Friday, April 28, 2006

Ask and Umizumiz Shall Receive

What is "Umizumiz?" According to Dayna M. Gonzalez's CV, it's a flash animation show that's being developed for Noggin.

Even though I don't know anything else about the show, I reckon it has a decent chance of seeing the light of day in 2007. Why?
  • Dayna was the lead animator for another flash animated series, "Pinky Dinky Doo," which preemed on Noggin on April 10, 2006. Plus, she worked on "Blue's Room" & "Blue's Clues." I doubt that Viacom would waste her talent.
  • Dayna started working on "Pinky Dinky Doo" in January 2005, and one month later (February 9, 2005) Viacom filed its first app with the USPTO to protect "Pinky Dinky Doo."
  • Dayna completed her work on the pilot for "Umizumiz" in March 2006 and one month later (April 20, 2006) Viacom filed for trademark protection.
So far "Umizumiz" and "Pinky Dinky Doo" are following similar trajectories. We might find out more on May 2 at the upfront presentation for MTV networks.

Update (9 Mar 2007, 6:59AM PST): Thanks to a commenter's tip. Here's the link announcing that Nick has picked up "The Umizumiz." Congrats!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

If You're Not Part of the Solution, Your Heart's the Problem

What's new this week on the TV tech front? I thought I'd highlight an exercise device.

The USPTO published a patent application on April 20, 2006 that describes a "Heart Rate Monitor for Controlling Entertainment Devices." Here is the abstract from Joseph C. Volpe Jr.'s application:
Described is a motivational fitness device, which controls the audio output of a television or audio component in response to the heart rate. The user must exercise in their specific heart rate target training range to keep their entertainment device turned on at an enjoyable volume. A heart rate sensing device relays heart rate to a processor unit. The processor receives and compares the user's heart rate to the specified target range and sends control signals (or not) to the entertainment device. If the user's heart rate drops below the target range, the volume of the audio output of their entertainment device will gradually decrease until the user reacquires their target. Conversely, if the user is exercising too vigorously, the volume will increase, motivating the user to reacquire their target heart rate range.
I only see one major issue — actually hearing the TV isn't always enough incentive to keep exercising.

I could see myself, at times, choosing to keep my heart rate below my target range just so I wouldn't have to listen to what's on the telly. For instance, on Tuesday I would've stopped running, put ice cubes on my chest, and tried just about anything to quickly slow down my heart rate during the commercial break before Kellie Pickler's performance.

If Mr. Volpe wants to create a truly useful device, the monitor would change my desired volume level, based on some biofeedback. That way I would have to exercise pretty hard to keep Ms. Pickler silent.

Thankfully, America solved this Pickler of a problem for me. I can run at a normal pace throughout the entire show next Tuesday.

If you like this concept, you can purchase Mr. Volpe's product, The Entertrainer.

Disclaimer: I have not tried the product. I am not affiliated with Mr. Volpe nor with any entity that designs, manufactures or markets the product.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Lose Cred

If you're a fan of the old G4TV and you've noticed how quickly it lost its game cred, then this little tidbit will just kill you.

Death knell, please.

G4's new slogan will be "We Get Guys." That's right. G4 won't even feign interest in gaming anymore. You can't get any more blatant than that.

G4 Media, Inc applied for trademark protection for this phrase on April 18, 2006.

It's Easier To Get Forgiveness; Permission Impossible


OK. So I'm early. M:i:III doesn't open until May 5, but I thought I'd chime in before the hype kicks into overdrive next week.

Sure people loved the original TV series that preemed in September 1966, but who woulda' thunk that the "M:I" feature film would take the world by storm when it hit the big screen ten years ago? Just take a look at TV ep titles that pay homage to "M:I." A few eps while the original skein aired. A few more eps between the '66 and '88 "M:I" TV series. And just a few more eps between the second TV show and the first theatrical film.

Five seconds later? It exploded. Look for yourself.
  • Mission Improbable (''That Girl,'' 9/18/1969)
  • Mission: Improbable (''The Debbie Reynolds Show,'' 2/10/1970)
  • Mission: Incredible (''The Jeffersons,'' 10/2/1983)
  • Mission: McCall (''The Equalizer,'' 10/28/1987)
  • Mission: Improbable (''Davis Rules,'' 4/2/1991)
  • Submission: Impossible (''All-American Girl,'' 9/21/1994)
  • Mission: Imp Possible (''Aladdin,'' 11/3/1994)
  • Mission: Freakazoid (''Freakazoid!,'' 9/28/1996)
  • Mission: Interpersonal (''Melrose Place,'' 11/11/1996)
  • Mission Im-paws-ible (''All Dogs Go to Heaven,'' 11/23/1996)
  • Mission Improbable (''High Tide,'' 11/25/1996)
  • Mission ImPearlsible (''Pearl,'' 1/29/1997)
  • Emission Impossible (''NYPD Blue,'' 5/6/1997)
  • Mission Implausible (''Extreme Dinosaurs,'' 9/11/1997)
  • Mission: Incredible (''The Incredible Hulk,'' 11/23/1997)
  • Mission: and A-Hopin' (''Fired Up,'' 1/26/1998)
  • Emission Impossible (''Family Guy,'' 11/8/2001)
  • Mission Im-posse-ble (''Off Centre,'' 2/17/2002)
  • Mission: Implausible (''Dharma & Greg,'' 4/2/2002)
  • Mission Ed-Possible (''Ed, Edd 'n Eddy'')
  • Mission: Stupid (''I Am Weasel'')
  • Mission: Poachable (''Good Eats'')
  • Mission: Irresponsible (''The X's,'' 11/25/2005)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Common Threads #5

What do these TV performers have in common?
  • Tony Danza
  • Andy Griffith
  • Bonnie Hunt
  • Joseph Lawrence
  • Jerry Van Dyke
  • Holly Wortell


Monday, April 24, 2006

More TV Shows on iTunes

iTunes just released Comedy Central's "Crank Yankers" (Season 1, 10 eps) and "Stella" (Season 1, 10eps).

Future Abhors a Vacuum

As I read press releases and other announcements about debut dates for upcoming shows, I immediately add these skeins to the trivialTV database. Sure, sometimes the preem dates change. Every so often a series never sees the inside of a TV even though a net announces its debut.

But still. I have this data, and I haven't shared it with you.

Shame on me.

In the near left column under the "Upcoming Series Premieres" heading, you'll find an expandable menu option for series that bow more than four days from the current day. All of these dates are tentative, but the list will still give you an idea of what you have to look forward to. (I do not include shows for which I have vague dates — like June or third quarter. I only include shows for which I have read a specific date.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Clothes Do Not Make the Man...But Maybe the Animal?

Everybody loves a good animal show. Just thing how long "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" has been on the air.

And everybody loves makeover shows, too. They've been scattered all over your TV dial for the past five years. Personal appearance. Clothes. Jobs. Homes. Restaurants. Vacations.

Yes. You probably already know where this is going. Something is definitely missing from that list.

"Animal Makeovers."

What took so long? In this age of pet shrinks, doggie day care and animal clothing lines, why wouldn't people volunteer their companions for a makeover?

Despite my outrageous thoughts, this show won't have kitty plastic surgery, doggie day spas or ferret vacations. Nothing quite that exciting. It's going to focus on animal health and nutrition instead. The focus on food makes sense since Purina is involved with the development.

Best Post Ever

Can't get enough of VH1's "Best Week Ever"? Are you like SniperCloud back in July 2004? Sitting on your couch. Wishing for "Best Day Ever."

Well, you might not have to wait much longer. Last week VH1 filed for trademark protection for "Best Day Ever."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Courtesy Tours Cost Nothing

Why haven't Travel Channel, Food Network, Fine Living and other cable nets mashed TV travelogues with Google maps?

I know. I know. First they have to put the content online, and then we can worry about how we search for that content. That's the traditional way. And they've started posting vidclips, like Travel Channel's Most Haunted Places, Comedy Central's Insomniac with Dave Attell and MTV's Trippin'.

Food Network is the furthest along this path with their categorized clips (by city) in its Tasty Travel section and a crude map for Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels.

But shouldn't we try to motivate them a little bit? Let's give them a good reason.

Why haven't, travelocity or Orbitz stepped up to the plate? Each has the cash, the connections and the need to differentiate. There's also an easy way to beta-test the concept — implement the idea only for a few locations in the Deals & Destinations section.

Think about this. You're planning your trip and a map of the world sits in front of you. You pick Santa Barbara, zoom in, and see a bunch of icons scattered along the Cali coast. When you click on an icon, a balloon pops up and plays the video clip. Each TV ep is sliced into multiple segments to reduce the size of the video, and, more importantly, to take the viewers directly to the content they want to see. Do you like what you see in the video? Click on the link below the video window to book a trip to (or make a reservation for) that locale.

The travel site makes money by enticing tourists to book more events online. The concept will likely increase traffic for other bookings too since that site has a way to differentiate itself. The cable net and production company make some cash every time a viewer clicks through to watch a video and books a tour for that locale. If the travel site and cable net get greedy, they could use geographically-targeted ads to raise some more dough.

I can see one of the travel sites traveling down this road — using existing, professional content — causing the other sites to compete. (I don't know why Food Network hasn't already made a reciprocal agreement with any of these travel sites.) A second site might produce it's own clips through Fodor's or Lonely Planet. The third site might allow individual locations to post their own vids. A start-up company trying to break-in to the industry will encourage travelers to submit their own travelogues and post approved vid clips.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Even a Worm's Ill Turn

First the newscasts scare people about Bird Flu. Now these same LA newscasts are striking fear in their viewers about bubonic plague. I'm always amazed that viewer fear so often appears to be the objective of news stories.

All of this talk about disease made me think about new medical conditions that TV writers dream up. One thing led to another; so here's a list of TV ep titles that refer to some kind of new -itis or -phobia:
  • Acute Bussophobia (''The Bob Crane Show,'' 4/24/1975)
  • Crystallitis (''Far Out Space Nuts,'' 9/13/1975)
  • Mork Gets Mindy-itis (''Mork & Mindy,'' 10/21/1979)
  • Santaclaustraphobia (''Hill Street Blues,'' 12/16/1982)
  • Snorkitis Is Nothing To Sneeze At (''The Snorks'')
  • Aduckyphobia (''Darkwing Duck,'' 10/7/1991)
  • Oboe Phobia (''Civil Wars,'' 10/7/1992)
  • Witchitis (''Sabrina, the Animated Series,'' 10/9/1999)
  • Santa Claustrophobia (''The King of Queens,'' 12/17/2003)
  • Rhinoceritis (''Rugrats'')
  • Blackaphobia (''Ego Trip's Race-O-Rama,'' 2/22/2005)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Zing of Beauty Is a Joy Forever

NBC presents Miss USA 2006 on Friday. "Tiara Girls" preems on MTV this Wednesday. These young women are competing for more than just scholarships and accolades. They are auditioning for Hollywood jobs.

Sure, these ladies tour the talk show circuit, score guest cameos and play on game shows. Some might even appear in Playboy. But many of these queens go on to much bigger things.
  • Kelly Hu, winner of the 3rd annual Miss Teen USA Pageant in 1985, appeared in "Nash Bridges" and "Martial Law" before making a name for herself in The Scorpion King and X2.
  • Diane Sawyer — yes, that Diane Sawyer — won the 6th annual Junior Miss Pageant in 1963. Look where she is now.
If your friend wants to take this path to TV stardom, should she become Miss America or Miss USA? Decisions. Decisions.

Let's put these pageants to the test. Here is a list of pageant winners that regularly appeared on TV series. Looks like Miss USA is the clear winner these days.

  • Miss America (79th Annual winner crowned on 1/21/2006)

    • 19th Annual (winner: Bess Myerson; New York, NY): "The Big Payoff," "The Name's the Same" & "Candid Camera"
    • 28th Annual (winner: Lee Meriwether; San Francisco, CA): "Match Game PM," "The Clear Horizon," "The Young Marrieds," "The New Andy Griffith Show," "The Munsters Today" & "All My Children"
    • 32nd Annual (winner: Mary Ann Mobley; Brandon, MS): "Be Our Guest," "General Hospital," "Diff'rent Strokes" & "Home Show"
    • 44th Annual (winner: Phyllis Ann George; Denton, TX): "Morning"
    • 46th Annual (winner: Terry Anne Meeuwsen; De Pere, WI): "USam" & "700 Club"
    • 49th Annual (winner: Tawny Elaine Little (nee Godin); Saratoga Springs, NY): News anchor for KABC, KCAL, and KCOP in Los Angeles
    • 57th Annual (winner: Vanessa L. Williams; Milwood, NY): "Style World" & "South Beach"
    • 62nd Annual (winner: Gretchen Carlson; Anoka, MN): "Fox News Live" & "The Early Show"
    • 66th Annual (winner: Leanza Cornett; Jacksonville, FL): host of "Entertainment Tonight," "Ordinary/Extraordinary," "New Attitudes" & "Tricks of the Trade"

  • Miss USA (55th Annual winner to be crowned on 4/21/2006)
    • 1st Annual (winner: Jackie Loughery; Brooklyn, NY): "Seven at Eleven," "Earn Your Vacation," "Mr. District Attorney" & "Judge Roy Bean"
    • 7th Annual (winner: Eurlyne Howell; Bossier City; LA): "Bourbon Street Beat"
    • 19th Annual (winner: Debbie Shelton; Norfolk, VA): "Dallas"
    • 24th Annual (winner: Summer Bartholomew; Merced, CA): "Sale of the Century"
    • 29th Annual (winner: Shawn Weatherly; Sumter, SC): "Shaping Up," "JJ Starbuck," "Baywatch" & "Jack's Place"
    • 34th Annual (winner: Laura Martinez-Harring; El Paso, TX): "General Hospital," "Empire," "California" & "Sunset Beach"
    • 37th Annual (winner: Courtney Gibbs; Fort Worth, TX): "All My Children"
    • 42nd Annual (winner: Kenya Moore; Detroit, MI): "Nubian Goddess"
    • 45th Annual (winner: Ali Landry; Breux Bridge, LA): "Sunset Beach," "America's Greatest Pets," "," "Spy TV," "Full Frontal Fashion," "Eve"
    • 47th Annual (winner: Shawnae Jebbia; Boston; MA): "Co-ed Training"
    • 49th Annual (winner: Lynnette Cole; Columbia, TN): "Source: All Access"
    • 50th Annual (winner: Kandace Krueger; Austin, TX): "Hollywood Red Carpet"
    • 51st Annual (winner: Shauntay Hinton; Washington D.C.): "Current TV"
    • 52nd Annual (winner: Susie Castillo; Lawrence, MA): "The Swan"
    • 53rd Annual (winner: Shandi Finnessey; Florissant, MO): "Lingo"

Monday, April 17, 2006

Awards Update

Nothing too exciting today. Just a periodic update of the trivialTV Awards Database. Over the last six weeks I've added about 600 records for the following awards:
  • ALMA Awards: 2006 noms
  • ASCAP Film & TV Music Awards: 2006 winners
  • Banff World Television Awards: 2006 noms
  • Black Reel Awards: 2000-2006 noms & winners
  • Christopher Awards: 2006 winners
  • First Americans in the Arts Awards: 2006 winners
  • Genesis Awards: 2006 winners
  • Golden Reel Awards (MPSE): 2006 winners
  • Gracie Allen Awards: 2006 winners
  • Impact Awards: 2005 & 2006 winners
  • Kids Choice Awards: 2006 winners
  • Maggie Awards: 2005 & 2006 winners
  • Movieguide Awards: 2006 winners
  • Mr. Skin's Anatomy Awards: 2000-2006 winners
  • NAACP Image Awards: 2006 winners
  • Nebula Awards: 2006 noms
  • Peabody Awards: 2006 winners
  • Phoenix Rising Awards: 2006 winner
  • PRISM Awards: 2006 noms
  • Publicists Guild: 2006 winner
  • TV Land Awards: 2006 winners
  • Wilbur Awards: 2006 winners
  • Young Artist Award: 2006 noms & winners

You're now searching nearly 45,000 records when you look for award info for any show.


Friday, April 14, 2006

There's No Such Thing As a Fremantle Lunch

FremantleMedia North America — one of the forces behind American Idol — is having a very busy April at the US Patent & Trademark Office. During the first week alone, Fremantle applied for trademark protection for the following shows:
  • "America's Got Talent" will premiere on NBC on June 21.
  • "Madison Rose," whose MySpace account mentions a deal with Fremantle, will likely be the subject of a documentary.
  • "Strange Felony Files"
  • "Bounced"

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Do Rock the 'mote

Let's look into the snowy TV screen and take a peek at the future of TV remote controls. Wait. The picture's clearing up. I can see it. It's a combo phone/remote with a flip-mouse and pull-out keyboard.

The US Patent & Trademark Office just published an app (20060080710) today that describes this future.

First, it's a universal remote control. But that's not all. It's also a cordless phone — you just have to keep your remote in a cradle so that it's always charged. Want to surf the web on your TV? Just use the pull-out keyboard to type away. Too good to be true? It only gets better. The top of the remote flips up and over so that you can use it like a mouse, as shown below. The keyboard slides out on the far right.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Jack's Mother of All Trades

Maybe you'll tune in the for the season — and probably series — finale of ''Freddie'' tonight. If you do, you'll watch an ep called ''Mother of All Grandfathers.''

Turns out that Mom is pretty busy. She's the mother of a lot of things. Just take a look at these ep titles:
  • The Mother of All Battles (''The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,'' 9/16/1991)
  • The Mother of All Fishing Trips (''Doogie Howser, M.D.,'' 12/16/1992)
  • The Mother of All Adventures (''Mighty Max,'' 10/20/1993)
  • The Mother of All In-Laws (''The Mommies,'' 1/7/1995)
  • The Mother of All Monsters (''Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,'' 10/16/1995)
  • The Mother of All Hoods (''The Mask: The Animated Series,'' 9/26/1996)
  • The Mother of All Gwens (''Fired Up,'' 9/22/1997)
  • The Mother of All Visits (''For Your Love,'' 3/31/1998)
  • Mother of All Battles (''Jackie Chan Adventures,'' 9/24/2001)
  • The Mother of All Robattles (''Medabots,'' 4/27/2002)
  • The Mother of All Episodes (''Girlfriends,'' 11/8/2004)
  • Mother of All Grandfathers (''Freddie,'' 4/12/2006)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Breadth Is the Brand Leveler

Theme. Tagline. Slogan. Brand.

Four words that must drive cable net execs simply nuts.

How do you use a simple phrase, graphics, bumpers and ad campaign to convince an audience that your channel is worth watching? You have to identify a niche and choose a theme that sets you apart from other channels, but, at the same time, you have to appeal to a wide audience. A tough problem. And that's why channels change taglines so often. They're looking for just the right message that balances its content niche with audience breadth.

Which cable nets recently refreshed their brands? Last week Court TV unveiled The Whole Truth as its new slogan. A week earlier, TLC unveiled its new brand, Live and Learn, including collectible figurines.

Can you match each tagline with its cable network?
1.Be morea.Bravo
2.find your own storyb.IFC
3.It's Your Life...Spend It Wellc.Lifetime
4.Real. Life. Now.d.Logo uncut.e.The N
6.very funnyf.PBS
8.Watch What Happensh.tbs
9.WE have more funi.WealthTV
10.Your Network. Your Stories.j.Women's Entertainment


Monday, April 10, 2006

Monthly Schedule Update

I've added another four weeks — most of March 2006 — to the searchable schedules at the top of the page.

But there's bigger news today. Remember. Everytime I update the searchable TV schedules, I also update Total Tube Time in the near right column. If you take a peek today, you'll see that "Law & Order" sits proudly at the top of the list of dramas. "L&O" finally passed "Murder, She Wrote."

From June 6, 1983 to March 26, 2006 "L&O" logged 8.09 billion household hours on US primetime network TV. That's more household hours than any other drama during that same period.

Just think about that number. If you watched "L&O" on a Wednesday night in February, that means your TV contributed ONE household hour to that number. If 1,000 households watch "L&O" 24/7/365, viewers would endure more than 90 years of "L&O" to reach 8.09 billion household hours.

Friday, April 07, 2006

BETer Be Envied Than Pitied

Rumor has it that BET will soon announce four new series:
  • "American Gangster" will point the finger at notorious crime figures.
  • "Black Carpet" will highlight events, celebrities and trendsetters that shape, entertain and inform African American culture.
  • "Iron Ring" will sport mixed martial arts competitors managed by celebrities.
  • "Star Time" will put the spotlight on an up-and-coming artist.

Brainchildren Should Be Seen and Not Heard

The furor over ABC's "American Inventor" is dying down. According to the weekly Nielsen Ratings, the skein attracted audiences of 14.15, 13.04 and 9.29 million viewers for the first three weeks, respectively. I don't have numbers for last night's show, but I'm guessing fewer than 9 million people watched since "AI" aired opposite a new ep of "CSI," just like last week — its third week. "AI" avoided new eps of "CSI" for the first two weeks and took advantage.

This trend doesn't bode well for Halo Productions. On March 17 — the day after "AI" preemed — Halo filed for trademark protection for "International Inventor." A natural next step.

I don't expect to ever see Halo's international version hit the airwaves though.

Way back in the Fall of 2004, Anson Williams (Potsy on "Happy Days") joined Halo Studios to produce a 10-episode series called "The Entrepreneur." I haven't been able to find the show anywhere. We've seen USA's "Made in the USA" from Realand Productions, LLC and 10X10 Entertainment in association with NBC Universal Television Distribution. And we've seen ABC's "American Inventor" from Simon Cowell's Syco Television LLC and FremantleMedia North America, Inc in association with Peter Jones TV. But nothing called "The Entrepreneur."

Combine waning interest in "American Inventor" with Halo's recent track record in this area and "International Inventor" becomes a non-story.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

What Can't Be Secured Must Be Endured

I was reading an article about Cablevision's remote storage DVR over the weekend, and the note reminded me how cable companies have centralized other aspects of their business.

Remember the old days when a technician had to come to your house and fiddle with your set-top box so you could get that new movie channel? Well, it turned out that anybody could do that upgrade — without the cable company's approval or knowledge. And that led to theft.

The cable companies tried scrambling signals, but that didn't deter too many thieves. I'm sure cable companies had to rely on local anti-theft measures, but I really don't remember hearing much about them. So I did some research, and I came across one technique that I never heard of. Here's a snippet from Robin Foster's October 14, 1985 article in The Orlando Sentinel entitled, Wired for Security: Inventor Put Lid on Cable Television with Rigged Box.
[Robert H.] Schaer is service manager at Sonitrol Security Systems Inc. in St. Petersburg, and after creating a security device for alarm boxes, his boss told him that the same invention might sell better in the cable television market. All Schaer did was wire together five screws for the back of a cable box. If the screws are not removed in the pre-determined order, the box will disconnect all the television channels.

''This protects against getting cable channels the customer is not paying for,'' Schaer said, explaining that many cable customers are able to take the back off their cable box and access extra channels. The only way the box could then be reconnected is with a visit from the cable service repairman, he said.
Simple and ingeneous. I wonder if it actually worked?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Today Is the First OK of the Rest of Your Life

If you watched "Gilmore Girls" last night, you watched a fresh ep entitled, I'm OK, You're OK.

Yes, that is the same title as the 1969 Thomas Harris book that slowly climbed the best seller lists. It was the #4 best-selling non-fiction book of 1971, according to this Cader Books resource.

Here's a short list of shows that paid homage to Harris' self-helper:
  • Laura Fay, You're Okay! (''Room 222,'' 3/31/1971)
  • I'm Okay, You're Okay, So What's Wrong? (''The Bob Newhart Show,'' 11/17/1973)
  • I'm Okay, But You're Not (''Welcome Back, Kotter,'' 6/1/1979)
  • I'm OK, You're Catatonic (''Night Court,'' 1/21/1988)
  • I'm OK, You Need Work (''21 Jump Street,'' 2/21/1988)
  • I'm Okay, You're All Crazy (''She's the Sheriff,'' 1989)
  • Slime OK, You're OK (''Darkwing Duck,'' 11/26/1991)
  • I'm Okay, You're Defective (''Cheers,'' 12/5/1991)
  • I'm O-tay, You're O-tay (''The Parent 'Hood,'' 2/21/1996)
  • I'm OK, You're Hilton (''Cosby,'' 3/10/1997)
  • Y2K, You're Okay (''The Drew Carey Show,'' 9/22/1999)
  • I'm Okay, You're Crazy (''Fighting Fitzgeralds,'' 4/3/2001)
  • I'm OK, You're Not OK (''Gastineau Girls,'' 12/6/2005)
Of course, ''The Bob Newhart Show'' was perfectly positioned to riff on the title of this self-help book. Right time. Right character.

At first I was surprised by the cluster of shows from 1988-1991 that referenced the book, but then I remembered that the self-help craze really started in the late '80s. I confirmed my suspicion about this late '80s trend when I found Wendy Kaminer's 1992 book, I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional: The Recovery Movement and Other Self-Help Fashions.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Old Series Never Die, They Just Fade Into Schedule Filler

Tonight you can watch the first ep of ''City of Men'' on the Sundance Channel. This Brazilian import is a strong indicator of things to come.

The number of channels continues to increase fast. Faster than the talent pool for professionally-produced US TV series. The result? Cable channels have to fill programming gaps, and their best bet is to purchase the rights to foreign-produced series that already aired. That's the reason why you can watch imported anime on Cartoon Network and ABC Family. That's the reason why you can watch imported Aussie shows, like "Kath & Kim" and "McLeod's Daughters." That's the reason why you'll see be able to watch the imported Finnish series, "The Dudesons," on Spike TV this summer.

This practice of repurposing TV series is not new. Since Fox hit the primetime airwaves almost 20 years ago (April 5, 1987), the following series aired on US primetime network TV after airing elsewhere (cable, foreign nets):
  • 104 airings on Fox in 1988-90: "It's Garry Shandling's Show" (Showtime, 1986)
  • 46 airings on Fox in 1994-96: "Tales from the Crypt" (HBO, 1989)
  • 19 airings on Fox in 1995: "Dream On" (HBO, 1990)
  • 18 airings on ABC in 2002, 2004: "Monk" (USA, 2002)
  • 11 airings on UPN in 2001: "Celebrity Deathmatch" (MTV, 1998)
  • 10 airings on NBC in 2003-04: "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" (Bravo, 2003)
  • 8 airings on NBC in 2002: "Forensic Files" (Court TV, 2000)
  • 3 airings on NBC in 1998: "Stressed Eric" (BBC2 - UK, 1998)
  • 2 airings on UPN in 1999: "Power Play" (CTV - Canada, 1988)
"Stressed Eric" was a little ahead of its time. Despite being removed from the airwaves after three eps, it averaged 4.5 million households per show. An awful audience for a network at the time, but a pretty good audience for a cable channel today.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Beauty Is in the Eyes of the IMDBeholder

If you look at historical TV schedules using the trivialTV database at the top of any page on this blog, you'll see that I added links to the front pages of TV shows on

Most program boxes now contain links to, TV Guide and I'll be adding links to offical homepages, if they exist, and wikipedia show pages in the future.

I just started working on a new GUI for the TV schedules so that you'll be able to access and view information faster and easier. I plan to unveil the new interface on the one-year anniversary of trivialTV.

For now, enjoy!