Sunday, January 31, 2010

Trades Discussion

At paidContent, Ken Sonenclar analyzes the tumult within the world of industry trade papers and online sites. Also make sure to read the lengthy comment on Variety (which I stopped linking to once it went paywall) from Jason, which paidContent subsequently gave its own post.

UPDATE: Anne Thomson also has a state-of-the-trades piece.

Local Station Reinvention

AdAge says local stations can't rely on slowly rising ad revenues and the presumption of increased money from political campaigns coming in: "While a pop in ad money is exciting, it belies a potential danger: lulling stations into avoiding the necessary reinvestment and reinvention their business model requires...So smart TV executives are working to create new methods of content distribution and build other revenue opportunities even as they try to keep a steady flow of ad dollars coming through the door."

Glee & Music

AdAge covers Glee's impact on the music industry (Hollywood Reporter also wrote about this a few months ago.)

Praise for RFD-TV

RFD-TV isn't going to show up in any Nielsen rankings, but Virginia Heffernan says the cable/satellite channel, which focuses strictly on rural farm life, is quite compelling and brought in $25 million last year.

Quiet Ads

Slate's Ad Report grades a few ad campaigns that rely on quiet understatement to grab you.


David Colker writes about accessing British TV online (illegally?) from the U.S. via a VPN service.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Prime-Time Ratings: Friday

Friday night's fast nationals: CBS took a lackluster night, and Dollhouse left us with an unfortunately fitting fifth place finish.

The Biggest Product Placement

Erin Copple Smith at Antenna looks at excessive product placement in The Biggest Loser.

Late-Night Limits

Kiri Blakeley at Forbes investigates why women are so limited in number when it comes to late night network shows: "Late-night broadcast television remains a male-only genre, like some kind of amber-entombed fossil from the Jack Benny/Jack Paar/Dick Cavett era."

Network Needs

TV writer Alex Epstein gives a brief summary of what kinds of scripts a few networks are looking for these days. Hopefully more descriptions will be added in the comments section in the coming days, because this is a handy network branding guide (if Epstein's intel is right).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Watching the Old Fashioned Way

NewTeeVee's Liz Shannon Miller reports back on her experience of watching a week of The Daily Show the regular old way, at the regularly scheduled time, no fast-forwarding through commercials.

Spike v. Lifetime

The New York Times' Neil Genzlinger provides a comparative analysis of TV for men (Spike TV) and TV for women (Lifetime).

Lifetime Saturdays

The broadcast networks have all but given up on Saturday nights; Lifetime is taking advantage.

NFL Success

AdAge analyzes at the NFL's huge ratings successes in a time of few others.

Prime-Time Ratings: Thursday

Thursday night's fast nationals: Fox led the way thanks to Bones.

Media Life Surveys

Media Life has a new survey up, this one involving Super Bowl game and coverage predictions. The site also has the results of their previous survey about NBC.

Late Night Spike

Spike TV wants to launch a late-night talk show, but it doesn't want Conan; the channel wants a new, fresh face and unconventional ideas.

Friday Fun: Typical News Report

From British journalist and comedian Charlie Brooker (in case you're at work or are 5, you should know there's a fleeting f-word in it):

Here's one in that same vein about a typical incendiary blog post (the comments section is particularly good).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Online Video Chart

NewTeeVee displays a tasty chart in reporting on Comcast-NBCU's claims that online video wouldn't threaten cable operations, illustrating their meager holdings therein. It would thus appear that Comcast is trying to stave off regulation by arguing that they suck at online video. Maybe they've seen some of those Domino's ads.

The Formula of Formula

Noel Kirkpatrick at Monsters of Television digs into an understudied area: why we love formulaic TV shows. At the same site, Nick Campbell discusses American Idol's audition season formula.

Jaime Weinman chimes in with his thoughts on Kirkpatrick's ideas.

To the Right

Ever wonder why talk show host desks are always to the right of the guests? You certainly do now. Slate gives you the fascinating answer.

Olympics Research

NBC will be doing some serious audience measurement and tracking during the Olympics, trying "to measure total Olympic exposure across all media platforms throughout the 17 days of coverage."

Prime-Time Ratings: Wednesday

Wednesday night's fast nationals: Idol's audience became Obama's audience.

Cable Outlook

MediaLife interviews an industry exec about the 2010 outlook for cable TV.

The Review Begins

Comcast and NBCU have filed their merger statement with the FCC; a year-long review will commence.

Leno on Oprah

Leno's on Oprah today; Maureen Ryan has the choicest quotes, and Bill Carter offers reaction, as does Linda Holmes, as does James Poniewozik.

UPDATE: Aaron Barnhart conducts a detailed dissection of Leno's lies, um, comments.

Netflix Model Works?

Hulu might want to take note: Netflix's streaming film and TV service by subscription appears to be working ok so far.

Sticky Shows

Some company has developed what they call a "stickiness index," intended to measure program engagement. Idol is apparently very sticky, as is some Lifetime movie that was 130th in the traditional ratings when it aired (tears can indeed get sticky).

Age Discrimination Suit

Last week, Hollywood writers settled their class-action age discrimination lawsuit against the industry. The New York Times has looked into the details of the settlement and found that not much will change as a result of the case. However, according to the article, one of the hottest screenwriters going right now is 84 (not too old to write for TV, but too old to qualify for an audience demo).

Social Media Key

Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth Murdoch (also known as CEO of Shine Ltd., not to be confused with Sheinhardt Wigs) says social media will be crucial for TV's future success: "Fans remain the best salesmen of our content, even if that behavior is on the borderline of piracy. Danger of the new world is that we must concede that we'll lose some control." The LA Times also covered this. And Wayne Friedman agrees, saying shows should even have brand managers.

Lost Interviews

Maureen Ryan has posted the second part of her lengthy (and spoiler-free) interview with Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. Now Part 3 is up.

And if that doesn't exhaust your desire to read more comments from Darlton, try Jace Lacob's interview.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Where Gaspin's Wrong

Says TVWeek's Chuck Ross: "Gaspin said that NBC (and the affiliates) had done research that indicated they’d be OK. You see the pattern here. Research said. Business conditions dictated. Logic indicates. Rational plan. It's practical. Bottom line. It’s purely the business without the showmanship. It’s MBA-speak. It’s the quantification of TV, and it’s been the downfall of NBC. All one has to do is look across the dial at CBS to see how to do it right. What makes Leslie Moonves the quintessential choice to run what is primarily a network TV company is that he’s got programming in his DNA. Yes, of course he needs to be—and is—mindful of the bottom line, but more importantly he gets the emotion of the medium—both the emotional attachment of audience to show and performer, and the emotional makeup of those who create and perform in the shows."

Pilot Rally

Fan campaigns know no bounds these days: novelist Jennifer Weiner is mobilizing her fanbase to lobby ABC to greenlight her pilot.

TV Development

NewTeeVee hosts a video featuring a World Bank economist, Charles Kenny, who thinks that TV could be very healthy for developing countries: "The main thrust of Kenny’s argument is that increased exposure television programs can improve a population’s quality of life, health and women’s rights by exposing them to new ideas. Soap operas in particular, with their strong female lead characters, can be a source of inspiration and education for women audiences in poorer countries."

Adios, Betty

ABC is waving goodbye to Ugly Betty in April; Gawker blames network nonsense and calls for short-run series: "It used to be one of the best shows on TV, but the network system's intractable greed and antiquated system ruined it. Can't we have term limits for TV series?"

iPad iNfo

So now we've finally seen what all the fuss is about. Myles McNutt gives us some thoughts, James Poniewozik says he's not buying in yet, B&C says this doesn't change much for TV, Peter Kafka wonders where the media's at for this multimedia machine, Janko Roettgers notices no Flash so no Hulu, Ryan Lawler says this will change how we view video and not to worry about no Flash, Gizmodo points out 8 things that suck about the iPad, the blogosphere reacts, Antenna asks you to weigh in, and David Carr gives the outlook. Cory Bergman at Lost Remote thinks the iPad could help local TV.

Leno Historiography

James Poniewozik questions the revisionist history already being spun about Leno/Conan, mere days after it all ended: "This is what happened. NBC was forced to act by an unignorable emergency in its primetime lineup and with its affiliates—not by Conan's ratings. (No denying it, they were bad, and worse than NBC expected; but if not for the affiliate crisis, NBC would have stuck to the long-term plan of trying to grow a future audience in the ad-friendly demographic—for how much longer, no one knows.)"

Elsewhere, The Week puts the mess in number form.

Prime-Time Ratings: Tuesday

Tuesday night's fast nationals: Idol did well, Idol's follower Human Target did less well, as CBS's NCIS: LA rose up.

Local Concerns

Local stations want to make sure they're not left out of the discussion about next-generation ratings measurement systems. They're also being told by Comcast that they still matter (tell that to Michael Eisner).

TV Items for Charity

Heads up: Maureen Ryan is auctioning off all sorts of Simpsons, Idol, FNL, Dexter, Shield, 24, Sunny in Philly, etc., etc., items for a Haiti charity, Partners in Health. And the first 50 to donate $25 get Chuck goodies.

Eisner to TV: "You're Dead"

Michael Eisner says old media forms like TV are dying, and the internet is where it's at: "In 20 years some of the greatest content will air in this [digital] medium and will replay on NBC after... probably at 10pm." So I guess that'll at least be a long death march.

Lost Questions

According to this list of as yet unanswered Lost questions (also in convenient checklist form), there's a whole lot for the show to cover in its final season. If I were Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, this list would make me nervous.


If you've been waiting for a (somewhat) serious analysis of SNL's Gilly character and a new offshoot, Riley, Jeffrey Sconce delivers for you.

Media Consumption Stats

AdWeek reports on a recent study of Americans' media consumption habits: "In each month of Q3 2009, Americans watched an average of 129 hours of TV compared with 27 hours spent on the Internet, according to Nielsen's latest A2/M2 Three-Screen Report." It's also striking to see that so-called Matures (63-75 year-olds) overwhelmingly select television as their favorite medium when television would select them as its least favorite audience segment (and apparently no one lives or at least consumes media past 75, because there's not a category for them).

Fighting Back

The LA Times showcases a set of current shows about the little guy rising up: "If you're feeling disenfranchised by politicians and institutions, you're scarcely alone. An increasing number of TV characters, infuriated by what they perceive as a malignant neglect among the power elite, are fighting back -- and usually by bending or ignoring the rules."

Oscar Ads

30 seconds of ad time during the Academy Awards will cost around $1.4 million this year, says AdAge.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bottle Show

Know what a "bottle show" is? If not, let Jaime Weinman tell you (note: mild Chuck spoilers in there).

Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl news: The Tim Tebow ad is really starting to get people worked up, while Hyundai only hopes people will be talking about their ads as much. Meanwhile, Bud Light changes up its campaign, Coke says it will incorporate social media into its ads, and Papa John's makes a deal with the NFL (not CBS) for an ad during the game.

UPDATE: CBS is standing by the decision to run the Tebow ad.

Bad News for Broadcast

Gawker pinpoints the dire state of broadcast television in every single daypart.

Gaspin Comments

Brian Stelter recaps comments made today by NBCU's Jeff Gaspin: “We need a cleansing moment. The two weeks the Olympics are on are going to be a cleansing moment for NBC.” (Note to NBC ad execs: call Ex-Lax for Olympics sponsorship.)

News Coverage Comparison

As TVNewser reports, a new Pew Research Center Project for Excellence Journalism study looked at last week's news coverage: "About 60% of the CNN coverage was dedicated to Haiti -- almost four times as much attention as it received on MSNBC and Fox. Conversely, the Senate race filled approximately 40% of coverage on MSNBC and Fox and only about 15% on CNN."

New Cable Shows

One of these sounds right, the other raises an eyebrow: Martha Stewart will have a show on Hallmark, Larry the Cable Guy will have a show on History. (The LA Times wrote about History's rebranding efforts a few weeks ago.)

Prime-Time Ratings: Monday

Monday night's fast nationals: With CBS in reruns, Fox (House) and ABC (The Bachelor, Castle) rose up.

Syndication Difficulties

Brian Stelter says the syndication market is mired in challenges: "CBS and other companies are eager to start new daytime franchises, with an eye toward filling the time slots to be vacated by Ms. Winfrey when she moves to cable next year. But their partners, local television stations, are suffering. The recession exacerbated the challenges of the local advertising business, making stations less able, or at least less willing, to pay the license fees that companies like CBS have demanded in the past."

Media Life NBC Survey

Who doesn't love a good survey? You can fill out one from Media Life about NBC.

Reading this article by Tom Shales about NBC's slide might sway your answers.

Fox News Regulation

Media Matters' Eric Boehlert wonders if Fox News' championing of GOP candidates like Scott Brown means the channel should qualify for Federal Election Commission regulation: "The question must now be raised: Is Fox News' relentlessly one-sided coverage the equivalent of a massive campaign contribution to the GOP? Based on some recent regulatory language used by the FEC, the answer might just be yes."

In other Fox News news, that Brown-Coakley coverage helped it finish last week as the highest-rated cable network in prime time (the link has a list of the top 30 for last week).

In still other Fox News news, James Poniewozik reports on a poll that finds Fox News, above all other outlets, more trusted than mistrusted. TVNewser has the full survey results.

The Reality of Small Businesses

The Wall Street Journal looks at small businesses that have been affected by their exposure on reality TV.

Idaho PTV

Public television in Idaho is greatly challenged by state funding cuts.

Olympics Problem

The AP's David Bauder wonders if NBC's late night mess has overshadowed their upcoming Olympics (mess?) coverage.

Monday, January 25, 2010

iTunes Price Cut?

According to a Financial Times report (though since FT makes you register for limited views, this link is to TV By the Numbers), Apple wants to charge less for TV shows on iTunes, but the content providers don't like that idea.

Jersey Shore Demands

The Jersey Shore cast wants more money for another season of whatever it is that they do. MTV hints that they're replaceable (which is scary. You mean there's more of them? Guess reality TV itself wouldn't exist if there wasn't.)

Prime-Time Ratings: Sunday

Sunday night was all about football: "Among adults 18-49, FOX averaged a 19.0 rating. Second place in the key demographic went to ABC with a 1.9 rating."

Comcast Deal

Joelle Tessler updates us on the regulatory fight that Comcast faces in acquiring NBCU: "Before Comcast Corp. can transform the entertainment business by taking control of NBC Universal, it must convince Washington that the plan won't hurt rivals and consumers. And the promises the cable company has made so far don't impress opponents who want federal regulators to attach strict conditions to the deal."

Brightcove Everywhere

A company called Brightcove has developed a TV Everywhere system for cable programmers, and VideoNuze tells us what this means, offering an explanation of the TV Everywhere concept and its complications.

Football, You Are Money

The only thing crushed harder than Brett Favre last night was Fox's competition: 57.9 million viewers tuned in to see the NFC Championship.

In other football viewing news, local stations are reaping a windfall from Super Bowl advertising. Though the LA Times' Dan Neil says the ad price declines this year are revealing.

Most Popular Game Shows

TVWeek has a list of the top game shows across the globe. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire takes top prize.

People Profiles

B&C profiles Jeff Gaspin, chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment, and David E. Kelly, creator of Ally McBeal and Boston Legal.

Free Speech = Ad Money

The Supreme Court ruling making the way for more spending on election campaigns has local station ad buyers excited, as reported by Lost Remote's Steve Safran and MediaLife.

NBC/Affiliate Problems

Here goes NBC making people mad again. The network is launching a regional-interest news website in Boston, despite objections from its Boston affiliate station, which had already battled with NBC over Leno.

International Issues

In scary censorship news, Hugo Chavez has shut down a cable channel that was critical of him (UPDATE: protests have ensued), and Silvio Berlusconi wants his government to vet online videos. In big business news, ESPN is looking to convince Europeans that our sports are worth watching.

Haiti Coverage

The New York Times considers how much longer the news networks will stay in Haiti, as well as questions about what they've accomplished there thus far.

Also, "Hope For Haiti Now" reportedly raised more than $58 million, a telethon record.


The latest: Bill Carter reflects on Team Coco and where they were when Conan really needed them, the LA Times analyzes the struggles of late night and its falling fortunes and TV By the Numbers considers what that might mean for Conan's return, MediaWeek assesses the advertising world fallout, Nancy Franklin reviews the debacle, Ed Martin says the nightmare isn't over for NBC, Conan's last show did huge numbers, Ken Tucker says Leno is the big winner in all this, Paul William Tenny suggests Conan sign on with USA, Jaime Weinman suggests Jay's actually going to luck out here, and Sheila Seles points to three things Conan/Leno taught her.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Friday Night Lights Profile

Neal Gabler writes about the genius of Friday Night Lights and makes a pretty bold claim: "At a time when NBC is being vilified, here is one thing it has done right. Despite paltry ratings, it has continued to support what may be the best dramatic series in the history of television. That's right: history."

Ratings Everywhere

Nielsen will begin including online viewing in its People Meter measurements starting in the fall, but only selectively: "Your viewing of a show does not count towards the ratings unless you watch a version that includes all the commercials from the television broadcast. This means services like Hulu or video on the network sites will not enter into the ratings because they carry usually one-quarter of the commercials the TV broadcast carries. The programs this new system would work with are the Fancast Xfinity online video service launched in Dec. 2009 and the new TV Everywhere service that Time Warner Cable is testing." So I guess it's not so much Ratings Everywhere as Ratings Here and There.

Prime-Time Ratings: Saturday

Saturday night's results: Fox won the night against reruns and figure skating. Saturday's ratings always seem snooze-worthy, but TV By the Numbers woke me up with this nice reminder: "In what continues to be perhaps the best dollars spent per adults 18-49 ratings point in broadcast television, the Saturday combo of Cops and America’s Most Wanted topped the night’s ratings for Fox."

Cable News Flaw

Alexander Dresner points out what he sees as the fundamental flaw of the cable news networks: "Instead of smart, savvy, if a little rough around the edges, political commentary, viewers are forced to endure the stale fare of political operatives and partisan columnists."

Lost Questions

Lost is returning in only a week, so it's time to get in gear. Ryan McGee at Zap2It is helping out with six Lost questions to think about and then an added bonus question, what he says is THE question above all others.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Flow Issue

The latest issue of Flow:
Also, here's an Austin Chronicle article about Flow.

Prime-Time Ratings: Friday

Friday's fast nationals: one show, five networks, the only question is viewer distribution, and ABC edged the others in total viewers, tied NBC in 18-49.

Undergrad CFPs

If any media studies undergrads out there are looking for conference and publishing opportunities, here are two great ones:

UNC-Wilmington has launched a journal called Film Matters, specifically to showcase undergraduate work on film and media. You can find more info and calls for papers on their website.

The University of Notre Dame will be hosting the Fourth Annual Midwest Undergraduate Film and Television Conference on April 23-24. The deadline for proposal submissions is Feb. 15, and you can find submission and event info on this Facebook page.

House Rules

Nikki Finke reports that for the second consecutive year, House will be the most popular U.S. TV export to Europe.

Football Blackouts

On the eve of some good football games, the New York Times looks back on a time when they would have been blacked out in local markets.

Elsewhere, B&C looks at the production methods behind the Super Bowl broadcast.

Conan's Last

For those who didn't see Conan O'Brien's last Tonight Show, The Wrap summarizes Conan's final thoughts and James Hibberd has video of Conan's farewell speech. Also, commentaries and reviews from Myles McNutt, Maureen Ryan, Jaime Weinman, James Poniewozik, Alan Sepinwall, Aaron Barnhart, the LA Times. And early ratings results show big numbers for Conan's farewell.

Neal Gabler has an interesting take on all this, that it's ultimately a triumph of baby boomers over hipsters, and Newsweek gives tips to Jay to restore his image.

And here's a legal take on ownership of Conan's characters and skits.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Conan Problem

MediaWatch reports that it wasn't Leno's low numbers in prime time that were the real financial problem for NBC; it was Conan's numbers that were most problematic. Wayne Friedman writes, "Here are the lessons learned: You can't just survive with young viewers on big broadcast TV. No, you need older adults, because there are more of them. All of which means the bulk of TV advertising money, to no one's surprise, is still behind adult 18-49 viewers. This sum dwarfs the money targeting the cooler, younger, 18-34 demo." Jack Myers says something similar, though the comments section eviscerates Myers.

UPDATE: Some of these numbers dispute those other numbers. What is it they say about stats and damned lies?

Clip Show Perspective

The Office did a clip show episode last night, prompting Jaime Weinman and Myles McNutt to chime in on the phenomenon of the clip show today.

Fixing NBC

The Wall Street Journal talks with Jeffrey Zucker about how to fix NBC prime time. Zucker sez, "The fact is, we should just put our heads down, do our jobs and get better results. We shouldn't say anything other than all we're looking for is better programming."

Prime-Time Ratings: Thursday

Thursday night's fast nationals: Bones beat CSI for the first time, though CBS won the night in total viewers and ABC in the demo.

In other ratings news, Jersey Shore went out a winner last night.

The Late Night War

I've avoided posting the late night funnies lately because I'm mostly sick of them by this point, but this one's just awesome. Jimmy Kimmel's turning out to be the winner in all of this.

As for NBC, Adam Buckman wonders why NBC has let Conan go on bashing them all week rather than send him packing right away.

The FCC Wants to Hear From You

Have some great ideas for the FCC and their role in the future of media? They want to hear them from you via this website. You can also follow the FCC on Twitter.

More Friday Fun: Triumph

NBC will get to keep all of Conan O'Brien's characters and sketches, including Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (which otherwise belongs to Robert Smigel). MSNBC thus toasts Triumph with clips of some of his greatest moments. Here's Triumph messing around with TV, specifically American Idol and local news:

Sports Coverage

Nielsen just released a report on sports TV coverage; there were a whopping 43,700 hours of it on TV last year, with $7.6 billion spent on advertising during those hours. The full report has great breakdowns of these numbers by advertisers and sport, as well as info about online sports coverage, which results in such great charts as this one, Online Buzz For Tiger Woods, which, as you'd guess, isn't all that much about golf:

Friday Fun: Sesame Street Guests

Paste Magazine has collected forty of the greatest guest spots on Sesame Street, one for each year it has been on the air. All of your favorites are here: Neil Patrick Harris, Tina Fey, R.E.M., Ben Stiller, Kofi Annan. And if you've ever said you love James Earl Jones so much you'd be happy to just listen to him recite the alphabet, you're in luck!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

NBCU Cable Nets

When you remember that NBC is but a single part of NBCU's TV holdings, you realize things aren't all bad in Zuckerland, as a number of the company's cable properties are doing quite well indeed.

Political Ads

Prepare to see a lot more election campaign ads backed by deep-pocketed corporations and special interests, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling relaxing campaign finance limits.

Spanish Ad Ban

AdAge reports, "Marketers in Spain could be banned from advertising certain beauty products and services before 10 p.m., as the government attempts to stamp out the growing number of eating disorders and improve the mental health of young women fixated on their weight and appearance."

Prime-Time Ratings: Wednesday

Wednesday night's fast nationals: Idol is the new football, but CBS's procedurals won the slots that followed it.

In other ratings news, MediaWeek has the cable ratings from last week, with USA and Fox News leading prime time. Also, Monday night's iCarly actually beat all the broadcast competition in 8-8:30 viewers.

Jersey Shore Dénouement

Jersey Shore's, um, notable first season comes to end tonight; the LA Times's Joe Caramanica looks back on what we've seen and ahead to what should come next: "Jersey Shore...has restored the vitality to reality television in way no show has accomplished since Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and is certainly MTV's greatest cultural phenomenon since Jackass."

TV Everywhere

Consumer groups want to put the brakes on TV Everywhere. Apple's Steve Jobs can't wait to get on board with it.

Hulu Fee

We know it's coming eventually, but I guess we'll have to wade through a lot of articles like this before it actually happens: hey, didja hear Hulu might start charging soon? Here's some new info at least, from the LA Times: "One plan being considered would allow users to view the five most recent episodes of TV shows free but would require a subscription of $4.99 a month to watch older episodes. Hulu believes it will need at least 20 TV series -- both current ones and those no longer on the air -- to make such a pay service attractive to users. A firm pricing model could emerge within six months, the sources said."

Super Bowl Ads

Affirming what we've long known already, many people watch the Super Bowl more for the ads than the football. Plus, the advertisers will be trying to exploit more than just television with their gameday participation.

UPDATE: Multichannel News says the NFL specifically hopes to target Latino/a audiences with marketing efforts.

Done Deal

Our long, long national nightmare is finally over: Conan has signed his exit deal. He'll continue to slam NBC til Friday at least, The Wrap looks at what's next after that for all the players, James Poniewozik says NBC probably really helped Conan in the end, and Chuck Ross suggests that if you've enjoyed following the late night madness, you'd probably greatly enjoy The Larry Sanders Show.

More coverage: Maureen Ryan has some thoughts, NBC issues a statement, Ben Grossman predicted this, AdAge looks at how all of broadcast TV is hurt by this, Linda Holmes wonders why anybody cared, Jim Louderback invites Conan to the internet, Gaspin speaks (and probably blows all the goodwill he engendered at TCA), NBC does indeed keep all of Conan's characters and bits.

Tired of only reading the news about this? Now you can watch it! Bill Carter talks about the late-night shuffle, says this is the worst screw-up he's seen. Great analysis here -- in spoken word form!

CBS Down Too

While CBS seems to be doing quite well in the ratings battles this season, TV By the Numbers points out that the network is still down versus last year, not far off in that category from the endlessly-maligned NBC, in fact. The only networks on the positive side of any part of the ledger there are Fox and The CW (wait, what?). And yes, charts are involved.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Viewing Boxes

In an essay entitled “Serial Boxes: The Cultural Values of Long-Form American Television,” Jason Mittell writes about TV-on-DVD box sets: "This essay, building on the foundation laid by Derek Kompare’s excellent analysis of the TV-on-DVD phenomenon, tries to grapple with the cultural shifts occurring in the wake of this model of distribution and consumption, using some personal experiences to explore what they mean for scholars, teachers, viewers, and storytellers."

Pilot News

Lots of pilot pick-up news coming out lately; rather than link to each story, I'll recommend you keep up with the development developments via either Futon Critic's Develoment Update page
or their awesome Development Watch filter. Also very useful is Televisionary's pilot coverage.

Actors on Characters

Eric Stonestreet (Cameron) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell) talked to NPR about their Modern Family characters: "their roles, the show, and how they do or don't live up to people's expectations."

Fighting For Crumbs

Josef Adalian points out that all the hand-wringing over late night is striking when you consider how much the audience for that daypart is shrinking: "While not as challenged as daytime, and not as volatile as primetime, ratings for late night have eroded mightily in the past five years -- particularly among the adults 18-49 demo so often cited by networks as key to advertisers."

JB Flint tweets: "Everyone obsessing over late night and Animal Planet's Pit Boss averages 3.5 million viewers."

Online Pilot Premiere

In connection with Caprica's launch, Media Life looks at the pros and cons of premiering a pilot online.

Sex on TV

USA Today turned on the TV set and found a lot of sex.

More Localism

Wayne Friedman says the only way TV stations can stay relevant is to boost targeted local content and quit airing ten court shows a day.

Prime-Time Ratings: Tuesday

Tuesday night's fast nationals: Idol ruled the night, The CW could have run a test pattern and few would have noticed.

DVR-Proof Ad

Grasshopper says it has an ad that will beat your DVR fast-forwarding, taking advantage of our usual focus on the center of the screen and our brains' ability to process info rapidly. Check it out (thus watching the ad at regular speed -- well-played, Grasshopper!):

DVR Winner: CBS

CBS may attract the olds, but it somehow also snags the hipsters with their fancy DVRs too: "CBS has 10 of the top 25 most-DVRed programs on television, two more than the No. 2 network, ABC. That's based on Nielsen's live-plus-seven-day-playback DVR ratings."

Mash-Ups and Lip-Dubs On Trial

Reuters looks at the current court case judging the legality of slapping copyrighted music onto a homemade video and uploading it to sites like YouTube: "U.S. courts have yet to provide clear guidance regarding the legality of pairing copyrighted music with amateur video and then broadcasting it to the world. That may finally change in 2010."

Viewing Drop

B&C reports on a Kaiser Family Foundation study of the viewing habits of 8-18 youths. Lots of stats here: "TV remains the dominant medium at 4 hours and 29 minutes per day; followed by music/audio at 2:31; computers, 1:29; video games, 1:13; print, :38, and movies, :25." That TV total is a first-time drop over previous results, though.

UPDATE: Nielsen disputes Kaiser's claims that youth TV viewing is down.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Local Strength

AdAge says local TV's not dying yet. TVNewser says AdAge is full of crap.

MyNetworkTV Success

The oft-forgotten MyNetworkTV is actually doing well these days, says B&C.

UPDATE: The network set even a viewing record last week.

Super Bowl Ad

Networks that air the Super Bowl tend to reject political advocacy ads; AdAge looks at how Focus on the Family got one through at CBS for this year's game.

Gay Representation

Aymar Jean Christian questions the progress made in gay representation on television: "Right now, gay characters are in abundance, but series focusing on sexual minorities are a dying brand, relegated to gay networks of lesser quality, Logo and here!."

UPDATE: Christian has now posted a second entry on the topic, wondering where all the gay characters on Showtime went.

The Good Parts

Wayne Friedman manages to find some positives at NBC. And Steve Rosenbaum also defends the network.

Lost Interview & Mockery

Maureen Ryan has posted Part 1 of a lengthy (and spoiler-free) interview with Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof.

For those of you already sick of hearing about Lost before it's even started up again, this one's for you:

Final Season Of 'Lost' Promises To Make Fans More Annoying Than Ever

TV News Still Dominant

A Rasmussen poll found that 59% of people get their political news from television (divided 37/22 cable to broadcast); the internet was second with 21%. Newspapers draw only 9%.

Prime-Time Ratings: Monday

Monday night's fast nationals: CBS victorious, 24 decent, Life Unexpected good by CW standards.

In other ratings news, Conan continues to dominate.

Good News, TV

A study by Deloitte says TV will do well in 2010; Reuters reports, "the TV and its fixed schedule will remain a central part of the entertainment experience despite the growing demand from viewers who want to watch individual programs when they want them...Deloitte said the traditional linear system of delivering television and radio was still easier and sufficient for the majority of consumers."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Xbox Challenge

Everyone's been talking up the new Boxee, but the old Xbox could be key to overturning cable, says Brian Stelter. For Ian Schafer, the big news here is sports getting on board.


James Hibberd offers eight ways NBC has damaged itself.

Aaron Barnhart adds to the PR problems with this takedown of Leno. And this one too.

Leno defended himself on tonight's show. Here's the whole statement. Meg James reports and James Poniewozik reacts.

And here's a unique take: Mark Cuban says more businesses should be following Jeff Zucker's lead.

Meanwhile, Zucker went on Charlie Rose and, among other things, said he's been getting death threats.

An analysis of Team Conan from a recession perspective. And here's a generational perspective. And here's a The Wire perspective.

Bundles of Money

The New Yorker looks at cable bundling versus à-la-carte.

Dollhouse Defense

Most of you stopped watching Dollhouse long ago (or never started), but Robert Moore's discussion of the show's recent episodes at PopMatters might make you regret that decision. Or it will make you groan at yet another "Whedon's shows are too good for the idiot masses" argument. Either way, good read.

Idol & Music Sales

Wayne Friedman looks at American Idol's failure at selling music.

Olympian Problems

Jon Weinbach at Fanhouse assesses at Dick Ebersol's future at NBC and the problems NBC Sports is experiencing with the Olympics. Is there anything NBC doesn't have problems with?

UPDATE: The New York Times also has a piece on the problems with NBC's Olympics bid.

Prime-Time Ratings: Sunday

Sunday night's overnights: the football overrun ruled for CBS, the Globes did pretty good, and 24 had a decent start, but was down from last year.

Local Olympics Coverage

B&C looks at how NBC's local stations are gearing up for Olympics coverage: "While people from all corners of the globe will tune in to the Winter Olympics next month, the Games are a local story for numerous stations as well. The prolonged economic slump means most stations won't be sending the same level of resources to Vancouver that they've sent to previous Olympics, but the convenient Canadian locale and advanced methods of sharing digital content will enable them to still maintain a substantial presence at the Games."

Late Night Problems

The New York Times' David Carr says our changing spectatorship habits are at the root of the late night wars: "In a consumer-controlled Web-and-cable matrix, when a gym teacher from Queens punches the cast member known as Snooki on the MTV reality series Jersey Shore, that information quickly finds us. We can click on footage of the actual punch — that has to hurt, by the way — and if we want ringside commentary, it’s everywhere we look. By the time Jay or Conan or anybody else weighs in, we are already in on the joke and it’s old news. The show hasn’t changed, we have."

UPDATE: Nick Bilton offers some similar ideas, but ends with a great line: "For Mr. O’Brien’s core audience, the time slot is being replaced by a URL."

DVR Numbers

MediaWatch reports on the latest numbers indicating DVR penetration in homes: "The new On Demand report from Mediabrands' Magna says that in 2015, 44% of all TV homes will have DVR technology. Magna estimates this will come to 53 million homes, up from 33 million DVR homes or 29% of all U.S. TV households at the end of the third quarter of 2009."

Animal Planet Evolution

As part of their Discovery-is-the-best series, B&C talks with the president of Animal Planet about how she successfully rebranded and transformed the channel.


B&C's Melissa Grego looks at why the networks will start taking summer programming a little more seriously this year and what their various plans are.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Market Research

AdAge again, here with a look at Television City, CBS's market research facility in Las Vegas.

No-Cable Boxes

AdAge looks at the emergence of new devices that will help you watch lots of TV without that pesky cable subscription.

Olympics Loss

NBC has already announced that the Olympics will lose money; AdAge looks at the reasons why.

Prime-Time Ratings: Saturday

Saturday's overnights: as boring as the game was, football still ruled the ratings.

TV Critic Podcast

Two of the best TV critics around, Alan Sepinwall and Daniel Fienberg, have launched a podcast series (or at least have done one podcast). Check it out and hear "about the Television Critics Association press tour, the NBC Leno-Conan kerfuffle, being big-timed by Stephen Hawking and more."

Procedural Domiance

MediaWatch looks at the dominance of the procedural drama on cable TV: "Today, one-hour broadcast network procedural shows like NCIS, Ghost Whisperer, Criminal Minds and the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise on networks like USA, Syfy, A&E Network and Spike TV, respectively, provide a consistent and often huge audience for their networks, while providing a great lead-in to a network’s core, primetime original content."

Watching British TV

LA Times television critic Mary McNamara spent Christmas in London and gives her thoughts on what she saw on British TV.

Awesome(ly Sad) Chart!

TV By the Numbers analyzes the New York Times' chart of the decades-long ratings slide of the broadcast networks.

Spec Advice

Aspiring TV writers will want to read Hollywood University's post answering all of your spec script questions.

Conan & NBC Stuff

Here's Conan's last week of guests, a legal perspective on his NBC buyout, and a look at NBC's massive PR problems.

More Great Links

A great list of television industry links from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

NBC's Slide

The New York Times' Tim Arango looks at the slide of NBC from its legendary past to its current disastrous state: "Today the network is in shambles, brought down not just by the challenges facing broadcast television — fragmenting audiences, an advertising downturn — but also a series of executive missteps that have made its prime-time lineup a perennial loser and, most recently, turned its late night programming schedule into a full-blown media circus that threatens the lucrative Tonight Show franchise." And Jeff Zucker finally speaks here: “At the end of the day Jay at 10 o’clock didn’t work, and I take responsibility for that.”

UPDATE: Chez Pazienza rips apart Zucker and Steve Capus for their interview comments in this article: "What's astounding, despite the fact that it shouldn't be at this point, is the level of thickheaded hubris on display in the article from both Jeff Zucker and NBC News's painfully smug president, Steve Capus. Both are so thoroughly detached from reality and unwilling to accept responsibility for the mess NBC is currently in that the only argument they can make is that the entire thing is much ado about nothing."

Prime-Time Ratings: Friday

Friday night's fast nationals: yeah, CBS again.

NBC Owns Characters

I hadn't even thought of this part: NBC gets to keep the characters and skits created for Conan O'Brien's show, including the Masturbating Bear and In the Year 3000. The legal status of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is undetermined as yet.

Where Things Stand

There's a ton more Leno/Conan articles out there, but just one will do for a nice summary of where things stand right now.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Public Television Success

NewWest looks at why Idaho Public Television works well and the role played by state funding (which, of course, the governor wants to eliminate).

Football Doesn't Have Much Football

Given how great NFL football does in the ratings, that's really an affirmation of how great television is, rather than how great football is. Because a Wall Street Journal analysis of four recent game broadcasts shows that there's really only about eleven minutes of actual football in a three-hour football broadcast. The rest is television magic!

Late Night Clips

Hulu has gathered together a chronological collection of many of the Jay Leno Show, Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live clips related to the Great Leno Mess of 2010. (If only they had the rights to Letterman and Ferguson!) Also, this is indicative of the fact that broadcast TV has much bigger problems on its hands than the egos of late-night talk show hosts. I didn't watch a single second of these shows on TV this week, and yet I've seen all of this content.

Conan Costs

So Conan's going to leave with a big check, and Kim Masters looks at the financial and publicity damage done to (by) NBC in the wake of it all.

Prime-Time Ratings: Thursday

Thursday night's fast nationals: CBS won the night in total viewers, Grey's Anatomy and ABC won the demo race.

In other ratings news from TV By the Numbers, the just-renewed Men of a Certain Age performs well in the 25-54 demo, which pleases TNT.

Teen Star Marketing

Mary Beltran looks at the image of Disney Channel star Selena Gomez as literally opposed against white stars on the pages of the recent Vanity Fair.

A Vote for Old Media

Mark Cuban says traditional distribution outlets still rule over the internet when it comes to television content.

Leno/Conan Catch-Up

I've been in meetings all day and have missed approximately 8,543 articles written about the late night madness. Since I can't possibly catch up at this point, I'll again direct you to for the best collection of links.

Don't Say Super Bowl

I was on the set of How I Met Your Mother once and observed this: after getting a call from network lawyers, the writers had to scrap a reference to the Super Bowl during shooting and change it up to something like "the big football game." Here's a good description of why.

Late Night Clips

Curt Wagner at Show Patrol again has a nice clip summary of last night's late night laughs. Kimmel on Leno was amazing (it gets really good starting at the 2:00 mark):

Great Links

Alisa Perren has updated the links on her Media Industries blog, directing you to everything from blogs to the trades to organizations to stat trackers, so if any of you are doing media industry research, it's an immense helper. You can find a similar collection of great links at Jennifer Holt's resource page. Links to both will always be on the right side of this page, for future reference.

Late Night Analysis

Rather presciently, PopMatters has run a series of articles over the past few months focusing on if late night still matters. In earlier installments, they looked at Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jon Stewart. Now, they tackle Stephen Colbert.

Friday Fun: Little Jersey Shore

It's been nothing but Friday Fun all week with the late night hosts' monologues, so we'll go a different direction today. Here is Jersey Shore reenacted by kids:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Zucker and Leno Defended

Pretty strong stuff from NBC's Dick Ebersol, who's one of the few blaming Conan and defending Zucker and Leno: "What this is really all about is an astounding failure by Conan...He was just stubborn about not being willing to broaden the appeal of his show...When we do something big in the public forum and it doesn’t succeed, we know we’ll be the butt of criticism. But you don’t personally attack someone who hasn’t done anything. [In this case,] we bet on the wrong guy.”

This came via a Bill Carter story.

Josef Adalian analyzes.

TechnoLust for FloTV

Want the latest in mobile TV gadgets? FloTV and the mophie juice pack might be just the thing (provided you're not embarrassed to say those words out loud when you brag about having them).

African-American Demo Ratings

MediaWatch points out that American Idol is the highest-rated show among 18-49 African-Americans, though because the show is so broadly popular, the demographic group still makes up less than 10% of total 18-49s. More substantial is the 36% of the total audience that 18-49 African-Americans make up for the second highest-rated show, TBS's Meet the Browns.

The Rumors

Word on the street: Jay's back at 11:35 (though NBCs sources say not true) -- UPDATE: NBC sources now say true.

Conan's last show may be Jan. 22, with big guest stars all next week.

Paul William Terry reminds us (and Nikki Finke) to use our heads when it comes to all these rumors. But we'll still read them anyway, including this one: Conan's getting a buyout and will be a free agent.