• TV Executives: Big Dreams That Turn to Whines
    In times of trouble, TV network executives should always remember these words: "Things are okay when the things you complain about are the things you used to dream about." That comes from Aaron Sorkin, who was reminiscing in the Los Angeles Times about his lightning rod of a TV show, the much-discussed, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." Sorkin blames himself for the show's demise.
  • Do Legislators Want Balanced Opinions -- Or Rules For TV Sex And Violence?
    Want to hear both sides of a controversial story from your broadcaster? Maybe you don't need to. The Democrats are backing the Federal Communications Commission in an attempt to revive the fairness doctrine -- which requires broadcasters to offer up competing points of view when presenting controversial issues. The Republicans said this isn't necessary -- not in this media environment, when you can easily get those opposite points of view from thousands of traditional and new-media places
  • Early Commercials Now Pay For Late-Night Jokes
    Listen up, late-night network hosts: now tell quicker jokes, perhaps with a product placement as part of the comic story. Meanwhile viewers should start complaining, because now a bunch of commercials will interrupt the usual relatively commercial-free first half hour of your favorite late-night network talk show.
  • TV Newscasts Play Cloak-And-Dagger With Ads
    Maybe for TV newscasts the terms "branded entertainment," "product placement," or even "slanted news story" is just dancing around a controversial subject. Be frank. Call it "stealth advertising." At least, this is what University of Oregon researchers are calling the activity where commercial messages are "cloaked in some other garment than a normal commercial."
  • After The Rain: Katie Couric Questions Meaning Of Her CBS Existence
    Who hasn't done some Monday morning quarterbacking on one's own career? Now CBS News' Katie Couric has been doing just that. Leaving a nice cushy job on NBC's "The Today Show," already as financially secure as one could be, she went for a little "adventure" in trying to front the legendary "CBS Evening News." She's definitely got herself an adventure, akin to a rainstorm in the Amazon jungle -- heavy, blinding, and full of unknown animals looking to take a bite.
  • In New TV Landscape, Kevin Reilly Can Speak Out Of Both Sides Of Mouth
    Kevin Reilly will now be in the great comedic position of defending two different network's prime-time schedules in the space of eight weeks. In mid-May, he was talking up NBC's "Bionic Women" as the president of NBC Entertainment. Now, come July 22, as the new president of Fox Entertainment, he'll tell TV critics that this was a load of crap -- that the only thing that matters is "American Idol" and the new sitcom "Back To You" featuring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton.
  • No Longer Daring, Cable Satisfies Need For Summer Programs -- Is That Wrong?
    Cable programming is surely a TV lover's saving grace this summer -- as more programs debut than ever before. But is it only more of the same?
  • Thought For Food
    The U.S. government will spend more than $1 billion this year on nutrition education to promote fresh fruits and vegetables as an alternative to unhealthy foods for children to eat and snack on, but most of those promotional funds will be wasted, according to an analysis of 57 such programs conducted by the Associated Press. Could it be because the food marketing industry will spend more than ten times that amount promoting some less-than-healthy culinary choices? Well, we're about to find out, as some of the nation's biggest food marketers prepare to unveil a set of new public initiatives designed …
  • Idol Takes On 'American Idol'
    It's hard to remember a higher-profile executive joining the network programming fray. From a spellbound press to the chattering classes in Pacific Palisades to the NBC minions looking for a morale and ratings boost, the spotlight on Ben Silverman is similar to the one that surrounded his now-ultimate boss, Jeff Immelt, when he replaced Jack Welch in 2001 as GE head.
  • Pro Cycling And Pro Wrestling
    Is TV pro cycling no better than TV pro wrestling? A few cycling journalists have said the state of professional road cycling is no better than those buff cartoon-like characters with scripted story lines offering up full nelsons and knuckle sandwiches. All that makes for nice fun copy. But even that's a bit too much. While professional cycling has perhaps more doping problems than any sport in recent memory, we doubt the races have been fixed like a tag-team match
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