Latest Blog Posts

NBC renews 'Parks and Rec,' cancels 'Whitney' and '1600 Penn'

NBC renews "Parks and Rec," cancels "Whitney" and "1600 Penn"

Will next season be the last for the Amy Poehler comedy?

See the new photos of NBC shows

From "About a Boy" to "Crisis."

Cary Elwes returning to "Psych"

Also returning: Kristy Swanson.

Alyson Hannigan: Sarah Michelle Gellar was annoyed to be on "Buffy" at the end

Did she throw her former co-star under the bus?

John McCain inroduces a cable a la carte bill

The TV Consumer Freedom Act of 2013 would allow cable subscribers to pick what channels they want.

"Sesame Street" among YouTube's new pay channels

YouTube said 30 channels will take up the pay model.

TNT renews "Boston Finest" for a shorter season

Next season, consisting of six instead of eight episodes, will also air on CNN.

Read Full Post


Credit: AP Photo

What's wrong with RIAA's gold and platinum certifications adding streaming songs

The shift is akin to switching deck chairs on the Titanic

Today, the RIAA (the Recording Industry Assn. of America) made big news with its decision to include on-demand audio and video song streaming in its certification methodology.  Here’s how it works: previously, songs had to sell 500,000 units (through physical and digital sales) to be certified gold and 1 million units to be certified platinum. Two million and above counts as multi-platinum.

Now, streaming will figure in the tabulations: every 100 streams will count as the equivalent of 1 download. Take something like Psy’s “Gentleman” or Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” both of which were much bigger streaming sensations than digital sales successes.  They will go gold much faster based on a few days’ worth of streams (although only US streams will count in the designations) than a song that people are plunking down money to buy.  User-generated videos will not count.

To be sure, the music industry has been horrifically slow to embrace change and new technologies. Its arrogance and belief that consumers would continue to buy full albums when they wanted singles lead to the creation of Napster and widespread piracy.  Plus, internecine fighting over whether steaming counts as a sale or as airplay further muddied the issue, especially when it came to figuring out royalty payments for songwriters and artists, so congrats to the RIAA for not moving at a glacial pace and for getting the industry to agree to the changes (although finding new ways to congratulate themselves have never been the music industry’s problem). 

Also, once Billboard added YouTube streaming into the calculations for the Billboard Hot 100 (it already included select other streaming services), it was really only a matter of time before the RIAA made this call. Billboard’s move helped legitimize streaming. Among the streaming services now included in the RIAA’s tabulations are MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify, Xbox Music,, Vevo, Yahoo and YouTube.

Here are my issues with the decision:

*Streaming is not a sale. RIAA certifications, whether or albums or singles, have always been based on sales. Even in this transitioning world between physical vs. digital and buying vs. streaming, a sale still counts as a level of commitment that streaming does not. Now, if I have an incredible yen to listen to The Beach Boys’ “Sail On Sailor” and I’m too lazy to go into the other room and grab the CD, I simply call up Spotify and play it 12 times in a row (yes, this is a true example). My laziness will now help songs become certified gold and platinum.

*This move comes at a time when the music industry continues to be evolving as sales continue to fall. Digital sales have not increased to offset the decline of physical sales, much to the disappointment of the music industry.  In some ways, this feels like a panacea for the music industry to falsely convince itself that the sky isn’t falling because it can now crow about increased certifications and make artists feel good about themselves. The music industry has never been shy about finding ways to pat itself on the back, but this is basically rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

*People consume music differently now than they did even two years ago, and the RIAA’s move is recognition of that, however the 100:1 ratio seems too low to me as the opening rate. As we move toward sustainable subscription models, that ratio could be correct, but for now, the ratio  should be higher: maybe 1000 streams to one download. As sales continue to erode and streams climb even higher, then bring the numbers closer together, but by starting at 100:1, the RIAA hasn’t left much wiggle room as the climate continues to shift.

What do you think about the shift?

Read Full Post
<p>Carrie Preston and Michael Emerson of &quot;Person of Interest&quot;</p>

Carrie Preston and Michael Emerson of "Person of Interest"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Carrie Preston talks 'Person of Interest,' 'True Blood,' Emmy hopes and more

Ubiquitous actor returns for the 'Person of Interest' finale tonight
There are plenty of candidates for Busiest Person in TV, but Carrie Preston would have to be in that discussion.
This summer, Preston will begin her sixth season as Arlene on HBO's vampire soap "True Blood," but being a regular on that premium cable hit hasn't prevented her from pivotal recurring roles on a pair of CBS favorites.
On "Good Wife," Preston has made nine appearances as quirky-yet-effective attorney Elsbeth Tascioni. While Elsbeth is just a part of the deep "Good Wife" bench, her every appearance prompts cries of "Spinoff!" on Twitter and message boards. 
Although Preston has made fewer appearances on "Person of Interest," there remains a sense that her Grace is a pivotal character, both in life of Michael Emerson's Harold Finch and possibly in the overall shape of the show.
Oh and as if that's not enough on Preston's plate, she also has a developing behind-the-camera resume. Her feature directing debut, "That's What She Said," had a Sundance Film Festival premiere, with other producing projects ready to go for both the big screen and the web. 
I chatted with Preston in advance of Thursday (May 9) night's "Person of Interest" finale, in which Grace appears, even if the actress playing her doesn't know the context. Preston discusses working with real-life husband Emerson, her Emmy hopes and how "True Blood" feels different without Alan Ball. 
It's a good chat. Check out the full Q&A...
Read Full Post
<p>Amy Poehler and the rest of the &quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;&nbsp;gang will be back next season.</p>

Amy Poehler and the rest of the "Parks and Recreation" gang will be back next season.

Credit: NBC

NBC renews 'Parks and Recreation' for season 6

No timeslot or episode number yet, but Leslie Knope and company will be back next season

"Parks and Recreation" is getting a sixth season.

It's not a surprise, given the state of NBC's other comedies — "Parks" is the network's highest-rated sitcom after "The Office," which is ending in a week — but nothing was certain until the network said it. According to a source close to the production, Now according to NBC, the renewal is now official, though other details — timeslot and number of episodes to be produced — will be figured out later. (NBC's fall schedule will be announced on Sunday afternoon.) 

When I inteviewed "Parks" co-creator Mike Schur about the finale, he said he was "fairly confident" in renewal, and had written the finale more to set things up for a sixth season than to act as a de facto series finale, in the way he has so many times in the past. It appears he was right to feel that way.

UPDATE: Not only has NBC confirmed the news, but Schur tells me, "We finished season five, thought about skipping right to season seven, but NBC suggested we just go sequentially, which is smart, so we're going to go ahead and do Season Six."

Read Full Post
<p>Ed Harris</p>

Ed Harris

Credit: AP Photo

Ed Harris heads back to mission control for Alfonso Cuarón's 'Gravity'

The 'Apollo 13' actor will have a familiar (voice) role in the upcoming film

Like many of you, I'm eagerly anticipating Alfonso Cuarón's upcoming space drama "Gravity." Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, it promises to be an eye-popping piece of 3D grandeur from an auteur who has already given us some of the most indelible cinematic imagery of his generation.

Everyone's waiting for the first trailer for the film, which should hit sometime soon. But while we wait, let me pass this bit of info along. A source who's seen "Gravity" (and is over the moon about it) tells me that Ed Harris is featured in the role of a mission control voice. It might seem like just a cool bit of casting with a recognizable voice, but it's also a nice ode to one of the actor's Oscar-nominated performances.

Read Full Post
Cat Deeley of "So You Think You Can Dance"

 Cat Deeley of "So You Think You Can Dance"

Credit: Fox

'So You Think You Can Dance' host Cat Deeley talks new season, punk rock

The hostess admits to finding the separate results show 'laborious'

As the hostess of "So You Think You Can Dance," Cat Deeley never expected the show (which she joined in season two) to last a whopping ten seasons. But now it's back, returning with a two-night premiere on Tues. May 14 (8:00 - 9:00 p.m.) and Wed. May 15 (9:00 - 10:00 p.m.). Deeley spoke to reporters about what's ahead in a conference call. Here's what she had to say about the show's previously "laborious" format, why she's not looking for the next Kathryn or tWitch, and why she might be experimenting with a punk rock look next time we see her. 

Read Full Post
<p>Chris O'Dowd and Michael McKean in &quot;Family Tree.&quot;</p>

Chris O'Dowd and Michael McKean in "Family Tree."

Credit: HBO

Review: Christopher Guest turns slightly sincere with HBO's 'Family Tree'

Chris O'Dowd plays the rare Guest straight man hero in a comedy about genealogy
Christopher Guest has spent much of his brilliant career exploring the fine line between stupid and clever, as one his bandmates in “This Is Spinal Tap” put it. The characters in the Guest school of improvised mockumentary comedy are inevitably delusional about something, whether their talent, their level of celebrity, or their romantic life. Yet even though his movies — notably “Spinal Tap” (directed by Rob Reiner but co-written by Reiner, Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer) and his late ‘90s/early ‘00s trio of “Waiting for Guffman,” “Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind” — feature ridiculous, oblivious people, there’s almost always something real at the heart of their delusions. The band in “Spinal Tap” is a middle-aged joke, but they have enough musical skill that Guest, McKean and Shearer have been able to mount multiple tours as their British alter egos. The community theater musical in “Waiting for Guffman” is terrible, and yet in certain numbers you can see the germ of an idea that could be great if it were given to someone with greater skill than these enthusiastic klutzes.
“Family Tree,” the new HBO comedy Guest co-created with frequent collaborator Jim Piddock (it debuts Sunday night at 10:30), is something different. It features the usual assortment of Guest-ian foolish dreamers — many of them played by Guest repertory players like McKean, Piddock, Fred Willard and Ed Begley Jr. — and a familiar degree of absurdity. But at its center is a character the likes of which Guest hasn’t had much use for since his very first film, 1989’s “The Big Picture”: a sane, sensible hero.
Read Full Post

NBC orders 'About a Boy,' 'Crisis,' J.J. Abrams' 'Believe,' Sean Hayes sitcom

NBC orders "About a Boy," "Crisis," J.J. Abrams' "Believe," Sean Hayes sitcom

"About a Boy" is a remake of the 2002 Hugh Grant film, "Crisis" stars Gillian Anderson and Dermot Mulroney, "Believe" stars Kyle MacLachlan and Sean Hayes will star in multi-camera sitcom "Sean Saves the World." PLUS: NBC picks up "The Family Guide" with Parker Posey and J.K. Simmons.

Read Full Post
<p>Pam and Jim.</p>

Pam and Jim.

Credit: NBC

What 'The Office' could've been: An interracial love story, Bob Odenkirk as Michael

What "The Office" could've been: An interracial love story, Bob Odenkirk as Michael

Producers reveal 10 things you didn't know about "The Office," including having Jim and Pam be an interracial love story, that the show was originally designed with FX and HBO in mind. Also, "Modern Family's" Eric Stonestreet could've been Kevin.

"Elementary" sending Sherlock back to England

The Season 2 premiere will be set in London.

Stephen Colbert addresses his sister's defeat

 "Tonight, I am angry."

"Homeland" promotes F. Murray Abraham and Sarita Choudhury

Abraham's Dar Adal character will become a regular in Season 3, as will Saul's estranged wife.

Randy Jackson will no longer be Mariah Carey's manager
Turns out Jackson was co-managing his fellow "Idol" judge's career.

Catherine Tate to star in UK's "Everybody Loves Raymond" remake

The British Raymond will be played by comedian Lee Mack.

"The Voice" beats "Idol," but falls to a season low
Both singing shows went head-to-head last night.

Read Full Post
<p>Bernardo Bertolucci</p>

Bernardo Bertolucci

Credit: AP Photo

Bernardo Bertolucci to head Venice jury, as festival clarifies award rules

Revision prompted by last year's controversy over 'The Master' wins

Cannes may be just around the corner, but the Venice Film Festival is sooner than you think it is -- the two European majors effectively bookend the summer movie season, meaning the first glimpse of fall prestige fare on the Lido is just over three months away. Last week, the festival named William Friedkin the winner of this year's lifetime achievement Golden Lion, and today they further interrupted the pre-Cannes conversation with the announcement of this year's Competition jury president: Oscar-winning Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci.

Read Full Post
<p>F. Murray Abraham and Mandy Patinkin should have a lot of time to square off in &quot;Homeland&quot;&nbsp;season 3 now that Abraham has been made a regular castmember.</p>

F. Murray Abraham and Mandy Patinkin should have a lot of time to square off in "Homeland" season 3 now that Abraham has been made a regular castmember.

Credit: Showtime

Exclusive: 'Homeland' adds F. Murray Abraham and Sarita Choudhury as regulars

Two familiar faces should give Mandy Patinkin's Saul even more to do in season 3

We don't know much yet about "Homeland" season 3, which will debut on September 29, but we know that season 2 ended with Mandy Patinkin's Saul as acting director of the CIA after most of the high level officers were blown up by Abu Nazir's people.

And now I can exclusively report that the season will have two new regulars, both with ties to Saul: F. Murray Abraham as retired black ops specialist Dar Adal, and Sarita Choudhury as Saul's estranged wife Mira. Both have been promoted from guest star status.

Read Full Post
<p>Neil Patrick Harris</p>

Neil Patrick Harris

Credit: CBS

It's official: Neil Patrick Harris to host the Tonys for the 4th time

It's official: Neil Patrick Harris to host the Tonys for the 4th time
Says NPH in a statement: "It'll be more impressive than ever - if my math is correct, it will be 267 times bigger than last year," Harris said in a statement. "Oh, wait. No, that can't... hold on... carry the one... I'm awful at math. But rest assured, the show will rock!"

"Vampire Diaries" stars Nina Dobrev & Ian Somerhalder break up

The CW co-stars dated in real life for three years.

Alex Trebek expects to retire from "Jeopardy!" after 2016
"I suspect this might be my last contract," he says of his contract expiring in 2016.

"The Voice" starts off by acknowledging voting inconsistencies
Carson Daly brought the CEO of "The Voice's" vote-tallying company on air.

Take a look at Fox's 9 new shows
From "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" to "Sleepy Hollow."

Discovery denies that zombie targets on its "Guns" shows resemble Obama
"Sons of Guns" and "American Guns" both featured the "zombie" target mannequins that bare a striking resemblance to the president.

BBC orders "Dickensian" series featuring Charles Dickens characters

Dickens' classic characters will meet in "the most surprising of ways."

Craig Ferguson pays Jay Leno a 2nd visit in less than 2 months

Last night's visit gave Leno a chance to take a shot at Les Moonves.

Amy Poehler sells TV show to Sweden after partnering with her brother
Amy and Greg Poehler have created "Welcome To Sweden," starring Lena Olin, Illeana Douglas and Patrick Duffy.

Original Charlie Brown voice actor to go to rehab instead of jail

Peter Robbins, 56, last month pleaded guilty to stalking his ex-girlfriend and her plastic surgeon.

"Doctor Who" announces a prequel to the season finale

The three-minute prequel will delve into the relationship between the doctor and Clara. PLUS: Meet the "Thyme Lord."

Watch Sean Bean in "Legends"

He'll be playing an undercover operative in the TNT spy series.

Read Full Post