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.
Sitcoms Airing Tonight (Sunday, April 20)

Bob's Burgers - "Ambergris" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT)
Gene, Louise, and Tina discover a seaweed-covered object at the beach that turns out to be a large hunk of Ambergris - an extremely valuable, but illegal, by-product of whale poop that is used in high-end perfumes. But Louise tries to cheat Gene and Tina out of the profit she hopes to make by selling the treasure on the black market. Meanwhile, Bob and Linda deal with their psychologically unstable landlord who is building them a new bathroom.

American Dad - "Poltergasm" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Francine's "Poltergasm" starts to haunt the Smith household when she is unsatisfied by Stan in the sack, and Roger must conjure a medium named Zelda Rubinstein to help eliminate the ghost. Meanwhile, Hayley introduces her new boy-toy, Mauricio (guest voice Diego Luna), to the family.

The Simpsons - "Married to the Blob" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Comic Book Guy realizes his comics are nothing if he can't share them with anyone. Then he meets Kumiko, a Japanese woman writing an autobiographical manga, and he seeks out Homer's advice on how to date her, ending happily for everyone.

Family Guy - "Life of Brian" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Stewie and Brian travel back to 17th century Jamestown, via Stewie's time machine, they encounter too many close calls with altering the course of mankind. Stewie decides to destroy his time machine, but immediately regrets his decision when an unthinkable event happens and he is unable to go back in time.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 21) (All times Eastern unless noted)

Monday, April 21

  • Courteney Cox (Cougar Town/Friends) - Watch Courteney The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jimmie "J.J." Walker (Good Times) - Jimmie appears on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Billy Bob Thornton (Hears Afire) - Billy Bob is a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • George Lopez (Saint George/George Lopez) - George stops by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher) - Ari visits The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Marlon Wayans (The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon is a guest on @midnight at midnight on Comedy Central.
  • Bob Saget (How I Met Your Mother/Full House) - Bob is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Gillian Jacobs (Community) - Tune in to see Gillian on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Paul Scheer (The League) - Paul is a guest on a repeat of The Pete Holmes Show at midnight on TBS.
  • Christopher Meloni (Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) - Christopher drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Brooklyn Decker, Majandra Delfino and Zoe Lister-Jones (Friends with Better Lives) - The women of Friends with Better Lives are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. Zoe will also be on Pop Sugar Now on TV Guide Network at 6pm and on the next day on their website at noon.
  • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andre will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Kirstie Alley (Kirstie/Veronica's Closet/Cheers) - Kirstie throws down a figure-friendly chicken dinner on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Ted Lange (The Love Boat) - Ted is a guest on a repeat of The Better Show, so check your local listings.
  • Brittany Daniel (The Game/That '80s Show) - Brittany shares her story of triumph over non-Hodgkins lymphoma on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Beau Bridges (The Millers) - Beau appears on The Queen Latifah Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Toni Collette (United States of Tara) - Toni will be on HuffPost Live.
  • Thomas Haden Church (Wings) - Thomas is a guest on HuffPost Live.
  • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/Hot Properties/The Knights of Prosperity) - Sofia visits ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am.
  • James Van Der Beek (Friends with Better Lives/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - James will be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly hosts the Plugged In panel on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Christine Lakin Step by Step) - Christine will be on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 10am all this week.