A few years back, a bold co-production initiative was launched with Canada. So far, it's produced underwhelming ratings performers like 'Mental' and 'Defying Gravity.' Meanwhile, thanks to BBC America, US fans are falling in love with new UK shows, only to find ourselves frustrated when the powers-that-Beeb pull the plug. It's a lot like foreign fans of US material must feel when we cancel shows on them: powerless.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Most recently, BBC America finished running the first and second series of the BBC post-apocalyptic drama 'Survivors,' back-to-back. Before it finished, the BBC announced that they weren't going to commission any more episodes, due to slipping ratings in the UK. 'Survivors' wasn't failing miserably, but BBC programming doesn't get advertising revenue like shows in the US, so expectations are different.
I don't know if US ratings were considered for the show, but I know it was one of the more popular series on BBC America and that it has a pretty loyal and faithful following on both sides of the pond. Could US support have saved it?
According to a White House source, "It will actually be a double celebration because three days later, January 20, marks the first anniversary of the president taking office. I would expect that a formal invitation will be made to Miss Boyle in the very near future. The President and First Lady absolutely love her voice and will be delighted if she agrees."
That seems like a lot to me, but I figured I'd ask TV Squad readers if they still watch one or not. Sometimes I'll watch a color movie in black and white (by turning off the color), to see how it looks and see if it gets any better (note: does not work with Pauly Shore movies).
|Yup! Who needs color?||37 (4.4%)|
|I own one but I don't watch it.||69 (8.1%)|
|Black and white? Seriously?||743 (87.5%)|
That's clocks, people. I said clocks.
The show has been tied to NBC, with Woody Harrelson in consideration for the lead role of Frank Gallagher, and more recently at HBO. Now, finally, original creator Paul Abbott and John Wells Prod. have signed a deal to bring Shameless to Showtime with William H. Macy in the lead.
Curtis's films seem to have the most luck when working with ensemble casts, so maybe he can work this same magic on the small screen and introduce some new characters worthy of sticking around. We haven't really had that since Sally Sparrow (and maybe Nightingale, if only to complete the duo) from "Blink". Also, the new Doctor and the new companion are both young and attractive, a combination poised to perfectly fit into Curtis's romantic-comedy specialty.
|Yes, I think it will be interesting||79 (6.0%)|
|I'll tune in once just to see how it's handled||92 (7.0%)|
|I'd rather watch cheese get moldy||1146 (87.0%)|
I guess this is where the "comedy" comes in?
After seeing how some UK shows have been mangled in the American adaptation -- Life on Mars (although it had its fans), Worst Week, Coupling, Eleventh Hour -- I am glad that the only Ab/Fab I will ever have to savor will be the original.
The update also paves the way for the BBC to roll out a set top box with iPlayer features. Earlier this year the BBC announced plans to roll out the iPlayer software for existing set top boxes including the Nintendo Wii video game console. Now it looks like the BBC might also be planning to build its own box.
The device would work like a Windows Media Extender or an Apple TV, in that you'd plug the box into your television and connect it to your home network so it could access the internet. It's possible that the BBC isn't really planning to put out a box with its own name on it, so much as work with hardware makers to add iPlayer software to future devices that may also be able to access content from other networks, play DVDs, or perform other services. You can think of the box as sort of the BBC version of the Netflix player by Roku.
The new service will be available sometime in the next few months and will be available only to viewers in the UK. You'll also need a broadband connection and you'll have to pay the same £139.50 annual license fee that you pay to watch television in the UK.
Critics have complained that it will be difficult for the BBC to make sure that viewers are actually paying their license fee, which means that television owners could wind up subsidizing free content for people who watch programs on their computers but do not own a TV. Right now there's not a huge number of people trading in their televisions for computers, but then there are aren't very many TV stations providing all of their content for free over the internet.
The BBC may be porting its iPlayer internet television service to the Nintendo Wii and other video game consoles and set top boxes, but for some reason the BBC has ignored the mos obvious way to get web content onto a TV: Windows Media Center.
Most computers sold today come with Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate, which means that they already have Windows Media Center software designed for displaying video and web content on a TV screen. Taking an application like the iPlayer, which is designed for keyboard and mouse navigation, and integrating it with Windows Media Center for remote control navigation should be a breeze. And it turns out, it kind of is. Since the BBC hasn't designed a MCE plugin, developer Martin Millmore made his own.
The plugin isn't perfect yet. While you can navigate iPlayer content with a remote control, Millmore hasn't been able to get programs to play or switch to full screen mode without using a mouse. And of course, the iPlayer service won't work if you don't live in the UK. But that's a feature, not a bug.
[via Ian Dixon]
Either way, it seems pretty clear that UK PS3 users are going to be able to get their hands on the PlayTV before US customers. The devices is designed to work with the UK's digital television system and will not work with US cable, satellite, or over the air television yet. I'm pretty sure we'll see a US launch eventually, but not until afte the UK version is released.
Engadget says the PlayTV will set you back £59.99 or about $120 US whenever it becomes available in the UK.
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