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post #32041 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
Watch a FOX game on a subchannel-laden local affiliate throttled through a bandwidth-challenged cable system on a 65-inch 4k set and, yeah, it's going to look really bad. Not enough picture detail to start with, so adding in all those missing pixels becomes even harder.
That's why the networks and league go out of their way to cater to alcoholic beverages as sponsors. When viewers are loaded with booze 720p looks good-enough to pass as 8K (except for AVS and HOTP readers... they could drink a keg of Bud and still spot --and bitch about-- crappy 720p-to-1080i upconverts on ESPN and Fox games).
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post #32042 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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TV/Nielsen Notes (Analysis)
TV Long View: Five Years of Network Ratings Declines in Context
By Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter - Sep. 21, 2019

A new TV season begins Monday, and with it, probably, another season of linear ratings declines for the broadcast networks. That's not exactly news: Nielsen numbers have been on the wane for years on ad-supported TV (both broadcast and cable), and the continued proliferation of viewing options — hello, Disney+ and Apple TV+ and HBO Max and Peacock — and shrinking number of people with cable or satellite subscriptions likely means the slide won't suddenly reverse itself in 2019-20.

Explanations for the decline usually come down to "cord-cutting" and "streaming," which make both intuitive sense and are backed up by data. That's not the whole story, however: Networks themselves have adapted to the streaming era, as have viewers, who are now accustomed to having full seasons of shows at nearly any time — something that wasn't the norm just five years ago.

The Hollywood Reporter looked at some trends both in ratings for the past half-decade and in the way consumers get their TV content. The numbers help put the decline of on-air ratings in context.

In fall 2014, according to an annual survey by Leichtman Research Group, 84 percent of TV households in the United States subscribed to some sort of pay-TV service — either cable, satellite or telco. Nielsen estimated there were 116.4 TV households in the country at the time, which equals about 97.8 million homes receiving TV signals via cable or satellite. Fewer than half of TV households had a streaming subscription to either Netflix, Hulu or Amazon's Prime Video.

In the 2014-15 TV season, the five English-language broadcast networks drew a combined 35.8 million viewers in primetime, along with a 9.6 rating in the key ad-sales demographic of adults 18-49.

By fall 2018, the percentage of TV households with cable, satellite or telco service had fallen to 78 percent — roughly 93.5 million of 119.9 million total TV homes. Streaming services are now in almost three-fourths of all TV homes in the U.S.

In the Nielsen ratings for 2018-19, the broadcast networks averaged 28.5 million viewers in primetime, a decline of 7.3 million viewers (20 percent) since 2014-15. The drop-off among adults 18-49 was steeper, falling 35 percent to a 6.2 rating.

The decline in pay-TV subscriptions isn't a perfect explanation for on-air ratings losses, as some of those cord-cutters likely replaced cable or satellite with services like Sling or Hulu's live TV package or a digital antenna. But as a proxy for "traditional TV viewing," that decline from 97.8 million to 93.5 million households — equivalent to more than 10 million people, given the average household size in the United States — is significant.

Case in point: CBS' NCIS: New Orleans, which premiered in September 2014 and has aired on Tuesday nights for its entire run so far. The series has finished in the top 20 in total viewers each season it's aired. During that time, however, it has fallen from an average of 17.42 million viewers in its first year to 10.83 million last season, mirroring the declines across the broadcast landscape.

Those missing — or less easily counted — viewers aren't just watching Netflix or Amazon shows. The proportion of people who watch network or cable shows on digital platforms, or beyond the seven days of delayed viewing that gets measured and publicly released by Nielsen, is also growing — trends that aren't reflected in the Nielsens. Studios and networks have helped viewers by offering in-season "stacking"— that is, the ability to watch every episode of a show once it's aired, rather than just the most recent five — on other platforms. That makes it easier for viewers to miss episodes when they first air, knowing that, say, the season premiere will still be easy find two months later when they're ready to catch up.

As viewing spreads out more over time, the question of whether advertisers who prop up the network model will continue paying premiums for a more diffuse audience. The question of whether a viewer is as valuable after a week as they are the night of air is still an open one.

Digital viewing may not make up the whole deficit the networks have accumulated in the past five years. There's also the question of whether advertisers will continue paying premiums for audiences that are becoming more spread out. But multi-platform viewing is significant — even if it's not all that visible.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/li...lained-1241524
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post #32043 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
I think a lot of the difference can be attributed to local stations, MPVDs and even the displays. And let's not forget production trucks. Some of THOSE are downright horrible.

Take DirecTV's standard-definition channels. On an old standard-definition Sony CRT, they still look amazing. But when a 55-inch 1080p panel has to interpolate all those missing elements, ugh. 720p to 1080i isn't that much of a change. Watch a FOX game via NFLST (removing the local affiliate from the mix) on a 55-inch 1080 panel and it's really pretty good. Watch a FOX game on a subchannel-laden local affiliate throttled through a bandwidth-challenged cable system on a 65-inch 4k set and, yeah, it's going to look really bad. Not enough picture detail to start with, so adding in all those missing pixels becomes even harder.

Doc
Unfortunately, none of that matters to those stuck with their lousy local broadcast. They will continue to blame FOX because that is the channel they are watching. I still remember what KPHO (CBS) looked like back in the early days, but I don’t blame CBS for the way it looks now, I blame KPHO and Meredith. 😱

Cheers, Dave

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post #32044 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 21, 2019

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
TCM, 5:45 p.m. ET

Harper Lee’s unforgettable novel about childhood, parenthood, bigotry and the law was made into this marvelous 1962 film – made even more unforgettable and marvelous by the performance of Gregory Peck as small-town lawyer Atticus Finch. This film always is worth watching – but even more so if you’ve seen Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant Broadway version of Lee’s story, starring Jeff Daniels as a more flawed, still evolving Atticus. I’ve seen the Broadway play three times, and consider it one of the best dramas I’ve ever seen on stage. But the ticket costs are way too high for me to see the play as often as I’ve watched this 1962 movie. And here comes the movie again…

2019 CREATIVE ARTS EMMY AWARDS
FXX, 8:00 p.m. ET

Tomorrow night is the live Fox telecast of the prime-time Emmys. Tonight, sister cable network FXX presents taped coverage of last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards, which includes such categories as Outstanding Creative Archievement in Interactive Media Within a Scripted Program. (The winner – well-deserved, by the way – is Netflix’s Bandersnatch episode of Black Mirror.) The categories also include Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded), where, again, the winner was very well-deserved: CBS’s Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live from Liverpool.

THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART
HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

The first movie in this comedy franchise took everyone by surprise, especially by being much funnier and more original than expected. As with most sequels, this 2019 follow-up doesn’t deliver on either count nearly as much. But if you really enjoyed The Lego Movie, you’ll enjoy this one, too. Or this one, 2.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

* * * *

TV Review (Streaming)
'Criminal' Examines the Psychological Over the Physical of Investigations
By David Hinckley, TVWorthWatching.com's 'All Along the Watchtower' - Sep. 20, 2019

Most police procedurals, for obvious reasons, focus on the most dramatic and physically engaging parts of the criminal apprehension process. Action scenes, chases, confrontations, sometimes a flash of the crime itself.

Criminal, a new series launching Friday on Netflix, goes into precisely the opposite direction.

Criminal spends 90% of each episode in the interrogation room, where we watch a detective team questioning a suspect.

It's not quite as Spartan as that might sound. We also have an occasional scene in front of the vending machine in the police station, and a few glimpses of the corridor outside the interrogation room, when the questioners come out to take a breather or pick up a new piece of ammunition.

Still, we're mostly looking at talking heads here, a verbal rather than physical showdown, and while every moment isn't Shakespeare, it turns out to be a fascinating way of explaining and dissecting a criminal case.

Criminal also takes a different tack in its setup. Its 12 episodes include three each from four different countries – the UK, France, Germany, and Spain – all in the native language of that country.

Okay, on one level this simply reflects the fact that Netflix has become a global TV service, presenting reams of programming for multiple countries and cultures.
It also reflects both the similarities and differences in police procedures across those cultures.

Mainly, it works as television. In a medium that has always rewarded action, downshifting to a room where the action revolves around an exchange of words doesn't feel here like a gimmick.

It feels fresh, and it suggests that in at least some investigations, this can be the tipping point, the moment when a resistant suspect realizes that the cops have him or her.

That can result in a torrential unburdening, or it can trigger sullen silence. In any case, everyone understands what has just happened, and Criminal scores by dramatizing exactly how the cops get to that point.

In the opening UK episode, David Tennant plays Edgar, a professor charged with murdering his stepdaughter. We don't even know that much at the beginning, however. All we know is that he's being questioned by Detective Sergeant Tony Myerscough (Lee Ingleby) and that he keeps calmly saying, "No comment."
Tony's boss and the leader of the interrogation team, Natalie Hobbs (Katherine Kelly), watches on monitors outside the room. When we join the action, Edgar has been questioned for almost 24 hours, and everyone – except, seemingly, Edgar and Tony – is feeling worn down.

From that point, with the help of some strategic background music, Criminal builds the tension. What can Tony say? Will Edgar ever respond?

The viewer, meanwhile, picks up details and a small handful of critical hints through glancing references that the viewer, like the cops, must piece together.
Along the way, Criminal tacks a few incidental office subplots onto the main story, and those, honestly, seem as trivial as they are sweet.

The show's strength lies in showing the importance of words, and how they can determine whether a detective team closes or loses a case. It acknowledges the other essential elements in the investigative chain and suggests they could be in vain if this link can't be forged.

It's a nice change of pace. Brain 9, adrenalin 3.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...x?postId=18800
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post #32045 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Review (Broadcast)
Bluff City Law gives NBC another go-around with Jimmy Smits -- and not a lot else
By Ed Bark, UncleBarky.com - Sep. 20, 2019

Jimmy Smits is nothing if not durable. But is he still wearing well? Here and there perhaps in his latest new drama series.

Affixed with either a bad jet black dye job, an ill-fitting toupee or both, the former standout cast member of L.A. Law, NYPD Blue and The West Wring is front and center again in NBC’s Bluff City Law. Smits is now old enough to play the willful father of an estranged, hard-charging daughter in a series that’s set in Memphis but otherwise plays pro forma.

Elijah and Sydney Strait (Smits, Caitlin McGee) have become attorneys at opposite ends. His law firm still represents the downtrodden while she’s been successfully defending corporations. The sudden death of his wife and her mother finds them uneasily co-existing at her funeral. But Elijah begs her to return in the interests of “fightin’ for what’s right.”

No, she retorts, because “two alphas just don’t mix.” And besides, “I don’t like you, dad. Have you forgotten that?”

Dad’s cheating on mom has something to do with this. But who’s sorry now? He supposedly is. And in a relative finger snap, she agrees to a trial run with the firm she left behind. At stake is a lawsuit against a crooked corporation called AmeriFarm. One of their products, Green Coat, allegedly has left a longtime Hispanic user with terminal cancer. A multi-million dollar settlement is sought, and brassy Sydney is just the one to navigate this terrain when she’s not getting tossed in jail for contempt of court.

Elijah’s firm otherwise is well-populated with six other wrong-righters. His principal confidante is wizened Della Bedford (Jayne Atkinson), who pricks Elijah’s conscience when necessary. Young gun Jake Reilly (Barry Sloane) likely is fated to be a love interest where Sydney is concerned. Or maybe it might be law firm colleague Anthony Little (Michael Luwoye). Or both.

Mood music constantly kicks in to alert viewers to something important, earnest or uplifting. As when Sydney asks her father, “How do you handle the pressure when winning or losing means everything?”

Elijah assures her that she “can change the world.” Other than his previous philandering, he remains steadfastly dedicated to the common good, even citing the “moral arc of the universe” in his efforts to persuade a reluctant doctor to testify against AmeriFarm when everything otherwise seems lost. Hey, we’ve only got about 43 minutes of actual running time, so make up your mind quick, willya? She does.

No one should be surprised by the eventual verdict. But there is a bit of an unexpected twist at the end when one of Elijah’s firm members turns out to also be his . . .

Smits is solid enough as the patriarch of Bluff City Law while McGee also makes her presence felt in some scenes. Overall, though, this is yet another same old, same old broadcast network drama series. L.A. Law, NYPD Blue and The West Wing all stood out as bracingly original during their long runs. Smits no doubt fondly remembers the thrill of discovery attached to each of them.

In contrast to those high points, Bluff City Law and its “Change the World” mantra aren’t enough to prompt many if any to say, “Wow, did you see that?” Instead it’s a case of Smits and NBC resolutely re-teaming without any real hopes of lighting anyone’s fires.

BLUFF CITY LAW
Premieres Monday, Sept. 23rd at 9 p.m. (central) on NBC
GRADE: C


https://www.unclebarky.com/board_fil...74fc1-389.html
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post #32046 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Review (Broadcast)
‘Prodigal Son’ (Fox)
By Daniel D'Addario, Variety.com - Sep. 20, 2019

Darkness on network TV can feel a bit by-the-book; in order to impress us with how edgy they’re able to be within stricter boundaries than cable and streaming, dramas lard on violence and evil that can feel a bit unmotivated. Which is why “Prodigal Son,” a new Fox drama, is in its first three episodes a pleasant surprise: Its central serial killer underplays his viciousness.

That’s Michael Sheen, the accomplished Welsh actor, playing Dr. Martin Whitly; though I’d be unsurprised if he broke out for sweeps, he is in the show’s early going already imprisoned, and for years at that. The show’s drama and tension comes not from whether or not he’ll be caught but from what impact he has on his son (Tom Payne), a profiler who consults with the NYPD to help find and bring to justice killers. (He was brought into the fold, despite a connection he works to keep under wraps, after as a child having saved the life of one of his father’s chosen victims, played by Lou Diamond Phillips.) That son, Malcolm, comes to rely, after years of estrangement, on his father’s understanding of the criminal psyche, even as renewed contact with the man whose evil still gives Malcolm uncontrollable night terrors renews, too, trauma and stress. We wonder, more than once in the show’s early going, if Malcolm has perhaps inherited more than bad moods from his father.

Certain touches of the series felt excessive: A set piece in which snakes crawl out of a cadaver suggested that if one does not have the resources or sensibility of NBC’s “Hannibal,” it’s better to try something different. But performances carry the day, here: Payne is edgy and hopped-up as a young man in a perpetual state of ultra-anxiety, and (though far too young for the part) Bellamy Young makes a welcome return to television post-”Scandal” as Malcolm’s mother, a social climber who has pushed past her association with a murderer and wishes her son would too. At the show’s center, Sheen cleverly carries off a character with all the urbane wit of Hannibal Lecter, but evil buried further under the surface. He doesn’t kill because, as in Lecter’s case, it’s an amusing game that proves his superiority. He kills because he is governed by forces he cannot understand or control. The show, though, is completely in control, deploying Sheen carefully, well, and never too much. It’s a program that provides a creepy jolt while never reveling in darkness for its sake — perpetually asking what it takes, and what it means, to take control of the potential for evil in oneself, and to each day beat it back.

“Prodigal Son.” Fox. Monday, Sept. 23 at 9 pm ET/PT. Three episodes screened for review.

https://variety.com/2019/tv/reviews/...en-1203341121/
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post #32047 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Review (Broadcast)
Mystery is the name of the game in "Emergence"
By Terry Terrones, Colorado Springs Gazette - Sep. 20, 2019

Cast: Allison Tolman (“Downward Dog,” “Fargo”), Alexa Swinton (“Billions”), Owain Yeoman (“The Mentalist”), Ashley Aufderheide (“Infinitely Polar Bear”), Donald Faison (“Scrubs”), Clancy Brown (“Starship Troopers”)

Airs: The series premieres at 9 p.m. CT (10 p.m. ET/PT) Tuesday on ABC.

The premise:
Small-town police chief Jo Evans (Allison Tolman) responds to the site of a plane that crashed on the beach. A team from the National Transportation Safety Board is immediately on the scene and wants everyone cleared. As she’s about to leave, Evans notices a small girl (Alexa Swinton) hiding near the wreck.

Apparently unscathed, the girl is taken to a local hospital to be checked out. But there’s more to this girl than meets the eye, as men posing as federal agents come looking for her. Protecting the girl leads Evans and her family to become involved in a complex conspiracy.

Highs: “Emergence” throws mysteries at you rapid ire. The first occurs seconds into the pilot episode when a power outage in the middle of the night startles Jo Evans awake. As she steps outside her house, Evans sees glowing green lights in the distance and is immediately notified about an airplane crash. The plot just gets stranger from there.

After escaping phony federal agents at the hospital, Chief Evans decides to take the child, who has no memory of who she is or where she comes from, to the safest place she can think of — home. Once there, the girl meets Evans’ father, Ed (Clancy Brown), a former New York City firefighter. She also meets the chief’s teenage daughter Mia (Ashley Aufderheide), who treats the youngster like a sister and gives her the name Piper.

After leaving Piper at home, Evans heads to the police station. She’s received a call that Piper’s parents have shown up looking for their daughter. But much like federal agents at the hospital, something about this couple seems off. While stalling for time, the parents disappear after yet another power outage.

Convinced Piper is in danger, Evans immediately calls her ex-husband, Alex (Donald Faison), and asks him to take her family and Piper to a remote cabin. The strategy is effective but only temporarily. Piper is taken and a car chase begins. However, it ends abruptly when the vehicle Piper is riding in crashes as if it slammed into an invisible concrete wall.

The girl crawls out of the car unhurt and Jo is left grateful yet confused. What the heck is going on?

The audience is left with more questions than answers after the one-hour premiere. Throw in a British investigative reporter with some surprising insights and Piper’s unusual abilities and you have more head-scratching riddles than an episode of “Lost.” These multiple mysteries are exactly what will get people hooked on “Emergence.”

Lows: The series is executive-produced and written by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, the team behind “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World.” If you were a fan of that program, and you should have been because it was awesome, you’ll enjoy “Emergence.” The show also has other obvious influences. Piper will remind many of Eleven from “Stranger Things” and Tolman’s character is reminiscent of Steve Zahn’s role as Sheriff Jude Ellis in “The Crossing.”

“Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” and “The Crossing” were series with supernatural elements that were enjoyable ABC programs. Unfortunately, they were both cancelled after one season. Knowing ABC’s history with this genre, I’m leery of getting too invested in “Emergence” and you should be as well.

Grade (B+): While I’m concerned that my time investment may end up being wasted, I’m willing to give “Emergence” the benefit of the doubt and hope ABC gives it a fair shot.

Based on the pilot episode, it certainly deserves one from both the network and viewers. "Emergence" is fascinating.

https://gazette.com/arts-entertainme...ed0734336.html

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post #32048 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Review (Broadcast)
'Mixed-ish': 'Black-ish' prequel is half-funny, half-serious
By Verne Gay, Newsday - Sep. 20, 2019

THE SERIES "Mixed-ish"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. on ABC/7

WHAT IT’S ABOUT In the summer of 1985, Paul (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Alicia Johnson (Tika Sumpter, "The Haves and Have Nots") have been booted from their hippie commune by the government. They and their kids move into Paul's father's house in some upscale suburb. Before they head off to their new school, the kids, Bow (Arica Himmel), Johan (Ethan William Childress) and Santamonica (Mykal-Michelle Harris) get some tough love from their Aunt Denise (Second City improv vet Christina Anthony). Paul's dad, Harrison (Gary Cole) has an offer for Alicia she can't refuse.

This is the origin story of "black-ish's" Bow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross, who narrates). Mariah Carey — who will appear later in the series — wrote and performs the theme song "In the Mix."

MY SAY Most sitcoms in the long history of sitcomdom are like bright shiny boats that skimmed along an open sea, under a blue cloudless sky. "Black-ish" has been the sub that has zipped along just below the surface. There was comedy down there in the gloaming, potentially drama too. Spinoff "mixed-ish" is half-ish too. Half-funny, half-serious, while pain also lurks just below that surface.

The hug-it-out sitcom moment in the pilot arrives at the requisite 21-minute mark. Paul is still clinging to the utopian values of the commune when Alicia schools him on race in America: "Anywhere else [than the commune] I'm a black woman. It's different for me, different for our kids."

That could almost work as the set-up line for an August Wilson play except that "mixed-ish" is a sunny optimist on a commercial network. The series does deploy a blunt (and funny) pragmatist in the guise of Aunt Denise who tells the kids that "the real world is gonna smack 'em in the face." When Paul invokes the commune mandate that they're "all above race," she guts that with "there couldn't be a whiter thing to say."

But "mixed-ish" isn't about to let Denise hijack the series either. It's about finding racial identity in a world that wants to ascribe racial identity, be it on a census form or a hostile glance on a street. These three kids are about to navigate those streets and get that smack in the face. And if this all sounds like a glib comedy that wants or needs to be something else, then this seems like the place to remind "black-ish" fans that they already know how Bow turned out. Wise, funny, patient, and full of that quality we call human kindness, something good came from that fraught childhood. "Mixed-ish" is her story and it feels like one worth hearing about.

BOTTOM LINE Solid opener and Carey's theme song is a winner, too.

RATING: ★★★ (out of four)


https://www.newsday.com/entertainmen...iew-1.36600066
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TV Review (Broadcast)
Evil: Don't Watch CBS' Creepy New Drama Alone With the Lights Off
By Dave Nemetz, TVLine.com - Sep. 19, 2019

Horror has never been network TV’s strong suit. Outside of a few notable exceptions (Hannibal, The Exorcist), the big networks have been content to let cable and streaming TV dominate the darker side of horror ever since Mulder and Scully first fired up their flashlights on The X-Files. But CBS’ new fall drama Evil — premiering Thursday, Sept. 26 at 10/9c; I’ve seen the first two episodes — represents a bold step back into the genre, with a star-making performance from Katja Herbers and maybe the creepy-crawliest debut episode since the glory days of Mulder and Scully.

In fact, Herbers’ character, forensic psychologist Kristen Bouchard, seems to be a proud graduate of the Dana Scully School for Skeptics. Thick-skinned and unflappable, she delves into the twisted minds of criminals for a living, working as an expert prosecution witness and treating hard facts and science like gospel. She’s investigating one accused serial killer in particular when priest-in-training David Acosta (Luke Cage‘s Mike Colter) swoops in with an out-there theory about demonic possession. Kristen roundly rejects that… until the killer attacks her while speaking in tongues.

That tees up a classic Mulder/Scully dynamic between Kristen and Acosta: He challenges her stubborn cynicism, while she grounds his New Age-y mumbo jumbo. (And unlike The X-Files, the show actually acknowledges the sexual chemistry between them right away.) Together, they make a solid duo, with The Daily Show alum Aasif Mandvi providing comic relief as Acosta’s deadpan colleague Ben — which makes him the Lone Gunmen, I guess? Acosta works as an “assessor” for the Catholic Church, paid to go out and investigate unexplained phenomena, and since Kristen is strapped for cash, she reluctantly joins Acosta’s team to distinguish between the demonically possessed and the merely insane.

It’s an intriguing twist on the usual crime drama, and Herbers — a veteran of Westworld and The Leftovers — leaps off the screen as Kristen, tough as nails and affectingly vulnerable all at the same time. And the supernatural bent allows Evil to venture into some truly skin-crawling territory — especially Kristen’s recurring nightmares about a ghastly demon named George, who is the most unsettling thing I’ve seen on TV in years, broadcast or cable. (Evil thankfully keeps the gore to a minimum, concentrating on psychological terror instead.) Plus, Lost‘s Michael Emerson adds an extra layer of creep as Leland Townsend, a devious rival of Kristen’s… who might actually be the Devil incarnate.

The smart, penetrating writing from The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King takes an unflinching look at the nature of evil and deftly probes the tension between faith and science. There are still some unfortunate remnants of the CBS procedural formula here: The pilot spins an involving yarn, only to rush through it and wrap it up in too tidy a fashion. (Based on the descriptions of the first four episodes, Evil will be a case-of-the-week show, with just a few serialized elements.) But the foundation is strong, and I’m interested to see where Herbers takes this complex character of hers. Mulder and Scully might not be coming back to primetime anytime soon… but Evil‘s dynamic duo might be the next best thing.

GRADE: B

https://tvline.com/2019/09/19/evil-r...s-mike-colter/
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post #32050 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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TV/Critic's Notes (Broadcast)
Goodbye to ‘The Good Place,’ TV’s Most Divine Comedy
Behind the scenes on the set of the series that taught us all about ethics while making us laugh our asses off
By Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone

It’s hot as hell on the set of The Good Place.

The wickedly smart NBC comedy about a group of misfits struggling to make their way through the afterlife largely takes place in its own version of Satan’s domain. The show’s central neighborhood looks like a pastel paradise filled with punnily-named shops like Ponzu Scheme, The Pesto’s Yet to Come, and Lasagne Come Out Tomorrow. But it’s built on the Universal backlot in the San Fernando Valley, which can feel like the sun’s anvil as production hits the summer months. Between takes while shooting the series’ upcoming fourth and final season, leading lady Kristen Bell tries to explain the concepts of “swamp ass” and “monkey butt” — “It’s just a general stickiness” — to legendary co-star Ted Danson, and each time a crew member orders the cast to step out of the sun, Bell and D’Arcy Carden harmonize on a lyric from Dear Evan Hansen about doing exactly that.

“It would be an accurate temperature in hell,” Bell acknowledges later from the comfort of her trailer. Maybe this is part of [Good Place creator] Mike Schur’s big plan. I wouldn’t put it past him.”

Through its first three seasons, The Good Place has pushed the limits of where a sitcom can go — physically, metaphysically, stylistically, and philosophically. It began in what appeared to be an exclusive version of heaven, where four newly-arrived human dum-dums — selfish con artist Eleanor (Kristen Bell), panicky philosopher Chidi (William Jackson Harper), narcissistic philanthropist Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and “Florida man” Jason (Manny Jacinto) — didn’t seem to quite fit, despite encouragement from gregarious celestial architect Michael (Danson) and chipperly omniscient artificial intelligence Janet (Carden). In a twist that was kept secret from all the actors save Danson and Bell — and that transformed The Good Place from clever sitcom to something addictive — they would learn that Michael was actually a Bad Place demon testing out a new way to torture souls, and would spend the ensuing seasons trying to save themselves from eternal damnation and figure out why the universe seems utterly broken. (A recent episode revealed that no one has qualified for the Good Place in centuries.) Silly as it can be, the series asks big questions about the best way to live, how to treat the world and people around us, and how to cope in a life that seems more profoundly unfair by the year. This ridiculous, surreal show filled with impossibilities such as lava monsters, genies, and giant flying shrimp has turned out to be an essential guide for staying sane in the age of Trump.

“This and The Handmaid’s Tale are two documentaries about the time we’re living in,” says frequent guest star Marc Evan Jackson (he plays the snippy demon Shawn), only half-kidding.

“It’s about what it means to lead a decent life and that there are consequences to our actions,” says Danson. “So it’s a really wonderful, ethical conversation. And there’s a lot of nine-year-old fart humor interspersed to make that go down. And there’s lots of visual magic to make it all sparkly.”

* * * *

The existence of The Good Place on TV at all, much less on a traditional broadcast network, feels as unlikely as an atheist would feel about the afterlife itself. But after the success of Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Schur was offered a rare opportunity in television.

“This all started,” he recalls, “from NBC doing something insane, which was telling me that they would take any idea I had and guarantee it 13 episodes. And what I took from that offer was, ‘Well, I now owe it to the concept of ideas to come up with a crazy idea.’ Why play it safe in that scenario?”

Schur was already fixated on notions of fairness and ethics. He first developed the show’s concept of a point system to get into the Good Place while fighting L.A. traffic and deducting or adding points for other drivers based on how they behaved on the road. He found it was a fascination he shared with Bell, with whom he’d worked briefly on Parks.

“It’s something that I think about a lot,” she says. “How do we share Earth? Not one person owns Earth. We’re here together. We are one big family, whether we want to admit it or not. And in a family, people have to cooperate or it’s dysfunctional, and how do you do that? Are there rules? Should there be rules? Who has ideas about the rules?”

Schur tries to practice what the show preaches. He’s long had a “no *******s” rule on his sets, unusual in a business where bad behavior is too often indulged as the alleged price of great art. The writing staff regularly consults with philosophy professors for story ideas. (Harper, who as Chidi has to explain most of the show’s ethical concepts to the audience, admits he often turns to Wikipedia for a basic grasp of them, because he finds key Good Place texts like T.M. Scanlon’s What We Owe to Each Other too dense to follow.) The show’s themes have gradually infected most of the cast and crew. Producers have instituted a series of green policies (electric vehicles or solar power whenever possible, no plastic water bottles) extreme even for a Hollywood set.

Writer Megan Amram (who’s responsible for the majority of the punny restaurant names) says the writers room can get intense: “We talk at length about death, and about what it means to us to be a good person, and how we as the writers are genuinely trying to change our day-to-day lives to be better people. We sucked so bad when we started the show, and now we’re all vegetarians. It’s great.” Writer Jen Statsky says The Good Place has helped her cope with our current national nightmare. “The main tenet of the show,” she says, “is you’ve got to try. Everything is so screwed, is there any point of fighting it? But you can try to take some action and do something. Or you can just lie down and let it all wash over you and turn into a pile of mush. And the better option for me is to try, which I’ve gotten from the show.”

Jameela Jamil has stopped killing insects, and admits her behavior is now influenced by Schur’s point system. “You never come to Hollywood and become a better person,” she says. “That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.”

In another era, a show about ethics would have been a harder sell, but this one happened to debut in the fall of 2016. “It didn’t hurt that from the moment the show aired,” Schur notes, “the word ‘ethics’ was appearing in every newspaper on Earth every day.”

“I think we’re craving positive entertainment now,” argues Bell, highlighting one of the few upsides of America’s ongoing sociopolitical malaise. “Eight years ago, five years ago, when the world felt safer, it felt OK to root for an antihero. Walter White was awesome, because the world felt safer, right? Now, the world feels unsafe, and I don’t think people want to turn the television on to that. I think they want to see people fighting for good.”

Even the citizens of Jacksonville, Florida, who take an enormous comic beating from the references to Jason’s hometown and his many loud name drops of former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, get positive vibes from the series. “Whenever I meet somebody from Jacksonville,” Manny Jacinto says, “I ask them, ‘How do you guys feel about these jokes?’ And they’re usually like, ‘We love it. We love that you’re representing for us.’”

* * * *

None of this would matter if the show weren’t so forking (to borrow the profanity workaround that prevents Eleanor from cussing in the afterlife) funny and inventive at every turn. There’s a density of jokes in every scene that the actors find inspiring. The writers use and discard plot ideas in a single episode that most shows would devote entire seasons to, just to keep viewers excited and engaged.

“The show is something that’s incredibly optimistic and snarky,” suggests Harper. In other shows right now, “if there’s optimism or any sort of openheartedness, it lacks bite. And if it has a lot of bite, it’s just completely devoid of any heart. And I feel like our show has a really good meshing of the two.”

Every detail is obsessed over, by cast and crew alike. As a little girl, costume designer Kirston Mann flew a lot on her own, and came to look at flight attendants “like angels.” She used their uniforms as a model for Janet’s purple and blue skirt suit. (“I have a little fetish for that kind of person,” Mann says, “and that’s how I saw her, as this person in between worlds, which is like a stewardess.”) Carden rotates through several identical copies of the same outfit, and even more had to be made for last season’s “Janet(s),” an episode where the four humans all temporarily looked like Janet, which meant that multiple stand-ins had to be simultaneously dressed like Carden for certain shots. This season, Carden got into wardrobe and could instantly tell someone had mistakenly given her one of the “Janet(s)” costumes because one of the vest’s button holes was too small. “That’s how much I’m wearing this,” she says, gesturing down at the familiar ensemble. “I know every centimeter of this costume.”

To bring the writers’ strange inventions, like the multiple Janets, to life, the series has its own in-house visual effects wizard, David Niednagel. But Danson himself supplies at least as much of the magic, with a performance that’s everything Schur asks of him and more: otherworldly but also deeply childlike and vulnerable, cartoonish but also capable of intense, admirable humanity. Carden jumps back in her chair and grips the armrests recalling the creepy laugh Danson improvised in the scene where Eleanor figures out that she and her friends are actually in the Bad Place. She and all of Danson’s other co-stars light up when talking about how humble and genuinely curious he still is, in a way that goes beyond normal Hollywood platitudes about how everyone in the cast is a family.

“He’s just kind of joy personified,” says Bell. “He’s witty, and he’s happy from the moment he wakes up until about 3:00 p.m. And then he gets sleepy.”
Jamil had never acted before the show and was terrified during her first scene, where Michael introduces Eleanor to Tahani. To break the tension, she says Danson “just kept on pretending to fart on me. Which was so weird but brilliant, and just made me feel so instantly comfortable. He kept making himself seem as little and silly as humanly possible, because he could tell that I was awe-struck by him.”

Danson once famously opted to end Cheers before NBC was ready to, for fear the show would grow stale. Now he finds himself on the receiving end of a similar choice by Schur, who chose to make this upcoming fourth season The Good Place’s last, having told his sprawling story at warp speed. It’s a decision everyone understands, even as none of them wants to let go.

“I think we don’t know how lucky we are,” says Danson. “I’m really proud to have been part of it. It’s a great conversation to be had. And the fact that 11- and 12-year-olds are coming up loving the show, to me that’s when kids are just starting to turn their headlights on and they’re understanding humor and they’re very impressionable and smart. So if they like the show, we’re doing something right.”

“I suppose I feel exactly the way it would feel at the end of your life,” says Bell. “I know it has to end, but I didn’t quite get enough and I want a little more.” At 39 with “two little kids who are desperate for me to be home more,” Bell is thinking seriously about taking a step back from a business that’s kept her working steadily since Veronica Mars started in 2004. “Maybe this is a great note to go out on,” she suggests. “I’ll do a movie here or there or be a guest star, but maybe I won’t be number one on the call sheet anymore.”

Danson and Bell have been through this before, multiple times, so it’s hardest on their less-experienced co-stars. “I am unemployed, so if you have anything, please let me know,” Jacinto jokes. “I can wash your car.”

Through her infectious performance as the all-knowing, all-powerful, always-optimistic Janet, Carden may embody the series more than anyone. She gets choked up just thinking about the conclusion to her big break.

“You want to hear something really cheesy?” she asks. “If you really think about it, if someone were to design my Good Place, it would be this. It sucks that now my Good Place is ending. But it’s good, it’s good. It’s right.”

The final season of The Good Place premieres Thursday, September 26th on NBC.

https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-f...-visit-881336/
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SATURDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)
From Zap2it.com's TV Grid - Sep. 21, 2019

ABC:
7:30PM - College Football: Oklahoma State at Texas (LIVE)

CBS:
8PM - College Football: Notre Dame at Georgia (LIVE)

NBC:
8PM - America's Got Talent: Live Results Finale (120 min.)
(R)
10PM - Dateline NBC: Suspicion in Silver City
(R)
* * * *
11:29PM - Saturday Night Live: Adam Sandler hosts; Shawn Mendes performs (93 min.)
(R)

FOX:
8PM - The Simpsons
(R)
8:30PM - Bob's Burgers
(R)
9PM - The Masked Singer
(R)
* * * *
11PM - Beat Shazam
(R)

PBS:
8PM - Austin City Limits: Willie Nelson
(R)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Una Familia de 10
8:30PM - Una Familia de 10 (25 min.)
8:55PM - La Rosa de Guadalupe
9:55PM - Fútbol Mexicano Primera División: América vs. Querétaro FC (LIVE)

TELEMUNDO:
7PM - Movie: The One (2001)
8:30PM - Movie - Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation (2015)

ESPN NEWS:
3PM - ESPN Goal Line (8 hrs., LIVE)

CBSSN:
7PM - College Football: Baylor at Rice (LIVE)
10:30PM - College Football: Utah State at San Diego State (LIVE)

ESPN:
7PM - College Football: Oregon at Stanford (LIVE)
10PM - College Football Scorecard (LIVE)
10:30PM - College Football: UCLA at Washington State (LIVE)

ESPN 2:
7PM - College Football: Old Dominion at Virginia (LIVE)
10PM - College Football Scorecard (LIVE)
10:15PM - College Football: Toledo at Colorado State (LIVE)

ESPN U:
7PM - College Football: Ball State at NC State (LIVE)
10PM - ESPN Goal Line (LIVE)
10:30PM - College Football: Prairie View A&M at Alcorn State (Taped)

NBCSN:
7:30PM - NASCAR Monster Energy Series: Federated Auto Parts 400 (3 1/2 hrs., LIVE)
* * * *
11PM - NASCAR Xfinity Series Post Race (LIVE)

BET:
8PM - Movie: Angrily Ever After (2019)

FXX:
8PM - 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards (2 hrs. 35 min.)
10:35PM - 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards (2 hrs. 35 min.)
(R)

LIFETIME:
8PM - Movie - Escaping the NXIVM Cult: A Mother's Fight to Save Her Daughter (2019)
10:03PM - Beyond the Headlines: Escaping the NXIVM Cult With Gretchen Carlson

MTV:
8PM - Ridiculousness: Chanel and Sterling CXXXVI

NICKELODEON:
8PM - Henry Danger
9PM - All That

A&E:
9PM - Live PD (3 hrs., LIVE)

BBC AMERICA:
9PM - Planet Earth: Nature's Great Events - The Great Flood (70 min.)

HALLMARK:
9PM - When Hope Calls (Series Premiere)
10PM - When Hope Calls

OWN:
9PM - Love & Marriage: Huntsville
10PM - Iyanla, Fix My Life - Where Are They Now: Fix My Suburban Lie (Season 6 Special)

ADULT SWIM:
11PM - Dragon Ball Super
11:30PM - Gen: Lock
Midnight - Dr. Stone
12:30AM - Fire Force
1AM - Food Wars!
1:30AM - Black Cover
2AM - Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
2:30AM - Naruto: Shippuden
(R)
3AM - Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin: Advent of the Red Comet
3:30AM - Lupin the 3rd Part 5
4AM - My Hero Academia
(R)


https://tvlistings.zap2it.com/?aid=gapzap
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TV Sports/Cultural Notes (Soccer)
Univision succeeds in tapping into a broader soccer TV audience
By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times - Sep. 21, 2019

If Univision were to draw up its idea of the perfect soccer viewer, that person would be a lot like Edgar Navarro, a first-generation son of Mexican immigrants.

A 41-year-old USC alum from Downey, Navarro is bilingual and bicultural, as American as tacos on the Fourth of July. He watches ESPN, subscribes to the Athletic, and the soundtrack of his childhood was heavy in Vin Scully, Chick Hearn and Bob Miller.

But when he watches soccer, it’s usually in Spanish.

“If I’m at my parents’ house with my dad, we’re watching in Spanish,” he said. “If I’m home, if it’s the Mexican national team, I’m watching it in Spanish. That’s kind of what I’ve grown up with.

“A lot of that has to do with just the content and how it’s being delivered.”

That’s significant because numerous studies have found that the majority of U.S.-born Latinos prefer to watch television in English. Yet for many like Navarro, televised soccer remains more compelling en español.

For years, Univision dominated that marketplace, partly because it followed Mexico’s Liga MX but largely because it drew captive viewers who weren’t comfortable consuming media in English. Now the network — whose soccer coverage airs on Univision, UniMas, Galavision and the newly rebranded TUDN, a collaboration with Mexican broadcaster Televisa — has begun tapping into a broader, acclimated and anglicized audience.

Univision says it is in on pace to finish 2019 with more than half of the overall soccer viewership in the United States, regardless of language — or team. Eight times this year, the U.S. national team played on a Univision network and an English-language outlet at the same time, and on five of those occasions, the Univision audience was at least 28% larger according to Nielsen, which measures TV viewership nationwide.

Even in a year in which the United States won the Women’s World Cup (a tournament carried in Spanish by rival Telemundo), Nielsen numbers show that Univision had seven of the 14 most-watched soccer broadcasts in the coveted 18-49 age group. It outpaces the English-language competition in Major League Soccer as well.

“That’s a testament to the rise of soccer,” said Roberto Ruiz, Univision’s executive vice president of research, insights and analytics. “We have more soccer than anyone. And you are eventually going to gravitate to our screens.”

That’s especially true with coverage of Mexico’s domestic Liga MX. Univision says it aired 103 matches in last fall’s Apertura and this year’s Clausura and averaged 860,000 viewers, slightly better than the audience NBC drew for the 23 English Premier League games it carried last season — though much of the credit goes to the schedule makers. EPL games kick off as early as 4:30 a.m. Pacific, while most Liga MX games are played on weekend afternoons and evenings.

Interestingly, more than a quarter of that national audience is neither Mexican nor Mexican American, and 1 in 8 viewers does not speak Spanish as their first language. And in Southern California, the average Liga MX audience was nearly twice the size of the Premier League one.

“We made a big bet on soccer,” said Ruiz, whose flagship network, TUDN, averages 14 hours of live soccer programming a day, most of it from Mexico. “And we’re continuing to double down on it.”

The size of the audience is only part of the equation, though. Ruiz says the average viewer spent 61 minutes with TUDN’s coverage of this month’s friendly between the United States and Mexico in East Rutherford, N.J., while Fox Sports 1’s audience stayed for an average of 24 minutes, a difference Ruiz calls “the passion index.”

“People that are into this are with us,” he said.

The bet the network made on soccer could pay off big with advertisers too. Latinos already account for 20% of the people in the United States, making them the second-largest segment of the population, according to a 2019 report by the marketing-evaluation firm Claritas.

Population size matters, of course, but the economic power of the U.S. Latino market, estimated at $1.7 trillion annually according to a report by business-data company Statista, might matter even more. Claritas says the cumulative lifetime spending of the average Latino household is $2.5 million, about $539,000 more than the average non-Latino white household.

And Univision owns the demographic holy grail of that market: men aged 18-49. Men like Navarro, a college graduate who can move seamlessly between cultures but feels at home with Univision.

“It’s just one of the things that’s always been part of the culture,” Navarro said in explaining his loyalty to the network. “A lot of us now, my age group, we’re all first generation, we all grew up with it. The people watching Liga MX are, for the most part, a certain demographic.

“You grew up watching it, and then you become a fan of it.”

The main platform for that is the 24-hour sports cable network TUDN, formerly known as the Univision Deportes Network (UDN). But unlike other round-the-clock sports networks in the United States, TUDN spends little time on golf, tennis, auto racing or Olympic sports.

“We’re not scared of having a game on Sunday night. We’re not scared of having a game on Saturday night,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of sports for Univision and Televisa. “While the NFL would beat anyone in the regular landscape, our audience doesn’t really [care] about the NFL. They care more about Liga MX than the NFL.

“We have become a destination, the ultimate hub of soccer in America regardless of language.”

Now Univision is trying to grow what has largely been a coastal audience even further, offering digital coverage of Liga MX games in English on TUDNxtra, answering a need for fans who want to see those games in that language.

“We have a lot of people with roots back to Mexico one way or another,” Navarro said, referring to Univision’s dominance in Southern California. “Is it going to play in Nebraska? Is it going to play in Brooklyn, Iowa? Maybe not.

“[But] if there’s enough following for boxing in English, there’s enough following for soccer content in Spanish. Because a lot of it is the same fan.”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/socce...alavision-tudn
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TV Review (Broadcast)
‘Stumptown’: Portland-set series is one of Fall TV’s best, with a sizzling star turn from Cobie Smulders
By Kristi Turnquist, The Oregonian - Sep. 19, 2019

It’s never easy to tell from just one episode whether a TV series will be worth sticking with. But ABC’s new “Stumptown” starts off strong, quickly introducing us to characters we want to get to know better, avoiding the usual private investigator clichés, and giving us a setting that’s fresh and brimming with story possibilities.

OK, so we’re a little biased. “Stumptown” is set in Portland, and it’s inspired by graphic novels written by Portland-based author Greg Rucka. But “Stumptown” looks like it will be good enough on its own to make us forgive the fact that the show – despite some scenes filmed locally – will be produced in Los Angeles.

Cobie Smulders, best known for “How I Met Your Mother” and Marvel movies, is a perfect fit for Dex Parios, a military intelligence veteran who’s not exactly keeping it together in Portland.

After the first episodes gets off to a literally flying start with a stunt involving Dex, two thugs, and a car we see soaring in the sky with the Broadway Bridge in the background, we come crashing down to earth. Dex is gambling at a Native American-operated casino, and though she’s enthusiastic, she’s not particularly lucky.

Dex is shrewd enough to instantly spot a fishy come-on from a guy hitting on her with a made-up story, but she’s also gotten herself in deep debt to the Whispering Winds casino. Which is why she reluctantly agrees to do a job for the cool, tough-minded boss of the casino, Sue Lynn Blackbird (played with steely charisma by Tantoo Cardinal).

Dex hadn’t really thought of turning her military skills into a career as a private investigator, but when Sue Lynn’s granddaughter goes missing, Dex might just be the right person to find the young woman.

Cobie Smulders delivers a sharp, sexy performance as Dex Parios in “Stumptown,” based on comics-turned-graphic novels by Portland-based author Greg Rucka. (Photo: Kailey Schwerman/ABC)

As Dex pursues leads, we meet the other people in her life. She takes care of her younger brother, Ansel (played by Cole Sibus), who wears a Portland Timbers shirt to display his loyalty, and who has Down syndrome. Dex’s friend, Grey McConnell (a winning turn by Jake Johnson, of “New Girl”), also pitches in when it comes to looking after Ansel, even as Grey is opening his own bar.

Once Dex starts tangling with bad guys – like the ones who lock her in that car trunk we see in that opening action sequence – she gets beaten up, lied to, and meets members of the Portland police force, including Detective Miles Hoffman (Michael Ealy) and Lieutenant Cosgrove (Camryn Manheim).

Along the way, we learn that Dex has enough demons to populate a Halloween haunted house, and that her self-destructive impulses are at war with her yearning to make things right, even after she messes them up.

For Portlanders, there’s fun in seeing the scenes filmed on location (the pilot also includes scenes filmed in Vancouver, B.C.); meeting Dex’s friend, Tookie (Adrian Martinez), who owns a taco food cart (how Portland can you get?); hearing references to Old Town, Bend, and more Oregon spots; and, once again, seeing the “Portland, Oregon” neon sign in Old Town, letting viewers know where this is supposedly taking place.

Even better is how executive producer and showrunner Jason Richman’s script mixes suspense with Dex’s self-deprecating jokes, and the expert performances from everyone in the cast.

It’s particularly satisfying to see Smulders flex muscles we maybe didn’t know she had. She makes Dex both a deeply human, self-sabotaging mess, and a brave, gutsy heroine we’re willing to follow down dark alleys, in Portland, or anywhere else.

“Stumptown” premieres at 10 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25, on ABC.

https://www.oregonlive.com/entertain...rs-review.html
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Media/Business Notes
‘Downton Abbey’ Surprises Box Office With New Opening Record for Focus Features
By Jeremy Fuster, TheWrap.com - Sep. 21, 2019

Focus Features/Carnival’s “Downton Abbey” is blowing by opening weekend expectations after grossing $13.8 million on Friday and is now expected to take No. 1 with a $31 million opening weekend.

To the surprise of box office trackers, moviegoers have accepted Lord Grantham’s invitation en masse. Released on 3,079 screens — Focus’ widest release since “Atomic Blonde” in 2017 — “Downton Abbey” is now on pace to set a new opening weekend record for Universal’s indie wing, topping the $22.7 million made by “Insidious: Chapter 3” in 2015.

With a passionate fanbase of the hit ITV/PBS TV series to draw from, “Downton Abbey” was expected by analysts to be a hit. However, a more modest opening in the $18-20 million range was expected with a strong hold in later weeks thanks to support from older moviegoers.

Sure enough, Postrak polls show that half of the audience was over the age of 45, but support from younger demographics has helped push the film to this new record. “Downton Abbey” fans are unsurprisingly pleased to see the Dowager Countess and her family again, giving “Downton Abbey” high marks with an A on CinemaScore and a 4.5/5 on Postrak to go with the 84% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

In second is Fox/Disney’s “Ad Astra,” the complex sci-fi film from James Gray and Brad Pitt that pleased critics at festivals but has left audiences cold. More like “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Solaris” than an action-packed astronaut film, audience scores for the film have been tepid with a 2.5/5 on Postrak and a B- on CinemaScore as opposed to 82% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Ad Astra” is projected for a $19.5 million opening from 3,460 screens this weekend, a poor result given the film’s $80 million budget before reshoots. The movie will now have to turn to overseas to recoup its costs and avoid becoming another flop for a Fox slate that has struggled since the Disney acquisition.

Neck-and-neck for the No. 3 spot are the debuting “Rambo: Last Blood” and the second weekend of “Hustlers,” both estimated to earn around $17.5 million this weekend. The Lionsgate-released “Rambo” is performing consistently with both tracker expectations and past installments in the action series, as the last “Rambo” opened to $18.2 million in 2008.

“Hustlers,” meanwhile, is holding well despite somewhat unexpected competition from “Downton Abbey” for female moviegoers, dropping only 47% from its STX record $33 million opening. It now is expected to have a 10-day domestic total of $63 million. Warner Bros./New Line’s “It: Chapter Two” completes the top five with an estimated $15.6 million in its third weekend, bringing its total to $177.5 million.

https://www.thewrap.com/downton-abbey-box-office/
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TV Notes/Q&A (Broadcast)
Kal Penn Isn’t Making a Political Point with His Immigration Sitcom
“Sunnyside” is about trying to navigate the United States citizenship process, but its aims are more comic than didactic.
By Bruce Fretts, The New York Times - Sep. 19, 2019

Kal Penn took a two-year sabbatical from acting to work in President Barack Obama’s White House, so you would be forgiven for assuming that he’s trying to make a political point with his new television series, “Sunnyside.”

Penn is also a creator of this NBC sitcom, which premieres on Thursday [at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT] and is titled after the neighborhood of the same name in Queens, the New York borough known as one of the most diverse places on earth. Penn plays a disgraced New York City councilman who tries to redeem his reputation by helping a ragtag group of immigrants navigate the United States citizenship process.

The premise seems timely in the Trump era, but “it was never meant to be a reaction to anything,” said Penn, 42, who started developing the series five years ago. “The topic of immigration goes back to the founding of our country. It is all of our stories.”

“As long as we’re mindful of that,” he added, “I’m not going to take anybody’s bait.”

Besides, said Penn, who was previously best known for his title role in the “Harold and Kumar” stoner movies, his intentions are more comic than didactic.

“I love things like Jon Stewart’s ‘Daily Show,’ but you don’t feel good about the world when you turn it off,” he explained recently, sipping Cabernet at a Hell’s Kitchen hotel bar. “When I was growing up, I loved shows like ‘Perfect Strangers,’ ‘Head of the Class’ and ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.’ When you turn off the TV, not only do you feel good, you feel like you spent time with your friends.”

Then, lifting his glass, he added, “Cheers!” in an unintentional reference to another feel-good sitcom and possible “Sunnyside” influence. In an interview, Penn discussed his earlier characters’ problematic names, his experiences in the White House — real and fictional — and more. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

What inspired you to create a sitcom for yourself?
About six years ago, I was on a show with Jerry O’Connell and Tony Shalhoub called “We Are Men.” It was very short-lived. The morning after the third episode aired, I got a call: “Hey, don’t come to work tomorrow.” The next day my manager said, “What’s your dream job?” I said, “This was it — I want to be on a network comedy.”

Then he asked me, “But if you were going to create a show, what would it be?” I said, “Thematically, this sounds cheesy, but I love making people laugh, and I love America. It would be great if we could do a show that makes people do both of those together.” So I started putting together a project like that.

You’re on NBC’s Thursday night schedule. It’s a different world — no pun intended — from the ’80s and ’90s, when having a slot there guaranteed 20 or 30 million viewers every week. Does it matter to you that you’re reaching a smaller audience these days?
We’re going to make it that big again! [Laughs.] No, what I like about the network space is you can bring people together in a way that you still can’t in streaming. Those services’ reach is restricted because of how much you have to pay a month for them.

You grew up in New Jersey. Why set this show in Sunnyside, Queens?
When I was a little kid, before Edison, N.J., was a hotbed of Indian culture, one Sunday a month, we’d pack up the station wagon and drive to Jackson Heights. My mom would go to the Indian grocery store there. It was always very diverse. I was looking for a neighborhood like that to set the show in, and Jackson Heights and Flushing are the two I know the best, but “Flushing” is a truly terrible title for a show. Sunnyside has the same demographics and is a better title than “Jackson Heights.”

Like your character, Garrett Modi, you’re the child of first-generation Indian immigrants. Your birth name was Kalpen Modi, which you shortened to Kal Penn for showbiz. Is this show autobiographical in any way?
Not really. I always like playing characters who are different from me. Kumar is way cooler than I’ll ever be. There are more comedic influences than real-life ones. I love Garrett and his sister Mallory’s names. When I went to name them, I went back through this long litany of beef people had with me about the names of characters I played. It started with the character I played in “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,” Taj Mahal. That is unmistakably a very problematic name. It was a different time; we’ve moved past that. But when I got the job on “House,” they had written my role as Dr. Lawrence Kutner, and they said, “How do you feel about changing it to an Indian name?” I said “No, I auditioned for Lawrence Kutner and got it, and I want to play him.” When I started on the show, people said, “Why aren’t you playing a character named Dr. Samir Patel?” I get that we look to art forms for validation, and it means a lot to people. That said, it’s a no-win situation.

So Garrett’s parents came to America in the ’80s and they started watching “The Facts of Life” and thought Mrs. Garrett was very hard-working. Then they saw her on reruns of “Diff’rent Strokes” and were like, “Wait a second, she has two jobs? Our firstborn son has to be named after her!” Then they got into “Family Ties,” and Mallory is a slacker. Their high-performing daughter is named after Mallory, and she’s the one who’s done everything right. I just love that.

How did your parents feel about using your real last name on “Sunnyside”?
My dad was not a fan at first. He said: “That’s a terrible idea. People are going to be confused. You used to work in politics. People might think it’s supposed to be you.” But he’s come around.

Were you always equally passionate about politics and acting?
No, my first love was always acting. I enjoyed the sabbatical I took, but you’re not going to see me running for Senate. When I was growing up, I would hear stories about how my grandparents had marched with Gandhi, but I never thought about that as politics. I thought of it as a weird story my family told. I had never been interested in politics.

Then, in 2007, there was a writers’ strike, and my “House” co-star Olivia Wilde invited me to an event for Obama. I really liked him, and I campaigned for three days in Iowa and was really excited. It was a small campaign at that point. We were way down in the polls. I wasn’t working, so I ended up campaigning in 26 other states. Then we won, and there was an opportunity to serve in the White House. What was I going to say, “No, I’d rather do another stoner movie?”

What was the transition like, going from acting to working in the Office of Public Engagement?
I would work on speeches and think to myself, “This needs to be more boring.” Because if I get a laugh, I was worried somebody from Politico would write, “Kumar brings down the house with American Opportunity Tax Credit speech.” That’s the wrong messaging. Then I came back to acting with a role on Season 8 of “How I Met Your Mother.” They moved so fast — the director, Pamela Fryman, was moving on after two takes. I thought: “I’m not funny anymore. I must be awful.” She said: “We’ve been here for eight years for a reason. I hired you for a reason, and I promise you if something wasn’t working, I would do another take.” It was all in my head.

After that, what was it like acting and working as a political consultant on the D.C.-set drama “Designated Survivor”?
I initially said no, because I knew the narrative was going to be “Kal Penn goes from Barack Obama’s White House to Kiefer Sutherland’s White House.” Then I read the script and loved it, so I signed on. We had five showrunners in three years, and depending on the showrunner, my job was either to point out everything that was inaccurate, because they wanted it to be accurate, or point out everything that’s inaccurate, so they could lean into the inaccuracy because they weren’t making a documentary. It was interesting to field texts from my former White House colleagues about things that would never happen: “Oh really, dude?” I would tell them my job was not to make it more accurate. It was to give them the tools to make a choice.

Have you chosen a candidate to support in 2020 yet?
This is probably going to sound like a deflection, and I promise it’s not. I didn’t realize how much work putting your own show on the air is, and I’m very excited to be doing that. I helped Bernie Sanders out in the primaries and supported Hillary Clinton in the general election in 2016. I’m excited by a lot of the candidates. I like Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris. They all bring something unique. But I haven’t really had time to focus on it and make a choice.

Are you worried that people who don’t share your opinions won’t tune into “Sunnyside” because they assume it will have a liberal bias?
Not really. We’re at a time and a place where we all have our closely held political views, and that’s a great thing. But what I love about comedy is that, like sports and music to some extent, it’s one of the few things that still tends to bring people together.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/18/a...sunnyside.html
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TV/Production Notes (Awards)
Emmys: Comedian Thomas Lennon As Voice-Over Presenter, No Orchestra, Pop Songs As Walk-Up Music
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Sep. 21, 2019

This marks the first Primetime Emmy Awards for the newly independent Fox Entertainment, and the network is looking to put its stamp on the ceremony with several tweaks.

The biggest, of course, is going host-less for only the fourth time in Emmy history and for the first time since 2003, also on Fox.

The network also is trying to liven up voice-over narration, an indelible but invisible part of any awards show that is never memorable. Fox is looking to change that by employing a comedian for the job, actor-comedian Thomas Lennon, who starred in a half-hour pilot for the network this past season.

Main part of voiceover Emmty presenter’s job is to read a factoid or two about a winner’s prior Emmy nomination/win history while the person/program’s producing team are walking to the stage to pick up the award. Instead, Lennon will provide colorful commentary during each Emmy winner walk-up, described as ” a refreshing, lighthearted take on the traditional factoids that audiences typically learn as winners make their way to the podium mixed with jokes, commentary and unexpected anecdotes.”

CBS tried a similar approach in 2017, also employing an actor-comedian, Jermaine Fowler, as voiceover Emmy presenter. He got a lot of attention for the gig, which broke with tradition. That included him serving as voiceover presenter not only off- bit also on-camera. Lennon will be off-camera the entire time.

Fox also is giving walk-up music a makeover. The network is ditching the traditional band or orchestra, which is very rare and has not been done at the Emmys in a long time.

Instead of an orchestra performing winner walk-up music on Sunday, the Emmys will feature popular songs carefully curated to tie into a series, characters or nominees themselves, which will play as they they are walking toward the microphone.

The approach is reminiscent to the walk-up songs used at football games and wrestling events, which would fit into Fox’s identity as home of NFL games and WWE SmackDown.

Also infused with pop culture and looking to appeal to younger viewers will be the In Memoriam montage, which will be done to a cover song performed by young pop star Halsey.

Additionally, Workaholics and Modern Family‘s Adam Devine, also appealing to younger fans, will deliver a special variety-themed performance to introduce variety series.

https://deadline.com/2019/09/emmys-c...ry-1202740253/
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post #32057 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 12:06 PM
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I know, right? The lower picture quality with Fox NFL games vs the games on CBS and NBC is amazing! And Fox has the Superbowl this winter which is downright depressing...
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Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
I think a lot of the difference can be attributed to local stations, MPVDs and even the displays. And let's not forget production trucks. Some of THOSE are downright horrible.

Take DirecTV's standard-definition channels. On an old standard-definition Sony CRT, they still look amazing. But when a 55-inch 1080p panel has to interpolate all those missing elements, ugh. 720p to 1080i isn't that much of a change. Watch a FOX game via NFLST (removing the local affiliate from the mix) on a 55-inch 1080 panel and it's really pretty good. Watch a FOX game on a subchannel-laden local affiliate throttled through a bandwidth-challenged cable system on a 65-inch 4k set and, yeah, it's going to look really bad. Not enough picture detail to start with, so adding in all those missing pixels becomes even harder.

Doc
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Unfortunately, none of that matters to those stuck with their lousy local broadcast. They will continue to blame FIX because that is the channel they are watching. I still remember what KPHO (CBS) looked like back in the early days, but I don’t blame CBS for the way it looks now, I blame KPHO and Meredith. 😱
Streaming is the future and it's here now. I always search for the event on the networks streaming apps before dealing with some crappy local feed. Just about every time, the streaming feed is markedly better than the local feed. Linear(cable/sat/OTA) delivery of TV content is a yesteryear format, move into the future and get better quality images now.
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TV Review (Streaming)
'First Wives Club' (BET+)
By Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter - Sep. 19, 2019

When The First Wives Club premiered in 1996, the splashy feminist revenge comedy was a surprise overnight hit and eventually grossed six times its modest budget. Although the film directly appealed to middle-aged women ⁠⁠— many of whom could relate to the plight of three seasoned protagonists who are ditched by their philandering husbands for younger ingenues — it became a cult classic for generations of young women to come.

I watched the movie repeatedly on HBO as a child, glorying in the devilish rage that fuels Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler's vengeance. In ninth grade, I even devoured the little-known Olivia Goldsmith novel on which the screenplay is based (actually quite a racy book). I rarely use the hackneyed buzzword "empowering" to describe, well, anything. But The First Wives Club, replete with clever legal and financial payback, felt empowering.

If only BET+'s First Wives Club felt like much of anything at all. Luckily, no memories of the original film were harmed in the making of this flavorless TV sitcom. (All nine episodes drop simultaneously via this video-on-demand offshoot of the cable network.) A nod to the original story in structure only, First Wives Club features three long-married college friends who reunite after some years of passive estrangement to support each other through divorce, adultery and plain-ole matrimonial discontentment.

But that's about where the parallels end. Instead, executive producer Tracy Oliver (co-writer of Girls Trip, one of 2017's funniest hits) uses the franchise name to launch a new story centering successful black women suddenly tossed aside in favor of shinier prospects. It's a winning conceit for a TV reboot, but the broad, blue humor — which works well in a 100-minute film — renders each half-hour episode a slog.

This may be the first single-cam comedy I have ever wished were multicam. At least a laugh track, an illusion of mirth, would alert me that an actual joke had been made. The show's hyuk-hyuk comic tone may have jelled better with the stagey hyper-reality that multiple cameras evoke. Without canned laughter, the beats manage to make you feel lonely, as though you keep missing pings of amusement that never arrive. One such thudding punchline: "Is that my fur coat?!" exclaims a character spying a homeless man in an alley. "He wanted a hand job, Hazel. OK, it got very dark. You're lucky I'm still here!"

Singer-actress Jill Scott (so winsome in HBO's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) stars as the show's analog to Goldie Hawn's character in the film, a resident diva navigating the betrayal of her producer husband. Trading an aging movie star for an aging R&B artist, First Wives Club uses Hazel's histrionic split from gaslighting Derek (Malik Yoba) as the dramatic locus from which most of the story's pathos and hijinks spring.

As recording opportunities slip away before her eyes, largely due to her ex's industry blackballing, she watches her former love commandeer their cash and bar her from the penthouse they bought with her earnings. (In a reference to Solangegate, viral security footage blasts images of Hazel lashing out at her husband and his snotty 20-something mistress, played by Tasie Lawrence.) Hazel's revenge game includes overspending on Derek's dime and running a heist in their apartment to retrieve her possessions.

Faring just as badly is Bree, a harried Fort Greene surgeon and mother whose stay-at-home husband (RonReaco Lee) cheated on her with a neighborhood mom. (Her part is closest to the one Bette Midler played in the original film as an unglamorous bigmouth whose schemes revitalize her self-image.) Michelle Buteau, a standout from Netflix film Always Be My Maybe, brings bubbly energy to the role of a bottled-up woman getting her groove back after decades of placid monogamy. Unfortunately, the show reduces her newfound sexual liberation to flat, farcical mischief, including a scene where she dons a fedora and trench coat to purchase Plan B at a local drugstore. (Remember what I was saying about a mitigating laugh track?)

Ryan Michelle Bathe plays their bestie Ari, a former attorney unhappily married to an Obama-like robo-politician (Mark Tallman) whose bizarre sexual habits signify their performative union. A coiffed perfectionist grinning through underlying fury, Ari gave up practicing law in order to support her husband's senatorial campaign. Like Diane Keaton's character in The First Wives Club, she's an intellectual who is also deeply in denial about her relationship. While Scott is soulful and Buteau spritzy, Bathe is their cold marble foil. Individually, they zing, but together they don't share much chemistry.

It took ages for this show to air, which is partly why the wan outcome is so disappointing. As rumors of a movie sequel have ricocheted in development hell since 2002, TV Land commissioned and eventually passed on a 2016 pilot about three young starter wives played by Alyson Hannigan, Megan Hilty and Vanessa Lachey.

Like lurid dust bunny Why Women Kill, First Wives Club leans so heavily on the treachery of infidelity that the show misses opportunities to explore other types of toxic marriages. Hell hath no fury like a critic bored.

'The First Wives Club'
Premieres: Thursday, Sept. 19 (BET+)
The Bottom Line: Bland, broad and blue.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...x?postId=18800
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TV/Technology Notes
TiVo confirms its customers will soon see ads before DVR recordings
By Chris Welch, TheVerge.com - Sep. 21, 2019

So much for it being an early, experimental test. TiVo has confirmed that it plans to place pre-roll video advertisements before DVR recordings for all customers — even those with a lifetime subscription plan. “DVR advertising is going to be a permanent part of the service,” a company spokesperson flatly told Light Reading. “We expect to be fully rolled out to all eligible retail devices within 90 days.”

“Eligible” retail devices are those running TiVo Experience 4, the latest software version. If your TiVo box is up to date, you can expect to start seeing these inserted commercials before your DVR’d show or movie starts playing. But it’s also possible TiVo will extend these ads to products on TE3, so I wouldn’t exactly count yourself safe there.

TiVo’s defense of this decision, which many customers are likely to be upset about, is that you’ve got the ability to skip the ad as soon as it starts up.

“We’re dedicated to innovation that helps our customers stay in control of how, when, and what they watch. Advertising is an important part of every media business and TiVo is investing in new advertising experiences. We have designed our new DVR advertising units with the ability to ‘skip’ ads anytime a customer hits ‘skip.’ This is part of our ongoing commitment to bring our users the best media discovery experience possible.”

The ads might be skippable, but as a video posted at Zatz Not Funny shows, it’s a sluggish transition between pre-roll commercials and content.

Customers on TiVo’s forums are reacting just the way you’d expect them to, and there are a bunch that say they’ll quit on the service and hardware altogether once they start seeing pre-roll ads when they sit down to watch something. An email I got after the story broke yesterday is filled with the same sentiment. “I logged into my TiVo account immediately and sent them a notice that if they start forcing ads on me for a service that I am paying for, that’ll be the end of TiVo for me. I’ve been using a TiVo in one form or another since the Series II came out. I currently run a Bolt Vox OTA, a Mini, and an old Toshiba DVD unit.” Some are having success by calling TiVo customer support and requesting that the ads be disabled, though I’m not sure if that’ll actually pan out.

Others seem willing to put up with it. “I don’t want that 20-second ad, but if it helps support the company that allows me to watch TV on my time/terms, I’ll bite,” wrote forum user MScottC. “I am not about to blow my own gasket over this. I’ll protest, I’ll email, but I won’t start screaming that I’m dumping TiVo for an alternative, when in reality, no better alternative has shown up over 20 years.”

https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/21/2...dvr-recordings
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post #32060 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 12:40 PM
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Streaming is the future and it's here now. I always search for the event on the networks streaming apps before dealing with some crappy local feed. Just about every time, the streaming feed is markedly better than the local feed. Linear(cable/sat/OTA) delivery of TV content is a yesteryear format, move into the future and get better quality images now.
Sorry about my FOX typo, but I completely agree. Since we subscribed to CBS All Access not too long ago, we’ve seen how much nicer the picture quality is and how much less we’d need our TiVo. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for the data cap to rear it’s ugly head, so we have to limit what we stream to some degree. No, we haven’t come close to our cap, but we know it’s definitely something we need to consider as we increase our streaming, especially if we were to cut the cable cord. Admittedly, we did play binge catch-up on Star Trek, etc., but I now see how easy it is to hit the cap. What I haven’t figured out is how much it would cost to cut the cord and still be able to stream everything we watch now. What I’d miss most though is the guide. What we need is a TiVo-like interface that would consolidate all our “watch lists” into a single guide and keep track of watched episodes. It would also be nice to be able to go directly to the show we want to watch than have to wade through each service’s interface.

Cheers, Dave
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SUNDAY 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)
From Zap2it.com's TV Grid - Sep. 22, 2019

ABC:
7PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R)
8PM - Celebrity Family Feud: John Legend & Chrissy Teigen vs. The Cast of Vanderpump Rules; Ryan Lochte vs. Kevin Eubanks
9PM - The $100,000 Pyramid: Bobby Moynihan vs. Hasan Minhaj; Katie Couric vs. Mario Cantone (Season Finale)
10PM - Match Game: Oliver Hudson, Chris D'Elia, Craig Robinson, Rita Moreno (Season Finale)

CBS:
7PM - NFL Football: Regional Coverage (Continued from 4:25PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - 60 Minutes
8:30PM - Big Brother
9:30PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R)
10:30PM - Madam Secretary
(R)

NBC:
7PM - Football Night in America (75 min., LIVE)
8:15PM - NFL Football: Los Angeles Rams at Cleveland Browns (LIVE)

FOX:
7PM - FOX's Live Emmy Red Carpet Arrivals (LIVE)
8PM - The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (3 hrs., LIVE)

THE CW:
8PM - Penn & Teller: Fool Us
(R)
9PM - Masters of Illusion
(R)
9:30PM - Masters of Illusion
(R)

PBS:
8PM - Country Music, Episode 5: The Sons and Daughters of America (1964-1968) (120 min.)
10PM - Country Music, Episode 5 (120 min.)
(R)

UNIVISION:
7PM - Aquí y Ahora
8PM - Reina de la Canción (120 min.)
10PM - Crónicas: Historias Que Hacen Historia

TELEMUNDO:
7PM - Exatlón Estados Unidos (3 hrs.)
10PM - El Secreto de Selena

CBSSN:
6PM - PBR Bull Riding: Fairfax Invitational (2 1/2 hrs., LIVE)

E!:
6PM - E! Live From the Red Carpet: The 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards (120 min., LIVE)
8PM - Keeping Up With the Kardashians
(R)
9PM - Keeping Up With the Kardashians
10PM - Fli It Like Disick
* * * *
11PM - E! After Party: The 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards

ESPN:
6:30PM - MLB Baseball: Philadelphia Phillies at Cleveland Indians (LIVE)
9:30PM - SportsCenter (3 1/2 hrs., LIVE)

ESPN 2:
7PM - WNBA Basketball: Connecticut Sun at Los Angeles Sparks (LIVE)

ESPN NEWS:
7PM - Formula 1 Racing: Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix (2 1/2 hrs., Tape Delayed)

ESPN U:
7PM - The Bowden Dynasty (Special, 120 min.)

VH1:
7PM - Nick Cannon Presents: Wild 'n Out (85 South Show; Eric Bellinger)
7:30PM - Nick Cannon Presents: Wild 'n Out (Mikey Day; Jack & Jack)

BRAVO:
8PM - The Real Housewives of Potomac
9PM - Married to Medicine
10PM - Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen (Adrienne C. Moore; TV personality Mariah Huq)

HALLMARK:
8PM - Chesapeake Shores

MTV:
8PM - Ridiculousness: Camille Kosteck
8:30PM - Ridiculousness: A$AP Ferg

SHOWTIME:
8PM - The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth
8:30PM - Couples Therapy
(R)
9PM - The Affair
10PM - On Becoming a God in Central Florida (45 min.)
10:45PM - On Becoming a God in Central Florida (45 min.)
(R)

STARZ:
8PM - Power
9:01PM - Power Confidential (26 min.)

AMC:
9PM - Fear the Walking Dead (65 min.)
10:05PM - Preacher (65 min.)

FOOD NETWORK:
9PM - Worst Cooks in America (Season Finale)
10PM - Good Eats
10:30PM - Good Eats
* * * *
11PM - Halloween Wars

GALAVISION:
9PM - Natalia Jiménez: México De Mi Corazón (Special)

HBO:
9PM - Succession
10PM - The Righteous Gemstones (36 min.)
10:36PM - Ballers
* * * *
11:07PM - Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
(R)


https://tvlistings.zap2it.com/?aid=gapzap
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TV Sports
NFL Schedule (Week 3)
By Sportsmediawatch.com Staff

TEAMS : / TIME (Eastern): / NETWORK:

SUNDAY, SEP. 15:

--Baltimore-Kansas City / 1:00 pm / CBS
--NY Jets-New England / 1:00 pm / CBS
--Cincinnati-Buffalo / 1:00 pm / CBS
--Atlanta-Indianapolis / 1:00 pm / CBS

--Denver-Green Bay (32%) / 1:00 pm / FOX
--Miami-Dallas (21%) / 1:00 pm / FOX
--Detroit-Philadelphia (8%) / 1:00 pm / FOX
--Oakland-Minnesota (8%) / 1:00 pm / FOX

--NY Giants-Tampa Bay (18%) / 4:05 pm / FOX
--Carolina-Arizona (12%) / 4:05 pm / FOX

--New Orleans-Seattle / 4:25 pm / CBS
--Pittsburgh-San Francisco / 4:25 pm / CBS
--Houston-LA Chargers / 4:25 pm / CBS

--LA Rams-Cleveland / 8:20 pm / NBC

MONDAY, SEP. 23:

--Chicago-Washington
/ 8:15 pm / ESPN

THURSDAY, SEP. 26: (WEEK 4)

--Philadelphia-Green Bay
/ 8:20 pm / FOX, NFLN


https://www.sportsmediawatch.com/nfl...n-tnf-snf-mnf/
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TV Review (Broadcast)
‘A Little Late with Lilly Singh’ (NBC)
By Caroline Framke, Variety.com - Sep. 21, 2019

Lilly Singh is well aware of her unique place in late night. After kicking off her first episode with a rap dedicated to the fact that she is not, unlike every other network late-night host, a straight white man, Singh walks out onto her own stage and addresses it with her audience directly. “I get it…I’m not your traditional talk show host,” she says, grinning in a bright red suit. “The media’s mentioned that I’m a ‘bisexual woman of color’ so much that I feel like I should just change my name.” At this point, the graphic above her shoulder shifts from “A Little Late with Lilly Singh” to “A Little Late with Bisexual Woman of Color.”

It’s a fair shot. Singh’s inauguration as the latest comedian to take a stab at hosting a network late night show has led to many emphasizing those biographical points about her over and over again, to the point where it was impossible to tell from the conversation what Singh is actually like as a performer. That’s obviously proven a little frustrating for her, but she also knows that being A Bisexual Woman of Color — not to mention one who’s only just about to turn 31 years old — is a huge distinction and draw. Late night as it’s traditionally been done for decades has become less relevant as platforms like YouTube and new streaming services give comedians different ways to express themselves. (As Singh says to those watching who may not know her: “Television is dying and the internet is thriving … I guarantee your kids know who I am.”) On top of its being historic, Singh coming into the most traditional of late night spaces, even at 1:30 a.m., reveals a new network tactic. So it’s fitting that Singh’s first week of shows emphasized her singularity, both for who she is and what she does.

Singh is better known to her longtime fans as “Superwoman,” the name of her wildly popular YouTube channel where she’s been uploading comedic skits, commentary, and collaborations for almost a decade. She’s brash, blunt, and completely herself — a combination that’s served well on YouTube, where grabbing people’s attention is half the battle. In hosting her own late-night show, though, Singh has to find a way to translate her online energy into TV gold, which, as other social media mavens like Grace Helbig and Busy Phillipps have learned the hard way, is trickier than it seems. There’s only so much someone can morph the talk show format, and for people who came up through platforms like YouTube or Instagram, not being able to edit themselves to create their own particular rhythms can be a huge disadvantage.

Singh seems to be taking that challenge in stride. “A Little Late” purposefully sidesteps politics (as she says in her opening rap: “I ain’t talking ‘bout Donald unless his last name is Glover”), and in fact, barely touches anything super topical at all. Dodging the constantly changing news cycle is no doubt a practical fix to help the show shoot evergreen segments, but it’s also a smart move for someone whose initial success hinged on making sure people could find and laugh at videos posted minutes or months before. Singh’s opening monologues operate more like abbreviated stand-up sets, tackling broad topics like marijuana legalization and not getting the sex talk from her parents. The rest of the half-hour episodes belong to extended celebrity interviews and videos that feel too much like saggy “SNL” sketches rather than Singh’s own.

In fact, what’s most interesting (and promising) about the first week of “A Little Late” is how much works because of Singh’s in the moment stage presence. She’s an engaged interviewer capable of steering the conversation where it needs to go, even when the occasional games she tries to play with guests mostly end up more confusing than entertaining. There are definitely times when her age and advanced knowledge of what it means to Be Online clash with celebrities who are so used to late night softballs from smiling forty-something men (it’s no coincidence that her best interview of the week is the one with Tracee Ellis Ross, an extraordinarily game guest and bona fide Instagram savant in her own right). But even when the show isn’t totally on point, Singh’s ability to adapt and crack spontaneous jokes should get “A Little Late” on a steadier track before too long.

“A Little Late with Lilly Singh” airs Monday through Thursday at 1:30 am on NBC.

https://variety.com/2019/tv/reviews/...ew-1203343199/
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TV/Streaming Notes (Analysis)
Will NBC Finally Do Justice to the SNL Library?
By Josef Adalian and Megh Wright, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Sep. 19, 2019

Buried in this week’s news about NBC’s upcoming streaming platform, Peacock, was some very promising news for longtime Saturday Night Live fans: Peacock will become the new home for every season of SNL that has completed its run since premiering in 1975.

For those who have been hoping for the full archive to return in some form, this news is a huge relief, since vintage SNL episodes have bounced around a lot over the last decade. In late 2010, both Hulu and Netflix struck nonexclusive deals with NBC to include every episode of SNL — including new ones after they aired — on their streaming services, but by the end of 2013, most of the seasons had been pulled from both. That same year, Yahoo also struck a one-year deal to stream a vast archive of SNL sketches, musical performances, and behind-the-scenes clips, then in 2016 — the same year Yahoo Screen shut down — the SNL episodes made the move to NBC’s comedy streaming platform, Seeso. Unfortunately, Seeso shut down the following year, so there’s been nowhere to watch the full archive of vintage SNL episodes since 2017. Hulu, however, still has about 20 seasons available, including the first five, as well as next-day episodes from current seasons, including the upcoming 45th season.

But even if huge portions of the SNL library have been streaming for a decade, there’s a case to be made that no video platform has yet fully exploited the potential of such a deep well of content. Netflix and Hulu offered every past episode of the show, but little else: no bonus content, no specialized playlists of themed sketches. While it produced or co-produced some solid original content during its brief life in 2016 and 2017 — such as Flowers and HarmonQuest — NBCUniversal-owned Seeso didn’t do much to bring added value to the SNL library. It did offer curated sketch playlists, but unfortunately for SNL fans, that only lasted less than two years, and no other bonus content was offered. That’s not a knock on Seeso’s management: NBCU didn’t give the service much of a budget, and it probably made sense to spend those limited dollars on fully original ideas.

So will Peacock treat SNL any differently than the show’s previous online homes? There’s reason to be cautiously optimistic that it might. As part of its official unveiling this week, the NBCU streaming service announced it had ordered Who Wrote That?, a docuseries profiling some of SNL’s “most important writers.” The new show is being produced by Monk creator Andy Breckman, who also wrote for SNL in the mid-’80s (he penned the famous Eddie Murphy SNL short “White Like Me”). The simple existence of Who Wrote That? will serve as a billboard to Peacock subscribers underscoring the fact that the service offers every SNL episode ever, while also encouraging them to check out specific sketches from writers profiled on the show. And while Peacock reps aren’t commenting on programming plans, it would seem a no-brainer to assemble, say, the best Conan O’Brien–penned sketches into a single playlist (or at least a playlist of episodes featuring O’Brien’s best, if for some legal or budgetary reason it’s not possible to serve up single sketches on Peacock).

Indeed, Peacock could differentiate itself from Hulu and Netflix by curating the hundreds of SNL episodes the way FX has done with its Simpsons World website and app. There ought to be a collection of all the Halloween and Christmas episodes in one place, for instance, rather than making users hunt each one of them down. Writers profiled for Who Wrote That? could choose their favorite sketches or episodes from other writers or actors, and if Peacock is feeling particularly bold, it could spend the money to have them film new introductions.

Ironically, the only serious digital curation of SNL’s library was offered ever-so-briefly in 2013 by Yahoo, which made a one-year deal to host the archives exclusively. It made it super easy for fans to search for specific sketches, and there were bonus features, such as behind-the-scenes and making-of clips, plus sketches cut from dress rehearsal. NBC duplicated some of this functionality and curation when it launched an SNL app in 2015, but the app has since been deactivated and the show’s content folded into the NBC app. Given that SNL is far more important to NBCUniversal and Peacock than it ever was to Yahoo (or Hulu, or Netflix), it would make sense for the new platform to make SNL something other than a bullet point on a press release.

Another way to lure subscribers and boost engagement would be for Peacock to spend the time and money needed to make sure past episodes streamed the way audience saw them when they first aired, i.e., with musical performances and short films included. The sad reality of the SNL library is that, even when every episode has been offered to stream, episodes from season six onward don’t include musical numbers. Some don’t even contain short films, like those produced by Lonely Island for SNL. The reason for this is money: Licensing music is time-consuming and expensive (often ridiculously expensive). But it can be done. Seasons one through five, which were released on DVD in the early aughts, have most (if not all) of the show’s groundbreaking early music performances. In the past, NBC and Lorne Michaels’s Broadway Video probably didn’t see an upside to investing the energy in getting music rights since they were simply leasing the show to an outside supplier. But Peacock is part of the NBCU family, and SNL is a potentially powerful tool to get subscribers invested in the service. Making SNL episodes whole again would seem to be well worth the investment.

https://www.vulture.com/2019/09/snl-...g-peacock.html
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TV/Critic's Notes (Cable)
“Our Boys” and the Economics of Empathy
The galvanic new series, set in Israel, emphasizes how easily dehumanizing rhetoric can sway vulnerable minds, a theme that should feel uncomfortably relevant to American viewers.
By Emily Nussbaum, New Yorker - Sep. 23, 2019 Issue

A few episodes into “Our Boys,” (Mondays at 10 p.m. on HBO) Simon, an agent for the Shabak, Israel’s internal security service, talks with two policemen about a case that they are struggling to solve: the death by burning of a sixteen-year-old Palestinian boy. He was abducted in the aftermath of another horrific crime, Hamas’s kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teen-agers—students whose disappearance united Israelis, first in the hope that they would be rescued, and then, once their bodies were discovered, in grief and rage.

Revenge seems to be the likely and logical motive, but the cops reject it. “Jews would never do this,” one of them says, making a dismissive gesture.

“You sure?” Simon asks.

“Yes,” the cop says.

“So is my mother,” Simon says, showing him a text message: “Thank God Jews didn’t do this, take care.”

“Just like my mother,” the second cop replies—and holds up a similar text.

“Let’s recruit them,” Simon says.

It’s the world’s bleakest Jewish-mother joke, a rare moment of humor in “Our Boys,” a galvanic new series on HBO, co-produced with the Israeli network Keshet. Ten episodes long, the show is a partly fictional deconstruction of a hate crime that took place in 2014 and led directly to war in Gaza. It’s a story of family grief and family dysfunction, and also a beautifully paced thriller about a police investigation. But it’s something more ambitious, too: a challenging work of art about the intractable problem of identity—the struggle of any individual to maintain core values, when the world demands nothing but solidarity based on shared victimhood. The show is unusually fearless about letting moral discomfort linger, and manages to be stirring without ever offering false hope, a rarity for even the best-made dramas.

“Our Boys” (which was created by three Israelis, two Jewish and one Arab: Hagai Levi, who made “In Treatment”; Joseph Cedar, of “Footnote”; and the director Tawfik Abu Wael) was bound to attract controversy. During the run-up to this month’s elections in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked it as anti-Semitic propaganda and urged Israelis to boycott it. He also, in his Trumpian style, took aim at Keshet—which has, not coincidentally, helped publicize corruption allegations against him.

Netanyahu’s description is nonsense. “Our Boys” is thoughtful and layered in its portrayal of both Jews and Palestinians. Like many diaspora Jews, I know only a little about Israeli culture, but even I recognize that the show has a deep sense of specificity, from the cramped Jerusalem kitchens to the gated back yards in the settlements and the streets lit by Ramadan lights as Muslim families walk beneath. The series explores tensions between big-city secular Ashkenazi Jews and ultra-Orthodox Sephardic settlers, laying out divisions within the families of the victims and the perpetrators. It also dramatizes both the broken and the functional aspects of the Israeli justice system—which, through skilled police work, nailed the killers of the Palestinian boy, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, in only a few days.

What the show doesn’t do is focus on the first crime, the murders of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah. Instead, it views that crisis from a mediated distance, often showing protests and rallies through screens—on phones and on TV—scanning crowds gathered at the Western Wall, praying for the boys’ return, as their mothers plead for their sons’ lives. This narrative choice has divided viewers, but it feels purposeful: despite the title, this is a story about one boy, Mohammed, and it is being told precisely because his death struck so many Israelis as beyond belief. At the funeral of the Jewish teen-agers, Netanyahu said, “A deep and wide moral abyss separates us from our enemies. They sanctify death, while we sanctify life. They sanctify cruelty, while we sanctify compassion.” Yet, in the first episode, we watch a young ultra-Orthodox man drift through a crowd of protesters, clutching his guitar, absorbing the furious chants of “Death to the Arabs!”

The series’ central emphasis is on how easily such dehumanizing rhetoric can sway vulnerable minds, a theme that should feel uncomfortably relevant to American viewers. Still, the show’s greatest strength may be the way that it contains its own critiques, letting contradictory impulses smack against one another without resolution. Even the most villainous character gets to make his case, discounting what he perceives as the weakling, watery mind-set of Ashkenazic liturgy: “On the one hand, on the second hand, the third hand, the fourth hand—sometimes you need to pick up a sword and slaughter.” By the finale, every concern that a critical viewer might raise has been addressed. Characters argue that Mohammed’s death is a “man bites dog” exception; they debate the line between mental illness and fanaticism, the immense power gulf between Israeli citizens and Palestinians suffering under the occupation, the fraught notion of collective punishment. At its heart, this is a show about the brutal economics of empathy in a time of war: who gets it, who deserves it, who is denied it.

* * * *

Jony Arbid and Ruba Blal Asfour are immensely poignant as Mohammed’s parents, whose sorrow and panic pervade the first few episodes, in which Mohammed disappears and then, once his body is found, is proclaimed the Dawn Martyr by fellow-Palestinians, who pressure his parents not to lend support to the Israeli trial. Shlomi Elkabetz is coolly fascinating as the soft-spoken Simon, a Moroccan-born agent in the Shabak’s Jewish Unit, which investigates crimes perpetrated by Jews, and who comes from the same Sephardic ultra-Orthodox background as the murder suspects. In later episodes, Noa Koler is a standout as the prickly, complex Dvora, a psychiatrist to the ultra-Orthodox community, who is faced with a set of ethical quandaries: What is her obligation to a mentally fragile patient under investigation? To her country? To the community she serves?

Simon and Dvora are both riveting figures, different kinds of detectives who use emotional intuition to arrive at different notions of justice. They are also composite characters, based on the writers’ interviews with multiple agents and psychiatrists. That’s a complicated ethical choice of its own. But it ends up being effective, freeing the series to feel authentic without being literally true, enabling it to enter into intimate, manipulative relationships—between agents and suspects, shrinks and patients, and, crucially, among participants in the locked universe of ultra-Orthodox settlers.

The show covers a huge amount of ground, tracing the crime, the police and political response, and, finally, the trial. Ironically, given Netanyahu’s attacks on the media, “Our Boys” is especially damning toward television news, which let rumors—that Mohammed was gay, among others—air unchecked. “This murder will be remembered as an honor killing forever. ‘Arabs killed a fag, that’s how it is,’ ” the man who planted the story says, smirking. “That’s how you form public opinion.”

In the fifth episode, Simon goes undercover among the prime suspects, the narcissistic owner of a Jerusalem eyeglass shop and his nephews, all of them related to a prominent ultra-Orthodox rabbi. The cops bug their houses, tap phones, and monitor alleyways from the sky. Simon—using his family knowledge of Mizrahi manners—embeds with them, disguised as a reserve-duty soldier. He gets invited to Shabbat dinner; he bonds with a local rabbi. He’s particularly drawn to Avishai, the sixteen-year-old boy we glimpsed in earlier episodes, weeping about the lost teen-agers, floating through the protests with his guitar.

A failed Yeshiva student who is paralyzed by O.C.D. and depression, Avishai is stooped and silent. “I know his type,” Simon assures the other agents, pegging the boy, initially, as “a leaf in the wind,” with “zero capacity for violence.” Even once the truth emerges about his role in Mohammed’s kidnapping, and his family becomes anathema in Israel, his community privately defends him and his cousin. Simon’s own brother argues, “They’re good kids who got dragged into this by their crazy uncle.”

Avishai, who is played with a disciplined alienation by Adam Gabay, becomes the most daring narrative gambit in “Our Boys.” It’s not hard to relate to the difficult decision-making of a brilliant detective, grieving parents, or a caring psychiatrist. It’s much harder to consider the inner life of a sixteen-year-old who kidnaps a boy because he is Muslim. In the seventh episode, we are forced to inhabit Avishai’s unhappy head, as he confesses, stuttering, to the acts that led to the crime. Theatrical editing blurs past and present: Simon stands at a gas pump, as we see the boys pour gasoline into soda bottles, in flashback. For a moment, I nearly jumped ship, unwilling to experience the queasy blend of sympathy and revulsion that the moment demands. But Avishai’s story is challenging in a meaningful way, requiring something richer than empathy—something more like comprehension. The definition of modern terrorism that Simon winds up articulating is the one that the show wants us to face: not “cells” or blueprints but “someone with mental issues, on the margins, somewhat racist, who reads ‘Death to Arabs’ or ‘Death to Jews’ on Facebook and goes out and kills someone.” The show’s title has a hidden meaning: teen-agers like Avishai are “our boys,” too.

In the end, “Our Boys” is simply not interested in liberal hand-wringing, or in what remains of the left in Israel; its interest is in confronting head on the taboo subject of what people say in private, when questions of security override all else. During Shabbat dinner, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi and his guest, a Russian mathematician, argue that there is, in fact, a Biblical justification for this kind of revenge—and that, strategically speaking, to defeat an irrational enemy you must be just as crazy. “That is why, mathematically, one burned Arab boy is very good,” the guest argues. “For Jews.”

A Shabak agent describes those words as “incitement.” “What incitement?” Simon says, in a weary tone. “My brother could have said the same thing. So could his kids and everyone I know.”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2...ics-of-empathy
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post #32066 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
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TV/Business Notes
Reality TV’s Story Producers Face Decreasing Wages, Tougher Working Conditions
As declining ratings crunch budgets, unscripted writing talents continue to put in some of the small screen's most punishing hours: "There's not enough Adderall to stay awake."
By Katy Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter

Natalie was scrambling for a job last spring when she received an offer to work on the latest season of E!'s Keeping Up With the Kardashians. A story producer with 13 years of experience, Natalie had been hired for another show that fell apart, so she was grateful to receive the offer — until production company Bunim/Murray called her with the rate: $1,100 a week.

"I audibly gasped," says Natalie, who depended on her usual rate of at least $2,500 a week to support her family. With an average of 1.9 million total viewers in its 16th season, Kardashians remains an influential show, and Natalie (a pseudonym to protect her employment prospects) was being offered little more than what a production assistant makes in a week. "It made me angry. Because I knew that someone's going to take that job," she says.

(A Bunim/Murray spokesperson says, "The company prides itself on its long-standing employee relationships and the fact that many have been with the company for years. Without knowing the details, it's impossible to address this specific situation.")

As reality TV has hit on hard times amid declining ratings and consolidation, the salaries of story producers — those who craft a show's narrative — are stagnating or declining. Offers and pay stubs examined by THR show story producers receiving $1,280 a week for a Facebook Watch show, $1,800 for a Discovery Channel job requiring seven straight days of work and $1,100 for an E! show (the names of the production companies that set these salaries are being withheld to protect identities). Though story producers are not unionized, the Motion Picture Editors Guild has on occasion included them in some contracts and set their minimum 40-hour rate at $1,858 a week. Numerous professionals say that a story producer with a few years' experience typically made $2,000 to $2,500 just a few years ago.

Reality TV has long been prized by networks and streamers because it's generally cheaper to produce than scripted entertainment — but the focus on lean budgets has hit story producers hard. Even while their salaries decline, story producers (titles also can be story editor, segment producer or writer, among others), continue to put in punishing hours, dozens told The Hollywood Reporter. As employees who typically review most of the show's vast amounts of footage, they are, in the words of one supervising producer, "in [the office] first and out last." Their responsibilities vary, but they can produce in the field, write scripts and spend long hours in an editing bay. And while companies don't tend to explicitly ask employees to work longer than a five-day week, story producers — salaried and not entitled to overtime — say tight deadlines set by networks mean they need to put in nights and weekends to hand in their work on time on every show.

"The sheer volume of footage that has to be watched and culled through to even find the story is daunting," says unscripted TV editor and editors guild board member Mary DeChambres.

"Good story producers are one of the most undervalued positions in reality," one source who has worked several jobs in the genre says. "And it's a shame because they're making the show."

* * * *

In 2019, advertisers aren't flocking to network reality heavyweights like The Bachelor and Survivor as they once did. Amid a boom in scripted TV and the fragmentation of audiences, ratings are falling for the genre. In the 2007-08 season, reality TV had six shows in the top 10 in total viewers, but since 2016-17, it's had none. Basic and cable networks are cutting costs and imposing strict new rules as a result: This year, Discovery Channel implemented a payment structure requiring independent production companies to front money for their own shows, leading production companies to complain about squeezed profit margins.

In a 2017 survey by PactUS (now known as NPACT), a trade group of independent unscripted producers, 57 percent of respondents reported that network program budgets had declined in the previous year, while 66 percent said producer profits and margins also had dipped. NPACT interim GM Michelle Van Kempen says the situation has gotten worse, citing deals that block production companies from receiving much, if any, backend. "Those things affect the ability to increase any line item on the budget, including salaries," she says.

While streamers and digital platforms have boosted unscripted production somewhat, lower-budget shows predominate on these platforms: Anecdotally, many reality TV employees say "digital" shows often offer the lowest budgets, with a few exceptions. "The streamers are tightening their belts from where they started," says Van Kempen.

Meanwhile, adds longtime story producer Troy Devolld, "The staffs have gotten smaller: They're trying to figure out ways to save money without being egregious." Hiring support staff — like assistant story producers and associate producers — to help with postproduction is less common than it used to be, according to several sources who spoke for this story. With fewer story employees overall on an average show, story producers say they're working harder for less: The majority reported working 12-hour days or more, plus weekends, on gigs. "I can remember sobbing on my way to work going to [the production company] Ugly Brother being so tired because I had worked 24 hours at that point and there was just not enough Adderall to stay awake," says a story producer who worked there in 2016.

With fewer colleagues on hand, several story producers say they are taking on other positions' tasks. One assistant story producer working for a production company on a recent A&E show and making $660 a week was asked to help restructure the two final episodes after other members of the story team were dismissed; she was given no additional pay or credit.

"They usually don't announce that you'll have more than one job," says a story producer with seven years' experience. "You'll just show up and say, 'Holy ****, this needs to get done, and I'm the only one here.' "

Meanwhile, benefits like a 401(k), health care and paid vacation and holidays are available only at the most established companies, including Bunim/Murray (The Real World) and 44 Blue (Wahlburgers), and after several months of employment. Given that the majority of story producers work at a company only for the duration of a show, most do not receive these benefits.

Why story produce at all, given these conditions? The role can be a stepping stone to higher-up positions in unscripted TV. Others argue reality provides a more accessible path to writing for TV than scripted shows. But with that comes job insecurity: There will always be someone else willing to take a lower rate or work harder, and complaining could get an employee fired. During postproduction on the 2017 Fox special Who Shot Biggie & Tupac?, several staffers confronted an executive producer about being required to work two consecutive weekends at the start of their gig. "If none of you wants to do it, you can walk out the door right now," one source recalls the EP responding. Afraid of being labeled "troublemakers," the employees backed down.

"It ends up being a group of people that find it very hard to stand up for themselves. Maybe it's a kind of Stockholm syndrome, where the lack of value that the format is given extends to the lack of value given to the workers inside the industry," says former story and executive producer Susan Baronoff. "It's a group that loves doing what they're doing, by and large, and feels it has no power and that they're expendable and that quality isn't really a value."

A spokesperson for Critical Content, the production company behind Biggie & Tupac?, said in a statement, “We agree: people should be fairly compensated for their work and conditions should be not just humane but enjoyable. That’s why we pay above-market rates plus provide ways for staffers to anonymously contact our most senior managers with any concerns. In this case, we received no complaints. This show, like so many, came with a tight deadline and a firm airdate. That’s a reality of production, and we’re grateful to the stellar team that worked incredibly hard to get this show done and make it great."

* * * *

Story producers have sought better work conditions, with little success. Lawsuits can briefly scare the industry into changing practices, as did dual 2005 class-action suits by story producers and others against Next Entertainment (The Bachelor) and Rocket Science Laboratories (Joe Millionaire) for unpaid overtime, missed meal penalties and falsified time cards (the suits were settled for a combined $4.11 million in 2009). "We all survived it," says Devolld, a plaintiff against Next Entertainment, "though certainly at some cost. I think it finally blew over because ultimately our peers mostly agreed that you can't blame people for trying to right something that's incorrect." However, labor experts say that companies have many tools to avoid lawsuits: They can go bankrupt, merge or form limited liability corporations.

Catherine Fisk, a UC Berkeley law professor and the author of Writing for Hire: Unions, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue, argues the best way to solve story producers' labor troubles is unionization. "What's made [scripted] writing a reasonably well-paying, stable job, at least for people who succeed in Hollywood, is the multi-employer negotiation," she says.

The WGA West has long sought to unionize story producers, whom the guild considers to be the writers of reality TV, but has never succeeded. (Since 2012, the WGA East, meanwhile, has contracts or is negotiating with Viceland, Peacock, Lion, Sharp, Optomen, Vox, Kirkstall and Leftfield to cover story producers.) After a years-long attempt to organize story producers in Los Angeles, the WGA West dropped its bid in negotiations during the 2007-08 writers strike, a move that left some feeling cold. "I wouldn't have been shocked if we were used as leverage," says former story producer J. Ryan Stradal, now a novelist. The WGA West did not respond to requests for comment.

In the past few years, meanwhile, the editors guild has quietly attempted to organize story producers whose responsibilities overlap with their members'. (The guild has been able to do this on shows including USA's NFL Football Fanatic in 2018.) Though story producers frequently use editing equipment like Avids on union shows, some of those shows hide that when a guild field representative pays a visit, multiple sources say. The editors guild does not comment on current organizing efforts.

However, corporations can also disrupt the unionization process by simply restructuring: Umbrella companies may shut down shows or subsidiaries that have unionized. According to WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson, who says his organization encountered "significant resistance" from employers while organizing unscripted production companies in New York, companies facing unionization tended to run intense anti-union campaigns, "tie[d] us up in litigation and took very hard-line stances at the bargaining table."

While the majority of story producers who spoke with THR support unionization, others are afraid it could reduce the number of jobs available. Some note that companies aren't required to use union crews, so unionization might not matter. Others point out that production companies have fired staff that tried to unionize: After a dozen America's Next Top Model writers struck with WGA West support in 2006, they were let go.

"For this to really make a big splash, [unionization] needs to be on a show that is one of the grandfather-type reality shows," unscripted editor and editors guild board member Molly Shock says. "It has to be a show where a network will go, 'We're not going to sink this entire franchise over what amounts to several tens of thousands of dollars.' "

As their quality of life worsens, some story editors are choosing to leave reality TV altogether. A few have attempted to jump to scripted television, where writer salaries are higher but unscripted work is less valued and understood. One Emmy-winning former reality editor who moved from unscripted to scripted work and spoke for this story notes that she took an assistant job before she could become a scripted editor. Others leave TV altogether: "What I found is that it's almost like half the people become realtors and the other half become therapists," says former story producer and Preachers' Daughters showrunner Emily Sinclair, now a real estate agent herself.

Otherwise, story producers are taking low rates, even if they feel that, over time and in aggregate, acquiescence will pull down salaries for everyone. "You don't know what to do because you've got to eat, pay your bills, buy health insurance because there's no union, and living in Los Angeles is not cheap," a story producer who has been in the industry 15 years says. "Somebody's making the money. It's not us."

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/ne...itions-1239626
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Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
Friday Ratings: ABC’s ’20/20′ Tops The Night’s Newsmag Wars, Beating NBC’s ‘Dateline’
By Bruce Haring, Deadline.com - Sep. 21, 2019

The news magazine upset alert was flashing red on Friday night, as ABC’s 20/20 topped NBC’s Dateline for the first time in weeks. The ABC segment on DNA solving a 30-year-old cold case murder topped Dateline’s interview with Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

The ABC series had an 0.5/3 among adults 18-49 and 3.67 million total audience for its two-hour slot, starting at 9 PM, an hour earlier than usual. Dateline drew an 0.4/3 and 2.54 million.

Elsewhere, The CW’s Masters of Illusion scored an 0.2/1 and 1.09 million audience, with variety show The Big Stage clocking in at 0.2/1 and 0.94 million. The CW capped its night with Peaking, a series on athletic performance, which came in at 0.1/1 and 0.66 audience in its first half-hour, then held at 0.1/1 and 0.59 in its second half.

The rest of the night featured reruns, although CBS’s Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods both pulled in total audiences topping 4 million.

https://deadline.com/2019/09/friday-...ne-1202740476/
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post #32068 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 01:33 PM
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Sorry about my FOX typo, but I completely agree. Since we subscribed to CBS All Access not too long ago, we’ve seen how much nicer the picture quality is and how much less we’d need our TiVo. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for the data cap to rear it’s ugly head, so we have to limit what we stream to some degree. No, we haven’t come close to our cap, but we know it’s definitely something we need to consider as we increase our streaming, especially if we were to cut the cable cord. Admittedly, we did play binge catch-up on Star Trek, etc., but I now see how easy it is to hit the cap. What I haven’t figured out is how much it would cost to cut the cord and still be able to stream everything we watch now. What I’d miss most though is the guide. What we need is a TiVo-like interface that would consolidate all our “watch lists” into a single guide and keep track of watched episodes. It would also be nice to be able to go directly to the show we want to watch than have to wade through each service’s interface.
While I've used it sparingly myself I believe that's what Apple's TV app attempts to do, try and consolidate all your viewing choices, providers, content, etc. into one easy to access location. As I noted, I haven't spent any real time with so I can't speak to how well it works.
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post #32069 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 01:52 PM
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Streaming is the future and it's here now. I always search for the event on the networks streaming apps before dealing with some crappy local feed. Just about every time, the streaming feed is markedly better than the local feed. Linear(cable/sat/OTA) delivery of TV content is a yesteryear format, move into the future and get better quality images now.
Totally agree. For the past few years, instead of watching the SF Giants on NBC Sports Bay Area, I streamed them via MLB.TV. The quality — especially the audio — is leaps and bounds ahead of what NBCSBA presents on their linear feed. The audio compression on that feed is enough to make your head split open.
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post #32070 of 32518 Old 09-21-2019, 03:39 PM
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Totally agree. For the past few years, instead of watching the SF Giants on NBC Sports Bay Area, I streamed them via MLB.TV. The quality — especially the audio — is leaps and bounds ahead of what NBCSBA presents on their linear feed. The audio compression on that feed is enough to make your head split open.
Yeah, I don't know what it is with Comcast and that channel but it's always been horrible. Which reminds me, I need to activate my DNS re-locator so I can watch the Dodger home feed(SportsNet LA/MLB.tv) instead of that garbage on the NBCSBA station for the last 3 games of the season next week.
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