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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 3054

post #91591 of 93668
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Winter TCA Tour Notes
Investigation Discovery Announces
’50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,’

By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Jan. 9, 2014

The song is "50 ways to leave your lover" but then why does paul simon only mention 5 ?
post #91592 of 93668
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliens View Post


Wow, I didn’t know I had so much power. One phone call from me to D* threatening to leave if they don’t discontinue The Military Channel because I don’t want to pay the $.55 per month it costs me, and poof, its off the air. Who would have thought it was so easy. tongue.gif

Five million of us can cancel our provider, but that still won’t cancel the contract these providers have with Discovery Communications.

Not to change the subject completely but how about a consumers bill of rights where we as consumers can submit a list of channels that we don't watch to our providers and they are mandated to remove the channel and not bill us for that channel. I am not picking on one channel here, but if a particular channel is offensive to me, then I should have a right to make sure that I am not funding them.
post #91593 of 93668
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgNJ View Post

Not to change the subject completely but how about a consumers bill of rights where we as consumers can submit a list of channels that we don't watch to our providers and they are mandated to remove the channel and not bill us for that channel. I am not picking on one channel here, but if a particular channel is offensive to me, then I should have a right to make sure that I am not funding them.

You're talking about a form of "a la carte", something that cable companies will oppose with their dying breath.
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Winter TCA Tour Notes
‘Lost’s Damon Lindelof Rips Network TV During HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ Panel, Says Quality Is Higher On Cable
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Jan. 9, 2014

“We can all agree that cable is far superior to network,” said Damon Lindelof today at the TCA panel for his upcoming series The Leftovers on HBO, which marks his return to TV almost four years after the end of Lost. “I think that when you slow the conveyer belt down, Lucy and Ethel, the quality control goes up,” he added. 2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 1“[Leftovers] is a grower not a shower — not to compare it to an erect penis but the metaphor is apt,” the Lost co-creator half-joked. “The beauty of working with HBO is they say how much story do you got?” he said, adding that frees him from filling “weeks of episodes that are not essential.” Leftovers co-scribe Tom Perrotta and star Justin Theroux joined the showrunner onstage in Pasadena. HBO picked up The Leftovers up for series last September.

Leftovers is written by Lindelof and Perrotta based on the latter’s 2011 bestseller. With a pilot directed by Peter Berg, the 10-episode drama looks at the world three years after the Rapture took 2% of the world’s population and some of the unchosen left behind — though the salvation may not have actually occurred. “The show is really focused on showing these people’s lives in motion not delivering tremendous amounts of exposition,” said Lindelof. “One of the things I love about Tom’s book and the show in general is it is not necessarily for everyone.” Lindelof waved off comparisons to CBS’ summer series Under The Dome – but he did take a mock swipe at it. “The Leftovers will answer what the dome is in our second episode just to f*ck them,” he said laughing.

The series resumes production in New York soon for the nine remaining episodes, with an anticipated summer debut. Amy Brenneman, Christopher Ecceleston and Liv Tyler co-star.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/tca-damon-lindeloff-says-tv-quality-is-higher-on-cable-at-hbos-the-leftovers-panel/
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Winter TCA Tour Notes
IFC Now Officially Called IFC
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Jan. 9, 2014

If you’re one of the loyal holdouts still calling IFC the Independent Film Channel, you can stop: the network has officially adopted the abbreviated name.

“The name ‘Independent Film Channel’ has been legally retired and IFC as an acronym now stands for nothing,” said IFC president and general manager Jennifer Caserta. “Well, it actually stands for a growing number of smart, funny and original alternative comedies, but our viewers already know that. So, starting today, IFC is legally IFC.”

The change marks IFC’s transition to a network focused on “slightly off” comedies like “Portlandia,” “The Spoils of Babylon,” “Maron” and “Comedy Bang! Bang!”

The network announced the change at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.

http://www.thewrap.com/ifc-now-officially-called-ifc
Edited by dad1153 - 1/10/14 at 9:35am
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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Sarah Palin Wants to Reach Women With New Show, Invites TV Critics to Alaska
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 10, 2014

Sarah Palin held court at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Friday morning, marking her first official appearance at the event she once turned heads at when she stopped by a 2012 NBC mixer.

The former Alaska governor, most recently in the headlines for her defense of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, is on the promotional trail for her latest bid for a TV gig that sticks: the Sportsman Channel's upcoming Amazing America With Sarah Palin. The unscripted anthology will explore the lives of outdoors-loving Americans, much like the Palins themselves.

"You know how much I love critics and the media," said Palin. "So a room full of television critics, I can't beat this combination for pleasure."

Lifted by her star-spangled pumps, Palin did seem genuinely pleased to speak with the crowd -- so much so, she offered to host the entire room should anyone make the trip up to her noncontinuous home state.

"I want you to come up there," she said. "That is the way that you can connect. So much of Alaska is what America used to be with a pioneering spirit... What our show is going to do is highlight the people places and things that embody that American experience."

(Snowmobiling and "moose chili in the crock pot" are both on the itinerary for anyone willing to make the trek.)

Though the Sportsman Channel naturally skews male, Palin did say she was very interested in reaching female viewers with the show -- who she said she thinks are underrepresented in sporting content.

"I think this world would be better off having more young women holding a fish in a picture than holding their camera in front of a bathroom mirror, talking a selfie," she said.

Palin wrapped her speech with what seemed to be a dig at her 2010 TLC reality series, Sarah Palin's Alaska. "I'm more excited about this project than many of the other projects I've done in the past," she said, receiving a round of laughter.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/sarah-palin-wants-reach-women-669834
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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 10, 2014

MOYERS & COMPANY
Public Television, Check local listings

Bill Moyers had announced his intention to stop his public TV series by now, until being persuaded otherwise by fans who begged him to remain a presence and provide his voice to the media mix. (Count me as one of those beggars.) Well, the new version of Moyers & Company begins tonight – trimmed from 60 to 30 minutes, but still determined to examine important issues in a way, and at a depth, that few other TV programs even attempt. Tonight’s inaugural edition of this series reboot pairs Moyers with another of my favorite TV talkers: astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, whose smart, confident conversational style is perfectly matched to that of Moyers. Moyers & Company airs from Friday to Sunday on local public TV stations; to find it in your local area, visit the BillMoyers.com website.

CHEECH & CHONG'S ANIMATED MOVIE
IFC, 8:00 p.m. ET

The twisted, more than half-baked comedy minds of Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong entertained millions of moviegoing and record-buying stoners (and a few others) in the 1970s – and here are their routines all over again, reimagined through animation. See “Dave’s not here!” and other bits, strewn together in this new 2012 production. Then stay tuned at 9:45 p.m. for Up in Smoke, the duo’s 1978 live-action comedy. Compare and contrast.

"SCIENCE IN THE MOVIES" MARATHON
TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

For January 2014, one of the month’s themes at TCM is “Science in the Movies,” a compilation, every Friday, of movies concerned with themes of scientific inquiry, and, usually, science gone awry. Tonight, the action begins at 8 p.m. ET with 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein, followed at 9:30 p.m. ET by 1941’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, at 11:30 p.m. ET by 1951’s The Thing from Another World, and at 1:15 a.m. ET by 1956’s genre reworking of Shakespeare, Forbidden Planet.

BANSHEE
Cinemax, 10:00 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE:
Season 1 of this Cinemax action series ended with a brutal beating, torturing and climax that demanded notice, and put more than one of its main characters through the wringer. Season 2 begins with them healing, slowly, as outside threats and dangers continue. One new one, this year, is an incoming investigative avenger played by Zeljko Ivanek – but, as before, this series belongs chiefly to the women, starting with Ivana Milicevek as Carrie, who, like most characters on this show, has a secret, sordid past. And/or present.

HELIX
SyFy, 10:00 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
This new 13-part Syfy series from Ron Moore of Battlestar Galactica is part Outbreak, and part The Thing, with a small dose of Alien thrown in for good measure. The action takes place at a remote research facility in the Arctic, where Centers for Disease Control doctor Alan Farragut (Billy Campbell, fresh from The Killing) tries to contain, and find a cure for, a mysterious outbreak that is infecting and altering the staffers there. Each episode takes place in one day, with the first two days presented in tonight’s occasionally tense premiere. Helix starts off with enough momentum and promise to stay tuned – but it’ll take until about Day 7 to see whether this new series is going anywhere worth following for the duration.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

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Winter TCA Tour Notes
HBO’s Renews 'Boardwalk Empire' For Fifth and Final Season
By Donna J. Plesh, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 10, 2014

Prohibition is almost over again. Really. HBO’s Prohibition-era set drama, Boardwalk Empire, will be back this fall for a fifth and final season.

HBO made the announcement during its presentation at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif. Empire follows the life and times of 1920s Prohibition-era gangster Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi) in Atlantic City.

HBO programming president Michael Lombardo praised the show, saying "It has been an incredible honor to bring this powerful and groundbreaking series to our subscribers.”

The cable network also announced that the popular series Game of Thrones will return for its fourth season on April 6, and that the series Girls has been renewed for a fourth season, scheduled to be televised in 2015.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogPostDetails.aspx?postId=6658
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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 (18-49)
CBS surges for an easy Thursday victory
'Bang' leads with a 5.6 in 18-49s, highest in months
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 10, 2013

CBS’s entire lineup surged on Thursday night, carrying it to a huge win against light competition.

The 8 p.m. comedy “The Big Bang Theory” led all shows on the night with a 5.6 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, its best since posting a 6.1 for the second of two episodes on premiere night in September.

That helped lift lead-out “The Millers,” a new sitcom, to its best performance since its debut as well. The show posted a 3.3, holding 59 percent of “Bang’s” audience.

“Millers” seems to be on its way to a season two renewal, posting better numbers than the previous new shows that have aired behind “Bang.”

At 9 p.m., new comedy “The Crazy Ones” (2.4) and veteran lead-out “Two and a Half Men” (2.4) both drew their best ratings since October, as did 10 p.m. drama “Elementary,” which averaged a 2.0.

CBS won every half hour of the night opposite minimal competition.

Fox aired repeats of “Sleepy Hollow.” ABC’s new lineup of “The Taste” (1.3 from 8 to 10 p.m., flat to last week) and “The Assets” (a 0.6 at 10 p.m. and likely to be canceled soon) posted low numbers.

And while NBC’s schedule saw week-to-week improvements across all timeslots, the ratings weren’t great.

“Community” improved 8 percent over last week’s debut, posting a 1.4, and lead-out “Parks and Recreation” drew a 1.4 at 8:30 p.m., a season high for its 100th episode.

New comedies “Sean Saves the World” (1.0) and “The Michael J. Fox Show” (1.0) grew 25 percent from last week’s paltry numbers. And “Parenthood” posted a 1.3 at 10 p.m., matching its best rating since Oct. 3.

CBS finished first for the night among 18-49s with a 3.0 average overnight rating and a 9 share. NBC and Univision tied for second at 1.2/3, ABC was fourth at 1.0/3, Fox fifth at 0.7/2, Telemundo sixth at 0.6/2 and CW seventh at 0.3/1.

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

At 8 p.m. CBS was first with a 4.5 for “Bang” (5.6) and “Millers” (3.3), followed by NBC with a 1.4 for “Community” (1.4) and “Parks” (1.4). ABC was third with a 1.2 for “Taste,” Univision fourth with a 1.1 for “Por Siempre Mi Amor,” Fox fifth with a 0.7 for a repeat of “Hollow,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “Marido en Alquiler” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for a rerun of “The Vampire Diaries.”

CBS led again at 9 p.m. with a 2.4 for “Crazy” (2.4) and “Men” (2.4), while Univision moved to second with a 1.4 for “Lo Que La Vida Me Robo.” ABC was third with a 1.3 for more “Taste,” NBC fourth with a 1.0 for “Sean” (1.0) and “Fox” (1.0), Telemundo fifth with a 0.7 for “La Reina del Sur,” Fox sixth with a 0.6 for more “Hollow” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for a repeat of “Reign.”

At 10 p.m. CBS led with a 2.0 for “Elementary,” with NBC second with a 1.3 for “Parenthood.” Univision was third with a 1.1 for “Que Pobres Tan Ricos,” ABC fourth with a 0.6 for “Assets” and Telemundo fifth with a 0.5 for “Santa Diabla.”

CBS was also first for the night among households with a 7.4 average overnight rating and a 12 share. ABC was second at 2.8/4, NBC third at 2.3/4, Univision fourth at 1.7/3, Fox fifth at 1.5/2, Telemundo sixth at 0.8/1 and CW seventh at 0.6/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/cbs-surges-easy-thursday-victory/

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TV Notes
Best tube bets this weekend
The top draws on broadcast and cable and in sports
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 10, 2013

FRIDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: Fox, “Enlisted” 9:30 p.m. Series premiere.
An Army staff sergeant is assigned to lead a base in Florida, which includes two of his younger brothers.

Best bet on cable: Cinemax, “Banshee” 10 p.m. Season premiere. An FBI agent takes the law into his own hands when investigating a shootout.

Top sporting event: ESPN, “NBA Basketball,” 8 p.m. The Heat take on the Nets in a game in which the players will showcase their nicknames on the backs of their jerseys.

SATURDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: CBS, “NFL Football,” 8 p.m.
Colts-Patriots playoff game will easily be the most-watched TV program of the night, perhaps of the week.

Best bet on cable: Lifetime, “Tiger Eyes,” 8 p.m. A movie adaptation of the book written by Judy Blume.

Top sporting event: NBC, “Figure Skating,” 8 p.m. NBC tries to build a bit of Olympic buzz with the women’s final from the U.S. Championships in Boston.

SUNDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: NBC, “Golden Globe Awards,” 8 p.m.
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey host the 71st annual awards ceremony.

Best bet on cable: Showtime, “House of Lies,” 10 p.m. Season premiere. Marty tries to track down the chief executive of an organic grocery store.

Top sporting event: Fox, “NFL Football,” 1 p.m. NFC Divisional playoff game between the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.


http://www.medialifemagazine.com/best-tube-bets-weekend-17/
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TV Review
Banshee, once a howl, is now more of a low moan
By Phil Dyess-Nugent, AVClub.com - Jan. 9, 2014

“You’ve taken this sheriff thing about as far as it should have gone,” says Sugar Bates to Lucas Hood, in the upcoming second season of Banshee. Frankie Faison plays Bates, and he’s acting opposite Antony Starr who plays the hero of the show.

In the first season of Banshee, Starr, a career criminal just released from prison after 15 years, drifts into the bar Faison runs in the titular Pennsylvania Amish town. He then casually assumes the identity of the new sheriff—a man who was murdered by thugs, just minutes after arriving in town himself. This left Starr’s Lucas well situated to keep an eye on his former lover and partner-in-crime, Carrie Hopewell (Ivana Milicevic). Carrie had gone on the lam and made a new life for herself as the wife of the local district attorney and mother of two kids—the oldest was actually fathered by Lucas. In the meantime, he has to remain wary of Mr. Rabbit, the ruthless Ukrainian mobster who he’d betrayed and who happens to be Carrie’s father.

It sounds ludicrous, but in the show’s first season, that was part of the fun. Like Strike Back, Cinemax’s other late-night action series, Banshee was pure pulp. Set in a hothouse world, it had generous helpings of gratuitous nudity, sex, and comic-book violence, but enough real human feeling in some of the performances (Milicevic’s especially) to ground it and give viewers a stake in the proceedings. There was also a good joke at its center: Lucas Hood, professional psycho, is the last person in the world who should have been equipped with a badge and a gun. For instance, he “resolved” a hostage situation at the local high school by marching in and blasting the bad guys with his “peacemaker.” Some cops outside wanted to see him charged for a crime, or in a straitjacket, but others shrugged. Sure, he may not do everything by the book—but he gets results!

If Banshee’s first season, at its best, was a gleeful binge on pop storytelling at its most disreputable, the second season feels like the hangover. Right from the start, things are slower and more turgid. Then, in a plotline about how the cultural and sexual repression of the Amish leads to violence, it turns pseudo-serious in a way that’s all too familiar in shows with Alan Ball’s name prominent in the credits. (He’s one of the executive producers.)

Perhaps in deference to some of the mockery they inspired, the infamous sex scenes have been scaled back, which makes the violent scenes, which have most definitely not been scaled back, stand out all the more. But the slapstick, black-comedy edge has mostly been lost, so now they’re just brutal. One of the most unpleasant is a drawn-out torturing-the-bad-guy scene. (“Just tap your foot when you’re ready to talk.”)

The season premiere is obliged to devote its first half to explaining why—given the firefight that concluded the first season—Banshee hasn’t been placed under martial law and there hasn’t been a bright enough spotlight thrown on the town to blow Hood’s cover wide open. The best it can come up with as an explanation is because Zeljko Ivanek’s character Racine wills it. Ivanek plays the big noise from the justice department who sweeps into town to clear things up, and he decides to keep Lucas and his deputies in place, and to throw Carrie in jail, as part of his master plan to flush out Mr. Rabbit.

There’s also a new character in town: the son of the real-dead sheriff, who introduces himself to Lucas and asks for his help in creating a new identity. The situation is a lot like that involving a former prison buddy who showed up in town in the first season asking for help. The difference is that, after giving that guy a chance to clear out, Lucas dumped his body in the river by the end of the episode. Here, the kid is allowed to keep hanging around, even though he doesn’t follow orders any better than the prison buddy did.

“When you live like we live,” Sugar tells Lucas, “it goes without saying, we’re gonna find ourselves in places we never imagined we’d be, looking back wondering how the hell we got there, and why the hell we don’t leave.” Nice try, Faison, but all the fake philosophical claptrap in the world can’t dress up the fact that Starr can’t leave Banshee simply because the show got renewed. The problem is, Banshee is turning into just another show about a lawman with a colorful past that may not do everything by the book, but—he gets results!

BANSHEE
Created by: Jonathan Trooper and David Schickler
Debuts: Friday, 10 pm EST
Format: Hour-long dramatic series
Five episodes watched for review
Grade: C


http://www.avclub.com/review/banshee-once-a-howl-is-now-more-of-a-low-moan-200768
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TV Review
‘Shameless’: Bring on the praise
By Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe - Jan. 10, 2014

I occasionally wonder why “Shameless” hasn’t become a critical and awards favorite, not on the level of “Mad Men” but at the upper second tier, beside shows such as “The Good Wife,” “Justified,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “Louie.” Every time I watch an episode of the Showtime series, which returns on Sunday night at 9 for a third season of Gallagher family madness, I am filled with admiration.

The acting is top-notch all around, particularly by William H. Macy, who is seamlessly gonzo as the always drunken Frank, who not only neglects his six kids but adds to their financial and emotional burdens. He steals from them, uses them to manipulate strangers, and hates them when they get in the way of his next drink. In the season premiere, sweet red-haired daughter Debbie (Emma Kenney) is loyally counting the days until Frank returns from one of his binges — he’s in Mexico, but that’s another story — but shortly after he’s back in their Chicago neighborhood, he curses his freckled daughter, and not by name, since he’s forgotten it.

Macy and the writers keep Frank unsympathetic as much as ever in the first four episodes of season 3. And that is a great choice, as it protects the show from falling over the line into sentimentality and pure antic comedy. He’s such an awful narcissist, you can’t quite laugh at him, and he never becomes the stereotypical lovable drunk — Otis on “The Andy Griffith Show.” Throughout, the tone of “Shameless” is expertly modulated by Paul Abbott (who also wrote and produced the British version of the show) and John Wells. It is as stringently hard-nosed about poverty and parentlessness as it is celebratory of the Gallagher children’s spirit and their scrappy triumphs.

Emmy Rossum also helps to keep “Shameless” from drifting into pure comedy as oldest sister Fiona, whose trust issues are heartbreaking. Looking at her somewhat depressed demeanor, you can’t help but feel badly about her sacrifices for her younger siblings. She’s vacuuming up sewage, trying to make enough money to stay in the house, rather than working on any kind of career and using her formidable intelligence. When she and oldest brother Lip (Jeremy Allen White) fight over how to support the family, you sadly realize they’re both saddled with responsibilities that exceed their ages.

The editing of the show is also consistently impressive. The story races forward happily and aggressively, but none of the plot strands among the many characters is ever dropped or given short shrift. From Steve, now known as Jimmy, and his family, including his gay father, to Sheila and her son-in-law lover, Jody, all the story lines are regularly reinforced and satisfyingly resolved. “Shameless” behaves like a crazy burst of life force, always verging on anarchy but never succumbing, just like the family it portrays. The center holds.

Maybe the sexual content in “Shameless” makes awards people and some critics uncomfortable? It is true that the show is fairly explicit, with the kind of shame-free attitude toward sex that suffuses the entire story. It would trouble me to think that violence doesn’t dampen the acclaim of excellent shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “Boardwalk Empire,” but that sexuality is a deal-breaker when it comes to “Shameless.” Of course, the truth may have more to do with the fact that Showtime has a number of other celebrated series, including “Homeland” and “Dexter,” and there is only so much room in the rave department for each network. At least viewers have found “Shameless” — the ratings are strong — and so it will continue. Like the Gallaghers, it doesn’t get a lot of praise, but it survives nevertheless.

SHAMELESS
Network: Showtime
Show Date: Sunday, 9-10 p.m.


http://www.boston.com/ae/tv/2013/01/10/shameless-bring-the-praise/lKd7ItyV4qKXyRFtPDBVhM/story.html
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TV Review
'Helix': Chill out, and let disease mystery unfold
By Dave Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle - Jan. 8, 2014

The key to enjoying the SyFy channel's new thriller "Helix" is not to overthink it.

Actually, that's probably how series creator Cameron Porsandeh approached the story of a team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control who are dispatched to an especially remote high-tech research facility in the Arctic to investigate an unknown disease.

The 13-episode series, premiering with back-to-back episodes Friday, stars Billy Campbell ("The Killing") as the work-obsessed Dr. Alan Farragut who leads the team to the doughnut-shaped research facility known as Arctic Biosystems. He's heading the team not only because it's his job but because his brother, Peter (Neil Napier, "Riddick"), is one of the victims of the disease.

Farragut's team includes his ex-wife, Dr. Julia Walker ( Kyra Zagorsky, "Supernatural"), who has a complicated history with both Farragut brothers, security expert Maj. Sergio Balleseros (Mark Ghanimé, "Emily Owens, M.D."), and a young doctor, Sarah Jordan (Jordan Hayes, "House at the End of the Street").

Dr. Hiroshi Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada, "47 Ronin"), the research company director, offers the CDC team unfettered access to the base and any information needed to figure out what's killing members of Peter Farragut's research team. Peter is still alive, but he's more than a little out of it, not to mention looking like a road map as black blood courses through his veins.

But all is not quite as it seems. Several key players have hidden agendas, not to mention the inevitable emotional conflict of Julia's history with both Alan and his brother.

There's nothing all that original about "Helix," but it works well enough. The script gets bogged down in soap opera suds from time to time, especially when it involves the love triangle. There are also credibility problems with some of the characters, but again, that's where it's useful not to think too much.

If only that made "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" watchable.


HELIX
10 p.m. Friday on SyFy.


http://www.sfgate.com/tv/article/Helix-review-Chill-out-and-let-disease-5125301.php
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TV Review
Don't get too attached to funny 'Enlisted'
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jan. 8, 2014

An amiable enough comedy, Fox does "Enlisted" no favors by slotting it at 9:30 p.m. Friday where few viewers will find it. (Friday is not a big TV viewing night, especially for younger watchers who would seem to be this show's target audience.)

It's a disappointing but perhaps not surprising move. "Enlisted" may be too heartfelt for Fox, which traffics in louder, brasher comedy. The pilot episode has its slightly edgier elements, as do future episodes, but "Enlisted" also has some pathos, a credit to the series but perhaps not in the minds of Fox executives.

Set at Fort McGee, a rear detachment U.S. Army base in Florida, "Enlisted" focuses on three bothers: Pete (Geoff Stults, "The Finder"), a supersoldier who's sent stateside after punching a colonel; Derrick (Chris Lowell, "Private Practice"), a sourpuss who doesn't even want to be in the Army; and sensitive dimwit Randy (Parker Young, "Suburgatory"), who worships what he perceives as Pete's heroism.

Pete is assigned to lead a Fort McGee platoon that includes Derrick and Randy and they're a motley crew; the Bad News Bears of Army units. But they try, they have heart and they bond in the process of a military exercise against some Italians.

Created by Kevin Biegel, co-creator of "Cougar Town," the humor in "Enlisted" is less gonzo than in his previous series. But "Enlisted" is often still funny, and the bond among the brothers is sweet without getting too cloying.

It's a well-cast show. The actors who play brothers actually look like they could be related. Mr. Young, in particular, stands out as the overenthusiastic youngest of the three.

Future episodes offer more dramatic moments, including the development of a possible romantic relationship between Pete and Jill (Angelique Cabral), another platoon leader. And actor Keith David co-stars as Command Sgt. Maj. Cody, who gets out from behind his desk in the Jan. 24 "Prank War" episode.

But given its time slot, don't get too attached to "Enlisted;" it's likely to be honorably discharged sooner rather than later.

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-radio/2014/01/09/Don-t-get-too-attached-to-funny-Enlisted-TV-review/stories/201401090135
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TV Notes
Comedy Central Gives Series Order To Ben Stiller-Produced ‘Big Time In Hollywood’
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jan. 10, 2014

Comedy Central has picked up to series pilot Big Time in Hollywood, FL with a 10-episode order. The project, produced by Ben Stiller’s Red Hour and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, is written by Alex Anfanger and Dan Schimpf. It follows two delusional brothers and self-proclaimed filmmakers, played by Anfanger and Lenny Jacobson, who are kicked out of their parents’ house and forced to fend for themselves for the first time in their lives, leading them on an epic journey in pursuit of their American dream. Kathy Baker and Stephen Tobolowsky play the brothers’ parents, and Jon Bass co-stars in the series, whose pilot was directed by Schimpf. “Ben, Alex and alexdanDan have fulfilled my career-long dream of having a show based in Hollywood, FL,” said Comedy Central president of original programming Kent Alterman. Added Stiller, “Big Time combines the directorial style of Hitchcock, the acting prowess of Streep, the budget of House of Payne, and the nutritional value of Velveeta. I think people’s minds will be blown wide open. For real.” Stiller is executive producing the series with Anfanger and Schimpf, along with Red Hour’s Debbie Liebling, Stuart Cornfeld and Mike Rosenstein, and Brillstein’s Lee Kernis and Brian Stern.

Anfanger and Schimpf, both NYU Tisch Arts 2008 graduates, met when they were randomly paired as roommates in their freshman year and immediately started collaborating by shooting comedic shorts. After graduation, they created the hit web series Next Time On Lonny, which is produced by Red Hour and is currently filming a second season. Additionally, Anfanger also is seen in Stiller’s Fox feature The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. The duo are repped by Brillstein and attorney Lev Ginsburg; Red Hour is with WME. This is the second series order at Comedy Central for Red Hour, which also has stand-up series The Meltdown With Jonah And Kumail, which spotlights hot comedians. The company, which recently signed deal with Legendary Television & Digital, also has sketch comedy series The Birthday Boys at IFC.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/comedy-central-gives-series-order-to-ben-stiller-produced-big-time-in-hollywood/
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Winter TCA Tour Notes
‘Lost’s Damon Lindelof Rips Network TV During HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ Panel, Says Quality Is Higher On Cable
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Jan. 9, 2014


http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/tca-damon-lindeloff-says-tv-quality-is-higher-on-cable-at-hbos-the-leftovers-panel/

Every time this guy opens his mouth, it makes me more determined to never again watch anything with his name on it.

I'm pretty sure this guy has been off his meds since the 4th season of "Lost".
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Washington/Business Notes
Supreme Court agrees to hear Aereo case
By Media Life Magazine Staff - Jan. 10, 2014

After months of arguing over the legality of Aereo, the streaming video service that offers live feeds of local affiliates without their consent, we’re finally going to get a definitive answer.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal in ABC Television Stations vs. Aereo, which asks for the controversial service to be shut down, arguing that it violates the networks’ copyright.

Aereo, which uses tiny antennae to send the signals, contends that it is legal and likens it to using a DVR or VCR.

Already broadcasters have failed several times to gain temporary injunctions that would have suspended the service.

Since the initial suit against Aereo was filed more than a year ago, it has expanded to 10 cities with more on the way.

It will be a closely watched, precedent-setting decision in the world of television. Already three broadcast networks have threatened to move to cable if Aereo prevails, and media buyers say they anticipate more services like Aereo will pop up if it’s ruled legal.

“We said from the beginning that it was our hope that this case would be decided on the merits and not through a wasteful war of attrition. We look forward to presenting our case to the Supreme Court and we have every confidence that the Court will validate and preserve a consumer’s right to access local over-the-air television with an individual antenna, make a personal recording with a DVR, and watch that recording on a device of their choice,” said Aereo founder Chet Kanojia in a statement.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/supreme-court-agrees-hear-aereo-case/
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TV Notes
ABC’s ‘The Assets’ Canceled After Two Episodes
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Jan. 10, 2014

“The Assets” didn’t turn out to be much of one for ABC.

The network has canceled the Cold War-era series after just two episodes, a source close to the network told TheWrap on Friday.

The series got off to an inauspicious start in the ratings, and fell further with its second airing on Thursday, receiving a mere 0.6 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. The second airing had just 2.9 million total viewers.

Episodes of “Shark Tank” will air in its place in the interim.

http://www.thewrap.com/the-assets-abc-canceled
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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Starz Execs Gamble on Pirates With 'Black Sails,' Defend 'Boobs and Blood'
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 10, 2014

Like Boss and Magic City before it, Black Sails heads into its series premiere on Starz with the distinction of already having earned a season-two pickup. Its predecessors never made it past that.

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, who has spoken about his penchant for early renewals before, addressed the latest order during the network's Television Critics Association panel.

"In order to get shows back on the air 12 months after they originally air, they need time," said Albrecht, who bucked network trend in 2013 by waiting for Da Vinci's Demons to premiere before giving the green light for more. "These big serialized dramas continue to get better -- the good ones anyway -- [but] at some point the show needs to make a case for itself, business-wise." (On the subject of second orders, the network also confirmed it is mulling a sequel to Golden Globe-nominated The White Queen, called The White Princess, without co-producers BBC.)

Albrecht credits much of the goodwill for Black Sails, a swashbuckling period piece about the struggle to survive in pirate hotbed New Providence Island, to the Comic-Con preview. "The response was phenomenal," he said. "Some critics there declared pirates the new zombies. We thought that was some pretty good footsteps to follow in."

Zombies, of course, a reference to TV's top series, The Walking Dead. But the surprising dearth of pirate programming on television is something Starz execs and series creator Jonathan E. Steinberg think will work in their favor.

"This has been one [idea] that's been stuck in my head for a long time," he said. "No one has dug into this world, deep into the bedrock of the reality of it and what it was like to wake up in the morning with this as your life. If you wanted to survive, to eat, you needed to take from somebody."

Steinberg made a few comparisons to some rather illustrious series -- The Sopranos, The Wire -- that were also the first on TV to tell a certain story: "It feels like fresh snow."

Black Sails, which premieres Jan. 25, started production on its second run in November 2013. Beyond that, Steinberg was hesitant to say if he expected more from the series.

"I don't know. As long as there's a story, we'd like to get to keep doing it," he said. "It's a hard show to make, but it's a fun show to make."

This being Starz, the question of nudity also came up several times, with one reporter referencing the network's apparent affection for "boobs and blood." Steinberg argued that the reality of being on a tropical island and essentially unemployed makes sex an inevitability.

Starz managing director Carmi Zlotnik offered this in defense of excessive skin: "If it goes to inform the character or drive the plot, then it's not gratuitous."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/starz-execs-gamble-pirates-black-669895
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TV Notes
NBC to Preview ‘About a Boy,’ ‘Growing Up Fisher’ During Olympics
By Whitney Friedlander, Variety.com - Jan. 10, 2014

NBC has announced that it will preview “About a Boy,” Jason Katims’ comedy based on the Nick Hornby novel, and “Growing Up Fisher,” DJ Nash’s comedy starring J.K. Simmons and Jenna Elfman, during its Olympics coverage.

“About a Boy” will preview at 10:30 p.m. February 21 following coverage of the Olympic games, while “Growing Up Fisher’s” preview follows the Closing Ceremonies at 10:30 p.m. February 23. There will be a repeat airing of both shows’ first episodes after “The Voice” on February 25.

Alfonso Cuaron and J.J. Abrams’ suspense drama “Believe” will air at 9 p.m. March 16. The Gillian Anderson and Dermot Mulroney drama “Crisis” will follow it. “American Dream Builders,” the reality competition show hosted by Nate Berkus, premieres at 8 p.m. March 23.

http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/nbc-to-preview-about-a-boy-growing-up-fisher-during-olympics-1201044282/
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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Starz’s ‘Outlander’ Fully Expected To Get A Second Season; ‘Incursion’ Still Alive
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jan. 10, 2014

It has already been a great day for the legions of (predominantly female) fans of Diana Gabaldon‘s wildly popular Outlander time-travel romantic novels as Starz released a new image from its series adaptation of the first book depicting hero Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) shirtless. Here is more good news for them: Sony TV-produced Outlander, Outlander 2014currently in production on its 16-episode freshman season, will do at least one more. “I would be shocked if we didn’t do the second book,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht told me after the Scotland-set show’s session at TCA that featured writer and showrunner Ron Moore in a kilt. It is not only the enormous and enormously passionate fan base of the books, though that is not lost on Starz brass. Albrecht said he is very high on the early footage he has seen and didn’t spare praise for Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Moore’s skills as a top-notch writer and producer.

Even without the big vote of confidence from Albrecht, Outlander has the odds in its favor as all original dramas ordered by Albrecht have gone to second season with one exception, Camelot. I asked Albrecht about Starz’s “two-season curse” as no series since Spartacus has been able to go to a third season.

“You want a show that really makes a difference,” he said. The exec believes that good serialized dramas need time to reach their potential, which explains his willingness to hand freshman series a second season, but if he feels a show won’t go to the next level, he doesn’t have much trepidation about pulling the plug. (Albrecht did, however, regret the Kelsey Grammer drama Boss not getting a satisfying closure at the end of its two-season run the way Magic City did.) “TV shows are assets, not shrines,” he said. “You put them on; if they do the job, you keep them, if they don’t, you don’t.”

Starz has been in the straight-to-series business long before it became the hot production model it is today. The premium channel’s version includes assembling a small writers room and doing a lot of preproduction work before a series gets a green light. The network recently did it with Outlander and also has done it with Incursion, the alien saga from Spartacus creator Steven DeKnight. Starz did location scouting and creature creation on the sci-fi project, but it has been put on the back burner for the moment as the network has another big-production drama on its hands in Michael Bay‘s pirate series Black Sails, in addition to David Goyer’s Da Vinci’s Demons. But Incursion is still very much alive, Albrecht said. DeKnight has a couple of other projects in the works at the network under his overall deal, including an adaptation of the Italian drama Romanzo Criminale.

One of the first major calls Albrecht made when he arrived at Starz was to cancel the network’s comedy series Party Down and Gravity. He has not greenlighted a half-hour project since but might do soon. Starz is developing a couple of comedies, including Survivor’s Remorse, from NBA All-Star LeBron James, Tom Werner and Mike O’Malley.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/outlander-tv-series-season-2-planned-starz/
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No political comments, please.

Winter TCA Tour Notes
CNN chief talks Leno, Curry and Fox News
By Gary Levin, USA Today - Jan. 10, 2014

LOS ANGELES — CNN chief Jeff Zucker is a year into his quest to remake the once-leading news network, which has fallen to third place in prime time behind Fox News and MSNBC.

Speaking to TV critics Friday, the former Today show producer and NBC Universal CEO, who most recently produced Katie Couric's daytime talk show, said "The key thing I want to do is make CNN true to its news and journalistic background." But "at the same time, when we look at the cable-news landscape, we recognize that's not a growing niche, and there are plenty of places to get news and information." Ratings declines by all three major networks last year, from an election-fueled 2012, is "not a great story in cable news. We're conscious of that."

So to fix his evening schedule, where Piers Morgan and Anderson Cooper lag, he's looking to broaden CNN's programming slate with more series and movies, such as Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown and a series about the 1960s from Tom Hanks' production company. The network Friday announced plans for an eight-part series, Death Row Stories, executive-produced by Robert Redford and due March 9.

On the news front, "We want to remain essential," he said. And while his rivals are "two partisan networks, frankly, that are looking out for their viewers, I think CNN needs to look out for the rest of us," bringing "passion" without being "politically partisan."

Zucker tamped down rumors he might find a spot for Jay Leno, soon to exit the Tonight Show: A late-night comedy show is "not really a priority for us now. That's not in the cards anytime soon." He did express interest in Ann Curry, inelegantly dumped by NBC's Today, but said, "As far as I know, she is not available," despite reports she has a looming exit window opening in her NBC contract.

And he criticized Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter this week, claimed CNN was essentially out of the news business. Zucker called that statement a "silly" attempt to "deflect attention" from a negative biography of Ailes, due this month. He says he hasn't read that book, but based on excerpts he believes "it confirms what we've known all along, (that) the Republican party has been run out of News Corp. headquarters masquerading as a cable channel. We happen to be in the news business, as opposed to some other 'fair and balanced' networks," he said, referring to Fox's tagline.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/outlander-tv-series-season-2-planned-starz/
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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Ovation’s ‘Fashion Fund’ Panelists: This Isn’t Reality TV and Vogue’s Anna Wintour Isn’t Evil
By Jethro Nededog, TheWrap.com - Jan. 10, 2014

From the very beginning of Ovation’s panel for its new show, “The Fashion Fund,” at Friday’s Television Critics Association press tour, it was clear that the participants aren’t television people.

First off, two of the panelists — I’ll give you the spoiler alert here that they didn’t give us, the duo called Public School are the winners of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, a program that awards one emerging fashion designer (or team in this case) with a $300,000 grant and a mentorship with an established designer.

“We didn’t plan on this being a reality show. It’s a docu-series,” the Council of Fashion Designers of America president Steven Kolb told reporters. “It’s not about the winners. It’s really about the unfolding of the process.”

Also read: ‘Project Runway’s’ Tim Gunn Defends Show’s Record for ‘Success’

And despite Ovation’s heavy use of Vogue boss Anna Wintour’s image for the show’s promotion, Kolb said, “It’s not about the judges. It’s not about Anna or Diane Von Furstenberg.”

Clearly, Lifetime’s long-running “Project Runway” is the bar in which we measure fashion shows. But, the panelists seem to have a disdain for the competition show.

“It’s probably a different level,” one-half of winning design duo, Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow, said. “The Vogue Fashion Fund is really monumental for your success. A show like “Project Runway” is more for TV. And when you speak to established designers, this is a rite of passage for young designers who have an intent to make a career out of fashion.”

Also read: Time Warner Cable to Bring Ovation Back to Its Roster

“The distinction is the word career,” Kolb pointed out. “These are not aspiring designers, they’re already in it.”

Sorry, “Project Runway” fans. Oh, and if you are one to believe the stories about Wintour being the inspiration for “Devil Wears Prada,” the panelists want to correct that misconception, too.

“She was the coolest person ever. She was very nice and sweet as can be,” Public School designer and Fund winner Maxwell Osbourne said.

Also read: James Franco Hosting Ovation Arts Show ‘James Franco Presents’

“The perception isn’t reality,” runner up designer Juan Carlos said. “She cares. She gives you a level of feedback that shows she cares. I think the best advice I got was from her.”

“The Fashion Fund” premieres Jan. 22 on Ovation.

http://www.thewrap.com/tca-ovation-fashion-fund
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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Cee Lo Green Talks 'Voice' Future, 'Ambiguous' Image and TBS Unscripted Show
By Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 10, 2014

Cee Lo Green is looking for his Curb Your Enthusiasm moment.

The Voice coach turned up at the Television Critics Association’s semiannual tour Friday to peddle his new, TBS “reality-based” show, appropriately titled CeeLo’s Goodie Life. In his 20 minutes or so before the press, the dynamic multi-hyphenate suggested that the series would offer viewers a more authentic look at him and his hip-hop group, Goodie Mob.

"I didn’t want to do another reality show. I wanted to do something innovative and cutting edge,” he told reporters, noting that he's inspired by vehicles like Larry David's semi-autobiographical HBO entry. And yes, Green, dressed in head-to-toe camouflage garb, is confident there are still things people don’t know about him. “I think I've established quite a bit of mystique," he said, adding of his desire to keep people guessing: "I’m ambiguous and elusive and very artful in my approach to expressing myself."

What’s more, he’s excited to showcase a softer side of the group, and the kind of intimacy that comes with some 20 years together. “We literally are one big happy family,” he said of fellow Goodie Mob band members, Big Gipp, T-Mo and Khujo, who flanked him on stage. The summer series will follow the foursome as they prepare to release their first album in 14 years. “A lot of the time the music that we’ve done and the albums that we’ve released have had serious overtones of social politics and commentary, so I think it would do our audience a great [service] to see us unplugged."

Much of the filming on Goodie Life was done while Green was in Las Vegas for a residency, so he says it’s unlikely that his Voice co-stars will appear on the unscripted cable show. Green acknowledged that he'd like to continue with that show, too, particularly since he's yet to achieve his goal of finding a superstar: "I think the only thing that jades me just a bit about The Voice is that we have to discover... the next big thing."

He continued of the top-rated, NBC singing show, for which he'll sit out this spring: "I love the show... I'm human and I have other ambitions that will require my undivided attention... [but] yes, I will gladly go back [to Voice] if they'll have me."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/cee-lo-green-talks-voice-669958
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Critic's Notes
'I came in at the end,' or the day 'The Sopranos' turns 15
Has it really been so long since Tony Soprano met Dr. Melfi?
By Alan Sepinwall, HitFix.com - Jan. 10, 2013

15 years ago, a guy walked into a psychiatrist's office. That guy happened to be a captain in the north Jersey mob. I suspect many of you know what happened next.

On the one hand, it seems incredible that 15 years have already passed since "The Sopranos" pilot aired. The series still feels so fresh, and vital, and so much a piece of everything that came afterwards. On the other, so many shows followed it in the dramatic revolution I wrote about in my book that of course a lot of time has passed, and there are certain pieces of the show (starting with the shot of the Twin Towers in the opening credits for seasons 1-3) that mark it as a product of its time.

Some "Sopranos" reading to look at today if you're in an anniversary frame of mind:

* Dan and I discussed the pilot episode in a summer installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.

* The tribute I wrote to James Gandolfini after his sudden death last summer, and the complete text of David Chase's eulogy. (I also unsurprisingly loved Matt Seitz's Gandolfini tribute.)

* An excerpt from my book dealing with the show's later years, including "Pine Barrens" and the oft-debated series finale.

* Links to all of my "Sopranos" episode reviews from The Star-Ledger, mainly from the final season, but also with a few from seasons 4 and 5, plus my Chase interview from the morning after the finale aired.

And if you're in the mood for a specific anniversary dish, I would of course recommend ziti.

http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/i-came-in-at-the-end-or-the-day-the-sopranos-turns-15
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TV Notes/Q&A
AMC’s Top Execs Go Deep on the State of Their Network
By Josef Adalian, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Jan. 10, 2014

There were many reasons for AMC executives to be very happy about how 2013 played out. The Walking Dead was once again the No. 1 show on all of TV among viewers under 50. Breaking Bad experienced a massive audience surge in its last season, and the show's final batch of episodes was greeted mostly with critical raves. Mad Men had its detractors, but ratings remained solid. What's more, AMC locked in deals with the brain trusts behind Dead and Bad to produce spinoffs of both shows in the years ahead. And yet, despite all of these positive developments, AMC did hit some speed bumps. Low Winter Sun was rejected by critics and viewers, and won't be back. Former Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont sued the network. And while Breaking Bad went out on top … it still went out.

To find out what's next for AMC after a momentous year, we rang up network chief Charlie Collier and programming head Joel Stillerman to chat for an hour about how they plan to build on their early successes, the threat from upstarts like Netflix, and why it's unlikely Talking Dead will be joined by Talking Don anytime soon.

Within the course of a few weeks last year, you announced plans for Better Call Saul and the Dead spinoff, and then you revealed that Mad Men would have its final season split over two years. Coming at the same time that Low Winter Sun was tanking and Bad was ending, it did suddenly seem as if AMC were on the defensive, that the network that had three big home runs early on was suddenly worried about the future. Do you worry that you came off looking almost a little desperate?
Collier: If you’re in my chair, and Vince Gilligan wants to explore what makes Saul Goodman the best/worst lawyer in the world? You say yes. And if you have the No. 1 show on television — not just on cable, but television — and the guy at the core of the show and who literally created the source material [Robert Kirkman], says, "I think there’s more story to tell." You say yes. Those two decisions were such no-brainers. Those were simple decisions. I understand your question, but: You’re in my chair, you do those.

And extending the Mad Men final season over two years?
Collier: On the Mad Men decision, I take so seriously the things that consumers don’t see, which is the way we elevate the shows to support them to their fullest. Make no mistake, Mad Men is all about Matt Weiner, and his great writing team and their vision. Our job, and [the job of] the team that you don’t see, is to take that phenomenal material and elevate it in a way that allows you to look back at a series and say, "My God, that was an event." And so when we split Breaking Bad into two, it was a momentum play that we thought would allow us to set up Breaking Bad for the Hall of Fame in a way that that show deserved. And I think the fan response and the popular culture response validated that decision. The motivation with Mad Men is to build that anticipation again. In a very different way, because it’s a very different vehicle and a very different passionate audience. But I think our job is to support it, and elevate it, and put that show in the Hall of Fame, [too].

So what's the status of Better Call Saul and the spinoff of The Walking Dead?
Stillerman:
Both are in the very, very early stages. Saul is actually a little farther along. That show is committed and on the books now. The writers' room is open. Broad strokes — probably no news here: It is a prequel, it explores what went into shaping the incredibly compelling and idiosyncratic and funny and somewhat tragic character of Saul Goodman. I think the other thing that’s really great about Saul: Vince and Peter Gould, who are partners on the show, talk a lot about really reinventing the tone of what it means to be a drama. There have been a number of dramas on the air that have had comedic elements. But I think they really want to push the envelope in terms of what it means to take you on an emotional roller coaster ride, and make you laugh, and break your heart and stretch the boundaries of where you can go emotionally within the context of a drama. Saul’s obviously a very funny character, and there’s going to be a lot of comedy in that show. But they felt at the end of the day that it was best crafted as a drama, and that would give them the latitude storytelling-wise and character-wise to really go into a sort of unprecedented range of emotions.
Collier: They're not just [creating] a spinoff. I hate the connotation, because they are really trying to create something original out of a great character. It’s so much more than a spinoff. When you hear them talk about it, they really are going back to the drawing board taking the time to invent something.

And The Walking Dead follow-up?
Stillerman:
That show is not as far along. Robert has some things on his plate. He continues to write every issue of the comic and hasn’t finished season four of The Walking Dead, which he is very intimately involved with and will continue to be. That’s really in the incubation stages. The one thing that I’ll share is just an anecdote that Robert shared with us. He has such a specific vision that he laid out really clearly in the first issue of the comic book. And I encourage anybody who’s interested in the show to go read the note that he wrote in the first issue of the comic. His motivation for telling that story was so clear and so powerful, and it served as such a great north star for the show. We kicked around a few ideas, but primarily what he’s working on is, what is the idea that gives [him] as clear a mandate to make another version of this show as [he] had for the first one? What is going on [now] is a more philosophical discussion over why there should be another version of the show. Once we answer that, we’ll zero in on the specific creative.

It's not 100 percent green-lit yet.
Stillerman:
It’s in development.
Collier: What we want to do is not diminish the mothership. What we want to do is find something that everyone involved feels as passionately about as being a unique vehicle and unique enterprise as compared to the original series. We’ll take our time, and we’ll do it right.

There's so much more competition in the "quality TV" space. Your own sibling, Sundance, made lots of noise last year with Top of the Lake. Netflix is in the game. Do you have to change your strategy in response? Do you become more indie or more mainstream?
Collier:
From day one, we said we wanted to be premium television on basic cable. We want creators to bring us their passion projects. And we wanted to be eclectic by design. So the through line is not to be one or the other; the through line is, we're going to be original. And when we're at our best, we're creating worlds that are truly original … in the sense that you have not seen it before, and we're going to dive into things in a different way. The through line between The Walking Dead and Mad Men and Breaking Bad and Hell on Wheels — even some of the shows which didn't connect as well, like Rubicon or Low Winter [Sun] — is that there are aspects we're shooting for that are original. Of course, if Kirkman comes to us with a spinoff, we're going to do that. But the strategy hasn't changed at all.
Stillerman: Are we falling into more of a network mentality? I would say definitively, "no." Those opportunities around Breaking Bad and Walking Dead were ones I don't think any programmer would pass up. But while we were putting those in the works, we were also doing what we always do best, which is taking enormous swings on projects that live off the basic principles of our brand, which are unexpected, unconventional, and looking for the passion of the audience. [The Revolutionary War spy drama] Turn and Halt and Catch Fire [which is about computer innovators in the eighties] are the next two shows which will debut on this channel, and if anybody feels like those fall into a formulaic or fear-based or network-esque programming strategy, I'd love to hear that rationale. Because they are as out of the box and original as television gets. And, as Charlie said, that's always been the game plan.

So having the No. 1 show in all of TV doesn't make you want to create more No. 1 shows? You've proven you can beat the biggest networks out there, so is there a pressure to keep launching massive shows?
Collier:
Never, even with The Walking Dead, did we go into it looking to build something broad. That was never what we were shooting for. What we were looking to do was super-serve a passionate audience — one that had come to our network for fifteen years for Fear Fest. One of the things Joel first did when he got here was to make a list of the top movies which reached a certain demo, and lo and behold, he found Westerns and horror were at the top. We go into a Halt and Catch Fire with a different expectation than we might an on-the-nose genre piece. But we're not looking to be broad. We think we'll do best when we serve a really passionate audience. And then, if we do it really well … they tend to broaden out because it's great entertainment.
Stillerman: If you wake up in the morning and your goal is to create the next No. 1 show on television, the chances of you breaking real new ground conceptually or taking chances creatively are diminished significantly.

Is it tough competing with the very deep pockets of a Netflix or HBO? It used to be that the trade-off for the creative freedom of cable was less money for producers to spend. Now some outlets offer the hands-off approach and the big budgets.
Stillerman:
We're responding to that competition by continuing to be a home for people's passion projects [and] continuing to nurture great talent. We have some incredible people on the roster who are going to bring us the next generation of AMC originals ... With respect to budgets, we can say with complete conviction, we put our money where our mouth is when it comes to our originals. The proof is on the screen.

I've been told you can't talk about the whole Frank Darabont situation because of the legal situation. But there have been reports of clashes with Matt Weiner. There were difficulties with Sony getting the final seasons of Breaking Bad together. There's this sense that AMC has had rocky relations with its showrunners, or that financial considerations outweigh the creative. Does this irk you?
Collier:
Far more often than not, there is harmony. It's just not as good copy. The showrunner role is one of the hardest roles in our business — this need to create excellence on every level, both from a business and creative point of view. When things have gone public and have been less than good — what we're trying to do is [figure] out what's in the best interest of the show. If [reporters] wrote about everything equally, they'd see that the vast majority of our relationships have been productive and that far and away our batting average with these people has been better than the industry standard. [And] I love that Vince is back for more. It speaks to the relationship and the way we've worked together. And the same with Robert Kirkman.

Some critics think that the age of the cable TV antihero died with Walter White. Do you agree? Will there be less of them on AMC?
Stillerman
: I won't predict the end of antiheroes. There's not much of an upside for me on that in the long haul. But I will say you're going to see a significant tone shift over the next couple of years on AMC. Not because we're looking to respond to the "end of the antihero" movement, if that's a thing. But just because of our quest for breaking new ground and to trying to reinvent ourself. If you look at Turn and Halt and Catch Fire, neither one of those feel as dark as a show like Low Winter Sun. Turn is really a classic story of heroes who risk everything. And there's a number of things in the pipeline — Better Call Saul and a pilot we just green-lit, Knifeman [about an eighteenth-century grave-robbing surgeon] — that are going to be on the very funny side of the drama spectrum. We love that on our air. We've never aspired to be a place that was oppressively dark; we just wanted to tell great stories, and those come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. If you look at the next batch of AMC originals, you're going to see a radically different kind of storytelling and a radically different tone.

Nothing you've done in the reality world has done the sort of ratings, or gotten the buzz, of your scripted fare. Why are you still in the space?
Stillerman:
We do it because we think there's an opportunity to expand the success we've had on the scripted side creatively into that genre. And we think we can continue to expand our brand and our business. Comic Book Men has been a success for us; it's a show that has a very loyal core audience. I think we feel there are some great stories to tell and rich worlds to explore.

The Killing had a female co-lead. Will AMC ever have a show where a women is at the center?
Stillerman:
We don't rule it out. There are probably a few things in development that are an ensemble with women. I can't think of anything off the top of my head that has a female lead or co-lead, the way The Killing does. But that's not by design.

There's so much to talk about after every episode of Mad Men. Why doesn't it have a postshow, like Talking Dead? Will that change next season?
Collier:
Right now we have no plans for it. We do everything in partnership with Matt. We've talked about it. Right now, and we agree with him, we don't think we have a need to change what we've done. The depth of analysis you can get on other platforms is pretty impressive.

You've green-lit two period dramas with Turn and Halt. Period stuff is all over TV now, from The Americans to The Goldbergs. What's the appeal?
Stillerman:
From a creative point of view, period is fun. It's an opportunity to let the craftspeople, the costume design and production design, take you [where] you might not otherwise be able to go on in a contemporary show. And it still feels a little special, even though you do have a few more period pieces in the market, not the least of which is Downton Abbey. I just think that on an old-fashioned level, TV not only makes you think and moves you emotionally, it also takes you on a journey. And period is great way to do that. It also instantly adds a sense of scope and scale to a show. You feel like you're going somewhere you can't in your real life.

http://www.vulture.com/2014/01/amc-walking-dead-sequel-better-call-saul.html
post #91616 of 93668
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)

ABC:
8PM - The Bachelor (120 min.)
(R - Jan. 6)
10PM - Killer Women
(R - Jan. 7)

CBS:
8PM - NFL Football, AFC Divisional Playoff: Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (LIVE)

NBC:
8PM - Figure Skating: U.S. Championships (LIVE)
* * * *
11:29PM - Saturday Night Live (Jimmy Fallon hosts; Justin Timberlake performs, 93 min.)
(R - Dec. 21)

FOX:
8PM - Almost Human
(R - Dec. 16)
9PM - Bones
(R - Sep. 23)
* * * *
11PM - Animation Domination High-Def (60 min.)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Austin City Limits: Jason Isbell; Neko Case

UNIVISION:
8PM - Sábado Gigante (Three hours)

TELEMUNDO:
7PM - Movie: From Mexico With Love (2009)
9PM - Fútbol Mexicano Primera División: Club León vs. Club Atlas (LIVE)
post #91617 of 93668
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
ABC’s ‘The Assets’ Canceled After Two Episodes
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Jan. 10, 2014


http://www.thewrap.com/the-assets-abc-canceled

I got both episodes still sitting in my DVR. Guess there is no point watching them now. The thing was only supposed to be an eight episode series.
post #91618 of 93668
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Review
Don't get too attached to funny 'Enlisted'
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jan. 8, 2014



But given its time slot, don't get too attached to "Enlisted;" it's likely to be honorably discharged sooner rather than later.

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-radio/2014/01/09/Don-t-get-too-attached-to-funny-Enlisted-TV-review/stories/201401090135

Forget the time slot, the pilot just wasn't very good.
post #91619 of 93668
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 11, 2014

PRO FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS VS. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Fox, 4:30 p.m.

For this second-week postseason playoff game, many sports pundits are expecting the Seattle Seahawks to repeat its late-season thrashing of the New Orleans Saints. But Saints QB Drew Brees, who held tough last week to wrest victory from the jaws of the Philadelphia Eagles, says he learned a lot from that earlier game, and is determined to perform better against Seattle this time. And off we go.

PRO FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS VS. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Last week, the Indianapolis Colts were 38 points down in the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs, but Colts QB Andrew Luck persevered, staging one of the biggest comeback victories in NFL history. This week, Luck faces the Patriots, and stellar QB Tom Brady, so this game might be a thriller that goes down to the final minute of play – a scenario with which the Patriots, in postseason play, are painfully familiar. Speaking of painfully: TVWW’s Eric Gould, who lives in Boston, will be watching today’s game in all sorts of agony. Good luck, Eric.

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT
TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 1934 Frank Capra comedy was the first movie to sweep all the major Oscars – film, director, actor (Clark Gable) and actress (Claudette Colbert), and earned them all. It’s a delightfully funny, unexpectedly modern road picture, about a cynical reporter who blackmails his way into accompanying a runaway heiress on her flight to… somewhere.

THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW
BBC America, 10:00 p.m. ET

Please watch this hour, if you’ve never seen talk show host Graham Norton. This hour is a compilation of some of his best moments from the current season – and if the producers are smart enough to include such Season 14 highlights as Paul McCartney verbally sparring with Katy Perry, and Elton John responding to one of Norton’s questions by playfully telling him to “f--- off,” this show should turn any first-time viewer into an instant convert.

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE
TCM, 10:00 p.m. ET

This 1944 movie, another Frank Capra-directed comedy classic, captures the lunacy of the original Joseph Kesserling stage play, thanks to a screenplay by Julius and Philip Epstein and a fearlessly funny lead performance by Cary Grant as drama critic Mortimer Brewster. Raymond Massey is just fine as Jonathan Brewster, the villainous brother whose botched plastic surgeries have him looking like Frankenstein’s monster – but those references must have elicited even bigger laughs in the 1941 Broadway play, when Jonathan was played by Boris Karloff himself. Among the rest of the movie’s supporting cast, I particularly adore watching Peter Lorre as Jonathan’s henchman Dr. Einstein and Edward Everett Horton, the future narrator of Fractured Fairy Tales, as Mr. Witherspoon, head of the local insane asylum. I love this film.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
post #91620 of 93668
TV Review
Yo, What’s Shaking? Not These Movers
‘Lucas Bros. Moving Co.’ Joins Fox Animation Series
By Mike Hale, The New York Times - Jan. 11, 2013

The main characters of “Lucas Bros. Moving Co.,” a new addition to Fox’s late-Saturday-night collection of 15-minute animated series, have a lot in common with their creators. Kenny and Keef, like Keith and Kenny Lucas (who are also the show’s main writers and voice actors), are young black twins who live in a mythical place called Brooklyn.

But the differences are more telling. The real Lucas brothers are comedians, not moving men who never seem to move anything. With an online talk show and movie roles (in the coming “22 Jump Street”), in addition to this Fox microseries, they obviously have an industriousness completely alien to their fictional counterparts, who meet the slightly surreal challenges thrown at them with a blasé indifference bordering on nihilism.

Cut off by white tigers from the apartment house furnace they’re trying to light, Kenny says: “Keef, you know what we gotta do. We gotta give up.” Stymied while trying to break into a building guarded by Pac-Man game pieces, he declares, “Yo, Keef, looks like there’s really no way out of this one.”

Perhaps there’s a sly joke here about the travails of young black men trying to earn an honest buck, or maybe it’s just all the bong hits the characters do.

“Lucas Bros. Moving Co.” meets the challenge posed by Fox’s Animation Domination High-Def format — how to do something of substance, or at least tell a story, in 10 to 11 minutes of running time — with a disarming sweetness and a clever, stylized casualness. The stories, about a haunted air-conditioner or an encounter with a Don King-like modeling agent, start small and prosaic and spiral out into wild, absurdist quests. Off-center pop-culture references — Jumanji, Jean-Claude Van Damme and A. C. Slater (Mario Lopez’s character on “Saved by the Bell”) — are made with a built-in chuckle.

Josh Miller’s “Golan the Insatiable,” also joining the Fox lineup on Saturday, takes a different approach: loud, gross and sentimental. The title character is a warlord from another dimension banished to Earth, where he lives with a suburban family, sleeping in the 6-year-old daughter’s room and trying to get glimpses of her teenage sister naked. The basic joke is that Golan is the family’s surrogate teenage boy, rude and sex-obsessed, but winningly childlike. The show is passably amusing, but nothing that’s likely to stick with you.

Moments from “Lucas Bros. Moving Co.,” on the other hand, may hang around, like the scene in which the brothers agree to shave their beards, but not before seeing “what the street’s got to say about it.” Next shot: the brothers lying in the street, ears to the pavement, one of them saying, “The streets are pretty quiet, my friend.”

LUCAS BROS. MOVING CO.
Fox, Saturday nights at 11, Eastern and Pacific times; 10, Central time.


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/11/arts/television/lucas-bros-moving-co-joins-fox-animation-series.html?ref=television&_r=0
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