
Interest has been high for the project among those networks that already have met the author, says Grant, who describes the reaction of several execs to Belfort’s magnetic, made-for-reality personality: “He was described to 
us after leaving the room as ‘TV gold.' "

Since its Christmas Day release, the Martin Scorsese-directed Wolf of Wall Street has grossed north of $30 million at the stateside box office. The R-rated film was widely praised by critics but has also seen some backlash over the portrayal of Belfort's crimes.

Christina McDowell, who stated that Belfort had once been chosen to testify against her father, wrote a critical open letter published in L.A. Weekly addressed to the filmmakers. "Your film is a reckless attempt at continuing to pretend that these sorts of schemes are entertaining, even as the country is reeling from yet another round of Wall Street scandals," she argued.

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Technology Notes
Disruptions: Coming in 2014: Extremely Smart Watches and Wearable TVs
By Nick Bilton, The New York Times' 'Bits' Blog - Dec. 29, 2013

For technological innovation, 2013 was a remarkably boring year. Apple, often the hotbed of “new,” mostly just updated familiar devices in different colors and with crisper screens. Social media companies fought over who had better photo filters. And Silicon Valley start-ups offered more of less, with slight iterations on existing products.

But 2014 has a lot of promise.

Predicting the future is a lot more difficult than evaluating the past, but you could wake up on Jan. 1, 2015, in a different digital winter wonderland.

No, you won’t lie in bed while your humanoid robot helper makes you bacon and eggs and walks the dog — which is also possibly a robot, made by Google. That’s more of a 2035 prediction. But you might wake up to the call of a watch on your wrist — not your cellphone on your night table. This year we’ve seen some efforts at smartwatches, like those made by Pebble; next year, these gadgets could look a lot better.

“Smartwatches, which connect to your smartphone, are going to create an entirely new category of computing in the coming year,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a former Forrester analyst who specializes in wearable computing. She noted that the long-awaited Apple smartwatch, which is expected to be announced in 2014, could change the way we engage with our wrist in the same way Apple changed the cellphone industry in 2007.

Smartwatches will allow us to peer at messages without having to pull cellphones out of our pockets or purses. They will make it easier to monitor our health with heartbeat and movement sensors, recording daily how much we have exercised, or how much we haven’t.

According to Citigroup, the global watch industry generated $60 billion in sales in 2013. Numerous research estimates expect the smartwatch industry to generate billions more in revenue for consumer tech companies in 2014.

Your cellphone next year will look almost exactly the same as the one in your pocket today — though slightly larger and a little slimmer. But the software on it will be a bit smarter because of improved location sensors. Rather than your having to look at your phone all the time, your phone will start letting you know when you need to look.

Foursquare, the location-based social network, is at the forefront of this innovation. Its app works in the background to corral different pieces of information — including your location, the time of day and where your friends have been — and then makes suggestions for what to do. “It looks like you’re near the Sightglass Coffee,” the company’s app says if I walk by a coffee shop in the morning, “Your friend Dennis has been there and recommends the cappuccino.”

Now imagine all your apps start doing this? Twitter could tell you when a news event happens near your house. Facebook could let you know if your friends are saying “congratulations” to someone’s specific post — and you should too. Your phone automatically could keep emails, texts and phone calls at bay while you’re sitting down for dinner with the family, all by sensing that your spouse and children’s phones are in the dining room at the same time in the evening.

Smartphones are also expected to get other kinds of unusual sensors next year. Benedetto Vigna, a general manager at STMicroelectronics, a company that creates sensors for mobile devices, said 2014 would be when we would start to see mood-detecting sensors in phones. Imagine playing a video game that determines your excitement level and adjusts the experience accordingly, he said.

What about the home?

Until now, television screens have been pretty standard sizes and shapes: rectangular. While that won’t change in 2014, we will probably see prototypes of something different.

“We’ve been working on flexible displays for more than a decade and this past year we finally came up with solutions,” Peter Bocko, the chief technology officer for Corning Glass Technologies, said earlier this year. This means screens could wrap around clothing we wear, or the packages we buy.

In our homes, this flexible technology could translate into wallpaperlike screens that can be stuck to a wall.

But don’t be alarmed if you sit down to enjoy a nice cup of tea in front of your new flexible display and hear a buzzing sound outside: That’s probably your neighbor’s drone inspecting the back garden to see if his grass is greener than yours.

Till now, drones have been mostly used by hobbyists and photographers, but the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to issue rules for expanded commercial drone use by January.

Jonathan Downey, the chief executive of Airware, which makes drones, said we will then start to see people use these vehicles for agriculture and farming, or to reach places that are dangerous for human workers today. Rooftop inspection, for example, could be done with high-resolution thermal imaging sensors attached to a drone.

Mr. Downey predicted that any privacy concerns about drones would abate.

“When GPS first came out from the government, people saw it as something that could track them and they said absolutely not,” Mr. Downey said. Yet now, we all have GPS in our cars and smartphones. “I think we’ll see something very similar happen with drones.”

This year we did see the improvement of 3-D printers that can make physical objects from digital files. In 2014, we could start to see these devices become a fixture in our homes just as inkjet printers became a norm in the late 1980s.

According to Gartner, the research firm, consumers and companies will spend more than $600 million on 3-D printer-related products in 2014.

What will you use these for? Maybe you’ll make your own iPhone covers rather than buy them from stores, print out new salt and pepper shakers, or download a pattern and print a new part for your drone.

And who knows, if you do get a 3-D printer next year, maybe you could start downloading the parts for your very own humanoid robot helper that can make your breakfast and walk your dog in 2015.

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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
MONDAY 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 - Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (Special)
(R - Jan. 1, 1968)
9PM - Rudolph's Shiny New Year (Special)
(R - Dec. 10, 1976)
10PM - Castle
(R - Apr. 1)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Ryan Seacrest; Bradley Whitford; Mac Miller performs)
(R - Dec. 11)
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - How I Met Your Mother
(R - Sep. 30)
8:30PM - 2 Broke Girls
(R - Apr. 29)
9PM - Mike & Molly
(R - May 13)
9:30PM - Mom
(R Oct. 21)
10PM - Person of Interest
(R - Jan. 3)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Billy Crystal; TV host Julie Chen; ZZ Ward performs)
(R - Dec. 10)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Alex Salmond; Rashida Jones; The Imagineers)

8PM - Hollywood Game Night
(R - Jul. 11)
9PM - Hollywood Game Night
(R - Jul. 25)
10PM - The Blacklist
(R - Nov. 11)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Ellen DeGeneres; comic Bill Engvall; Tired Pony performs)
(R - Nov. 6)
12:36AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Liam Hemsworth; Bobby Moynihan; Sleigh Bells perform)
(R - Nov. 21)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Director Steve McQueen; Jenny O performs)
(R - Dec. 11)

8PM - Almost Human
(R - Nov. 17)
9PM - Sleepy Hall
(R - Nov. 11)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Phoenix, AZ (R - Apr. 26)
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: Phoenix, AZ
(R - May 3)
10PM - Independent Lens: How to Survive a Plague (90 min.)

8PM - Por Siempre Mi Amor
9PM - Lo Que la Vida Me Robó (120 min.)

8PM - iHeartradio Music Festival, Part 1 (Special, 120 min.)
(R - Sep. 30)

8PM - Marido en Alquiler
9PM - La Reina del Sur
10PM - Santa Diabla

11PM - Conan (Steven Yeun; Eric Andre and comedian Aparna Nancherla)
(R - Oct. 14)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Singer Sara Bareilles; comic Ian Karmel; comic Heather McDonald; comic April Richardson)

Check Local Listings - Arsenio (Taye Diggs; Terrence Howard; Morris Chestnut; Harold Perrineau)
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Critic's Notes
Year in review: TV channeled the good, 'Bad' and ugly
By Robert Bianco, USA Today - Dec. 30, 2013

From Bad to worst, USA TODAY takes you through the highs and lows of the TV year.

Program of the year: Breaking Bad (AMC)

With a short outing that felt more like a self-contained miniseries coda than a final batch of episodes, this gold-standard drama brought to a close its remarkable run. It was one made all the more remarkable for neither ending too soon, before the story could be fully explored, nor running too long, after our interest had been exhausted. Never have the moral and personal dimensions of one man's descent into crime been more fully explored, from the serio-comic start to the tragic conclusion. Searingly, satisfyingly brilliant.

Drama of the year: The Good Wife (CBS)

How do you choose between Bad, with its eight-episode run, and Good Wife, which produced 22 over the calendar year, when the shows work on such vastly different playing fields? We may be forced to come Emmy time, but for now, let's just be glad we had them both — and carve out a special spot for Wife, which is as smart and enjoyable as any series, anywhere. It goes to show that when the broadcast networks have the will in the drama field, they still have the way. If only they had the will more often.

Comedy of the year: The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

In comedy, broadcast still holds the top two cards: ABC's modern classic Modern Family and this extravagantly funny crowd-pleaser, which in tone and popular appeal has morphed into a nerd version of Friends. If you have to pick, give the edge this year to Big Bang for the way it has grown its ensemble and deepened its characters. That doesn't mean Modern Family has slipped. It means Big Bang has caught up.

The rest of the top 10:

Modern Family (ABC)
Justified (FX)
The Americans (FX)
Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Broadchurch (BBC America)
The Middle (ABC)
Downton Abbey (PBS)

And 10 more that made the TV year brighter:

Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Orphan Black (BBC America)
The Walking Dead (AMC)
Elementary (CBS)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
Sleepy Hollow (Fox)
The Crazy Ones (CBS)
Archer (FX)
Mom (CBS)

Most disappointing show: Homeland (Showtime)

Many things went wrong, but the essential problem was typical of the genre: crisis inflation. In the first season, Carrie's goal was to stop Brody from killing the people he held responsible for the death of his terrorist mentor's child. This season, her goal was to help Saul take control of the Iranian government — with the assistance of a mentally damaged, half-starved, heroin-addicted Brody, who has developed an unexpected talent for assassinating near-heads of state. Of course that sounds ridiculous. The only question is why the writers didn't know it.

Worst new show: Dads (Fox)

Out of all the many terrible things about this crude, mean-spirited flop, here's the worst: the firm suspicion that Fox executives knew precisely how bad it was and aired it anyway, out of a desire to stay in business with its creator, Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane, and a belief that viewers were stupid and tasteless enough to go along. The good news is, we weren't.

The rest of the worst (new shows only):

Low Winter Sun (AMC)
Reign (CW)
Lucky 7 (ABC)
Ja'mie: Private School Girl (HBO)
Do No Harm (NBC)
Betrayal (ABC)
We Are Men (CBS)
The Bridge (FX)
Ironside (NBC)

And lest we forget: CBS' 2 Broke Girls

Still on. Still terrible.

Best remake: House of Cards (Netflix)

Worst revival: Arrested Development (Netflix)

Worst choices: American Idol (Fox)

If the combination of Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey proved to be toxic, the blame goes to the producers for choosing them. They encouraged the judges' feud when they thought it would fuel ratings and were unable to stop it when ratings sank instead. Based on next season's promos, you can safely say a lesson has been learned.


Comedy, female: Allison Janney for Mom

Has any actor had a better fall than Janney? She could break your heart on Sundays as the seemingly contented wife who yearns for more than a sexless marriage on Masters of Sex, and then make you laugh on Mondays as a wild alcoholic working her way back into her daughter's life on Mom. Two very different performances, but each one real, each one perfectly pitched, each one a triumph of skill and talent. Never mind the categories — male, female, comedy, drama. She's just a great actor, period.

Comedy, male (tie): Andy Samberg for Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Robin Williams for The Crazy Ones

Talent, these men have always had in abundance. What they've added to their repertoire this year is the wisdom (and the luck) to channel their talents into ideal roles, and the ability to marshal and sometimes restrain those talents to serve the characters. The happy upshot for them and us are TV's two best new comedies.

Drama, female: Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife

Pick whatever reason you want for why The Good Wife worked so well this season, but none of them much matters without Margulies. The show is built on her ability to keep you on Alicia's side while still revealing the less attractive aspects of her character, led by her very human habit of assuming the purity of her actions and motives. It's a performance done largely without shouting, a subtle turn that often relies solely on the arch of an eyebrow or the slump of a shoulder, and TV is all the better for it.

Drama, male: Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad

Really, what's left to say? For decades to come, every great performance, every great actor will be compared to Bryan Cranston.

Special mention: Lizzy Caplan for Masters of Sex

Caplan has always been an entertaining actor, but nothing we've seen so far could have prepared us for the brave mix of humor, determination, indignation and drive she brings to Masters. It's the year's most revelatory performance in the year's most surprising series — and it's a career changer if ever there were one.

Best reality program: So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)

Best unreal reality program: House Hunters (HGTV)

Best movie or miniseries: Top of the Lake (Sundance)

Most welcome movie or miniseries: The Bible (History)

Not because it was good — it wasn't — but because it reminded the TV world that there's a large audience out there whose desire for religious programming is not being served.

Best musical moment:

Audra McDonald singing Climb Ev'ry Mountain in NBC's The Sound of Music Live!

Most memorable musical moment:

Miley Cyrus, and singing had nothing to do with it.

And finally, for the new year, a bit of Paula Deen/Phil Robertson-inspired advice for all TV stars: Should you feel the urge to suddenly reveal the real you, instead of the persona TV has created around you — suppress it.

Edited by dad1153 - 12/30/13 at 1:12am
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TV Review
Dan Harmon’s Blessed Return to Community
By Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Dec. 29, 2013

Ahhhhh. Now, that’s more like it.

That’s not the keenest critical summary of the fifth season of Community. But that’s how you’ll feel if you, like me, think the sitcom became an unsatisfying photocopy of itself after Dan Harmon, its creator and driving force, was pushed out over complaints about his volatile management style. The show’s Harmonless fourth season produced a few memorable installments; the best were probably the puppet episode (“Intro to Felt Surrogacy”) and the season finale (“Introduction to Finality”) that could have doubled as makeshift series finale in case NBC and Sony pulled the plug. But even at its best, the Harmonless Community still felt off, like a cover band doing another group’s material. Some alchemical agent was awol. Now it’s back, thank goodness, and even if you didn’t know Harmon was in charge again, you’d sense it. It’s just mysteriously there, like a stirring in the Force that would trigger a Star Wars riff by the series’ resident pop-culture addict, Abed (Danny Pudi)—if Abed needed a pretext to babble about sci-fi.

January 2’s one-hour fifth-season premiere (8 p.m. ET/PT), co-written by Harmon and Chris ­McKenna, is fittingly titled “Repilot.” “This could be like Scrubs season nine—a revamp, a do-over,” says Abed, who rightly suggests that Joel McHale’s preening lawyer Jeff Winger become a professor because it would help make a fifth season more dramatically credible. Except for Chevy Chase’s moneybags racist Pierce, who got axed, seemingly because no one at Community could stand the actor, every notable student character is back at Greendale Community College, even though they all theoretically graduated: the neurotic hyperachiever Annie (Alison Brie), the perpetually nonplussed Christian Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), the flaky bombshell Britta (Gillian Jacobs), the high-school sports star turned Abed ally Troy (Donald Glover), and Jeff, who convinces the others that four years at Greendale ruined them and they should sue for damages. “I don’t believe in evil,” Britta says, “but this school clearly got a finger up its butt as a child.” Neither she nor anyone else really believes this vengeful line, though. They’ve just fallen under the dark spell of Jeff, who’s reluctantly in cahoots with his old law-firm partner Alan Connor (Rob Corddry). Will their wicked plot succeed? Of course not; this is Community, which resuscitates the endless-reboot aesthetic of sixties sitcoms while spoofing it.

Everything’s more exact and purposeful than last year: the shots, the cuts, the lines, the pauses between lines. More than anything, though, there’s a creeping sense of melancholy that keeps threatening to morph into panic, even darkness. This is true to form: Harmon’s form. Community’s dominant mode was always peppy and upbeat, but even in its sprightliest half-hours it was perched on the knife edge of hysteria, and when it tipped over, it didn’t feel like a put-on. The jokes stung a bit, sometimes a lot. And when the characters’ dreams got dashed, or when they gave into petty impulse and betrayed one another, it hurt more than it should, considering how up-front Community always was about pulling back the curtains and showing you how the play was imagined. “I think our opinions on popular culture are fed to us by machines designed to criminalize human autonomy,” says Britta in a rare burst of eloquence that doubles as a critique of the show you’re watching.

Harmon has un-facetiously likened the show to Gilligan’s Island—a construct that was never meant to represent anything like a real place or experience. The scripts contorted themselves to become comments on stories and storytelling, memories and fantasies and alternate realities. The sub-­reference-laden dialogue was almost pointillistically dense: shrapnel from a Wikipedia explosion. (Trying to guess the identity of Annie’s boyfriend in season two’s “Asian Population Studies,” her friends name-dropped Vince Vaughn, Michael Chiklis, Anderson Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Optimus Prime in the space of 30 seconds.) But it all felt real, or “real,” because the characters’ relationships and feelings were grounded and pure. There’s genuine bitterness beneath the show’s lively pantomime of disappointment—a fear that by any of the usual American yardsticks Greendale’s students and faculty are social dregs, half-studying in classes half-taught by half-experts, filling up hours that might otherwise be claimed by jobs they hate and don’t believe in—like Annie’s work for Futurza, a pharmaceutical company whose pills she nervously pops. (“They invented fibromyalgia and the cure for fibromyalgia,” she explains.)

Nothing in the episodes sent out for review matches peak Harmon dementia, but the signs are promising—particularly an eruption of madhouse chaos in “Cooperative Polygraphy,” an episode that ­features an Abed theorem, the Crazy Quilt of Destiny, plus a lie-detector plotline that digs into the characters’ buried secrets. “We went in one end as real people and came out the other end mixed-up cartoons,” Jeff says, criticizing Greendale’s broken mediocrity as well as the season-three executive decisions of NBC and Sony. Throughout, there’s a sense that ­Community is building, or rebuilding, toward something big and bold—that what you’re seeing is not so much a revamp as a restoration. Few live-action sitcoms are so aware of their artificiality and yet so ­singularly alive.

post #91380 of 93717
R.I.P. Emmy-Winning Editor Marco Zappia
By The Deadline.com Team - Dec. 29, 2013

Marco Zappia, award-winning TV editor of Hee-Haw, All In The Family, Home Improvement and dozens of additional TV series and specials, died December 22 in Ventura, CA. He was 76. Los Angeles-born Zappia went from owning a TV repair shop to an award-winning career in editing that spanned four decades when he joined CBS in 1968 as an engineer in the videotape department, where he helped install the network’s first electronic editing system. His first editing gig on CBS’s variety show Hee Haw nabbed him his first Emmy and also marked the network’s first-ever win for editing.

Zappia went on to edit numerous TV specials and series including Maude, The Jeffersons, The Sonny & Cher Show, All in The Family, Archie Bunker’s Place, Roseanne, and Faerie Tale Theatre. His prolific ’90s sitcom credits include My Two Dads, Dinosaurs, Who’s The Boss?, The Torkelsons and spin-off Almost Home, Where I Live, Thunder Alley, Boy Meets World, and Suddenly Susan. Zappia was twice-nominated for a Cable ACE award, for 1988′s Vietnam War Story II and 1982′s Faerie Tale Theatre and for his work on Home Improvement earned five of his 15 Emmy nods for editing.

A member of the DGA, Motion Picture Editors Guild, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Zappia also contributed to the development of the multi-cam Avid Editing System, which he was the first to use to edit a multi-cam sitcom while on Home Improvement. Earlier this year he published his memoir Smartest Guy In The Room detailing his career in entertainment.

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