Monday, October 20, 2008

ION Television Goes HD; Steve Harvey Gets Exposure on TBS; Fox Surprisingly Picks-Up Sarah Connor For Full Season

ION Media Networks, Inc., owner and operator of the nation's largest television station group, today announced plans to launch its suite of networks – ION Television, qubo, and ION Life – in high definition in 2009. ION Television, the Company's flagship general entertainment network, will be available in high definition (HD) as ION Television HD beginning the first quarter of 2009. The HD simulcast of the newly branded "Positively Entertaining" network will serve to fully enhance consumers' overall viewing experience.
Viewers can look forward to a mix of compelling television series, theatrical and made-for-television movies and specials on ION Television HD. The newly rebranded ION Television network features hit programs from CBS Television, NBC Universal, RHI Entertainment, Sony Pictures Television, Twentieth Television and Warner Bros., among others. The network's fall 2008 lineup is led by off-network hits including NCIS, Boston Legal, and ER. Critically acclaimed miniseries and original productions from RHI Entertainment will be made available in high quality HD, as will blockbuster theatrical movies such as Batman Returns, GoodFellas, Analyze This, and You've Got Mail.
ION Television in HD will be launched from its newly designed, state-of-the-art transmission platform via expanded satellite transponder capacity. That national distribution will then be delivered over-the-air via DTV broadcast, cable, telco-TV and satellite. The network will feature native and up-converted HD programming, and will be carried on all 60 of ION Media Network's television stations around the country.
Now you can watch Denny Crane and the gang in HD like it is supposed to be!

On Saturday night if you were expecting to watch Game 6 of the MLB ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays on TBS at 8PM ET, you missed the beginning because of an outage. TBS had technical difficulties that prevented it from showing the first 20 minutes of the game and also the end of the pregame show before it. In place of the game, TBS showed an episode of sitcom The Steve Harvey Show. A crawl on the screen ran repeatedly, saying: "We are experiencing technical difficulties." The game started at 8:08 p.m., but the broadcast didn't begin until 8:28 p.m., when Carlos Pena, the seventh batter of the game, walked in the bottom of the first inning. TBS then showed a replay of a home run by B.J. Upton, the previous batter, that put the Rays ahead 1-0.
So what happened: TBS had experienced router failure in Atlanta (their headquarters), which caused transmission problems. Steve Harvey Show wasn't the only filler TBS used while trying to restore its feed, lost toward the end of the pregame broadcast. At that time, TBS ran an abbreviated episode of Dick Clark's Bloopers special (with Elise Neal of The Hughleys) from 1999. I saw that and it was very funny and featured lots of flubs from newscasts and TV stations (how appropriate for TBS today!), but turned it off when Harvey came on. I personally didn't get back into the game until the third inning, thanks to this flub.
But at least sitcoms got more exposure! We'll let you know the ratings, if we get them for Harvey.

Second season action series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been picked-up for nine more episodes, giving it a full twenty-two episode order for the season. This was a surprise move by Fox, because the show has gone down in the ratings by a lot this season averaging just under 6 million viewers and in the low 2's in the 18-49 demo. The show does get a little boost in the seven-day DVR ratings, giving it just under 7 million viewers, but still a far cry what it did last year. The show launched out of huge Cowboys-Giants NFL playoff game that drew 40 million, for its series premiere last winter. The series did 18 million for its premiere. The show then obviously dropped after that to just above 8 million on average, but did much better than it is doing now.
The show could be used with American Idol or the return of 24 in January to help bring it back to life. But Fox would give a better slot to Fringe and the upcoming new series Dollhouse probably instead. No word on Prison Break, but this will likely be its last season.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February)

The Bob Newhart Show - Season Five The Bob Newhart Show - The Final (Sixth) Season Maude - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) The Wonder Years - Season Two Mama's Family - The Complete Sixth Season

02/03 - The Bob Newhart Show - Season Five
02/03 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Final (Sixth) Season
02/03 - Maude - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) / The Complete Series Available 3/17 (Shout! Factory)
02/03 - The Wonder Years - Season Two
02/10 - Mama's Family - The Complete Sixth Season
02/10 - Nurse Jackie - Season Six (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, February 26

The Big Bang Theory - "The Intimacy Acceleration" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As a joke, Sheldon and Penny try an experiment designed to make participants fall in love. Also, Leonard, Amy, Raj and Emily spend the evening trying to escape a room with a “zombie.” And, after returning from Mrs. Wolowitz’ funeral, Bernadette and Howard run into trouble at the airport.

The Odd Couple - "The Ghostwriter" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Oscar is hired to ghostwrite the autobiography of a retired baseball player, Felix offers his “help” by advising Murph to go in a different direction, making Oscar’s job more difficult.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Champagne Reflection" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon says a tearful goodbye to “Fun with Flags.” Also, Leonard, Howard and Raj look for something significant in a dead professor’s research, and Bernadette is shocked to learn her co-workers’ true feelings from Penny.

Mom - "Turkey Meatballs and a Getaway Car" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Christy discovers she enjoys sex most when there's a risk of getting caught. Meanwhile, Bonnie takes her new role as secretary of the women's meeting a little too seriously.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 23) (All times ET unless noted)

Thursday, February 26

  • J.B. Smoove (The Millers/'Til Death/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Catch J.B. on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) - Kunal guest co-hosts The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show/Newhart/Bob) - Bob appears on The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth/30 Rock) - Will drops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T.J. is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Kate Micucci (The Big Bang Theory/Raising Hope/'Til Death) - Kate is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) - Melissa appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Mark Duplass (Togetherness/The Mindy Project/The League) - Mark stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) - Jack visits Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Téa Leoni (The Naked Truth/Flying Blind) - Téa will be on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Teri Polo (I'm with Her/Man Up!) - Teri chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Robbie Amell (1600 Penn/True Jackson, VP/Life with Derek) - Robbie discusses The Flash on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Amanda Peet (Togetherness/Bent) - Amanda will be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Debi Mazar (Younger/Entourage) - Debi is tentatively scheduled to appear on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.