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September 30, 2014

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Three Bad Things About One Great Invention, the Remote Control

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 12th 2010 5:02PM
remoteRegardless of what I just said in that headline, let me assure you: I love my remote control! It's the device that tells me "you don't have to just sit there and watch what's on. You have options!" It's perfect for someone who watches a lot of television, vital for someone who writes about television, and it really is the can opener of the living room. It's the tool you absolutely need.

Having said all that, there are several problems I see with having something so convenient at your fingertips as you watch the tube.

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Old writers (over 40) settle age discrimination suit against networks, talent agencies

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 25th 2010 12:30PM
scriptTo be honest, I never thought this lawsuit would get anywhere when I first heard about it several years ago. Writers of a certain age suing TV networks, production companies, and talent agencies? Yeah, good luck with that.

But it turns out I was wrong. The various companies have settled an age discrimination suit brought by 165 veteran writers (yes, over 40!) of some of your favorite TV shows, including M*A*S*H, Maude, Knot's Landing, All in the Family, Kojak, Falcon Crest, and many others. The plaintiffs get $70M.

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Would you watch TV on iTunes for $30 a month?

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 3rd 2009 12:42PM
AppleThe Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital blog is reporting that Apple is having meetings with TV networks to see if they'd be interested in having their programs available on iTunes in a deal where viewers would pay a monthly flat fee to watch the shows.

Obviously, many networks already offer various shows on iTunes, but this would be a scenario where Mac and PC users of iTunes would pay a $30 a month subscription in order to watch TV shows. And that would be all shows, not just paying for each show that you want to watch.

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Which shows are renewed, canceled, or on the bubble?

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 16th 2009 1:40PM
Network logosThe networks haven't announced their official fall schedules yet. That happens next month at the network upfronts, or whatever each network is now calling them - upfronts, announcements, presentations. But just from seeing the ratings of certain shows and stories that have leaked to the press already we can get at least a fairly accurate idea of which shows are going to definitely be renewed, which are probably canceled, and which shows are "on the bubble." ("On the bubble" means they're in the middle, balanced on the fence between getting canceled and being renewed. It's named after Sebastian Bubble, an executive at NBC in the early 50s.)

USA Today has a complete rundown of all of the network shows you might be wondering about (in handy chart form!). After the jump, a look at some of the more interesting possibilities.

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Ask TV Squad: How do you get press kits?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 27th 2009 6:02PM
How I Met Your Mother press kitWe got this question today from a reader:

I'm just wondering how you go about obtaining press kits from networks. Can anyone get a press kit? A lot of web sites and blogs get them which surprises me because I thought that only huge corporations (national trades, etc) could get access to them. If I were to write a network requesting a press kit, do you think they'd send me one?

There's some confusion about the TV industry and press kits. A lot of people think that your publication or web site has to be really large and influential to get them. But that's not really the case. It actually comes down to secret passwords and insider information. Odd, but true.

So let me help you out here. If you call ABC and introduce yourself and your publication/site to them and ask to be on the list to get press kits and advance screening copies of new shows, they'll probably turn you down. When this happens, you simply utter the words "Rod Serling loved chicken salad." The network person will immediately put you on the list to get every press kit they send out.

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Great chants heard on the picket lines

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 7th 2007 2:04PM

Eva Longoria deliversThere are so many articles and blogs about the writers strike that it's really hard to keep track of them all. But I'm really enjoying the first person accounts from writers and other industry people on what's going on at the picket lines in Los Angeles and New York City.

One of the funniest parts of the strike (and there are funny parts) is what the people on the picket lines are saying. If you're on a picket line, you have to also say something. You can't just walk around the whole day carrying a sign, completely silent. So the writers have come up with several chants they've been saying. After the jump, a few of my favorites. Many of them are about Desperate Housewives.

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Here's an update on the writers strike

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 23rd 2007 3:03PM

Conan O'BrienThis is getting serious.

Both sides are still far from agreement on a new deal, and a strike by the Writers Guild of America could start in a couple of weeks (the last offer was rejected by writers). That means that scripted shows (Lost and House, for example) and late night talk shows would suffer the most. Some shows have a schedule that means they won't be affected that much, like The Simpsons, but most other scripted shows will be hurt in some way. As for daytime, Martha Stewart wouldn't be affected at all, but The View uses union writers so that should could be hit. (The View uses writers? So that means a writer actually puts those words into Elisabeth Hasselbeck's mouth?)

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NBC might show reruns of UK Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 11th 2007 7:06PM

Ricky GervaisNo, this isn't some programming move to get rid of reality shows (though I think it's worth exploring). It's actually a strategy in case there's a strike in Hollywood.

And that strike is looking more and more like it might become a reality. It sounds like hyperbole, I know, but the two sides are really far apart, and we're closer to a strike than we've ever been. Writers want more money for DVD sales and other forms of media. At one point they were going to work under their old deal until the end of this season, but now things have changed. The networks have been stockpiling on scripts and orders for reality shows just in case.

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Here are some shows you won't see this fall (unfortunately)

by Bob Sassone, posted May 29th 2007 8:40AM

Bea ArthurStudio 60!

I'm kidding. Readers just love it when I mention that show.

I'm talking about the shows created by The TV Show Pitch Generator. Just click on the "Pitch It" button and it will randomly create a new show for you. Most of them are better than the stuff that's been announced for this fall. It's too bad they don't have an option where you can actually create the cast/plot yourself, but it's pretty fun. My favorites are after the jump.

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Things I Hate About TV: Network execs

by Bob Sassone, posted May 17th 2007 11:03AM
TV setOf course, I should say not all network execs because some of them, some place, somewhere, actually do love television and understand you have to give shows time to develop. This is for the other 93% of them.

The network upfronts this week are showing that network executives are the ultimate politicians, tossing around both praise and excuses and bullshit like they were running for Congress. Sure, the networks want to make money, and "spin" is a part of any business. But take a look at some of the comments we've heard this week:

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A complete guide to what's in and out on the networks

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 19th 2007 2:58PM

60 MinutesJust in time for the May upfronts (that time of year when all of the networks - ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and The CW - unveil their lineups for the fall), The Futon Critic has a complete guide to what shows have been renewed and what shows have been canceled for the 2007-08 season.

Most of the news isn't that surprising. We already know that shows like The Black Donnellys and Six Degrees and King of Queens are ending, and that shows like Lost, Bones, and 30 Rock have been renewed. However, I wasn't aware that Men in Trees had already been renewed, and isn't it a little odd to put 60 Minutes in the "Fate To Be Determined" category? I would assume it's definitely renewed.

There's also a very handy guide to all of the pilots that are currently in development (at the top), so you can see what shows just might replace your favorites.

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Nielsen ratings for the week ending January 22

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 25th 2006 9:24AM

American Idol1. NFC Championship  (FOX)
2. American Idol - Tues (FOX)
3. American Idol - Weds (FOX)
4. CSI (CBS)
5. Desperate Housewives (ABC)
6. NFC Championship - GUN (FOX) 
7. Without A Trace (CBS)
8. Gray's Anatomy (ABC)
9. Golden Globe Awards (NBC)
10. Dancing With The Stars (ABC)
11. Lost (ABC)
12. Skating With Celebrities (FOX)
13. NCIS (CBS)
14. Law and Order: SVU (NBC)
15. CSI: NY (CBS)
16. Dancing With The Stars - Results (ABC)
17. NFC Championship - Post Game (FOX)
18. CSI - Special (CBS)
19. CSI: Miami - Special (CBS)
20. 24 (FOX)

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