Friday, April 29, 2011

Is Streaming Everywhere the future of TV? (TVWEEK.COM)

A end-of-month commentary from Multichannel News, re-posted by Chuck Ross at TVWeek and offered here. Much to think about while sipping your cup of coffee today...Gary

Today's Must Read: Hints From DirecTV and Time Warner Cable That the Future of TV is Streaming Everywhere Multichannel News

By Chuck Ross

Is the future of TV streaming everywhere? So hints both DirecTV and Time Warner Cable, in two separate articles in Multichannel News.

In one piece Todd Spengler writes, "On Tuesday, DirecTV sent some customers a survey asking them whether they’re interested in a 'Netflix-like service for a flat fee per month,' according to blogger Dave Zatz.

“ '[W]e would like you to evaluate a new service that DIRECTV is thinking about offering to their customers. DIRECTV plans to offer a streaming-only Netflix-like service for a flat fee per month, which would appear as a line item on your monthly bill,' the survey reads. The service 'would allow you to stream thousands of movies and television shows over a broadband Internet connection to your television, computer or tablet,' and include past seasons of current shows as well as older TV series and movies released 'more than 5 years ago.'

"Note that the satellite operator has run comparative national ads, pointing out that it offers many pay-per-view new releases 28 days ahead of Netflix."

In an odd, unconvincing response to Spengler inquiring about the survey, a DirecTV spokesperson told him, " “I would not read into this too deeply. We are constantly reaching out to customers with various surveys and taking the temperature in the marketplace. It does not mean we are necessarily moving forward with anything contained within the survey, but merely checking in on the consumer mindset to keep our business strong.”

Spengler also notes in his piece, "Besides competition from the likes of Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime, “We also think Dish Network is likely to launch a substantial subscription streaming effort under the Blockbuster brand,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells wrote in a letter to investors Monday [April 25, 2011]."

Also in Multichannel News, in a piece by Mike Farrell, were revealing comments by Glenn Britt, Time Warner Cable's longtime chairman and CEO: "Britt told analysts Thursday that its controversial decision to stream live television over iPad devices [via an app] inside the customer home is just the tip of the iceberg, adding the technology will allow the cable operator to address the emergence of Smart TVs.

Quoting Britt, Farrell adds, "about 70 channels are available on the app and by the end of the year nearly all of the linear channels carried on the cable system will be available, including broadcast stations in select markets. Next month the product will be updated to include a remote control function and the ability for the customer to remotely program their DVRs."

Farrell continues, " 'I want to emphasize that our iPad app is not a one-off product,' Britt said. 'Rather we are investing in a development process and a development team that will introduce capabilities to customers in rapid succession. The consumer electronics industry is embracing the idea of devices such as Smart TVs with built-in intelligence and 2-way communication capability all built on IP standards. The technology we're using to simulcast video to iPads will eventually feed all these devices. Over time this may lead to a world without set-tops, which could enable a much better customer experience.' "

Much food for thought here in these two items about DirecTV and TW Cable..

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Voice of Aflac Duck Named (

New voice of the Aflac duck is a Citadel radio sales exec in Minneapolis.

From Tom Taylor's

KQRS and “Love 105” KGVX sales manager Dan McKeague has been doing voiceovers on the side, and he’s named today as the successor to comedian Gilbert Gottfried in the competition to voice the Aflac duck.

Monday, April 25, 2011


KCET announces sale of studio to Scientology
4:14 PM Monday April 25

As posted on

The public TV station has agreed to sell its 4.5-acre studio lot on Sunset Boulevard to the Church of Scientology. The station will relocate within a year to a new production facility, Variety reports. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. "We are now implementing Phase Two of our transformation from a PBS affiliate to an independent public media center for the 21st century," KCET president Al Jerome said in announcing the sale. "New facilities and equipment will allow us to augment the quality, award-winning content that our fans love."

TV NEWS: Gaylen Young Dies In Car Accident (

Gaylen Young was a TV news anchor who worked in Bakersfield before moving to Utah. He was in a car accident. He also had reporting duties at KTLA and KTTV

In another TV note from

Struggling KTVX Names Larry Perret News Director
By Andrew Gauthier on April 7, 2011 9:44 AM

Larry Perret, a TV news veteran who previously served as news director at LA stations KCOP and KCBS, has been named ND of Salt Lake City’s KTVX-KUCW. KTVX, an ABC-affiliate, and KUCW, its CW-affiliate sister station, announced that Perret would assume management of their joint news department on May 16th.

“We’re thrilled to bring a broadcasting pro with Larry’s talent and background on board,” said Matt Jaquint, general manager of KTVX-KUCW, in making the announcement.

Most recently, Perret has been working as a news producer for “Entertainment Tonight.” Before joining the syndicated programming world, Perret worked in an array of markets across the country, including Phoenix, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and San Diego, in addition to Los Angeles, and his experience as a one-time senior consultant for Frank N. Magid Associates means that he’s accustomed to revamping news departments.

And KTVX is in desperate need of some revamping.

The ABC-affiliate finished in fourth place in audience share during the recent February sweeps period and staffers often complained about the mercurial nature of former news director Pat Livingston, who was let go in March after just over a year with the station.

“I’m thrilled to join the team at ABC 4 and CW30,” Perret said, “and look forward to working with the many talented individuals at the station”.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

KOCE Airing Original "An American Family" Marathon Saturday Night


After watching Lawrence Welk, I discovered PBS SoCal - KOCE - is airing all 12 episodes of the original PBS series "An American Family" starting at 11 pm Saturday (April 23). This is excellent, so people who missed it can appreciate the ground-breaking nature of this series, and compare it to the HBO movie based on it. If you can't sleep tonight here in Southern California, check out a couple of episodes.


You have probably heard, but here we go

+++NBC axed Paul Reiser's show after two episodes

+++Elvis Mitchell is out as Movieline reviewer. Reasons not totally clear yet.

+++CBS ousted the creators of Tom Selleck's "Blue Blood" series. Reports say CBS wants it to be more procedural, but less is better, in my opinion. Selleck was guiding the show in the right direction, hope he still has a voice they listen to.

+++NBC's Parenthood, a personal favorite, had an excellent season or series finale, full of rich storytelling and superb performances by one of the best ensemble casts in television. It got good ratings, too, last Tuesday night, so I hope when NBC gets around to its new fall line-up, it keeps around one of the best shows on television.

+++Thank You, TCM, for bringing back the serials on Saturday morning as the lead-in to the entire in-order Tarzan movies. Two episodes of Buck Rogers with Buster Crabbe aired April 23. Universal had the best serials by far, and there are dozens of them that would be great fun to see again.

If you have any TV comments - good, bad, local or national - or a question or two - e-mail me at Until next time......


Friday, April 22, 2011

I Love Lucy Co-Writer Madelyn Pugh Dies (Chuck Scott,

A Toast to One of the Greats. She Was, Indisputably, One of the Most Important Writers in the History of Television. The Co-Creator of 'I Love Lucy,' and the Co-Writer of All 180 Episodes of the Series, Madelyn Pugh Davis, Dies TVWeek; New York TImes; AP

Friday, April 25

By Chuck Ross

Madelyn Pugh Davis, who co-created one of the most popular shows in the history of television, "I Love Lucy"--and who co-wrote all 180 episodes of the series--has died after a brief illness at age 90, according to a number of media reports.

Her importance to the success of "I Love Lucy" cannot be underestimated says our good friend Tom Gilbert. Gilbert was the Executive Editor of this publication until earlier this year, when he went to the News Corp's "Daily."

"Madelyn made an essential contribution to the success of 'I Love Lucy,' Gilbert told us. "Besides professionalism, wit and inventiveness, she brought to the table the sensibilities of a female, and a lady, which she most definitely was. She softened the edges of the Lucy Ricardo character and made her more likable. I feel certain she was the force behind the marvelous interplay between the Lucy and Ethel characters as well."

Ethel was the character played by Vivian Vance.

Gilbert knows of what he speaks. He wrote THE book about "I Love Lucy." Literally. Gilbert is co-author of "Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz," which comes out in a new edition in August.

"I Love Lucy" was based on a radio show Lucille Ball was in called "My Favorite Husband." Davis and her writing partner, Bob Carroll Jr., first hooked up with Ball on that show. On the program Ball's husband was played by actor Richard Denning.

When CBS expressed an interest in transferring "My Favorite Husband" to TV, Ball said she wanted her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz, to play her husband on the show.

CBS wasn't so crazy about that idea, Gilbert says. So, to prove she and Arnaz could click in a TV version, they took "My Favorite Husband" on the road, to a number of cities, with Arnaz taking the part Denning played on the radio version. It was during this time that Davis and Carroll and Jess Oppenheimer really honed what was to become "I Love Lucy," Gilbert says. The show debuted on CBS on Oct. 15, 1951, and has been playing in syndication ever since.

For the first four years of "I Love Lucy" the show was co-written by Oppenheimer, Davis and Carroll. In 1955, a second writing team signed onto the show, Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf. Of the five, only Schiller is still with us. He'll be 93 later this year.

Gilbert also noted that "Davis was a big fan of Desi Arnaz, and never passed up an opportunity to praise his contributions to the series and television as a whole."

Not only did Davis and her cohorts write all the dialogue for the show as well as the plot points, they also tried all of the physical shenanigans that they would then ask Ball to do on the show.

According to the New York Times, " 'Lucy would do anything we suggested,' Ms. Davis said. Really? 'The only time she ever said she didn’t want to do something was when she saw an elephant on the set and ran up to her office,' Ms. Davis recalled. The script called for her to retrieve $500 from under the elephant’s foot.

“ 'Then the phone rang and it was Vivian Vance,' Ms. Davis said. 'Vivian said, ‘It’s O.K., I told Lucy that if she didn’t want to do that funny thing, I’ll do it.’ And Lucy said, ‘O.K., I’ll do it.’ So she talked into the elephant’s trunk and got it to lift its foot.”

Under Gilbert's direction, TVWeek--then called Electronic Media--did a big salute to "I Love Lucy" on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the show. Gilbert got Davis and Carroll to write a superb piece about the show that was part remembrance, part tribute, exclusively for us. It's a wonderful read, and you can do so if you click here.

Davis was married twice, first to TV producer Quinn Martin and then to an M.D., Richard Davis.

She is survived by her son, Michael Quinn Martin, and, according to the AP, " by stepchildren, grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Services will be private."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Forgotten Hollywood: what the movie blogger is reading

Manny Pacheco takes a moment to share with his bloggers the literature he has read over the years that are his personal favorites. To get an idea of his library, go to the Shelfari entry on his wonderful movie blog:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Memory Lane: When Brits Took Over Channel 9 (Franklin Avenue)

This is a wonderful stroll, another walk down memory lane at Franklin Avenue courtesy old TV Guides.

"Here in Los Angeles, the appetite for British programming was so strong that in June 1979, KHJ Channel 9 (now KCAL) turned over a week of its primetime airwaves to the Brits. Thames TV, which was then the most prolific producer of British fare, programmed a full week of Channel 9 -- right down to the 10 p.m. newscast, which was made over for the week to emulate British-style news. (I can't imagine any TV station being willing to mess with its programming like that today, even in the summer.)

"Back in 1979, KHJ/Channel 9 was owned by RKO, which also had done a similar thing on its station in New York, WOR/Channel 9 (now WWOR). Here, in another installment of "things I found in an old issue of TV Guide," are the ads from Channel 9's week-long experiment as "Thames 9""

KTLA NEWS Goes Live With Saturday-Sunday Morning Newscast

I caught the new Morning News on KTLA and liked it. Chris Burrous and Mary Beth McDade are a strong anchor team. Chris comes from NY where was also with Tribune, but his family is here in LA and now he can be with them. Solid start. 6 a.m. both days, but three hours on Sunday.

SIDE NOTE: My Time Warner system has added Antenna TV, a KTLA Digital channel offered nationwide and now at Channel 139 on my TW system in central Orange County. A nice romp through TV's past with Father Knows Best, Dennis the Menace, Maude and others. And, by the way, Father and Dennis are lead-ins to the Morning News on Saturdays and Sundays on Channel 5.

Manny Pacheco Remembers Sidney Lumet on "Forgotten Hollywood"

Director Sidney Lumet dies; his passing is noted in an excellent blogging by Manny Pacheco at Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fox News TV To Drop Glenn Beck Daily Show (

Fox News Channel on Wednesday said it was dropping Glenn Beck's afternoon talk show, which has sunk in the ratings and suffered financially due to an advertiser boycott.

Fox and Beck said the show will end later this year.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stan Laurel's Final Years (courtesy

Fans of Laurel and Hardy - and who isn't? - will love reading this story.