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TV/Legal Notes (New Media)
New ’Star Trek’ Fan-Fiction Guidelines Cause Rift in TV Fan Space-Time Continuum
By Alex Strachan, TVWorthWatching.com's 'TV That Matters' - Jun. 26, 2016

Star Trek has been much in the news of late. The original Star Trek is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. The J.J. Abrams-directed feature film Star Trek Beyond opens in movie theaters next month, July 22.

This past week, the Television Critics Association nominated the 1966 Gene Roddenberry original for the group’s prestigious Heritage Award, alongside such small-screen classics as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Seinfeld.

Days ago, a trailer for the crowd-funded fan film Star Trek: Axanar was unveiled amid an ongoing lawsuit over the project.

“Long have we watched the scourge of humanity spreading through space, daring to encroach upon our birthright,” the narrator, presumably a Klingon, intones in the Axanar trailer.

The biggest disturbance in the force that is Star Trek fandom, though, was Star Trek studio and rights-holders CBS and Paramount Pictures issuing an official set of legal guidelines for future fan projects, just this past week.

CBS/Paramount posted the list of instructions, titled “The Guidelines for Avoiding Objections,” on the official Star Trek site StarTrek.com. It was a not-so-subtle reminder that everything about Star Trek, from the music to the costumes to Captain Kirk’s way with women, is intellectual property.

And that property is owned and controlled by CBS and Paramount. (Star Trek originally aired from 1966-’69 on NBC, but NBC has no ownership stake in the series. Interestingly, the original Star Trek was the brainchild of the now defunct Desilu Productions, co-owned by small-screen legends Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.)

That line from the Axanar trailer, “daring to encroach on our birthright,” could just as easily apply to the project itself — and for other surprisingly well-produced, polished fan films like Star Trek Continues, which just last month released its sixth full-length (42 minutes) episode, Come Not Between the Dragons, on YouTube.

The development of relatively low-cost, high-quality digital video cameras, coupled with technological breakthroughs in easy-to-use digital-imaging programs for home computer, have created a universe in which pretty much anyone can produce their own homemade film, for a tiny fraction of the cost of what even notoriously penny-pinching Roger Corman used to spend on even his most cheaply made B-movies from the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Star Trek’s legions of fans have always shared a proprietary interest in all things Trek. It was the fans, after all, who revived Trek’s fortunes after the original series was cancelled in 1969 after just three seasons, the victim of low ratings, high production costs and the defection of several of its original writer-producers, including Roddenberry himself.

Science-fiction devotees have always been the most ardent supporters of genre films, and the most creative and energetic. Star Trek in particular prompted a wave of fan-written short stories, novellas and short novels, leading to a whole new genre of writing — fan fiction, or fanfic.

Fans were no longer content to be passive viewers. They wanted to actively participate.

Few if any of these efforts, though, were moneymaking enterprises — no pun intended.

Paramount Pictures, the rights holder at the time (before CBS and Paramount came under the same corporate umbrella), looked the other way on copyright infringement, for the most part. There was an unofficial, unspoken agreement between fan and studio. Fans understood they were not to compete with legitimate studio efforts, or take bread out of the mouths of Star Trek’s creators, producers and actors; the studio, for its part, was only too happy to encourage fans’ enthusiasm in exchange for free publicity, and the old Hollywood adage that all publicity is good publicity — especially when it’s free.

Times, and technology, have changed, though.

Now, Star Trek Continues episodes like Pilgrim of Eternity and Divided We Stand can look every bit as polished as the 1966 original, right down to the styrofoam boulders, psychedelic ‘60s colors and Fred Steiner-esque music. Bit players from the original series and its subsequent spin-offs, sequels, prequels and movie incarnations — Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Tim Russ, Robert Picardo and others — are turning up in prominent roles in fan productions. Axanar was crowdfunded in large part through sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.

The dollar figures have been growing, even as the fan productions themselves have become better looking. What once seemed like a harmless, quaint expression of fans’ devotion — an homage to an old love — is now something else entirely.

CBS and Paramount are walking a narrow line. On the one hand, they need to protect their intellectual property, arguably one of the most valuable assets in film and television, right up there with Star Wars, Harry Potter, James Bond and Disney’s fairty-tale characters.

On the other hand, they need to be mindful not to alienate their core group of fans, who include some of the most ardent, creative — and talented — followers of any franchise in the history of popular entertainment.

One thing is certain. The guidelines, a list of 10 separate instructions, complete with sections and subsections, caused a ripple of resentment in the fan community, judging from the early reaction on Twitter, Facebook and on sites like Screen Rant.

“In other words,” one disgruntled fan posted on Rolling Stone’s site, “‘Don’t do anything that might be better than what we can do, with less money and less talent.’”

The guidelines are strict, and leave little room to wiggle. Among the edicts, fan productions are not to exceed 15 minutes in length for a single, self-contained story, or 30 minutes for “no more than two segments, episodes or parts.”

But wait, there’s more.

No additonal seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes” will be allowed. The words “Star Trek” are not to appear in the title, when the words “A Star Trek Fan Production” are used as a subtitle.

Fan productions cannot include anyone who has worked on an official Star Trek film or TV series, either in front of or behind the camera. They cannot raise more than $50,000 from crowdfunding or any other source, for a single, individual production.

The guidelines do allow the use of original costumes, interestingly enough, provided they’re official merchandise, “and not bootleg items or imitations of commercially available products.”

The final production must be shared on a “no-charge basis” — meaning, for free. Star Trek Continues is accessible to anyone who accesses YouTube; Continues’ official website opens with a statement that everything having to do with Star Trek is “solely owned by CBS Studios, Inc.” and that Star Trek Continues itself is “non-commercial” and “intended for recreational use.”

In exchange, CBS and Paramount agree not to object to or take legal action against any non-professional or amateur fan productions.

The studios filed the Axanar copyright infringement suit in December — this, after the fan producers raised more than $1 million through various crowdfunding campaigns.

BuzzFeed reported this past week that talks between the two sides are ongoing and that both sides “continue to be hopeful” that they will reach a settlement shortly.

The controversy hardly rises to the level of a Supreme Court decision — yet — but it does have the potential to establish a precedent for future fan projects of all kinds. The X-Files is just one example of another popular series that has prompted a wave of fan fiction.

The original series had its own fun with the idea of intellectual property. In a third-season episode, “Whom Gods Destroy,” written by occasional Have Gun, Will Travel and All in the Family scriptwriter Lee Erwin, the inmates of a mental-health facility are running the asylum. An addled young woman, played by Yvonne Craig, shows off her gift for poetry to the inmates’ leader, Garth of Izar, a former starship captain played by Steve Ihnat.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” she intones. “Thou art more lovely and temperate / Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May / And summer’s lease hath all...”

“You wrote that?” Garth cries.

“Yesterday, as a matter of fact,” she replies.

“It was written by an Earthman named Shakespeare a long time ago,” he says pointedly.

“Which does not alter the fact that I wrote it again yesterday,” she replies without missing a beat.

These are the stories of the Starship Enterprise — boldly going into court where so many intellectual properties have gone before.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogPostDetails.aspx?postId=12279
 

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TV/Business Notes (Cable)
Epix Wants In on The Premium Action
Movie-based service that many thought would fizzle upon launch is ready to execute its long-delayed plan for scripted originals
By Michael Malone, Broadcasting & Cable - Jun. 27, 2016

The mere existence of Epix is something of a media miracle.

The premium network launched in 2009, to the shock of industry observers, during the depths of the financial crisis after distribution talks between Showtime and Paramount Pictures hit the rocks. Epix immediately faced a wall of skepticism about carriage, about the viability of its suppliers (along with Paramount, they were the nearly bankrupt MGM and pre-Hunger Games Lionsgate), plus the notion of the world needing yet another channel.

Seven years later, the landscape is hardly less crowded, but Epix has surprised doubters by carving out a sustainable niche, racking up 15 million U.S. subscribers from a total reach of 50 million homes. It will be some time, if ever, before Epix nears the subscriber rolls and prestigious profiles of HBO, Showtime and Starz. But the network is emboldened to execute Step 2 in the plan, a familiar evolution in the premium sector: scripted originals.

The network wants in on the originals party, and entering the Peak TV fray will make it once again a decided underdog. But its two fall launches—the serendipitously prescient political comedy Graves and spy thriller Berlin Station—both carry pedigrees in terms of underlying material and production partners, and the push has already gotten the notice of the talent community. Mark Greenberg, Epix president and CEO, says this was always the strategy. Scripted series were “part of our original business plan,” he says. “We need to be owners of content, not renters. We want to be closer to the consumer.”

Post-theatricals still do a lot of heavy lifting at premium networks, comprising nearly 80% of the linear schedule and powering OTT offerings. But originals are what brings buzz, Emmys and talent relationships. That said, Epix’s hopefuls will enter a competition with more than 400 other scripted series. “There’s a lot of great content out there, and breaking through is going to be a challenge,” says Seth Geiger, founder and president of media consultancy SmithGeiger. “We talk a lot about the battle for screen time—it’s brutal right now.”

Born of Conflict

Epix launched in Verizon FiOS households in fall 2009 after the three studios broke off their relationships with Showtime. Carriage deals with Cox, Mediacom, Dish and Charter were signed within six months following the launch.

While the marketing slogan stated “We Get Big Movies,” Epix tried—true to Greenberg’s blueprint—to get an original series up and running. It greenlit Jenji Kohan’s country music drama Tough Trade, only to pull the plug on it in 2010. Laverne McKinnon was the net’s development chief at the time, but left the company in 2011 before any scripted originals hit the air—sending a mixed message to Hollywood about how interested Epix was in developing its own network-maker, its own Sopranos.

Epix took the safer route of special programming, primarily concert and comedy specials featuring the likes of Katy Perry, Pink, Marc Maron and Craig Ferguson. The network also made a play into original documentaries. Hockey docu The Road to the NHL Winter Classic, announced in 2014, was a “test run,” says Greenberg, for a channel still keen to own, not rent.

The net has taken a similarly circumspect approach toward OTT. While rivals have committed resources to bespoke stand-alone offerings, Epix has been more interested in, for example, striking a deal to provide movies to Dish’s Sling TV while keeping all distribution options open.

After gun debate documentary Under the Gun’s strong showing at Sundance earlier this year, Epix acquired the Katie Couric-produced film, which premiered on the channel in May, receiving some admiring reviews but also criticism over its editing. Last week, Epix debuted Serena, about the tennis icon Serena Williams.

In order to crack the code on original series, Epix needed a strong development chief. In early 2015, Greenberg lured Jocelyn Diaz from HBO, naming her executive VP of original programming. He spoke of Diaz enabling Epix “to take this to a new level with original scripted series that resonate with our viewers.”

Besides her time as head of drama development at HBO, Diaz was VP of production at Walt Disney Studios and worked at ABC. She said the prospect of being part of premium cable’s scripted revolution was exceedingly attractive. “They’re unencumbered stories—they don’t have a lot of restrictions,” Diaz told B&C. “The chance to be on the ground floor, to build something—it certainly was not an experience I had before, and it was too great to pass up.”

Box-Office Bust

Geiger says there was little future for Epix with movie titles—even with blockbuster franchises like Transformers or Twilight—up and down its grid. “It’s hard to be a linear movie channel in a world with immediate access to a huge encyclopedia of movie titles,” Geiger says of the array of films available on Netflix, iTunes and other digital platforms. “That’s really anachronistic these days.”

When Epix finally announced the two scripted series a year ago, it had missed its initial target date by at least a few years. Greenberg says a 2014 carriage deal with Time Warner Cable was the key to a firmer distribution foundation, which helped empower the move into originals.

“We want the brand to resonate for the long run,” Greenberg says. “We learned a lot about what goes on in the value-added space.”

The single-camera, half-hour Graves and hour-long Berlin Station debut in October. Graves, from Lionsgate, features Nick Nolte as a former U.S. president who is seeking to make amends for his feckless performance in the Oval Office. Sela Ward plays the former first lady, who is compelled to run for the Senate. “It’s Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton all rolled into one family,” quips Greenberg. “Maybe we got a little lucky with this show.”

While it’s technically a comedy, Diaz believes Graves will touch on timely sociopolitical issues. “It comes at an opportune time,” she says. “We have a chance to be part of the national conversation.”

Diaz describes Berlin Station, from Paramount and Anonymous Content, as “modernday spy genre” along the lines of John LeCarre’s novels. Bradford Winters (The Americans, Oz) is running the show. Centered on a leak within a CIA base of operations, Berlin Station is shot on location in Germany. “It’s a truly theatrical-quality production,” says Greenberg, who adds that Epix is experimenting with virtual reality components for the series.
Weekend Warriors

Sunday is obviously the prestige night for elite cable’s brand-defining series. Epix has not yet announced which night the shows will air, though Greenberg says it’s likely to be Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Moreover, there’s a “strong possibility” Graves and Berlin Station will occupy the same night.

Both will enjoy multimillion dollar marketing budgets, Greenberg adds. Down the road is Get Shorty. Based on the Elmore Leonard novel that spawned a 1995 feature film, Shorty will start shooting in the fall. Diaz likens the project to FX’s Fargo, where a fresh set of characters have but a tangential connection to the original intellectual property.

Epix’s development process is somewhat unique. Instead of shooting capital-draining pilots, the upstart channel goes straight to series, requesting five seasons’ worth of scripts from executive producers. Like any premium cable channel—or any broadcast, cable or digital network making originals, for that matter—Epix is looking for strong voices. “It should be as distinctive as possible,” Diaz says.

Ben Tappan, Epix VP of scripted programming, summed up the challenge of developing and launching shows in the peak TV era earlier this month during a panel on scripted content at the Banff World Media Festival. “You can’t just be good anymore,” he said. “You have to be extraordinary.”

The Epix shows have comparable budgets to most anything in premium cable, shy of Game of Thrones, asserts Diaz. With the series premieres just months away, she is equal parts excited and anxious. “It’s certainly daunting and a little scary,” Diaz says. “But you just have to close your eyes and jump in the pool.”

Cost of Entry

Epix aims to swim with the sharks. In 2016, Netflix will spend $5 billion on programming, with SVOD competitors Amazon at $1.7 billion and Hulu $1.5 billion, according to RBC Capital Markets. HBO will spend about $1.8 billion on programming this year, forecasted Morgan Stanley, while Showtime and Starz are upping their costs while battling HBO for Emmys and subscribers.

Along with the scripted stuff, Epix is staying true to its documentary roots. In September, it will debut four-part docuseries America Divided, executive produced by the somewhat unlikely holy trinity of Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes and Common. The series touches on equality in education, labor, criminal justice and other departments, with Lear on air for a segment on housing.

Epix looks to compete on all platforms, and has implemented a TV Everywhere strategy since well before it was commonplace. A day before the linear channel launched, Epix’s on-demand streaming service, which requires subscriber authentication at Epix.com, debuted. It was also a pioneer in getting its stream running through Roku, Xbox and PlayStation 3, the latter early in 2013. Last fall, Epix began allowing authenticated subs to download movies to their Kindle Fire, iOS and Android devices for viewing when they are offline. It also shifted 2,000 of its movie titles from Netflix to Hulu just before Hulu announced a skinny bundle plan.

“We’ve had a digital strategy from the get-go,” says Greenberg. “We’ve been very committed to that.”

It’s the scripted series that will either elevate or relegate the brand. The risks are huge, but so is the upside for a project done just right. “I feel like it’s a great path for them,” says Rajiv Menon, research executive at media branding outfit TruthCo. “We’ve seen it work for Cinemax and Starz, and I think it’s a huge opportunity for Epix.” And it only takes one hit to define a cable brand—one Mad Men, one Shield, one Sopranos.

Epix remains every bit the scrappy upstart. The company has fewer than 100 employees, according to Greenberg—a far cry from HBO’s 2,300 situated around the world. Epix looked at 250 original scripts before settling on the three series in the works, he says.

Getting overloaded viewers to find and embrace the shows will take more than just quality control. “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” Greenberg says. “We hope we’re lucky and good.”

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/programming/epix-wants-premium-action/157598
 

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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
MONDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)
From Zap2it.com's 'TV Grid' - Jun. 27, 2016

ABC:
8PM - The Bachelorette (120 min.)
10PM - Mistresses
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Eric Stonestreet; Nia Long; AlunaGeorge performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - Mom
(R - Jan. 14)
8:30PM - Two Broke Girls
(R - Jan. 20)
9PM - Scorpion
(R - Jan, 18)
9:59PM - BrainDead
* * * *
11:35PM - The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (NBA player Kevin Love; Jenny Slate; Dierks Bentley performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with James Corden (Sharon Stone; Sebastian Stan; Zach Woods; Jamie Lawson performs)
(R - May 5)

NBC:
8PM - U.S. Olympic Trials: Swimming Finals (LIVE)
9PM - American Ninja Warrior (120 min.)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Chris Evans; comic Marc Maron; kids from "Little Big Shots'' perform; Lecrae sits in with The Roots)
(R - May 3)
12:37AM - Late Night with Seth Meyers (Connie Britton; Natasha Leggero; chef Marcus Samuelsson; Allison Miller sits in with the 8G Band)
(R - May 16)
1:38AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Racecar driver Danica Patrick; the Bots perform; musical group All Them Witches)
(R - Mar. 23)

FOX:
8PM - So You Think You Can Dance
9PM - Houdini & Doyle

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Vintage New York
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: Vintge Secaucus
(R - Jun. 25, 2012)
10PM - POV: The Look of Silence (120 min.)

UNIVISION:
9PM - Un Camino Hacia el Destino
9PM - Tres Veces Ana
10PM - Por Siempre Joan Sebastian (Series Premiere)

THE CW:
8PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Cedric the Entertainer)
(R - Apr. 17, 2015)
8:30 - Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Keegan-Michael Key)
(R - Sep. 14)
9PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Jeff Davis)
(R - Oct. 5)
9:30PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Alfonso Ribeiro)
(R - Mat 23)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Eva la Trailera
9PM - La Esclava Blanca
10PM - El Señor de Los Cielos

AMC:
10PM - TURN: Washington's Spies (Season Finale)

HBO:
9PM - How to Let Go of the World (and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change) (2016, 2 hrs. 10 min.)

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Cynthia Erivo)
11:31PM - The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (Commentator Jeffrey Rosen)
12:01AM - At Midnight with Chris Hardwick (Greg Proops; Robin Thede; Mike Phirman)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Aubrey Plaza; Frank Grillo; Pierce the Veil performs)


http://tvschedule.zap2it.com/tvlistings/ZCGrid.do?fromTimeInMillis=1467072000000&aid=tvschedule
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
Jay Leno unharmed after stunt for 'Jay Leno's Garage' goes wrong
By Alison Bernicker, Newsday.com - Jun. 26, 2016

Going up on two wheels in a Hurst Hemi Under Glass has always been on Jay Leno’s bucket list, but a plan to make that dream come true took a scary turn when the one he was riding in crashed.

That was one ugly rollover wreck. How they both crawled out unhurt is amazing.
 

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TV/Legal Notes (New Media)
New ’Star Trek’ Fan-Fiction Guidelines Cause Rift in TV Fan Space-Time Continuum
By Alex Strachan, TVWorthWatching.com's 'TV That Matters' - Jun. 26, 2016

Star Trek has been much in the news of late. The original Star Trek is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. The J.J. Abrams-directed feature film Star Trek Beyond opens in movie theaters next month, July 22.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogPostDetails.aspx?postId=12279
J.J. Abrams isn't directing this movie, just one of the producers. The director is Justin Lin.
 

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Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
Strong start for ABC’s Sunday game show block
New '$100,000 Pyramid' draws a 1.7 in 18-49s, tops for the night on Big Four
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jun. 27, 2016

Following the success of “Celebrity Family Feud” last summer, ABC decided to build an entire game show block on Sunday night.

The early indication is that was a good idea.

The network finished first among the English-language networks on Sunday night with three of the evening’s top four non-sports programs among adults 18-49, including the No. 1 program, “$100,000 Pyramid.”

The premiere of “Pyramid” averaged a 1.7 18-49 rating at 9 p.m., according to Nielsen, growing 0.2 from lead-in “Feud.”

“Feud” drew a 1.5 at 8 p.m., down sharply from last summer’s premiere but still tying CBS’s “Big Brother” for second in the timeslot on broadcast.

The 10 p.m. game show “Match Game” debuted to a 1.5, also tying “Feud” and “Brother” for No. 2 nonsports show of the night.

The big sports draw was, of course, Univision’s coverage of the Copa America Centenario final, which Chile won over Argentina on penalty kicks. That lifted Univision past the Big Four for the night.

The game aired live, and so overnight numbers are not reliable, as they’ll adjust for time zones and actual program data rather than timeslot data.

But initial ratings were strong, with Univision posting a 1.8 from 8 to 11 p.m.

NBC also carried sports Sunday night, the women’s gymnastics championships, which averaged a 1.3. That was up 160 percent from last year, when the championships aired on Saturday night, reflecting the bigger interest in an Olympic year.

The rating marked NBC’s second-best numbers in the 9 to 11 timeslot since March 6, behind only a Stanley Cup game.

It was a big night overall for television, with HBO’s “Game of Thrones” season finale expected to draw huge numbers and Shark Week starting on Discovery Channel.

[CLICK LINK BELOW TO READ COMPLETE LIST OF SUNDAY NIGHT'S OVERNIGHT RATINGS]

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/strong-start-abcs-sunday-game-show-block/
 

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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jun. 27, 2016

VERY BRITISH PROBLEMS
Acorn TV, 3:00 a.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE:
British stars discuss the particular travails of being… British. And this was before Brexit. Guests include James Corden, now ensconced on this side of the pond as host of The Late Late Show on CBS. Available as a streaming series on the Acorn TV website.

HOW TO LET GO OF THE WORLD (AND LOVE ALL THE THINGS CLIMATE CAN’T CHANGE)
HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

Josh Fox, the filmmaker behind Gasland, visits a dozen different countries to learn how their resilient citizens have responded to climate change that has had a significant, if not devastating, local effect.

BRAINDEAD
CBS, 9:59 p.m. ET

In episode three, new political voices begin to seize power – powered by brain-altering, and brain-eating, alien bugs that have bored into the ears and skulls of beltway power brokers. Here’s a summer series, a scripted fantasy, that has people acting strangely, and against their own best interests. And when it’s over, you can watch more of the same, on the late news.

TURN: WASHINGTON'S SPIES
AMC, 10:00 p.m. ET
SEASON FINALE:
In tonight’s Season 3 finale, this Revolutionary War spy series makes room for a brand new character – one who already is the focus of the hottest hit on Broadway. It’s Alexander Hamilton, making his first star TURN here, as played by Sean Haggerty, visiting Ian Kahn's Gen. George Washington.

FULL FRONTAL WITH SAMANTHA BEE
TBS, 10:30 p.m. ET

We’ve seen, by now, how Bill Maher, John Oliver and others have reacted to Brexit week. Now, tonight, we can see Samantha Bee’s take on it…


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
 

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TV Notes (Cable)
‘Hap And Leonard’ Renewed For Season 2 At SundanceTV
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Jun. 27, 2016

EXCLUSIVE: SundanceTV is close to renewing Hap And Leonard for a second season. The network is looking for a new showrunner, we’re hearing, so all the pieces haven’t formally come together yet. But if it does, James Purefoy, who plays blue-collar ex-con Hap Collins, and Michael Kenneth Williams as his unlikely partner and Vietnam vet Leonard Pine would both return. Like Season 1, Season 2 would be for six episodes.

The series was created by Nick Damici and Jim Mickle and the latter served as showrunner for Season 1. In the second season Mickle would stay on as executive producer/writer and Damici as executive producer alongside Jeremy Platt, Linda Moran and Lansdale.

The plan is for Season 2 to be based on Landale’s 1994 book Mucho Mojo, the second in the Hap and Leonard series. It revolves around the death of Leonard Pine’s Uncle Chester who happens to live next to a crack house. Under the floorboards of his uncle’s house the two discover the skeleton of an infant wrapped in child pornography. Leonard refuses to believe his uncle could be involved so he enlists the help of Hap to solve the murder and clear his uncle.

Hap And Leonard debuted March 2 and is the network’s highest-rated original series. Season 1 averaged 456,000 viewers in Live+3 and 147K in the 18-49 demo, both big lifts from Live+Same Day.

UPDATE: Deadline previously reported that SundanceTV was close to renewing Hap and Leonard, and now star James Purefoy has confirmed it’s official.

James Purefoy ✔ @jamespurefoy
On a brighter note @hapandLeonard has been officially picked up for Season 2..
7:39 AM - 27 Jun 2016


http://deadline.com/2016/06/hap-and-leonard-season-2-plans-sundancetv-1201760500/

* * * *

TV Notes (Cable)
‘Baby Daddy’ Renewed For Sixth Season By Freeform
By Denise Petski, Deadline.com - Jun. 27, 2016

Freeform has renewed its No. 1 comedy Baby Daddy for a sixth season, which will take the series to 100 episodes.

The Season 6 pickup comes on the heels of strong ratings for the back-half of its fifth season which premiered June 1, growing week-to-week to near one-year ratings highs in key target demos.

“The lines between family and friends are so wonderfully crossed in ‘Baby Daddy.’ You can always count on the Wheeler clan for a big laugh along with heartfelt moments,” said Karey Burke, executive vice president, Programming and Development, Freeform.

In season six, Ben will remain on his quest to find the “girl of his dreams” and Emma’s new mom while Danny and Riley figure out their future. Baby Daddy follows Ben (Jean-Luc Bilodeau), a young man in New York City living a bachelor’s life with his buddy, Tucker (Tahj Mowry), and his brother, Danny (Derek Theler), a professional hockey player. Their lives are turned upside down when they came home one day to find a baby girl left on the doorstep by an ex-girlfriend of Ben’s. Ben and his close-knit family and friends, including his overbearing mom Bonnie (Melissa Peterman) and close friend Riley (Chelsea Kane) band together to raise baby Emma together, navigating lives and loves with a kid in tow.

Baby Daddy is created and executive-produced by Dan Berendsen (The Nine Lives of Chloe King, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Hannah Montana: The Movie).

http://deadline.com/2016/06/baby-daddy-renewed-sixth-season-freeform-1201780146/
 

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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
BET Awards Plummet 29 Percent in Total Viewers From Last Year
By Tony Maglio, TheWrap.com - Jun. 27, 2016

Sunday’s BET Awards dropped 29 percent of last year’s total viewers — at least in terms of those tuning in through the main cable channel.

And versus Chris Rock‘s hosting turn in 2014, last night’s awards show was down 43 percent. This Sunday’s celebration was hosted by “Black-ish” co-stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross for the second year in a row.

Last night’s BET Awards aired across all 12 Viacom networks — the first time ever, and probably an effort to make up expected eyeball losses. All told, the dozen cable channels combined for 7.2 million total live viewers. The 2015 BET Awards aired on BET and Centric simultaneously.

Despite the big drop, these BET Awards once-again premiered as the No. 1 cable awards show in the key 18-49 demographic for the 2015-2016 TV season to-date, attracting a simulcast-sum 3.8 million viewers from that age range.

The first airing had a 4.27 Nielsen TV rating in that same demo across all 12 nets, with a 2.77 on BET alone.
The 2016 BET Awards was the most social TV show across all day Sunday. A total of 3,446,905 Tweets were generated by 623,099 people in the U.S., according to Nielsen.

http://www.thewrap.com/bet-awards-plummet-29-percent-in-total-viewers-from-last-year/
 

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TV/Nielsen Notes
The Latest Nielsen Reports Are In: We’re Hardly Ever Not Watching Television
By Tolly Wright, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Jun. 27, 2016

You know that thing when you’re talking about the best shows on television and your friend is all, “Oh, I don’t really have time for that”? What they’re really telling you is that they don’t have time in their busy schedule of hours of daily TV watching for the program that you like. On Monday, Nielsen released its quarterly Total Audience Report on the state of media consumption, which revealed that the typical American watches four and half hours of live TV every day, and another thirty minutes on DVR — or, as Nielsen alleged in another chart, 32 hours in a week. That's pretty close to the 40 hours expected for, you know, a job. That thing that allows you to be a productive part of society.

The report had plenty of other figures, including that, for the first time ever, over 50-percent of Americans subscribe to a streaming service (Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu,). Also, despite the takeover of podcasts, typical Americans are still listening to nearly two hours of AM/FM radio daily, averaging about the same amount of time as they were in 2014 and 2015. Perhaps most depressing, if not unexpected, the average time spent on a smartphone or tablet has ballooned since 2015: 60-percent and 63-percent, respectively. But hey, at least you're crushin' it at Candy Crush. Right?

http://www.vulture.com/2016/06/nielsen-confirms-were-addicted-to-tv.html
 

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TV/Business Notes (Cable)
Chris Albrecht Renews Starz CEO Deal, Adds President to Title
By Lesley Goldberg and Paul Bond, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jun. 27, 2016

Chris Albrecht is staying put at Starz.

The CEO has re-upped his deal with the premium cable network through 2020 and, beginning July 1, will add president to go with his CEO title, Starz announced Monday.

In a filing, Starz said Albrecht will receive a base salary of $1.5 million plus various bonuses under his new contract. He'll also get a $3 million grant of restricted shares and a $1 million grant of stock options, each of which will vest on June 30, 2017.

In 2015, he made $2.4 million and the year before he was paid $2.5 million. The two years prior to that, though, Albrecht made $30.5 million and $12.9 million, courtesy of some big stock awards.

"Chris has developed Starz into a leading, innovative entertainment brand with award-winning original programing that resonates with U.S. and international audiences," Starz chairman Greg Maffei said in a statement. "He has made remarkable contributions to the business over the past six years, and we look forward to his vision creating even more value for distributors, partners and shareholders."

Said Albrecht: "I am excited to move forward with my role at Starz and want to thank Greg and the board for their continued support. We have a tremendous runway for growth. I am more enthusiastic than ever about our strong and resilient subscription-based business model and commitment to make Starz an innovative global brand with an eye to the future."

Albrecht's new deal comes as the premium cable network is slated to move its originals from Saturdays, where they built a loyal and dedicated audience, to Sundays starting with the July 17 season-three premiere of Power, its highest-rated original.

Albrecht, the former chairman and CEO of HBO, has been with Starz since 2010. During his tenure he put the premium cable network on the map with original scripted programs including Spartacus and, more recently, Outlander, Black Sails, The Missing, The Girlfriend Experience, Survivor's Remorse, Blunt Talk, Ash vs. Evil Dead and the highly anticipated Neil Gaiman entry American Gods. The move to expand to Sundays — which has become the new night of must-see TV — comes after Albrecht employed the same strategy during his tenure at HBO.

http://www.vulture.com/2016/06/nielsen-confirms-were-addicted-to-tv.html
 

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TV Reviews (Cable)
‘Killjoys’ and ‘Dark Matter’
By Nick Statt, TheVerge.com

I hope you have a “Killjoys” in your life.

“Killjoys” returns to Syfy July 1, and settling in to watch this show never fails to put me in a happy place. Some TV shows effortlessly tick a large number of the boxes you want them to tick and throw in a few more goodies just for fun, and “Killjoys” is that show for me. My affection for “Killjoys” might border on the unreasonable, but I can summon enough objectivity to assess its overall strengths and weaknesses. There are a lot of the former, very few of the latter. It’s a light, well-made, zippy TV show that knows what it is and delivers solid action, adventure and character development despite its limited budget. The cast has terrific chemistry, and the second season of the show ably builds on the strengths of the quite enjoyable first.

Of course, I like some existential despair-inducing TV — if you’re a TV aficionado in this day and age and you can’t absorb a fair amount challenging or emotionally draining fare, good luck to you. There’s no doubt that some of the darkest shows are truly moving and necessary. But I also like well-made escapism with intelligent underpinnings, the kind of enjoyable show that quietly raises worthwhile questions and is carried through its weekly escapades by an energetic, efficient vibe. At the moment, few shows hit those targets more consistently than “Killjoys.”

I get that your ideal escapist show might not be mine, and vice versa. But if you like any of the elements described in the next few paragraphs, you should give it a try.

“Killjoys” has frisky, funny dialogue and a trio of lead actors — Hannah John-Kamen as Dutch and Aaron Ashmore and Luke Macfarlane as brothers John and D’avin Jaqobis — all of whom can do comedy, drama and action with equal facility. It’s got a shifty villain, Khlyen (Rob Stewart), who may be less awful than the evil forces he himself is battling. It has space bounty hunters, which is a fictional premise all thinking humans should appreciate, at least in theory.

“Killjoys” is the nickname of those who work for the “Reclamation Apprehension Coalition”: They collar criminals and serve warrants in a little corner of space called the Quad, where these agents serve as the police force, more or less. Dutch believes her posse can do its job in a reasonably neutral fashion, but the ongoing power struggles in the Quad mean that many Killjoys are being drawn into increasingly violent conflicts, and neutrality is often not a realistic option any more. Of course, Dutch and the Jaqobis brothers typically end up on the side of the underdogs, but they also have bosses they answer to, and thus they’re often walking a fine line between enforcing an unfair “peace” and helping those who are fomenting revolution.

Like any self-respecting sci-fi show, “Killjoys” sneaks in a fair amount of brisk commentary on social concerns, and this show lightly explores issues of class, oppression, corporate overreach and political representation. An almost omnipotent Company runs the Quad, but there are also nine wealthy families who pull the strings in the halls of power. If I have one minor nitpick about the show, it’s that I don’t quite understand how the families and the Company relate to each other, and I hope the second season, beyond the two fine episodes that kick off the season, shed additional light on this set-up. (An alert for fans of the recent Syfy drama “Defiance”: Stephanie Leonidas guests in the season two premiere of “Killjoys,” which is a smart bit of casting.)

A fair number of the Killjoys’ meetings with disgraced doctors, revolution-preaching priests and the like happen inside a run-down bar in the working-class Old Town quarter; the dive is run by the delightful recurring character Pree (Thom Allison). A few more things in its favor: “Killjoys” is unapologetically about a woman who kicks ass, Dutch is coming to terms with a believably complicated past, and the drama has a woman of color as its undisputed lead. That is still far too rare on the TV scene, especially in the genre arena.

To sum up: “Killjoys” has flirtatious banter, a spaceship run by a tartly intelligent AI, a politically active religious order, “Orphan Black”-style meditations on extreme body modifications, simmering romances, a charismatic bartender, a mysterious order called “Level Six” and explosions on alien worlds. Seriously, do I need to go on?

Just one more thing: One of the most amusing aspects of “Killjoys” is its name: Creator Michelle Lovretta, who also came up with the similarly entertaining and empowered genre show “Lost Girl,” swiped a word often thrown at feminists and made it the name of a show about a woman with a complicated past who flies through space righting wrongs and being a credible badass. Talk about reclamation: Lovretta has turned a formerly pejorative term into one of my favorite words.

Also returning July 1 is another Syfy spaceship series, “Dark Matter,” which eventually won me over during its first season. That said, “Dark Matter” tends to employ sci-fi tropes without examining them too closely: The android character is like almost every other android character ever, the Asian character’s storylines veer dangerously into stereotypical territory and some of the writing for female characters is sigh-inducing. There’s no real subversion on display here, just the standard moves and dialogue you’d expect from the genre.

Yet the first season ended up being a fairly satisfying locked-room mystery: There was literally a locked storage area within the ship, and the characters themselves, having woken up from cryosleep with their memories wiped, had to piece together their pasts and figure out how to survive in an unforgiving slice of the galaxy.

Not all the characters are interesting and some of the performances are shakier than others (and “Dark Matter’s” clunky production design is less pleasing than that of the sprightlier “Killjoys”). But for hardcore sci-fi fans, “Dark Matter” should have enough upsides to keep them tuning in: It has a sense of humor, reliable forward momentum, and it generally gets the job done reasonably well.

It’s worth noting that there will once again be a dearth of space-set TV shows when “Killjoys” and “Dark Matter” are done for the season, so if that’s your cup of tea, take advantage of this programming block while you can.

'Killjoys' and 'Dark Matter'
Syfy, Friday July 1, 9 p.m. ET ("Killjoys") and 10 p.m. ET ("Dark Matter")


http://variety.com/2016/tv/reviews/...aron-ashmore-luke-macfarlane-syfy-1201803180/
 

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TV Review (Cable)
Shark Week sinks teeth into Oregon great white attacks with new 'Serial Killer' show
By Grant Butler, The Oregonian - Jun. 27, 2016

Shark Week is must-see summer TV watching, and this year it hits particularly close to home with the new special "Wrath of a Great White Serial Killer." The program examines how great white sharks are venturing farther north in the Pacific Ocean, including the cold waters off the Oregon Coast.

There have been increasing encounters with great white sharks in the Pacific Northwest. According to the International Shark Attack File, a project of the Florida Museum of Natural History, there have been 26 unprovoked shark attacks in Oregon coastal waters between 1837 and 2014, though none of them fatal. One of those attacks happened in 1979 near Haystack Rock off of Cannon Beach, when surfer Kenny Doudt had a bite taken out of his surf board.

That attack is the inspiration for "Wrath," the latest in a string of CSI-like "Serial Killer" specials featuring shark "experts" Ralph Collier and Brandon McMillan, and it's easily a contender for the worst show in this year's Shark Week lineup. The problems with "Wrath of a Great White Serial Killer" are numerous:

Tone and credibility: The special's title hits every wrong note. Calling sharks serial killers suggests that sharks are committing crimes, and a loaded word like "wrath" implies that there's something psychologically wrong with great whites. The title also suggests that there's one shark behind the attacks, though the special presents no conclusive evidence – like DNA evidence -- that this is even remotely possible.

There are also serious credibility issues, like repeated use of newspaper clips reporting on shark attacks from Oregon newspapers that don't even exist. If they are making up news reports of shark attacks, why should we believe anything else that's presented as factual?

So-called "experts": Other than one Oregon State University scientists, the special relies on "experts" with few credentials to back up their expertise. McMillan, for example, is actually a professional dog trainer featured on CBS' "Lucky Dog," not someone with a background in marine biology. What's more, the show uses dramatically-lit sets that look straight out of "CSI," implying that these experts are forensic scientists, not just buff bodies out of central casting.

Where's the Oregon in this Oregon special?: For a special looking at shark attacks off the Oregon Coast, there's very little of Oregon represented here. While there's cell phone video of a great white taking interest in a fishing boat off of Brookings in 2013, most of the special's footage is shot in Mexico and Southern California. There's no effort to spot sharks in Oregon waters, and the only underwater dives take place off of Mexico's Guadalupe Island, where great whites congregate and it's easy to get good shots.

Here are some facts that "Wrath of a Great White Serial Killer" glosses over: Great white sharks are rebounding around the world, thanks to conservation efforts. The reason why there are more close-encounters between sharks and humans is caused by people going into known shark habitat. And the reasons sharks are heading farther north is global warming, not serial killers seeking out human prey.

"Wrath of a Great White Serial Killer" premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, Discovery.

http://www.oregonlive.com/tv/2016/06/shark_week_sinks_teeth_into_or.html#incart_river_index
 

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Washington Notes
FCC Keeps Most Broadcast Ownership Restrictions
Will re-impose JSA attribution, with grandfathering per Congress
By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable - Jun. 27, 2016

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has circulated a quadrennial media ownership review item that retains, with some tweaks, most of the current media ownership restrictions on dual station and newspaper/station ownership and even adds some.

Broadcasters had been hoping for some relief given what they said was major competition from MVPDs and the web.

As expected, the item resubmits the JSA-tightening rule -- remanded recently by the court -- with the change that grandfathered JSAs can be sold without triggering ownership issues -- as Congress directed it to do. So, any JSA of over 15% of sales still counts as ownership interest, but those in existence before March 2014 don’t have to be unwound, as Congress has already signaled in legislation.

The FCC also has defined shared services agreements and will require they be filed with the FCC, but does not make them attributable as ownership interests...yet.

"Our analysis indicates that the ownership restrictions remain necessary in the public interest, though the realities of the media marketplace require some targeted modifications of a number of the rules," the item concludes," the FCC said.

The item has been circulated to the other commissioners for a vote, though did not indicate a timetable on when that might happen.

According to a summary of the item it will:

--"Carry out the Third Circuit’s remand of diversity issues, re-adopt the small business revenue-based eligible entity standard, address proposals submitted by MMTC, and decline to adopt race- or gender-based measures.

--"Readopt the TV JSA attribution rule consistent with the court’s guidance in Prometheus III and Congress’s guidance on grandfathering.

--"Adopt a definition of shared services agreements; require that these agreements be filed with the Commission and made publicly available; and do not attribute any such agreements, other than JSAs, at this time.

The item retains the existing local ownership rules, including local TV ownership.

It extends the ban on co-ownership of two top-four rated TV stations to network affiliation swaps to prevent using those to evade the restrictions.

It retains the radio/TV crossownership rule and the newspaper/broadcast crossownership rule, but in the latter case adds a failing station exemption, as it has in TV purchases that would otherwise create duopolies that violate the limits.

The FCC did say it would keep an eye on the broadcast incentive auction impact with an eye toward any possible future changes. "Given that the broadcast TV incentive auction is underway and its results will not be known for some time, the auction’s effect on the marketplace is not yet clear. The Commission’s future quadrennial ownership review will be able to assess the impact of marketplace changes resulting from the auction."

In March 2014, Wheeler officially combined the 2010 and 2014 quadrennial media ownership reviews. At the time, the FCC did not loosen most broadcast ownership rules while continuing to ask whether they should be lifted in the future. The item also made TV joint sales agreements (JSAs) of over 15% of ad sales attributable as ownership interests.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently threw out the JSA tightening, primarily because the FCC changed the ownership reg before completing the reasoned analysis for the underlying rules that is supposed to happen in the quadrennial review.

The court "reminded" the FCC of its obligation to complete the Congressionally ordered quadrennial review, but did not give it a deadline (one judge, Anthony Scirica, said he would have ordered a resolution).

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had already said he would circulate the quadrennial review item by the end of June, and signaled that it could include a return of the JSA rule-tightening, or at least setting the groundwork for the return.

"The court didn't say the JSA rule doesn't make sense," said Wheeler . "They said it needs to be based on rules that themselves haven't been reviewed. So, you review those rules [which he said will be completed, at least in draft form, by June 30] and that sets up a predicate on any decision on JSAs."

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/ne...-most-broadcast-ownership-restrictions/157634
 

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TV Notes (Guest Column)
Goodbye, Cablevision: A salute to the employees of the New York op as signage changes to Altice USA
By Joe Schramm, Multichannel News - Jun. 27, 2016

Last Tuesday (June 22), the Cablevision signs were covered or removed. Those removed were replaced with signs of the new ownership. After decades, Cablevision became Altice USA.

Cablevision Systems, whose brand once seemed to be everywhere, is now beginning to disappear. I noticed the changing of the signs, and that digital advertising proclaimed that “Cablevision is now Altice USA.” It’s a subtle change. My neighbors in Northport, N.Y., at first didn’t realize that Cablevision had new owners, or that the name had changed. Once I mentioned this, they remarked that they could never remember a time when there was no Cablevision. No Cablevision?

What seemed a simple rebranding procedure had the biggest impact on those of us who had once worked for this company. The ranks of “former” Cablevision employees grew on Tuesday, when many became new members of Altice USA, and simultaneously became Cablevision “formers.” From now on, there would no longer be any Cablevision employee. I would not have foreseen this.

In a Facebook post, one of my fellow “former” colleagues likened this change of signage to the historic lowering of the Union Jack over Hong Kong when the British colony became part of modern-day China. This prompted others on Facebook to share how sad it was to see the brand disappear.

There have been many similar examples in the cable TV industry. Yet, I believe that Cablevision’s situation is unique in its impact, especially among those of us who spent some, or all, of our career there.

Cablevision was more than a company. It was a place of personal growth, professional development, a lot of fun, and a contribution to the community. Its employees, in tandem with the company’s outreach service programs, made a remarkable impact in the communities they served, especially on Long Island, where the company was headquartered.

Other “formers” commented on Facebook that Cablevision is where we “got our start” in business, or “grew up” or developed “lifelong friendships and business relationships.” Many of those who “got their start” at the company have since gone on to have successful careers and become leaders in the industry.

My own pride in being a Cablevision “former” stems from the kind of company it was. It was a team of dedicated, loyal co-workers and managers, who operated more as a family, led by the gracious encouragement of the Dolans. This team did great things together, had great fun together and built a great legacy together.

I know all the “formers” wish Altice USA the best in the future, as we also look back fondly on what was the great Cablevision era. Goodbye Cablevision. And, thank you.

Joe Schramm, managing partner of New York-based Schramm Marketing Group, was a Cablevision employee from 1979 to 1988.

http://www.multichannel.com/blog/mcn-guest-blog/goodbye-cablevision/405967
 

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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
TUESDAY 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' - Jun. 28, 2016

ABC:
8PM - The Middle
(R - Oct. 14)
8:30PM - Black-ish
(R - Oct. 25)
9PM - Uncle Buck
10PM - To Tell The Truth
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Margot Robbie; comic Jim Jefferies; Flo Rida performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - NCIS
(R - Oct. 20)
9PM - Zoo (Season Premiere, 120 min.)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Journalist Tom Brokaw; Sara and Erin Foster; Bibi Bourelly performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with James Corden (Elizabeth Olsen; Anthony Mackie; singer Cyndi Lauper; Zara Larsson performs)

NBC:
8PM - U.S. Olympic Trial: Swimming Finals (LIVE)
9PM - America's Got Talent (Special Time; 120 min.)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Rapper Drake; journalist Megyn Kelly; Meghan Trainor performs; Emily Wells sits in with The Roots)
(R - May 12)
12:37AM - Late Night with Seth Meyers (Morgan Freeman, Rob Kazinsky; Jake Bugg performs; Jon Theodore sits in with the 8G Band)
(R - Jun. 7)
1:38AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Maggie Siff; White Mystery performs; film director Jeff Nichols)
(R - May 31)

FOX:
8PM - Hotel Hell
9PM - Coupled

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Genealogy Show: Los Angeles
9PM - The Greeks: The Good Strike
10PM - Frontline: Policing the Police
* * * *
11PM - Point Taken (Season Finale)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Un Camino Hacia El Destino
9PM - Tres Veces Ana
10PM - Por Siempre Joan Sebastian

THE CW:
8PM - The Flash
(R - Nov. 3)
9PM - Containment

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Eva la Trailera
9PM - La Esclava Blanca
10PM - El Señor de Los Cielos

AMC:
10PM - Feed the Beast

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Author Calvin Trillin)
11:31PM - The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (Jaime Camil)
12:01AM - At Midnight with Chris Hardwick (Paul Scheer; Jensen Karp; Jade Catta-Preta)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Alexander Skarsgard; comic Bo Burnham; School of Rock perform)


http://tvschedule.zap2it.com/tvlistings/ZCGrid.do?fromTimeInMillis=1467158400000&aid=tvschedule
 

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Technology/Critic's Notes (Gaming)
The Xbox One isn't my cord-cutting dream anymore
By Tom Warren, TheVerge.com - Jun. 28, 2016

I switch on my Xbox One every day with my voice, and navigate to TV channels, Netflix, and even games by shouting at my TV. Microsoft's original Xbox One vision was a digital entertainment center at the heart of your living room, and I've been living that dream for nearly three years. Microsoft announced last year that it was planning to add TV DVR features to the Xbox One, and it immediately became clear the console was turning into the perfect cord-cutting set-top-box. In recent weeks, that cord-cutting dream doesn't seem so real anymore.

I live in the UK and it means I get a Freeview TV service that includes HD versions of the most popular terrestrial TV channels all for the cost of our TV license (£145.50 / $194 a year). With a vast array of on-demand TV services from British broadcasters and services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, I have little reason to pay for cable or satellite TV providers like Sky, Virgin Media, or BT unless I really want to watch live sports. I can even get access to watch Arsenal fail to win the Premier League every year, at a price premium, thanks to Sky's Now TV app. With Plex, and many other entertainment apps, the Xbox One is almost perfect for cord cutters like me.

Being able to record TV was the last piece of the Xbox One puzzle for me personally, but Microsoft's announcement before E3 made it sound like the feature had been canceled. The software maker also focused solely on gaming and Windows 10 during its E3 press conference, sidelining any potential entertainment features. Rumors ahead of E3 had suggested Microsoft might launch two Xbox TV devices, but those turned out to be inaccurate. It's not clear if that was just bad rumoring, or Microsoft has delayed or canceled those TV-focused devices.

Elsewhere, Microsoft launched new Xbox apps for iOS and Android ahead of E3. They look exactly like the Windows 10 version of the Xbox app, but some of the key media features are missing. Microsoft has slowly been adding some of them back, like searching for movies or TV shows from the app. However, most of the useful SmartGlass features like being able to see how long is left on a Netflix show, or pausing directly from the Xbox app are still missing. It's this lack of attention to entertainment features, or increased shift to a gaming focus, that leaves me disappointed at the Xbox I thought could be my only set-top-box.

Microsoft is also continuing to step back from Kinect. While the new Xbox One S features an IR blaster to control your cable box, the Kinect port is gone. You'll need a special USB adapter to get the Kinect working with the Xbox One S. Just this week, Microsoft announced it's killing off its Xbox Fitness app that relied on the Kinect sensor. Kinect is a key part of Microsoft's original Xbox One vision, and the main way to pause or switch TV channels with just your voice. It hasn't always been reliable, and I was hoping the commands and recognition would improve over time.

Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be happening. While Cortana is heading to the Xbox One this summer, early previews have shown it's focused on more than just the basic media control that debuted with the console initially. I've spent some time testing Cortana on Xbox One, and it's a disaster in its current state. Pausing TV or entertainment now takes far too long, and Cortana now misses my instructions to switch TV channels regularly and presents web results snapped to the side instead. It's frustratingly bad, but hopefully Microsoft will fix most of the issues before its debut this summer. If not, I'll be switching back to using a remote and disconnecting my Kinect for good.

Xbox One DVR "on hold," Xbox apps on iOS and Android, no Xbox TV devices, Kinect's slow death, and Cortana's rocky arrival on Xbox One all combine to demonstrate Microsoft's increased focus on gaming. That's probably a good thing for most Xbox One owners, but I bought the console as I believed in Microsoft's dream of a digital hub in my living room. It feels like the good entertainment features are slowly getting stripped back. Hopefully Microsoft remembers there are still people like me who believed in the original Xbox One vision, and want more than just another games console.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/6/28/1...e-xbox-one-isnt-my-cord-cutting-dream-anymore
 

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TV/Nielsen Notes (Broadcast)
For ‘Zoo,’ maintaining that animal instinct
CBS show drew okay ratings last summer, and it survived a bloodletting
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jun. 28, 2016

There’s no reason to expect ratings for “Zoo” will get better this summer. CBS just hopes they don’t get worse.

The second-year drama returns tonight at 9 p.m. with back-to-back episodes.

It’s the network’s only returning drama from last summer, after CBS made a big push into scripted programming the previous two years.

That effort netted “Under the Dome,” an immediate hit whose ratings went cold in season two, and “Extant,” the Halle Berry space thriller that just never found an audience.

“Zoo” averaged 6.4 million total viewers, according to Nielsen, about 1.7 million more than both “Dome” and “Extant.” The show also did better than the other two programs in adults 18-49, though none of the three shows posted great numbers.

CBS simply felt “Zoo” offered the best upside to return. As a second-year program, it’s still developing creatively and could improve. It’s based on a book by bestselling author James Patterson, and it considers what happens when animals appear to start turning on humans.

If “Zoo” can maintain last summer’s numbers, CBS would be thrilled, especially considering its lead-in is an “NCIS” repeat.

[CLICK LINK BELOW AND SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE WEEK AHEAD'S TOP DRAWS ON NETWORK AND CABLE TV, WRITTEN FOR MEDIA LIFE MAGAZINE BY "HOTP'S" OWN DAD1153! :)]

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/zoo-maintaining-animal-instinct/
 
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