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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 /forum/post/0


A moment of silence for the original Lost thread ( http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=449662 ) which was locked yesterday by the Administrators after going off-rails. You know, like the show itself!

I'm quite proud that my Santa theory was the very last post before CP locked it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 /forum/post/0


Is Sunday night between 7 and 11PM the lest-frequented time period for this thread? There's so much good TV on at this time (from "60 Minutes" to "Desperate Housewives" to "Entourage" and "The Tudors") plus the sports games that it seems this place goes quiet during this time/night.

Don't forget The Sopranos.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 /forum/post/0


Is Sunday night between 7 and 11PM the lest-frequented time period for this thread? There's so much good TV on at this time (from "60 Minutes" to "Desperate Housewives" to "Entourage" and "The Tudors") plus the sports games that it seems this place goes quiet during this time/night.


Generally, Saturday is the slowest day, dad.


(But the slowest days all time have been Sundays. Go figure.)


Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days for page views. Mondays and Fridays are about equal -- with Mondays picking up through the day and Fridays slowing down, especially after about 4 pm ET.


The most page views in a single day: 3,538 on Wednesday, March 7.


The last day with fewer than 1,000 page views was Sunday, Sept. 30, 2006 with 895.


So far in 2007, page views are averaging 2,207.


In the first four months of 2006, the average was 1,275.


In the first four months of 2004, the average was 851.


The first month to average more than 1,000 views was March of 2005 (1,029).


The first month to average more than 2,000 views was January of 2007 (2,043).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn /forum/post/0


I'm quite proud that my Santa theory was the very last post before CP locked it.


Now the question is who will get the final post on the original Hot Off The Press thread?
 

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As long as I am wandering down memory lane..
Hot Off The Press Notebook
Milestone Posts
Post numbers, time (Pacific) and posters

(First post: August 27, 2004, 7:24 PM Pacific time by fredfa)

1,000 Dec. 9, 2004, 717p fredfa

2,000 March 16, 2005, 330p keenan

3,000 May 18, 2005, 753a Paul Bigelow

4,000 July 23, 2005, 517p fredfa

5,000 Sept. 15, 2005, 1029a fredfa

6,000 Oct. 25, 2005, 734a fredfa

7,000 Nov. 28, 2005, 649p fredfa

8,000 Dec. 24, 2005, 220p fredfa

9,000 Jan. 26, 2006, 618p fredfa

10,000 March 27, 2006, 253p keenan

11,000 May 17, 2006, 1108a fredfa

12,000 June 10, 2006, 643p fredfa

13,000 July 10, 2006, 300p VisionOn

14,000 July 28, 2006, 122p 123HDTV

15,000 Aug. 28, 2006, 702p fredfa

16,000 Sept. 25, 2006, 609a Jediphish

17,000 Oct. 19, 2006, 1046p fredfa

18,000 Nov. 15, 2006, 1119p fredfa

19,000 Dec. 11, 2006, 1142a harley1

20,000 Jan 6, 2007, 916a dad1153

21,000 Jan 23, 2007, 829p PJO1966

22,000 Feb 8, 2007, 620p RussTC3

23,000 Feb 28, 2007, 107p Iteki

24,000 Mar 21, 2007, 822a fredfa

25,000 Apr 11, 2007, 1103p RussB
 

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TV Sports
MLB Blackout Rules: Help Coming?

By Jason Stark ESPN


Whatever it took to keep MLB's Extra Innings package on cable, we're grateful. But we're starting to hear those annual complaints from customers who can't watch what they thought they had signed up for, even after shelling out their $179, thanks to MLB's often-puzzling blackout regulations. Well, for the first time, there's hope.


We're hearing that a discussion of those blackout rules is on the agenda for next month's owners meeting. And indications are that it's Bud Selig's intention to fix this mess ASAP. We've also heard that teams have been asked to submit info to MLB specifically outlining all the distant locations in their "territory" where they're actually on some form of local TV. MLB then intends to crack down on clubs that are claiming certain areas as their turf if, in reality, those claims actually are preventing fans of that team from seeing games even if they're willing to pay for Extra Innings.


It's one thing for clubs to protect their right to cut local TV deals. But it's a big problem for the industry if the effect is, essentially, to tell fans: "You can't be a fan of this team anymore." Nevertheless, it isn't as simple as it sounds. So stay tuned.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/column...son&id=2842914
 

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I didn't have any problems either, IE w/Vista.


I must admit though that I have had problems getting back to the site from time to time, like right now.


Also, with so few folks voting for much of anything IMHO, what would it really mean if HOTP actually got the most votes? I mean, if the leader has 300 and HOTP has 50, I'm not sure what that really means in the big scheme of things. It seems like the numbers should be more like several thousand, shouldn't they?
 

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TV Sports
Blackout Issues Could be Addressed at Owners Meetings

By Maury Brown BizofBaseball.com April 22, 2007


With the increased visibility of the recent Extra Innings deal and the overall discontent of many consumers over how television blackouts are addressed by MLB, there is word that a restructuring of how blackouts are handled could be a hot topic at the upcoming owners meetings.


It's one thing for clubs to protect their right to cut local TV deals. But it's a big problem for the industry if the effect is, essentially, to tell fans: "You can't be a fan of this team anymore." Nevertheless, it isn't as simple as it sounds. So stay tuned.


As Jayson Stark reported, it isn't as simple as it sounds. There are overlapping television markets so determining how to break them up into more reasonable blackout territories will take some doing.


Still, this issue is one of the more frustrating aspects of owning Extra Innings. While Stark does not state it in his article, the national blackouts that come with the FOX game on Saturdays, and the ESPN games on Sundays would not be altered. All that said, one has to say that if MLB addresses the matter of "local" games, it would be a win for those that have wrestled with the Blackout Blues.

http://www.bizofbaseball.com/index.php
 

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Critic's Notebook
CBS evening blues
Katie Couric hasn't redeemed the No. 3 newscast. Can she survive as anchor?

By Gail ShisterPhiladelphia Inquirer TV Columnist


"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric sits beside Virginia Tech freshman Tim Tutt, 19, of the Collegiate Times. They were in the press room on campus Monday after the massacre of 32 people.


CBS executives deny it, but there's a growing feeling within the network that Katie Couric is an expensive, unfixable mistake.


So unfixable that Couric - the first woman to anchor a network nightly newscast solo - may leave CBS Evening News, probably after the 2008 presidential elections, to assume another role at the network, CBS sources say.


Despite her A-list celebrity, her $15 million salary, and a promotional blitz worthy of a Super Bowl, the former star of NBC's Today has failed to move the Nielsen needle on No. 3 Evening News since her debut seven months ago.


In a bottom-line business like television, that's a cardinal sin. Already-low morale in the news division is dropping, says a veteran correspondent there.


"It's a disaster. Everybody knows it's not working. CBS may not cut her loose, but I guarantee you, somebody's thinking about it. We're all hunkered down, waiting for the other shoe to drop."


Seven correspondents, producers and executives at CBS and other networks interviewed for this story spoke on condition of anonymity, given the sensitive nature of the Couric situation.


Couric and CBS were a bad fit from the start.


"From the moment she walked in here, she held herself above everybody else," says a CBS staffer. "We had to live up to her standards. . . . CBS has never dealt in this realm of celebrity before."


Media experts predict Couric's ratings won't improve anytime soon, given that news viewers tend to be older and averse to change.


Couric, 50,draws fewer viewers than did avuncular "interim" anchor Bob Schieffer, 20 years her senior. Much of the feature-oriented format she debuted with is gone, as is her first executive producer, Rome Hartman.


"The broadcast is an abject failure, by any measure," says Rich Hanley, director of graduate programs at the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University.


"They gambled that viewers wanted a softer, less-dramatic presentation of the news, and they lost. It's not fair to blame Couric for everything, but she's certainly the centerpiece and deserves a fair share."


CBS Evening News this season averages 7.319 million total viewers, down 5 percent from the same period a year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research.


Couric's viewership has dropped nearly 30 percent since her Sept. 5 premiere week, when she averaged an inflated 10.2 million viewers and led CBS News to its first Nielsen win since June 2001.


In separate interviews, CBS News president Sean McManus and Evening News executive producer Rick Kaplan vehemently deny that Couric's future as anchor of the broadcast is in peril.


Couric "is the current anchor and the anchor of the future," McManus says. "Everyone at the network, from my boss [CBS Corp. president and chief executive Leslie Moonves] on down, is 100 percent behind her."


"Katie is the anchor until she decides to ride off into the sunset and do something else," says Kaplan, named e.p. March 8. "There is no one, no one, wringing their hands around here."


Others say CBS is in denial. "It's over. The only one who doesn't know it is CBS," says an executive at a rival network.


To bolster its argument, CBS points to Couric's attracting 6 percent more 18-to-49-year-old women than a year ago, while ABC and NBC are down sharply in those categories.


NBC Nightly News, with Brian Williams, is No. 1 this season with an average of 9.004 million total viewers (down 6 percent). Charlie Gibson's ABC World News has 8.739 million (up 2 percent).


Some predicted that Couric was destined to fail in her new position.


For starters, the 6:30 p.m. news and Today call for totally different skill sets. And those sets are not easily transferrable.


Couric's effervescent personality and expertise with live interviews and ad-libs were perfect for morning TV, particularly over a leisurely two hours.


On a 30-minute evening newscast, however, what's required is the ability to read the TelePrompTer and not display too much emotion.


"I guess the evening news isn't ready for the morning news," quips Robert Lichter, president of Washington's Center for Media and Public Affairs.


Or, in the words of an NBC producer, "it's like asking a centerfielder to pitch. It's the same game, but requires totally different skills."


Contrary to popular opinion, gender is not an issue in the Couric situation, says Mediaweek.com analyst Marc Berman. "I give CBS a lot of credit for picking a woman. They just didn't pick the right woman."


Jennifer Pozner, executive director of New York's Women in Media & News, an educational and advocacy group, labels it "an infotainment issue."


"Couric came from Today, where bits of hard news are interspersed with diet tips and fall fashions." Had CBS hired Today coanchor Matt Lauer, the results would have been the same, Pozner says.


"Neither of them has the journalistic chops for the job. It's absolutely ridiculous that CBS wouldn't have predicted this."


Many say CBS, long the home to the most traditional hard-news broadcast of the Big 3, alienated its core viewers by making too many changes too quickly.


Network news viewers, whose median age is about 60, are accustomed to a straight-ahead roundup of the day's most important stories.


"They're middle-aged white guys saying, 'Give me news from a middle-aged white guy,' " says Charles Bierbauer, dean of the University of South Carolina's College of Mass Communications.


No surprise, then, that ABC's Gibson, 64, is now battling for first place with NBC's Williams, who turns 48 next month.


Connie Chung, 60, the last woman to anchor a network newscast, says Couric hasn't been in the chair long enough to get a fair shake.


"Six months? Good Lord, that's a blink of the CBS eye," says Chung, whose forced on-air partnership with CBS Evening News' Dan Rather lasted two excruciating years, until 1995.


"Katie should be given as much time as it takes. . . . I'm flabbergasted that anyone would sound some sort of death knell now."


Network-news analyst Andrew Tyndall agrees. Evening News "is absolutely salvageable," he says. The key will be Couric's learning to relax into her role as an evening anchor.


That won't be easy, given the pressure of impossibly high expectations. Many say Couric was painted as a white knight brought in to resurrect the once-mighty Evening News.


"She's trying too hard," Tyndall says. "She's overthinking her role. She's got to stand back. It's a very Zen problem. To be the face of Evening News, she's got to be self-effacing."


Self-effacing isn't the first adjective that comes to mind with Couric. She arrived at CBS with her own group of producers, bookers and assistants, which didn't sit well with the staff.


"She sees herself as a star and thinks the whole news department is here to serve her," says a longtime CBS correspondent.


Former anchors Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and Schieffer "saw themselves as leaders of the journalistic team," the correspondent says. "We felt we were part of something bigger than we were."


That Couric, a widow with two young daughters, seems to be a magnet for bad personal publicity exacerbates newsroom anxiety over CBS's image and credibility.


Recently, the tabloids have been in a frenzy reporting that Couric's new boyfriend is 17 years her junior.


"Having an anchor humiliated in the tabloids detracts from the nature of news itself," says Quinnipiac's Hanley. Such coverage "is part of the whole matrix of things that have gone wrong at CBS."


Couric took another P.R. hit recently when it was revealed that her CBS blog, Katie Couric's Notebook, was written by a producer. The ghostwriting became public only when CBS fired the producer for plagiarism.


Bob Steele, who teaches ethics at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, labels it "professionally and ethically deceptive" for someone to claim authorship of a piece if others contributed to the work.


"At the very least, this incident should be a loud warning bell for Couric and CBS," he says. Along with damaging credibility, using a ghostwriter gives less control of the material to the journalist who's responsible for it.


Given CBS's desire to brand Couric on every conceivable platform, "you have an individual who's spread too thin," in Steele's view. "She's exceptionally vulnerable."


If anything, that vulnerability serves to make the judgments of her work harsher. When Couric interviewed Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards and his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, March 25 on 60 Minutes, she was criticized for being too hard on them.


Prior to that, she was accused of being too soft. The constant critical scrutiny seems to be taking a toll on a woman accustomed to positive treatment in the media.


Nobody was more positive about Couric than CBS boss Moonves, the consummate showman, but observers agree that he oversold her - and that it was a major mistake.


By introducing a new (female) anchor and a softer, magazinelike format at the same time, CBS "scared people off," says an NBC producer. He would have waited six months before tinkering with the content, he says.


One of the early casualties was "Free Speech," a segment in which ordinary people as well as celebrities sounded off on various issues.


For many CBS News staffers, the nadir was a "Free Speech" segment Oct. 2, the day five Amish schoolgirls were murdered in Lancaster County.


The father of a child killed in Colorado's Columbine High School massacre in 1999 blamed the Amish tragedy, in part, on the teaching of evolution in public schools and on abortion.


Despite CBS's avowed intention to include all viewpoints in "Free Speech," the segment caused an uproar in the newsroom, according to CBS insiders.


"There's a difference between free speech and responsible speech," an embarrassed correspondent says.


It was another significant misstep in Couric's uphill climb to legitimacy, a trek that seems to grow steeper by the day.

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/colum...ing_blues.html
 

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TV Notebook
Ailing TV shows await the ax or the reprieve

By Scott Collins Los Angeles Times Staff Writer in the Channel Island TV Industry column April 23, 2007


Josh Goldsmith, like so many others, is waiting for The Call.


"Every time the phone rings, you think, 'Is this it?' " he said. "It's a nerve-wracking time."


As creator and executive producer of the Fox sitcom " 'Til Death," Goldsmith is sweating through a springtime ritual of the TV business, trying to distract himself with happy thoughts while network bosses decide whether to bring his show back for another year. The only note of grace is that the date of execution or reprieve cannot be postponed; the networks trot out their fall schedules next month in lavish New York ceremonies.


You know " 'Til Death" or maybe you don't, which explains why it's fighting to keep its spot on the schedule. Critics have mostly rolled their eyes at the series, which mines for humor and sexual innuendo in the travails of a long-bickering Philadelphia couple (Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher). The ratings haven't been great, but Fox has shown patience, and the show did perk up a bit this spring when it was put behind "American Idol." Then again, unedited videotape of your last family trip could probably rack up a decent number behind "Idol."


So, " 'Til Death" joins a dozen or so other network series that are, in one of those endearing industry metaphors, "on the bubble." Other high-profile shows in this group include the NBC dramas "Law & Order" (now in its 17th season), "Friday Night Lights" and "Crossing Jordan"; CBS' "Jericho" and "The Class"; and ABC's drama "What About Brian" and the sitcom "According to Jim." The CW's "Veronica Mars" and "Gilmore Girls" should be added to the list as well. (Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive roster, and it doesn't include many shows that are definitely saying sayonara, such as the CW's "7th Heaven," as well as those that have already been picked up for next year, such as NBC's "30 Rock" or ABC's "Ugly Betty" and "Men in Trees.")


Whether due to marginal ratings or tangled financial considerations or, typically, a combination of both the fate of these unfortunates is so precarious that even Hollywood's biggest touts, cynics and bull artists don't feel confident predicting whether they'll survive for another season. The network execs themselves don't know, because they haven't started screening finished pilots for new shows, and thus have no idea whether it's time to toast development plans that succeeded wildly or time to pull the kids out of private school.


"How you make these decisions is messy," said Vince Manze, NBC's newly installed president of program planning, scheduling and strategy, sounding almost apologetic.


The process is getting even messier as the networks continue to battle audience erosion. For example, is it possible that the pilloried " 'Til Death" might come back in the fall, while NBC's critically beloved but little-watched youth soap "Friday Nights Lights" is allowed to expire alone in a dark corner? Well, sure. Television is brutal.


Asked what looks at-risk at his network, ABC scheduling chief Jeff Bader replied instantly, "Our comedies." It's true belly laughs seldom erupted at ABC's Burbank headquarters this season, as its half-hour offerings such as "Big Day," "In Case of Emergency," "Help Me Help You" and "The Knights of Prosperity" flopped. Most observers don't expect those shows to return; the ax could likewise fall on aging veterans such as "According to Jim" and "George Lopez." ABC needs an extreme comedy makeover for next season. (One possibility: The network could import NBC's comedy "Scrubs," which happens to be made by ABC's sister company, ABC Television Studio, and has had a semi-permanent residence on NBC's bubble for a while now.)


"They're hurting in a lot of hours," remarked Shari Anne Brill of New York-based ad firm Carat USA.


The picture doesn't look much brighter for "What About Brian," although the low-rated drama "does have a fairly vocal fan base" among its target audience of young women, Bader noted.


Meanwhile, over at CBS, which is generally in strong shape, one of the biggest surprises of this season has been the sharp reversal of fortune for "Jericho," the thriller about the residents of a small Kansas town in the wake of a nuclear calamity. The show started the season as a modest hit last fall, your humble columnist even lumped it in with "Betty" and NBC's hit "Heroes" but ratings tumbled when it was brought back in February after a two-month hiatus. Now, its prospects for a sophomore season are no better than 50-50.


Did the split season hurt the show? Possibly, but CBS execs, like their counterparts at other networks, have found it challenging to schedule serialized dramas without relying on repeats or layoffs, either of which can turn off hard-core fans.


In any event, "Jericho" "didn't captivate viewers after it came back from hiatus," Brill said, adding: "I couldn't see how something so gruesome would have audience appeal."


One important clue regarding "Jericho": It's axiomatic in the TV business that networks frequently make renewal decisions based on whether a series performs better or worse than the network's overall prime-time average. CBS is averaging a 3.8/10 rating among viewers ages 18 to 49 this season, including the high-rated Super Bowl telecast, according to figures from Nielsen Media Research. "Jericho" is averaging a 2.9/8.


Given that NBC again finds itself in fourth place, executives there will find themselves making plenty of farewell calls to producers next month. Yep, that includes Aaron Sorkin, whose ultra-pricey "Studio 60" is considered an all-but-certain casualty. Another big name on the list may be "Law & Order" producer Dick Wolf, who's reportedly hacking away at the show's budget to try to persuade executives to order an 18th season.


But the most agonizing internal debate will likely come over "Friday Night Lights," a series that's loved by critics, executives and a ferociously devoted fan base yet can't seem to make a dent in the ratings.


"Certainly, I'll never be able to check my e-mail again if we don't schedule it," Manze joked, referring to viewers' passionate feelings about the show. If it's renewed, he added, "the most difficult thing is, where do you put it?" The show fizzled on Tuesdays and hasn't done much better in a new Wednesday slot.


"Friday Night Lights" on Fridays? Maybe too obvious.


At the still-evolving CW, it's always dangerous to make bets on what executives might do. The family drama "7th Heaven" was officially targeted for cancellation in 2005, but last May days after the airing of what everyone assumed was the series finale the show was suddenly and unexpectedly revived for an 11th season.


There probably won't be such a happy outcome for the youth-oriented crime drama "Veronica Mars," though. The show seems to have lost momentum in its third season and failed to capitalize on a comparatively strong lead-in from "Gilmore Girls."


"Forget about it," said one person close to the show, who declined to speak on the record.


Meanwhile, "Gilmore" itself could be in trouble. The network hasn't been able to finish negotiating new contracts with lead actors Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, and many fans have rebelled since the departure last year of creator Amy Sherman-Palladino.


Granted, this might all sound rather grim. But TV people grow adept at finding silver linings at this time of year. Being bubbly means a show hasn't been canceled yet, and in an era of diminished expectations, that counts as an achievement in itself.


As Goldsmith put it, "Having a show on the bubble feels like a victory; it's so hard just to get people to watch."

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...ck=3&cset=true
 

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Technology Notebook
Blu-ray burning its high-def DVD rival

By Thomas K. Arnold The Hollywood Reporter April 23, 2007


Of the high-definition discs bought by consumers in the first quarter, 70% were in the Blu-ray Disc format and 30% were HD DVD, according to sales figures provided by Home Media Magazine's market research department.


Blu-ray took the lead in February, and its percentage of total sales accelerated to the point where it accounted for nearly three out of every four high-definition discs sold in March.


What's more, when given the choice, consumers are going with Blu-ray. Warner Home Video released "The Departed" the same day, Feb. 13, in both formats. Between then and March 31, consumers bought 53,640 copies of the film on Blu-ray Disc and 31,590 on HD DVD, according to Home Media Magazine's market research, based on studio estimates and Nielsen VideoScan point-of-sale data.


Research also shows that eight of the 10 top-selling high-definition titles in the first quarter were on Blu-ray Disc. At the top of the list is Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's "Casino Royale," which sold through to consumers an estimated 59,680 units in the first quarter. The Blu-ray Disc edition of "Departed" finished second, while the HD DVD version of that Oscar-winning film placed third.


From Jan. 1-March 31, consumers bought almost 1.2 million high-definition discs -- 832,530 Blu-ray units and 359,300 HD DVDs -- according to Home Media Magazine. In March, consumers bought 335,980 Blu-ray Discs and 119,570 HD DVDs.


Since the high-def format's inception -- HD DVD launched in April 2006, while Blu-ray got rolling two months later -- more than 2.14 million discs have been purchased by consumers: 1.2 million Blu-ray Discs and about 937,500 HD DVDs.


Observers aren't surprised by the disparity, noting that Blu-ray Disc enjoys the support of five of the six major studios, while HD DVD is supported by three of them. Three studios -- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Buena Vista Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment -- are exclusively in the Blu-ray camp, as is mini-major Lionsgate, while Paramount Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video support both formats. Universal Studios Home Entertainment is the only major studio to release titles only in the HD DVD format, which backers claim is easier and cheaper to produce.


"All of this data points to the irrefutable facts that the consumers are voting with their dollars and adopting the revolutionary technology of the Blu-ray Disc," Buena Vista Home Entertainment president Bob Chapek said. "With such beloved titles as 'Pirates of the Caribbean' on the horizon, these numbers will only do one thing: grow."


Added Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president David Bishop: "Breaking the 1 million-unit mark is a significant milestone for Blu-ray because it represents rapidly growing consumer acceptance for this revolutionary platform. I am confident that the numbers will increase and more critical benchmarks will be reached to ensure Blu-ray's position as the leading high-definition format."


20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn agreed.


"Practically, Blu-ray launched this past November and in just over one business quarter has rocketed to a significant lead," Dunn said. "Consumers are clearly choosing Blu-ray as their high-def format of choice and telling us so at retail cash registers."


The three HD DVD studios wielded weak release slates in the first quarter; behind "Departed," the next biggest-selling HD DVD was "Batman Begins," which had been released in October. The title sold 16,980 HD DVDs in the first quarter, but factoring in its initial sales, it stands at 44,590 units, not far behind "Casino Royale."


Blu-ray supporters also were quick to hail the widening gap between Blu-ray and HD DVD titles.


"It's exactly what we've said all along would happen: The strong support for Blu-ray among movie studio and equipment manufacturers means that consumers have more choices when it comes to players and titles," said Andy Parsons, chair of the Blu-ray Disc Assn.'s U.S. promotion committee. "And they're choosing Blu-ray by an ever-increasing margin."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...9155f40a55d89d
 

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TV Notebook
'Bob Vila' Nailed Shut

By Chris Pursell Television News April 23, 2007


Say goodbye to "Bob Vila" -- at least in its original run. CBS Television Distribution has pulled the plug on longtime home-improvement television show host Bob Vila and his eponymous weekly series, which has been averaging a 0.3 rating this season, flat with last year.


The cancellation of the show ends a 28-year run for Mr. Vila on broadcast TV. He first shot to fame as host of "This Old House" on PBS in 1979 for a decade-long tour before debuting "Bob Vila's Home Again" in syndication in 1989. That series was renamed "Bob Vila" in 2005.


He has authored 11 books in that time, including a five-book series titled "Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes of America." In addition, he appears regularly on the Home Shopping Network, where he sells a range of tools under his own brand.


"Bob Vila" experienced a steady decline in ratings over the years due to the proliferation of home improvement channels on cable, including the DIY Network and HGTV, which made him a cornerstone of their programming. DIY currently airs old episodes of "This Old House" as well as "Bob Vila's Home Again."


Mr. Vila, 60, hosted his first original weekly cable series, "Restore America With Bob Vila," on HGTV in 1999; the show took viewers on a state-by-state tour of restored historic buildings, neighborhoods and gardens around the country.

http://www.tvweek.com/news.cms?newsId=11922
 

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TV Notebook
'Traveler' gets ticket for May 10 show

By Nellie Andreeva The Hollywood Reporter April 23, 2007


ABC's drama "Traveler" will get on the road earlier than previously announced.


The series, from Warner Bros. TV and the Jinks/Cohen Co., will premiere May 10 after "Grey's Anatomy."


The show's pilot episode will air again May 30 in the series' regular Wednesday 10 p.m. time period.

Previewing the series -- about two college buddies on the run after being framed by their friend for a terrorist act -- behind an original episode of the highest-rated drama series on television assures great sampling for the show before its off-season run.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...9117e99089024a
 

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TV Notebook
Cast, Cost Pruning Set for May Sweeps
Character Deaths Fulfill Dramatic, Financial Needs

By James Hibberd Television Week April 23, 2007


Not everybody is going to survive May sweeps.


Producers will nuke a major character on CBS's "Jericho." At least one beachgoer on ABC's "Lost" won't be found next fall. One of NBC's "Heroes," if not more, will have a heroic death.


Increasingly for prime-time series, May sweeps means cleaning house.


Pruning the series-regular ranks can help a show both dramatically and financially.


"At the very same moment networks are under major financial stress and trying desperately to reduce their costs, they've gotten locked into these big-cast, expensive shows," said Tim Brooks, TV historian and executive VP of research at Lifetime. "It's been 'attack of the accountants.'"


The popularity of cinematic ensemble dramas in recent years has crashed into the bottom-line reality of softening prime-time ratings. So showrunners are taking a cue from whack-heavy series like HBO's "The Sopranos" and Fox's "24" and increasingly relying on character deaths to pay off a season of loyal viewership.


Showrunners maintain that character deaths usually are in service to the story. In first-season shows cast with relative unknowns, such as "Heroes" and "Jericho," that's almost certainly the case.


Manny Coto, co-executive producer of "24," said deaths on the veteran drama have never been about the budget.


"Usually the characters being killed off have run their course, storywise," Mr. Coto said. "It's reaching for an emotional response out of the audience, and for better or worse, killing a major character accomplishes that."


The real-time drama embraced killing characters in prime time starting with the shocking death of Jack Bauer's wife in the first season's 2002 sweeps finale. Last season, "24" significantly upped the ante by killing four regular characters.


If online rumors, showrunner hints and network loglines are any indication, May is going to be a very bloody month.


Without revealing specific spoilers, a TV Guide report said "Lost," which is one of the most expensive dramas on television and has experienced a ratings drop this season, soon will chalk up a body count similar to the fabled "24" bloodbath.


"Heroes" showrunner Tim Kring has often stated that at least one cast member won't survive sweeps. Also on NBC, the renewals of several shows, such as the "Law & Order" franchise, reportedly have been tied to cast and crew budget cuts, which eventually could impact on-air storylines as well.


At CBS, a May press release reveals that somebody will die on both "Jericho" and "Close to Home," joining "CSI: NY," "NCIS," "CSI: Miami" and "Ghost Whisperer" as CBS shows that have killed off series regulars. The online rumor mill contends The CW's "Smallville" also is planning a major casualty.


"[Deaths are] partly a function of this new style of show where you have a really big ensemble," said Erin Gough-Wehrenberg, senior VP, current series, NBC Entertainment. "For 'Heroes,' it's definitely to do what's best for creative storytelling. ... [Deaths on other series] were each unique circumstances."


Yet the most anticipated sweeps stunt isn't a character's demise or a catastrophic battle, but the two-hour backdoor pilot for the "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off starring Kate Walsh, airing May 3.


For decades, the on-screen death of major characters was practically verboten.


When Jean Hagan left "Make Room for Daddy" in 1956, or when Jean Stapleton left "All in the Family" in 1971, their respective characters were simply written out of the show during the off-season. In such cases, the characters died because the actor left the show, rather than due to a showrunner's creative decision or budget downsizing.


As networks began to program stunts for sweeps, shows would reach for greater narrative twists, the most famous being the "Who Shot J.R.?" cliffhanger on "Dallas" in 1980.


But the regular killing of characters, to the point where audiences expect a corpse every season, is a recent phenomenon -- at least in prime time.


"[For sweeps stunts] we have progressed from the first kiss, to the big wedding, to bodies all over the stage," Mr. Brooks said. "But in daytime, soaps have killed off characters for years. You have a shoot-out in the hospital and -- voila -- some of the highest paid actresses are gone."

http://www.tvweek.com/article.cms?articleId=31855
 

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TV Sports
Team Owners Pledge to Keep Games on Their NFL Network

By John Consoli MediaWeek April 23, 2007


With rumors circulating that the National Football League was considering putting up for re-bid its eight-game, Thursday-Saturday package airing on the NFL Network, now comes confirmation that the games are staying put on the league-owned cable net.


Pat Bowlen, owner of the Denver Broncos and chairman of the NFL's broadcasting committee, told Mediaweek that team owners plan for the network to continue to air the games for the duration of the current rights deal, which expires five years from now.


The network has been unable to do carriage pacts with major cable operators Time Warner and Cablevision, contributing to low first-season ratings (1.9 in households, according to Nielsen Media Research). NFL Network pays $400 million a year to air the games, but Bowlen said the deal was more about establishing the network long-term than making money at the outset.


The owners' decision to put the games on the NFL Network was to help build a 24-7 network about football, Bowlen explained. That is our goal. We're not concerned about making more money on another TV rights deal. We want to create a year round football network.

Despite hearsay, Bowlen said no team owner had talked to him about putting the games back up for bid.


They realize we are building an asset, and that it is not going to happen overnight, he said. Every startup operation loses money for a while. But it is a priority to have these end-of-the-season games on the NFL Network.


Bowlen's comments come just before the network's upfront presentation to advertisers and media agencies in New York City on April 25. At the upfront, the net is expected to announce some tweaks to its NFL pre-game and game coverage, as well as the addition of another night of NFL game replays, the return of its Playbook show and a major revamp of its Web site. The net will also unveil plans to air the NFL draft on April 28 and 29 (competing with live draft coverage on ESPN), as well as offer draft coverage online and via Sprint mobile phones.


Ron Furman, senior vp of media sales at the NFL Network, said many programming changes resulted from viewer input.


One change: the return of Playbook, an X's and O's show on which analysts break down games for the coming weekend. Originally a standalone show, last year it became a shorter segment on the nightly NFL Total Access. Now, it will air for an hour every Thursday night and half-hours on Friday and Saturday. The show now will focus exclusively on upcoming games, unlike previously, when it also looked at past games.


The network will also add another pre-seaon game, as well as another night of game replays. Last season, the net aired two replay games on Tuesday and two on Wednesday. This season, it adds a fifth replay game on Monday night, either at 7 or 7:30. The replay games are not just straight repeats but include bells and whistles such as miked-up players and lockerroom footage.


A lot of people wondered what kind of response we would get to these replays last season, Furman said. But the fans have voted, and they liked them, so we are adding another game on another night.


The network's pre-game show, which last season ran three hours and was broadcast entirely on-site, now will originate in the studio for the first hour, followed by two hours at the game site.


The first hour in the studio will allow them to break down the game strategy better than on a live location, Furman explained.


Kick-off of the Thursday and Saturday games will be moved back to 8:15 p.m. from 8:05. Furman said the move will allow announcers more time to set up the game, and allow the audience to build. Research shows that HUT levels grow increasingly as that first half hour moves along, he said.


NFL Network also plans to reimagine its Web site with a soft relaunch in August, followed by a heavily promoted relaunch concurrent with the start of the NFL season in September.

And for the first time, the network will cover the NFL draft, along with ESPN. Steve Mariucci and Deion Sanders, analysts on the NFL pre-game show, will join host Rich Eisen on the two-day telecast.


In addition to its eight-game regular season package and pre-season game coverage, the NFL Network next season will air the Pro Football Hall of Fame pre-season game, pitting the New Orleans Saints against the Pittsburgh Steelers. NBC carried the game last year.

NFL Network in August will introduce a half-hour college football show, airing daily Tuesday to Friday at 6:30 p.m. and leading into NFL Total Access.


Media buyers, none of whom would comment for attribution, said that while all of NFL Network's shoulder programming is good, the live games are the real draw, since the network can use those games to package deals for other programming.


ESPN has a lot of sports shoulder programming, but what draws the most viewers in is live sports telecasts, one buyer said. The sports leagues that have their own networks have a hurdle to overcome since they can only show live games of their sport in-season, not year-round. And getting advertisers to get excited over shoulder programming out of season is sometimes a difficult task.

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/rec..._id=1003574623
 

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TV Notebook
Upfront Deals:
How Will Commercial Ratings Play?

by Wayne Friedman, Media POost Monday, Apr 23, 2007


While no one is estimating what the primary thrust in upfront deal-making will be in the coming weeks, many deals will probably have a component that includes some aspect of commercial ratings.


Although the official Nielsen Media Research rating will not be ready for this upfront, big media agencies are moving to doing deals based on their own commercial-ratings data. Average commercial ratings are an average of all commercial minutes in a program. Group M's agencies--MindShare and Mediaedge, for example--are pushing for deals based on average commercial ratings.


Many networks have said publicly they are ready to do deals on average commercial ratings. "We'd have no problem in doing deals that way," says one veteran network advertising sales executive.


Other media agencies, such as Publicis Groupe's Starcom and MediaVest, are focused on the more exacting minute-by-minute ratings, not an average--something that could be more difficult for networks to process. Adds one veteran network sales executive: "We have told media agencies there are some things we can do, and some we can't."


Aaron Cohen, executive vice president and director of national broadcast for Horizon Media, prefers to strike agreements using "live" program audience data for this upfront--just like deals were done a year ago. He notes that doing deals on live commercial ratings is tricky. "The negotiation will take on a different direction," he says.


In theory, media agencies could save some money in going to commercial ratings, since those numbers are anywhere from 3% to 10% under their respective program ratings. That depends, of course, on the program and whether it is on a broadcast network, cable network or in syndication.


Reality, however, is something else.


"They are not going to get 3% to 10% less," says Horizon's Cohen. "The networks need the money. Nobody will gain an advantage on cost by using commercial ratings."


And then there's the DVR issue. The networks may still want to add DVR viewership back in, with anywhere from one day to seven days of viewer playback data. All that would essentially bring back overall ratings to square one, say media executives--similar to current program ratings. "So then there is no gain or loss," says one network advertising sales executive.


Some agencies even appear to offer concessions. Group M is all for average commercials, and some say it even hinted to the networks that it would add back in DVR viewership after three days from its original airing, the "live-plus three days" metric. Ideally, networks want as much as seven days of DVR playback. Group M executives did not return phone calls by press time.


However, media agency executives don't expect the networks--in any combination of buying metrics, program or commercial ratings, with or without DVR playback--to ask for less money this year.

http://publications.mediapost.com/in...&art_aid=59093
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa /forum/post/0

TV Notebook
Cast, Cost Pruning Set for May Sweeps
Character Deaths Fulfill Dramatic, Financial Needs

By James Hibberd Television Week April 23, 2007


For decades, the on-screen death of major characters was practically verboten.


When Jean Hagan left "Make Room for Daddy" in 1956, or when Jean Stapleton left "All in the Family" in 1971, their respective characters were simply written out of the show during the off-season. In such cases, the characters died because the actor left the show, rather than due to a showrunner's creative decision or budget downsizing.

Uhh, "All In the Family" (a) wasn't on the air in 1971 and (b) Jean Stapleton stayed throughout the run of the show. I guess Hibberd meant to say '1981' and that Stapleton left the "All in the Family" spinoff "Archie Bunker's Place." And the sad thing is that I've never watched either of these shows and yet I know this information off the top of my head!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa /forum/post/0


As long as I am wandering down memory lane..
Hot Off The Press Notebook
Milestone Posts
Post numbers, time (Pacific) and posters

(First post: August 27, 2004, 7:24 PM Pacific time by fredfa)


20,000 Jan 6, 2007, 916a dad1153

Wow, Jan. 6th is my birthday! It's gotta to be a coincidence because I remember reading this thread for months before I actually decided to start posting here. And isn't Fred now in full Sopranos/Law & Order mode anticipating and remembering the good ol' times this long thread has lasted? It's sad when the end is near, everybody knows it and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.
 
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