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October 22, 2014

UK

The US Should Co-Produce TV Shows with the UK

by Jason Hughes, posted May 1st 2010 6:28PM
'Survivors'
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?

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Susan Boyle invited to perform at the White House

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 9th 2009 11:02AM
susan_boyle_CDDo you think Susan Boyle knows the words to "Happy Birthday"? She better learn them fast because she may be singing them to the First Lady. Susan Boyle has reportedly been invited to the White House in honor of Michelle Obama's birthday. The White House gathering would be a small group in the private quarters on January 17.

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."

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Do you still watch a black and white TV?

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 13th 2009 4:01PM
Philco TVI haven't owned a black and white television in 20 years, but a lot of people in the UK still do. In fact, 30,000 of them, according to the story at BBC News.

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).

Do you still watch a black and white TV?
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%)

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Guy takes off clothes to remind people to set their clocks back

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 27th 2009 7:03PM
In this British ad, a guy walks around his apartment and slowly takes his clothes off. It's all to remind people to set their clocks back one hour. Even though people in the UK did it last week, this can be your reminder do to set your clocks back here in the U.S. this Sunday morning.

That's clocks, people. I said clocks.

[via Adfreak]

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Willam H. Macy is getting Shameless for Showtime

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 15th 2009 8:08PM
William H. MacySince January 2004, the UK's Shameless has been bringing to life the story of a drunken working-class father and his nine children. Snippets of this long-running hit; going into its seventh season; have aired in the US on BBC America and Sundance. And for five years, it's been in development hell.

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.

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Richard Curtis to pen episode of Doctor Who

by Annie Wu, posted Sep 8th 2009 5:03PM
richard curtisThe new series of Doctor Who comes closer and closer, and the list of involved talent is really starting to build up. It's been confirmed that Richard Curtis will write an episode. With some of his more popular work being Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Bridget Jones's Diary, Curtis seems like a rather unusual contributor. Of course, he also did Blackadder and The Vicar of Dibley for television, but neither of those things are very sci-fi-related or timey-wimey.

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.

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Will you watch Octomom's reality show?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 27th 2009 2:30PM
SulemanNadya Suleman, who will always be known as "Octomom" because it's funnier, has officially signed papers for a reality TV show to feature her and her 14 kids. No word yet on which network will air the show (it might air overseas first as it's a British company producing the show) or what it will be called, but I'm hoping it's called Fourteen is Enough or Nadya & Nobody Plus 14.

Will you watch Octo-Mom's show?
Yes, I think it will be interesting79 (6.0%)
I'll tune in once just to see how it's handled92 (7.0%)
I'd rather watch cheese get moldy1146 (87.0%)

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Between seasons of Dancing with the Stars, ABC says Let's Dance

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 11th 2009 2:04PM
Let's DanceBecause you can never get enough of celebrities dancing, ABC has picked up Let's Dance, which they're calling a comedic reality show. It's based on a format that found success as part of the UK's Comic Relief programming. Rather than having celebrities commit to a full season to learn a variety of ballroom styles, a la Dancing with the Stars, this new show only requires a one-week commitment with the possibility of a "finale" return. And all they have to master is an already well-known dance.

I guess this is where the "comedy" comes in?

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Fox says "no, sweetie darling" to US AbFab

by Allison Waldman, posted May 14th 2009 5:27PM
ab fab duoRemember that American version of Absolutely Fabulous that Fox was so high on? Well, they are high no more. Fox has passed on AbFab after viewing the pilot. Now while I am not the kind of person to be happy about someone else's failure, this is an instance in which I'm thrilled that this show is going nowhere.

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.

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BBC to build iPlayer set top box

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 27th 2008 2:32PM
iPlayer
The BBC rolled out a new version of its iPlayer software today. The iPlayer online video service allows UK residents to watch full-length episodes of any program that's aired in the last 7 days. Version 2.0 adds higher resolution videos, the ability to keep track of TV shows you've watched, and the ability to schedule upcoming recordings. The redesigned portal that lets you access TV and radio from a single page.

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.

[via Electronista]

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BBC to broadcast live TV over the internet

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 5th 2008 7:03PM
BBC
UK residents can already watch any show that's aired on the BBC over the last 7 days using the broadcast service's iPlayer software. Now the BBC plans to go one step further by offering a live stream of BBC One content on the internet.

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.

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iPlayer plugin for Windows Media Center

by Brad Linder, posted May 9th 2008 3:55PM

iPlayer MCE

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]

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Sony PlayTV for the PS3 to launch in the UK this summer?

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 21st 2008 9:58AM
PlayTVEngadget is reporting that Sony plans to launch the PlayTV television tuner add-on for its Playstation3 gaming console on July 31st. But if you follow the link to the Amazon product page for the PlayTV, you'll find that the release date is listed as October 31st.

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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NBC okays restaurant reality show

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 18th 2008 4:43PM
Chef WhiteThere's more reality being served up by NBC: a food-based competition show in which couples vie to open a restaurant. British chef Marco Pierre White will be the judge. NBC has greenlit The Chopping Block for next season, calling it a sort of Top Chef meets Hell's Kitchen. Actually, it sounds like a twin for BBC America's Last Restaurant Standing. That one has nine couples competing for one restaurant with Chef Raymond Blanc as the judge. The NBC incarnation will have eight couples, and unlike Chef Blanc who has earned two Michelin stars for his restaurants, Chef White has three.

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Victoria Beckham has Fashion Nightmares?

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 6th 2008 12:58PM
Victoria BeckVictoria Beckham, a.k.a. Posh Spice, would have to go a long way to be compared to the foul-mouthed, in-your-face TV chef Gordon Ramsay, but that's what Fox TV is hoping for if they want her proposed new show, Fashion Nightmares, to ape Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. The net is talking with the former Spice Girl and fashion "scion" with her dvb Style denim brand to do a show in the style of Kitchen Nightmares. In that US version of the BBC hit, the chef goes to troubled restaurants and diagnoses what's wrong and how they must fix it. Ramsay's way includes many expletives deleted and mucho histronics. Like the UK version, Fox's US variation has been a hit.

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