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August 31, 2015


CBS greenlights NY-LON, Mythological X and Can Openers

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 28th 2008 4:39PM
cbs logoShowbiz has gone green, and that's not just ecologically! Green is flashing all over Hollywood. CBS has given the greenlight to three more pilots, including a doctor drama, a psychic romance, and a British-based tale of international love.

NY-LON (no, not nylon the fabric!), refers to the New York-London connection via air. The story, which writers Patti Carr and Lara Runnels (who both worked on 'Til Death) are translating from the U.K. version, is about a British businessman who meets a New York City record store clerk while she's in London, and then their subsequent attempts to maintain a transatlantic romance. The series ran seven episodes in England, which is not atypical. Of course, for American TV, many more episodes than that will be necessary to constitute a hit.

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Rumor: BBC to distribute shows via iTunes

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 18th 2008 1:01PM
iTunes mockup with Doctor Who
The BBC may be preparing to distribute some of its more popular programs via Apple's iTunes store. The Register is reporting that details on the partnership could be announced as soon as Tuesday.

UK residents can already watch a number of BBC shows online using the iPlayer service, which lets users watch any show that's been broadcast within the last 7 days for free. But the iPlayer is only available to British residents who pay for the BBC's programming with their taxes. Outside of the UK, you have to pay if you want your Doctor Who.

It's not clear right now whether any shows the BBC distributes via iTunes will be available outside of Britan or not. Apple charges UK customers £1.89 to download a television episode, which is almost $2 more than the $1.99 US customers pay. So while it's possible the BBC won't want to sell its content at the lower prices, some money is better than no money, right?

Update: It looks like BBC content is now available at the UK iTunes store, but not the US store.

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Kids on Supernanny are made to cry

by Brad Trechak, posted Oct 3rd 2007 9:19AM

Jo Frost a.k.a. SupernannyAccording to this article in the U.K.'s Telegraph, kids on the reality TV show Supernanny have been intentionally made to cry to boost ratings. The show is successful in Britain and in the United States (on ABC) and has made host Jo Frost a household name.

My question is: why is this surprising? It's somewhat common knowledge that reality TV intentionally gets its participants into awkward situations in order to get good TV out of it. Hell, right before I started with TV Squad I appeared on a cable TV game show and I was amazed at how much the producers wanted me to behave a certain way in order to make for better TV.

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TV Comedy Classics site from UK launches this month

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 9th 2007 4:22PM

pardon my genieLater this month, TVComedyClassics.com will officially launch as a download service in which folks can purchase, or rent, various comedies from the UK.

Don't expect well-known shows like Black Adder or Monty Python, however. In fact, there isn't a single show listed on the site I've ever heard of. Perhaps they'll be familiar to some of our readers from across the pond: Labours of Erica, Up the Elephant and Round the Castle, Mann's Best Friend, Robert's Robots and Two in Clover, just to name a few. Other series from the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s will be added when the site officially launches, with over one thousand titles in all eventually added to the service.

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Homer and the pagan god

by Adam Finley, posted Jul 18th 2007 12:20PM

homer cerne abbasHere's the story:

Carved in a hillside in the U.K., Cerne Abbas in Dorset to be exact, is a 180 ft image known as the "Cerne Abbas giant." The club (and boner) weilding pagan god has been in place since the 17th century and is seen as a symbol of fertility (and how).

Now, the god has a friend, or at least a temporary visitor. A drawing of Homer Simpson, placed there to promote the upcoming movie, now stands next to the ancient symbol. The biodegradable Homer pic will wash away after the first rain, but local pagans are still upset, calling the advertisement disrespectfut. I'm sure it doesn't help that Homer and the giant look like they're playing some perverted form of ring toss, too.

I'm not easily offended (hell, I often offend people by how unoffended I am by offensive things), but this concept does seem more than a little egregious.

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Who wants to hire a Gillian Anderson lookalike?

by Bob Sassone, posted May 8th 2007 8:15AM

Gillian Anderson lookalikeSplitting Images is a celebrity lookalike company in the U.K. They have a ton of people that can be hired for your next party, corporate event, or other entertainment-related function, though some of the lookalikes look more like the celebs than others.

For example, these guys look like Rowan Atkinson so much that they could probably commit some crime and he'd be blamed for it, and this guy could probably do the same for Bing Crosby, if he wasn't, you know, dead and all. But a lot of these people seem to be stretching things a bit. Do these woman really look enough like Pamela Anderson? And does this guy really look like Mr. Spock? I guess wearing a costume and/or having a pic taken in a particular setting helps.

Of course, you could get a Leo Sayer lookalike, though hiring the real Leo Sayer now would probably be cheaper now.

[via Marty Beckerman]

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TiVo could return to the UK

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 22nd 2007 9:21AM
TiVoFormer TiVo CEO (and current board member) Mike Ramsey tells the Sunday Herald that TiVo could be returning tot he UK, but not with its own set-top-boxes.

Ramsey says manufacturing and distribution problems have kept the company from launching a new box in Britain, but the same technology that will allow TiVo software to run on cable boxes distributed by Comcast and Cox Cable in the US could be used to add TiVo software to Freeview boxes in the UK.

TiVo would work with a Freeview device maker to distribute the boxes, while TiVo would be responsible for providing service. The company has been talking with companies, but Ramsey says TiVo's not ready to announce any partnerships yet.

[via HDTiVo Blog]

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BBC America says so long to Benny Hill

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 11th 2007 3:23PM

benny hillIf you've been enjoying the antics of Benny Hill on BBC America, I have sad news for you: the series is being removed from the channel.

The decision to remove The Benny Hill Show from the channel's lineup is just part of a new makeover that's discarding many older shows for newer ones. The channel hopes to give American audiences more modern shows instead of older fare such as Hill and Are You Being Served? and replace them with newer shows like Torchwood and Hollyoaks.

I must say, I never really understood the appeal of Benny Hill, though that certainly doesn't mean it was a bad show. Obviously, a lot of people liked the series, and how many of us can watch a scene shot in high speed and not start humming that goofy Benny Hill chase music?

I have to ask: will any of you miss Benny once he's gone? Or is he an artifact of an earlier age and no longer relevant?

[via CC Insider]

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Channel 4 war drama postponed

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 4th 2007 4:30PM

mark of cainThe UK's Channel 4 had decided not to broadcast a drama featuring British soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees so as not to exacerbate the current situation surrounding fifteen Royal Navy personnel currently held captive in Iran. The debut for the movie was moved to May 17, which will most likely remain now that the soldiers have been released to the British Embassy (and assuming their return to British soil).

The drama, Mark of Cain, is somewhat based on the true-life story of three British soldiers who were convicted of abusing Iraqi civilians at Camp Bread Basket, Basra, in May 2003. The drama itself, however, is entirely fictional according to Gerard Kearns, who plays a soldier in the made-for-TV movie. Due to the tumultuous nature of the diplomatic standoff, the channel decided it was better to avoid anything that might endanger the lives of the fifteen soldiers, who were held captive in a secret location for twelve days.

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The Great American Singing Bee coming to NBC

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 3rd 2007 2:03PM

singingOf course, one "Great American Singing Bee" was already on NBC many, many years ago, but this is different.

The Great American Singing Bee is a new game show from producers Phil Gurin and Bob Horowitz, who will each produce different versions for American and UK television audiences. Contestants will be given lyrics to songs and asked to sing the missing words. This is very similar to an old family game called SongBurst, which was based on pretty much the exact same idea.

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Um, who exactly was offended by the Queen's death on South Park?

by Adam Finley, posted Mar 30th 2007 4:20PM

queenA lot of stories are popping up about the scene in the most recent episode of South Park that shows the Queen of England putting a pistol in her mouth and blowing skull fragments and brain matter all over the wall behind her. These stories, mostly coming from the UK, tell of the "controversial" scene and how it "shocked viewers."

And yet, not a single one of these stories, from what I can tell, gives any real evidence that the scene in question stirred up any controversy whatsoever. The stories merely suggest that, given the series' knack for courting controversy, people were probably bothered by the Queen's suicide, as well.

I'm not from the UK, but I am a South Park fan, and as I said in my review of the episode, the Queen's suicide was so quintessentially South Park I hardly batted an eye. If anything, the whole sequence seemed a little too easy, especially by South Park standards. I'll admit I'm not easily offended, but South Park hasn't shocked or surprised me in several years. That's not a slag against the show, it just means I'm tuned into its sensibility.

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HBO to launch in the UK

by Adam Finley, posted Feb 15th 2007 9:20AM

HBOHBO has plans to launch its HBO SVOD service in the UK, marking the first time the cable channel has launched its own channel in the UK market. The new on-demand service will be available on BT Vision, Tiscali TV and Virgin Media and will feature original miniseries; television series, comedy specials and documentaries. No dates have been set just yet as to when the new service will be available.

Here's a question for the UK readers: what do you think of this new service? The press release reads that HBO programs are popular in the UK, and I'm curious as to which shows you like and which ones you don't. Or, if you even give a flying fig newton* about HBO at all.

*Please excuse my language.

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UK Big Brother creators planning Rock Star Rehab

by Julia Ward, posted Jan 29th 2007 4:03PM
Pete DohertyMaybe it's our culture's litigiousness that inhibits American tabloids. Don't get me wrong. American tabloids, paparazzi and reality shows will definitely be held up by future archaeologists as evidence of the rapid decline of our civilization, but it is the British equivalent of these outlets that get the high marks for tastelessness. Case in point, the producers of the UK's Big Brother have announced plans for another reality outing - Rock Stars in Rehab. (Technically, it's the Dutch company Endemol producing the show, but it's being made for British TV.)

The company has approached high profile heroin addict Pete Doherty, the crack-addicted Dominic Masters of The Others and ex-Celeb Big Brother contestant Donny Tourette to appear in the series. The show would essentially lock all these addicts in a house together and film them 24-7. Critics have chastised Endemol for "using drug problems as entertainment and treating addiction like a joke." Really, if you want to be entertained by a bunch of recovering heroin addicts, rent Trainspotting.

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Man attacks abuser after seeing episode of Oprah

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 12th 2007 10:02AM

oprahYet again, we are reminded of the awesome power Oprah has over all of us.

A man in the UK who was raped along with his sister in the '70s (his younger brother was also molested) did not confront his abuser until 1995, attacking the alleged pedophile by punching him and stomping on him. A trial is currently underway, during which the jury was told the victim decided to confront his attacker after seeing an episode of Oprah about victims confronting those who had hurt them in the past. The man who abused the three children was a teenager at the time. It wasn't until 2005 that one of the brothers went to the police about the abuse they had all suffered as children.

[via Digg]

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Popetown keeps offending - VIDEO

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 6th 2007 10:01AM

popetownPopetown, an animated series banned by the BBC but later released on DVD in the UK, has gotten a lot of press, though none of it has to do with whether or not the show is any good. The controversy stems from the show's portrayal of the Vatican, including a Pope who jumps around on a pogo stick. Despite protest, the series has aired in Germany and other countries, and is now set to air in Lithuania, despite demands from the Bishop's Conference that it be banned.

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