Friday, June 29, 2007

Every Log Has Its Day

Scientific Atlanta is preparing for the war of TV information.

Last week the USPTO published a patent application (20070143776) from Scientific Atlanta for Viewer Data Collection in a Multi-Room Network. The title says it all. It's all about data collection.

Here's the abstract:
Viewer data collection in a multi-room system. A TV viewing log is created for each user or each device in a multi-room system. The log can be used to limit or monitor the amount of television watched in the household. The log allows more accurate viewer data collection to be collected, compressed, and then sent to the headend at off-peak hours.
You can already see SA's marketing strategy too. Scientific Atlanta will charge you more for your set-top box and tell you all about the great features for you. You'll be able to "limit or monitor the amount of television watched in the household." They'll market that feature to parents. You'll be able to peruse your own TV viewing log to see what you recently watched. Maybe you'll even be able to share or compare your TV viewing log with friends or other community.

That's all great marketspeak, but the reality is simple. Your next set-top box will provide greater value to Scientific Atlanta than to you. SA will be able to sell its data for a pretty penny.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cell Phone Justice

Courtroom Television Network LLC filed docs with the USPTO on June 22, 2007 to protect Cell Phone Justice for "entertainment services, namely, a continuing television program series" on multiple delivery platforms.

Citizen journalism specifically targeted at crime and not just news. It's about time CourtTV did something like this. Really. The idea and even the name have been out there for a while. What took so long? Unfortunately for CourtTV, it now has to steal share from CNN and local websites.

Be My Bra

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Be My Bra simply means support my breasts. Wait, that doesn't sound right either.

Lifetime TV will use Be My Bra and Be My Strength as "interstitials and on-air spots on the subjects of breast cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment." Lifetime Entertainment Services filed multiple trademark filings on June 21, 2007 to protect these phrases. On June 15, 2007 some company — I'm guessing Lifetime — registered the domain using Domains by Proxy to keep the company info private.

I reckon you'll see a bunch of spots this October during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Wonder whether they'll include celebrities or your next-door neighbor? We'll see how Lifetime integrates these ads with its My Story tagline.

I sent an e-mail to Lifetime TV requesting additional information, but I received no reply.

1000 Ways to Die

Do you enjoy "Deadliest Catch"? Are you riveted by "Ice Road Truckers"? Then "1000 Ways to Die" may be another show you'll enjoy. "1000 Ways to Die" is being developed by Original Productions for SpikeTV.

Never heard of the show? I'm not surprised. Nothing's been announced yet. So how do I know? My usual sources.

On May 17, 2007 Original Productions registered the domain, Don't bother clicking through yet. You won't find anything.

On June 21, 2007 Network Enterprises, Inc. filed documents with the USPTO to protect the word mark, 1000 Ways to Die, for "entertainment services in the nature of television series." If you do a bit of research, you'll find that Network Enterprises, Inc. is the applicant for many SpikeTV shows during the past few years.

Excellent. So now we know that "1000 Ways to Die" is likely being developed by Original Productions for SpikeTV.

I sent an e-mail to Thom Beers, the CEO of Original Productions, requesting additional information. Mr. Beers responded quickly, but he really only confirmed that a project with that name exists without confirming nor denying its association with SpikeTV. If I hear more, I'll definitely update this post.

Bury the Hatchet-Job Movie

Time just flies. Sometimes I see a movie on cable and think that the movie was just in the theater down the street. It's probably been months, but it still feels like yesterday.

That whole concept of compressed time got me thinking. And we all know that's dangerous. I wondered which theatrical film had the shortest period of time between its US theatrical and primetime network debuts.

Just a few rules.
  • The movie had to be released in theaters. No straight-to-video movies like Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, which aired on TV just seven months after its home vid release.
  • No negative time. The movie had to be in theaters first and then on TV; so The Stalking Mooon isn't considered since it was on the telly about 15 months before its theatrical debut.
  • Only consider the US primetime network premiere. I wanted to know how long someone in the US had to wait for a movie to go from theaters to cable to video to free TV.
Here is the list of films having no more than 325 days between its US theatrical release and its US primetime network premiere:

(Update on 9 Jul 2007, 9:39PDT: An astute reader found an error in the list. The Long Way Home on 1 March 1988 on CBS was a TV movie and must be removed from the list. I apologize for the error.)
  • 163 days: The Long Way Home (1997)
    • released in US theaters: 19 September 1997 (source: IMDb)
    • US primetime network debut: 1 March 1998 on CBS
  • 170 days: Sharks' Treasure (1975)
    • released in US theaters: 10 September 1975 (source: NYTimes)
    • US primetime network debut: 27 February 1976 on CBS
  • 207 days: Survive! (1976)
    • released in US theaters: 4 August 1976 (source: IMDb)
    • US primetime network debut: 27 February 1977 on ABC
  • 213 days: Nora's Hair Salon (2004)
    • released in US theaters: 25 May 2004 (source: IMDb)
    • US primetime network debut: 24 December 2004 on UPN
  • 226 days: Golden Needles (1974)
    • released in US theaters: 17 July 1974 (source: IMDb)
    • US primetime network debut: 28 February 1975 on CBS
  • 303 days: The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
    • released in US theaters: 15 December 2000 (source: IMDb)
    • US primetime network debut: 14 October 2001 on ABC
  • 307 days: Moonshine County Express (1977)
    • released in US theaters: 1 June 1977 (source: IMDb)
    • US primetime network debut: 4 April 1978 on CBS
  • 325 days: Showdown (1973)
    • released in US theaters: 21 November 1973 (source: IMDb)
    • US primetime network debut: 12 October 1974 on NBC
Note: Survive and Showdown were released earlier in Mexico and Finland, respectively.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's a Jungle Out There

John McIntire was born 100 years ago today. Definitely one of those actors you may not know by name, but you probably know him by sight.

Maybe you recognize McIntire only because of his role as Police Commissioner Hardy in The Asphalt Jungle. A classic film from 1950 and the subject of many TV ep title allusions.

Update (29 Jun 2007 at 19:18PDT): I received an anonymous comment from someone much more worldly than me, and he/she pointed to the 1955 film, Blackboard Jungle. I'll keep the original list intact. A few titles obviously refer to Blackboard Jungle. A few definitely allude to The Asphalt Jungle. The rest? Not so easy to parse, and that's why I'll keep a single list.

The original list:
  • The Ass Fat Jungle (''Boston Legal,'' 11/15/2005)
  • The Backboard Jungle (''NYPD Blue,'' 1/16/1996)
  • The Backyard Jungle (''Micro Ventures,'' 12/7/1968)
  • The Beautiful People Jungle (''The American Girls,'' 9/30/1978)
  • The Croissant Jungle (''Kate & Allie,'' 2/3/1986)
  • The Glass Jungle (''Bus Stop,'' 11/5/1961)
  • The Green Felt Jungle (''Kraft Suspense Theater,'' 4/1/1965)
  • The Greenhouse Jungle (''Columbo,'' 10/15/1972)
  • The Hidden Jungle (''The Defenders,'' 12/1/1962)
  • The High Jungle (''Climax!,'' 7/25/1957)
  • The Hobo Jungle (''Our Miss Brooks,'' 2/26/1954)
  • The Human Jungle (''Lux Video Theatre,'' 10/20/1955)
  • The Mysterious Mechanical Jungle (''Battle of the Planets'')
  • The Plush Jungle (''Cain's Hundred,'' 1/2/1962)
  • The Rag Jungle (''The Kaiser Aluminum Hour,'' 11/20/1956)
  • The Scrap Iron Jungle (''Rescue 8,'' 2/18/1959)
  • The Shampoo Jungle (''No Appointment Necessary,'' 6/17/1977)
  • The Toy Jungle (''77 Sunset Strip,'' 12/6/1963)
  • The Velvet Jungle (''Starsky & Hutch,'' 3/5/1977)
  • The Wax Jungle (''The Silent Force,'' 10/26/1970)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Eps Online: June, Week 4

New series and seasons (full eps only) released online since 19 June 2007:
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force (adult swim; iTunes): season 5
  • Arthur (CTV/PBS; iTunes): current season (season 11)
  • Babar (HBO; Unbox): season 1
  • The Best Years (The N; iTunes): current season (season 1)
  • Caillou (CTV/PBS; iTunes): Volume 1
  • The Closer (TNT; Unbox, iTunes): current season (season 3)
  • The Dead Zone (USA; iTunes): current season (season 6)
  • Degrassi The Next Generation (CTV/The N; iTunes): seasons 1, 2 & 3
  • Engaged & Underage (MTV; Unbox, iTunes): season 2
  • Fantastic Children (TV Tokyo; Unbox): complete series
  • Flo (CBS; Unbox): complete series
  • Friday: The Animated Series (MTV2; Unbox): current season (season 1)
  • Heartland (TNT; Unbox): current season (season 1)
  • History Detectives (PBS; iTunes): current season (season 5)
  • Logan's Run (CBS; Unbox): complete series
  • Sexual Healing (Showtime; Unbox): season 1
  • Squirrel Boy (Cartoon Network; iTunes): season 2
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (Disney; iTunes): current season (season 3)
  • Teletubbies (BBC1/PBS; iTunes): Volume 1
  • The Venture Bros. (adult swim; iTunes): season 1
  • White Boyz in the Hood (Showtime; Unbox): season 1

Monday, June 25, 2007

Trump Tower: The Series?

Now that he has his foot in the door of the sound stage, could Donald Trump be resurrecting the idea of his primetime drama?

Think back to October 2004 when you laughed at this item:
PROPOSED: Move over, Melrose Place: Donald Trump is in talks with NBC for a primetime drama series that would be set inside Trump Tower, his brass-and-glass skyscraper on Manhattan's 5th Avenue where the developer, 58, currently ousts contestants on "The Apprentice." The Hollywood Reporter says writer-producer Gay Walch, who is responsible for the WB's "Summerland," is under consideration to script the project, tentatively titled "The Towers." Trump is expected to serve as an executive producer. (source: People Magazine)
Admit it. You thought "Trump taking on an EP role for TV series? Yeah, right."

Then last week we got this doozy about Trump's upcoming MTV series:
The new series, "Pageant Place," will feature former Miss USA Tara Conner (whom Trump forgave for her 'party girl' lifestyle that almost cost her the crown) sharing an apartment with several beauty pageant winners (Miss Universe Riyo Mori, Miss USA Rachel Smith and Miss Teen USA Katie Blair) as she teaches them how to behave like proper pageant winners. New beauty queens will replace the old ones as the series progresses through its eight-episode order. (source: TVSquad)
All of a sudden the idea of EP Trump wasn't so far-fetched, was it?

And maybe now Mr. Trump wants to take over the real estate of your small screen. He filed documents with the USPTO on June 18, 2007 to protect the phrase Trump Tower for a "scripted television series in the nature of drama." That's oddly specific for a trademark filing and sounds vaguely similar to his series concept from October 2004.

Just a note for domain squatters. If you think the series will ever see the light of day, maybe you'll want to purchase or Both domains are still available!

Friday, June 22, 2007


Can't get enough KEWL Magazine? Looks like KEWLopolis will be its Web2.0 companion site.

According to this DIC press release (March 30, 2007):
DIC Entertainment (DIC), Geffen Records and Poets Road have partnered to launch an all new brand for tweens, KEWL, with a celebrity music-driven branded magazine, a website and a television review series in development tentatively called “Everything KEWL.”

KEWL Magazine is a collaboration between DIC, Poet’s Road and Geffen Records. The first issue of KEWL magazine, with over 500,000 copies shipped, will be available nationwide in retail outlets including Claire’s, FYE, Sam Goody, Skechers, Suncoast, Toys ‘R Us and more.
So what's my source for KEWLopolis?

DIC Entertainment Corporation filed a trademark application on June 14, 2007 to protect the phrase KEWLopolis for a variety of purposes:
  • on-line chat rooms, forums, and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users concerning entertainment, information, and activities for children
  • a series of television programs in the field of entertainment for children
  • interactive games
  • on-line information in the field of entertainment for children
  • on-line journals, namely, blogs featuring entertainment and gaming topics for children
  • on-line entertainment for children in the nature of a website featuring video clips and other multimedia materials
  • production of motion picture films
Not enough evidence?

KEWLopolis is currently parked; so the site provides no clues. But take a look at the who-is registration information. Poets Road, Inc. is the registrant, and Mike Bundlie is the admin contact. You should recognize Poets Road from the press release. And Mike Bundlie? He just happens to be Executive Director of KEWL and Head of Interactive, DIC.

No word when KEWLopolis might launch.

The Boo Crew

On June 14 SMK Merchandising filed a trademark application to protect the work mark The Boo Crew for "a series of television programs and motion pictures." Looks like the Wayans Brothers are considering the Thugaboo crew for a stint on the small and big screens near you.

If you're like me, you didn't know that SMK Merchandising is owned by the Wayans Brothers. And if you don't have children, then you may not know about SMK's animated property, Thugaboo. Sure it's aired two specials on Nicktoons/Nickelodeon, and you can buy Thugaboo DVDs, paperbacks and CDs. But now it's likely being shopped for a full series pickup.

What Fill Be, Fill Be

Gap filler.

According to a patent application (20070143799) that was published yesterday, that's what Sony is calling it's new method to address the black screen of torture when changing channels on portable mobile communications devices.

About two months ago I wrote about one way to eliminate the black screen of torture during channel changes, but that method really requires a lot of power. Definitely not suited for mobile devices where power consumption should be minimized.

Sony's phrase — gap filler — is very appropriate because it makes no attempt to even eliminate the video time lag after a channel change. It just wants to fill the gap with something else.

What is that something else? Sony suggests that the gap filler data could be a still image, a video clip or an animation clip stored on the portable mobile communications device or on removable storage medium. That leaves it pretty wide open for advertising or user-selected content or anything else you can think of as long as that content was downloaded before the channel change.

Imagine you are watching CNN Headline News on your cell phone and that you participate in a poll. After you submit your opinion, CNN responds on a regular basis — every two minutes or so — with poll results for everybody who participated. But these results are not shown. They're just downloaded to your phone while you continue to watch. Once you change the channel, your phone retrieves the results and lets you interact with them. While you're perusing the data, an icon shows in the upper right corner to let you know that your new channel is ready to view whenever you are done.

If Sony's idea is implemented in a consumer-friendly manner, you'll stay involved with media and not even realize that there is a huge time lag for changing channels. But I'm guessing we'll just see more ads and movie trailers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Like Getting Blood From a Turnip

I'm scheduled for my bimonthly visit to donate blood at Huntington Hospital this afternoon. Since I have blood on my mind, I reckon I should make today's fun-with-ep-titles a little sanguine.

Let's look for variations of the proverb "Blood is thicker than water."
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Arlo (''Flesh 'n' Blood,'' 9/19/1991)
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Daughter (''Hope & Faith,'' 11/18/2005)
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Death (''The War Next Door,'' 9/17/2000)
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Junk (''Sanford and Son,'' 11/24/1972)
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Liquor (''Girlfriends,'' 5/5/2003)
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Mud (''The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,'' 11/1/1993)
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Oatmeal (''The New Dick Van Dyke Show,'' 12/17/1972)
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Steele (''Remington Steele,'' 1/31/1984)
  • Blood Is Thicker Than the Martian (''My Favorite Martian,'' 1/5/1964)
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Watercolor (''The Wayans Brothers,'' 9/20/1995)
  • Blood Is Thinner Than Gravy (''Eye for an Eye'')
  • Blood Is Thinner Than Gravy (''Eye for an Eye'')
  • Bloodhounds Are Thicker Than Water (''No Time for Sergeants,'' 9/28/1964)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


What is the feeling Mark Burnett would like to have after presenting "On the Lot" and "Pirate Master" this summer?

While that may be true, "Amnesia" is the name of a TV show that Mr. Burnett is developing. JMBP, Inc. (J. Mark Burnett Productions) filed documents with the USPTO on June 11, 2007 to protect the word mark Amnesia for "entertainment services in the nature of a television series."

Looking at the JMBP shows in development, I reckon the "Untitled Paul McKenna Project" is the show most likely to be called "Amnesia." Mr. McKenna has used "hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, and other techniques to assist people with phobias, such as agoraphobia and addictions to gambling and shopping" on the 2005 British show, "I Can Change Your Life." It almost seems natural he would use similar techniques to make people forget something. I've had no confirmation of this thought and it's pure conjecture on my part. "Amnesia" could simply be a show that has not yet been announced.

New Eps Online: June, Week 3

New series and seasons (full eps only) released online since 12 June 2007:
  • Burst Angel (iTunes)
  • Class of 3000 (Cartoon Network; iTunes): current season
  • Confessions of a Matchmaker (A&E; iTunes): current season
  • Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends (Cartoon Network; iTunes): current season
  • Ice Road Truckers (History; iTunes): current season
  • Kyle XY (ABC Family; iTunes): current season
  • 'Lil' Bush (Comedy Central; iTunes): current season
  • The Simple Life 3: Interns (Fox; Unbox)
  • Voltron: Defender of the Universe (Syn; Unbox): complete series

Friday, June 15, 2007

Better Laser Than Never

Patents abound for new ways to use your remote to select items on the telly. Joystick. Mouse/mousepad. Thumb wheel. Virtual keyboard. All of these items are nice, but they're traditional computer/gaming devices integrated onto a remote control.

Of course the touch screen has improved the way we interact with PDAs and phones, but we can't exactly use that for our TV sets. (Although it might be a good way to get people off the couch and move around the room periodically, we all know that product won't fly.)

But let's stick with the touch-screen theme and add a non-traditional component to your remote control. What if Sony integrates a visible (green or red) laser diode at the front of the remote next to the infrared diode that's already there? All I'm asking is for Sony to integrate a laser pointer into my remote.

People already know how to use a laser pointer. It has fast reponse time for power-up as well as for moving across the screen. It requires little power — that's a good thing because nobody wants to replace their remote batteries. It's footprint is small and is used in such a way that the remote won't have to be any bigger and the pointing device requires no real estate on the top of the remote. All big advantages over the other point/select devices.

Now the hard part. How do you actually use it? Push a small button on the remote to turn the laser pointer on. While still pushing the power button, point the remote so the red (or green) dot appears on the appropriate item on the screen. To select the item, double press the power button like you would double click a mouse. When you're done, simply release the power button and the laser pointer turns off. This technique should make it easy to use — one button operation so there are no difficult finger or hand manipulations — and safe — it has the same use model as existing laser pointers for power up/down and they've already passed safety checks.

So far you're been able to use your remote to select something on the telly screen, but nothing has been communicated to the TV. Your television just doesn't know you're trying to communicate. It's like using your mouse on your computer to select links in Internet Explorer even though IE won't let you navigate to those pages.

Now the harder part. How does the TV know where the red dot was located? That's why I mentioned Sony earlier and not Scientific Atlanta. Something has to change on your TV, and there are a variety of ways to locate the red dot. For instance, Sony can embed small sensors for each pixel or group of pixels. There are many more clever ways of doing this task and I'll leave it to the experts to figure out the best.

Once you have laser pointer capability though, the options are endless. Imagine drawing a box around something on the screen and having your TV zoom into that area. You can use the laser pointer as a stylus to write letters just as you do now on your PDA. You'll be able stop the image, use drawing tools to modify the image, write a funny caption and then e-mail that still shot to a friend. Try doing that with a joystick!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Maybe They Missed the Point

Brutal. That's the only word for this year's NBA Finals.

Let me put this year's Finals in perspective for you. Here's the list of teams that accumulated fewer than 400 points throughout all games of the Finals.
  • 322 points: Cleveland Cavaliers (2007 Finals)
  • 346: San Antonio Spurs (2007)
  • 376: Baltimore Bullets (1971)
  • 382: Washington Bullets (1975)
  • 387: New Jersey Nets (2002)
  • 391: New York Knicks (1999)
  • 395: New York Knickerbockers (1953)
  • 398: Golden State Warriors (1975)
And that even includes garbage-time points and Damon Jones's buzzer-beating 3-pointer in Game 4.

Yikes! These teams simply demolished the previous record for futility!

Fear and Loathing in Ep Titles

Whenever I drive to Vegas, I always think about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I thought I'd stick with the Fear and Loathing theme for this week's fun with ep titles.

First I looked for other locations that cause fear and loathing. Easy enough:
  • Fear and Loathing in Endsville (''The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy,'' )
  • Fear and Loathing in Georgetown (''I'm a Big Girl Now,'' 1/9/1981)
  • Fear and Loathing in Gotham (''Jack & Jill,'' 11/14/1999)
  • Fear and Loathing in Los Arboles (''Digimon: Digital Monsters,'' 11/14/2002)
  • Fear and Loathing in Manhattan (''Herman's Head,'' 12/22/1991)
  • Fear and Loathing in Miami (''Good Morning, Miami,'' 3/13/2003)
  • Fear and Loathing in Palm Beach (''Silk Stalkings,'' 10/11/1998)
  • Fear and Loathing in Pleasantville (''Big Wolf on Campus,'' 8/19/2000)
  • Fear and Loathing in Rutherford (''3rd Rock from the Sun,'' 10/31/2000)
  • Fear and Loathing in the Milky Way (''Andromeda,'' 4/9/2001)
Then I looked for variations of this theme. Slightly different words, rhymes, synonyms. And I have to say I was shocked. So little creativity. I found only one title that follows the form, "____ and ____ing in ____".
  • Fear and Falling in Montana (''Caitlin's Way,'' 3/19/2000)
So disappointing. Maybe writers didn't want to offend a city? Maybe they only used "____ and ____ing" variants?:
  • Beer and Loathing (''King of the Hill,'' 4/14/2002)
  • Fear and Clothing (''Will & Grace,'' 10/19/2000)
  • Fur and Loathing (''CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,'' 10/30/2003)
A little better, but still very anticlimactic. I really expected to find "Here and Loathing Las Vegas" for the title of the vacation-to-Vegas-from-hell episode of some random sitcom.

1 vs. 100 Slot Machine

I was in Vegas last weekend and am always surprised to see so many TV-themed slot machines. "Wheel of Fortune" is still the big draw, of course. The big wheel was raucous — even at 1:30PM in the afternoon at Planet Hollywood.

If you like these TV slots, then you'll love this news. Endemol filed a trademark application on June 6, 2007 to protect 1 vs. 100 for "Amusement machines and slot machines, automatic and coin-operated."

I don't know how they'll adapt the show into a slot, but it could be interesting if it becomes a massive multiplayer game. Imagine simultaneously playing against the house and everybody else on each pull of the lever. You win the normal cash against the house, but you accumulate points — casino points for prizes or machine points to play a bonus game — based on how many other gamblers you beat.

London Ink

Looks like I should've waited a few days to write about tattoo TV.

Last week I wrote about Beverly Hills Tattoo. This week? There's more.

TLC is looking to extend its "Ink" franchise across the Atlantic. Not content with Miami and L.A., Discovery Communications filed a trademark app to protect London Ink. I'm guessing the show will bow July 2008.

My request for additional information went unanswered.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New Eps Online: June, Week 2

New series and seasons (full eps only) released online since 5 June 2007:
  • Camp Lazlo (Cartoon Network; iTunes): current season
  • ChiPs (NBC; Unbox, iTunes): season 1
  • Curl Girls (Logo; Unbox, iTunes): current season
  • Days of Our Lives (NBC; iTunes): current season
  • Doc Martin (ITV1; Unbox): series 1
  • Hell's Kitchen (Fox; Unbox): current season
  • Invasion (ABC; in2tv): pilot
  • Johnny Bravo (Cartoon Network; iTunes): season 5
  • Most Shocking (CMT; iTunes): current season
  • Top Chef (Bravo; iTunes): current season
  • Wisecrack on Tour (Logo; Unbox, iTunes): season 3
  • The X-Effect (MTV; Unbox, iTunes): current season
Update on 11:09PDT, 13 Jun: fixed network for "Johnny Bravo" and "Camp Laszlo"

Time Is Movie

Nets are having severe difficulties filling time and are quickly running out of ideas for weekends — and even some weekdays.

Why do I say that? Apparently, movie night is coming back.

MyNetworkTV has been running "My Thursday Night Movie" and "My Friday Night Movie" since the middle of March. MyNet even added "My Tuesday Night Movie" for the summer. These movies consistently outdraw the original soaps, "American Heiress" and "Saints & Sinners."

Take a look at last Saturday's primetime net schedule. NBC? Scary Movie. ABC? Ruffian. CBS? Die Another Day. ION? Larger Than Life and No Mercy.

Apparently, MTV even hit the same roadblock. On June 1, 2007 Viacom filed trademark documents to protect MTV's Friday Night Flix. With its recent string of failed series, such as "Taquita & Kaui" and "TwentyFourSeven", even MTV is running out of shows to repeat as schedule filler. I wonder whether "Friday Night Flix" will feature movies that were once nominated for MTV Movie Awards?

I wouldn't think a sports network would have the same problem though, but I would be wrong. Versus is also going to feature a movie night. On June 6, 2007 Outdoor Life Network (dba Versus) filed paperwork to protect 5 Scar Cinema for "on-going television programs in the field of motion picture entertainment."

Friday, June 08, 2007

Failing to Plan Is Planning to Use Your Cell Phone

As I perused yesterday's newly published patent applications for novel TV-related products, I came across one from Sanyo (Patent Application 20070127890). I always like seeing new telly apps for mobile phones; so I was pretty stoked.

As soon as I read the abstract, my excitement vanished. Technology already advanced and left this idea behind. Remember. The application was just published yesterday. But the paperwork was first filed way back on October 21, 2004. In less than 30 months the product went from being a great idea to something having much less value.

In a nutshell, this is what Sanyo proposed.
A user photographs an area including a desired portion of a television program schedule (with G-code numbers) in a newspaper, and the like, with a digital camera functional portion of a mobile telephone device. [text removed] The CPU performs a character recognition process on an image photographed with the digital camera functional portion and on an image received by electronic mail by the mobile telephone functional portion, and executes a video recording reservation process based on the G-code number obtained by the recognition process. (Text is from the abstract of the patent application.)
Two months ago AT&T launched U-verse TV.
AT&T U-verse TV and Internet customers can use any compatible AT&T wireless phone or handset to search U-verse TV program listings, schedule program or series recordings, and manage or delete stored DVR content. (Text is from AT&T's press release.)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What Goes Around Sitcoms Around

Lately I've been adding British sitcoms to the trivialTV database. One thing really jumped out at me. Even though there are a ton of Britcoms, very few are based on US TV series. But just enough for this week's trivia.

A while ago I had you match the US series with the British series on which it was based. This week we'll do the opposite. Match the Britcom with its US predecessor.

British SitcomU.S. Sitcom
1.''Brighton Belles''a.''The Golden Girls''
2.''Days Like These''b.''Good Times''
3.''Fosters''c.''Mad About You''
4.''Loved by You''d.''Married...with Children''
5.''Married for Life''e.''Maude''
6.''Nobody's Perfect''f.''That '70s Show''
7.''The Upper Hand''g.''Who's the Boss?''

Beverly Hills Tattoo

Don't confuse "Beverly Hills Tattoo" with "LA Ink." Completely different shows. The latter is a spin-off of "Miami Ink" and is scheduled to preem on TLC on August 7. The former is the creation of Flawless Entertainment Group, according to its trademark filing on May 29, 2007 (S/N 77192594).

If "BH Tattoo" ever hits the small screen, it's going to be difficult to keep track of all of the tat-themed series on the telly. You have "LA Ink" and "Miami Ink" on TLC. "Tattoo Stories" on fuse. And the show that started this niche craze? "Inked" on A&E.

Are you wondering whether tattoos are part of the Web 2.0 phenomena too? If so, you should check out

Why the sudden increase in mainstream media interest about ink? According to a study late last year, about one in four people between the ages of 18-50 are tattoed. Personally, I think the Stones had something to do with it for younger Boomers and older Gen X'ers.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Brother, Can You Spare an Ep Title?

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? may have been the anthem of a single era, but the term has permeated pop culture for the ages.

Ten cents sure won't buy what it used to. Now — according to the inflation calculator at the US Bureau of Labor Stastics — panhandlers should be asking "Brother, can you spare $1.36?"

But that's reality. How much do people request in TV Land? I'm so glad you asked. Let's take a look at ep titles throughout TV history:
  • Buddy, Can You Spare a Job? (''The Dick Van Dyke Show,'' 12/26/1961)
  • Brother, Can You Spare $2500? (''The Dick Van Dyke Show,'' 1/6/1965)
  • Woody, Can You Spare a Sister? (''Hey Landlord,'' 2/19/1967)
  • Buddy, Can You Spare a Life? (''Ironside,'' 11/16/1972)
  • Brother, Can You Spare an Act? (''Sanford and Son,'' 10/17/1975)
  • Buddy, Can You Spare a Father? (''Laverne & Shirley,'' 2/15/1977)
  • Buddy, Can You Spare a Million? (''Welcome Back, Kotter,'' 9/29/1977)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Job? (''The New Odd Couple,'' 11/26/1982)
  • Buddy, Can You Spare a Heart? (''Hill Street Blues,'' 5/5/1983)
  • Harold, Can You Spare $4,000? (''Domestic Life,'' 2/1/1984)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Blonde? (''Moonlighting,'' 9/24/1985)
  • Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime? (''Charlie & Company,'' 10/9/1985)
  • Brother Can You Spare a Crime (''Hardcastle & McCormick,'' 2/10/1986)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Crime? (''Sledge Hammer!,'' 1/31/1987)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Dollar? (''Gung Ho,'' 2/6/1987)
  • Sister, Can You Spare a Fifty? (''My Sister Sam,'' 3/16/1987)
  • Mother, Can You Spare a Dime? (''Together We Stand,'' 4/10/1987)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (''Kate & Allie,'' 10/19/1987)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (''Jake and the Fatman,'' 10/27/1987)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Child? (''Dallas,'' 12/11/1987)
  • Father, Can You Spare a Dime? (''Family Ties,'' 5/1/1988)
  • Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket? (''The Golden Girls,'' 12/3/1988)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Grand? (''Open House,'' 3/18/1990)
  • Tony, Can You Spare a Dime? (''Who's the Boss?,'' 1/4/1992)
  • Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes? (''The Simpsons,'' 8/27/1992)
  • Sister, Can You Spare a Dime? (''Reasonable Doubts,'' 3/13/1993)
  • Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime (''Love & War,'' 1/31/1994)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Date? (''Good Advice,'' 6/29/1994)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Hot Rod? (''Home Improvement,'' 1/10/1995)
  • Beavis, Can You Spare a Dime? (''The Beavis & Butt-Head Show,'' 7/10/1995)
  • Brother, Can You Spare $1.2 Million? (''The Larry Sanders Show,'' 9/20/1995)
  • Brother Can You Spare a Dime? (''The Wayans Brothers,'' 9/17/1998)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Bomb? (''Seven Days,'' 4/19/2000)
  • Brother Can You Spare a Clarinet? (''Arthur,'' 10/15/2001)
  • Money or Brother, Can You Spare a Ski Trip? (''Off Centre,'' 12/9/2001)
  • Can You Spare a Dime? (''SpongeBob SquarePants,'' 3/8/2002)
  • Brother, Can You Spare the Time? (''All Grown Up!,'' 1/17/2004)
Can you believe someone had the nerve to ask for $1.2 million?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

New Eps Online: June, Week 1

New series and seasons (full eps only) released online since 29 May 2007:
  • Chappelle's Show (Comedy Central; iTunes, Unbox): season 3
  • The Closer (TNT; Unbox, MovieLink): seasons 1 & 2
  • Fetch with Ruff Ruffman (PBS; iTunes): current season
  • Geisters (Unbox)
  • Good Morning World (CBS; Unbox)
  • Hearts Afire (CBS; Unbox): complete series
  • Here Comes the Grump (NBC; Unbox): complete series
  • I Spy (NBC; Unbox): season 3
  • The Investigators (CourtTV; iTunes): new volume
  • Kathy Griffin: Life on the D-List (Bravo; iTunes): current season
  • Lancelot Link Secret Chimp (ABC; Unbox)
  • Lotsa Luck (NBC; Unbox)
  • Meadowlands (Showtime): premiere ep (password: secret)
  • People, Places and Plants (HGTV; Unbox)
  • Prankville (CMT; iTunes, Unbox): current season
  • The Simple Life: Goes to Camp (E!; iTunes): current season
  • Starhunter 2300 (Movie Network; Unbox)
  • Twist in the Tale (WAM; Unbox): complete series
  • The Universe (History; iTunes): current season
  • Yo Momma (MTV; iTunes, Unbox): current season

Airings Update

I updated the trivialTV Schedule Finder today by adding 669 records for the five weeks ending on 27 May 2007.

If you take a look at the Total Tube Time feature in the right sidebar, you'll find that ''Law & Order: SVU'' passed ''LA Law'' for 9th place on the list of dramas. ''L&O: SVU'' is moving up the list quite quickly now.

''American Idol'' hasn't cracked any list yet, but give it one more year.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Money Is the Root of All Google

Time-shifted and alternate viewing aren't alwasy measured very well yet; so that means advertisers sometimes get free access to viewers. If you know anything about Google, you should know one thing. It doesn't like losing the opportunity to make money from advertising.

That's why Google filed a patent application, Detecting Repeating Content in Broadcast Media (20070124756), which the USPTO published yesterday.

There are multiple aspects to the patent application, but I'll highlight only a few by taking text verbatim from the specification.
  • Video Ad Removal: One of the complaints that broadcasters have had about allowing material to be searched and played back is the rebroadcast of embedded advertising. From the point of view of the broadcasters, this rebroadcast is counterproductive: it lowers the value of the broadcasts that the advertiser pays for directly, since it provides that advertiser with free advertising. Unless old advertisements are removed and new advertisements are put in place in a way that returns some review to the original broadcasters, they do not profit from the replay of their previously broadcast material. The process 700 described below provides a way of detecting embedded advertisement by looking for repetitions, possibly in conjunction with other criteria (e.g., duration, volume, visual activity, bracketing blank frames, etc.).
  • Audio Snippet Auctions: In some implementations, advertisers can participate in auctions related to the presence of ambient audio that is related to the product or service that the advertiser want to sell. For example, multiple advertisers could bid in an auction for the right to associate its products or services with an audio snippet or descriptor associated with "Seinfeld." The winner of the auction could then put some related information in front of the viewer (e.g., the sponsored links) whenever the subject ambient audio is present. In some implementations, advertisers could bid on ambient audio snippets having a meta-level description. For example, advertisers could bid on audio that is associated with a television ad (e.g., this is the audio associated with a Ford Explorer TV ad), on closed captioning (e.g., the captioning says "Yankees baseball"), on program segment location (e.g., this audio will occur 15 min into the "Seinfeld" and will occur 3 minutes after the previous commercial break and 1 min before the next commercial break), or on low-level acoustic or visual properties (e.g., "background music," "conversational voices," "explosive-like", etc.)