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August 27, 2014

Cable/Satellite

The guy who writes my TV listings is the greatest TV listing writer ever

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 17th 2009 1:02PM
I know that the odds of this statement being repeated are about as good as finding the lost director's cut of The Magnificent Ambersons at my local Blockbuster (let alone an actual cut of The Magnificent Ambersons until it's remade with Ben Stiller and Jack Black), but here goes: I love my cable provider.

Oh, sure, they're a faceless media corporation that forwards all of my tech support calls to some far off land, finds any reason to raise my rates, and is as electrically reliable as a used Pontiac Sunfire. But the guy they hired to write their TV listings amuses me to no end. Check out this recent listing for a rerun of America's favorite old show (with an emphasis on "old"), Matlock, infused with a tasty bit of TV trivia. Who says TV is no longer the great educator?

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Arrested Development news that isn't about the movie: IFC to air series

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Oct 20th 2009 5:01PM
Arrested Development
It seems these days when anyone talks about Arrested Development, the conversation inevitably turns to the still up-in-the-air film sequel -- something that's proven to be more elusive than finding your own Cornballer. Last we heard, the film was actually in development (a term that only loosely means what it's supposed to in Hollywood), but in the meantime, though, there is some good news - IFC has picked up the off-network rights to Arrested Development.

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A&E buys Lifetime

by Danny Gallagher, posted Aug 27th 2009 6:00PM
A&E and Lifetime Network logosA long-awaited merger between two cable channels has been finalized...uh, finally.

A&E Networks aquired Lifetime as part of a deal between Hearst, Disney and NBC Universal. The deal makes Lifetime a sub-company in the A&E empire.

The deal puts Disney and Hearst in the front row seats of both networks with NBC in a distant third. This means that NBC can sell its holdings in Lifetime to the other two parties within the next 15 years.

There doesn't seem to be any serious announcement or confirmations of a name or brand change under their new owners. Lifetime will still be called Lifetime.

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Will Cartoon Network become "The Network"?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Aug 18th 2009 9:07PM
Cartoon Network It seems that all of television is slowly losing its identity. The History Channel doesn't cover history. TV Land clogs their airwaves with run-of-the-mill reality shows. Comedy Central gives Carlos Mencia his own show.

It must be hard to draw in the kind of ratings the average television executive expects (average=viewers who are willing to commit mass suicide if they miss a rerun of Chico and the Man) when you're anchored to one theme or genre. But it's not impossible.

One network that seems very close to giving up entirely is the Cartoon Network. According to the Los Angeles Times, CN's new lineup of live-action, reality-based programming is tanking in the ratings and rumors are swirling that the CN may drop the "C" in its name. Does the head of Radio Shack now work for the Cartoon Network?

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Verizon to offer cell phone services with FiOS

by Brad Trechak, posted Jul 28th 2009 11:04AM
Verizon FiOSVerizon is planning to package FiOS TV and Internet service with its wireless cell phone services. All I can say is, it's about time.

If I may go off on a rant here for a moment, I actually investigated getting FiOS installed in my house. Verizon didn't even have a fiber optic cable anywhere near me that they could run to my building. And I live only a few miles from Manhattan.

Despite that, by offering a set fee for both FiOS and cell phone service, Verizon is providing something that cable competitors can't duplicate. It's a smart move on the part of the company. Since I already have Verizon Wireless, I can only wish that they got off their lazy asses and laid some more fiber optic around my neighborhood.

In the meanwhile, I'm stuck with my sadly deficient cable company (satellite isn't an option due to the nature of my condominium). For those who have FiOS, how is it? Would you be excited about packaging that with your cell phone service?

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Comcast changes ending to FIOS commercial (but it's easy to understand why)

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 25th 2009 3:43PM
You've seen the commercial below. It's a Comcast ad that takes on Verizon FIOS by saying that FIOS costs more, doesn't have as much HD as Comcast, and is filled with too many lame videos.

Last night I watched the commercial again (for the 4000th time) and I noticed that they've changed the ending. The FIOS guy used to say "I'm going to write down your credit card number which I memorized when I was looking..." I always thought that was an odd line, pretty much insinuating that a Verizon rep would take someone's credit card number like that. But they've now taken that line out and replaced it with something else (though the new line escapes me at the moment - anyone?). I wonder if Verizon complained?

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2.5 million homes still haven't switched to digital TV for some reason

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 18th 2009 8:01AM
tvEarlier this year, when we were going to switch to digital television in February, my sister sent me an e-mail and asked me if I was ready for the switch, and I thought to myself, I think I've been ready for several years. So I'm not quite sure why people are still having a problem switching from analog to digital (I'm especially confused when people say that older citizens use TV as their "lifeline" to the outside world - if you're using words like that, you really should switch or your family should switch for you).

Nielsen is reporting that 2.5 million homes still haven't switched to a digital TV or bought a converter box, even though that original switch date was extended to last Friday. I'm wondering why these people haven't switched yet. I'm not talking about people who have a TV but really don't watch it because they read books (as if you can't do both, but that's another rant). I'm talking about people who watch TV a lot and haven't made the switch yet.

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New 3-D channel coming at ya

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 15th 2009 9:05AM
3d glassesHave you been clamoring for an all 3-D television network? Have you been hoping and praying that the god of your choice would listen to your prayers and deliver unto you a fully three dimensional network? Have you been unable to sleep for months on end as your very sanity teeters on the precipice of your grasp on reality?

Me neither.

Nevertheless, a publicly traded company hopes to turn a humble syndicated network into the world's first fully three-dimensional channel.

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New York Post breaks a HUGE spoiler for American Chopper - VIDEO

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 9th 2009 10:03AM
Paulie and Paul Teutul from American ChopperRegular watchers of American Chopper will look at the picture to the right and immediately ponder the following question: is Paul Sr. giving Paulie Jr. a big hug or a meaty, larynx-crushing choke hold?

I've been notoriously anti-reality TV for a long time, but I gave American Chopper a grace chip when it ran on the Discovery Channel for the first few seasons. It can get just as over-the-top as most reality shows tend to do, but it still had a genuine level to it somewhere in just about every episode, and it offered viewers something more than just grown men fighting. I'm also a pathetic wanna-be gearhead and would watch a custom Buick LaSabre build contest if I thought I could generate an ounce of knowledge from it over my rich, car-building friends.

So imagine my surprise when the New York Post broke the biggest spoiler in the show's history, other than the fact that it is still on the air.

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Super-mega-uber-exclusive! The State DVD set for release this summer! Maybe...

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 5th 2009 10:01AM
MTV's The StateNothing has frustrated TV fans more than the never-ending release of The State DVD from MTV. It has become the Duke Nukem Forever of the television universe.

One minute, it's on and the next minute, it's off. Then it's back on again, then the whole thing gets called off. Then it rises from the ashes like a flaming phoenix into the never-ending sky only to get doused with a fire extinguisher by an MTV Home Entertainment executive.

Now it appears that ill-fated collection of magic discs is coming soon to a DVD store near you until MTV decides it's time to destroy your dreams and tell your children there is no Santa Claus again.

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Sharona returning to Monk

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 25th 2009 9:05AM
The final season of the show that made USA famous for something other than playing non-stop reruns of Wings is turning into a reunion special. Or should I say a special reunion?

Bitty Schram, the actress who played Sharona, Adrian Monk's original partner in fighting crime on Monk, will return for an episode sometime during the show's eighth and final season.

This will mark her first appearance on the comedy-mystery since she mysteriously disappeared from the show halfway through the third season. It should also make for an interesting close to a series that has redefined the way the higher channels on the dial create and produce their own series.

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Stairway to Stardom, or what American Idol filmed in a Staten Island basement 25 years ago would look like - VIDEO

by Eliot Glazer, posted Mar 24th 2009 11:00AM
stairway to stardom nyc cable access gloria huddleNothing breeds talent quite like cable access television.

Starting in 1979, Brooklyn resident Frank Masi created and hosted a program on local New York television called Stairway To Stardom. Filmed in what appeared to be a freshly carpeted Staten Island basement, Stairway was an especially early, low-budget predecessor to Star Search and American Idol, but sprinkled with the key element of hometown appeal.

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War! Huh, good God. What is it good for? Awesome comic satire! Say it again! - VIDEOS

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 21st 2009 12:04PM
The cast of The Chaser's War on Everything

The Chaser's War on Everything, a satiric hidden camera prank show from Australia, aims to be everything most shows of their ilk fail to achieve. It's satirical, unbiased in its stance against everything from commercialism to phony diplomacy, and more probing than a proctologist with banana hands.

This sparks a startling question: what the hell is a show this smart doing on the G4 Network?

The show found its way to the States earlier this year as part of the network's Duty Free TV block of foreign cult faves like Trigger Happy TV, Unbeatable Banzuke and Ninja Warrior. It's become one of the better shows on the all geek network, which either says worlds for the three-year-old show or doesn't say much for the rest of G4's original programming. I'll let you decide while reminding you this is the same network that once produced a game show where the first person to vomit lost. Even Fox wouldn't sink that low. Wait, are we talking about some kind of survival situation?

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So, were you digital TV'd this week?

by Richard Keller, posted Feb 20th 2009 5:01PM

How did your DTV transition go on February 17thYou may not have realized it after coming off of your President's Day Booze and Beef BBQ, but February 17th was the voluntary day for television stations to turn off those piddly analog signals and crank up their digital ones. Other than one guy shooting his television over the conversion, the switchover of about a quarter of the 1800 television stations in the U.S. went off fairly smoothly. Course, this was just the dress rehearsal. The real performance will be on June 12th, which has become the new 'no change' cut over date.

Being a proud citizen of the United States, I thought I'd take your pulse once again and find out if any stations in your viewing area cut over on Tuesday. If they did, and you were one of those remaining folks without a cable hookup, did you encounter any problems with your new digital converter box? Also, just out of curiosity, was there one major market station that remained in analog mode while the others jumped into the digital pool?

Come on, Americans! Let your voice ring out on this matter.

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FBI joins Comcast's Super Bowl porn probe

by Danny Gallagher, posted Feb 20th 2009 4:28PM
FBI logoWarning: this post about the FBI's investigation into the Super Bowl porn snafu uses the word "probe" several times. Viewer discretion is advised.

Comcast's probe into the Super Bowl porno snafu has officially become an FBI probe. A Fox affiliate in Tucson reported that the cable provider has asked the FBI to conduct their own probe into the 30 seconds of pornography that aired during Super Bowl XLIII.

Special Agent Manuel Johnson of the Phoenix FBI field office would only confirm for TV Squad that the probe is still ongoing.

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