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Summer TCA Tour Notes/Q&A (Broadcast)
ABC Entertainment Boss Talks ‘Roseanne,’ Kenya Barris, Fox Merger
By Daniel Holloway, Variety.com - Aug. 7, 2018

ABC paneled several new series Tuesday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey spoke with Variety about firing Roseanne Barr from “Roseanne,” Kenya Barris’ exit from ABC Studios, and how the upcoming acquisition by Disney of the bulk of 21st Century Fox might affect her future at the network.

There was a lot of pretty vile stuff in Roseanne’s Twitter feed going back several years. Had you not considered that something like what happened with the Valerie Jarrett tweet could happen, given that history?
We spoke with Roseanne and the producers at the beginning about her past history with the understanding that she came into this with a desire to share some very important stories, to shine a light on a part of the country that hadn’t had a spotlight on it in a while, and she was very much saying that she was aware of her behavior in the past and was very much looking forward to starting with a clean slate here. I am a believer in second chances, and we all felt like we were going to put our best foot forward and hope for a good result. And it did not end up that way.

With “The Conners,” what were your concerns going into those negotiations, and how did the producers address those concerns?
The specifics of it would have to be addressed with Tom Werner, because all of the actor deals rest with the studios. We were very clear about the fact that if we were going to move forward, Roseanne Barr would need to have no involvement with the show. We were able to come to a place where everybody felt comfortable and good about that. But with the specifics as to the conversations that were held between Roseanne and Tom, you would have to ask him.

There were creative differences with Kenya Barris over the episode of “Black-ish” that didn’t air, and there was speculation since that time about whether he would stay at ABC Studios or not. What can you say about what happened with that episode, and whether it was a catalyst for him severing his relationship with ABC?
First of all, Kenya’s broader relationship with the Disney-ABC Television Group goes on, because he still is very involved in “Black-ish,” he has “Grown-ish,” he has a new show, “Besties.” So there still is an ongoing dynamic with Kenya. I think creatively for writers there is a cycle and I think part of what happened for Kenya, outside of this episode — because with this episode, we had all been excited to have this one stand alongside episodes like “Lemons” and “Juneteenth,” and ultimately we all felt, Kenya, the studio, the network, that we hadn’t got to this place creatively where we were telling the story in a way that felt like it could stand alongside those, so the decision was made to shelve it. I think, and you would have to speak to him directly, he had come to a place creatively where creatively he wanted to do some things outside of what broadcast allows you to do, where you don’t have to worry about act breaks, and you don’t have to worry about standards and practices, and I understand that.

Can you talk about the decision to bring “American Idol” back for a second season? Its ratings were probably not on the higher end of expectations but also not at the lower end, then it showed some pickup toward the end of the season.
That’s a perfect analysis of it, meaning we had certain expectations, but we also wanted to be realistic within those expectations. And within the broadcast live-plus-same day universe, those numbers were still pretty robust. We were very excited about what happened when we started doing our live shows, because things did really pick up. There was great engagement. We’re hoping this year to do even more of the live shows. I think also the first time you’re doing anything, there are some kinks that you need to work out. I think that there are some tweaks that we’ll make to our format going forward that I hope will make the second season even stronger. We love our judges. Katy, Luke, and Lionel each brought something really unique to the dynamic. I think for them you could see by the end of the season that their relationship with each other, the talent was really starting to blossom. So for us it made sense, because it did feel like we were ending with more momentum to try a second season and see how it goes.

We’re starting to get a sense of how Disney and its divisions might look after the acquisition of Fox. Do you foresee yourself continuing to lead ABC long-term?
Look, I love my job. I love my team. There’s nothing that’s more exciting to me than reading a great script and getting to order that to pilot or watching a great pilot and getting to schedule it. So I very much enjoy what I do and would be happy to continue doing it. I have not yet had any conversations with senior management about next steps, but right now it’s business as usual for me.

Have you talked with 20th Century Fox TV about working with them more closely on next season’s development given that the business relationship with them is about to change?
We haven’t. There are a lot of very specific regulations about how you can engage. So for the moment, we’ve just been looking at 20th the same way we’ve been looking at Warners and Sony and our other outside partners. I will say that their team has come in really hot. They were aggressive, they’ve got a lot of great material, so that’s been exciting to see.

We’re also starting to get a picture of what Disney’s streaming service might look like. It seems like a lot of resources that might otherwise be going to ABC are going there. Do you feel like you’re in competition with that service?
Not so much yet. They’ve not yet started to make as big a push into comedy as they have into drama and some of the alternative stuff, but I would characterize their dramas as more PG, PG-13, where we’re still doing really R-rated stuff. So at the moment, it kind of helps you divide a little bit what goes where.

https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/abc-roseanne-kenya-barris-fox-1202898539/
 

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Summer 2018 TCA Tour Notes (Broadcast)
‘The Rookie’s Nathan Fillion Tailor-Made To Play Oldest Rookie In LAPD
By Lisa de Moraes, Deadline.com - Aug. 7, 2018

“Kneeling is a stunt for me,” 47-year-old Nathan Fillion told TV critics at TCA of the rigors of starring in ABC’s new cop drama The Rookie.

Written by former Castle executive producer/co-showrunner Alexi Hawley, The Rookie stars Fillion as John Nolan, a guy who leaved his comfy small-town life after a divorce and moves to LA where he becomes the oldest rookie in the LAPD. Playing a guy who has trouble scaling a fence, and gets winded chasing bad guys, was no stretch, physically, Fillion joked.

“If I can have a stunt guy run down the street for me, and these knees” so much the better, he explained.

“You make your way through your career playing somebody’s son, ad then somebody’s brother, and then suddenly you’re married and have a baby, and the baby is 14, and 22 and now you’re the oldest,” Fillion said of an actor’s trajectory.

“That’s your title. You’re The Oldest. That happens. I feel fortunate” he said of his latest series project. “I still feel a little bit relevant.

“This is the new normal” in our culture, Fillion said, remembering marriage was once The Norm, then divorce became The Norm. “Now it’s the reboot, the do-over. Not everybody is going to become a rookie cop” he conceded, but he guessed everyone in the the room has either had this experience or knows someone who has.”

Alexi Hawley described Fillion’s John Nolan character, who is based on an actual LAPD cop, as someone who is a rookie in his 40’s – twice the age of his fellow rookies. Meanwhile, other character who are his age are his superior.

“He lives in this in-between place,” Hawley described.

Asked if he’s worried the audience for this series is AARP aged, Hawley responded: “I think with the explosion of television in the last 10 years – [FX Network/FX Productions CEO] John Landgraf always comes up here and tells you how many shows are on the air, and it’s a lot” – this show is accessible to a wide range of viewers.”

They’re not targeting anyone other than “anybody who wants to watch,” he insisted.

The series came about when Mark Gordon called Hawley, saying he had the life rights to a guy who moved to Los Angeles and became the oldest rookie on the LAPD. “I immediately understood the potential of that character,” Hawley said.

That quickly turned into a conversation about whether Fillion would want the starring role so soon after his years on Castle.

“He really responded to the character, Hawley told TV critics.

“I couldn’t say no,” Fillion chimed in. “This January I will have been 25 years in the business. I see an opportunity; I know what to do.”

https://deadline.com/2018/08/the-rookie-nathan-fillion-oldest-lapd-kneeling-stunt-1202441891/

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Summer 2018 TCA Tour Notes (Broadcast)
Why Tim Doyle Kept His Upcoming ABC Series ‘The Kids Are Alright’ An All-Boys Family Comedy
By Antony D'Alessandro, Deadline.com - Aug. 7, 2018

There’s four-time Oscar nominated film The Kids Are All Right and of course there’s the famed 1966 Who song “The Kids Are Alright”.

So why couldn’t ABC come up with a better title for its 1970s-set comedy series from Tim Doyle, even though it’s a nod to the Pete Townsend ditty?

“We wanted to obliterate the memory of those other products,” joked Doyle, “They don’t deserve the public eye.”

“There were 80 titles we were working with and ABC selected this. This is the one they landed on. I had a bunch of others that I thought were better,” added Doyle.

Set in the 1970s, The Kids Are Alright follows the Cleary eight-son family as they navigate the seismic shifts during one of America’s most turbulent decades. The parents, played by Michael Cudlitz and Mary McCormack, provide little supervision to their boy in their working-class L.A. suburb. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.”

Pressed by a reporter as to why Doyle didn’t include more girls as characters in the family on the show so as to expand the series in an inclusive narrative, Doyle responded “This wasn’t something I was approached by market research with in regards to trying to hit every constituency. I had been working with ABC for a while and they knew some of these funny stories I told them from my childhood. I was specifically asked to write a story about my childhood. It’s my story and I wanted to tell it.”

Doyle also made a point of not watching other family-centric shows when breaking story, i.e. The Wonder Years and Malcolm in the Middle despite the similarity of those shows to his. “I have my own internal mechanism that’s pushing me in a certain direction,” says Doyle.

There’s a fake news joke in the sitcom that was shown in the trailer today at TCA, however, politics won’t be center stage on the show per Doyle, but a mix of character arcs and the hippie era. “We’re getting to know these folks,” said Doyle, “They’re trying to hold on to the values in this house, and the outside world keeps coming in.”

ABC next season will have a comedy series set in 1970s (The Kids Are Alright), 1980s (The Goldbergs) and 1990s (The Goldbergs spinoff).

The Kids Are Alright premieres on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 8:30PM.

https://deadline.com/2018/08/the-kids-are-alright-abc-tca-metoo-1202442010/
 

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TV Notes/Q&A (Broadcast)
How ABC’s New Survival Series ‘Castaways’ Harkens Back to the Early Days of Reality TV
By Reid Nakamura, TheWrap.com - Aug. 7, 2018

ABC’s new survival series “Castaways” takes all of the tropes that have come to define modern reality television and throws them out the window. There are no challenges, no host, no manufactured drama. Just 12 normal people stranded on an island in Indonesia.

Early on in the first episode, the show is defined not as a competition, but as a “social experiment,” a radical attempt to document what happens after you put 12 strangers together on a deserted island with limited supplies, and even more limited survival experience.

“We went out there with kind of theory of what would happen,” showrunner Grant Kahler said in an interview with TheWrap. “That people would start to rely on each other and companionship as a real tool of survival, and that is what we found. The companionship became, in many cases, more important than food and water to a lot of these people.”

Aside from its refined aesthetic and slick production values, the show probably has more in common with the early, experimental days of the reality genre (think “The Real World”) than any other unscripted shows on broadcast television in 2018.

“Castaways” incorporates flashbacks to the participants’ lives in the real world — which, along with its home on ABC, has earned the show comparisons to the scripted drama “Lost” — and is deeply invested in their personal struggles, a departure from the typical reality TV “character.”

According to Kahler, the goal was to “slow it down to tell real stories.”

“We chose people who really had something to prove,” he said. “People who stayed on the island in order to prove it to themselves or someone in their life. It was really interesting to watch. They all had different motivations to keep them going to the next day.”

TheWrap: The “social experiment” element of the show is almost reminiscent of the early days of reality television, like “The Real World” or that first season of “Survivor.” Was that intentional on your part?
Kahler:
Honestly, it wasn’t when we set out, but once we got through [shooting] it, absolutely. We set out to do a very raw and real social experiment, no doubt. We knew there would be no challenges, no host, it would be very documentary-style. Then in post, we did start to recognize how similar it was to the very beginning of reality — like “Real World” — where you literally just put a bunch of people in a situation and see how it unfolds.

Were you surprised by the results, once you dropped these 12 people on an island in the middle of nowhere?
Yeah, definitely. We went out there with a kind of theory of what would happen. That people would start to rely on each other and companionship as a real tool of survival, and that is what we found. The companionship became, in many cases, more important than food and water to a lot of these people. Absolutely that was a theory when we started, but we didn’t know how many people would choose to hoard what they had or go at it alone. If they find things would they not share? If they needed things, would they beg? We knew a lot of different ways all 12 stories could unfold, but it was actually the way it unfolds throughout their entire time out there was pretty remarkable, actually.

Was there ever a concern that you would set all of this up, record all of their backstories, and then send them out just to have them all quit immediately?
Yeah, I’ve experienced that two or three times on a show like this. It’s absolutely possible that you drop them all off, and by day two everyone says, “You’re crazy, I’m not doing this” [Laughs]. You always figure you’re going to have a handful of people drop out early, because honestly something like this — or I did a survival show called “Alone” that was real, like this — when people get out there and they realize there really isn’t a host, and there really isn’t a doctor next to them at all times, it’s kind of a shock to their system, honestly.

On a show like “Alone,” the point is that they all theoretically have the skills to survive, but these are just everyday people. What were you looking for when you were casting the show?
It was such an interesting casting process because we really did not care whatsoever about survival skills. Basically, the whole theory behind it is that everyone has a story to tell, no matter who you are walking down the street. We were looking for people who were really willing to open up and share those stories. [We have] a 400-pound guy with obviously some eating issues, we have some people dealing with drug addictions, and we have people dealing with secret marriages and all of these different people going on in their life. We didn’t necessarily have trouble finding people who with a unique life, what we needed to find was people actually willing to open up about those stories. And so that’s really what we focused on.

Did you give them any kind of training before you dropped them off? Did you have to prepare them so they wouldn’t go out there and die?
Not really [laughs]. There’s obviously a fine line on these shows between keeping it very real and authentic and keeping it safe. So we made them very aware of all the dangers. There are obviously a lot of dangerous animals and things like that, and we did give them pointers on what might be poisonous. But otherwise, we didn’t put them through any kind of boot camp on how to start a fire or how to gut a fish or anything like that. Part of what we wanted to do was have all these different people with all different skillsets, so that once they all got together, one person might know how to gut a fish and one person might have a lighter, for example.

How did you choose Indonesia as the location for the show?
Oh man. Because of how we wanted to shoot the show, it was so important that it be extremely remote. It takes away from the experience if there’s a resort a couple hundred yards away, it just does. Even the psychological comfort of knowing that it’s there, I think it changes the way people react to the environment. So I really wanted it to be remote so that it would be scary. So we looked at Southern Philippines, Indonesia and other parts of southeast Asia, South America.

Honestly, I grew up in Indonesia for four or five years, so that kind of won out in the end, just out of my own comfort with the country. [The island] was so remote, though, that we basically had to build our entire infrastructure and bring in our own doctors and crew. It took a lot of searching, that’s for sure. A lot of asking fishermen in eastern Indonesia, “Where are some beautiful islands?” That’s where it all started over two years ago, just asking the locals. It’s beautiful and incredibly harsh at the same time, so we just had to work it out.

How did the show end up at ABC? It’s not really like any of the other reality shows on broadcast right now.
I actually think your last point is exactly why it did, to be honest. Certainly, at a glance, you might think it might be on Discovery or History, but ABC was along with me the whole time and was very excited about doing something very, very different. I was almost surprised about how excited they were about the documentary style, about not having sit-down interviews, about kind of kicking all of the old reality tricks to the side and slowing it down to tell real stories. They were as excited as I was, so we just kind of went for it.

What was the incentive for the castaways to stay out there? Since there’s no prize money, did you get a sense as to why they were willing to suffer through this for so long?
There was actually money for those who got rescued. It’s not part of the show, but it’s also not something we hide whatsoever. So there was an incentive to finish. But at the end of the day, we chose people who really had something to prove. People who stayed on the island in order to prove it to themselves or someone in their life. It was really interesting to watch. They all had different motivations to keep them going to the next day. And to be honest with you, those of them who didn’t have a strong enough reason, they quit. That’s really how it ended up. And some of the people who quit were very, very physically capable.

“Castaways” airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on ABC.

https://www.thewrap.com/how-abcs-new-survival-series-castaways-harkens-back-to-the-early-days-of-reality-tv/
 

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TV/Production Notes
'American Gladiators' Eyeing Another Revival
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter - Aug. 7, 2018

American Gladiators could stage another comeback. Rights holder MGM Television is developing a revival with co-creator John Ferraro, and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg onboard as executive producers.

A perfect example of reality IP that hasn’t been looked at in a while, the original series was a blend of WWE wrestling and American Ninja Warrior — successfully airing in syndication from 1989 to 1996. There was a primetime revival in 2008, what proved to be a calling card of the Ben Silverman era at NBC, which saw initial success as a schedule filler during the writers strike but ultimately only lasted 21 episodes.

Under Mark Burnett, MGM Television has been aggressively pursuing reality TV offerings from both new and existing formats. Earlier in 2018, the independent studio packaged a revival of Burnett’s first show, Eco Challenge, which is also being shopped to buyers.

Should the series make it to air, it would be the first reality outing from Rogen and Goldberg’s Point Grey Pictures. The duo has had enormous success in film and TV, but has yet to venture far outside the realm of scripted entertainment.

Sources say MGM is currently in talks with multiple distributors who’ve taken interest in the property.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/american-gladiators-could-come-back-seth-rogen-producing-1132786
 

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TV Notes/Q&A (Broadcast)
Ruby Rose cast as The CW's Batwoman
By James Hibberd, EW.com - Aug. 7, 2018

The CW has found its Batwoman!

The network has cast model-actress Ruby Rose to play Kate Kane a.k.a. Batwoman. The character will be introduced in the network’s annual DC crossover event this winter, plus the network is also developing a stand-alone series around the character.

The casting is an impressive name. Rose rose to fame after joining the cast of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black in season 3 as Stella Carlin, and has had stand-out movie performances in Pitch Perfect 3, XXX: The Return of Xander Cage and John Wick: Chapter 2 (where she had a rather intense fight scene with Keanu Reeves that bodes well for battling crime on the streets of Gotham). She’s also in the upcoming killer shark movie The Meg.

If Batwoman is picked up to series, the openly gay Rose — who identifies as gender fluid — will topline the first TV series focusing on an LGBT superhero. “Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence,” reads the official logline. “But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope.”

But first, Rose will make her debut in this year’s DC crossover event in December, which will include Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl (but not DC’s Legends of Tomorrow).

The prospective Batwoman series will be written by Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries), who is also executive producing alongside Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, and Geoff Johns.

http://ew.com/tv/2018/08/07/ruby-rose-batwoman/
 

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Summer TCA Tour Notes/Q&A (Broadcast)
Trial & Error's NBC Future in Limbo
By Rebecca Iannucci, Variety.com - Aug. 7, 2018

It seems the Murder Board could be getting erased for good.

The fate of NBC’s mockumentary comedy Trial & Error is up in the air, now that the deadline has passed for the Peacock Net to renew the series for Season 3.

According to our sister site Deadline, production studio Warner Bros. TV will begin shopping the show to other platforms. The contracts for series-regular cast members, meanwhile, have not yet expired, which could raise the likelihood of the series finding a new home.

An NBC source tells TVLine that the network has not formally cancelled the show, despite the renewal deadline having passed.

Currently in its second season, Trial & Error stars Nicholas D’Agosto (Gotham) as Josh Segal, a bright-eyed defense attorney who relocates from New York to the small South Carolina town of East Peck, where he and his hapless legal team try to prove the innocence of seemingly very guilty clients. Jayma Mays (Glee), Sherri Shepherd (30 Rock) and Steven Boyer (Orange Is the New Black) round out the regular cast.

The comedy also centers on a different defendant each season: John Lithgow starred as (innocent!) poet Larry Henderson in Season 1, while Season 2 focuses on East Peck socialite Lavinia Peck-Foster, played by Kristin Chenoweth. A potential third season would likely bring in a new star.

Trial & Error‘s second season resumes with back-to-back episodes on Thursday, Aug. 9, at 9/8c.

https://tvline.com/2018/08/07/trial-and-error-cancelled-renewed-season-3-nbc/
 

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Summer 2018 TCA Tour Notes (Broadcast)
Why do guys avoid emotions? ABC offers 'A Million Little Things'
By Gary Levin, USA Today - Aug. 7, 2018

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – There's a million reasons to wonder about "A Million Little Things."

"Million," due Sept. 26, is ABC's take on an emotional "This Is Us"-style drama. It exchanges same-age siblings for a quartet of Boston friends and hockey fans – they meet while stuck in an elevator – that is rocked when one, John (Ron Livingston), commits suicide early in the premiere.

Like "Us," the show revisits him in flashbacks, while unraveling the surviving buddies' own baggage: Cancer, substance abuse, depression, suicidal tendencies.

Sound like a lot of laughs? Well, there are some.

"All of us, for different reasons, are not living the version of life we thought we'd be living," creator DJ Nash said Tuesday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. "I want to do a show about people who are stuck in life. A friend's unexpected death causes them to re-examine their lives. Whether there are sad topics on our show, we believe it's unbelievably optimistic. Friendship might be the one thing that can save you from yourself."

Nash lost a friend to suicide and said moving on is a key component of the drama, as is laughter, an easy coping mechanism. But at its heart is the notion that for male friends, emotion is a dirty word.

"Men like to talk about work, not feelings," said Romany Malco ("Weeds"), who plays Rome.

"Guys often bond around doing things with each other; it's also not the best thing to show weakness," said David Giuntoli ("Grimm"), who plays buddy Eddie.

NBC's "Us," one of TV's biggest recent hits, "paved the way" for Nash, a veteran comedy producer, to delve into the bleak, demonstrating there's an audience for the types of shows ("Thirtysomething," "Once and Again," "Brothers and Sisters") that were once a hallmark of ABC. Even James Roday, the jokey "Psych" star who plays Gary, takes a dramatic turn.

What to expect from your favorite TV shows this season

In the wake of recent celebrity suicides (Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain and Robin Williams) the show doesn't seek to romanticize the tragedy, Nash said, as Netflix's controversial "13 Reasons Why" did.

"These people's lives are forever changed because of this," he said. "If you watch the show, I don't think you'll say, 'Oh, I should do that, too." (The series will air a public service announcement following the premiere.)

Will it ever explain exactly why John took his own life? Maybe. "You can never find a reason that makes sense," Livingston said. "There's something missing and broken. It's probably not one thing."

"It's a million little things," Nash said.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2018/08/07/million-little-things-abc-drama-suicide/928606002/
 

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TV Notes (Broadcast)
E! Renews ‘Total Bellas’
By R. Thomas Umstead, Multichannel News - Aug. 7, 2018

E! has greenlit a new season of its WWE-inspired reality series Total Bellas, the network said Tuesday.

The network will produce a fourth season of the series, which follows the lives of WWE Superstars Nikki Bella and Brie Bella. The show’s third season was its best from a ratings perspective, drawing in nearly 1 million viewers per episode and posting double-digit increases among the 18-49 demographic, according to the network.

“Nikki and Brie’s willingness to be open about their struggles and celebrate their triumphs with their fans is what makes Total Bellas such a hit with our audience,” said Amy Introcaso-Davis, Executive Vice President, Development and Production, E! in a statement. “The Bella Twins embody the strong, empowered women that we celebrate here at E!, and we are so excited to see what the future has in store for them next.”

https://www.multichannel.com/news/e-renews-total-bellas
 

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Technology Notes/Review
Microsoft Surface Go: A Little Goes a Long Way
It’s a good, tiny Surface — don’t overthink it
By Dieter Bohn, TheVerge.com - Aug. 7, 2018



The Surface Go isn’t what you’d expect.

I’ve been using it for a week now and what I was expecting was a low-end Windows computer to go along with its processor and price. I was expecting to be unimpressed with its small keyboard. We’ve seen this story before, after all: first with netbooks and then with the original low-end Surfaces. You usually get something that promises to offer something like what you’re used to on a full-power device, but end up frustrated and annoyed.

What I wasn’t expecting was that the Surface Go would be such a joy to use — the only caveat being that I’m using the more expensive model that costs $680 with a keyboard. If you stay within its limits, the Surface Go is perhaps the most delightful computer Microsoft has ever shipped. You just have to know what to expect before you buy it.

* * * *

The Surface Go is a 10-inch hybrid tablet-laptop Windows computer. It’s just really small, honestly. That seems like an obvious point to make, but it’s the essence of what the Surface Go is: A very tiny Surface. I said in my last video that I have a soft spot for tiny computers. They’re just a little more convenient to carry around and the tradeoffs in performance are usually worth it for me. The sign of a good tiny computer is that you have to check to make sure it’s actually in your bag when you leave the house. And I have had to check several times — it weighs 1.15 pounds on its own.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is typing on the slightly-less-than-full-size keyboard. I found it only took me a few hours to get used to it, and I’ve been able to jam along without more typos that usual. It uses traditional scissor switches, which means that there’s good key travel. The keys themselves are slightly domed, which might help just a little with accuracy. The glass Precision trackpad is similarly good — just big enough so that you don’t feel cramped using it.

The hardware build quality is really nice. It has a full-range hinge on the kickstand that works at pretty much any angle. The body is made out of magnesium with slightly more rounded edges than other Surface computers. One downside is that the bezels around the 1800 x 1200 touchscreen are just huge. Really big, and it makes the machine feel super cramped. Beyond making it easier to hold in tablet mode, I suspect those bezels exist to make room for the webcam and magnetic keyboard connector. Whatever the reason, they make an otherwise premium machine feel a little frumpy.

I have mixed feelings about the port situation. I’m glad there’s microSD for storage expansion and I’m glad there’s a USB-C port. You can charge over it, but you will also likely need to get some dongles. It comes with a magnetically attaching Surface Connector, but unfortunately the charging brick doesn’t have a USB-A port (the larger Surface Pro charger does). Another downside: iFixit points out that this computer is basically unrepairable if something goes wrong. So getting Microsoft’s extended warranty isn’t the worst idea.

I’ve been getting about six hours of active use on the battery, which is fairly decent. Microsoft rates battery life by just running a video loop, which it claims will get you nine hours. I’ve been impressed with how quickly the Surface Go charges both on its Surface Connector charger and on high-powered USB-C chargers.

To get to something this small, Microsoft had to make a few changes to what you think of as a standard Windows computer. The first and most important is the processor, an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y chip. Normally, when we talk about low-end processors for tiny computers, we’re talking about Atom chips back in the day or Intel’s Core m3 line. This chip is something a little different and, yes, much better than I expected.

The Surface Go isn’t exactly fast, but I’ve had no issues with slowdowns doing my day-to-day computer stuff. All the basics of browsing in Edge, Word, Spotify, Outlook for email, and so on, were fast enough for me. Chrome did manage to bog down a little, but that’s not a huge surprise.

Even though I was pleasantly surprised by the power of this chip, let’s not get carried away. This is very much not a gaming machine, not even a little. But I still was a little sad to see even a Microsoft exclusive like Ori and the Blind Forest felt a little laggy. I also installed Steam and tried Transistor, which ran better.

We also put it through some workflows with Adobe Lightroom CC Classic. For light photo editing, it works in a pinch. But heavier work like stitching panoramas together or batch processing lots of photos really made it chug. Honestly, the bigger issue with editing photos was the smaller screen. You find yourself leaning in way closer than is comfortable.

Part of the reason my performance was so good is that I have the upgraded model, which bumps up the RAM and storage. All that extra RAM really helps with multitasking and makes Windows much nicer to use.

The base model costs $399 and comes with just 64GB of eMMC storage and 4GB of RAM. The updated model costs $549 and comes with 128GB of SSD storage and 8GB of RAM. On both models, you will want to buy a keyboard. There are two options there: the basic one is a hundred bucks, but I really do prefer the $130 version with Alcantara fabric.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the lower-end model, but unfortunately the only version I’ve tested is the higher-end model. Though I haven’t tried the cheaper one, I can comfortably guess that it will be a dog. There are two big reasons for that. The first is that it uses eMMC storage, which is historically much slower than SSD. The second is that it only has 4GB of RAM. You can use Windows 10 with just 4GB of RAM, but you won’t want to.

All of which brings me to S Mode, the version of Windows that the Surface Go ships with. By default, it will only run apps that are available in the Windows Store. But the apps you want to run on Windows aren’t in the Windows Store. For me, that means stuff like 1Password and the Amazon Kindle app (which was inexplicably pulled from the store). For you, it might mean Chrome or Firefox or some other Windows app.

[As an aside: I think S Mode is one of the unsung tragedies in tech right now. Microsoft was significantly ahead of the rest of the industry in trying to find ways to bring the innovation we’ve seen in mobile apps over to the desktop. Windows Store apps, at their best, do exactly that. Now Chrome OS is running Android apps and macOS is about to port iOS apps over. Microsoft had the right idea first, but having the right idea hasn’t translated into having the right apps. S Mode was always meant to be a forcing function to fix that problem, and thus far it hasn’t worked.]

Turning off S Mode is easy — it doesn’t even require a reboot. And I think many people will find that One App they need and end up turning off S Mode. Which opens the floodgates to installing more power and RAM-hungry apps, which means that 4GB isn’t going to be enough.

The thing I love most about Windows is that it never tells you “no, you can’t do that.” Whether you’re using a top-tier gaming laptop or a low-end device like the Surface Go, the same software is available to you. That blessing is also a curse, because you can very easily end up trying to run software that has no place on a low-end machine.

It’s possible to limit yourself to just simple apps on a Surface Go, but doing so gets rid of a lot of the reasons for getting this computer. That’s why I recommend the more expensive model. You’ll get the benefits of a small and light computer, but you’ll still be able to do more intensive tasks from time to time.

* * * *

Its price — $680 — is not exactly cheap and before I used this computer extensively, I thought it would put this machine in an awkward pricing range that would make it good for nobody. People who want a cheap computer would get a Chromebook or iPad, people who want a good PC for around $700 would find a full-sized laptop. Those assumptions are not entirely wrong.

But the wrong assumption I made is that the Surface Go fits into either of those categories. Instead, it’s exactly what it claims to be: a small Surface. Something about using it just engenders affinity, I enjoyed using this computer every day and was continually impressed at how well it multitasked. Sure, it commands a more expensive asking price, but in return gives you a better experience.

We don’t overthink the iPad Pro, which starts at over $800 with a keyboard. There’s no need to overthink the Surface Go, either. It’s good.

MICROSOFT SURFACE GO

GOOD STUFF:

Ultra portable
Great keyboard
Good battery life

BAD STUFF:
Big bezels mean screen is cramped
Dongles
Upgraded model is pricey

VERGE SCORE: 8.5 (out of 10)


https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/7/17657174/microsoft-surface-go-review-tablet-windows-10
 

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Nielsen Notes (Syndication)
Shows Settle as Schedules Return to Normal
By Paige Albiniak, Broadcasting & Cable - Aug. 7, 2018

Syndication seemed to settle back into its regular patterns in the week ending July 29 with World Cup soccer finally over and no major news events coming along to cause preemptions.

In talk, 11 of the 14 strips improved or held steady for the week.

CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil remained at a 2.6 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, even though the show was in repeats on all five days. That extended its talk lead to 99 straight weeks with two ties. Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Phil also led with a 1.0 in the key demo.

Back in households, Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Ryan rose 11% to a 2.1 and also showed the only year-to-year growth among the talkers, jumping 11%.

Warner Bros.’ The Ellen DeGeneres Show slid 6% to a 1.5. NBCUniversal’s Maury and Steve, which aired repeats all week, each were unchanged at a 1.3 and 1.1, respectively. NBCU’s conflict talker Jerry Springer, which is now out of production and is moving to The CW this fall, gained 10% to a 1.1 tying Steve. Springer’s fellow conflict talker Steve Wilkos — which, like Maury, is renewed for two more years — stayed at at 1.0, tying CTD’s Rachael Ray, which recovered 11%.

Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen, which ends its three-year run after this season, strengthened 13% to a seven-week high 0.9, tying Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams, which, in repeats, weakened 18%, and Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz, which fell back 10% for the week and 18% from last year to match its series low.

CTD’s The Doctors flatlined at a 0.7. Warner Bros.’ The Real rallied 20% to a 0.6, tying NBCU’s departing Harry, which also climbed 20%.

The first-run rookies were on the upswing, although ratings for Disney-ABC’s Pickler & Ben, produced by E.W. Scripps, were reprocessed by Nielsen for the fifth week in a row.

CTD’s DailyMailTV posted an 11% increase to a 1.0 and delivered a 25% increase among women 25-54 to a 0.5. Twentieth’s Page Six TV reported a 17% gain to a 0.7 and was unchanged at a 0.3 in the demo. Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask rose 25% to a 0.5 and remained at a 0.2 among women 25-54.

Week three of a four-week trial run for Warner Bros.’ viral video clip show The Hustle again averaged a 0.5 rating/1 share on Fox stations in eight metered markets. Among households, The Hustle declined 17% from its average lead-in and dropped 29% from year-ago time periods. Among women 25-54, The hustle was even with its lead-in at a 0.3/2 but down 40% from its year-ago time period average. Starting Monday, July 30, the show added a second run on WNYW New York at 7 p.m., temporarily replacing Page Six TV in access.

CTD’s Judge Judy held steady at the top of the courts at a 6.3, despite being entirely in repeats, tying Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud as syndication’s top-rated overall program in households.

CTD’s Hot Bench, which was in reruns for mosts of the week, eased 5% to a 2.0. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis both were unchanged at a 1.4 and 1.0, respectively. Twentieth’s Divorce Court rebounded 14% from a series low set in the prior session to a 0.8. Trifecta’s Judge Faith, which is out of production, recovered 20% from a series low to a 0.6.

CTD’s Inside Edition faded 4% to a 2.7, tying sister show Entertainment Tonight for the magazine lead. Warner Bros.’ TMZ added 9% to a 1.2. NBCU’s Access grew 10% to a four-week high 1.1. Warner Bros.’ Extra held steady at a 1.0. Trifecta’s Celebrity Page perked up 50% from a 0.2 to a 0.3.

Game shows were mostly flat, although CTD’s Wheel of Fortune inched ahead 2% to a 5.4 from a season low set in the previous round. Leader Feud, CTD’s Jeopardy! and Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire all were unchanged at a 6.3, 5.6 and 1.5, respectively.

Disney-ABC’s viral video series RightThisMinute remained at its season-low 1.3 for a sixth straight week. NBCU’s off-net true crime strip Dateline stayed at a 1.2 for a fifth straight week.

Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory was on par with the prior week’s 4.2. Twentieth’s Last Man Standing stood pat at its series-high 2.4. Twentieth’s Modern Family forged ahead 16% to a 2.2. SPT’s The Goldbergs was unchanged at a 1.6. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men remained at a 1.5. Twentieth’s Family Guy gained 8% to a 1.4. Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly moved up 8% to a 1.3. Warner Bros.’ 2 Broke Girls, Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother and SPT’s Seinfeld all held at a 1.1, 1.0 and 1.0, respectively.

Further back, Warner Bros.’ newcomer Mom stayed at a 0.9 for a third consecutive week, while CTD’s fellow rookie The Game played at a 0.4 for the fourth straight contest.

https://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/syndication-ratings-shows-settle-as-schedules-return-to-normal
 

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TV Notes (Broadcast)
CBS to Fold News Investigation Into Larger Corporate Probe
By Brian Steinberg, Variety.com - Aug. 7, 2018

An investigation into allegations of harassment at CBS News that was slated to come to an end later this month will be consolidated into a larger probe that the board of CBS Corp. has ordered into the culture of the company amid similar accusations recently leveled against its top executive.

CBS said Tuesday that findings in a CBS News investigation being coordinated since March by law firm Proskauer Rose will be wrapped into the broader corporate inquiry. CBS Corp. last week hired two other law firms, Covington & Burling and Devevoise & Pimpton, to examine allegations made by six women in a New Yorker article against CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves. Moonves, who has been CEO of CBS since 2006, acknowledged making advances in certain instances and said “I regret them immensely.” He denied assaulting any of the women or using his role at the company to retaliate against them.

The CBS News investigation was spurred by allegations that executives were aware of reports about unwanted behavior by former “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose. The New Yorker article reported on multiple allegations about behavior by Jeff Fager, the executive producer of “60 Minutes” and a former chairman of CBS News. Fager has denied the allegations, and this week extended a vacation rather than returning to the newsmagazine’s offices. “Having heard the investigation will be wrapping up soon, Jeff has decided to stay on vacation,” the CBS Corp. news division said in a statement on Monday.

It remained unclear Tuesday whether the consolidation of the various probes would affect when and if Fager might return to his duties at CBS News. A CBS News spokesperson declined to comment. A CBS Corp. spokesperson could not be reached immediately to provide details of how long the legal teams would take to complete their tasks.

CBS told employees Monday that the law firms investigating would report directly to the board, not corporate management. The board last week named Bruce S. Gordon the head of a three-person special committee put in place to supervise the law firms’ efforts. Gordon is a former telecommunications executive and former CEO of the NAACP. He is joined by Linda Greigo, a management consultant and Robert Kleiger, an attorney who has represented CBS’ controlling shareholders, Sumner and Shari Redstone, in legal matters.

“You are undoubtedly aware of the troubling allegations that have been made concerning sexual harassment and an inappropriate culture for women within CBS, including allegations directed at Leslie Moonves and the CBS News division,” the board said in an email to CBS employees Monday. The memo also indicated employees would be able to contribute information, even anonymously.

https://variety.com/2018/biz/news/cbs-news-investigation-harassment-moonves-1202898542/
 

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TV/Production Notes (Digital)
'Pachinko' TV Series in the Works at Apple
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter - Aug. 7, 2018

EXCLUSIVE: As Crazy Rich Asians is preparing for its historic box-office opening, Apple is taking a big swing with an international drama series featuring its own largely Asian cast.

Following a multiple-outlet bidding war, the tech giant has landed rights to develop the project based on Min Jin Lee's best-selling novel Pachinko. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the drama landed at Apple with a sizable script-to-series commitment.

Pachinko, one of The New York Times' 10 best books of 2017 and a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction, chronicles the hopes and dreams of four generations of a Korean immigrant family. Described as epic in scope, the story begins with a forbidden romance and crescendos into a sweeping saga that journeys between Korea, Japan and America. The Apple drama, which comes with what is said to be a sizable premium show budget akin to Netflix's The Crown, will be told in three languages: Korean, Japanese and English.

Soo Hugh (who oversaw on season one of AMC's The Terror) will pen the script for Apple as well as executive produce and serve as showrunner on the likely series. Pachinko hails from Michael Ellenberg's Media Res, which is behind Apple's upcoming Reese Witherspoon-Jennifer Aniston morning show drama and was the tech giant's entry into the scripted space. Author Lee will also be credited as an executive producer on the Apple take.

In addition to the Pachinko project, Hugh has inked an overall deal with Media Res — the studio's first such pact in television. Under the two-year pact, Hugh will also develop and produce additional projects for the studio. Sources say Hugh — one of only a few Korean-American female showrunners in television — had a personal connection to Pachinko and was able to option the title at a time when multiple outlets, including Media Res, were pursuing the book. Media Res then inked her to an overall deal. Sources say five networks bid on the TV rights to the best-seller. Hugh, repped by WME and McKuin Frankel, also counts The Killing and creating ABC's The Whispers among her credits.

Hugh's is the latest deal for Media Res, which continues to bulk up as a TV studio after recently inking a script deal with Sorry to Bother You scribe Boots Riley.

Pachinko arrives as Crazy Rich Asians opens wide this weekend. The feature film, based on Kevin Kwan's 2013 best-seller of the same name, is the first Asian-American-focused studio movie in 25 years. In success, Crazy Rich Asians has the potential to open the door for more culturally specific stories and reshape Hollywood. Pachinko, which will have an almost all-Asian cast as well, is tonally different from Crazy Rich Asians and is the more critically acclaimed of the two books.

"History is the record of human imagination, will and decisions. I cannot imagine a greater team than the women and men of Apple, Media Res, William Morris Entertainment and the brilliant showrunner, Soo Hugh, to translate Pachinko, a novel of history, into a visual story for a global audience," Lee told The Hollywood Reporter. "I am honored by their faith and feel confident of their powerful and ground-breaking vision in making history anew.”

For Apple, meanwhile, Pachinko joins a slate of high-profile scripted programming from producers including J.J. Abrams; Damien Chazelle; Witherspoon; Steven Spielberg; Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon; Ron Moore; and M. Night Shyamalan, among others.

Lee, who is Korean-American, is also repped by WME.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/pachinko-tv-series-works-at-apple-1132664
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
How The Bold Type Transformed Its Fashion Closet Into a ‘Secret Little World’
By Devon Ivie, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Aug. 7, 2018

Sutton expensing $500 worth of cocaine. Kat having sex dreams about a woman who definitely isn’t her girlfriend. Jane being, well, Jane. Regardless of the conundrums The Bold Type heroines face on a weekly basis, one constant remains through all of those office heart-to-hearts and ***** sessions: that fabulous Scarlet fashion closet. It’s a closet so chic and so homey, the ladies instinctively eschew their workload and retreat into it whenever something big crosses their minds. As Sutton so concisely put it in a recent episode: “Fashion closet, now!!!” (Not to mention how closet is always empty whenever the trio hang in there. Go and suck it, Incite.)

Tasked with modifying the original configuration from the show’s pilot, production designer Zoe Sakellaropoulo knew the closet would serve as a focal point for our Scarlet-ers, elevating it from the generic-leaning interior we saw in the Freeform show’s first episode without going overboard. “It was always their private place to go to. The fashion closet has become their secret little world — in a sense, their private world,” Sakellaropoulo told Vulture. “It’s a place for them to sneak away and talk and gather.” To better align with this vision, Sakellaropoulo changed the closet’s overall aesthetic to something more “elegant” but also “lived-in,” peppering it with pieces of furniture to mirror a living room. But as much as everyone loves a good fuchsia ottoman, the focus still had to be the clothing and accessories.

“We wanted to create the feeling that it was a real, working closet that had lots of clothing and no static. We keep moving things and adding things to make it look alive,” she said, noting the dozens of color-coated racks, mannequins, and boxes on rotation for whatever a particular episode calls for. “The colors are all together, even though they can be mixed up every now and then. There’s an order to the closet, so the disorder I try to not encourage, because at any working magazine they have a way of order and a way to catalogue their clothing.” Sakellaropoulo even looked to Cosmopolitan — whose former editor-in-chief, Joanna Coles, inspired the series itself — when it came to closet organization: “I wanted to be as authentic I could.”

As for how the show manages to fill up the closet with the nicest garments this side of the Mississippi — plus hats, belts, shoes, and handbags — that’s a bit tricker, owing to the dual challenge of a strict no-visible-branding rule enforced by Freeform and a “not huge” budget. Still, Sakellaropoulo says she was able to make do with less. “It’s a mix of everything. We’ve bought things in vintage stores, we’ve bought things in boutiques. We’ve rented some pieces from designers, and we mix in a lot of second-hand items,” she explained. “We don’t have the budget to pay $1,000 for every item, so there are fillers as well. There might be certain dresses that don’t look great, so we wedge them between two nice dresses. We use the same process with the shoes, too. Stack ’em around nicer pairs.” Work worthy of a Unicorn Dreamtimi, truly.

http://www.vulture.com/2018/08/the-bold-type-fashion-closet.html
 

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TV/Production Notes
Plain White T’s Turning 2006 Hit ‘Hey There Delilah’ Into TV Series
By Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone - Aug. 7, 2018

The Plain White T’s hit “Hey There Delilah” is getting adapted into a scripted television series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The band is transforming the song into a romantic comedy about a long-distance relationship. Described as a “contemporary fairy tale,” the show will reportedly expand the song’s story of a struggling musician promising his long-distance partner that once she graduates school, they’ll be together.

Plain White T’s frontman Tom Higgenson came up with the concept for the TV show with writer Jeremy Desmon – who has primarily worked in musical theater – and Michael Barra of Lively McCabe Entertainment. The show’s producers, which also includes the band’s management company Primary Wave, will pitch the potential series to networks and studios this month.

“It’s been more than a decade since ‘Hey There Delilah’ was released, and people always ask me about it,” said Higgenson. “A whole lot of people really connected with that song, and I’m very proud of that. I’m so excited to have an opportunity to give a new generation the chance to form their own connection with the song, and fall in love with its story through this new project.”

“Hey There Delilah” was the third single off the Plain White T’s 2006 album, All That We Needed. The track was a sleeper hit, topping the Billboard Hot 100 the following year and earning two Grammy nominations.

https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-news/plain-white-ts-turning-2006-hit-hey-there-delilah-into-tv-series-707750/
 

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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
WEDNESDAY 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 - Aug. 8, 2018

ABC:
8PM - CMA Fest (3 hrs.)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Kristen Bell; John David Washington; Brett Eldredge performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - Big Brother
9PM - SEAL Team
(R)
10PM - Criminal Minds
(R)
* * *
11:35PM - The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (Journalist Jim Acosta; Nina Dobrev)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With James Corden (Ray Romano; Chloë Grace Moretz; Lord Huron performs)

NBC:
8PM - World of Dance (120 min.)
10PM - Reverie (Season Finale)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (TV personality Ryan Seacrest; Ruby Rose; Rae Sremmurd performs)
12:37AM - Late Night With Seth Meyers (Seth Rogen; Alyssa Milano; chef Angie Mar; Joey Castillo sits in with the 8G Band)
1:38AM - Last Call With Carson Daly (Aasif Mandvi; Ashe performs; June Diane Raphael)
(R)

FOX:
8PM - MasterChef
9PM - Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell and Back

THE CW:
8PM - Burden of Truth
10PM - Supergirl
(R)

PBS:
8PM - Outback: The Dry Season
9PM - Wonders of Mexico: Mountain Worlds
10PM - NOVA - Making North America: Life
(R)

UNIVISION:
8PM - El Rico y Lázaro
9PM - La Bella y Las Bestias
10PM - La Piloto

TELEMUNDO:
7PM - Exatlón (120 min.)
9PM - Sin Senos Sí Hay Paraíso
10PM - El Señor de Los Cielos

ESPN:
7PM - MLB Baseball: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals (LIVE)
10PM - SportsCenter (LIVE)

GALAVISION:
7:55PM - Fútbol Copa MX: Tigres U.A.N.L. vs. CF Cafetaleros de Tapachula (LIVE)

ESPN 2:
8PM - 2018 Dodgeball World Cup (120 min.)

ESPN U:
8PM - Little League Baseball, Southwest Regional: Post Oak (East Texas) vs. Tulsa National (Okla.)
10PM - Little League Baseball, Southeast Regional: Peachtree City American (Ga.) vs. Loudoun South American (Va.)

FREEFORM:
8PM - Alone Together
8:31PM - Alone Together

VH1:
8PM - Black Ink Crew
9:01PM - Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party: Shell of a Good Time
10:01PM - Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party: Grilled Muncheese

A&E:
9PM - Ozzy and Jack's World Detour
10:01PM - Wahlburgers (63 min.)
* * * *
11:04PM - Wahlburgers (Season Finale, 59 min.)

NAT GEO:
9PM - Yellowstone Live: Battle of Giants (LIVE)

USA:
9PM - Suits
10:01PM - The Sinner (62 min.)

TruTV:
9:30PM - Impractical Jokers: Inside Jokes
10PM - Bobcat Goldthwait's Misfits & Monsters: Mermaid

BET:
10PM - Killer Curves: Bodies to Die For (Special)

OWN:
10PM - Queen Sugar

PARAMOUNT:
10PM - Yellowstone (64 min.)

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Rapper and actor Big Boi)

TBS:
10:30PM - Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
* * * *
11PM - Conan (Ashton Kutcher; Christian Navarro; Johnny Marr performs)
(R)


http://tvlistings.zap2it.com/?aid=gapzap
 

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Summer 2018 TCA Tour Notes (Broadcast)
‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Hopes To Tackle #MeToo As Terry Crews Celebrates “Summer Of Freedom”
By Lisa de Moraes, Deadline.com - Aug. 8, 2018

“I like to call it the Summer of Freedom,” Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews said during the NBC show’s panel at TCA, when asked about having come forward with his own report of having been sexually harassed in Hollywood.

Crews famously testified in June before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying Expendables producer Avi Lerner called his manager and asked the actor to drop his case against a Hollywood agent in order to appear in the fourth installment of the action film. The actor and former NFL player revealed earlier he was sexually assaulted in 2016 while attending a party with his wife. The assault “lasted only minutes,” but the agent — whom Crews did not identify by name — “was effectively telling me, while he held my genitals in his hand, that he held the power. That he was in control.”

“This is all about freedom and being able to tell your story,” Crews said at TCA today “Feeling safe and having friends and family on [Brooklyn Nine-Nine] I felt secure enough I could tell my truth and still go to work. It made a difference.”

“Each and every person…gave me the strength, along with all of the women who came forward in the #MeToo movement, that’s where I got a ton of my strength from,” he said, noting he had been talking to the cast about his experience the day before he decided to go public with his tweets.

“This is just the beginning and this is going to be a new day,” he predicted optimistically. “From now on the town will be safer for my wife, my son and my daughter.”

Series EP Dan Goor said they were interested in doing a #MeToo episode, continuing the show’s trend of doing more issue-oriented episodes. “They are really hard to do, but we’re happy with the way they turn out.”

“The challenge is to stay true to the show and feel funny, but give a weight to the issue and explore it in a fair way. I can’t promise, but we’re really interested in trying to do a #MeToo story,” he elaborated, saying they are in active talks about it in the writers room.

Added Samberg: “We are not going to do unless we have the right take that does it justice.”

The series was a talker during pilot season when, one day after being cancelled by Fox, it got picked up by NBC for a 13-episode sixth season.

Asked how the show might change now that it’s on NBC, Goor joked:

It will be funnier.
More heartfelt.
Better guest stars.
More everything.
Longer, shorter, faster.


“The fact of the matter is, the executives we worked with at Fox gave us great notes; we had a lot of creative freedom,” he said. “Similarly, our experiences so far with NBC have been fantastic. It’s a place Andy and I have been a long time; so much of what we have done is with the studio. No matter what network we’ve been on they’ve had our back…It’s not like there was a hardship being elsewhere that is now rectified.”

Asked to speak to his state of mind when Fox pulled the plug on the show, Samberg admitted, “I felt pretty confident we’d land the show elsewhere. Looking back I was a little too confident.”

“For some reason, this story of our show’s cancellation and resurrection struck some kind of nerve,” he said, confessing he is not sure if that wasn’t just because it was a “slow news day.”

“We know the fan base we have is very passionate,” Samberg said. “It gave the show a story. It’s now in the zeitgeist in its own terms – that the show got canceled and then picked up, because of a low news day. We’ll take it!”

NBC, whose sister studio Universal TV produces the Samberg-starring series, was one of the potential suitors for the comedy after its cancellation. NBC also was among the broadcast networks that bid for the Brooklyn Nine-Nine pitch from creators Mike Schur and Dan Goor when it hit the marketplace in 2012 before the project landed at Fox in a very competitive situation.

Announcing the pickup, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said, “Ever since we sold this show to Fox I’ve regretted letting it get away, and it’s high time it came back to its rightful home.”

NBC’s pickup of Brooklyn Nine-Nine followed a groundswell of support for the show on social media, with fans joined by celebrities including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Guillermo del Toro, Seth Meyers and Mark Hamill. Acknowledging the big role fans’ social media campaign played in the show’s resurrection, Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s creators and stars announced the NBC pickup directly to them on Twitter.

Created by the Parks and Recreation duo of Goor and Michael Schur, who are former college roommates, Brooklyn Nine-Nine centers on Peralta, played by Saturday Night Live alum Samberg, a screwball who happens to be a real good cop. His captain in the NYPD’s 99th Precinct is Raymond Holt, a seen-it-all and emotion-challenged captain played by Andre Braugher, who scored three consecutive Emmy noms for Supporting Actor from 2014-2016. Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, Stephanie Beatriz, Chelsea Peretti, Joel McKinnon Miller and Dirk Blocker also star.

https://deadline.com/2018/08/brooklyn-nine-nine-andy-samberg-nbc-tca-1202442442/

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Summer 2018 TCA Tour Notes (Broadcast)
‘I Feel Bad’ EP Aseem Batra On Working In Male-Dominated TV Writers Rooms
By Anthony D'Alessandro and Lisa de Moraes, Deadline.com - Aug. 8, 2018

There’s a line in the pilot of NBC’s new comedy series I Feel Bad where the show’s working mom and boss Emet, played by Sarayu Blue, asks her millennial staff “Am I still do-able?”

One TCA reporter remarked to series EPs Aseem Batra and Amy Poehler that the line is in “the wrong time, wrong place” in the current #MeToo era. Why go with it?”

Batra said that the comedic instance “was really real for me.” That being a woman in a male-dominated writers room “I had to cut it up with the guys like that. I wouldn’t be sitting here today if I said, ‘Stop it. This is wrong.'” If the moment is uncomfortable for people, “I want people to talk about that,” added the creator of I Feel Bad whose credits include such TV comedies as Marlon, Uncle Buck and Scrubs.

I Feel Bad follows Emet as the perfect mom, boss, wife, friend and daughter –however, she knows she’s not perfect. She’s just figuring it out like the rest of us. She may feel bad when she has a sexy dream about someone other than her husband, or when she pretends not to know her kids when they misbehave in public, or when she uses her staff to help solve personal problems.

When asked after the session about other instances in which she had to be one of the boys to be accepted in a writers room, Batra said there were times where she was “undermined” and pitched the right idea, but “no one heard it until a man said it.”

She remembered having to sit through comments about women and their age. Women’s ages, she said, is “only a problem because it’s a problem for men.”

“I was a couple weeks pregnant and walked into a writers’ room and they were all talking about how Natalie Portman looked terrible now that she was pregnant,” said Batra.

Asked if there was some issue specific to motherhood that she thought could not be presented on primetime broadcast TV today, Batra said she wasn’t sure if a story about breast feeding would make the cut. “It makes people nervous” she said. The EP also spoke about I Love Lucy, which depicted the female lead pregnant and as a new mother. Back then, they were not allowed to use the word “pregnant” but did show Ball in maternity outfits.

In the 13 years though since the comedy EP has been working in the business, Batra says that the attitudes in the comedy writers room “are changing”. Batra told the TCA ballroom that she was excited to assemble her writers room for I Feel Bad.

Said the EP, “It wasn’t checking off boxes or mandates, but I finally brought in voices that aren’t always heard, to create an opportunity to make something fresh, from age to sexuality to ethnicity.”

https://deadline.com/2018/08/metoo-i-feel-bad-nbc-series-male-writers-room-aseem-batra-1202442528/
 

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Summer 2018 TCA Tour Notes (Broadcast)
Sex talk in Amy Poehler's NBC comedy is nothing compared to what women TV writers face
By Bill Keveney, USA Today - Aug. 8, 2018

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — In the pilot of the new NBC comedy, "I Feel Bad," 40-ish mom and gaming-company boss Emet (Sarayu Blue), worries that she's becoming her mother and asks younger male underlings if she's still sexually attractive, or "doable."

Is that scene still appropriate at a time of increasingly scrutinized workplace behavior, executive producers Amy Poehler and Aseem Batra explained why they think it works.

"In the context of the show, (Emet) cares very little about their opinion," Poehler told the Television Critics Association press tour Wednesday. "They are these millennials who are experts in their own minds, and she's attempting to communicate with them in a way that's really self-serving for her. That scene is completely in character."

The scene also illustrates a generational divide.

"It shows the platonic relationship between a woman in her 40s and men in their 20s. It's a really undiscovered area to have those two worlds collide without the woman being maternal or the men being predatory. That's really exciting," Poehler added.

Batra, a veteran comedy writer, said the scene reflects her own experiences in TV writers rooms, where the conversation often is much more crude.

"I've been the only woman in writers rooms all the time, and that's how people talk. If I tell you some of the things men have said to me, it's shocking. In a way, you get sucked up into that culture, because they object to you unless you can be one of the guys," she said.

Batra also talked about the harsh reality of the workplace.

"I don't like always having to talk about that stuff, and I think things are changing, which is great. But I've had to cut up with the guys like that, and it doesn't feel good. But I promise you, I wouldn't be sitting here if I said, 'Stop it. This is wrong. I don't like this.' They would kick me out," she said. "If it was uncomfortable for people, I like that, because I like people to talk about that."

Blue said Emet, who is married to David (Paul Adelstein), has a real reason for talking to her younger colleagues that way. (The scene recalls a famous sketch from "Inside Amy Schumer" that focused on an imagined expiration date of female sexual appeal and featured Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Patricia Arquette and Tina Fey.)

"She's coming from a place of 'Oh my God, I'm turning into my mother. It's over for me,'" she said. "I think that's a very real moment in a woman's life to say: Is it over?"

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2018/08/08/amy-poehler-how-new-nbc-comedy-presents-sex-talk-workplace/935867002/
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
OWN Renews 'Queen Sugar'
By R. Thomas Umstead, Multichannel News - Aug. 8, 2018

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has renewed its Ava DuVernay-produced drama series Queen Sugar, the network announced Wednesday.

The network greenlit a fourth season of the series -- executive produced by DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, Kat Candler and Paul Garnes – prior to the Aug. 22 third season finale, according to network officials. The network also said that Anthony Sparks will serve as showrunner/executive producer for season four.

The third season of Queen Sugar premiered May 29 delivering over two million viewers and on average ranks as the top show in its time period across all cable in the network’s key women 25-54 demo (L+3), said Nielsen.

“Under Ava’s creative vision and leadership, Queen Sugar continues to earn a well-deserved reputation for depicting nuanced characters, rich storylines and establishing an inclusive team that inspires and ignites much needed conversations about our society today,” said Erik Logan, president, OWN in a statement. “We are very proud of this show, the incredible cast, producers and crew, and can’t wait for more of the Bordelon family in season four.”

https://www.multichannel.com/news/own-renews-queen-sugar
 

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Business/Legal Notes
Tribune Terminates $3.9 Billion Sinclair Merger, Sues Broadcast Rival
By Joe Flint, Wall Street Journal - Aug. 9, 2018

Tribune Media Co. terminated its merger agreement with rival TV station-owner Sinclair Broadcast Group and sued the company, alleging it failed to make sufficient efforts to get their $3.9 billion deal approved by regulators.

Last month Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he had serious concerns about Sinclair’s submissions as part of the agency’s review, and sent it to an administrative law judge, a severe blow to the merger’s approval chances.

The suit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, alleges that Sinclair breached the merger agreement by engaging in “unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations” with regulators over their requirement that Sinclair divest stations in certain markets to obtain approval, Tribune said. The deal structures that Sinclair proposed, which Tribune said were done to allow it to maintain control over stations, created risks for the deal in violation of the merger agreement, Tribune alleges. Tribune is seeking financial damages.

The collapse of the deal and lawsuit mark a stunning turn of events for a deal that when it was announced in May 2017 seemed certain to receive regulatory approval.

“Our merger cannot be completed within an acceptable time frame, if ever,” Tribune Media Chief Executive Peter Kern said in a statement. “This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the merger agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable.”

Sinclair didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

During a call to discuss its quarterly earnings Wednesday, Sinclair said it was continuing to work with Tribune to “analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees and shareholders.”

After the FCC’s move, Sinclair denied that it had done anything to mislead the agency and said its proposed spin offs are “consistent with structures that Sinclair and many other broadcasters have utilized for many years with the full approval of the FCC.”

Tribune could now be back in play. Other companies that were pursuing it along with Sinclair included 21st Century Fox and Nexstar Media Group Inc.

Media watchdogs had challenged the deal because of concerns that it would put too many local television stations under one roof. Sinclair owns more than 170 television stations in mostly midsize and smaller markets, while Tribune has 42 stations in major markets.

The issue that caused the deal to hit a roadblock at the FCC was the structure of Sinclair’s proposals to spin off TV stations.

Mr. Pai, the FCC chairman, said evidence suggested that Sinclair’s spin-off proposals would still leave it in practical control of those stations “in violation of the law.”

In one proposal, Sinclair said it would sell Tribune’s WGN-TV Chicago to Steven Fader for $60 million. That price was seen as far below the station’s market value, and Sinclair Chairman David Smith sits on the board of a car-dealership concern where Mr. Fader serves as chief executive.

Sinclair was given several opportunities to resubmit its spin-off plans but none passed the bar with regulators. Mr. Pai expressed concern about a possible lack of candor on Sinclair’s part with regard to the proposed transactions.

When a merger goes before an administrative law judge, that is typically a death knell for the deal.

In the lawsuit, Tribune alleges that Sinclair violated its sales agreement because of its constant efforts to try to hold on to control of TV stations that regulators wanted divested in return for approval.

The Sinclair-Tribune deal also triggered an investigation by the Justice Department into whether station owners violated antitrust law by sharing ad sales information that potentially could lead to higher advertising rates.

Another casualty of the Sinclair-Tribune deal collapse is 21st Century Fox’s deal to acquire seven of the Tribune stations from Sinclair for $910 million. Tribune said it had notified Fox it has terminated that agreement. Tribune said no fees are payable by any party.

21st Century Fox FOX and Wall Street Journal parent News Corp share common ownership.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/tribune-media-terminates-merger-agreement-with-sinclair-broadcast-group-1533810907
 

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Technology/Media Notes
Roku’s free streaming service is now available on the web
By Makena Kelly, TheVerge.com - Aug. 8, 2018

Roku announced today that its free, ad-supported streaming service, The Roku Channel, is now available on the web for viewing on PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Prior to today, users only had access to the channel if they had a Roku TV or streaming device.

After creating a Roku account on TheRokuChannel.com, you can start streaming the movies, TV shows, and short videos that the service offers. The Roku Channel features free movies from studios including Paramount, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros. It’s a lot of older catalog content: think The Matrix, 50 First Dates, Nacho Libre, and Wayne’s World 2. There’s also now live news from ABC News, Newsy, PeopleTV, and Cheddar, among other partners. It’s pretty barebones in terms of features and design, but it’s an easy way of finding something very random to watch — and The Roku Channel certainly helps Roku increase its number of user accounts and grow its ad business.

Roku is also adding a new “Featured Free” section to the top of its main menu, which aggregates shows and movies you can stream for free directly from its partners. It’s similar to Apple’s TV app in that it puts a spotlight on the content itself rather than whatever network it’s coming from. Roku is giving Featured Free some prime positioning; you’ll find it at the very top of the home screen when it rolls out in the US “over the coming weeks.”

https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/8/17666306/rokus-channel-free-streaming-service-web
 
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