Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Off to Flow

Blog updates will be sporadic from now til Sunday, as I head down to Austin for the Flow conference, which is a gathering of media studies academics discussing developments in contemporary television across a wide range of roundtables. To keep up with it from afar, you can check out everyone's position paper on the Flow website, and there will be plenty of live-tweeting marked with the #Flow10 hashtag.

We'll be back up to speed here by Monday morning. So don't cancel any shows, fire any executives, or release any awesome studies with cool charts til after that, ok television? kthxbye

Wait a Few Days

Joe Flint offers a reminder of the relevance of waiting for DVR ratings results to come in.

Glasses-Free 3DTV

Toshiba has worked up a 3D TV set that doesn't require glasses.

News Complaint Filed

In response to LA Times coverage of advertising surreptitiously embedded in local news broadcasts, the watchdog group Free Press has filed a complaint with the FCC.

Broadcasting & Cable

No, not a post on the trade paper. Instead, links to two essays about broadcasting and cable as comparative programming outlets in light of the Lone Star failure: Jason Mittell observes that "more and more that television drama has two fairly distinct leagues with different rules: broadcast and cable...We need to understand how differing rules, opportunities and expectations make it difficult to compare across contexts – and thus need to evaluate success via different measures and frameworks." And Jaime Weinman argues that "there is a need for great mass-entertainment shows, the kind that speak to the wide audience that only broadcast TV has access to...there are things they can do that no cable show can do."

Prime-Time Ratings: Tuesday

Tuesday night's fast nationals: No Ordinary Family got a decent start, Glee stayed strong and won the demos, while CBS won the night in overall viewers with the NCIS twins. Detroit 1-8-7 struggled.

On TV By the Numbers' Renew / Cancel index, things look bad for Chuck and Outlaw.

Ratings tweets:
@thefutoncritic  So we're up to three schedule changes (Mon, Wed, Fri) 10 days into the 2010-11 season: that's got to be a record, even by FOX standards. .. Tuesday's week-to-week gains (18-49): LIFE UNEXPECTED (14.30%), NCIS: LA (8.80%), GLEE (5.50%), HOPE (3.20%), NCIS (2.60%), OTH (even). ...Tuesday's week-to-week losses (18-49): BIGGEST LOSER (-10.30%), DETROIT 187 (-12.00%), DWTS (-14.00%), WILDE (-16.00%), PARENTHOOD (-20.00%)
@noahhawley  It's Wednesday. Let's see what 5,000 Nielsen boxes say that 280,000,000 Americans watched on television last night. ... 3625 Nielsen boxes have spoken. America likes Glee, NOF, Good Wife. It's a big deal deciding what the rest of us watch on TV. Thanks.

What Makes AD AD

Stokes at Overthinking It interrogates what made Arrested Development so uniquely great.

Fox News Reacts

Brian Stelter is launching a new daily column that recaps the night's political TV, and he starts today with O'Reilly and Hannity's responses to Pres. Obama's criticism that Fox News is a destructive force.

Secondary Streaming Reconsidered

I linked last week to some articles about content producers suing websites like ivi that they believe are illegally streaming TV content. John Eggerton has more on the suits, David Poland revisits the issue by taking a close look at ivi's operations and business model in light of existing copyright law, and Ryan Lawler considers ivi's chances. Also, a new service called has just arrived.

Good Wife Scene

A scene from last night's The Good Wife has stirred up conversation for being, as Linda Holmes describes, "one of the most explicitly suggestive (even though no skin is shown) sex scenes I've ever seen on broadcast television." Holmes has the clip.

Online Video Warnings

The head of NBCU International warns that increasing broadband capabilities will increase challenges for media companies, and Dan Rayburn warns that while people's expectations for online video are high, fallout is coming.

More Gay Characters

The AP reports on a GLAAD study finding an increase in gay characters on TV: "The 15th annual "Where We Are on TV" report released Wednesday found that 3.9 percent of actors appearing regularly on prime-time network drama and comedy series in the 2010-11 season will portray gay, lesbian or bisexual characters. That's up from 3 percent in the 2009-10 season."

The CW Standalones

36 of The CW's 208 affiliates are standalones, meaning they aren't paired with a Big Four network affiliate. Kevin Downey looks at how they survive and sometimes even thrive on their own.

Good TVeets

SarahLovesTV : We all wish it had been Outsourced instead, but Lone Star is the first cancellation of the TV season.

jmittell : Not a surprise, but a disappointment nonetheless. Network TV = no risk zone. RT @MichaelAusiello: It's official: Fox cancels LONE STAR.

timcarvell : I prefer to believe that Lone Star was simply taken to a farm, where it can spend every day playing with other canceled shows.

franklinavenue : Sorry to see Lone Star go. But I had run out of Texas puns, so maybe it's for the best.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Deadliest Catch Dispute

Three of the featured captains on Deadliest Catch are quitting the show due to a legal dispute with Discovery.

DVR Impact

Ryan Lawler covers DVR impact on ratings.

Cord Cutting No Big

For every post I put up about how cord cutting is a worry for cable, there's another about how cord cutting is no worry for cable.

Hardly Knew Ye, Lone Star

Lone Star has been canceled. Maureen Ryan (plus many more to come, I'm sure) opines on what this says about network TV, as do James Poniewozik and Josef Adalian.

Cable Death Signals

The Week pinpoints four signs foretelling an impending death for cable.

Huge Reality Blunder

The host of Australia's Next Top Model (who also happens to be Rupert Murdoch's daughter) announced the wrong winner on live TV.

Interactive Ads

One company says it can bring the industry closer to having national interactive ads by year's end.

News & Doc Emmy Winners

Georg Szalai highlights the winners and losers at last night's News and Documentary Emmy Awards: "In an upset at Monday night's 31st annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards, CBS News with seven honors and NBC News with six wins plus a CNBC award edged out usual frontrunner PBS, which earned five awards."

USA Incentive Success

USA has found success with its Character Rewards incentive program tied to the show Psych.

Small Cable Squeeze

Yinka Adegoke describes the problems facing smaller cable channels as cable operators look to cut costs to pay for retrans fees.

HIMYM Without Laughs

Jaime Weinman ponders the strangeness of How I Met Your Mother without a laugh track.

Prime-Time Ratings: Monday

Monday night's fast nationals: The Save Lone Star campaign has not saved Lone Star; it had dreadful ratings again. All of the other new shows dropped too, and ABC won the night with DWTS leading the way. Josef Adalian analyzes.

Related to Lone Star, Jaime Weinman writes about the strange magic of the flop, and Lacey Rose has a coroner's report on the show.

MNF's Bears-Packers game was big in Chicago, and PTI fans seem to like Bill Simmons. Boardwalk Empire dipped in its second week.

Ratings news via Twitter:
@TVMoJoe Ugh: It gets worse. Time-zone adjusted nationals show Lone Star averaged a 1.0, down 23 percent from last week.
@badgate MTV's 3rd quarter ratings for 12-34 demo +30% from a year earlier largest-ever year-over-year jump led by strong ratings of Jersey Shore
@thefutoncritic Week-to-week gains (18-49): CASTLE (14.30% inc MNF), 90210 (10.00%), HIMYM (5.60%), ROE (3.20%), 2.5 MEN (even), LONE STAR (even inc HOUSE)....Week-to-week losses (18-49): DWTS (-2.00%), CHUCK (-4.80%), M&M (-5.10%), H50 (-7.90%), GG (-9.10%), HOUSE (-11.90%), CHASE (-16.00%), EVENT (-21.60%)
@Syfy Thanks to the 2.5 million people who watched Sharktopus, which is now our most watch Sept movie ever. That made us #1 among cable entertainment networks for the night among 25-54 viewers and #2 for the night in 18-49 viewers :)
@TVByTheNumbers  Monday Night Football Attracts Fifth Most-Watched Program in Cable Television History

VOD Movie Plan

Movie studios are talking with cable operators about releasing movies via video-on-demand shortly after their theatrical runs, but the plan would face stiff opposition from theater owners. DVD retailers wold also object, and studios are thinking of ways to satisfy them.

Life After Oprah

Michael Malone reports on how stations are planning for life after Oprah ends her talk show.

Bewkes Says TV's Golden

Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes says that even as the medium is changing dramatically, TV is in a golden age that won't end anytime soon.

Inbetweeners Greenlit

Nellie Andreeva reports on the MTV development of a remake of the British comedy series The Inbetweeners.

"Personal Massager" Ads

Andrew Adam Newman looks at Trojan's new TV ad campaign for vibrators.

Discovery Interview

Georg Szalai interviews Discovery COO Peter Ligouri about branding OWN, launching The Hub, and marketing Sarah Palin's TV show.

Hey NBC, Read This

James Hibberd offers five suggestions to help NBC get out of the basement. Jaime Weinman tweets his dissent: ""My opinion: NBC should ignore many of these suggestions if they want to be more popular. Esp. 'woo the internet.'"

David Simon, Certified Genius

David Simon has been awarded a MacArthur "genius" grant; Mary Carole McCauley profiles him.

Good TVeets

sutterink : #sonsofanarchy. Let's trend bitches.... And again, bitches, a term of endearment. Ask my kids.

HitFixDaniel : If you have a Nielsen box, guess it'd be OK if you watched Lone Star tonight. No box? You don't count.

ditzkoff : Actual vow from a wedding today: "Do you promise to let him watch his favorite television shows while keeping your judgments to yourself?"

ApocalypseHow: How bad is Pete's luck with accounts? "I've got our next moneymaker, gentlemen: It's called 'Thalidomide.'" #madmen

NYTF Wrap-up

Steve Heisler and Todd VanDerWerff have an ending wrap-up of the New York Television Festival.

Monday, September 27, 2010

UK Children's TV Funding

Tara Conlan outlines the importance of merchandising to children's TV funding in Britain.

DVR Boost

NBC couldn't stand to wait the usual two weeks for DVR ratings results from last week, so the network ordered them early from Nielsen; Bill Carter analyzes the results. Among the notables: Not many watched Lone Star on their DVRs either.

Mad Men Directing

Gwynne Watkins interviews Lynn Shelton about her experience directing the "Hands and Knees" episode of Mad Men.

Network Power Rankings

Cory Barker is launching a new feature at his blog, TV Surveillance, which will have him rank the broadcast networks every Monday. Big winner for week 1: CBS!

Olympics Battle

There could be quite a competition among networks to win the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games.

Another Twitter Feed on TV

CBS is returning to the Twitter well again for a new show.

30 Rock's Inappropriate Joke

Michelle Dean comments on a 30 Rock joke about spousal rape that she found highly problematic.

Week 2 Matters?

Bill Gorman looks at last fall season's week 2 results to consider how much week 2 ratings matter to new shows.

USA Most Valued

A securities analyst says USA is the most valuable component in NBCU's portfolio, while NBC is worth negative dollars. Wayne Friedman has some thoughts.

Prime-Time Ratings: Sunday

Sunday night's fast nationals: Football won, of course, giving NBC the night, while most of the returning shows were down from last year's premieres. Josef Adalian analyzes the night's results.

In other ratings news, SNL's premiere was up from last year's. And Dexter gave Showtime its biggest premiere ratings in 15 years.

James Burrows Profile

Scott Collins profiles multi-cam sitcom directing legend James Burrows.

We Love the Overnights

Ben Grossman notes that despite all the new modes of time-shifted spectatorship available today, premiere week showed that we're still captivated by instant ratings and instant results. Ed at Spotted is especially frustrated with the attention given to overnight metered market results this year.

Online Ad Measurements

Nielsen is unveiling its Online Campaign Ratings Service, which will measure online ad data comparably to TV ratings.

Fox Candidates

Jonathan Martin and Keach Hagey cover the complicated situation emerging from the fact that numerous people on Fox News' payroll are potential presidential candidates.

New CNN Prez Interview

Georg Szalai interviews new CNN president Ken Jautz about his early plans for running the network.

Internet Beats TV for News Access, But Not Credibility

A Rasmussum Reports survey finds that more people turn to the internet for news than TV, but not as many trust that information.

Broadcasting Not Dead

Or at least so say the networks.

More Lone Star Pleas

Producer Amy Lippman really hopes you'll watch Lone Star tonight.

Hulu Ad Sharing Issues

Hulu is running into conflicts due to networks not wanting to let Hulu share much of the ad inventory for their shows.

Bars Codes in Ads

You might soon see bar codes in ads, which can be read by smart phones to take you to more info or discounts.

Opening Week Reflections

Michael at The Smogger highlights the first week winners and losers, as does James Hibberd. CBS's new shows are doing the best so far. Ed at Spotted breaks down some of the newbie numbers. Marisa Guthrie notes how premiere work just never works out well for the networks. Pavan at Sitcoms Online analyzes the sitcom ratings. Daniel Frankel cites five things we learned from premiere week.

@BigTVFan  #1 show of week in demo: GLEE, #2 GREYS, #3 Modern Family & DWTS ... Premiere Week Lesson #1: CBS scheduling is brilliant and the moves they made seem to have electrified 2 nights ...Premiere Week Lesson #2: CBS could schedule a procedural about field mice and get it to open. This net knows their audience. Brilliance

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Comcast Spending Big for Merger

Brian Stelter and Tim Arango report on the millions of dollars in lobbying efforts being spent by Comcast to push through the NBCU deal.

Belo & TWC Strike Deal

Time Warner Cable and Belo have a retrans deal.

Prime-Time Ratings: Saturday

Saturday night's overnights: College football and CBS reruns were enjoyed more by some.

Burke Replacing Zucker

As expected, Steve Burke will replace Jeff Zucker once he steps down. Lacey Rose says Burke is well-suited for the job, and Hollywood has responded positively. Jon Lafayette notes there are more changes coming once Comcast takes over.

James Hibberd has a timeline of Zucker's blunders.

NFL & Hispanic Heritage Month

The NFL is celebrating Hispanic Heritage month with games on Telemundo and Hank Williams Jr. singing in Spanish. (I think it would be a better celebration if he didn't sing at all.)

Kennedy-Nixon Facts

Ted Sorenson, a Kennedy adviser, sets the myths straight about the televised Kennedy-Nixon debates of fifty years ago.

Good TVeets

Wasn't sure I had enough material for a Good TVeets entry for today (weekends are always slow on Twitter) ... but then Saturday Night Live came on.

TVDoneWright : Betty White mention, check! Twilight mention, check! Way to stay current there.

fymaxwell : I wish I had a grad assistant to watch some of this crap for me. #snl

aperren : With all the technology available today, isn't there some way that SNL could make Katy Perry not sound like crap?

d_kompare : I'm 90% certain the tweets complaining about #SNL are funnier than #SNL tonight. #SNL

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Modern TV Parentage

Jaime Weinman credits Jay Tarses and Molly Dodd with a big influence on modern TV, despite both coming up short of hit status.

Low Budget in Philly

Meg James profiles It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's low-budget road to success.

Prime-Time Ratings: Friday

Friday night's fast nationals: In a more active Friday than typical for last season, Blue Bloods and CSI: NY were big for CBS, which won the night. Also, The CW can crow about coming third in the 18-49 demo for the night.

Some ratings tweets:
@TVMoJoe  Blue Bloods starts strong: The 'Stache earns a 2.2 in the demo for CBS, doubling NBC's DOA Outlaw and drawing best demo of the night...CW's Smallville (1.3) very close behind Medium and first hour of Dateline (1.4) for 8 p.m. lead. CW FRIDAY FEVER--CATCH IT!
@thefutoncritic  THE GOOD GUYS's 0.9 adults 18-49 falls short of the season two opener to DOLLHOUSE (-10.0%)...OUTLAW's 1.1 adults 18-49 rating for second episode well short of comparable episode of JAY LENO a year ago (-26.7%)
@soundbyte53  Yes Virginia, there is an audience on Friday night... Blue Bloods 12.8 mil, CSI NY over 10 mil, double digit viewers on Friday!!

Football's TV Blitz

Football is all over network and cable TV and drawing record audiences.

NBC Looking Up?

Ad buyers (well, at least one that B&C interviewed) think NBC is on the upswing.

Save Lone Star Already?

Myles McNutt is a fan of the first Lone Star episode, but questions the existence of a Save Lone Star campaign already.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Good TVeets

ditzkoff : The following network presidents are still employed: CBS; Hallmark Channel; MTV Tr3s; ESPN 8; UHF Channel 62. That is all.

: To be fair, I understand that Zucker was given the option of keeping his job, if he was willing to move back his start time to 12:05 AM.

moryan : What a joke. Zucker says biggest mistake not fixing NBC primetime faster. News flash: YOU'RE the one who screwed it up in the 1st place! GAH!

New Flow Issue

Public Television Targeting Boomers

An initiative led by public television executives is trying to find ways to target 45- to 65-year-olds.

Branded Entertainment Future

Wayne Friedman explores the idea that networks need more branded entertainment opportunities to keep financing shows.

Issues of Representation

Adam Buckman questions the implications of the period depictions of race and gender in Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, and Willa Paskin carefully deconstructs Outsourced's representations to judge if the show is racist or not.

Prime-Time Ratings: Thursday

Thursday night's fast nationals: The Big Bang Theory new night theory panned out, Grey's was strong, My Generation was not, Outsourced did ok, and CBS won the night with The Mentalist as the night's most-watched show overall. Josef Adalian analyzes.

Some ratings tweets:
@maskedscheduler  Returning shows generally off from last year's premieres.
It seems like the ratings successes so far this season are hits being up from last year (Glee, 2.5, MF) not new shows...So BBT did good; COMMUNITY at its previous level. Not good for COMMUNITY since its ratings are still bad, but no worse...Numbers for BIG BANG are inconclusive - very good but maybe not good enough to renew other networks' faith in 3-cam. Future weeks will tell.
@HitFixDaniel  "Vampire Diaries" tied "My Generation" in the 18-49 demo, which amuses me, but probably doesn't amuse ABC.
Five 4.0+ series premieres during last season's premiere week (Flashfwd, Modern Fam, Cougar, Cleveland, NCISLA). Zero this yr. Three at 3.9...With 3.3's for Mentalist and PP, both below what I expected, #JerseyShore is gonna have a real shot to win 10pm hour. Don't kill messenger. ...Four of the top six series premieres of the week were comedies with big to huge lead-ins.
@Zap2ItRick  "Grey's" was No. 1 in 18-49 but down a good ways from last year. Bieber didn't make "CSI" any younger...Horrible reviews didn't hurt Shat My Dad Says or "Outsourced" this week, as both held most of their lead-ins.
@ditzkoff  CBS says 12.48 million viewers for $#*! My Dad Says. F*(% that $#*!.
@badgate NBC had the highest median age on Wednesday night and the lowest on Thursday night 40.6

Zucker Out

 Jeff Zucker is stepping down (not by choice) as chief exec at NBCU once Comcast takes over. Bill Carter reports, "Asked to identify the biggest mistake of his tenure, Mr. Zucker said, “The thing I regret most is not moving quickly enough” to fix NBC Entertainment." James Poniewozik has instant analysis. Affiliates aren't surprised, but some will miss him. Ryan Lawler points out Zucker's cable successes. Josef Adalian gets some Hollywood insider reaction (that Zucker won't want to read). George Szalai interviews Zucker. Rick Porter looks back on NBC in the Zucker era.

NYTF Pilots

The AV Club highlights some of the pilots that played at the New York Television Festival.

Blockbuster's Lessons

Will Richmond thinks pay TV operators can learn something from Blockbuster's fall.

Local News Advice

Mark Joyella has a bold idea for local news: "Use the web (I know--don't freak yet. Just hear me out) and throw a few morsels on there for the too-smart-for-TV crowd. See, you were never going to get these folks with Doppler 7 Million anyway, and they can't be tricked into watching your late news no matter what kind of tie-in you have to Dancing With the Stars. But you might get them another way."

CNN Prez Out

The president of CNN, Jonathan Klein, is leaving. Joe Flint reports, Eric Deggans questions what's next, Brian Steinberg highlights Klein's replacement. Gabriel Sherman talks to Klein. Joe Flint reports and analyzes.

Colbert to Congress

Stephen Colbert is testifying in front of House sub-committee about immigration, delivering this statement. Linda Holmes tweets, "Watching Colbert now. He is in character, but he is also making the same point his straight-faced statement was making. Interesting." Washington Post has a live blog and video. James Poniewozik has some analysis and video. Matea Gold gives an overview.

3D Meh

The vast majority of TV consumers apparently aren't very interested in buying a 3D TV set.

Extended Screens Expanded

Nielsen has broadened the scope of its "Extended Screen" online ratings (scheduled to launch in April 2011) to include online shows that don't carry the same ad load as their television versions.

More NBCU on Netflix

Netflix has signed a deal with NBCU that will give the service some cable shows that aren't available on Hulu, plus the entire run of SNL.

Friday Fun: Don Draper's College Orientation

The NBC Sitcom

Dave Itzkoff highlights clips from last night's episodes of Community, The Office and 30 Rock to prove his theory that they're basically the same show: the NBC sitcom.

Lone Star Plea

The creator of Lone Star is all but begging you to watch his show on Monday night. Brian Stelter comments. Myles McNutt has issues with the Save Lone Star campaign that has cropped up already.

Business Model Needed for TV Everywhere

Ryan Lawler notes that the lack of a business model, especially in terms of a clear financial incentive, is holding back the proliferation of the TV Everywhere concept.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Good Tveets

I'm away from the internet for the rest of the day (*tear*), so here's an early version of the good TV tweets of the day. (And by the way, the Twitter handles are hotlinked, they're just not colored; takes too much time to do that for this.)
  • DamonLindelof  I really don't see what the big Sesame Street/Katy Perry controversy is all ab-- GOOD LORD!!! WHAT IS SHE DOING TO ELMO?!?!
  • Caissie  A Katy Perry clip was banned from Sesame Street here for too much cleavage. But Elmo was nude. Double standard! I'm no Katy Perry apologist, but Elmo doesn't even own pants.
  • ApocalypseHow  Sesame Street cancels Katy Perry episode bc of her cleavage. In fairness, the episode was brought to you by the letter DD.

Nielsen: TV Usage

Nielsen offers a chart-tastic snapshot of TV usage, what we watch and how.

Netflix the Winner

Paul Verna declares Netflix the winner of the digital TV/video war.

Multi-Cam Hate

Alex Zalben drank some haterade, then wrote an essay about the multi-cam sitcom.

White Space Approved

The FCC has approved the use of the "white space" between TV channels on the spectrum for broadband, which opens up the potential for "super wi-fi."

Prime-Time Ratings: Wednesday

Wednesday night's fast nationals: Modern Family was strong, The Middle hit a high, but CBS was strongest. Undercovers was a disappointment, and Lone Star now has a buddy in the bomb department: The Whole Truth. Josef Adalian analyzes.

Ratings tweets:
@TVMoJoe A great night for veteran shows Wednesday, but not a good night for the newbies. Prediction: No 2011 all-in-one-week premiere suicide ... Undercovers, all sheet and no blanket, but a 2.0 demo -- while a tick below Mercy-- isn't a disaster IF it can maintain ... ABC comedies rock, with MODERN FAMILY on fire at a 5.0 (up from stellar 2009 debut). STILL COUGAR TOWN a 3.3 ... For CBS, Survivor represents life: Holds a 4.0 demo despite massive new competish. Nearly double performance of Eye comedies in 09. Wow. ... Fox back on track with Hell's Kitchen: 2.9 for 2-hour debut, up a tad from late summer 09 bow. Nice given tougher fall competish.
@thefutoncritic UNDERCOVERS's 2.1 adults 18-49 rating just under MERCY's bow a year ago (-8.7%), BETTER WITH YOU's 2.5 in demo equal to MIDDLE's 2009 launch
@weinmanj BETTER WITH YOU at least held decent amount of THE MIDDLE's audience, so so far no HANK-style disasters for multi-camera shows.
@BigTVfan Props to CBS. Their sked moves as predicted blew up Wednesday for them & I expect it to help Thursday too without hurting Monday.They smart...This is not meant as a dig to CBS but they have the most loyal audience who will show up for everything. NO 1.5 debuts for them.. Impressive

James Hibberd previews Thursday's CBS v. NBC battle, and Linda Holmes highlights the comedy battle (Team Community!)

Cable Stores

Cable operators are relying more heavily on brick-and-mortar outlets to boost service. For instance, Comcast is partnering with Blockbuster Stores (um, about that, Comcast...)

Outsourced the Worst

Daniel Fienberg explains why Outsourced is the worst new fall show: "What's astounding about Outsourced isn't its racism -- it would be xenophobia, anyway -- but its laziness." (And we Parks & Rec fans shed a tear, but Vulture's gonna help us out each week.)

Warner Bros. Succession

Warner Bros. is laying out succession plans, though questions remain.


Richard Huff covers Jon Stewart's visit to Bill O'Reilly's show.

Food Marketing Limits

A group of food marketers, now joined by Sara Lee, has agreed to limit advertising to kids. (I'd also suggest that they avoid hiring Katy Perry as a spokesperson.)

30 Rock & Critical Fatigue

Timothy Yenter highlights the case of critical fatigue plaguing 30 Rock and calls on us to apply the "new viewer test" while watching.

Rally Response

Matea Gold notes the strong initial response to the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rallies, but also wonder what exactly they'll be.

Moonves: Ad Market Strong

Ever the optimist, CBS CEO Les Moonves sees a strong ad market ahead.

FCC Investigates Nicktoons

The FCC is looking into complaints about the Nicktoons show that features Skechers cartoon characters.

Simpsons Brand the Best

A survey of experts has selected The Simpsons as the most successful TV brand of all time.

Cord Cutting is Real

In the wake of some statements by cable reps saying they don't think cord cutting is much to worry about right now, Verizon's CEO says he believes that it really is: “I think cable has some life left in its model… but that it is going to get disintermediated over the next several years.”

Katy Perry Dropped

Sesame Street has pulled a Katy Perry segment from an upcoming show after parents objected to what they saw of it (or of her bustline, more accurately) online. The video is still available on YouTube, though (the linked-to article has it). Sesame Street people were surprised at the protest.

Rental Responses

NBCU thinks $.99 is too cheap for a TV show rental, and so does Viacom. News Corp. is apparently leaning that way too, though Fox content is available as a short-term test.

TV Everywhere Panel

A group of industry distribution leaders talked about TV Everywhere at a panel discussion yesterday.

Boardwalk Minorities

One way Boardwalk Empire is indeed TV is in its primarily white cast; Peter Applebome highlights some of the African-American stories the HBO show could feature.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Locke & Linus on NBC

NBC has picked up the rights to the new JJ Abrams project starring Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson.

CBS Flirts With Hulu

Les Moonves says CBS might bring content to Hulu.

Community Twittersode

Can't get enough of Community or Twitter? Tomorrow is your dream day. Community will create a "Twittersode" prequel before tomorrow night's episode via conversations across characters' Twitter accounts.

Lone Star Lives

Lone Star's not dead yet; at least one more episode will air.

Community Visit

Jace Lacob visits the set of Community in search of more ammo for his argument that this is a show you should be watching.

Recapping Rise

Dan Duray assesses the rise of TV show recapping as a writing pursuit. Robert Lanham finds that idea funny.

Web Video Has Better Ideas

Steve Rosenbaum basically says TV is crappy and web video is where it's at.

Related, Yahoo sees TV as a competitor.

NBC Turnaround

Jeff Zucker says NBC is about to turn things around, but of course if it does turn, it'll likely be without him.

Idol Analysis

American Idol announced its new judges in a rather disastrous presentation. Mo Ryan, James Poniewozik, Alan Sepinwall, and Brian Stelter analyze.

Fall Premiere Discussion

All week, Antenna will be offering uber-sharp fall premiere analysis from a variety of contributors.

Prime-Time Ratings: Tuesday

Tuesday night's fast nationals: This just in: Glee is popular, especially among 18-49s. That helped Fox to the demo win, though CBS's NCIS led that network handily to a win in total viewers. The new shows had meh results. Josef Adalian analyzes.

Some ratings tweets:
Zap2ItRick: Of the newbies, Detroit 1-8-7 had the most viewers with just under 10 mill, though that'll probly come down some since DWTS ran over. Ditto Raising Hope, which did a respectable 3.1 demo but will drop a bit because Glee ended after 9. Finally, ABC says its DWTS results show (at 9; the first hour was a "recap special") had its best premiere ever. 18.3 million
thefutoncritic: Glee's 5.5 adults 18-49 rating is show's second best ever, tops all non-Idol airings for FOX on Tuesdays last season. As for new series, DETROIT 187 (-3.8%), RAISING HOPE (-11.4%), RUNNING WILDE (-28.6%) all down from FORGOTTEN, HELL'S KITCHEN, resp. Other YTY notes: GLEE (+71.9%) vs HK; PARENTHOOD (+4.2%) vs JAY LENO; LIFE UNEXPECTED (-12.5%) vs MELROSE; OTH (-18.2%) vs 90210
weinmanj: Fox must be happy with the ratings for Glee, which is a genuine hit even if you don't look at the demos (and a smash in the demos).
badgate: On Tuesday night two most watched networks had the highest median ages CBS 16.3 million viewers (57.1) & ABC 13.4 million (55.9)...The Live + Same Day audience for Glee last night was nearly three million higher than live only.

A Wednesday preview from Rick Porter, one from Jaime Weinman.

Weird Reality Pitches

The bridal plastic surgery reality show is a good reminder of how out-there reality TV can get; but wait til you hear about some of the ideas that never made it to air.

Fox Wins Summer

The final summer numbers are in: Fox is crowned the 18-49 winner.

Evening News Losses

Chris Ariens reports on the loss of 700,000+ viewers for the evening network news last season (and the commenters appear to have arrived there via Fox News).

Good TVeets

I love Twitter and would love to spread its joys, especially given how much it has enhanced my TV knowledge via the many wonderful TV critics and academics I follow. So I thought I might marry the retweet concept with the blog concept and try occasional posts collecting my favorite TV-centric tweets of the day (only out of the ones I come across for the time I'm on there, of course, which, despite what you might think, is not 24 hours a day, or even 8...ok, it's 8).

That should give those of you not on Twitter a taste of what you're missing and those of you on Twitter an idea of good TV people to follow. I have no idea how often I'll keep up with this, but it's worth the occasional shot at least. And the idea for this was inspired today by some really funny TV critics' tweets about the technologically disastrous American Idol presentation today, so I'll start with those, after the jump.

The Audience Favors the Unchallenging?

Linda Holmes offers a provocative essay in the wake of Lone Star's DOA debut that laments the dominance of formulaic shows on the broadcast networks and puts a good share of the blame for that on audiences: "The profit motive and the creative motive don't have to be at odds with each other, except that it's the world the audience seems to be making...We'd all like [the networks] to choose art. We'd all like them to at least be committed enough to quality that they'll give a show a chance to succeed. But you can't pay gaffers with thoughtfulness. You can't ask a network to leave a show on the air indefinitely that viewers won't watch."

Labor Negotiation Previews

Jonathan Handel previews what's in store for AFTRA and SAG, DGA and WGA negotiations in the next year (and adds a clarification).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Netflix Tells Cable Not to Worry

Netflix's chief content officer says he sees the company's streaming service as a complement, not a competitor, to cable service, though pay TV might want to watch its back.

What Happens Now?

Andrew Wallenstein considers what the effects of Lone Star's awful ratings start could be.

Marketing Campaigns

Some pieces on new fall show marketing campaigns: NBC still has plenty of The Event hoopla in store, building on the pre-season campaign, Hawaii Five-0 comes with a big push (note: this article is from last month, but I missed it back then), and Kelli Marshall explains why she hates Lone Star's EW ad.

Online Affecting Cable

Georg Szalai reports on some of the perceived impacts of online content on cable.

Syndication Ratings

Just haven't had enough ratings news today? How about some syndication results.

Ryan on Networks & Cable

Linda Holmes talks to showrunner Shawn Ryan about network and cable comparisons and ratings challenges.

Local $#*!

The PTC has turned to pressuring local affiliates and advertisers to battle against $#*! My Dad Says.

Cable Ratings

Some cable ratings news: Fred the Movie is the year's biggest cable premiere, the first Monday Night Football was huge for ESPN, and TV By the Numbers has the rest of last week's top 25 on cable.

Also, good tweet from Brad Adgate: "The first night of the new broadcast season, ESPN was the second most watched network with 15.1 million viewers--hey aren't they cable?"

Prime-Time Ratings: Monday

Monday night's fast nationals: Some expected results, at least one shocker. Hawaii Five-0 and The Event were hits, Dancing With the Stars helped ABC win the night, most other shows were respectable. But Lone Star was a disaster. Joe Flint analyzes Monday's results: "Overall, about 47.4 million people tuned in to watch the premieres of five new television shows and new episodes of nine other series, according to Nielsen. That's a drop of about 5 million viewers or almost 10% from the first official night of last year's television season." Can't get enough analysis? More from Josef Adalian.

Other ratings news via Twitter:
The Futon Critic: The Event's 3.7 adults 18-49 rating bests EVERY first-run airing on Mondays last season, except for Olympics, Jay Leno debut. Ditto for Chase: 2.5 adults 18-49 rating tops all Monday, 10/9c performances last season, save for Jay Leno launch, Olympics.
Brad Adgate: Premiere of HBO's Boardwalk Empire had 4.8 million viewers, True Blood had 4.3 million over the summer in same time period. Median age of Boardwalk Empire was almost 10 years higher than True Blood (45.2 vs. 36.3)
Joe Adalian:
Boardwalk Empire bowed to True Blood-like 4.8m viewers Sunday, best HBO open in 6 years (since Deadwood, which had a Sopranos lead-in). Add in multiplays, the number goes to 7.1 million. Expect a season two renewal as early as today, but no later than end of the month.
UPDATE: Boardwalk Empire has indeed been renewed already.

Some tweets on Lone Star's rough start:
Jaime Weinman: A thing to repeat about Lone Star is it got 4 million viewers, which would be an amazing week for many of the cable shows it's compared to.
Not that the cable approach cannot work on broadcast, but Mad Men is probably not a show whose example broadcast should be following.
Adam Barken: Lone Star continues tradition of FOX picking up shows that would probably do just fine on cable (see also: Firefly; Sarah Conner)...Put Lone Star on FX or even TNT.
Brad Adgate: Lone Star loses 62% of House's lead-in audience (4.1 million & 10.7 million) with a older median age of 50.5 (House was 44.2). Lone Star viewing dropped each quarter hour (in millions)-5.17 at 9; 3.76 at 9:15; 3.63 at 9:30 & 3.35 at 9:45.

Rick Porter offers some predictions for Tuesday, as does Jaime Weinman.

CBS Using Yahoo

CBS is partnering with Yahoo this week to create online buzz for its new shows.

Do Ads Confuse You?

There's surely an instructive point in these survey results about spectator understanding of commercials, but I also appreciate the laugh I get from considering the young and old alike being "very often confused" by commercials.

Keeping Fox on Top

TVNewsCheck talks with Fox’s EVP of strategic program planning and research, Preston Beckman, about keeping Fox in the #1 slot for 18-49.

Retrans Spats

The latest fight: Time Warner vs. Belo. Also: Fox vs. Cablevision.

And Disney boss Bob Iger affiliates have to share retrans spoils with networks.

Political Ads

Katy Bachman reports on the expectation that election ads will outpace 2008 spending figures, but Sinclair Broadcast Group has revised its expectations downward.

Streaming Pirates

The studios are going after websites they claim are illegally streaming film and TV content. One of those sites, ivi TV, is actually suing content providers first, claiming that copyright law governs its actions. Brett Lang describes, "Because it is online only, ivi maintains it is not governed by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and consequently does not have to pay retransmission fees in the way that a Comcast or Cablevision would. It does pay the networks royalties on the content that it airs." The NAB thinks ivi sounds illegal, and David Poland thinks the people behind ivi are scumbags. Here's a profile of ivi. And here's a profile of Hollywood's new intellectual-property czar.

Also, piracy activists are coordinating industry website attacks.

DVR Season

Steve Sternberg considers the increased role of DVRs in this season's ratings.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Big Four Doing OK

Steve McClellan considers why the Big Four networks had strong overall viewer numbers last season, while cable's audience shrunk.

Ad Men

Steve Tuttle judges the state of masculinity depicted in a handful ads.

TiVo Music Service

In its efforts to stop bleeding subscribers, TiVo has added the Pandora music service to its box.

MSNBC a Success

Howard Kurtz reports that MSNBC's improved fortunes are making it a key asset to NBCU. Alex Weprin adds some thoughts.

Do the Overnights Matter?

Robert Seidman disagrees with those who insist that overnight and live-plus-same-day ratings don't matter anymore.

Summer Ratings

Ed at Spotted has summer 18-49 ratings charts for broadcast network and cable TV.

Lorre's Vanity Cards

Hillary Busis digs into Chuck Lorre's prolific vanity cards. Here's his first Mike & Molly vanity card.

Cougar Town Writers' Room

Brian Stelter checks out the Cougar Town writers' room, which touts a rare even balance between make and female writers.

All-in-One Apple TV

Apple might soon develop an all-in-one Apple TV including a DVR and live capabilities, but Darrell Etherington isn't sure that's such a good idea.

Now & Later

Ed Martin says this season looks disappointing, and BigTVfan wonders what will come next once the season gets going.

Fall Grid

TV Squad has a great fall network schedule grid if you're looking for one (and according to Marisa Guthrie, you still are).

B&C Reports on News Technology

From B&C: "As the industry prepares to assemble for B&C and TV Technology's 9th annual News Technology Summit in Nashville Sept. 22-23, top players weigh in on the impact of tech advances on the news game and the bottom line."

Prime-Time Ratings: Sunday

Sunday night's fast nationals: As Daniel Fienberg said on Twitter, "Football, blah blah. The real fun starts tonight!"

Top-Earning Women

Forbes has a slideshow of prime time's 10 top-salaried women, with Ellen Degeneres enjoying the biggest earnings thanks to her Idol stint, and Tyra Banks and Katherine Heigl next.

Marketing Grades

James Hibberd grades the best and worst fall TV ads.

Ads for Web TV

A new pursuit for advertisers is figuring out how to create ads specifically for the possibilities of internet-connected TVs.

The End for P&G

The blogger at A Thousand Other Worlds details Proctor & Gamble's step-by-step process of getting out of soap operas.

The Schedule Still Matters

Marisa Guthrie stresses that despite the many options to watch TV shows off the grid and on your own time, traditional scheduling still matters. And the first big test of such scheduling begins tonight, with a Monday night pile-up (BigTVfan tries to predict tonight's ratings). Meanwhile, one of the symbols of traditional scheduling, TV Guide, is fighting to maintain relevance.

Martha's Slow Start

Martha Stewart's new Hallmark Channel show hasn't caught on in the ratings yet, but Hallmark still needs her relevance.

Broadband Goal for Cable

Cable would like to narrow the digital divide.

In Media Res This Week

In Media Res presents Fall TV:
  • Monday September 20, 2010 – Jennifer Pozner (Women in Media and News) presents: "Bridalplasty": If you’re shocked, you haven’t been paying attention
  • Tuesday September 21, 2010 – Erin Copple Smith (Denison University) presents: Everyone at Comic-Con Loved "The Event"!: Creating Pre-Season Buzz for Fall Premieres
  • Wednesday September 22, 2010 – Victoria M. Sturtevant (University of Oklahoma) presents: Project Runaway: On the Road with Austin and Santino
  • Thursday September 23, 2010 – Aymar Jean Christian (University of Pennsylvania) presents: From Four to Ten: A New Lens for Scripted TV
  • Friday September 24, 2010 – Michael Newman (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) presents: "Running Wilde" and the State of Network Comedy

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nielsen Primer

Here's another great description of how the Nielsen ratings work, the system's problems, and what future issues could be.

Nets Need Big Events

Dick Ebersol insists that the broadcast networks better hang on to big Event TV airings.

Netflix Users Cutting Cords

John Melloy reports on a study claiming that over 1/3 of Netflix users have dropped their cable and satellite subscriptions.

Hawaii Five-0 Typical

In his review of the new Hawaii Five-0, James Poniewozik says it's the poster child for the new fall network shows: "What it's trying to do is very limited in its aims and upside. Broadcasters are not swinging for the fences as they have done in past years."

ATWT Ending

Today marked the end of As the World Turns, and John Kiesewetter and looks back on what the show meant to viewers and advertisers. Ed Martin also offers thoughts, as do Shani R. Friedman, Sara Bibel, Jennifer Warick, Sam Ford, Michael Maloney, and Keith Runyon.

Prime-Time Ratings: Thursday

Thursday night's fast nationals: The Apprentice was a dud, The CW was down, and CBS repeats won the night.

Preview for Kids

Amy Reiter previews the upcoming fall shows targeted toward children. (Not counting Hawaii Five-0. Hi-0!)