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Question Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info ( AVS Forum HDTV Programming )
Updated: 2008-05-24 04:15:06 (25442)
Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

HOT OFF THE PRESS: QUICK REFERENCE INDEX
Scroll down to the desired post, or click to open a new window.

? Post #2 - Current Ratings
? Post #3 - What's Been Renewed and What's Been Cancelled
? Post #4 - Upcoming Premiere/Return Dates/Finales
? Post #5 - In Development
? Post #6 - Other Useful Information
? Post #7 - TV Links

Answers: Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info ( AVS Forum HDTV Programming )
Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Overnights in the 18-49 Demo
''Til Death' rises riding on 'Idol's' wake
The sagging Fox sitcom gains in its second week
By Toni Fitzgerald MediaLifeMagazine.com staff writer March 22, 2007

?’Til Death,? the first-year Brad Garrett sitcom that had been wilting on Thursday nights, hit another series high last night, its second week as the lucky lead-out to Fox’s hit show ?American Idol.?

?Death? averaged a 5.9 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, up 4 percent over last week’s 5.7, its previous series high.

?Death? held 58 percent of ?Idol’s? lead-in and likely owed its week-to-week growth to ?Idol,? which was also up 0.2 from the previous week with a 10.1.

But the fact that ?Death? did not slide in its second outing is certainly promising for Fox. ?Death? had looked moribund in its old Thursday slot, where it averaged just a 2.2 rating.

While Fox doesn’t yet know if viewers would follow the show to another night, or tune in without ?Idol’s? lead-in, it at least can boast broadcast’s top sitcom two weeks running.

Last night’s ?Death? also was Fox’s top-rated sitcom in 18-49s in more than a year, since the premiere of ?The Loop.? It drew more total viewers, 14.6 million, than any Fox sitcom in more than three years, dating back to a ?Simpsons? episode that aired in January 2004. (That excludes a post-Super Bowl ?Simpsons? two years ago.)

?Death? rose by about a half million viewers week to week.

Fox was first for the night among 18-49s with a 5.7 average rating and a 16 share. CBS was second at 4.2/11, ABC third at 3.2/9, CW fourth at 2.0/5, NBC fifth at 1.8/5 and Univision sixth at 1.6/4.

CBS started the night in the lead with a 4.1 rating at 8 p.m. for ?Survivor,? relocated from Thursday for NCAA basketball game coverage, followed by a 3.4 for Fox for ?Bones.?

CW was third that hour with a 2.5 for ?America’s Next Top Model,? which won the hour in adults 18-34 with a 3.1. ABC took fourth with a 2.2 average for ?George Lopez? (2.1) and a repeat of ?According to Jim,? Univision fifth with a 1.9 for ?La Fea Mas Bella? and NBC sixth with a 1.8 for ?Friday Night Lights.?

At 9 p.m. Fox took the lead with an 8.0 average for ?Idol? (10.1) and ?Death? (5.9). CBS was second with a 4.3 for ?Criminal Minds,? ABC third with a 2.2 average for another ?Jim? repeat and a new ?In Case of Emergency? (2.2) and NBC fourth with a 1.7 for ?Crossing Jordan.? Univision was fifth again that hour with a 1.6 for ?Mundo de Fieras? and CW dropped to sixth with a 1.4 for a repeat of ?Pussycat Dolls Present: Search for the Next Doll.?

ABC took a turn on top at 10 p.m., leading with a 5.2 for ?Lost.? CBS was second with a 4.1 for ?CSI: NY,? NBC third with a 1.8 for a repeat of ?Medium? and Univision fourth with a 1.4 for ?Don Francisco Presenta.?

Fox also led the night among households with a 9.5 average rating and a 15 share. CBS was second at 8.8/14, ABC third at 5.0/8, NBC fourth at 4.0/6, CW fifth at 2.7/4 and Univision sixth at 2.0/3.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/art...icle_10970.asp

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

hello again fredfa, Hell's kitchen is one show, Kitchen Nightmares is a completely different show. Kitchen Nightmares is the show that Gordon Ramsey goes to a restaurant with financial problems and work with the restaurant owners and staff to improve the financial situation.

TravelFan1

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
TV Notebook
HBO: After ?Sopranos,? a Need for a Hit
By Bill Carter The New York Times March 22, 2007

With a last burst of episodes starting April 8, ?The Sopranos,? will exit the television arena for the final time, leaving millions of fans without their all-time favorite series, and a network, HBO, without its Hall of Fame performer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/bu...gewanted=print
Interesting that the series I am most interested in:
http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/01/18/184100.php

did not get mentioned. This would be quite awesome - however I don't see how they can attempt to do this series at a cost less than that of Rome... Unless they did it animated or something.

xnappo

xnappo

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

The Business of Television
Discovery HD Theater Signs Carriage Deal with Cablevision
By Alex Weprin Broadcasting & Cable 3/22/2007

Discovery Communications and Cablevision have made an agreement that will bring Discovery HD Theater to Cablevision customers. The deal with Cablevision means that Discovery HD Theater is now carried on all the major television distributors.

The Launch comes just days before Discovery premieres their ambitious miniseries, Planet Earth, which took more than five years to shoot, all using HD technology.

?We are delighted to bring this unrivaled viewing experience to Cablevision subscribers with the launch of Discovery HD Theater today and in time for our groundbreaking Planet Earth series,? said Clint Stinchcomb, executive vice president and general manager, Discovery Emerging Networks Group, in a statement.

Discovery HD Theater has more than 1,300 hours of HD programming, including Planet Earth and Discovery Atlas HD. Cablevision is the country’s fifth largest MSO, with 11 million subscribers.

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/ind...leID=CA6426876

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelFan1
hello again fredfa, Hell's kitchen is one show, Kitchen Nightmares is a completely different show. Kitchen Nightmares is the show that Gordon Ramsey goes to a restaurant with financial problems and work with the restaurant owners and staff to improve the financial situation.
I should know not to argue with posters -- they almost always know more than I do about their favorites.

Sorry. I'll add it to the list of upcoming shows.

Thanks again.

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Boy FNL is really tanking in the ratings what a shame

steverobertson

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Last night's numbers are about what FNL has been getting recently.

But what a(nother!) great episode.

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
The Business of Television
Discovery HD Theater Signs Carriage Deal with Cablevision
By Alex Weprin Broadcasting & Cable 3/22/2007
<snip>
Cablevision is the country’s fifth largest MSO, with 11 million subscribers.
Cablevision only has 3,000,000+ subscribers
http://www.cablevision.com/index.jht...eType=investor

Even so, it was great to get DHDT and National Geographic Channel HD this morning.

RemyM

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
Last night's numbers are about what FNL has been getting recently.

But what a(nother!) great episode.
i didn't realize they were that low I guess with the couple of weeks off I forgot. I agree it was a awesome episode. This is by far my favorite show now it is the quickest hour on tv. The story lines just keep moving just enough while adding new things it really is one of the best shows I have ever watched. The eye candy isn't bad either

steverobertson

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
Last night's numbers are about what FNL has been getting recently.

But what a(nother!) great episode.
I can't say I'm "into" FNL now, but I've tuned by on occasion...and usually stuck around. It's a very, very good show...the only thing stopping me from getting more involved is the fact that I haven't made the commitment to it.

Inundated

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inundated
I can't say I'm "into" FNL now, but I've tuned by on occasion...and usually stuck around. It's a very, very good show...the only thing stopping me from getting more involved is the fact that I haven't made the commitment to it.
You won't regret commiting to this show trust me on that.

steverobertson

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Boy, this thread just isn't the same without news/criticism of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Anything resembling a whiff of news/gossip about the show's future or the unaired episodes? We're almost at the end of March, so final details have to be in the works for late April and the May sweeps schedule. I can't believe everybody acts as if this show never existed or generated such buzz (both + and -).

dad1153

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Nothing at all, dad. Not a whisper.

But Kevin Reilly is speaking at this moment to advertisers and some reporters, so maybe something will come of that.

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153
I can't believe everybody acts as if this show never existed or generated such buzz (both + and -).
Yeah but as this is a news thread, comments are related to the stories posted. No story, generally means no discussion. For comments about shows that are not newsworthy I look to the specific show threads, I wouldn't expect to see them here.

VisionOn

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

TV Sports
Younger Audience for CBS' NCAA Basketball Tourney
By John Consoli MediaWeek March 22, 2007

A younger audience is watching the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on CBS so far, with ratings through the first seven telecasts among men 18-24 and men 18-34 up 14 percent each, according to Nielsen Media Research data. Meanwhile, household ratings overall are down 6 percent to 6.2, and total viewers are down 300,000 or 3 percent per telecast, with most of that decline coming from the 25-54 age demo.

Heading into tonight’s ?Sweet 16? round of telecasts, ratings among men 18-24 are averaging a 4.2, compared to a 3.7 over the same period last year. Ratings among men 18-34 are averaging a 4.9, up from a 4.3.

Ratings among men 18-49 are flat, averaging a 5.0 both for this year and last year, while ratings for men 25-54 are down 5 percent to a 5.4 from a 5.7.

Among all viewers, ratings among adults 18-49 are flat at 3.6, while ratings among adults 25-54 are down 7 percent to a 3.8.

Overall young viewership is up. Among adults 18-24, ratings are up 5 percent to a 2.9, and among adults 18-34, ratings are up 9 percent to a 3.5.

Total viewers are down to 9.7 million per telecast, compared to 10 million last year for comparable games. Traditionally, viewer interest builds as the tournament gets further along.

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/rec..._id=1003561616

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
Thanks, haubrija, and welcome to the thread -- feel free to post often.

By the way, have you been switched from Comcast to TWC...and if so, how has it gone?
fredfa,

I actually dropped cable shortly after the switchover occurred and went strictly OTA. I watch BSG on itunes. But I'm probably getting TWC this week or next for The Sopranos and Entourage. I'm big into HTPC and turned it into a HD DVR for the OTA switch and its actually been kind of liberating. I picked up a ton of network shows and have really dug this past TV season. I'll let you know how TWC goes when I get cable this next week.

haubrija

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Good luck with TWC.

I'd probably try HTPC, but as long-time readers of this thread know, I am severely computer-challenged.

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by steverobertson
Boy FNL is really tanking in the ratings what a shame
I'm really interested to see how NBC treats the show in the off-season. It seems like this could get a significant boost in viewers if they release the Season 1 DVD set early and give people time to catch up.

I hope that's what they do, and then hype the second season premiere to no end. If people tune in, great, it worked. If not, it was still probably worth it to NBC given that it's an NBCU property.

URFloorMatt

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

"FNL Season 1" has already been announced for a DVD Box Set relase in August (same month as "Heroes Season 1").

dad1153

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Kevin Reilly addressed the marketing fiasco in the Mo Ryn piece I posted yesterday.

For a mass of stories and interviews about FNL, check out Mo's blog:

http://tempo.typepad.com/entertainment_tv/

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
Kevin Reilly addressed the marketing fiasco in the Mo Ryn piece I posted yesterday.

For a mass of stories and interviews about FNL, check out Mo's blog:

http://tempo.typepad.com/entertainment_tv/
Thanks Fred that was great

steverobertson

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

It's a good and profitable time to be an entertainment lawyer in this town.

The Business of TV
Starz Sues Disney Over Use of Content
By Jon Fitzgerald, TV Week - March 22, 2007

Starz Entertainment sued Walt Disney Co.'s Buena Vista Television unit, claiming the distributor sold movies online that were exclusively licensed to Starz.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, claims Disney is prohibited from selling films over the Internet before and during Starz's first exclusive license periods under terms of contracts signed in 1993 and 1995, and extended in 2005.

The dispute reflects how Internet distribution of content is creating new disputes over licensing rights.

Disney is selling the films licensed to Starz through iTunes, Walmart.com and other services in a "blatant breach" of the licensing agreement under which Starz pays Disney more than $1 billion for exclusive rights, Starz said.

"Disney has been a great partner. We hope to continue our relationship. But our agreements clearly prohibit them from selling their movies by electronic download over the Internet while they are exclusive to Starz," Starz Entertainment Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Robert B. Clasen said in a statement Thursday. "If Disney is permitted to violate our contract in this manner, it will undermine the integrity of copyright in general which is a cornerstone of our industry."

Disney didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

http://www.tvweek.com/news.cms?newsId=11761

dad1153

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Busy day for NBC's online plans for the near-future.

The New Media
NBC rebooting Web plans, media player
By Andrew Wallenstein, The Hollywood Reporter - March 22, 2007

NBC is taking its "TV 360" approach for another spin.

The peacock will announce a broad set of bold changes to its Internet strategy at its annual program development presentation to advertisers Thursday.

NBC.com will become the first broadcast Web site to adopt social-networking tools similar to those on MySpace, including the ability to embed NBC video clips outside the site.

In addition, the network is fine-tuning its media player, NBC Rewind, and revealing new online content to accompany its summer series, including a continuation of its multiplatform expansion of the hit "Heroes" even after the freshman season ends in May.

During a week in which each of the broadcasters hosts events offering a sneak peek at its primetime pilot choices, NBC also is putting its broadband menu in the spotlight. The goal is establishing a point of distinction among advertisers, who are increasingly interested in spreading their dollars across media.

TV 360 was introduced around this time last year as the rallying cry for distributing video on new platforms. Now TV 360 will evolve to supplement the viewing with the full range of activities Web surfers enjoy, said Jeff Gaspin, president of NBC Universal Cable and Digital Content.

"The whole goal then was to put television online," Gaspin said. "Now we want to make television its own unique experience online."

Beginning as early as June, NBC.com will allow users to embed video on their own sites, create profile pages to which they can upload videos of their own, launch fan groups and receive viewing recommendation from like-minded users.

The social-networking tools will be available only via registration, a key selling point to advertisers looking for users' demographic and behavioral-targeting data.

In keeping with NBC.com's social orientation, even the video player will now incorporate a chat function that allows fellow viewers to communicate together as they watch. The player, which still will be known as NBC Rewind, also will be redesigned to exhibit video in a larger format and a new window that will stream text commentary pertaining to the video being viewed.

NBC also is expanding its "Heroes 360" experience, which was introduced midseason to expand the presence of the hit rookie series. After "Heroes" finishes its run in May, a graphic novel that plays off its story lines will continue, and a new video series that goes behind the scenes of the "Heroes" production will be introduced.

The expansion is being fueled by the healthy reception "Heroes 360" has gotten since coming to the Internet and mobile in late January. NBC is set to report that "Heroes 360" has generated 7 million unique visitors and 27 million video streams.

Other summer series that will get companion content includes new seasons of "America's Got Talent," "Last Comic Standing" and the untitled new series featuring Victoria "Posh" Beckham.

While NBC.com's social-networking tools have been in development for eight months, Gaspin noted that users might find these tools useful at a time when uncertainty looms over the status of programming online because of the tension between media companies and online hubs like Google's YouTube.

"Since we own our own content, and it's not always available where they want it, I think it's important than we give the kind of tools they want, especially if the content is going to be proprietary," Gaspin said.

But he stopped short of suggesting that NBC.com's capabilities had anything to do with persistent rumors that NBC Uni and fellow media conglomerates would band together to create an online alternative to YouTube.

"This has nothing to do with that," Gaspin said. "If it happens, that is a total separate thing."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...1fc51f3ff10987

dad1153

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

First, did anyone else know ABC's Six Degrees was returning to the schedule this Friday night? I had no idea, and I read this thread religiously. Second, is Perigard reviewing a TV show or Tom Brady's sex life in this review of the return of "Six Degrees" to the schedule? Not exactly Perigard's finest moment in print, IMHO.

Critic's Review
Moynahan’s hot but ?Six Degrees’ is lukewarm entertainment
By Mark A. Perigard, Boston Herald staff writer March 22, 2007

Bridget Moynahan tries to dodge a nosy reporter and her cad of an ex.

It’s not real life. It just plays that way.

Mrs. Not Tom Brady [stats] is front and center in the return of ?Six Degrees? (Friday at 9:01 p.m. on WCVB, Ch. 5). ABC yanked the drama about six strangers making unexpected connections months ago because viewers didn’t connect.

Moynahan, as Patriots Nation knows, is pregnant with Brady’s child. Brady seems happy to have moved on to model Giselle Bundchen.

The episode, which was filmed months ago, seems eerily prescient.

Moynahan’s high-powered advertising exec Whitney has broken up with her cheating boyfriend Roy (Jonathan Cake). But she’s forced to work with him on an ad campaign, and what follows is a series of sitcom encounters that climax when she accidentally shoots an arrow into his leg.

In his hospital room, she confesses, ?I wanted so desperately to be part of this perfect couple and marry this perfect guy with the perfect job that I just couldn’t see - didn’t want to see - what was so obvious.?

Moynahan’s good, but I don’t see her keeping this on a highlight reel.

Elsewhere, the other players in this middling drama start to see the threads that tie them together.

Laura (Hope Davis) finds the photo Steven (Campbell Scott) snapped of her grieving publicly and steals the picture from an art gallery wall.

Carlos (Jay Hernandez) realizes Damian (Dorian Missick) holds the key to his client’s innocence. The murder case is disposed of so perfunctorily, it feels like an afterthought.

The mysterious Mae (Erika Christensen) gets three seconds on camera, just to remind us she’s part of the show.

It’s a likable cast. They just don’t have much to do. The episode could have just as easily functioned as a series finale, although ABC has at least two more episodes in the can. The show summaries make the phone book look like a Tom Clancy thriller.

?Six Degrees? and falling. For Moynahan, it probably can’t happen soon enough.

SIX DEGREES Series return Friday at 9:01 p.m. on WCVB (Ch. 5). GradeC-

http://theedge.bostonherald.com/tvNe...ticleid=189942

dad1153

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

TV Notebook
Home Base for Laughs?
Comedy Central Thinks So
By Bill Carter The New York Times March 28, 2007


Nobody in broadcast television has been laughing much lately at the state of comedy. This season exactly one situation comedy, ?Two and a Half Men? on CBS, is among the 20 most-watched shows on television.

That does not mean people have stopped looking for laughs, of course. In the midst of mostly grim days for comedy, the cable channel that is self-proclaimedly in the comedy business, Comedy Central, has never been merrier.

Ratings for the channel’s prime-time shows have increased 12 months in a row, and its all-day schedule is on pace to score its best season ever.

Some of that is explainable by the continuing strength of the channel’s signature shows, like ?South Park? and ?The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.? Both of these shows continue to generate audiences and attention for the network. Today the channel’s parent company, Viacom, is scheduled to announce plans for a cellphone game based on ?South Park,? the first time that franchise has jumped into the gaming world.

The move is designed to play to Comedy Central’s core audience of young men and boys. Few channels other than ESPN have such a heavy concentration of male viewers; audiences for some Comedy Central shows are more than 70 percent male.

One reason for some of the increased ratings is an adjustment by Nielsen Media Research, which for the first time is including a calculation that adds some viewing by college students. In that sample Comedy Central is the No. 2 cable network among male viewers, trailing only ESPN.

Beyond ?South Park? and ?The Daily Show,? new additions have pushed the network’s ratings: ?The Colbert Report? has proved to be an ideal late-night match with ?The Daily Show,? and a new sitcom, ?The Sarah Silverman Program,? has scored some of the best first-season ratings in the channel’s history.

What seems to be happening, at least according to the channel’s chief executive, Doug Herzog, is that Comedy Central is stepping into the void that years of lackluster broadcast comedy have created.

?A decade ago I used to say we really weren’t the comedy network. NBC was,? Mr. Herzog said. ?They had all those great must-see comedies. But now I think we have the heavyweight crown in comedy. It’s ours to defend.?

That boast gets some backing from Doug Mitchelson, who analyzes Viacom for Deutsche Bank. ?Comedy Central is doing a fantastic job with its programming,? he said, noting that the channel’s audience size has grown for four straight years. He also said the channel is especially well positioned to take advantage of the migration of the audience to the Internet and mobile devices.

What seems to be making it all work is the fit of the channel’s sensibility with what the comedy audience now expects. Mr. Stewart defined it as ?shows that reference a point of view.? He jokingly called the channel ?the Sam’s Club of comedy — a central warehouse of comedy where our comedy comes in giant boxes.?

The boxes are actually still rather small, at least when they begin. Ms. Silverman’s show was considered a hit out of the gate; after only two episodes had played, the channel ordered a new season of 14 more episodes. The series averaged about 1.7 million viewers, not big by network standards. Still, that represented a 150 percent improvement in the channel’s ratings in the 10:30 p.m. Thursday time period. (The show has since moved to Wednesday.) ?The Sarah Silverman Program? was also the most-watched show in all of television at that hour among men ages 18 to 24.

Ms. Silverman, along with many other of the channel’s stars, said that the environment at Comedy Central was most hospitable to her brand of often outrageous humor. ?Where else could I do it?? she said.

Not that the channel leaves its stars completely to their own devices. Ms. Silverman said she has had battles over subject matter. ?I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get frustrated when someone who isn’t funny for a living tells someone is who is funny for a living what is and isn’t funny,? Ms. Silverman said.

The creators of ?South Park,? Matt Stone and Trey Parker, have had occasional conflicts with the channel as well, but Mr. Stone said that a decade ago he and his partner had watched early Comedy Central programming like ?Mystery Science Theater 3000? and decided, ?This is where we belong.? He added, ?You can see a show now and say, ?That feels like Comedy Central. That smells like Comedy Central.’ ?

The channel now has a distinct whiff of political satire, thanks largely to Mr. Stewart, Mr. Colbert and the ?South Park? guys. In tonight’s ?South Park? episode, for example, an animated version of Hillary Clinton visits town. Mr. Stone said of the satirical shows, ?That stuff gets a lot of press and attention, but I still think our biggest shows are just about the kids being weird.?

The Bill O’Reilly-like character that Mr. Colbert plays is both political and weird, which is exactly his intention. ?No one ever calls and says, ?Don’t do this,’ ? Mr. Colbert said.

Certainly no one at the channel minded when Mr. Colbert stirred a media firestorm with his satirical-guns-blazing performance at last year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner, where he stayed fearlessly in character despite the discomfort his routine was apparently causing in his dais partner, the president of the United States.

?That day I got off the train in character,? Mr. Colbert said. ?I don’t want to be in that town and not be in character. The character is my magic carpet.?

So is Comedy Central the only place to be for contemporary television comedy? Not really, according to the people who work there. The premise that the network sitcom might not make a comeback found no takers at the channel.

Mr. Stewart, Mr. Herzog, Ms. Silverman and Mr. Colbert all spontaneously endorsed comedy being made elsewhere, namely at NBC, with its comedies ?The Office? and ?30 Rock.?

?Are there any better characters on TV than Alec Baldwin in ?30 Rock’ and Steve Carell in ?The Office’?? Mr. Stewart said of the actors on two Thursday night NBC comedies. (Mr. Carell was formerly a correspondent on Mr. Stewart’s show.)

Why do those shows work? Mr. Herzog suggested they come from a comic sensibility familiar at his channel. He said that one of NBC’s Thursday night comedies, ?Scrubs,? is now playing extremely well in reruns on Comedy Central.

?That show fits because it is true to our core,? Mr. Herzog said. ?And that is point-

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/28/ar...gewanted=print

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Almost nothing in this story is new. But it does provide a decent summary of where things stand at the moment. And it illustrates how although many of us have been aware of the digital deadline for years, much of the country has little or no idea what lies ahead.
The HD Revolution
Millions may miss digital TV deadline
The shift from analog to the new format in 2009 might leave many viewers in the dark
By Jim Puzzanghera Los Angeles Times Staff Writer March 28, 2007

WASHINGTON — For millions of Americans, the digital revolution might not be televised.

One in 5 U.S. households — more than a million in the Los Angeles area — depends on rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna to watch TV. Without converter boxes, most of their sets will go blank the day in 2009 that federal law requires broadcast stations to turn off analog signals and transmit only in digital.

The shift is being hailed as broadcast television's most dramatic upgrade since it bloomed to color from black and white half a century ago. The technology gives free TV viewers vastly sharper pictures and enables networks such as ABC and PBS to offer a wider range of channels.

The 80% of Americans with cable or satellite service won't be affected by the change. Neither will those who have newer, digital TV sets. If you do have an old analog TV hooked up to an antenna, you need only buy a converter box, which will probably cost about $50. The federal government is going to hand out subsidies to help pay for it, and you have two years to get ready.

Civil rights leaders and lawmakers are uneasy anyway.

A recent poll found that 61% of people who rely on broadcast TV aren't aware of the digital shift. What's more, households without cable or satellite service tend to have lower incomes, and blacks and Latinos are more likely to receive only over-the-air TV than whites.

The worry isn't that people will miss vital episodes of "American Idol." It's all about staying connected. Even today, with news a 24/7 affair on the Internet and pay TV, nearly two-thirds of viewers say broadcast news is the main way they find out what's going on in the world.

"When I walk into people's houses, they're tuned in to the news," said Alex Nogales, president of the Los Angeles-based National Hispanic Media Coalition. He is testifying on the digital-TV transition before a House subcommittee today. "Am I concerned that our community is going to be left out? Of course."

Federal law requires broadcast stations to turn off analog signals and transmit only in digital on Feb. 18, 2009.

TV networks, cable providers and consumer electronics makers have joined to raise public awareness through websites and an estimated tens of millions of dollars worth of televised public service announcements to begin airing next year.

The Commerce Department plans to give most anyone who applies a $40 coupon to buy a no-frills converter box — limited to two per household. The department has budgeted nearly $1.5 billion, enough for about 34 million converters. But an estimated 70 million TVs are hooked up to antennas, including extra sets in homes with cable or satellite.

For broadcasters, who base their advertising rates on the number of viewers watching, the transition looms as the dawn of a new digital era — and a potential financial disaster if viewers aren't informed.

"The last thing we want is a train wreck on Feb. 18 of 2009," said Dennis Wharton, vice president of the National Assn. of Broadcasters, which represents local stations and TV networks.

Broadcasters are eager for the switch. They think viewers will buy digital sets to receive high-definition programming and the additional channels the technology allows. Stations also would significantly cut their energy costs because they won't have to transmit both analog and digital signals.

Once TV has gone digital, a wide swath of the analog airwaves will go for free to public safety organizations, such as police and fire departments, so they can improve their communications systems. The rest will be auctioned off by the government, with major telecommunications firms such as AT&T Inc. and possibly even Web giants such as Google Inc. expected to pay as much as $10 billion to use it for wireless high-speed Internet service.

For some TV viewers, the continuing digital conversion already has launched a new era. They're discovering that those relics of the pre-cable era — antennas — can deliver sharp programs, many in high-definition.

That's because digital broadcasts offer clear, vivid reception over the free airwaves. And broadcasters can transmit several additional channels on the same frequency because the signals take up fewer airwaves than analog. For example, NBC affiliates have started offering a digital 24-hour weather station.

"When people see the picture quality of [digital] over-the-air — and it's free — it's kind of mind-blowing," said Kevin Nakano, a 42-year-old electrical engineer who has already made the switch to digital broadcasts at his south Torrance home.

Digital TV sets are sharp enough to make the new broadcast signals look great, and the Consumer Electronics Assn. said sales of digital TVs outpaced those of analog sets for the first time last year. Plus, prices are dropping — standard digital TVs are projected to average $901 this year and high-definition sets, $1,150.

Broadcasters are hoping that more viewers will hook up antennas to their digital sets and get hooked on free TV.

"Today, over-the-air television is regarded as sort of your grandfather's technology," said John Lawson, president of the Assn. of Public Television Stations. "But digital over-the-air broadcasting really creates a new experience and adds a lot of value that costs the consumer nothing."

Some of the TV watchers who will have to make the transition are known as cable rejecters — people who can afford pay TV but choose not to get it.

Frustrated by the high cost and hassles of cable and satellite, Greg Brouwer, 34, and his wife hooked up their 32-inch analog TV to a rooftop antenna at their Los Feliz home. They catch up on older shows by renting DVDs.

"We call it the rabbit ears-Netflix plan," said Brouwer, an ABC News editor. "We both really like the fact you can get quite a bit of entertainment without having to pay anything."

Brouwer said he had no idea about the digital-TV shift, but he would probably shell out the cash for a converter box.

"That's a bummer," he said.

Mandy Tam of San Gabriel was also in the dark on the change. If her screen went blank in 2009, the 30-year-old USC pharmacy graduate student said, she would have assumed the $400 TV she bought last year had broken.

"Maybe I would bang on the TV a couple of times, and then I'd just skip it," Tam said.

But many people haven't chosen to skip the digital TV revolution — they just haven't been able to afford it.

A 2005 Government Accountability Office survey found that 48% of households receiving only broadcast TV through antennas had incomes of less than $30,000, compared with 29% of households with cable or satellite service.

The federal government's plan to raise public awareness has been criticized as inadequate. The administration is budgeting only $5 million to notify nearly 300 million Americans about the transition. By way of comparison, the German city of Berlin spent $1 million to notify its 3.4 million residents of a similar shift in 2004.

Worried that people would be caught off guard, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has suggested that Congress could delay the transition date. It has already pushed back the rollout once.

But advocates say another delay is unlikely, so they've got to start spreading the word.

Nancy Zirkin, director of public policy with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, is worried that people who need the converter-box coupons the most will be the last to learn about them.

"Like some science fiction nightmare, the news they watch, the programs that actually keep them company and let them know what is happening in the world, could — poof — disappear," she said.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...-home-business

fredfa

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I was talking to a guy at work yesterday about it and he had no clue. It should be interesting as we get closer to the date

steverobertson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan
I wonder who the genius was at NBC who decided to have Lunesta, a sleep-aid drug, as the sponsor who brought us Law and Order: Criminal Intent with minimal commercial interruption, the lowest rated of the L&O franchise. I thought the juxtaposition of a sleep aid with a failing show was pretty funny, albeit unintentional.
It'd be interesting to see if audience resonance with the single sponsor worked though. Maybe for Lunesta it was worth it to spend an extra load of cash to get the full attention of a smaller number of dedicated viewers (which "L&O" fans definitely are) than the inatention of millions of viewers of other shows as just another commercial to ignore. If last night's "CI" had regular commercials I wouldn't even have remembered Lunesta advertised on it, but now I remember them as the kind folks that gave my fast-forwarding thumb a break last night. Plus it was a good "CI" episode to boot, giving us a peek into Wheeler's personal life that we were denied with Barek when Annabella Schiorra departed last year.

dad1153

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dad:

Are you as enthusiastic about "To Catch an ID Thief" as you are the "Predator" series? Next week should be interesting, this first week was focused on tracking all the stolen product to US addresses, and despite all their hidden camera work, turns out all of them were just unwitting, clueless lackeys forwarding the product overseas. Next week they should track some of them down. Shame they likely won't result in arrests.

CPanther95

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Weekly Cable Nielsen Notebook
For FX Network, a poverty of 'Riches'
Is the cutting-edge network going over the edge?
By Toni Fitzgerald MediaLifeMagazine.com staff writer March 28, 2007

After an impressive line of critical and ratings hits including ?The Shield,? ?Nip/Tuck? and ?Rescue Me,? FX seems to be suffering from HBO syndrome. It just can’t come up with a new hit that holds its audience after a big debut, and the problem may be with the shows’ flawed main characters.

They may simply be too off-putting to be interesting.

?The Riches? became FX’s latest new program to see substantial declines in its second outing, following a big second-week plunge for ?Dirt? last winter and the generally disappointing ?Thief? last year.

?Riches? averaged 2.82 million total viewers in its second episode last week, the week ended March 27, down 27 percent from the previous week’s 3.84 million.

Among adults 18-49, where ?Riches? had FX’s second-best debut ever behind ?Shield,? the Monday 10 p.m. program averaged 1.87 million, down 26 percent from 2.52 million for its premiere.

It's by no means a dog. It remains a top 40 show in total viewers and 18-49s, but it clearly won’t be top 10 as those previous FX hits.

?Riches? follows a family of con artists who take over the identities of a rich family killed in a car accident. Like ?Thief,? it asks the audience to sympathize with characters who knowingly break the law to benefit themselves.

While ?Shield,? ?Nip? and ?Rescue? continue to draw very strong ratings several years into their runs, FX hasn’t launched a successful drama since president Peter Liguori left the network several years ago to take over at Fox.

Much like HBO, which unsuccessfully followed up offbeat hits like ?Sopranos? and ?Sex and the City? with over-the-top flops like ?Carnivale? and ?Rome,? FX may be pushing too hard to program outrageous shows.

The common thread among the three veteran shows is that, while their lead characters may not always do the right thing, they are generally striving to be decent people. Their morally questionable decisions often have somewhat noble motives, such as helping a family member or avenging a previous wrong. In short, the characters are relatable.

The leads on ?Thief,? ?Dirt? and ?Riches? are anything but. It’s very difficult for audiences to connect with outright criminals, as on ?Thief? and ?Riches,? or someone whose deplorable antics have no explanation, as with the icy tabloid editor on ?Dirt.?

?Riches? received generally favorable reviews, especially for lead actor Eddie Izzard’s portrayal of a con man. But as Media Life TV critic Andrew Lyons notes, ?The problem is that for all their surface charm, conmen--or in this case a con family--aren't at all likeable. The sleights of hand and camera are seductive enough but they never overcome this one flaw.?

Meanwhile, in other cable ratings for the week ended March 25:

Top five networks in primetime (18-49s): USA, TBS, Discovery, FX, Comedy Central

Top five networks in primetime (total viewers): USA, Discovery, TNT, TBS, FX

Top movie (18-49s): ABC Family’s ?Bring it On: All or Nothing? (Sunday, 8 p.m.) 1.89 million

Top sporting event (total viewers): USA’s ?WWE? (Monday, 10 p.m.) 5.45 million

Shows making the top 10 among 18-34s, 18-49s and 25-54s: USA’s ?WWE Entertainment? (Monday, 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.); Discovery’s ?Planet Earth? (Sunday,9 p.m. and 10 p.m.)

Show on the rise: ABC Family’s ?Bring it On: All or Nothing,? Sunday, 8 p.m. The movie, starring ?Heroes’? Hayden Panetierre, was the network’s top movie premiere ever among total viewers and several major demographics.

Show on the decline: USA’s ?WWE,? Monday 10 p.m. After hitting year-to-date highs the past few weeks, the show was down more than 500,000 from last week.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/art...icle_11066.asp

fredfa

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPanther95
dad:

Are you as enthusiastic about "To Catch an ID Thief" as you are the "Predator" series?
No. Without the sex predators Chris Hanson is an annoying self-aggrandizing a-hole not worth watching (even if the subject matter warrants investigating), sorry. BTW, does 'Dateline' have any other correspondents besides Hanson? What exactly keeps Stone Philips so damn busy he can't do on-the-field pieces or reports? Isn't NBC risking a backlash if Chris Hanson becomes (if he hasn't already) the face most people associate with NBC News besides Brian Williams and the 'Today' anchors? Rotate more correspondents into 'Dateline' for God's sake, and leave Chris Hanson free to roam the countryside catching sex predators for our eternal amusement!

dad1153

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You should have seen the proud look on CH's face when one of the lackeys was talking about Dateline and the Predator series. He loved the show and never missed an episode, and despite having this conversation while sitting across a desk from CH (wearing a delivery company ballcap as a "disguise"), he had no clue who he was talking to.

CH may be annoying, but the stings and resources they put behind him, let us take a view behind the scenes. In the case of ID theft, it was interesting to see how efficient the criminals have become - and how simple it really is. I'd expect this series will open up a lot of people's eyes - and probably increase the problem 10 fold in the process when people see how easy it is to profit.

CPanther95

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For me at least, "Dateline" is finally living up to at least some of its potential by actually reporting on a problem which could harm millions -- if not most -- of us.

But the ghosts of Brinkley, Huntley and others are not resting easy with the kind of "news" charade NBC has been putting on for years under the "Dateline" banner.

fredfa

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TV Notebook
Fox Returns With More ?Hell's Kitchen?
By John Consoli MediaWeek March 28, 2007

Season three of cooking reality show Hell’s Kitchen on Fox will premiere on Monday June 4 at 9 p.m., preceeded by the new movie-making competition reality show On the Lot at 8.

The On the Lot ?Box Office Results Show? will air on Tuesday night, June 5 at 8 p.m., and on each Tuesday night after that. It will be followed at 8:30 p.m. By the freshman sitcom ?Til Death, in its new time period, with Fox drama House following at 9 p.m.

The Fox drama Bones will move to Friday night at 8 p.m. Beginning June 8, followed by the return of freshman drama Standoff at 9 p.m.

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/net..._id=1003563933

fredfa

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When news today consists of spending 45 seconds before a hard break letting two people debate major issues - I'm appreciative of any program that dedicates a decent amount of time to any issue so we get more info than a couple lines from somebody's talking points.

Can't wait for "To Catch a Lobbyist" where we can see people walking into an office on the Hill to deliver a big fat envelope - with CH posing as a D-List Congressman.

CPanther95

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The problem with "To Catch A Lobbyist" is that NBC would have to make sure it dodged the broadcasting, defense department and other GE-related lobbying efforts.

But it would make a great show.

Imagine seeing those Comcast lobbyists napping in Arlen Specter's inner santcum; or the Liberty/DirecTV folks camped out at the FCC or the....the possibilities are endlessly amusing (or depressing, depending on your own sensibilities).

fredfa

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Tuesday’s metered market over-night prime-time ratings ? and Media Week Analyst Marc Berman’s view of what they mean -- have been posted just near the top of Ratings News the second post in this thread.

fredfa

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Weekly Nielsen Notebook
Analysis: National Ratings in Prime Time:
Week of March 19-25, 2007
By Marc Berman MediaWeek.com March 28, 2007

CBS and Fox shared bragging rights for the week of March 19, with the Eye net first in households and total viewers (with just 220,000 separating the two) and the home of American Idol No. 1 among key adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and adults 18-34. Both networks were down from one year earlier, with Fox’s losses slightly more extensive at margins of 6 to 17 percent. ABC and NBC were also on the year-to-year downside, with ABC third in the five surveyed categories, followed by NBC and, of course, The CW.

As expected, week two of ABC’s October Road and NBC’s Andy Barker, P.I. and Raines all lost steam on Thursday. While the news was still relatively positive for October Road (No. 1 in the Thursday 10 p.m. hour despite double-digit percent losses from Grey’s Anatomy) and Raines (double-digit growth out of Andy Barker P.I.), it looks like series No. 3 is not the charm for the overrated Andy Richter. Take a look at the three shows versus their debuts from one week earlier:

Andy Barker, P.I. (NBC) ? Thurs. 9:30 p.m.
3/15/07
Viewers: 5.96 million (#63 overall)
A18-49: 2.4/ 6 (#46t)
3/22/07
Viewers: 5.33 million (#72 overall)
A18-49: 2.1/ 5 (#58t)

October Road (ABC) ? Thurs. 10 p.m.
3/15/07
Viewers: 13.93 million (#9)
A18-49: 5.6/15 (#5)
3/22/07
Viewers: 11.50 million (#20)
A18-49: 4.6/13 (#8t)

Raines (NBC) ? Thurs. 10 p.m.
3/15/07
Viewers: 10.46 million (#23)
A18-49: 2.9/ 8 (#29t)
3/22/07
Viewers: 8.71 million (#33)
A18-49: 2.5/ 7 (#42t)

On Fox, the second telecast of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader in its regularly scheduled Thursday 8 p.m. hour kept network on the map, with 10.82 million viewers (#21) and a 3.7/11 among adults 18-49 (#18t). Let’s see what happens this week when 5th Grader faces CBS’ Survivor: Fiji for the first time.

In return series news, NBC game show Identity is not an adequate replacement for former Friday 8 p.m. occupant 1 vs. 100, with just 6.47 million viewers (#54) and a 1.9/ 7 among adults 18-49 (#67). Even worse was ABC’s long lost Six Degrees, which moved into the Friday 9 p.m. time period with 4.45 million viewers (#82) and a 1.5/ 5 among adults 18-49 (#85). Comparably, that trailed week three of Fox’s struggling The Wedding Bells (Viewers: #74, 5.05 million; A18-49: #79t, 1.6/ 5) by 600,000 viewers and six percent in the demo.

Elsewhere, recently introduced Monday 10 p.m. mob drama The Black Donnellys on NBC is waiting for the axe to swing at 5.53 million viewers and a 2.3/ 6 among adults 18-49 (out of 14.19 million viewers and a 4.3/11 in the demo for lead-in Deal or No Deal). Over at The CW, week three of Tuesday 9 p.m. reality/competition Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll scored 3.12 million viewers (#90) and a 1.4/ 3 among adults 18-49 (#88). While that may not sound like much, that built from a repeat of lead-in Gilmore Girls (Viewers: #97, 2.08 million; A18-49: #96t, 0.8/ 2) by 1.04 million viewers and 75 percent in the demo.

Week two of March Madness on CBS, meanwhile, remained at levels close to one year earlier. Take a look:

NCAA Basketball Championship (CBS) :
-Thursday 8-9:50 p.m.
Viewers: 8.98 million (#32)
A18-49: 3.1/11 (#32)
-Thursday 10-11 p.m.
Viewers: 9.93 million (#27)
A18-49: 4.0/13 (#16t)
-Friday 8-9:45 p.m.
Viewers: 8.13 million (#37)
A18-49: 2.6/10 (#41)
-Friday 10-11 p.m.
Viewers: 9.41 million (#29)
A18-49: 3.4/11 (#24t)
-Saturday 8-9:22 p.m.
Viewers: 10.22 million (#25)
A18-49: 3.4/13 (#24t)

Also worth noting for the week was Miss USA 2007 on NBC with 7.39 million viewers (#44) and a 2.2/ 7 among adults 18-49 (#53t), which was comparable to levels from one year earlier.

Here are the final national ratings for the week of March 12, 2007 (with percent change versus the comparable year-ago period in parentheses for the Big 4 -- the CW is not included), followed by the top 30 ranked programs for the week in total viewers and adults 18-49.

Households:
CBS: 7.4 rating/12 share (- 6)
Fox: 6.8/11 (- 6)
ABC: 5.9/10 (- 6)
NBC: 4.9/ 8 (-22)
CW: 2.0/ 3

Total Viewers:
CBS: 11.44 million (- 5)
Fox: 11.22 (- 6)
ABC: 8.98 (- 8)
NBC: 7.36 (-23)
CW: 3.05

Adults 18-49:
Fox: 4.4 rating/12 share (-14)
CBS: 3.5/10 (-10)
ABC: 3.1/ 9 (-14)
NBC: 2.3/ 6 (-28)
CW: 1.3/ 4

Adults 25-54:
Fox: 4.8/12 (-11)
CBS: 4.3/11 (- 9)
ABC: 3.5/ 9 (-17)
NBC: 2.7/ 7 (-31)
CW: 1.2/ 3

Adults 18-34:
Fox: 3.9/13 (-17)
CBS: 2.7/ 9 (-10)
ABC: 2.6/ 8 (-10)
NBC: 1.7/ 5 (-32)
CW: 1.4/ 4

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/newslett...ider/index.jsp

fredfa

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Must 'Dateline' resort to the "To Catch A ____" banner for all of its investigations now though? The one a week ago about the Ethiopian internet scam was pretty good (almost "60 Minutes" worthy... cringe) but again, why Chris Hanson and why "To Catch A..." in the title? Ratings aren't exactly backing the idea that these "Dateline" specials are doing much better than second-rate sitcoms and dramas like "Andy Baker P.I." and "Friday Night Lights" (wink!), only that they cost so little to make NBC is willing to continue doing them to fill empty time slots and remain deadlocked in fourth place on the 18-49 demo. At least they should blow a Ford pick-up truck with sexual predators trapped inside to expose the weak state of both the American steel and automotice industries. That'd be worth checking out just for laughs!

dad1153

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153
It'd be interesting to see if audience resonance with the single sponsor worked though. Maybe for Lunesta it was worth it to spend an extra load of cash to get the full attention of a smaller number of dedicated viewers (which "L&O" fans definitely are) than the inatention of millions of viewers of other shows as just another commercial to ignore. If last night's "CI" had regular commercials I wouldn't even have remembered Lunesta advertised on it, but now I remember them as the kind folks that gave my fast-forwarding thumb a break last night. Plus it was a good "CI" episode to boot, giving us a peek into Wheeler's personal life that we were denied with Barek when Annabella Schiorra departed last year.
To be honest, that was my initial thought as well, it would be nice to see more advertisers sponsor the whole hour with limited interruption(even though it was not an exclusive sponsorship last night). I might even sit through a 3-5 min commercial if it was intelligently done, and provided varied information throughout the broadcast with each break. I think Ford and/or Toyota have done this with "24" on occasion.

I just thought it was funny that a show it seems most people would rather go to bed than to watch would have a sleep-aid for a major sponsor.

I agree also, the episode was actually a pretty good one, I've liked Julianne Nicholson in almost everything she's done so far, I hope she does some more film work.

keenan

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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan
...I've liked Julianne Nicholson in almost everything she's done so far, I hope she does some more film work.
You sound like she should already start looking for work because the "CI" ship is sunk already. BTW, Julianne Nicholson in HD = cutest freckled girl ever!

BTW, Marc Berman's result from last night: "Third behind House and Dancing With the Stars at 9 p.m. was NBC’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent (7.2/11), followed by a repeat of CBS’ The Unit (4.4/ 7,) and The CW’s Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll (2.3/ 4). While the growth of 53 percent for Pussycat Dolls out of the Gilmore Girls encore is admirable, a 2.3/ 4 is still…well…a 2.3/ 4."

While not stellar I'd think NBC and Lunesta are pleased with those numbers considering the show was up against two highly-rated reality shows. Plus how many times have we mentioned Lunesta in this thread already (which we wouldn't be doing if had been a regularly-sponsored show)? Lunesta, Lunesta, Lunesta, L-U-N-E-S-T-A (hooray). Seriously, any sponsor that wants to support my "L&O" babies will have my serious purchase consideration even though I don't need or take sleeping aids... ever!

dad1153

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
TV Notebook
Fox Returns With More ?Hell's Kitchen?
By John Consoli MediaWeek March 28, 2007



The Fox drama Bones will move to Friday night at 8 p.m. Beginning June 8, followed by the return of freshman drama Standoff at 9 p.m.

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/net..._id=1003563933
What is with FOX, why this propensity to move stuff around all the time risking viewer erosion, do these guys suffer from ADD or something?

keenan

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153
You sound like she should already start looking for work because the "CI" ship is sunk already. BTW, Julianne Nicholson in HD = cutest freckled girl ever!
Definitely, and with that little overbite...

keenan

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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan
What is with FOX, why this propensity to move stuff around all the time risking viewer erosion, do these guys suffer from ADD or something?
It's only impacting summer reruns of Bones. If anything it may pick up some straggler viewers who didn't watch it because the in-season timeslot conflicted with one of their favorites.

CPanther95

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPanther95
It's only impacting summer reruns of Bones. If anything it may pick up some straggler viewers who didn't watch it because the in-season timeslot conflicted with one of their favorites.
I didn't see that mentioned in the article, but yeah, I guess June would be the start of the summer TV season.

keenan

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Lunesta was shrewd in advertising on a 10pm show. Keep in mind who their target audience is. The others have gone to bed.

grittree

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPanther95
When news today consists of spending 45 seconds before a hard break letting two people debate major issues - I'm appreciative of any program that dedicates a decent amount of time to any issue so we get more info than a couple lines from somebody's talking points.

Can't wait for "To Catch a Lobbyist" where we can see people walking into an office on the Hill to deliver a big fat envelope - with CH posing as a D-List Congressman.
LMAO....if only!!!!!

Iteki

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The tough part would be finding a lawmaker that a lobbyist would believe could be bought. Of course, if NBC offered enough cash, they'd likely get plenty of takers.

CPanther95

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
Almost nothing in this story is new. But it does provide a decent summary of where things stand at the moment. And it illustrates how although many of us have been aware of the digital deadline for years, much of the country has little or no idea what lies ahead.
The HD Revolution
Millions may miss digital TV deadline
The shift from analog to the new format in 2009 might leave many viewers in the dark
I posted the following two posts back several years ago (sometime in 2004, I think). I STILL see no progress.

Quote:
I've been puzzled for some time now why we don't see any "mainstream public" info about the digital transition. No PSAs, no print ads--nothing! It should come from the government, broadcasters, the CEA, or any entity who has the power to inform the masses. I talk to people at work sometimes that STILL have no idea about the upcoming change in the way we receive television signals. The only way for the complete transition to take place is to INFORM THE PUBLIC! I tell everyone I know, but I can't tell all 300 million of us. And some blame should also go to manufacturers and retailers who still sell analog sets. There needs to be, at least, a disclaimer to encourage buying a digital set over an analog one.

("but that's just my opinion, I could be wrong")
Quote:
Public awareness of digital transition

I try to keep somewhat informed (through AVS and a couple of other forums) on the status of digital TV, HDTV, and the eventual cutover to all digital broadcasting. There seems to be a lot of confusion/lack of info on the digital transition, currently scheduled for the end of 2006. [now 2009] Many people I come in contact with are still unaware that there is a move to digital TV. (I tell as many people as I can.)

As an average, everyday consumer, I see very little (if any) public service announcements, commercials, or any other mainstream information about the conversion. Since this transition affects almost everyone in the country, shouldn’t there be some information dispersed on the one medium that the transition affects: TV?

Michael252

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
TV Notebook
Home Base for Laughs?
Comedy Central Thinks So
By Bill Carter The New York Times March 28, 2007

That boast gets some backing from Doug Mitchelson, who analyzes Viacom for Deutsche Bank. ?Comedy Central is doing a fantastic job with its programming,? he said, noting that the channel’s audience size has grown for four straight years. He also said the channel is especially well positioned to take advantage of the migration of the audience to the Internet and mobile devices.
On Xbox Live Marketplace about half of the top 50 downloads are South Park episodes. A few Stand Up specials and other shows are in the top 50 as well. And that's content people are paying for. As Stephen Colbert said when Google bought Youtube: "I can't wait for my check, I'm all over that thing".

One South Park episode, Good Times With Weapons, was offered for a limited time in HD for free via download on XBLM. It's now being included with all Xbox 360 systems purchased for the next couple weeks on disc. Hard to know what it means going forward but it looks excellent and far exceeded my low expectations (and my wifes). Did you know Cartman has teeth? The point is that not only is Comedy Central leading the way in alternate forms of online distribution but they are now starting to push beyond that to content which is otherwise unavailable.

Posty-McPost

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Quote:
Originally Posted by grittree
Lunesta was shrewd in advertising on a 10pm show. Keep in mind who their target audience is. The others have gone to bed.
Right, except "Criminal Intent" airs at 9PM ET and "Special Victims Unit" at 10PM. I'm sure Lunesta would love to sponsor "SVU" for the entire hour leading up to the product's peak time of consumption, but that would cost a lot more than what they paid for "CI." Remember that "CI" ranks much lower than "SVU," so advertisers like Lunesta can buy the entire hour for a lot less than what a single sponsor would have to shell for a hit show like "24" or "Desperate Housewives." Maybe the ad agency/Lunesta people figured they could get more bang for their buck by targeting (a) the older crowd that watches all "L&O" shows in droves and more likely to use sleeping pills as well as (b) 18-49 year-olds that don't use the product but will now remember the name Lunesta if they ever need a sleeping aid. I fall on the latter category (34 yrs. old Hispanic male) so this, as far as I'm concerned, was money well spent by Lunesta's ad people.

Some of us are so busy discussing the "menusha" of TV shows, the industry and the major players that we forget what these TV shows actually are: devices through which sponsors paying for the whole thing want to reach us and sell something. When's the last time anybody here discussed what advertisements appeared on "CSI" or "Dancing with the Stars"? The closest is the semi-regular jokes from comedians about how many ads for medicines aimed at older people appear on all thee networks' evening newscasts.

dad1153

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Sorry for the delay, but Tuesday’s fast national over night prime-time ratings ? and Media Week Analyst Marc Berman’s view of what they mean -- have now been posted near the top of Ratings News the second post in this thread.

fredfa

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TV Notebook
'Underbelly' moves over
ABC comedy to follow 'Grey's Anatomy'

By Michael Schneider. Josef Adalian Variety March 28, 2007

New ABC laffer "Notes From the Underbelly" is getting an upgrade: Series will now air in the plum spot behind "Grey's Anatomy."

Alphabet opted to make the change after Fox expanded its "American Idol" results show on Wednesdays to an hour -- smack against "Underbelly's" Wednesday-at-9:30 p.m. slot.

ABC has high hopes for the single-camera "Underbelly," promoting it heavily during the net's hit reality competish "Dancing With the Stars." Rather than watch it suffer opposite "Idol," the network now hopes to attract some of "Grey's" loyal aud.

Now, ABC will air back-to-back episodes of "Underbelly" at 10 p.m. Thursdays starting April 12. "Underbelly" replaces "Men in Trees," which has already been picked up for next season, and now may not return until then.

Current slot occupant "October Road" was skedded to air just four times, and will bow out after its April 5 episode.

As for the Wednesday 9 p.m. slot, ABC will continue with "According to Jim" and "In Case of Emergency" until the end of April, and then fill the slot with repeats of "Lost."

http://www.variety.com/index.asp?lay...&categoryid=14

fredfa

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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan
What is with FOX, why this propensity to move stuff around all the time risking viewer erosion, do these guys suffer from ADD or something?
They realize that whatever they do, "American Idol" and "House" will save them.

CBS has gone exactly the opposite route: it puts shows on and leaves them there. Week after week, new episode and repeat. You know CSI is on at 9 PM Thursday and NCIS is 8 PM Tuesday.

All summer fans of other shows who don't want to see repeats can check out the reruns at CBS.

It has worked remarkably well, as CBS has been the leading network in total viewers for a number of years.

On the other hand, this season should be the third straight Fox 18-49 win.

So go figure.

fredfa

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1. Fredfa, I have also been having various problems with registering to vote, but I'll keep trying, I am another who checks this post several times a day, and a few time over the weekend as well, so I want to vote.

2. Dissappointed to hear about the emminent restart of the thread, but I'm sure the post/view count will be the only difference.

3. I haven't gotten around to watching last weeks Lost yet, so I've avoided the Lost thread, so this is the first I've heard of it getting shut down. Actually, I saw in my local HDTV thread that my ABC affiliate played the last 20 minutes in SD, so at this point I'll probably just wait for the Wed. encore.

4. dad, I'd recommend the VM boxes even if it doesn't get renewed. I love the show (even if it's hard to keep up with some of minor characters who come and go). I actually kind of like the FBI idea, if nothing else, the fact that they have two direction for the network to choose from could help its chances for survival.

RockyF

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Thanks RockyF.

I have VM on DVD season one ready to go (I plan to catch it this summer) but keep reading that season two was a disappointment and this year is up and down. Your thoughts?

fredfa

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Cable Nielsen Notebook
Weekly Cable Prime time network ratings
Week of April 9-15, 2007 (Live Plus Same Day data)

RANK NET Viewers 2+ (in millions)
1----USA 2.91
2----DSNY 2.20
3----TNT 2.01
4----FOXNC 1.64
5----DISC 1.58
6----LIF 1.49
7----AEN 1.41
8----NAN(1) 1.32
9----FX 1.32
10---TOON(1) 1.28
11---TBSC 1.26
12---SCIFI 1.20
13---HALL 1.14
14---COURT 1.11
15---VH1 1.10
16---CMDY 1.09
17---HIST 1.05
18---ESPN 1.03
19---FAM 1.03
20---HGTV 1.01

? Source: Nielsen Media Research data

fredfa

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Cable Nielsen Notebook
Weekly Cable All-day network ratings
Week of April 9-15, 2007 (Live Plus Same Day data)

RANK-NET---Viewers 2+ (in millions)
1----NICK 2.38
2----DSNY 1.39
3----NAN 1.33
4----USA 1.31
5----TNT 1.24
6----ADSM 1.14
7----TOON 1.09
8----LIF 0.90
9----FOXNC 0.89
10---AEN 0.81
11---DISC 0.81
12---TBSC 0.77
13---HALL 0.71
14---FAM 0.69
15---FX 0.68
16---COURT 0.66
17---MTV 0.61
18---HIST 0.60
19---HGTV 0.59
20---ESPN 0.59

? Source: Nielsen Media Research data

fredfa

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Fredfa, I guess I would more or less agree with that assessment of Veronica Mars, the first season was great, the second may not have been quite as good, but it's still better than a lot of stuff on TV. On the third season, you can see the attempt to gain a larger audience by going to shorter storyarcs instead of a full season mystery (of course, this season also had the usual teen show problem of the high-school to college transition. This is one of the reasons I'm actually digging the FBI idea, they can just skip over the college years.) I guess one of the problems with the third season was just too many new college friends at the expense of some of the older characters. Overall though, it's still a fun show, with a lot of twists.

RockyF

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We actually get a new ep of VM Tuesday after next. Finally, it seems like it's been forever since it was last on.

rebkell

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyF
Fredfa, I guess I would more or less agree with that assessment of Veronica Mars, the first season was great, the second may not have been quite as good, but it's still better than a lot of stuff on TV. On the third season, you can see the attempt to gain a larger audience by going to shorter storyarcs instead of a full season mystery (of course, this season also had the usual teen show problem of the high-school to college transition. This is one of the reasons I'm actually digging the FBI idea, they can just skip over the college years.) I guess one of the problems with the third season was just too many new college friends at the expense of some of the older characters. Overall though, it's still a fun show, with a lot of twists.
I'm an extreme Veronica Mars fan myself but I see it struggling a bit. What is it with the transition to college thing? Why don't college shows do well? I remember Buffy was the same way.

- Tom

trbarry

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
WORTH SAVING
"Law & Order" (NBC): Old but great.
"The Loop" (Fox): The best comedy you don't watch. It gets one last chance with new episodes in June.
"Veronica Mars" (CW): The third season wasn't its best, but it's still a fun mystery.
Can't argue with Doug on those, but I'm waiting to see what changes they made to "The Loop". I'm hoping they didn't get rid of the two girls.

cherry ghost

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Both of the girls on The Loop are done according to IMDb and, apparently, the listings on the Fox.com website for The Loop. While I never particularly found much comedy in his "friends" life compared to his "work" life, the eye candy in his friends life was the extra nudge I needed to keep watching. Shame.

URFloorMatt

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMars
I tried to vote too, I never got the confirmation letter, I e-mailed that address to email if you do not get it. Never heard back, Tried to log on says I need to confirm my email. Tried another e-mail, same thing.
It's an actual person that responds...she likely had the weekend off. You might hear back on Monday lol

Iteki

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

dad1153

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153
A moment of silence for the original Lost thread (http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=449662) which was locked yesterday by the Administrators after going off-rails. You know, like the show itself!
I'm quite proud that my Santa theory was the very last post before CP locked it.

VisionOn

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153
Is Sunday night between 7 and 11PM the lest-frequented time period for this thread? There's so much good TV on at this time (from "60 Minutes" to "Desperate Housewives" to "Entourage" and "The Tudors") plus the sports games that it seems this place goes quiet during this time/night.
Don't forget The Sopranos.

shuttermaker

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153
Is Sunday night between 7 and 11PM the lest-frequented time period for this thread? There's so much good TV on at this time (from "60 Minutes" to "Desperate Housewives" to "Entourage" and "The Tudors") plus the sports games that it seems this place goes quiet during this time/night.

Generally, Saturday is the slowest day, dad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fredfa

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Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn
I'm quite proud that my Santa theory was the very last post before CP locked it.

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

fredfa

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As long as I am wandering down memory lane…..
Hot Off The Press Notebook
Milestone Posts
Post numbers, time (Pacific) and posters
(First post: August 27, 2004, 7:24 PM Pacific time by fredfa)
1,000 Dec. 9, 2004, 717p fredfa
2,000 March 16, 2005, 330p keenan
3,000 May 18, 2005, 753a Paul Bigelow
4,000 July 23, 2005, 517p fredfa
5,000 Sept. 15, 2005, 1029a fredfa
6,000 Oct. 25, 2005, 734a fredfa
7,000 Nov. 28, 2005, 649p fredfa
8,000 Dec. 24, 2005, 220p fredfa
9,000 Jan. 26, 2006, 618p fredfa
10,000 March 27, 2006, 253p keenan
11,000 May 17, 2006, 1108a fredfa
12,000 June 10, 2006, 643p fredfa
13,000 July 10, 2006, 300p VisionOn
14,000 July 28, 2006, 122p 123HDTV
15,000 Aug. 28, 2006, 702p fredfa
16,000 Sept. 25, 2006, 609a Jediphish
17,000 Oct. 19, 2006, 1046p fredfa
18,000 Nov. 15, 2006, 1119p fredfa
19,000 Dec. 11, 2006, 1142a harley1
20,000 Jan 6, 2007, 916a dad1153
21,000 Jan 23, 2007, 829p PJO1966
22,000 Feb 8, 2007, 620p RussTC3
23,000 Feb 28, 2007, 107p Iteki
24,000 Mar 21, 2007, 822a fredfa
25,000 Apr 11, 2007, 1103p RussB

fredfa

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TV Sports
MLB Blackout Rules: Help Coming?
By Jason Stark ESPN

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

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

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

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

fredfa

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

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

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

DoubleDAZ

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TV Sports
Blackout Issues Could be Addressed at Owners Meetings
By Maury Brown BizofBaseball.com April 22, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

fredfa

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Critic’s Notebook
CBS evening blues
Katie Couric hasn't redeemed the No. 3 newscast. Can she survive as anchor?
By Gail ShisterPhiladelphia Inquirer TV Columnist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Couric and CBS were a bad fit from the start.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

TV Notebook
Ailing TV shows await the ax or the reprieve
By Scott Collins Los Angeles Times Staff Writer in the Channel Island TV Industry column April 23, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fredfa

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Technology Notebook
Blu-ray burning its high-def DVD rival
By Thomas K. Arnold The Hollywood Reporter April 23, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn agreed.

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

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

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

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

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

fredfa

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TV Notebook
'Bob Vila' Nailed Shut
By Chris Pursell Television News April 23, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

fredfa

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TV Notebook
'Traveler' gets ticket for May 10 show
By Nellie Andreeva The Hollywood Reporter April 23, 2007

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

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

The show's pilot episode will air again May 30 in the series' regular Wednesday 10 p.m. time period.
Previewing the series -- about two college buddies on the run after being framed by their friend for a terrorist act -- behind an original episode of the highest-rated drama series on television assures great sampling for the show before its off-season run.

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

fredfa

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TV Notebook
Cast, Cost Pruning Set for May Sweeps
Character Deaths Fulfill Dramatic, Financial Needs
By James Hibberd Television Week April 23, 2007

Not everybody is going to survive May sweeps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fredfa

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TV Sports
Team Owners Pledge to Keep Games on Their NFL Network
By John Consoli MediaWeek April 23, 2007

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

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

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

?The owners’ decision to put the games on the NFL Network was to help build a 24-7 network about football,? Bowlen explained. ?That is our goal. We’re not concerned about making more money on another TV rights deal. We want to create a year round football network.?
Despite hearsay, Bowlen said no team owner had talked to him about putting the games back up for bid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NFL Network also plans to reimagine its Web site with a soft relaunch in August, followed by a heavily promoted relaunch concurrent with the start of the NFL season in September.
And for the first time, the network will cover the NFL draft, along with ESPN. Steve Mariucci and Deion Sanders, analysts on the NFL pre-game show, will join host Rich Eisen on the two-day telecast.

In addition to its eight-game regular season package and pre-season game coverage, the NFL Network next season will air the Pro Football Hall of Fame pre-season game, pitting the New Orleans Saints against the Pittsburgh Steelers. NBC carried the game last year.
NFL Network in August will introduce a half-hour college football show, airing daily Tuesday to Friday at 6:30 p.m. and leading into NFL Total Access.

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

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

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

fredfa

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TV Notebook
Upfront Deals:
How Will Commercial Ratings Play?
by Wayne Friedman, Media POost Monday, Apr 23, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reality, however, is something else.

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

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

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

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

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

fredfa

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To bad there was no mention of the NFL Network getting new anouncers for their games.

steverobertson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
TV Notebook
Cast, Cost Pruning Set for May Sweeps
Character Deaths Fulfill Dramatic, Financial Needs
By James Hibberd Television Week April 23, 2007

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

When Jean Hagan left "Make Room for Daddy" in 1956, or when Jean Stapleton left "All in the Family" in 1971, their respective characters were simply written out of the show during the off-season. In such cases, the characters died because the actor left the show, rather than due to a showrunner's creative decision or budget downsizing.
Uhh, "All In the Family" (a) wasn't on the air in 1971 and (b) Jean Stapleton stayed throughout the run of the show. I guess Hibberd meant to say '1981' and that Stapleton left the "All in the Family" spinoff "Archie Bunker's Place." And the sad thing is that I've never watched either of these shows and yet I know this information off the top of my head!

dad1153

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
As long as I am wandering down memory lane…..
Hot Off The Press Notebook
Milestone Posts
Post numbers, time (Pacific) and posters
(First post: August 27, 2004, 7:24 PM Pacific time by fredfa)

20,000 Jan 6, 2007, 916a dad1153
Wow, Jan. 6th is my birthday! It's gotta to be a coincidence because I remember reading this thread for months before I actually decided to start posting here. And isn't Fred now in full Sopranos/Law & Order mode anticipating and remembering the good ol' times this long thread has lasted? It's sad when the end is near, everybody knows it and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

dad1153

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
...Friday’s fast national over night prime-time ratings ? and Media Week Analyst Marc Berman’s view of what they mean -- have now been posted near the top of Ratings News the second post in this thread.
From Berman's column:

"The return of ABC drama Six Degrees was barely on the map, meanwhile, with a last-place 4.59 million viewers and a 1.6/ 5 among adults 18-49 at 9 p.m. Comparably, that trailed a repeat of lead-in Grey’s Anatomy (Viewers: #4, 5.25 million; A18-49: #4, 1.8/ 6 at 8 p.m.) by 660,000 viewers and 11 percent in the demo. Take a look at its results opposite Fox’s The Wedding Bells.

Friday 9 p.m.
The Wedding Bells (Fox)
Viewers: 5.32 million (#3)
A18-49: 1.8/ 5 (#3t)

Six Degrees (ABC)
Viewers: 4.59 million (#5)
A18-49: 1.6/ 5 (#5)"


Guess its safe to say "Six Degrees" isn't coming back for May sweeps. Heck, I don't know if it's coming back next week! And what ever happed to David E. Kelley's magic touch? Is it his fault "Wedding Bells" isn't clicking or is the night/network too giant a hurdle for this show to overcome?

dad1153

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At first ABC said "Six Degress" was going to return in January.

Frankly I am surprised they brought it back at all.

fredfa

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Fred,

I know I saw it somewhere the schedul for FNL on Bravo I have recruited 2 new people to watch. Is there a set scedule so they can set up the DVR? I forget which thread it was in.

steverobertson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
Mike, premium channel ratings take longer to get processed. Perhaps they will be available next week.

I'll try to remember to keep checking for them for you.

Thanks Fred!

mbarloewen

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Steve: On saturday's it is 2-5P ET, Fridays 9 PM ET.

fredfa

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
Steve: On saturday's it is 2-5P ET, Fridays 9 PM ET.
Fred thanks,

I noticed they have a 6pm showing here in the east on friday night I will check my guide and see if they show the latter Friday and Saturday showings.

steverobertson

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Yes please check, I gave you those times from memory...which isn't all that good.

fredfa

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
Yes please check, I gave you those times from memory...which isn't all that good.
The Friday night showing at 9 is not showing up but Saturday is. I know what you mean about the memory thing I am with you on that . It sucks to get old LOL

steverobertson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153
Is it his fault "Wedding Bells" isn't clicking or is the night/network too giant a hurdle for this show to overcome?
It seems like the worst night, the least compatible channel, and no chance for a decent lead-in from any member of the Fox lineup.

Frankly, I think it's pulling in great numbers all things considered. I watched the first episode after Idol. It seems like a fairly good show, but I don't know how it'll survive all by itself on Fox. It feels like an ABC show (ABC is, after all, Network Television for Women) and could easily find a compatible lead-in there.

Unfortunately, Fox doesn't air 10:00 programming, so it can't find an off-network lead-in like ER apparently did with GA.

URFloorMatt

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Fred,

I think marketing and timeslot are the key to why FNL is in the shape it's in. I started recording it, but gave up when they moved it against 2 other favorites (or when those premiered, I don't remember which). I'd still be watrching it if that had not happened, but once I get invested in a program, I generally stick with it until the end and FNL just lost out to my older favs.

DoubleDAZ

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TV Review
?Planet Earth?
By Brian Lowry Variety

From the breathtaking cinematography to Sigourney Weaver's crisp narration, everything about "Planet Earth" screams class -- an 11-part series, spread over five successive Sundays, conveying not only the wonder of nature but the arduous process of catching its machinations on film. Viewers can debate which images are the most jaw-dropping -- call it a toss-up between a polar bear fighting a walrus for survival, and a great white shark leaping completely out of the water to grab a seal -- but as assembled, it's a major achievement, making glorious use of aerial and time-lapse photography to bring epic grandeur to each chapter.

Discovery has ventured into a variety of areas to attract a younger audience -- along with the rest of the TV biz --sometimes stumbling in that chase. Yet in this first-rate production tailored to high-definition viewing, "Discovery Atlas" and its ongoing relationship with Ted Koppel, the cabler has burnished its image with a prestigious spine -- representing genuine standards for nature, travel and current-events fare.

Created by the team responsible for Discovery's "Blue Planet," if there's a quibble here, it's that the themes affixed to the individual hours feel somewhat arbitrary, slicing the globe into topics like "Great Plains," "Jungles" and "Ice Worlds." The overall contents, however, are consistently breathtaking.

Images flash by that aren't easily forgotten, and the narration adds to the sense that we're witnessing something special, frequently referring to "never before seen" footage of, say, a snow leopard hunting or a pride of lions attempting to bring down an elephant in a frenzied nighttime attack, chronicled via infrared imagery.

Years in the making, the production deftly employs overhead views to present the vastness of a sprawling caribou herd, hyenas chasing down an impala or a locust swarm, before zooming in to show baboons gingerly walking upright through a stream or bizarre troglodytes residing in the lightless abyss of caves. The same approach applies to Earth itself, from the majestic sweep of the Himalayas to the Gobi Desert blanketed in snow.

In keeping with the whole "circle of life" motif, the life-and-death struggles here are depicted with Darwinian bluntness, as the weak or young fall victim to predators that occasionally fail in their pursuit and thus face extermination themselves.

At the same time, "Planet Earth" heightens our appreciation not just for the natural world but also the patience, perseverance and sheer luck required to document these events. Toward that end, each episode closes with a few minutes, dubbed "capturing the moment," illustrating the lengths to which the production crews went to bring home their precious reels.

"Nobody should have to live one month in poo," mutters one crew member in a later installment, having camped out in a cave occupied by thousands of bats, whose thick layer of guano provides the food for a delicate (if mildly nauseating) ecosystem.

If it's any consolation, from the comfort of the couch, the sacrifice was totally worth it. Besides, he's hardly the first person to endure a little poo in order to make it in showbiz.

http://www.variety.com/index.asp?lay...&categoryid=32

fredfa

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Quote:
Originally Posted by URFloorMatt
It seems like the worst night, the least compatible channel, and no chance for a decent lead-in from any member of the Fox lineup.

Frankly, I think it's pulling in great numbers all things considered. I watched the first episode after Idol. It seems like a fairly good show, but I don't know how it'll survive all by itself on Fox. It feels like an ABC show (ABC is, after all, Network Television for Women) and could easily find a compatible lead-in there.
I never understood why this show was on FOX in the first place. The show is so out of place on this network.. its unbelievable. ABC would have been a perfect fit for this show. In fact it has ABC written all over it.

kizzo

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TV Notebook
?Planet Earth?: The Whole World in Their Lens
In 11-Part Series, High-Definition Cameras Capture Planet's Wildest Wonders
By Kathy Blumenstock Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, March 25, 2007

Snow blankets the Gobi Desert, where camels must quench their thirst by swallowing frosty mounds. In a tropical rain forest, a blue bird of paradise pirouettes in a mating ballet, while in a nearby tree, howler monkeys and tamarins fight over figs. And in shallow sea water, dolphins gather momentum to hydroplane in their hunt for a seafood dinner.

"It's like your own personal rocket ship into the most microscopic, and largest, wonders of the world," said actor Sigourney Weaver, who narrates "Planet Earth," an 11-part overview of wildlife behavior and wilderness locations (Sunday 8 PM ET/PT Discovery and Discovery HD).

"You get to explore and understand the layers and seasons, the search for food and water, and the courtship," Weaver said. "It allows you to celebrate the world with all of its creatures and to want to be part of it without wrecking it."

The series, which was produced by the BBC and has aired in Britain, took nearly five years to complete, spanning 200 locations where 70 photographers spent 2,000 days recording in the field. (The five-disc DVD set will be released April 24.) While each episode is presented as a one-hour documentary, the entire series fits together as a portrait of the globe's geography and species.

"It also has an emotional feel," said executive producer Alastair Fothergill. "I wanted the audience to know what it feels like to be in any of these places, and that's about the way you photograph the habitat, the way you edit, the music and the chemistry," Fothergill -- whose previous project, "The Blue Planet," focused on Earth's oceans -- said audience response to the epic scale and cinematic style of that series prompted him to try for similar results with "Planet Earth."

"The real challenge is to show new places and new animals, to film extraordinary things," he said. "The promise is, maybe you've been to the Sahara, but have you seen the Gobi Desert in the winter covered in snow?"

Among the unusual segments are an inside view of Mexico's 1,400-foot-deep Cave of Swallows; close-ups of a snow leopard and her cub; and footage of lions bringing down elephants at night -- all sequences that required exceptional amounts of time and patience to film.

"Natural history is always a bit unpredictable, but the great thing about it is, you can spend a month [trying to get the shot] and then get it all in one day, " said Huw Cordey, a cameraman and a producer on the project. "One sequence that stands out as unbelievably lengthy was the birds of paradise. We spent two months shooting 200 hours and we got about 15 to 20 minutes of actual footage."

The episodes benefit from sophisticated production technology, such as a stabilization system that allows a camera lens attached to a helicopter to capture close-ups of distant animals without interfering in their routines. The use of time-lapse and ultra-high-speed cameras gives the material a rich, detailed look.

"When you watch these, you feel you've been there," said Weaver, whose spare narration coupled with natural sound enhances the series' visual impact.

"What I found is that I would be with the birds, protecting their eggs, and then when that arctic fox took an egg, I would become an arctic fox who needed to eat," she said. "Each [episode] was so surprising. We can't even imagine how elaborate nature is and how well it works."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...001386_pf.html

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Critic’s Notebook
Peyton Manning on 'SNL'
By Roger Catlin Hartford Courant TV Critic in his ?TV Eye? blog

He’s been seen in a lot of commercials, they say, but Peyton Manning has never been able to host the big one.

That changed this weekend when he hosted ?Saturday Night Live?

He began Saturday with a short monologue in which he introduced his famous dad and brother in the audience and chided his mother for never having her own football career. It was better when he played himself in a commercial about playing football with kids, but knocking them down with bullet passes, cussing them out, and breaking into cars. Its tagline: ?Spend time with our kids, so Peyton Maning Doesn’t.?

He was one of those hosts that was used a lot ? from the monologue and fake commercial to a guest on the recurring talk show skit, "Bronx Beat with Betty and Jodi" in which the gum-chewing harpies interview Manning, moatly about being such a good looking employee at the Bronx Zoo. Three bits before the first commercial.

He was in the next one too --as a fan with winning brackets on an ESPN March Madness show who was chided for making some key misses and hence "pulling a Peyton Manning."

He wasn’t the kind of guest that the show sometimes like to humiliate by making him wear dress or otherwise making him play way against character (cussing to kids was about as bad as it got). Although there was a lot of bathroom humor.

Not everything he was in exactly killed -- a half-written sketch about a failed battle scene (in which his character won’t throw a rock) was about the only dud.

It was a big show too for Will Forte who got to do his dazed politician character Tim Calhoun during ?Weekend Update,? as well as doing an insane dance to the full-length recording of ?Casino Royale? by Herb Alpert and Tijuana Brass ? the kind of nuttiness not much seen since the days of Andy Kaufman (by the end, Manning had joined in).

There was another flash of "SNL" of yore during a bit about Sanjaya on "American Idol" -- Andy Samberg played the kid, interrupting the end of "Weekend Update" by singing his bad version of "You Really Got Me." In the audience, Kristin Wiig played the crying girl (who now has a name -- Ashley Ferl -- and probably an agent) and the camera panned to Fred Armisen also crying and then next to him, Dan Ackroyd, big as Al Gore, also weeping.

Manning wasn't in the bit -- nor was he in the animated "Dora the Explorer" takeoff, nor did he sing backup for the two Carrie Underwood songs. But he was in practically everything else.

So he didn't "pull a Peyton Manning" -- he succeeded in comedy just as he does on the playing field -- bearing down and being a pretty good straightman, so likable they gave him a birthday cake at the end. Saturday was his 31st birthday, but it was an hour into Sunday by the time they sang to him at show's end.

http://blogs.courant.com/roger_catlin_tv_eye/

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

TV Notebook
Reality May Be The CW's New Reality
By Jim Benson Broadcasting & Cable 3/26/2007

By the time The WB and UPN gave way to The CW last September, Time Warner's The WB had been labeled an outright failure.

The operation racked up a staggering deficit north of $800 million, with only a handful of profitable quarters, throughout its rocky 11-year history. Even so, it was the more successful of the two networks launched around the same time: CBS Corp.'s perennially unprofitable UPN approached what industry executives suggest was an eye-popping $1.4 billion in losses during the period.

By merging the assets and sharing costs equally in a 50-50 venture, including joint ownership of expensive programming from their studios, the two media giants promised to create a smarter business model that would make the new CW network instantly profitable.

But after six months, both profitability and strong ratings have been elusive for the fledgling broadcast network, which—unlike ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC—owns no stations in the nation's largest markets. As a startup, it has received a lower cost per point from advertisers in many instances, despite its lucrative adults 18-34 core audience. And it shelled out more than $40 million for a massive ?Free To Be? CW branding campaign at launch last September. Some insiders say the marketing dollars could have been better-targeted at a time when younger viewers are more dedicated to individual shows than to entire networks.

While CW executives express optimism about the network's long-term prospects, an opinion shared by key affiliates, their attention is focused on containing programming costs like never before. The most obvious solution: Stick with what's working and add more low-cost reality shows to the mix. ?Our No. 1 goal,? says CW Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff, ?is to have shows that are hits, and any branding we do is a bonus.?

The CW has devoted about a third of its 17 fall pilots to reality. Exploiting the trend further, it plans a scripted comedy set behind the scenes of a reality series. Titled Dash 4 Cash, it comes from producers Kelsey Grammer and Steve Stark, with Betty Thomas directing.

Reality has been the network's biggest bright spot so far: UPN import America's Next Top Model and WB legacy Beauty and the Geek are the only programs to crack a 3 rating this season among adults 18-34. Midseason addition Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll has also been hot, and wrestling fans are returning to a resurgent Friday Night Smackdown.

But the tactic of having more reality shows would be a departure from The WB's strategy, which relied mostly on scripted programming to bring about long-term profits for its sibling TV studio through DVD and domestic and international syndication sales. The WB had kept reality shows like Geek to a minimum, since their rerun value on cable is not as great as dramas and comedies.

WB had allowed its sibling Warner Bros. TV studio to amass enough episodes of Gilmore Girls and Smallville to collect $80 million in annual sales during the network's final few years—more than enough to offset $30 million-$35 million in yearly losses.

CBS and Warner Bros. are still planning to make a hefty investment in scripted programming this year, splitting the expense for eight of The CW's 11 drama and sitcom pilots.

It costs nearly the same to produce shows for The CW as for bigger networks, despite its narrower demo and lower ratings. Conventional sitcom pilots can approach $2 million, single-camera comedies run higher, and dramas average upwards of $3 million. First-year reality shows come much cheaper, often in the low six figures.

CBS, which runs the creative side of the network and owns 11 CW affiliates, stands to benefit more financially from an infusion of reality than Time Warner, which oversees network business affairs and distribution. Its stations will be able to collect higher ad revenues if the reality format remains as popular next season.

Without any TV stations, Warner Bros. is more dependent than CBS on its ability to extend as many scripted series as possible to four years, allowing it to reach the 100-episode mark that maximizes potential for off-network sales. But the studio could potentially wind up with fewer scripted series on CW's six-night, 13-hour lineup if reality gains a bigger foothold on the fall schedule.

?We're looking for an appropriate balance,? says Nancy Tellem, president of the CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group. ?We're not forsaking scripted.?

The move toward reality, with a CW programming executive now devoted to scouring the Web and film schools for new ideas, comes as ratings are lagging for its inherited scripted shows, particularly The WB's Smallville and 7th Heaven and UPN's Everybody Hates Chris and Veronica Mars. Its best performer among women, seven-season-old former WB drama Gilmore Girls, could fold this spring.

With the best-performing remnants of its two predecessors combined in the new network, advertisers had expected The CW to do better than a 1.4 overall ratings average among young adults during the February sweeps. It finished on par with the defunct WB's levels a year earlier but ahead of UPN's 1.1. While top CBS and Warner Bros. executives consider The CW a long-term investment, advertisers don't appear to be so patient.

?I view this as a transition year and [the 2007-08 season] as a make-or-break year for them,? says Shari Anne Brill, VP/director of programming for media buyer Carat USA. ?A lot of people felt they have not been doing as well as they had initially hoped, but I did not expect much more, because many of their best assets are aging programming.?

Other media buyers say the network failed to launch enough strong new shows. Ostroff counters the criticism, saying that it would have been too difficult to start a network with unfamiliar programming.

?When you look at what we had to accomplish in eight months [from the time the network was announced], it's incredible,? she says. ?No one realized we had to build a company, a distribution system and create everything new, from benefits packages to programming.?

CW ratings have gotten a boost from Nielsen's new ?extended home viewing? system, which measures the college audience. Since Jan. 29, when Nielsen started keeping track, the network is up 23% in adults 18-24 and 36% among the younger women who flock to reality shows like Model and Pussycat Dolls. Double-digit increases over WB and UPN's year-ago performances have helped the fortunes of scripted drama One Tree Hill, which was on the bubble at The WB and now has a strong chance of returning next fall.

The CW set the mood for advertisers last week. At small development meetings with ad buyers at its Burbank, Calif., offices, it featured artwork produced by its core demo, an elaborate Gummi Bear exhibition and a hallway filled with plasma TV screens.

Ostroff talked up the network's six drama and five comedy pilots. Eight will be co-owned by CBS and Warner Bros., with NBC Universal Television Studio producing Aliens in America. She thinks that comedy, chronicling the relationship between an unpopular teen and a Pakistani Muslim exchange student, may have the best chance to become The CW's ?generation-defining? comedy, the way Friends was for the MTV generation— something neither The WB nor UPN could achieve in their day.

ABC Television Studio, meanwhile, has two dramas in consideration at The CW: Paige Armstrong, a Rod Lurie saga about a twentysomething congressional aide who decides to run against her boss, and The Reaper, which takes a lighthearted approach to a devil's bounty hunter reclaiming souls that have escaped from hell.

But Ostroff was less talkative about The CW's slate of reality pilots after waging an aggressive effort to land their sought-after producers, whose work is in big demand by all of the broadcast networks.

Beyond watching programming costs more closely, the joint-venture partners expect big savings from lower overhead and various forms of reverse compensation that The CW has obtained from most affiliates.

CBS' Tellem and Warner Bros. Television Group President Bruce Rosenblum insist they are meeting the companies' first-year expectations and will see the network become profitable, particularly with new techniques like advertiser-sponsored serialized ?content wraps? that resemble actual programming.

?The CW is the last free over-the-air broadcast network that will ever be created,? Rosenblum says. ?We have built a distribution system that is even stronger than The WB ever had, with station groups like Belo, Clear Channel, Pappas and CBS.?

The CW signed every significant affiliate group it wanted except Sinclair, which secured some Fox affiliation renewals shortly after signing up for News Corp.'s UPN replacement, MyNetworkTV.

?Strategically, Tribune and the affiliate group as a whole are much stronger,? says affiliate board Chairman John Reardon, who as Tribune Broadcasting president/CEO leads 14 CW affiliates in markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Reardon credits The CW with balancing WB's heavy female skew, adding African-American viewers, and lessening the average age of its audience by offering UPN's wrestling and the Monday-night sitcoms, as well as the cross-over demo appeal of Top Model.

Tribune has seen the most growth in the top markets. According to John Hendricks, the station group's ad-sales chief, Pussycat Dolls has improved its 18-49 average and late-news ratings. ?Fox has American Idol,? he says, ?but, in our world, we have Top Model, and we can use it as leverage to package all of our points.?

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/ind...leID=CA6427480

fredfa

Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbarloewen
Fred,

Any word on ratings for Showtime's This American Life that debuted on Thursday night?

As a big fan of the radio show for all these years I was pleasently surprised to find that I liked the tv adaptation. I'm just curious if anyone else watched it and whether or not there is any hope for Showtime to bring it back for another season beyond it's 6 episode season.

Thanks,

Mike
Good show!!

That segment on the pet bull bordered on the truly bizarre.

keenan

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