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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

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

TV Notebook
Michelle Rodriguez Gets Out of Jail Early

(REALLY Early)
By Ken Lee People.com

Call it a lucky break for Michelle Rodriguez: The former Lost actress was released from Los Angeles County Jail on Thursday after serving a mere four hours and 20 minutes of her two-month jail sentence.

"Needless to say, our prosecutors are not happy about this," says a spokesperson for the L.A. City Attorney's office. "But the sheriffs have a policy to let some nonviolent offenders go early, in part due to jail overcrowding."

Rodriguez, 27, must perform 30 days of community service and is on two years probation.

The night of her release, the actress was spotted at the Tropicana Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel, and on Monday night at the Hollywood club Shag.

"Michelle's happy with the way things turned out," her friend, designer Anand Jon, tells PEOPLE. "She knows this wasn't a literal get-out-of-jail-free card. Michelle's taken responsibility for the past and now she's ready to focus on her career."

On May 22, Rodriguez was sentenced to 60 days in jail for violating probation due to her DUI arrest last December in Hawaii.

In New York City the week before her sentencing, she told PEOPLE, "I'm a gypsy. I can see beauty in a jail cell."

In April, Rodriguez was sentenced to five days in an Oahu jail for her December 1, 2005, DUI arrest on the island. She served just 65 hours because the time she'd spent in custody after her arrest counted toward her sentence.



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TV Notebook
Ad sales bonanza for NBC in Katie's farewell

By Phyllis Furman New York Daily News Business Writer Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Advertisers are coughing up big bucks to say goodbye to Katie.

NBC charged last-minute ad buyers about $110,000 for a 30-second commercial in today's "Today" show farewell to Katie Couric, sources told the Daily News.

While that's a fraction of the $2 million a spot NBC got for its massive "Friends" finale, it's more than double what the network charges for "Today" during its upfront sales. NBC execs declined to comment.

About 25% of the show's inventory was sold at the premium "Katie price," the sources said.

Advertisers who rushed to get in after Couric announced her departure for the anchor desk at the CBS Evening News in April include Hollywood studios, travel companies, and electronics and appliance advertisers.

They're banking on an audience spike. Media insiders say the bye-bye show - which will include a career retrospective as well as performances by Tony Bennett and Martina McBride - could see eyeballs jump anywhere from 10% to 40%.

"Most will be CBS and ABC (morning show) loyalists who will switch allegiances for the day," said Brad Adgate, director of research at media buying firm Horizon Media.

Viewers are expected to come on board, even though NBC didn't promote the farewell show in the same way it pitched Tom Brokaw's departure from the evening news anchor chair.

The expected ratings jump would be a win for the advertisers who paid the going rate for the "Today" show long before they knew about Couric's exit.

Those advertisers, advertising sources said, include Procter & Gamble, Nestle, MasterCard, Toyota, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Glaxo SmithKline.

Fox is advertising its Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway film "Devil Wears Prada."

After Katie's send-off, NBC has to be worried about keeping viewers and advertisers tuning in to its prized a.m. show, which generated $600 million in advertising revenues last year.

"It's the most profitable daypart," said Pattie Garrahy, CEO of ad buying firm PGR Media. "I think ('Today') is a little vulnerable."

But other ad buyers said the show will likely hold on to its audience.

"Katie did not carry the 'Today' show on her own," said Horizon CEO Bill Koenigsberg. "Matt Lauer has a huge following."

Meredith Vieira takes over for Couric in September.



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Originally Posted by CPanther95
I'm disappointed in any "Top 5 Drama" ranking that excludes Battlestar. IIRC it made Rob's Top 10 list of shows last year, and Season 2.5 was phenomenal.

I can agree with that.

But which of the nominees would you drop for BG?

(For me, it would "The Sopranos", which despite the swooning of most critics, has seemed less than consistently top-notch this season.)


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AVS Now Has 250,000+ Members!

It was official at 4:22 ET May 31, 2006!

Threads: 657,414, Posts: 7,570,863, Members: 250,000
Average New Registrations Per Day (30 day average): 243
Welcome to our newest (250,00th!) member, Eldrewski

A quarter of a million members.

Congratulations to Alan and David and all those who have worked so hard for so many years!


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Washington Notebook
Governors Protest National Franchise

By Ted Hearn Multichannel.com 5/31/2006

The nation’s governors want a pending House bill changed to give states the option to take control of the cable-franchising process from the Federal Communications Commission.

The call for change came in a bipartisan letter by the National Governors Association in connection with a House bill (H.R. 5252) that would federalize cable franchising for new video providers and, in some circumstances, for cable incumbents.

?Governors strongly support amending [H.R. 5252] to include provisions that would allow states to opt out of the national-franchising framework,? Govs. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) and Janet Napolitano (D-Ariz.) said in a letter Tuesday to Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and John Dingell (D-Mich.).

Under H.R. 5252, the FCC would take control of cable franchising of new entrants, such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., across the country. Cable incumbents are eligible for national franchises in certain cases, including if new providers enter their video markets under FCC licensing.

The bill -- which Barton is sponsoring but Dingell is opposing -- would continue to allow any cable-service provider to rely on a local or state franchise in lieu of a national franchise.

But Huckabee and Napolitano argued that the Barton bill would interfere with efforts by states to adopt statewide cable franchising in order to promote cable competition in a manner that does not ignore local needs. Texas, Virginia and Indiana have enacted statewide franchising.

The Barton bill, Huckabee and Napolitano said, ?eviscerates these efforts with a federal framework that does not reflect the priorities and prerogatives of states.?

The Barton bill, passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee in late April, is awaiting full House action.

Huckabee and Napolitano also objected to provisions that would allow local governments to offer cable, information or telecommunications service without state authorization.

They called the provisions ?an unwarranted federal intrusion into state affairs … which preempts states’ ability to manage broadband deployment in its political subdivisions.?



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Originally Posted by fredfa
I can agree with that.

But which of the nominees would you drop for BG?

(For me, it would "The Sopranos", which despite the swooning of most critics, has seemed less than consistently top-notch this season.)
The Sopranos or 24 could be dropped in my mind. 24 is great TV , fun to watch and all, but Outstanding Achievement In Drama..? While there have been some outstanding acting jobs, the show is basically a graphic novel, cartoon-ish if you will.

I think this season of The Sopranos exemplifies what's wrong with HBO in general, they're just a little too full of themselves. This season probably plays great inside Hollywood, but the HBO audience in general..? I don't think so. If the Sopranos thread here at AVS is any indicator, it seems as if there is more displeasure being posted about this season than any other that I can remember.

I like The Sopranos, always have, but honestly, I'm ready for it to be over.


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Last week’s top 10 prime-time program ratings are now near the top of RATINGS NEWS -- the first post in this thread.


Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Originally Posted by keenan
The Sopranos or 24 could be dropped in my mind. 24 is great TV , fun to watch and all, but Outstanding Achievement In Drama..? While there have been some outstanding acting jobs, the show is basically a graphic novel, cartoon-ish if you will.
I agree with this. The time for '24' to receive such honors has passed. Each year is basically a carbon copy of the previous years with only the faces of the villains changing. I found this year, the highest rated in the series history, the least compelling so far. It's become paint-by-numbers TV.

But I still like The Sopranos and have enjoyed this year nearly as much as any other. It's always been a thinking-man's show, despite the veneer of brutality, and this year is no different.

Battlestar Galactica, however, is simply brilliant, and no show on TV is more topical or relevant. And they manage to achieve such brilliance week after week on a basic cable timeframe and budget. It deserves to be in anyone's top-five dramatic series list.


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Series creator turns down offer for final season

Los Angeles Daily News
May 31, 2006, 11:02AM

In an episode of the upcoming third season of HBO's acclaimed Western Deadwood, Al Swearengen, the town's saloon/brothel owner with the soul of a poet but the mouth of a sailor, declares, "Change ain't looking for friends."

Particularly if it's the change HBO has in store for fans of Deadwood.

Though series creator David Milch envisioned the program, which focuses on the denizens of the roughest community America had to offer in the late 1800s, to run for four seasons, HBO offered him a truncated, six-episode final season. Milch declined.

And, just as Swearengen notes later in the aforementioned scene, "Change calls the tune we dance to," HBO decided the song and dance were over.

Milch, in an event sponsored by the Writers Guild of America West last week, said, "I'm not competent enough to assess what combination of circumstances appears today to have curtailed (the series)," but he admitted that each episode of the series required "15, 16 days (of shooting) — maybe that's why we're speaking in the past tense." Most TV dramas film an episode in half that time, and Deadwood cost an estimated $5 million per episode, more than twice that of most hourlong dramas.

"I don't make (set) deadlines," Milch conceded with a shrug. He added that when a show becomes highly successful, a network will trumpet, "It's a hallmark of this network that we are brave enough to allow a certain idiosyncrasy in work schedules."

Not anymore, apparently. No contract extensions have been offered any Deadwood cast members. Their contracts conclude June 10, the day before the third season premieres.

Viewers who e-mail HBO about the show receive a form statement saying: "There has been no decision for the future of the series, and conversations regarding a fourth season are ongoing. (We've) granted our beloved 'Deadwood' cast the latitude to pursue other projects, for the time being."

Earlier on HBO's Deadwood message boards, cast member W. Earl Brown reported that the show's sets were being dismantled.

"I don't know where they are headed after the dismantling — to storage or to the dump," Brown continued. "I don't think (HBO chairman) Chris (Albrecht) has some personal vendetta against either us or anyone on the show. He can't base a decision solely on 'art' when his bottom line is suffering."

Still, Deadwood remains one of HBO's most popular original series, as well as a critical darling and an awards magnet.

In two seasons, it's won the prestigious Peabody Award, five Emmys and a Golden Globe for Ian McShane, who portrays the profanely scabrous Swearengen.

The HBO series Rome was renewed even though its viewership didn't approach Deadwood's and its first 12 episodes cost a reported $100 million (though the network split the costs with the British Broadcasting Corp.). HBO has been extravagantly promoting Entourage, which also returns for a third season June 11 but boasts a fraction of Deadwood's fan base.

Chip Collins of Boston, who admits he wasn't even a fan of Westerns until the series came along, created a Web site, savedeadwood.net, and within a few days rustled up $6,000 to place an ad in Daily Variety imploring HBO to allow Milch to give his creation proper closure.

"Its writing is so much different than anything else that's on TV," Collins enthused by phone, "and the composition of particular shots is up there with the best of anything I've ever seen. I'd even call them Kubrickian."

Still, Collins conceded, "It's hard to think of many fan campaigns to save shows that have worked. But we really went into this with the idea that we want to make a statement. We want to go down fighting."

For his part, Milch will begin shooting a new HBO series, John From Cincinnati, which he describes as "surfer-noir," in July, and professed no ill feelings toward the network.

"My collaboration has been a uniformly positive one," he said.

Milch expressed the hope that fans could view the third season outside the context of Deadwood's early cancellation.

Noting that he had been editing the season's ninth episode earlier in the day, Milch recalled watching a scene be formed in the editing bay.

"I thought, 'Gee, that's nice,' and then I thought, 'Boy, I'm going to miss it.' And that 'Boy, I'm going to miss it' takes me out of the scene.

"Everything can take on a new meaning," he continued. "Your experience of the meaning of Deadwood — the betrayal of the artist by an unfeeling corporate organism — you can let that be what you take from the show; that is there.

"But if that's all you take from this season, you will be deprived. Just let Deadwood be Deadwood."


Note: The web site has a picture of David Milch, Deadwood creator and producer.


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I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to respectively disagree with most of you when it comes to Battlestar Galactica.

The show is a shadow of it's former wonderful, unbelievable 1st season self. I pretty much hated season 2's change in style and it's desire to do more soapy elements and move away from the sci-fi angle (is it any surprise that the creators are planning a spinoff "Caprica"?).

If we were talking 1st season, I would fully get behind the terms used for the show such as "brilliant", but I'm sorry, the second season was a major letdown for me in both quality and substance. There was more filler than usual, and it seems like they've lost focus, or simply don't "have a plan" like the teaser tells us the Cylons have.

I won't be watching season 3.

They try TOO hard to give character to these characters and in the end, they come out to be too fake.

However, EJO is brilliant in the part of Adama, and I would love to see him get at least a nod for Best Actor.

Sorry, just thought I'd share my feelings.


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It is very hard to sustain the surprising excellence of a show's first season, Russ.

I think too often we (and most especially, the TV critics) allow the memories of the early brilliance of show cloud our judgment.

I suspect I was guilty of that a bit with "The West Wing" and some others.


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58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Winners Announced Sunday

Outstanding Drama Series

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kiefer Sutherland,24

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Mariska Hargitay Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Alan Alda The West Wing

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Blythe Danner, Huff

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Office

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Tony Shalhoub, Monk

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Drefus The New Adventures of Old Christine

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Megan Mullally,Will & Grace

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Jeremy Piven, Entourage

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Megan Mullally Will & Grace

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race

Outstanding Miniseries
Elizabeth I

Outstanding Writing in a Miniseries or a Movie
Richard Curtis The Girl In The Cafe

Outstanding Made for Television Movie
The Girl in the Caf?

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Andre Braugher Thief

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Helen Mirren, Elizabeth I

Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Kelly McDonald, The Girl in the Caf?

Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Outstanding Directing, Comedy Series
Mark Buckland My Name Is Earl

Outstanding Writing, Comedy Series
Greg GarciaMy Name Is Earl

Outstanding Performer Variety, Music or Comedy Series
Barry Manilow Barry Manilow: Music and Passion

Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Outstanding Directing, Drama Series
John Cassar 24

Outstanding Writing, Drama Series
Terence Winter The Sopranos

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Jeremy Irons Elizabeth I

Outstanding Directing Variety, Music or Comedy Series
Louis J. Horvitz The 78th Annual Academy Awards

Outstanding Writing Variety, Music or Comedy Program
Writers on The Daily Show

Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries or a Movie
Tom Hooper Elizabeth I


Hot Off Press Latest Television News and Info

Well, I was a bit off. lol

Good awards show, can't say I'm really disapointed with the winners. Well, maybe the Manilow one.

Thanks for the updates, Fred. I look forward to all the after-show stuff.


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Emmy Notebook
2 Jeremies shake up the press room
From The Gold Derby Blog in the Los Angeles Times

The directing win by the Academy Awards solidifies its status as second-biggest winner of Emmy Awards over all: 34. "Frazier" leads with 37.

According to our forums poster DS0816, "For the record: HBO's 'The Sopranos' win in the writing category is its fifth. It now matches with CBS's 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' for most Emmy wins in writing for a regular drama series (MTM, on the comedy side). 'The Sopranos' has won for writing in: 1999 ('College'), 2001 ('Employee of the Month'), 2003 ('Whitecaps'), 2004 ('Long Term Parking'), and 2006 ('Members Only'). 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' has also won for writing in: 1971 ('Support Your Local Mother'), 1974 ('The Lou and Edie Story'), 1975 ('Will Mary Richards Go to Jail?'), 1976 ('Chuckles Bites the Dust'), and 1977 ('The Last Show')."

"I'm sure we'll be nominated next year," said Greg Garcia when asked if he thinks it's crazy that "My Name Is Earl" could win best writing and directing, but not be nommed for best comedy. There was a recent precedent that could prove him right. "Malcolm in the Middle" won writing and directing its first year when it wasn't nommed for series. It did score a bid in year two.

"The one thing I took from my experience of starring in Will & Grace is confidence," said Megan Mulally backstage. "Comedy is going too far and taking a chance.

"After I won and they took me back to my seat to wait for Sean's category, When I was 20 or 21 when I lived in Chicago I went to a psychic and she told me that I'd someday win 2 Emmys for playing a secretary in a sitcom. I said that couldn't happen because I'm a serious actress. Isn't that weird? I didn't remember that till tonight."

Bob Newhart going to live? "He's definitely going to die and it'll be for a good cause because it's a great show. He's a lovely man and all that, but it's time."

Joan Collins said backstage: "What do I remember about 'Dynasty'? Not alot, I see the reruns and I think,'Did I wear that?' I do remember the fight scenes with, Linda, of course."

Emmy Odds and Ends

Jeremy Piven isn't the cad he portrays on "Entourage" — and he's no longer the wigged-out boozer he's portrayed in the tabloids, or at least he told us so backstage.

Backstage, after winning best supporting actor in a comedy series, he teared up while mentioning his deceased dad, who he also mentioned in his acceptance speech "for giving me all the movement." He also mentioned his mom in that speech and backstage, too, noting what great parents they were.

"I am proof that you can have a great family and still be dysfunctional," he said backstage. When asked how he planned to celebrate his win, he began saying, "I'm detoxing," so he planned to take it easy, but then he added, "I'll be hoisting adult beverages with my mother. But she only drinks one glass of wine." They plan to attend the HBO party, then head out to other parties thereafter. He didn't seem to know which ones, but he implied that he might have more than just one glass of wine despite detoxing.

When asked how much he resembles his TV character Ari Gold — a volcanic, foot-stomping, demanding agent, he said, "I have tremendous road rage, which I channel into the character." But he added, "an agent like Ari could never represent an actor like Jeremy Piven because I don't work for a paycheck."

This just in: Another Jeremy — Irons — just dropped a real bomb on the press room. When asked what he thought about the government taxing gift baskets, he said, "If they have to tax it, so be it, but they'll only spend it on bombs!"



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Sorry I missed this during the Emmy Show, but it is very good news nonetheless...
TV Notebook
Captors Release Two FOX News Journalists Kidnapped in Gaza Aug. 14
Fox News Sunday, August 27, 2006

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Two FOX News journalists were released by their kidnappers Sunday, nearly two weeks after they were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip.

Steve Centanni, 60, and Olaf Wiig, 36, left Gaza and have since crossed into Israel after their release. The men left Gaza through the Erez border crossing.

The freeing of Centanni, a correspondent, and Wiig, a cameraman, ends the longest-running drama involving foreign hostages in Gaza.

The two journalists were dropped off at Gaza City's Beach Hotel by Palestinian security officials and appeared to be in good health. A tearful Centanni embraced a Palestinian journalist briefly as he entered, then rushed upstairs as Wiig followed.

Centanni, in a phone interview shortly after his release, said "I'm fine. I'm just so happy to be free."

He said he was so emotional because he was out and alive.

"There were times when I thought 'I'm dead,' and I'm not," Centanni said. "I'm fine. I'm so very happy."

He recounted how he and Wiig were pulled out of their car on August 14 and taken at gunpoint into another car. The kidnappers blindfolded them and handcuffed their hands behind their backs with plastic ties. They were then transferred to another car and driven to a building that they later learned was a garage.

"We were pushed down onto the dirt-covered concrete floor and we were forced to lie face down with our handcuffs on," Centanni said.

"Olaf was in the same room with me. Our shoulders were wrenched back, very painful."

Both of the men were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint, Centanni said.

"We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint," Centanni told FOX News. "Don't get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns, and we didn't know what the hell was going on."

Centanni's brother, Ken, spoke to FOX News directly after the news was released.

"It's just a tremendous amount of relief, overwhelming relief," he said.

Later Sunday, Centanni and Wiig appeared before reporters, then traveled to the Erez crossing into Israel to leave Gaza.

"I want to thank everybody. I am happy to be here. I hope that this never scares a single journalist away from coming to Gaza to cover the story because the Palestinian people are very beautiful and kind hearted," Centanni told reporters. "The world needs to know more about them. Don't be discouraged."

Wiig also said he was worried that the kidnapping would scare off reporters.

"My biggest concern really is that as a result of what happened to us foreign journalists will be discouraged from coming to tell the story and that would be a great tragedy for the people of Palestine," Wiig said. "You guys need us on the streets, and you need people to be aware of the story."

Wiig's wife, Anita McNaught, thanked Palestinian officials and FOX News for their efforts in getting the men released. The men refused to take questions.

Before that, the two journalists made a joint appearance with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. Haniyeh, Centanni and Wiig sat in a circle of chairs at the Beach Hotel. Wiig was also accompanied by his wife.

The day had begun with promises by senior Palestinian officials that the two would be released in coming hours.

At the same time, before the journalists' release, a new video was released, showing Wiig and Centanni dressed in beige Arab-style robes. Wiig, of New Zealand, delivered an anti-Western speech, his face expressionless and his tone halting. The kidnappers claimed both men had converted to Islam.

The journalists had been seized in Gaza City on Aug. 14 by a previously unknown group calling itself the Holy Jihad Brigades. However, senior Palestinian security officials said Sunday the name was a front for local militants, and that Palestinian authorities had known the identity of the kidnappers from the start.

Haniyeh also confirmed the kidnappers were from Gaza, squashing speculation that Al Qaeda had directed the abduction. "The kidnappers have no link to Al Qaeda or any other organization or faction," Haniyeh said. "Al Qaeda as an organization does not exist in the Gaza Strip."

It remained unclear whether the kidnappers had ties to Hamas or the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent offshoot of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement. A third group, the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed Sunday it had helped mediate the release of the journalists.

In chaotic Gaza, gunmen often change their affiliation or form splinter groups. Their agendas are often driven by personal issues, including jobs and power for their clans, rather than by ideology.

In the past two years, Palestinian militants have seized more than two dozen foreigners, usually to settle personal scores, but released them unharmed within hours. The holding of the FOX journalists had been the longest.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)



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Emmy Notebook
More From the Emmys
By Ray Richmond The Hollywood Reporter in his blog ?Past Deadline?

7:15 p.m. -- Seemingly because they lack the imagination to move beyond that which has already been honored, the Emmy for reality competition program goes to "The Amazing Race" FOR THE FOURTH TIME rather than "American Idol" or "Project Runway" for the first time. Hey, when you've got a good thing going, why change, huh?

7:33 p.m. -- What was I thinking? The Emmys never follow form. They don't tonight, either. Just when you think there's no hope for them, the right things begin to happen. Helen Mirren wins for lead actress for HBO's "Elizabeth I," which was the no-brainer of no-brainers. And then Julia Louis-Dreyfus wins lead comedy actress and forever busts the "Seinfeld" curse.

7:40 p.m. -- But all is still not right in Emmyland. Kiefer Sutherland deserves his win for "24" after eight previous nominations and losses, but not at the expense of Denis Leary and "Rescue Me."

7:53 p.m. -- Okay, I can breathe again. "The Office" wins top comedy, which means I don't have to follow through on my threatened plan to go postal. It's a terrific moment: everyone associated with the show who was in attendance, actors as well as writers and producers, take to the stage in a joyous celebration as creator Greg Daniels rightly credits star Steve Carell as his "meal ticket."

7:55 p.m. -- "24" upsets "Grey's Anatomy," just as I predicted it would, making me correct in both the comedy and drama categories for I believe the first time in a decade.

7:57 p.m. -- The evening's final upset: it goes undertime. Maybe there is a God.



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Emmy Notebook
The latest news and notes from the show

By Susan King Los Angeles Times Staff Writer in ?The Envelope? Awards blog 7:55 PM PDT, August 27, 2006

Mariska Hargitay, the tough-talking detective on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," won her first Emmy award tonight for best actress in a drama series.

The daughter of sex symbol Jayne Mansfield and body builder Mickey Hargitay thanked producer Dick Wolf for giving her "this incredible opportunity." To her co-star in the series, Chris Meloni, who also was nominated tonight, Hargitay said, he "makes everyone around him better."

HBO's "Elizabeth I," a miniseries about the Virgin Queen, was tonight's big winner, receiving four Emmys, including best actress for Helen Mirren, outstanding miniseries, director Tom Hooper and supporting actor Jeremy Irons. It also won five awards at last week's Creative Arts Emmys.

The cable network's "The Girl in the Cafe" took home three awards, including best made-for-TV movie, best supporting actress for Kelly Macdonald and one for writer Richard Curtis.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus received her first Emmy as lead actress in a comedy series for her role as a single wife and mother in the CBS midseason replacement "The New Adventures of Old Christine." Louis-Dreyfus previously won a supporting actress award for her role as Elaine on "Seinfeld."

Louis-Dreyfus was apparently so stunned by the win that she was stymied in midsentence as she looked to thank her husband Brad Hall, unable to say his name. "I want to thank ... thank you Debra (Messing), my husband," she said to a roar of laughter.

For the first time in nearly three decades, the original cast of "Charlie's Angels" reunited tonight to pay a tearful tribute to legendary producer Aaron Spelling, who died in June.

Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, appearing on stage at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, had a difficult time staying composed as they each remembered their boss. Spelling, 83, was the mastermind behind such major hits as "The Love Boat," "Dynasty," "The Mod Squad," "Beverly Hills 90210," and "Seventh Heaven."

"He gave us breaks that changed our careers," said Smith. "But in the end it was Aaron's friendship that I treasured most."

Before tonight's show, the tribute had been marked by controversy, as tabloids and fan magazines reported a mother-daughter rift, based allegedly on an accusation that Spelling's daughter-actress Tori Spelling was cut out of her father's will by Candy Spelling. During the Spelling tribute, daughter and mother were shown separately in the audience.

"I'm sure he's looking down and smiling on us, knowing that he brought us together again, as only he could," Smith said.

CBS' "Amazing Race" took home the award for best reality-competition program, leaving "American Idol" winless for the fourth year in a row.

CBS' reality show was among the half dozen series that have repeatedly won Emmys in years past - and which won again tonight in acting, writing and directing categories. Other winners were "Will & Grace," "The West Wing," "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and "Monk."

Actor Tony Shalhoub, who plays an obsessive-compulsive detective on USA's "Monk," picked up his third Emmy tonight as outstanding actor in a comedy series, beating out such favorites as Steve Carell, Charlie Sheen, Kevin James and Larry David.

"There's been a terrible mistake. I never win anything," Shalhoub deadpanned to the audience at the Shrine Auditorium. "I just want to say it's gratifying to be chosen from such a distinguished group of losers (pause) actors. Comedy, comedic performing actors, you know, whatever."

Another former Emmy winner - Andre Braugher - won lead actor in a movie or miniseries for his role as a criminal in FX's low-rated "Thief."

Fox's thriller series "24" finally broke into the Emmy's top ranks as the show's director, Jon Cassar, was awarded best director in a drama series.

But ABC's popular new show "Grey's Anatomy" remained shut out, losing out on best supporting actor and writing. The award for best drama, for which it is in competition, will come later tonight.

One of the biggest surprises of the night was winner Barry Manilow, who was awarded for a PBS musical special based on his running Las Vegas stage show.

"I can't be more surprised," said a shocked Barry Manilow, as he won his second Emmy, for "Barry Manilow: Music and Passion." The pop singer beat out such television favorites as Stephen Colbert, Craig Ferguson and David Letterman, as well as last year's winner in this category, Hugh Jackman.

(Later in the show, Colbert quipped to Stewart as they were presenting another award, "I lost to Barry Manilow! I lost to the 'Copacabana!' ")

Oscar and Tony winner Jeremy Irons won his first Emmy for outstanding supporting actor in a movie or miniseries for his performance as the Earl of Lester in HBO's "Elizabeth I."

Louis J. Horvitz, who was directing the Emmys, won best director of best variety, comedy or music program for this year's Academy Awards on ABC.

Two of television's longest-running shows, NBC's political drama "The West Wing" and the network's comedy "Will & Grace" took the first two Emmys for supporting actor and actress.

Megan Mullally won her second Emmy as the spoiled Karen Walker, while Alan Alda picked up his sixth Emmy (he's received 32 nominations) for his role as the unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate on "The West Wing." Both shows ended their multi-season runs in May.

Blythe Danner won her second consecutive supporting actress in a drama series for Showtime's "Huff," which was canceled after its second season ended this year.

The only new face in the mix so far is Jeremy Piven, who received his first Emmy for outstanding actor in a comedy series as the pushy Hollywood agent Ari Gold in HBO's "Entourage."

Though NBC's freshman comedy series "My Name Is Earl" failed to receive a top nomination for best of the year, it won Emmys tonight for director Marc Buckland and writer Greg Garcia.

Also in writing, "The Sopranos" picked up an Emmy for Terence Winter for the "Members Only" episode, beating out two nominations for "Grey's Anatomy," as well as single episodes of "Lost" and "Six Feet Under."

In late-night television, the friendly Emmy rivalry between Stewart and Colbert was put to rest tonight as Colbert hugged his former boss as Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" was awarded as outstanding variety, music or comedy series.

Stewart's show won the same award the past four years, but with Colbert now off hosting the network's popular "The Colbert Report," there was some consensus that he might have the momentum to win an Emmy tonight.

Even Stewart, in his acceptance speech, acknowledged his own preference. "I think this year you actually made a terrible mistake, but thank you," he told academy voters as he accepted the statue.

"The Daily Show" also picked up a statute for best writing in a variety, music or comedy program.

The NBC show, which is being telecast live to the East Coast and tape delayed for airing here in Los Angeles, got off to a satirical start, with host Conan O'Brien invading the sets of many popular television series on his way to the Shrine Auditorium, including "Lost," "The Office," "24" and "House." He also performed a song-and-dance spoof set to the tune of "Trouble" from "The Music Man," reflecting NBC's rating woes.

O'Brien's song and early jokes hit some of television's challenges head on, as he talked about the growing nervousness over the Internet, TiVo and controversy around this year's Emmy voting rules.

Also honored was "American Bandstand" host and producer Dick Clark, who had suffered a stroke in late 2004. Sitting at the podium on stage, the 76-year-old Clark was visibly moved.

"Thank you very much," he told the audience as it gave him a standing ovation, his speech shaky and still showing the effects of the debilitating stroke, adding that his childhood dream had come true. "I've been truly blessed."

Since the nominations were announced in July, the Emmys have been shrouded in controversy. New rules were put into place to help newer shows and performers have a better chance of being nominated. Television critics have complained that the nominations had grown staid over the years, with the same faces and shows dominating the proceedings.

But the new rules by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences seemed to have backfired with last year's top drama "Lost" failing to receive a nomination and last year's multi-winner comedy "Desperate Housewives" and its high-profiled stars also coming up empty. Other veteran winners such as James Gandolfini and Edie Falco of HBO's "The Sopranos" also were shut out of the lead actor and lead actress categories.

Unlike past years, where the academy members chose the nominees, a selected group of panelists chose the five nominees in the top categories, including best drama, comedy and acting. And because many TV fans' favorites are missing in action this year, there's some fear that viewership for the Emmy awards will suffer. In fact, ABC is airing "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" opposite NBC's Emmy telecast.

Also, HBO is airing finales for two of its acclaimed shows: "Deadwood" and "Entourage."

The bulk of the 2006 Emmys were awarded at the Creative Arts ceremony, also at the Shrine, on Aug. 19. HBO topped the list of winners, with 17 - five of them went to the miniseries "Elizabeth I."

ABC led the broadcast networks with 10, followed by NBC with eight, CBS, Fox and PBS with seven each and Cartoon Network with four.

Among the awards handed out were Cloris Leachman, for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle" - her eighth Emmy win, making her the winningest female performer in Emmy history. She's also nominated tonight for supporting actress in a movie or mini-series for "Mrs. Harris."

Leslie Jordan won for guest actor in a comedy series for NBC's "Will & Grace."



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Critic’s Notebook
What Was Emmy Producer Thinking?
By Nikki Finke LA Weekly in her deadlinehollywooddaily blog

The very idea that tonight's Emmy showcast on NBC was so heavily scripted that neither the network nor host Conan O'Brien could change a word of the broadcast opener is absurd.

After all, isn't that the reason they invented writers? C'mon, couldn't one television academy director, or NBC executive, or show producer, much less Conan, pipe up and say, "Uh, maybe starting with a plane crash comedy skit on the same day there was an actual plane crash might be in poor taste? Let's rewrite."

But, noooooooooo.

Host Conan O'Brien riffed off the ABC's series Lost which was all-but-ignored by the Emmies by starting the ceremony with a filmed comedy bit in which O'Brien was seen sipping champagne aboard a jetliner.

"What could possibly go wrong tonight?" he says — before the plane crashes onto an island resembling the one in ABC's drama.

Today, in Kentucky, a commuter jet mistakenly trying to take off on a runway that was too short crashed into a field Sunday and burst into flames, according to media reports, killing 49 people and leaving the lone survivor -- a co-pilot -- in critical condition.

Really, is there even one person at NBC with a brain left in his head?



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Critic’s Notebook
What Was Emmy Producer Thinking?

For the plane crash part of Conan’s opening, go here -- (at least until it is pulled)



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TV Notebook
LEX 18 officials shocked by Emmy Awards’ plane-crash spoof intro
By Jamie Gumbrecht Lexington KY Herald-Leader culture writer

LEX 18 News ended an evening recap of yesterday’s coverage of the Comair Flight 5191 crash for the live broadcast of the prime-time Emmy Awards. The annual TV awards show opened with shots of host Conan O’Brien bouncing inside a plane before it crashed on an island in a spoof of ABC’s hit show Lost.

WLEX’s president and general manager, Tim Gilbert, who was home watching the telecast with his family, was ?stunned? by the intro; if station managers had known about the intro before the broadcast, Lexington viewers wouldn’t have seen it, he said.

?It was a live telecast — we were completely helpless,? Gilbert said of the Emmys. ?By the time we began to react, it was over. At the station, we were as horrified as they were at home.?

Gilbert said he’ll complain to NBC, but he said an apology won’t make up for insensitivity.

?They could have killed the opening and it wouldn't have hurt the show at all,? Gilbert said. ?We wish somebody had thought this through. It’s somewhere between ignorance and incompetence.?



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Emmy Notebook
Long night for Emmys
The gaffe-plagued telecast didn't exactly run smoothly
From The Envelope Awards blog by Scott Collins in the Los Angeles Times August 27, 2006

"Gee, we're screwed," Conan O'Brien warbled on Sunday's 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

O'Brien was musically satirizing NBC's lousy ratings, of course - the ditty even managed a rhyming dig at Howie Mandel - but he may as well have been singing about the gaffe-prone, sex-addled award telecast he hosted.

The show began with a cringe-inducing clinker. Kicking off an otherwise funny reel that found O'Brien struggling to get to the ceremony while encountering characters in various TV shows from "House" to "South Park," the producers marred the effect by retaining a bit that put the host in a realistic plane crash paralleling the one from the premiere of ABC's smash "Lost."

Not a problem on a normal day, perhaps, but Sunday morning's news was dominated by the fiery crash of a commuter jet in Kentucky that killed 49 people.

Emmy producers were not available to explain why the crash material was left in. An NBC spokeswoman reached via e-mail Sunday night said executives were busy with the show and couldn't be reached for comment.

Other groan-inducing moments of questionable taste followed, prompted by an evident sex fixation coursing around the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. "Screwed," indeed.

Take, for example, Jeremy Piven, who seemed to be channeling Ari "Hug It Out, Bitch" Gold, the profane agent he plays on HBO's comedy "Entourage."

Taking home the prize for supporting actor, Piven mentioned that at the start of his Hollywood career years ago, an agent warned that he wouldn't really start getting acting work until he was in his 40s. "I thought, 'Do I become a fluffer?'" he told the crowd. "I was confused."

For the uninitiated, "fluffer" is slang for someone who performs sex acts on male porn stars to prepare them for their scenes. The word has occasionally cropped up on prime time before - including in at least one episode of UPN's drama "Veronica Mars" - but this is the first known usage on the Emmys.

Asked by reporters backstage about the reference, Piven explained: "You feel the crowd. I needed a laugh or courtesy giggle. 'Fluffer' came into my head and I went with it."

O'Brien was thinking along the same lines. At one point, he advised web users that they could go back to "surfing for porn." Calista Flockhart informed co-presenter Craig Ferguson that she worried she'd go "ass over tit" in walking onstage.

Even tiny Leslie Jordan, of NBC's now-defunct "Will & Grace," got caught up in the need for a courtesy giggle, albeit with a line that was more Oscar Wilde than Ari Gold. The openly gay actor noted that the Emmy award was "the first woman I ever slept with."

The off-color jokes kept coming even after Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert strode onstage with a tongue-in-cheek, Bill O'Reilly-style greeting: "Good evening, godless sodomites!"



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Emmy Notebook
Time is right for '24’
HBO, NBC take most wins
By Brian Lowry Variety.com August 27, 2006

The fifth day was the charm for Fox's "24," while NBC's "The Office" established that it is more than just the U.S. branch of a hit British comedy at the 58th annual Emmy Awards.

Fox's gritty thriller became that net's first best drama champ, edging a tough field that included past winner "The Sopranos" and red-hot "Grey's Anatomy." Star Kiefer Sutherland also locked up his first Emmy as CTU agent Jack Bauer, and the show won for best direction.

Meanwhile, "The Office," the second-year comedy adapted from an acclaimed BBC franchise, capped a strong showing overall for NBC, which won six.

In a night that saw repeat winners and canceled series pick up Emmys, Julia Louis-Dreyfus -- a past honoree for "Seinfeld" -- received what should be a promotional boost for her sitcom "The New Adventures of Old Christine," which joined CBS' Monday lineup in March.

"Curse this, baby," she said, alluding to the so-called "'Seinfeld' curse" that has plagued the show's co-stars, who, among them, have previously starred in four quickly axed series.

Befitting Emmy royalty, HBO's "Elizabeth I" was crowned for best miniseries, directing, Helen Mirren's portrayal of the virgin queen and supporting actor Jeremy Irons. Added with five tech awards, the four-hour project's nine golden girls by far surpassed all other programs.

With 26 Emmys (one less than last year), HBO has now ranked as the most-decorated network six consecutive years and seven of the last eight go-rounds, including back-to-back ties with NBC in 2001 and '02.

Despite inroads by other cable nets -- which have sought to emulate HBO's footprint in original programming with fare like TNT's "Into the West," this year's most-nominated entry -- the Time Warner pay channel has remained preeminent, fueled by a mix of series, movies and documentaries. ("The Sopranos," which claimed best drama in 2004 and wasn't eligible last year, nabbed a lone win for writing.).

By collecting six honors during the primary showcase, NBC - coupled with its earlier tech awards - placed second to HBO at 14, followed by ABC's 11, though the Alphabet net was limited to a single Emmy Sunday night - for its telecast of the Academy Awards. Fox closed with 10, as "24" accounted for all its hardware Sunday, and CBS nine.

Mariska Hargitay took home a rare Emmy for a crime procedural - in this case, NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." The actress previously snagged a Golden Globe for the show but emotionally celebrated her first acknowledgement from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which orchestrates the Emmys.

As lead in a comedy, Tony Shalhoub's defective detective "Monk" unearthed his third accolade in four tries for that hourlong USA network show. Andre Braugher's Emmy for FX's "Thief," meanwhile, involved a bit of procedural sleight of hand, since he was submitted as lead actor in a miniseries for a show initially presented as a series but discarded after its limited run.

HBO's triumphs also included best movie for "The Girl in the Caf?" - an unlikely romance set against the G8 Summit, whose principal competition included two 9/11-themed basic cable films. With that victory, the channel has claimed that category a dozen times in the last 14 years - its string interrupted only by TNT's "Door to Door" in 2003 and ABC's "Tuesdays With Morrie" in 2000.

"Girl" writer Richard Curtis and co-star Kelly Macdonald were also recognized, though star Bill Nighy, notably, submitted himself for another film and wasn't nominated.

HBO's Emmy-season total was elevated by 17 trophies at the earlier Creative Arts Emmys, including a quartet each for the period drama "Rome" and sobering documentary "Baghdad ER."

Although HBO continued its top-network streak, the channel fell short of its high of 32 awards in 2004, when it soared on the wings of "Angels in America," which flew off with a record 11 awards.

Not surprisingly given this year's glut of nominations for series either canceled or that have finished their runs, several Emmy wins amounted to nostalgic sendoffs for departed shows.

In the supporting actor categories, only first-time winner Jeremy Piven - as the hyperkinetic agent in HBO's "Entourage" - comes from a program that will be seen again in anything but reruns.

Megan Mullally won her second supporting trophy for "Will & Grace," with Blythe Danner earning back-to-back prizes for the axed Showtime drama "Huff." And while Alan Alda's "The West Wing" character might have lost the election, the actor (who didn't attend) won his sixth Emmy overall for the NBC drama's swan-song.

"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" extended its domination of the comedy, music or variety series to a rather presidential four-year term, and doubled its pleasure with writing in that category. And despite the ratings juggernaut that is "American Idol," CBS' "The Amazing Race" elongated its roll among reality-competition fare to four consecutive years.

Although no first-year series garnered top-program nods, NBC's "My Name is Earl" enjoyed some good Karma by sweeping comedy writing and directing for its pilot episode.

Combined with the early pre-Labor Day date for this year's telecast, the many winners from programs that won't return - or in the case of "24" and "The Sopranos," won't be back until 2007 - could diminish the always hard-to-measure promotional benefits associated with such recognition.

As for this year's much-debated and derided rules changes, which yielded several glaring omissions in the nomination process, academy officials privately say they are likely to tweak those procedures after evaluating results from this year's awards.

O'Brien opened the show lampooning NBC's ratings doldrums with a rousing musical number based on "The Music Man" whose chorus noted, "As in, 'Gee, we're screwed.'" He also drew a huge laugh by saying that the Emmy statuette is heavy because it "contains the shattered dreams of four other people."

Virtually devoid of political speeches, the show's tributes included a standing ovation for Dick Clark, who is grappling with the after effects of a stroke; and the late Aaron Spelling, culminating with a reunion of the original "Charlie's Angels."

"I [have] accomplished my childhood dream, to be in show business," Clark said. "Everybody should be so lucky." Barry Manilow performed to honor Clark and later picked up an Emmy for his PBS special, prompting a mock tirade from presenter/nominee Stephen Colbert about losing to the singer.



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58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
Leading Network Total Entertainment Emmy Winners


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Originally Posted by fredfa
Critic’s Notebook
What Was Emmy Producer Thinking?

For the plane crash part of Conan’s opening, go here -- (at least until it is pulled)

I'm tempted to say that since it happened in fly over country (we're unimportant here in the hinterland) so maybe it didn't count as news in LA...but seriously, bad timing and poor decision on somebody's part....that should have been a no brainer.

Real life plane crash = pull the otherwise funny plane crash bit.


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I think you are right.

If the crash had happened in NY or LA, I am sure the skit would have been hastily edited.


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Originally Posted by fredfa
58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
Leading Network Total Entertainment Emmy Winners
It's kind of funny how the number of Emmys won by a major network is inversely proportional to their viewership.


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Originally Posted by fredfa
TV Notebook
LEX 18 officials shocked by Emmy Awards’ plane-crash spoof intro
By Jamie Gumbrecht Lexington KY Herald-Leader culture writer

LEX 18 News ended an evening recap of yesterday’s coverage of the Comair Flight 5191 crash for the live broadcast of the prime-time Emmy Awards. The annual TV awards show opened with shots of host Conan O’Brien bouncing inside a plane before it crashed on an island in a spoof of ABC’s hit show Lost.
Wow! Glad I boycotted Emmy tonight. Pretty stupid move. BTW, 3 out of 4 local stations were running coverage of the crash pretty much non-stop since early morning.


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Originally Posted by GeorgeLV
It's kind of funny how the number of Emmys won by a major network is inversely proportional to their viewership.
It is, isn't it?

This is, as I recall, the sixth straight year HBO has led.

But back in the day when NBC was the ratings leader it also often had the most Emmys -- at least of the broadcast networks.

Otfen though, a ratings-challenged network feels it has to be more edgy -- and that is something the Emmy voters usually find alluring.


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Emmy Notebook
Time is right for '24’
?24’ Is Among the Big Winners as Television Presents Its Emmy Awards
By Edward Wyatt The New York Times August 28, 2006

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 27 — ?24,? the Fox thriller that set in motion the current trend for serial dramas when it made its debut in 2001, won three Emmy Awards on Sunday night, cementing its reputation as one of the most provocative and influential series on television at the 58th annual awards ceremony.

Not only did the show win the award for best drama series, but its star, Kiefer Sutherland, a fan favorite, won the Emmy for best actor in a drama, his first victory after five acting nominations. And Jon Cassar won for best director for a drama series for the episode ?7 a.m. to 8 a.m.? Each season of ?24? follows a federal agent named Jack Bauer for an entire day.

?My Name Is Earl,? the quirky NBC show that failed to receive a nomination for best comedy, nevertheless took two top awards, with Greg Garcia winning for best comedy writing and Marc Buckland winning for best director. ?The Office,? another NBC comedy, took the Emmy for best comedy series.

And Julia Louis-Dreyfus won best actress in a comedy series for her title role in the appealingly nutty CBS show ?The New Adventures of Old Christine,? her second Emmy; she had won for best supporting actress for ?Seinfeld.?

Referring to the supposed curse that has struck ?Seinfeld? actors whose subsequent works have largely flopped, Ms. Louis-Dreyfus said, ?I’m not somebody who really believes in curses, but curse this, baby.?

?The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,? a Comedy Central news parody and talk show, also won two awards, for outstanding writing and for outstanding variety, music or comedy series.

Overall, NBC was the big winner among the major networks with six awards at the night’s ceremony, followed by Fox with three.

Among specialty programs and networks, HBO cleaned up, winning nine awards, with three for ?The Girl in the Cafe? and four for ?Elizabeth I.? ?The Girl in the Cafe? won for outstanding made-for-television movie, best writing in the same category and outstanding supporting actress in a mini-series or movie, to Kelly Macdonald. ?Elizabeth I? won best mini-series, Helen Mirren won for best actress in a mini-series or movie, and the show won for best directing in its category.

But many of the early acting awards went to shows that will not be back on the air this fall, either because they reached the end of long runs or were canceled after gathering critical acclaim but not enough viewers.

The idea that television is not the dominant entertainment medium that it used to be was acknowledged with a humorous look at the Internet, video games and other attention-grabbers that have drawn growing numbers of viewers away from network television.

?At this very moment your kids are on YouTube watching a cat on the toilet instead of watching that footage where it belongs: on the Fox network,? Conan O’Brien, the host, joked.

The thought continued as the first three Emmys went to actors in series that will not be back on the air this fall. Megan Mullally was named best supporting actress in a comedy series for ?Will & Grace,? which ran for eight seasons on NBC before concluding its run last spring. Then Alan Alda won his fifth Emmy, as best supporting actor in a drama series for his role as a Republican presidential candidate on ?The West Wing,? another NBC show that ended a multiyear run last spring. By the time Blythe Danner was named best supporting actress in a drama series for her role on Showtime’s ?Huff,? it began to seem that few if any contemporary shows held much promise for the night.

She gave voice to some of the frustration felt by the actors, if not the audience. ?I guess I have to thank Showtime even though they canceled us,? said Ms. Danner, who won for her role for the second consecutive year.

Not until Jeremy Piven was named best supporting actor in a comedy series for his role as the bombastic agent Ari Gold on HBO’s ?Entourage? did viewers get a glimpse of an actor they are likely to see again soon.

Mr. Piven, who was nominated for the role last year but didn’t win, later played down the suggestion that he had stolen the spotlight on ?Entourage? from his fellow actors. ?I’m billed fifth behind a guy named Turtle,? he said.

One early upset came when Tony Shalhoub of USA’s ?Monk? was named best actor in a comedy series for the third time in four nominations, beating out the predicted favorite among television critics, Steve Carell of ?The Office.?

Mr. Shalhoub was almost apologetic for his victory. ?Last year I was shocked; this year I was semi-comatose,? he said backstage. ?I would like to feel good, but I feel too numb.? Referring to ?The Office? and Mr. Carell, he added: ?That other show is so hot right now, and he is so on fire. I’m sure I will start feeling better later.?

Mariska Hargitay won best actress in a drama series for ?Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,? her first victory after three straight nominations.

In the category of best reality-competition program, ?The Amazing Race? won for the fourth straight year, once again beating the most-watched show on television, ?American Idol.?

The Emmy show began on a potentially uncomfortable note on the day of the deadliest American airline crash in five years, with Mr. O’Brien visiting the sets of several highly rated shows, including ?24,? ?House? and ?Lost.? The opening skit had Mr. O’Brien on an airplane that crashes, leaving him to wash up on the set of ?Lost.?

But Mr. O’Brien quickly made certain the mood remained light, noting that even as its audience shrinks, acclaimed actors are finding work in the medium that many previously avoided.

?Alec Baldwin has a new show on NBC,? he said, ?James Wood has a new show on CBS, and Mel Gibson has a new show on Al Jazeera.?

The broadcast featured a tribute to Dick Clark, who, speaking with a noticeable slur, a result of a recent stroke, took the stage after a lengthy taped tribute and was welcomed with a wealth of applause for his contributions to television. Among the shows developed or produced by Mr. Clark are icons as diverse as ?American Bandstand,? ?The $10,000 Pyramid? and his annual New Year’s Eve telecasts.

He said it was always his dream to be in show business. ?Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true,? he added.

The broadcast also featured a tribute to the producer Aaron Spelling, who died in June. The dozens of fabled television shows he created over five decades include ?The Mod Squad,? ?Charlie’s Angels,? ?The Love Boat,? ?Dynasty? and ?Beverly Hills 90210.? Among those paying tribute were the original ?Charlie’s Angels,? Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett.

One of the biggest questions hovering over the ceremony was whether anyone would be watching. Audiences for awards shows like the Emmys and the Oscars have declined in recent years because viewers now have so many more television outlets available. This year, however, even some of the other networks, which usually defer to the Emmys in hopes of promoting their own stars and shows, were potentially drawing away viewers. ABC scheduled a repeat of the first ?Pirates of the Caribbean? film at the same time as the Emmys.

Traditionally scheduled after Labor Day, just before the new fall television season gets going, the Emmys this year were moved up to late August, a time when much of the country is squeezing in a last vacation or beach weekend. The change was made because NBC, which televised the awards this year as part of a four-year rotation pattern among the four major networks, has a contract to televise National Football League games on Sunday nights.

Football’s higher advertising revenue trumped the Emmys, and network executives and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which bestows the awards, deemed it too troublesome to schedule the ceremony on a weeknight, when Los Angeles would be racked by its usually fearsome rush-hour traffic. To accommodate the time difference with prime-time viewers in the East, some people attending the ceremony have to begin arriving on the red carpet here shortly after lunchtime.

The academy generated its own measure of Emmy intrigue this year by changing the nominating procedure in an attempt, its officials said, to give sometimes overlooked shows from the big networks and those from cable channels and the smaller networks more of a chance of being nominated.

The new nominating procedures added a step to the process, using a special screening panel to choose the five nominees from the top 10 or 15 shows or actors as voted on by the broader membership. Previously, the five nominees in the top categories were simply those receiving the most votes in the first round.

The process seemed to work in some cases but created controversy in others. Denis Leary received his first nomination for best actor in a drama series for his role as a New York City firefighter in ?Rescue Me,? now in its third year on FX. And two situation-comedy stars from longstanding series — Charlie Sheen of ?Two and a Half Men? and Kevin James of ?The King of Queens? — received their first nominations.

But critics also blamed the new system for some misses among the nominees. Neither of last year’s big winners, ABC’s castaway mystery ?Lost? and its devilish comedy ?Desperate Housewives,? was nominated for best show in its category, although each received nominations for lesser awards. Some television industry people believed ABC’s scheduling of ?Pirates? to be a retaliatory move for the exclusion of ?Lost? and ?Desperate Housewives? from nominations in the lead categories.

And some of the most popular performers — among them Hugh Laurie, the critically praised star of ?House,? and the lead actors from ?The Sopranos? — were also left out of the nominations.

Nominations were concentrated on mini-series like ?Into the West,? a TNT product that led all nominees with 16 bids, and ?Elizabeth I,? which had 13. HBO led all television outlets with 95 nominations, while among the broadcast networks, ABC led with 63 nominations.

The Fox thriller ?24? led all series with 12 nominations. ?Grey’s Anatomy,? an ABC medical drama, followed with 11. The nominations also were heavily populated with actors and shows from series that will not be back in the fall, including ?The West Wing,? ?Six Feet Under,? ?Will & Grace? and ?Commander in Chief.?



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Emmy Notebook
Beleaguered Network Wins 5 Awards
'24,' Sutherland Are Honored
By Tom Shales Washington Post TV Critic Monday, August 28, 2006; C01

Underdogs had their day at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards, televised live last night from Los Angeles. NBC, currently the network equivalent of the Hindenburg, won five of the golden statuettes, giving it a second-place finish to Emmy champ HBO, which won eight.

HBO's "Elizabeth I" was chosen best miniseries, and Helen Mirren, the acclaimed actress who merely has to put on a puffy wig to win an Emmy, won for best acting in a miniseries for handily handling the title role. In what could be called a surprise, Fox's drama "24," about a day in the life of a globe-shaking crisis, was named best drama series over such competition as HBO's "The Sopranos," which had returned for an abbreviated season.

Kiefer Sutherland, who acknowledged his actor-father, Donald, sitting in the audience, was named best actor in a series for saving the world each year on "24." NBC, meanwhile, took home the prize for best comedy series, an American adaptation of the British sitcom "The Office," originally created by and starring Ricky Gervais, who was acknowledged from the stage and sat cheering in the audience.

There was a lot of cheer in the air at the Emmy this year -- even if, as always, there were too many awards and the program entered its third hour at the glacial speed -- thanks to Conan O'Brien, hosting the show for this second time and star of NBC's unfailingly funny "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," the most irreverent and outrageous of the midnightly network comedies. O'Brien not only delivered a cracklingly good monologue (Mel Gibson has a new series, he said, on the al-Jazeera network) but even sang a danced through a production number.

The song was "We Got Trouble," adapted from Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" so as to refer to a certain collapsing TV network whose first letter is "N" rather than the original subject, a pool table's arrival in a small Iowa town at the turn of another century.

Among the richly deserved and overdue awards were those given to Jeremy Piven, who plays Ari, the sharply dressed shark of an agent, in HBO's unique docu-comedy series "Entourage," about a young pop star and his cadre of hangers-on; and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won best actress in a comedy for her new CBS sitcom, "The New Adventures of Old Christine."

The actress mocked the "curse" that supposedly haunts alumni of "Seinfeld," the most successful and acclaimed sitcom ever. Members of its cast have not been able to develop hit shows of their own -- not like they need the money.

Reflecting a new reality of television, an Emmy was given to something that the professional writers and actors assembled consider The Enemy -- reality and competition TV shows. It even sounded like there were scattered boos from the house when the producers of CBS's "The Amazing Race" overran the stage to accept their fourth Emmy for best show of that genre.

Otherwise, CBS didn't exactly crush the competition. In the night's first award, Megan Mullally was named best supporting actress in a comedy for her work on NBC's now-departed "Will & Grace," and Alan Alda was chosen best supporting actor in a drama for his guest-starring gig on the also extinct "West Wing," an NBC drama set in the White House.

NBC freshman comedy "My Name is Earl" won Emmys for writing and direction, and NBC also scored when Mariska Hargitay was named best actress for her role on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," one of producer Dick Wolf's variations on the original "Law & Order" theme.

The program included a touching tribute to Dick Clark, who was introduced -- already seated at a podium -- by Simon Cowell. Clark's speech was somewhat slurred, the result of a stroke suffered last year, but he looked alert and determined. Less emotional was a tribute to producer Aaron Spelling, who died recently and whose family members are now reportedly fighting over his fortune.

At least the Spelling salute was an excuse to reunite the original three "Charlie's Angels" on the Emmy stage, although in at least two out of three cases, time and plastic surgery appeared to have taken their toll.

In a running gag, comic Bob Newhart was locked in a glass booth with, O'Brien said, only three hours' worth of oxygen -- so that if the show ran even one minute over, the veteran star would expire. But in fact, Newhart was released early to join O'Brien onstage and present the best comedy prize to "The Office." One of the producers said he and O'Brien had started off together and both hoped to end up in positions like the ones they hold now.

As Cowell had said earlier of Dick Clark: "Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true."



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TV Notebook
Cavett Returns On TMC
By John Eggerton Broadcasting & Cable

Dick Cavett, the witty and literate 1970's late night talk show host, is returning to the TV talk chair September 7 with a newly produced hour interview with Mel Brooks for Turner Classic Movies.

That is by way of kicking off a series of eight original interviews from his 1970's show that TCM has acquired and will re-run every Thursday night through Nov. 2 as part of a Thursday night tribute to various movie stars or directors interviewed by Cavett in his aclaimed ABC late night show.

Using a similar spare set--a couple of chairs and a logo--Cavett catches up on Brooks' career--like theatrical superstardom--since their last interview 34 years ago.

Following the new Cavett interview with Brooks, succeeding "classic" shows will air each Thursday night at 8 and 11, all, including Brooks' new interview, will feature a film by the interview subject of the night sandwiched between the two interview airings, then more films and documentaries.

For instance, the first classic show will be a 1971 interview with Woody Allen airing Sept. 14, followed by Bananas, a re-airing of the repeat, followed by Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, Annie Hall, and a documentary about Allen's work.

That pattern will be repeated with Robert Mitchum, Bette Davis, Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Groucho Marx and two interviews with Katherine Hepburn.

Cavett was one of TV's best listeners, often evoking more thoughtful sides of stars than in their "plug and Mug"the latest film" appearances on other talkers.



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New Fox season is NOT bowling us over
By Melanie McFarland Seattle Post-Intelligencer TV Critic Monday, August 28, 2006

In seasons past, we have embraced network television's fall schedule with a sense of careful hope lightly dusted in a coating of cynicism, packed into one solid week of evaluation for your edification and pleasure.

Not this year.

Between airing the Emmys in August instead of September, when the awards show traditionally signals the start of the new season, and the launch of one and a half (assed) new networks -- one being The CW, the half (assed) being My Network TV -- everyone's gone bananas.

The networks already have commenced shoveling out new episodes, and won't stop until mid-November. And while CBS and NBC are debuting the majority of their new series during the traditional first week of the season, which officially starts Monday, Sept. 18 (when Nielsen begins measuring ratings for 2006-2007), ABC is slowly introducing its freshmen from mid-September into November. Fox moseyed out of the starting gate last week.

So this time around, your P-I television critic is going to try going with the flow, reviewing series as they come along, instead of jamming them into one weeklong parade of pain. Oh, don't worry -- celebrating and lampooning the fall season remains part of the plan as always, and to do so, we're going to present individual program reviews and network-by-network rundowns.

Out with the old, the greatly missed, the broken and wasted hours, we say! In with a slew of fresh, green cannon fodder, only a few of which will make it to the beach in one piece, with fewer still destined to find the bunkers of pick-up and renewal.

See how easily we transition into war terminology? You thought prime-time television was leisurely good times. To those of us who watch for a living, it's a long fight through to May.

Foxy doings

Into the hole with Fox.

Fox has long had to contend with an October interruption courtesy of the Major League Baseball playoffs. Hence the premieres begin in the late-summer doldrums, when the rest of the playing field is relatively clear. That's because fewer people are closely watching, but still. Fox's fall always comes early.

The major change this season, however, is none of the new series look or feel like the Fox we've grown to love. To look at it, you'd think it had been taken over by the executives responsible for steering NBC or CBS through their most mediocre seasons.

Thinking that way is problematic because innovative programming -- and yes, we're counting Fox's tackiest misfires when we use that phrase -- is what made Fox the youth-attracting powerhouse that it is today. When it's not ambitiously going for young, it is at least shooting to preserve a sense of originality that can't be replicated. None of the competition has figured out how to successfully copy "24" or "House."

And yet, instead of trying to find the next great iconoclastic series, Fox is mimicking its stodgy competitors. Enjoy its new pedestrian lawyer show, the two FBI-agent driven bummers and the paint-by-numbers sitcoms, with a drama about a wedding photographer coming in midseason along with "The Winner," Rob Corddry's new laugh-in created by "Family Guy's" Seth MacFarlane and Ricky Blitt.

Corddry granted his "Daily Show" fans the fondest of farewells last week, and fake news junkies, we mourn with you. Considering Fox's track record with sitcoms, we wouldn't be surprised to see Corddry return if this half-hour situation doesn't work out.

Be that as it may, here are short takes on series that are new to Fox this fall.

"Vanished." 9 p.m. Mondays. Already premiered. When Sara Collins (Joanne Kelly), the wife of prominent Georgia Sen. Jeffrey Collins (John Allen Nelson, "24") disappears from a charity function, FBI agents Graham Kelton (Gale Harold) and Lin Mei (Ming-Na) and crazed cable reporter Judy Nash (Rebecca Gayheart) try to figure out where she has gone -- and more importantly, who she really is. Ambitious as it sounds, this couch potato nevertheless found it difficult to care about the Collins case by the end of "Vanished's" first episode.

SO, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? Not only have you seen more compelling versions of this tale many times before, a better kidnapping series will soon debut on NBC.

ON THE OTHER HAND: "Vanished's" premiere held on to most of "Prison Break's" audience last week, so it may have hooked enough viewers to keep Ming-Na on the kidnappers' trail. Depending on whether those numbers hold or build, this thing may not go away. A fair number of critics don't think it'll be around for long, though.

"Justice." 9 p.m. Wednesdays; premieres this week. The law firm of TNT & G is the one to beat when it comes to celebrity cases, and Ron Trott (Victor Garber) loves playing the media whore by appearing on talk shows. That's why juries hate him. Helping him win are the litigators who remain off-camera -- the charming Tom Nicholson (Kerr Smith), the driven Luther Graves (Eamonn Walker) and the analytical Alden Tuller (Rebecca Mader). Another drama from Jerry Bruckheimer.

SO, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? One word: Bruckheimer. That's not necessarily a minus, but his signature touch makes "Justice" seem like it's on the wrong network.

ON THE OTHER HAND: We'll go into little more depth in a review running Tuesday.

"Standoff." 9 p.m. Tuesdays; premieres Sept. 5. Matt Flannery (Ron Livingston) and Emily Lehman (Rosemarie DeWitt) are the best negotiators in the FBI's Crisis Negotiation Unit, aka CNU. They're also defying department rules by hitting the sheets, which gets them in hot water with their boss, Cheryl Carrera (Gina Torres), and gives their co-workers reason to question their decisions in the field. Combining work tension and sexual tension, producers hope to make people say, "Why, this is just like 'Moonlighting'!"

SO, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? Wait, wasn't "Moonlighting" funny? And sexy? And clever? Yeah. "Standoff" has none of that going for it.

ON THE OTHER HAND: We're rooting for Livingston because he's such a mensch. That alone is the only reason to hope that "Standoff' makes it. Not enough to make me watch, however.

" 'Til Death." 8 p.m. Thursdays; premieres Sept. 7. Eddie Stark (Brad Garrett) and his wife Joy (Joely Fisher) have been married for almost 24 long, hard years. When cutesy newlyweds Jeff and Steph Woodcock (Eddie Kaye Thomas and Kat Foster) move in next door, Eddie takes it upon himself to help the young husband navigate marital life, i.e., haul him into purgatory. But Jeff and Steph seem to be doing just fine -- and the not-so-subtle secret is, so are Eddie and Joy.

SO, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? Nothing. Especially if you miss "Everybody Loves Raymond."

ON THE OTHER HAND: If even half of "Raymond's" dedicated viewers come to this show, it'll be Fox's most successful sitcom. Why does that make me sad?

"Happy Hour." 8:30 p.m. Thursdays; premiere Sept. 7. Life was going great for Henry Beckman (John Sloan) until he moved to Chicago with his girlfriend Heather (Brooke D'Orsay), who dumps him and gets him fired from Heather's family business. Lucky for Henry, his new roommate is Larry (Lex Medlin), a fun-loving guy who thinks he's Dean Martin reincarnated and decides to help Henry loosen up and play it cool. We also meet the walking cautionary tale of Tina (Jamie Denbo) and Brad (Nat Faxon), who used to live with Larry, and Amanda (Beth Lacke) who compensates for her low self-esteem with a quick and evil wit.

SO, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? The unsubtle humor in this thing is dead on arrival. Nobody's going to notice because it and " 'Til Death" air on Thursdays.

ON THE OTHER HAND: Isn't "The War at Home" still on the air?

Also on deck for fall but unavailable for review:

"Celebrity Duets." Premieres 8 p.m. Tuesday; regular time slot premiere 9 p.m. Thursdays, starting Sept. 7, with results shows 9 p.m. Fridays, starting Sept. 8. This four-week special series will match celebrities like Lucy Lawless, the WWE's Chris Jericho, '80s pop-culture punch line Alfonso Ribeiro, and Lea Thompson with an array of recording artists so America can see who among them can carry a tune, and laugh at the tone-deaf. Macy Gray, Clint Black, Brian McKnight and Kenny Loggins are among the artists who have signed on. Wayne Brady hosts. The winner gets $100,000 for his or her favorite charity.

"Talk Show With Spike Feresten." Premieres midnight on Saturday, Sept. 16. Mixing monologues with sketches, and peopling the stage with scribes who also perform, television writer Feresten has his fingers crossed that America will love him as much as they loved Conan O'Brien, who also came to greatness from the writer's room.



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Emmy Notebook
Mariska & Kiefer remember papa
From the Gold Derby awards blog at the Los Angeles Times

More tears backstage as another winner mentioned her dad. Mariska Hargitay wept as she cited her papa, Mickey Hargitay, who was Mr. Universe of 1955 and a former member of Mae West's stage show.

Considering he's alive, a journalist asked, "Is he OK?"

"Yes," she said, but he was on her mind in a sentimental way tonight because "my father, when I started acting, was so supportive and when I was really bad, he told me I'm going to be the greatest and I am the best. He told me to work really hard. I used to get mad at him when I didn't understand why he was so supportive. He believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. I've got the greatest father in the world, who makes dreams happen and makes miracles happen."

Kiefer Sutherland got sentimental about his own papa, who lost an Emmy in the TV movie/mini races. "It wasn't about two actors tonight," he said describing his relationship to Donald Sutherland. "A father was proud for his son."

"This is a joke! I can't believe it!" Julia Louis-Dreyfus roared backstage. "By the way," she added, coyly, "I have no problem with the new voting system and I do feel I benefited from it, although I will tell you I don't understand it.

"But I'll keep it!" she said, waving her new Emmy proudly.

To celebrate, she said, "I'm gonna have a meal — whatever they're serving at the Governors' Ball. I'm gonna eat it."

She has one regret: "I forgot to thank the other nominees in my category and that was terrible. I respect them and I admire their talent."

"There's a lot of animosity among us," Steve Carell said about "The Office" gang backstage. "That's why the show works so well."



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Emmy Notebook
Shalhoub wins lead actor, comedy, for 'Monk'

By Staff report The Hollywood Reporter Aug. 28, 2006

Tony Shalhoub, winner for lead actor in a comedy series for USA's "Monk," said that though he was "shocked" about his win last year, "this year I was semi-comatose. I couldn't quite process it. What comes after deja vu? Deja trois? I would like to feel good about it, but I feel too numb." Shalhoub said he was confident that Steve Carell was going to win for his role on NBC's "The Office." "At this point, this isn't even frosting on the cake; this is like the rarefied air above the frosting on the cake -- the smoke on the candles above the frosting on the cake." Asked about similarities with his character, an obsessive-compulsive detective, Shalhoub said, "I'm much more of a worried person in real life than my character, if you can possibly imagine that."

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Barry Manilow, who took the Emmy for individual performance in a variety or music program for PBS' "Barry Manilow: Music and Passion," said he attributes his long career to his fans. "They've been with me all these years. They just keep supporting what I do, and I think the music holds up. ... I've always believed in myself, no matter" what the critics have said. The singer, who performed a tribute to Dick Clark during the show, praised the TV legend backstage. "He introduced us to all sorts of great music," said Manilow, who co-wrote the "American Bandstand" theme song. "We wouldn't have the music we have if it weren't for Dick Clark continually fighting to introduce pop music to the public."

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Bertram Van Munster, co-creator and executive producer of CBS' "The Amazing Race," which won its fourth consecutive Emmy for outstanding reality competition program, noted that because the recent family edition of the show received a lot of criticism, "we worked extra hard to put the show back on track" for the following installment, which marked the show's ninth cycle on the air. "What we do, and what the Academy recognizes that we do, is not mean-spirited, but everybody can relate to it. What we've done is raised the bar for reality TV, and we take a great deal of pride in it." Co-exec producer Jerry Bruckheimer, asked whether the producers of Fox's "American Idol" needed to be "soothed" for not winning in the category, said: "I don't think they need to be soothed. It's the No. 1 show on television, a fantastic show done by talented people, and they've captivated people. ... All of our hats off to them; they've done an extraordinary job. It's an accomplishment being the No. 1 show."

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Terence Winter, who won the trophy for drama series writing for the "Members Only" episode of HBO's "The Sopranos," said he didn't have any clues about the upcoming series finale that he could share. "(Creator) David Chase is going to decide what happens; it's premature to answer," he said. "But I couldn't if I knew anyway." He did point out that with any series finale, it's always the case that some people are happy and some aren't. "You can't please everybody," he said. "We do the show how we want and let the chips fall where they may." Winter also noted that he is starting to "experience a form of separation anxiety" with the show ready to wrap up. "The crew and cast have been together for nearly 10 years since the pilot. We're all sort of sensing the end of a really great thing. It's going to be tough."

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Veteran "24" director Jon Cassar, who won his first Emmy for his work on the action drama series, credited the cast and writers for the show's success this season. He also dropped a hint that the creative resurgence would continue next season, saying: "I've already directed the first two episodes of next season, and I think it's going to be a good year, our best year ever."

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In the past couple of years, television -- and especially American television -- has become more and more attractive for top talent, said Oscar winner Jeremy Irons, who won a best supporting actor Emmy for his role in the HBO telefilm "Elizabeth I." "I suspect there is better, more interesting work happening on television than in most movies," he said. "We used to be snobbish about television, but if you look at the material on television, there is nothing to apologize about." Still, Irons said he has a hard time adjusting to the ever-expanding TV universe. "I think having a lot of channels bleeds the power away from television." As for paying taxes on gift bags, "If we have to pay taxes, so be it," he said. "But don't spend it on bombs, for Christ's sake."



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Emmy Notebook
Emmy winners meet the press

By Denise Martin, Justin Chang Variety.com

How does the best-written, best-directed laffer on television not get a nomination for comedy series?

"I'm not sure. But we're happy to have these, and we're confident we'll be in that group next season," said "My Name Is Earl" scribe Greg Garcia, standing backstage with his fellow winner, helmer Marc Buckland.

"Look, the morning we were nominated, some people were calling me up and complaining, 'The show didn't get nominated.' My attitude is, I've been doing this for 12 years and I've never been nominated for an Emmy before. I'm just gonna enjoy this."

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After he thanked his late father on stage, a choked-up Jeremy Piven paused again backstage to acknowledge him. "He is still here, and he's very proud," he said through tears.

Piven, who picked up his first Emmy for his portrayal of talent agent Ari Gold in HBO comedy "Entourage," said he hopes the award will translate into more work. "I just love to act, so whoever will have me.

"Maybe (in my next role) I'll get to get the girl," he deadpanned. "If I have to play the best friend again ... I don't have many friends, so I'm running out of references."

As for what the "Entourage" guys will think: "I've been it longer than those guys. They don't respect me, but they should and now, they will," he joked.

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"We kind of felt like we were doing the show in a bubble, but clearly it's catching on," said Steve Carell, speaking on behalf of "The Office" crew, which won the prize for comedy series in its second season.

Exec producer Greg Daniels called the evening "a night of ups and downs" after he cut his hand on the wings of the Emmy backstage. "People thought it was going to be really hard to adapt an English show, but I speak English, so we really had a leg up there," Daniels joked. But seriously, folks, "It was such a good show in the first place, I don't think it was as hard as people thought."

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After five seasons and five nominations, Kiefer Sutherland finally won not one Emmy but two -- for acting and exec producing Fox's "24."

"The real challenge for me is to play the same character over the span of six years," he said. "Lucky for me, we have fantastic writers who facilitate that."

The real-time drama was parodied in Emmy host Conan O'Brien's opener, providing a rare instance of "24" humor.

"There's no humor at all. We cry a lot, we're very serious, we try not to look at each other," said thesp Mary Lynn Rajskub. "And we're (always) wearing the same clothes, and we do a lot of fake typing."

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Sweeping the reality competition series race for the fourth straight year, "The Amazing Race" exec producer Bertram Van Munster said his team redoubled its efforts for the show's most recent outing after the family edition was met with mixed reactions.

"We worked extra hard to put this thing back on track because you guys weren't happy with season eight," he said. "We have raised the bar not only for ourselves but for everyone else. The mistakes we made were bad for business."

Fellow exec producer Jerry Bruckheimer tipped his hat to the crew, who have circled the globe 30 times in the past 10 seasons. "The best part is standing up here and getting accolades from people who love TV as much as we do. The worst part is what the guys behind me do, trekking around the world when it's hot or cold, keeping all the contestants together. It's a difficult job."

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"I'm absolutely floored," said a stunned Blythe Danner, who picked up her second Emmy for her perf in Showtime drama "Huff." "I thought, 'No, no, no, it's not going to happen. We're canceled.' "

The actress acknowledged her victory was bittersweet but also "a nice way to say goodbye." Showtime canceled the series last month after its second season.

Onstage, Danner joked, "I suppose I should thank Showtime even though they canceled us. They're nice guys. They couldn't help it, I guess."

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Going from tears to giggles in a matter of minutes, "Law & Order: SVU" actress Mariska Hargitay couldn't contain her enthusiasm at winning her first Emmy -- and for "Law & Order: SVU," of all shows.

"I'm winning an Emmy in my eighth season, for a police procedural! Who wins for a police procedural?" she crowed into the mic. "Well, I do!"

Hargitay became extremely emotional when talking about her father, who was unable to attend the show for health reasons.

"I just have the greatest father in the world," she said. "He told me to work really hard, and said, 'You can be anything you want to be.' I used to get mad at him because I didn't understand. He believed in me when I didn't believe in myself."

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"The Sopranos" director Terence Winter noted the cast and crew were "starting to experience a form of separation anxiety" as the HBO drama approached its final season.

"Now that the end is near, we're all starting to feel it. We're all sort of sensing the end of a really great thing, both creatively and just (as) a general work experience."

Winter shared in the general disbelief that the Academy passed over "Sopranos" stars James Gandolfini and Edie Falco for lead acting nominations.

"I was pretty flabbergasted," he said. "Those performances were just peerless. ... I get to stand 10 feet away and watch it happen in front of me. You really can't believe these people are acting."

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Jon Cassar, winner for directing the "7:00 AM-8:00 AM" episode of "24," affectionately called the suspense drama "the hardest show on TV." "When they landed (a plane on the freeway) last year, we did. We actually did," he said.

Helmer has already directed the first two episodes of next season. "They're really strong and really controversial. It will be the best year ever," said Cassar, who credited the writers with keeping the show intense. "My job is to say 'no' (to over-the-top ideas) eventually, but usually I end up saying, 'Yes, yes, yes!' "

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus said she was "floating" and "overwhelmed" after winning the award for lead comedy actress -- and quickly added, "I have no problem with (the new voting system), by the way."

Asked about the controversial blue-ribbon panel voting initiated this season, she admitted she didn't quite understand it. "Whatever, let's keep it," she said. "The New Adventures of Old Christine" star said the win was the cherry on top of the series' being picked up for a second season. "It's hard. The business of television has utterly changed since I was on 'Seinfeld,' so I was just grateful we were picked up."

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After winning his second Emmy, Jeremy Irons lauded the quality of television over film. "I suspect there is better and more interesting work happening on TV than on most movies today," said the actor, who played Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, opposite Helen Mirren in the HBO miniseries "Elizabeth I."

"I thought I'd do the part for a bit of fun, so it's really an added pleasure to win a prize for making it," Irons added. "The fact that the other actors in my category didn't win, it's just the luck of the draw."

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Andre Braugher accepted the lead actor in a miniseries award for his work on the six-episode crime drama "Thief," but told reporters backstage he'd rather still be working on the short-lived series, which wasn't renewed after subpar ratings.

"I would prefer 'Thief' was still on the air, rather than picking up this award for a canceled show," he admitted. "My joy is in bringing these characters to life."

Still, Braugher praised FX execs for giving it their best shot with an "inventive and creative" promotional campaign. "It's baffling for me," thesp said. "We created something beautiful. It's just at a certain point, when the audience doesn't show up, business decisions have to be made."

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"Biggest shock I've ever had," said Barry Manilow of winning for his perf in PBS spec "Barry Manilow: Music and Passion," before crediting the fans with sustaining his career. "I think these people are so beautiful, that they just keep supporting what I do. And I think the music holds up."

The legendary singer-songwriter accepted his Emmy shortly after performing "Bandstand Boogie" onstage in a tribute to producer Dick Clark.

"I think he's a real trouper," Manilow said of Clark, who had a stroke in December 2004. "He'd much rather be up there producing one of these things than sitting here."

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Looking every bit as regal as her statuette for lead actress in "Elizabeth I," Helen Mirren acknowledged the oft-portrayed queen was pure catnip for an actress.

"It's one of those great roles. When it comes your way, as an actress, you thank your lucky stars," she said.

Tom Hooper, who won for directing the HBO mini, had nothing but praise for his leading dame.

"I think Helen has the ability to hold ideas in tension," he said. "She can switch moods on a dime. That ability to hold so many emotions allows her to bring humor and warmth into even the more dramatic scenes."

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"Last year, I was shocked. This year, I was semi-comatose," said Tony Shalhoub, marveling at winning his third trophy as the eponymous detective on USA's "Monk." "What comes after deja vu? Deja trois?

"This isn't frosting on the cake," the thesp went on. "This is the rarefied air above the frosting on the cake. This is the smoke on the candles on the frosting on the cake."

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"Will & Grace" actress Megan Mullally said 20 years ago a psychic predicted she'd win a pair of Emmys for sitcom work -- and she was none too thrilled. "I said, 'No, no. I'm a great actress. I'm going to do film. I'm not going to do a sitcom!" Mullally laughed.

With two acting awards in her pocket, Mullally next will tackle her own talkshow, which she reassured reporters -- with a wink -- would "still be dirty, even though it's daytime."

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Looking sober but gratified, "The Girl in the Cafe" exec producer Hilary Bevan Jones spoke backstage on behalf of fellow honoree Richard Curtis, who was not present to accept his award for writing the HBO made-for.

"The reason (Curtis) wrote this film was to draw people's attention to the fact that in this world of plenty, 20,000 people are still dying every day of extreme poverty," she said of the telepic, about the G8 summit in Iceland in 2005. "I'm so grateful that the American audience has recognized this film, and hope they will recognize why we made it as we



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Emmy Notebook
Conan: A sharp tongue on a pretty dull evening

By Robert Bianco USA Today 8/28/2006

Good as he was, Conan wasn't enough.

As host of Sunday's Emmy Awards, Conan O'Brien invigorated his portions of the three-hour NBC broadcast with the same inventive flair and loopy, self-lacerating wit that powers his Emmy-nominated late-night show. Unfortunately, the show he hosted was as unwieldy as its whoppingly ugly set and as bizarre as the awards themselves, which too often made the worst of a bad nomination situation.

Recovering quickly from an ill-timed plane crash joke that opened his introductory clip package, O'Brien bounced through an amusing salute to the TV year — from a stop on the Lost island to a reprise of South Park's Tom-Cruise-in-the-closet joke. By the end, he had built up so much goodwill, you were willing to cut him some slack over his clumsy musical spoof of NBC's ratings — a bit that was far too NBC-centric for an evening that is supposed to belong to the entire industry.

The host of the Emmys does tend to drop away after that opening burst. But those bits set the tone, and O'Brien was able to ride them all night — aided by a great running gag that put a game Bob Newhart in a "life-threatening" speech-shortening plexiglass tube.

If only the Emmy voters were half as consistent or a quarter as sharp as O'Brien. This was a night when Barry Manilow could come out, do an indifferent version of the American Bandstand theme and then win an Emmy for the PBS pledge version of his Las Vegas act. The only upside was that it inspired one of the show's standout moments: presenter Stephen Colbert's outburst over losing.

Manilow's performance was attached to a salute to a frail Dick Clark, whose brave efforts to recover from his stroke should remind a youth-obsessed nation that no one gets to be a teenager forever. The night's other salute was to the late Aaron Spelling, an indifferent collection of clips that did boast a rare reunion of Charlie's original three Angels.

Still, the night belongs to the awards, and many of them were baffling. How can My Name Is Earl be the best written and directed sitcom and yet not get a best-show honor? Why give an Emmy to Alan Alda's candidate, when Gregory Itzin's president was so much more memorable?

Yes, among the old-school repeat wins, there were welcome victories: Jeremy Piven, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kiefer Sutherland and 24 chief among them. But the best moments came awfully late — and overall, I can't remember a year when the list of winners was less exciting.

No wonder the broadcast had no sense of occasion. These days, the occasion itself is hardly worth celebrating.

O'Brien, by the way, didn't win an Emmy. This year, he was in very good company.



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fredfa: Do you have totals including the technical awards? My uncle's daughter (long time family friend - not blood) was nominated as a hairdresser for Desperate Housewives, but lost to Rome.

Curious if HBO cleaned house in the "other" categories as well.


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Did anyone else see the "wardrobe malfunction" when the Office crew came up to get the Emmy for best comedy? One of the girls top came down a little too far after an overagressive congratulatory hug . Will NBC be fined for indecency?


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Emmy Notebook
Good Morning World

By Rich Heldenfels in his Akron Beacon Journal TV blog

Early Sunday evening I turned on the Emmys for a couple of minutes and saw Megan Mullally winning for best supporting actress in a comedy. ''OK,'' I thought, like a cop ushering rubberneckers away from an accident. ''Nothing to see here. Let's move on.''

OK, so I was curious about some of the other winners, but not curious enough to overcome a weekend's worth of weariness, which found me heading bedward at about 9 p.m. And, having looked at the list of winners this morning (as well as knowing the DVR holds the ceremony itself), I am glad I opted for rest.

Mullally over Elizabeth Perkins of ''Weeds''? Nope. ''24'' as best drama? Nope again. ''The Office'' for best comedy is fine -- but if that's the case, why did the Emmys for best comedy writing and directing go to ''My Name Is Earl''?

Because it's the Emmys, of course. And asking them -- or any other entertainment award -- to make sense is like asking how Jack Bauer manages to cover so much ground in so little time. The answer will defy logic, and people happy with the result won't care.



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Emmy Notebook
Steps and stumbles
Emmys' throwback vibe entertains but makes yesteryear look better than today.
By Paul Brownfield Los Angeles Times TV critic August 28, 2006

Stephen McPherson must have been beside himself with the giggles Sunday night: The ABC Entertainment chief was trying to win the night with the blockbuster network premiere of the first "Pirates of the Caribbean," and over at NBC they were airing an old-timey variety show called "The 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards."

It seemed less an awards show than a return to the days when song and dance and comedy intermingled in a loose and somewhat joyous spectacle of — perish the thought — entertainment.

That theme was cheerfully captured by host Conan O'Brien's overlong but winning show-topper, which was goofy but not arch or precious.

Other than, say, presidential conventions, variety is the last thing the broadcast networks want to program — given that the last one to work was "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" ("American Idol" doesn't count; it involves amateurs, and it has yet to work in Rip Taylor).

Variety, with its retro tag, is the province of the old, which the TV business classifies as anyone 50 years of age and up. The TV business hates people 50 years of age and up. In this way, the Emmy telecast Sunday night was at once a horrible showcase for the series that make TV a hot medium — "Lost," "Grey's Anatomy," "The Sopranos," "American Idol" — and a wonderful, if somewhat accidental, tribute to the TV that defined the boomer generation.

The coup de gr?ce — or coup de something — was the reunion of the original "Charlie's Angels," part of a tribute to Aaron Spelling, who died June 23.

Spelling, depending on your point of view, peddled either bad nighttime soap or great guilty pleasure TV. Having spent quality years of my youth waiting for Cheryl Ladd to jump out of the ocean or Barbie Benton to walk onto the Lido Deck of "The Love Boat," I fall in the latter category.

The sight of Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith onstage, together again, was either exhilarating or disturbing; I'm still trying to decide which.

Even the traditional "in memoriam" segment seemed accented by the icons of '60s and '70s TV — Don Adams of "Get Smart," daytime talk show host Mike Douglas, "Andy Griffith's" Don Knotts, "The Munsters' " Al Lewis, and Curt Gowdy, the voice of pro baseball and football, pre-ESPN and ESPN 2 and ESPN News, not to mention ESPN Classic, ESPN-HD and ESPN-En Espa?ol.

The only thing the Emmy Awards seem incapable of paying tribute to these days are the best shows on TV these days. An idiotic nomination process, based in part on the fact that voters can't be actually asked to watch this stuff, inspires no confidence in the system by which winners are selected.

It's not so much that "Lost" deserved to be nominated, it's that none of the series are being judged in their totality.

So you sit there and watch Megan Mullally win for "Will & Grace," a show living in syndication, and Blythe Danner for "Huff," a canceled Showtime series watched by less than the population of Palm Springs, and Tony Shalhoub for "Monk." Already, you could sense the demo leaving the room — and that was before Barry Manilow won the award for outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program.

He beat out O'Brien, David Letterman and Jon Stewart. Also Stephen Colbert.

"I lost to Barry Manilow!" exclaimed Colbert, host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report." Manilow had thanked "the people who run the Vegas Hilton," as if the mob were still controlling that town. Cloris Leachman, presenting an Emmy for comedy series directing, brilliantly pronounced the HBO series "Entourage" as if it were actually some French weepie starring Catherine Deneuve.

And Bob Newhart, a master of the kind of deadpan embodied today in actors such as "The Office's" Steve Carell, was kept backstage in an airtight chamber with an oxygen supply of no more than three hours, in a running gag with host O'Brien.

O'Brien's opening was cute, and funny, as if performed by a much taller and more Irish Billy Crystal.

By the show's end, I had lost total faith in the idea of an Emmy, but I could smell comeback for variety.



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Originally Posted by CPanther95
fredfa: Do you have totals including the technical awards? My uncle's daughter (long time family friend - not blood) was nominated as a hairdresser for Desperate Housewives, but lost to Rome.

Curious if HBO cleaned house in the "other" categories as well.

This is the best I have, CP95, I'll look for something more definitive.

HBO 26, NBC 14, ABC 11, Fox 10, CBS 9.


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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
Bad Timing for a Baby Bump
By Linda Haugsted MultiChannel News 1/12/2007

USA Network scheduled the announcement of the production of In Plain Sight for its presentation Friday afternoon at the TCA meeting in Pasadena. But we heard in advance of the presentation that the production, which was to begin shooting this summer, will have to be delayed.

Network sources said the star, Mary McCormack (The West Wing), just found out she's pregnant. That circumstance will not mesh with her role as a U.S. federal marshal who has a dangerous job in the Witness Protection Branch.

The news made staffers a little paranoid: On the set of the production of another original, the movie The Starter Wife, star Debra Messing showed up one day wearing a big shirt. The gossip flowed, said a publicist.

Is SHE pregnant? That would also not set with the role of newly divorced middle-aged woman in a film with several beach scenes calling for the actress to be swimwear clad. But sometimes, a big shirt is just a big shirt. Messing is not pregnant, and the production is moving ahead.

For the Messing film, network officials also announced a partnership with Pond's. The skin-care company will hold a national contest, The Starter Wife 40s and Fabulous Contest, to identify five women who best embody "grown-up beauty." Contestants will enter at a co-branded Web site.

The Dead Horse

As cable's four days of programming announcements ended Friday, the most oft-discussed topic at the TCA was not cable-viewership gains, online initiatives nor programming trends. It wasn't even a cable topic. It was the damn Rosie O'Donnell/Donald Trump feud.

Those fending off questions about the feud and The View included Lisa Ling (host of Who Cares About Girls?on Oxygen), Danny DiVito (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on FX) and even Mark Burnett (who will consult with MTV on a makeover of the now 15-year-old MTV Movie Awards).

Enough, already!!!!! Starve them of ink and the whole thing will die quickly.



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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
Back On the TV Critics Beat
By Ray Richmond The Hollywood Reporter in his blog ?Past Deadline? January 12, 2007

Pasadena, CA -- Sorry for the brief interruption from my TV critics press tour duties the past few days. Circumstances kept me from attending during the middle two days of the cable portion. But it seems as if I didn't really miss all that much. Jennifer Lopez (do we still call her JLo?) was here on Thursday to promote her new MTV dance show "DanceLife" that she's executive producing. That was kinda big. But really, when you're not here, it isn't like you're missing a huge amount. And therein lies the dilemma for the Television Critics Association and the networks they so dutifully cover.

There is the perception among the visiting out-of-town press that these gatherings are essential for gathering quotes, meeting people in the biz face to face, shooting the breeze. But the truth is that sending journalists has grown prohibitively expensive at a time when newspapers are struggling mightily to retain circulation. One of the first things to get deep-sixed is sending the reporter to Pasadena.

For this and other reasons, I'm fairly certain that these shindigs will all move online within the next 3 to 5 years and will cease to exist in the current semiannual configuration. It's too easy to get everything on the Net: live interviews, chatrooms, transcripts, the whole shebang. Yes, one can argue, you can't get quite the same interview over an electronic screen or video conference as you can in person. Perhaps. But it isn't enough of a reason for newspapers, magazines and networks to continue holding these gatherings as live events.

More Compelling Evidence For Why the Rest of the World Can't Stand the Sight of Us

Pasadena, CA -- Last week, I reviewed a dreadful new reality series on Oxygen entitled "Tease" that found hairstylists facing off in blow-dry by blow-dry combat. I couldn't have imagined while watching it that I was witnessing the beginning of a trend. But that's what is so beautiful about the niche programming world in which we now live. Yesterday's really insane idea (I style, therefore I am) is today's Big Thing. Because this morning at an NBCU Cable session for Bravo, we all learned here that the network had enlisted the participation of one Jaclyn Smith to host the forthcoming eight-episode reality series "Shear Genius."

"Shear Genius" had been previously announced under the title "Top Hair," evidently because the names "I'm Just Wild About Hairy," "To Hair Is Human" and "Hair To the Throne" already were taken. It promises to put the spotlight on the "client-driven, high-end competitive world of hairstyling." I just never could have foreseen an entire new end of the unscripted arena based on the concept that my comb is better than your comb. But that's what is so wonderful about covering TV: it'll constantly surprise ya. It surely does me.

When News Breaks, They Fix It!

Pasadena, CA -- While I wasn't in actual attendance to witness this, it was a telling moment on Thursday when MTV Networks came face to face with a breaking story during the TV critics confab that it was woefully ill-equipped to handle. Indeed, MTV had the misfortune of having its session at the precise moment when its COO Michael Wolf was making his resignation public. Yet for some 2 1/2 hours, the news was treated like the elephant in the room that it was -- which is to say, completely unaddressed.

One of the critics (actually my pal David Kronke of the L.A. Daily News, who has grown to become the conscience of this gathering -- whether the issue be resignation or masturbation) finally piped up with the following query to Brian Graden, president of entertainment for MTV Networks Music Group and president of the network Logo: "It's my understanding that news is supposed to be dispensed during the press tour. So why have we been here for 2 1/2 hours and no one has mentioned that Michael Wolf resigned today, and what can you tell us about the particulars of that resignation?"

Graden: "Blessedly, it's above my pay grade. Very sincerely, it's an MTV Networks corporate move, and so I don't have a comment because it simply wasn't a decision I was involved in making."

No, the decision appears to have been Wolf's, but that's somewhat irrelevant. The bottom line is that with all of the hype and propaganda that typically colors these press tour extravaganzas, the one element that's typically in short supply is genuine news. And if you're a network that doesn't have your spin cycle in motion -- if, say, you're still on "wash" or "rinse" -- the instinct is to cover up like an outclassed boxer or put your hands over your ears and shout, "I can't hear you! La-la-la-la-la!"

Writes Kronke on his blog The Mayor of Television: "This incident, perhaps more than any other in the history of the TV press tour, underscores its essential pointlessness. It proves the utter contempt networks have for the journalists who cover them...No, in the TV network’s executive’s mind, journalists are merely unwitting stooges whose only value lie in their propensity to uncastigatingly promote otherwise unwatchable programming while caged in a hermetically sealed environment where groupspeak is God."

This Is Your Brain On Cats

Pasadena, CA -- So they turned the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel here into a cathouse, as it were, for the GSN network's presentation before the TV critics. It was to promote its coverage of "Cat-minster: CFA International Cat Championship" (the "Cat-minster" part is the network's own creation, I believe). It's a two-hour feline fest airing on March 27.

But anyway, for the event GSN decided to tote along several of the championship cats for in-person perusal. This, however, may not have been the finest-ever idea as a handful of the gathered critics immediately hightailed it for the exit in fear of allergy attack. On the other hand, several others (humans, that is) were inspired to hold and, um, interview the prize cats. You sometimes need to claw and scrape to find material at these things.

No word on whether any of the critics planned to file suit over the allergy cat-astrophe. And it clearly could have been worse. At least there were no peanuts on the table.



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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
April 8
HBO sets a date for end run of 'The Sopranos'
From Maureen Ryan’s Chicago Tribune blog ?The Watcher? January 12, 2007

HBO has confirmed an air date for the final batch of new 'Sopranos' episodes. The final nine episodes will begin airing on April 8.

David Chase will write and direct the final episode of the show.

"Entourage" will return with eight episodes the same night.

And finally, the network confirmed that the new series from "Deadwood" creator David Milch, "John From Cincinnati," will have its debut in the summer of 2007.

Here's the network's description of "John":

"Set in Imperial Beach, California, the last great surf-break before Tijuana, where the U.S. meets Mexico, and water meets land, 'John From Cincinnati' tells the story of the Yosts, a family of surfers whose awesome athletic talents have for generations seemed to come with a curse attached.

'The gifts of 13-year-old Shaun rival those of Butchie, his addict derelict father, and his now-ascetically-withdrawn grandfather Mitch, both of whom defined the sport in their heydays. In shaping Shaun's career, his grandmother Cissy strives to achieve a commercial and athletic success that will compensate for the frustrations and failures of her life with her husband and son.

'Into this world, where even simple joy has been turned into a commodity, steps a mysterious stranger named John. Soon after, things begin to happen to the Yosts, and those whose lives they touch, that test the boundaries of past and present, the mundane and the miraculous, the natural world and what lies beyond it.'"

Sounds intriguing, but where's Mr. Wu in all this?



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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
"Queer Eye'' ends its run
"Project Runway'' returns
By Charlie McCollum San Jose Mercury News in his blog Friday, January 12, 2007

The Fab Five is about to do its final makeover.

After four years, Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy'' -- once one of the hottest shows on TV -- will come to an end this summer with 10 new episodes. The series had a wide cultural reach as five gay guys -- Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez (at right) -- helped straight dudes find their inner metrosexual and busted a few stereotypes along the way. The furor died down after the first couple of seasons to the point where fewer and fewer viewers knew there were new episodes on the air. That will probably change with the final 10.

Meanwhile, Bravo is hustling more reality programs on the air -- more than a couple reflecting the elements and format of the very successful "Project Runway'' and "Top Chef.''

That includes "Top Design'' (an interior design competition) which debuts later this month; "Shear Genius'' (hair stylists duke it out) that will begin its run in the spring; and "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style,'' with "Project Runway'' breakout star Gunn helping the fashion senseless through a makeover. That probably won't surface until late in the year.

In addition, Bravo announced officially today that "Project Runway'' would be back (as if there was really any doubt) although it probably won't resurface until at least the summer. (Channel executives are afraid of it "burning out'' from too many editions in too short a period of time.) And while the deal has not yet been, it's all but certain Gunn will return for the next cycle. (Gunn does, after all, have a day gig as chairman of the Department of Fashion Design at New York's Parsons New School.)



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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
Tim Gunn of 'Project Runway' gets his own show
From Maureen Ryan’s Chicago Tribune blog ?The Watcher? January 12, 2007

Big news for "Project Runway" fans: Season 4 of the show has been confirmed, executives from Bravo announced at the Television Critics Association January press tour. No date was given for the show's return, but I'd be surprised if it didn't start up again this summer.

Your next question is: Has Tim Gunn been signed for Season 4 of "Project Runway"? No announcement was made about that, but I will be talking to Lauren Zalaznick, the head of the network, very shortly, and you can believe I'll ask her about that.

But there was some big news on the Tim Gunn front. He'll be hosting his very own Bravo show, "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style." He'll be offering his patented incisive yet kind advice to "people desperately in need of" style advice, according to network executive Frances Berwick.

No time frame was given for when Gunn's show will debut, but I'll ask about that too. Stay tuned.

By the way, Bravo announced that the upcoming fifth season of "Queer Eye" will be the show's last. And that they've got a new show called "Hey Paula," a reality show chronicling the life of "American Idol's" Paula Abdul.



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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
"Survivor: Fiji'': The Cast
By Charlie McCollum San Jose Mercury News in his blog Friday, January 12, 2007

Our ol' buddies over at ""Survivor'' have announced the cast for the next edition, set in Fiji and debuting Feb. 8.

There are 19 survivors who will -- in a shift from previous seasons -- start out as one big tribe and then get sub-divided on Day 3. One tribe will then get a very well-equipted camp; the other gets a pot, a machete and a water source. Another twist: There will be two immunity idols this time around with the idols hidden at the two camps. Exile Island will have clues to the whereabouts of those darn idols.

Here is the cast list as provided by CBS:

ALEX ANGARITA, 28, Los Angeles (originally from Colombia), Attorney
KENWARD "BOO" BERNIS, 34, Lafayette, La., Construction Worker
YAU-MAN CHAN, 54, Martinez, Calif. (born in Hong Kong, raised in Borneo, Malaysia), Computer Engineer
EARL COLE, 35, Santa Monica, Calif. (originally from Kansas City, Kan.), Advertising Executive
JESSICA deBEN, 27, Los Angeles (originally from New Orleans), Fashion Stylist
ERICA DUROUSSEAU, 27, Lake Charles, La., Non-Profit Fundraiser
CASSANDRA FRANKLIN, 42, Los Angeles, Civil Engineer Manager
LILIANA GOMEZ, 25, Oxnard, Calif., Loan Officer
ANDRIA "DRE' HERD, 25, Wilmington, N. C., Cheerleading Coach
STACY KIMBALL, 27, Boulder, Colo. (originally from Montpelier, Vt.), Interactive Internet Producer
SYLVIA KWAN, 52, Ross, Calif. (born in Hong Kong), Architect
MOOKIE LEE, 25, Wheeling, Ill. (born in Seoul, Korea), Loan Manager
LISETTE "LISI' LINARES, 36, Los Angeles (originally from Miami), Customer Service Representative
JAMES REID, 28, Los Angeles (originally from Boston), Bartender
EDGARDO RIVERA, 28, Miami Beach, Fla. (originally from Puerto Rico), Advertising Executive,
ANTHONY ROBINSON, 32, Compton, Calif., Expert Witness Locator
GARY STRITESKY, 55, Ramsey, Minn., School Bus Driver
RITA VERREOS, 38, San Antonio, Texas (originally from Venezuela), Single Mom
MICHELLE YI, 23, Cincinnati, Ohio, Student


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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
Talking Tim Gunn…
…and 'Project Runway' with the head of Bravo
From Maureen Ryan’s Chicago Tribune blog ?The Watcher? January 12, 2007

There’s good news for fans of Tim Gunn, the dapper mentor to the designers on ?Project Runway.? Bravo has signed him up to do his very own show, ?Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style.?

In the show, Gunn will assist the sartorially challenged reach their fashion potential; it’s based on a book he’s currently writing, ?Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style,? which is scheduled for May publication.

There’s no date on when Gunn’s show will debut, but Lauren Zalaznick, president of Bravo, says she hopes it will arrive in 2007.

?This is totally dependent on when he hands in his book,? Zalaznick said in an interview. ?It’ll be a series, it's [a matter of] waiting to actually make it good.?

?I’m practically delirious that Bravo has given me this incredible opportunity and together, we vow to redefine ’makeovers,’? Gunn said in a statement. "This series aims to be one part education with two parts fun, and you’ll see me being a fashion therapist, not a Svengali.?

Zalaznick reiterated the idea that it will not be a typical makeover show, of which there are already plenty.

?I hate to say `We’re Bravo,’ but … we’re Bravo,? Zalaznick said. ?There’s a certain level of taste, there’s a certain restraint, there’s a certain love of the culture around us. There’s nothing demeaning about it -- that’s true of all our shows.?

Gunn ?has many other components to him, and that’s part of the reason we went after him with this book. We see his approach to X number of designers on a specific [`Runway’] challenge,? she added. ?When he writes his book … it is a much broader role.?

When asked if Gunn was signed yet for a fourth season of ?Runway? (when I spoke to him in November, he was not) Zalaznick said ?We don’t sign talent for that show.? She noted that the Weinstein Company, which produces the show, is responsible for contracts with ?Runway’s? judges and hosts (I've got a call in to the Weinstein Company, I will let you know if I hear anything on that front).

But she added that ?the network has every expectation and wish that all of `Runway’s’ talent will be back for Season 4.?

She noted that the show has had occasional guest judges, but added that ?Tim and Heidi, … I think they’re `Runway.’ But I think everyone thinks that.?

So when will the ?Runway? gang return? Zalaznick wouldn’t give a time frame. Is the show coming back in 2007? ?I think so,? she said.

?We’re fluid. I’m not saying that because we’re cagey. Our [`Runway’] time frame is dictated by the fashion shows, and [those occur in] September and February.?

?There’s hardly any air dates on [the new shows] we announced? at the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday, she noted. ?We’re very nimble, we look at how things are doing and then we make the next decision.?

As for how the filming of the Gunn show will work in terms of ?Runway’s? production schedule, she said, ?I can just say flat out, our first priority is to `Runway.’?

As she noted, Gunn, the Chair of the Department of Fashion Design at Parsons The New School for Design, ?a very busy guy,? and filming two shows, writing a book and still keeping day job will make him even busier. Let’s hope both he and Bravo, as Gunn likes to say, make it work.

Zalaznick also spoke briefly about the upcoming Bravo show ?Hey Paula,? a reality show following the life of Paula Abdul of ?American Idol.?

?I have a theory that people judge their own paths from their post-adolescent music experience to the present in comparison to the track of a pop star that was resonant to them. I kind of feel like Paula Abdul is up there,? Zalaznick said. ?This show is to take her in a slice of time right now and draw your own conclusions - where are you and where is she??



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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
News from HBO
By Rob Owen Pittsburgh Post-Gazette TV Editor in his blog ?Tuned In?

The final season of "The Sopranos" will begin airing April 8 followed by the remaining third season episodes of "Entourage." Nine, rather than eight, new "Sopranos" will air at that time, including the series finale, written and directed by creator David Chase. The fourth season of "Entourage" will begin this summer after a two-week break following the end of season three.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

"John From Cincinnatti," the new drama from David Milch ("Deadwood"), will debut behind the "Sopranos" season finale, likely in early or mid-June. "Big Love" will also return in the summer.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

"John Adams," based on the Pulitzer prize-winning biography by Pittsburgh native David McCullough, begins production in February, filming largely in Colonial Williamsburg, Va. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney star as John and Abigail Adams with Stephen Dillane as Thomas Jefferson. The mini-series will air in 2008.



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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
ESPN Cancels Quite Frankly
By Ben Grossman Broadcasting & Cable 1/12/2007 6:02:00 PM

ESPN has cancelled Quite Frankly, a nightly talk show hosted by Steven A. Smith since its August 2005 inception. The show’s finale was to air Friday night.

The show was once looked upon as a possibility to fill the late-night talk show void that ESPN has long considered.

Smith will stay with the network in other roles, including hosting four interview specials tied to major sporting events and appearing on network flagship highlight show SportsCenter and NBA programming.



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A Reminder

If you are new to AVS or the Hot Off The Press thread, don’t forget a number of valuable resources which are constantly updated for you near the top of the thread.

The daily and weekly Nielsen ratings are always available in the first post at the very top of the thread (Page 1).

The list of cancelled and renewed shows, along with those who have received full-season pickups for this year are in post #2.


The shows who have yet to premiere this year are in post #3.


A number of resources can be found in post #4…..here are some of the items you’ll find there:

Sports HD Schedules
Where to find the HD schedule for your favorite team -- in any sport

AC Nielsen 210 Market DMA Rankings for the 2006-2007 TV Season
Find out where your (and every U.S. TV market) ranks

Digital TV Info for all 210 Nielsen DMAs
The people at HDTV Magazine have supplied a link which tells who in each market is broadcasting digitally, from where and with how much power

Cable/Satellite Penetration By Nielsen DMA Market as of November, 2006
How many people have cable or satellite in each market?

FCC's Digital TV Info Resources

Now that DirecTV has cancelled bi-coastal HD Distant Network Station reception, here is the FCC fact sheet which may answer some of your questions about SHVERA and how it effects what we are -- or are not -- allowed to purchase.

All of this and much more is available in post #4 of this thread. You can go there directly by clicking here:



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The Business of Television
Time Warner Hopes to Avoid Sinclair Loss
By Linda Moss & Mike Farrell MultiChannel News 1/12/2007

Time Warner Cable and Sinclair Broadcast Group were still trying to finalize a retransmission-consent deal Friday, but the cable company didn’t expect to lose carriage of the broadcaster’s stations at Friday night’s midnight deadline.

The retransmission-consent extension Time Warner and Sinclair agreed to last month for former Adelphia Communications systems expires at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

But in an update issued at 4:45 p.m. Friday, the nation’s second-largest cable company was optimistic.
?At this time, we are still negotiating with Sinclair,? Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Maureen Huff said.

?We do not expect them to force us to stop retransmitting the signal at applicable stations at midnight.?

About 1 million Time Warner subscribers -- formerly Adelphia customers, mainly in New York, Ohio and Maine -- would be impacted if worse came to worse and Sinclair pulled its signals.



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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
HBO Panel—Best Intentions
By James Hibberd Television Week in the ?Critical Eye? blog Friday, January 12th, 2007

Normally HBO is the zenith of Cable TCA, but this year’s lineup is a disappointment.

No ?Rome? or ?Extras,? returning for their second and final seasons. No ?Deadwood,? returning for two, two-hour movies later this year. No ?Sopranos,? which is returning for its final nine episodes (it’s always fun to watch critics try to pry spoilers from impossibly dispassionate showrunner David Chase).

Worst of all, no Q&A executive session with master of the cable universe Chris Albrecht.

Instead, we have three entries from the ever-snoozy, yet always well-intentioned, HBO Films side of the company, where there’s never been a true story of societal outrage that wasn’t worth telling, usually aided by an A-list talent attached as executive producer.

There’s ?Longford? (controversial British politician who was a steadfast advocate for prisoner rehabilitation that zzzzzzzzz). ?Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee? (from ?Law & Order? exec producer Dick Wolf, it’s the tale of the culture extermination of the Sioux Tribe during the zzzzzzzzzzzz). And ?Life Support? (executive produced by Jamie Foxx, about the HIV crisis in the African American community where zzzzzzzzzz).

Surely a glut of Golden Globes nominations and HBO viewer contributions to the appropriate charities will follow.

It’s frustrating because the creative instincts at HBO are so strong. Yet HBO executives are intent on using the Films division to create a very deliberate halo effect—critical respect, awards, prestige. It gives potential subscribers a sense that HBO is (not TV!) something special, a service worth paying an extra $12 a month for. Then those subscribers end up watching ?Entourage? and ?Cathouse? like the rest of us.

Should HBO return to 1993 and produce titles like ?Attack of the 50 Foot Woman?? No. But there’s plenty of middle ground for smart genre films. Recently, HBO made a deal with ?Lost? executive producer J.J. Abrams, who’s arguably the hottest showrunner in television right now, and the perfect person to head up such a project. Unfortunately, the deal was for a series with ?prestige passion project? written all over it. It’s a drama set in a hospital cancer ward where zzzzzzzzz.



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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
If all docudramas were this good ...
By Aaron Barnhart Kansas City Star in his blog ?TV Barn Friday, January 12, 2007

The phrase ?drink the Kool-Aid? has been a part of our popular lexicon for so long -- and like everything else in our culture, deep-fried in irony so that you hardly recognize what it once was -- that, in a way, it makes the slaughter of Jonestown seem even more senseless and sadistic than had it simply sunk into oblivion, like the General Slocum.

At least that's my reaction to ?Jonestown: Paradise Lost,? a two-hour movie from the History Channel that makes astonishingly good use of the docudrama format as it relives the horror we could only imagine when, on that day in 1978, we heard that Jim Jones had led nearly 1,000 of his People's Temple followers to the grave.

?Jonestown: Paradise Lost? airs opposite ?24? at 8 p.m. Monday on the History Channel. While no one here is questioning the talent of Kiefer Sutherland, and ?24's? Emmy was long overdue, you simply must find a way to watch this movie. I saw the Flight 83 films (including the one Sutherland narrated), and I don't think I have ever been so devastated by dramatized fact as I have watching ?Jonestown.? (A PBS documentary on Jonestown by acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Nelson will air this spring.)

Rick Roberts plays Jim Jones in the reenacted scenes, which are skillfully braided through interviews and vintage film and audio, including rarely-seen films and audio from the People's Temple archive. Looking like Elvis — another pill-popping megalomaniac who would precede Jones in death by one year — Roberts decisively conveys the drug-induced paranoia that turned a charismatic San Francisco folk preacher into a Koresh figure and Guyana into his Waco.

But ?Paradise Lost? draws even more emotional heft from three eyewitnesses whose interviews appear throughout the film and each of whom barely escaped the bloodshed of Jonestown's last days: Tim Reiterman, a newspaper reporter who accompanied Rep. Leo Ryan to Jonestown; Vernon Gosney, a People's Temple member who made the full psychological loop that drove him into and then out of Jonestown; and, most heart-breakingly, Stephan Jones, the son of Jim Jones, whose candor and courage helped the filmmakers tell a story of fanaticism and ultimate abuse that will make you never want to use that phrase in jest again.

Besides, according to the Internet, it was Flav-R-Aid.



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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
Queer Eye says goodbye
Bill Goodykoontz's Arizona Republic Blog - January 12, 2007

How'd that happen?

I dunno, but they slipped it in somehow during the NBC Universal cable sessions this morning: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy will end its run on Bravo after the next season, which debuts this summer.

Raise your hand if you realized it was still on the air. Really? Do tell.

Obviously it's not the cultural phenomenon it once was, but man, back in the day, Queer Eye was on every magazine cover going, seems like. And in a good way. While the show has its silly aspects, and so much product placement it sometimes seems like a commercial instead of a TV show, it was, certainly at the beginning, one of the few positive portrayals of gay people on television. Don't sell that short. The fact that the guys' personality took the forefront instead of their sexuality was a huge plus. Even if that personality -- I'm thinking here specifically of Carson -- was incredibly annoying.

Comedy Central parties on

Boffo bash thrown by Comedy Central Thursday night.

Way too crowded, way too loud. Other than that....

Seriously, there was a decent star turnout. David Spade -- a local boy! (obscure Simpsons reference) -- was there for a time. Sarah Silverman, who has a new show on Comedy Central, came and stayed, as did the cast of her show.

Most of the cast of Halfway Home, another new Comedy Central series, was also there. (Missing: Oscar from The Office, alas.) Naked Trucker and T-Bones, both the name of a comedy act and their new upcoming show on Comedy Central, performed, and it was fall-in-the-floor funny, particularly when they complained about people not paying attention enough. (There were some particularly profane and hilarious references to dinner rolls.) Going to be hard for Sting and his lute to beat that, frankly, but I'm keeping an open mind.

Personal highlight for me was seeing the cast of Reno 911, one of my favorite shows (and an upcoming big-screen movie). Love those guys -- and they stuck around, always a bonus.

For those who keep up on the food front: regular fare, with this exception -- chicken lollipops. In truth, they were pretty regular, too. Some kind of curried chicken on a stick. I just liked the name.



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Originally Posted by fredfa
Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
GSN Unveils New Shows in Development
By Ben Grossman Broadcasting & Cable 1/12/2007

Without Prejudice?, a British import... Grand Slam, a game show featuring 16 winners from other game shows...

? The Box: a live, reality game show where contestants live and compete in a glass box in public view.

? Carry Your Weight: features teams of three people who each feature either beauty, brains and brawn. Conceived by actor Corbin Bernsen.

? Indecision: a hybrid of the game and talk genres

? Kerry’s Getting Married: a real-time show follows a woman’s search for a mate

? Camouflage: A game show of hidden word puzzles and trivia clues

? War of the Words: a vocabulary quiz show

Also coming up on the network is Cat-Minster: CFA International Cat Championship on March 27 and the National Vocabulary Championship on April 15.

And now you know why I only watch GSN's line-up of daytime classics via DVR instead of their original shows (except Chuck Woolery's Lingo when it airs new episodes)! Good God, what a bunch of losers these new shows sound like. I predict that, in a couple of years, GSN is going to make an aggresive bid for ther repeat rights of Deal or No Deal and replace their current primetime workhorse, Regis' Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, with Howie's show. Of course this is assuming that Deal will crash and burn from viewer fatigue in two years' time. If Deal is still going strong in 2008 and 2009 then NBC would be foolish to let repeats of it air on a non-NBCU channel.


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You know I rarely post early development stories, and in fact, discourage them.

That GSN post was for your eyes only, dad.


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The Business of Television
Iowa, Missouri Eye Mediacom-Sinclair Actions

By Linda Moss & David Cohen MultiChannel News 1/12/2007

The Iowa General Assembly scheduled a Jan. 18 hearing to review the issues in the retransmission-consent dispute between Mediacom Communications and Sinclair Broadcast Group, officials said Friday.

And Missouri Cable & Telecommunications Association president Greg Harrison hopes the same will occur in his state.

In Iowa, the Assembly’s Joint Government Oversight Committee set the session on the bitter battle between Mediacom and the broadcaster, which pulled its signals for 22 stations from the cable operator’s systems in 12 states Jan. 6.

?Iowans across the state have been unnecessarily inconvenienced by the discriminatory actions of Sinclair,? Iowa Cable & Telecommunications Association executive vice president Thomas Graves said in a prepared statement. ?It is clear to me that this disruption could have, and should have, been avoided. I am pleased that the leadership of the State Legislature agreed and scheduled this hearing. We are heartened to have received the support of members of both houses and both parties in Iowa’s General Assembly.?

A witness list for the hearing isn’t available yet.

As for Missouri, Harrison said in a prepared statement, ?Last week, 2 million viewers in 700,000 households were affected by Sinclair Broadcast Group’s unilateral decision to pull its 22 broadcast stations from Mediacom Communications cable systems in 12 states, including KSBI (Fox) in Caruthersville and KDNL (ABC) in Hermann.?

He continued, ?In 2005, a similar dispute resulted in the loss of carriage of KODE (ABC) and KSNF (NBC) in Joplin for 11 months, and last Thursday, cable customers in St. Louis lost access to the high-definition version of KMOV (CBS) when the cable company refused to submit to the television-group owner’s financial demands.?

He went on, ?It is obvious that these broadcasters’ unilateral actions have discriminated against Missourians and, most discouraging, they continue to ignore pleas not to make the consumer suffer. For example, Sinclair has refused to date the [Federal Communications Commission’s] strong recommendations to continue carriage and agree to binding arbitration, and ignored similar urgings of [Rep.] Roy Blunt [R-Mo.].?

Harrison concluded, ?As a result of Sinclair’s practices and the resulting price discrimination against companies serving smaller markets, we are asking that the Missouri General Assemblyconsider holding hearings to investigate the unreasonable tactics of out-of-town media conglomerates and to determine how Missouri consumers have been inconvenienced because of them. Furthermore, we are asking Missouri’s General Assembly and Gov. [Matt] Blunt to take appropriate action that will prevent any programmer -- whether it is a broadcaster or a cable network -- from discriminating against Missourians.?



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One would think, reading the above story, that some enterprising reporter somewhere will look up the political contributions made by MediaCom and Sinclair in Iowa and Missouri.

I am pretty sure I can guess which company has been more generous with the politicians.


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Originally Posted by fredfa
TV Notebook
Battling Cancer, Ebert Hopes To Return to Show Soon
By Jim Benson Broadcasting & Cable 1/12/2007

Roeper has been appearing with guest critics this season. The Sun-Times critic joined the show following the death of Ebert’s former partner Gene Siskel in 1999.

Originally Posted by VisionOn
That's good news. I may not agree with all of his views [Ebert's] but I miss his fairly well rounded approach to movies. The guest critics they've had on have been woefully one sided, especially the "serious" journalists who are only interested in art house and foreign language.
Roeper has risen to the challenge and actually outclassed a few of the best critics in the business (especially NY Times critic A.O. Scott). And man, does Roeper deserve whatever time off he gets for not only holding the fort in Roger's absence, but also the time he'll spend with Ebert when he returns to get the show back on track. This weekend should be a fun one because Kevin Smith (the only celebrity reviewer who "got it," unlike the ill-equipped-to-review judgements of Jay Leno and Aisha Tyler) will co-host with Roeper for the annual 'Worst of...' recap show. Wonder if Kevin will have the nutsack fortitude to pick his own Clerks II movie as a 'Worst of 2006' contender just so he can plug it!


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It is obvious that it's the government's job to make sure Sinclair doesn't inconvenience anybody.


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TV Review
You'll be havin' a laugh -- a second season of "Extras" returns Sunday on HBO
By Melanie McFarland, Seattle Post-Intelligencer - January 12, 2007

Every celebrity story has its ugly chapters, when a star is forced to compromise his self-esteem by appearing in forgettable flops or, worse, attaching himself to the worst dreck the entertainment medium ever vomited.

Getting your name out there is everything, see. That's what makes chasing fame such a thankless business, one requiring an iron stomach and an unflappable willingness to withstand all manner of humiliation.

Andy Millman is perfect for the job, although in this second season of "Extras" (10 p.m. Sundays, HBO) one wonders if the quest for celebrity won't beat him into a sidewalk stain.

Ricky Gervais's HBO comedy, a co-production with BBC, proves the mordant, merciless humor that made the "The Office" so original was not a one-shot fluke -- although that BBC series has without a doubt received far more attention.

Kind of appropriate, when you think about it; why should a comedy about those nameless faces populating films and TV backgrounds be front and center on HBO? The premium channel that has its cool quotient riding on "Entourage," not a chunky, forty-something guy who stammers his way through uncomfortable conversation.

We don't mean to imply "Extras" isn't cool. The second season has guest appearances by Orlando Bloom, Coldplay's Chris Martin, "Harry Potter's" Daniel Radcliffe and music legend David Bowie, and even without them in the mix, Gervais is about as edgy as television comedy stars get these days.

Spend 30 minutes with his pudgy, self-deprecating Millman, a middle-aged schlub who quit his day job because he was convinced he had "it," and you'll see why. Few other stars can write and play a kicked-in-the-mouth underdog as smartly as Gervais does here.

In season two, Millman doesn't just ask for humiliation, he attracts it. Desperate for attention, the "background artist" thinks his big break has arrived when his pilot script, "When the Whistle Blows," gets made into a series by the BBC.

But in classic TV industry fashion, the network meddles and strains it into catchphrase-driven dreck. Pandering to the lowest common denominator, "When the Whistle Blows" is rife with crass jokes and spit-takes. Millman's character is forced to wear huge glasses and a wig while cackling "Is 'e 'avin' a laugh?" every 10 seconds. Not even his imbecilic agent, Darren Lamb (series co-writer and co-creator Stephen Merchant), watches it.

In fact, desperate to find a positive review to share with Andy, he reads him a few lines from one on "Wind in the Willows."

Millions of other Brits watch it though, which is most unfortunate for Andy. That may grant him his wish, because he is famous ? famous for being the star of an abysmal sitcom.

This allows "Extras" to explore the various strata of fame and all its perils, because Andy is recognizable, but a star? Not hardly.

Moderate exposure means he and his delightfully dim best friend Maggie ("Ugly Betty's" Ashley Jensen) gain access to London's best spots, but that only makes it easier for the beautiful people to ridicule Andy to his face. Not even elder statesman David Bowie is above it, and he has enough accolades and style to know better.

Poor Andy makes the mistake of sidling up to Bowie at a posh bar and emotionally unburdening himself to him, thinking a fellow celebrity will understand his pain. Instead, Bowie cuts him off and, as if to remind him he's a peon appealing to an uncaring god, turns to a nearby piano and makes Andy's woes into a catchy ditty about a pathetic little loser who should off himself.

"He sold his soul for a shot at fame/ Catchphrase and wig, and the jokes are lame/ He's got no style, he's got no grace,/He's banal and facile! He's a fat waste space!"

Gervais established himself as a genius at supremely uncomfortable comedy long ago, but by making his sad sack the butt of the joke in "Extras" ? one lacking the shield of cluelessness David Brent had in "The Office" ? he gives the audience a way of empathizing with him while laughing at him and at his circumstances.

"If he hadn't put himself in that position…" we might think. "If he hadn't been unrealistic about his chances…"

Still, the reason we feel for Andy is because his experiences validate what so many of us think about celebrities, an idea driven home by grocery checkout celebrity rags and tabloid programs: One of the greatest spoils of celebrity is the license to act like a jerk with total impunity.

And "Extras" guest stars play along with gusto. Orlando Bloom transforms into an egocentric star obsessed with being a top-ranked hunk in magazine polls -- threatened, naturally, by "Pirates of the Caribbean" co-star and former People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive Johnny Depp.

"Harry Potter's" Daniel Radcliffe plays himself as a horny adolescent, swinging around an unrolled condom and hitting on Maggie by confiding that he's "done it with a girl, intercourse wise." This leads to a riotous exchange with Dame Diana Rigg ? the second funniest bit behind Bowie's nightclub act.

Gervais once hinted that these six episodes of "Extras" may mark the end of the series, which isn't unreasonable, since his version of "The Office" only consisted of 14 episodes and a wrap up special. He has since remarked that he and Merchant had such a terrific time with this second round that he may be up for a third.

Ordinarily, when a series creator is ready to end something, it's for the best to follow that instinct. Nothing ruins great series faster than continuing after the creators lose heart. But with "Extras," Gervais and Merchant continue to maintain a 100 percent success rate, and if they can find it in their hearts to go on, they should.

Television needs more comedy like theirs, and desperately. For the sake of elevating the medium, let's elevate "Extras" to the status of necessary viewing.



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In case dad1153 missed this news….
Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
GSN Specials
Announces the Airdates of Several Upcoming Documentary Specials
They Will Highlight Women of Game Shows, Great Game Show Moments and 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?'

[b]GSN News Release[/b[ January 12, 2007

PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 12 -- GSN, the network for games continues its devotion to the world of game shows with a series of special documentaries airing in the upcoming weeks. The schedule is as follows:

Sunday, January 14 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET) -- GREATEST GAME SHOW MOMENTS, hosted by Chuck Woolery

This special will highlight some of the greatest moments in television history. From hilarious host bloopers to outrageous occurrences such as Rip Taylor taking off his toupee in protest of a wrong answer on "Super Password," to amazing winning moments such as Dr. Joyce Brothers winning "$64,000 Question," GREATEST GAME SHOW MOMENTS will remind audiences that game shows have been a staple of American television since the advent of the medium. Interviewees in this special include Ken Jennings, Thom McKee, John Carpenter and Kevin Olmstead.

Sunday, January 21 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET) -- GAME SHOW HALL OF FAME: WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? narrated by Dana Mills

This special tells the story of one of the most successful game shows of all time, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" From its American premiere to the present, the special highlights John Carpenter, the first million dollar winner, as well as several of the behind-the-scenes players who helped make the show a hit. Interviewees include Regis Philbin, Meredith Vieira, Michael Davies and numerous other producers, Carpenter and other former contestants.

Sunday, January 28 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET) -- THE WOMEN WHO CHANGED GAME SHOWS, narrated by Vicki Lawrence

This documentary features a number of women who, in different ways, would make their mark on the game show landscape. Highlights include: Betty White has appeared on game shows across six decades; Arlene Francis becoming the first female game show host; Dr. Joyce Brothers rising to fame after winning on "The $64,000 Question;" Anne Robinson adding a new dimension to being a game show host on "The Weakest Link and Meredith Vieira assuming the host position on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" and, of course, Vanna White marking her place in game show history as a game show model with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Interviewees in this special include Betty White, Meredith Vieira, Dr. Joyce Brothers and Arlene Francis' son, Peter Gabel.

Sunday, February 11 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET) -- CELEBRITIES AND GAME SHOWS, hosted by Chuck Woolery

Celebrities and game shows have gone hand in hand since the beginning of the genre. The celebrities brought viewers to the game show and the game shows provided the celebrities with exposure on national television. This special will feature some wonderful celebrity moments as well as highlight several famous actors who got their start by appearing on a game show, including Pee Wee Herman, Kirstie Alley, Paul Newman, Sally Fields, Tom Selleck, Robert Wuhl, Bob Saget, Burt Reynolds and Steve Martin.

Sunday, February 18 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET) -- INSIDER'S GUIDE TO WINNING GAME SHOW MILLIONS, hosted by Chuck Woolery

Winning big money on a game show is a fantasy shared by millions of people. The amount of people actually pulling it off has never been greater than it is today. This special will reveal tips from big winners and game show insiders to teach viewers the "golden rules" one needs to become a game show champ. Interviewees include "Jeopardy!" winner Ken Jennings, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" winner John Carpenter, Wink Martindale and producers Phil Gurin ("Lingo") and Scott St. John ("Deal or No Deal").


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Unlike most TV critics (excluding the one's not attending) Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Melanie McFarland just got to the Winter Tour.

Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
Hello Pasadena, Goodbye "Queer Eye"
Melanie McFarland's Seattle Post-Intelligencer "TV Gal" Blog - January 12, 2007

It's a tradeoff, leaving beloved Seattle for prickly Pasadena every six months.

These twice annual trips for the Television Critics Association Press Tour can wear on the soul, as anyone knows from reading past cries for help from Southern California. Oh, there are bonuses a-plenty. When I left, snow still blanketed the ground. Here, it's sunny and relatively warm. The digs are nice -- home, for the next 10 days, is the Ritz Carlton.

Understand, though, that this is a gilded cage. Executives and reps dance around the truth as much as possible. Actually, a couple are quite trustworthy -- two, three maybe -- but most excel at lying their toned butts off.

There are stars, but mostly midseason stars, cast in series that would have premiered in the fall if their networks thought they were up to snuff.

Our work day stretches to 16 hours or so with no weekends, and as for the subjects to be reported on? Well, I recently left a "working" lunch where we were instructed to turn our attention to the stage and welcome....show cats.

This is the part where you say "BOO HOO HOO, you great big baby." Yeah, I hear you. In spite of the kvetching, Press Tours are infinitely helpful in terms of getting a handle on what's in, what's out, and what can only be called nutty.

For example, Tim Gunn is decidedly in. Bravo announced today that he'll be helping the common folk make it work on his own series, "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style." (His book, "Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style," is due out in May.)

As for when it arrives, Bravo didn't share that information, but did confirm news we could have guessed anyway, that "Project Runway" will have a fourth season. No premiere date for that, either. Network reps were tight-lipped about that and more importantly what impact, if any, Gunn's new series will have on his future involvement with "Runway."

What we do know is that "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," the snazzy little series that paved the way for "Runway" (and "Top Chef," and Bravo's latest addition, "Top Design," coming Jan. 31 at 11) is officially "owt," as Heidi Klum would say. The Fab Five's last hurrah, a ten-episode fifth season, arrives this summer.

And one day after Paula Abdul thrilled Seattle with her, shall we call it, intoxicating appearance on KCPQ's morning program, Bravo announced it would be sharing her life with us in a documentary series tentatively called "Hey Paula."

If you're like me, you may be thinking to yourself that the combination of Abdul's series and "Being Bobby Brown" on the same channel might be enough to give you a contact high if you sit too close to the television. But, a Bravo rep sorta confirmed an earlier report that Mr. Whitney Houston's series had been cancelled.

Except she preferred not to use that term, explaining that the show hasn't been on the air or in production, so how could it be cancelled? Rather, think of it this way -- like Whitney, it has left home and is not coming back.

Ah, Hollywood. Here we are again.

And now I'm off to dance with HBO.


Quick hits from HBO: Premiere dates for "The Sopranos" and "Entourage"

After being pushed back once or twice, HBO finally has a firm date for Tony Soprano's last ride. "The Sopranos" will return April 8 at 9 p.m. with the sixth season's nine remaining episodes, in which we suspect many characters will get what's coming to them -- including, perhaps, television's favorite mob boss.

Series creator David Chase will write and direct the final episode.

Following Jersey's most notorious mob men, the boys of "Entourage" are set to come back on the same night at 10 with eight new episodes. That means we'll get Tony and Ari every Sunday for about two months.

Looks like it's going to be a fabulous April.



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Originally Posted by fredfa
In case dad1153 missed this news….
Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
GSN Specials
Announces the Airdates of Several Upcoming Documentary Specials
They Will Highlight Women of Game Shows, Great Game Show Moments and 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?'
Fred, it's so obvious you don't watch GSN regularly or follow gameshows (all of them, not the big-money primetime one's that get ink) at all. GSN bombards its viewers for promos for every one of these specials at least three times per half-hour, during commercial breaks as well as during the "credit crunch" at the end of the show (which sends us diehards crazy because we'd rather hear the voices of Gene Wood, Don Pardo, Bill Wendell or Johnny Gilbert reading those outdated Rice-a-Rony and Turtle Wax plugs).

And I would have posted this press release on this forum ages go but you've made it perfectly clear that anything that isn't HD news or relates to a small cable channel nobody watches is not welcomed. As much as I love GSN it barely gets a 0.3 rating as a primetime average (according to the latest monthly cable network chart from Cableworld using Nielsen numbers from two months ago) so I don't bother posting about it here. Thanks for the momentary reprieve though, I'm loving it.


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TV Notebook
NBC OKs fourth hour for 'Today'
Will Begin in the Fall
By Michael Learmonth Variety.com January 12, 2007

NBC Universal has given a greenlight to a fourth hour of "Today," a bid to extend one of its most profitable franchises into a time period now dominated by syndicated cooking and talkshows.

The fourth hour (Daily Variety, Aug. 7) is the latest experiment into how far the network can push the "Today" franchise, which celebrated its 55th year last week and has spent 11 years atop the ratings.

NBC notified its affiliated stations late Friday that the network intended to make a fourth hour available to them starting in the fall and plans to unveil it Wednesday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena.

NBC won't announce talent on Wednesday, but sources said the net is only looking at internal talent including expanded roles for third-hour hosts Ann Curry and Al Roker, as well as Campbell Brown and Natalie Morales.

A fourth hour will mean leaning more heavily on White House correspondent David Gregory, a frequent "Today" contributor. "Access Hollywood's" Billy Bush and Maria Menounos are also in the mix.

The network is rushing to make the announcement ahead of any talent decisions to coincide with the National Assn. of Television Programming Execs conference in Las Vegas where stations shop for syndicated programming.

"We ask that you look at the value of an additional hour of 'Today' to your daytime schedule before you commit to any new or extended syndicated product," wrote John Damiano, NBC's exec VP of affiliate relations.

NBC's decision to go ahead with a fourth hour coincides with a dearth of successful syndicated fare available to local stations. NBC Universal recently cancelled its syndicated "Megan Mulally Show," which will go off the air in three weeks.

Carrying a fourth hour of "Today" means turning another hour of local time to the network, never an easy decision for a local TV station, which depends on local advertising revenue.

"Most affiliates are generally pleased with the third hour of 'Today,' but there isn't much of an appetite for taking another local hour and making it national," said Marci Burdick, exec VP of broadcast and cable for Schurz Communications and chair of the NBC Affiliate Board. "They'd have to give us an hour somewhere else."

Canceling the struggling daytime drama "Passions" and shifting that network time to 10 a.m. would make the decision more palatable to affiliates.

The network has cultivated a different look and feel for the third hour of "Today" and a fourth hour would continue in that vein, competing against a mix of syndicated fare targeted at women such as "Rachael Ray," "The Tyra Banks Show" and "Judge Judy."

For the last 20 years, NBC has steadily expanded the hours programmed under the "Today" banner. It added a Sunday edition in 1987 and a Saturday in 1992. The third hour was added in 2000 and has steadily grown in the ratings.



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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
God bless Dick Wolf
By Alan Sepinwall of the Newark Star-Ledger in his TV blog ?What’s Alan Watching? Friday, January 12, 2007

Sorry for the slowness of the blog today, which has less to do with any lingering jet lag than the lack of interesting events and quotes on my first full day here. But thankfully, HBO brought Dick Wolf, the czar of the "Law & Order" empire to talk about producing the miniseries version of "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee," and Dick did what Dick does: he gave good quote.

A reporter noted that this was Dick's first collaboration with HBO, and asked whether he might be interested in more. Dick noted that his contractual obligations to NBC/Universal make that difficult, but raved about the creative experience at pay cable.

"I would love to send some network people in to intern there for a while," he quipped, to great laughter and relief from the roomful of previously-bored critics.

"That was a little bit flip," Dick hedged moments later when a reporter asked him to expand the thought. "There's s a question of the attention to detail on every level at HBO is different than a network, but a network has 22 hours of proramming taht has to be filled every week. But I can say that it is wonderful to be with people whose only aim is to get on the screen the best possible film that they can get up there. Networks have a tendency, they're in the numbers game, the daily numbers game, and that leads to decisions that are not necessarily artisitc or what is best. There's also a totally different time frame. This picture was basically fast-tracked at HBO."

He seemed awestruck by the production values on "Rome," which begins its second and final season Sunday night.

"You look at it and you go, 'Boy, they really didn't care how much it cost.'"



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The premiere of 24 was awesome.

It's crazy, crazy I tell ya, what happens. Just amazing. These guys know how to make a gripping, exciting hour (or hours in this case) of television.

In other news, good to see so many new potential HD channels being launched during this year. Sci Fi HD gets me really excited.


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Television Critics Winter Tour Notebook
HBO Goes to Hell
James Poniewozik's Time "Tuned In" Blog - January 12, 2007

Last summer at the TV critics' tour, there was a minor brouhaha when a reporter charged that many of the TV journalists left a conference room before the presentation by Roger Ailes of Fox News--the implication being that liberal TV critics were staging a walkout against the conservative Ailes.

Conservatives who were offended at the time would have enjoyed the HBO presentation today. After a packed crowd sat for the first two panels, probably a third or so left the room before the panel on Friends of God (the documentary on fundamentalist Christians by liberal Alexandra Pelosi, Nancy's daughter).

The fact is, press tour sessions are packed back-to-back-to-back, and critics will often take off to write or do other business during sessions they figure they can afford to miss, politics notwithstanding.

That said, there's no denying that HBO is not exactly red-state territory. Somebody asked Pelosi whether being the daughter of the Democratic Speaker made it hard to get access to Christian groups. "It was a lot harder to walk into a church and say, 'HBO,'" she said. "They call it 'Hell's Box Office.'"

After her, diehard libertarian comic Bill Maher pretty much made her subjects' case for them. Asked to comment about President Bush's surge plan in Iraq, Maher said it was a sign of "arrogance on a level that I think you can only get from faith." Later, he added: "I understand that [Bush] prayed a lot about Iraq. But I don't think that he learned a lot. Maybe the American people will learn a lesson from this the next time they go to the polls. Vote for the guy who reads, instead of the guy who prays."

It's Not TV Press Tour, It's HBO Press Tour

Today is HBO day at the cable press tour. It would be impolite to say so, since today also featured presentations by AMC, GSN, Sundance and sundry other abbreviations and nouns. But charmed as we were to see the world's greatest cat at the GSN luncheon--to promote the network's airing of the Cat-Minster cat competition, we met last year's winner, an enormous dust mop of a Blue Persian--we were really anticipating HBO's three-hour roadshow this afternoon. Among the news: Entourage and the final episodes of The Sopranos will debut April 8. The Sopranos is not doing a panel, but there will be one for David Milch's John from Cincinnati, a.k.a. The Show They Canceled Deadwood For.

In miscellaneous press tour news:

* Compounding the problems for folks like me who confuse Robert Vaughn with Robert Wagner, the latter will be guest-starring in season 4 of the former's Hu$tle on AMC. Or the other way around.

* I may actually have to start watching Fuse. The music network that actually plays videos signed up a sketch-comedy show from The Whitest Kids U'Know, a Brooklyn comedy troupe whose funny but button-pushing skits you can find in advance on YouTube. Decorum prevents me from embedding "The Hitler Rap" here, but here's one of the more inoffensive bits (click link below for a "YouTube" clip).

* Finally, at WE's panel for Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter, the female-wrestler turned bounty hunter said she had to serve in her profession nearly two whole years before someone asked to do a reality show about her.



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Washington Notebook
GOP Congressmen Request Mediacom Hearing
By Ira Teinowitz, TV Week - January 12, 2007

Four GOP Congressmen are asking for a House committee hearing over broadcast retransmission payment issues as the fight between Mediacom Communications and Sinclair Broadcast Group attracts more Congressional attention.

The media companies have been fighting over Sinclair's demands that Mediacom start paying fees to retransmit its local stations, which Mediacom has been airing for free. Mediacom took Sinclair's stations off its cable systems in 12 states Jan. 5 after being unable to reach a retransmission agreement. Mediacom has accused Sinclair of being unreasonable in demanding high fees while Sinclair has suggested that cable companies should pay broadcast media content providers as they pay cable program content providers.

Earlier this week Iowa's delegation to Congress which includes Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin and Republican Sen. Charles Grassley wrote both sides urging they resolve the issues in their dispute by accepting binding arbitration.

Sinclair's Iowa stations include KSM-TV, a Fox affiliate in Des Moines, and CBS affiliate KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids.

Now Reps. Nathan Deal, R-Ga.; Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C.); Charlie Norwood, R-GA.; and, Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., have asked leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for a hearing to look into the issues being raised.

American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka in a statement today applauded the latest call for a hearing noting not only the Mediacom-Sinclair fight but also a statement made this week by Les Moonves, CEO of CBS Corp., that CBS is continuing to look for payments from cable operators.

"Clearly, the important Congressional doctrine of 'localism,' ensuring that local signals are carried, has been pushed aside as broadcasters allow their signals-which are provided free of charge by the government and the taxpayers-to go dark while they press their cash demands on these same consumers," he said.



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1. CSI - Las Vegas
2. Law and Order - SVU
3. Dexter
4. Sopranos
5. Myth Busters


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Cable Favorites
  1. "Battlestar Galactica" - Scifi
  2. "Dexter" - Showtime
  3. "Dr. Who" - Scifi
  4. "Eureka" - Scifi
  5. "Brotherhood" - Showtime

Guilty Pleasures
  • "Little People, Big World" - TLC
  • "Big Love" - HBO

"The Sopranos" is another great show, but with a much too sporatic new episode schedule to rate on the list. "Battlestar Galactica" and "Dexter" are heads and shoulders above the rest.


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Let's preface this by saying I watch a lot of network programming in HD and not that much on cable channels in SD. Will watch anything in HD, but with Charter Cable here in STL the non network HD offerings are limited.

1)The Closer-TNT
2)Flip This House-A&E
3)Flip That House-TLC
4)Dog the Bounty Hunter-A&E
5)Extreme Engineering-Discovery HD

Guilty Pleasure


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Welcome back to the thread, Bradduh -- I am going to have to figure out a way to get you to post even when there is not a poll!


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Nielsen Notebook
A great resource

Frequent contributor RussTC3 has a great blog where he files (almost) daily the Nielsen overnights. But he adds far more than just last night’s numbers, he also puts them in some context.

Here is a sample from today:

Broadcast TV Ratings for Wednesday, December 20, 2006

CBS takes the win with their mostly repeat filled lineup. A ?CSI: NY? repeat was tops for the night in all three main categories.

CBS finished in first place for the evening with a 6.6/11 household rating and 9.92 million total viewers. Among adults 18-49, the Eye earned a 3.0/9 rating, also good enough for first.
? Last Week:
? Households -8.8/14 rating [#1]
? Viewers -13.62 million [#1]
? A18-49 -4.3/12 rating [#1]

? 8:00 & 8:30 PM: CBS aired their only new program of the evening ?The King of Queens? (5.5/9 HH rating, 8.27M viewers, 2.8/9 A18-49 rating) followed by a repeat of ?The Class? (4.3/7 HH rating, 6.28M viewers, 2.1/6 A18-49 rating).
? Week-to-week numbers (8:00 PM airing of ?The King of Queens?):
? Households - 5.8/10 to 5.5/9
? Viewers - 9.08M to 8.27M
? A18-49 - 3.1/9 to 2.8/9

? 9:00 PM: a repeat of ?Criminal Minds? (6.9/11 HH rating, 10.45M viewers, 2.9/8 A18-49 rating) showed great repeat numbers, en route to a win for the hour in households and viewers, with a first place tie among adults 18-49.

? 10:00 PM: CBS then ended the evening with a repeat of ?CSI: NY? (8.0/14 HH rating, 12.02M viewers, 3.7/11 A18-49 rating) to very solid results. The program won the hour, and night, in all main categories, growing an impressive 1.57M viewers, 16% in households and an even more impressive 28% in adults 18-49 from its lead-in. It did all that while at the same time dropping just a tad over 20% from a new episode airing last week. Again, very impressive numbers for a repeat.
NBC followed in second place for the evening with a 5.4/9 household rating and 7.94 million total viewers. Among adults 18-49, the Peacock placed second with a 2.7/8 rating in the demo.
? Last Week:
? Households - 7.1/12 rating [#2]
? Viewers - 11.11 million [#2]
? A18-49 - 4.4/12 rating [#1]

? 8:00 PM: Night three of five for NBC’s ?Identity? (5.6/9 HH rating, 8.82M viewers, 3.0/9 A18-49 rating) perked back up some after losing a chunk of viewers during its second episode Tuesday. The program was first on the hour in all three main categories. It’ll be interesting to see if ?Identity? can reclaim more of its first night viewers and become a solid enough hit to warrent a return. Check out the numbers below for the three night performance for the show.
? Day-to-day numbers (Mon-Tue-Wed)
? Households - 7.5/11 to 5.4/9 to 5.6/9
? Viewers - 12.18M to 8.22M to 8.82M
? A18-49 - 4.5/11 to 2.9/8 to 3.0/9

? Week-to-week timeslot numbers (first hour of ?The Biggest Loser? finale):
? Households - 6.6/11 to 5.6/9
? Viewers - 10.35M to 8.82M
? A18-49 - 4.0/12 to 3.0/9

? 9:00 PM: NBC got a good numbers out of an edition of ?Dateline NBC? (6.1/10 HH rating, 8.77M viewers, 2.9/8 A18-49) which improved upon its lead-in by 9% in households while dipping ever so slightly in viewers (50,000) and adults 18-49 (3%). The performance was good enough for a tie in the key demo for the hour and second place in the other two categories behind a ?Criminal Minds? repeat.
? Week-to-week timeslot numbers (second hour of ?The Biggest Loser? finale):
? Households - 8.3/13 to 6.1/10
? Viewers - 13.07M to 8.77M
? A18-49 - 5.4/14 to 2.9/8
? 10:00 PM: Closing the evening for NBC was a repeat of ?Medium? (4.6/8 HH rating, 6.24M viewers, 2.2/7 A18-49).

Fox finished in third place for the evening with a 4.4/7 household rating and 6.74 million total viewers. Among adults 18-49 the network earned a 2.3/7 rating, enough for a third place finish.
? Last Week:
? Households - 4.6/7 rating [#3]
? Viewers - 7.36 million [#3]
? A18-49 - 2.6/7 rating [#5]
? 8:00 PM: Fox began the night with the first of two repeats of ?Bones? (4.4/7 HH rating, 6.68M viewers, 2.2/7 A18-49).

? 9:00 PM: Which brings us then to the second repeat of ?Bones? (4.4/7 HH rating, 6.80M viewers, 2.4/7 A18-49 rating) which managed to actually tick up some for the network from the first repeat (120,000 viewers, even in households, 9% in adults 18-49).
ABC followed in fourth place for the evening with a 3.4/6 household rating and 4.86 million total viewers. The alphabet also placed fourth among adults 18-49 with a 1.8/5 rating in the demo.
? Last Week:
? Households - 3.4/6 rating [#4]
? Viewers - 4.89 million [#4]
? A18-49 - 1.6/4 rating [#4]

? 8:00 PM: ABC filled the canceled ?Show Me the Money? timeslot with an hour (repeats) of ?George Lopez? (3.3/5 HH rating, 4.65M viewers, 1.6/5 A18-49 rating). It’s probably worth noting (as you can see from the numbers below) that ABC had a stronger showing from its weak but canceled game show last week.
? Week-to-week timeslot numbers (?Show Me the Money?):
? Households - 4.4/7 to 3.3/5
? Viewers - 6.40M to 4.65M
? A18-49 - 1.7/5 to 1.6/5

? 9:00 PM: ABC filled the canceled ?Day Break? timeslot with a repeat of ?According to Jim? (3.8/6 HH rating, 5.58M viewers, 2.1/6 A18-49 rating) followed by another repeat of ?George Lopez? (3.4/5 HH rating, 4.80M viewers, 1.8/5 A18-49 rating). The hour performed better than the last episode of ?Day Break? (number below).
? Week-to-week timeslot numbers (?Day Break?):
? Households - 2.7/4 to 3.6/6
? Viewers - 3.90M to 5.19M
? A18-49 - 1.4/4 to 1.9/5

? 10:00 PM: ABC ended the evening with an edition of ?Primetime Live? (3.3/6 HH rating, 4.75M viewers, 1.7/5 A18-49 rating) which turned in some pretty poor numbers, especially when you compare it to NBC’s ?Dateline? (3.58M less viewers, 49% less households and 41% less adults 18-49 viewers).
? Week-to-week numbers:
? Households - 3.1/5 to 3.3/6
? Viewers - 4.36M to 4.75M
? A18-49 - 1.8/5 to 1.7/5

The CW was left with only a 1.3/2 household rating and 1.76 million total viewers for a now common fifth place performance. Things were no different among adults 18-49 where the new network finished in fifth with a 0.7/2 rating in the demo.
? Last Week:
? Households - 1.5/2 rating [#5]
? Viewers - 2.10 million [#5]
? A18-49 - 1.0/2 rating [#5]

? 8:00 to 10:00 PM: The CW seems perfectly content airing the weak performing British import ?Top Model: British Invasion? (1.3/2 HH rating, 1.76M viewers, 0.7/2 A18-49 rating) which if you can even believe it, actually managed to dip even further from last week’s attrocious numbers.
? Week-to-week numbers (the ANTM season finale was last week):
? Households - 1.5/2 to 1.3/2
? Viewers - 2.10M to 1.76M
? A18-49 - 1.0/2 to 0.7/2

The ratings for all the programs that aired last night are viewable below in chart form:


Note: Fast National are used when comparing week-to-week numbers, while Final Nationals are used when comparing year-to-year/episode-to-episode numbers, unless otherwise noted.
Source: Fast/Final National Ratings

Russ’s great work can be found here:



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1. Battlestar Galactica
2. The Wire
3. Dexter
4. The Closer
5. The Shield

Picking only 5 is pretty tough, it's hard to leave off Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck, The 4400, Monk, Psych, Eureka, Big Love, The Sopranos, Brotherhood, Weeds and probably a few others I can't think of right now.

How about a poll for that dying breed, the mini-series, for that I would go with Sleeper Cell. NBC's Kidnapped would have made an outstanding mini-series, still hoping for a DVD release of that one.


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  1. Battlestar Galactica
  2. The Wire
  3. Dexter
  4. The Shield
  5. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Guilty Pleasure:
  • South Park


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Cable Favorites
  1. Daytime GSN Line-Up (Game Show Network): timeless repeats of Super Password, Password Plus, Body Language, Match Game, Newlywed Game, Press Your Luck and many a forgotten classic gameshow is what cable is all about people: rediscovering throwaway network programming that is still entertaining long after most people have forgotten about it. I'd rather watch Family Feud than Deadwood any day/time of the week (and yes, I saw the first five episode of 'Deadwood' when it premiered before giving up on trying to get any kind of joy or amusement from it).
  2. 'Battlestar Galactica' (Sci-Fi): realistic, intelligent, unflinching in its portrayal of flawed-but-relatable characters and almost quasi-philosophical. I've never been a fan of outer-space science fiction shows (never watched any of the Star Trek shows or movies) but this one is special precisely because it's more than just laser firefights and gadgets. It's the humanity of the characters (or, in the case of the Cylons, their attempt at discovering their potentially non-existent human side) that makes this a show with universal appeal.
  3. 'The Sopranos (HBO): a cruel twist of irony is that the anticipation with which every new 'Sopranos' episode is received is bound to disappoint viewers expecting the world. This is a show in which not a single glance, action, expression, word or attitude from any of its characters is wasted or casual. Having revisited Season 6 Part 1 on DVD (after seeing the season unfold in real time and watching the same episode several times during the week) reveals eons of subtle references, mannerisms, in-jokes and philosophical underpinnings that continue to make 'The Sopranos' one of the finest TV shows in the history of the medium. Endlessly fascinating even when David Chase makes Vito's homosexuality an anchor storyline despite most viewers' objections. We are monkeys indeed Mr. Chase, and we can't wait for you to s*** all over us so we can play with it some more!
  4. 'South Park' (Comedy Central): in its 11th season Matt Stone and Trey Parker continue to defy odds by pulling a 'Sopranos.' By upsetting their fans (ask hardcore fans what they thought of the season finale with the Pee-Wee League Hockey storyline) while also satirizing taboo subjects (Oprah's repressed sexuality via her talking private parts holding people hostage at gunpoint) and taking revenge on those that have upset them (Isaac Hayes) to the tune of the show's highest ratings in its history Parker & Stone are on a roll.
  5. 'Real Time with Bill Maher' (HBO): despite the whining of conservative pundits about the "liberal media" there isn't an out-and-proud liberal comedy show on TV. Sure, Daily Show, Colbert and the network late night shows skew left in their comedy/guest bookings but they have the need to pussy-foot their tendency by also skewering the left whether it needs to or not. Only Bill Maher's Friday night gathering of left-leaning actors, reporters and conservative-but-too-liberal-for-Fox-News (i.e. Andrew Sullivan) pundits is out there to keep us libs sane from the politically correct humor of network and mainstream cable. A weekly therapy session for frustrated leftists that need to hear 'Bush sucks' hammered long and hard, not a kiddie-oriented take on the man's stupidity.

Guilty Pleasures
  • Fox News Watch (Fox News)
  • South of Nowhere (The-N)

I like to pretend Fredfa is Eric Burns trying to keep all of us politically-inclined posters in check. And 'South of Nowhere' is quite an attempt to merge O.C. sensationalism with teenage anxiety.


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Cable Favorites

1. The Wire - HBOHD
2. Deadwood - HBOHD
3. Dexter - ShowtimeHD
4. The Shield - FX
5. The Closer - TNTHD


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Welcome to "Hot Off The Press", Tanasi!

I am glad we could lure you -- at least temporarily -- out of the Nashville OTA thread!


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Washington Notebook
ACA’s Polka: Martin Misguided
MultiChannel News 12/21/2006

American Cable Association CEO Matthew M. Polka had plenty to say about the Federal Communications Commission’s decision on cable rates and local franchising.

On cable rates, Polka said, ?The answer is very simple. Who controls the rates of the content on cable, satellite and telco video today? Not the operators, but the media-conglomerate programmers, whose rates and increases far exceed the data reported by the FCC on cable rates. Why are satellite’s rates the same or higher than cable’s? Why did [Verizon Communications’ FiOS TV] just announce a 7.6% increase for January??

Polka continued, ?The truth is that more competition on the retail level is not going to do anything to control or moderate consumers’ rates until something is done to control wholesale programming rates, terms and conditions forced by the big programmers onto all video platforms.?

Moving on to local franchising, the trade-group head said, ?These new rules upset the balance of competition, take authority away from local governments and give the Bell companies a free pass on serving all subscribers in a market. Through these rules, the FCC is ratifying the red-lining practice of building out service in only the wealthiest areas.?

Polka concluded, ?The ACA’s nearly 1,100 members in all 50 states are not giant companies that need to be regulated against to help AT&T and Verizon -- the nation’s largest telecom companies -- compete. Rather, the ACA’s members are independent providers that have worked hand-in-hand with local governments as partners to bring the highest level of advanced video, broadband and telephone services to all of our customers in our smaller markets and rural areas. It’s patently absurd that companies like Verizon and AT&T can’t compete under the same rules these smaller companies deal with everyday. But that’s the point: The big Bell companies don’t want to compete under the same rules. They want a leg up, and that’s what the FCC has given them.?



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Originally Posted by dad1153
Thanks kizzo. I'm sure the CW executives were not trying to drive black viewers away from their network when they came up with their Fall '06 schedule. Unfortunately they fell into the same trap that kept UPN black-oriented programming a niche': programming all their black shows into an "urban" block on the same night. That might have worked on a night when there's limited competition, but on Sunday night? That's when the really good TV shows are all over the networks and viewers (of any race!) are spread pretty thin between all of them. Even now, on Mondays, the CW's black shows are suffering by being programmed opposite good TV shows like the multi-ethnic (and entertaining as hell) Heroes or the CBS sitcoms.

Keep posting kizzo, and thanks again for reading!
No problem!!

I'm glad you posted that article... Heroes is indeed a very good show, and has a very diverse cast on top of it. So it can attract a huge audience.

Overall. I am not surprise with the big 4 attracting more blacks. They have had some very good shows this past year.


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1. The Wire HBO

2. The Closer TNT

3. Entourage HBO

4. The Sopranos HBO

5. The Shield FX

Guilty Pleasure

Daily Show with Jon Stewart


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Cable shows:

1. Deadwood (HBO)
2. Rescue Me (FX)
3. Psych (USA)
4. The Closer (TNT)
5. Dexter (SHO)

Guilty pleasure:

Monk. (USA)
It didn't use to be, but it's suffered a constant and severe decline on all levels. Yet I still record it, in the hopes it might be better one week.


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A couple of reviewers say Friday's "Monk" episode is very good.


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Well, in my opinion....enter, fredfa (fun-killer)
Originally Posted by fredfa
But let's not take off from their diametrically opposed viewpoints to start espousing our own political likes or dislikes here on Hot Off The Press. In this case read (or not) the posts...but let's keep further comments off the thread, please....
exit fredfa, fun now killed...

Poop. I had so much to say.


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Cable Favorites:

1. Subterranean (MTV2)
2. 30 Days (FX)
3. Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
4. Sons & Daughters (coming soon to UHD - does that count?)
5. Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Cartoon Network - Adult Swim)
6. Pardon the Interruption (ESPN) - in case Sons & Daughters doesn't count

Guilty Pleasure
Degrassi (The N - Noggin)
Newlywed Game (GSN)


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Cable Favorites

1. Deadwood
2. The Shield
3. The Closer
4. Monk
5. Dexter

Guilty Pleasure - Rome


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Originally Posted by fredfa
Welcome to "Hot Off The Press", Tanasi!

I am glad we could lure you -- at least temporarily -- out of the Nashville OTA thread!

going national, at least temporarily..........

Your efforts are appreciated. I check this thread several times a day!!


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Cable favorites:

1) Entourage - HBO
2) Weeds - Showtime
3) The Wire - HBO
4) Robot Chicken - Cartoon Network
5) My Boys - TBS

Guilty Pleasure:

10 Items or Less - TBS


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Cable Favorites
If you're just doing original programming...
1. The Colbert Report (Comedy Central, 11:30 PM/All Day Every Day, M-TH)
2. Drawn Together (Comedy Central, Random Times)
3. Battlestar Galactica (Sci Fi, Sundays at 10 (?) )
4. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, M-TH at 11/All Day Every Day)
5. The 4400 (USA, Summers)
Guilty Pleasure: Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List (Bravo, Random Times)

As for repeats...: (But they're first-run to me!)
1.Angel (TNT-6AM, 7AM Weekdays)
2.Buffy: The Vampire Slayer (FX, 7AM, Weekdays)
3.The X Files (TNT-Like all night)
4.Family Guy (TBS/Adult Swim at 11PM)
5.Dead Like Me (HDNet, Wednesdays at 8)

Guilty Pleasure--Felicity, but it's never on, so I couldn't tell you what channel

Cable shows I'd like to see, but haven't gotten into:


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1: Nip/Tuck
2: The Shield
3: Rescue Me
4: Dexter
5: Weeds

others in no particular order

Battlestar Gallactica, Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis, and The 4400
and the recent SF channel mini series The Lost Room was fantastic


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Cable favorites:

1) Dexter - Showtime
2) Battlestar Galactica - SciFi/UHD
3) Big Love - HBO
4) Firefly - UHD
5) Monk - UHD

Guilty Pleasure:

Entourage - HBO


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1. Battlestar Galactica, SciFi
2. Waking the Dead, BBC America (unfortunately we probably won't see Series 6 until 2008)
3. Midsomer Murders, Biography Channel
4. Rides, TLC

Guilty pleasure:

1. Iron Chef America, Food Network

Honorable mentions:

NFL's Greatest Games, ESPN
Master Series, GAC
Stargate SG1, SciFi (but before it jumped the shark with the Ori...and yes a scifi show can jump a shark, it just has to do it in micro gravity while going backwards in time)


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Cable favorites:
  1. The Shield
  2. Battlestar Galactica
  3. The Wire
  4. Entourage
  5. Rescue Me

Guilty Pleasure:
  • World Poker Tour


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TV Notebook
Hope for the Holidays: Bob Woodruff at ABC
By J. Max Robins at the Broadcasting & Cable ?bcbeat? blog Dec. 21, 2006

I’d been sitting in David Westin’s office yesterday for about 10 minutes ? I’d been invited by for an informal chat ? when I saw a familiar face at the ABC News president’s door. ?How you doing?? asked Bob Woodruff. ?You going back to Michigan for the holidays? I’m staying put.?

Momentarily speechless--in part from choking up-- yet grinning like a kid on Christmas morning, I managed to say hello. Almost a year since Woodruff and his cameraman Doug Vogt nearly lost their lives covering the Iraq War and there was the ABC newsman, who grew up near me in Detroit, looking and sounding great.

Six of the seven monitors (the seventh was tuned to ESPN) in Westin’s office had President Bush’s press conference on live. We all chatted about Bush’s strategy going forward and how he was handling the questions from the press corp. I was still in a state of disbelief. There was Woodruff, engaged as ever, and happy to be talking shop. At times during our short conversation he seemed to struggle for a second to find the right word or phrase, like somebody with a little jet lag. But make no mistake ? this was Woody. The little scarring on the side of his face only gave more character to his matinee idol good looks. He was truly same as he ever was: smart, funny and charming.

After the press conference, we talked for a minute about the primetime special that he’s prepping in conjunction with the memoir he’s writing with his wife, Lee. It's about the ordeal he and his loved ones went through coping with the injuries, including severe trauma to his brain, which nearly took his life.

Before Woodruff left, he chatted for a moment about B&C’s West Coast Bureau chief Ben Grossman. The ABC Newsman knew him from when they used to play soccer together a few years ago when Ben was working at TV Guide and lived on the East Coast. I asked Woody if he was feeling good enough to start playing soccer. ?Those days are over,? he said. ?I promised Lee. Only tennis with that little ball that won’t do too much damage if it hits you in the head."

Believe it--seeing Woodruff doing so well was one terrific holiday gift.



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TV Notebook
Second chance at life for 'The Nine'?
ABC thriller victim of a ratings flameout after lead-in ?Lost' vanished, might reappear
By Scott Collins Los Angeles Times Staff Writer December 24, 2006

Hank Steinberg is trying to keep the faith. But it's tough to wage war against doubt when the show you've poured the past 18 months of your life into has just disappeared from the TV schedule, and no one knows when it's coming back.

Steinberg is executive producer of "The Nine," ABC's drama that was supposed to have been one of the big hits of the fall season. It was the sort of project that was seemingly blessed from the get-go. Critics loved the pilot, a tense thriller about hostages rescued from a 52-hour bank heist who emerge as a close-knit but emotionally battered group. Steinberg, moreover, clearly knew how to make a hit show; his missing-persons drama "Without a Trace" is in its fifth season on CBS. The large ensemble was headed by veteran TV actor Tim Daly ("Wings"), who played a heroic cop with a troubled past. And to help ensure that viewers at least checked out "The Nine," the network bestowed a golden 10 p.m. Wednesday slot after the hit drama "Lost."

You don't need to toil on a soundstage to guess what happened next. "The Nine" tanked. This wasn't a case of a show starting out strong, as is common, and then having the ratings slowly waft downward. The relatively low numbers for the "Nine" pilot - 11.9 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research - sent jaws dropping all over town. Once "Lost" was over, the audience fled as if watching ABC at that hour had been deemed harmful by the surgeon general. And it just got worse from there. The network glumly took note as the show steadily sunk in the ratings, week after week, and finally yanked it late last month. The last episode, on Nov. 22, was watched by a mere 4.1 million.

A chance at resuscitation

Some outlets have reported, erroneously, that the series is officially canceled. And Steinberg can understand why skeptics may assume the worst.

"This may be hard for people to believe, but I believe they'll bring it back for another shake," he said last week. "They've been very supportive all the way through."

The network says it has every intention of a return for "The Nine." ABC executives are looking at running the remaining six unaired episodes starting in March or April, which would give the show's small regiment of loyal fans a chance to tie up some loose plot strands. But the network didn't order any new episodes from Warner Bros. Television, which means that crew members are out looking for new jobs. And some observers say it's iffy whether ABC will even bother burning off the episodes, given the series' dismal performance.

"I don't know if they can bring it back," said Laura Caraccioli-Davis, executive vice president at Chicago ad firm Starcom.

Of course, TV history is filled with examples of acclaimed shows that struggled to find an audience, such as NBC's crime drama "Boomtown" and ABC's family show "Once and Again." But "The Nine" fell further, and faster, than most.

The most vexing question remains: What the heck happened? How did such a promising show whiff?

"If we knew," ABC Executive Vice President Jeffrey D. Bader said, wryly, "it would never happen." He added that network executives remain happy with the creative side of "The Nine."

"Too good for television"?

That opinion is widely shared. Caraccioli-Davis dubbed the pilot "the most riveting piece of TV I'd seen in a long time." But in retrospect, she added, that first episode may have proven too self-contained for many viewers who like episodic dramas. "It seemed almost too good for television, almost like a movie," she said.

She also wonders whether viewers were looking for sheer escapism this fall, as evidenced by the strong numbers for NBC's "Heroes." "Maybe 'The Nine' was a little too real," she said. It's also possible that viewers mistook the show for a heist thriller rather than what the producers intended, a twisty character drama about a group of friends getting a second whack at life after a near-death experience.

Steinberg, for his part, was initially pleased to have his show follow "Lost," but now wonders whether it would work better paired with a "softer" character drama like "Grey's Anatomy."

But, ultimately, theories that presume to explain failure are often no more satisfying than those aimed at illuminating success. "I'm sure there are 20 factors" behind "The Nine's" ratings fizzle, Steinberg said.

One of the assumptions of the TV business is that if a show delivers the goods creatively, today's TiVo-armed, tech-savvy viewers will find it, even if it airs at 2 a.m. and has a marketing budget of zero. That's what many executives like to think, anyway, but it's simply not true.

A matter of opinions

Who says that the audience always makes aesthetic quality the driving force behind its viewing habits? If that were the case, one would assume that NBC's game show "Deal or No Deal" would die from lack of attention (it's doing just fine, thanks). NBC Universal, in fact, even runs a Web site, brilliantbutcancelled.com, dedicated to acclaimed shows that couldn't cut the mustard with viewers. And who decides what's "good," anyway?

TV execs, media buyers and critics and columnists are hardly a representative sample of Americans.

Not that any of that helps Steinberg, who's struggling to stay positive about one of the most frustrating episodes of his career.

"I always say the show is about second chances," he said. "Hopefully, we'll get ours."



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TV Notebook
ABC Offers Online Viewers a Christmas Gift: More Shows
By Anne Becker Broadcasting & Cable 12/21/2006

ABC is beefing up the shows on its online video player starting on Christmas. The ABC.com streaming player will add Brothers & Sisters and What About Brian episodes for the first time ever. Also starting on Dec. 25, the player will offer all of the season-to-date episodes of Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy and Ugly Betty, in addition to those from the two series new to ABC.com.

So far, the ABC.com player has carried just four episodes per series and will do so again after each series' first episode in January. Joining the player Jan. 3 is midseason new series The Knights of Prosperity. The comedy's first act and a Knights music video will be available to stream beginning Dec. 25.

ABC.com has so far logged 30 million episode starts on its streaming player, according to the network. The network, last May, became the first to start offering its primetime series' episodes for free online.

Separately, blogosphere darling Amanda Congdon, who recently began videoblogging for ABC News is set to launch a new online series tomorrow. In Starring Amanda Congdon, she will videoblog each Friday for video-sharing site blip.tv about her life and various interests - similar, according to a representative, to her videoblog musings for her former company, Rocketboom.

Congdon, who also recently signed a development deal with HBO, decided to do the new show after being approached by blip.tv COO Dina Kaplan, who had had talks with potential sponsors, according to the spokesperson. The show will initially be sponsored by video chat community Paltalk, and Dove, which is promoting a contest for its new Dove Cream Oil Body Wash.

Dove is asking visitors to create 30-second ads for the product, which launches in February, and plans to air the winning spot during this year's Oscars. Entrants are being asked to create a script for the ad, and Congdon will shoot and star in the winning entry. As part of the deal, she will also participate in live online video chats enabled by Paltalk.



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The Business of TV
NFL Net will allow preview on Cablevision
By Pal J. Gough, The Hollywood Reporter December 22, 2006

The NFL Network told Cablevision on Thursday that it would let the cable operator offer the network as a free weeklong preview under the same terms Time Warner Cable agreed to last week.

TWC's deal calls for the NFL Network to be placed, temporarily, on a digital tier that reaches 75% of its customers. The offer, made in a letter to Cablevision from NFL Network CEO Steve Bornstein, gave a deadline of today for a response by the Long Island-based cable operator so that the network can approve the necessary paperwork.

Cablevision could not immediately be reached for comment.

Thursday's offer follows a heated exchange between the two companies that played out Wednesday. The NFL Network declared that Cablevision had declined its free offer; Cablevision denied that it had declined it but instead accepted the carriage of the Texas Bowl game between Rutgers and Kansas State.

A little less than two weeks ago, NFL Network offered a free preview of the channel from Dec. 24-30 (including the Rutgers game) to TWC and Cablevision. Both cablers have declined to carry the NFL Network on their systems, even after this year's start of regular-season NFL games. TWC and the NFL Network agreed to terms this week but Cablevision had not.



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