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October 8, 2015


Barry Levinson urges TV to take back Saturday night

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 28th 2009 10:00AM
Barry_Levinson_PBSFor the longest time, I've kvetched about the fact that the television industry has stopped programming for Saturday night. For years, Saturday was a great night of television. I remember M*A*S*H and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, not to mention guilty pleasures like The Facts of Life and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Even NBC's thrillogy, The Pretender and Profiler were fun. All those shows were Saturday night hits (some bigger than others).

Well, I'm not alone in missing Saturday TV; Oscar-winner Barry Levinson feels the same. Levinson is also a TV producer -- he did Homicide: Life on the Street and The Philanthropist -- and he thinks the networks are making a big mistake by not seizing on Saturday primetime. He knows the business pretty well and he's confused by the networks' strategy.

"I don't think the answer is to retreat," he told the New York Daily News. "When you give up Saturday night, you open the door for people to go somewhere else. Basically, they're shrinking their own audience."

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TV Squad Ten: Fearless predictions for 2009

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 5th 2009 11:01AM
M ScorseseA year ago at this time, who would have guessed that Jay Leno would be leaving late night and NBC would be handing him five hours of prime time instead? Who would have predicted CBS continuing to dominate in the ratings or that ABC's sophomore series like Eli Stone and Pushing Daisies would stumble and fall so completely after being off the air all last spring? Predictors from last January were on target about there being a writers' strike; that did happen and it was definitely not a good thing.

Fortunately, I don't see a SAG strike in the future. However, here are ten things I'm betting will happen by the time the ball drops on December 31st.

1. Martin Scorsese will be the next big thing on HBO. He's producing a drama based on the book Boardwalk Empire. HBO is overdue to launch another big series in The Sopranos tradition. Boardwalk Empire seems to have all the right elements: violence, sex, gambling, and Oscar-winning, iconic director Martin Scorsese.

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Comic-Con Countdown: Saturday, July 26th

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 16th 2008 8:02AM

Saturday will be just as busy as Friday at the San Diego Comic-ConSaturday -- a time of rest and relaxation. A time to put your feet up, grab a lemonade, open a book, and let the cool, summer breezes gently rock your hammock as a lazy July day passes. Of course, that's if you aren't attending the San Diego Comic-Con. Then, it's out of your bed, quick shower (if any), breakfast-on-the-go, and right back into the queues to see your particular favorites talking about their television shows.

Like Friday, Saturday at Comic-Con will be packed with television goodness. This is the day that many of the big guns come to play. Shows like The Office, Lost, Battlestar Galactica will be making appearances. They will be joined by newcomers Chuck, Dollhouse, and Pushing Daisies. There will even be an appearance by the recently single Sarah Silverman. There's also a good bit of television animation being featured, particularly by Nicktoons and B.E.T. Animation.

In order to make sure you get the most out of the money you paid to get into the convention, we here at TV Squad are providing you with a complete list of television-related panels for that day. If you are interested in seeing what else is going on July 25th you can review the official full schedule at the Comic-Con website. Remember, times and appearances are subject to change and seating in all event rooms is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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NBC airing first episode of SNL as a Carlin tribute - VIDEO

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 25th 2008 12:45PM
Geroge Carlin on the 1st ep of SNLOf the many achievements George Carlin had in his long career, one that gets underplayed a bit is that he was the guest host on the first-ever episode of Saturday Night Live -- then called NBC's Saturday Night, thanks to Howard Cosell -- in 1975. Not a bad choice, I'd have to say; since the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" were only a part of that first episode (there was a lot of music and odd Muppets about ... the show took some time to find itself), they needed Carlin to carry a lot of the comedic load. And that he did, giving the audience a number of his best routines from that time period.

As a tribute to the recently-deceased comedy legend, NBC will air the entire premiere episode of SNL this Saturday night. For those who have never seen the premiere before (it's on a DVD set of the complete first season), it'll be interesting to see how different the first episode is from the SNL format they know and hate-love today. I'll be DVRing it; will you?

To give you a taste, the opening monologue -- an early version of Carlin's classic "Baseball and Football" routine -- is after the jump.

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Dateline gets three nights, bumps Friday Night Lights

by Anna Johns, posted Nov 25th 2006 12:26PM
friday night lightsEven though it totally slashed its staff, NBC is upping its order of Dateline to three nights per week. Most notably, it's going to air in the slot where Friday Night Lights currently sits on Tuesday nights. Now, FNL fans probably shouldn't worry! Even though its ratings haven't been outstanding, NBC did order a full season of the teen football drama and promises it is committed to the series. The network just hasn't announced where Friday Night Lights will land, but previous speculation puts it on Sunday nights.. Dateline will also air on Saturdays and Sundays, once the NFL season is over. The new schedule begins Dec. 26th.

According to the New York Times, NBC is planning to shuffle its schedule for the New Year. The network has said that it wants cheap shows (reality shows, news, and game shows) in its 8 pm time slots and dramas and comedies at later hours.

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NBC pulls Kidnapped from Saturday slot

by Anna Johns, posted Nov 1st 2006 9:42AM
kidnappedRatings are so poor for NBC's Kidnapped that it's being pulled from its crappy Saturday time slot. The show was sent there earlier this month from its Wednesday night time slot, where it was also tanking. Previously, NBC had ordered the show to stop production after 13 episodes, which is why we dubbed it the first canceled show of the Fall 2006 season.

Last Saturday, Kidnapped got only about 3.7 million viewers, making it the lowest-watched program on television that night. Only five episodes of Kidnapped have aired so far and there's no word from NBC on whether it will even play out the rest of the 'season'. Starting this Saturday, reruns of Law & Order: Criminal Intent will play instead of Kidnapped.

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Here's a reminder for the three Kidnapped fans left

by Joel Keller, posted Oct 18th 2006 4:04PM
KidnappedI kid, I kid... despite Kidnapped's lousy ratings, it did attract about seven million viewers (if this show were on cable, it would be a smash hit), so I'm sure a lot of people will appreciate this reminder: the show returns in its new Saturday at 9 timeslot on October 21, which is this coming Saturday (damn, where is this year going?). It'll pick up with the fourth episode; recall that at the end of episode three, Connie Cain had beaten an old neighborhood "friend" -- and Irish Mob boss -- at his charity ball, and Knapp saved Ellie from harm after a friend of Aubrey's got wind of the kidnapping and tried to use it to his advantage.

Anway, the reason why I'm putting up this reminder is that Kidnapped is a quality show, and since it's going to be on for the next ten weeks -- the producers were told to wrap things up in 13 episodes -- on a night when nothing else is on, it's perfect fodder for Sunday afternoon DVR-watching. That's what I'm going to do, at least. Maybe it'll actually get OK ratings on Saturday... uh, maybe not.

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USA actually doing something with its 'Characters'

by Anna Johns, posted Jun 1st 2006 11:06AM
usa network logoSomething is actually going to come of USA Network's annoying tagline, "Characters Welcome". The network announced it will launch two short series under the brand. The first series will just be ten minutes long and will play in between programming. Called Character Road Trip, it will simply be a meet-and-greet with a host and interesting "characters" from around the country. The second program will be added to USA's Saturday programming. Called Character Fantasy, it's a makeover-style show where a host helps people become any kind of character they want to be.

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MTV2 has preview of new animation block

by Adam Finley, posted May 21st 2006 3:31PM

where my dogs atAs I mentioned before, MTV2 is getting back in to the animation game with a new Saturday afternoon block of shows, Sic 'Emation, set to debut on June 10. Well, a couple new shows, a retread of an old show (Celebrity Deathmatch), and reruns of Beavis and Butthead. While it doesn't make sense for me to judge any of the new shows on just these preview clips, I'm going to anyway. So here goes:

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The Upfronts: FOX

by Anna Johns, posted May 18th 2006 11:24AM
fox logoFOX announced its 2006-07 primetime schedule this morning. It is adding three new dramas and two new comedies to the fall schedule, with another drama and a comedy coming on at mid-season. FOX has paired new programming with returning shows every night of the week. It's even going to dabble in Saturday night programming.

Returning: 24, American Dad, American Idol, America's Most Wanted: America Strikes Back, Bones, Cops, Family Guy, House, King of the Hill, The Loop, MADtv, Nanny 911, The O.C., Prison Break, The Simpsons, Trading Spouses: Meet your new Mommy, The War at Home.

Out: Arrested Development, The Bernie Mac Show, Free Ride, Killer Instinct, Kitchen Confidential, Malcolm in the Middle, Reunion, Skating with Celebrities, Stacked, That '70s Show, Unan1mous

New: Vanished, Standoff, Justice, 'Til Death, Happy Hour, Talk Show with Spike Feresten, Duets, The Wedding Album, The Winner, On the Lot.

Descriptions of new shows below.

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This is how I know Saturdays on TV suck

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 22nd 2006 10:31PM
Pretty WomanI've bitched before about how the networks seem to have given up on Saturdays. But tonight ... tonight's a little ridiculous. I'm watching ABC right now, and guess what it's playing? Pretty Woman! That's right ... a sixteen year-old movie, that TBS AMC won't touch because it's not fresh enough, is taking up a piece of a major network's schedule. And it's not even Christmas!

Of course, I'm watching the stupid thing (nothing else on ... maybe the NBA playoffs, but ... eh). Here's what I'm learning from this experience:

1. Julia Roberts is the least convincing hooker I've ever seen.
2. Early '90s double-breasted suits look kinda silly now.
3. Richard Gere never did anything for me as an actor.
4. Jason Alexander was actually thin once ... once.
5. This is the movie that inflicted "The King of Wishful Thinking" upon us.
6. This movie isn't nearly as funny as I thought it was in 1990.
7. I really, really need to get a girlfriend.

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Discovery Kids breaking with NBC

by Anna Johns, posted Mar 17th 2006 10:01AM
discovery kids nbcNBC has to look for new Saturday morning programming. For the last four years, Discovery Kids has paid NBC to air programming from 10 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. The deal was an effort to expand the Discovery Kids brand, which it did by more than 100 percent, growing from 21 million to 43 million households since 2002. Discovery didn't give any reason for splitting from NBC, but NBC said the split was amicable and in the best interest of both networks.

More changes are underway on Saturday mornings. CBS is developing a three-hour kids' entertainment block called CBS Secret Saturday Morning Slumber Party, which debuts this fall.

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