Mar 30, 2015
8:44 am

‘Daily Show’ Picks a Surprise Replacement for Jon Stewart (NY Times)

Comedy Central’s late-night staple “The Daily Show” has found its replacement for Jon Stewart, who is leaving after 16 years as host. The New York Times reports that the show is elevating on-air contributor Trevor Noah to the post.

The surprise move comes after Noah, a 31-year-old comedian, has made just three appearances on “Daily Show” after debuting in December. Noah, a biracial South African, has been providing an outsider’s perspective, the report notes.

Noah, currently on a comedy tour, commented on the promotion by phone from Dubai.

Said Noah: “You don’t believe it for the first few hours. You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.”

The Times adds: “The appointment of Mr. Noah, a newcomer to American television, promises to add youthful vitality and international perspective to ‘The Daily Show.’ It puts a nonwhite performer at the head of this flagship Comedy Central franchise, and one who comes with Mr. Stewart’s endorsement.”

Please click on the link near the top of this story to read more.

trevor noahTrevor Noah

Mar 30, 2015
8:31 am

Report: Does Comedy Central’s New ‘Big Time in Hollywood, FL’ Represent a Sea Change in Sitcoms? (NY Times)

“As a serialized show with a mountain of plot, ‘Big Time in Hollywood, FL’ (which debuted on Wednesday, March 25, 2015) represents a departure for Comedy Central, a channel built on sketch shows, topical comedy and episodic animation. It’s part of a growing trend toward narrative ambition in television comedy that raises the question: Is there a trade-off between story and laughs?”

So wrote Jason Zinoman recently in The New York Times.

The story adds: “More often than at any time in the past, television comedy, particularly the non-network kind, is willing to sacrifice laughs in pursuit of more varied pleasures. It’s part of what makes it such an unpredictable and exciting time for this genre. ‘Big Time’ doesn’t aim for the nuance or emotional wallop of HBO’s ‘The Comeback,’ but it does set itself a difficult challenge: being as suspenseful as it is funny.”

To read more about this unique view of TV comedy, please click on the link above, which will take you to the original story.


Mar 30, 2015
8:17 am

NBC’s Flagship Station Gets New President and GM (Variety)

The flagship TV station among the NBC O&Os has a new boss. Taking over at New York’s WNBC-TV will be Eric Lerner, Variety reports.

Lerner, the GM at WCAU-TV, NBC’s O&O in Philadelphia, will step in as president and general manager of WNBC starting April 13, the story reports. He takes over for Michael Jack, who is retiring from a 40-year broadcasting career that includes heading WNBC for the past five years.

The report quotes Valari Staab, president of NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, saying: “Eric Lerner has done a great job revitalizing WCAU and making it a strong and very competitive station in a difficult market. With his vision and leadership, I know Eric will continue to build on the momentum generated by Michael Jack and his team and take WNBC to the next level.”

eric lernerEric Lerner

Mar 30, 2015
8:11 am

Daypart Dip: Long-Running Series Sinks to Another Historic Low in Key Demo (TVbytheNumbers)

One of the longest-running shows on TV continues to see its viewership fall off in one of its most important demos. Citing figures reported by Soap Opera Network, reports that ABC’s daytime institution “General Hospital” hit an all-time low for the second consecutive week in women 18-49 for the week ending March 20.

The daytime drama, which has been on the air since 1963, notched 488,000 viewers in the demo, down from 503,000 a week earlier and an all-time low for the series. As we reported previously, both “GH” and NBC’s “Days of Our Lives,” which bowed in 1965, hit all-time lows in the metric for the week ending March 13.

Figures are based on Nielsen Live+Same Day data.

Both “GH” and “Days” equaled their all-time lows in average rating in the demo of women 18-49 during the latest week — a 0.76 average for “General Hospital” and a 0.71 for “Days of Our Lives.”

Here are the numbers for the broadcast soaps, including CBS’s “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless”:

Week of March 16-20, 2015:

(change from last week/change from last year)

Total Viewers

1. Young & Restless: 4,778,000 (-56,000/-168,000)

2. Bold & Beautiful: 3,553,000 (+52,000/-334,000)

3. General Hospital: 2,759,000 (-61,000/+161,000)

4. Days of Our Lives: 2,424,000 (+160,000/-76,000)

Women 18-49

1. Young & Restless: 770,000 (-52,000/-56,000)

2. Bold & Beautiful: 578,000 (-16,000/-117,000)

3. General Hospital: 488,000 (-15,000/-96,000)

4. Days of Our Lives: 452,000 (+30,000/-124,000)

Women 18-49 rating

1. Young & Restless: 1.2/9 (-.08/-.09)

2. Bold & Beautiful: 0.9/7 (-.03/-.19)

3. General Hospital: 0.76/5 (-.03/-.15)

4. Days of Our Lives: 0.71/5 (+.05/-.19)

Results are based on Nielsen Live+Same Day figures.

general hospital-title-cast

Mar 30, 2015
8:01 am

YouTube Testing Ultra Hi-Def, Ultra-Smooth Video Playback — Here’s a Sample (Tech Crunch, YouTube)

YouTube has been quietly working on ratcheting up the quality of the videos hosted on the site. Tech Crunch reports that the site recently began allowing 60 FPS video playback and is now testing playback at 4K.

“The catch? It’s just something of an experiment, for now, and is limited to a reaaally tight batch of clips,” the report notes. The article adds: “The very vast majority of videos on YouTube aren’t shot at anywhere near this resolution/framerate yet, anyway. Cameras capable of shooting 4k/60FPS footage aren’t impossible to find, but they’re generally crazy expensive and are far from the standard.”

One reason the initiative remains in the experimental stages, the report notes, is because many users’ computers can’t take advantage of the higher resolution.

“You’ll need a display capable of handling 3840×2160 to take advantage of the resolution to begin with — but if the rig behind the display isn’t up to snuff, these videos will look way worse than they usually do,” the article reports. “On a brand new Retina iMac, they’re mindbendingly beautiful. On my one-year old MacBook Air? They’re a chunky, choppy mess.”

Only a few videos are currently a part of the 4K60FPS tryout — you can click here to find YouTube’s playlist.

Here’s a sample, showing the eruption of the Sinabung volcano in Indonesia in January 2014:

Mar 30, 2015
7:44 am

Gene Saks, Who Directed Eight of Neil Simon’s Plays on Broadway, Plus the Smash Movie Version of Simon’s ‘The Odd Couple,’ Dies at 93. Read What He Says About Directing a Play on the Stage vs. on Film. Hints for Actors (NY Times, Action! magazine)

By Chuck Ross

“Gene Saks, an actor who switched to stage and film directing in midcareer, winning three Tony Awards and becoming the leading interpreter of the plays of Neil Simon, died on Saturday at his home in East Hampton, N.Y.,” reports The New York Times.

The story adds, “He was 93. The cause was pneumonia, his wife, Keren, said.”

The Times also notes that Saks became Neil Simon’s “go-to director, staging eight of Mr. Simon’s plays on Broadway, beginning with ‘California Suite’ in 1976 and including a female revival of ‘The Odd Couple’ in 1985 that starred Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers as the famously mismatched roommates.”

To read more about Saks’ life and career, we urge you to click on the link above, which will take you to the Times story.

Here are some of Saks’ thoughts about directing the movie version of plays, from a 1967 essay Saks wrote for “Action!,” the magazine of the Directors Guild of America. We first came across this essay in the 1977 book “Hollywood Directors 1941-1976,” which is primarily a compilation of essays by directors that were collected by Richard Koszarski.

Writes Saks: “My feeling is that there is no difference between good screen acting and good stage acting. If a performance is really good it will be good in both media. It may be effective in one medium and not the other, but this does not mean it is necessarily really good acting. Both on the stage and on the screen certain things can be gotten away with at certain moments, but a really first-rate performance can stand up either place. In the theatre I can be reached twenty rows from the stage, though I cannot distinctly see the actor’s face. I can feel his presence and what is happening to him even if his back is to me. He should make me feel the same involvement if the camera is close-up on his face.”

Another observation by Saks from that same essay: “With all its advantages, film has great restriction for someone accustomed to working only in the theatre. The restriction I felt most strongly at first was that of the camera lens cutting off my peripheral vision. If I sit in the tenth row of the orchestra in a theatre, I see both sides of the 32-foot proscenium opening, but the camera sees a picture of much less breadth. When actors are spread more than a few feet apart I must cut back and forth from one to the other (as my eye automatically does on stage). So I had to get used to keeping actors closer together or spreading them apart in depth rather than width. Before long I accepted this and learned to look through the camera before each shot. When I didn’t, I regretted it.”

Mar 30, 2015
7:31 am

Double Fantasy: ‘Game of Thrones’ Star Heads to ‘Doctor Who’ (Huffington Post)

In a move that brings together two very different fantasy worlds, one of the stars of “Game of Thrones” is heading to “Doctor Who.”

The Huffington Post reports that Maisie Williams is set to do a guest spot on “Doctor Who.”

“BBC America announced Monday that Williams, best known for playing Arya Stark in ‘GoT,’ will appear on the upcoming ninth season of the sci-fi series, which stars Peter Capaldi as the doctor,” the article reports.

In the announcement, Williams said: “I’m so excited to be working on ‘Doctor Who’ as it’s such a big and important part of British Culture. I can’t wait to meet the cast and crew and start filming, especially as we’ll be shooting not too far from my home town.”

maisie williamsMaisie Williams

Mar 30, 2015
7:01 am

Jamie Foxx Gets Backlash for ‘Transphobic’ Jokes (TVWeek)

Jamie Foxx stirred up criticism over jokes he made while hosting the iHeartRadio Music Awards. In a burst of outrage on social media, Foxx is being called “transphobic” for his material on Bruce Jenner’s transition.

One Twitter user tweeted: “Jamie Foxx just made a terrible, disgusting joke about Bruce Jenner’s rumored transition on this trash awards show.”

Wrote another: “Jamie Foxx making jokes about Bruce Jenner being transgendered was absolutely rude. NOT. FUNNY. AT. ALL.”

Here’s a clip:

Mar 30, 2015
6:27 am

Will the Unsavory Underside of Johnny Carson’s Years as the King of Late-Night Be the Subject of a Broadway Musical? (NY Post)

Henry Bushkin, who for many years was Johnny Carson’s confidant and lawyer, wrote a book in 2012 called “Johnny Carson,” which was not particularly flattering to the King of Late-Night.

Reports the New York Post’s gossipy Page Six, Buskin is “turning his book into a Broadway musical, and Joanna [Carson is] a big character in the show, we hear.”

Joanna was Johnny’s third wife, the report says, adding, “In Bushkin’s book, Johnny romantically rips up a prenup hours before marrying Joanna — then winds up giving her a $35 million settlement when they split.“


Mar 30, 2015
2:44 am

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