Posts Tagged ‘television’

#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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USA Network Orders Drama Pilot ‘Evil Men’

November 12, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

USA Network has announced a pilot pick-up for drama “Evil Men” from CBS Television Studios and Universal Cable Prods. Dallas Roberts (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Clifton Collins Jr. (“Pacific Rim”) are set to star. Daniel Taplitz (“Breakin’ All the Rules”) will write and exec produce. Gary Fleder (“Life Unexpected”), Eric and Kim Tannenbaum (“Two and... Read more

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We Spent the Morning With Adult Swim’s Eric Andre and This Is What Happened

November 12, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Eric Andre Show on Adult Swim is now in its third season, and there is absolutely no question: It's over the top. We caught up with the show's host in New York, where he spoke about some of his comedic and punk rock inspirations. Given those, it's not surprising he literally destroys his set prior to every show. "I was influenced by GG Allin," Andre said in an interview with Adweek. "He was my favorite." In the video above, Andre talks about the show's new season, drops a few names of his upcoming guests and takes his sense of humor to the street.

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Why No One Comes Back to See Your Great Second Season

November 11, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Very few TV series emerge fully-formed. Most shows take at least a season to figure themselves and their characters out, or to course-correct after a rocky beginning. Often by Season 2, a series—like FX's The Bridge or ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.—can finally complete its necessary adjustments and become the outstanding show it was always meant to be.

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Canadian Regulators Rescind ‘Netflix Tax’

November 11, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Canada’s equivalent of the FCC has backed off trying to regulate Netflix by rescinding what has become known as the "Netflix tax," a move which could have significant implications for other U.S. entertainment content providers doing business there. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ruled that Netflix will not have to pay fees to subsidize Canadian TV productions nor will the company be subject to minimal Canadian content requirements. Canada’s largest cable companies reportedly already provide 30 percent Canadian content, and Netflix features Canadian programs , which has apparently satisfied the CRTC. Netflix has been doing business in Canada since 2010. CRTC Chairman Pierre Blais reportedly told La Presse news site that "Regulating Netflix is the least of our worries." Last week the regulatory agency gave the go-ahead for Canadian television subscribers to be able to change companies without giving thirty days notice. The CRTC has been conducting hearings to determine the extent of regulating U.S. content providers.

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For Gotham’s Ben McKenzie, No Gadget Beats a Good Traffic App Or a Nice Scotch

November 10, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who

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Former CBS, Leo Burnett Exec to Head National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

November 5, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Former CBS and Leo Burnett Worldwide exec Bob Mauro has been named president of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the New York-based org that administers Emmy awards that fall outside the primetime scope of the West Coast-based Television Academy. Mauro will oversee day-to-day operations of NATAS. He fills a role that has... Read more

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Fast Chat: Lisa Kudrow Talks The Comeback’s Return to HBO

November 5, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Comeback is coming back! Nine years after canceling Lisa Kudrow’s brilliant comedy, HBO has revived it for a second season , returning Sunday, Nov. 9 at 10 p.m. ET. The ahead-of-its-time series followed faded sitcom star Valerie Cherish (Kudrow), who is so desperate to stay famous that she agrees to star in a reality series about her comeback attempt: appearing on a generic new network sitcom called Room and Bored. HBO canceled the show, but its fervent fanbase grew over the years, until the network, along with Comeback creators Michael Patrick King (who also worked on Sex and the City during its heyday) and Kudrow decided it was time to catch up again with Valerie 10 years later. In addition to her Comeback return, Kudrow has pulled off something equally unlikely: simultaneously starring in series for HBO and Showtime, where Web Therapy, based on her digital series about an online therapist, just kicked off Season 4. Its rare that the bitter rivals agree to share talent: after Liev Schreiber signed on to star in Showtime’s drama Ray Donovan, HBO forced him to go unbilled in last year’s Larry David original movie, Clear History, while HBO Sports came close to dropping Schreiber as its longtime narrator. Kudrow talked with Adweek about reviving The Comeback, how her guest-appearance on Scandal last season—playing a Congresswoman with a secret—helped make it happen and what might be next for the show after its eight-episode Season 2: Adweek: You’re now a part of this ongoing HBO/Showtime rivalry. Once Liev Schreiber got Ray Donovan, he couldn’t be credited for his HBO acting work. I just learned that! And he’s the voice for HBO. So how were you able to star on shows for both networks? Both shows are non-exclusive. Web Therapy is licensed as a ready-made. HBO, that’s up in the air. Depending on which guild, [The Comeback] is Season 2, but it could also be [considered] a limited series, miniseries, event series… So I don’t know. But they’re non-exclusive, so I can do both. You’ve said you never allowed yourself to believe that The Comeback could be revived, but were there things you saw over the years that you wished you could have addressed on the show

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