Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Syndie Saved Is a Syndie Earned

The CW. Only two letters and so much commotion.

After last week's announcement that the WB and UPN will consolidate into a single network, some local stations abruptly learned that they were scheduled to lose their network affiliations. Now these emancipated stations are free to fill their primetime schedules however they want this Fall.

Many sources, such as B&C, suggest that syndicated programming will get a boost from this latest broadcast move. I wonder if any series will be cancelled this Spring and be quickly resurrected for first-run syndication this Fall? Don't laugh! It was pretty common for a while, and it finally makes sense again. Schedules to fill. Short timeline. Established name. Simple logistics.

I don't mean shows like "She Spies." That skein had a three ep sneak peak on NBC before its two-year lifetime in first-run syndication. It was never meant to be on NBC for any more than four eps. Since "She Spies" was never cancelled by one of the nets, it doesn't qualify.

I'm talking about shows like "Hee Haw." It aired for two seasons before CBS cancelled it, causing viewers to ask "Where, Oh Where, Are You Tonight?" Well, it moved on to greener cornfields, where it crossed its humor with a different way of finding its audience. "Whatga get?" Twenty-one more seasons of new shows. "SAA-LUTE!!"

Can you name any series that were cancelled by the networks and then continued for at least three more new seasons in syndication?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Cold Hands, Award Heart

Since awards season is in full swing, I'm updating the Awards database more frequently. I've added ~900 entries for the following awards:
  • American Cinematographers Awards: 2006 noms
  • Art Directors Guild Awards: 2006 noms
  • Asian Excellence Awards: 2006 noms & winners
  • Black Reel Awards: 2006 noms
  • Cinema Audio Society Awards: 2006 noms
  • Costume Designers Guild Awards: 2006 noms
  • Directors Guild Awards: 2006 noms & winners
  • Edgar Allen Poe Awards: 2006 noms
  • the futoncritic's best eps of the year for: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • GLAAD Media Awards: 2006 noms
  • Golden Eddie Awards: 2006 noms
  • Golden Globe Awards: 2006 winners
  • Golden Laurel Awards: 2006 noms & winners
  • NAACP Image Awards: 2006 noms
  • Publicists Guild Awards: 2006 noms
  • SAG Awards: 2006 noms
  • Screen Actors Guild Awards: 2006 winners
  • TV Land Awards: 2006 noms
  • TelevisionWeek’s Critics Poll: Best & Worst of 2005 Fall
  • USA Today’s Best & Worst of TV of 2005 (Bianco)
  • Visual Effects Society Awards: 2006 noms
  • Zap2it Best Shows of 2005 (TV Gal)
Select your favorite show and find out what awards it's recently won!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Grin Amanda, Bear It

You've probably already read about the many TV series that iTunes released yesterday. Some new shows, some vintage shows and additional seasons of some shows previously available.

The fun thing about the trivialTV database is the fact that I can find oddities quite easily. Like this little tidbit. MTV's "Super Sweet 16" is amongst the new shows that you can download on iTunes. You can download seasons 1 & 2 if you like. iTunes makes it look like season 2 is complete since the listing doesn't have "partial season" under "total: 8" in the season 2 description. But it's a lie of omission. Episode 203 is missing: Amanda's Super Sweet 16.

I wonder how Amanda feels since she wasn't invited to this party? I also wonder if the ep is missing because Ciara wouldn't clear her performance for further distribution?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Keep a Stiff Upper IP

You know you want to simultaneously distribute HDTV quality video to multiple rooms over standard CAT5 cables. NetStreams will soon let you do that. Here's an excerpt about the world's first IP-based home video distribution system.
Unlike other multi-room audio-video systems, the NetStreams DigiLinX uses only digital computer network technology to link all components. The system's key advantage, of carrying both system control and content information along a standard network cable using open-standard protocols, greatly reduces system wiring, simplifies installation and set-up, ensures excellent signal quality, and allows other companies' IP-based products, such as climate, lighting, or security controls, to operate on the same network.

While NetStreams employs the streaming technology used for sending music and video over the Internet, its patent-pending StreamNet technology involves synchronizing content delivery so that programs play at precisely the same time throughout an entire system, an essential feature for multi-room entertainment.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Best Laid Planets of Mice and Men and Women

As I perused Publisher's Weekly's list of bestselling hardcover books, I came across John Gray's Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. I forgot that Gray's book was still the #2 non-fiction book ten years ago. His book was one of the top ten non-fiction books from 1993-1997 — an amazing five year run.

And I definitely forgot about how that book title pervaded pop culture. Of course, Gray wrote multiple book sequels. A board game was unveiled in 1998. The curtain rose on the Vegas musical comedy revue on September 18, 2000. The syndicated talk show hosted by Cybill Shepherd debuted on October 2, 2000.

We can only assume that the book's fame worked its way into TV ep titles too.
  • Dick Is from Mars, Sally Is from Venus (''3rd Rock from the Sun,'' 1/30/1996)
  • Women Are from Mars, Men Are from Saturn (''Moesha,'' 10/15/1996)
  • Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Astoria (''Cosby,'' 4/27/1998)
  • Veronica's from Venus, Josh's Parents Are from Mars (''Veronica's Closet,'' 1/7/1999)
  • Kids Are from Earth, Parents Are from Pluto (''Arthur,'' 9/11/2000)
Just one observation. When a children's animated show like "Arthur" references you, that means your 15 minutes are definitely up. That should have been the first hint that the syndie talker might not last long since this ep of "Arthur" preemed less than a month before Cybill's failed chat show.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Possession Is Nine-tenths of the Law Firm

Last night CBS introduced us to Alex Rose, played by Jenna Elfman, in "Courting Alex." Alex works in her father's law firm.

Now think back to September 2001 when CBS introduced us to Nick Fallin, played by Simon Baker, in "The Guardian." Nick worked in his father's law firm.

Could Alex Rose and Nick Fallin be half-siblings? Dabney Coleman does portray the father in both series.

Let's stay with this general legal theme. Can you match the following law firms with their respective TV series?
Series NameLaw Firm
1."Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997)a.Bennett, Rheinhart & Alquist
2."Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004)b.Cash, Fish & Associates
3."Century City" (CBS, 2004)c.Crane, Constable, McNeil & Montero
4."Civil Wars" (ABC, 1991)d.Crane, Poole & Schmidt
5."Family Law" (CBS, 1999)e.Donnell, Young, Dole & Frutt
6."First Years" (NBC, 2001)f.Guilford, Levinson & Howell
7."Kaz" (CBS, 1978)g.Hoberman, Spain, McPherson & O'Donnell
8."L.A. Law" (NBC, 1986)h.Holt & Associates
9."The Practice" (ABC, 1997)i.Lyon, LaCrosse & Levine
10."The Lyon's Den" (NBC, 2003)j.McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney & Kusak


Monday, January 23, 2006

If It's Not One Update, It's Another

Over the past three weeks I've added 748 more series to the trivialTV database, bringing the grand total to 10,618 series. All of these series aired nationally on US networks.

During the next month, I'll perform the arduous task of confirming preem dates for as many of these series as possible. Of the 748 series added, I only confirmed debuts for 95 skeins.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Fox May Look at a Skein

Pilot season is in full swing. You'll find new productions and hope everywhere.

It's always fun betting which of these pilots are going to be picked up as series and which projects will be rejected. It's a fool's game. I'm a fool. So let's play.

Which shows will networks air in Fall 2006? Here's one of my front runners — ''Welcome to Paradise.''

Fox ordered a script for this '80s childhood sitcom in November 2005. It was mentioned in People Magazine in December 2005 and in TV Guide in January 2006. The skein is based on the childhood of Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor of "Smallville"), who will write the pilot. As far as I know nothing has been filmed.

It's a nice story, but nothing really jumps out, does it? Why do I consider it an early front-runner?

There's one thing I haven't told you yet — Warner Bros. filed for trademark protection for "Welcome to Paradise" on January 5, 2006. That's typically an excellent indicator that a series will be picked up, regardless of which network will air the skein.

Plus, there's excellent timing. Fox needs shows like "Welcome to Paradise" to replace the just-cancelled sitcoms, "Malcolm in the Middle" and "That '70s Show," and the soon-to-be-cancelled sitcoms, "Arrested Development" and "Bernie Mac." It just seems natural that Fox would exchange "Malcolm in the Middle" or "Bernie Mac" with "Welcome to Paradise" on their schedule.

Always Keep Your Eyes on the Poll

This just in. You'll see be hearing more lies, damn lies and statistics from yet another poll. Lifetime is considering the "Lifetime Women's Pulse Poll."

I find the whole thing really quite funny since this poll marks another round in the long-standing rivalry between Oxygen and Lifetime.

Don't see the connection? At first I didn't see it either, but then I read that the Markle Foundation invested $3.5 million with Oxygen Media way back in July 1999 to develop the Oxygen/Markle Pulse poll. Eerie similarities. The original pulse poll measured attitudes toward women and women's issues, and, among many results, found that:
  • 2000 Apr: Most Americans (72% of women and 63% of men) think it is important for men to take more than 2 weeks off after the birth or adoption of a child.
  • 2001 Mar: 56% of women agree with the statement that seeing successful female athletes makes them feel proud to be a woman.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Chickens Will Come Home to Roast

As I continue to add series to the trivialTV database, I'm always awestruck by the sheer number of cooking shows. Cookbooks that developed into skeins. Series that spawned cookware.

So I had a question. I wondered what cooking series was the first one to be videotaped for home viewing instead of being shown on the airwaves.

Terrence O'Flaherty (The San Francisco Chronicle, January 31, 1985) answers my question:
Julia Child is busy right this minute down in Santa Barbara stirring up a new series called ''The Way to Cook.'' But it won't be aired. Instead it will become the first complete videotaped cooking course for use in the home.

The initial two-month project will produce six hour-long videotapes of cooking instructions for the home cassette player. The intrepid kitchen explorer is accompanied in this venture by many of the same people who made her television series the biggest thing to happen to American cooking since the invention of the can opener.

After her association for nearly a quarter of a century with WGBH-TV in Boston, I am astonished to learn that there is no plan to convert those shows to home cassettes. With a pause button on the player, they're ready-made for the kitchen counter.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

There's Method To Their Episodic Madness

If you haven't already heard, TV Squad relayed reports about one of "Emily's Reasons Why Not." Emily's Reasons Why Not To Turn This Novel into a TV Series Starring Heather Graham Anymore.

Some shows, like "Boston Public" and "Murder One," simply number their episodes. Most shows have episode names with no common theme at all. But writers for "Emily's Reasons Why Not" entitled all five of the non-pilot eps using the same form: Why Not to _____. If ABC ever shows any of these five remaining eps, you could watch:
  • Why Not to Date Your Gynecologist
  • Why Not to Cheat on Your Best Friend
  • Why Not to Hire a Cute Assistant
  • Why Not to Loook at Bridal Magazines
  • Why Not to Date a Twin
"Emily" is not the only series to use a rigid structure for ep titles. Can you name some other series and their schticks? Don't include series that base ep names on song titles ("The Beat"), movie titles ("Grosse Pointe"), other TV series ("Love, Inc."), book titles, famous quotes, exotic locales, clever use of a single word ("Family Business") or character name ("Remington Steele"), etc. Those are all topics for another day. Just think about those series that have a structured format for their ep titles.

Here's a sample of scripted skeins (that have a majority of ep titles following a structured scheme):
  • Code Name: _________ ("Acapulco H.E.A.T.")
  • The _________ of Dr. Fu Manchu ("The Adventures of Fu Manchu")
  • Again with the _________ ("Alright Already")
  • The Tale of the _________ ("Are You Afraid of the Dark?")
  • The Guide to _________ ("The Bad Girl's Guide")
  • _________ Bob ("Bob Patterson")
  • Who Killed _________? ("Burke's Law")
  • Caroline and the _________ ("Caroline in the City")
  • The Case of the _________ ("Charlie Wild, Private Detective")
  • Operation: _________ ("Codename: Kids Next Door")
  • Valerie _________ ("The Comeback")
  • First _________ ("Commander in Chief"): 1st seven eps
  • The _________ Episode ("Committed")
  • In the Matter of: _________ ("Common Law")
  • _________ Blues ("The Corner")
  • ...and then _________ ("Cursed" a.k.a. "The Weber Show")
  • The Case of the _________ ("Cyber C.O.P.S.")
  • The People vs. _________ ("The D.A.")
  • The [food] Dana Carvey Show ("The Dana Carvey Show")
  • The _________ Story ("Dangerous Assignment")
  • Day [number] ("The Days")
  • Here's _________ ("The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd")
  • The _________ Project ("The Delphi Bureau")
  • The Big _________ ("Dragnet" 1952 version)
  • The _________ Brief ("Dundee and Culhane")
  • The _________ Show ("Dweebs")
  • The Adventure of _________ ("Ellery Queen" 1975 version)
  • Operation _________ ("Ensign O'Toole")
  • Everybody Hates _________ ("Everybody Hates Chris")
  • Re: _________ ("Executive Suite")
  • Mr. Magoo's [tale/story] ("The Fabulous Adventures of Mr. Magoo")
  • The _________ Mystery ("Father Dowling Mysteries")
  • Subject: _________ ("Freakylinks")
  • The One With/Where/After/In _________ ("Friends")
  • The _________ Affair ("The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.")
  • Day [#]: _________ ("Good Company")
  • Goode _________ ("Goode Behavior")
  • The [1st name] and [1st name] Story ("Grapevine" 1992 version)
  • [person's 1st name] ("Grapevine" 2002 version)
  • The Big _________ Episode ("Half and Half")
  • Harris Against _________ ("Harris Against the World")
  • _________ Guy ("Head Over Heels")
  • Hercules and the _________ ("Hercules" 1998 anim version)
  • Hondo and the _________ ("Hondo")
  • Honey, _________ ("Honey, I Shrunk the Kids")
  • A Girl's Gotta _________ ("Jenny")
  • Joey and the _________ ("Joey")
  • L_________ ("The L Word")
  • The [city] Story ("Lawbreaker")
  • Life…and _________ ("Life...and Stuff")
  • _________ with Fran ("Living with Fran" season 2)
  • The [location] Beat ("Madigan")
  • The Illusion of _________ ("The Magician" eps 11-21)
  • The _________ Affair ("The Man from U.N.C.L.E.")
  • The Case of the _________ ("Mark Saber")
  • [person's 1st name] ("Matt Lincoln")
  • The _________ Episode ("Maybe It's Me")
  • The _________ Syndrome ("Men in Black")
  • Millionaire [name]; The [name] Story; The Story of [name] ("The Millionaire")
  • The _________ Episode ("Mr. & Mrs. Smith")
  • Mr. Smith [verb] _________ ("Mr. Smith")
  • Mr. Monk _________ ("Monk")
  • The Word Is: _________ ("The New Land")
  • Nick Takes Over _________ ("The Nick Cannon Show")
  • [person's full name] ("Nip/Tuck")
  • Operation _________ ("O.S.S.")
  • Operation: _________ ("O'Hara, U.S. Treasury")
  • The [noun] Episode ("Opposite Sex")
  • The Case of the [adjective] [noun] ("Perry Mason")
  • The _________ Story ("Pete Kelly's Blues")
  • The [location] Story ("Police Story" 1952 version)
  • The _________ Episode ("The Preston Episodes")
  • The [color] Cover ("Public Morals")
  • The _________ Raid ("Rat Patrol")
  • My _________ ("Scrubs")
  • _________ and Them ("The Show")
  • Simon _________ ("Simon")
  • The Story of _________ ("64 Zoo Lane")
  • Question: _________ ("Slattery's People")
  • Something About _________ ("Something So Right")
  • Still _________ ("Still Standing")
  • Tarzan and _________ ("Tarzan" animated series)
  • The Case of the _________ ("The Telltale Clue")
  • Then Came _________ ("Then Came You")
  • The Time She/They _________ ("Time of Your Life")
  • Totally _________! ("Totally Circus")
  • The Day of the _________ ("The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters")
  • The Case of the _________ ("Treasury Men in Action")
  • Two Guys, a Girl and a _________ ("Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place")
  • Veronica's _________ ("Veronica's Closet")
  • The [person's name] Story ("Wagon Train")
  • The Night of the _________ ("Wild Wild West")
  • [noun/adjective] [animal] ("Wonderfalls")

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

In for a Penny, In for a Dollar Sign

This past Saturday AMC aired the US preem of BBC's ''Hu$tle.'' The skein joins a short list of series which aired on US TV and used a dollar sign in place of the letter 'S.' Can you name any others?


Monday, January 16, 2006

Just Another Update

I've updated the trivialTV airings database so that the Find TV Schedule feature has:
  • four more weeks of the TV schedule (12/5/2005 through 1/1/2006)
  • symbols with clickthrough links to google video
  • symbols with clickthrough links to iwatchnow.com
These last two items will be more visible when I release older TV schedules for you to search.

I've also updated Total Tube Time in the near left column. ''CSI'' passed ''Knots Landing'' and ''Law & Order'' is quickly closing the gap on ''Murder, She Wrote.''

Friday, January 13, 2006

Don't Cast Pearls Before Wine

"Hidden Wineries of Southern California" by MaDonna White is apparently enough of a hit with the high-brow crowd that Ms. White is putting her grand plan in motion.

On June 23, 2005 Cathy Thomas of the Orange County Register reported that:
White is chief executive officer of Hidden Wineries Inc., as well as publisher, author and one of the photographers. There are now 12 people on her management team, she said. Their plans include more than producing Hidden Wineries books. Eventually, she said, there will also be regional cookbooks that highlight food and wine pairings, and regional travel companions that are smaller take-along guides. Plans are also in the works for regional wine clubs that will offer sample wines for quarterly home delivery.
Now it appears that a broad-based TV show may be in her grand plans. MaDonna White, Inc. recently trademarked the general phrase, Hidden Wineries, for three different classes of goods & services. One of these classes included "Production of radio and television programs."

We'll see if her idea for a TV show ages as well as her favorite red.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

An Apple Rumor a Day Keeps the Doctor Astray

Mobile Me.

A simple name that Apple quietly did NOT announce this week. But they didn't cover their tracks very well. When the US Patent & Trademark Office updated its database on Wednesday morning, there were four surprising results.

Apple filed four different applications on January 5, 2006 for the same word mark — Mobile Me. Each of these applications covers different types of goods and services. Wise move on their part. Keep the competition guessing about exactly what they have planned while getting some free publicity.

Mobile Me. An Apple-branded cell phone? An Apple-branded add-on service for some other company's mobile phones? Or a wirelessly enabled iPod with your content stored in your locker in the sky instead of a hard drive?

There Are Two (or Four) Sides to Every Censor's Action

As you probably know, four affiliates refused to air ''The Book of Daniel'' last week. I'm always surprised that local affils still feel the urge to censor what their viewers are even capable of watching, especially since show information and the V-Chip are so widely available.

The V-Chip works wonders for parents since it offers the ultimate in censorship. Well, kind of. Parents have total control over what their children watch, but parents must still rely on some censor to label a show with "D," "L," "S," or "V." The show is either violent enough and is given a "V" or the show is not violent enough and it avoids the "V" rating. Parents still rely on the discretion of some national censor. I wonder why regional censors (TV stations) can't assign numbers for each letter to reflect regional viewpoints rather than refusing to air a TV show.

There may be more concern in the future. At some point your TV will have its own IP address, and your overzealous home owners' association may have a list of IP addresses for every TV. Why? Your home owners association may negotiate a cheaper bundled rate for the entire community. But you home owners association can also impose community standards. If your standards are different, too bad. Welcome to the neighborhood.

Four levels of censorship. Nationally, a network and production company agree what should air while a monitoring board analyzes the ratings. Regionally, affiliates are free to impose stricter standards. Locally, associations will be able to impose even stricter standards. Individually, parents can impose the strictest standards.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Romancing Stone Gathers No Moss

If you watch Fox at 8:30PM tonight, you'll see the ''Romancing the Stones'' episode of ''Stacked.''

We've already seen how TV writers use ep titles to pay homage to popular movies, and I have to say I was shocked that the Kathleen Turner movie didn't inspire more titles. Here's the short list:
  • Necromancing the Stone (''Charmed,'' 5/4/2003)
  • Romancing the Bird (A Good Eats Thanksgiving) (''Good Eats'')
  • Romancing the Crone (''Cybill,'' 3/10/1996)
  • Romancing the Drone (''L.A. Law,'' 11/17/1988)
  • Romancing the Home (''Like Family,'' 4/1/2004)
  • Romancing the Joan (''Joan of Arcadia,'' 2/11/2005)
  • Romancing the Throne (''Early Edition,'' 1/17/1998)
  • Romancing the Tube (''California Dreams,'' 11/14/1992)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Vids Just Keep on Coming

iTunes just added these series to their service:
  • ''Wildfire'' (season 2 - in progress, ABC Family)
  • ''Kim Possible'' (season 1 - partial, Disney)
  • ''The Proud Family'' (seasons 1 & 2 - partial, Disney)
  • ''Saturday Night Live'' (Best of & sketches, NBC)
  • ''Soapography'' (season 1 - partial, SoapNet)

Common Threads #2

What do these series have in common?
  • ''Turning Point''
  • ''Who Wants to Be a Millionaire''
  • ''Jones & Jury''
  • ''Love, Hate & Joy''
  • ''Stylemaker''
  • ''National Geographic Explorer''
  • ''Good Day Live''


Don't Shoot the Video Messenger (Updated)

Not only is Google Video up and running, but they've already addressed the incomplete listing issue I mentioned in the previous post. You can now see all videos that you are supposed to see.

As of 12:20AM PST this morning, here is the list of non-PBS TV eps that you can purchase from Google for $1.99 each. I did not include specials (Ed Sullivan) nor TV eps that you can rent for $1.99 a day (''CSI'' and ''NCIS'').

If you click on an item, you'll be directed to the Google Video page to see a preview for that particular ep. In parentheses, I've included season number, ep number and original air date. I'll add links to all Google Videos to the trivialTV database so that you can link directly to them from the TV Listings.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Don't Shoot the Video Messenger

Google Video is finally up and running!

Google is still having a few issues. If you select ''Brady Bunch'' from the pull-down menu, Google says you're seeing 1-15 of about 17 even though you only see three videos. I assume this 'unplanned feature' will be fixed over the next day or so.

As of 10:20PM PST tonight, here is the list of non-PBS TV eps that you can purchase from Google for $1.99 each.
  • The Brady Bunch - Dear Libby (01-002, oad:10/3/1969)
  • The Brady Bunch - Mike's Horror-Scope (01-016, oad:1/16/1970)
  • The Brady Bunch - To Move or Not to Move (01-023, oad:3/6/1970)
  • Have Gun Will Travel - Three Bells to Perdido (01-001, oad:9/14/1957)
  • Have Gun Will Travel - A Matter of Ethics (01-005, oad:10/12/1957)
  • Have Gun Will Travel - The Bride (01-006, oad:10/19/1957)
  • I Love Lucy - The Operetta (02-005, oad:10/13/1952)
  • I Love Lucy - Sales Resistance (02-017, oad:1/26/1953)
  • I Love Lucy - The Black Eye (02-020, oad:3/9/1953)
  • MacGyver - The Golden Triangle (01-002, oad:10/6/1985)
  • MacGyver - Thief of Budapest (01-003, oad:10/13/1985)
  • MacGyver - The Gauntlet (01-004, oad:10/21/1985)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Emissary (Part 1 of 2); Emissary (Part 2 of 2) (01-001; 01-002, oad:1/2/1993)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - A Man Alone (01-004, oad:1/16/1993)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Babel (01-005, oad:1/23/1993)
  • Star Trek: Voyager - Initiations (02-002, oad:9/4/1995)
  • Star Trek: Voyager - Non Sequitur (02-005, oad:9/25/1995)
  • Star Trek: Voyager - Tattoo (02-009, oad:11/6/1995)
  • Survivor: Guatemala: The Maya Empire - Man Down (11-002, oad:9/22/2005)
  • Survivor: Guatemala: The Maya Empire - Eating and Sleeping with the Enemy (11-010, oad:11/17/2005)
  • Survivor: Guatemala: The Maya Empire - Thunder Storms & Sacrifice (11-014; 11-015, oad:12/11/2005)
  • The Twilight Zone - One for the Angels (01-002, oad:10/9/1959)
  • The Twilight Zone - Walking Distance (01-005, oad:10/30/1959)
  • The Twilight Zone - Time Enough at Last (01-008, oad:11/20/1959)
I did not include specials (Ed Sullivan) nor TV eps that you can rent for $1.99 a day (''CSI'' and ''NCIS'').

In parentheses, I've included season number, ep number and original air date. I'll add links to all Google Videos to the trivialTV database so that you can link directly to them from the TV Listings.

Relive Each Day As If It Were Your Past

Today I'm introducing a new feature in the near left column. You'll be able to see the top ten rated shows for select weeks in the past. I'll update this feature every weekday.

Here's the schedule:
  • Mondays: one year ago from the current week
  • Tuesdays: five years ago
  • Wednesdays: ten years ago
  • Thursdays: fifteen years ago
  • Friday: twenty years ago


Friday, January 06, 2006

Cell Begun Is Half Done

Just when you think every major player has already announced plans for delivering content to your mobile phone, along comes 20th Century Fox.

They haven't announced anything too specific yet. Sure, the division has a name, Fox Mobile Entertainment. Yes, it's produced mobisodes specifically for cell phones—but that content was distributed by a third party. And according to the Airborne Entertainment site, Fox has an overall strategy for wireless content distribution. I haven't heard much else though.

But rumor has it that Fox finally has a name for its own service. Drum roll please!


In case you were wondering, Fox registered mobizzo.com just a few weeks ago.

Watch for the biz buzz on Mobizzo.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Seeing By Sky Cam Is Believing

I sure take Sky Cam coverage for granted these days when I watch football. Sure, it's very videogame-esque, but I expect to see these angles now. Almost demand them. So I decided to find out when networks started using Sky Cam, and I thought I would share two excerpts with you in today's retro technology entry.

From Kevin Mulligan (Philadelphia Daily News, 31 Aug 1984)
It stands 4 feet, 6 inches high, weighs 38 pounds and can do the 100 four seconds faster than Carl Lewis.

It took $1.8 million to get the first and only one off the ground - where it spends 99.9 percent of its time hovering at anywhere from 20 to 100 feet or zipping around at speeds as high as 20 mph - and is controlled by a joy stick similar to the one hooked up to your Atari 5200 home computer system.

Its name is Sky Cam, a radically new TV camera that last Friday made the 50-yard line the second best seat in the house at the Raiders-Jets NFL preseason game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Sky Cam, a computer-controlled camera suspended by cables over the playing field, took an NBC-TV audience places it never had been during the game, when the remarkable invention made its national TV debut.

From Bill Carter (The Seattle Times, 13 Jan 1985)
NBC did use Skycam more extensively at one other event, a World Cup soccer match between the United States and a team from the Netherlands Antilles. ''Nobody noticed because the game got a 1.9 rating,'' Monaghan said.

NBC director John Gonzalez was intrigued with Skycam, however, and he and one NBC cameraman worked long hours with the Skyworks technicians to polish the skills necessary to make the device work. The result was the Orange Bowl coverage, where the exceptional shots provided by Skycam exceeded NBC's greatest expectations.

It almost had to be the Orange Bowl, Aagaard said, because of the free rein that bowl usually allows. NBC calls the Orange Bowl ''the bowl of innovation.''

In this case, that may mean the bowl will be remembered not for having more people on the field than in the stands during its halftime show, but for giving the first real exposure to the next step in the revolution of sports coverage on television.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A (Parenthetical) Word To the Wise Is Sufficient

Twenty-five years ago this week John Lennon topped Billboard's Hot 100 Charts with "(Just Like) Starting Over."

I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for parentheses. I always wonder why a writer chooses to use them. Why did she use parentheses instead of dashes? What's so important about the text in parentheses that she included it even though her words aren't important enough to be part of the main thought?

TV writers often use parenthetical text for ep titles when they add words to a well-known phrase. These extra words are banished between brackets, just like the title for this entry.

Here's a short list of TV ep titles with clever parentheticals:
  • Anna (Palm) Springs into Action (''The Anna Nicole Show,'' 5/11/2003)
  • Baby's Got (Flash) Back (''All of Us,'' 4/26/2005)
  • Best (Mis)Laid Plans (''Atomic Betty,'' 3/20/2005)
  • Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (in 22 Minutes) (''Full House,'' 10/6/1989)
  • Cute First (Ask Questions Later) (''Animaniacs,'' 10/11/1997)
  • Dog Day Afternoon (and Morning, Too) (''Fire Me...Please!,'' 6/28/2005)
  • Every Dream Has Its Price (Tag) (''Beverly Hills, 90210,'' 10/18/1990)
  • Games (Married) People Play (''The Debbie Reynolds Show,'' 1/6/1970)
  • It's Beginning to Look a Lot (Less) Like Christmas (''The Golden Palace,'' 12/18/1992)
  • Life Goes On (and On and On) (''Life Goes On,'' 5/23/1993)
  • Like a Virgin (Kinda) (''What I Like About You,'' 10/9/2003)
  • Love Stinks (Sometimes) (''Less Than Perfect,'' 2/10/2004)
  • Nicki Tells Her Parents (Off) (''Reunited,'' 12/29/1998)
  • One Step (Parent) Backward (''Once and Again,'' 3/18/2002)
  • Stand (Up) and Deliver (''Beverly Hills, 90210,'' 3/7/1991)
  • Sweet (and Sour) Charity (''Will & Grace,'' 4/4/2000)
  • The King Is (Un)Dead (''The Chronicle,'' 3/8/2002)
  • The Party's Over (Here) (''Moesha,'' 9/6/1999)
  • You Must(ang) Remember This (''Dave's World,'' 9/27/1995)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mind Your P's and Q's & Your X's and O's

Like everybody else, I watched a lot of college football in the past week. When I watched Oklahoma slip past Oregon in the Holiday Bowl last Thursday, I thought about Brian Bosworth.

You remember him, don't you?

It's hard to believe Bosworth's second TV series, "Lawless," was shorter-lived than his first!

Don't remember his first series? The networks aired 24 new episodes of "First Round Bust" over three seasons (1987-1989) on Sunday afternoons and occasional Monday nights during the Fall. The Boz played a former two-time Butkus Award winner trying to make good on a 10-year, $11 million dollar contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Most memorable episode? Monday Night Football. Bo Jackson flattened The Boz and prematurely ended his pro football career.

Brian Bosworth was one of many former NFL players who tackled the small screen when their football careers ended. Can you name some other football players-turned-performers and their primetime network TV series? (No, Jesse Palmer's stint on ''The Bachelor'' doesn't count.)
Athelete/PerformerTV Series
1.Alan Autry
(a.k.a. Carlos Brown)
"Sons of Thunder"
"In the Heat of the Night"
2.Lyle Alzado"Learning the Ropes"
3.Dick Butkus"Blue Thunder"
"Half Nelson"
"My Two Dads"
4.Bernie Casey "Harris and Company"
"Bay City Blues"
5.Fred Dryer"Hunter"
6.Bob Golic"Saved by the Bell: The College Years"
7.Rosie Greer "Make Room for Granddaddy"
"Movin' On"
8.Alex Karras"Webster"
9.Ed Marinaro "Hill Street Blues"
"Oh Grow Up"
10.Joe Namath "The Waverly Wonders"
11.Merlin Olsen"Little House on the Prairie"
12.O.J. Simpson "1st & Ten"
13.Bubba Smith"Blue Thunder"
"Half Nelson"
"Open All Night"
14.Fran Tarkenton "That's Incredible"

Monday, January 02, 2006

Better Upate than Never

No great new feature today. Just another update.

I've added 370 series and confirmed 174 series preem dates for the trivialTV database this past week. That means you'll see about one new show every other day for "On This Date" that you would've have seen otherwise.