• 'Wolf' At The Door: Henry VIII Miniseries Is Suspense-Filled 'Masterpiece'
    It would be a shame if "Wolf Hall" got lost this Sunday in all the hype over the return of "Mad Men." Both shows are airing at the same time, and I guess it's a situation for which today's deferred-viewing options are tailor-made. And that's a good thing, because "Wolf Hall" is not to be missed. Nor should it be dismissed merely because its story has been told in other recent TV shows and movies. This miniseries stands all on its own, beginning with a mesmerizing performance by English actor Mark Rylance in the show's lead role -- Thomas Cromwell, ...
  • Comedy Central Declares Social Media Triumph For Justin Bieber Roast
    Comedy Central's "Roast of Justin Bieber" made a big impression in social media both large and small. The highly anticipated roast aired twice on Monday night, and the next day Comedy Central released some Big Data about the big show. "#BieberRoast sets social media ablaze with nearly 7 billion impressions, and draws 6.2 million total viewers across multiple platforms," read the headline on Comedy Central's press release. The data came from a variety of sources, including Nielsen data. The sources of other data reflect the many means at a TV network's disposal for reporting on viewership on the day after ...
  • Discovery's Upfront Strategy: Global Reach, 'Personal' Presentations
    Discovery's global distribution is far-reaching, but its approach to this year's upfront market is "up close and personal." That was the message from Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav and Joe Abruzzese, president of ad sales, at an Upfront presentation staged for the press Tuesday in New York. This year, the big show has turned into a road show, with presentations like the one shown to journalists this week traveling to agencies in New York and other cities.
  • NBC Cable Nets Prance Into Upfront Season With New Shows
    Five African-American men in tights entertained a hotel meeting room full of journalists and assorted NBC cable execs Monday as NBC-owned Bravo, Oxygen and Esquire Network gave a joint upfront presentation that was not the usual upfront presentation for advertisers, but a briefing for journalists where all three cable channels announced new, upcoming shows. The five entertainers were a troupe of dancers who call themselves the Prancing Elites, and they are the subject of an upcoming show on Oxygen called "The Prancing Elites Project," premiering April 22.
  • Fox Looks To 'Weird Loners' To Lift Tuesday Comedy Ratings
    The Tuesday night comedies "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" have been a problem for Fox, despite the affection showered on them by some critics and viewers. Among those not enamored with these two sitcoms are Fox affiliates. While they are happier about Fox prime-time programming this season than they were during the last few seasons, I have it on good authority that the weakness of these comedies still sticks in their collective craw. The reason is pretty simple: "New Girl" and especially "Mindy" are weak lead-ins for the affiliates' late newscasts, and the affiliates have let Fox know it.
  • From Morbid Obesity To A Bearded Lady: The Weird World Of TLC
    Various channels in the Discovery Networks stable have long trafficked in the travails of the morbidly obese, but this "niche" community has been getting even more exposure lately, now that the recurring series called "My 600-lb Life" has settled into a prominent time slot on Discovery-owned TLC. In a crowded marketplace in which hundreds of TV shows are vying constantly for viewers' attention, TLC seems to be stepping up its reliance on shows whose imagery -- obese people, a bearded lady, a family of seven dwarfs -- appears to be designed to stop channel-grazers in their tracks.
  • FX's 'Louie,' 'The Comedians' Are TV's New Gold Standard Of Comedy
    April 9 figures to be a banner day in TV comedy. It's the day Louis C.K.'s comedy series "Louie" returns for its fifth season on FX -- but it will also mark the debut of a new comedy series, "The Comedians," starring Billy Crystal and Josh Gad. The two half-hour shows will comprise a single hour ("The Comedians" at 10 Eastern and "Louie" at 10:30) that will be the best hour of comedy on TV for however long this tandem lasts.
  • Famous People In Peril! O'Reilly Says 'Destroying' Celebs Is Popular U.S. 'Sport'
    Embattled NBC News anchorman Brian Williams got some support last night from Bill O'Reilly, who blamed an accusatory culture -- whose aim, he said, is to "destroy" famous people -- for derailing Williams. The NBC newsman was suspended for six months after it was revealed in February that he exaggerated and/or lied about his experiences covering stories ranging from the Iraq War to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
  • Corden Enters Late-Night Fray With Stellar Bits, Flat Interviews
    Some very clever pre-produced bits enlivened James Corden's debut Monday night (March 23) as the new host of "The Late Late Show" on CBS. But Corden's amateur standing as a raw newcomer to late-night TV was all-too obvious when it came to the segments onstage where he was called upon to act as host-interviewer of two celebrity guests -- in this case, Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks.
  • First Impressions: I Just Watched The First New Episode Of 'Mad Men'
    The DVD came with a letter from the creator of "Mad Men," Matthew Weiner, requesting that we TV columnists refrain from revealing much, if anything, about the upcoming season premiere. "This is the last premiere of 'Mad Men' you will receive ever," said the Weiner letter that arrived a few weeks ago. "It is also the last infuriating letter from me asking you not to spoil the episode," he wrote. The DVD contained the first episode, of seven, that will usher in the final episodes of "Mad Men." This final half-season begins Sunday, April 5, at 10 p.m. Eastern on ...
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