TV


Time Warner’s ‘TNT’ cable network has picked up ‘Southland’ from GE’s NBC/Universal. The series had 7 episodes last season and 6 episodes had already been filmed for this Fall before NBC pulled the plug. I’m just glad that the show will get another chance. If you missed last season you can catch up before the new episodes air. If the 13 week period goes well then maybe, just maybe we’ll get to see another season of ‘Southland’.


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The Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning. You can find a full list here. I would say nothing too surprising, Heath Ledger was nominated for beast supporting actor, and ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ was nominated in multiple categories including best Picture-Drama. There are several of these films I haven’t seen but that is my early pick for the movie to beat this upcoming award season.

On a totally weird and only at the Golden Globes note, Tom Cruise was nominated for Best Supporting Actor as well. What movie you might ask? ‘Valkyrie’? No, how about ‘Tropic Thunder’. It seems the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has tried to remain relevant and edgy but I think that nomination sticks out as bizarre. He’s up against his ‘Tropic Thunder’ co-star Robert Downey Jr., Ralph Fiennes (The Duchess), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt), and Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight). Any guesses who will actually win that one?

As far as TV and other nominations go. I hope ‘Wall-E’ cleans up the animation category and Tina Fey and everything ’30 Rock’ takes home a statue. I’d be fine if ‘Weeds’ won but nobody else in their categories is worth my time. Lastly, a shout to Neil Patrick Harris for his nod in ‘How I Met Your Mother’, way to play it the other way.

Oh, and if anyone still cares the Grammy nominations were announced last week. Talk about an irrelevant award.


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FYI:

Analog transmissions of all TV stations in New York City will be turned off for two minutes beginning at 5:59 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28, Ion Media, which organized the test, announced Tuesday. The test is aimed at educating the public about the planned switchover to digital TV on February 17. In a statement, Ion Chairman and CEO Brandon Burgess said, “By addressing viewers’ concerns early through these tests and our ongoing education campaign, we are ensuring that no viewer will be left behind.”


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This one has me thinking maybe I’ve donated too much to the Obama campaign. ’Senator Barack Obama has become the first presidential candidate in 16 years to buy a half-hour of prime time network television for a campaign infomercial.’ Come Wednesday, Oct. 29, a week before the election, Obama has completed deals with CBS and NBC to show a half-hour program about his candidacy. Fox is on the fence because if there is a game six of the World Series he’d be out of luck, and ABC has yet to finalize a deal but is expected to shortly.

Maybe since I wasn’t alive when television first came out and ‘half-hour commercials were far more common during the early days of television’ that explains why I had no idea JFK did this and Nixon bought two hours of time on election eve in 1968. Then the cost was $400,000. Now it is predicted that each network would have generated around $1 million in commercial revenue for these half-hour time slots so the total bill for the Obama campaign could be easily north of $4 million. Luckily for Obama the networks are forced to keep to the ‘lowest unit cost’ for all political ads as required under federal law (that gets a little complicated but basically politicians get the lowest rate a network has sold for the particular show they are buying). The last time this happened was by billionaire turned politician Ross Perot in 1992.

No word on whether John McCain will also try this same buy, but due to his restrictions in spending from taking federal money he might not have the funds for such a costly maneauver.


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I don’t know how I feel about this…maybe it’s because most of the holograms I’ve seen have been kind of funny brown-green colors, and viewable only from a limited angle.  But researchers have been making breakthroughs in holographic technology which could one day allow us to create holographic television.

 Dr. Nasser Peyghambarian, chair of photonics and lasers at University of Ariozon’s Optical Sciences Department (check out the stylish glasses the guy on the homepage is wearing) has said scentists have been able to make updateable three-dimensional displays with memory.  The ability to have a rewritable holographic medium is one of the first critical steps needed to make holographic television a reality.

For even more awsome images and graphics, as well as a ton of numbers that don’t make any sense, check out Dynamic Holography for scientific uses, military heads up display and even someday HoloTV Using TI’s DMD, a paper from the University of Texas Soutwestern Medical Center.  I dig the really high-tech holographic television coupled with images drawn in MS Paint with Clip Art helicopters.  Man I love Clip Art!

I could see how a HoloTV could be pretty sweet so long as the viewing angles were wide enough for people to sit around the living room and enjoy, and assuming that they made it so that there were accurate color representations on the screen…or in the air…or whatever it would be.  They’re a long way off it sounds like, so I’m sure they’ll work that kind of thing out before we ever see one of these hit the market.  

And who knows…once we have the TV, we might not be too far off from the Holodecks featured in Star Trek. Sweet!  


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Not that Tina Fey wasn’t busy enough these days winning all those Emmy awards for ’30-Rock’ while single-handily bringing back ‘SNL’ into relevant pop-culture. No, now she’s going to write a book too. “According to two publishing officials with knowledge of the negotiations, Little, Brown and Company will release a book of humorous essays by the 38-year-old Fey.” Even though I’m generally one to spend more time reading web articles than I am to read something in book form this is a book I’ll definitely want to pick up

Fey has proven that no matter what medium you work in if you make the content awesome people will still flock to it. Ratings for the premiere episode with Fey making her first foray into the Palin impersonation saw a 46% jump in ratings compared to the same episode last year. The top viewed Tina Fey video from SNL has already seen more than 3.2 million views. Count up the top 3 of those clips and you have over 7 million views. That’s almost as many people as the ’9 million people [who] tuned in to prime-time programs on the top five English-language broadcast networks the night they aired last week, a 4.3% decline from the first week of the 2007 TV season, according to Nielsen Media Research.’

Keep it up Fey, I know I can’t get enough ’30-Rock’ and I’ll be watching SNL tonight so I can see you, Queen Latifah and someone else make some sense of last Thursday’s VP debate.

Since SNL’s embed code isn’t working properly if you want to check out last week’s skit, or want to find tonight’s skit after it airs just click here.

 

UPDATE:

About 51 percent of viewers who saw at least one of the two Saturday Night Live skits featuring Tina Fey as Sarah Palin watched online, according to a survey by Solutions Research Group and reported today (Friday) by Advertising Age. The survey noted that of these, 23 percent watched it on YouTube; 17 percent on NBC.com, and 4 percent on Hulu.com (jointly owned by NBC and News Corp). 


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The first market in the U.S. is making the change to digital-only broadcasting today.  Now don’t be fooled by the cheesy seven-foot switch that FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin and Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo toggled up. The switch was symbolic only and not actually connected to anything. Wilmington is the nation’s 135th-largest market and the five commercial stations in the region made the switch at noon EDT today.

Oh so corny

Oh so corny

Wilmington is intended to act as a guinea pig for the upcoming digital transition in February of 2009. This switch is estimated to affect 13 million households and only 8% of the population of Wilmington. If those people haven’t been paying attention, or watching TV at all recently, they will see the following message across their screen: “If you are viewing this message, this television set has not yet been upgraded to digital.” Hopefully though the last four months have reached everyone in the region and this first in the nation switch can go off without a hitch.

If you are one of those 13 million affected you can go here to get your $40 coupon for a converter box. Or,  upgrade to cable, I’m sure Comcast won’t complain.


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Canadian’s often feel overshadowed by American media. I mean, aside from Bryan Adams and Alanis Morissette, Canadian pop stars are fewer and farther between than their American counterparts.

But now Reuters reports that Canadian’s who have been rubbed wrong by the lack of Canadian generated porn, and their boredom with American porn, can anxiously await the launch of the Northern Peaks adult pay-TV channel. It will be “Canada’s first adult video channel offering significant Canadian adult content.” Canadian regulators just approved the channel.

What’s more significant is that while Canadian regulators require 15 percent of content to be Canadian-generated on channels, Norther Peaks is going to have no less than 50 percent of Canadian-generated content. This will likely spur a large number of auditions to star in new channel content–and of course a large collection of “auditions” and “outtakes” for later use on the channel or direct-to-DVD production.

Most interesting is this though:


“Northern Peaks will be restricted to certain types of programming including long-form documentaries, dramatic series, feature films, game shows, mini-series, sitcoms and made-for-TV movies.”

So, let’s just think of this for a few minutes…adult pay channel content in the form of:

  • Long-form documentaries (a. “long-form” hahah b. “documentaries”??)
  • Dramatic series (aka porn with too much dialog)
  • Game shows (what are the prizes??)
  • Mini-series, sitcoms, etc (can we see a new take on “Twin Peaks”??)

Sorry if that was a bit immature, but I couldn’t resist. Here is an interesting hook however: a featured Xtube [NSFW] users amateur hour show. Xtube is a Canadian-based company, so this completely makes sense and would make for great cross promotion.


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3 days before her 85th birthday Golden Globe and Emmy award winning actress Estelle Getty has passed away. Getty’s longtime caregiver said:

 ”Sadly, today July 22, 2008 at 5:35 a.m. Pacific Time, we said our last good-byes to our little friend Estelle, who passed away and made her journey to the great beyond. Although it was a trip that she never wanted to take, she went gracefully, in the comfort of her own home, surrounded by her family and her very loving care-givers. Estelle’s legacy will live on and on through the comedy and laughter she gave to us all, which will forever keep us laughing out loud…  Estelle was a fighter. She always stood up for the underdogs, fought for equality for all, and always pictured a world filled with “Love and Laughter” – her most favourite catch phrase. Estelle, we love you and will miss you dearly. We pray that you are met at the Pearly Gate with open arms and a warm welcome by all who have passed before you…. You have touched my life, and the lives of so many others who will never forget you.”     

Even though Getty played the eldest member of the ‘Golden Girl’s she was the second youngest. Getty is survived by her two adult sons from her marriage to Arthur Gettleman who passed away in 2004.Here now is a clip from the show that made her famous. Enjoy, laugh, and remember. 

   


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CBS 

Magid Media Labs, working for CBS Interactive, released a study that shows people who watch TV shows online are also watching them on broadcast networks. What, the online component won’t cannibalize the television audience? Well, who’dathunk that? Oh yeah, everyone! Not only does the internet not take away viewers from broadcast TV but it also adds viewers to shows they might never have caught before. By giving the viewing control back to the audience 35% surveyed said they used ‘the internet as a means of checking out shows that they have not seen before and are therefore likely to view them on TV as a result of the added exposure.”

By making content more accessible it increases awareness, and if the show is any good, interest and ratings. I’ve never seen an episode of ABC’s ‘Pushing Daisies’ on my TV. Honestly I don’t even know what day of the week it was on (Wednesday maybe?) but I’ve seen every episode of the show. I wouldn’t miss it. Very rarely do you find me, and according to ratings most of the population over the summer, sitting inside watching TV in the evening. Instead we’ll watch the shows when we find the time. I’ll watch commercials online no problem, I’d have to watch three times as many if I watched these shows on air anyway. I might as well be able to pick and choose when I watch them.

So, keep it up. Keep putting new shows online. Worst case scenario is you end up getting fans like me who’ll be annoyed that their favorite shows go into hibernation all summer. I guess that’s why we have premium cable channels and shows like ‘Weeds’, to fill the gaps.


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