TCA Summer Tour 2014: FX bids adieu to “Sons Of Anarchy”

From left, Creator Kurt Sutter, Director Paris Barclay and actor Charlie Hunnam speak on stage during the “Sons of Anarchy” panel at the The FX 2014 Summer TCA Tour

From left, Creator Kurt Sutter, Director Paris Barclay and actor Charlie Hunnam speak on stage during the “Sons of Anarchy” panel at the The FX 2014 Summer TCA Tour

The final commercial network to present at TCA did so Monday, and FX had a lot to say, with panels for a whopping nine shows (yours truly won’t be able to cover them all here, so here’s the selected stuff:)

- Exec session: John Landgraf took the stage and talked about where his network stood – and it was looking good – FX was nominated for 45 Emmy Awards – the most of any basic cable network. Landgraf even had to jokingly apologize to critics to contributing “too much good TV”.

Much like Showtime chief David Nevins, Landgraf talked about the FX brand taking risks, pushing against the confines of storytelling.  “We’d rather fail spectacularly and nobly than succeed in a quiet, middling way”, he said. Landgraf also previewed the fourth season of American Horror story, and talked about the failure of W. Kamau Bell’s late-night talk show, one of two African-American late-night hosts who lost shows the past year (the other was Arsenio Hall, whose show premiered days after Bell’s was expanded to a late-night strip.)

Landgraf also announced renewal for Louie and for Fargo, but the latter’s next season won’t be until fall 2015.

- The finale for Sons Of Anarchy still hasn’t been written, so even the creator of the show (Kurt Sutter) doesn’t know how it’ll end, so stop asking him. But you ask about if he cares if the series gets an Emmy (which it never did.). Sutter’s response: “I don’t give a shit.” Big changes are in store, with Ron Pearlman gone (character was killed off) and Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) ascending to the leadership of Sons Of Anarchy. The final season premieres Sept. 9.

- Here comes another vampire show: this one is The Strain, from co-creator Guillermo Tel Doro, and he was joined by co-creator Chuck Hogan (who also co-authored The Strain books with Del Toro) and exec prodcer/showrunner Carlton Cuse (Lost) at the panel. The premise: A government head investigates a runaway full of dead bodies at JFK airport – and it turns out the bodies are infected with vampiric worms that spreads into the populace.

As for the books, don’t assume that’s how it will go onscreen“The way things happen and the fate of the characters is not completely determined by the books,” Cuse said. But let’s have Del Toro have the last word on vampires: “[They] are truly revolting parasites. They drink you like a Capri Sun. They don’t hold you and say, ‘Now I give you my life.’ No, they crush you and throw you away.”

- At the Fargo panel, the just-renewed show announced some major changes for season two: according to creator Noah Hawley, the series is relocating to Sioux Falls, S. D. and based in 1979, with an all-new cast. In fact, only Keith Carradine is returning for season two, only his character is now 33 and just returning home from Vietnam.

How fans would react to these changes remains to be seen – and we won’t find out until fall 2015 – that’s when Fargo returns for its second season.

- So what’s on tap for The Bridge’s second season?  “If I’m going to tell a story about the U.S.-Mexican border, one which these characters warranted, I couldn’t tell that story while they were tracking a serial killer’, said EP Elwood Reid, who seems to be steering away from the serial killer plotline and onto other crimes in the area, which is close to the U.S.-Mexican border. Reid will exec produce the yet-to-be-announced season two solo, with co-exec producer Meredith Stheim departing for Showtime’s Homeland.

- Other FX panels held at TCA include Tyrant, Married and You’re The Worstin addition to unveiling SimpsonsWorld, a new website scheduled to October where viewers can watch every Simpsons episode ever made (but needs cable authentication since it uses the TV Everywhere platform.) Beginning August 21, FXX (the new cable companion to FX) will air all 552 episodes of The Simpsons non-stop through Labor Day.

And that’s a wrap for the TCA Press Tour. See you at Comic-Con!

Cable, Television

Conflict losing its bite at Tribune

Scenes like this may soon be history at Tribune stations. (Multimedia Entertainment)

Scenes like this may soon be history at Tribune stations. (Multimedia Entertainment)

Attention viewers: baby mama drama time may soon be over.

As reported by TVNewscheck on Friday, Tribune Broadcasting may not renew its contracts for its three conflict talk shows from NBCUniversal Television Distribution, hosted by Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, and Steve Wilkos.

Neither Tribune or NBCUniversal had comment.

Tribune is developing programming for time slots in 2015 and according to TVNewscheck, none of it conflict talk.

Many Tribune stations carry all three talkers in a daytime block; other Tribune stations carry either one or two of the shows. In Chicago, Maury is carried on Tribune’s WGN-TV, while Springer and Wilkos are carried on Weigel’s WCIU. Other markets where the three are split up among Tribune and non-Tribune stations include St. Louis, Denver, San Diego, and Sacramento.

National ratings are respectable by current daytime standards, but all three are down from several seasons ago.

While a lot could happen between now and 2016, the future for all three shows on Tribune’s stations became questionable when the company named Larry Wert as president of its broadcast division. Shortly after taking over as vice president and general manager of NBC-owned WMAQ-TV in 1998, Wert pulled the plug on Springer despite high ratings. It came a year after Springer’s ill-fated stint as a commentator on the station’s late newscast, and continuous demonstrations led by the Rev. Michael Pflager and others.

This possible move by Tribune comes at a time as viewers are shifting away from the “conflict” talk show – pioneered in the mid-1960′s by Joe Pyne and made popular in the late 1980′s by Geraldo Rivera and Morton Downey Jr.  - to “conflict” reality shows on VH1, MTV, and Bravo, whose reruns of such fare now appears opposite those talk shows during the day.

In other words, viewers now prefer Kenya Moore yanking the weave off some woman’s head rather than an unknown talk show guest doing so.

Despite the popularity of the NBCUniversal conflict shows, recent efforts to duplicate their success hasn’t worked. Recent conflict shows hosted by Jeremy Kyle, Trisha Goodard, and Kirk Fox (The Test) failed to gain traction with viewers. Plans to launch another conflict talker by Tribune and CBS (hosted by MC Serch) was scrapped earlier this year after a three-week test of the show yielded poor results.

If Tribune decides not to renew, NBCU could find a new home on another large-market station group such as CBS or Fox, but that could be a long shot. In Chicago, Fox owned the rights to Springer from 1998 to 2009, first airing on WFLD and later WPWR.

Another factor is the trio’s lack of appeal among advertisers due to the saucy content, though Tribune executives insisted this wasn’t an issue.

And of course, there’s the age of at least two of the hosts. When their contracts come up, Jerry Springer would be 72 and Maury Povich would turn 77. If they wanted to, they could ride into the sunset and retire.

Tribune’s wavering renewal on the three shows also raises questions regarding the future of another conflict talker: The Bill Cunningham Show, which Tribune produces for CW.

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TCA Summer Tour 2014: Fox: “We need some hits”

The cast of Fox's upcoming drama "Gotham" (Kansascitystar.com)

The cast of Fox’s upcoming drama “Gotham” (Kansascitystar.com)

Fox came into the 2014 press tour finishing the most recent season in  fourth place – despite airing the Super Bowl. With new entertainment presidents Dana Walden and Gary Newman not yet ready to take the reigns, somebody had to take one of the team – and that someone was Peter Rice.

- Executive session: Rice came out and talked about the future of aging drama Bones, hoping the procedural can last a few more seasons. Rice also seem pleased with the revival of 24.

Despite declining ratings, Rice refused to throw American Idol under the bus, saying the judges aren’t the problem with the show, but the lack of charisma from the contestants.

And don’t write off New Girl just yet, said Rice, noting the show strong DVR playback numbers and the shift away from live viewing in general.

Rice conceded that this wasn’t the best season for Fox, with a fourth place finish in the 18-49 demographic: “We need some hits”, Rice said.

- Up first was the most anticipated series of the fall season – Gotham, a prequel series to the Batman franchise, featuring a young police commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) trying to get a hold of the city’s crime problem. One thing you can forget is the superhero angle – it won’t work here, says EP Bruno Heller: “This is noir. The structure that exists around James Gordon is so daunting and challenging that no single man can defeat it.  The notion is that our hero is doomed. “Gotham” is as much about the hope and struggle that everyday people are engaged in. It’s not about superheroes.”

Heller also added: “There will be victories along the way. In creating this show, we talked about New York City in the 1970s. It’s a time when that city was falling apart with decadence and decay. It was both sexy and scary. There’s something about a city as it falls apart that you’re compelled to watch.” (you’d think he was talking about Chicago in 2014.)

Gotham will have a slow rollout of villains, which has The Riddler as a police forensics analyst and Jada Pinkett Smith playing a corrupt nightclub owner, with a sidekick who later into The Penguin.

- What happens when you combine Party Of Five with the recent teen hit movie Fault In Our Stars? You get Red Band Society, Fox’s new drama set in a terminal children’s hospital. EP Maragret Nagle notes the young audience is shifting away from Twilight-like dramas: “Teens and twentysomethings aren’t about the immortality as seen in “Twilight”. Rather, they’re more focused on dramas that deal with mortality. They’re very forthright about these things.  The way that the show can work is that it has to tonally go to that place of teen life, i.e. “My So-Called Life”. Even “M.A.S.H.” was an influence with this series. Those shows were willing to go to a place with their material that were off-center, and off-center was where they thrived.”

Scheduled to air on Fox, the series is produced by ABC Studios, indeed a rarity in an era of vertical integration. And Red Band has big names in front of and behind the camera: it stars Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and is exec produced by Steven Spielberg. So why did Ms. Spencer taken on this role? “I got really tired of being a sex symbol,” she joked at the panel.

- Utopia was next on the docket, and on this show, people live in a remote area for a year and is challenged to create their own civilization. Nearly 5,000 people applied to be on the show; 40 people are left, and the number will shrink to fifteen. Viewers at home can also have people on the show replaced.

Fox brought some of the contestants to the tour, including a liberal feminist and a tea party activist, who said television needs more people with good morals and values (Oh, watch the fur fly!)

Unlike Survivor and other reality fare, there are no immunity challenges, no prizes, no $1 million being offered. This show is to thrive on conflict, but there has to be more, at least some motivation to make it more interesting. Utopia would’ve succeeded during Fox’s obsession with reality shows in the early 2000′s, but this show comes fifteen years too late. The series premieres Sept. 7 to take advantage of a football lead-in, then moves to its regular Tuesday and Friday slots.

- Next up was Gracepoint, a short-term series (ten episodes) about a small town under scrutiny after a murder takes place. As a result, the town is smack in the middle of a police investigation and a national media circus forms. The series is based on BBC America’s/ITV’s Broadchurch, and many critics pointed out the similarities between both shows in the first two episodes of Gracepoint. Even so, the show’s creator denies its a shot-by-shot remake.

Oddly enough, the person who plays the lead investigator in Broadchurch (David Tennant) also plays the same one in Gracepoint.

- The final program at Fox’s presentation was also the most panned by critics – Mulraney, a sitcom starring Chicago native John Mulraney, which many describe as reminiscent – or more like a ripoff – of Seinfeld. Mulraney even admitted (jokingly) that he came up with the show by watching Seinfeld: “Just watched “Seinfeld” and copied it. They run it all the time, so it was easy.”  Many in the crowd however, found the pilot flatteringly unfunny.

Fox has ordered sixteen episodes, but yours truly thinks this show won’t last that long.

- Finally, there was a Fox comedy showrunner panel, featuring Al Jean (Simpsons) and Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project.) Yours truly will cover this subject soon in a separate post.

Broadcast Networks, Television ,

TCA Summer Press Tour: CW, Showtime’s turn

The cast of "Jane the Virgin" at TCA.

The cast of “Jane the Virgin” at TCA.

Friday was two other CBS Corp. other properties presenting their wares at the tour: co-owned CW and premium channel Showtime.

CW

-Executive session : Mark Pedowitz addressed the critics and looked a happy man: despite a rocky future ahead (a possible Tribune defection and the future of co-owner Time Warner) – his network was up 14 percent in total viewers and up 5 percent in adults 18-49 for the 2013-14 season, with its competitors either flat or down. Pedowitz contribues this to adding more male-skewing fare (Arrow) to the schedule while still appealing to females.

Pedowitz also defended renewing some low-rated series such as Beauty and the Beast, noting it had some benefits for its corporate partners (ugh) and was a big international seller.

He also talked about diversity (like every other exec) and said it was a top priority for his network (and looking at CW’s shows, do we need to ask? They are miles ahead of the curve.)

- One show that will likely become a big hit with critics (and probably the first original CW show to do so) is Jane The Virgin, which is reminiscent of ABC’s Ugly Betty. Based on a Venezuelan telenovela, a woman finds out she was accidentally inseminated by a doctor. Chicago native Gina Rodriguez was a big hit in the room (as opposed to Kevin Williamson’s appearance the previous evening.) She told the crowd she was offered a role on Lifetime’s serial Devious Maids, but turned it down because she thought it was too stereotypicial: “I became an actor to see myself onscreen. Every role that I’ve chosen has been one that I think will push forward the idea of my culture. I wasn’t going to let my introduction to the world be a story that’s been told many times.”

- Next was The Flash, CW’s revival of the short-lived 1990-91 CBS series. But don’t look for any similarities between the two as the new version is decidedly less campy than its predecessor. We’re incorporating almost everything from the mythology into it and have added a whole new backstory with the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator” said DC Entertainment CEO Geoff Johns, saying it would be “The most faithul DC Comic adaption ever.” 

One change from the comic books is two of the characters – Iris West and Det. Joe West – are being played by African-American actors, reflective of the world today.

One notable quote from the session: preparing for next week’s Comic-Con and the show’s importance to comic book fans, someone on the panel joked: “I don’t think there’s a “Grey’s Anatomy’s” convention.”

- CW announced at the tour it was renewing Whose Line Is It Anyway for a 24-episode third season. The series has been a constant performer on Friday nights and helped broaden the network’s appeal.

Showtime's David Nevins at the exec session.

Showtime’s David Nevins at the exec session.

Showtime

- Executive session: David Nevins addressed the controversy over Shameless making the unprecedented switch in Emmy categories from drama to comedy: “There is always a degree of arbitrariness,” said Nevins, who said he’ll try to defy the categories and genres and challenge them to the limit. Nevins also addressed the status of action series Halo, which was being developed by Microsoft’s XBox Entertainment Group before it closed down last week. Plans for the show are still on track, he said, as is plans for Happy-ish, a project Phillip Seymour Hoffman was working on before he died.

- First up was The Affair, a new series about a schooteacher (played by Dominic west) and a waitress (Ruth Wilson) who… well have an affair. The story is being told through different perspectives.

- At the Ray Donovan panel, executive producer Ann Birderman seemed flattered when asked if adding a therapist character was paying a homage to The Sopranos. She said it wasn’t, noting that “No one’s in therapy for very long in this show, it’ s not a conceit we’ve carried for any length of time”, Birdman said. The panel also featured Emmy nominee Jon Voight, who recently made headlines criticizing the Obama Administration. Wisely, he stayed away from politics and focused on being grateful to work on Ray Donovan, even name-dropping stars such as Dustin Hoffman and Hal Ashby, who he collab arated with in the past. 

- The creative minds behind Homeland were none too happy about their recent Emmy snub – but the show must go on, and the producers and writers announced some major plot developments for season four, which you can read about by clicking here. 

- Finally, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant had a laugh when he arrived late to his own panel for an upcoming Showtime documentary about his rehab from an injury that kept him out for most of the past season: “Sorry I’m late. I’m was out looking for a coach.” 

Broadcast Networks, SciFi, Sports, Television

TCA Summer Press Tour 2014: CBS sessions turn testy

cbs_logoEven though many people view CBS’ primetime time lineup with about as much excitement as watching an ice cube melt, their TCA Press Tour presentations are something different entirely.

There were a lot of people here on the hot seat, including CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler and Dawson’s Creek creator, Kevin Williamson, whose new show (Stalker) drew the wrath of critics.

Executive session: This was a surprisingly tense session, with network chief Nina Tassler defending her network’s efforts on diversity. Many critics – some who view The Church Of Tisch with disdain – slammed the network for its fall lineup, with entirely white casts (in other words, CBS’ fall lineup looks more like Crystal Lake than Hyde Park.) Tassler pointed out new summer series Extant with Halle Berry as the lead, and Lucy Liu of Elementary. And she pointed out another show (The Talk) whose panelists are racially diverse.

Earlier in the press tour, ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee and Starz’ Chris Albericht talked about diversity, each with different takes (oddly enough, when penny-pinching fool Laurence Tisch was ruining CBS, the casts of the shows were actually more diverse.)

In other news, Tassler believes the five principal cast members of The Big Bang Theory will soon reach newdeals soon, before shooting resumes in July. She had little to say about the network’s late-night plans with David Letterman and Craig Ferguson departing (the latter she has yet to find a replacement for) and Stephen Colbert retiring.

- Onto the shows: First up was Madam Secretary, a new drama starring Tea Leoni as the new Secretary of State, facing battles in the world and (wait for it) at home. Leoni and producer Morgan Freeman were on the panel, in addition to exec producer Lori McCreary, who said the inspiration for Madam Secretary came from the time Hilary Clinton was in the position and Benghazi. The reason why Leoni returned to TV after such a long time off? Her kids turning 12 and 15 respectively, and yeah, they’re kind of sick of her hanging around the house.

- Next drama up on the panel was CSI: New Orleans… oops, I mean NCIS: New Orleans. Mark Harmon of the mothership was at the panel, and he’s helping launch the show: “I’m here to help” said Harmon to reporters at TCA. NCIS: New Orleans stars Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap) as the special agent in charge of the NCIS local office.

- Up next was Scorpion, which takes the Monday 9 p.m. (ET) slot this fall, marking the first non-sitcom to occupy the time period in get this – 64 years. Inspired by a true story, Scorpion is a drama about eccentric genius Walter O’Brien and his team of brilliant misfits who comprise the last line of defense against complex, high-tech threats of the modern age (whatever that means.) Notes exec producer Nick Santora: “It’s a Fun-Cedural.” (Huh?) This is basically The Big Bang Theory – if it were a drama.

- CBS trotted out its NFL crew for its new Thursday Night Football games, which begins September 11. Network honcho Les Moonves hopes the league extends the network’s contract beyond one year.“We knew going in this was a one-year deal,” Moonves said.“It’s our job to show the NFL what we can do. And we’re confident they’re going to feel like CBS did a tremendous job; we’re confident after this year is over they’ll sit down and hopefully give us a longer deal than that.”

Joining Moonves on stage was commissioner Roger Goodell, who defended the league’s position on player safety, and CBS Sports exec Sean McManus, saying its up to the announcers if they want to say the name “Redskins”, which has generated a firestorm of controversy since some say the name of D.C.’s football team is racially insensitive.

- But the most tense moment during the day came during the Stalker panel. Creator Kevin Williamson wound up vigorously defending his new drama, especially the opening scene of the pilot, a man, presumably a stalker, sets a woman on fire in her car. Williamson said his show “doesn’t cross a line”, regarding the show’s constant violence. “We all could be stalkers; we’ve all stalked someone at one time,” Williamson said. “How many times when we’ve broken up with someone, when we were young, and we had to drive by their house just to see who’s parked in their driveway? You know, you’re stalking.”

His comments riled up the audience, especially women. Williamson’s response? “Turn the channel”, which is the perhaps the worst way to pitch a show to the public. All I have to do is look at his Twitter feed and you can see why the radio and TV business continue to hire idiots whose IQ is below 50.

At a time when violence is gripping urban cities like Chicago – which had 80 people shot one weekend, mind you – do we really need shock shows like this? And you wonder why the broadcast networks’ dramas don’t get Emmy nominations. But people in the entertainment industry don’t give a crap (ask Kenya Moore) as long as they make a buck off the communities who suffer from violence.

And because of Stalker, the annoying Parents Television Council have the FCC complaint forms ready to file and the even more annoying Rev. Michael Pfleger is planning a protest in front of The Church Of Tisch headquarters even as I speak. Stalker isn’t a drama, it’s trailer park Trash TV.

Golden Age Of Drama my ass.

- Two other CBS panels took place: one for new Thursday night comedy The McCarthys and the other for Battle Creek, a police drama created by Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan.

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WGN-TV slots “Celebrity Name Game” at 10 p.m.

celebnamegamelogo-420x215Also: Hollywood Daily Live, Daily Helpline debut to microscopic audiences

In a rather unusual move, Tribune-owned WGN-TV has slotted Craig Ferguson’s new game show, Celebrity Name Game from Debmar-Mercury at 10 p.m., starting September 22.

As first reported by Robert Feder, Name Game would replace the failed revival of The Arsenio Hall Show, which was canceled in May. While other stations have downgraded Arsenio since its cancellation was announced, WGN is still running repeats of the show at 10 p.m., which are earning only a 1.0 household rating and a 0.4 rating among adults 25-54.

What makes the slotting of Name Game unusual is generally, game shows are usually scheduled for either prime access (6:30-8 p.m.), early fringe (afternoon), or daytime slots. But WGN decided to air the show in late fringe – not exactly the ideal slot for such fare (in 1990, the failed revivals of The Joker’s Wild and Tic Tac Tough did air in late fringe, but were slotted at 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. respectively by NBC-owned WMAQ-TV and received similar treatment by WNBC-TV in New York.)

The last time a game show aired at 10 p.m. in Chicago was in the early 1990′s when the Ray Combs-hosted edition of Family Feud, which aired on WGBO and later WPWR. On WPWR, Feud often averaged a 4.5 household rating in the time slot (the latest incarnation of Feud, now hosted by Steve Harvey, airs at 5 p.m. on WPWR and is also syndicated by Debmar-Mercury.)

WGN aired syndicated game show (Street Smarts) at 11 p.m. in the late 1990′s, but that program was targeted to late fringe.

Currently, WLS-TV dominated the 10 p.m. slot, as it has for decades, with Eyewitness News in households and key demos.

Created by Courtney Cox and her ex-husband David Arquette and based on the board game Identity Crisis, Celebrity Name Game features contestants who try to identify celebrities and fictional characters. The WGN clearance is part of a larger deal made with Tribune Broadcasting, whose major-market stations are also carrying the show, in addition to those owned by CBS, Gannett, and Sinclair.

So far, no other local station has revealed their plans for fall, though WCIU has already begun airing promos for reruns of Mike & Molly, which debuts in off-network this September.

- Meanwhile, Twentieth Television quietly began testing two first-run strips that up until Monday, yours truly (and no one else) has never heard of – and unlike past tests, both are airing in the Chicagoland area.

According to B&C, both Hollywood Daily Live and The Daily Helpline have faltered at the starting line: Airing in nine markets HDL has notched a 0.4/1 household rating/share, while Helpline earned a 0.1/0.

Hollywood Daily Live airs at 1 p.m. on WFLD-TV; Daily Helpline airs at Noon on WPWR. Both stations are owned by Fox. This marks the first time both Chicago stations have been used in tests; generally, Chicago is skipped in favor of smaller markets in the Midwest. Last year’s Kris (with Kris Jenner) and this winter’s Serch (tested on Tribune stations) never aired in the Chicago area.

Judging by the promos for HDL and Daily Line (which you could watch here), Viewers here and in eight other markets can easily “skip” these programs.

Chicago Media, Syndication, Television , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TCA Summer Press Tour: ABC touts diversity

ABC_MeetingIt was ABC day Tuesday at the 2014 TCA Summer Press Tour, with the network bringing out the casts of several new shows to meet the hordes of TV critics.

- Executive session: ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee met with the press and talked about a wide variety of subjects from the cancellation of Trophy Wife (let it go, already!) to diversity.

Lee pointed out many of ABC’s new shows from Black-ish to midseason entry Fresh Off The Boat have diverse casts – something the industry has been accused of lacking, including from yours truly. Lee gets it: “If you look at shows now that lack diversity they actually feel dated because America doesn’t look that way anymore,” he said. “My job is to see if these shows move me. The reality is this: Great stories will resonate in the hearts and guts of audiences.” 

Diversity is wonderful, but its the material – whether black, white, Hispanic, or Asian – that matters.

Asked if The Goldbergs needs to become more Jewish (Lee is part-Jewish), he said the program reflects the vision of its creator Adam Goldberg. “I’m not to say from one Jew to another, let’s have a bar mitzvah.” After a slow start creatively, The Goldbergs has become a solid, funny comedy with its sendup of 1980′s life (The 1950′s sitcom of the same name – not related to Adam Goldberg’s show of course, was the first TV program to feature a Jewish family.)

- Other thoughts from Lee: He seems to be encouraged by the uptick in numbers and social media activity from Rising Star, ABC’s new reality music competition show. He pointed out the interactive app hasn’t had the same kind of problems NBC’s Million Dollar Quiz had last year.

- Lee also is Bullish on mid-season entries Agent Carter and Gavalant, which will be used as gaps between seasons of Agents Of Shield and Once Upon A Time, respectively. He said the failed Time spin-off Wonderland should have been used in the same manner.

- And like his colleagues, Lee put broadcast dramas over its cable counterparts: I’ll put American Crime or Scandal against any cable drama series,” he said. “Sometime limitations can provide you with better storytelling, and Shonda Rhimes is a beacon of that.”

- On to the shows: First up is the new drama How To Get Away With Murder, the new Thursday night drama from Shonda Rhimes and stars Viola Davis. She plays a criminal defense professor who teaches a class on… well, how to get away with murder. Her students wind up getting tangled in a murder plot that could being down the university. During the panel, Rhimes downplayed the historical significance of a black woman playing the lead on two of her shows. She also did seem to mind the long tweet hashtag fans are encouraged to use.

- Next was Black-ish, from Larry Wilmore, who is working on the show until he heads to Comedy Central in January to anchor The Minority Report. In this show, a father (Anthony Anderson, who is also a exec producer), is concerned his family is losing touch with its African roots. “It’s always amazing to me, it’s as if black is a bad thing or something, like we shouldn’t talk about them being black, said Wilmore at TCA. “And this show kind of celebrates black more as a cultural thing than a race thing. At the heart of it, it’s a family show.”

Wilmore, who co-created The Bernie Mac Show for Fox back a decade ago, noticed the evolution of African-American sitcoms: “It does always change through the years,” said Wilmore. “It was no big deal to have black sitcoms on TV…. The Jeffersons, all those shows. Then it kind of got segregated and it seemed like they were all ceded to UPN. It was kind of like, ‘What’s going on with that?’ I called it the Negro Leagues.” He added, “Now we’re a novelty all of a sudden.”

- Next was the panel for Forever, an ABC procedural centering around a New York medical examiner whose more like Barnabas from Dark Shadows – he can’t be killed. So when he “dies”, he reappears in the Hudson River (though he won’t die every week, this is eerily similar to Kenny from South Park.)

Creator Matt Miller was asked if a kind of death would kill his lead character permanently, he said “cancellation”.

Oh, I have a feeling that will be around the corner.

- The wildest panel of the day belonged to Hispanic stand-up Cristela Alonzo to talk about her new Friday sitcom Cristela. The show is about an aspiring lawyer (played by Alonzo) who moves back home. The ultimate rags-to-riches story, Alonzo grew up in poverty in a Texas border town to a single mother. “I don’t try to put any expectation on this show except for I want the show to portray me as me,” said Alonzo . ‘The name of the show is Cristela. The character in the show is very much who I am in person and I just want to show people the real me.”

On stereotypes, Alonzo said the best way to avoid them is to “ “try to speak honestly… don’t exaggerate what you are trying to say. Everyone is this show is based on someone I know.”

To save costs, the pilot for Criestla was shot on another sitcom’s set (which is actually commonplace), but now will get its own beginning with the second episode.

And she is a sports fan, especially her beloved Dallas Cowboys (but not of their owner, whom she was making of.) Oh yeah, Cristela’s got jokes. Hopefully, she’ll have some reserved for the Cubs.

- Other ABC panels at TCA included sitcom Selfie and drama Manhattan Love Story, which was basically a waste. 

Broadcast Networks, Television

TCA Summer Tour 2014: NBC

NBC

Jennifer Salke (left), Paul Teldgy, and Robert Greenblatt at TCA.

The broadcast network portion of the TCA 2014 began Sunday, and the tone of the press tour changed quite a bit – there was a little more bite in these sessions, as one journalist squared off with a star of a new show and the network entertainment chief whined why his network gets no love.

- Executive session: NBC Entertainment President Bob Greenblatt appeared front and center and talked about the network’s renaissance this season: successful prime-time shows such as The Voice and Sunday Night Football; new freshman hit The Blacklist; and the successful translation in late night from Jay Leno to Jimmy Fallon. He and his posse on stage (fellow execs Jennifer Salke and Paul Teldgy) knows there’s work to be done to stay on top.

But it wasn’t all smiles at the exec session. Greenblatt (and the other network chiefs) were not pleased over their dramas getting snubbed by the Emmys. And Greenblatt defended the decision to refuse a digital ad for the movie Obvious Child because it had the word “abortion” in it. Obviously, NBC is still haunted by the $1 million loss in ad revenue it suffered when it aired TV movie Roe Vs. Wade in 1989.

- On to the shows: NBC trotted out casts for its six new shows, and the first was for State Of Affairs, featuring Katherine Heigl’s comeback attempt. She plays a CIA agent whose task isto inform the President on important security matters. This panel became rather testy after NPR critic Eric Deggans asked if she really was difficult to work with because she’s female. 

- Next was The Mysteries Of Laura and if you think this is a Veronica Mars-type of drama – think again. Debra Messing plays a homicide detective who has an easier time handling criminals than her wild family. On the panel, she said: “it is the balance of the tone of drama and the comedy that is going to be the newest adventure and the newest challenge.  That we haven’t seen on network TV before.”

In the pilot, we see twin boys peeing on each other. We haven’t seen that on network TV before, either.

- Next was Marry Me, a sitcom that was generating quite a bit of positive buzz with the crowd at TCA. Casey Wilson and Ken Marino play an engaged couple who trip down the aisle isn’t easy as they think it is. Asked if she can relate to her character on the show, Ms. Wilson replied: “I am just as irrational and angry and emotional.”

- Next was Constantine, the new drama based on the DC Comics character. A schemer from London, England, A supernatural detective nasmed John Constantine is all of a sudden defending the world from dark forces. Constantine is more adult than you give him credit for - he’s a bisexual who smokes, and the adult things he does in the comics producers are trying to do an end-around on (to make it more “politically correct”.) In fact, you won’t see Constantine’s sexuality  explored in the show, according to producers.

- Panels for two awful comedies (Bad Judge and A to Z) followed. Judge features Kate Walsh (Grey’s Anatomy) who rules the bench by day and parties all night. A to Z is a typical, run-of-the-mill romantic comedy. With NBC ready to replace these Thursday night sitcoms in February with Blacklist, both will likely be gone by then, if not sooner.

TCA Quick Hits And Bits:

- The cast and producers of USA’s Dig had to field some tough questions regarding this limited-run series, including whether the series would have political ramifications since it deals with Biblical prophecies with real-life turmoil in the region. Currently, Dig is on a pre-planned hiatus and would resume filming in Jerusalem as long it was safe to do so.

Dig co-creator and executive producer Tim Kring is not expected to work on Heroes: Origins until this project is complete, and given the conflicts in Israel, there’s no telling how long that would be.

- At the Sunday Night Football panel, Al Michaels said he wasn’t too concerned about CBS’ new Thursday Night Football package: The thing about Thursday night that’s important to remember is “Thursday Night Football” has been on the air for a lot of seasons. It’s the case in every sport. How much is too much? Right now it’s not too much.”

The panel also featured Cris Collinsworth, who talked about the concussion controversy, and Michele Tafoya.

- Yeah, right: Bravo’s upcoming scripted series Girlfriends Guide to Divorce is not based on her own, says series creator Marti Noxon. The series stars House’s Lisa Edelstein as a woman who winds up divorcing her husband (Paul Adelstein) and now faces single life in her 40s… the series premieres Dec. 2.

- The critics were all treated to a premiere showing of Sharknado 2: The Second One Monday night, the sequel to the surprise hit movie airs later this month of SyFy. No spoilers!

Broadcast Networks, Cable, Television

TCA Summer Tour 2014: Crash course in cable

TCA_Logo_FINALThe Television Critics Association’s Press Tour got underway last week at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, Ca. For the next two weeks, TV and media critics will be listening to executives talk a lot of BS, see actors whining, and asking tough questions while tweeting away.

But there is also the potential for some fun moments (remember a Downton Abbey cast member revealing a Free Bates T-shirt during a panel a few years ago?)

Without further ado, here’s a cliff notes version of the cable portion of the press tour (independently -owned cable networks)

- Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s sessions were pretty much straight out of Bizarro World. There were panels for Discovery’s Naked And Afraid (which featured no nudity at the panel), an Animal Planet show called Pitbulls and Parolees, and a parade of out-of-work ’90′s stars pimping Investigation Discovery programs such as Heartbreakers. Only thing missing was Sex Sent Me To The ER (and yes, that’s a real show.) And you had women dressed as mermaids hanging out the Hilton’s pool, thanks to BBC America (you try walking in that costume.)

- On Friday, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht addressed reporters at TCA and talked about his new drama, Outlander. Albrecht also addressed numerous issues at his session, including early renewals, black viewership, and the lack of buzz for his shows in this new “Golden Age Of Drama” at the cable networks. Albercht defended renewing series early (pointing out HBO does the same thing), though some series such as Boss and Magic City, were canceled after two seasons.

Albericht also noted about the composition of his new drama, Power, a hip-op drama created by Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent, saying the series has a predominantly Africsan-American audience: “The not-so-surprising secret about Power is that white people don’t watch a lot of shows that don’t have a lot of white faces in them,” he said. Sure is a far cry from the past when predominately black casted shows like The Jeffersons, The Cosby Show, and Family Matters also appealed to white audiences.

- A lot was talked about regarding AMC’s Better Call Saul, the much-anticipated spinoff of Breaking Bad. Vince Gilligan was at TCA, explaining how he was putting the series together. The Breaking Bad creator pointed out Saul won’t dwell on cameos from the parent series, though he didn’t rule out cameos from Walter White himself. Despite the premiere being months away, Saul has already been picked up for a second season.

Meanwhile, AMC announced it has picked up mixed martial-arts drama Badlands as a straight-to-series (no pilot) order.

- It’s not TV, it’s too damn good: armed with 99 Emmy nominations, HBO executives Richard Pleper and Michael Lombardo were sounding pretty smug at their session. The duo talked about the addition of new cast members to True Detective and more, but seemed annoyed about the constant questions regarding Game Of Thrones, saying the series was renewed through season six.

One of the more notable panels at TCA was for HBO’s The Comeback, with Lisa Kurdow and co-creator Michael Patrick King – whose last appearance at TCA a few years for 2 Broke Girls was a complete disaster. The scribes were kinder this time around to King, who was there to discuss the revival of the 2005 series, a mockumentary of a former sitcom star played by Kudrow.

TCA Quick Hits and Bits:

- WGN America held its second TCA panel ever with the introduction of Manhattan, a new drama focusing on the development of the first Atomic bomb in a New Mexico town. Creator Sam Shaw said the straight-to-series order actually helped its creative structure, saying “it was creatively liberating.”

The first TCA panel for WGN America was just-renewed Salem, which debuted April 20 and became an instant hit.

- BBC America announced renewals for Orphan Black and Broadchurch for 2015, and has picked up two new dramas: Tatau and The Last Kingdom, the latter from the producers of Downton Abbey.

- Turner announced it was picking up four new series for TruTV and renewed the network reality western, Way Out West.

- In addition to picking up exclusive streaming rights to South Park, Hulu announced a second season renewal for original series East Los High.

- Newcomer El Rey Network announced two new unscripted series: Lucha: Uprising and Cutting Crew, and what is now becoming standard practice in cable TV, renewed Matador, Robert Ori’s spy thriller for another season ahead of its July 15 premiere.

- In the no one cares department, LeAnn Rimes and hubby/leech Eddie Cibrian “want to take their life back” via VH1 with a reality show. Good luck with that.

Cable, Television

“South Park” creators strike deal with Hulu

South ParkThree year deal gives Hulu exclusive streaming rights.

Good news for fans who can’t get enough of South Park.

Hulu and Hulu Plus have acquired exclusive streaming rights of the entire library of 293 episodes, effective immediately. The free and subscription versions of Hulu will carry the library until September 24, when South Park’s eighteenth season begins. Afterward, only Hulu Plus subscribers will have full access to all South Park episodes.

New episodes of South Park will be available the next day on both services after their initial airing on Comedy Central.

The announcement was made Saturday at The Television Critics Association Press Tour. The deal is for three years and worth around $80 million, according to the New York Times.

The library was previously on SouthParkStudios.com, a website run by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. As of Saturday, Hulu will take over video operations and become the national advertising representative for the site, offering a limited number of ad-supported episodes beginning September 24. SouthParkStudios.com will also host new episodes a day after airing.

Comedy Central will continue to run older episodes of South Park. Except for a handful of cash-only deals, South Park disappeared from broadcast syndication in 2012 after seven years and two cycles. Debmar-Mercury still owns rights to distribute the series in domestic syndication.

Debuting on August 13, 1997, South Park is television’s second-longest running animated series currently on the air, only behind The Simpsons.

Cable, Tech/New Media, Television , , , , , , , ,

Indianapolis radio stations unite to curb violence

Indianapolis

Indianapolis

You probably wouldn’t know it if you tuned in to the cable news networks or if you read major national or international publications lately, but Chicago isn’t the only American city dealing with an onslaught of gun violence.

Somewhat similar to what Chicago’s urban stations are doing to combat the epidemic, Indianapolis’ radio stations are banding together in support of public safety and to honor a police officer who was slain in the line of duty.

The shootings and killings have frustrated residents in both cities with no answers – or end in sight.

Nineteen stations belonging to Clear Channel, Cumulus, Emmis, Entercom, Radio One, and independently owned WTTS and WEDJ are participating in Indy United On The Circle, being held this Saturday (July 12) at Indianapolis’ Momentual Circle at 9 a.m. The city’s mayor, community activists, clergy, and other representatives are expected to attend.

It is not yet known if any of Indy’s radio stations plan to offer special programming to address the violence epidemic plaguing the city.

“This event shows the power of radio in a local community to reflect listener emotions and lead community dialog, says Emmis Senior Vice President Charlie Morgan, whose company is based in Indianapolis. “In my 30-plus years in Indianapolis Radio, I have never seen more immediate and universal support for an event than we have seen for Indy United.”

Last weekend was a violent one for the Circle City, which saw seven people shot in the Broad Ripple entertainment area and the murder of police officer Perry Renn. CBS affiliate WISH-TV made national headlines (at least in the trade press) by interviewing the murder suspect’s family, which drew widespread criticism – so much so that WISH’s news director Steven Bray had to address the issue on the station’s website. 

Meanwhile, stations targeting Chicago’s African-American audiences aired a second “Put The Guns Down” roadblock Sunday night, on the heels of  another violent weekend in the Windy City, which saw 84 people shot and 14 killed.

And as of this writing – Friday night – there has been already been one murder and six shootings in Chicago.

Journalism, Radio , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

V103 shows Ramonski Luv the door

 

Joe Soto (left) and Ramonski Luv

Joe Soto (left) and Ramonski Luv

How about this? You finish first in your daypart and what is your reward?

You get shown the door.

This is exactly what happened to Ramon Wade a.k.a. Ramonski Luv, who was let go from Clear Channel-owned WVAZ-FM (V103) this week after a 30-year career which spanned V103 and sister station WGCI-FM, where the Columbia College graduate got his start. As first reported by Robert Feder Wednesday night, the Chicago native had been absent from V103 position since Monday.

After arriving at V103, Wade was paired with Joe Soto, ten years ago in afternoon drive and named their program The Real Show. When V103 acquired Doug Banks’ syndicated show (Wade was a producer for Banks’ local WGCI show way back when), Wade and Soto moved to evenings, where they continued their ratings dominance.

In addition to his duties as a radio personality, Wade also was involved in several community-related events for the station, appearing in the Bud Billiken Parade and recently participating in a five-station simulcast discussing Chicago’s gun violence epidemic.

Soto is hosting evenings solo, for now.

PPM ratings for June show Real finishing first in evenings (6-10 p.m.), contributing to V103′s ratings dominance of the Chicago market.

Wade has declined comment. Apparently, so has Clear Channel, who said they do not comment on personnel issues.

This scenario is reminiscent of Howard McGee’s firing at WGCI in 2007. The morning personality finished in the top five overall and in the key 25-54 demo, but was not enough to save his job. He was replaced by a syndicated show hosted by Steve Harvey, himself a former WGCI morning host (Harvey would later move to V103, replacing Tom Joyner’s syndicated show.)

And more recently, Garry Meier’s afternoon show was removed from WGN-AM and shoved onto WGN.FM, an internet-only radio station, despite finishing in the top ten overall and in key demos in May.

Meanwhile, WIND-AM’s Joe Walsh – who recently made racial slurs on the air (but were dumped by his producer) and on his Twitter account – is still puttering along with hardly any listeners, while Mancow Mueller’s TV show is still on the air with a measly 0.1 rating (but lacks a local radio outlet.)

So, tell me what’s wrong this picture?

All it tells you how it sums up Chicago radio, and media in general.

As long it is run by imbeciles, it will always be one big joke.

But you knew that already. I’ve been telling you for eight years.

Chicago Media, Radio , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

T Dog’s Grab Bag: ChicagoSide shuts down

Also: Fox swaps for San Francisco’s KTVU. Seattle next?

Indianapolis TV station under fire for interview

Wil Wheaton’s new show fails to find an audience

chicago-side_logo_1575x225- In a shocking (and sad) move, it appears sports website Chicago Side has closed its doors after just two years. Founded by author/journalist Jonathan Eig and Sol Liberstein, ChicagoSide featured long-form articles about the local sports scene.

In the beginning, ChicagoSide hired former Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti among others (leading to a scathing review of the site from yours truly), but he only wound up writing two articles. The quality of the site did improve, and became one of the better local sports sites. Later, ChicagoSide entered into partnerships with the Sun-Times and other local publications.

But a lack of advertising revenue doomed ChicagoSide, and Eig sold the site to a New York-based ticket broker in March. Shortly thereafter, the site stopped updating and was taken offline a few weeks ago. Eig hopes to retrieve the articles from the site, for archival purposes.

KTVU_2- Fox made another station purchase recently, acquiring San Francisco affiliate KTVU and independent KICU in a swap with Cox Communications for Boston’s WFXT and Memphis’ WHBQ. The deal, no doubt was made so Fox can own a station in another NFC market – this time home of the San Francisco 49ers.

This is the second time Fox has sold WFXT – the Boston Celtics bought the station in 1990 because Fox’s owner at the time (News Corp.) also owned the Boston Herald and owning both wasn’t permissible under cross-ownership rules. After unloading the Herald, Fox reacquired WFXT in 1996.

WHBQ was purchased in 1995 and switched to Fox on December 1, ending a 39-year affiliation with ABC. WHBQ was once owned by RKO General.

There is no doubt Fox wanted a station in the Bay Area – home of the 49ers and Fox has rights to NFC games. With the swap for KTVU, Fox now owns stations in fourteen markets (including WFLD here) where NFC teams reside. Next target is likely Seattle, where KCPQ is owned by Chicago-based Tribune Broadcasting and home to the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.

Cox has owned KTVU since 1963; the Oakland, Calif.-based station was best known for carrying San Francisco Giants games and having one of the highest-rated Ten O’Clock news in the country among independent stations. Fox has been affiliated with KTVU since 1986.

sCzXz3oT- A local TV station in Indianapolis is in hot water over interviewing family members of a murder suspect. CBS affiliate WISH-TV ran an interview Sunday night featuring the family of Major Davis Jr., who is accused of murdering IMPD officer Perry Renn in the line of duty Saturday night. The family talked about how Davis’ father was gunned down by police when he was a kid, and said Renn should have stayed in his police car when Davis was waiving is gun.

As you would guess, viewers were up in arms over the piece; many voiced their disapproval on social media and in comments sections of WISH’s website.

On Monday, WISH news director Steven Bray addressed the negative comments on the station’s website, saying it was the station’s job to present a balanced view and both sides of the story. His remarks were greeted with guess what? More criticism. Judging by the comments, one would think WISH’s news department was run by Bonnie Franklin and Dwayne Schneider.

WISH is/was owned by Indianapolis-based LIN Broadcasting, which recently merged with Tampa-based Media General.

Look, covering urban violence isn’t easy – ask any journalist here in Chicago where its a fucking daily occurrence and then some. WISH did what they had to do – even if the family’s comments were beyond idiotic (and they were.) Their job isn’t to put out a news product to please people. If that were the case, WISH and other news stations would be out of business.

A talk of a boycott by whiny commenters isn’t likely to move the ratings needle – despite falling out of first place a few years ago, WISH is still a strong news station in the market, finishing only behind NBC affiliate WTHR. We’ll see how many of these “boycotters” stick around when the Colts return to WISH this fall.

- This tweet made my day when it was posted on July 2:

The Wil Wheaton Project obviously stalled at the starting gate and earned the same 18-49 rating Mancow (another waste of an individual) usually gets locally.

Isn’t revenge great?

Grade A AssholeIf you recall, yours truly and Wheaton got into it during the Stanley Cup Playoffs resulting in him blocking me on Twitter. I retaliated by blocking him and trashing him in this post.

It is so satisfying to see this self-appointed “King Of The Nerds” knocked down a few notches. This isn’t a show about nerd culture – its nothing but Bloopers and Tosh.0 all spliced into one.

The golden rule is this: it always pays to be nice to your Twitter followers – a concept a fucktard like Wil Wheaton doesn’t seem to grasp.

Cable, Chicago Media, Journalism, Local TV (Outside Chicago), Television , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Viewers flee Chicago’s evening, late newscasts

Chicago news operations have been "dropping the mic" as of late

Chicago news operations have been “dropping the mic” as of late

Chicago’s news stations might want to rethink their news presentations.

An analysis of May local news sweeps numbers in the adult 25-54 demographic in the nation’s ten largest DMAs from TVNewsCheck showed Chicago’s local newscasts losing ground faster than those in New York and Los Angeles.

In fact, Chicago’s 21 percent drop overall was second only to Boston (down 23 percent.)

Despite ratings successes in primetime, CBS’ owned stations and affiliates in the top ten still haven’t figured out a way to translate that success into more viewers for its newscasts, while ABC-owned stations and affiliates continue to dominate, even without The Oprah Winfrey Show, an one-time early-fringe powerhouse fueling their newscasts.

NBC’s lone success story was in Washington, D.C. , where WRC now dominates a market where CBS affiliate WUSA once ruled with an iron grip.

And deep in the heart of Texas, Tribune – with its NewsFix presentation in Houston and now Dallas – is hardly making a ratings impact, though Houston’s KIAH did show an increase at 9 p.m.

And perhaps the only surprise in the top ten is in Houston, where NBC affiliate and longtime ratings doormat KPRC shot to the top at 10 p.m., knocking off longtime leader KTRK, an ABC O&O.

Now to be fair, the analysis only looked at newscasts airing in early fringe, prime access, prime time, and late (10 or 11 p.m.) news. 4 p.m., midday, and morning newscasts – whose daypart continues to add viewers –  were not included.

With that said, of the seven major local news stations – five English and two Spanish – all lost ground in the adult 25-54 demo compared to May 2013 in almost every key time period. The only exception was WGN-TV’s 5 p.m. newscast, which beat CBS’ WBBM-TV head-to-head scoring an 18 percent year-to-year increase.

The 10 p.m. newsrace among the market’s three O&Os saw 24 percent erosion from May 2013, while the 5 p.m. slot saw a 10 percent drop, 6 p.m. a 17 percent drop, and 9 p.m. news on WGN and WFLD shed 18 percent of viewers.

Meanwhile, Univision’s WGBO dominated over Telemundo’s WSNS-TV in the Spanish-language news race at both 5 and 10 p.m. In fact, WGBO drew more 25-54 viewers than WBBM at 10 p.m.

It’s clear viewers are clearly looking for alternatives, especially at 10 p.m. as younger audiences are opting for The Daily Show and SportsCenter instead of the local news shows (and not The Arsenio Hall Show, which was given its walking papers in May.)

But another reason for the large tune-out is the news presentations themselves. Viewers are clearly annoyed with the “Breaking News” and “Developing Story” cliches being thrown out by local stations. The worst offender these days is NBC’s WMAQ-TV, whose “Breaking News” and “Developing Story” teases are starting to make WFLD’s newscasts look like Academy Award-winning presentations by comparison. And you wonder why the NBC-owned station’s audiences fled for the exits after the Winter Olympics were over.

One prime example of why the numbers are down was the pathetic way WBBM, WMAQ, and WLS-TV each handled coverage of Monday night’s storm. It seemed everytime yours truly turned to one of the three stations, one or the other was in commercial break, making their presentations a disorganized mess. Even worse, all three stations ended coverage at 10:35 p.m. at the height of the storm, and went to network programming. Can’t believe yours truly going to say this, but kudos should go to WFLD -yes that WFLD - for sticking past 10 p.m. with storm coverage.

Look, yours truly understand advertisers need to get their message across and bills must get paid, but in a time when severe weather is pounding the area, local stations really need to focus on what the top priorities are. The last thing on anyone’s mind is what sandwich they’re serving at Subway the next day.

Local stations are supposed to inform and serve their communities in time of severe weather. The market’s traditional three network O&Os failed on that mission Monday night.

Chicago Media, Journalism, Local TV (Chicago), Local TV (Outside Chicago), Television

“Community’s” renewal in a nutshell

In case you haven’t heard, Sony Pictures Television somehow managed to get an unnecessary and unneeded sixth season of Community, perhaps the most overrated sitcom in the history of television.

The sitcom, which was picked up by Yahoo (I didn’t know they were still in business!) already had five seasons under its belt from its NBC run and already enough episodes for syndication (97 at last count.) In fact, reruns of Community debuted in syndication (to weak numbers) and on Comedy Central last fall.

But it wasn’t enough for whiny fans of the sitcom, who plastered social media with their complaints for days after NBC canceled the show.

So how did Yahoo strike a deal to land a sixth season of Community? Real simple. Let The Simpsons show us how:

Who knows? This may also work for the just-as-annoying fanbase of Garry Meier’s.

Syndication, Tech/New Media, Television , , , ,