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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 3057

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SUNDAY'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)
Big NFL audience lifts CBS on Sunday
Broncos-Chargers game draws an 11.3 in 18-49s
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 13, 2013

A huge lead-in audience from the NFL lifted two CBS shows to season highs on Sunday despite airing opposite NBC’s highly rated Golden Globes.

The final hour of the San Diego Chargers-Denver Broncos playoff game averaged an 11.8 adults 18-49 rating at 7 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights.

That was easily the top-rated hour of the night on broadcast, and it boosted lead-out “60 Minutes” at 8 p.m. to a season-high 4.2 rating, including a 4.9 in its first half hour.

“The Good Wife” posted a 1.8 at 9 p.m., also a season high, though all these ratings may not hold. The numbers are based on fast national ratings, which don’t take into account time zone differences and are based only on timeslot ratings, not actual program ratings.

According to overnight ratings, CBS finished slightly ahead of NBC in adults 18-49, but because both networks aired live shows, those numbers should adjust when final numbers come out tomorrow. Either could win the night.

As expected, without the NFL lead-in it enjoyed last week, Fox’s Sunday lineup saw declines. “The Simpsons” averaged a 2.2 at 8 p.m., off 52 percent from last week, while the 9 p.m. “Family Guy” declined by 16 percent, to a 2.6.

“Guy” was the highest-rated scripted series of the night on broadcast.

CBS was first for the night among 18-49s with a 4.8 average overnight rating and a 12 share. NBC was second at 4.7/12, Fox third at 1.8/4, ABC fourth at 1.1/3, Telemundo fifth at 0.7/2 and Univision sixth at 0.6/2.

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 7 p.m. CBS was first with an 11.3 for football, followed by NBC with a 2.8 for a Golden Globes arrivals special. ABC was third with a 1.0 for “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” Fox fourth with a 0.9 for reruns of “Bob’s Burgers” and “American Dad,” Telemundo fifth with a 0.6 for the movie “Titanic” and Univision sixth with a 0.4 for “Aqui y Ahora.”

NBC took the lead at 8 p.m. with a 5.7 for the first hour of the Golden Globes, while CBS slipped to second with a 4.2 for “60 Minutes.” Fox was third with a 2.1 for “Simpsons” (2.2) and “Bob’s Burgers” (1.9), ABC fourth with a 0.9 for “The Bachelor: Behind the Scenes,” Telemundo fifth with a 0.7 for its movie and Univision sixth with a 0.6 for a special edition of “La Rosa de Guadalupe.”

At 9 p.m. NBC led with a 5.6 for the Golden Globes, with Fox second with a 2.4 for “Guy” (2.6) and “American Dad” (2.2). CBS was third with a 1.8 for “Wife,” ABC fourth with a 1.6 for “Revenge,” Telemundo fifth with a 0.8 for its movie and Univision sixth with a 0.7 for more “Rosa.”

NBC was first again at 10 p.m. with a 4.9 for the Globes, followed by CBS with a 1.7 for “The Mentalist.” ABC was third with a 0.8 for “Betrayal,” Telemundo fourth with a 0.7 for the final hour of “Titanic” and Univision fifth with a 0.6 for “Sal y Pimienta.”

CBS also led the night among households with a 10.8 average overnight rating and a 16 share. NBC was second at 9.4/14, ABC third at 2.7/4, Fox fourth at 2.2/3, Univision fifth at 1.0/2 and Telemundo sixth at 0.7/1.


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TV Notes
Back on TV just in time, ‘Veronica Mars’
The quirky UPN show gets a second life on Pivot
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 13, 2013

“Veronica Mars” was canceled in 2007 after three critically acclaimed but low-rated seasons on UPN.

Now, seven years later, the show, about a teenage private eye, is making a major comeback.

Tonight repeats of the drama premiere at 11 p.m. on Pivot, the new cable network targeting Millennials.

And last week Amazon picked up rights to all 64 episodes of “Mars” for its streaming service, the first time the show has been available on the web.

All this comes as the long-awaited “Mars” movie finally nears release. The film is one of the most high-profile projects ever to be funded through Kickstarter, an internet crowdsourcing site. Fans of the program pledged $5.7 million for “Mars” creator Rob Thomas’ project last year, far surpassing his initial hope of raising $2 million.

The “Mars” movie comes out March 14.

There’s no doubt that release will help grab attention for the repeats on Pivot, a channel from Participant Media that that debuted last summer.

It’s one of several recent cable launches, including Revolt TV and Fusion, to target the elusive adults 18-34 demo, which watches more online, mobile and other non-traditional video than any other demo.

Pivot is available in only 40 million households and is not yet measured by Nielsen, so it’s hard to tell how successful the venture is. But the addition of “Mars” at a time when so much hype is surrounding the program can only be a good thing for the young network.

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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 13, 2014

CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

As part of the wedding weekend, Marshall (Jason Segel) prepares to deliver the latest and last promised super-slap to Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) as part of their ongoing ritual of “Slapsgiving.” Since this is Marshall’s final swing at the plate – or at Barney – he admits to have undergone training to pack as potent a punch as possible. And tonight, he comes out swinging.

SyFy, 8:00 p.m. ET
This Syfy series has a better plot, and certainly a more interesting look, than most of the network’s new shows. What started off as a sort of supernatural, Sapphic Batman and Robin has evolved into a complicated battle of good and evil, fairy world style, and handled that conceit better than, say, True Blood. Anna Silk stars as Bo, a succubus with ties to both the good and evil Fae worlds, but she’s not even in the Season 4 premiere. Instead, the heavy load is carried by her charismatic human sidekick, Kenzi, played by Ksenia Solo. Tonight, Kenzi comes to the aid of someone under a memory-altering spell –unaware that she, too, is under the same spell. And as part of the investigation, she takes to the dance floor, looking decidedly unlike her usual goth-girl self.

NBC, 10:00 p.m. ET
After the brief hiatus that began before Christmas, with Red (James Spader) escaping from both his box and his handlers and enemies, the devious manipulator is back. But where? And why? And what now? So far this season, the performances, not the plot twists and turns, have made The Blacklist worth keeping track of – but these last stories of the season will be a better indication of where the show is going, and whether it’s worth following.

PBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

Long before there was reality TV, there was Frederick Wiseman, the documentary filmmaker whose approach was to descend upon a particular place, and group of people, and film – and film and film and film, until his subjects forgot he was there, and acted naturally. Then, after compiling absurd amounts of raw footage, Wiseman would edit, presenting the result without narration, so the story and themes build naturally. Wiseman has been making his special sort of films since the Sixties, so it’s proper that his latest subject is a true Sixties institution: the University of Berkeley in California. What’s it like now, and what are its students and employees up to? For the next four hours, culled from 250 hours of footage, At Berkeley will tell you. Check local listings.

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET
The opening show of this Season 5 premiere sets up a sort of series reboot for Archer and company, but don’t worry: Regardless of the setting and circumstances, this secret agent spoof remains as twisted, and as archly amusing, as ever.


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Critic's Notes
50 Years Ago, As '1964' Reminds Us, Beatles and Hillbillies Reigned on TV
By Gary R. Edgerton, TVWorthWatching.com (Guest Contributor) - Jan. 13, 2014

"Kennedy set so much in motion in such a short period of time that the outcome of each narrative was unclear." -- Journalist and author Evan Thomas, in American Experience’s JFK (2013)

The Kennedy assassination still marks a shared milestone for most Americans, whether or not they were alive on Nov. 22, 1963. The psychic rupture it caused is the subject of writer-director Stephen Ives’ 1964, his latest contribution to PBS’s flagship historical series, American Experience.

Based loosely on Jon Margolis’ The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964, this two-hour documentary (premiering on PBS Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m. ET; check local listings) is structured around many of the events and issues usually associated with the 1960s, such as the coming of the Beatles and the ascendancy of rock ‘n’ roll; the first year of the Johnson presidency and the birth of the ‘Great Society’; Freedom Summer and the nationalizing of the civil rights movement; the 1963 publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and the surfacing of women’s liberation; the presidential nomination of Barry Goldwater and the kindling of the conservative counterrevolution; the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the buildup in Vietnam; and the free speech protests at Berkeley and the rise of student activism.

This overflowing agenda simmered for years beneath the seemingly calm exterior of postwar America before finally boiling over with an unbridled fury that took many people in the country by surprise. 1964 begins with images of people celebrating in Times Square as the famed ball drops during the final seconds of Dec. 31, 1963. The revelers look more like refugees from the Fifties than the Sixties, which no doubt is what Ives and his creative team are intending to suggest.

Historian Daniel Boorstin once observed that the "most popular" method of organizing historical periods is in yearly, decade-long, and "hundred year packages. Historians like to bundle years in ways that make sense, provide continuity and link past to present." More often than not, though, history is not that neat and clean. For all intents and purposes, the era known as the Sixties did not kick into high gear until JFK was assassinated and America had experienced the trauma of his passing. This turbulent and transformative period also extended well into the early to mid-1970s, culminating with Watergate and the withdrawal of the last American troops from Vietnam. Through it all, television remained the one constant for most Americans, who could turn on their sets for a brief respite or a quick update on what was happening beyond the screen.

Americans are still using TV to retrospectively revivify, vicariously re-experience, and collectively reinterpret the Sixties. Throughout November 2013, the U.S. broadcast, cable, and satellite networks were awash with literally dozens of television specials commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Predictably, some of these shows were kitschy and exploitative, such as the National Geographic Channel’s adaptation of Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly’s best-seller Killing Kennedy, starring Rob Lowe as JFK and Ginnifer Goodwin as Jackie; most, however, were earnest and mainly dull exercises in repurposing old footage, such as CBS’s As It Happened: John F. Kennedy 50 Years. One cut above the rest was the two-part four-hour American Experience biography by writer-director Susan Bellows, titled simply JFK, which mixed familiar and newly discovered moving and still images with a more nuanced though ultimately admiring portrait of Kennedy and his legacy.

One of the biggest surprises I experienced when researching the 1960s for the Columbia History of American Television was the discovery that the four highest-rated network programs of the decade (beside live television events that interrupted regularly scheduled programming, such as JFK’s funeral and the 1969 moon landing) appeared in quick succession over a six-week period between Jan. 8 and Feb. 16, 1964, or only two to three months after the Kennedy assassination.

The second and fourth most-watched shows of the 1960s were the Jan. 8 and 15 installments of CBS’s The Beverly Hillbillies, attracting 72 and 70 million viewers, respectively. On a cumulative basis, The Beverly Hillbillies was the most watched prime-time series of the 1960s, averaging a staggering 57 million viewers a week (or 1 out of every 3.3 Americans) at the height of its popularity between 1962 and 1964. These two Hillbillies telecasts personified the high-spirited escapist shtick common of most establishment TV at the time.

The Jan. 8 episode, for instance, involves a silly string of mishaps resulting from Granny (Irene Ryan) mistaking a kangaroo for an over-sized jackrabbit. The Jan. 15 segment revolves around a freeloading Ozark mountaineer who visits the Clampetts in the hopes of marrying off his roly-poly daughter, Essiebelle, to Jethro (Max Baer, Jr.) in order to get his hands on some of Jed’s (Buddy Ebsen) money.

In stark relief, the first and third highest-rated programs of the 1960s featured a different kind of entertainment altogether. On Feb. 9 and 16, CBS’s The Ed Sullivan Show presented the Beatles to a mass American television audience for the first time. Network TV’s foremost impresario had first spotted the Fab Four while touring England four months earlier, just as Beatlemania was flowering throughout the United Kingdom. Sullivan signed the band for three shows at $75,000, or roughly one-half of what he paid Elvis back in 1956-1957.

In turn John, Paul, George, and Ringo drew nearly 74 million viewers for their U.S. television premiere on Feb. 9. A week later, 71 million more Americans tuned to see what all the fuss was about. As smartly-dressed, well-mannered, and benign as the early Beatles looked on coast-to-coast TV, they nevertheless provided a glimpse of an emerging, youthful counterculture that would soon sweep across North America and Western Europe during the rest of the 1960s and into the early 1970s. The Beatles offered their fans an irresistible alternative to the mostly well-worn traditions of establishment television.

The four Beatles surrounded Sullivan with their slightly deviant hairstyles, Pierre Cardin collarless jackets, and Cuban high-heeled boots. Their personal charm radiated outward, complementing the overpowering sound they had just produced on stage. Predictably, the establishment press panned the band and their performance. The New York Times dismissed the Beatles as merely "a fad"; the New York Herald Tribune pronounced them "75 percent publicity, 20 percent haircut, and 5 percent lilting lament"; and the Washington Post inexplicably called them "asexual and homely," despite the nonstop screaming evidence to the contrary provided by Sullivan’s live studio audience. The intense disapproval expressed by adult critics across the country merely confirmed the fact that the Beatles were a phenomenon that the older generation neither tuned into nor understood.

In contrast, younger viewers were completely enthralled by the original music, the thoroughly contemporary look, and the mildly rebellious attitude. Being British, the Beatles also possessed an international cachet for American audiences that eluded Elvis. Signs of change were everywhere, as young people on the tail end of the silent generation, as well as their baby boomer brothers and sisters, embraced this new mod lifestyle.

Not surprisingly, CBS is planning a TV special on Feb. 9, 2014 to commemorate the golden anniversary of the band’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. It's titled The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles, and features Paul, Ringo, Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison, along with Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Adele, Bruno Mars, Pink, and Katy Perry performing the songs the group played that night. Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

A much better alternative for putting the Beatles and, more importantly, a historical turning point of extraordinary pent-up energy and change into perspective is the Jan. 14 telecast of 1964, which will also be available the next day for viewing online at PBS Video.

The major strength of 1964 is the diverse cross-section of 25 witnesses and expert commentators who remember and react to a kaleidoscope of characters and happenings that populate an unavoidably busy narrative. One of the challenges of television documentaries such as 1964 is to steer clear of the Billy Joel effect of merely presenting an overcrowded listing of headlines and celebrities, as the singer-songwriter did in "We Didn’t Start the Fire." The many voices in 1964 serve to slow down the pacing and personalize the proceedings, as is the case with sportswriter Robert Lipsyte in the first sequence, when he recounts covering the well-publicized photo op between the Fab Four and Muhammad Ali in February 1964:"‘The Beatles! Cassius Clay! I mean this was the toppling of the order that was my generation and it was thrilling."

Once the Beatles and Ali leave the stage, however, the remaining eighty percent of 1964 is much more concerned with politics than culture, despite brief cameo appearances by Betty Friedan, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Bob Dylan, and Sam Cooke. Where professional historians typically avoid presentism as much as possible, popular historians producing television histories frequently frame their subjects in a way that is most relevant to themselves and their target audiences in the here and now.

In that way, Stephen Ives and his creative team tend to portray the competing forces of 1964 as merely a nascent version of the red state/blue state gridlock of recent years, when there are as many differences as similarities to the politics of the Sixties and the polarized standoff that is so much a part of American life today.

Nevertheless, the filmmakers pack many raw and compelling moments into their narrative, such as the impassioned eulogy delivered by Freedom Summer organizer Dave Dennis at James Chaney’s funeral; and LBJ giving a long line of legislators the "Johnson treatment" in order to guarantee the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. They also do a highly skillful job of providing adequate space for multiple perspectives on the dysfunctional and damaged state of race relations at the time, the changing gender roles and generational conflict, and the new emerging forms of civic engagement and social protest.

In the end, all of the onscreen interviewees appear to agree on the watershed nature of 1964. For example, liberal writer and historian Rick Perlstein summarizes that "the story America had been telling itself... was unsustainable, and it kind of cracks from its own internal contradictions," while conservative activist Richard Viguerie concludes that 1964 "was the creation of a new America. It was a door to our future. Once we went through it there was no going back."

The American Experience program 1964 works effectively as both historical drama and commemorative television. It focuses attention on an often unrecognized pivot point in living memory, and encourages viewers to reexamine its significance on both a personal and collective level, whether they were born before 1964 or afterwards.

Gary R. Edgerton is Professor and Dean of the College of Communication at Butler University. His latest books are The Sopranos (Wayne State University Press, 2013) and a reprint edition of American Film Exhibition (Routledge, 2013). He also coedits the Journal of Popular Film and Television.

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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Fox's '24' Return Is Different From Film, Leaves Door Open for Reboot
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 13, 2014

Live Another Day, Fox's mini revival of 24, has yet to start filming -- but Fox announced Monday that it will premiere May 5.

And as the return approaches, the network also trotted out stars Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub and the series' executive producers at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, where they spoke about the future of the series, how the format will shift with fewer episodes and if they're taking any queues from Homeland.

"If this ends up rebooting the show or causing a film to be made, so be it, but we're very happy about these 12 episodes right now," said Sutherland, who noted Live Another Day is not the same story as the long-delayed 24 feature. "The script for the film is very different. It's an ongoing situation, and there's always an opportunity to do it."

EP Howard Gordon said that the 12-episode run has been much more forgiving to the writers than the original series.

"Doing good stuff, stuff that you are proud of, takes time and effort... the more time you have, the better you can craft each episode," he said. "We have every hope that we are going to maintain the quality we had, but it was a marathon. It was punishing. There's a horizon with this. With 24, you could never see the other side of the stories."

They have had time. Fox first announced the revival in May 2013, and while the London-based shoot hasn't begun, the writers have completed roughly half of the mini season.

"The show still does take place over a 24-hour day even though it is 12 episodes," said EP Manny Coto, who added that certain hours of the day just won't be shown on screen. "The show will be progressing in the same way it always did, and it will add up to 24."

Story-wise, the group did reveal several details about where the new run finds Sutherland's Jack Bauer. "If you remember at the end of season eight, Jack was basically left a fugitive," said Coto. "When we pick up four years later, he is still a fugitive. He's hunted."

He's being hunted by a CIA agent played by Yvonne Strahovski, whose casting broke earlier in the day. "The show will open with that dynamic," added Coto, "A CIA agent hunting Jack. He's not exactly Osama bin Laden, but he's a fugitive of high order."

Those hoping -- or fearing -- parallels to Carrie and Brody on Gordon's Homeland needn't worry. The producers shot down comparisons to TV's other fugitive-agent duo.

"The dynamic here resembles Carrie and Brody in no way at all," said Coto. "It wasn't that situation. When the show airs, you'll see the dynamic between the CIA and Jack... he's more of a fugitive than anything else."

Rajskub's Chloe O'Brian is also not in good graces with the U.S. Her character is no longer working for CTU and playing a Edward Snowden-esque figure working against the government.
"It has become a more complex world than when we started 24," said Gordon, suggestion drones will be another contemporary topic. "This is really about Jack and where he is 12 years later. We're going to introduce some exciting topics."

As for what Live Another Day means for 24's future on Fox, Sutherland said that he's not necessarily on board to star in a reboot. "When I said reboot, I never said I was a part of it," he said, to a few laughs. "There's a lot of fantastic characters. When we started the show, I said that the star was 24, the concept. I still believe that very strongly. If an audience were to latch on to a younger character who was helping my character, that would certainly be an option."

Still, his affection for the series and his alter ego seems to be evident. He mentioned several times that he was worried about screwing up 24's legacy.

"Until we start shooting, everything is kind of intangible and up in the air," said Sutherland. "I'm as anxious as I've been in a long time. I'm nervous."

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TV Notes
Netflix Bringing Back ‘Lilyhammer’ for Third Season
By Brent Lang, TheWrap.com - Jan. 13, 2014

“Lilyhammer” will return to Netflix for a third season, Netflix said Monday, citing the show’s international appeal.

The fish out of water story follows a mob fixer (“The Sopranos’” Steven Van Zandt) as he struggles to keep a low profile as part of the witness protection program in Lillehammer, Norway.

The series’ eight episode second season debuted on the subscription service in December. It was developed for Norwegian television, but has premiered domestically exclusively on Netflix.

“We are proud to bring back Lilyhammer for a third season,” Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, said in a statement. “Lilyhammer is the type of global show that Netflix members around the world have discovered and love and season three will see that world expand even more.”

Last month, Van Zandt revealed to Rolling Stone that he had signed for a third season of the show and would begin filming in January.

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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Fox Gets In Bed With The Lonely Island For Alternative Comedy Development
By The Deadline.com Team - Jan. 13, 2014

On the heels of Andy Samberg’s Golden Globe win last night for his work on Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox this morning announced it had sealed a multi-year deal with The Lonely Island, forming a new alternative comedy development venture. Akiva Schaffer, Samberg and Jorma Taccona will develop an “alternative pipeline of next-generation comedy series” for the network. Through the new company, The Lonely Island will oversee the development of comedy projects that will be incubated through digital platforms, such as Hulu and Roku, with the ultimate goal of becoming full series on Fox, FX, FXX or other networks.

The Lonely Island is responsible for creating the popular SNL Digital Shorts, which spurred many water-cooler moments. Some notable shorts include D**k In A Box, Lazy Sunday, I’m On A Boat, Jack Sparrow, YOLO and The Natalie Portman Rap. In 2007, the trio won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for D**k In A Box, and a Peabody Award for the 2008/2009 season.

“These guys know what it takes to break through – whether online or on air – and they are the perfect partners to help us find the next generation of comedy hits,” Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly said in this morning news.

“It’s vital that we foster more experimentation both on and off the Fox lot, so we can take more shots at identifying hits,” added Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, Senior Vice President of Multi-Platform Programming for Fox.

And Schaffer said The Lonely Island team is “super excited to work with Mr. Reilly and everyone at Fox to make innovative and cool TV shows that might not otherwise make it through the normal development process. Reilly has given us a sandbox to play in, and we’ve brought our shovels, buckets, towels, sunblock, some old Grisham paperbacks, a Luna bar – wait – what was I talking about again?”

Like Reilly said, it’s the network’s third multi-platform development initiative. In 2012, Fox launched Animation Domination High-Def, its alternative animation unit. In 2013, the network announced a strategic deal with digital studio WIGS, created by television and feature film producers Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia.

Comedic rap trio The Lonely Island coined their name from the cramped West Coast apartment they shared as comic start-ups. In 2005, the trio joined NBC’s Saturday Night Live – Samberg as a cast member and Taccone and Schaffer as writers/directors. They boast 1.24 billion overall views on their YouTube channel, as well as three Platinum singles (“I’m On A Boat,” “Jizz In My Pants” and “I Just Had Sex”) and one Gold single (“Like A Boss”). The Lonely Island’s debut album, “Incredibad,” was released by Republic Records in February 2009 and is the first comedy album to reach No. 1 on iTunes. Their 2011 sophomore album, “Turtleneck & Chain,” which debuted at No. 3 on Billboard, was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Comedy Album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “I’m On A Boat.” They recently released their third album, “The Wack Album,” in June 2013, featuring Hugh Jackman, Kristen Wiig, Robyn, Adam Levine, Kendrick Lamar, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Too $hort, Pharrell Williams, T-Pain, Billie Joe Armstrong and Solange.

Samberg last night won the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical. Brooklyn Nine-Nine will air a special episode on Sunday, February 2 after Fox’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII. Taccone co-wrote and directed the 2010 feature film MacGruber, starring Will Forte and Kristen Wiig. He most recently starred as Booth Jonathan in a multi-episode character arc on HBO’s Girls.

Schaffer made his feature length directorial debut with Hot Rod for Paramount Pictures in 2007, and recently directed the 2012 feature-length film The Watch, starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill.


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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Fox Sets Premiere Dates For ‘24’ Event Series, ‘Surviving Jack’, ‘Gang Related’, ‘Cosmos’

Fox, appearing this morning at the TCA Winter Press Tour 2014, announced premiere dates for event series 24: Live Another Day, and new series Surviving Jack, Gang Related, and Seth MacFarlane’s science passion-project Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. 24 is getting its old Monday 9 PM slot, Surviving Jack will follow American Idol‘s result show, and Gang Related is getting an early summer run as planned.

The clock resets when 24: Live Another Day premieres with a special two-hour television event on Monday, May 5 at 8 PM, followed by its time period premiere the following week in 24‘s signature Monday 9 PM slot. Set and shot in London, the suspenseful event series again will follow the exploits of agent Jack Bauer (Sutherland) as he attempts to thwart a terrorist attack. Retaining the real-time format with split screens and interweaving storylines, the series also stars Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kim Raver, and William Devane reprising their original roles. Newcomers include Yvonne Strahovski, Giles Matthey, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Michael Wincott, and Judy Davis. The event series reunites the Emmy-winning team of executive producer Howard Gordon; star and executive producer Sutherland; co-creator Robert Cochran; executive producers Evan Katz, Manny Coto, David Fury and Brian Grazer; and executive producer and director Jon Cassar.

New comedy series Surviving Jack, premieres Thursday, March 27 at 8:30 PM following the American Idol results show. From executive producer and Emmy nominee Bill Lawrence, the comedy is based on best-selling author Justin Halpern’s autobiographical book I Suck At Girls. Co-created and written by Halpern ($#*! My Dad Says) and Patrick Schumacker ($#*! My Dad Says), the series is set in 1990s Southern California and stars Christopher Meloni as a man becoming a dad.

New action-drama Gang Related premieres Tuesday, May 20 at 9 PM on Tuesday, May 20 following Part 1 of the two-night American Idol season finale. Created and written by Chris Morgan (Wanted, Fast Five), Gang Related follows a rising star in Los Angeles’ Gang Task Force, played by Ramon Rodriguez (Battle Los Angeles, The Wire).

Meanwhile, MacFarlane’s 13-part Cosmos, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, will premiere Sunday, March 9 at 9 PM. It will encore with bonus footage and behind-the-scenes content on National Geographic Channel on March 10 at 10 PM — the same day it debuts on National Geography Channels International and on the U.S. on Nat Geo MUNDO. The space exploration series will be seen in 170 countries and 45 languages. More than three decades after the debut of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Carl Sagan’s exploration of the universe as revealed by science, MacFarlane has teamed with Sagan’s original creative collaborators – writer/executive producer Ann Druyan and co-writer/astronomer Steven Soter – to conceive the 13-part series that will serve as a successor to the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning original series. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is produced by Cosmos Studios, the Ithaca, NY-based company Druyan co-founded in 2000, and Fuzzy Door Productions, MacFarlane’s company. Druyan and Soter are the series’ writers. Druyan, MacFarlane, Cosmos Studios president Mitchell Cannold and Brannon Braga (the Star Trek franchise, 24) executive produce.

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TV Review
Archer shakes everything up (for the better)
By David Sims, AVClub.com - Jan. 12, 2014

Archer has never entered a serious slump. Admittedly, its fourth season didn’t hit the dizzying heights of previous years, with some of the comedy drowned out by its epic scale and increasingly convoluted and serialized plotting. The foundation of the show looked strong enough to sustain endless seasons though. The killer ensemble, their globetrotting spy lives, and the intentionally vague time setting allowed it to spoof every genre and era of spy movies—creator Adam Reed and his team had no real cause for concern.

Nonetheless, the show is getting rebooted for its fifth season, and it’s quickly clear what a good idea that is. The posters that circulated around the Internet—headlined “Archer Vice” and showing Archer on a beach with a bag full of money, carrying a sawed-off shotgun and wearing a white suit—are no joke. The cast is the same, the antics broadly similar, but at least for a year, Archer is backing away from spy-show spoofery into a narrower universe. Miami Vice is the obvious forebear, but in typical Archer fashion, there’s no effort made to pretend our heroes are on the right side of the law.

The opening episode sets up the reboot rather spectacularly by finally poking at the very nature of Malory Archer’s ISIS operation, which never made much sense to begin with. Sure, they were independent contractors doing government work, but at the same time, the depth and breadth of their missions never jibed with their supposed extra-governmental status. Without revealing too much, the fundamental concept of ISIS is torn down within the opening minutes of the episode, quickly requiring a change in headquarters, a new job for accountant Cyril and a refocused, even more morally repugnant core mission for the team.

It’s good for the show to clear away much of its extraneous plot detritus. Matters like the mystery of Archer’s paternity, the continued rivalry with Barry Dylan, and the romance with Katya Kazanova were done to death by the end of season four. The loss of the show’s secret agent trappings is barely felt; the “Archer Vice” angle instead feels like a breath of fresh air.

Plus, everything that makes the show great continues to hum along at full force—namely, its characters and the way any member of Archer’s ensemble can bounce off of any other member with glorious ease. Lana’s pregnancy (via donor) heightens both her self-righteousness and the underlying irony of her thrill for the job. Cyril’s new function as staff attorney is the direction his character has long needed—his negative-Nelly personality is even better served. Cheryl and Pam are the reliable, horrifying joke machines they’ve always been.

The biggest change doesn’t involve the ISIS revamp—it’s the moral shift that comes with it. The show’s characters can now make no real claim to being on the side of good. They’re largely in it for themselves, which has always been the case, but the show is now beyond any veneer of spy vs. spy. It’s a somewhat audacious way for the show to go, but based on the first five episodes, there’s little fear of upsetting the audience.

That’s always been Archer’s greatest strength. Its formula is so easily built to avoid status quo, but it enjoys throwing complicated plots and challenging situations at its characters, like cancer, paralysis, amnesia, fatherhood, and marriage. Every time the writers get themselves out of a corner with some ridiculous deus ex machina, it works just as well as when they deal with an issue realistically. It almost feels like they’re daring the audience to object to the latest insanity, knowing full well they won’t.

Season four of Archer opened with an episode devoted to the meta-joke that Archer was flipping burgers in a restaurant, a wink to H. Jon Benjamin’s work on another great animated series, Bob’s Burgers. The situation was rectified within 22 minutes, of course, but from what season five has going on, it’s clear that these characters and this writing would work in almost any setting. Set a whole season of Archer in a burger joint, and it’d still be appointment television.

ARCHER (Season 5)
Airs: Premieres January 13 at 10 p.m. Eastern on FX.
Rating: A-

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TV Review
'Bitten' on Syfy: This werewolf's all woman
By Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Enquirer - Jan. 12, 2014

If you judge werewolves by their beauty, then the heroine of Bitten is far and away the best wolfie out there.

Syfy's sexy, diverting drama features the delectable Laura Vandervoort. Adapted from novelist Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, Bitten is the newest addition to the channel's supernatural-Mondays lineup. It debuts at 10 p.m., following the season premieres of Canadian succubus yarn Lost Girl and the American remake of Being Human.

Vandervoort, 29, best known for her turn as a reptilian alien with a heart of gold on ABC's V reboot, stars as Elena Michaels, a twentysomething photographer from Toronto who has lived for four years with a monstrous secret.

Conveyed through honey-toned flashbacks, Elena's past is riddled with tragedy. An orphan raised in a succession of abusive foster homes, she finally finds her place in the world when she falls in love with her dream man, wealthy anthropologist Clayton Danvers (Greyston Holt). Alas, he bites her, ravages her, savages her. But instead of draining all her elan vital, he turns her into a werewolf.

Every one of Danvers' relatives - all men - is a wolf. They live in the creepy Gothic mansion Stone Haven in Upstate New York, under the watchful gaze of alpha male Jeremy (Greg Bryk). Elena is an exotic creature in this world: It seems she's the only woman ever to survive being turned. So for nearly four years, the Danverses force Elena to live with them.

As the pilot opens, Elena has broken away from the pack and created a normal life. She shares an amazingly swank flat with her hunkerama of a beau, Philip McAdams (Paul Greene), and goes out for coffee and shoe shopping with her bff, Philip's sister, Diane (Natalie Brown).

Things change when Jeremy summons the pack back home to hunt a stray werewolf that has been killing women in the neighborhood. As the pack's best tracker, Elena is compelled to return.

Who is this "mutt," as the pack calls him? Why is he killing?

Is he after the Danverses?

Before long, more mutts come on the scene, killing humans and threatening to expose the Danvers secret.

Drum roll . . .

Though it lacks the production value or special-effects budget of the Twilight movies, Bitten has a smooth, slick look and boasts solid performances. I could think of worse ways to while away my Monday nights.

10 p.m. Monday on Syfy

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TV Review
FX's 'Chozen'
Animated rap tale with Bobby Moynihan, Method Man and Kathryn Hahn has promise, but may succumb to stereotypes
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Jan. 13, 2014

Think of “Chozen” as an animated graphic novel about the rap music world.

It sends up that world, but only with much love.

It also might want to consider more rap jokes and fewer of the sex jokes that could have been lifted from any animated show aimed at teenagers.

The main rapper here is the title character, Chozen, voiced by Bobby Moynihan. He’s a gay white guy about the size of Biggie Smalls.

Chozen just got out of prison, where he did a dime for a crime he didn’t do.

He was framed by Phantasm (Method Man), a former member of his crew, who correctly deduced that if he could get Chozen out of the way, he could go solo and become the king of rap.

That’s exactly where Phantasm sits when Chozen gets out of the joint, and Phantasm can’t imagine Chozen being a threat any more.

That’s also looking like a good bet. Chozen is crashing with his smart, skeptical sister Tracy (Kathryn Hahn) and trying to get back together with the other two members of his group, Ricky (Michael Pena) and Crisco (Hannibal Buress), who have been scraping out a living playing kids’ birthday parties.

Once we get the lineup, the show breaks out its real agenda. Well, two real agendas.

First, Chozen shows he’s still got the goods, and his prison years have given him rich material. Among other things, he declares rap needs to be more inclusive, which lays a serious message under the gags.

Second, everything gets a lot cruder, an understandable decision that could downshift the show from unique to routine.

“Chozen” is set up to tell good stories about a world rich for such a telling. Let’s hope it doesn’t get sidetracked.

Network/Time: Monday at 10:30 p.m., FX
Rating: ★★ (out of five)

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TV Review
A&E's ‘Crazy Hearts: Nashville’
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Jan. 13, 2014

Dear country-music loving, Southern Christian conservatives: If you really want to punish A&E for the network’s (fleeting) suspension of “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson, by all means boycott the show the network is launching behind its signature program’s return, “Crazy Hearts: Nashville.” Because trust me, if that contingent doesn’t tune in, no one else will. Another docu-soap that’s far more sudsy than “docu,” the series assembles a group of aspiring or semi-established musicians to focus on their lives and (more often) loves. Cynically piling on the Southern-fried-TV trend, all that’s missing are I Love My Gun and Pickup Truck T-shirts.

Practically speaking, the show comes with its own built-in excuse for promoting a lot of “You done me wrong” songs as a tie-in, giving the music an organic connection to the carefully staged dramatic sequences.

As if to drive home that latter point, the whole shebang is presided over by a journalist/publicist (as billed in the press notes, anyway), Heather Byrd, who not only narrates most of what transpires but acts as the go-between in one of the struggling relationships.

One of her duties includes commiserating with Lee Holyfield, who is stuck on country rocker Leroy Powell, a love-’em-and-leave-’em type. Alas, Leroy already has moved on to singer-songwriter Hannah Fairlight, a free spirit who hooked up briefly with crooner Anthony Billups, although he’s still pining for ex-girlfriend Amy Wilcox.

Meanwhile, singer-bartender Jimmy Stanley is receiving professional encouragement from his new girlfriend, a wannabe manager named April Nemeth, because, oh honestly, who cares?

Whatever one’s view of country music, there’s almost nothing approaching an authentic note in “Country Hearts: Nashville,” other than its vague resemblance to ABC’s “Nashville,” and clear belief there’s an audience out there eager to watch anything that originates in their geographical zone.

The irony is that by misreading that audience during the “Duck Dynasty” flap, A&E has likely boosted ratings for its return, which should help reel in more viewers to sample “Country Hearts” — although the real test, as always, will be who comes back for an encore.

For the artists, of course, there’s little downside to this sort of promotional showcase, but nobody should confuse the series with anything more than that. Because just as several characters wear their hearts on their sleeves, A&E’s rationale for ordering “Crazy Hearts” is thoroughly transparent.

A&E, Wed. Jan. 15, 11 p.m.

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TV Review
Now You See the Motorcycle, Now You Don’t
‘Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne’ on A&E
By Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times - Jan. 13, 2014

Some skills aren’t particularly television friendly, and magic, especially the small-scale kind like the card trick, is one of them. If you’re not witnessing it live at fairly close range, you have to take it on faith that something magical happened, and that no camera manipulation was involved.

The illusionist Andrew Mayne at least partly overcomes this limitation in his new A&E series, “Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne,” using sass and plain old likability to do it. The premiere, being shown on Monday night, has a lot of appetizers and one main course, and it’s all amusing and surprisingly credible.

Mr. Mayne spends much of the show punking unsuspecting bystanders with sweet, small tricks. At an indoor-outdoor restaurant he appears to reach through solid glass from his indoor seat to grab things from under the noses of diners at an adjacent outdoor table. He borrows wallets from people, and somehow the driver’s license ends up inside a sealed emergency box, with the “In case of fire, break glass” sign taunting them.

Mr. Mayne’s tricks are well chosen, because they have a physical dimension that the TV viewer can see. The diners in that restaurant tap the glass his hand just came through; nope, no hole there. That helps you buy into the big illusion of the episode, in which he makes a man’s motorcycle disappear. Sure, it could be a sleight-of-camera, but by this point he’s earned your trust.

A&E, Monday nights at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.

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TV Review
Lost Girl is an aimless mess without Anna Silk at the center
By Kevin McFarland, AVClub.com - Jan. 13, 2014

Note to showrunners: It’s not a good idea to confine a show’s dynamic lead character—who happens to be your cast’s best actor—to less than five minutes of screen time over the first two episodes of a season. The fourth-season premiere of Lost Girl is the only episode in which Anna Silk’s succubus Bo doesn’t appear. In the second episode, she’s only in three short scenes, stranded on a steam-train prison traveling in a space between dimensions. The titular lost girl has been lost and forgotten. It’s obvious that Silk hasn’t been relegated to a reduced role for all 13 episodes of season four. But this show, which has been a lot of entertaining fluff with one grounding lead performance, turns into a mess without its central tether.

The only tangible benefit to sidelining Bo is an extended period in the spotlight for feisty sidekick Kenzi (Ksenia Solo). Unfortunately, despite Solo’s winning comedic performance, the mystery of Bo’s disappearance unfurls with little satisfaction. Plodding romance without chemistry has always been Lost Girl’s Achilles heel, and the emotional whiplash of watching Kenzi bounce between Dyson and Hale during an impromptu tango performance is painfully awkward. Even something silly—like guest star George Takei playing a treasure-hoarding Fae with the body of a giant snake—doesn’t save a premiere that has a gaping hole where Silk should be. All of this would be a lot more fun if the forced soap-opera subplots—between Kenzi and Hale, Dyson and whomever he’s partnered with, Lauren and literally every attractive female character—didn’t threaten to tank every other scene.

Kenzi’s job boils down to partnering with Dyson to follow through on investigative work, handing over the heavy lifting to the shape-shifting wolfman and Hale once things get more intense. That’s a violation of the show’s core principle: Bo doesn’t need the boys’ help to accomplish anything. This season introduces Kenzi’s attempts to at least mask herself as Fae, with the help of some questionable substances that appear analogous to drug abuse. So not only is she characterized as too weak to carry out the bigger task of rescuing Bo from purgatory—a slight Bo would scoff at while pushing past the men—Kenzi’s also an addict. The Bo-Kenzi dynamic is the most important relationship on the show, and after multiple episodes, the fourth season hasn’t put the two on-screen together. Placing the relationship of the characters with the show’s wittiest rapport in the background is a massive misstep.

As for the other supporting players: Add doctor-on-the-lam Lauren to the ever-expanding list of TV characters who dangle by a thread even though a show no longer knows how to use them. She’s hiding out in a diner under a fake name—yet another recycled idea that Buffy The Vampire Slayer did better, because it didn’t stretch it out to fill multiple episodes of plot—dodging sexual tension with a fellow waitress. Hale could be on that list as well, no longer in a position of authority and mostly comic relief for when Dyson needs someone to tag along.

Lost Girl does a lot of things that would still be tolerable if there wasn’t a better Canadian sci-fi export that has lapped the show’s capabilities multiple times in only one season: Orphan Black. Now, Lost Girl looks like a mistaken heir to the Xena and Hercules throne, a schlocky, low-budget genre show with its own interpretation of established mythological characters. Occasionally it mixes in the right amount of comedy to mask its flaws, but without Silk for the vast majority of the first few episodes, Lost Girl isn’t up to the task.

LOST GIRL (Season 4)
Airs: Premieres January 13 at 10 p.m. Eastern on FX.
Rating: C

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Originally Posted by Nayan View Post

Could you imagine Jim Cantore at a game? biggrin.gif

He's already been at the NHL Winter Classic and also the US Open Golf for NBC.
post #91694 of 93807
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
Back on TV just in time, ‘Veronica Mars’
The quirky UPN show gets a second life on Pivot
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 13, 2013

“Veronica Mars” was canceled in 2007 after three critically acclaimed but low-rated seasons on UPN.

Now, seven years later, the show, about a teenage private eye, is making a major comeback.

Tonight repeats of the drama premiere at 11 p.m. on Pivot, the new cable network targeting Millennials.

--> And last week Amazon picked up rights to all 64 episodes of “Mars” for its streaming service, the first time the show has been available on the web.


I don't think this is the first time it has been available on the web, I can't remember which service, probably Netflix, but I definitely watched it on one of the streaming services.
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TV/Business Notes
Fox’s Abolishment Of Pilot Season: Practical Guide To How Will It Work
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jan. 13, 2014

Fox is switching to the cable development model. That is the takeaway from today’s announcement by Fox Chairman Kevin Reilly that the network will be bypassing pilot season this year and going forward. I sat down with Reilly to discuss how the changes will be implemented and what it means for writers, actors and agents.

First, “we are abandoning pilot season, not pilots,” Reilly stressed. “Pilots still are a helpful tool, especially on the comedy side where the alchemy is fragile, and you really Kevin Reilly 1need the casting to inform your decision on the project.” But going forward, “we will be ordering pilots geared towards series,” he said. That means picking up fewer pilots, which is the cable model. “Instead of making 10 pilots hoping to get one series on the air, I’d like to make it more 1-to-1 ratio,” Reilly said. That means fewer pilot roles for actors but a better chance for those who get pilots to get on the air. The switch also means likely buying fewer scripts, Reilly said.

This will be a transitional year as Fox has a stockpile of scripts, some of them with big commitments. “There will be a few more drama pilots ordered in the next month or so, with another half dozen pushed forward for the next cycle with further investment,” Reilly said. That involves a pilot order plus backup scripts and/or funds for a writing staff, or, in some cases, just extra scripts and a bible for a straight-to-series consideration. On the comedy side, “we’ll have a leaner slate, we will order a few more pilots.” There is no mandate for any of those to be ready in May for fall consideration, though, if magic strikes and a pilot comes quickly and knocks it out of the park, it could make it on the 2014-15 schedule. Expected to be on the schedule are Fox’s current pilots, drama Gotham and comedies Fatrick and Cabot College (Matt Hubbard), with Reilly expected to formalize their series orders next month. With those three, plus comedy series Mulaney and drama series Hieroglyph and Ben Affleck’s The Middle Man, there will be no much shelf space for new series anyway, especially as Reilly said he wanted to bring back most of the network’s current series and only has 15 hours of primetime versus 22 for the other major nets.

Going forward, Fox will not make series pickups based on one episode, as has been the pilot season tradition. Also like cable, Fox plans to commission backup scripts and set up small writers rooms while work on the pilot is going on — as it is currently doing with The Middle Man and Gotham — to get a detailed road map for the series before proceeding with an episodic order. That is not a ploy to make creators do more for the pilot fee and wait longer, Reilly said. “Fox wants to do more work in order to get their projects on the air.” He feels that message will attract talent under the new model, which is being widely used in cable. Fox also is adapting the straight-to-series template based off multiple scripts and a bible, which it used on adventure drama Hieroglyph.

As pilots shoot throughout the year, July-October is expected to be particularly busy, with the beginning of the year and spring also earmarked for pilot production activity. Fox also will try to be buying scripts year-round the way cable networks do. However, if the other broadcast networks don’t follow Fox’s lead and remain constrained by the traditional pilot season, Reilly anticipates more active buying during the so-called pitch season in summer and fall. He also plans to continue doing event series alongside traditional drama series.

The move away from pilot season had been years in the making, ever since Reilly returned to what he calls an “antiquated broadcast system” after a stint at FX. “The success ratio on broadcast is not great, so we can’t do any worse,” he said.

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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
‘True Detective’ Is HBO’s Highest Rated Series Premiere Since 2010
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Jan. 13, 2014

HBO’s new drama “True Detective” proved to be a ratings hit for HBO with its Sunday night premiere, drawing the network’s highest number for a series premiere since “Boardwalk Empire” in 2010.

The 9 p.m. premiere of “True Detective” — which stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as a pair of detectives who are drawn into a murder investigation — drew 2.3 million total viewers. That’s considerably fewer than the 4.8 million that the “Boardwalk Empire” premiere grabbed, but enough to reach the 2010 milestone. And the “True Detective” premiere beat out the recent series premieres for “Game of Thrones” and “The Newsroom,” which drew 2.2 million and 2.1 million total viewers, respectively.

A replay of the “True Detective” premiere grabbed another million viewers.

The following hour, the Season 3 premiere of “Girls” drew a series high of 1.1 million total viewers — a 28 percent boost over the Season 2 premiere, and a 27 percent leap over the series premiere in 2012.

With a replay factored in, the “Girls” season premiere drew a total of 1.6 million total viewers.

The second episode of “Girls” Season 3 aired at 10:30, grabbing 881,000 viewers — 1.2 million with a replay factored in.

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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
The Weather Channel Is No Longer Available on DirecTV
By Stephanie Chan and Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 13, 2014

The Weather Channel will no longer be available on DirecTV, which has refused to come to an agreement on a market-based carriage deal.

A statement from David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company, was released Monday night, where he said he was "shocked" the satellite TV provider has "put corporate profits ahead of keeping a trusted channel that subscribers rely on every day."

According to Kenny, The Weather Channel was "simply looking for a fair deal" and not "a large fee increase," later elaborating that "this is a dangerous gamble over one penny a month that puts DirecTV customers at risk."

Calling DirecTV's move "reckless," Kenny stressed the network's importance as a public utility to the 20 million DirecTV customers, reiterating what network president David Clark and new hire Sam Champion said Jan. 11 during winter Television Critics Association press tour.

DirecTV's chief content officer Dan York responded to The Weather Channel's charges in a Monday statement contending that much of the network's programming isn't devoted to weather coverage and forecasts.

"Consumers understand there are now a variety of other ways to get weather coverage, free of reality show clutter, and that The Weather Channel does not have an exclusive on weather coverage – the weather belongs to everyone," the DirecTV exec stated. "Most consumers don’t want to watch a weather information channel with a forecast of a 40 percent chance of reality TV. So with that in mind, we are in the process of discussing an agreement to return the network to our line-up at the right value for our customers."

Days before The Weather Channel was made unavailable to DirecTV customers, the two parties traded barbs as the 12:01 a.m. deadline Jan. 14 loomed. At the time, Kenny said losing the network would be "deeply irresponsible to its customers, who not only count on The Weather Channel on a day-to-day basis, but depend on us before, during and after severe weather events."

A day later, DirecTV issued its own statement, diminishing The Weather Channel's declaration that it was a trusted breaking weather news source, saying that instead it devotes time to "reality television shows." DirecTV made a point to note that an alternative weather channel, Weather Nation, was available to subscribers.

Read the full Weather Channel statement below.

"This is unprecedented for The Weather Channel. In our 32 years, we have never had a significant disruption due to a failure to reach a carriage agreement. We offered DirecTV the best rate for our programming, and I am shocked they have put corporate profits ahead of keeping a trusted channel that subscribers rely on every day. We are not looking for a large fee increase. We are simply looking for a fair deal that allows our company to continue to invest in the science and technology that enables us to keep people safe, deliver the world’s best weather, and tell weather stories to help people be prepared and informed.

At a time when DirecTV has increased customer rates by 4 percent, they are trading safety for increased profits and replacing the experience and expertise of The Weather Channel with a cheap startup that does weather forecasting on a three-hour taped loop, has no field coverage, no weather experts -- certainly not any on par with The Weather Channel network’s industry-recognized experts like tornado expert Dr. Greg Forbes and winter weather expert Tom Niziol -- and no experience in severe weather emergencies. This is a dangerous gamble over one penny a month that puts DirecTV customers at risk.

This reckless move by DirecTV will have an impact on our role as part of the national safety and preparedness fabric of our country at a time when the volatility and frequency of weather events seems to be increasing. The Weather Channel partners with humanitarian and emergency management agencies at the local, state and federal levels. We help people prepare before storms, stay safe during their effects, and find help afterward. If the network is not available to viewers, the effectiveness of these partnerships, which help make us a more weather ready nation, are jeopardized. I am hopeful DirecTV will come to their senses soon and will not force its customers to change carriers to stay safe and informed."

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TV Notes
HBO to end 'The Newsroom' with 3rd season
By James Hibberd, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Jan. 13, 2014

Stop the presses!

HBO is ending Aaron Sorkin’s acclaimed drama series The Newsroom after the upcoming third season, the cable channel announced Monday.

“The Newsroom is classic Aaron Sorkin – smart, riveting and thought-provoking,” said HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “I’m sure this farewell season will be one to remember.”

The surprise announcement will conclude the journalism drama, which is set at a fictional cable news network and stars Jeff Daniels, who won an Emmy for his role. The third and last season will premiere this fall. The announcement marks the second HBO drama series to get an end date in recent weeks; the network is also concluding Boardwalk Empire after this fall’s fifth season. Meanwhile HBO launched its latest drama series on Sunday night, True Detective.

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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Seth MacFarlane explores the 'Cosmos'
By Robert Bianco, USA Today Team - Jan. 13, 2014

From Family Guy to science guy in one leap.

For his next TV project, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane is producing a sequel to Carl Sagan's legendary science series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the new 13-part Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey will air on two outlets, starting March 9 on Fox and March 10 on National Geographic.

"I had always been a fan of Cosmos," says MacFarlane. "I had seen it as a child, and then when I was in high school saw it again and was able to process in much more depth."

This new sequel was actually in the works before MacFarlane got involved, but Tyson and the show's co-producer, Sagan's widow Ann Druyan, were pitching it to places like Discovery and PBS. MacFarlane says he told them they would be "speaking to the converted" at those outlets, and would reach a broader audience at Fox.

"I was a little skeptical," Tyson says, who went to a meeting at Fox assuming the network people were only being polite because of MacFarlane. "By the second or third meetings, it was clear that they were on board. It became clear that they were interested in Cosmos regardless of whether Seth had sat there making the presentation with us."

Of course, there would have been no presentation at all without MacFarlane, who gives Fox Guy, American Dad and the much derided Dads. Is he trying to balance good against bad?

"I get myself involved with shows and people that I'm enthusiastic about," says MacFarlane. "It's not a matter of balance in my mind because I don't see it that way."


* * * *

Winter TCA Tour Notes
At Fox, 'X Factor' up in the air; 'Glee' to shift focus
By Gary Levin, USA Today Team - Jan. 13, 2014

PASADENA, Calif. — Is The X Factor toast? Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly says he's made no decision on the future of the ailing singing competition, a distant third behind American Idol (returning Wednesday) and NBC's The Voice. Though Simon Cowell has been publicly proclaiming he'll make changes next season, it's not at all clear there will be one: Reilly says he'll decide in a month or so on a renewal, and if it does come back it will air fewer hours, on one night, with a different format and at a lower cost. "It has to be something worthy of trying, and not just putting the same show back on," he says. The show is expensive to produce (partly to cover Cowell's salary), ratings dropped sharply last fall and a new reality programming executive is on the hunt for new formats. "The bull market on unscripted has really settled down, but I think that's time to pop a big one," Reilly says.

Glee will shift its focus on New York, where Rachel and Kurt have decamped, for the remainder of this season. But next year will see the show' leave its Ohio high-school setting entirely: "There will be some familiar faces hanging around in some capacity," Reilly says, but "this season you will see a graduation and some cast members will move on."

Gotham, another project planned for next season, is a prequel of sorts about Commissioner Gordon (before he became a commissioner) that will see Bruce Wayne develop into Batman, starting as 12-year-old boy. Fox has rights to all the DC Comics Batman characters, and says it will feature favorite villains such as the Joker and Riddler. Fans will see "markers" of their eccentricities, though "we won't start off with capes and costumes." The show is expected to start with a probable 13-episode commitment for next season.

Fox has all but made official the renewal of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which on Sunday won two Golden Globes for best comedy and best actor (Andy Samberg). Reilly says he's also "highly bullish" on prospects for low-rated The Mindy Project. He's still working on a deal for another season of Bones.

Fulfilling a long-held promise, Fox is sharply reducing its reliance on the traditional spring pilot season, where networks collectively produce 100 sample episodes, competing for stars and writers, and choose just a handful to air that fall. "It's nothing short of a miracle that talent is able to produce anything of quality in that environment," Reilly says.

Instead, it is spreading out the process across the year and ordering some series directly from scripts. The network already is planning nine new series, developed throughout the year, though not all have been officially ordered. They include a shortened revival of 24; a remake of British miniseries Broadchurch and Backstrom, a drama starring Rainn Wilson (The Office) from the producer of Bones that CBS rejected. And with a 15-hour schedule it won't need many more to flesh out the network's schedule, though it will still shoot some comedy pilots. The seasonal shift, he says, "gives you more maneuvering room."

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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Cast Losing Sleep Over Fox’s ‘The Following’
By Lisa De Moraes, Deadline.com - Jan. 13, 2014

The cast of Fox‘s grisly serial-killer series The Following came to TCA to plug the show’s second season, starting this Sunday. During the Q&A, the actors confessed that the work caused them difficulty ranging from trouble sleeping to nightmares to Ambien-induced hallucinations, owing to the subject matter. The actresses on the panel, however, largely brushed off any such suggestion, illustrating maybe how women working in this industry are taught to dress sexy but talk tough?

Show creator Kevin Williamson, on the other hand, sees the show as his “midlife crisis being vomited up every week.” In this age of technology, he said — noting he was speaking to a hotel ballroom jammed with TV critics manically typing all day long on their Macs – “we’re all so lost” and “have such vacant existences.” The Following, he continued, is about trying to connect, and “if I have to stab someone 20 times to do that, I might just do it.

“We live in such a dangerous, sick, twisted time,” Williamson continued, lowering morale in the room — never very high by Day 5 of any press tour — by a good 15%. “This is my wandering, my musing. … I’m sure I’m on a hit list somewhere.” He added that he recently read a study in which it had been determined that psychopaths feel empathy. “Even our psychopaths are evolving,” Williamson said glumly. “This is the new world that we live in. Welcome to us.”


* * * *

Winter TCA Tour Notes
Justin Halpern Says Dad Better Suited For ‘Surviving Jack’ Than ‘$h*! My Dad Says’

Fox’s new Surviving Jack, about a dad and his relationship with his son in the ’90s, is based on Justin Halpern’s autobiographical book, I Suck At Girls. Halperin also created CBS’ comedy $h*! My Dad Says — also about his relationship with his father — based on his book that was, in turn, was based on his Twitter feed. TV critics attending a Q&A about Jack at TCA this afternoon Surviving-Jack noted the similarity between the two comedies and asked what went wrong with the CBS one. “It was really bad,” Halpern said. “You’re aware you created that show,” joked Bill Lawrence, who exec produces Jack with Halpern, Patrick Schumacker and Jeff Ingold. “Yes, and I put the blame squarely on Patrick,” Halpern joked. The CBS sitcom, he said, was “very much the wrong tone.” The dad character, he said, did not live well in a multi-cam sitcom world where it’s all about setup and punch lines. On a single cam, “the comedy comes more organically,” he said.

Christopher Meloni plays the dad in Surviving Jack. After starring for a dozen years on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, Meloni said he had few requirements for his next TV project “except for this; no grim circumstances for 22 one-hour episodes. … I could be grim for 13 episodes.” The Jack pilot, he said, was “the funniest thing I’ve read all year. … I’d worked with Bill and knew him socially, and I agreed with how he ran things and his comedic sensibility. I immediately understood the humor. … Then I met with Justin, and that nearly scuttled the deal — but then I met Rachel [Harris, who plays his wife], and that brought it back up and they said I could ‘have sex’ with Rachel – in the script. … Done.”

Although the show — which also stars Connor Buckley as the kid — is set in the ’90s, it’s not a nostalgic slice of life in The Wonder Years vein, Lawrence said. But “these guys sold us on the show partly based on the pitch that it was a time when you couldn’t just hit a button on your phone and … know everything immediately.” Surviving Jack premieres at 8:30 PM Thursday, March 27. following the American Idol results show.

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TV Notes
‘Teen Mom’ may actually discourage teen pregnancy
By The Media Life Magazine Staff - Jan. 13, 2014

Apparently the MTV reality shows “16 & Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” make for pretty good birth control.

A new study from University of Maryland economics professor Melissa S. Kearney and Wellesley College economics professor Phillip B. Levine found that the MTV shows played major role in the faster decline of teen births in recent years.

The study notes that the average rate of decline of U.S. teen births between 1991 and 2008 was 2.5 percent. But that rate tripled between 2008, when “16 & Pregnant” premiered, and 2012 to an average of 7.5 percent per year.

“We find that ’16 and Pregnant’ led to more searches and tweets regarding birth control and abortion, and ultimately led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births in the 18 months following its introduction,” the report reads.

A number of factors were used in the research, including data from Google Trends and Twitter, Nielsen ratings data, and teen birth data from Vital Statistics.

“We also see an associated spike in Google searches and Twitter messages containing the terms ‘birth control’ and ‘abortion,’” the paper reads. “Locations in which the show was more popular experienced greater increases in searches/tweets like this when the show was on the air.”

Still, while MTV deserves credit, the study did conclude that the biggest factor in the decline in the teen birth rate was the start of the recession.

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No political comments, please.

Critic's Notes/Commentary
Roger Ailes’s Permanent Pushback Campaign
By David Carr, The New York Times' 'Media Equation' Column - Jan. 13, 2014

Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News Channel, has little left to accomplish in a remarkable television career. He has made billions for his owners, created an entirely new genre of TV and, in doing so, he has changed the way politics is conducted. His business legacy is secure.

Besides, there are only two audiences that would seem to matter to him — Rupert Murdoch and Fox News viewers — and neither could give a rip what “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” an unauthorized biography of Mr. Ailes by Gabriel Sherman that goes on sale Tuesday, says about their guy.

So why is the consummate P.R. pro, the man who taught both Richard Nixon and Bill O’Reilly to connect with the masses despite their flaws, pushing back on the book and blowing air into it in the process? It would be a very simple matter for Mr. Ailes to tuck in behind Gov. Chris Christie, another Republican accused of being a bully, and let Mr. Sherman sell his own books.

Some of it is reflex, part of the permanent campaign that Mr. Ailes, a former political consultant, has been running all his life. I’ve dealt with Mr. Ailes while covering the news media, and beyond his charms and smarts, he is animated by a belief that just about everyone would like to see him laid low. Even as he has vanquished his opponents, he clings to the role of aggrieved underdog, and Mr. Sherman’s critical book reinforces that worldview.

To those of us who have reported on Fox News, Mr. Sherman’s portrayal of the operation — with its loyalty tests, its culture of fear and reprisals, and its deep involvement in stories it was supposed to be covering — is hardly shocking. But it is not a pretty picture, and Mr. Ailes must know that. He has been calling around to some of the people who show up in the book to apologize and spin, saying Mr. Sherman used accounts of disgruntled ex-employees to distort events.

Allies of Mr. Ailes initiated counter-ops against the book almost as soon as Mr. Sherman began reporting nearly three years ago, with tweets, blog posts and blind items impugning his motives and work. As a career control freak, Mr. Ailes, 73, can’t abide losing custody of his own narrative.

“Up until now, Roger Ailes had been able to control his story in a masterful way,” Mr. Sherman told me the other day. “I think the book provides a nuanced portrait of a man with a bottomless well of ambition and his path to power, telling the story of how he used television to advance his politics.”

To be fair, Mr. Sherman has been on a ferocious campaign of his own, appearing on cable and network television to promote the book while assigning all manner of might and motive to Mr. Ailes, whom he calls “the man behind the curtain.”

Mr. Sherman’s book is a thoroughly reported look behind that curtain, describing Mr. Ailes’s operational aggression, but there is nothing in it that is off brand or inconsistent with what we’ve learned about Mr. Ailes over the years. He is who we think he is.

Part of the reason he and his allies have campaigned against the book is not because it is false, but because it tells a true story. Mr. Ailes has run Fox News as a political operation from the start, enthusiastically serving as a kingmaker in Republican politics. After all, the man in charge of the Fox News decision desk for the highly contested 2000 presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore was John Ellis, a cousin of Mr. Bush’s. According to Mr. Sherman’s book, as vote totals in Florida crept in on that fateful night, Mr. Ellis got off the phone at 2 a.m. and exclaimed, “Jebbie says we got it!” The walls between the respective estates have never been thinner than that.

The book portrays life at Fox News as occasionally brutal, run by a leader Mr. Sherman describes over and over as paranoid.

My favorite line comes in an account of the very fraught morning meetings Mr. Ailes runs. The goal was not to become the focus: “If you move, will the T-Rex see you?” said one attendee.

Some of the book’s tangy revelations came out in an article last week by my colleagues Julie Bosman and Bill Carter. In an interview that had been scheduled before the book leaked, Mr. Ailes pushed back pre-emptively in The Hollywood Reporter, saying that “Random House refused to fact-check the content with me or Fox News; that tells you everything you need to know about this book and its agenda.”

What it really tells you is everything you need to know about the reality distortion field around Fox News. It refused to engage with Mr. Sherman, and then attacked him for not engaging. It rebuffed his repeated requests to interview Mr. Ailes, but still believes it would have been appropriate for him to go over all the accusations in the book, arguing that not doing so is irresponsible and not in keeping with standard journalistic practice.

In my experience, that would have been the beginning of a grinding war of attrition, with Fox executives pushing back on everything while yielding nothing.

On Sunday, a Fox spokeswoman described Mr. Sherman’s appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” as “another example of the agenda-driven cottage industry built on attacking Fox News. The author’s failure to secure an interview with the principal subject does not absolve his fact-checking obligations with the network.”

There are a plenty of unnamed sources in the book attributing specific dialogue to Mr. Ailes, but picking on Mr. Sherman over facts will not change the narrative. He spent three years on the book, interviewed over 600 people, had two fact-checkers spend 2,000 hours going over his work and rendered his sourcing and reporting mostly transparent.

This isn’t a fight about facts, it is about control. According to the book, Mr. Ailes ended a corporate relationship with Google because it would not alter search engine results that put him in a negative light. In 2010, I worked on a piece about how when Mr. Ailes moved to Putnam County, he bought the local newspaper to exercise might in local affairs, a fight that is detailed in Mr. Sherman’s book. And Mr. Ailes tried to maintain dominion over his own legacy, and pre-empt Mr. Sherman’s book, by commissioning a friendly and feckless authorized biography — “Roger Ailes: Off Camera” — that was published last year.

The most devastating takeaway in Mr. Sherman’s book is the idea that Mr. Ailes, a man who carried more bananas for the elephant than almost anyone, did significant damage to the Republican Party.

Mr. Ailes is, in essence, a fairly moderate Republican, a fan of both Bushes, a promoter of Mr. Christie and the former military leader David Petraeus. Those versions of middle-of-the-road Republicans would have an awfully hard time running the Tea Party gantlet Mr. Ailes all but invented in his push for ratings.

As Mr. Sherman writes near the end of his book, Mr. Ailes discovered that “television and politics were different disciplines.” Fox News doesn’t need a working majority, it does not have to govern or compromise, it does not need to do anything other than win enough ratings to stay on top.

But in the last election, Mr. Ailes conflated his two passions to damaging effect. He gave jobs to many Republican candidates, offered oodles of advice to them, and provided hundreds of hours of airtime for the cooking and serving of conservative red meat.

With an economy in shambles and a foreign policy that was all over the road, the incumbent seemed vulnerable. But that was before the conservative fringe, with a big assist from Fox News, all but kidnapped the Republican side of the argument.

In Mr. Sherman’s book, Mr. Ailes is quoted by fellow Fox News executives as saying, “I want to elect the next U.S. president.” It could be argued that he succeeded, although it wasn’t the candidate he wanted.

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

8PM - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9:01PM - The Goldbergs
9:31PM - Trophy Wife
10PM - Killer Women
* * * *
11:35AM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Matt LeBlanc; Lupita Nyong'o; The Fray performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

9PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
10PM - Person of Interest
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Michael Strahan; Jennifer Nettles performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (Aaron Eckhart; Rhea Perlman)

8PM - The Biggest Loser (120 min.)
10PM - Chicago Fire
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Matt Damon; comic Larry the Cable Guy; Chris Isaak performs)
12:36AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Bruce Springsteen performs)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Kellan Lutz; STR performs; musical group Run River North)

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

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - 1964: American Experience (120 min.)
10PM - Frontline: Secret State of North Korea

8PM - Por Siempre Mi Amor
9PM - Lo Que La Vida Me Robó
10PM - Qué Pobres Tan Ricos

8PM - The Originals
9PM - Supernatural

8PM - La Impostora (Series Premiere)
9PM - La Reina del Sur
10PM - Santa Diabla

11PM - The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Tim Gunn)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Author Deborah Solomon)
12:01AM - @ Midnight (Rory Scovel; Beth Stelling; Jon Dore)

11PM - Conan (Joel McHale; Lauren Ash)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (John Leguizamo; comic Leah Remini; comic Mary McCormack;comic Whitney Cumming)

Check Local Listings - Arsenio (The Braxton Women; Yvonne Strahovski; Neal Brennan)
post #91704 of 93807
Originally Posted by rebkell View Post

Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
Back on TV just in time, ‘Veronica Mars’
The quirky UPN show gets a second life on Pivot
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 13, 2013

“Veronica Mars” was canceled in 2007 after three critically acclaimed but low-rated seasons on UPN.

Now, seven years later, the show, about a teenage private eye, is making a major comeback.

Tonight repeats of the drama premiere at 11 p.m. on Pivot, the new cable network targeting Millennials.

--> And last week Amazon picked up rights to all 64 episodes of “Mars” for its streaming service, the first time the show has been available on the web.


I don't think this is the first time it has been available on the web, I can't remember which service, probably Netflix, but I definitely watched it on one of the streaming services.

I think some episodes were streamed on thewb.com a couple of years back when WB was resurrected on the internet.
post #91705 of 93807
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Nielsen Notes (Cable)
The Weather Channel Is No Longer Available on DirecTV
By Stephanie Chan and Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 13, 2014

The Weather Channel will no longer be available on DirecTV, which has refused to come to an agreement on a market-based carriage deal.

I have to say I do not blame DirecTV on bit for their decision on The Weather Channel. I can't tell you how many times I've had some significant weather in my area and turn it over to TWC to see some reality show on. I understand TWC can't be 24/7 weather to get people to tune in. But they have too much non-weather programming.
post #91706 of 93807
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Winter TCA Tour Notes
Seth MacFarlane explores the 'Cosmos'
By Robert Bianco, USA Today Team - Jan. 13, 2014

From Family Guy to science guy in one leap.

Whats the odds he gets a "Uranus" joke in there somehow.

& about the weather channel Nicole Mitchell, who was a meteorologist & an Air Force Reserve Major they fired because they said they couldnt fit her military schedule into their schedule, was always complaining to people there that too many times when bad weather situations were occuring they would still refuse to interupt their scheduled programming to break in for live coverage & she even got called out by her boss to stop doing it.

Now all of a sudden theyre so concerned. rolleyes.gif
post #91707 of 93807
TWC might be fine for getting the big picture on major winter storms and hurricanes, and seeing "aftermath" stuff, but who turns it on for localized threats? I have never done that.

When tornadoes threaten, I'm paying attention to the National Weather Service via the web or weather radio, local television meteorologists, and some weather-related stuff on Twitter.

I hope TWC caves.
post #91708 of 93807
As far as I'm concerned TWC is reaping what they've sown and D* is calling them out on it. I wish they'd take the same approach to other networks whose names and original programming purpose have nothing to do with the reality-filled trash they are now.
post #91709 of 93807
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

As far as I'm concerned TWC is reaping what they've sown and D* is calling them out on it. I wish they'd take the same approach to other networks whose names and original programming purpose have nothing to do with the reality-filled trash they are now.

I agree with you 100%
post #91710 of 93807
TWC is airing those reality shows is because the ratings are better then there regular weather information and more profit per half an hour. I guess the nielsen families love the reality shows, the channels don't give a crap about the rest of the people who don't have nielsen boxes. frown.gif
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