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post #121 of 33955 Old 04-03-2015, 03:07 AM - Thread Starter
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WARNING: Spoilers for Seasons 4 and 5 of "Game of Thrones" in this review.

TV Review
'Game of Thrones'
Season 5 of HBO series doesn't dawdle in premiere
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Apr. 2, 2015

If you think you’ve been eager for the fifth season of “Game of Thrones," imagine how Tyrion Lannister has felt.

Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) has been nailed inside a crate since season 4 ended. So you'll forgive him if he needs a few minutes — and a few drinks, of course — to find his rhythm.

Happily, and not surprisingly, “GoT” itself hits the frozen ground at a full gallop, with multiple dramas blossoming North and South.

One of the big ones, naturally, we owe to Tyrion, for killing his father Tywin at the end of last season.

Tywin probably deserved to die, for being awful to Tyrion and not much better to a lot of other people. Still, any time a powerful noble like him is iced the survivors start jockeying for position, and “GoT” has been brilliant from the start at using one drama to jump-start the next.

In this case, Tywin’s immediate successor to pull the strings behind the Iron Throne will be his daughter Cersei (Lena Headey), who has always coveted the position. In fact, this season’s opening episode includes a flashback in which the young Cersei asks a witch about the future, in which Cersei clearly is already heavily invested.

As a grownup she has the amorality and indifference essential to rule behind her youngest son as the figurehead king in the Westeros world, though the start of the new season makes it clear that the new lineup at the top of the ruling class may embolden her enemies as well.

We expect no less and we get no less.

Meanwhile, up north, Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) is also thinking about royal power, seeing no reason he shouldn't rule the Seven Kingdoms now that the Night’s Watch has been reduced to a flicker and he has captured Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds), leader of the rogue Wildlings.

Stannis has this idea of recruiting the Wildlings for his own army, in return for their freedom, and he sends Jon Snow (Kit Harington) to work something out. Exactly why Jon still has his head on his shoulders at this point isn’t clear, but there he is anyway.

The Mance drama plays out at considerable length, with a long pause for philosophizing on the nature of trust, faith and freedom.

This gives the show a nice stretch of breathing space among the scenes of decadence, violence, dragons and Machiavellian maneuvering.

Meanwhile far away in the desert city of Meereen, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) who has installed herself as queen of a realm once dominated by slavers, is wrestling with the fallout from freeing the slaves and the repercussions of chaining up her dragons in cave.

Many shows are starting to run out of gas by Season 5. “Game of Thrones,” partly because it’s as cold-blooded as its characters in treating personnel turnover as the natural order, seems to have little trouble keeping its pedal to the metal.

'Game of Thrones'
Network/Air Date: Sunday Apri. 12 at 9 p.m., HBO
Rating: ★★★★ (out of five)


http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain...icle-1.2171494
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post #122 of 33955 Old 04-03-2015, 03:11 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Notes
‘Full House’ Spinoff Nearing Series Order at Netflix
By Jethro Nededog, TheWrap.com - Apr. 2, 2015

A “Full House” spinoff is in consideration for a 13-episode series order at Netflix, individuals with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap Thursday.

Titled “Fuller House,” the multi-camera project would include Candace Cameron Bure reprising the role of D.J. 20 years after the original ABC series ended in 1995.

Andrea Barber would also return to the role of D.J.’s best friend and Tanner Family annoyance, Kimmy, with TV uncles John Stamos as Jesse, Dave Coulier as Joey and Bob Saget as father Danny returning as guest stars.

“Full House” creator Jeff Franklin returns to executive produce with original EPs Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett. Stamos would also serve as an EP.

“Full House,” which followed a single dad (Saget), his three daughters (Bure, Jodie Sweetin and twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in a shared role) and the two bachelors (Stamos, Coulier) who were helping to raise them, ran for eight seasons.

TVLine first reported the possible reunion series deal at Netflix.

http://www.thewrap.com/full-house-sp...ed-at-netflix/

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TV Notes
Viacom’s CMT Will Launch Nightly Talk Show, Billy Ray Cyrus Comedy
By Brian Steinberg, Variety.com - Apr. 2, 2015

CMT will launch a five-nights-a-week talk show and debut a scripted comedy starring Billy Ray Cyrus, the first time the Viacom-owned network has tried either format, as part of an ambitious effort to grow its audience.

“It’s the biggest, broadest attack we’ve ever mounted,” said Jayson Dinsmore, executive vice president of development for CMT, in an interview. “If feels like we have a lot of avenues with which we can hopefully cume a much bigger audience over time.”

The new programming comes as CMT met with mixed performance in 2014. The network was able to gain in the amount it charged distributors to run its programming, moving to 12 cents per subscriber per month compared with 11 cents in 2013, according to market-research firm SNL Kagan. Ad revenue at CMT fell 3.1% to about $114.5 million in 2014, according to Kagan, compared with around $118.2 million in the previous year. Executives are hoping to make further strides with technology advertisers and automotive marketers.

The talk show, “The Josh Wolf Show,” will air nightly from Wednesday to Saturday starting June 11, and focus on comedy and sketches involving country-music stars and Hollywood celebrities. Wolf, who was a regular on Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea Lately” on E!, is expected to do much more than interview guest about their latest project, Dinsmore said. “We are big fans of what Jimmy Fallon has done in latenight. He has really turned that show into an opportunity to push things out virally,” said Dinsmore. Wolf’s show, he added, “is much more of an interactive experience.”

Handler is an executive producer on “The Josh Wolf Show,” as are Brad Wollack and Tom Brunells of Free 90 Media.

“Still the King” will feature Cyrus as “Burning Vernon” Brown, a washed up one-hit wonder who is kicked out of country music, only to emerge 20 years later as the second best Elvis impersonator in Laughlin, Nevada. After crashing into an old country church outside of Nashville during a drunken bender, he is sentenced to return and perform community service. Along the way, he pretends to be the congregation’s new minister and discovers he has a 15-year-old daughter he’s never met.

The show is “truly the brainchild of Billy Ray Cyrus,” said Brian Philips, CMT’s president, in an interview. “He hits multiple generations, and the guy can act. We thought if we were going to get into this world, let’s do it with someone who has a proven track record and someone we’ve known for a very long time.” The series is produced by Hideout Pictures with Billy Ray Cyrus serving as executive producer and writer. Shannon Houchins, Potsy Ponciroli and Travis Nicholson also executive produce. Julia Silverton and Jayson Dinsmore exec produce for CMT.

“I Love Kellie Pickler” will launch in September and follow the star and her marriage to Kyle Jacobs, who is her complete opposite. The program is produced by Ryan Seacrest with executive producers Ryan Seacrest, Eugene Young, Rabih Gholam, Kellie Pickler and Kyle Jacobs. Jayson Dinsmore and Morgan Selzer executive produce for CMT.

CMT will launch the documentary series “Gainesville,” which follows a tight-knit group of friends in small town Florida as they attempt to transition into adulthood. “Gainesville” is produced by Wheels Off Entertainment, a division of Brick City TV, with Yoav Attias, Nicholas Burnett, Daniel Levin and Alan Deutsch as executive producers. Jayson Dinsmore, Lewis Bogach, and John Miller-Monzon executive produce for CMT. The network will also debut “The Ed Bassmaster Show,” featuring the YouTube celebrity known for pranks and skits in his first TV show. The program is executive produced by Tony Di Santo and Liz Gateley through DiGa Vision. Additional executive producers include Adam Dolgins and Tom Gianis. Matt Trierweiler exec produces for CMT.

CMT is set in 2016 to launch a limited series, “American Speed: The True Story of NASCAR,” billed as a “high-octane account” of the true story behind the racing institution. It will be narrated by Dale Earnhardt Jr. The series is executive produced by Stephen David of Stephen David Entertainment and Zane Stoddard for NASCAR. Jayson Dinsmore, Lewis Bogach and John Miller-Monzon executive produce for CMT.

CMT will launch new seasons of “Party Down South,” “Party Down South 2,” and “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge”; air music events such as “CMT Music Awards,” “CMT Artists of the Year,” and “CMT Championship Kickoff Party”; and run the drama “Friday Night Lights,” starring Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, starting in May.

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/upfr...dy-1201465178/
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post #124 of 33955 Old 04-03-2015, 03:25 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Notes/Q&A
Comedian Steve Coogan Is Happyish
By Michael Hainey, Wall Street Journey - Apr. 1, 2015

It's a bit funny that Steve Coogan—revered in the U.K. as a comedian capable of cringe-inducing moments of hilarity, not unlike Larry David—is best known outside his country not for his humor, but for portraying a cynical-yet-ultimately-redeemed journalist who helps that nice, old Irish woman Philomena (Dame Judi Dench) discover the truth about the baby taken from her by nuns when she was a young mother. Coogan has been a cultural icon in England for almost three decades, crashing onto the London comedy circuit with his spot-on impressions of celebrities and politicians before creating his most popular character, Alan Partridge. Nearly 15 years before Stephen Colbert saw an opportunity to wage blistering cultural criticism via a fictitious talk-show alter ego, Coogan conceived of Partridge, a dimwitted TV and radio host who alienates just about everyone while taking the comedy of embarrassment to ever-lower depths.

Yet for all his renown in the U.K., the 49-year-old Coogan has yet to find international stardom. He came close with two road-trip films he conceived of and starred in with fellow comedian Rob Brydon, The Trip, in which the pair, playing versions of themselves, ate their way through high-end restaurants across the British and Italian countrysides, all the while one-upping each other with their wicked celebrity impressions. (A clip of the two facing off as Michael Caine became a beloved Internet meme.) Directed by Michael Winterbottom, who also worked with Coogan on 24 Hour Party People, the two films gave Coogan’s fan base hope that he might one day find wider acclaim outside England.

That hope may now finally be realized with what is sure to be one of the most discussed and dissected television launches of the year, Happyish. Created and written by novelist and essayist Shalom Auslander, and originally starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, the show might best be described as Louis CK meets Mad Men meets Albert Camus (who, in fact, is credited with a “starring” role by Auslander in the pilot episode). A genuinely dark comedy, Happyish sends up our anxious, youth-obsessed, perpetually “disrupted” decade as it unspools the story of Thomas Payne (Coogan), a married 44-year-old executive who finds his life upended when his advertising firm is taken over by two twentysomething brothers from Sweden.

Michael Hainey: Philip Seymour Hoffman originally had your role in Happyish. They even filmed the pilot with him. Is it strange to follow in Hoffman’s footsteps?
Steve Coogan:
Well, that’s definitely something that I’m acutely aware of. There were some people who said, “Ooh, do you really want to do that?” There’s a sort of caution about stepping into such very big shoes. Some people might say, “Philip Seymour Hoffman would have been better in this.” That’s only to be expected. But when people caution me about something, it sort of makes me want to do it. Beyond that, it’s the writing. I read it and I went, This is very good; I would love to do this. And Shalom talked to me, he rewrote it and geared it towards me, tailored it more to me. So I was happy to take on the responsibility. I felt like I’ve done enough in my career to put me in a position where I felt comfortable picking up that baton.

MH: In Happyish, your character really gets a going-over. There’s some real darkness there. Where did you find your insight for the role?
SC:
Well, this project for me is slightly unusual in that I’m just the actor and I’ve not written it. That’s quite nice; it’s easier. I’m so used to being at the helm; this is kind of like a vacation for me. All I have to do is concentrate on the character and capture the voice. It’s Shalom’s voice. His worldview is, I’d say, slightly bleak. [Laughs] I’m just trying to find the vulnerability in there.

MH: I love the office scenes, which I think many people will relate to—a work world in which our lives are perpetually disrupted.
SC:
Midlife crisis is kind of a perennial subject matter. It’s not original, but Shalom is coming at it from an interesting angle. There’s uncertainty all around because of the pace of change. Forty years ago there was a set of rules, and if you abided by them you would have a comfortable, fulfilling life. People would find a job with a company, work for 35 or 40 years and retire. There was a system, and it’s not there now, even for the so-called fortunate ones. Forty years ago, we also had the simplicity of the Cold War; it was black-and-white. You could orientate yourself. That’s partly what Shalom is writing about. Also, growing up, there was a notion that by the end of the millennium we would have sorted everything out; we’d be living in some sort of semi-serene equilibrium.

MH: We’d have flying cars and jet packs.
SC:
Yeah, flying cars. But the world we live in now is so ambiguous. And that’s disorienting and unsettling. It’s almost a constant state of flux.

MH: There’s a scene, after the Swedes take over, where your character’s boss says that tweeting is now more important than thinking. It’s the confrontation of middle-aged men with youth culture. There’s a simmering anger underneath.
SC:
Advertising is a great vehicle in which to set this show because it’s essentially an industry in which creative people aren’t untroubled by the moral paradox of using their creativity to sell things that people don’t need. There’s a future episode where they’re trying to convince people that the water supply, the water from the faucet, is bad for your health, to try to make people buy more bottled water. It’s scaremongering—it’s a slightly amoral universe he lives in. And it’s almost like, if you sell out, but you don’t get the security, then you’re sort of damned both ways.

MH: Right, if you’ve made a deal with the devil, then you should at least…
SC:
Reap whatever that devilish deal is supposed to give.

MH: When you do off-color comedy, do you still worry what your mother’s going to think?
SC:
Absolutely, I do. Yeah, totally. Because I respect my parents. They’re quite Catholic, and I’m not. I did this film about Paul Raymond, the pornographer in London, where I did loads of sex scenes. [Laughs] Also, when I do my live stage show, I use language that I wouldn’t use in front of my parents.

MH: Who has inspired you in your comedy?
SC:
Well, Armando [Iannucci, who helped Coogan create Alan Partridge] early on opened my eyes to a different approach to comedy that was to me exciting and avant-garde and very redolent of Monty Python. But in terms of people who influenced me—I think Stewart Lee, who is a British comedian; at the moment he’s my favorite British comic.

MH: Did you steal something from him?
SC:
A sense of having some sort of ethic about your work. I admire the purity of what he does. I haven’t always been so pure in what I do, in any sense. Monty Python’s comedy was like, Oh, there’s a different way of looking at things—poking fun at things that should ostensibly be respected. And then punk music came on, and it was so exciting. Those things influenced me. I used to listen to comedy on vinyl. Bob Newhart and Shelley Berman and The Goons. My dad introduced me to Jacques Tati movies.

MH: Is there a joke you wish you had written?
SC:
I remember Fawlty Towers. That is the pinnacle of my childhood television experience, because it was event TV. The whole family sat around to watch it, and afterwards we would dissect it. We’d turn the TV off, go into the kitchen and make a cup of tea and try and relive it immediately, so it stuck in our brains. I remember being aware that my parents and I might have different tastes, but we’re all laughing at the same thing. Different generations all laughing at the same thing. And I remember thinking, Wow, that would be amazing—what an amazing thing to do, to make people laugh, make a show on TV that’s smart and funny and rude and offensive and anarchic. I couldn’t think of anything greater. And I more or less achieved it with Alan Partridge. Comedy is very easy to grasp as a child, because if it’s good, we make this noise. If it’s not good, you don’t make the noise. That’s really simple.

MH: Do you feel there’s too much meanness in comedy today?
SC:
I do, yes. And I’ve been part of that meanness. Even my Alan Partridge character, early on, was very much a case of laughing at a fool. It was funny, but it was pulling the legs off an insect and laughing. As time’s gone on, I like the fact that with the best comedy, you laugh at someone, but the next moment you laugh with them. Because the people you love, family members or whatever, that’s the kind of complex relationship we have with them. We laugh at them because they say stupid things; we laugh at them because they say smart things.

MH: It’s the beauty of Chaplin’s humor—there’s a moment with his character that we, the audience, are not supposed to see, and it breaks your heart.
SC:
The acerbic, cynical comedy of cruelty is funny, but it’s not nourishing. I got bored.

MH: If you look at yourself now—a man nearing 50—what would you have said to the young Steve Coogan?
SC:
It’s a very good question. Well, I would have… [long pause] aimed higher. I don’t just mean that in a career sense, I mean be better, strive to be better in all things, and work harder, because you’ll find it rewarding. I’d say, Be comfortable with who you are as well, just listen to yourself more. I suppose when I was younger, I wanted to get on and have a career and be successful. And try to be all things to all men. I don’t do that anymore. Now I want to do things I believe in, and have a sort of honesty, in work and in life. When I was younger, I didn’t really want to say anything contentious, because I thought it might alienate people who liked my work. And then I had a lawsuit against News International—

MH: You mean with the phone-hacking stuff?
SC:
When I did that, I did it in the knowledge that it would annoy some people, which it did. But I got comfortable with not pleasing all the people all the time. It just felt cowardly not to get involved somehow. When the whole hacking scandal broke, I got fed up with shouting at the TV, as one does from time to time, because I didn’t see a proper debate going on. At around the same time, I wanted to do more interesting dramatic work. I mean, I was pleased with the work I had done in comedy, but it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted something with more substance. That was around the time I found the story that became Philomena. [News International is a subsidiary of News Corporation, which also owns The Wall Street Journal. Coogan’s case against News International was settled in 2012.]

MH: In addition to being a producer on Philomena, you co-wrote the screenplay. And it was a curveball role for you.
SC:
I wanted to create an acerbic, acidic comedy around art that is very redemptive. These days, the last thing people want to talk about is love. I really wanted to do something that was smart, but tender, because that’s the one thing that I hadn’t seen a lot of. I saw a lot of smart, cool, edgy stuff, but I didn’t see stuff that had heart. People in creative circles are scared of talking about, well, love, because they think it makes them weak.

MH: I’ve always subscribed to the belief that your weakness is your strength, and if you’re vulnerable, you’re strong.
SC:
Finding strength in vulnerability—that paradox is, to me, about everything I do.

MH: There’s a line in Happyish where a colleague says to your character, “You have heart, that’s why you have no power.”
SC:
I like that line, because it applies to Thom, but it’s also the eternal struggle. I think you have to believe somehow that there is a way through—and challenge the idea that the only way to fight is dirty and to diminish those who tried to have some sort of nobility as being idiots, because it legitimizes appalling behavior.

MH: The characters in the show also speak about reaching one’s “joy ceiling”—the notion that there’s a limit to how happy we can be, and we need to know when we’ve reached it so we can stop striving and just accept life. Be happy. Because in the striving is madness.
SC:
That’s Shalom’s voice—which I think of as a sort of constant state of measured malcontentedness. A manageable state of malcontentedness, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Most great artists are probably defined by that. I don’t know of any great works of literature or art that were done by people who were very, very happy. [Laughs] I prefer the idea that life is sometimes happy and sometimes sad. What I find the most interesting is when comedy is laced in a drama, so sometimes there are funny moments that occur naturally, like life. Life isn’t always funny. But sometimes it is.

MH: Do you ever feel, as an actor who deals with comedy, that you want to say to people watching, “You’re not getting the joke”?
SC:
Yes. You said before—to show vulnerability actually makes you stronger. That’s something you find through comedy. If you make people laugh by being a fool or being the uncoolest person in the room, then suddenly you’re the coolest person in the room! You see public figures who try to not show any weakness or admit that they’ve ever made a mistake. So when somebody does say something true, it shows great humanity, it shows strength.

MH: Is there anything you sacrificed to be in your position that you regret?
SC:
In my quest for authenticity and sincerity, I can be a bit annoying. In my quest to try to bring some love into things, I can be a bit acerbic and nasty. I love that quote that Aldous Huxley said at the end of his life: Through all his writing and everything, all he’d learned at the end of his life was that people should just be a bit nicer to each other. I love the simplicity of that. And I do well to remember it. Sometimes I need to just be nice to people. I have been quite driven over the years. But right now I’m happy, happier, ish, than I’ve been before. I’m fortunate in that I can make choices, and I think I try to make the right ones. And I don’t do anything I don’t believe in. And that’s a real luxury.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/comedian...897564?tesla=y
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TV Notes
House of Cards Renewed for Season 4
By Michael Ausiello, TVLine.com - Apr. 2, 2015

Netflix has elected Frank Underwood to another term.

The streaming giant on Thursday renewed House of Cards for a fourth season.

No word on a premiere date but if history is any indication we’re probably looking at Spring 2016. Production begins this summer.

http://tvline.com/2015/04/02/house-o...newal-netflix/
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TV Notes
Terry Crews will host 2015 TV Land Awards with tributes to Joan Rivers, Ally McBeal
By Will Robinson, EW.com - Apr. 2, 2015

TV stars of the past and present will collide at the 2015 TV Land Awards. The network announced Thursday that Brooklyn Nine-Nine comedian and all-around cool guy Terry Crews will host the nostalgia-filled affair

The list of honorees is almost as large and impressive as Crews’ muscles: The late Joan Rivers will be the subject of a special tribute. The recently concluded Parenthood will receive the Fan Favorite Award; The Wonder Years nabs the Impact Award; Ally McBeal receives the Groundbreaking Award; Betty White is this year’s recipient of the Legend Award; and power siblings Donny and Marie Osmond are honored with the Pop Culture Award.

A large amount of the original casts of the honored shows will be on hand, including McBeal’s titular star Calista Flockhart in her first public appearance since husband Harrison Ford’s airplane crash.

The show will tape April 11 in Beverly Hills and will air April 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on TV Land with simulcasts on Nickelodeon and NickMom.

http://www.ew.com/article/2015/04/02...al-joan-rivers

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TV Notes
Bob Odenkirk-David Cross Sketch Comedy Lands Netflix Series Order
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Apr. 2, 2015

Netflix is continuing to expand its comedy brand.

The streaming service has ordered sketch comedy With Bob and David, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

The sketch series — which will consist of four half-hour episodes in addition to an hourlong making-of special — will see Bob Odenkirk and David Cross playing dishonorably discharged Navy SEALs playing all-new characters.

The series marks the latest collaboration between Odenkirk and Cross, who first teamed on The Ben Stiller Show and subsequently on HBO sketch series Mr. Show With Bob and David. Since the four-year run of the HBO series, the duo have remained in touch and teamed for a six-city tour in 2013.

Odenkirk and Cross will write and star as well as exec produce alongside Marc Provissiero and Naomi Odenkirk of Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment, Tim Sarkes of Brillstein Entertainment, Dave Kneebone, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim.

Odenkirk will film the comedy during his hiatus from AMC's Better Call Saul, which has already been renewed for a second season.

With Bob and David joins a roster of comedy series at Netflix including the upcoming Grace and Frankie, Love, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Flaked and the revival of Wet Hot American Summer. With Bob and David hails from Netflix and Abso Lutely Productions.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/liv...-sketch-786046
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TV Review
‘The Lizzie Borden Chronicles,’ skip it
Attempts at ghoulish humor in this Lifetime miniseries fall flat
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Apr. 2, 2015

Christina Ricci became famous almost 25 years ago by playing the proto-goth girl Wednesday in the Addams Family movies. Although the movies’ ghoulish sense of humor wasn’t to everyone’s taste, the writer and director knew how to pull it off.

Ricci’s new miniseries “The Lizzie Borden Chronicles” is definitely creepy and kooky, but it isn’t funny.

If we’re misreading the show’s intentions and we should be treating it as a drama, we should point out that it isn’t mysterious and spooky either. Although Ricci’s occasional mischievous smirks are amusing, they’re not enough.

Premiering on Lifetime this Sunday, April 5, at 10 p.m., the series has Ricci repeating her title role from the 2014 Lifetime movie “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax,” based on the notorious case of the spinster from Fall River, Mass., who was accused and then acquitted of hacking her father and stepmother to death in 1892.

As the series begins, the trial has been over for four months, and Lizzie is trying to return to normal life with her sister, Emma (Clea DuVall). Although the women should inherit their father’s wealth, his business partner, William Almy (John Heard), claims that he’s owed more than the entire estate is worth.

The sisters’ illegitimate half-brother, William (Andrew Howard), who was disowned, is also claiming part of the inheritance. Meanwhile, a Pinkerton detective, Charlie Siringo (Cole Hauser), has comes to town and is reinvestigating the double murder.

Although historians disagree on who committed the crime, the series makes it clear through flashbacks that Lizzie did it. But she has to maintain the appearance of respectability.

That necessity should set up some twisty drama or some dark farce, but the scripts fail on both counts. Evidently a sociopath, Lizzie is hard to read as a character, so it’s hard to care what happens to her.

Perhaps because they remind us of Wednesday Addams, those mischievous smirks strike a chord, but the execution of the various acts of violence lacks the diabolical glee we would expect in a black comedy.

In the second episode, a minor character suffers a grim fate that we’re apparently supposed to experience as an ironic comeuppance, but she is actually an innocent bystander. The moment doesn’t work dramatically either.

The supporting characters are unpromising. Emma simply looks grim and acts beaten down. She may have a shameful secret, but the threat of exposure comes and goes quickly.

Charlie Siringo’s motivation– whether justice or money–remains unclear at the end of the second episode. He is involved in an uneventful flirtation with the married proprietress of his hotel.

One moment raises the question of Lizzie’s sexual orientation, but no one is going to get too excited about a basic-cable show featuring lesbianism at this late date.

Trying to imagine where the miniseries is headed, one draws a blank. After just two of the eight episodes, the body count is already absurdly high. Lizzie probably should have stopped at 81 whacks.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/the...icles-skip-it/

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TV Sports
Source: ESPN will not renew contract of college hoops analyst Bob Knight
By Richard Deitsch, Sports Illustrated - Apr. 2, 2015

When Bob Knight took a job with ESPN as a college basketball analyst in 2008, the career shift reminded one of the Groucho Marx line about not wanting to belong to any club that would have him as a member. The Hall of Fame basketball coach joined the same group of people he once described as "one or two steps above prostitution." He became one of the "damn people from television" he famously critiqued.

On Thursday night, his run as one of the "damn people from television"—at least as far as being a damn person from ESPN—is officially over. SI.com has learned ESPN will not renew its contract with Knight. His last broadcast for the network will be Thursday night's NIT's championship between Stanford and Miami, which tips at 9 p.m. ET.

When contacted by SI.com on Thursday afternoon, ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys declined comment.

Knight, 74, was hired by ESPN in February 2008 shortly after he announced his resignation from Texas Tech. During his time with ESPN, he worked in a number of capacities, including as an on-site analyst (notably with Brent Musburger on Big 12 broadcasts) as well as appearing on select shows and platforms, including ESPN's Selection Sunday Specials, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio and ESPNEWS. He was an interesting and distinctive voice early on, but he had some hiccups as a broadcaster, including in 2012 when he remarkably declined to utter the word "Kentucky" on air, opting instead for that "team from the SEC." He took on fewer games in the past couple of years—he called American Athletic Conference games this year with Mike Patrick and Len Elmore—but still had a propensity to tell people to get off his lawn.

Prior to Knight's hire by the Bristol-based network, ESPN enjoyed favored nation status with him. Longtime supporters such as Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps shouted his virtues to audiences for years. Of course, part of Knight's ESPN legacy also included walking off the set of ESPN's Cold Pizza when asked about the resignation of his successor at Indiana University, Mike Davis, verbally smacking ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap during a 2000 interview, and later calling Schaap a "chicken----little ----sucker" in Jim Miller's best-selling book on ESPN, These Guys Have All The Fun.

"He's always been the type of person that if you were flipping through the channels and you saw him in a long-form interview or a press conference or during one of his games, you stopped and watched it," ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson told Sports Illustrated upon hiring Knight. "There are very few people like that. It was a fairly easy decision. Our goal is to inform and entertain sports fans, and when you look at somebody of the stature of Bob Knight, he is one of the most compelling sports figures of the last half century. I realize a lot of people are going to say he is a very polarizing figure. But again, I go back and look at the body of work, the intellect, the success, the graduation rates, the programs he has run. When you put everything together, it is an easy decision to hire Bob Knight for your college basketball coverage."

Could Knight catch on with another sports network? Nothing is impossible when it comes to sports television executives handing out cash. He's one of the major names in the history of the sport, and the inventory of live games out there is plentiful. But he also comes with considerable baggage.

http://www.si.com/college-basketball...t-renewed-espn
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TV Review
"Mad Men" starts on a somber note
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's 'Tuned In' Column - Apr. 3, 2015

AMC’s “Mad Men” begins the seven-episode march toward its series finale Sunday at 10 p.m. with an episode that hews closely to series creator Matthew Weiner’s notion that although people may change incrementally, often who they are is baked-in and largely immutable.

Sunday’s season premiere, “Severance,” shows multiple characters dally with the notion of making changes in their lives, only to slide back into familiar, comfortable roles. For several characters it involves potential changes in their romantic relationships; for others it’s about possible career changes.

For Don Draper (Jon Hamm), there’s evidence that he has made some progress since the show began. His secrecy about his earlier life as Dick Whitman is gone and he’s telling stories from that earlier era while in a social situation. Roger even remarks, “He loves to tell stories about how poor he was.” That’s a marked shift from when “Mad Men” began and Don was full of secrets.

The show revisits a character from Don’s past and gives Don reason to ponder his own mortality in a way not seen before. And while that sounds heavy — and, indeed, “Mad Men” can be deliberately paced and contemplative — the episode also makes space for some lighter moments.

Aspiring writer Ken (Carnegie Mellon University grad Aaron Staton) talks with Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) about his future and Ken says he might write a novel about the ad business.

“Nah, this world is boring,” Pete says, which should amuse devoted “Mad Men” viewers. “You should write an adventure story.”

The focus in Sunday’s episode is squarely on the show’s core cast with everyone back in New York after assorted tangents that took them to Detroit and California. Some time has passed — as usual, Mr. Weiner asked critics not to reveal what year the show is now in. The only hint I noticed was a news broadcast with President Richard Nixon.

Poor Joan (Christina Hendricks) finds herself on the receiving end of stinging sexist remarks in the workplace and winds up arguing with Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) about gender issues.

It’s a dark, sometimes brooding hour, but that’s pretty typical for “Mad Men,” which emphasizes its characters and their development (or lack thereof) over plot. With its emphasis on mortality, Sunday’s episode is a fitting start to the “Mad Men” swan song.

Ending ‘Mad Men’

For series star Jon Hamm, the end brings mixed feelings.

“There's no version of this ending that is not super painful for me,” he said in January, citing the cast and Mr. Weiner as aspects of the experience he’ll miss most. “They've been the single constant in my creative life for the last decade. So that's kind of tough. And, yeah, I will be happy when the shows air and I won't have to fake like I don't know how it ends or make up some ridiculous story about robots or zombies or something. But I will never be able to have this again, and that's a drag.”

Mr. Weiner said this season differed from the past for the writers, including Shadyside native Tom Smuts, because they were driving toward the finale.

“The shows became so much more concentrated on these [main] characters because there wasn't a lot of room for digression and I didn't want to leave anything on the floor,”he said. “The writers said, ‘We're going to have to really, really in a first-season way focus on our main people.’ The other thing that happened, and I think it was not intentional, ... each one of [these last seven episodes] feels like the finale of the show.”

Keep or cancel?

It’s that time of year when the broadcast networks film pilots for fall dramas that could replace existing series. Have your say on what should be kept or canceled by voting today in the Post-Gazette’s annual Keep or Cancel poll at http://old.post-gazette.com/tv/poll/default.asp.

Fox renewed “New Girl” for a fifth season.

On the cable front, late last week History renewed “Vikings” for a fourth season. FX renewed “The Americans” for a fourth season. “House of Lies” on Showtime received a fifth season order.

HBO canceled gay-themed comedy-drama “Looking” after two seasons but will wrap up the story with a special.

And Netflix renewed streaming series “Bloodline” for a second season.

Behind the scenes

SundanceTV will broadcast panel discussions with the cast and producers of several prime-time series on “Behind the Story With the Paley Center” (8 p.m. Tuesday). The six episodes will be stitched together from footage shot during the Beverly Hills Paley Center for Media’s 2013 and 2014 Paleyfests devoted to “Parks and Recreation” (Tuesday), “The Mindy Project” (April 14), “Mad Men” (May 12), “The Big Bang Theory” (May 19), “Orange Is the New Black” (June 16) and “Masters of Sex” (June 23).

‘Outsiders’ casting call

Casting directors for WGN America’s “Outsiders,” which will film locally from late April through September, will hold a casting call 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 11 and 12 for paid background extras to play locals of an Appalachian town, families in the mountains (extras with long hair and facial hair needed), bar patrons, wedding guests, executive types and more. The production is seeking children ages 3-12, teens, adults and senior citizens.

Casting for those 18 and older will be held April 11; casting open to all, including children and teens, on April 12.

The casting will be held at 31st Street Studios, Stage 2, 77 31st St. in the Strip. Details at www.movieextraspittsburgh.com.

Channel surfing

The “Live From Lincoln Center” episode featuring Pittsburgh native Billy Porter airs at 9 tonight on WQED-TV. I had the time wrong in a story earlier this week. … CBS’s “Stalker” will return to the schedule, airing at 9 p.m. Monday beginning May 4. … Canadian family drama import “Heartland” begins its eighth season at 9 p.m. Wednesday on cable’s UP. … HBO’s much-discussed documentary series “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” is now available for purchase via online streaming at iTunes and Google Play.. … Pittsburgh native Michael Keaton hosts NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” this weekend with musical guest Carly Rae Jepsen; Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) hosts April 11 with Mumford & Sons. … “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan hosts a night of his TV favorites Sunday, 6-10 p.m., on ME-TV (WPXI’s Channel 11.2), including episodes of “The Twilight Zone,” “The Honeymooners,” “Taxi” and “Columbo.” … HBO and Vice media inked a new deal to renew HBO newsmagazine “Vice” through 2018 and launch a daily newscast. … Showtime will sneak preview its new comedy “Happyish” Sunday following the 9 p.m. “Shameless” season finale (“Happyish” premieres at 9:30 p.m. April 26). … Fans of cheesetastic TV, mark your calendars: Syfy will debut “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!” at 9 p.m. July 22. … National Geographic Channel’s first late-night talk show, “Startalk Hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson,” will debut at 11 p.m. April 20. … Ryan Hurst, who played Opie on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” will be one of the guests at Pittsburgh’s Horror Realm and Pop Expo July 24-26 at the Crown Plaza Pittsburgh West Green Tree.

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-ra...s/201504030131

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Technology Notes
Comcast rolls out 2-gigabits-per-second home broadband in Atlanta
By Mike Snider, USA Today - Apr. 2, 2015

The cyberspace speed race is heating up.

Next month, Comcast will begin offering its Gigabit Pro service to more than 1.5 million homes in Atlanta. The fiberoptic service, which Comcast says is the fastest residential Internet speed in the country at 2 gigabits per second, will be available to about 18 million homes in other cities across the USA by year’s end, said Comcast Cable executive vice president Marcien Jenckes in a blog post.

Comcast didn’t provide a price for the new service.

Comcast shares got a small boost after the announcement Thursday and were up 1.16% to $57.72 early afternoon.

Currently, Google Fiber, the tech giant’s 1 Gbps home broadband service is available in Kansas City, Austin and Provo, Utah, with five more cities in the works and others being considered. Comcast, which has been delivering multi-gig (up to 10 Gbps) Ethernet service to businesses since 2010, did not announce pricing.

“The next great Internet innovation is only an idea away, and we want to help customers push the boundaries of what the Internet can do and do our part to inspire developers to think about what’s possible in a multi-gigabit future,” Jenckes said.

http://americasmarkets.usatoday.com/...nd-in-atlanta/
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Last Man Standing
8:30PM - Cristela
9PM - Shark Tank
(R - Nov. 14)
10PM - 20/20
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Bill Murray; "The Walking Dead'' cast members; The Weeknd performs)
(R - Mar. 19)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Amazing Race
9PM - Hawaii Five-0
10PM - Blue Bloods
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Mike Myers; comic Nick Griffin; Banks performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with James Corden (Patricia Arquette; Chris Pine; Modest Mouse performs)
(R - Mar. 24)

NBC:
8PM - Grimm
9PM - Dateline NBC: Silent Witness
(R - Mar. 20, 2012)
10PM - Dateline NBC: The Last Dance
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Ricky Gervais; Jordana Brewster; Elle King performs; Boz Scaggs sits in with The Roots)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Lena Dunham; sportscaster Erin Andrews; Tove Styrke performs)
(R - Mar. 18)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Hope Davis; Natalie Prass performs; singer-songwriter Dave Hause)
(R - Feb. 24)

FOX:
8PM - Movie: 21 Jump Street (2012)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Washington Week With Gwen Ifill
8:30PM - Charlie Rose This Week
9PM - Live From Lincoln Center - Billy Porter: Broadway & Soul
10PM - Great Performances - Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live in Concert

UNIVISION:
8PM - Amores con Trampa
9PM - Hasta El Fin del Mundo
10PM - Que Te Perdone Dios... Yo No

THE CW:
8PM - Here Comes Peter Cottontail (Special, 1971)
(R)
9PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Mar. 28, 2014)
9:30PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Mar. 21, 2014)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - La Biblia
9PM - La Biblia
10PM - La Biblia (Season Finale)
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TV Notes
Will Ferrell & Kristen Wiig Pull Plug On Secret Lifetime Movie
By Patrick Hipes, Deadline.com - Apr. 2, 2015

Less than 24 hours after reports were leaked to the press that Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell have completed a top-secret TV movie for Lifetime, the two have announced that they were not going forward with the project. “We are deeply disappointed that our planned top secret project was made public,” Ferrell said in a statement. “Kristen and I have decided it is in the best interest for everyone to forgo the project entirely, and we thank Lifetime and all the people who were ready to help us make this film.”

Lifetime declined comment on the status of the movie, which had been shrouded in secrecy but is understood to be in the mold of Lifetime’s ripped-from-the-headlines telefilms and already completed. Ferrell’s intentions for the movie are unclear though he is known as being a notorious prankster.

Ferrell and Wiig are now both UTA clients after Ferrell’s agents Jason Heyman and Martin Lesak and made the move from CAA to UTA as part of Tuesday’s mass exodus that saw 10 CAA agents switch teams. In fact Ferrell followed them years ago when they were at UTA and moved to CAA.

http://deadline.com/2015/04/will-fer...ie-1201403842/
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From the Washington Post

TECHNOLOGY
Comcast: Atlanta to get superfast Internet
Some of the world’s fastest Internet connections let you download a high-definition movie within seven seconds. But next month, Atlanta will get access to Internet service from Comcast that will cut that time in half.
Comcast announced Thursday that it will soon begin offering a service called Gigabit Pro that is capable of delivering Internet speeds of up to 2 gigabits per second — twice as fast as Google Fiber’s top speeds and 200 times what the average U.S. household gets. And, Comcast claimed, it soon will be available to 1.5 million Atlanta-area residents.
Later this year, according to a Comcast official, Gigabit Pro will be expanded beyond Atlanta to cover Comcast’s entire customer base — or more specifically, wherever Comcast has laid fiber-optic cables. Comcast estimates that 18 million households will become eligible to sign up for the 2 Gbps service.
Gigabit Pro will cost less than the $400 a month that users of its 505 Mbps service pay, said the Comcast official, who was not authorized to speak publicly. But Comcast declined to say whether Gigabit Pro would be priced cheaply enough to compete directly with Google Fiber, which costs up to $130 a month. Google Fiber maxes out at 1 Gbps, 100 times the U.S. average.
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Doesn't Google Fiber cost about twice what similiar serivices charge around the World ?

.

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TV Notes
House of Cards Renewed for Season 4
By Michael Ausiello, TVLine.com - Apr. 2, 2015

Netflix has elected Frank Underwood to another term.

The streaming giant on Thursday renewed House of Cards for a fourth season.

No word on a premiere date but if history is any indication we’re probably looking at Spring 2016. Production begins this summer.

http://tvline.com/2015/04/02/house-o...newal-netflix/
Wouldn't that be Winter 2016? The first three seasons of HoC were released in the month of February.

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From the Washington Post

TECHNOLOGY
Comcast: Atlanta to get superfast Internet
But Comcast declined to say whether Gigabit Pro would be priced cheaply enough to compete directly with Google Fiber, which costs up to $130 a month. Google Fiber maxes out at 1 Gbps, 100 times the U.S. average.
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Doesn't Google Fiber cost about twice what similiar serivices charge around the World ?
What was left out of that statement is that the $130 per month amount includes TV service, Google Fiber Internet is only $70 per month by itself. For $70 per month Comcast currently provides about 1/10th that download speed. This appears to be nothing more than a "we can do it also" PR stunt, much like AT&T is doing in Austin as a response to Google Fiber coming to town. I would be shocked if this level of service were to ever make it to the average Comcast subscriber in Everytown, USA. And if it does you can bet it will be way more expensive than $70 per month.
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THURSDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insights' Blog.
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TV/Business Notes
Dish Rebrands DishWorld as ‘Sling International’ Over-the-Top Service
By Todd Spangler, Variety.com - Apr. 3, 2015

Dish Network, the No. 2 satellite TV service in the U.S., announced that DishWorld, its live-streaming, multilanguage TV service launched in 2012, will be be rebranded “Sling International.”

The move aligns Dish’s international over-the-top service with Sling TV, the OTT pay-TV service the satcaster launched this year in the States with a skinnied-down package of channels. Sling International provides global programming from almost 200 channels in 18 languages to U.S. consumers, starting at $15 per month.

“Sling TV grew from the foundation established by DishWorld, enabling us to test, grow and improve our OTT capabilities through a service that streams tens of millions of hours of content every month,” Roger Lynch, CEO of Dish’s Sling TV unit, said in a statement. “Incorporating DishWorld into the Sling TV portfolio makes it even easier for viewers to get the best of both domestic programming and the shows and sports they love from overseas.”

Dish in February launched Sling TV, which starts at $20 per month for 20 cable channels, including ESPN, AMC and TNT (but excluding broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC). This week, the company announced a pact with Time Warner Inc. that allows Sling TV to offer HBO for an additional $15 monthly, the same price as the standalone HBO Now service available on Apple TV. Cablevision also will offer HBO Now to broadband-only subs, with pricing yet to be announced.

Existing DishWorld customers will be prompted at login to upgrade to the new Sling International app. The company said the new app features a redesigned user interface that’s more intuitive and easier to use than the previous DishWorld service.

Customers will be able to sign in to their Sling International accounts using all devices that support Sling TV, including Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick; current-generation Roku players and Roku TV models; Android and iOS devices; Microsoft’s Xbox One videogame console; and Macs and PCs. However, DishWorld customers who use Samsung Smart TVs will continue using the DishWorld app; support for Sling International on select Samsung televisions will become available in the next few weeks.

Sling International (née DishWorld) offers nearly 200 channels in languages including Arabic, Bangla, Brazilian, Cantonese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Mandarin, Punjabi, Taiwanese, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and Vietnamese. New language groups launching include Bengali, Kannada and Marathi. Sling International customers who subscribe to “Family View” (priced at an additional $5 monthly per stream, for up to three concurrent streams) will be able to access the service on up to three devices simultaneously.

http://variety.com/2015/digital/news...ce-1201465970/
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TV Review
'A.D.' sequel will satisfy 'Bible' fans
By Robert Bianco, USA Today - Apr. 3, 2015

In the beginning, there was The Bible.

That shockingly successful 10-hour 2013 miniseries from producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett set ratings records for History, spawned a feature film and reminded Hollywood that there was a neglected audience hungry for faith-related programming. Enter (after a bidding war) NBC with Downey and Burnett's A.D. The Bible Continues (Sunday, 9 p.m. ET/PT, ★★1/2 stars out of four), a 12-episode expansion and sequel designed to explore the early years of the new Christian church.

But not yet. First, A.D. revisits territory covered in the earlier miniseries, starting with its Easter Sunday opening episode about the arrest, death and resurrection of Christ.

Thanks to the success of the first version, however, A.D. is not simply a retread — and does not have to recycle old footage. A larger budget has allowed for better production values, and some rethinking has allowed for a stronger and more diverse cast, led by Juan Pablo di Pace as Jesus, Greta Scacchi as Mary, Chipo Chung as Mary Magdalene, Adam Levy as Peter, Richard Coyle as Caiaphus and Vincent Regan as Pontius Pilate.

There are some non-biblical additions to the story Sunday: an expanded role for Caiaphus, a cameo by the Zealots, and some humorously acid asides by Pilate. But for the most part, this is a straightforward and sincere retelling of the Crucifixion with no doubts, no revisions that might offend the faithful, and no attempt to explain away the miracles. In A.D., as in the New Testament, angels appear and the dead rise.

Yes, the additions sometimes feel shoehorned in, and, as in The Bible, the storytelling gears still sometimes clunk. But anyone who loved The Bible and yearned for a sequel is likely to find A.D. satisfying.

As for anyone who found The Bible hopelessly hokey, well, A.D. should at least feel like an improvement.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/t...view/25232837/
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TV Reviews
'American Odyssey' is must-see for conspiracy lovers
By Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer - Apr. 2, 2015

Can a TV drama drive you to despair?

NBC's exciting, highly addictive War on Terror conspiracy thriller American Odyssey tells a tale so gripping, terrifying, and utterly bleak, it may well become the first to pull off that feat.

And that's a good thing.

Premiering at 10 p.m. Sunday on NBC10, the series is about a cadre of highly placed executives in the military-industrial complex who are so well-funded and well-organized, so efficient, deadly, and ruthless and so utterly dedicated to their murky, shadowy goal, they seem impossible to defeat.

After the first five episodes, I felt hopeless, desperate, and hankering for more. (Please, NBC, send more!)

Brit beauty Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies, Having You) stars as Odelle Ballard, a member of a special forces team that, in the first minutes of the pilot, manages to hunt down and kill a top al-Qaeda boss in West Africa.

The troops find intelligence in the dead terrorist's hideout, including evidence that an American company called SOC had sent his terror cell $30.5 million. The team is told by their beloved, avuncular C.O., Col. Stephen Glen (Treat Williams) to leave the intel for an incoming team of experts - who happen to be private military contractors, who show up and slaughter the entire team - save for Odelle, who manages to escape.

American Odyssey moves among several settings, subplots, and characters to reveal a far-reaching conspiracy that seems to touch every known institution. The pace is rapid, at times breathless, but the writers always manage to keep the viewer on top of the action.

There are some good guys, including an investment-bank investigator (Peter Facinelli) who grows suspicious of SOC, and a young Occupy Wall Street activist (Jake Robinson), who realizes out of the blue the American military is covering up the death of its super team.

As Odelle tries to make her way back home - chased by Islamist killers and mercenaries alike - the bad guys at SOC start killing or buying off the good guys.

Though it makes several seriously absurd leaps of logic, American Odyssey will be a must-see for conspiracy lovers. The show's only real downside is that its utterly hyperbolic and sensationalistic tone overshadows and obscures some of the real political issues it touches upon, including the growing power of corporations to wage war, the effect of the income gap on the middle class, and the salutary role grassroots organizing can play in a democracy.

Philadelphia's revolution

Philadelphia: The Great Experiment, Sam Katz's ongoing series of half-hour documentaries about the city's history, keeps getting better with each installment.

The research always has been impeccable, as have the on-camera expert interviews. But what's especially impressive about the ninth episode, "The Storm: 1765-1793," is how it manages to render one of the most familiar and repeated stories from our history - the American Revolution - so exciting, invigorating, alive.

Airing Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on 6ABC, the episode articulates the rising discontent Philadelphia's artisans felt over the imposition of a new series of taxes in the 1760s.

As always, the doc focuses not only on the city's rich and famous but provides portraits of ordinary citizens, including upholsterer's apprentice Betsy Griscom, whose livelihood was endangered by the crown's financial decisions.

Ben Franklin, who was at court in London at the time, wasn't keen to voice his fellow Philadelphians' anger. He was too busy trying to sell a vision of Philadelphia as the future capital of the British Empire.

Eventually, he rallied to the side of the Revolutionaries, as did Thomas Paine and Benjamin Rush. The doc follows their debates, which culminated in the writing of the Declaration of Independence.

http://www.philly.com/philly/enterta...cy_lovers.html
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TV Notes
‘Muppets’ TV Series in the Works at ABC With ‘Big Bang Theory’ Co-Creator
By L.A. Ross, TheWrap.com - Apr. 3, 2015

ABC has ordered a pilot presentation with “Muppets” characters from “Big Bang Theory” co-creator Bill Prady and “Anger Management’s” Bob Kushell, the network said on Friday.

Details on the project are scarce, but if the presentation is well received it may be ordered straight to series.

The “Muppets” TV iteration is produced by ABC Studios and The Muppets Studios, which Disney owns along with all of the “Muppets” properties originally created by Jim Henson.

The project is being described as a behind-the-scenes comedy involving classic “Muppets” characters like Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and others. The proof of concept presentation is set to film next week.

“The Muppets” have starred in seven TV series to date and several specials, both animated and live-action puppetry. Disney purchased the “Muppets” characters from the Jim Henson Company in 2004 and rebooted the franchise with a self-titled movie in 2008.

Prady, who co-created CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” along with Chuck Lorre and currently serves as an executive producer on that series, will write the proof of concept and run the show along with Kushell.

http://www.thewrap.com/muppets-tv-se...ry-co-creator/
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Nielsen Overnights
‘Big Bang Theory’ & Grey’s Anatomy’ Ratings Fall, ‘Slap’ Finale & ‘Blacklist’ Even, ‘Dateline’ Rises
By L.A. Ross, TheWrap.com - Apr. 3, 2015

Unlike last week, there was no NCCA Tournament on primetime last night, and weekend usage was down 8% from last week heading into Passover and Easter. Still, there was a lot of action on the TV court, though nearly all of it downward. One of the few exceptions was the finale of NBC’s limited series The Slap (0.7/2) at 10 PM. The dramatic results of the eight-episode run are one thing, but in terms of ratings, the end of The Slap was even with results from last week among adults 18-49.

Moved around the Thursday schedule when fellow freshman Allegiance was pulled early last month, The Slap never really found traction despite its big-name cast and heavy promotion. As an example, last night’s finale was not only last in its time slot but also down 36% from its February 12 debut. Then again, fellow 10 PMers American Crime (1.1/2) on ABC and CBS’ Elementary (1.2/4) saw double-digit drops themselves, with the former stumbling 15% from its March 27 airing and the latter down 14% from its previous original March 12.

CBS won the night with a 1.9/7 rating and 8.91 million viewers, but its modernized Sherlock Holmes wasn’t the only offering to take a hit Thursday. While easily the top-rated and most-watched show of the night (13.35 million), The Big Bang Theory (3.2/13) had some holiday blues with a hard 27% fall from its previous original March 12. That’s a season low for the blockbuster comedy in preliminary numbers, though BBT often sees an adjustment in final ratings, so expect a chance of a change. With that start to the night, fellow comedies The Odd Couple (1.9/7) and Mom (2.0/6) were down 24% and 9%, respectively, from their last new shows before the NCCA took over CBS’ Thursday nights two weeks ago.

NBC actually saw the lone leap upwards Thursday. Dateline: The Real Blacklist (1.3/5) had a double-digit jump of 30% in the demo from last week. Up 5% from last week in total viewership, the 6.5 million who watched the 8 PM show delivered the network its highest audience in the slot since the 7.4 million who watched My Name Is Earl and the Kate & Kim premiere on October 9, 2008. With that lead-in, The Blacklist (1.6/5) remained even with last week’s demo result, which marked a series low for the James Spader-starrer.

The second week of the return of Bones from its long winter break saw the drama down 15% on Fox. Lead-out Backstrom tumbled 11% from its March 27 episode.

Fast nationals were not kind to either Grey’s Anatomy (1.8/7) or Scandal (2.1/7), with one hitting a series low and the other a season low. The former took an 18% dive, while the latter dipped 9%, though Scandal commonly sees adjustments in later numbers.

http://deadline.com/2015/04/big-bang...al-1201404036/
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TV/Critic's Notes
Peabody Awards go glitzy for glory
By Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel - Apr. 3, 2015

Don't you hate it when bad things happen to perfectly good awards?

Case in point: The highly respected Peabody Awards are going all glitzy and self-important.

The Peabodys used to announce their winners in electronic media simply, without pretension, and hand them out at a luncheon.

No more. Now the Peabodys want to be the Academy Awards or the Emmys.

The Peabodys will have an evening gala -- complete with red carpet -- in New York.

The Peabodys said in a release: "The May 31 ceremony in New York will have a spectacular new venue: the Greek revival special-events palace Cipriani Wall Street. For the first time, the ceremony will be a stylish, Sunday night event, complete with red carpet, rather than a workday luncheon."

The workday luncheon was a large part of the charm, because it saluted working people without Hollywood folderol.

And that's not all: The Peabodys are dragging out the winner announcements over two weeks.

Individual and institutional victors are named April 14.

Entertainment winners will be revealed April 16 on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"Announcing our entertainment winners on 'GMA' is an important milestone for the Peabodys," said Dr. Jeffrey P. Jones, director of the Peabody Awards program at the University of Georgia. "Our goal is to invigorate and inspire citizens through the transformative power of television and electronic media to tell stories that transform and inspire us in our everyday lives. Reaching the large, diverse 'GMA' audience helps us accomplish that goal."

Oh, really. Sounds like the Peabodys want more glory, which is sad in our awards-obsessed culture. The Peabodys used to earn attention without preening.

News and radio winners will be learned on April 20.

Victors in the categories for documentary, web/interactive, public service, education and children’s programming will be named April 23.

Another sign of a shift: Fred Armisen, whose credits range from "Portlandia" to "Saturday Night Live," will host.

In June, Pivot will present a 90-minute special of the awards ceremony.

"We are thrilled to have Fred Armisen lead the Peabodys into a new venue and a new era," Jones said. "Armisen is not just a comedian but an inspired citizen whose singular take on life and politics exemplifies the Peabody mission to honor stories that matter."

The Peabodys didn't need a new era. They should keep it simple and offer an alternative to all the other awards propelled by shameless stunts.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/enter...0403-post.html
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House of Cards has always come out in February
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Originally Posted by jamieva View Post
House of Cards has always come out in February
What's your point? A journalist providing wrong info is almost the "normal" now. The old standards are gone.
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SATURDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Shark Tank
(R - Jan. 16)
9PM - In an Instant (120 min.)

CBS:
8PM - NCIS
(R - Nov. 25)
9PM - Scorpion
(R - Jan. 18)
10PM - 48 Hours

NBC:
8PM - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
(R - Jan. 7)
9PM - The Blacklist
(R - Oct. 13)
10PM - Saturday Night Live (Johnny Cash hosts; Elton John performs)
(R - Apr. 17, 1982)
* * * *
11:29PM - Saturday Night Live (Michael Keaton hosts; Carly Rae Jepsen performs; 93 min.)

FOX:
8PM - Backstrom
(R - Mar. 5)
9PM - Hell's Kitchen
(R - Mar. 31)
* * * *
11PM - Animation Domination High-Def
(R)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Austin City Limits: Ed Sheeran; Valerie June (R - Oct. 11)

UNIVISION:
6:55PM - Mexico Primera Division Soccer: Club America vs. Cruz Azul (LIVE)
9PM - Sábado Gigante (Three Hours)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Movie: Set Up (2011)
10PM - Fútbol Mexicano Primera División: Club León vs. Querétaro FC (LIVE)
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TV Review
'Sinatra: All or Nothing at All' a sympathetic look at singer
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times - Apr. 3, 2015

Frank Sinatra, a singer from Hoboken, N.J., is the subject of "Sinatra: All or Nothing at All," a four-hour documentary airing in two parts Sunday and Monday on HBO. Fair enough.

Among the ranks of male pop singers of the mid-20th century, Sinatra was the most modern — not the most technically good or melodically inventive but human, conversational and confessional; you can't beat him for sorrow, and you can't beat him for joy.

It didn't happen overnight; indeed, the best sustained work of his career, done for Capitol Records in the 1950s, came after he was considered washed up for good, a former teen idol with a blown voice and a bad reputation. How he got there, and where he went afterward are laid out step by step, point by point, success by failure by success, in a film that, despite some ungainliness, will be catnip to the informed and a textbook for the rest.

Director Alex Gibney, who also directed the recent HBO documentaries "Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown" and "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief," was working with the cooperation of the Sinatra estate, and his access to the family archives is doubtless responsible at least in part for the length of his film; "All or Nothing at All" might have been his editorial method as well as his title.

Much as Martin Scorsese did in his equally lengthy Bob Dylan documentary, "No Direction Home," Gibney makes a concert the spine of his film: the 1971 Los Angeles performance that was intended as Sinatra's farewell to music — a retirement that lasted all of two years. That Sinatra, only in his mid-50s, was at "the peak of his career," as the film puts it, is certainly not true; but, after a rough start, his performance becomes something quite marvelous, and the film is full of other clips from across the years.

Like all authorized biographies, it does tend to plead its subject's case, and though it is not by any means a scrubbed version of the life, Gibney's take is sympathetic. He quashes much-told tales that mob pressure got Sinatra out of a punishing contract with Tommy Dorsey and got him the part in "From Here to Eternity" that revived his career — he was a movie star, too, children.

Gibney takes it all in, from the streets of Hoboken to the back lots of Hollywood; from the ecstasy of the bobby-soxers to the attack of the tabloids; from the singer's progressive politics to his conservative politics. Family man, philanderer; boy next door, Chairman of the Board. If all the people who inhabit the person of Francis Albert Sinatra never cohere into one, perhaps that's not a bad thing; it keeps you from making up your mind.

Sadly, Gibney does not end his film as the concert ended, with Matt Dennis' song "Angel Eyes" and its apt last line, "'Scuse me while I disappear," but rather with "New York, New York" — his last hit song — illustrated with shots of sports teams, Broadway theaters, 9/11 and the Freedom Tower. It's the Frank the crowd cheered for, but nowhere near the heart of his artistry.

Writers Terry Teachout, John Lahr and Pete Hamill bring perspective to the art and persona; third wife Mia Farrow discusses their relationship at length. All interviews but those with Sinatra are in voice-over — there is only one Voice seen here.

'Sinatra: All or Nothing at All'
Where: HBO
When: 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday


http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...02-column.html
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TV/Legal Notes
HBO Faces Huge Defamation Trial Over "Hoax" Child Labor Report
By Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Hollywood Esq.' Blog - Apr. 3, 2015

In the past month, HBO has experienced tremendous highs in non-fiction programming: Both The Jinx and Going Clear were huge ratings hits, which left audiences buzzing about Robert Durst and the Church of Scientology. But now HBO is bracing for a trial that could deliver one of the biggest black eyes to a national broadcaster's news operation in quite some time. On April 13, the Time Warner subsidiary is set to answer claims that in 2008, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel featured a report titled “Children of Industry” that was a “hoax,” full of scenes that in the words of one HBO stringer, were "fabricated" or "dramatized."

The plaintiff in the case is Mitre Sports International, which manufactures and sells sporting equipment and is objecting to HBO’s depiction of young children in India hand-stitching Mitre-branded soccer balls for pennies or less in order to pay off their parents’ debts. According to Mitre, it has interviewed the children shown and they have admitted that they were paid by producers to pretend to be child laborers.

An HBO spokesperson maintains that the case is “without merit,” but in May 2014, a judge found there was enough evidence to let a jury decide whether Mitre was defamed by the broadcast. Now, in the weeks preceding trial, HBO has been working furiously to quash a trial subpoena of HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler and limit the fallout of a public spectacle that could introduce evidence that HBO employees lied on visa applications to get into India, looked the other way when one of its researchers warned about showing abused kids at the hands of a corporate master, “doctored” interviews with a child labor expert and U.S. government official, and set up a phony “cross talk” between Gumbel and correspondent Bernard Goldberg (a frequent media critic on Fox News) who “had never watched the show seen by viewers.”

Lloyd Constantine, an aggressive attorney representing Mitre who once advised Eliot Spitzer and scored $100 million in an antitrust settlement with HBO owner Time Warner, is again taking on his old nemesis and says, “We will prove that they had facts at hand and they just lied because it made for a better story.”

The idea for the “Children of Industry” report is credited to Real Sports coordinating producer Joe Perskie, who became interested in the manufacturing of soccer balls during the 2002 World Cup. Along with Zehra Mamdani, another Real Sports production assistant, the two conducted research in 2006 and 2007. They talked to Kailash Satyarthi, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee who is an expert in child labor, and focused on the Indian cities of Meerut and Jalandhar. When traveling to several villages in the Meerut area, they personally saw children stitching soccer balls to pay off family debts. They also report being shown Mitre-branded soccer balls.

Later, Goldberg followed up with an interview of Satyarthi as well as Charlotte Ponticelli, the Labor Department’s Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs, who confirmed that the U.S. government viewed child labor in India to be a problem that still existed. Goldberg asked Ponticelli her thoughts on companies with policies against child labor that still had child labor in their supply chains. She answered, “The source of the problem is that the parent company, no matter how well intentioned, may not be doing due diligence in making sure that their subcontractors down the line are doing the best they can to make sure this exploitation is not occurring.”

The “Children of Industry” segment aired on September 16, 2008.

On the day of day of the airing — Gumbel had only seen a rough cut at that point, according to his own sworn statement — Mitre’s lawyers called with concern over a clip posted on YouTube that showed two girls stitching Mitre-branded balls. According to HBO's court papers, Mitre challenged the credibility and told HBO that the production “was typical of Bollywood.” HBO decided to remove that footage out of caution, but was ultimately sued anyway over a segment that opens with Gumbel introducing, “Now, given the game’s global popularity, the balls are big business, which is why governments, manufacturers and retailers all say they abhor the practice of child labor. Yet, clearly they are all letting it happen.”

Mitre, which is owned by the London-based sports and fashion giant Pentland Group, sprung into action. According to Constantine, Pentland chairman R. Stephen Rubin has made the elimination of child labor exploitation a personal cause and through the 1980s and 1990s, assembled some 12,000 brands to lead the charge and “virtually eliminate” the problem in countries like India and Pakistan.

In the more than five years that the case has been litigated, Mitre has come forward with various pieces of evidence to support its argument that this was a tainted report. For instance, the program shows one 12-year-old “orphan who lives with her grandparents” and is portrayed as “a full-time soccer ball stitcher.” In Goldberg’s interview with the Nobel Peace Prize nominated expert in child labor, he mentions the girl’s name, saying she “is making a ball for Mitre, one of the biggest soccer brands in the world, the preferred brand of the pros.”

After being deposed, this same young girl testified that her guardians are actually gainfully employed and was induced to pretend to stitch a Mitre ball with the promise of money.

Mitre’s attorneys believe there were other scenes staged — what they frame as the unfortunate result of HBO telling foreign stringers to find them the footage they needed. What’s more, they point to HBO’s alleged knowledge before the segment ran. Zehra Mamdani, the associate producer, is said to have outlined concerns about showing kids abused at the hands of corporations, figuring the parents were the real problem. According to court documents referencing her old e-mails, she wrote the story was still “do-able, if its done in a clever way.” At one point, Goldberg himself wrote a colleague, “I think this is unfair to Walmart and Mitre."

HBO is defending the lawsuit by arguing that whatever faults were inherent in the 2008 report, statements made about the use of child slave labor were not “of and concerning” Mitre, a key requirement of a defamation claim. Concurrently, HBO’s attorneys at Williams & Connolly will also portray the report as being “substantially true,” with news articles and witness testimony supporting the notion that child labor is sometimes used in the manufacture of Mitre-branded products in India even if the company itself isn’t directly responsible for putting the children to work. Mitre is said to have admitted in depositions that it has long been aware of child labor found in its supply chain. HBO will also argue that some comments during its report constituted subjective opinion.

If either side has an advantage in the fight, it’s probably Mitre after a judge ruled the company shouldn’t be considered a “public figure.” As such, the company won’t have to show "actual malice," a tougher standard in such cases; instead, they must show merely that HBO was grossly irresponsible when it came to things like tricky editing or fact-checking lapses.

The ruling that Mitre wasn’t a “public figure” because according to the judge, “Mitre does not approach the status of being a household name or a celebrity in the community,” was so disconcerting that last June, 27 news organizations including ABC, The Associated Press, CBS, Fox News, Gawker, NBCUniversal and The New York Times submitted an amicus brief over a decision they say has “sown uncertainty” on the standards for covering international companies. The news organizations urged an emergency appeal, and while that won’t be happening before trial, should HBO get slammed with a jury award that could easily amount to tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, HBO has already put the judge on repeated notice that it intends to take the issue to a higher authority.

First Amendment expert Floyd Abrams calls the decision that Mitre isn’t a public figure “deeply troubling” while attorney Lincoln Bandlow, whose clients include Morgan Spurlock and Conan O’Brien, says, “Stay tuned because even though statistically, about 75 percent of the time, the media defendant gets hit at trial, about the same 75 percent of the time, that gets reversed on appeal.”

Meanwhile, Mitre has grown increasingly upset that Time Warner has inserted Mitre's name and products into Warner Bros. films like Sherlock Holmes and Invictus, allegedly to demonstrate that Mitre is indeed is a celebrity. During one point of the dispute, Mitre’s attorneys even tried to depose a producer of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm over a scene where a Mitre soccer ball is held by a kid.

For now, the focus is on the trial, and most pressingly, whether HBO chairman and chief executive Richard Plepler will testify.

On the day after HBO aired the controversial report in question, Plepler sent an email to one of the network’s publicists demanding that the segment on child labor be sent to New York Times columnists Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof as well as Samantha Power, one of Barack Obama’s top foreign policy advisors. “This should get real traction,” he wrote. “It’s important work.”

Mitre wants Plepler on the witness stand to talk about this.

No matter how the trial turns out, the HBO segment will indeed be important — perhaps even a media milestone.

Constantine hopes so. “If a jury gets to see what was done here by HBO, a jury would certainly be within its rights to award punitive damages,” he says. “If that has some teaching effect on HBO or other news organizations, then so be it.”

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr...n-trial-786320
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TV Notes
Bloomberg TV To Stream Free On Pluto TV Online-Video Platform
By David Bloom, Deadline.com - Apr. 3, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Bloomberg TV will begin streaming online this month on Pluto TV under a new partnership, making Pluto the first “over-the-top” online-video provider to offer the business news cable channel for free. It’s a big win for the year-old Pluto TV site, which aggregates a broad array of linear and on-demand video channels. It also opens a new audience for Bloomberg.

“Distributing cable networks through Pluto TV makes total sense given our linear TV-like experience,” said Pluto TV Tom Ryan. “Bringing Bloomberg TV to our platform is a win/win.”

Pluto’s service plays on apps for iOS and Android mobile devices, and connected TVs with Amazon and Android streaming devices. Bloomberg reaches 310 million homes worldwide through a variety of providers.

http://deadline.com/2015/04/bloomber...ip-1201404154/
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