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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Americans Praise

Emily Nussbaum appreciates the bleakness of The Americans.

NFL Blackout Rule

The NFL is dropping its practice of blacking out local game broadcasts when the stadiums don't sell out, at least for next season.

Scandal & Black Female Desire

Kristen Warner discusses Scandal's "Olitz" pairing and the affect of black female desire. (Note: this article is behind an academic journal paywall.)

Indecency Fine

The FCC has fined a TV station in Roanoke for a fleeting image of porn in a news broadcast.

Looking Coverage

Bent highlights five posts calling for HBO to renew Looking. Tim Teeman figures it's too late to save it, and Andy Greenwald considers why Looking hasn't broken out to a wider audience. And Sonia Saraiya talks to Daniel Franzese about playing an HIV-positive character.


Cade Metz says the new OTT options are opening the gates to cord cutting. Oriana Schwindt covers what cutting the cord could cost you. Harry A. Jessell covers how local stations are dealing with these online moves. Amy Schatz says Comcast's TWC merger could be helped out by the new streaming services, and Jeremy Bowman thinks HBO Now could benefit Netflix. Will Richmond writes the article he says the mainstream media will write about HBO Now in May.

Sunday Ratings

Marc Berman's summary:
- Winners: 60 Minutes (CBS)
- Promising: The Last Man on Earth (Fox)
- Losers: Bob’s Burgers (Fox), The Good Wife (CBS), Battle Creek (CBS)

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

Analysis from Spotted and Fienberg.

Good TVeets

Sunday, March 22, 2015

No Dodgers Deal

There's still no deal for carriage of the Los Angeles Dodgers' regional network beyond owner Time Warner Cable. Claire Atkinson and Josh Kosman note the big loss TWC is taking on the Dodgers rights deal due to the carriage issues, but TWC disputes this report.

New Bundles

Dave Morgan considers what could happen to bundling as more OTT services arrive, and Andrew Wallenstein says March Madness highlights this issue right now.

GLAAD Media Awards

GLAAD handed out media awards last night; Transparent and How To Get Away With Murder were TV winners.

NewsRadio Praise

Todd VanDerWerff explains why NewsRadio was the best sitcom of the 1990s. (It really was.) Libby Hill highlights ten representative (i.e. perfect) episodes.

Anthology Era

Screenwriter Jonathan L. Davis is glad that television storytelling has diversified to embrace the serialized anthology drama.

Documentary Prominence

Matthew Gilbert covers the current wave of documentary popularity on TV. And Richard Sandomir highlights sports documentaries as key for sports television today.

Saturday Ratings

Marc Berman's summary:
- Winners: Nothing
- Losers: The night overall…as usual.

Network numbers from TV By the Numbers.