Posts Tagged ‘television’

The Colbert Report Is Dead. Long Live Stephen Colbert

December 18, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In his second night as host of The Colbert Report, Oct. 18, 2005, Stephen Colbert made a joke that wasn't really a joke. Over the course of the show's run, he promised, viewers would be treated to installments in "a 435-part series" called Better Know a District. He didn't make it to 435, but he almost broke triple digits. During its just-under-a-decade on the air, the show visited a full 93 Congressional districts in the U.S. (and one in the U.K., because it's a comedy show, after all), and that's not counting the districts he revisited. He explored major industries, minor policy issues and daily life all over the country, which, viewers were gently reminded, is huge. No national news program in history has devoted that much time to systematically covering individual members of Congress—why would you? It's boring unless there's a scandal, right? With one of his first initiatives, Colbert proved, as he so often would, that the media's assumptions about America were wrong. Colbert is ending his half-hour late-night comedy news show The Colbert Report, one of the strangest and most wonderful television series ever to exist, to take a job with CBS as the host of the Late Show when David Letterman retires. It's a signal honor, one that comedians spend their entire lives dreaming about, and yet if you've loved the Colbert Report, this move can also feel like a step down. Letterman is widely beloved, even despite a fairly sleazy intraoffice sex scandal in 2009 .

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5 Ways Television Changed Dramatically in 2014

December 17, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Television advertising has been a pretty conservative marketplace: You buy Nielsen ratings, you make 30-second advertisements and sometimes you buy product placement. But the sudden ascent of non-Nielsen-rated content has created a gaping void in the measurement world. And popular genres like horror, with shows such as The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and American Horror Story, aren't super friendly to adjacencies and product placement. Who wants to see consecutive bites taken out of a leg and a cheeseburger? (Game of Thrones, of course, isn't even ad-supported). So here are a few ways the industry is changing, and what it means for 2015. 1. Ratings went crazy. What happened? The measurement world's lack of visibility into the mobile and tablet spaces generated shrugs until fairly recently. It's become spectacularly—maybe horribly—easy to spy on computer users' surfing habits (no, "incognito mode" does not hide you from anybody except your mom). But your cell phone and your iPad are still difficult to track, mostly because in-browser viewing isn't the norm. Video apps like Hulu are much harder to track with cookies because you aren't in your browser. And that's where a huge, valuable chunk of viewing takes place. So Nielsen (which suffered a serious black eye at the beginning of the season by spilling coffee on the keyboard or something on a bunch of its Live+SD figures, resulting in some major corrections) is racing to make its gross ratings point tool, the one advertisers pay for in non-theoretical money, the standard across not just linear cable and broadcast, but new media, as well. It's not there yet, partly because there's still significant dispute over whether or not an ad delivered on a smartphone is worth the same amount of money as an ad delivered on a 50-inch plasma screen

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These Films, Books and TV Shows Ruled Tumblr’s Sponsored Entertainment Posts in 2014

December 17, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's the end of the year, and Tumblr is recapping its top branded entertainment posts of 2014. With the average desktop user spending 14 minutes per visit in October, according to comScore, it's clear why leading entertainment companies are advertising on the Yahoo-owned microblogging site.

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Will a Wide Audience Tune In to Hockey’s Most Rugged Game of the Year?

December 16, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Every New Year, the National Hockey League takes one of its regular-season games outdoors—an old-school showdown in the freezing-cold elements. And this time, it's looking for innovative ways to draw fans to the Winter Classic. The promotion begins at 10 tonight with the first of a four-part reality series called 2015 Road to the Winter Classic. In the past, the special aired on HBO, available only to subscribers. But after negotiations broke down with HBO over that point, the NHL decided to take its show to Epix—and a wider audience. Viewers will get a fly-on-the-wall look at the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals as they work their way toward a New Year's Day game at Washington, D.C.'s Nationals Park. In addition to airing on Epix, a relative newcomer that stands to benefit from hockey's 60 million U.S. fans, the series will be available to stream on the teams' websites, Epix.com, and NHL.com. Fans can also easily find the show through both company's Facebook pages; the NHL App for Android and iPhone; and the Epix App for Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Roku and Windows 8

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The 10 Best New TV Shows of the Year

December 14, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

At the end of every great TV series—The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Wire, 30 Rock—somebody usually jumps to declare the Golden Age of Television at an end, and somehow that prediction never manages to be right. There's a ton of great TV around these days, from off-kilter comedies like Brooklyn Nine-Nine to unexpected dramas like Masters of Sex. More so than ever in the history of TV, the onus is on creators to be surprising, to be impressive and, most of all, to hold our attention. A lot of this is a direct result of the stuff that (very reasonably) terrifies the people who run TV: the advent of streaming video on demand, the wars of attrition with cable providers, the mass exodus of young people to YouTube and gaming. All that stuff means that it's imperative for television content to be compelling enough to drag a potential viewer back from the new Uncharted game, or to motivate the writing of an angry letter when cable drops his or her favorite network. And that means that this was a hard list to write, because so much new TV in 2014 was so good.

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The Interview’s Randall Park on How Vice Prepared Him to Play Kim Jong-Un

December 8, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Age: 40 Claim to fame: Portrays Kim Jong-un in The Interview (in theaters Dec. 25); guest stars on HBO’s Veep as Minnesota Governor Danny Chung; will star in the upcoming ABC series Fresh Off the Boat (premiering 2015) Base: Los Angeles Twitter:

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Presenting the Winners of the Television Hot List

December 8, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Michael Lombardo President of Programming, HBO HBO’s Lombardo continues to win the cable programming game in an age of intense competition for every single promising script, often by exploring uncharted territory. True, we’d seen serial killer shows before, but rarely as atmospheric as Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective, and never as simultaneously perverse and otherworldly as Game of Thrones. That willingness to experiment—whether bringing back cult favorite The Comeback or robbing The Daily Show of John Oliver for Last Week Tonight—ensures Lombardo will remain every writer’s dream meeting (assuming his agent can get one).

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#TBT: This Classic Dallas Promo Isn’t Great, but It Still Lured 83 Million Viewers

November 19, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Holy cliffhanger! On March 21, 1980, Dallas fans were stunned as Larry Hagman's villainous J.R. Ewing was gunned down on the CBS drama's Season 3 finale. After eight agonizing months, and a masterful marketing campaign that turned "Who Shot J.R.?" into a worldwide phenomenon, the shooter's identity was finally revealed in Season 4's fourth episode, "Who Done It," which aired Nov. 21, 1980. More than 83 million people tuned in—a whopping 76 share, and an estimated 350 million worldwide—making it the U.S.'s second most-watched non-sports program of all time, after the MASH finale in 1983. Yet that impressive, ambitious publicity effort seemed to stall right before the finish line of the actual episode, which is the subject of this week's Throwback Thursday. Here's the underwhelming promo for "Who Done It," which ran after the previous week's show, "Nightmare," and makes the upcoming episode seem decidedly average:First off, the fact that the entire promo focuses on Sue Ellen (J.R.'s wife, played by Linda Gray) makes it clear she won't turn out to be the murderer—and could anyone who looks that sleepy have really pulled the trigger? Instead, the promos for the upcoming episodes of Alice and The Jeffersons look far more appealing, as both comedies must have received a CBS mandate to hit the road for November sweeps. Alice visited Las Vegas (it's all "fun and games with Robert Goulet" until Linda Lavin ends up in a goatee) while The Jeffersons traveled to Hawaii (there's nothing like a tantalizing John Milton/Paradise Lost reference in the promo to bring in those poetry-loving sweeps audiences). That wasn't the only curious promo before the big episode. Check out this stilted commercial for People magazine's "Who Shot J.R.?" cover, featuring a chemistry-free couple that seems to to be reading script lines right out of the magazine, while making it clear that the cover story won't spill any real dirt about the murderer's identity:As for the ravenously anticipated Nov. 21 episode itself, the actual reveal was disappointingly anticlimactic (it was J.R.'s sister-in-law and mistress, Kristin Shepard, played by Mary Crosby). It doesn't hold up 34 years later (why does everyone seem to be moving in slow motion?), except for that last juicy little twist, courtesy of one final bombshell from Kristin:And to see how it all began—the moment that turned the cliffhanger into an essential season finale staple for almost all subsequent TV dramas—watch J.R. take two slugs in the Season 3 finale:But let's really go out with a bang—dozens of them, in fact—and close with this lively blooper reel from Season 3, in which pretty much the entire cast, Hagman included, gets a chance to prove it shot J.R. (the fun starts at the 4:55 mark):While the "Who Shot J.R.?" clips might be showing their age, I still take my Stetson off to Dallas for attracting 83 million viewers to a single episode of television, a feat that is unlikely to ever be repeated by a program without the words "Super Bowl" in the title.

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After NFL Controversies, Expect a Kinder, Gentler Set of Super Bowl Ads

November 17, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Despite some saber rattling, not one of the NFL’s 30-plus corporate sponsors including Procter & Gamble and General Motors have yanked their deals over the domestic violence scandals swirling around the league. But well over half of Americans and advertising professionals surveyed believe the disturbing issues raised by the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson domestic violence/child abuse cases will help change the creative tone of commercials we’ll see during NBC’s telecast of Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1. Roughly 62 percent of Americans and 65 percent of ad pros polled (for a total of 1,500 respondents) believe the domestic violence troubles would impact advertising creative on Super Bowl Sunday, according to a national survey being released today by the 4A’s. And 78 percent of Americans and 73 percent of ad execs see the controversies as an opportunity for brands and companies to promote positive social messages. Respondents have their own thoughts on how to improve the next batch of Super Bowl commercials during the series of online surveys conducted by research firm Ipsos in October. In: more focus on women, families and social issues. Out: the kind of cartoon violence and fart jokes that advertisers have used to get cheap laughs in the past. Roughly 34 percent of Americans and 33 percent advertisers want more focus on families. Thirty percent of Americans and 37 percent of ad pros want marketers to address domestic violence. That means Super Bowl XLIX actually offers an opportunity for the ad business to create “powerful, positive social messages” that hit a “sweet spot” with the biggest TV audience of the year, said Alison Fahey, 4A’s chief marketing officer. “I don’t think everybody should go overboard—and make it the ‘do-gooder’ Super Bowl. But it may not be the year to tackle Betty White in a Snickers spot,” she said. “It may not be the year for that slapstick, semi-violent tone in advertising.” For its part, the NFL has launched its own “No More” PSAs addressing domestic violence. They star over two dozen current and former players such as Eli Manning of the New York Giants and Cris Carter of ESPN

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How The Simpsons Saved FXX

November 17, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When FX Networks CEO John Landgraf sealed the deal last November to secure exclusive cable, VOD and non-linear rights to The Simpsons for his fledgling cable network FXX, he was elated ("It's arguably one of the greatest shows ever made!")—but terrified. "I was really nervous about it. If it hadn't worked, it would have been a financial drain on the company's competitive abilities and resources for the better part of a decade…. There was a lot of sticker shock associated with the price we paid," said Landgraf, who shelled out an estimated $750 million for the long-term deal. Plus, given that The Simpsons was in its 25th season at the time, "there was no way to calculate how many times people had already watched. There was no way to calculate the nostalgia factor for people that might have fallen off the Simpsons train. And, by the way, we chose to put it on a channel that didn't exist, essentially." That would be FXX, the former Fox Soccer network, which relaunched Sept. 2, 2013 as FX's younger, edgier sibling. But early on, even Landgraf seemed unsure of what defined an FX series versus one that aired on FXX. By Nov. 13—almost exactly a year ago—things seemed bleak for FXX's future when the network canceled its late-night talk show, Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, which was drawing as few as 10,000 total viewers per night after relocating from FX.

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