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August 30, 2015


TV 101: Summer Madness

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Jun 9th 2011 2:00PM
True BloodThe old Fresh Prince summer anthem, "Summertime," encapsulated summer for an entire generation. With all its "frontin'" and "maxin'" - terms long ago replaced by "chillaxin'" and "being lazy" -- the song embodied notions of breezy whimsy, lazing the days into nights with friends and family while touting summer as a "natural aphrodisiac."

All of this is true, but there seems to be something missing from Mr. Smith's idyllic recollection of a very '90s summer: television. I know it's probably difficult to come up with a rhyme for "True Blood Season Four Premiere," but that notwithstanding, for how many of us is television a part of the true summer experience?

For most of my childhood, television took a Fresh Prince approach to the summer months. After working hard to keep me entertained through the fall and spring, shows would take the summer to unwind and come up with new, innovative ways to showcase Daisy Duke's ass.

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TV 101: Curing the Summertime TV Blues

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted May 25th 2011 4:00PM
WipeoutTelevision is a funny thing. When you've been watching it all your life, it not only takes on a habitual role, it can also become extremely personal. Everyone has "their shows" -- the shows they watch religiously, the shows for which DVR isn't an option, the shows they try to talk their significant others into liking, the shows that force them to ream out a blogger for merely suggesting that "maybe the show is slipping," ignoring the fact that the blogger really likes the show too, and if they could just meet face to face they would see that there's no need to call him that.

Taking that into account, it can be depressing, quite frankly, when the summer months arrive and all those shows we've been manipulating our schedules around are gone. But it doesn't necessarily have to be. The summer is an opportunity to leave that televisual comfort zone that we've spent so many years cultivating and seek new shows to add to our socially acceptable obsession. Here's a shortlist of shows premiering this summer that should be a cure for the "where's my show" blues.

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Entire summer TV schedule declared a failure

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Aug 17th 2009 8:10AM
It's not really possible that every summer premiere on the great Nobody was listening to NBC's The Listener this summer.American broadcast TV schedule crashed and burned, is it?

But, out of all the original programs that premiered on the major networks after the completion of the fall 2008 season, not a single one got traction.

According to analysis reports, you can take your pick from any of the following shows: Defying Gravity, The Superstars, The Listener, Mental, The Philanthropist, Hitched or Ditched, Merlin and Great American Road Trip. All of them bombed -- each hovering just above a one market share.

In fact, you don't need numbers to prove that the fall crop crapped out. Ask your friend what his/her favorite summer replacement show was. You'll be waiting awhile.

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Is Shark Week cool or does it just, um, bite?

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 4th 2009 10:30AM
sharkSorry for the lame headline.

We're in the middle of the Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week celebration, a whole of programming involving sharks, sharks, sharks, sharks, and the people who love/fear them. But David Zurawik over at The Baltimore Sun doesn't understand why some people get excited about it. He wants someone to explain its appeal.

What do you think of Shark Week?
It's great! I watch it every year.177 (36.6%)
It's terrible! I mean, who cares about sharks?46 (9.5%)
I don't watch it, but whatevs260 (53.8%)

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Drop Dead Diva -- An early look

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 9th 2009 10:16AM
brooke_elliott_margaret_cho_drop_dead_divaCertain shows seem to be perfect for certain television networks. That's the point of programming, no doubt, and Lifetime has done a good job filling their female-centric niche with TV movies and series like Army Wives. That said, I think there will soon be a new favorite on Lifetime and it's called Drop Dead Diva. It's chick-flick, rom-com for weekly TV viewers, and while men might enjoy the whimsical plot and attractive characters, this is a show that ladies will adore.

If you were talking high concept like a Hollywood pitchman, you could describe Drop Dead Diva as Ally McBeal for the Lane Bryant set. Or maybe it's Sara Lee meets Heaven Can Wait. However, you put it, Drop Dead Diva is a switcheroo story about a vapid, but lovable, gorgeous size 2 model who dies at the exact same time as a brilliant, generous size 16 workaholic attorney, and in one of those wonderful Hollywood comedy devices, shallow Deb's spirit winds up in good Jane's body.

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America's Got Talent: Audition show 1

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Jun 24th 2009 12:34AM
America's Got Talent
(S04E01) "This place is absolutely barkin' mad." - Sharon about Seattle

This year's season premiere of America's Got Talent was about the same as last year's and the previous one: same montage of bad and good acts, instant reactions from the host backstage, the same type of comments from Piers, Sharon and the Hoff, and the last act being one where the contestants have a touching story and are great performers.

The main difference was the change in host -- Nick Cannon took over for Jerry Springer -- and the fact that a contestant, whose act was singing and playing guitar, decided to profess his love to The Hoff! That was probably the highlight of the entire two-hour premiere.

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Six Flags guy speaks, scares people

by Bob Sassone, posted May 25th 2009 12:25PM
What's creepier than that dancing old Six Flags guy? A talking, dancing old Six Flags guy. They have him speaking in those amusement park ads now (at least this is the first year I've seen him speak in regional ads in my area), and I'm not sure if that's a good thing. More flags, more fun, more scary!

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Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, and Dirty Sexy Money coming back this summer

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 16th 2009 7:03PM
Pushing Daisies

I should point out that when I say "coming back this summer" in the headline I mean that ABC is bringing them back to burn off the remaining episodes that haven't aired yet. That's right, six months from now is the earliest you'll see any of these shows return. They could even come back later.

Pushing Daisies has three episodes left, while Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money each have four. Fans of these shows might not like this, but the truth is, the shows that have been in the time slots for these shows have actually done better in the ratings.

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CBS officially buries Swingtown

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 14th 2009 3:31PM
swingtown poolRemember last summer, that CBS drama about life in 1976, the music, the fashions, the wife-swapping and key parties? Yes, Swingtown, the daring drama that flirted with controversial subjects, but was essentially a well-produced soap opera in the tradition of Knots Landing?

Well, after months of no news about the show, we learn today that no news is bad news. Swingtown has been cancelled.

CBS president Nina Tassler championed the show, but apparently she couldn't save it. At the press tour presentation she talked lovingly about the drama, even patting the network on the back to taking a risk by broadcasting it. But in the end, the good performances, excellent writing, critical approval and cult following it garnered didn't matter.

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USA says yes to Royal Pains

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 5th 2009 5:19PM
Mark FSing with me: here's a story about a doctor who is busy caring for rich folks in New York... Okay, it doesn't have the bouncy tune of a Sherwood Schwartz theme song, but this new USA show sounds like fun.

USA has picked up Royal Pains, a new summer series starring Mark Feuerstein as Hank Lawson, M.D., a doctor who is on-call to some of the most demanding patients around, the richie-riches who live in the fashionable Hamptons of Long Island.

There are a few reasons to be psyched about this new drama. For starters, it's coming from the same network that brings us Psych, not to mention Burn Notice, Starter Wife and In Plain Sight. In other words, USA has been doing very well in developing idiosyncratic, interesting comedy-drama series. There's no reason to think that Royal Pains will be a dud.

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Things I Hate About TV: DVD release dates

by Brett Love, posted Jul 17th 2008 11:43AM

Chuck on DVDNo, it's not another lamentation about those overlooked shows that really do deserve a DVD set, but just can't seem to get them. I've grown accustomed to having Bob's weekly DVD release post arrive like a slap in the face as Beggars and Choosers is not on it, again. Instead, this is about those shows that do get their DVD set, but are late for no good reason at all. At least, not one that I can come up with.

I started thinking about it last week as I was talking with a friend and we were watching the Hellboy/Chuck promo. She commented that she really should start watching Chuck. In full agreement, I quickly pointed her to the Chuck page on Hulu. But wait, there are only three episodes available on Hulu. I guessed that it must be because they don't want streaming to cannibalize DVD sales. So I headed to Amazon. Chuck isn't out on DVD until September 16th. What the hell?

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Discovery announces schedule for Shark Week

by Kristin Sample, posted Jun 27th 2008 12:04PM
Shark Week The 21st annual Shark Week is coming this summer to Discovery. Les Stroud (Survivorman) and Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) will join Adam Savage and Jamie Hyman (MythBusters) and many more experts on excursions to Bahamas, South Africa, the Arctic, Australia and a whole lot of places in between. This year they will spotlight lesser-known and unusual sharks, address myths about sharks, and educate the public on the conservation of sharks.

Shark Week will air July 27 to August 2nd. Sunday through Friday programming will run from 7 p.m. till midnight ET/PT. And on Saturday programming will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET/PT.

Find out what show I'm looking forward to and what other shows Discovery has planned after the jump.

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It's an FNMTV summer

by Kristin Sample, posted Jun 12th 2008 2:21PM
Pete WentzIt looks like MTV is making an effort (albeit a small one) to show music videos again. Tomorrow a new show called FNMTV will premiere at 8 p.m. The show, hosted by Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, is a 24/7 non-stop music celebration combining the best music experiences from the TV and the web. Each week MTV will premiere new music videos from established or up-and-coming artists. Also, Fans will be able to create their own music experiences on MTV.com and choose which ones will be aired on the show.

Confirmed talent for the this summer includes Panic! at the Disco, Snoop Dogg, The Pussycat Dolls, Flo-Rida, The Ting Tings, Lil' Wayne, Duffy, Boys Like Girls, and Vampire Weekend. These artists are set for either special guest appearances or live stage performances.

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2008 Olympics not on TV?

by Brad Trechak, posted Jun 11th 2008 9:59AM
Beijing OlympicsAccording to Time magazine, there are various organizational problems occurring that could lead to the Olympics not being broadcast on television. A series of unworkable conditions are being created for networks including limits on live coverage in Tiananmen Square and allegations that freight shipments of TV broadcasting equipment are being held up in Chinese ports.

The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing are scheduled to begin on August 8th. According to the minutes of a May 29th meeting, procedures which have been used by broadcasters in other Olympics are conflicting with China's authoritarian government. Some plans are months behind schedule, which could force broadcasters to compromise coverage plans.

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ABC announces last four cast members of The Mole

by Kristin Sample, posted May 18th 2008 8:25PM
Marcie The Mole will be back for its new season on Monday June 2nd at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. The show, based on the Belgian hit and hosted by Jon Kelley, follows a group of competitors as they try to uncover who is the saboteur among them. Each week contestants have to learn as much as they can about "the mole" and whoever knows the least is "executed" at the end of the hour. During the season finale, the mole is revealed and one of the final two competitors wins a cash prize. This summer, the series will feature all new missions, locations and music as well as online and mobile interactivity.

ABC announced the final four cast members on Friday:

Liz: Age 60, Retired, from Whitefish, MT
Marcie: Age 31, Stay-at-home mom, from Corona, CA (pictured to the left)
Alex: Age 31, Musician, from Haverford, PA
Craig: Age 30, Graphic Designer, San Diego, CA

Click here for a full list of The Mole's cast.

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