Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Netflix HD

Brian Barrett looks at Netflix's push toward 4K, ultra high-def, and beyond.

Black Actor Challenges

An anonymous black actress describes the challenges of working in TV.

Discovery Calms Down

Brian Steinberg says Discovery Communications plans to shift its channels away from sensationalistic stunt programming and reality TV. But don't worry, Naked and Afraid will still be around.


Alan Wolk sees pay TV's TV Everywhere apps as well positioned to deal with OTT services.

Charter Buys Bright House

Charter Communications will buy Bright House Networks to consolidate cable even more.

Social Media Service

Mike Farrell looks at how cable operators are using social media outreach to bolster customer service.

Daytime Emmy Nominations

Daytime Emmy nominations are out, and CBS and General Hospital have the most to celebrate.

CAA Agents Defect

In a huge shakeup in the agency world, a group of top CAA comedy agents have departed for UTA, and more will reportedly follow, along with big clients like Will Ferrell and Chris Pratt. Matthew Belloni considers the possible legal fight to come.

Bloodline Renewed

Netflix wants a second season of Bloodline.


The Americans has been renewed, as has New Girl.

Noah's Tweets

Incoming Daily Show host Trevor Noah is coming under fire for jokes he has tweeted. Sonia Saraiya predicted a right-wing backlash yesterday, and adds more thoughts today. Sam Adams considers how tweets matter. Alyssa Rosenberg proposes how Noah can save his job. Dave Schilling puts this in the context of the state of insult comedy. Andrew Wallenstein says Comedy Central should defend Noah's comedy rights...and shortly after he posted that, Comedy Central indeed offered a statement of support for Noah.

Monday Ratings

Marc Berman's summary:
- Winners: Dancing with the Stars (ABC), The Voice (NBC)
- Losers (excluding repeats): The Following (Fox), the Night Shift (NBC)

Network numbers from TV By the Numbers. Final ratings. Cable ratings.

Analysis from Fienberg.

Casting Comedy

Stephen Rodrick profiles casting director Allison Jones and her significant impact on comedy.

Dunham & Jewish Identity

Sarah Todd analyzes Lena Dunham and modern Jewish identity.

Reality Show Synergy

Andy Dehnart describes two synergistic reality shows coming from Esquire and Oxygen, both following the same group of comedians, with one show focusing on their performing lives and another on their home lives.

Black Characters on Soaps

Aaron Foley highlights the legacy of diversity in daytime soap opera, which is now being touted as a revolution in prime time.

Walking Dead Success

The Walking Dead's finale on Sunday set a ratings record. And as Ben Kuchera notes, it has become an advertiser's dream. Brian Lowry considers where the finale left things narratively and in terms of the franchise. Ed Martin looks at the big night AMC had on Sunday.

Limited Series

Anthony Crupi says the networks are still enthusiastic about limited, sort-run series despite some ratings struggles.

Netflix Universality

Christopher Hooten reports on Netflix's goal to release content simultaneously worldwide.

Vue vs. Apple TV

Andrew Tonner argues that Playstation Vue is better positioned than cable and Apple TV for the future.

Good TVeets

Crowdfunding Changes

An SEC ruling change opens up film crowdfunding for investment, not just donations.

WWE Entertainment

Pilot Viruet argues that WWE offers entertainment that surpasses dramas and sitcoms.

Old & Young Shows

Tony Maglio charts the 50 oldest- and 50 youngest-skewing broadcast network shows. Oldest? 60 Minutes. Youngest? Family Guy.

Black Crime Coverage

A study of New York news found disproportionate coverage of black crime on local newscasts.

NBC News Changes

Joe Flint reports that NBC has agreed to stop airing national ads in its overnight rebroadcasts of Nightly News due to advertiser complaints, which also means those broadcasts won't factor into evening ratings. And David Bauder reports on the challenge new NBC News head Andy Lack will have with fixing MSNBC.

Mogul Control

Cynthia Littleton looks at how Rupert Murdoch, Brian Roberts, and other media moguls control their empires.

Religious TV

Meredith Blake reports on the growth in religious-themed projects.

Coach to Return

This news broke last week, but I'm blogging it now to affirm that it is really real: NBC is bringing Coach back.

Sally's Life

Hazel Cills appreciates how Mad Men has brought us the evolution of Sally Draper.

Complex TV

Jason Mittell explains why television storytelling has gotten more complex.

Diversity Issues

Deadline's Mike Fleming, Jr., attempted an apology for the "ethnic castings" article of last week. But Howard Sherman says this doesn't finish the matter and wants to hear from author Nellie Andreeva. Jeff Yang follows up his own story on diversity in TV by offering more charts on how diversity is enhancing TV's bottom line, which Michelle Castillo's reporting also affirms.

Monday, March 30, 2015

MVPD Consolidation

Thirteen companies now control 95% of pay TV subscriptions in the US, with more mergers likely to come.

OTT Coverage

Richard Greenfield argues that Netflix still has growth potential within the increasingly crowded OTT world. Karl Bode thinks skeptical cord cutting analysts are ignoring piracy. Sling TV is having to blackout some programming on channels it carries due to rights issues, and subscribers are unhappy they weren't warned about this. Colin Dixon covers a study on how impatient millennials may be with faulty OTT streams. Lauren Goode explains Apple TV, and Peter Kafka reports Comcast hasn't heard from Apple yet about the Apple TV web service.

NewsRadio History

Uproxx offers an oral history of the great and glorious NewsRadio.

The Wiz

NBC has settled on The Wiz as its next live musical, and it will be followed by a Broadway adaptation.

HBO-Vice Deal

HBO and Vice have signed a deal to launch a daily newscast, and Andrew Wallenstein sees this as a game-changer for TV news.

Mad Men Coverage

Alan Sepinwall talks to Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, as the show prepares to draw to a close. Steven Perlberg highlights some of AMC's marketing gimmicks for Mad Men's end. Jeanine Poggi considers AMC's post-Mad Men strategies. Vikram Murthi argues that Don Draper is not an antihero. A blogger has collected links to reviews of each episode of Mad Men.

New Daily Show Host

Trevor Noah will take over The Daily Show from Jon Stewart. Dave Itzkoff reports. Josef Adalian has analysis. Alex Weprin reports that the show will go in a new direction, and David A. Graham says this is a globalization attempt. Georg Szalai talks to Comedy Central's president about the choice. Andy Greenwald offers info on who Noah is. Tim Grierson thinks the hire is a great idea, Merrill Barr says it's brilliant, and Whitney Friedlander lists five reasons why this is a good choice. Tim Goodman considers the impact this will have on late night. Arit John says this will impact America's image of Africa, as Noah is South African, and South Africans are reportedly excited about Noah's selection. If you're not familiar with his Daily Show work, you can catch a few of Noah's segments on YouTube. Noah is part of a wave of non-American hosts.

Good TVeets

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Downton to End

Downton Abbey will be done at the conclusion of its next season. It's official now.

Comcast-TWC Timeline

Jon Brodkin says we can expect a Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger decision this summer.


Matt Yoder says ESPN's coverage of WWE events signals pro wrestling's move into mainstream sports.

Mad Men Elevator Scenes

John Jurgensen offers detailed analysis of elevator scenes in Mad Men.

The Problematic Jinx

Sam Adams sees negatives in The Jinx's possible influence on documentaries to come.

Season's Lessons

Ed Martin highlights lessons learned from this season's hits and failures.

Wednesday Ratings

Marc Berman's summary:
-Winners: Survivor (CBS), Modern Family (ABC)
- Honorable Mention: The Goldbergs (ABC), Criminal Minds (CBS)
- Fading: American Idol (Fox)
- Losers: The Mysteries of Laura (NBC), Supernatural (CW), Nashville: On the Record 2 (ABC)

Network numbers from TV By the Numbers. Final ratings. Cable ratings.

Analysis from Spotted and Fienberg.

Empire & Black Drama

Wesley Morris covers Empire in the context of the state of blackness in dramas today.

Trans Turning Point

Craig Tomashoff says we're at a turning point for transgender characters and stories.

Streaming Assessment

James Poniewozik considers how streaming services could change our TV experience.

Comedy Ambition

Jason Zinoman says new comedies are trading jokes for narrative ambition.

Agency Fees Questioned

Gavin Polone calls out the agency packaging fee as unjustified (and explains what it is, if you're not familiar with it).

Upfronts Outlook

Suzanne Vranica and Joe Flint say we should expect upfronts declines.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tuesday Ratings

Marc Berman's summary:
-Winners: NCIS (CBS), The Voice (NBC), NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)
- Honorable Mention: The Flash (CW)
- Promising: iZombie (CW)
- Disappointing: Undateable (NBC)
- Losers: Repeat After Me (ABC), One Big Happy (NBC), The Mindy Project (Fox), Forever (ABC), The Night Shift (NBC)

Network numbers from TV By the Numbers.

Analysis from Spotted and Fienberg.

Vessel Launches

Todd Spangler describes what the new Vessel video service offers, as it won't be traditional TV shows and movies.

Moonlighting's Meta Legacy

Greg Cwik says Community has Moonlighting to thank for pioneering its meta style.

Nielsen Streaming Measurement

Gerry Smith reports that Nielsen will offer viewing data about network series (not originals) on Netflix and Amazon by summer.

Cable Still Rules

Geoffrey A. Fowler insists that cable TV is still the better option over OTT services right now.

Cable Engagement

Toni Fitzgerald highlights the cable shows with the most dedicated viewership based on engagement measurements.

Streaming Establishment

Emily Steel notes that Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu now represent the old guard of streaming services, as new competitors arise.

Looking Done?

Rumors are swirling that HBO is canceling Looking but will produce a wrapup film.

Update: Looking has indeed been canceled, with one last special to come.

"Ethnic Castings"

If you missed what the stir is all about in Good TVeets today, it's this: Nellie Andreeva at Deadline reports that there's a backlash brewing among Caucasians against casting for diversity this pilot season. You can check Good TVeets for how that went over on Twitter, including a lengthy response from media scholar Kristen Warner, who has a book coming out soon on race and casting. Also Shonda Rhimes was not pleased. Sonia Saraiya points out what's wrong with Andreeva's piece and the claims it represents. Luvvie also responds, as does Jai Tiggett.

Good TVeets

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


The annual Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference is this week, and I'll be in attendance throughout. That means posting might be sporadic here, but I'll try to keep up (depending on how the hotel wifi is, as always).

If you'd like to follow the conference events on Twitter (or mute them :), the hashtag is #SCMS15. There are also some Twitter accounts dedicated to coverage of the conference, including @CJSCMS for general observations and @CJSCMSm for live-tweet coverage of TV Studies panels and workshops, while @CJSCMSc is for film panels.

Silly Animation Decline

Charles Kenny says the rise of animation targeted to older audiences has meant a decline in more light-hearted forms.

UKS & Trauma

Emily Nussbaum analyzes the underlying theme of rape survival in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Best Series Emmy

Matt Brennan advocates for a single Best Series category at the Emmys.

Gotham Aesthetics

Thomas West offers an aesthetic analysis of Gotham.

Comedy + Time

Todd VanDerWerff argues that the longer running times on Yahoo have helped make Community funnier, something more comedies could benefit from.

DirecTV Suit

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a lawsuit against DirecTV over early termination fees.

Cable Ratings

Toni Fitzgerald compares top cable ratings to broadcast network results.

Discovery Bundle Pressure

Rebecca McClay reports that Discovery Communications is feeling pressure from OTT services to shrink bundles.

Net Neutrality Suits

The lawsuits against the FCC's net neutrality rules have begun. Brian Fung reports. The FCC's funding could be under threat from this.

X-Files Revival

It's official: The X-Files is coming back, with a six episode order. Merrill Barr says this is about Netflix. Brian Phillips adds thoughts.

The Jinx Coverage

Kate Aurthur digs up deeper holes in The Jinx. Devin Faraci argues that the timing of the second interview doesn't matter.  Robert Greene is critical of the series. Jonathan Mahler sees entertainment and journalism in tension during the series.

Monday Ratings

Marc Berman's summary:
- Winners: Dancing With the Stars (ABC), The Voice (NBC)
- Honorable Mention: Scorpion (CBS)
- Losers (excluding repeats): The Following (Fox), The Night Shift ( NBC)

Network numbers from TV By the Numbers. Final ratings. Cable ratings.

Analysis from Spotted and Fienberg.

Streaming Coverage

Peter Kafka reports on the NFL's plans to stream a game next year; Will Richmond has analysis. Colin Dixon looks at the growing power of OTT platforms like Roku. Gary Bourgeault questions Apple TV's viability (registration required to read the whole article). Netflix has launched in Australia; Michael Lallo has analysis from the Australian perspective.  Mark Serrels details the pricing.

Good TVeets