penpusher: (ABC)
As we are on the verge of a new presidential administration in the United States, many people are concerned, even fearful about what the look, the feel, the tenet of this next chapter of the American story will resemble. To me, a television trivia expert, the answer is very clear. It’s…

It's... it's... )
penpusher: (CBS)
I have been a game show contestant on two programs, both of them very different experiences. And I have applied to be a contestant on five others (six if you want to count “Jeopardy!”), which were all very unique and memorable events.

But because of the timing and because of the history of the program, I had to attend a taping of “The Price Is Right” while I was in Los Angeles this past fall. Yesterday, they ran the episode I appeared on, and, spoiler alert: I wasn’t asked by George Gray to “Come On Down!” But I think the experience is worth noting, for the sheer elements of the mechanics.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 )
penpusher: (Pen)
I used to do a few little recurring features here and one of those things was finding an interesting website I thought was worth a mention. I get to revive that today with a note about one of my new favorites: Ispot.tv

I know that on the internet, most people are trying their hardest to avoid ads. They get in the way, interrupt your reading or viewing and generally are too loud, too obnoxious and too much to handle. But Ispot.tv is about commercials, typically seen on that quaint old-fashioned device: television. This is the first time I've promoted a "designed for" commercial site since that very unusual attempt at turning the old MTV style "VJ" format was created by firebrand.com specifically for TV ads, and another failed website that was supposed to be a shopping/entertainment website: honeyshed.com.

Unlike those sites, this one has no special gimmicks. Even though it's pretty straightforward, it maybe needs a bit of explanation. Ispot is designed to give statistical info re: who is watching an ad, and other useful stats for both advertisers and broadcasters. So it's not really meant for the general public in its designed form. But regular people are encouraged to come and find ads and view them there in HD quality, of course.

I think it's worth a a bookmark because they typically have every currently running commercial from a national campaign, and the bulk of regional commercials as well. It's kind of fun to see ads for things you wouldn't normally see in your market.

Additionally, if you register, you can make comments or ask questions, find out the name of a actor or a song featured in a commercial. Or you can just read the message boards of people who have signed up, if you want to stay anon.

The site is designed nicely, laying out the commercials by product type as you browse. And I'm sure there's probably some matrix that lets advertisers see who is viewing their ads on this site as well.

Give it a try!
penpusher: (Decades Network)
Consider this a kind of "State of the Love" Address for 2016, via a forty seven year old program.

If you are able to get the Decades Network, and you probably are if you have a CBS affiliate in your area, you might have tuned in to see some vintage programming that they broadcast (and I do mean broadcast, as the station is available, most everywhere, without a cable wire or satellite connection). They hold the lion's share of all of the programs that CBS/Paramount own, and with a lean for putting historic events (and vintage teevee shows) in perspective, they cycle through a lot of material, often linking what they show to the particular date, during the week. That also means, they don't have a set schedule of what gets shown when, so every day it's a surprise of vintage newsclips, forgotten films and talk shows and sitcoms and drama series all tossed together to celebrate an anniversary of an event or birthday of a notable person.

Weekends are a bit different because they do what's called "The Decades Binge," showing dozens of episodes of one series, all in a row and mostly in chronological order of original telecast date. Not to be overtly obvious, they chose to run a marathon of episodes from the series "Love, American Style" this Valentines' weekend.



An anthology series that originally ran on the ABC television network from the fall of 1969 through the winter of 1974, it also went into syndicated reruns on many local channels for many years after that.

The actor appearances on the show are quite notable, as some pretty big names did episodes throughout the run of the program, and many of the familiar names of actors from other long time popular sitcoms made multiple guest shots here, like Bill Bixby, Judy Carne, Larry Storch and Stefanie Powers, among a roll call of stars of that era. But perhaps the most notable and consistent element of the series was an unusual Brass Bed that found its way into the majority of episodes and "blackout" sketches throughout the run.



I decided to watch a few episodes of this show, as I remember being quite taken with it as a kid. The first thing I noted was the scoring of the show. Yes, the iconic theme song (originally performed by The Cowsills, but in the syndicated version only the "Charles Fox Singers") was there, but the incidental music used throughout the episodes really sounded like they wanted to be Burt Bacharach compositions. As an unabashed Bacharach fan, I'm sure part of my attraction to this program was based on this element, that I probably didn't even notice when I viewed it as a kid.

But more importantly, I realized a couple of very disturbing things. The first being that for a show from the era of "Women's Liberation," it was still highly sexist, almost to a disgusting level. Yes, it was a comedy, but for a series that actually could have made a statement about love in a way that gave a positive message, along with some laughs, an opportunity was clearly missed. ABC did a skosh better in that area with their similar anthology series, "The Love Boat," several years after this.

But on a personal note, I realize now that a lot of what I thought about love, how to get it, what it was about, how to behave around someone I was interested in and what it all really meant was, to some degree, shaped by this series. It might have been okay if I actually had a social life to counteract the false messages I was getting from a program like this one, or even if I had some other "relationship" program to watch that might have put it in a better perspective.

There were some clearly "stalking" type behaviors, played for comic effect, some "joke divorce" elements throughout and other really weird material, even for the late 60s and early 70s, when it first aired. I look at this program now and realize just how odd it is to me today, compared to how the me of my grade and junior high school years viewed it.

There is a whole "garbage in - garbage out" quality to some of this stuff that really makes me feel like I never should have heard of this show, let alone watched it after school while doing homework, as this was a terrible socialization method for learning about love, and it wasn't even that good as a sitcom.

If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing, I could have done much worse than telling me to never watch "Love, American Style," and really, that probably goes for this weekend, too.

That's the state of the love, this year.
penpusher: (BBC)
Note: if you are a viewer of the BBC series "Doctor Who" and have not seen the episode "Face The Raven," you may want to avoid reading the analysis below. in the immortal words of River Song...

Spoilers, Sweetie! )
penpusher: (Question)
Bill Cosby has been a fixture on television since the mid 1960s. A Temple University graduate. A Navy man. A stand-up comic with millions of records sold. The first African-American with top billing on a network TV drama ("I Spy"), frequent guest and then guest host on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." There were all those commercials for those genuine American products: for Jell-O. For Kodak. For Coca-Cola. and, of course all his own shows, His first sitcom: "The Bill Cosby Show." His Saturday morning cartoon: "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids." His Variety series: "Cos." And his later work, "The Cosby Show" and "Cosby."

Throughout his career, both on stage and off... )
penpusher: (Showtime)
“The Affair” held an affair of its own at Noon on Sunday, December 7, 2014 at the tony Bryant Park Hotel on 40th Street. We were promised brunch, a screening of that night’s episode and a Q & A with several of the cast members and one of the program’s producers. We were not disappointed.

The Cellar Bar at the hotel... )
penpusher: (Showtime)
Showtime has run the first couple of episodes of a new series: “The Affair” (original airings on Sunday evenings at 10pm, 9pm Central, with rebroadcasts throughout the week) which has a lot of really great stuff for any writer to chew on when it comes to interpersonal relationships. I can see how it potentially could become a series to not just watch over and over, but to study.

The concept of the story... )

Emmys 2014

Aug. 26th, 2014 10:25 am
penpusher: (Emmy)
There is something seriously wrong with the Awards Show format.

I think the concept is still okay - a bunch of celebrities get all dressed up for the event, walk the Red Carpet, talk about their designers and their work, find their seats in some venue with a beautiful set design, and then about 15 to 20% of the nominees win some hardware.

That worked very nicely for the many years from 1949, the year of the first Emmy telecast, to say, the mid 2000s, when social media began to take hold. Okay... maybe it never worked, but people were content to watch it anyhow, because it was different and maybe somewhat exciting.

Today, there are lots of celebrity events... )

Who Dat?

Aug. 25th, 2014 11:12 am
penpusher: (BBC)
I don't know if most of the fandom would agree, but I really didn't like the debut of the eighth series of "Doctor Who."

Spoilers! )
penpusher: (CBS)
The 4th and final entrant in the CBS Sweepstakes to take over for Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show is

AISHA TYLER




@aishatyler on twitter

As previously stated, all 4 of these people already are a part of the CBS family, and Aisha doubly so: she is the current host of The CW's "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and one of the hosts of the CBS daily gabfest: "The Talk."

What some people may not know or remember is that Aisha is the only one of the 4 who has already had her own late night talk show! She came in and hosted E!'s Talk Soup for a long run.

Additionally, when Craig Kilborn departed the LLS for wherever he wound up going, Aisha was one of the many people given a shot at hosting for one night, back about ten years ago. So, she's been talking for quite some time!

Aisha has been involved with a lot of varied productions - from a serious arc on Day 4 of "24" to voice over work for her wild comedy cartoon "Archer" to being "The Black Girl on 'Friends,'" it's all in a day's work for Ms. Tyler.

"Ghost Whisperer," "CSI," "Hawaii Five-O," is there a CBS show that Ms. Tyler hasn't hit up yet? Of course, I think she might have an inside track to getting the Late Late job if she wants it: she sits right next to Julie Chen every day on "The Talk," and Chen is, of course, the wife of Les Moonves, Chairman of the CBS Network. If anyone can get a meeting for a shot at hosting the gig, Aisha is the one.

As I stated previously, Women and Persons of Color have had a very difficult time finding a place in late night television. With Aisha Tyler, you get a twofer! Where she may not have been the right person to take over for Kilborn when he left, she is definitely seasoned and ready to handle the job now. Certainly after being part of the round table of "The Talk," where with that many hosts, it's difficult to get in a question or a joke, she manages to stand out, and always keeps it fresh and fun. Imagine if she gets a chance to do that on her own!

If you want star power, Aisha is the only one of the 4 that is currently in the Top 1000 on IMDb (but the other three are all in the Top 5000, so there's plenty of star power to go around). And she is the only one of the four to be a Celebrity Jeopardy! Champion! I don't know if that makes her more qualified to host, but it's a pretty impressive achievement.

With her vast talents, her experience with interviewing, her intelligence and her comedy chops, Aisha Tyler is a formidable contender for the job of Late Late Show host!
penpusher: (CBS)
Forget the search... we already have someone who replaced Craig Ferguson as the host of "The Late Late Show." His name is:

DREW CAREY




On twitter, he's @DrewFromTV

And it's absolutely true. Carey has already taken over the LLS. On April Fool's Day of this year, The current host of "The Late Late Show," the very outgoing (and, of course, outgoing) Craig Ferguson (and his on camera staff), swapped jobs with the current host of "The Price Is Right," Drew Carey (and HIS on camera staff) for a very entertaining couple of hours of teevee.

Unfortunately, Drew's full episode... )
penpusher: (CBS)
Back in the days of Vaudeville, the best acts were the ones that were most versatile. The people who could do "One Man Shows" were always headliners, top billing, favorites of the audience and commanded a lot of attention and a lot of scratch.

And really, that's still at least a little bit true. If you look at who audiences clamor over - People like Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman, Maya Rudolph (who is bringing the Variety show format back to television, two weeks from tonight on NBC), these aren't just actors or comedians or musicians or dancers or raconteurs. They are performers that can do it all!

And that brings us to:

WAYNE BRADY




@waynebrady for the twitter followers

As I stated, the four people... )
penpusher: (CBS)
I wanted to seriously examine the four people who are basically CBS "Artists in Residence" that would be a great fit for the role of Craig Ferguson's replacement as host of "The Late Late Show." And seeing as how

WHITNEY CUMMINGS


was the only one of the four who favorited the tweet I made listing off my top choices, she gets first dibs!



Subtle plug for her twitter... she's got more than a million followers, of course.


Now, let's be brutally honest... )
penpusher: (CBS)
Back in late 2009 and early 2010, when I was looking at all of the Late Night Talk Show Hosts, the one I ranked lowest was Jimmy Fallon and the one I ranked highest was Craig Ferguson. Here we are, a third of the way through 2014 and Fallon is ruling late night in a way that hasn't been seen since Johnny was swinging an imaginary golf club, and Craig Ferguson is going to call it quits next year. I guess I really had no vision of the future!

But let's face it. Ferguson is a multi-talented fellow who I think will do ok without needing to host a talk show. His skills can and and will be put to better use in all of the areas that he will likely go. He has already done voice over work for film with the "How to Train Your Dragon" series. He's written several books, memoirs about his life and observations about his adopted country. He's making personal appearances, doing stand up comedy. In short, Ferguson, unlike his Craig predecessor, Mr. Kilborn, has a plan for what to do with his future and has the wherewithal to make it happen.

So, I guess this means... )
penpusher: (CBS)
The biggest entertainment news story of the week was David Letterman's announced retirement which will occur some time in 2015. And nearly everyone wanted to speculate about who would inherit the CBS 11:37pm spot once Dave departs.

There is a laundry list of regulars that might be up for the job. There are some prerequisites that should be met. Certainly having an audience would help. So, if you're already popular, maybe that would be a good thing. Could Brad Pitt host? Well, there is a laundry list of skills in talk show hosting. Those include improv, stand-up comedy, funny monologues, crazy characters, sketches, slapstick, anecdotes, parody. -- List stolen blatantly from Liam Neeson's brilliantly hilarious performance on "Life's Too Short"

So we can narrow the field down to someone with a comedy pedigree.

It helps to know the mechanics... )
penpusher: (CBS)


The Marquee of CBS Television Studio 50, from February 9, 1964, eventually to be renamed
"The Ed Sullivan Theater"


and this weekend...



A small tribute from CBS to this 50th Anniversary of the appearance of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show


Interesting side note - As for that marquee with other guests, Broadway star Georgia Brown was on the telecast to perform a scene from the musical Oliver! She was playing Nancy in that production and playing the Artful Dodger was a young British chap named Davy Jones... So, a Monkee appeared on the same episode of the Ed Sullivan Show that introduced the Fab Four!

The impact of The Beatles... )
penpusher: (Oscar)
I have to think the "Awards Show" format is simply broken and needs a complete overhaul in order to be worth viewing. I mean, I know that the Oscar is the "most important" entertainment award in the world, and people from everywhere either tune in the telecast live or at least want to know the winners of the various categories, but a show like this, with the greatest living film stars in attendance (and clips of all the rest) should not ever lag.

Jon Stewart and his WGA staff did ok with most of the jokes. There were some lowbrow bits, like the "Baby" award segment with Jessica Alba, double nominee Cate Blanchett and the obligatory still photo of Nicole Kidman, for a cheap laugh. And most of the one liners worked. The opening animation with a UPS looking delivery truck driving through the Hollywood landscape with various characters and elements from the last 79 years of film was fun, and those are the sorts of things I like seeing on a show of this sort.

LA needs to build waterproof buildings, though. No fewer than three celebrities slipped on a wet spot at a podium, Stage Left at the Kodak, which reminded me that the LA Lakers had a RAIN delay during a game a couple of weeks ago!

But still... For me, I so want to reinvent the whole concept of the Award show. They did do a little bit of that, by having some troops stationed in Iraq present the Best Documentary Short (how did they manage to do that without the typical several second delay as the signal gets beamed up to the satellite and then back down to the control booth, I wonder?) Things like that help break the format up a bit and demonstrate the global reach of Oscar. That's especially true this year, with all four acting awards going to four foreign born actors!

I guess I'm asking what is an awards show all about? To me, you want to honor the people who are nominated, give those that win a chance to say something (trying to make them look as good as possible in the process) and make sure the program itself is entertaining to watch, since it is, after all, a television show.

The problem is the format is tired and everyone knows how it works, the people who win are hustled on and off so quickly they usually don't remember what they said in their speeches, and there doesn't seem to be an overriding focus for the show itself, which I think would instantly tighten things up.

I mean, it is film, so there should be more filmed bits throughout the show... and no, I don't mean those montage things... I'm talking about actual segments filmed by some of the directors and starring some of the nominated or winning actors. I know I suggested this last year, but I still like the idea, so I'm placeholdering it.

Ultimately, there should be a sense of fun for everyone... it is a great thing to be nominated, and can be a good thing to win.

Speaking of, I think I selected maybe one or two correct as far as Oscar predictions went and I believe they were the two writing awards, so I feel pretty good about that, at least. I should have remembered that the Academy Awards no longer seems to honor someone for their "body of work" or because this will be the last likely time they'll be nominated.

Eh. Maybe I should start by directing the Independent Spirit Awards. Work my way up to the SAGs and Emmys and top it off with the Golden Globes before trying to attack this monster.

Pipe dreamer. Oscar Screener. Yeah. It'll never happen.

Blipverts

Dec. 11th, 2007 06:31 am
penpusher: (TV Guide Logo)
Well, no. We haven't moved 20 minutes into the future to the world of "Max Headroom," however, fitting commercials onto the scene has, for better or worse, been the focus of companies trying to get a leg up on the competition. In the past, sponsors have had television performers actually do commercials during their programs, a way of blending reality and entertainment to create the perfect spot. They have done more subtle things, like product placement. And there have even been Network TV specials: the "greatest" commercials ever made, or something like that.

Commercials can be costly to make. Some have the budget of a feature film... We're talking about sixty seconds here. Then, depending on when you want to run it, you could double that cost just to show it once! Football's Big Game is the highest cost per minute of the entire year, sort of Christmas for Teevee. A captive audience, a huge moment in sports and the chance to get all those eyes on a company logo. People who aren't sports fans tune in to the game just to watch the ads, as they represent the best and the brightest Madison Avenue is offering up.

And now, you don't have to wait. Thanks to ION TV, and a new website:

http://www.firebrand.com/

You can see the best ads nightly. This website is running commercials exactly the way MTV used to run videos: non stop, and live. They even tag the spots with the agency name, the producer and the director in the lower left corner. And at 11pm, they go live with the same program on television!

There's something very addicting about seeing the commercials presented this way, just like watching MTV was those years ago.

The site has some interesting features including a category of "banned" ads, or commercials that could not air during the US television broadcast version of the program. You may also download and save any or all of the spots they run or send or embed them as you would any YouTube video.

They don't have every ad from every sponsor, but the site has only been active for five days... and they're also doing promotional giveaways and having sweepstakes, so it's worth it just to check out what's happening. Today they're offering up an X-Box 360, but there's also a grand prize of a trip to Phoenix for The Big Game, so it might be worth signing up just for the opportunity.

It is the coolest site I've seen dedicated to commercials, it functions very well and it's worth checking out at least once. And some of those foreign commercials are amazing. Edison Carter didn't see this one coming.

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