Thursday, November 30, 2006

American Heiress

Back in September Variety reported that:
Fox's Twentieth Television continues to rake the archives of Latin American television for MyNetworkTV. Its latest format acquisition is "La heredera" (The Heiress) from Mexico's TV Azteca.
More recently — on November 17, 2006 — MyNetworkTV, Inc. filed docs with the USPTO to protect the phrase, American Heiress. I haven't heard a firm preem date, but I'm guessing we'll see the skein in September 2007. Update (7 Dec 2006): After reading the synopsis for MyNetworkTV's "To Live and Die," it's obvious that the show will be renamed "American Heiress" and preem in June 2007.
Update (2 Feb 2007): "American Heiress" will debut on March 13, 2007 according to the The Hollywood Reporter.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Crimes & Misdemeanors & Punishment

Possibly a TV movie by Fyodor Allen? Eh, probably not.

Did you catch "All of Us" on the CW on Monday? Yeah? Then you watched the Crime and Maybe Some Punishment episode — an ep with cute little name derived from Dostoyevsky's work. For some reason I always think about Crimes and Misdemeanors whenever I hear Crime and Punishment.

Sticking with this train of thought, I searched for amusing variations of these two titles in TV ep names. Enjoy!
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors
    • Crimes and Cappuccinos (''Sweet Valley High,'' 1/20/1997)
    • Crimes and Michelle's Demeanor (''Full House,'' 9/28/1990)
    • Crimes and Mini-Wieners (''Complete Savages,'' 6/3/2005)
    • Crimes and Ms. Demeanors (''Sisters,'' 1/16/1993)
    • Crimes and Witch-Demeanors (''Charmed,'' 4/25/2004)
    • Gus and Misdemeanors (''Recess'')

  • Crime and Punishment
    • Crackers and Punishment (''Daddio,'' 4/6/2000)
    • Crime and Self-Punishment (''State of Grace,'' 7/9/2001)
    • Grime and Punishment (''Married…with Children,'' 1/20/1997)
    • Rhyme and Punishment (''L.A. Law,'' 12/16/1993)
    • Swine and Punishment (''Welcome Back, Kotter,'' 11/24/1977)
    • Slime and Punishment (''Nurses,'' 9/19/1992)
    • time and punishment (''Sex and the City,'' 7/8/2001)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

trivialTV Ep Vid Finder: Update #07

I've added more than 1500 links in today's update for the trivialTV Ep Vid Finder, bringing the grand totals to 16,713 links to 11,051 eps for 658 series.

These shows are new or had significant updates in the trivialTV Ep Vid Finder:
  • "#1 Single" (E!; Unbox)
  • "3 lbs" (CBS; iTunes)
  • "African Diaries" (Unbox)
  • "African Odyssey" (Unbox)
  • "American Dad" (Fox; MySpace)
  • "American Gangster" (BET; iTunes)
  • "Beef: The Series" (BET; iTunes)
  • "Beer: An Insider's Guide" (Unbox)
  • "BET's ComicView" (BET; iTunes)
  • "Celebrity Paranormal Project" (VH1; AOL Video, Unbox)
  • "Class of 3000" (Cartoon Network; iTunes)
  • "Committed: The Christies" (BET-J; iTunes)
  • "DMX: Soul of a Man" (BET; iTunes)
  • "Dog the Bounty Hunter" seasons 2 & 3 (A&E; iTunes)
  • "Fear Factor Australia" (AOL Video)
  • "Friends" seasons 2 & 3 (NBC; iTunes & Unbox)
  • "Frisky Dingo" (Adult Swim; iTunes)
  • "Great Tank Battles of WWII" (Unbox)
  • "Growing Up Gotti" (A&E; AOL Video)
  • "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (Syn; iTunes)
  • "Hip World" (Unbox)
  • "Hip World Gourmet" (Unbox)
  • "House of Boateng" (Sundance; GoogleVideo)
  • "Just Shoot Me!" (NBC; AOL Video)
  • "Lil' Kim: Countdown to Lockdown" (BET; iTunes)
  • "Moral Orel" (Adult Swim; iTunes)
  • "The Papdits" (innertube)
  • "Spider-Man (MTV 2003; AOL Video)
  • "Square Off" (TV Guide; AOL Video)
  • "The West Wing" (NBC; Unbox)
  • "Xena: Warrior Princess" (Syn; iTunes)
  • "Xotic Xtreme" (GoogleVideo)

The following shows are no longer available:
  • "Happy Hour" (Fox; MySpace)
  • "Justice" (Fox; MySpace)
  • "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (CBS; innertube)
  • "Til Death" (Fox; MySpace)

These sites are included in today's update:
  • ABC: typical update
  • AOL TV: typical update. New series/seasons for AOL Video:
    • "The Adventures of Chico and Guapo"
    • "The Andy Milonakis Show" season 2
    • "Blowin' Up"
    • "Breaking Bonaduce" season 1
    • "Digging for the Truth"
    • "The Gauntlet 2"
    • "Hill Street Blues" seasons 1 & 2
    • "Hogan Knows Best" season 1
    • "Jackass" seasons 2 & 3
    • "Land of the Giants" season 1
    • "Lost in Space" season 2
    • "Murder One" complete series
    • "My Fair Brady" season 1
    • "NYPD Blue" season 2
    • "Pimp My Ride" season 1
    • "So NoTORIous"
    • "Strange Love"
    • "The Surreal Life" seasons 4 & 5
    • "The Real World" Austin, Key West & Denver
    • "The Ride: Seven Days to End AIDS"
    • "The Shield" season 5
    • "Viva la Bam" season 5
    • Wild 'n Out" seasons 1 & 2
    • "Wildboyz" seasons 1 & 2

  • CinemaNow: no new TV content
  • Google Video: typical update. new content listed above.
  • GUBA: no new TV content
  • in2tv: no new TV content
  • innertube: typical update.
  • iTunes: typical update. new content listed above.
  • iwatchnow: no new TV content
  • MySpace (Fox): typical update
  • NBC Rewind: typical update
  • Outdoor Action: no new TV content
  • Peer Impact: no new TV content
  • TV Land: typical update.
  • Unbox: typical update. New series/seasons for Unbox:
    • "Babylon 5" season 2
    • "Celebrity Deathmatch" season 5
    • "NYPD Blue" season 2
    • "Two-a-Days"
    • "Weeds" season 1

Monday, November 27, 2006

Smashtown USA (fka The Derby)

Do you like car crashes? How 'bout watching your next-door neighbor compete on TV? Do you listen to The Road Hammers? Then CMT definitely has a new show for you. "Smashtown USA."

Jason McCoy of The Road Hammers hosts "Smashtown USA." Five ordinary people build cars for a demolition derby and then compete to win a new truck. CMT will likely air the pilot in Spring 2007, according to Jeff Spriet of Chokolat, Inc. Here's a sneak peak of the action from the pilot shoot, thanks to Jennifer is in Kansas.

SMASHTOWN USA CMT


Earlier this year Chokolat created "The Derby." Then Chokolat renamed the show "Smashtown USA" and registered the domain smashtownusa.com on October 2, 2006. Almost four weeks later (October 28, 2006), Chokolat filmed the pilot ep in Milford, OH. Finally, CMT filed documents on November 15, 2006 with the US Patent & Trademark Office to protect the phrase "CMT Smashtown USA."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Power Rangers Mega Morphin' 15

Looks like the Power Rangers franchise is preparing a full marketing assault for its 15th anniversary next year. BVS Entertainment filed docs with the USPTO on November 15, 2006 to protect the phrase, Power Rangers Mega Morphin' 15.

BVS submitted six separate filings to protect this phrase for more than 320 different products. Action figures. Cell phones. Pagers. Pencils. Table tennis tables. TV shows. Change purses. Mouse pads. MP3 players. Soccer balls. Snow globes. Even bras and panty hose.

BVS didn't miss much, but I'm guessing that we first see a line of Mega Morphin' 15 commemorative action figures.

Friday, November 24, 2006

There Is Many a True Word Spoken in Contests

If you're a long-time reader, you may remember my musings that networks will hold series-long contests with a $5 million grand prize to attract audiences in real-time (Aug 12, 2005). According to this press release, Sci Fi Channel is running a $5 million contest for its upcoming miniseries, "The Lost Room."

If you register to play the $5 Million Bounty Hunt, you are presented with 20 objects. You must select seven different objects from this list and arrange them in any order you like to create your personal Object Code. During the last 30 minutes of the finale (Dec 13, 2006), the winning Object Code will be announced. If a viewer has the winning code, the potential winner must notify Sci Fi Channel by 3:00AM on Dec 14, 2006.

Just a few thoughts on the contest.

Are you going to play? Hope you're feeling very lucky. Your chances of selecting the correct Object Code is one in ~391 million. I'm playing, but only because it's free.

Are you going to watch? I could care less about the series, but I'll tape or TiVO the finale and fast forward to the winning Object Code. Sci Fi got me to play the contest and advertise the miniseries here, but they didn't get me to watch the miniseries nor the commercials.

I'm surprised that Sci Fi Channel isn't unveiling the code over multiple nights. (To learn more about contests with slow reveals, read my patent review (Aug 17, 2006).) On the first night Sci Fi could unveil the first two items in the Object Code and require that you go online by 3:00AM the next morning if you match. Unveil two more objects on the second night and, again, require confirmation from the potential winners by 3:00AM. On the final night, unveil the last three items in the Object Code.

I have another prediction for future contests. Instead of using generic objects like matchbook and umbrella, contests will include consumer products. To unveil the objects, the network displays a splash screen across the bottom of the commercials for the winning objects. Or the viewer must see the product placement inside the show if the net presents the show without commercials. I could even see a company like Proctor & Gamble purchase exclusive rights to the game. My Object Code might look something like Duracell batteries, Iams cat food, Pampers, Pringles, Vicks, Febreze and Tide.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Take Care of the Dinnies and the Dollars Take Care of Themselves

Dinner for a Dollar.

You probably know the title from Good Housekeeping. There's a cookbook. Recipes are online. A TV show too?

Maybe. Hearst Communications, Inc. filed docs with the USPTO on November 15, 2006 to protect "Dinner for a Dollar" for "Entertainment in the nature of on-going television programs in the field of COOKING." Pretty self-explanatory.

But here's my guess. I don't think it will be a standalone series. Look at the web address for the online recipes. That's right. It's part of iVillage.com. What show preems on December 4, 2006 on NBC? "iVillage Live," of course.

Based on iVillage's trademark filing for "iVillage Live," the skein will include the usual daytime talk fare: "news, entertainment and information in the fields of beauty, home, lifestyle, fashion, health, food and family issues." Obviously, there's going to be a cooking segment. I know that "iVillage Live" really wants to integrate TV with the web. Sounds like a perfect match to me.

"Dinner for a Dollar" should be a cooking segment on "iVillage Live." I guess we'll find out in about a week and a half whether I'm right or not.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Old Habits Pie Hard

When I think about Thanksgiving dinner, my mind usually wanders toward dessert. I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin pie—I'd rather make a chocolate silk mousse pie instead. Or cheesecake. Maybe even cream puffs.

But everybody expects pie on Turkey Day. Since pie is synonymous with T-Day, TV writers take the opportunity to have fun with pie. More than 100 eps include 'pie' in the title, and I've hand-selected some of the more amusing ones here:
  • I Pie (''Good Eats'')
  • In the Sweet Pie and Pie (''The Three Stooges'')
  • Let Them Eat Pie (''My Wife and Kids,'' 11/7/2001)
  • My Kingdom for a Pie (''Adventures of the Gummi Bears'')
  • Pie Pie Blackbird (''Yippee, Yappee, and Yahooey'')
  • Pie Pirates (''Yogi Bear'')
  • The Best Little Pie Shop in Tulsa (''Rodney,'' 6/6/2006)
  • The Masked Pie Smurfer (''Smurfs,'' 9/28/1985)
  • The Night of the Flying Pie Plate (''The Wild Wild West,'' 10/21/1966)
  • The Pie Who Loved Me (''Grim & Evil,'' 10/18/2002)
  • 'Twas the Pie Before Christmas (''The Bob Newhart Show,'' 12/24/1977)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Life Is Fort, War Is Long

It's time for CBS to get bold and produce a new military sitcom. Why do I say CBS? Take a look at their lineage of militcoms:
  • "The Phil Silvers Show" (CBS, 1955)
  • "Gomer Pyle, USMC" (CBS, 1964)
  • "Hogan's Heroes" (CBS, 1965)
  • "M*A*S*H" (CBS, 1972)
  • "Roll Out" (CBS, 1973)
  • "Private Benjamin" (CBS, 1981)
  • "Major Dad" (CBS, 1989)
They Eye took a chance with "M*A*S*H" only two years after the shooting at Kent State University's Vietnam War protest (May 4, 1970), but we're not ready to laugh with the military quite yet. I'm guessing that in about five years a military comedy will be a box office hit and then some network will try to capitalize on that film's success. And fail.

Wondering about other military sitcoms that aired on US TV? Match each military site with its series.
Series NameMilitary Site
1."The Army Show" (WB, 1998)a.Camp Henderson
2."At Ease" (ABC, 1983)b.Camp Singleton
3."Beetle Bailey" (1962)c.Camp Swampy
4."C.P.O. Sharkey" (NBC, 1976)d.Camp Tar Creek
5."F Troop" (ABC, 1965)e.Fort Baxter
6."Gomer Pyle, USMC" (CBS, 1964)f.Fort Bendix
7."Major Dad" (CBS, 1989)g.Fort Bradley
8."No Time for Sergeants" (ABC, 1964)h.Fort Courage
9."The Phil Silvers Show" (CBS, 1955)i.Naval Training Center
10."Private Benjamin" (CBS, 1981)j.Oliver Air Force Base

(+/-)answers

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monthly Airings Update

Just a typical update today.

Today I've added four more recent weeks to the trivialTV database. You'll now be able to search 560 more records when you search TV schedules.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Phone Walls Do Not a Media Prison Make

What's up with Microsoft's fascination with wireless data transfer? This week the Zune. Next year a cell phone?

Yesterday the USPTO published Microsoft's patent app for a phone-to-monitor connection device. It's nothing fancy. Just multiple methods for a phone and monitor (or television) to communicate with each other. This way you can watch your phone content on your TV. Or use your cell phone as a remote. How 'bout using your cell phone as a DVR!

Here's one embodiment in which your cell phone wirelessly communicates to your TV's set-top box. (I love that Microsoft could've chosen any city, state or province in the world and the lawyers chose Karnataka, India for the weather report.)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Rocktism

VH1 is going to do its part increase awareness about autism and hopefully raise some cash for a good cause. Keep your eyes and ears open for "VH1 Classic's Rock Autism." I'm guessing VH1 will unveil "Rock Autism" for its 2007 campaign this January through April.

Based on their ten trademark filings on November 6, Viacom is planning a full assault. TV series and concerts. Fundraising. A series of public service announcements. Video games. Downloads. Clothes. Some of the items listed in the goods and services fields are pretty specific. I can't wait for "Rock Autism" Halloween costumes to hit the stores.

Even without the name, VH1 Classic already started its effort. Its auctioning a motorbike signed by Def Leppard and Journey on November 22.

Ask a Silly Question and You'll Get MANswers

Spike TV will grace us with a new show called "MANswers." Network Enterprises filed trademark docs on November 6; so this show looks like it's going forward. According to Cash Casia's 9-28-06 news entry, the show will premiere in February 2007.

I don't know what to expect from this show. According to the casting call for LA, the casting director was looking for:
MALES & FEMALES / 18 and over, All Ethnicities.
Seeking all types, all shapes and sizes - beautiful, sexy, average, attractive, no so attractive, tall , short, skinny, not so skinny, overweight, etc. All types for different segments of the show.

Physical look more important than acting ability. Very few speaking roles.
You'll see model/singer/actress Cash Casia and actor/model Reggie White, Jr. and a guy who writes the poop report. According to Dave at the poop report, the show will tackle important questions like "Can you die from pooping?"

Oh, and Jerry Mahoney is one of the writers for "MANswers." You probably don't know Jerry's name, but I'm sure you know his recent work. Story editor/producer for "Beauty & the Geek 3" on WB. Associate Producer for MTV datings shows, "Date My Mom" and "NEXT." Producer for MTV's "The Reality Show," which only aired four eps on TV. Let's hope the "MANswers" beats that mark.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fax about Sax and Violins on TV

TV writers love using puns in ep titles. Just take a look at NBC's schedule this Friday night and you'll see an ep of "Las Vegas" named A History of Violins.

Here's more TV ep fax about sax and violins:
  • Fax or Fiction (''Murphy Brown,'' 4/30/1990)
  • A Matter of Fax (''Sleepwalkers,'' 5/31/1998)

  • Lucy Is a Sax Symbol (''Life with Lucy,'' 10/25/1986)
  • No Sax Please - We're Egyptian (''Count Duckula'')
  • Let's Talk About Sax (''The Steve Harvey Show,'' 10/15/1997)
  • Lisa's Sax (''The Simpsons,'' 10/19/1997)

  • Death and Violins (''Dharma & Greg,'' 1/6/1999)
  • Sex and Violins (''Unhappily Ever After,'' 2/14/1999)
  • A History of Violins (''Las Vegas,'' 11/17/2006)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

trivialTV Ep Vid Finder: Update #06

I've added 404 links to the trivialTV Ep Vid Finder. You'll now find links to more than 10,300 legal, full-length eps for 625 TV series.

The following series are new to the Ep Vid Finder database or had a significant increase in the size of the collection:
  • "3 lbs." (CBS; innertube)
  • "30 Rock" (NBC; iTunes)
  • "The Animatrix" (; iTunes)
  • "Are You Hot?" (ABC; in2tv)
  • "The Atomic County" (wireless; iTunes)
  • "Big O" (adult swim)
  • "Corwin's Quest" (Animal Planet; iTunes)
  • "El Cuerpo del Deseo" (Telemundo; iTunes)
  • "Day Break" (ABC)
  • "Day In Day Out" (mun2; iTunes)
  • "Decisiones" (Univison; iTunes)
  • "Explorer" (Nat Geo; iTunes)
  • "Eyes" (ABC, in2tv)
  • "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E." (NBC; in2tv)
  • "The Hill" (Sundance; iTunes)
  • "Histeria!" (WB; in2tv)
  • "Horse Power: Road to the Maclay" (; iTunes)
  • "Hunter" (CBS; in2tv)
  • "Joey" (NBC; in2tv)
  • "Las Vegas" (NBC; Rewind)
  • "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (NBC; in2tv)
  • "Metalocalypse" (adult swim)
  • "My Fair Brady" season 2 (VH1; iTunes)
  • "NYPD Blue" season 2 (ABC; iTunes)
  • "Pasion de Gavilanes" (Telemundo; iTunes)
  • "Pearl" (CBS; in2tv)
  • "Pok√©mon" (; toonami jetstream)
  • "Really Wild Animals" (Nat Geo; iTunes)
  • "Samurai Jack" (Cartoon; toonami jetstream)
  • "Spies" (CBS; in2tv)
  • "SpongeBob SquarePants" seasons 2 & 3 (Nick; iTunes)
  • "Stroker & Hoop" (adult swim)
  • "Under Cover" (ABC; in2tv)
  • "Wild" (Nat Geo; iTunes)

These series are no longer available:
  • "Dark Realm"
  • "Korgoth of Barbaria"
  • "Night Visions"
  • "The Nightmare Room"
  • "The Office" (1995)
  • "Paranoia Agent"
  • "Samurai Champloo"
  • "Thieves"
  • "Tom"
  • "Too Something"/"New York Daze"
  • "Twenty Good Years"
  • "The Will"

I updated links to these sites:
  • ABC: usual update
  • [adult swim fix]: usual update
  • Cinemanow: no new TV content
  • GUBA: no new TV content
  • in2tv: usual monthly update
  • innertube (CBS): usual update
  • iTunes
    • "Miami Ink" (TLC)
    • "So NoTORIous" (VH1)
    • "The Staircase" (Sundance)
    • "The Surreal Life" seasons 4 & 5 (VH1)

  • iwatchnow: no new TV content
  • My Space (Fox): usual update (fewer eps for current primetime series)
  • NBC Rewind: usual update
  • Outdoor Action: no new TV content
  • Peer Impact: no new TV content
  • toonami jetstream: usual update
  • TV Land: usual update

Friday, November 10, 2006

TV Music Guitar Hero

Over the last five years we've seen TV make a concerted effort to more seamlessly integrate music media as part of the viewing experience. The WB presented music from new artists in its teen-oriented shows and briefly featured that artist at the end of the show. Shows like "Grey's Anatomy" have great music directors that use blogs to highlight their choices.

And MTV has started to integrate TV with video games through "Virtual Laguna Beach." The TV-gaming integration is reminiscent of the early days of the TV-music relationship. There are crossovers, but they're treated differently. In about five years I expect to see more synergy between TV and gaming.

What if you combine all three of these media outlets (TV, music, gaming)? You can imagine playing games like TV Music Guitar Hero. Imagine your tween child has a wireless guitar next to the couch. As Hannah Montana sings her next hit song — if you didn't know, her album set a record with six singles on Billboard's Hot 100 in the same week and is the only TV soundtrack to debut at #1 on Billboard's Top 200— the bottom of the screen automatically switches to a video game while the top of the screen continues to show "Hannah Montana." Your child watches the show, listens to the music, plays Guitar Hero and can even choose to compete against other children who are also playing in the Hannah Montana Guitar Hero community.

Now that's media convergence.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Talkin2UConfused

wtf wb?

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. filed docs with the US Patent & Trademark Office on October 31, 2006 to protect the phrase, Talkin2UConfused. Not only that, WB registered the domain name, talkin2uconfused.com, on October 13, 2006.

In classic WB fashion the patent filing gives no hint as to what Talkin2UConfused might be about. WB typically uses a boilerplate for the Goods and Services line in all of its filings so that the word mark could be just about anything related to TV.

I don't even have a good guess for this title. I e-mailed WB for any information, but I received no reply.

Men's Men Tell No Tales

Turner Media Group — now The Media Group (TMG) — operates multiple channels, like Healthy Living Channel, The Men's Channel and Beauty & Fashion Channel.

If you go to the website for The Men's Channel, you'll see the following:
The Mens Channel is expanding, adding a new channel and making the original even better. See our new network Men's Outdoor & Recreation for the current line up, and make sure to check back as The Men's Channel will be back soon bigger and better.
You'll notice that the text is pretty vague about the new channel, but I have a guess. Turner Media Group filed docs with the USPTO on November 3, 2006 to protect the phrase Men Men's Entertainment Network for "cable channels in the fields of news and variety."

Sounds like a match to me.

I submitted a request for information on the TMG website, but I received no response.

Inside Bites

Earlier this year I told you about Mobizzo almost two months before Fox Mobile Entertainment made the official announcement.

What's Fox up to now? It's just developing Inside Bites.

According to its trademark filing on October 26, 2006, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation is protecting Inside Bites for "downloadable motion pictures and television shows...[and] ring tones, ring backs, graphics, wallpaper, games and music via a global computer network and wireless devices."

I'll be interested to see how Mobizzo and Inside Bites coexist.

I contacted Mobizzo via its website with the news and asked how it would affect my ability to download my fave Fox shows from Mobizzo in the future. Mobizzo did not respond.

Just a side note to domain squatters: InsideBites.com is still available.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Blessed Is He Who Elects Nothing, For He Shall Never Be Disappointed

It's the evening of Election Day and I've conceded the CA gubernatorial race.

I just couldn't convince enough people to write-in my name. And, of course, there's the small problem that few people in LA County know that you have to write the candidates' "names and the office on the gray envelope pocket provided for write-in votes." I doubt I'm even a "qualified write-in candidate" anyways — I couldn't even convince me to vote for myself.

How do TV writers view elections? Here's a glimpse through ep titles:
  • Vote for Me, Darling (''Love that Jill,'' 2/17/1958)
  • Ed the Voter (''Mr. Ed,'' 11/5/1961)
  • Vote for Brady (''The Brady Bunch,'' 12/12/1969)
  • The Graveyard Vote (''Banyon,'' 9/29/1972)
  • Think Smartly--Vote Hartley (''The Bob Newhart Show,'' 1/11/1975)
  • Death Casts a Vote (''Quincy, M.E.,'' 10/21/1977)
  • The Cemetery Vote (''Murder, She Wrote,'' 4/5/1987)
  • Don't Rock the Vote (''Charles in Charge,'' )
  • Vote Early and Vote Often (''Evening Shade,'' 1/28/1991)
  • Dick the Vote (''3rd Rock from the Sun,'' 10/27/1996)
  • Get Your Vote On (''City Guys,'' 11/13/1999)
  • Vote of Kong-fidence (''Donkey Kong Country,'' 4/7/2000)
  • Mock the Vote (''City Guys,'' 11/3/2001)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Common Threads #8

What do these TV business names have in common?

  • Hitower
  • Platinum
  • Throb
  • True Vinyl

(+/-)answer

Monday, November 06, 2006

We Get Our Share of Viewers

I've included share and viewer data along with ratings data for shows in the TV Schedule feature. Share and viewer data is not nearly complete for the entire period (1/1/1983 - present) but is nearly finished for the last five years.

Even though the data is not perfect, I'm releasing it anyways since a few dedicated readers made special requests for the numbers. Over the next six months, I'll fill-in some of the missing data.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Creaking Gateway Hangs Long

It sounds like Sony is tired of having separate product lines for TV and home computers — at least based on a recent patent filing.

On November 2, 2006 the USPTO published Sony Corp's patent app for "Gateway screen for interactive television." (App #20060248572) It sounds fancier than it really is. When you turn on your Sony TV in the far future, you can expect to see the screen show a different window for each information source. Think of picture-in-picture with the main screen initially for TV and the inset picture showing your internet connection.

Personally, I found the description of the invention unintentionally very funny. Snippets like this one (where I add emphasis for effect):
Namely, consumers must purchase a television to watch television, and a computer to access the Internet. One result not only is that costs are duplicated and significant space is required, but also that undertaking both activities at once, in one room, can be difficult.
Really. It's too difficult for your average person to do two things at once on different consumer products? Won't Sony be asking these same people to do two things at once on the same screen with a more complicated remote control?
Here's another favorite:
Moreover, the need for two systems burdens some consumers who, while familiar with operating a television and its remote control, might not be familiar with operating an Internet computer.
Come on. Sony really expects consumers, who don't currently use the internet because they don't know how, will fork out the cash for a TV with a feature they never use? If they can't use the internet because it's too much effort to learn, won't Sony make watching TV more difficult with a more complicated remote?

Sony's idea is fine, but the company sure doesn't have a high opinion of its consumers!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rome Wasn't Built in a 10 Day Take

''10 Day Take''

Comcast filed docs with the USPTO on October 27, 2006 to protect that phrase. Endemol USA registered two domains — 10daytake.com and tendaytake.com — on October 17, 2006.

You probably know Endemol USA for ''Deal or No Deal'' and ''Big Brother'' and ''The One: The Making of a Music Star.'' What could it have up its sleeve this time? According to its trademark filing, ''10 Day Take'' will be:
a web site featuring video clips, musical performances, musical videos, related film clips, photographs and other video and multimedia materials; contests relating to conception and development of television and video programming; entertainment services in the nature or television.
I'd be very excited to know that Endemol is taking its game-sense to the web and developing a forum for multimedia developers to compete against each other over a ten-day period to execute a specific idea, followed by visitor voting. That would rock!

I e-mailed the administrative contact for 10daytake.com for additional information, but my e-mail went unanswered. If you're keeping track at home, I'm now oh-fer twenty when requesting info by e-mail.

Update (2 Nov 2006, 6:22PM PST): Endemol USA is my favorite production company. They responded to my request and confirmed "that it [10 Day Take] will be a competition with a signficiant web component."end update

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

TV Power Ratings, 2005-2006

I developed the TV Power Rating to represent a show's value to its network. A program's Power Rating is based on its Nielsen Rating relative to other shows on the network during the same week and on the same night. A show with a high power rating is very valuable to that network. Likewise, a show with a low power rating is not very valuable.

Today you get two lists for the price of one. Not bad for free.

Which ten series had the highest average Power Ratings for the 2005-2006 season?
    2.23: ''American Idol''
    1.60: ''WWE Smackdown!''
    1.37: ''Deal or No Deal''
    1.36: ''NFL Monday Night Football''
    1.23: ''CSI''
    1.15: ''America's Got Talent''
    1.05: ''Dancing with the Stars''
    0.83: ''ER''
    0.82: ''Smallville''
    0.74: ''Law & Order: SVU''
Any surprises for you? I was shocked that MNF's value plummeted from last year — the biggest drop of any series. It's easy to see why ABC passed on MNF's big contract.

Update (31 Oct 2006, 9:58AM): One reader e-mailed and asked why ''Desperate Housewives'' and ''Grey's Anatomy'' weren't on the list since both shows were consistently rated in the top ten. Since ABC scheduled them back-to-back on Sundays for most of last year, these shows weren't as valuable as they could've been. By moving ''GA'' to Thursdays this year, ABC is now taking full advantage of lead-in and lead-out effects of both shows since they're anchoring different nights. So far this Fall season ''DH'' is rated #2 in the Power Ratings, which means that ''DH'' is more important for the Alphabet's Sunday lineup this year than last year. End Update

Now let's look at the flip side. These ten series had the lowest average Power Rating for the 2005-2006 season.
    -4.14: ''Sex, Love & Secrets''
    -3.82: ''One Ocean View''
    -3.65: ''Still Standing''
    -3.65: ''Tuesday Night Book Club''
    -3.63: ''Love Monkey''
    -3.63: ''Scrubs''
    -3.59: ''Head Cases''
    -3.52: ''Kitchen Confidential''
    -3.41: ''Jake in Progress''
    -3.40: ''Yes, Dear''
All six new shows on this list were cancelled very quickly. No surprise. And three of the four returning shows were also cut — only ''Scrubs'' survived the axe. Why? Besides the fact that the Peacock is desperate, ''Scrubs'' scewed heavily toward 18-49 year olds. Just like ''The Office,'' which was on last year's list. That bodes well for ''Scrubs'' this year as NBC reforms its Thursday sitcom block.

A Ghoul Is Known By His Laughter

It's late Halloween and ghouls are still roaming my neighborhood.

Ghoul. Such a great word for TV ep titles.

It substitutes so nicely for 'girl':
  • The Bad News Ghouls (''Grim & Evil,'' 4/8/2005)
  • Boys Meets Ghouls (''Milton the Monster'')
  • Ghoul of My Dreams (''Darkwing Duck,'' 10/16/1991)
  • Girls Will Be Ghouls (''The Girls Next Door,'' 10/15/2006)
  • The Most Beautiful Ghoul in the World (''The Munsters,'' 1/27/1966)
  • Showghouls (''Charmed,'' 2/20/2005)
  • A Spooky Little Ghoul Like You (''The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo,'' 10/19/1985)
  • Super Ghoul (''The Groovie Goolies'')
  • To All the Ghouls I've Loved Before (''The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo,'' 9/7/1985)
  • Where You Going Little Ghoul (''The Groovie Goolies'')

Rhymes with 'fool':
  • A Ghoul and His Money (''Beetlejuice,'' 10/19/1991)
  • Ghouls' Gold (''Mummies Alive!,'' 10/16/1997)
  • Nobody's Ghoul (''Deputy Dawg'')
  • Ship of Ghouls (''The Love Boat,'' 10/28/1978)

And can substitute for so many other sounds and words:
  • The Ghoul, the Bad, and the Ugly (''Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo,'' 12/8/1979)
  • Goodbye Ghoul World (''Maxie's World'')
  • Highs-Ghoul Confidential (''Beetlejuice,'' 10/21/1991)
  • Mom Always Liked Ghouls Best (''Casper'')
  • Not Ghoultry (''Casper the Friendly Ghost'')