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post #29851 of 30432 Old 05-19-2019, 05:22 AM
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Ratings
TV Ratings Friday: ‘Hawaii Five-O’ finale goes out low, ‘Agents of SHIELD’ holds
Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Friday, May 17, 2019
By JOSEPH REJENTMAY 18, 2019 - tvbythenumbers

NBC got the best of a relatively quiet Friday night.

With “The Blacklist” finale as its opening move, the broadcast network set a ceiling of a 0.6 rating in adults 18-49 which nobody else was able to crack. While “Blacklist” held onto its score from last week, “Dateline” managed to rise, lifting itself from 0.5 to 0.6 to match its lead-in.

CBS was NBC’s closest competition, beginning the night with “Meghan and Harry Plus One,” a special about the Royal Family, which picked up a 0.5 with 5 million viewers. This was then followed by a transportation special, “No Exit!” which itself grabbed a 0.4. The season finale of “Hawaii Five-O” closed out the night for NBC, scoring a 0.5 rating that was two-tenths of a point lower than last week’s episode.

On ABC, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” clung to the 0.4 it premiered at, but shifted down slightly in viewership from 2.34 million to 2.24 million. “S.H.I.E.L.D.” was then followed by two hours of “20/20” at a 0.4 average, falling from its previous 0.5.

FOX took the night off with reruns of “MasterChef” at 0.3 and “MasterChef Celebrity Family Showdown ” at 0.4. “Whose Line is it Anyway?” repeated on The CW at 0.2, but a new episode of “Dynasty” broke free from a cycle of 0.1’s to reach 0.2.

https://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/da...y-may-17-2019/

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post #29852 of 30432 Old 05-19-2019, 05:27 AM
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Box Office
‘John Wick 3’ to Topple ‘Avengers: Endgame’ With $50 Million-Plus Debut
By Erin Nyren - Variety - May 18, 2019

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have finally met their match.

The debut of Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” should end “Avengers: Endgame’s” reign at No. 1 with an estimated $56 million from 3,850 North American locations.

The threequel took in $22.67 million on Friday. “John Wick: Chapter Two,” the previous installment of the franchise, opened to $30.4 million in February of 2017.

Keanu Reeves stars in “John Wick 3,” alongside franchise returnees Lawrence Fishburne and Ian McShane and newcomers Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, Asia Kate Dillon, and Lance Reddick. Chad Stahelski returned to helm the neo-noir thriller, with a script from Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Colllins, and Marc Abrams. “John Wick 3” holds an A- CinemaScore and 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Avengers: Endgame,” on the other hand, should notch around $29 million in its fourth weekend in theaters for the second place spot. “Endgame” is currently sitting at around $2.5 billion worldwide — the second highest-grossing film of all time, behind “Avatar” with $2.78 billion.

Another new offering for the weekend, “A Dog’s Journey,” is debuting to about $8 million and No. 4 from 3,267 domestic sites. The follow-up to 2017’s “A Dog’s Purpose” sees the return of Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad, and was directed by Gail Mancuso from W. Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon, Maya Forbes, and Wally Wolodarsky’s script. “A Dog’s Purpose” debuted somewhat more strongly, netting $18 million in its first weekend on its way to a $64 million total.

Like the first film, “A Dog’s Journey” is based on Cameron’s novel of the same name. The comedy drama is a co-production between Amblin Entertainment, Reliance Entertainment, Walden Media, and Alibaba Pictures, with Universal distributing. “A Dog’s Journey” has an A CinemaScore with a 50% Rotten Tomatoes rating.

Warner Bros.’ “The Sun Is Also a Star” is opening this weekend at 2,073 North American sites, having taken in $1.04 million on Friday. The teen drama stars “Grown-ish’s” Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton and follows a young couple that falls in love despite one of their families facing deportation. Tracy Oliver wrote the screenplay with Ry Russo-Young directing.

The second frame of Warner Bros.’ “Detective Pikachu” will likely take third with about $22 million. It’s taken in $69 million domestically in its first week of release, in addition to another $112 million from overseas markets.

Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson’s con woman pic “The Hustle” should rustle up another $6 million in its second weekend to land in fifth place. That numer will tack onto its current total of about $18 million.

https://variety.com/2019/film/box-of...ce-1203219646/
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post #29853 of 30432 Old 05-19-2019, 05:30 AM
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Opinion
What CBS’ Pursuit of Starz Means for CBS, Lionsgate
By Cynthia Littleton - Variety - May 19, 2019

CBS' effort to buy pay TV service Starz from Lionsgate seems on the surface to be a head scratcher.

CBS has told Wall Street for years that it has prospered because it brings only two must-have services to the table in negotiations with MVPDs, allowing the Eye to drive a hard bargain. Why would CBS want to take on a lower-profile rival to Showtime?

Meanwhile, Lionsgate has presented Starz, which it acquired in 2016 for $4.4 billion, as central to its strategy of diversification with a premium TV network that can serve as the launching pad for new programs from its TV studio. Why would Lionsgate want to sell now?

CBS’ pursuit of Starz comes after months of deliberations by the CBS board of directors on the best course for the Eye at a time when it is dwarfed in size and global scope by its longtime rivals, notably the M&A-enlarged conglomerates of Disney, Comcast and AT&T.

It’s no secret that the prospect of CBS reuniting with Viacom remains strong, given the stated preference of controlling CBS and Viacom shareholder Shari Redstone. The news of CBS’ hunt for Starz suggests that the CBS board of directors is actively looking at more than Viacom for M&A and strategic options.

CBS expressed its interest in Starz back in 2015 and 2016 when it was on the block. Lionsgate was long seen as the most likely buyer for Starz given the two companies’ common links to investor John Malone. In the years since, the dawn of the skinny bundle era has validated CBS’ strategy of focusing on fewer powerhouse channels, compared to Viacom’s raft of nearly two dozen basic cablers.

But Starz is a purely subscription business, something that appeals to CBS as it is less vulnerable to cyclical swings. The collection of 17 Starz- and Encore-branded channels has seen its subscriber base grow to about 25.1 million in the U.S., per Lionsgate’s most recent disclosure, in the past year, thanks largely to the company’s push in launching its standalone streaming app. Lionsgate has also been investing in a global rollout of Starz as a streaming option — something CBS is in the midst of ramping up for its CBS All Access service and Showtime.

Moreover, like Lionsgate, CBS sees Starz as another platform for launching original series that can be monetized through international licensing, or as the building blocks of future subscription offerings outside the U.S.

Lionsgate’s stock has been battered as the company suffered through a drought at the box office — which may end this weekend if “John Wick 3” performs as expected. The discussions over Starz began with an incoming call to Lionsgate from CBS, multiple sources said, and those conversations are continuing. That was welcome news for Lionsgate investors, judging by the nearly 15% jump Lionsgate shares took after the news was first reported Friday by the Information. Later in the day, Reuters reported that Lionsgate countered CBS’ $5 billion overture with $5.5 billion, which would mark a respectable premium over its purchase price three years ago.

Reps for CBS and Lionsgate declined comment.

CBS’ board of directors is scheduled to hold a regular board meeting on May 29, the day of the company’s annual meeting in New York. The consideration of M&A options is expected to be on the agenda. The moves on Starz suggest the board is looking hard at unexpected targets in addition to its former sibling under the Redstone empire.

If CBS succeeds in wooing Starz, Lionsgate will need to craft a new narrative for investors. Although the sale of Starz might suggest otherwise, the company is said to be prepared to use Starz proceeds to pour more resources into its content production operation amid the growing global demand for high-end series and movies.

https://variety.com/2019/biz/news/cb...it-1203219757/

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post #29854 of 30432 Old 05-19-2019, 05:34 AM
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Obit
Sammy Shore, Co-Founder of The Comedy Store, Dies at 92
By Erin Nyren - Variety - May 18, 2019

Sammy Shore, the well-known stand-up comedian who co-founded The Comedy Store in Hollywood, died in Las Vegas, Nev. from natural causes. He was 92.

Shore founded The Comedy Store with writing partner Rudy Deluca on April 7, 1972. His ex-wife, Mitzi Shore, took ownership of the club in the divorce settlement, and the venue went on to become one of the best known incubators of comedy talent in Los Angeles. Mitzi Shore died in April 2018 at age 87.

Sammy Shore’s 70-year career in stand-up began in the Catskills, where he was one half of a comedy duo with Shecky Greene. In 1969, Shore was chosen to open for Elvis Presley’s comeback at the International Hotel, bringing Shore into the spotlight. He continued to open for Elvis’ International Hotel and road shows through 1972.

Shore also opened for such acts as Barbra Streisand, Tony Orlando, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones, Ann-Margaret, Connie Stevens, Bobby Darin, and Glen Campbell. For the past 20 years, Shore performed with his son, Pauly.

https://variety.com/2019/biz/news/sa...er-1203219787/
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post #29855 of 30432 Old 05-19-2019, 05:37 AM
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News
Arnold Schwarzenegger Kicked in Back at South Africa Event
By Erin Nyren - Variety - May 18, 2019

Arnold Schwarzenegger was assaulted by an unknown man Saturday at his Arnold Classic Africa event in Johannesburg, South Africa when the man took a jump kick into the 71-year-old actor’s back.

In video posted to Twitter, Schwarzenegger can be seen filming some children skipping rope in what appears to be a gymnasium when a man takes a flying leap at the actor and kicks Schwarzenegger into the group of people he was standing near. The man is immediately apprehended by another man, presumably security, who was standing nearby.

Schwarzenegger posted on Twitter that “there is nothing to worry about,” and said he thought he had just been jostled by the crowd.

“I only realized I was kicked when I saw the video like all of you,” he continued. “I’m just glad the idiot didn’t interrupt my Snapchat.”

He also used the incident to encourage viewers to pay more attention to the athletes at the event, which includes 90 sports and 24,000 participants “of all ages and abilities.”

He followed up with a tweet asking that “if you have to share the video (I get it), pick a blurry one without whatever he was yelling so he doesn’t get the spotlight.”

“By the way,” he finished, “block or charge?”



https://variety.com/2019/film/news/a...ca-1203219780/

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post #29856 of 30432 Old 05-19-2019, 05:40 AM
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Whining
Dana Brunetti Sues to Block Season 2 of ‘Manhunt’
By Gene Maddus - Variety - May 18, 2019

Producer Dana Brunetti filed suit on Friday seeking to block the second season of the anthology series “Manhunt,” which is set to dramatize the bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Brunetti sued Lionsgate, the production company, as well as Discovery Communications and Charter Communications. Brunetti, the producer of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and many other films, was an executive producer on the first season of “Manhunt,” which dealt with the Unabomber case. The show ran on Discovery Channel in 2017.

In the suit, Brunetti said he pitched the show to John Goldwyn, then the executive producer of scripted content at Discovery, in 2015. He said he also hired Andrew Sodroski to write the series. Brunetti said he had pitched the show as an anthology, similar to “True Detective,” that would tell different stories with different characters in subsequent seasons.

After the first season aired, Brunetti alleges that Discovery turned around and sold the second season to Charter as a “Spectrum Original” — without informing Brunetti.

“It was not until Brunetti encountered an article in the press, on or about July 17, 2018, that he became aware of the possibility that Discovery had sold the Anthology Series,” the suit states.

According to the suit, Discovery took the position that Brunetti was only ever supposed to be involved on shows about the lead detective in the Unabomber case. Brunetti contends that that was not so, and that the Atlanta Olympics case was even mentioned as a potential follow-up season. Goldwyn and Sodroski remain involved as producers on the second season. Goldwyn was named as a defendant in the suit.

The suit says that Discovery has since claimed that it was internally considering a separate anthology series, and that that show is what became the second season of “Manhunt.”

“It now appears Discovery always had the secret intention of excluding Producers… after the first season of ‘Manhunt’ and misappropriating the Anthology Series disclosed in confidence by Producers,” the suit states.

The suit notes that the second season is now in production, and states that Brunetti will seek an injunction to block it from being broadcast until the breach of contract suit is resolved.

The suit cites 17 causes of action and contends that Brunetti has suffered at least $422,000 in damages.

https://variety.com/2019/biz/news/da...it-1203219357/

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post #29857 of 30432 Old 05-19-2019, 06:06 AM
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Note: Spoilers ...though if you've managed to avoid spoilers of the season, so far, you've stayed completely off of the internet and aren't seeing this warning. Still, I'll tag them just to avoid the nasty PMs.

Westeros
Everything to know before the Game of Thrones series finale
HBO’s epic fantasy saga is coming to an end
By Emily Heller - Polygon.com - May 19, 2019

The Game of Thrones series finale is finally upon us. After eight seasons and nearly 72 hours of epic storytelling, HBO’s fantasy series is coming to an end, completing the saga that began nearly a decade ago. Who will live and who will die? Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and the Stark siblings are all around to complicate the drama.

While this isn’t the end for the Song of Ice and Fire — we’ve got two more books and at least one spinoff series on the horizon — it’s the culmination of a massive cultural event and perhaps the last water cooler show we’ll ever watch together.

Season 8 has been a wild, if inconsistent, ride, flipping from lush landscapes to incomprehensible battle scenes and from poignant connections to shocking betrayals (by both the characters and the showrunners). We’re in the endgame now, and pesky things like logic and character growth have mostly been thrown out the window in favor of wrapping up plot points and racing through boss fights.

Here’s what you need to know going into this final episode.

WHAT HAPPENED IN GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8?
Spoiler!


WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO REMEMBER?
Game of Thrones is a dense show, packed with lore and subtext and random celebrity cameos. All season we’ve been wading through the story, answering questions and breaking down theories about the final six episodes in this epic saga. Here are some of the most important themes still left on the board.

Spoiler!


WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE GAME OF THRONES FINALE
Spoiler!


WHERE TO WATCH THE GAME OF THRONES FINALE
The final episode of Game of Thrones will air on HBO and (drop onto streaming services) at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 19. Here’s all the ways to watch Game of Thrones, whether directly from HBO or as a streaming service add-on.

HBO GO
Those who subscribe to HBO through a cable or satellite package can stream Game of Thrones live or on demand via the HBO Go service. The HBO Go app is available on most phones, tablets, smart TVs, and gaming consoles. Check if your device is supported at HBO’s Help Center.

HBO NOW
Cord cutters can still watch HBO on the network’s own platform. HBO Now is a stand-alone service, so it doesn’t require a cable subscription or another streaming platform; you stream directly from the HBO Now website or app. A one-week free trial is available — after that, it’s $14.99 per month.

HULU
Hulu also offers an HBO add-on for $14.99, which allows live HBO streaming whether or not you subscribe to Hulu’s live TV subscription tier. Subscribing through Hulu, or any other streaming service, also grants access to HBO Now.

AMAZON CHANNELS
In addition to the TV shows and movies available free to Prime members, Amazon offers add-on premium subscriptions through the Amazon Channels program. The HBO add-on costs $14.99 per month (the same as HBO Now).

PLAYSTATION VUE
Sony’s own TV subscription service, PlayStation Vue, is another streaming option. HBO is available as an add-on to a multi-channel package or as a stand-alone subscription. It costs $14.99 per month either way. The PlayStation Vue Ultra package, which costs $79.99 per month, includes HBO and Showtime.

DIRECTV NOW
AT&T’s streaming service is the only subscription that includes HBO at its base level, though at $50 per month, it’s the most expensive plan on the market. Because DirecTV Now operates more like a traditional cable package, subscribers have access to HBO Go, rather than HBO Now.

https://www.polygon.com/game-of-thro...o-watch-hbo-go

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post #29858 of 30432 Old 05-19-2019, 06:13 AM
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Programming
Showtime’s Christie: Originals Market ‘Is Like Free Agency on Steroids’
Bidding among a small, elite group of show runners has gotten a little competitive in the Golden Age of Television
By David Frankel - BroadcastingandCable - May 18, 2019

With the major subscription streaming service providers, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, crowding into the television production market, competition for the small, elite cadre of top creative talent has gotten, well, a bit out of hand, according to veteran Showtime executive Tom Christie.

"There is a fairly limited number of show runners that people want to trust with this kind of investment,” Christie said during a fireside chat earlier this week at the Pay TV Show. “I don't think you can limit yourself to the group of 25 show runners in Hollywood who are established anymore.”

The competition is so fierce for these elite creatives, the Showtime COO called it “free agency on steroids.”

Christie has worked for the CBS Corp.-owned premium cable TV programmer for more than 25 years. So he has a somewhat unique perspective on Hollywood and how the demand for original programming wrought by the streaming age has impacted the industry.

“Other than the '30s, I don’t know when the business drove so many jobs,” he said. “It is snowballing. A lot of us are waiting to see if it slows down. Can it continue? I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

Christie, meanwhile, recalls sitting in the Philadelphia high-rise office of NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke back in 2009, just before Burke’s employer, Comcast, put in a successful bid for NBCU.

He remembered Burke gazing out the window and wondering what the television business would look like in 10 years.

“The iPad and iPhone had not been in the marketplace that long, and Netflix had just started to stream,” Christie said. “Then, the whole thing got disrupted.”

Indeed, powerful new digital competitors and delivery platforms have upended the business for Showtime, HBO, Starz and the rest of the premium cable ecosystem.

Still, Christie said Showtime will resist some new paradigms, such as the impulse to indulge the new bingeing habits of consumers by posting entire seasons of shows at one time.

Showtime, Christie said, will continue with its “drip strategy,” debuting one episode a week.

“If your show can get a water cooler thing going, it’s a phenomenon,” Christie noted.

With its all-at-once binge-supporting strategy, he said, “I’m not sure Netflix has created this kind of dialogue. A lot of their shows tend to come and go, and there’s not much of a conversation.”

Christie, meanwhile, was asked if Showtime ever received corporate pressure to license its shows to outside platforms like Netflix.

Mimicking an unnamed top-level CBS executive with a brusque voice, Christie recalled being asked to release Showtime series Shameless to the broader streaming marketplace.

He said he wasn’t supportive of selling that show (prior seasons are on Netflix), but he understands the broader revenue imperative. Christie noted the challenges Disney will face as it pulls back from licensing its shows and keeps them in-house for Disney+.

“It’s going to be no small task to replace all of those revenue streams Disney has relied on over the years,” he said. “That’s a lot of subscriptions.”

Christie also noted how network brands mean less in the streaming age.

“These shows take on a life of their own now,” he said. “Would you still be watching Game of Thrones if it wasn’t on HBO? I think you would.”



https://www.broadcastingcable.com/ne...cy-on-steroids

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post #29859 of 30432 Old 05-19-2019, 06:16 AM
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Policy
FCC Casts Doubt on Constitutionality of Leased Access

Looks to lessen speech burden on cable operators
John Eggerton - May 16, 2019 BroadcastingandCable

As expected, the FCC has proposed a major overhaul of its leased access rules, but it is also potentially taking a wrecking ball to the regs, asking for comment on whether the rules should be struck altogether given the First Amendment impact on cable speakers and the "dramatic changes in technology and the marketplace for the distribution of programming [that] cast substantial doubt on the constitutional foundation for our leased access rules."

That is according to a draft Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) posted on the FCC's website, as it does three weeks before items are scheduled to be voted on in a public meeting, in this case the June 6 meeting.

The R&O, which likely has three Republican votes for passage and thus will likely become the new law (make that rule) of the land--though perhaps only briefly--would, first off, vacate the 2008 leased access rules, which were challenged by cable operators, stayed by a court, and never went into effect anyway, in part due to ongoing Paperwork Reduction Act issues cited by the Office of Management and Budget, which must sign off on the reporting requirements in new regs.

https://www.broadcastingcable.com/ne...-leased-access

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post #29860 of 30432 Old 05-19-2019, 06:24 AM
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That's all, folks. Dad should be back, tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'm off to write my June 15th show, work on my book and - far more likely - drink beer and watch golf.

If I missed anything, feel free to PM or email me. Or post it, yourself I'll be happy to email anyone the template and the rules.
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post #29861 of 30432 Old 05-19-2019, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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^^^ Reports of my online death have been greatly exaggerated.

Broke down and bought an under-$300 cheap HP laptop. It's slow as hell and weights a ton (the complete opposite of my slim 2017 Toshiba laptop), but it has a 1TB hard drive and a DVD burner. Those will come in handy for a project I'm working on until my Tosh returns from the shop.

Back to regularly-scheduled "HOTP" updates.
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Obituary
Lee Hale Dies: ‘Dean Martin Show’ And ‘The Golddiggers” Music Director Was 96
By Bruce Haring, Deadline.com - May 17, 2019

Lee Hale, whose love of 20th century music enhanced The Dean Martin Show and its spin-off, The Golddiggers, has died. He was 96 and passed at his home in Beverly Hills on May 10.

Hale was a six-time Emmy nominee who became the musical director for The Dean Martin Show and later helmed the popular celebrity roast specials hosted by Martin.

He joined the program in 1965 and remained on board until it ended in 1974. He was recruited by show director Greg Garrison to step up the show’s music, and Hale contributed with original songs, jingles and other works drawn from his knowledge of 20th century popular music. Irving Berlin gave him the rare honor of allowing his songs to be used in the show, something he rarely granted to others.

Hale was born March 25, 1923 in Tacoma, Washington. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, he worked as a choral director on the CBS variety show The Entertainers, a one-season vehicle for Carol Burnett, Bob Newhart, Dom DeLuise and Ruth Buzzi.

Hale also became music director for The Golddiggers, a spin-off starring the female singing and dancing troupe from The Dean Martin Show.

His resume includes the syndicated The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters, three Bob Hope Christmas specials, a special on NBC’s first 50 years, and several Emmy Awards telecasts. He memorialized it all in his book, Backstage at The Dean Martin Show, released in 2000.

Spouse Richard Neely survives him. His funeral will be held on Monday, May 20 at 3PM at Forest Lawn.

https://deadline.com/2019/05/lee-hal...rs-1202617581/
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TV Notes (Broadcast)
TV Renewals and Cancellations: 6 Broadcast Shows We’re Still Awaiting Decisions on for the 2019-20 Season
By Jennifer Maas, TheWrap.com - May 17, 2019

“Has [insert name of broadcast TV show currently in limbo here] been canceled or renewed?”

That’s the question on many viewers’ minds as upfronts week comes to a close. While Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS and The CW have all announced their 2019-20 programming schedules, some of those slates don’t reveal everything, meaning the statuses of half a dozen shows on broadcast TV are still up in the air.

And look, we can accept the fact that not every series will be saved like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” famously was last season — and not every show should be. But come on, networks — minus ABC, Fox and The CW, who have already axed or renewed everything they’re going to — fans need to hear one way or another whether their favorite programs will be returning this fall, especially for ones that have a crazy-devoted fanbase.
Below are the six shows we’re still awaiting decisions on.

Note: The ratings are based on the “most current” data from Nielsen, which includes a week of delayed viewing for episodes old enough to tally.

Series: “Abby’s”
Network: NBC
18-49 rating: 0.3
Official description:
From Michael Schur (“The Good Place,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Master of None”) and Josh Malmuth (“New Girl,” “Superstore”) comes a hilarious new comedy about the best neighborhood bar in San Diego — home to low prices, good company and, of course, Abby (Natalie Morales, “BoJack Horseman,” “Girls,” “Parks and Recreation”). This unlicensed, makeshift establishment in Abby’s backyard is the perfect gathering place for locals to find camaraderie and sanctuary. To maintain the perfect bar ecosystem, all patrons must abide by a specific set of rules. This includes no cell phones (not even to look something up), understanding that earning a seat at the bar takes time to rise through the hierarchy, and knowing that losing a challenge may have some unpleasant and unpalatable drink-related repercussions.
Stars: Natalie Morales, Nelson Franklin, Neil Flynn, Jessica Chaffin, Kimia Behpoornia, and Leonard Ouzts

Series: “The Village”
Network: NBC
18-49 rating: 0.5
Official description:
Welcome to the Village, an apartment building in Brooklyn that appears like any other from the outside but is quite unique inside. The people who reside here have built a bonded family of friends and neighbors. Sarah’s a nurse and single mom raising a creative teen; Gabe’s a young law student who got a much older and unexpected roommate; Ava must secure the future of her young, U.S.-born son when ICE comes knocking; Nick’s a veteran who’s returned from war; and the heart and soul of the building, Ron and Patricia, have captivating tales all their own. These are the hopeful, heartwarming and challenging stories of life that prove family is everything — even if it’s the one you make with the people around you.
Stars: Moran Atias, Dominic Chianese, Warren Christie, Frankie Faison, Jerod Haynes, Daren Kagasoff, Michaela McManus, Lorraine Toussaint and Grace Van Dien

Series: “The Enemy Within”
Network: NBC
18-49 rating: 0.6
Official description:
In this character-based psychological thriller, Erica Shepherd (Jennifer Carpenter) is a brilliant former CIA operative, now known as one of the most notorious traitors in recent American history serving life in a Supermax prison. Against every fiber of his being but with nowhere else to turn, FBI Agent Will Keaton (Morris Chestnut) enlists Shepherd to help track down a fiercely dangerous and elusive criminal she knows all too well. While Shepherd and Keaton have different motivations for bringing the enemy to justice, they both know that to catch a spy… they must think like one.
Stars: Jennifer Carpenter, Morris Chestnut, Raza Jaffrey, Kelli Garner, Cassandra Freeman and Noah Mills

Series: “A.P. Bio”
Network: NBC
18-49 rating: 1.0
Official description:
When disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar Jack Griffin (Glenn Howerton) loses out on his dream job, he is forced to return to Toledo, Ohio, and work as a high school Advanced Placement biology teacher. As he comes crashing in to Whitlock High School, Jack makes it absolutely clear he will not be teaching any biology. Realizing he has a room full of honor roll students at his disposal, Jack decides instead to use the kids for his own benefit. Eager to prove that he is still king of the castle, Principal Durbin (Patton Oswalt) struggles to control the force of nature that is Jack Griffin.
Stars: Glenn Howerton, Patton Oswalt, Lyric Lewis, Mary Sohn, Jean Villepique, Tom Bennett, Paula Pell, Charlie McCrackin, Jacob McCarthy, Aparna Brielle, Nick Peine, Allisyn Ashley Arm, Eddie Leavy, Jacob Houston, Sari Arambulo, Tucker Albrizzi and Spence Moore II

Series: “The Code”
Network: CBS
18-49 rating: 0.7
Official description:
“The Code” is a drama about the military’s brightest minds, who tackle the toughest legal challenges facing the U.S. Marine Corps. As prosecutors, defense lawyers, and investigators, these Marines work together to serve their country with integrity while often putting aside their personal ideals for the sake of justice. Operating out of Judge Advocate General Headquarters in Quantico, Captain John “Abe” Abraham is a driven prosecutor for whom becoming a Marine is a longstanding family tradition and a responsibility he treats with devotion and passion. His colleague and friend, Captain Maya Dobbins, is the fearless lead defense attorney who is never hesitant to go up against one of her own, but is also a team player if it means finding the truth. Major Trey Ferry is Abe’s eloquent and wise superior officer working for the prosecution who pursues suspects with ferocity. Commanding officer Colonel Glenn Turnbull, one of the highest-ranking female officers in the Judge Advocate Corps, demands excellence of herself and her staff, while inspiring intense loyalty. Assisting the team is Lt. Harper Li, a highly capable lawyer who is eager to take on bigger cases, and tech-savvy, efficient Warrant Officer Rami Ahmadi, the Marine equivalent of a paralegal. These active duty Marines are attorneys who have chosen to serve their country in pursuit of military justice at home and abroad.
Stars: Luke Mitchell, Anna Wood, Ato Essandoh, Phillipa Soo, Dana Delany and Raffi Barsoumian

Series: “Ransom”
Network: CBS
18-49 rating: 0.3
Official description:
“Ransom” follows crisis and hostage negotiator Eric Beaumont and his elite Crisis Resolution team who work to balance the demands of their personal lives with their careers as negotiators who handle high-pressure kidnappings and hostage situations. Eric uses his insight into human behavior to resolve the most difficult kidnap and ransom cases but must live with the emotional weight of recently taking out his arch enemy. Despite the stakes, Eric refuses to resort to violence, even when confronted by some of the most dangerous criminals in the world. While Eric’s considerable powers of manipulation make him the best at what he does professionally, they often complicate his relationships with family, friends and colleagues. His team consists of psych-profiler Oliver Yates, ex-cop Zara Hallam and the newest member of the team, Cynthia Walker.
Stars: Luke Roberts, Nazneen Contractor, Brandon Jay McLaren and Karen LeBlanc

https://www.thewrap.com/tv-shows-hav...e-code-ap-bio/
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Technology/Business Notes (Mobile)
Three big reasons why Americans aren’t upgrading their phones
By Vlad Savov, TheVerge.com - May 17, 2019

Last month, Verizon and AT&T made official something you’ve probably been aware of for a while: American smartphone owners are upgrading a lot less than they used to. In fact, they’re hitting record lows at the two biggest US carriers, with people apparently more content than ever to keep hold of their existing device. This is a global trend, as the smartphone market is reaching maturity and saturation in many developed nations, and yet it’s most pronounced in the United States for a few reasons particular to the country.

The Apple and Samsung duopoly

If you were to ask me to name the most exciting phones of 2019, top of my mind would be Huawei’s P30 Pro, with its exotic array of cameras and unmatched low-light photography, closely followed by the OnePlus 7 Pro and its gorgeous 90Hz screen. Is either of those phones available on AT&T or Verizon? Nope. Huawei is effectively banned by the US government, while OnePlus only has a distribution deal with T-Mobile in the country, which is better than nothing but still comparatively niche.

The typical American smartphone buyer knows a choice between only two brands: Apple and Samsung. Peruse the online offerings of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, and you’ll see a parade of various models from those two companies, punctuated by the occasional LG also-ran and Kyocera obscurity. If you scroll down far enough, you’ll get to see the Red Hydrogen One, which is a garbage phone, but it’s from a US company, so they let it in.

Chinese phone brands like Huawei and Xiaomi have leading positions in most of the world’s markets now, but in the US they’re almost entirely absent. For a Chinese phone maker to get a device onto a US carrier, it has to do that via the backdoor means of putting a familiar brand on it, such as TCL is doing with its BlackBerry and Palm handsets. Even OnePlus is mostly a palatable brand in front of the same giant Chinese conglomerate that operates the Oppo and Vivo brands. The US government’s geopolitics is playing out in carrier stores, narrowing consumer choice to products from US companies, mainly Apple, or manufacturers from US-allied nations like South Korea.

The Apple and Samsung stagnation

Being limited to two providers might not be a problem if they were competing as hard as they possibly could, but both Apple and Samsung appear content with mostly iterative upgrades. “Incremental changes from one model to the next hasn’t been that great, and it hasn’t been enough of an incentive,” according to Verizon CFO Matt Ellis.

Think about the things that make a Samsung Galaxy S10 compelling: a beautiful display with tiny bezels, a very good camera, a large battery with wireless charging, fast performance, water resistance, and, as a bonus, a headphone jack. The three-year-old Galaxy S7 has all of those things. An S7 owner can absolutely want an S10, but they certainly don’t need one. It’s a situation that looks a lot like the one with Windows laptops, where screen bezels are disappearing, everything is becoming lighter and faster, but the rate of improvement is too gradual to compel most people to upgrade in a hurry.

Apple did have a major redesign with the iPhone X in 2017, sparking a wave of upgrades from people who’d been waiting for such a dramatic change, but the company has otherwise kept to a conservative cadence when it comes to introducing new hardware features and capabilities. You’d certainly struggle to tell the difference between an iPhone X and XS, just as you would struggle to differentiate between an iPhone 6 and a 6S on first glance.

Without the likes of Huawei to push them into more aggressive upgrade cycles, Apple and Samsung can afford to keep pace only with one another, at least in the US market. Huawei’s breakneck pursuit of new features has proven extremely enticing for phone buyers in Europe and across the rest of the world, with the Chinese vendor racking up 50 percent growth in phone shipments in the first quarter of 2019 while Samsung and Apple both faltered.

The new economics of super flagships

It’s a badly kept secret that mobile carriers worship at the altar of ARPU (average revenue per user). Increasingly, they’re bundling their phone line rentals with subscriptions to premium video or music services, and they’re offering long-term payment plans to help people buy the super flagship $1,000 phones that Apple, Samsung, and Google have been offering. That strategy has worked surprisingly well, with consumers seeing only a marginal increase in their monthly cost and valuing the increased capabilities (or sheer aesthetic and luxury appeal) of those exclusive-tier devices.

But there are two long-term issues for hardware manufacturers selling ultra pricey handsets. One is that the person that spends double what they previously did on a phone would, naturally, expect to keep their shiny new phone for somewhere close to twice as long. Apple has been great about supporting many generations of iPhones with its latest iOS updates, and even though Android vendors haven’t been anywhere near as good, many people can carry on just fine with an older version of Android as well. The other big issue is that the addressable market of people willing to spend four figures on a phone is inherently small.

Phone manufacturers and carriers in the US have shifted the most innovative and appealing devices to a price point that’s simply unattainable for a majority of people.

They’ve masked it well, but it’s still a lot of money. Samsung’s cheapest Galaxy S10 variant, the S10E, is still $749. Americans’ smartphone budgets haven’t risen at the same pace as smartphone prices, and now when they look at their usual price range, they just see a lack of meaningful innovation. The OnePlus 7 Pro is a rare exception, bringing a devastatingly handsome, bezel-less display to the sub-$700 market.

Satisfied existing customers, a failure to deliver innovation to price points where people would be ready to upgrade, and the almost total absence of Chinese competition have sapped the US phone market’s vitality. Smartphones are still fun, exciting, and full of novel features, but you might have to go outside the United States to find one that’s both compelling and affordable.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/17/1...samsung-market
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TV/Critic's Notes (Mobile)
TV Long View: No Hits, No Problem — Cancel Rate for Rookie Shows Could Hit 10-Year Low
By Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter - May 18, 2019

Squint hard enough, and it's possible to find a couple of hits in the 2018-19 crop of first-year scripted series.

NBC's Manifest and New Amsterdam and CBS' FBI are all set to finish in the top 20 among total viewers (including a week of delayed viewing), and the two NBC shows will do the same in the adults 18-49 demographic. There are solid players like CBS' comedy The Neighborhood, ABC's The Rookie and The CW's Charmed and Legacies, but there was no This Is Us-level breakout among the freshman class. The majority of new shows were middling performers at best.

Yet a higher percentage of new shows will be returning for their second seasons than at almost any other time in the past decade.
Including two series scheduled for summer debuts, the broadcast networks ordered 37 scripted shows for 2018-19 (not including acquisitions from international markets). As of publication, only 11 have been canceled, with 18 renewed and eight still awaiting word.

At worst, then, just under half of the new series that aired or will air this season will return in 2019-20. That will be among the two lowest cancellation rates of the past 10 years: Half of the 46 new shows in 2016-17 also returned for second seasons.

The past three seasons, in fact, have had three of the four lowest cancellation rates of the past 10 years. From 2009-10 to 2015-16, the rate fell below 60 percent just one time (52.2 percent in 2014-15). The 10-year average will fall between 58 percent and 60 percent, depending on how many of the seven remaining shows are canceled.

Here are the 10-year figures:

New scripted

Season shows Renewed Canceled Failure rate


2009-10 33 13 20 60.6%

2010-11 37 10 27 73.0%

2011-12 44 16 28 63.6%

2012-13 39 13 26 66.7%

2013-14 44 13 31 70.5%

2014-15 46 22 24 52.2%

2015-16 44 17 27 61.4%

2016-17 46 23 23 50.0%

2017-18 39 18 21 53.8%

2018-19* 37 18 11 29.7%

Totals 409 163 238 58.2%


*TBD: Grand Hotel (ABC), Blood & Treasure (CBS), The Code (CBS), The Red Line (CBS), Abby's (NBC), AP Bio (NBC), The Enemy Within (NBC), The Villiage (NBC). Source: THR research.

The trend isn't confined to new shows either. Cancellations as a whole were way down in 2018-19, with 26 shows getting the ax as of May 17 vs. 40 at the end of the 2017-18 season. That's a drop of 35 percent; even if all seven remaining shows are canceled, the total will still be down 17.5 percent. (Last season, it should be noted, had more cancellations than the 33 in 2016-17 and 36 in 2015-16).

This seemingly paradoxical situation, where fewer series are pulled without warning even as linear ratings continue to fall, could well be the new normal. More than one network head mentioned that the primetime schedules they unveiled at the upfronts in the past week were a starting point, not the final destination for their shows. It follows then that the same-day ratings that once meant everything are no longer the only measure of a show's health (though they're still important).

Nearly as vital now is ownership by networks' related studios — the better to feed the proliferating outlets for streaming, soon to include in-house platforms for the parent companies of ABC and NBC as well as the already existing CBS All Access and CW digital services. The CW didn't yank any of its shows this season, only retiring three it had announced were ending a year earlier. The other, bigger networks might not get there anytime soon, but they're slowly moving in that direction.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/li...018-19-1211843
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - May 19, 2019

AMERICAN IDOL
ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET
SEASON FINALE: This is not a recommendation.
Remember when this show, when it was on Fox, ruled the ratings and dominated media attention? Now it’s the ABC finale again this year, and I’d surprised if anyone could name all of this year’s judges – much less any of the finalists. Which leads to that age-old philosophical question: If a 2019 American Idol finalist sings on ABC, and no one hears it, did they ever sing at all?

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 1962 movie version of Harper Lee’s story is a magnificent movie, anchored by a fabulous performance by Gregory Peck as small-town lawyer Atticus Finch. TCM’s showing of it in 2019 is especially timely, since Aaron Sorkin’s new stage version of Lee’s story is still playing on Broadway. And, for the record, is one of the best stage dramas I’ve ever seen.

KILLING EVE
AMC / BBC America, 8:00 p.m. ET

In tonight’s new episode of Killing Eve, Villanelle (Jodie Comer) continues her undercover work as Billie – helping Eve (Sandra Oh) to investigate another crime, and catch another killer. But Villanelle, as a field agent, is a dangerous weapon: less of a guided missile than a loose cannon.

GAME OF THRONES
HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET
SERIES FINALE:
You may have heard. This HBO series ends tonight. And when it’s all over, my guess is that the giant throne will be occupied by the show’s most diminutive character. But this program's plots have Throne me before...

BARRY
HBO, 10:20 p.m. ET
SEASON FINALE:
Last week’s episode ended with an intense cliffhanger: Fuches (Stephen Root), angered by Barry’s treatment of him, had taken Gene (Henry Winkler) out to his cabin in the woods, where Fuches led Gene to the hidden site of the car of Detective Moss – Gene’s missing girlfriend, who was missing because Barry had killed her in last year’s finale. And after Fuches ordered Gene to open the trunk of Moss’ car, he pointed a gun at Gene’s head. This week, in the final episode of a very strong season, we find out what happened.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

* * * *

TV/Critic's Notes (Cable)
‘Game of Thrones’ Ends on a Wing and a Prayer
By Alex Strachan, TVGuide.com's 'TV That Matters' - May 18, 2019

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about popular TV, it’s that great expectations don’t always lead to grand results.

Even before Game of Thrones neared its final appointment with destiny this weekend, it was clear this eighth and final season has proved to be less than hoped for, where the majority of the show’s rabid fan base is concerned.

And that’s even without taking into consideration the kind of hype that, just six short weeks ago, any reasonable person — i.e., adult — knew would be impossible to live up to.

A series-low Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 57% for last weekend’s second-last episode The Bells — fine for US presidential approval ratings, but not so good for a popular TV program more used to approval ratings in the 91% range or higher for every other season Game of Thrones has been slayin’ them on HBO — seemed to be the low point of the week. Incredibly, though, that low point dropped even lower later in the week with word that more than 500,000 disgruntled fans had signed a petition at change.org demanding that HBO redo the season, with different scripts and, more importantly, different writers.

Even in a fast-evolving TV landscape where it’s now possible for viewers to choose their own ending — see Netflix’s Bandersnatch episode of Black Mirror, for example — demanding that an entire season be remade, with new writers no less, is taking things to a whole other level.

Disappointed viewers have taken umbrage with Game of Thrones’ narrative structure, the writers playing fast-and-loose with the generally accepted rules of life and death in popular storytelling, and the fate of beloved characters. The show’s original tagline, “Winter is Coming,” first unveiled in April 2011, was always going to be realized at some point. Few, though, could have predicted that after all the fire-breathing dragons, the doomed romances, political infighting, and warring clans, this final season would get such a chilly reception — winter or not.

You don’t have to be a seer to realize that Sunday’s series finale, as yet unnamed, is more dreaded than anticipated, and not for the sentimental reasons one usually associates with the end of a much-beloved story with characters we’ve come to know and love.

Just two episodes ago, the biggest scandal was that Starbucks coffee cup that somehow made it through to the final on-air version. (I still think that, despite HBO’s heated denials and actor Emilia Clarke’s apparent admission that it was her fault, it was deliberate if subliminal product placement.)

Now the bigger scandal seems to be that, without novelist George R.R. Martin’s source material to fall back on — he’s still writing the books — writer-producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have stumbled at the story’s most critical juncture. Martin’s next novel, The Winds of Winter is still a work-in-progress, so the TV series has a different ending. As reviewer Michael Deacon wrote in London, UK’s Daily Telegraph, “Sorry. But no. I just didn’t buy that. Any of it.”

Other reactions have been just as caustic. Game of Thrones “deserves a final season . . . that makes sense,” one angry fan posted on change.org. The final season “seems rushed,” another signatory posted. It has “totally disrespected the author,” threw eight years of good work “under the bus,” and “demolished everything that was built throughout the series . . . a result of rushed storytelling, poor character development, and overall lack of care.”

Rotten Tomatoes has reported that, no matter how high Game of Thrones’ series finale scores in the approval ratings — if it scores at all — it won’t be enough mathematically to save this season from being the lowest-scoring season of the entire series.

That said, there’s still reason to watch if only to see if the show’s scribes can yet save their tale from eternal ignominy. The only thing known about the series finale, other than a brief, deliberately uninformative 30-second teaser on Game of Thrones’ official HBO YouTube channel, is that it will clock in at an hour and 20 minutes.
Endings are hard, but as The Big Bang Theory — and before that, The Americans — proved, it can be done. For every Dexter, there’s a Shield.

The die may be cast — literally — for Game of Thrones, but there’s still room for an ending that will uplift rather than mortify believers who lived through "Fire and Blood" (Season 1), "Blackwater" (Season 2), "The Rains of Castamere" (Season 3), "Breaker of Chains" (Season 4), "The Dance of Dragons" (Season 5), "Battle of the Bastards" (Season 6) and "Beyond the Wall" (Season 7).

And for those real-world parents who named their newborn children Daenerys and now regret it — yes, that’s actually a thing; that actually happened — all is not lost. Yet.

As Big Bang actor Jim Parsons said this past week on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, of The Big Bang Theory’s series finale, the writers can’t get it wrong because they’ve been writing it all this time, and they can’t get it right because it’s a series finale. Someone’s going to hate it.

“A good story isn’t a good story if you have a bad ending,” Benioff admitted to Entertainment Weekly. “Of course we worry.”

Believers and doubters alike will find out Sunday if there was a reason.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...x?postId=18236
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Thanks for that info.

I do wish the tracer was deep-sixed. It's overused and often not accurate. Today's 1st tee tracer-drive by Koepka was deep in the right rough until a camerman picked it up comfortably on the right side of the fairway, 69 yards from the flag.

Back-in-the-day, massive on-course towers would enable crack camermen to catch ball-flight entirety more accurately. Sometimes it would be quite exciting watching the ball launch and coming right into your LR. All this during low-tech era.
The new 'blimp cam' tracer was horrible yesterday, they never got it working right and I was hoping they would just give up but no, they kept using it. Eventually they gave up trying to predict where the ball would land with the tracer and cut away to a camera shot for the landing.

Just unreal trying to use a clearly-not-working tech in a major like this.
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TV Notes (Broadcast)
Steve Kroft Signs Off From ’60 Minutes': ‘I Want to Leave While I Still Have All of My Marbles’
By Jon Levine, TheWrap.com.com - May 20, 2019

Steve Kroft officially signed off from “60 Minutes” Sunday evening after announcing his intentions Friday to retire from the program where he has worked for 30 years.

In a brief message at the end of the show, Kroft said it was a “difficult decision” but he still had other things he wanted to do and noted wryly that he wasn’t “getting any younger.”

“As my good friend and colleague, Morley Safer advised me a few days before he passed away, ‘Don’t stay too long,'” Kroft said. “There are still some things I’d like to do that I haven’t done. I’m not getting any younger. I want to leave while I still have all of my marbles, the energy to enjoy life and the curiosity to pursue some different things.”

Safer, who spent 46 years on the show, died just one week after retiring from the broadcast in 2016.

“I’ve done nearly 500 stories for this broadcast and that has taken up most of the past 30 years of my life,” Kroft continued. “It’s been a tremendously rewarding experience and I want to thank you.”

Kroft first joined “60 Minutes” in 1989 servingside along legendary past correspondents including Mike Wallace, Safer, Harry Reasoner and Ed Bradley. He has spent more than 50 years as a journalist with 40 of those years at CBS News.

Becoming a well-groomed man doesn't happen overnight, but using Bulldog Skincare for Men can definitely speed up the process.

“Steve Kroft’s reporting for ’60 Minutes’ has been as important as any correspondent’s in the history of this broadcast,” “60 Minutes” executive producer Bill Owens said in a statement Friday. “Steve, with his sharp eye for detail, rich writing and demanding journalism, has set the bar at ’60 Minutes’ for three decades.”

Though the show will be losing Kroft, it will be gaining John Dickerson, who moved off his gig co-hosting “CBS This Morning” to become a permanent correspondent for the program. The move was part of a sweeping talent shakeup at the network.

https://www.thewrap.com/steve-kroft-...of-my-marbles/
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Technology/Washington Notes (Mobile)
FCC's Pai Recommends Approving T-Mobile-Sprint Merger
By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable - May 20, 2019

The T-Mobile-Sprint merger got a huge boost Monday when FCC chair Ajit Pai announced the companies had made a commitments to deploy rural broadband and advance 5G next gen wireless service, and face up to $2.4 billion per year in penalties per year if they don't do that and other things they have promised.

They will also spin off prepaid wireless service Boost Mobile to address competition concerns.

That was apparently enough to get the FCC chairman on board, and to secure his vote for approval of the proposed merger. He will circulate a draft order approving the deal and with the conditions laid out in the next several weeks.

The White House has made winning the race to 5G and advancing rural broadband for high tech agriculture avowed priorities.

In lengthy and unusual statement given that the chairman usually does not comment on the mergers before the commission, the chairman concluded: “In light of the significant commitments made by T-Mobile and Sprint as well as the facts in the record to date, I believe that this transaction is in the public interest and intend to recommend to my colleagues that the FCC approve it. This is a unique opportunity to speed up the deployment of 5G throughout the United States and bring much faster mobile broadband to rural Americans. We should seize this opportunity.”

He pointed out that the companies have committed to "deploying a 5G network that would cover 97% of our nation’s population within three years of the closing of the merger and 99% of Americans within six years. This 5G network would also reach deep into rural areas, with 85% of rural Americans covered within three years and 90% covered within six years. Additionally, T-Mobile and Sprint have guaranteed that 90% of Americans would have access to mobile broadband service at speeds of at least 100 Mbps and 99% would have access to speeds of at least 50 Mbps."

That includes covering "at least two-thirds of our nation’s rural population with high-speed, mid-band 5G."

T-Mobile has been saying that without the deal the company would not be able to build out that national 5G network as quickly.

Pai also said that the combined company has "offered specific commitments regarding the rollout of an in-home broadband product, including to rural households."

The companies have also volunteered, or agreed, to divest Boost Mobile. That is the sort of move that likely to boost its chances at the Justice Department, whose antitrust chief says he generally favors divestitures over conditions, though the deal has plenty of the latter apparently.

The FCC will not require any spectrum divestitures.

The deal still has to get two other votes at the commission, though that is likely to come from the other two Republicans, and Justice needs to sign off on its antitrust review, but it is unlikely the chairman would have announced his intention without believing he had the votes and the FCC and the commission generally coordinates its review with that of Justice.

June 15 will mark a year since the FCC opened its review of the deal. It has an informal 180-day shot clock on merger reviews, but it is not a hard deadline and has been honored as much in the breach as the observance.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said last month that a Wall Street Journal report that the Sprint merger was in trouble is off base.

But that report had been that Justice was having issues with the deal as structured. It could have been restructured since then in response to any concerns on that side of the deal-vetting.

According to FCC officials speaking on background, the companies have promised to structure the Boost divestiture so that Boost has the incentive and ability to compete with T-Mobile-Sprint in the low-cost market, and vice versa, notwithstanding the wholesale agreement between the new company and Boost.

The Wireless Bureau will have the authority to approve or reject that wholesale agreement.

The companies have also pledged not to use the deal to withdraw from the Sprint-Altice MVNO, according to the officials.

No commitments expressly deal with jobs, an issue that has been very important with unions, though FCC officials said they expect those to come along with the buildout commitments.

The companies re-committed Monday (May 20) not to raise prices for three years.

Asked how the FCC is going to verify the 5G high-speed buildouts, officials said just turning in maps was not good enough. Instead there will be T-Mobile-funded "drive" tests" that could be conducted by T-Mobile staff, but will have to be overseen by a third party.

https://www.broadcastingcable.com/ne...-sprint-merger

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TV Notes (Cable)
Game of Thrones: Plastic Water Bottle Spotted in Series Finale
By Ryan Schwartz, TVLine.com - May 20, 2019



Apparently Game of Thrones‘ editors could have used another cup of coffee.

Just two weeks after #CoffeeCupGate , eagle-eyed viewers of Sunday’s series finale spotted yet another anachronism — this time in the form of a water bottle. The plastic container can be seen at the 46:19 mark, as Grey Worm brings Tyrion in front of a council of Westeros’ hydrated surviving rulers.

The latest gaffe is arguably less conspicuous than the modern coffee cup that was left on the Winterfell banquet table in a scene from Episode 4. After that mistake went viral, HBO put out a statement, which read, “In response to inquiries from those who saw a craft services coffee cup in Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones, HBO states, ‘The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea.'” (The cup was later expunged from the version of the episode that appears on HBO Go.)

Game of Thrones ended its eight-season run this weekend with what is already one of TV’s most controversial finales ever. TVLine readers gave the series ender an average grade of “C,” and the final season an overall grade of “C-.” (Read Kim Roots’ last-ever Thrones recap here.)

https://tvline.com/2019/05/20/game-o...isode-6-photo/
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Technology Notes (Mobile)
Google pulls Huawei’s Android license, forcing it to use open source version
By T.C. Sottek, TheVerge.com - May 19, 2019

Following the US crackdown on Chinese technology companies, Google has cut off Huawei’s Android license, dealing a huge blow to the besieged phonemaker. Reuters first reported the news, and The Verge subsequently confirmed Google’s suspension of business with Huawei with a source familiar with the matter.

Reached for comment, a Google spokesperson said only “We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications.” The order, in this case, appears to be the US Commerce Department’s recent decision to place Huawei on the “Entity List,” which as Reuters reports is a list of companies that are unable to buy technology from US companies without government approval.

Speaking to Reuters, a Google spokesperson confirmed that “Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.” So while existing Huawei phones around the world won’t be immediately impacted by the decision, the future of updates for those phones as well as any new phones Huawei would produce remains in question.

Huawei is now restricted to using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), cutting the company off from critical Google apps and services that consumers outside of China expect on Android devices. That also means Huawei will only be able to push security updates for Android once they’re made available in AOSP, assuming the company uses its own update system. It’s not clear yet how this will affect the full range of Android integrations that Huawei depends on, but we will update this story when we receive additional clarification about the impacts of Google’s decision.

Huawei has been under increasing pressure from President Trump and the US government over fears that its equipment could be used by the Chinese government to spy on American networks. These fears have been under construction for a long time; In 2018, US intelligence agencies warned against using Huawei and ZTE devices, and US politicians have described Huawei as “effectively an arm of the Chinese government.”

Huawei maintains that it is not possible for the Chinese government to poison its equipment with backdoors, and it has remained optimistic about the future of its business. But this latest setback from Google poses a grave risk to the future of Huawei’s core mobile business. The company was already preparing its own operating systems in the event of being banned from using Android and Windows, but given US fears about foreign interference, a home-grown OS is likely to face even more scrutiny than Google’s software.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/19/1...oid-suspension
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Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
‘Saturday Night Live’ Ratings Inch Down In Households, Tick Up In Demo With Season Finale Hosted By Paul Rudd
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - May 19, 2019

Saturday Night Live closed out its 44th season with a finale hosted by Paul Rudd with musical guest DJ Khaled. The show, which featured appearances by Alec Baldwin and Robert De Niro, averaged a 4.0 rating Live+Same Day household rating in the metered markets, and a 1.6 adults 18-49 rating in the markets with local people meters.

That was down a bit in the metered-market households and up a notch among 18-49 in the local people meters.from last week’s episode with host Emma Thompson and musical guest Jonas Brothers (4.2, 1.5), which tied a demo low.

The finale, which also featured Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Meek Mill, J Balvin, Jeremih, Lil Baby, John Legend and SZA, was down from SNL‘s 2018 season closer with host Tina Fey and musical guest Nicki Minaj (4.5, 1.9).

Last Night’s Saturday Night Live ranks as the #1 show of the night on the Big 4 networks in metered-market households and in 18-49 in the local people meters.

https://deadline.com/2019/05/saturda...st-1202618409/
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TV/Broadcast Notes (Analysis)
Running Scared: Network TV in the Streaming Age
By John Koblin, The New York Times - May 18, 2019

As the curtain comes down on the 2018-19 television season, the major broadcast networks found themselves sinking deeper into trouble.

Their once-dependable viewers have continued their migration to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, and those who have yet to break the network habit are aging out of the group prized by advertisers.

At their annual presentations to advertisers in New York this past week, ABC, CBS and NBC emphasized that they were not mere TV networks but parts of mighty corporate families. The events were filled with talk of related cable channels, planned or extant streaming services, even the news divisions.

Fox, the outlier, seemed awfully lonesome in the wake of the Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of the bulk of the rest of Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment empire. The network no longer has the backing of a Hollywood colossus that included the FX cable channel and a massive studio.

While the overall TV audience is shrinking, however, it remains large enough to command billions of dollars from advertisers. A look at the highlights and lowlights of the season shows how the venerable medium is trying (and failing?) to stay relevant.

The Top Three

There were three genuine hits in broadcast television during the 2018-19 season: the NBC weepie “This Is Us,” the Fox reality show “The Masked Singer” and the CBS perennial “The Big Bang Theory.”

“This Is Us” and “The Masked Singer” averaged a 3.8 rating among adults younger than 50, and “The Big Bang Theory” was right behind, by a tenth of a point. The next closest shows — NBC’s “Manifest” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” tied for fourth place — reached a million fewer viewers in the 18-to-49 age bracket.

And what about next season? The prospects are grim, with “The Big Bang Theory” having broadcast its finale on Thursday. “This Is Us,” which NBC renewed for three more seasons, showed signs of wear, losing 30 percent of younger adult viewers and 21 percent of its total audience. That leaves “The Masked Singer,” a show that could lose a significant portion of its audience once the novelty of unmasking B-list celebrities in animal costumes wears off.

An Enduring Hit for ABC

“Grey’s Anatomy,” in its 15th season, remained a top-four entertainment show, with an average of nearly 10 million viewers an episode. More crucially, the series performs strongly among viewers between the ages 18 and 49.

That’s reassuring for ABC and its parent, Disney. The network recently renewed the show — created by Shonda Rhimes, who left ABC for a nine-figure, multiyear deal at Netflix — for two more seasons. “Grey’s Anatomy” has surpassed “ER,” which ended its run on NBC in 2009, as the prime-time medical show with the most episodes, and in the fall it will beat “ER” in the number of seasons as well. Ellen Pompeo, who earns more than $20 million a year, will continue on as Dr. Meredith Grey.

Krista Vernoff, the “Grey’s Anatomy” showrunner, signed a new overall contract with the network this year and has been charged with the task of breathing new life into the “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff “Station 19,” which has struggled. At the recent upfronts presentation, Karey Burke, ABC’s entertainment president, promised a “crossover event between these series every week.”

“Grey’s Anatomy” is not the only network stalwart that has continued to score. NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” is moving into its 21st season, and NBCUniversal spotlighted the show’s star, Mariska Hargitay, during its presentation at Radio City Music Hall. There was a reason for that: The show has real drawing power among younger viewers. The median age of the audience when the show airs is 57.5 — but that number is closer to 43 when people who stream or recorded the program are factored in, according to the NBC Entertainment co-president George Cheeks.

And speaking of “Law & Order” …

Mr. Network Television

It needs to be said each year, but with increasing emphasis: Dick Wolf, the creator of the “Law & Order” franchise, is helping to keep broadcast television alive.

Let’s start with the much-maligned Chicago shows the 72-year-old producer makes for NBC. The median age of their viewers isn’t exactly young, at around 61, but the audiences are remarkably stable. The total audience for “Chicago Fire” jumped 20 percent. There was no change for “Chicago Med,” and a 7 percent boost for “Chicago P.D.” These are among the only shows in network television that did not lose viewers during the 2018-19 season.

And Mr. Wolf — and his legion of baby boomer fans — isn’t just a boon to NBC. CBS has Mr. Wolf’s “FBI,” one of the most-viewed shows on TV, and it will add a spinoff. Fox has an unscripted Wolf show, “First Responders Live,” coming next month.

Late Night’s Cold War

The late-night wars are not what they were in the 1990s, in the days of David Letterman and Jay Leno. The viewership figures aren’t what they were back then, for one thing. And the acrimony among the stars of the 11:30 time slot isn’t what it used to be, either.

But there was a glimpse of the old fire on Wednesday’s edition of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” when Howard Stern told Mr. Fallon of the angst he felt in deciding which late-night venue he would select as the venue for promoting his new book.

It was between “The Tonight Show” and CBS’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Mr. Stern told Mr. Fallon, and he got so worked up about his dilemma, he said, that he even called Mr. Colbert for advice.

As the satellite radio host recounted it for Mr. Fallon and his audience, he told Mr. Colbert that he was very worried about disappointing Mr. Fallon by choosing the CBS show — because Mr. Fallon is “very fragile,” Mr. Stern said. But, he added, Mr. Colbert solved the problem by encouraging him to go on “The Tonight Show” first.

“That’s nice of him to say that,” Mr. Fallon replied.

A moment later, in what seemed like his attempt to stoke the rivalry, Mr. Stern turned to the audience and said, “I was going to bring a piñata on and let Jimmy break Stephen Colbert’s face and have things pour out of it, because they really are in a late-night war.”

After nearly four years of going head to head with Mr. Fallon, Mr. Colbert has bragging rights. He averages 3.8 million total viewers, compared with 2.4 million for “The Tonight Show” and two million for ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Mr. Colbert also looks poised to finish first among adult viewers under 50 for the first time. The CBS host, who surpassed Mr. Fallon among younger viewers a couple of months ago, has a narrow lead, averaging 678,000 viewers in the key demographic to Mr. Fallon’s 662,000.

There is some good news for NBC’s late-night slate. Despite a weakened lead-in, NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers” is the clear ratings leader in the 12:30 a.m. hour., with an average of 1.5 million viewers. His CBS rival, James Corden, averages 1.4 million.

Like Mr. Colbert, Mr. Meyers delivers a program heavy on material critical of President Trump. And like Mr. Colbert, his closest competitor puts on a cheery, less topical show.

As the 2020 presidential campaign dawns, politics is the real king of late night.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/18/b...streaming.html
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TV/Critic's Notes (Cable)
‘Game of Thrones’ Series Finale Close-Up: The End
Alan Sepinwall breaks down the series finale — and why the show ultimately felt like it betrayed its source material
By Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone - May 20, 2019

Full spoilers for the series finale, “The Iron Throne,” coming up.

“What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags?” Tyrion Lannister asks the surviving elite of Westeros midway through the Game of Thrones finale. He pauses, having run through the incorrect answers before delivering what he believes to be the right one:

“Stories,” he continues. “There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.”

Tyrion’s monologue was the most important moment of “The Iron Throne.” Not only did it decide the future of the Seven Kingdoms — which became Six after Sansa insisted on Northern independence — but it allowed GoT showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to once and for all declare what it was their mega-hit series valued above all else: good stories.

It makes sense. Not only had Benioff and Weiss been handed one hell of a ripping yarn by George R.R. Martin, but the series itself had long been defined by its love of storytelling. It’s easy now, particularly when we consider the later seasons, to focus mainly on the Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, Avatar of Unearned Character Shifts spectacle of it all. But so much of this global phenomenon consisted of two people in a room swapping tales of the good old days, or the bad old days, or how they couldn’t tell one from the other. Some of this was a matter of a monologue being cheaper to film than a massacre. But there was always a sense of the tongue, or the quill, being somehow mightier than the many impressive swords we saw swung over the years. The kingdom was bound as much by memory as might. Weaker fighters like Tyrion and Sam survived and even thrived at the end simply because they knew all the old stories. (Sam winds up with a cabinet position essentially because he’s the first man in generations who bothers using a library card.)

The importance of stories to the show plays out in the finale beyond Tyrion’s choosing the next leader of Westeros based on who has the best story. (More on that in a bit.) Ser Brienne of Tarth, newly promoted to lead the Kingsguard, studies the book about her predecessors and finds that Jaime’s entry is both skimpy and derisive. With some careful wielding of her quill, she turns it into a long, loving tribute to the man she believed to be a hero despite his many detractors. And Bronn (now Master of Coin), is amused to watch Tyrion (again the Hand of the King) discover that he’s been entirely omitted from a history of the events of the series that shares a title with Martin’s books. Depending on who’s telling the story, any man can be a hero, a villain or an utter non-factor.

But was the show that so loved good stories a good story in and of itself?

Let’s start at the end, which some would argue is the single most important element of any story. And on that front, Game of Thrones was definitely lacking. “The Iron Throne” was a step up from some of this final season’s other installments, in that you could always make out what was happening (including seeing the faces of major characters as major things were being done by and/or to them), and in that things mostly worked out well for the more likable remaining characters. (Sansa’s a queen — albeit not the queen! Arya’s an explorer! Bronn got his castle! Ghost finally got that hug from Jon!) Peter Dinklage seemed the most engaged that he has since Tyrion’s imprisonment and trial back in Season Four. But the season as a whole was largely a muddle. That trend continued through this episode, which was filled with odd narrative and stylistic choices:

* Benioff and Weiss, in their first jointly-credited episode as directors (each had his name on one previous installment), fell very much in love with the idea of watching… people… walk… for long… periods… of time. It was as if the finale wanted to compress the travelogue feel of previous seasons into a single 85-minute episode. So many people pacing, leading to an episode that was often badly-paced.

* The first time Dany and Jon share a scene in the finale, she looks at him like he’s something irritating she needs scraped from her shoe. The next time, she’s all giddy and unguarded — physically and emotionally — as she smiles and invites him to enjoy both sex and the burning of innocents. It’s an even more jarring turn than her shift to genocide in last week’s “The Bells,” and exists only to allow him to kill her and set the series’ concluding gambit in motion.

* Prior to this episode, Drogon had seemed capable of only two thoughts: “I’m hungry!” and “I’ll burn whomever my beloved queen tells me to burn!” Yet when he comes upon the Mother of Dragons dead at the hand of the Nephew of the Mother of Dragons, Drogon opts to burn… the Iron Throne. Why? Does he (as my friend Dan Fienberg suggested to me last night) see the dagger sticking out of Dany’s torso and assume the sharp and pointy Throne somehow killed her and deserves vengeance? Or is the dragon capable of deeper thought? Maybe something along the lines of, “That chair represents all the perils of a patrilineal monarchy, the pursuit of which claimed the once-gentle soul of my great queen and mother, and thus I must melt it down to protest its role in her untimely death!” Such a big moment — one that moots every “Who will sit on the Iron Throne?” fan debate ever — demands greater insight into the mind and moods of a magical flying lizard than Game of Thrones ever seemed interested in providing.

* Why on earth (or whatever GRRM’s version of it is called) is Tyrion Lannister allowed to choose the new king? As he points out, he’s hated by everyone, and Grey Worm in particular. Yet for whatever reason — other than him being played by the show’s biggest, Emmy-winning star — he’s allowed to go on talking and talking and deciding the future of everyone and everything in the place.

Most important, though, is the issue of Tyrion’s choice itself. Not only does he argue for stories as the proper metric for determining the leader, but asks, “Who has a better story than Bran the Broken?” If you look around that horseshoe of characters, Bran certainly doesn’t have the worst story. (That would be perpetual prisoner Uncle Edmure, who’s rightly and amusingly told by Sansa to sit down and shut up.) He did, as Tyrion elaborates, go through a significant transformation from crippled boy to Three-Eyed Raven. That’s not bad at all. But if you look to one side of him, you see Sansa Stark, who went from shallow and spoiled little girl to terrified hostage, then to fugitive, then to victim, then to a wise and respected leader who had absorbed the best qualities of the many powerful men and women she’d grown up around. And if you look to his other side, you see Arya Stark, who began as an overlooked littler girl who became, at different times, a boy, a prisoner, the Hound’s apprentice, a blind beggar and a Faceless Man. Oh, yeah, and SHE ALSO SAVED THE ENTIRE WORLD.

To be fair, Tyrion goes on to note that Bran also has the most stories, since he is the repository of the world’s knowledge. But what he’s trying to argue until then is not about most, but about best. And in the grand scheme of the series, Bran doesn’t much qualify. He was so extraneous at times that he was able to be left out of an entire season without being particularly missed. Even his role in the war with the Night King — a war that proved to be as besides the point of the endgame as Jon’s oft-analyzed parentage — amounted to being using as bait, while Arya actually stopped the guy. Bran went on this long journey of both geography and power, but he was a character to whom things simply happened, where many of the others at that parlay were characters who made active choices based on what happened to them.

Arya never seemed like the type who’d want the job. But we spent all season being told the same about Jon, even as Varys and others insisted he’d be great at it. And Bran’s own lack of interest in the gig was held up as yet another reason to give it to him. But it’s such an odd, underwhelming choice — whether made by the showrunners or told to them by Martin — in the story of Game of Thrones itself. End the show with one of the Stark sisters — whether the one who wanted the job or the one who didn’t — and it’s satisfying, both as culmination of a character arc we’ve been watching for a decade and as summation of the ways that Martin tried to upend narrative convention. Heck, end it with Sam in the new chair — either as king or in his attempt to invent a democratic government — and it feels more earned based on how far he’s come and how much time we’ve invested in him. Giving the crown to Bran is like giving the Super Bowl MVP to the long snapper.’

But does stumbling at the conclusion invalidate Game of Thrones‘ overall storytelling prowess? Endings are hard, as the last two decades of television have reminded us time and again. Dexter became a lumberjack. How I Met Your Mother killed the Mother. Many viewers are still furious about what happened to Tony Soprano, what the angels were on Battlestar Galactica and/or most of what happened in the final season of Lost. Even finales that provide ample closure and stay largely true to the story to that point can prove divisive. (I’m nodding in your general direction, Breaking Bad.) The destination feels important, but isn’t the true Game of Thrones all the friends we met — and sometimes mourned — along the way?

If we’re focusing on the journey rather than the disappointing places it led us, the question of how well GoT told its story becomes more complicated. It was a series capable of grand, unforgettable moments: Cersei bombs the Sept! Jaime knights Brienne! Ned’s got no head, baby! Its narrative sprawl was remarkable — and Benioff and Weiss’ ability to make it all feel like it fit together was arguably their greatest accomplishment — with only a few isolated narrative corners (Dorne, the Brotherhood Without Banners, certain stops in Dany’s journeys through Essos) that were largely populated with boring people. There were colorful characters nearly everywhere you turned, and many of the most compelling ones got to stick around until the final season. (Though shed tears for the gems we lost along the way like Joffrey, Tywin and the Queen of Thorns, while Jon Snow had all the personality of a block of wood.) It’s not hard to understand how the show became a global phenomenon. It had epic scope. It had increasingly impressive technical scale as the years went by. It had no shortage of fascinating figures to cheer for or root against. And every time a particular subplot seemed to be moving in circles, Dany would order her dragons to burn things, or the Lannisters would say hello to the Starks by violent proxy, and all would again be thrilling with this fantasy world.

Yet even before Benioff and Weiss grew hasty and sloppy in their storytelling over the last two seasons, their work often seemed less than the sum of its many amazing parts. That abundance of riches could be a double-edged Valyrian steel sword, with the series frequently too busy moving from one intriguing subplot or character pairing to the next to give any of them the full dramatic weight they deserved. (The best episodes, like “Blackwater,” “The Winds of Winter” or “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” tended to concentrate a lot of notable players into the same setting.) Sometimes, the show’s technical genius was married perfectly to a character point, like the way the White Walkers’ assault in “Hardhome” played out in a brutally efficient mini-arc for Karsi the wildling mom. At others, the stunning visuals could feel numbing and/or hollow, like Dany’s shift to monstrosity in “The Bells.”

But there was also the inescapable sense that Game of Thrones‘ depth never matched its breadth. It didn’t only offer superficial pleasures, but it often felt like the actors were providing more complexity than what was on the page. I once had an debate with a noted TV producer who didn’t like Mad Men and asked me to articulate what it was about and what it really had to say about those subjects. I argued that Mad Men had a lot to say about a lot of things (masculinity and feminism, to name just two), but that pointed question — “What is it about?” — occurred to me often over these eight GoT seasons. It was about power, and about the moral complexities of wielding power. (How, for instance, a cruel oligarch like Tywin Lannister could be a more effective de facto ruler of Westeros than an honorable and kind man like Ned Stark.) And it was, at times, about the ways marginalized people — whether women like Sansa or the “cripples, bastards and broken things” about which Tyrion liked to wax poetic — deserved more credit, and a better seat at the table, than society wanted to give them. But it was only about those themes and a few others to the extent that they didn’t interfere in the What Happens Next? of it all. Before the show began, a friend who had read Martin’s novels suggested they tried to do for fantasy what The Wire had done for police dramas. However much of that thematic texture may have been present in the books, it rarely turned up on HBO on Sunday nights.

Now, there’s no sin in focusing first and foremost on a relentless and thrilling narrative. Thrones operated on a level of ambition that never seemed remotely possible for television, and it usually did so smashingly. But when that’s the goal above everything else, that puts exponentially more weight on What’s Happening Next to be great. When we get to watch Brienne tease out Jaime’s better nature, or watch Sansa learn how to outmaneuver Littlefinger, it can be incredibly satisfying. When instead we’re spending the better part of a season watching Ramsay Snow mutilate and emotionally torture Theon Greyjoy, or when Dany’s turn into villainy feels rushed because Benioff and Weiss wanted to do shorter seasons at the end, it hurts more because there’s not as much below the surface. That goes doubly so for the series finale: the plot holes loom terribly large because the plot is nearly all we have at this stage of things.

There’s more to anyone’s story — whether it’s Bran’s, Sansa’s, Tyrion’s or Hot Pie’s — than what happens to them. There’s how they respond in the moment, how it shapes them in the future and what it means in the larger context of the world in which they travel. And there are so many different levels to telling the story of a television fantasy epic. On some of those levels, Game of Thrones was a jaw-dropping success that’s forever raised the bar for what can be done in this medium. On others, it fell maddeningly short.

There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. How good a story you ultimately find Game of Thrones depends on what you value in your stories. But as entertaining as the show could be, Bran probably has a better claim to whatever replaces the Iron Throne than GoT has to any spot on a TV drama Mt. Rushmore.

https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-r...inwall-837333/
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TV/Business Notes (Syndication)
James Holzhauer Returns to 'Jeopardy!' as Insiders Reveal Financial Details of a Record Streak
By Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter - May 20, 2019

James Holzhauer's return Monday to Jeopardy! after a two-week break for a teachers' tournament promises to be a ratings bonanza for the syndicated quiz show.

When last we joined the 34-year-old champion, he was 22 games into an unprecedented winning streak, accumulating $1.7 million and breaking records for the 10 highest single-day winnings in Jeopardy! history. The Las Vegas professional gambler is averaging $76,864 per show, enough for second place on the all-time winners list behind only Ken Jennings ($2.5 million over 74 games).

In the week of April 29, the show notched a peak 8.3 rating — its highest since March 2005 — and averaged 13.28 million daily viewers for the week. (By comparison, Game of Thrones' final season premiere drew 11.8 million live viewers, though that number shot up significantly with delayed viewing.)

But while the buzz surrounding Holzhauer is invaluable, it won't lead to any increased revenue for producer/distributor Sony Pictures Television. According to well-placed sources, the studio generates roughly $125 million each year in profit from Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, the crown jewels of its syndicated game show empire.

Those profits come from licensing fees from stations; ad sales; and, believe it or not, Jeopardy! slot machines, which produce up to $25 million in revenue annually, according to one source familiar with the revenue breakdown.

While the frenzy around the current winning streak is boosting ratings and media attention, Holzhauer-mania won't translate to increased advertising revenue because those ad deals were locked in long before he began betting big and demolishing competitors.

Conversely, Holzhauer's outsized winnings will make no significant dent in Sony's profits or present budgetary concerns for the show, which costs between $1 million and $1.5 million per week to produce, says the source.

Of much greater concern at the moment to Sony and Jeopardy! staffers is the health of Alex Trebek. The 78-year-old host revealed in March that he is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Despite debilitating abdominal pain, Trebek has not missed a day of work since receiving his diagnosis.

Still, the possibility that Trebek will step down is a very real and imminent one. The two key decision makers overseeing the order of succession are longtime Jeopardy! executive producer Harry Friedman and Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra.

The Sony leadership is said to have kept a list for some time of possible replacements for Trebek, who has hosted the show since it was revived by creator Merv Griffin in 1984. In the past, some of the candidates have included Matt Lauer and Anderson Cooper. It is unknown which names currently sit on the list.

For now, at least, Trebek can rest as the show has completed taping its 35th season, with the 36th scheduled to begin shooting in Los Angeles later this summer.

Will Holzhauer be back for it? His fate is already sealed and will reveal itself beginning Monday. He's not saying, nor are his competitors: Contestants sign documents promising not to reveal the outcomes of their games, and the staff and crew are bound to do the same.

But as far as the studio audience goes, it's largely left to the honor system. "We do ask them not to reveal anything they have seen, but that's the extent of the precautions," says Jeopardy! head writer Billy Wisse.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/ne...vealed-1212143
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - May 20, 2019

THE VOICE
NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET
SEASON FINALE:
Tonight and tomorrow, The Voice presents its first two-night finale of 2019. Tomorrow night is when the visiting stars will perform, filling time until the results are revealed – but tonight is the night the four finalists, on live TV, do their best to outshine their rivals. So far as coaches this cycle are concerned, Kelly Clarkson and Adam Levine have no skin in the game – or, at least, no members of their team in the final. Blake Shelton boasts three of four finalists, and only John Legend, with one representative, has the chance to keep Shelton from adding to his total as the judge with the greatest number of Voice victories.

THE LATE LATE SHOW CARPOOL KARAOKE PRIMETIME SPECIAL 2019
CBS, 10:00 p.m. ET
SPECIAL PREMIERE:
Last year’s prime-time James Corden Carpool Karaoke special, in which he drove around Liverpool with Sir Paul McCartney and presented a surprise McCartney mini-concert at a local pub, was my favorite TV moment of last year. I don’t expect to be similarly moved by this year’s outing, which is dominated by him driving Celine Dion around the Las Vegas strip – but I’ll still watch, and listen, with interest, because the “Carpool Karaoke” concept is one of the purest new TV ideas in years. And speaking of years: It’s been four years since Corden premiered as a late-night host for CBS. Since then, he’s proven so valuable to the network – not only as Late Late Show host and viral video star, but as reliably entertaining host of both the Grammys and Tonys on CBS – that his contract renewal at the end of this season should be a foregone conclusion. And he deserves such a big raise, it should be an eightgone conclusion, at least…


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
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TV Notes (Cable)
Game of Thrones: Plastic Water Bottle Spotted in Series Finale
By Ryan Schwartz, TVLine.com - May 20, 2019
EXCERPT

Apparently Game of Thrones‘ editors could have used another cup of coffee.
https://tvline.com/2019/05/20/game-o...isode-6-photo/
Apparently GOT's final season was done without much care for anything. Disappointment for followers I've talked to. I'm not one.

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TV Review (Cable)
Renée Zellweger in ‘What/If’ on Netflix
By Daniel D'Addario, Variety.com - May 20, 2019

“What/If,” Netflix’s new anthology series, tells you what it is from its first moments, as Renée Zellweger delivers an Ayn Rand-ian screed about rejecting social mores. Zellweger builds to a snarl as she decries “lesser people’s moral agendas,” all while puttering through a lavish apartment, pausing to trim a bonsai tree. She’s speaking to no one, or to her public — her declamations, we see in short order, end up published as a manifesto. She’s also underlining the story’s themes for the audience — literally, as she grabs a pen at monologue’s end to scrawl and draw a line under the words “at any cost.”

This is, then, the sort of show that explains exactly what its ideas are before it gets started — and that does so through a juicily overwritten rant delivered by an Oscar-winning actress as she practices horticulture. “What/If” occupies a curious place on Netflix, a streaming service built on programming appealing to slivers of its audience. The niche “What/If” serves is people nostalgic for the non-niche: Big-tent, unsubtle soap storytelling. Creator Mike Kelley previously made ABC’s “Revenge,” and similarly, this is a program whose broadness seems designed for broadcast. On Netflix, its sense of giddy, unashamed fun buoys it even as the seams show.

Zellweger plays Anne Montgomery, a corporate thought leader famous for urging the public, especially women, to be relentless in pursuit of what they desire. Anne meets her seeming opposite, the earnest, altruistic and unsuccessful health start-up founder Lisa (Jane Levy), and takes the opportunity to strike a deal. She offers Lisa $80 million, contingent on Anne getting one night alone with Lisa’s husband, Sean (played by Blake Jenner as an amiably blank hunk born to be the object, not the subject, of his own story).

That this is but a modern spin on the 1993 Robert Redford film “Indecent Proposal” — with concessions to our era made in the gender reverse and the pumped-up paycheck — is so obvious that the show itself must comment on it. “This whole idea was ripped right out of a bad ’90s movie,” Lisa declares. “I thought that film was quite decent,” Anne replies in a clunky joke that will determine whether or not the viewer vibrates on “What/If’s” frequency. But while “Indecent Proposal” painted Redford’s ultra-capitalist as a benevolent figure simply looking for love, Anne is interested in sex only as a demonstration of power. The structure of the deal — to be voided if Sean and Lisa ever discuss what happened on Anne’s big night — is designed to prise their relationship apart, and the nature of Anne’s investment ensures her future and Lisa’s will be intertwined. Perhaps the most 2019 aspect of this story is that Sean and Lisa never seriously consider turning down the money.

A titan who takes glee in destroying the lives of those unlucky enough to cross her path is not a natural casting for Zellweger, whose recent absence from the screen has deprived audiences of a preternaturally charming performer. From “Chicago” and the “Bridget Jones” films to “Jerry Maguire,” Zellweger’s great gift is depicting the process of overcoming insecurities, which makes her an awkward fit for a character who appears to have been born without any. Further, her status as a beloved star returning to work would seem to present opportunities to work on shows with loftier aims; for all the noise “What/If” makes about investigating the consequences of decisions, its appeal lies in watching Zellweger fetching a massive golden keychain from a glass vault while ordering a subordinate to get her car ready for a drive. (Let the debate over what is or is not camp end here: Renée Zellweger spitting “Bring the car around” is camp.) Her line readings always land a bit to the left of where an actress more suited to playing the boss might place them — and that makes her endlessly watchable.

Zellweger so consumes her moments on screen — fueled, not stymied, by having been a bit miscast — that she overwhelms her scene partners and the show’s other storylines. Subplots about infidelity affecting others in Lisa’s circle are sucked into the eddy of skewed charisma at the show’s center. Little of “What/If” truly works: Lisa and Sean are such easy prey that they grow unsympathetic, and the story defaults to outrageousness too early and too often. And yet its episodes, forty-five minutes of old-school soap oozing out of glossily high-toned packaging, leave a simpatico viewer satisfied. A “What/If” that was 10% better would be immeasurably worse; as it stands, it’s a captivating bit of cheese, anchored by a star making the most of a very strange moment.

“What/If.”
Netflix
(10 episodes, four reviewed); May 24.[/B]

https://variety.com/2019/tv/reviews/...ix-1203215802/
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
MONDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)
From Zap2it.com's TV Grid - May 20, 2019

ABC:
8PM - The Bachelorette (120 min.)
10PM - The Fix (Season Finale)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Jon Hamm; Naomi Scott; Mavis Staples and Ben Harper perform)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Big Bang Theory
(R)
8:30PM - The Big Bang Theory
(R)
9PM - The Code
10PM - The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2019
* * *
11:35PM - The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Julianna Margulies; retired Adm. William McRaven; performance from the cast of "The Prom")
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With James Corden (Renée Zellweger; Ben Kingsley; Oliver Tree performs)

NBC:
8PM - The Voice (120 min.)
10PM - The Enemy Within (Season Finale)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (John Lithgow; singer J Balvin; Sean Paul and J Balvin perform)
12:37AM - Late Night With Seth Meyers (Jeff Daniels; Logan Browning; writer Ann Beattie; Sebastian Thomson sits in with the 8G Band)
1:38AM - Last Call With Carson Daly (Rachel Brosnahan; Ex Hex performs; Tracy Spiridakos)

FOX:
8PM - Beat Shazam (Season Premiere)
9PM - 9-1-1
(R)

THE CW:
8PM - DC's Legends of Tomorrow (Season Finale)
9PM - Roswell: Mysteries Decoded
(R)

PBS:
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Churchill Downs Racetrack Hour 3
9PM - Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story
10PM - Independent Lens: Wrestle (90 min.)

UNIVISION:
8PM - La Reina Soy Yo
9PM - La Rosa de Guadalupe
10PM - Por Amar Sin Ley

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Un Poquito Tuyo
9PM - Betty in NY
10PM - La Reina del Sur

ESPN 2:
7PM - Johnsonville ACL Cornhole Championship: Bag Brawl (120 min.)
9PM - NBA Full Court Press: Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers (LIVE)

A&E:
8PM - Live PD: Police Patrol
8:30PM - Live PD: Police Patrol
9PM - Live Rescue (120 min., LIVE)

ESPN:
8PM - NBA Countdown (LIVE)
9PM - NBA Basketball, Western Conference Game 4: Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers (LIVE)

FOOD NETWORK:
8PM - Best Baker in America
9PM - Best Baker in America
10PM - Cake-Off (Series Premiere)

SCIENCE:
8PM - How the Universe Works (3 hrs.)

USA:
8PM - WWE Monday Night RAW (3 hrs., LIVE)

VH1:
8PM - Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta
9:01PM - T.I. & Tiny: Friends and Family Hustle

BRAVO:
9PM - Vanderpump Rules: Reunion Part 3
10PM - Summer House
* * * *
11PM - Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen ("L.A.'s Finest's" Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union)

HBO:
9PM - Chernobyl (Episode 3, 65 min.)
10:05PM - Gentleman Jack (Episode 6)

MTV:
9PM - Teen Mom 2
10:01PM - Teen Mom: Young Moms Club
* * * *
11:02PM - Teen Mom: Young Moms Club

TVONE:
11PM - The DL Hughley Show (Yara Shahidi)

PARAMOUNT:
10PM - Cops (Season Finale)
10:30PM - Cops
(R)

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show With Trevor Noah (Guest TBA, 36 min.)

E!
10PM - Nightly Pop

SHOWTIME:
11PM - Desus & Mero (Amy Poehler)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Comic Jim Gaffigan)


https://tvlistings.zap2it.com/?aid=gapzap
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TV Notes (Broadcast)
Gayle King Debuts New ‘CBS This Morning’ Team With Oprah Assist
By Lisa de Moraes, Deadline.com - May 20, 2019

Did you put money on Oprah Winfrey pitching in on Gayle King’s debut as chief co-host of CBS This Morning on Monday? Congrats!

CBS News unveiled its latest iteration of its morning show, with King joined by co-hosts Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil.

Among the news breaking to make the cut on Day 1: “Oprah’s After School Special” report on a high school that CBS News previously had highlighted, getting a visit from King’s BFF.

The co-hosts also sat down with Ava Duvernay about her four-part Netflix series, When They See Us, about the wrongful conviction of the Central Park Five, debuting Monday night.

“Tonight is your big premiere. We’re so glad you’re here in our first day,” King enthused, telling Duvernay that when she recently met the five men wrongfully convicted of raping a jogger in Central Park in 1989, “I…apologized, because I believed everything about that story. It never occurred to me they could possibly be innocent.”

“They said a lot of people come up to them and apologize,” King added.

“Welcome to CBS This Morning. I’m excited,” King opened Monday’s show, calling it “our game day.”

Mason gave a nod to the morning’s big news: Game of Thrones fans calling in sick to work, after staying up very late watching the GoT series finale and engage in social media uproar over it. “But not us,” Mason joked.

“I’m so excited. I’m not even nervous,” King announced of their debut. “You know why? Because we know everybody at the table. We know everybody in the room. We have met before.”

“We just want to have a good time and bring you a very good broadcast.”

The broadcast started with breaking news, including a report on the tornadoes that had ripped through Oklahoma, President Donald Trump’s latest tweets threatening Iran, etc.

But, for an hour, the show made sure nobody forgot an Oprah segment was coming:

“You never know who you’re going to meet in a parking lot in Newark,” King enthused during one such plug, adding, “It’s always great when she surprises people, especially when she’s bearing gifts. No cars, but something better than a car.”

King assured Dokoupil that Winfrey is “looking forward to meeting you,” and that she personally “can’t wait” for Oprah to appear on the morning show.

Nearly one-hour in, King told viewers. “Ahead, Oprah – there’s only one – surprises a New Jersey principal. What’s she’s doing to help him give students a safe place to stay after school.”

As the show’s second hour got underway, King revealed Winfrey had given New Jersey high school principal Akbar Cook a “huge surprise” last Friday, and that “our cameras happened to be there to capture the celebration.”

Sitting with King in the Toyota Green Room, Cook said he knew Winfrey was coming, but the students did not.

“So even though you know she’s coming, it still something when she walks in the door and goes ‘Hello!” King insisted. Cook called it “surreal.”

According to King, Winfrey was inspired by a CBS News report in March about Cook keeping his school open on Friday nights all year, and on additional nights in the summer.

“I remember when Oprah saw that story and said, ‘I really like that guy, how do I get in touch with that guy?’,” King revealed.

Last Friday, Winfrey visited the school with a $500K donation – and pizza from her O That’s Good line. “The crust is made of cauliflower, by the way – everyone’s keeping healthy,” King explained.

During a Game of Thrones segment that followed Winfrey, Mason declared M*A*S*H and Mad Men his two fave series finales. King’s added Six Feet Under to the list, saying she was torn about the Sopranos finale, though David Chase had asked her, “Well, how would you have ended it?”

Last week CBS News chief Susan Zirinsky brought the three co-hosts out on stage at Carnegie Hall, announcing to media buyers, “Now we are running into the future.” King informed them, “We each bring something different to the table, which makes us so fun.”

Their debut comes seven years and change since Charlie Rose, King and Erica Hill debuted as co-host. Hill was soon swapped out for Norah O’Donnell, who recently left the show to become CBS Evening News, replacing Jeff Glor. Rose was jettisoned in November of ’17 after The Washington Post published a report in which eight women accused him of sexual harassment and unwanted advances.

Ending their first broadcast, King assured Mason and Dokoupil, “I just wanted to get the first day done…I thought it was a very comfortable fit…So shall we return tomorrow?”

“I think we’ll come back tomorrow,” Mason deadpanned.

“Last I heard,” Dokoupil chimed in.

“I hope so,” Mason added.

“I haven’t checked my – yeah, we’ll be back tomorrow,” Dokoupil said, course correcting to end on the right note.

https://deadline.com/2019/05/gayle-k...es-1202618691/
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