Sep 3, 2015
9:44 am

Actor Known for Classic Family Films Dies — He Became a Household Name in ‘The Love Bug,’ ‘That Darn Cat!’ and Other Roles (AP)

A well-known film and TV actor whose “boyish good looks and all-American manner made him Disney’s favorite young actor for such lighthearted films as ‘That Darn Cat!’ and ‘The Love Bug'” has died, the AP reports. Dean Jones died Tuesday of Parkinson’s disease in Los Angeles at age 84.

“Jones’ long association with The Walt Disney Co. began after he received an unexpected call from Walt Disney himself, who praised his work on the TV show ‘Ensign O’Toole,’ noting it had ‘some good closing sequences.’ Jones, himself a former Navy man, played the title role in the 1962 sitcom,” the AP story notes.

Jones cut his teeth in television with guest roles on Westerns including “Stagecoach West,” “Bonanza” and “Wagon Train” before landing the lead in NBC’s “Ensign O’Toole,” which ran one season, from 1962-1963. A 12-year run with Disney followed, with “That Darn Cat!” followed by “The Ugly Dachshund,” “Blackbeard’s Ghost” and “Snowball Express.”

Jones appeared in his signature role as race car driver Jim Douglas in two “Love Bug” movies — “The Love Bug” in 1969 and “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” in 1977 — along with the short-lived 1982 TV series “Herbie, the Love Bug” and a 1997 TV movie, “The Love Bug.”

His other film appearances included “The Shaggy D.A.” (1976) and “Clear and Present Danger” (1994). He was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1972 for “The Million Dollar Duck.”

dean jones-the love bugDean Jones in “The Love Bug”

Sep 3, 2015
9:31 am

Telecom War of Words: Verizon Takes the Wraps Off New Logo — and a Bitter Adversary Immediately Attacks (RCR Wireless)

Seizing on the moment when telecom leader Verizon unveiled its new logo, an old rival, T-Mobile CEO John Legere, launched a bitter attack incorporating the new Verizon logo into a critique of the company.

RCR Wireless reports that Legere has been waging an “ongoing public relations battle against the nation’s number one carrier. Within hours of the new logo’s launch, Legere took to Twitter to ‘check the box’ by lambasting Verizon. He used Verizon’s checkmark theme to list ways that he thinks Verizon overcharges customers.”

Prompting the attack was today’s rollout of the new Verizon logo, seen here:

verizon-new logo-2015In announcing the redesign, Verizon said: “The new brand identity takes the best elements of Verizon’s heritage, represented by its colors and the Verizon ‘checkmark,’ and transforms them for a new era. At its most basic level, the new logo is a visual statement that honors our history and reflects an identity that stands for simplicity, honesty and joy in a category rife with confusion, disclaimers and frustration. It’s a cleaner, more human design and the checkmark, the universal symbol for getting things done, uniquely expresses the reliability of Verizon.”

But Legere had a different take. RCR Wireless reports: “Legere listed four Verizon policies that he sees as anti-consumer: data overage penalties, a lack of early upgrade options, no rollover data, and international roaming fees. He sandwiched this list between two subjective bullet points in his caustic tweet, which started and ended with: Screws over customers.”

Legere received a stamp of approval from another competitor in the telecom space — with whom Legere has clashed in the past.

RCR reports: “Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure jumped on Legere’s bandwagon, tweeting that ‘Finally, @JohnLegere wrote something that makes sense.’ The remark may have been an olive branch of sorts, as the CEOs were engaged in a bitter war of words this summer on social media.”

Legere said in today’s tweet: “@VerizonNews’s new checkmark logo CHECKS all the boxes.” The image accompanying the message appears below:

john legere t-mobile-verizon bashing tweet 090215

Sep 3, 2015
9:07 am

The Fall TV Season Is About to Launch — Here’s Where to Find All the Premiere Dates in One Place (Media Life)

With the 2015-2016 broadcast television season about to kick off, it may be helpful to have all of the series premiere dates and times in one place, along with season premieres and new time slots for returning shows.

Media Life magazine has put together just such a schedule, running from the rollout in five days of CBS’s new “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (Tuesday, Sept. 8, 11:35 p.m.) all the way through the arrival of the high-profile NBC drama spinoff “Chicago Med” (Tuesday, Nov. 17, 10 p.m.).

The fall season’s traditional premiere week kicks off Monday, Sept. 21, but a few prime-time shows are getting a head-start with early launches, notably ABC’s “20/20″ (Friday, Sept. 11, 10 p.m.) and “Dancing with the Stars” (Monday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m.), along with NBC’s series debut for the variety hour “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris” (Tuesday, Sept. 15, 10 p.m.).

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” (Thursday, Sept. 10, 8:30 p.m. — yes, Sunday night football debuts on a Thursday night) and CBS’s “Thursday Night Football” (Thursday, Sept. 17, 8 p.m.) also kick off before the TV season officially starts.

Please click on the link near the top of the story to find the full premiere schedule for ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and CW on Media Life.

best time ever with neil patrick harris

Sep 3, 2015
8:41 am

Nielsen, Still Trying to Replace Paper Diaries, Receives Complaints About the New System — Here’s What the Ratings Firm Will Do About It (TVNewsCheck)

Nielsen has responded to complaints about its new system that will replace paper diaries — a system consisting largely of newly developed “code readers” — with the announcement that it is delaying implementation of the upgrade.

TVNewsCheck reports that the ratings firm is pushing back the launch, originally scheduled for Oct. 1, to January 2016.

The company notified clients Wednesday that it is making the move in response to “significant feedback” from its customers. Much of the concern is focused on so-called “viewer assignment” methodology, the report notes.

This new methodology is meant to “derive demographic data for stations in smaller markets from larger local people-meter markets, some located far away,” TVNewsCheck reports.

In its notice to clients, obtained by TVNewsCheck, Nielsen said: “Many of our clients have noted that they need more time to review the Impact Data that we have shared. After significant feedback from our clients, we are moving the implementation date to Dec. 31, the start of the January measurement period. This extension will allow for additional analysis time and will also align with the start of our National Panel Expansion efforts and the new year.”

Concerns have been raised about the new methodology not only by stations, but also by the Media Rating Council.

“Under the new system, the demo data is combined with viewing data collected from passive electronic meters — set meters in some markets and, at least initially, newly developed ‘code readers’ in 14 other markets,” the report notes.

The MRC is reportedly in the process of deciding whether to accredit the new system, and was previously expected to announce its decision in late September, TVNewsCheck notes.

Meanwhile, some station groups, such as Meredith and Raycom, are asking Nielsen for an explanation of the new methodology “because a number of stations are experiencing ratings shortfalls and ‘variabilities’ in test data produced under the new system that they don’t understand,” the story reports.


Sep 3, 2015
8:27 am

Why CNN Is Asking 40 Times Its Normal Rate for Ad Time (Ad Age)

There’s a simple two-word reason that CNN is able to ask 40 times its usual rate for commercial time in its upcoming GOP primary debate: Donald Trump.

That’s the assessment of Jeanine Poggi, writing in Ad Age.

“The cable news network is charging as much as $200,000 for a 30-second spot in the prime-time brawl taking place on Sept. 16, according to a media buyer,” Poggi writes. “This is on par with the cost of buying commercial time in some broadcast prime-time series.”

Buyers indicated that a typical spot on CNN prime runs about $5,000, according to the report.

“Much of the buzz can be attributed to GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, whose polarizing viewpoints, crass comments and unpredictability have made for compelling TV,” the story adds, noting that Fox News drew an audience of 24 million earlier this month for the first GOP primary debate of the election cycle.

The turnout made the Fox News debate the most-watched cable program in history, exculding sports.

“Perhaps even more impressive, the debate drew 6.7 million viewers in the all-important 18-to-49 demographic,” Poggi reports. “This is more than double the 3.2 million people in total that watched the first GOP debate of the 2012 campaign.”

CNN’s debate is unlikely to match the numbers Fox News pulled in, but “it will likely come close,” the report says.


Sep 3, 2015
8:11 am

CBS Will Add a New Angle — and a New ‘Cam’ — to Its NFL Coverage (CBS Sports)

CBS will be showing viewers a new angle in its NFL coverage this season. The network will introduce the “Pylon Cam” in selected games, CBS Sports announced.

The field-level cameras will be embedded in four custom-molded pylons, each containing multiple hi-def cameras. It appears that the cameras will be aimed at the goal line and sidelines.

The “Pylon Cam” will be incorporated into selected games on CBS’s “Thursday Night Football” and the “NFL on CBS,” and may be employed during the playoffs and in Super Bowl 50, the sports division reports.

CBS has reportedly had a hand in a number of technical innovations in its sports coverage, including instant replay, real-time captioning, the Telestrator, the Action-Track System and CBS Chalkboard.

pylon cam-cbs sportsWhat the “Pylon Cam” looks like (CBS Sports)

Sep 3, 2015
12:43 am

Entertainment News and Talk Variety Show to Debut on 45 TV Stations (B&C)

Two station groups “are debuting entertainment news and talk variety show ‘Hollywood Today Live’ on Monday, Sept. 14 in major markets nationwide,” reports Jonathan Kuperberg in B&C.

The story continues, “The hourlong daily show, which takes advantage of social media while providing entertainment and pop culture news, celebrity interviews and red carpet premieres, will air in 12 of Fox Television Stations’ markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and 33 Media General markets, including San Francisco, Tampa and Indianapolis.”

The article notes, “Originally a web series, ‘Hollywood Today Live’ has interviewed more than 300 celebrities since its start. It will tape live weekdays from 9-10 a.m. PT from BiteSizeTV, Media General’s production streel-level studio overlooking the Hollywood Walk of Fame…”

To read more about this item please click here, which will take you to the original story in B&C.

Sep 3, 2015
12:05 am

Cate Blanchett, Who Won an Oscar for Portraying Katharine Hepburn, Reportedly Will Play the Most Famous TV Actress of Them All in a Biopic to Be Written By Aaron Sorkin (TheWrap)

It’s another redhead for Cate Blanchett. Will it be another Academy Award as well?

“Cate Blanchett is attached to star in an authorized biopic of Hollywood legend Lucille Ball that Aaron Sorkin is set to write for Escape Artists,” reports Jeff Sneider in a scoop for TheWrap.

Says the story, “The film will chronicle Ball’s 20-year marriage to Desi Arnaz, with whom she starred on the classic TV sitcom ‘I Love Lucy.’ Ball had two children with Arnaz before they divorced in 1960. She married Gary Morton the following year.

“Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. will produce with Escape Artists, whose executive Jenna Block will oversee development of the project on behalf of the Sony-based company.”

Blanchett won an Academy Award for portraying Katharine Hepburn in “The Aviator.”

Clearly it’ll be some time before this movie will come out. Meanwhile, if you want to read a terrific book about Lucy and Desi, we highly recommend “Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz,” co-written by Coyne Steven Sanders and Tom Gilbert. Tom was for many years the executive editor of TVWeek.

Here’s a taste: In “Desilu” Sanders and Gilbert write about the first reviews of the show, back in 1951:

“‘The Hollywood Reporter’ praised, ‘The outstanding pertinent fact about “I Love Lucy” is the emergence, long suspected, of Lucille Ball as America’s number-one comedienne in her own right…She is a consummate artist, born for television. Half a step behind her comes husband, Desi Arnaz, the perfect foil for her screwball antics and possessing comic abilities of his own more than sufficient to make this a genuine comedy team rather than the one-woman tour-de-force it almost becomes…a comic triumph of the first order….’”

“Desilu” then notes that Lucille Ball herself was not so sure the show would be a long-running hit: “I expected to work for a year, maybe two. I said, ‘I’m having a baby, and I’d like to have it like home movies for the baby.’ That’s how long I expected it would last.”

Because it was one of the first shows on TV shot on film, “I Love Lucy” has remained on-the-air, somewhere, ever since it debuted on October, 15, 1951.


Sep 2, 2015
12:57 pm

Rebooted ‘Daily Show’ Adds Three Correspondents, Retains Many Key Players From Jon Stewart’s Tenure (TVWeek)

As Comedy Central’s “Daily Show with Trevor Noah” closes in on its launch date later this month, the rebooted program is staffing up.

Noah makes his debut Monday, Sept. 28, taking over the spot that was held down by Jon Stewart for 16-plus years. Today the program announced the additions of three new correspondents: Ronny Chieng, Desi Lydic and Roy Wood Jr.

The show also announced that Jordan Klepper, Hasan Minhaj, Jessica Williams, Lewis Black, John Hodgman, Al Madrigal, Aasif Mandvi and Kristen Schaal, veterans of the Stewart era, will be back with the show.

Please click here for full details on the new correspondents and other updates.

Here’s a teaser for the new show:

Sep 2, 2015
12:44 pm

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