Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Deal Yet

Despite earlier reporting, there's no Disney-TWC deal just yet.


CNN hit a ten-year prime time ratings average low in August.

News Corp Key to Rentals

The plan for iTunes TV rentals may hinge on how Rupert Murdoch feels about it.

Super Bowl Sales

Fox may start the NFL season with its Super Bowl ad sales nearly complete.

Emmy Idea

With talk of the possibility of the Emmys splitting into two shows, Cory Barker offers a different idea.

Apps or Browsers

Will Richmond considers whether all th eupcoming internet TVs will rely more on apps or browers.

Movie Marketing

Andrew Hampp takes the pulse of movie execs about marketing, including on television.

TV the New Cinema?

Steven Zeitchik delves into the argument that TV is better than movies these days. AO Scott considers it too: "The traditional relationship between film and television has reversed, as American movies have become conservative and cautious, while scripted series, on both broadcast networks and cable, are often more daring, topical and willing to risk giving offense."

New ABC Family Head

With Paul Lee having left for ABC, ABC Family will now be led by former Radio Disney General Manager Michael Riley.

GSN Profile

Lisa Bernhard profiles GSN, the game show network, and its attempts to bridge TV and online entertainment.

Sons of Anarchy Interview

Alan Sepinwall interviews Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter about the upcoming season (premiering September 7).

Mad Men Marketing

Alissa Walker looks at the meshing of Mad Men and real product marketing.

The Daily CNN

Lee Stranahan suggests CNN should let Jon Stewart take over for a little while.

Nielsen Settlement Fails

Nielsen has been accused by Sunbeam of preventing competitors from entering the Miami market, and a court-ordered mediation settlement has failed.

Tennis Channel Frustrated

Here at US Open time, the Tennis Channel wishes it was carried more widely.

Glee Merchandise

Prepare to see a lot more Glee stuff on retail shelves.

Get After It, Cable

Dan Frommer says cable better start battling the Googles and Apples out there if it wants to survive.

Deadliest Catch Complaint

The executive producer of Deadliest Catch is angry that his show is lumped in with PBS fare at the Emmys (his show lost to a Ken Burns miniseries on national parks) and wants the Television Academy to create a docudrama category.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Digital Subchannel

This article is about the Tribune Co. launching a new local digital channel called Antenna TV that will run vintage reruns and movies. But I'm most struck by the names of other area digital channels: This TV, Me TV, and Me Too. Seems very caveman.

Wayne Friedman points out that this is an old strategy, in more ways than one.

Social Media & Product Placement

Brian Steinberg looks at The Vampire Diaries' innovative attempt to mesh together social media buzz and product placement.

Disney-TWC Deal

Disney and Time Warner Cable have made progress on their fee disputes. In fact, Claire Atkinson is reporting that the deal is done.

Higher Costs, Less Money

Cable bills keep rising, even as people have less money to spend on them.

Viewing Stats & Charts

Some great charts at Tech Crunch illustrating time shifting and online viewing percentages, broken down by age, sources, and devices.

Emmys Rating

The Emmys drew about the same number of viewers as last year, which can be viewed as a victorious result.

Web TV Concern

Internet video is a concern for the Justice Department in regard to the Comcast-NBCU marriage.

Emmy Coverage

A list of the nominees and winners. Aaron Barnhart very rightfully criticizes the Emmys for leaving David Mills out of the "death montage" (and here's another tribute to Mills). Steve Pond yawns, Alan Sepinwall feels refreshed, James Poniewozik is surprised, Eric Deggans is without snark, Myles McNutt was unbored, Cory Barker reflects, Joel Keller is mixed, Alessandra Stanley laughed, Mary McNamara had fun, Robert Bianco was off-balance.

If there are bits you missed, you won't be able to catch them all on nbc.com, but Vulture links to the four best (watch while you can). Paige Albiniak tallies the broadcast v. cable scorecard. Lacey Rose has winners and losers. TV Tattle has many more links.

Brad Agdate: "Sum up Emmys: Broadcast TV did best with comedies; cable TV with dramas, variety shows & pay cable TV with movies." There could be just such splits in Emmy's future, but no more longform in prime time.

The Twitter gimmick flopped.

ATWT's End

Patrick Irwin talks with media analyst Sam Ford about the coming end of the soap opera As the World Turns (note: the interview has multiple parts; part 2 is here, part 3 is yet to come).

New In Media Res Issue

This week's theme: Children's Culture
  • Monday August 30, 2010 – Benjamin Thevenin (University of Colorado) presents: The Wild Child: A Fresh Look at the Pains and Joys of Childhood in Film
  • Tuesday August 31, 2010 – Steven Boyer (University of Glasgow) presents: Cuddly Kittens and Chainsaw Bayonets: Where Do Kids Fit into Today’s Video Game Landscape?
  • Wednesday September 1, 2010 – Morgan Blue (University of Texas at Austin) presents: Taking Stock & Giving Back: Citizenship in Hannah Montana Forever
  • Thursday September 2, 2010 – Allison Butler (Independent scholar) presents: Young People, Social Networking and Qualitative Methods
  • Friday September 3, 2010 – Phil Nel (Kansas State University) presents: Metafiction for Children: A User’s Guide

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Assault on Cable

More cord cutting coverage: cable under assault.

Emmy Ratings Predictions

There are plenty of people predicting who will win Emmys, but James Hibberd wants to predict the ratings for the Emmys.

Yikes, I had Emmy mispelled up there all night? I need an editor!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Detroit 1-8-7

James Poniewozik considers the responsibility the upcoming Detroit 1-8-7 has toward representing its featured city.

Lost Void

Robert Seidman doesn't see any fall shows filling in for the sensation that was Lost.

Awesome Ratings Data

Ed at Spotted has completed his summer project, which ends up being an incredibly valuable resource for us. What's he's got now is a relatively complete 18-49 demo ratings history of 51 veteran primetime network TV shows. So much could be done with this info.

Star Wars Uncut

If you haven't heard about Star Wars Uncut, which won an Emmy in the relatively new category of interactive media, do check out its website.

BBC iPlayer International

The BBC is looking to make its iPlayer (which lets BBC licensees watch programming online) available internationally, but there will be staunch opposition to that from independent producers.

Emmy Extras

The Emmys this year will have a live backstage show online and a social media component.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Disney-TWC Sticking Point

Bloomberg reports that holding back the Disney-Time Warner Cable negotiations is Disney's demand to have a fee kicked in for ESPN3.com, an intriguing sign of the retrans fight now being affected by digital properties, not just TV ones.

Joe Flint has more on the rhetoric flying between the two companies.

One Million More Households

Nielsen's estimate of the number of US TV households will climb another 1 million to 115.9 million for the 2010-11 season, an occasion for a great chart of TV household growth since 2000. There are also slight changes in TV market ranks, with Miami passing Denver for 16th and New Orleans dropping a spot due to readjustment for previous flawed assumptions.

Networks Still Have It

Wayne Friedman says digital entities can't market and launch shows the way networks can.

Emmy Coverage

Linda Holmes points to five Emmy stories to watch (Go Coach and Mrs. Coach!), and Myles McNutt tells us why he bothers writing about about Emmys.

New Flow Issue

Google TV Ads

Peter Kafka highlights Google TV's new ad campaign, which....well, you have to go see it for yourself. Don't watch the ads just before bedtime, though.

M*A*S*H, The Interview

In his latest captivating post in a series on Very Special Episodes of television, The AV Club's Noel Murray analyzes M*A*S*H's "The Interview."

Levitan & Hulu

James Hibberd interviews Modern Family creator Steve Levitan about his online TV concerns.

Learning From NBC

NBC surveyed viewers to see how much they learned about a public health issue (HPV and cervical cancer) from an episode of Law and Order: SVU. The result was chartastic.

Premiere Dates

TV By the Numbers has a long list of fall TV show premiere dates.

Friday Fun: Boardwalk Empire

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Down With Apple TV

John Biggs says he's not going to buy an Apple iTV.

CBS Grabs Aussie Stake

CBS is investing in an Australian digital TV venture.

Party Down People Returning

If you miss Party Down, you'll be happy to hear it's sort of coming back.

Cord Cutting Guide

Sam Adams offers a guide to (mostly) free TV.

Scatter Market Healthy

Jon Lafayette reports that the scatter market looks robust.

NFL Extension

Joe Flint considers what a possible extension of the NFL regular season to 18 games could mean for the television industry.

Digital Pennies

Wayne Friedman reminds us that for all the excitement about online TV, no one's figured out how to turn the video stream into a revenue stream yet. (Though I recall he also reported Dawn Ostroff's claims a month ago that The CW had figured it out.)

Emmy Uncertainty

The Emmys might have a competitor in the Paley Center Awards in 2012, part of future uncertainty for the Emmys, a future that could even include cable. Alessandra Stanley thinks the Emmys future should include more new winners.

Give FNL an Emmy!

So says Jace Lacob, and rightfully so.

Hendricks Ad Campaign

Christine Hendricks is appearing in a Mad Men-appropriate ad campaign for London Fog coats, but it's apparent they have retouched her figure for it.

Salacious Scenes

The Daily Beast has clips of eight groundbreaking TV sex scenes. Because you can never get enough of seeing Dennis Franz's ass.

Emmy Tabulation

Joe Flint profiles the man who knows first who will win Emmys this Sunday.

SAG & AFTRA Battle

SAG and AFTRA are fighting again.

Gay TV Now

Mediaweek's Alan Frutkin has a video interview with TV creatives like Greg Berlanti and Ryan Murphy about the state of gay content on TV.

One Company to Rule Them All

China wants to create a single company to integrate together its 1,700 cable TV operators.

Conan's Clauses

Matthew Belloni digs into Conan O'Brien's contract as far as what he is and isn't allowed to say about NBC if he gets on stage at the Emmys this Sunday.

True Blood v. TVD

Kristina Busse compares and contrasts True Blood, which has the status of quality TV, and The Vampire Diaries, which doesn't.

BBC Waits on 3D

Julian Clover reports that the BBC is hesitant to embrace 3D until a standard format is settled on.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Online TV News

Janko Roettgers reports on a study finding that almost half of all consumers watch TV content online every week (charts included!); Joe Flint thinks networks should think twice before they make streaming rental deals with Apple, though Philip Elmer-DeWitt argues that the networks' real boogeyman is not Apple but BitTorrent; Georg Szalai reports that Yahoo might buy a stake in Hulu; and a survey of a week in August found only about 14% more shows available on Hulu Plus than on free Hulu.

Emmys Backstage

You'll be able to live stream Emmys backstage action this Sunday. And oh yeah, the Emmys are on Sunday, don't think I've mentioned that here.

The View For Guys

Barbara Walters is developing a version of The View targeted more toward men. (How quickly we've forgetten The Other Half.)

Local News Salaries

Good news for news reporters, bad news for sports reporters in a survey of local TV news salaries.

Cable's Summer Dip

Cable's share of our eyeballs has declined slightly this summer over last. Gary Levin reports that summer ratings were mostly stable overall.

TiVo Subs Down

TiVo is losing consumer subscribers, even as it's gaining cable company ones.

The Soup Interview

Lacey Rose delves into The Soup with executive producer K.P. Anderson.

Conan Money

Conan O'Brien's writers might have to take a pay cut to work for TBS, even though the show is drawing ad rates in the ballpark of broadcast figures. Also, what will his show be called? Dunno yet.


Just a programming note: I teach on Monday/Wednesday, so blog updates might come late on those days or sometimes not til the next day.

TiVo Research

TiVo is expanding its audience research scope, looking into the impact of time-shifting on ad effectiveness and the effectiveness of TV promos.

Sunday Ticket Online

You'll now be able to get DirecTV's NFL Sunday ticket online, even if you're not a DirecTV subscriber, for the mere price of $350 and proof that you can't get DirecTV's satellite service.

Bad News for CBS News

The CBS Evening News hosted by Katie Couric just earned its lowest rating in 20 years. The low came in the midst of a two-day feature from Afghanistan.

Vampire Value

In case you hadn't noticed, vampires are in; the Hollywood Reporter says you could fund a small nation on the revenue from vampire-themed properties.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Television Academy Online Archive

Karen Herman profiles the fantastic Television Academy Foundation's Archive of American Television

TV For Rent

Bloomberg reports that iTunes might soon offer TV shows on a 48 hour rental basis for 99 cents. The New York Times also reports. And Dan Frommer writes about the subscription idea Apple dropped in favor of this because networks would never go with it.

Cable's Defense

The latest in what is turning out to be National Cord Cutting Discussion Week, Andrew Hampp reports that cable execs say the decline in subscribers isn't about them, it's the economy (and I would have to assume they added "stupid" too). But David Houle suspects it's the start of a long-term trend.

Screens Everywhere

Judy Shapiro says marketers should be aware not just of three screens (TV, computer, mobile), but six screens (I won't tell you what the other three are; you have to check for yourself).

Ovation Growth

The arts and culture-focused Ovation is a rare specimen as an independent cable channel (i.e. one not part of a conglomerate portfolio), and it's starting to appear in more living rooms. Meg James writes, "One problem is that, because it's a stand-alone channel, Ovation doesn't have the clout to pressure cable operators to add it to their programming lineups. So it has relied on a straightforward pitch: Ovation's more thoughtful programming is a distinct alternative to the cookie-cutter channels offering movies, sports and reality shows."

Cable Comparison Shopping

David Lazarus looks into how hard it can be to comparison shop cable TV.

Lost S6 DVD

The DVD set of Lost's sixth season is out today, and Linda Holmes tells you (some of) what's in it and reflects on the love put into the whole project.

Emmy Tweets

Acknowledging the value of tweeting during Event TV (i.e. it means people are actually watching, and watching live), the Emmys will be looking for a few good tweets to read off during the awards show.

Real-Life Mad Men

Adam Curtis has a fascinating presentation of Madison Ave. advertising men and women and campaigns from the 1960s (unfortunately it's a British site and some of the clips won't play in the US).

X Factor Controversy

The British singing competition show The X Factor has been accused of using Auto-Tune to improve or even ruin certain contestants' voices (the producers cop to the improving, saying it's necessary due to mic problems in the live space, but not to the ruining). The LA Times has a clip of one of the show's performances, and wow, that's pretty Auto-Tuney.

Update: Simon Cowell has banned Auto-Tune use in X Factor.

The WB circa 2000

Kirthana Ramisetti has just launched a new weekly feature highlighting network promos from the past. First up, The WB in 2000, "Oh What a Night."

I've embedded the clip here because it's so amazing, but please visit the link after viewing to see what Kirthana has to say about it.

British Time Shifting

A survey of British TV viewers using DVRs finds that 86% always fast-forward through ads (which sounds closer to my experience than the percentages many US DVR user surveys claim).

Fall Doubt

Sue Zeidler says there could be trouble ahead for the broadcast networks this fall.

Indecency Status

John Eggerton reports on the latest wrinkle in the indecency regulation saga: "The FCC and Justice Department as much as conceded Monday that the commission's indecency policy is unconstitutionally vague, instead telling the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that it should hold off on reaching that decision until the U.S. government decides whether or not to appeal the same court's ruling that the commission's Fox profanity finding was unconstitutionally vague."

Update: The FCC has appealed the Fox ruling.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Comedy Comeback

Mark Dawidziak describes the apparent resurrection of the sitcom...and hey! There's a cool chart! Also, Aymar Jean Christian follows up on the article, which he is quoted in.

MLB Figures

Deadspin has obtained recent financial documents (part 1 and part 2) for five Major League Baseball teams, including TV revenue figures, and Maury Brown has begun to analyze what it all means.

Community Viewing

Wayne Friedman considers the state of real-time community viewing in a time-shifted world.

Sorry, Cable

Ryan Lawler says cable TV is doomed: "The $100 cable bill is dead. The cable industry just doesn’t know it yet. What killed it was not just a combination of ad-supported online video sites and cheap subscription video services, but a fundamental inability on the part of TV programmers and cable companies to reach the next generation of consumers." Mark Joyella offers additional thoughts.

Related, a newly released SNL Kagan study says subscription TV lost subscribers last quarter, with cable taking the biggest dip. NewTeeVee has a great chart of this.

David Poland says it's more complicated than new technology replacing old, though.

Jersey Shore Success

Jersey Shore hit a ratings high last week, and Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino will have made $5 million by the end of the year. (Insert spit take here)

Brian Stenberg and Adnrew Hampp follow up on the story.

Univision Online

Andrea Morabito covers Univision's attempts to boost online revenue.

Network Falls

Broadcasting & Cable has started looking at networks' falls (seasons, I mean, not demises): Melissa Grego talks to Fox's Marcy Ross, and Michael Malone gauges NBC affiliate excitement.

New Feud

No, not another retrans fight or corporate spat...this one's about the revamped Family Feud, which is developing an online presence.

Sons of Anarchy Ratings

Kurt Sutter and Robert Seidman consider the ratings expectations for season 3 of Sons of Anarchy.

Political Ad Spending

Steve McClellan reports that political ad spending is expected to soar for midterm elections this year, news that makes broadcasters happy.

Sony in 3D, HD

Sony is pushing 3D and HD to sell new TV sets.

Disney-TWC Battle

Just over a week to go until Time Warner Cable subscribers might lose ESPN and ABC.

DVRs Impact Movie Marketing

Movie marketers are finding DVR fast-forwarding problematic.

TV Alternatives Everywhere

The New York Times has a number of articles today on coming alternatives to traditional television, or the Sofa Wars, as they dub the series: web video on TV, Dish Network's TV Everywhere plans, Time Warner's TV Everywhere plans (follow-up commentary from Robert Seidman), Sony and web shows, the future for 3D sets, and cord cutting issues.

Elsewhere, Kevin Rose speculates on the impact Apple's iTV could have, Georg Salazai reports that TiVo will begin tracking web content usage on TVs, R. Thomas Umstead covers the rise of streaming sports plus Starz' move to put Party Down episodes online, plus Fox's foray into VOD, and Todd Spangler interviews a Netflix exec the growth of the outlet's streaming services.

New In Media Res Issue

This week's In Media Res focuses on media policy:
  • Monday August 23, 2010 – Bill Kirkpatrick (Denison University) presents: Please Feed the Trolls: 4chan and Vernacular Media Policy
  • Tuesday August 24, 2010 – Joshua Heuman (Texas A&M University) presents: Unsettling Accounts: The Cultural Life of Hollywood Economics in Johnson v Rysher, Celador v Disney, and so on
  • Wednesday August 25, 2010 – Jennifer Holt (University of California, Santa Barbara) presents: Access of Evil: Google, Verizon and the Future of Net Neutrality
  • Thursday August 26, 2010 – Allison Perlman (New Jersey Institute of Technology/Rutgers University-Newark) presents: The Politics of the "Same Level Playing Field": Race, Citizenship and Net Neutrality
  • Friday August 27, 2010 – Tom Streeter (University of Vermont) presents: Law in the Text

Lost Auction

Brook Barnes describes this weekend's auction of Lost memorabilia.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Niche Channels

Jon Caramanica checks out some of cable's more niche-oriented channels, like Halogen, which is focused on empowerment. And Andrew E. Kramer profiles Russia Today, a cable news channel financed by the Russian government and available to about 20 million American viewers.

HSN Interview

Andrew Hampp interviews the executive vice president of programming, marketing and business development for HSN, which was recently revamped from its former Home Shopping Network identity and is now focused on "lifestyle editorial-programmed commerce" (which sounds like television to really get excited about).

USA Arcs

Cory Barker criticizes USA's cursory attempts to build ongoing arcs into its scripted dramas.

Creative Emmys

Gold Derby lists the winners of last night's Creative Arts Emmys, and Alan Sepinwall gives you the good and mostly bad of the evening.

Tosh Profile

Brian Stelter profiles comedian Daniel Tosh and the success of his Comedy Central show, Tosh.0.

Friday, August 20, 2010

TV Outlooks

Is TV's glory fading or is its greatest yet to come? (The latter is from the British perspective, by the way).

Google TV Interface

Janko Roettgers highlights StuffWeLike's detailed glimpse at Google TV's interface.

Last Call Renewed

You may have forgotten that Carson Daly has a late night show, Last Call. I did. I also didn't even realize that it has been on for 10 seasons. But it's been renewed, so I'll get more chances in the future to remember all that.

Iraq Coverage Comparison

David Bauder compares and contrasts how the cable news networks covered the Iraq pullout.

Network Sports Ratings

Spotted gives us a detailed look at network sports ratings, including across the last NFL and college seasons and a handful of championships.

Endemol Troubles

Reality TV production company Endemol is having financial problems; Peter Lauria considers what this means for both Endemol and network reality TV's future.

NBCU Bid for ITV

Bloomberg reports that NBCU may be readying a bid for the British broadcaster ITV. Here's a recent piece on ITV's struggles.

Friday Fun

Comcast-NBCU Opposition

Final responses to the FCC about the Comcast-NBCU deal were due yesterday, and critics, DirecTV, and industry organizations against the deal got their concerns in.

Sitcom as Cultural Forum

Ethan Thompson calls on the sitcom to matter more: "I want to think about what sitcoms can do to make comedy on television more responsive to our desperate need at the moment for more informed social dialogue. I want us to re-embrace the notion of TV as a cultural forum, and in particular, the role of the sitcom in that forum." Also, this post has an interesting clip; Ethan adorned a Modern Family excerpt with a laugh track to try and prove that the single-cam sitcom isn't far off from the multi-cam live-audience sitcom.

Celebrity in Perspective

Alessandra Stanley says we shouldn't view Jersey Shore and the Kardashians as the end of civilization because they're not actually new phenomena.

Friday Gamble

David Hinckley looks at the networks' fall plans to salvage Friday nights.

HBO & 18-49

Robert Seidman answers a reader question about if the 18-49 demographic matters to HBO.

Writers' Revenge

Amy Chozik offers an entertaining topic: the power TV writers have to settle scores with the written word.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Work of Art Exhibition

Karen Rosenberg reviews the Brooklyn Museum exhibition of Bravo's Work of Art winner Abdi Farah and...well, let's just say Abdi's work of art did not work for her (though it's the show itself that bothers her most).

Cable Preferred

California's registered voters like cable over broadcast by a two-to-one margin.


Apologies for the uninformative post title, but chart joy grabbed hold of me: James Hibberd has a nice chart of summer cable show ratings.

Hispanic Hulu

Laura Martinez discusses Maximum TV, which "seeks to position itself as the Hulu for U.S. Hispanics."

More on Mo Leaving

Robert Feder reports on Maureen Ryan leaving the Tribune for AOL.

Smartest Shows

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan names his entries for the twelve smartest shows in TV history.

British Media Habits

Britain's Ofcom has released a study on media consumption in the UK. The BBC reports, "Television still dominates people's media habits, with the average person spending around 3.8 hours watching television every day." A cool chart is included.

Marketing Pirated Deadwood

Jonathan Gray describes the packaging of pirated Deadwood DVDs being sold in Malawi.

USA Scheduling

Alan Sepinwall highlights the fall and winter premiere dates for some USA shows, and USA's resident Twitterer, @TedonTV, answers a question about why USA likes to split its shows across multiple seasons.

TV Writers on Twitter

Listorious presents a nice list of TV writers on Twitter.

Levitan's Ratings Rant

Lacey Forbes covers Modern Family showrunner Steve Levitan's concerns about ratings measurement, as expressed on Twitter last night. More from Jace Lacob, Claire Atkinson, and THR.

PTI Ratings

As a fan of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, I found this interesting, from TV By the Numbers: the ratings don't go down much when Dan Le Batard co-hosts.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Exit Coverage

Brian Stelter describes the scene in an NBC News control room as the last U.S. combat brigade exits Iraq. Huffington Post on how NBC got this exclusive coverage.

Reality TV in Academia

Anna David writes about college classes using reality TV as teaching tool.

Live TV on iPad

Verizon is unveiling new apps that should allow iPad users to watch live TV on their devices, but content rights can be an issue with mobile TV apps.

Good Wife Gets Graphic

The Good Wife has an oral sex scene planned for its fall premiere; Julianna Margulies bristled at a follow-up question about it, and Deadline interviewed Good Wife showrunners Robert and Michelle King about pushing the content envelope.

Modern Family Over Glee

Jace Lacob argues that Modern Family deserves the Best Comedy Emmy over Glee.

USA Keeps It Going

USA continues to dominate the summer cable ratings.

CBS in India

CBS is launching a joint venture in India, which will result in three CBS channels in the country. Brian Stelter reports, "the channels would feature both new CBS shows (Hawaii Five-0) and old (Everybody Loves Raymond), as well as syndicated programs like Entertainment Tonight that CBS also produces and distributes."

When Stars Leave

In light of Steve Carell's final Office season, T.L. Stanley looks at how previous shows overcame the loss of a star.

Google TV Prospects

Ryan Lawler says Google TV will need broadcaster help to succeed, but

Media PAC Donations

News Corp. has given $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, a move they'd now had to defend, and Alex Weprin follows up on the story by looking at where other media companies send their political cash. Politico also covers the issue.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sitcom Stoppers

Jaime Weinman looks back on Lucky Louie and The Return of Jezebel James as two poorly received shows that hurt the momentum of the studio-audience sitcom.

Product Placement in Europe

Javier Espinoza reports on the coming proliferation of production placement on European TV, albeit with much tighter rules than in the US: "The use of product placement must be made clear to viewers at the start and the end of a show and after each commercial break. The rules also forbid tobacco advertising within shows and ban product placement of any kind in children's programs, documentaries and news programs."

HBO Not Netflixing

Holding the internet rights to Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox and Universal Pictures films, HBO likely won't offer those movies to Netflix, reserving them for its HBO Go service.

Apple & Google Compete

Laurie Sullivan outlines the upcoming competition between Google TV and Apple TV.

Time-Shifting Stats

Media Life reports on a study of time-shifting habits among Comcast subscribers, which "suggests that time shifting may be even more rampant than already believed." David Bauder also reports, and Robert Seidman has some questions.

Cable Key for Conglomerates

David B. Wilkerson reports on the financial value of cable networks within conglomerate portfolios. And Claire Atkinson says the big cable nets are doing well in ad sales.

Showtime & Women

Kevin Fallon profiles Showtime's female-centered scripted shows.

Mad Men Essays

A few good pieces on Mad Men: writing in response to the most recent episode, Elana Levine looks at the show's fashioning of femininity and Michael Newman analyzes at the role of irony. And with the show now moving into 1965, Michael Ross wonders if any regular minority characters will be introduced, especially given the historical fact of the rise of black ad men in the 1960s. Also, Alan Sepinwall interviews John Slattery about directing the episode.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Robert Seidman profiles the summer scripted drama ratings battle between USA and TNT, with USA definitively coming out on top in the coveted 18-34 and 18-49 brackets.

Large White Families on TV

John Riofrio ties in the immigrations debate with the preponderance of huge white families on cable TV (think Duggars).

Cord Cutting Primer

Mark Huffman instructs you on how to take advantage of alternatives to cable/satellite.

NAB Campaign

The National Association of Broadcasters has launched a marketing campaign targeted at consumers in response to the retrans-hating American Television Alliance, in hopes of keeping retrans rules as they are. Check out their website, KeepMyTv.org, which says "This website is dedicated to empowering viewers to have the best options for their local news, entertainment and community programming."

Mobile Primetime All the Time

Will Richmond reports on how viewership stats illustrate that mobile viewers watch video pretty evenly across the day, not concentrated in primetime as with traditional and online TV, though that could change as mobile devices get access to more primetime programming. (Also, chart alert!)

Summer Cable Success

Brian Stelter reports on how well the biggest cable channels have done this summer; Robert Seidman also chimes in.

Relatedly, AdAge reports on the good ratings for the 'meat and potatoes' Rizzoli & Isles on TNT, and Seidman highlights the article's observation that cable viewers don't stick around for commercials as much as broadcast viewers.

Hulu Plans IPO

The NYT reports that Hulu is readying for an I.P.O., but Peter Kafka has some questions for Hulu about that.

HDTV Gone Small

Nathan Olivarez-Giles remind us that if you're watching HDTV on a small screen, you're not really getting much benefit.

New Nielsen Measurements

Nielsen will be adding two new categories to its categories of measurements for national TV ratings: PC/Internet and Age of Householder.

Broadcast Audience Aging

More reporting on Steve Sternberg's demographic study of network audiences, this from David Bauder on how broadcast audiences are aging faster than the population (not literally, of course).

Boardwalk Empire Marketing

Stuart Elliot looks at the marketing campaign for Boardwalk Empire, on which HBO is spending over $10 million.

In Media Res This Week

The focus for In Media Res this week is professional wrestling:
  • Monday August 16, 2010 – David Ray Carter (Critic) presents: A History of Violence: politics, profits, and the changing face of the WWE
  • Tuesday August 17, 2010 – Cory Barker (Bowling Green State University) presents: Making the scripted more real? Pro wrestling and Twitter
  • Wednesday August 18, 2010 – Sam Ford (Massachusetts Institute for Technology) presents: "All I Care about Is Me: I’m ‘The Nature Body": The Permeable Boundaries of Pro Wrestling’s Fictional World
  • Thursday August 19, 2010 – Ari Berenstein (411Mania.com) presents: "The MSG Curtain Call": A Conflation of Front and Backstage in Professional Wrestling
  • Friday August 20, 2010 – Bryan Alvarez (Figure Four Weekly) presents: History Repeats Itself?: How Wrestling Regards Its Performers

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Islamic MTV

Negar Azimi describes what you could watch on 4Shbab, the Islamic world's answer to MTV.

Over-The-Top Apps Favored

Michael Wolf believes that traditional subscriber-based TV services will soon see their market shares lost to over-the-top apps. If you're not familiar with what an "over-the-top app" is (I wasn't before this), Wolf defines: "With video, anything delivered over the Internet but not as a part of the carrier’s own video service (but on the public Internet) is defined as Over-The-Top. Netflix Watch Instantly and Hulu are good examples. TV Apps can be thought of the same way."

Ryan to AOL

Chicago Tribune TV critic Maureen Ryan is joining the exodus from the print world and taking her great skills to AOL Television.

3D in Japan

Serkan Toto reports on the sales of 3D TVs in Japan.

Sportscenter Changes

Can't get enough Sportscenter? Well, you're in luck, because there will now be 16 live hours of it a day on ESPN outlets, as well as fewer commercials, 60 second (rather than 2 minute) ad breaks, and the possibility of sponsored hours. Anthony Crupi also reports on the incorporation of digital content like user-generated video and tweets: "The digitally-infused SportsCenter will also serve as a simulacrum of how sports fans tend to consume digital content while watching live events on the tube. If the integrations are successful, the hybridized shows should seem that much more relevant to ESPNews’ younger audience."

New Flow Issue

Good Fan/Bad Fan

Kristina Busse considers the hierarchies of fan culture within fan culture, or "the specific ways in which fans themselves create good fan/bad fan dichotomies that repeatedly set up community criteria that proscribe certain behaviors and exclude those that don’t abide."

Content Industry Doomed...Again

Mark Lemley offers some historical food for thought given the current concerns expressed by content industry representatives that digital technologies are dooming them. The abstract reads: "Content owners claim they are doomed, because in the digital environment, they can't compete with free. But they've made such claims before. This short essay traces the history of content owner claims that new technologies will destroy their business over the last two centuries. None have come to pass. It is likely the sky isn't falling this time either. I suggest some ways content may continue to thrive in the digital environment." (Click on "One-Click Download to access the .pdf of the paper.) TechDirt also offers a discussion of this piece.

NBC Promise

As part of the Comcast-NBCU merger considerations, NBC is promising that it won't shuffle event sports programming like the Super Bowl off to a cable partner like Versus, though it also said it can't support such programming on ad dollars alone, stoking the retrans fire.

Pelecanos' Penultimates

As part of his summer of rewatching and blogging The Wire's third season, Alan Sepinwall interviews writer George Pelecanos about his signature contribution to the series, devastating penultimate episodes.

Wolper Remembered

Robert Lloyd looks back on the career and impact of David Wolper, who died Tuesday.

Friday Fun: NBC's Fall Schedule

Click for larger image.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Satellite Up, Cable Down

The percentage of TV households paying for wired-cable has declined, while alternate delivery system penetration, including satellite, has risen to an all-time high. You can compare the current numbers to the previous decade-plus here, and local markets are delineated here.

Programmers Against Bundling

TWC executive Glenn Britt believes the bundling of cable channels into smaller packages won't come easy because programmers, such as the broadcast nets, don't like the idea, as it's likely to lead to smaller retrans and carriage fees for them.

Idol Judge Problems

American Idol is struggling to find new judges.

Sternberg Interview

Media Life interviews Steve Sternberg about his recent report on the average ages of network and cable viewers and the role of the DVR.

Media Revenue Growth Predicted

Joe Pompeo reports on a forecast that the media and communications industry will outpace the overall economy for the next few years. There's also a nice chart here of media companies delineated by sector.

TWC iPad App

Lots of apps news today: Time Warner Cable is developing an iPad app that will enable subscribers to access their TV Everywhere service.

AppleTV iDentity Change

AppleTV will now be called iTV and have different specs, including a big focus on apps.

Britain's ITV is not pleased with this name change.

Aca-Fan Dialogue

Two weeks ago, Jason Mittell posted an intriguing essay in which he critically engaged with his dislike of Mad Men. Ian Bogost responded with a critique of both Jason's post and the concept of the aca-fan, a term coined by Henry Jenkins which essentially refers to academics who are also fans of the work they're studying. Both posts generated dynamic and productive comments section discussion. (Imagine that! A productive comments section!). Now Henry Jenkins has responded to both pieces in considering the goals and roles of cultural criticism. (Incidentally, it's fantastic online exchanges like these which indicate that the traditional print journal article model could use some updating.)

Spoof Defined

Writing about Childrens Hospital, Daniel Walters delineates the elements of a spoof.

Daytime Up, Soaps Down

Despite the overall rise of daytime ratings, soap opera ratings are still falling.

Apps, Not 3D

TV manufacturers are lukewarm on 3D but excited about widgets and apps. More 3D content is coming, though.

More on TCA

Ed Martin has a series of TCA wrap-ups: the state of TCA, the networks, ABC, Fox, NBC, CBS, The CW.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Anchorless News

Tribune Co. is going to try out an anchorless newscast patterned on web news consumption (only totally not like it at all, really).

Top Salaries

TV Guide has released a list of TV's top salaried performers: Hugh Laurie, Oprah Winfrey, Charlie Sheen, Matt Lauer, and Ryan Seacrest top the various categories.

Mobile Too Small

A MobiTV report says that people prefer bigger screens for mobile TV (if they prefer bigger screens, I have a suggestion...).

Tabloid News Middle Man

The Atlantic profiles Larry Garrison, who brokers deals to deliver tabloid news stories to TV news organizations: "In addition to feeding what Garrison likes to call “Oh my God” stories to news networks, people like him serve another purpose: they make it easy for mainstream media outlets to pay for interviews while obscuring the fact that they do." Warning: This article may cause depression.

Tiger's Costs

Tiger Woods' struggles are costing the sports TV industry big bucks. Update: that link is now dead. Here's a different source.

Most Promising Shows

Alan Sepinwall highlights the new shows coming next season that most impressed him at TCA.

Carson Archive

The website for famed talk show host Johnny Carson will now feature a huge archive of clips from The Tonight Show.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

TV Chief Advice

Following her TCA experience, Lacey Rose offers advice to TV network chiefs.

Fox News Criticism

Two recent pieces throw barbs at Fox News for their practices: Brian Lowry says Fox News has operated under a "If it scares, it airs" philosophy this summer (it's behind a paywall; Alex Weprin also has a short summary), and Mark Green pinpoints six misleading Fox News tricks.

Set-Top Data Group Formed

A group made up of cable, satellite and telco multichannel video distributors has formed to figure out ways to better take advantage of set-top box viewing data.

Parks & Rec Interview

Alan Sepinwall interviews Parks and Recreation showrunner Mike Schur.

Good Guys Retool

Nellie Andreeva writes about the overhaul Fox's The Good Guys is getting for fall, and Jaime Weinman reacts.

Netflix Challenging Cable

Netflix has a signed a deal that will make even more movies available to the service for streaming, and Ryan Lawler says this gives cable reason to worry.

Mad Men, Sherlock, & Fandom

Louisa Stein writes about fandom in terms of Mad Men and the BBC's Sherlock.

Cable & Network Ages

Fox News has the oldest audience on cable at a viewer age average of 65; Oxygen has the youngest audience at about 42. Also, CBS is the oldest network at 55, and all of the networks aged a bit over last year. (Good chart in the latter too, btw.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Are We There Yet? Pickup

Nellie Andreeva reports that TBS's Art We There Yet? already has a deal for 100 episodes, even with only 10 having aired so far: "With House of Payne, Meet the Browns and Are We There Yet? TBS reaffirms its status as the only network doing African American sitcoms at the moment."


John Doyle judges what PBS is in the US relative to what people want the CBC to be in Canada.

Mean TV

Joanne Ostrow finds that TV shows have gotten grittier, meaner, and snarkier: "Television was once such a comfort. Now it's wants to make me nervous. From its rude jokes to unpleasant subject matter, it aims to repulse. At the very least, the upcoming season's shows seem calculated to make politeness seem out of date."

TCA Wrapup

Hillary Atkin summarizes the highlights of the TCA network presentations. Aaron Barnhart also hits the highlights and offers links to articles about the week's news.

Hey Nielsen, Read This

Steve Sternberg has suggestions for how Nielsen could better measure C3 ratings (or ratings for ads in both live viewing of a show and within three days of DVR playback).

HBO: Story, Genre, Scheduling

Myles McNutt analyzes the announcements HBO made at TCA and considers what they mean in terms of the interrelationship of story, genre, and scheduling at the pay TV outlet.

Emotional Engagement Matters

Brian Steinberg considers which new and old fall shows might matter most in the fall, using an "emotional attachment" metric to help judge.

Soaps Fading

Brian Steinberg catalogs the reasons why daytime soap operas are fading.

Money's in Multi-Cam

Robert Seidman highlights the fact that though single-cam sitcoms seem to be all the rage, the money's still mostly in multi-cams, due to syndication dollars. (Note: you can find the Variety article Seidman refers to unpaywalled here.)

Ad Market Gains

Georg Szalai reports on TV's gains in ad revenue, especially in cable and local outlets.

NBC's Reality & Daytime

NBC is going to try harder to launch reality TV hits and daytime hits.

Web Series Popularity

Brian Stelter reports on the growing popularity of and financial interest in web-only series.

Another Sutter Profile

Marissa Guthrie profiles Sons of Anarchy showrunner Kurt Sutter.