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September 1, 2014

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TV 101: Behind the Madness of March Madness

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Mar 16th 2011 3:30PM
March Madness starts tomorrow, and for those of you who don't watch ESPN year-round, the "Madness" refers to the men's NCAA basketball tournament. Sixty-four teams -- I refuse to acknowledge the four additional "play-in" teams -- all dead-set on one goal: missing as much class as possible.

But "Madness" is such a vague term that it carries interesting connotations. To whom is such madness really referring? It could be about the basketball itself: There's enough pressure, buzzer-beaters, and "pounding the ball inside" to keep even the girlfriend of a fan interested for awhile. But, relatively speaking, that kind of Madness is rare when most of the tournament is spent watching Awesome University pummel Sh*tty State.

If it's not all about the basketball, then the madness might define the way our culture reacts as soon as March rolls around. We make up words like "bracketology." We hang on Gus Johnson's every word as if he were FDR delivering a Fireside Chat. We may or may not position a urine jug next to the couch so we don't have to miss that new Papa John's commercial offering some ridiculous special, like "Meat Madness," that we initially scoff at, but after the 14th time seeing it we order 12 of those bad boys and wish we had the foresight to have a poo jug, too.

Whatever the madness might be about, the tournament is the only TV sports spectacle that rivals the Super Bowl in terms of sheer scope and magnitude. Read on for some of my humbly absurd TV tournament predictions.

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ESPN Sets Air Dates for 3D Basketball

by Jean Bentley, posted Oct 6th 2010 2:30PM
LeBron JamesIf you're not able to see LeBron James take his talents to South Beach in person, don't worry, you'll soon be able to experience the second-best thing -- ESPN announced yesterday that it will broadcast the Dec. 17 Miami Heat-New York Knicks game in 3D, according to Deadline.

Earlier this year the network announced it would broadcast eight regular season NBA games and six playoff games in 3D. As long as you have a 3D television set and subscribe to DirecTV, Comcast or AT&T, you'll be able to catch the Madison Square Garden matchup. Unfortunately for Time Warner customers, the cable company does not yet carry ESPN 3D.

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Hot Topics Make Good Comedy ... even the iPad on 'Modern Family'

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 1st 2010 10:35PM
phil_ipad_modern_family_abcWhile watching the two family sitcoms on ABC last night, 'The Middle' and 'Modern Family,' it seemed to me that they were funnier than usual because the writers took the effort to incorporate topical, timely elements into the scripts. On 'The Middle,' it was all about basketball and the NCAA Final Four. On 'Modern Family,' it was the highly anticipated release of the Apple iPad.

Now, while Joel thought the latter was an overdone commercial that may have been penned by Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself, my reaction was completely the opposite. And some critics agreed with me, too.

The idea that Phil would be obsessing about the latest technology was in keeping with the character. Phil's been established as a techie guy, a geekster of the first order. Why wouldn't he be an early adopter of the iPad considering that it is being touted as the next big thing?

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What's On Tonight: 'Cops,' 'Elevator Girl,' 'Survivors,' 'The Dish'

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 13th 2010 12:03PM
Bill MaherHere's tonight's TV lineup (all times Eastern).

  • Bravo has a 'House' marathon all night.
  • Travel Channel has Samantha Brown specials all night.
  • At 7, TNT has the basketball H.O.R.S.E. Contest, then 'NBA Tip-Off' and 'The 2010 All-Star Skills Competition.'
  • At 8, NBC has The Olympics.
  • FOX has a new 'Cops' at 8.
  • HGTV has a new 'Divine Design' at 8, followed by new episodes of 'The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie' and 'Curb Appeal: The Block.'
  • At 9, FOX has a new 'America's Most Wanted.'
  • BBC America has the premiere of 'Survivors' at 9.
  • Hallmark has 'Elevator Girl' at 9.
  • The Weather Channel has a new 'Weather Proof' at 9.
  • At 9:45, Disney HD has a new 'Kick Buttkowski: Suburban Daredevil.'
  • At 10, CBS has a new '48 Hours Mystery.'
  • HBO has 'Bill Maher ... But I'm Not Wrong' at 10.
  • Also at 10: Style has a new episode of 'The Dish.'

Check your local TV listings for more.

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What You Missed Last Night: Fallon and Sudeikis throw random things

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 4th 2009 11:30AM
Jimmy Fallon actually has a lot of good regular segments on Late Night: Cell-Phone Challenge, Slow-Jamming The News, and especially that bit where he writes thank you notes to various people or things while the piano music plays. That's always funny (though it reminds me of something Craig Kilborn used to do...).

I also like the Random Object Three Point Shooting Contest, and last night he was challenged by Saturday Night Live's Jason Sudeikis.

[Watch clips and episodes of Late Night and other shows at SlashControl.]

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Why can't Eva Longoria Parker get her own damn Heineken?

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 20th 2009 1:02PM
Eva Longoria ParkerLook, I think that Eva Longoria Parker is hot just like every other guy, but I think she's completely out of line in the new Heineken ad (after the jump).

Two guys get an upgrade to courtside seats, and when they sit down, they're given two Heineken Light beers by the server. Immediately, Longoria Parker, sitting next to them, asks if she can have one of the beers.

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What's On Tonight: Pelham 123, In Plain Sight, Hammertime, True Blood

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 14th 2009 4:00PM
  • The Big SleepAt 7, ABC has a new Jimmy Kimmel Live, followed by the Lakers/Magic game.
  • NBC has a new Dateline at 7.
  • At 8, CBS has a new Million Dollar Password.
  • The CW has the original version of The Taking of Pelham 123 at 8.
  • Food Network has a new Challenge at 8, followed by new episodes of Next Food Network Star and Chopped.
  • Also at 8: TCM has To Have and Have Not, then The Big Sleep.
  • At 9, USA has a new Law and Order: CI, then a new In Plain Sight.
  • HBO has the season premiere of True Blood at 9.
  • History Channel has a new Ice Road Truckers at 9, followed by a new Expedition Africa.
  • A&E has two new episodes of Gene Simmons' Family Jewels at 9, followed by the series premiere of Hammertime (followed by another new episode).
  • Retro Television Network has two episodes of the 50s Mike Hammer show at 9, followed by The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
  • At 10, Lifetime has a new Army Wives.
  • There's a new HGTV's $250,000 Challenge on HGTV at 10.
  • At midnight, Cartoon Network has a new Squidbillies.

Check your local TV listings for more.

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What's On Tonight: Burn Notice, American Chopper, The Listener

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 11th 2009 4:03PM
Royal Pains

  • At 8, ABC has a new Jimmy Kimmel Live, followed by the Lakers/Magic game.
  • NBC has a new I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here at 8.
  • Cartoon Network has a new Chowder at 8, then a new The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.
  • At 9, FOX has a new So You Think You Can Dance.
  • USA has a new Burn Notice at 9, then a new Royal Pains.
  • TLC has a new American Chopper (with Jon & Kate) at 9.
  • TV Land has the season premiere of She's Got The Look at 9.
  • At 10, NBC has a new episode of The Listener.
  • Bravo has a new episode of The Fashion Show at 10.
  • Also at 10: Comedy Central has a new Tosh.0

Check your local TV listings for more.

After the jump, the late night talk shows.

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What's On Tonight: Mental, Deadliest Catch, Real Housewives

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 9th 2009 4:00PM
  • KimmelAt 8, ABC has a new Jimmy Kimmel Live, followed by the Magic/Lakers game.
  • NBC has the Penguins/Red Wings game at 8.
  • TCM has High Noon at 8.
  • At 9, FOX has a new Mental.
  • Discovery has a new Deadliest Catch at 9.
  • At 10, FX has a new Rescue Me.
  • Bravo has a new Real Housewives of New Jersey at 10.
  • History Channel has a new Life After People at 10.
  • There's a new Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern at 10.
  • Spike has a new ECW at 10.
  • Also at 10: MTV has a new Paris Hilton's My New BFF.

Check your local TV listings for more.

After the jump, the late night talk shows.

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What's On Tonight: Smackdown, Flashpoint, Dollhouse, Head Case

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 24th 2009 4:07PM
  • Bill MaherAt 8, ABC has a new Wife Swap, followed by a new, two-hour 20/20.
  • CBS has a new Ghost Whisperer at 8, then new episodes of Flashpoint and Numb3rs.
  • NBC has two new episodes of Howie Do It at 8, followed by a new, two-hour Dateline.
  • FOX has new episodes of Prison Break and Dollhouse.
  • The CW has a new Everybody Hates Chris at 8, then a new episode of The Game.
  • There's a new Washington Week on PBS at 8, followed by new episodes of NOW and Bill Moyers Journal.
  • MyNetwork TV has a new Smackdown! at 8.
  • Nickelodeon has a new Penguins of Madagascar at 8.
  • ESPN2 has the Magic/76ers game at 8.
  • Also at 8: Cartoon Network has a new Secret Saturdays.
  • At 9, History Channel has a new Patton 360.
  • At 9:30, ESPN has the Rockets/Trail Blazers game.
  • At 9:55, STARZ has a new Head Case, then a new Party Down.
  • At 10, HBO has a new Real Time with Bill Maher.
  • E! has a new episode of The Soup at 10.

Check your local TV listings for more.

After the jump, the late night talk shows.

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Are you the best baller in the country?

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 19th 2009 7:08PM
basketball playerFirst of all, you should all be ashamed of yourself for thinking that title means anything but basketballer.

Former NBA player Duane Causwell and producer Mark Skeete are looking for America's Top Baller. That's the (hopefully tentative) name of a new reality show that's in the works. A bunch of guys will compete to see who is the best amateur basketball player in the country. The winner gets a bunch of money, a sports agent, and their own sneaker. Of course, winning this show doesn't guarantee an NBA career, but I would imagine that if you win this show you're probably pretty talented when it comes to basketball so you'll at least get a tryout with some teams.

We have to come up with a better title though. How about Dribble! or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Basketball Player? Or maybe Don't Forget The Lycra Shorts! I think The People's Court would be a good title, but that's already taken.

[via TV Tattle]

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Costas drops HBO for more MLB Network

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 3rd 2009 7:33PM
costasAs anyone who follows sports on TV knows, Bob Costas is a baseball guy. He loves, loves, loves the National Pastime. Therefore, since NBC has not had major league baseball for years, it's been rough on Bob. He's managed to keep his love for the game alive with books and speeches and as part of his work for HBO. Well, now he's going to be doing a lot more baseball.

Bob Costas is upping his commitment to the MLB Network, and leaving HBO. When the new baseball channel launched on January 1, 2009, included in the charter line up All Time Games, the rebroadcasting of vintage baseball games with Costas as the host.




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What's On Tonight: Deal Or No Deal, Christmas Movies, Benjamin Button

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 25th 2008 5:33PM
Bad Santa
  • HGTV has Christmas programming all night.
  • SoapNet has old Christmas episodes of General Hospital all night.
  • At 8, NBC has a new, two-hour Deal Or No Deal.
  • TNT has the Cavaliers/Wizards game at 8, followed by the Mavericks/Trailblazers game.
  • Comedy Central has Bad Santa at 8.
  • Alton Brown makes cookies on Good Eats at 8, on Food Network.
  • Nickelodeon has Christmas episodes of various shows starting at 8: iCarly, SpongeBob, Home Improvement, George Lopez, and more.
  • Also at 8: Disney has Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas.
  • TCM has Casablanca at 8, then The Big Sleep.
  • At 9, Hallmark has the movie Our First Christmas.
  • TLC has two Christmas episodes of Little People, Big World at 9.
  • Lifetime has the movie A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride at 9.
  • At 11, Lifetime has two Christmas episodes of Will & Grace.

Check your local TV listings for more.

After the jump, the late night talk show listings.

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What's On Christmas Day: Marathons, Movies, and Specials

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 24th 2008 7:01PM
007Here's a quick guide to what's on Christmas Day, stuff to watch while you're opening presents, making snowmen, and eating way too much pumpkin pie.

  • HGTV and Food Network have holiday programming all day.
  • TNT is showing Law and Order all day.
  • TBS is showing the movie A Christmas Story all day.
  • Nickelodeon and TV Land have Christmas episodes of various sitcoms and dramas all day.
  • BBC America also has Christmas episodes all day long.
  • At 7am, all of the morning shows (Today, Good Morning, America, and The Early Show) will have Christmas features, music, and recipes.
  • At 8, Lifetime has a Golden Girls marathon.
  • Sci-Fi has a Star Trek: TNG marathon at 8.
  • Bravo has a Christmas episode of The West Wing at 8, then a Top Chef marathon.

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In Plain Sight: High Priced Spread

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 7th 2008 9:20AM
Getty-McCormack(S01E06) I thought this was one of the best In Plain Sights so far. It wasn't the case, it was the character, in particular Mary's. We got major character development from the leading lady, the key to what she's all about and how she's come to where she is.

Episodes like this just make a show; they really do. In Plain Sight is about Witness Protection, yes, but it's more about Mary Shannon.

Mary doesn't go looking for this case, she's just bringing in her crap car for service. Her mechanic is Scott, who it turns out, was Mary's very first WITSEC client. Mary gave Scott and his 10-year-old brother, Chris, new lives after they witnessed a bookie murder another bookie.

Parenthetically, Scott invites Mary and Marshall to watch Chris play basketball at the university. The kid's got mad skills and is projected to be an NBA star, natch, but something's amiss. Chris is hitting up Mary for $3,000, which we learn is out of bounds for decade-long WITSEC clients.
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