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TV/Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Oct. 16, 2020

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET
MOVIE PREMIERE: Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed this new take on the 1969 trial of the Chicago 7 – originally, the Chicago 8. They were various revolutionary leaders put on trial by the Nixon administration, which claimed conspiracy as the cause of the protests and violence outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. There have been other dramatizations of this trial, which took six months in 1969, and was derailed from several angles: the outrageously eccentric and conservative Judge Julius Hoffman, the outrageously playful and antic Abbie Hoffman, and the outraged Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, whose angry remarks to the judge resulted in the judge ordering Seale to be not only silenced in court – but chained to his chair and gagged. Sorkin didn’t have to make any of this up – it’s all in the transcripts – but he does add flashbacks putting the testimony into perspective, and widening the drama and action outside the courtroom. And by casting Frank Langella as Judge Hoffman, Sorkin makes it more of a battle. His take is better than the previous dramatized versions of this trial, HBO’s Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8 in 1987 and the 2010 film The Chicago 8. For my full review on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, visit the Fresh Air website.

PERFECT WEAPON
HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET
DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE:
So you’re depressed enough by current events that you’re not sure you want to watch a new documentary about international cyber warfare, and how the Russians are targeting the imminent U.S. presidential election. I understand. I feel you pain. But hey – this new documentary, directed by John Maggio and based on the book by New York Times national security correspondent David E. Sanger, doesn’t spend all its time depressing you about cyber-attacks on elections. It saves some time to also depress you about potential cyber-attacks on our water and electrical systems – and, just to hammer the fun home, our nuclear systems and arsenals. Sleep well…

2020 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYOFFS
Fox Sports 1, 9:00 p.m. ET

In the National League Championship Series, after the Atlanta Braves won the first two games in this best-of-seven contest, the Los Angeles Dodgers asserted themselves Wednesday with a 15-3 rout, sending the Braves a message. Well, message received – and responded to. Yesterday, the Braves bounced back with a rout of their own, winning Game 4 by a 10-2 score, and heading into tonight’s Game 5, televised at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, with a 3-1 series lead. Unless the Dodgers answer again, this series is over, and the Braves are off to the 2020 World Series.

THE WAY I SEE IT
MSNBC, 10:00 p.m. ET

In this documentary, premiering on TV tonight, Pete Souza, the chief official photographer for the White House during the Barack Obama years, provides his perspective on those years – through his camera, and through his candid and very personal memories.

THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW
BBC America, 11:00 p.m. ET

Among tonight’s guests: Ewan McGregor and a pre-recorded, socially distanced Miley Cyrus.

Source: TV Show Reviews, Recommendations... TV Worth Watching!

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TV/Critic's Notes (Cable)
"Do We Care?" National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore Explains His Life's Work in NatGeo Wild's 'Photo Ark'
By Alex Strachan, TVWorthWatching.com's 'TV That Matters' - Oct. 16, 2020

At its heart, the Photo Ark is one man's 25-year mission to save the world's wildlife, one photo at a time.

Somewhere along the way, though, veteran photojournalist and National Geographic Fellow Joel Sartore realized his life's ambition to take a portrait photo of every single animal species remaining on planet Earth was no longer a celebration but an urgent necessity.

To date, Sartore has photographed 10,531 species, often in controlled conditions. Sartore aims for a face-on portrait and uses a white or black backdrop to emphasize an animal's features and facial expression by creating the optical illusion of a three-dimensional effect. For that reason, most of his portrait photos are taken in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, with the assistance of zoo staff and a small team of helpers. Trying to photograph rare animals in the wild — finding them first, let alone catching them in light good enough for a portrait photo worthy of Karsh or Annie Leibovitz — would be a fool's errand and would take many lifetimes.

Sartore's images are stored online, for posterity and future generations, recorded in books and, starting this weekend, film and television. Photo Ark, a two-part special, will air on consecutive Saturdays (10/17 and 10/24) on NatGeo Wild at 10 p.m. ET. The program follows Sartore as he crisscrosses the globe, camera gear in hand, shielding his lens —not always successfully — against the pecking of angry birds and the lightning strikes of spitting cobras. One of the ironies is that even in a world where zoos are fairly common and easy to find, no one zoo — or even 100 zoos — has a specimen of every animal species alive today. And so Sartore wanders the continents in search of the perfect portrait.

It wasn't always this way. Sartore had established himself as a reliable, bona fide photojournalist in the field, but one day in 2013, when his wife was diagnosed with a potentially fatal recurrence of breast cancer and their son, then 18, was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma, he racked his brains for a lifelong project that would keep him closer to home, that would become a life's passion, and that would outlast his remaining days on planet Earth. He was struck with the idea of creating a metaphorical ark for the 21st century, a photographic lifeboat filled with images of animals, incorporating recent breakthroughs in modern photo technology and computer archiving to stem the tide of species extinction.

"To give one's full measure of devotion to a cause we believe in," he says simply, "if that's not the very definition of a life well-lived, it should be."

And so he began taking images, one by one.

One day, though, he realized that some of the more than 10,000 animals he had already photographed had gone extinct, just in the relatively short time he began taking portrait photos. It was then he realized that what he was doing was of vital importance, to humanity and to the future of a green Earth. Photo Ark uses the power of photography to inspire people to help those remaining species at risk before it's too late. Sartore is only two-thirds of the way to his life's goal of 15,000 species, give or take.

"We find ourselves arriving at this late hour…with much work ahead," he says.

There was Bill Whitaker's profile last year on 60 Minutes, numerous TEDx talks, and countless National Geographic Live! speaking engagements, but this weekend's Photo Ark for NatGeo Wild is his first opportunity to hold a global audience for two hours and show exactly what we are in danger of losing as a species.

One of the reasons Sartore chooses to photograph animals against a blank white or black backdrop is that the perspective is the same for all species, a level playing field. The tiny güiña appears to be just as big as a Siberian tiger — democracy in action. Every species is equal. Every species is of equal value.

"It starts with a single animal," Sartore explains. "Then, before you know it, (you're) thinking about saving the whole planet and all that's in it. You understand how everything is interconnected and that the landscapes and seas needed by other animals are needed by we humans as well. In other words, as other species go away, so could we."

This past May, Sartore announced he had just recorded his 10,000th species: a güiña, the smallest wildcat in the Americas, which he photographed at Fauna Andina, a wildlife reserve in Chile. The photo was a milestone nearly 15 years in the making.

In a conference call with TV reviewers this past summer, Sartore — asked by TV Worth Watching how he staves off depression when he realizes so many animals he has photographed have already vanished for good — paused for a moment's reflection and then said quietly, "I'm inspired all the time by the people that I meet — I call them wildlife heroes — people I meet who work in obscurity. They're not on television; they're not talking to you guys. They're just trying to save species. They focus on one particular type of animal, or a habitat in a region, and they never give up. They're not thinking about what the world's going to look like 50 or 100 years from now. We know it's going to be pretty much overrun with humans. They just think, 'What can I do today? What's the best I can do today?'

"And that's how I view it, too. What are the animals that I can tell a great story about and get the world to care while there's still time to save species? So, I'm fired up. And so are the people that I work with. It's easy to get psyched up when you're around people who lift you up like that."

Sartore has not allowed the COVID-19 pandemic to slow him down.

"The crew is usually me, and if I'm working in a foreign country, it's an interpreter guide. In the U.S. usually, I'm by myself…. We're as busy as ever. The Photo Ark moves forward, and it's important stuff. It really is.

"I don't get depressed. I get sad. I also get angry. I think, well, I need to do all I can to try to save these species. There's no choice, really."

Source: "Do We Care?" National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore Explains His Life's Work in NatGeo Wild's 'Photo Ark'
 

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TV/Nielsen Overnights
TV Ratings: Biden's ABC Town Hall Beats Trump on NBC in Early Numbers
By Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter - Oct. 16, 2020

The early ratings for competing town hall forums featuring the two lead presidential candidates favor Joe Biden over Donald Trump — though that could flip in the final ratings later in the day.

ABC's special with Democratic nominee Biden averaged 12.29 viewers over two hours, per Nielsen's fast national ratings (including a half-hour of analysis after the forum). On NBC, Trump's one-hour town hall drew 10.39 million viewers.

ABC also topped the key news demographic of adults 25-54 with a 3.35 rating, vs. 2.5 for NBC, and among adults 18-49 with a 2.6 to NBC's 1.7.

In their shared hour from 8 to 9 p.m. ET, ABC had 12.71 million viewers for a 22 percent lead over NBC.

The NBC-Trump town hall was simulcast on MSNBC and CNBC, which will likely add a few million viewers to the total in the final ratings out later in the day. (This story will be updated when they become available.) There's a good chance the aggregate viewership for the NBC special will end up with more viewers, though ABC is likely to retain its lead in the broadcast-only numbers.

While each town hall drew sizable numbers, the combined audience for the two is a fraction of what Trump and Biden would likely have gathered for a second presidential debate, which was canceled after the two campaigns didn't agree on a remote format following the president's COVID-19 diagnosis.

The first debate between the two drew more than 73 million viewers across 18 outlets, making it the second most-watched presidential debate ever.

The dueling town halls followed the debate's cancellation. ABC booked its event with Biden first, and NBC followed with its Trump event to air at the same time (it also aired on sister cable networks MSNBC and CNBC).

Some 100 industry power players, including Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay and EP Warren Leight, cast members from This Is Us and its creator, Dan Fogelman, objected to the head-to-head scheduling. NBC News defended the move, saying the timing was "motivated only by fairness, not business considerations."

Source: TV Ratings: Biden's ABC Town Hall Beats Trump on NBC in Early Numbers | Hollywood Reporter
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
‘The Vow’ Renewed for Season 2 at HBO
By Reid Nakamura, TheWrap.com - Oct. 16, 2020

HBO has picked up additional episodes of the NXIVM docuseries “The Vow,” the premium cable network announced Friday.

Filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer will return to direct and executive produce the second installment, which will examine the federal trial of NXIVM leader Keith Raniere and delve into the cult leader’s “innermost circle.” The new episodes will air in 2021.

Per HBO, the new episodes follow “the legal and emotional journeys of the group’s founders, supporters and defectors as new evidence and stunning revelations come to light while federal prosecutors and defense attorneys battle for opposing views of justice in a case caught in the national spotlight.”

The first season of “The Vow” premiered back in August, following former members of the purported self-help group NXIVM as they worked to bring down the organization from the outside, cooperating with a bombshell New York Times investigation into the alleged sex cult and subsequent FBI investigation.

In June 2019, NXIVM co-founder Keith Raniere was convicted of crimes including racketeering, sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, identity theft, and production and possession of child pornography. He awaits sentencing, expected this fall.

Source: 'The Vow' Renewed for Season 2 at HBO
 

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TV/Production Notes (Streaming)
Kate Hudson to Headline Truth Be Told Season 2 at Apple TV+
By Michael Ausiello, TVLine.com - Oct. 16, 2020

In what marks her most significant TV gig to date, Kate Hudson has been tapped to headline Season 2 of Apple TV+’s anthology-esque drama series Truth Be Told, TVLine has learned. The Almost Famous actress will star opposite returning series regular (and exec producer) Octavia Spencer.

Originally billed as a limited series, Truth Be Told‘s first season starred Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul and Masters of Sex‘s Lizzy Caplan In Season 2, Hudson will play Micah Keith, a lifestyle guru and longtime friend of Spencer’s true crime guru Poppy Parnell. The pair’s relationship is out to the test when a new case connects both women.

Prior to Truth Be Told, Hudson’s most noteworthy TV credit was a recurring role as a tough-as-nails dance instructor in Glee‘s fourth season.

Production on Truth Be Told Season 2 is slated to commence on Oct. 26 in Los Angeles ahead of a 2021 premiere.

Source: Kate Hudson to Headline Truth Be Told Season 2 at Apple TV+
 

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TV/Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
TV Ratings: Billboard Music Awards Slump
By Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter - Oct. 15, 2020

The Billboard Music Awards suffered a similar fate to other recent awards shows on Wednesday night — falling to all-time ratings lows.
I totally forgot about it and never went looking for a clean sat feed, or even tune in the NBC Ku network feed. I wasn't counted as one of the non-viewers because I'm not part of any one's rating counting system. Yep, a nobody. :eek:
 

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TV Review (Streaming)
A Classic Western Sheriff on the Other Side of the World
In “Mystery Road,” Aaron Pedersen plays a lawman with Indigenous roots and John Wayne style.
By Mike Hale, The New York Times - Oct. 11, 2020
Pedersen was good in City Homicide, and he's absolutely perfect as Cam in the TV adaptation of Peter Temple's Jack Irish books. The original Mystery Road movie was good, I haven't seem the 2nd yet (Goldstone I think?), and S1 of the series is good (on Amazon Prime IIRC). Pedesen is an outstanding advocate for aboriginal Australians.
 
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TV Notes (Streaming)
Star Trek: Discovery Renewed for Season 4 at CBS All Access
By Dave Nemetz, TVLine.com - Oct. 16, 2020

The Star Trek: Discovery crew’s mission isn’t ending anytime soon: CBS All Access has renewed the Trek series for a fourth season, TVLine has learned.

Production on Season 4 will begin on Monday, Nov. 2, per the streamer. Discovery‘s third season just debuted this week, with new episodes airing each Thursday for the next 12 weeks.

Discovery stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham, a human raised by Vulcans who serves aboard the U.S.S. Discovery. The supporting cast includes Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou, Doug Jones as Saru, Anthony Rapp as Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Tilly and Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber.

The first two seasons of Discovery leaned heavily on Trek lore, set ten years before the original Star Trek series and featuring familiar characters like Spock, Captain Christopher Pike and Spock’s father Sarek. But Season 3 ventures more than 900 years into the future, going far beyond where any previous Trek series is set; David Ajala (Supergirl) joins the cast as enigmatic smuggler Cleveland “Book” Booker.

Debuting in 2017, Star Trek: Discovery has also inspired a number of spinoffs on CBS All Access, including short film collection Star Trek: Short Treks and the upcoming Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, starring Discovery alums Anson Mount (Pike), Ethan Peck (Spock) and Rebecca Romijn (Number One). CBS also began airing Season 1 episodes of Discovery this fall to bolster its primetime lineup in light of production delays caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

Martin-Green and Jones, along with executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Michelle Paradise, announced the start of production on Season 4 in a new video; watch it here: [CLICK LINK BELOW]

Source: Star Trek: Discovery Renewed for Season 4 at CBS All Access
 

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TV/Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Oct. 17, 2020

DAVID BYRNE'S AMERICAN UTOPIA
HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET
I get a particular feeling of joy on those rare occasions when I can steer readers and viewers, during this seemingly endless and soul-sucking pandemic, towards something that is so full of joy itself – that will make you feel good watching it, and beaming with satisfaction and happiness even afterward. Well, for a while. And here’s a wonderful example: Directed by Spike Lee, it’s HBO’s TV adaptation of a buoyant Broadway treat: David Byrne’s American Utopia, a stage musical revue and commentary wrapped around Byrne’s old and new music, during and after his days with the Talking Heads. Half of the people on stage are percussionists – so if you dance to the beat of a different drummer, chances are they’re already there. “And you may ask yourself / well, how did I get here?” I do. Frequently.

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN
TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

And speaking of things to recommend and watch that bring joy… Here’s another TCM showing of the 1952 movie musical classic, starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. TCM shows this movie a lot, and why not? It’s great. And Reynolds, who was cast in this movie and filmed it when she was just 19 years old, turned 20 only 10 days before Singin’ in the Rain premiered in 1952. Her first starring performance is fabulous – but so is just about every performance in this movie musical, without exception. And while the three leads – Kelly, Reynolds and Donald O’Connor – always get duly praised for their work here, pay attention, in particular, to the key supporting contributions by Jean Hagen (as a pampered silent movie star) and Cyd Charisse (as a slinky silent dancer in an extended musical sequence, pictured with Kelly).

2020 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYOFFS
TBS, 8:30 p.m. ET

When the Tampa Bay Rays took the first three games in this year’s American League Championship Series, proceeding to the World Series seemed an almost foregone conclusion. In baseball history, 38 teams have fallen behind 0-3 in the league series, and 37 of them lost. The sole exception: the Boston Red Sox, who climbed back against the New York Yankees to claim the pennant in 2004. But after winning last night’s Game 6, the Houston Astros have won three straight, and tied the ALCS at 3-3. Tonight’s deciding Game 7 will either propel the Rays to the World Series after a shaky series of losses, or make the Astros the second team in history to overcome such a deficit in the pennant playoffs.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
NBC, 11:29 p.m. ET

Yes, it’s another fresh episode of NBC’s SNL – and it’s hard to imagine that Alec Baldwin won’t return to make fun of Donald Trump’s town hall appearance on the same network earlier this week. Can’t wait. Issa Rae of HBO’s Insecure guest hosts, marking her first time appearing as such at Studio 8-H. And the musical guest, Justin Bieber, has been featured on this show many times – not only appearing as himself, but as impersonated, wickedly and hilariously, by Kate McKinnon. Will McKinnon and Bieber appear, and even sing, at the same time on the same SNL stage? If so, it might be the most memorable simultaneous performance and parody since John Belushi sang “Feelin’ Alright” next to, along with, and as Joe Cocker. That was back in Season 2 of SNL, and I saw and loved it then, and teach it now. And tonight, if Bieber and McKinnon pull off an encore of sorts, will be part of the show’s current Season 46. And I’m still watching…

Source: TV Show Reviews, Recommendations... TV Worth Watching!

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TV/Critic's Notes (Cable)
An Appropriate Time for 'What the Constitution Means to Me'
By David Hinckley, TVWorthWatching.com's 'All Along the Watchtower' - Oct. 16, 2020

At a moment when we're watching a real-life discussion in the U.S. Senate of "what the Constitution means to me," a rather different approach to that subject pops up starting Friday on Amazon Prime.

What the Constitution Means to Me, a mostly one-woman show written by and starring Heidi Schreck (top), is the filmed version of a production that won numerous awards on Broadway back before the New York stage went into its extended quarantine.

Unlike with some theatrical events, the title of What the Constitution Means to Me precisely and literally describes what the show is about.

Shreck, now in her late 40s, was a teenage Constitution prodigy. When it became clear she had a talent and love for stage performance, her mother steered her into a mini-career as a 15-year-old lecturer on one of America's founding documents.

She entered and won enough contests to earn the scholarship money that sent her to college and launched a post-college entertainment career that has included acting, writing, and producing.

She has written for, among other shows, Nurse Jackie and Billions.

What the Constitution Means to Me doesn't allude to those other shows, drawing solely on Schreck's Constitution phase. She begins by recounting, three-plus decades later, how her well-polished Constitution monologue was delivered and received.

She then uses that experience, as the title promises, to explain how over the years, she has found ever-greater personal meaning in the Constitution, specifically as it relates to four generations of women in her family.

This telegraphs the direction in which What the Constitution Means to Me will be going since the Founding Fathers who wrote the document said pretty much nothing about any founding mothers.

Government was man's work, and history was man's domain, with the womenfolk there to support them, feed them, and make sure they had clean white shirts on the days when dramatic portraits were being painted.

Therefore, since women were granted no explicit rights, like the right to vote, Schreck explains how those who have fought for such rights have often had to go through the sections of the Constitution that allow for flexibility and adaptation.

Like persons of color, women have needed that lifeline as society has shifted – slowly and grudgingly – away from a nation run by and largely for white men.

Schreck doesn't frame her argument as a Constitutional law lecture. Rather, she recounts the story of Grandma Betty, a loving and generous woman who was adored by later generations and who also spent much of her second marriage being beaten by her husband.

This, Schreck explains, illustrates the poisoned legacy of a society that enables and excuses the corrosive behavior of an alpha entity while telling his victim in a hundred ways every day that she has less value.

Family tales in this vein obviously give What the Constitution Means to Me a feminist slant. The closing segment, however, when Shreck brings in a real-time, real-life, teenage costar, rewidens the context of the production.

The two women debate the legacy of the Constitution by asking whether it has outlived its time and needs to be replaced with a new document that addresses matters like gender, race, or the environment.

It's the kind of discussion Schreck may have been tacitly suggesting when she was 15. Now she clearly thinks it's worth asking the question flat-out.

What the Constitution Means to Me looks at its subject through a singular and, at times, narrow prism. In so doing, it raises all the questions whose answers define our country today.

Source: An Appropriate Time for 'What the Constitution Means to Me'
 

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Media/Business Notes
Warner Bros. TV Head Roth Stepping Down After 20 Years
By Jon Lafayette, Broadcasting & Cable - Oct. 16, 2020

AT&T’s Warner Bros. unit announced that the chairman of its television group, Peter Roth, will be stepping down next year after 20 years heading the studio.

The move is the latest in a series of veteran TV executives who have left AT&T since the company acquired Time Warner last year.

The departure was announced by Ann Sarnoff, who was brought in chairman and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios after AT&T took control.

“Peter and I have been meeting for some time about this, and while there’s never a great moment to say goodbye, he felt that this was the right time to transition in a new leader for the group,” said Sarnoff

“He’s delivered hundreds of shows, thousands of episodes, millions of viewers, with one singular vision – to work with the best people and to make the best television series,” Sarnoff said. “In addition to being well respected by his colleagues and competitors, actors, writers, directors and producers, he is the force behind iconic, pop-culture-defining television shows we all know and love, including The West Wing, The Big Bang Theory, Gilmore Girls, Two And A Half Men, Gossip Girl, Supernatural, The Flash and countless others. We’re thankful for his contributions to our company and wish him the very best.”

Warner Bros. Television Group is part of WarnerMedia’s new Studios and Networks Group, centralizes content creation as the company focuses on HBO Max, its new streaming service under new WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar.

Under Roth Warner Bros. created 32 scripted primetime series that reached the 100-episode mark, the point at which series traditionally began generating revenue in syndication and off-network sales.

Among those shows are The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, Smallville, Gossip Girl, Shameless, Nip/Tuck, The Mentalist, Pretty Little Liars, Arrow, Mom, The Closer, Fringe, The Middle, George Lopez, The Flash, Mike & Molly, Person of Interest, Supernatural, Third Watch, The Vampire Diaries and One Tree Hill.

“Working at Warner Bros. has been the greatest, most meaningful, most rewarding experience of my career,” said Roth. “For the past 22 years, I have had the privilege to be associated with some of the most inspiring creative talent, the most impactful television series and the most dedicated and passionate people I have ever known. It has long been my dream to be able to say farewell at the right time in the right way and for the right reason. I’m grateful to Ann Sarnoff for giving me that opportunity and to my Warner Bros. colleagues, past and present, for giving me what has been the gift of a lifetime. I look forward to the next chapter of my career and remaining connected to those people who have meant so much to me.”

Source: Warner Bros. TV Head Roth Stepping Down After 20 Years
 

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No political comments, please.

TV/Washington Notes (Broadcast)
Trump to Hold Sinclair Town Hall Moderated by Fox News Alum Eric Bolling
By Gene Maddaus, Variety.com - Oct. 16, 2020

The Sinclair Broadcast Group will hold a town hall with President Donald Trump next Wednesday, one day before the final presidential debate.

The event will be taped at the White House and moderated by Eric Bolling, the former Fox News host who left the network amid sexual harassment allegations in 2017. Bolling is now host of “America This Week,” Sinclair’s weekly show that airs on Wednesday nights.

“We aim to give Sinclair viewers the answers to their most burning questions and look forward to getting a detailed view on what the next four years would look like under President Trump,” Bolling said in a statement.

In July, “America This Week” came under fire for scheduling an interview with Judy Mikovits, a researcher who had appeared to accuse Dr. Anthony Fauci of helping to create the coronavirus. Under pressure, Sinclair dropped plans to air the interview.

Bolling will interview Trump and also take questions from the audience, similar to the format used in Thursday’s town halls with Trump and Joe Biden on NBC and ABC, respectively. The hourlong program will start at 8 p.m.

Sinclair will air the event across all of its CW and MyNet stations, which operate in 55 local markets across the country. The town hall will also be broadcast on the Sinclair station websites.

The station group said it had extended a similar offer to Biden’s campaign.

“We have been in touch with his team and we are hopeful that we will be able to feature him and bring his policy positions directly to the voters in a similar fashion,” said Scott Livingston, Sinclair’s senior vice president of news.

Trump and Biden are set to meet the following night at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., for their final debate. The debate will be moderated by NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker.

On Friday, the Commission on Presidential Debates released the topics for the debate: fighting COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership.

Source: Trump to Hold Sinclair Town Hall Moderated by Fox News Alum Eric Bolling
 

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Technology Notes (Gaming)
Analogue’s next sleek retro console targets the TurboGrafx family
By Andrew Webster, TheVerge.com - Oct. 16, 2020



After releasing beautiful aftermarket versions of the NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis, Analogue has now set its sights on NEC’s library of old-school hardware. Today the company unveiled the Analogue Duo, a console that supports a huge range of hardware including the TurboGrafx-16, PC Engine, SuperGrafx, TurboGrafx CD, PC Engine CD-ROM, and Super Arcade CD-ROM. It’s slated to launch in 2021 for $199.99.

“Sadly, they never got anywhere near the love they deserve,” Analogue’s Christopher Taber says of NEC’s consoles. “I’d say they are probably the greatest under-appreciated video game systems. Analogue Duo is designed to be the ultimate way to explore nearly all of NEC’s history, and for most people it’s gonna be their first introduction to this piece of video game history.”

In order to play all your old games, the Duo features an original cartridge slot, controller ports, and a CD drive, which means it’s compatible with classic HuCards (also known as TurboChips) with no regional restrictions. The Duo supports wireless controllers via Bluetooth — every 8bitdo controller is compatible with the console — along with wired USB gamepads, and outputs video at up to 1080p. It measures 38 millimeters long, 168mm wide, and 47mm high. It’ll also be available in two colors, black and white.

As with previous Analogue hardware, the company says the Duo is built without using emulation. Here’s how the company describes it:
We’re preserving history with FPGA hardware. Duo is designed with unparalleled compatibility. The core functionality of each system is engineered directly into an Altera Cyclone V, a sophisticated FPGA. We spent thousands of hours engineering each system via FPGA for absolute accuracy. Unlike the knock-off and emulation systems that riddle the market today, you’ll be experiencing the entire NEC era free of compromises. Duo is designed to preserve video game history, with the respect it deserves.
While the company has plenty of experience with building these types of consoles, Taber says the Duo presented a unique challenge.

“Duo is the first CD-based system Analogue has released (and the first CD-based video game system ever released in history) so we needed to approach things a little differently on a hardware level for CD and HuCard support,” he explains. “It was primarily about designing the hardware to accommodate all the different systems and formats in terms of the industrial design.”

The new device also isn’t the only hardware Analogue has in the works. The company previously announced the gorgeous Analogue Pocket, which plays a wide range of handheld games and was recently delayed until next year. To go along with this, the company is making a $29.99 adapter so that the Pocket can play TurboGrafx-16, PC Engine, and SuperGrafx games as well.

“Pocket is going to support as much of handheld history as possible,” says Taber. “TurboExpress was a great handheld and bringing that heritage to Pocket is [a] great fit. Playing TurboGrafx-16 / PC Engine games on the go is pretty special.” The accessory is also due out next year.



Given the ongoing pandemic, production issues have already delayed many devices — including Analogue’s own Pocket. So while the Duo is due to launch in 2021, Analogue says it will be available in “limited quantities” when it goes on sale.

Source: Analogue’s next sleek retro console targets the TurboGrafx family
 

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Obituary
Rhonda Fleming, Striking Star of the Silver Screen, Dies at 97
By Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter - Oct. 16, 2020

Rhonda Fleming - Photofest - H 2016

Courtesy of Photofest

Rhonda Fleming, the red-haired, green-eyed beauty who lit up the screen in such films as Spellbound, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, has died. She was 97.

Fleming, who also sparkled in Out of the Past (1947), the first of her many appearances in fabulous film noirs, died Wednesday, her secretary Carla Sapon announced.

Not too far removed from attending Beverly Hills High School, Fleming appeared as a nymphomaniac in a mental institution in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945), then followed up by playing George Brent's assistant, among those who reside in a creepy mansion, in Robert Siodmak's dark suspense thriller The Spiral Staircase (1945).

Fleming portrayed a schemer in Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past (1947), which starred Robert Mitchum as a hard-boiled detective hired by gangster Kirk Douglas to track down his girlfriend (Jane Greer).

She went on to appear in other film noirs, playing the wife of Dick Powell's jailed buddy in Cry Danger (1951) and Vincent Price's cheating spouse in Fritz Lang's While the City Sleeps (1956). She also was the target of a criminal (Wendell Corey) bent on revenge in The Killer Is Loose (1956) and the sister of Arlene Dahl in the sordid Slightly Scarlet (1956), based on a James M. Cain tale.

"I loved playing those parts," Fleming told film historian Rhett Bartlett in a 2012 interview. "They were naughty gals, and I was such a sweet little nice girl!"

Along those lines, she was Robert Ryan's two-timing wife, who leaves him to die in the desert, in the Technicolor 3D spectacle Inferno (1953).

Like another famous redheaded actress, Maureen O'Hara, Fleming was often called "The Queen of Technicolor." Color film and her sparkling green eyes, creamy skin and sizzling red hair were made for each other.

In the biopic Little Egypt (1951), Fleming played a belly-dancer with, as the movie poster proclaims, "the shape that shook the world." She also was especially glamorous as Cleopatra in Serpent of the Nile (1953).

Westerns also were a specialty. Fleming was Wyatt Earp's (Burt Lancaster) gambling lady friend in John Sturges' Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), and she appeared in The Redhead and the Cowboy (1951) with Glenn Ford, Pony Express (1953) with Charlton Heston and the 3D musical Those Redheads From Seattle (1953) with Gene Barry.

She made four films with Ronald Reagan from 1951-55, including the adventure tales Hong Kong (1952) and Tropic Zone (1953).

Fleming was a trained singer — her idol as a youngster was Deanna Durbin — and she performed and sang ably in the musical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949). In the film, she played a princess romanced by a mechanic (Bing Crosby) who got knocked out and was transported back in time.

Fleming helped christen the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas in May 1957, singing and dancing as part of an opening-night bill that included singer Eddie Fisher. Her talent and shimmering Don Loper-designed nude gown brought her a great deal of attention.

"The atomic bomb didn't explode last night, but a new and lovely nightclub star — Rhonda Fleming — blasted her way at the Tropicana and made pretty music that was strictly big time stuff," a Los Angeles Herald-Express columnist gushed.

Legend has it that a cinematographer, as an exercise, once tried to shoot her in a way that would make her look bad. No matter the angle or technique, he concluded, Fleming always came out picture-perfect.

Fleming was married to theater chain mogul Ted Mann (of Mann's Chinese Theatre fame) from 1978 until his death in January 2001, and together they were a philanthropic force in Southern California.

She was born Marilyn Louis on Aug. 10, 1923, in Hollywood. Her mother, Effie Graham, was a model and actress who starred opposite Al Jolson on Broadway.

At age 16, while on her way to class at Beverly Hills High, young Marilyn was spotted by legendary Hollywood agent Henry Willson (he also discovered the likes of Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter and Natalie Wood), and he brought her to the attention of Gone With the Wind producer David O. Selznick.

She was in Selznick's office when "they decided they were going to screen-test me," she told Bartlett. "Henry said, well, let's go to the commissary and have a little lunch. … Suddenly these men from Mr. Selznick's office came in and they sat across the way and just kept staring.

"I said, 'What are they looking at, Henry?' He said, 'Just keep eating.' All of a sudden one of the men came up to Henry and whispered in his ear. He said, 'Never mind the screen test, we're going to sign her.' "

Selznick put her under contract, and Willson changed her name to Rhonda Fleming (but, she noted, it was Selznick who added the H in her first name).

After appearing in an uncredited role in the war drama Since You Went Away (1944), Fleming was cast as a patient at the Green Manors mental hospital in Spellbound, starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman.

In 1947, Fleming starred opposite Rory Calhoun in Paramount's Adventure Island, which was shot in color. The story of rag-tag adventurers who are tormented by a charismatic lunatic who rules a South Pacific island, the film and its lush island setting vividly backdropped Fleming’s own beauty.

Her work in A Connecticut Yankee led to another movie, she told Bartlett. "Bob Hope walked on the set one day," she recalled. "Bing introduced me to him. Bob said, 'Bing, if you can use her, I guess I can too,' and I went from being a little princess to being a dutchess in [1949's] The Great Lover."

Fleming also stood out (as a blonde!) opposite Jean Simmons in the emotional drama Home Before Dark (1958) and in the crime drama The Big Circus (1959), alongside Victor Mature.

On television, Fleming made guest appearances on such shows as Wagon Train, Police Woman, McMillan & Wife and The Love Boat.

After 1975, she was seldom seen onscreen, though she appeared in Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) and The Nude Bomb (1980), which was executive produced by her husband, Mann.

Fleming also appeared on Broadway, making her debut in Clare Boothe Luce’s The Women in 1973.

Fleming became a prominent supporter of cancer research after her sister Beverly was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer in the late 1980s.

In 1991, she and Mann established the Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic for Comprehensive Care at UCLA Medical Center, providing gynecologic and obstetric care to women, and they funded a resource center for women with cancer three years later. The couple also set up the Rhonda Fleming Mann Research Fellowship at the City of Hope.

"I'm not out to push me anymore," she told the Los Angeles Times in 1994. "These centers are in existence because, even though we had the best medical care, we had no psychological support. No one to turn to for the spiritual [support]. No environment that was pleasant to be in while she suffered so. There wasn't even a curtain in the examining room to hide personal things like your wig, or a prosthesis."

Fleming was married six times in all, with her husbands including actor Lang Jeffries (they appeared together in 1960's The Revolt of the Slaves) and producer Hall Bartlett.

She had one son, actor Kent Lane, by her marriage to physician Thomas Lane. Survivors also include granddaughters Kelly and Kimberly; great-grandchildren Wagner, Page, Linden, Lane and Cole; great-great grandchildren Ronan and Kiera; niece Lynne; and stepchildren Candace, Cindy, Jill and Kevin.

Fleming wished for donations to be sent to People Assisting the Homeless at 340 N. Madison Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90004-3504; Saint John’s Hospital and Health Center Foundation at 1328 22nd St., Santa Monica, CA 90404; and Childhelp at 4350 E. Camelback Road, Suite F250, Phoenix, AZ 85018.

Duane Byrge contributed to this report.

Source: Rhonda Fleming, Striking Star of the Silver Screen, Dies at 97 | Hollywood Reporter
 

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TV Sports/Health Notes (College Sports)
NCAA executive: College sports' financial woes could last into 2023
By Steve Berkowitz, USA Today - Oct. 16, 2020

While some college sports administrators are hoping that the large-scale financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be a one-year proposition, an NCAA senior executive says the struggles probably will linger into 2023.

Chief medical officer Brian Hainline’s cautionary predictions about the future included making no assumptions that NCAA championships — including basketball’s Final Four — will be held as currently scheduled.

He also addressed prospects relating not only to athletics but also to higher education in general. He said 20% to 30% of the NCAA’s Division III schools may close entirely.

In addition, he indicated that — as in other parts of society — athletics programs that have the money to carry out COVID testing will be able to move forward while those that do not will have difficulty doing so. And while he hopes NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools will remain philosophically committed to maintaining the current minimum sport-sponsorship requirement of 16 teams (the requirement for Division I membership is 14), financial issues may prompt the membership to enact a reduction.

“It's not going to be easy” for schools to maintain their current numbers of teams, Hainline said. “I mean, these economic realities are — they're stark.”

Hainline’s comments came during a pre-recorded panel discussion presented Friday by the Aspen Institute as part of its annual Project Play Summit. The discussion was titled “Rethinking the ROI of Youth Sports,” as was aimed at the trend of colleges cutting teams due to impacts from the pandemic, what the future looks like and how that could affect athletes aspiring to play college sports.

Responding to a broad question about the future from Aspen Sports and Society Program executive director Tom Farrey, Hainline said: “There's going to be a lot of challenges going forward with championships. So, there's a revenue model there and the revenues are not coming in. But I think if we take a step back — and I think we need to — it's not even about cutting sports. We're probably at a place where 20% to 30% of Division III schools may not survive this pandemic. And that's a whole other thing that we need to think seriously about.”

Asked more specifically to predict what may happen over the next five years, Hainline said: “Most of the financial projections — and it's not just for the NCAA, it's for schools, it's for theater — is that things will probably start turning around in 2023. And so that seems like a long way away. And it really is.

“But, as a society, we're going to be struggling to keep up over the next couple of years. ... So, going back to the NCAA, hopefully we have a Final Four this year — and recall for the Final Four, most of it is just playing the game. When we play the game, you know, that takes care of the revenue for the broadcast and so forth.”

The NCAA depends on the men’s basketball tournament for nearly all of its annual revenue of roughly $1.1 billion, more than half of which gets distributed directly to Division I schools and conferences. In the wake of the cancellation of last season’s tournament, the NCAA reduced that distribution for 2020 by about $375 million to $225 million.

Hainline said that because the United States has not been able to develop national oversight of contact tracing or testing, “what's happened is that those with more money have been able to carry things out because they can afford what testing is available and those without, they're struggling.”

How that will manifest itself in schools’ ability to maintain their current varsity sports offerings remains to be seen.

Asked whether there will be pressure within the NCAA to lower sport-sponsorship minimums, Hainline said: “Well, there's always going to be pressure, right? And so there's two types of pressure: There is a pressure from the student-athletes and the parents and those voices that say you just can't cut these sports because what's the essence of who we are? And then there is sometimes the pressure of the athletic directors or the athletics department saying we just can't fund anything.

“So it's balancing pressures. And ultimately, then, you have the membership, which I think they understand the essence of the NCAA. It really is not about two sports (football and men’s basketball, the main revenue-generating sports) — it's about 24 sports. So my hope is that that 24-sport vision is the one that prevails. And we understand if we're going to really continue to be who we are and offering opportunities across the board, that that's where it will land. It's not going to be easy. I mean, these economic realities are — they're stark."

Source: NCAA executive: College sports' financial woes could last into 2023
 

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Obituary
Anthony Chisholm, Tony-nominated Oz and Chi-Raq actor, dies at 77
By Tyler Aquilina, EW.com - Oct. 16, 2020

Anthony Chisholm, a veteran actor of stage, film, and television, has died. He was 77.

A frequent collaborator of playwright August Wilson, Chisholm originated the role of Wolf in Wilson's Two Trains Running in its premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1990 and on Broadway in 1992. He went on to perform in a production of Wilson's Jitney and the original productions of Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf — the final two plays of Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle — the latter earning Chisholm a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play.

Born April 9, 1943 in Cleveland, Ohio, Chisholm served as a platoon leader in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War before embarking on his acting career. He made his screen debut in Uptight in 1968, later appearing in such films as the cult classic Putney Swope, Jonathan Demme's Beloved, Spike Lee's Chi-Raq, and more. On TV, Chisholm appeared on Law & Order: SVU, High Maintenance, and last year's Wu-Tang: An American Saga, among other shows, and played Burr Redding on HBO's Oz for three seasons.

Chisholm returned to Broadway in a 2017 Broadway revival of Jitney, which went on to win the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. He continued to perform in the production's national tour, which ran from September 2019 through February 2020.

He is survived by his son, Alexander Chisholm, his daughter, Che Chisholm, his son-in-law, and two grandchildren.

Source: Anthony Chisholm, Tony-nominated 'Oz' and 'Chi-Raq' actor, dies at 77
 

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Media/Critic's Notes
How Much Do You Really Miss Going to the Movies?
Amid concerns about the future of theaters, remember that the past wasn’t always glorious. This is the moment to rethink what we want at a cinema.
By A.O. Scott, The New York Times - Oct. 16, 2020

Will moviegoing survive the pandemic? The question sounds both trivial — there are surely graver matters to worry about — and unduly apocalyptic. Movie theaters, after all, have reopened in many parts of the country, and some people went to see “Tenet” last month. But not as many as Warner Bros. had hoped for, and few enough to start the fall film season under a pessimistic cloud.

Lately, the news has only become grimmer. On Oct. 5, Regal Cinemas, the second-largest exhibition chain in the United States, announced it would temporarily shut down its more than 500 theaters. Studios have pushed most of their high-profile 2020 holiday releases into 2021 — for now. And last week Disney let it be known that the new Pixar feature, “Soul,” originally scheduled to open in theaters in June, would debut on the Disney+ streaming platform in December, bypassing multiplexes altogether.

That news was a teaser of sorts for the corporate blockbuster that arrived on Monday: the announcement of a restructuring at Disney that would, in the words of the chief executive, Bob Chapek, involve “managing content creation distinct from distribution.” “Our creative teams,” Chapek’s statement explained, laying on the poetry, “will concentrate on what they do best — making world-class, franchise-based entertainment — while our newly centralized global distribution team will focus on delivering and monetizing that content in the most optimal way across all platforms.”

Those words don’t exactly pronounce a death sentence for theaters, but they do express a bottom-line indifference about their future. Whether cinemas survive, Disney will find screens and viewers. Netflix, which is sprinkling some of its 2020 releases into theaters, has built a subscription empire on the belief that people would just as soon stay home and surrender to the algorithm. Those two companies together control an ever-larger share of the global attention span, and their growing reach can’t help but raise troubling thoughts in a movie lover’s mind.

What if the pandemic, rather than representing a temporary disruption in audience habits and industry revenues, turns out to be an extinction-level event for moviegoing? What if, now that we’ve grown accustomed to watching movies in our living rooms or on our laptops, we lose our appetite for the experience of trundling down carpeted hallways, trailing stray popcorn kernels and cradling giant cups of Coke Zero, to jostle for an aisle seat and hope all that soda doesn’t mean we’ll have to run to the bathroom during the big action sequence?

The specter of empty movie houses was haunting Hollywood (and the press that covers it) long before the Covid-19 plot twist. In most recent years, ticket sales were flat or declining, a malaise masked by seasonal juggernauts like episodes in the “Avengers” saga or the chapters of the third “Star Wars” trilogy — by Disney’s mighty market share, in other words. And even the periodic triumphs of non-franchise, or at least non-Disney, products — “Get Out” and “Joker”; “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “American Sniper” — were faint puffs of wind in the sails of a becalmed schooner, or teacups of water bailed from the hull of a listing liner, or some other suitably disastrous nautical metaphor.

Still, the ultimate catastrophe seemed unthinkable, and for good reason. The history of cinema is in part an anthology of premature obituaries. Sound, color, television, the suburbs, the VCR, the internet — they were all going to kill off moviegoing, and none succeeded. Cultural forms, and the social and private rituals that sustain them, have a way of outlasting their funerals. How many times have we heard about the death of the novel? Of poetry? Painting? Broadway theater? Rock ’n’ roll? The arts in modern times can resemble a parade of exquisite corpses. The dead don’t die.

Perhaps no art form has remade itself as frequently and dramatically in so short a life span as film (which technically speaking isn’t even film anymore). Over the past hundred-some years, “going to the movies” has encompassed a lot of different ways of leaving the house, and a corresponding variety of destinations: Curtained-off carnival booths; grand palaces with gilded ceilings and velvet seats; Bijoux and Roxys on small-town main streets; suburban drive-ins and shopping-mall multiscreens; grindhouses, arthouses, repertory houses and porno parlors. Most recently, in response to the soulless sameness of the megaplexes, a new kind of gentrified cinema has emerged, with reserved seating, food service and artisanal cocktails delivered to your seat.

So which one are we mourning? What are we defending? A frequent answer, offered both by those who worry that movies will die and by those who insist that they can’t, is community, the pleasure of sitting in the dark among friends and strangers and partaking of a collective dream. That picture strikes me as idealized if not downright ideological, a fantasy of film democracy that has rarely been realized.

Did you buy your ticket online, or did the site reject your credit card? Did you wait in line only to find out that what you wanted to see was sold out? Was the person in the seat in front of you texting through the sad parts, while the person behind you kicked the back of your seat? Was the theater full of crying babies? Talkative senior citizens? Unruly teenagers? Or — what may be worse — did you find yourself, on a weeknight a few weeks into the run of a well-reviewed almost-hit, all but alone in the dark?

Was the floor sticky? Was the seat torn? How was the projection? Was there masking on the edge of the screen, or did the image just bleed onto the curtains? Was the sound clear?

These were common cinephile complaints in the pre-pandemic era, and we shouldn’t let them be washed away in the nostalgia of this moment. Moviegoing was often as communal as a traffic jam, as transporting as air travel, and the problems went deeper than lax management or technological glitches.

The problem, to return to Chapek’s memo, was “world-class, franchise-based entertainment” — not every instance of it, but the models of creation and consumption the idea imposed. The big theater chains were kept alive by Disney, which dominated the domestic box office by ever greater margins, and which seemed almost uniquely able to produce the kind of big-event movies that could attract the masses on opening weekend. Those films, parceled out every other month or so, at once raised financial expectations among the exhibitors and helped break the habit of regular movie attendance among audiences. There was less and less room — literally fewer rooms, but also less collective bandwidth — for non-franchise entertainment.

At least at the multiplexes. The movie audience didn’t vanish, it splintered. Some stayed home, now that genuine cinema — not prestige TV, but restored classics and new work by established auteurs — could be found on streaming. Midlevel art-house distribution was kept alive by newish companies like A24 and Neon, which distributed Oscar laureates like “Moonlight” and “Parasite.”

The pictures were, in several ways, getting smaller: somewhat cheaper to make, and also less dependent on mass popularity. But it was also true that some of the most interesting films of the past half-decade — especially in languages other than English — had a hard time finding screens and oxygen.

The shuttering of theaters has accelerated this tendency, at least for the moment. In the absence of blockbusters, small, audacious movies have popped up like mushrooms on a forest floor — signs of life amid the general decay, but fragile and too easily overlooked or trampled underfoot.

Will the return of independent theaters, however many remain, help those little movies survive? Will a return to normalcy herald the next stage in an emerging duopoly, with the two dominant companies — Netflix and Disney — using big screens to showcase selected content, treating theaters as a kind of loss leader for their lucrative subscription services?

But maybe that’s putting it the wrong way. Making predictions, in addition to being foolish, is an expression of passivity, an acceptance of our diminished role as consumers of culture. Instead of wondering what might happen, what if we thought about what we want, and thought of ourselves not as fans or subscribers, but as partners and participants?
I’ll see you at the movies.

A.O. Scott is a critic at large and the co-chief film critic. He joined The Times in 2000 and has written for the Book Review and The New York Times Magazine. He is also the author of “Better Living Through Criticism.”

Source: How Much Do You Really Miss Going to the Movies?
 

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TV/Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
Friday Ratings: ‘Shark Tank’ Season Debut Is The Night’s Big Winner
By Bruce Haring, Deadline.com - Oct. 16, 2020

The Season 12 premiere of ABC’s Shark Tank was the big winner in the Friday demo wars, coming in at a healthy 0.6 to top the night’s fare.

The business entrepreneur show, shot in Las Vegas for the first time, saw SparkCharge, makers of the Roadie mobile EV charging system, take home a million-dollar stake from sharks Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner to highlight the episode. But Shark Tank’s strong lead-in couldn’t hold up for ABC’s 20/20, which featured a two-hour look at John Lennon’s life and legacy. That brought in an 0.3.

Fox’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown, which usually tops the night, came in second with an 0.5. The program was highlighted by Lars Sullivan taking on Jeff Hardy, and The New Day’s farewell.

At CBS, Cedric the Entertainer’s Greatest #AtHome Videos rolled to an 0.4 tally, with Undercover Boss following an maintaining that mark by also scoring an 0.4. A Blue Bloods rerun closed the evening.

NBC saw American Ninja Warrior race to an 0.3, with Dateline rising up to an 0.4 with its look at the murder of Helene Pruszynski, a 21-year-old radio station intern who was killed in Colorado 40 years ago.

The CW had a new Masters of Illusion come in at an 0.1, followed by a fresh World’s Funniest Animals, which also drew an 0.1, followed by a repeat of that show.

Source: Friday Ratings: ‘Shark Tank’ Season Debut Is The Night’s Big Winner
 

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TV Review (Streaming)
Rebecca: This Is Why You Don't Try to Remake Hitchcock
By Jordan Hoffman, TVGuide.com - Oct. 15, 2020

A central theme of Rebecca, if looked at from a certain point of view, is how expecting too much out of a new edition can be a road to ruin. The loyal servant Mrs. Danvers immediately dismisses the second Mrs. de Winter, knowing she could never measure up to the first. This (plus a lot of other shenanigans) leads to some fiery complications in this well-loved British gothic tale.

And yet despite the warning, I found myself falling into this trap. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier's extremely successful 1938 novel, was brought to the screen by Alfred Hitchcock (he of the cinematic term "Hitchcockian") in 1940, and it starred Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, and Judith Anderson. It won Hitchcock's only best picture Academy Award. Those are very big monogrammed silk slippers to fill. Any regular subscriber to Turner Classic Movies has images from this motion picture branded on the brain, so if you want to do a remake you had best, as they say, come correct.

Director Ben Wheatley and screenwriters Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel, and Anna Waterhouse do not, unfortunately, bring anything special to this new version. It is lifeless and unmeasured. To be fair, you can at least say it is pretty.

The furniture at Manderlay, the great Cornish house where the de Winters have lived for centuries, looks marvelous. And so does Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer in this version) especially in his mustard color suit while vacationing on the continent after the untimely death of his wife. It's there where he meets an innocent (but book smart) paid traveling companion (Lily James) to an old biddie (Ann Dowd). Soon the two beautiful specimens are stealing away time in sports cars and romping through Mediterranean beaches. Next thing they are married and headed back to England.

"You know how she is, sir," a butler says when the entire staff lines up to greet them. "There's a way things are done at Manderlay."

The she in question is the head of the domestic staff, the cold Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) obsessed with Rebecca, the first, and now departed, Mrs. de Winter. Thomas is a good bit of casting, but Wheatley never lets her sink her teeth into anything. In the original, Mrs. Danvers is terrifying and otherworldly just appearing in a room. Here she's just another frowny servant lacking the zingers you'll find in any halfway decent BBC production.

Hammer and James are for sure photogenic, but there isn't all that much of a swoon-factor going on here. Their relationship is inert. Once Maxim starts acting odd at Manderlay, Hammer has none of the melancholy found in Olivier's version. Okay, so I'm being unfair by constantly comparing, but even on its own it's just an altogether dull affair. Nothing really happens. There's one scene were Mrs. de Winter accidentally wears Rebecca's old dress and there's some shouting. If this happened to you in real life, sure, this would be a big deal, but in a movie — especially one that looks so expensive — you should demand more.

Wheatley does away with the supernatural vibe that's supposed to linger in the sealed-off west wing, where the first Mrs. de Winter's apartments are. Instead there are some shoehorned, computer-generated dream sequence images that feel leftover from a cheapo IFC Midnight horror flick. What a waste.

A full 80 minutes into this movie there's a shift in Mrs. Danvers's level of crazy that feels like maybe someone accidentally hit fast-forward. (I suspect some scenes were cut.) Then we get our first surprise twist and the story goes completely lopsided, racing through a courtroom scandal at a laughable speed. It's as if the movie itself realizes that this just isn't working and just wants to get this over with.

If I never heard of Hitchcock's Rebecca and just caught this on Netflix I'd think it was merely a misfire. Some good actors in splendid outfits made a dud on some marvelous looking sets and locations. Hardly a crime. But considering this is a Netflix project, it seems like someone might have recognized there was a much more cost effective way to tell this story in a way that's been proven to work: license the original.

Rebecca premieres Wednesday, Oct. 21 on Netflix.
TV Guide rating: 1.5/5

Source: Rebecca Review: This Is Why You Don't Try to Remake Hitchcock | TV Guide
 

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HDTV/Technology Notes
TCL Quietly Expands Android TV-powered Smart TV Shipments, Now Includes 4K Sets
By Daniel Frankel, Multichannel News - Oct. 16, 2020

Chinese electronics company TCL has begun shipping 4K/UHD-capable smart TVs based on the Android TV operating system to the U.S., adding to sub-$200 MSRP HD Android TV sets that were introduced over the summer.

As first noticed by 9to5Google, TCL has introduced its 4 series model sets in 50-, 55- and 75-inch configurations, priced respectively at $349, $399 and $799, exclusively at Best Buy. A 43-inch 4K/UHD Android TV iteration, priced at $199, has been introduced to Target shoppers.

TCL is currently the second biggest shipper of smart TV to the U.S., controlling 14% of the market vs. 32% for leader Samsung, according to Statista figures released in September.

TCL has risen to that position based on popular low-priced TVs based on the Roku operating system. But in June, the manufacturer began also shipping sets based on Android TV.

Until last month, those sets were 3-series iterations with HD resolution and fewer features (the more expensive 4K/UHD sets have three HDMI ports, for example).

TCL’s 3-series Android TV-powered HD options include a 32-inch, 720p set priced at only $130, and a 40-inch 1080p model priced at $200.

Source: TCL Quietly Expands Android TV-powered Smart TV Shipments, Now Includes 4K Sets
 
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