Cable

NBC Renews Freshman Show

NBC has made the first renewal of the season for a freshman unscripted summer series. Deadline.com reports that the network picked up the summer game show "Hollywood Game Night" for a second season.

The show, hosted by Jane Lynch, will return either next summer or earlier. The program is produced by Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner, and is based on Hayes' actual game nights, the story notes.

"Not only is it a show we’re very proud of, it is easy watching and fun, and the repeats have been holding up quite well, retaining 85% of the premiere ratings, a quality we’re looking for," NBC president of alternative and late-night programming Paul Telegdy said.

He added that host Lynch was one reason the show was renewed. "She is someone who beyond fits the NBC family of talent on personal level and in terms of who she is and what she stands for; she is all kinds of awesome," Telegdy said.

The show features two regular people who join competing teams of celebrities to play games like charades and concentration. Celebrity contestants have included Minnie Driver, Nick Cannon, Matthew Perry, Amy Poehler and Martin Short.

Jane-Lynch-Hollywood-Game-Night.jpg

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NBC Wins Greg Berlanti Project in Bidding War

NBC won a bidding war over a new drama project from Greg Berlanti's Berlanti Productions, Kapital Entertainment and writer Jeff Rake. Deadline.com reports that the Peacock Network won the project, "The Mysteries of Laura."

The project is based on a Spanish series called "Los Misterios de Laura," and is about a female homicide detective with evil twins, the story says. Rake is writing the adaptation and will executive produce with Berlanti and Kapital's Aaron Kaplan.

It's the first time the producers, who have created more than 20 pilots between the two of them in the past few years alone, have been paired together on a project, the story adds.

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Fox Wins Night as Key NBC Series Falls to Season Low

Fox came out on top in a hotly contested Wednesday prime-time ratings battle among the broadcast networks as franchise reality shows on three networks came within a whisker of each other's numbers in the key 18-49 demo, based on Nielsen overnights.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that Fox's "MasterChef" came out just ahead of the others, registering a 2.2 average rating in viewers 18-49, edging NBC's "America's Got Talent" (2.1) and CBS's "Big Brother" (2.0). "MasterChef" and "America's Got Talent" went head-to-head at 9 p.m., while "Big Brother" aired at 8 p.m.

For NBC's "Talent," that 2.1 was a season low and a 16% decline from last week. Elsewhere on NBC, "Camp" equaled its series low with a 1.0 in the 18-49 demo, losing 9%.

"Big Brother," the only fresh program aired by CBS in Wednesday's prime-time block, was down 9% from a week ago.

ABC aired mostly repeats, with a fresh installment of "The Lookout" matching last week's 0.9 average in 18-49.

Prime time overall saw a close race, as Fox edged its rivals with a 1.6 average in adults 18-49, topping NBC (1.5 average), CBS (1.4), Univision (1.2) and ABC (0.9). NBC turned the tables in total viewers, winning the night with 6.3 million, ahead of CBS (5.6 million), Fox (4.1 million), ABC (3.3 million) and Univision (3.1 million).

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Why Piers Morgan Is Demanding $10,000 From 'Daily Show' Host John Oliver -- Here's the Video at the Center of His Demand

"The Daily Show" interim host John Oliver is on the hook for $10,000 after making an offer on the show about fellow British television host Piers Morgan, reports the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker.

Oliver was poking fun at Morgan, who once told CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta that he had fallen off a Segway in 2007 after taking prescription Vicodin. The "Daily Show" segment was focused on Gupta's recent turnaround on marijuana, with Gupta making a documentary called "Weed" about the drug.

"I would like to personally offer $10,000 in reward to anyone who can bring me footage of Piers Morgan falling off that Segway," Oliver said.

Morgan provided the footage himself, and aired it on his own CNN show on Tuesday, the Times notes.

"Mock all you want, Mr. Oliver, but, my fellow Brit, your punch line did carry with it a bona fide offer, to anyone, you said, who could produce the video of me falling off a Segway, and by the way, breaking five ribs, collapsing a lung and nearly expiring from life," Morgan said.

He added, "But now it's time for you to suffer pain. Ten thousand dollars worth of pain in fact. I assume the money will be delivered by the end of business day tomorrow. If not, I'll make sure that Mr. Stewart, now he's back from his lengthy movie-making sabbatical, will take it out of your measly little salary."

Here's the clip showing Morgan's Segway mishap:

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Same-Sex Marriage to Get Treatment on Popular TV Show

A hit show on a major broadcast network is set to tackle the issue of same-sex marriage. Deadline.com reports that the ABC comedy "Modern Family" will focus in its fifth-season premiere on the legalization of same-sex marriage in California, which was the subject of a recent ruling by the Supreme Court.

Executive producer Steven Levitan, who spoke at a table read for an audience of Emmy voters at Fox Studios, asked tweeters not to reveal any spoilers while also noting that a plot tweet was likely to happen, the story says.

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Two Prestigious Publications -- CNET and Consumer Reports -- Say This New TV Is a 'Game Changer.' But Will Joe and Joanna Consumer Agree?

Two prestigious publications are using the words "game changer"  about a new TV set. But the big question is will consumers agree?

The last big innovation in TV sets was 3D, and those sets have not been embraced in a major way by consumers.

Frist, let's hear from Consumer Reports: "It's not often that we get an up-close look at a truly new TV technology, but that's exactly what happened when we brought the Samsung KN55S9C OLED TV into our labs. OLED promises to be a game-changer that could one day push current TV technologies to the sidelines. It combines the best attributes of plasma and LCD sets: the deep blacks, high contrast, and unlimited viewing angles of plasma TVs with the bright images, super-slim designs, and energy efficiency of LCD sets."

Super-slim is almost an understatement -- this OLED TV is only half an inch thick.

Brian Cooley, editor-at-large at CNET, said on "CBS This Morning" today, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, that the new Samsung TV is a "game changer." He added, "This will be the TV you want and have in a few years. It's $9,000 now, but I'll tell you, that's $6,000 less than expected, so the glass is half-full."

The new Samsung TV set is a curved screen, but Cooley said that wasn't the news here. What is the news is that it's a big-screen -- 55 inch -- OLED TV. Previously, much of what we've seen with OLED TV technology has been with much smaller screens.

Says Consumer Reports: "It's arguably the best all-around TV we've ever tested, with the highest overall picture-quality scores and no major shortcomings -- except, perhaps, its steep $9,000 price. Still, that's much less than the $13,500 price disclosed when it was introduced earlier in Korea, and significantly below the current $15,000 retail price tag of LG's comparably sized 55EA9800 set, which we're hoping to test shortly."

"This isn’t the first OLED TV we've seen. The Sony XEL-1 wowed us when it was introduced a few years ago. But it cost $2,500 and had a tiny, 11-inch screen, making it unsuitable for use as a main TV. Manufacturing larger sets has been a challenge, but Samsung's was worth waiting for, though panel lifetime and screen burn-in are yet to be determined."

Consumer Reports -- which has always prided itself on the impartiality of its reviews -- just kept gushing about the new Samsung TV:

"[H]ow did the TV actually do on our test patterns and real-world video? In a word, brilliantly.

"We were wowed by the seemingly effortless, accurate reproduction of high-definition programs and movies viewed on Samsung’s OLED set. The TV delivers on all key image quality attributes, including image brightness, deep black levels, full 1080p picture detail, accurate colors, and unparalleled 3D performance. We’ve often seen TVs that match some of these key performance benchmarks, but what makes the SC9 unique is that it hits them all. There was none of the screen nonuniformity or degraded viewing angle performance we’ve seen on LCDs, and no coarse contouring (banding) on smooth shades, or visible graininess on dark shadow detail that we see on some plasmas."

The review adds: "We know that 3D isn't everyone's cup of tea, but we'd be remiss not to mention that this set's 3D performance is stunning, simply the best we've ever tested. In fact, we were quite surprised to see the OLED deliver near-perfect scores on our 3D ghosting tests."

Once the prices fall on OLED TVs to what most consumers can afford, we will find out indeed whether they are the "game changer" both CNET and Consumer Reports think they can be.

Samsung OLED TV.jpgSamsung's New 55-Inch Big Screen OLED TV

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NBC's New Tina Fey Project

NBC is embarking on a new comedy project with Tina Fey. Deadline.com reports that the "30 Rock" creator and co-showrunner Robert Carlock have sold a female-focused workplace project to the network.

While it's similar to "30 Rock" in that it's about a young female comedy writer, the project is said to be similar to "Cheers," the story says.

The young woman is trying to reconnect with her father and finds a new home and family on Fire Island, the piece adds.

The project is the first from Fey’s Little Stranger production company after she signed a four-year deal with Universal Television last year, the report notes.

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Tina Fey

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Change Is in the Works for the Emmys Next Year

A change is in store for the Emmy Awards in 2014. According to The Hollywood Reporter the ceremony, which usually airs in September, will shift to August next year to avoid a conflict with NBC's "Sunday Night Football."

The TV Academy has decided on Aug. 24 as the date, but a representative for the group declined to comment, the story notes.

"The move is not a surprise," the piece reports. "Each of the big four broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC -- get to air the Emmys once every four years. Next year is NBC's turn, and the network has scheduled the show in August each of the last two times it hosted. (NBC aired the Emmys on Aug. 27, 2006 and Aug. 29, 2010; every other Emmys ceremony since 2002 has aired in Sept.)."

NBC acquired the rights to "Sunday Night Football" in 2006, and doesn't want to have to choose between the two big draws, the report notes. Football season starts in early September.

The article adds: "The move would put the 2014 Emmys out of the fall TV season but in the past the shift has been welcomed by publicists and talent who say they prefer completing their promotional duties by the end of the summer, as opposed to having them bleed into the fall, when film festivals and production commitments often make for chaotic schedules."

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Donald Trump Takes a Side in CBS-Time Warner Cable Dispute

Donald Trump is wading into the contract dispute between CBS and Time Warner Cable, and he's directing his anger at the cable operator for blocking access to golf programming, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Trump took to Twitter to complain about the CBS blackout, saying he was unable to watch the PGA Championship on New York's WCBS-TV.

"Time Warner, I am going to be switching many of my buildings to another service -- this is ridiculous!" Trump tweeted Monday. He also complained that the cable company isn't giving "major discounts" to customers because of the blackout.

Time Warner Cable addressed his complaint in a statement, writing, "We're sorry Mr Trump is upset but we would hope that, as a businessman, he understands why we're focused on keeping our costs down so we can keep our customers' bills reasonable."

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Why One Character on 'Orange Is the New Black' Resembles a Popular Radio Figure

If actor Robert Stanton resembles a popular real-life radio figure on Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black," there's a reason for that, according to creator Jenji Kohan, who spoke about it on NPR's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross.

Kohan said she's a big fan of "This American Life" host Ira Glass, and even offered Glass a role in the prison drama, TheWrap notes, citing the "Fresh Air" interview. She said he "politely declined."

"I'm a huge Ira Glass fan; I'm a huge fan of radio in general. I don't have a whole lot of time to watch TV, but I'm a big podcast listener, a big radio listener and a fangirl to a certain extent," Kohan said.

Kohan added that Stanton's glasses aren't identical to those worn by Glass, but that there is "a flavor."

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Ira Glass

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