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September 18, 2014

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Will more time make the digital TV transition any easier?

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 27th 2009 7:02PM
DTV.gov logoYesterday, the U.S. Senate followed President Obama's recommendation and approved a delay in the digital TV transition date from February 17 to to June 12. If a similar measure passes in the House, then we all know what that means: four more months of DTV transition ads! Woo hoo!

Seriously, though, will it matter if the transition date is February, June, or sometime in Obama's second administration? At this point, even the most casual observer has figured out that the transition hasn't been communicated very well to the American public. People who have cable or satellite still think that they need to buy a new HDTV or upgrade to digital cable in order to be compliant with the conversion, people who got discount coupons for converters early on have found that the coupons have expired and they can't get more, and the people who have converted are being surprised that some weak stations won't come in due to the "digital cliff effect."

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SAG members filibuster and nothing gets done ... just like Congress

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 14th 2009 4:30PM
SAG logoThe big SAG strike news hitting the trades and the rest of the entertainment press today is ... that there isn't any news. A strike vote ballot still hasn't been sent to the members. But, boy, what's gone into the non-news is a hell of a lot of effort. Reports are that the decision to delay the ballot came after an epic 30-hour meeting, eight of which was spent on debating whether to end the meeting at 10 pm on Monday or 1 am on Tuesday. Fat lot of good that did; the meeting didn't break up until 6 am.

Apparently, there are two factions within the union; a larger Hollywood-based one that wants a strike, and a smaller New-York-and-elsewhere based one that doesn't want the walkout. The debates were more a result of the disagreement within the union than purposeful delay tactics; heck, they even tried to remove their lead negotiator.

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Ousted American Idol Michael Johns interview

by Debra McDuffee, posted Apr 13th 2008 11:03AM
michael johnsYes America, I share in your shock and outrage. Not only did I enjoy Michael Johns' singing, but let's face it; he is very easy to look at.

AOL TV has an interview up with the prematurely ousted soul rocker, and it is typical Michael Johns. Polite, honest, humble and grateful. But what if Johns did an interview and, oh, I don't know, channeled his millions of fans? What would he say then?

"Yeah, I was surprised to be voted off. Did you hear me hit that falsetto at the end of 'Dream On'? Stephen Tyler would have been proud."

Or maybe ...

"Yeah, I was surprised to be voted off. My best three performances were in the last three weeks, and honestly, I look so good that I really don't even have to sing to stay in this competition."

Even still ...

"Yeah America, you are right. I am delicious eye candy with a voice like butter and you'll miss my unique (if not slightly strange) Jim Morrison / Wilson Pickett cross."

The AOL interview doesn't go quite like that, but fans of Johns, you know what I am talking about. Shame on all of us who got lazy and didn't vote -- don't we learn this hard lesson every year when a favorite gets prematurely voted off? Idol won't be the same next week, and KLC's performance will be like a knife through the heart.

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Modern Marvels fans pick episodes for marathon

by Adam Finley, posted Jul 16th 2007 7:03PM

modern marvelsModern Marvels, the long-running History Channel series that explores all kinds of scientific and technological feats and where they came from, is asking viewers to choose their favorite episodes for a marathon airing July 28 starting at noon (winners will be announced the day before). Viewers can go here and choose their eight favorite episodes from a list of episodes that cover topics such as 80s tech, brewing, horsepower, snackfood and harvesting. The site also features clips from the episodes. Yeah, there's only twenty episodes to choose from, which doesn't seem like much since the series has been on for over ten years, but I don't think fans will complain.

Modern Marvels began in 1994 and is narrated by Max Raphael.

Starting July 30, Modern Marvels will air every weeknight at 8:00 p.m.

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Vote for your favorite Springfield

by Anna Johns, posted Jul 2nd 2007 2:28PM
springfieldFor a few months now, we've been telling you about how 16 towns of Springfield across the United States are all competing to host the premiere of The Simpsons Movie. The cities have been sending their videos to 20th Century Fox to show why they're the real Springfield.

The city of Springfield, Oregon, for example, did a Bill Kurtis-style investigative report on where the real Springfield is and determined it was in Oregon. There was even a cameo by Tony Hawk! The city of Springfield, Massachusetts had a similar premise, but with higher production quality. Theirs includes a message from Sen. Ted Kennedy.

You can see all the videos here, where USA Today is hosting a vote from now through July 9th on which Springfield deserves the premiere. The website doesn't say whether our voting will actually determine the premiere location, though.

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Reno 911 stars make voting vid - VIDEO

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 30th 2007 4:04PM

lennon and garrantThey're not actually playing their characters from Reno 911, but actors Tom Lennon and Ben Garrant made a hilarious video for Declare Yourself, a campaign designed to get eighteen-year-olds to vote.

Lennon and Garrant play two older people telling young people that while the entertainment industry cares about their opinions when it comes to music, movies and television, nobody really cares who they vote for when it comes to the presidential election. It's a funny bit of reverse psychology, but I think it might be a little too clever. The sarcastic point they make actually seems valid in many ways. Should you vote for the prez when you know more about Paris Hilton than you do about issues that actual affect you? The answer is no, I probably shouldn't.

Still, I'd like to see more funny videos like this one that encourage kids to vote without endorsing one specific candidate or political party.

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Graham Norton's new project for Lifetime

by Adam Finley, posted May 18th 2007 3:02PM

graham nortonFunnyman Graham Norton will be hosting a new reality pilot for Lifetime.

The new show will serve as a kind of popularity contest in which an audience of women vote off one woman at a time from a group of seven as they answer challenges and tackle different challenges. The Hollywood Reporter article doesn't go into much detail than that, so it's hard to say exactly what the hell the point of the show is supposed to be, other than showing women at their most judgmental and catty. Oh yeah, and the show was originally called Judgment Day, which probably isn't a good sign, either.

Norton will still appear in TV in the UK. The Graham Norton Show, his BBC2 series, hits BBC America on June 2. Previously, he hosted So Graham Norton, a Channel 4 series that was adapted into an American version which ran on Comedy Central for a short time.

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Comedy Central launches second annual Web show competition

by Adam Finley, posted May 15th 2007 5:21PM

comedy centralComedy Central is gearing up for its second "Comedy Central Test Pilots" competition, a contest that allows amateur comedic filmmakers to create their own series for inclusion on Comedy Central's Motherload broadband site, and for the chance to have their series included on the upcoming late night showcase Web Shows.

Submissions will be accepted starting June 1 through July 10. Last year, a sparsely-animated series called "Awesome Friends" won the competition, which I found somewhat surprising since I didn't find that particular series all that funny. Apparently, though, other people did, which completely challenged my theory that everyone thinks exactly the same way I do. I'm just now coming to terms with this.

Anyway, the first round of winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and shown on both Comedy Central's site and on AtomFilms. The final winner, however, will be decided on by regular ol' online viewers like you and me.

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Burnett and MySpace join for new reality series

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 25th 2007 1:02PM

Mark burnettReality show wunderkind Mark Burnett will be launching a reality series for both television and online audiences that seeks to find one person to serve as the political voice of young America. The series, Independent, will launch sometime early next year on MySpace, and will also be seen on television, though at this stage no network has been found for the series.

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Will Ferrell's production company launches video site

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 17th 2007 2:03PM

the landlordI recently linked to a comedic short featuring Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights). The short comes from FunnyorDie.com, a new comedy video site from Ferrell and McKay's production company, Gary Sanchez Productions.

The short, titled "The Landlord," has received over two million hits, and other vids from established comedians and actors will also begin to pop up on the site. However, most of the videos will be uploaded YouTube-fashion by regular folks like you and me. The main difference between this site and YouTube is that only those videos deemed worthy by other users will survive, and the ones that aren't so funny will be banished to a section of the site known as "the Crypt."

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Jack Black brings TV and the Web together

by Adam Finley, posted Feb 25th 2007 1:02PM

jack blackJulia told everyone about the new VH1 series The Department of Acceptable Media starring Jack Black back in November, and now there's a little more information available, such as when the heck the show will debut (March 23). Oh yeah, and it's not called The Department of Acceptable Media, anymore, it's simply called Acceptable TV.

The new series will feature several three-minute shorts in one episode, some created by regular folks like you and me, and some created by Jack Black and pals. Viewers will vote on which shows to dump and which ones to keep. If that sounds an awful lot like the Channel 101 site, that might be because Channel 101 helped create the series.

Shorts that are too hot for TV will made available online, and creators will also get a share of the ad revenue everytime their short is viewed online. You can watch some hysterical promos for the new series here.

[via Lost Remote]

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NBC overturns America's vote for Grease finalists

by Anna Johns, posted Feb 14th 2007 10:29AM
greaseWhat is wrong with NBC? And don't say "Jeff Zucker", because that's too easy.

The network is currently airing You're the One That I Want, which is a contest to choose the new 'Danny' and 'Sandy' for Grease on Broadway. The show keeps proclaiming that America will choose the winners, but on Sunday night, the judges on the show nullified America's votes. Instead, they kept the bottom vote-getters and tossed the second-to-bottom vote getters off the program. NBC is proudly calling it a "twist" but it sounds more like a "sham" to me.

I'm sure Americans would be super pissed off about this incident if anyone was actually watching the show. If this happened on American Idol, there would be rioting in the streets by now.

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Watch Emmy nominations and vote

by Anna Johns, posted Aug 21st 2006 8:33AM
emmyIf you're like me and you don't watch House, 24, Grey's Anatomy, Sopranos or West Wing, it's kind-of hard to care who wins an Emmy for Best Drama during next Sunday's telecast (on NBC). However, you can do some homework thanks to a nifty little video project over at AOL Television. There are clips from each nominated drama, comedy, and also for nominated actors in each genre. Watch the clips and then vote on which show you think will win.

So far, it looks like viewers are betting on Grey's Anatomy for a statue.

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CBS preparing to launch online dating show

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 8th 2006 9:05AM
cbsAs of right now a launch date is unknown, but CBS will be producing a reality dating series for innertube, its broadband site that launched in May. The new original series will be called Hook Me Up and will follow four people as they're wooed by five other people over a series of dates. People watching the show can vote on who gets to stay and who gets kicked off the show. So really, I guess "original" isn't the best word to describe it since it sounds like about fifty other shows out there. Oh yeah, and "secrets" will be revealed on each show. Unless one of the "secrets" is that the show is a joke and they're actually going to try a concept that isn't tired and overdone, I doubt I'll be tuning in.

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Vote on Muppet DVD cover art

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 3rd 2006 12:03PM

miss piggyIf you click over to Muppets.com, you can vote on which of three covers featuring Miss Piggy will be used for the upcoming Season Two DVD set. There's no official announcement yet on an exact release date for the set, though Muppet News Flash writes that the set should be out in the spring. The second season had some great guest stars, including George Burns, Steve Martin, Milton Berle, Don Knotts, and Peter Sellers. I think a lot of Muppet fans will agree that the show really began to take shape in its second season. As far as the cover art is concerned, despite which one is chosen I wonder if they'll still find a way to use the other two covers somehow. I can't imagine they'd go through the trouble of creating them and not use them all in some fashion.

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