Thursday, September 27, 2007

My Mom Is Better Than Your Mom

Wait. What?

Yesterday you probably read about NBC's new game show, "My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad," which is being created by J. Mark Burnett and Reveille Productions. I'm here to tell you that they're already planning episodes of "My Mom Is Better Than Your Mom."

Don't believe me?

On September 19, 2007, Ben Silverman Productions (doing business as Reveille Productions) filed two trademark applications with the US Patent & Trademark Office. One is for "My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad." The other? "My Mom Is Better Than Your Mom," of course.

Not compelling enough? Need more evidence? Take a look at this casting call, which was posted yesterday. See anything strange? They're looking for soccer moms! Why do they need soccer moms for "My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad!" Simple reason. They're already casting for the Mom version of the show.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ep Side Story

Fifty years ago today the original production of West Side Story opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway.

You can just imagine how often TV writers paid homage to this musical. West Side Story and East Side Story are often used for ep titles. If Patrick Star was a sitcom writer, maybe he would've penned an ep entitled Weast Side Story. How else did scribes honor West Side Story?
  • Bayside Story (''Saved by the Bell: The New Class,'' 10/22/1994)
  • Eastside, Westside Story (''Claude's Crib'')
  • Lower East Side Story (''Double Rush,'' 3/15/1995)
  • Lower East Side Story (''Platypus Man,'' 5/1/1995)
  • Rep Side Story (''The Adventures of T-Rex'')
  • South Side Story (''Trapper John, M.D.,'' 4/3/1983)
  • South Side Story (''The Hughleys,'' 3/5/2001)
  • Sweatside Story (''Welcome Back, Kotter,'' 10/7/1976)
  • Upper West Side Story (''Food Show'')
  • Watts Side Story (''Sanford and Son,'' 1/26/1973)
  • West Side Astoria (''Archie Bunker's Place,'' 4/4/1982)
  • Westie Side Story (''King of the Hill,'' 3/2/1997)
  • Westley Side Story (''Class of 3000,'' 2/2/2007)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New Eps Online: September, Week 4

New series and seasons (full eps only) released online since 18 September 2007:
  • ''America's Next Top Model'' (CW; iTunes): current season (9)
  • ''Avatar: The Last Airbender'' (Nick; iTunes): current season (3)
  • ''Back to You'' (Fox; iTunes, Unbox): current season (1)
  • ''Breed: All About It'' (Animal Planet; iTunes): volume 2
  • ''Gossip Girl'' (CW; iTunes, Unbox): current season (1)
  • ''How I Met Your Mother'' (CBS; Unbox): season 1, 2 & current (3)
  • ''Just Jordan'' (Nick; iTunes): current season (2)
  • ''Kid Nation'' (CBS; iTunes, Unbox): current season (1)
  • ''Kitchen Nightmares'' (Fox; iTunes, Unbox): current season (1)
  • ''Landscape Solutions'' (HGTV; Unbox): seasons 3 & 4
  • ''Life of Ryan'' (MTV; iTunes, Unbox): current season (1)
  • ''MAD TV'' (Fox; iTunes): current season (13)
  • ''Metalocalypse'' (adult swim; iTunes): current season (2)
  • ''Penn & Teller: Bullshit!'' (Showtime; Movielink, Unbox): season 5
  • ''Rules of Engagement'' (CBS; Unbox): current season (2)
  • ''Shark'' (CBS; Unbox): season 1 and current (2)
  • ''Shark'' (CBS; iTunes): current season (2)
  • ''Survivor'' (CBS; iTunes, Unbox): current season (15)
  • '''Til Death'' (Fox; iTunes, Unbox): current season (2)
  • ''Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge'' (CMT; iTunes, Unbox): season 1
  • ''Unfabulous'' (Nick; iTunes): current season (3)

Friday, September 21, 2007

What Are the People Watching in Your Neighborhood?

I doubt it will ever happen because of privacy concerns, but I can imagine some engineer wanting to mash set-top box signals with Google maps. We'll never see a map with house-by-house viewing habits, but you may someday see a community lumped together. You'll be able to compare the viewing habits of Manhattan vs. Queens or Pasadena vs. Glendale in real-time as well as historical ratings.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Love at First Sight

FremantleMedia, the studio behind "American Idol", is developing a new show.

On September 14, 2007 FremantleMedia North America, Inc. filed a trademark application to protect "Love at First Sight" for
Entertainment services in the nature of a television series; entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; providing digitized print and visual information about a television series via a global computer network; sweepstakes.

The Deadliest Warrior

Last night Spike unveiled a new season of "The Ultimate Fighter." Soon you'll be able to watch "The Deadliest Warrior."

On September 12, 2007 Network Enterprises filed a trademark application to protect "The Deadliest Warrior" for a TV series. If you recall, Network Enterprises files applications for Spike shows.

I've found no other info. All relevant domain names — both .com and .tv and short/long versions of the title — are still available. I've found nothing else online.

DIY/HGTV Series in Development

Scripps Networks, LLC recently protected a number of new word marks for new TV shows. On September 7 Scripps filed apps to protect the following shows for HGTV/DIY:
  • Armchair Designers
  • Beyond Repair
  • The Big Move
  • The Big Reveal
  • Buy Mistake
  • Get It Done
  • Hammer Heads: Premieres October 6
  • HGTV Design Club with Matt and Shari: New show for Shari Hiller and Matt Fox.
  • Hollywood Handyman (or Hollywood Handymen)
  • The Inside Job
  • Outdoor Oasis: Previously an HGTV sweepstakes and the title of a single episode of multiple series. Concept finally gets its own show.
  • Renovation Realities
  • Rip + Renew: Premieres October 7
  • Take It to the House
  • Yard Crashers: According to Outdoor Living Trends, the show has "designers do complete makeovers of selected back yards" and at least one episode has been filmed.

New Food Network Shows in Development

Way back on September 4 & 7, 2007 the Television Food Network filed multiple trademark applications for new TV shows, including:
  • The Gourmet Next Door: The new series starring Amy Finley, winner of "Next Food Network Star 3" is scheduled to premiere on October 14 at Noon.

  • Sugar Shack: Emeril is hosting a Sugar Shack event at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival (21-24 Feb 2008).

  • Plate and Switch

  • Snack Attack

  • Alex on Fire

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Episodic Nation

Finally. "Kid Nation" preems tonight and I can't wait — for the commercials and marketing to be over, that is.

Tonight CBS creates a kid nation. What other types of nations has TV discussed in the past? Let's take a look at ep titles in TV history:
  • Access Nation (''Law & Order,'' 2/27/2002)
  • Animation Nation (''The F-List'')
  • Crustacean Nation (''Good Eats'')
  • Electric Nation (''Great Projects: The Building of America'')
  • Fallen Nation (''Team Knight Rider,'' 10/6/1997)
  • Fashion Nation (''Quilt Central'')
  • Gym Nation (''FitNation'')
  • Hip Hop Nation (''One-Hit Wonders'')
  • Imagine Nation (''Blue's Clues'')
  • Immigration Nation (''HistoryCENTER'')
  • Island Nation (''Southern Home by Design'')
  • Kimitation Nation (''Kim Possible,'' 11/15/2002)
  • Navajo Nation (''Primary Focus TV'')
  • The Emerging Nation (''The American Story'')
  • The Expanding Nation (''The American Adventure'')
  • The New Nation (''Tracks: Impressions of America'')
  • The New Nation (''America's History in the Making'')
  • The Ownership Nation (''Small Business School'')
  • The Right Nation (''Uncommon Knowledge'')
  • The Smallest Nation (''Decision: The Conflicts of Harry S. Truman'')
  • The Telltale Nation (''The Practice,'' 11/10/2002)
  • Tot 'em Termi' Nation (''The Paw Paws'')

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Eps Online: September, Week 3

New series and seasons (full eps only) released online since 11 September 2007:
  • ''The Big Bang Theory'' (CBS; Unbox, iTunes): current season (1)
  • ''Blazing Dragons'' (ITV; Unbox): complete series
  • ''Cadillacs and Dinosaurs'' (CBS; Unbox): complete series
  • ''Dog City'' (Fox; Unbox): complete series
  • ''Dumb Bunnies'' (CBS; Unbox): seasons 1 & 2
  • ''House'' (Fox; Unbox): current season (4)
  • ''iCarly'' (Nick; iTunes): current season (1)
  • ''It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'' (FX; Unbox, iTunes): current season (3)
  • ''Josie and the Pussycats'' (CBS; Unbox): complete series
  • ''K-ville'' (Fox; Unbox): current season (1)
  • ''Mr. Bean'' (ITV; iTunes): complete series
  • ''Mr. Bean: The Animated Series'' (ITV1; iTunes): complete series
  • ''NFL GameDay'' (NFL Network; iTunes): current season
  • ''The Neverending Story'' (HBO; Unbox): seasons 1 & 2
  • ''Out of Jimmy's Head'' (Cartoon Network; iTunes): current season (1)
  • ''Prison Break'' (Fox; Unbox): current season (3)
  • ''Sin City Law'' (Sundance; iTunes): current season (1)
  • ''Stargate: Atlantis'' (SciFi; iTunes): season 2
  • ''Street Fighter II'' (Unbox): V
  • ''Tum Yeto Sk8'' (iTunes)
  • ''Upright Citizens Brigade'' (Comedy Central; Unbox, iTunes): season 2
  • ''Virus'' (Unbox): volume 1
  • ''WildC.A.T.S.: Covert Action Teams'' (CBS; Unbox): complete series

Friday, September 14, 2007

Virtual DVDs in the Sky

DRM. Today's dirty word in entertainment.

There are two competing desires at work. Content providers want to maintain complete control and capture every last cent from the value of its properties. Consumers want complete control and be able to watch something anywhere, anytime, anyhow.

Someone has to lose. Or do they?

What if iTunes allows us to stream video on one device at any time with the option of downloading video that has a very short expiration date? By allowing us to stream a video on one device at one time, the content providers can keep control while allowing us to watch video almost anywhere. That's why the short-expiration download is key. If we don't have internet access, such as on most planes still, then we demand another option.

In five years I envision a company that will be an intermediary. Not iTunes or Unbox because they have exclusive deals with content providers. I'm talking about a company with no direct ties to content providers.

So what does this company do? Simple. It's the locker-in-the-sky for your video purchases. You keep your playlist on that site with your favorites and all the other fun community options. But that's not all. This company also maintains the links to all of your purchases, regardless of the purchase point. And if that company is really good, it'll provide a common interface to watch videos.

This company will play a critical role in the ala carte video age since we'll rely on recommendations of experts, friends and the masses to help us determine which new shows to watch. We'll no longer rely on networks to tell us what to watch.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Loaded Questions: The TV Series

Don't laugh. Well, you can laugh at the game. Just don't laugh at the idea of the board game becoming a TV game show.

All Things Equal, maker of the board game Loaded Questions, filed a trademark app on September 6, 2007 to protect the name of the game for "entertainment services, including, production of television programs."

I'm not sure this idea is going to fly. According its website, All Things Equal has sold more than 500,000 units of Loaded Questions. I'm guessing no more than 2.5 million people ever played the game and only a fraction of those would be interested in watching it on TV. It might be OK as a niche game on GSN, but it won't have the mass appeal and instant recognition of "Merv Griffin's Crosswords" or "Scrabble."

I would love to see the numbers — units sold and ratings — for "Taboo", "Balderdash" and "Scattergories" when those game shows preemed on TV. All three shows were based on board games and none of them had a long run. Geez, "Trivial Pursuit" only had a two-year run back in the mid-90s and everybody played that game.

You're Unbearable

That's the Cartoon Network talking. Not me. I think you're just fine.

CN protected the phrase You're Unbearable for "entertainment services, namely, a live-action program series." Yes, you read that correctly. A live-action program series for the Cartoon Network.

I think CN means it too. If you look at the USPTO paperwork for "Out of Jimmy's Head", you'll find CN protected the word mark for "entertainment services, namely, an animated and live action program series." Lo and behold, "Out of Jimmy's Head" is CN's first live-action/animated series — just like the trademark application said it would be.

TV Game Hall of Fame

Last summer GSN ran the countdown series, "50 Greatest Game Shows of All-Time." Around that same time Variety entered a show called "TV Game Hall of Fame" in the production charts for GSN. Completely different shows. One aired and the other died.

Or so we thought. GSN has resurrected "TV Game Hall of Fame" but will use the name for a museum instead of a TV series.

On September 5, 2007 Game Show Network filed trademark apps (SN 77272451 & 77272453) to protect two word marks, Game Show Hall of Fame and TV Game Hall of Fame, for "educational and entertainment services, namely, operation of a museum and/or on-line exhibit relating to games played on television."

Why not. Everything else seems to have a museum. Even Jello.

I Know My Kid's a Star

Great. Just what we need. Another way for parents to tell us how great their kids are.

On September 4, 2007 Viacom filed a trademark app (SN 77271029) to protect I Know My Kid's a Star for a television series. Viacom owns multiple channels, but I'm guessing this show lands on Nickelodeon.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Americanization of Episode Titles

Eighty-five years ago the Pulitzer Prize winning autobiography, The Americanization of Edward Bok, was #3 on the non-fiction best seller list for the year. Despite his numerous professional accomplishments, Edward Bok had his biggest effect on our day-to-day life by simply creating a new word. If you believe his wikipedia page, "Bok is credited with coining the word 'living room' to replace the American 'parlor'."

Here's a short list of ep titles that pay homage to Bok's work:
  • The Americanization of Charo (''Chico and the Man,'' 1/6/1978)
  • The Americanization of Ivan (''WKRP in Cincinnati,'' 1/28/1980)
  • The Americanization of Jeannie (''I Dream of Jeannie,'' 11/6/1965)
  • The Americanization of Machiko - August 4, 1953 (''Quantum Leap,'' 10/11/1989)
  • The Americanization of Miko (''The Facts of Life,'' 1/20/1982)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New Eps Online: September, Week 2

New series and seasons (full eps only) released online since 4 September 2007:
  • ''The Adventures of Tintin'' (Unbox): seasons 2 & 3
  • ''Afro Samurai'' (Spike; iTunes): season 1
  • ''Biografia'' (iTunes): volume 1
  • ''Bionic Woman'' (NBC; Unbox): pilot (free)
  • ''Black Jack'' (iTunes): complete series
  • ''Chuck'' (NBC; Unbox): pilot (free)
  • ''Firsthand'' (Fuel TV; iTunes): season 8
  • ''Journeyman'' (NBC; Unbox): pilot (free)
  • ''L.A. Ink'' (TLC; iTunes): current season (1)
  • ''Life'' (NBC; Unbox): pilot (free)
  • ''Lincoln Heights'' (ABC Family; iTunes): current season (2)
  • ''Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil'' (adult swim; iTunes): current season (1)
  • ''Medabots'' (Fox; Unbox): season 1
  • ''Meerkat Manor'' (Animal Planet; iTunes): current season (3)
  • ''Mega Disasters'' (History; iTunes): seasons 1 & 2
  • ''Moral Orel'' (adult swim; iTunes): season 1
  • ''The Most Extreme'' (Animal Planet; iTunes): season 2
  • ''Tak and the Power of JuJu'' (Nick; iTunes): current season (1)
  • ''Tim Gunn's Guide to Style'' (Bravo; Bravo): premiere ep (free)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Series Preems in Theaters

It's getting harder and harder to attract eyes to a specific show. I think we'll see some pretty creative marketing in the next two years as the nets try to find new ways to keep using the old broadcasting rules.

We'll probably see more event programming. Don't be surprised if you see a TV show premiere in movie theaters — for free.

Think about it. Build entire events in 10-20 cities around a series premiere. Different stars go to different cities on different days. Get potential viewers interested in the show and then let them have a shared viewing experience so the audience can feed off of itself. Increase buzz. Increase word-of-mouth. Hopefully, increase viewers.

The whole concept may cause drama preems to be treated like two-hour movies. It might even revitalize the TV movie departments or at least improve the synergy between TV and film divisions.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

BETJ Morning Cup

Black Entertainment Television filed a trademark application (SN 77268046) on August 30, 2007 to protect BETJ Morning Cup for "an ongoing television program featuring music videos." Sounds like you'll be able to start your day with a cup of jazz and joe in the morning.

Million Dollar Pageant

Bennett Productions has been associated with the Miss Hawaiian Tropic International Pageant for a while, but it may be expanding its pageant coverage.

On August 28, 2007 Bennett Productions filed a trademark app (SN 77266465) to protect Million Dollar Pageant for an "on-going reality based television program."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sex, Drugs & Ep Titles

Eight years ago the series ''Sex, Chips and Rock 'n' Roll'' preemed on BBC1. The title pays homage to one of those great idioms that's just a twist on the much older version — wine, women and song.

Let's stick with sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll for today's fun with ep titles. Here's the short list of shows that stayed mostly true to the saying:
  • No Sex, Some Drugs and a Little Rock ‘n' Roll (''7th Heaven,'' 11/16/1998)
  • Sex, Drugs and Rockin' the Cradle (''Melrose Place,'' 12/12/1994)
  • Sex, Rugs and Rock 'n' Roll (''Room for Two,'' 6/8/1993)
But two out of three ain't bad either.
  • Sex, Death and Rock 'n' Roll (''Swift Justice,'' 3/27/1996)
  • Sex, Drugs and Catholicism (''Cybill,'' 11/4/1996)
  • Sex, Drugs and Surgery (''Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew,'' 7/14/2005)
  • Sex, Drugs and the Vicar (''Forty Minutes,'' 12/10/1981)
  • Sex, Drugs and Videotape (''Beggars & Choosers,'' 7/24/1999)
  • Sex, Judge, and Rock & Roll (''My Two Dads,'' 11/15/1987)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New Eps Online: September, Week 1

Hmmm...for some reason this post appeared briefly this morning and then disappeared. I'm reposting now.

New series and seasons (full eps only) released online since 28 August 2007:
  • ''Family Guy'' (Fox; CinemaNow): season 1
  • ''Family Guy'' (Fox; Unbox): seasons 1, 2 & 4
  • ''Pantry Raid'' (style; iTunes): current season (1)
  • ''Picket Fences'' (CBS; Unbox): season 1
  • ''The Practice'' (ABC; Unbox): season 2