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

Wednesday, July 23

The Middle - "Change in the Air" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The first day of school is upon the Heck family, and Sue finds herself feeling a sense of freedom she’s never felt before with Axl not around to make her campus life miserable. But Brick, who is beginning middle school and afraid of getting a swirlie, avoids the bathroom at all costs. Meanwhile, Frankie becomes jealous of Mike when she discovers that Axl calls and returns his texts but won’t do the same for her; and Sue’s feelings for Darrin surface once again when Mike calls him over to help fix the air conditioner.

The Goldbergs - "Kara-Te" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Barry decides to sign up for the school’s holiday talent show but is bummed when the school doesn’t approve karate as a talent. Beverly is livid and brow beats the teacher in charge to change his mind. After the family watches Barry’s routine, everyone wonders whether he will be able to pull off the performance… or crack under pressure. Meanwhile, Erica gets coerced from Pops to also perform in the talent show, but will she?

Modern Family - "iSpy" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Claire and Phil decide to spy on Luke and Manny as they’re hanging out with one of their more questionable friends. Meanwhile, Gloria is furious with Jay because she thinks he had a dream about another woman, but Jay misinterprets her anger for another offense he committed. And, Cam secretly uses Mitch as a scapegoat to get out of attending a party, while Haley tries to keep her photography exhibit a secret from her family.

The Middle - "The Potato" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Frankie and Mike are forced to return the church van when it’s discovered that their car has been repaired, Sue – who has been driving the other car – begins to freak out because she’ll have to start taking the bus again. But when her parents tell her that she could get her own car if she got a job, Sue ends up working as a potato girl at a local mall eatery. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike are called into Brick’s principal’s (Rachel Dratch) office and are informed that he has not attended any of his classes – and much to the family’s dismay, Axl begins to spend his nights back home when he becomes fed up with having to deal with his horrible college roommate.

Young & Hungry - "Pilot" (ABC Family, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sofia encourages Gabi to start dating again; Josh discovers surprising news about Cam.

Mystery Girls - "Death Becomes Her" (ABC Family, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The girls go under cover at Holly's old high school in order to prevent a senior prank.

Hot in Cleveland - "Straight Outta Cleveland" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Victoria gets a visit from the son she always forgets (Chris Colfer) and Joy and Mitch (Tim Daly) debate their compatibility.

Jennifer Falls - "Three Dates With My Mother" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Jennifer starts seeing a psychiatrist to help her deal with her mother, but even he might not be enough to break through to Maggie.

Wilfred - "Patterns" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Ryan gets sucked into the "End Game."

Love Thy Neighbor - "Lucky Socks" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Danny, Floyd, Sam and Drew have been temporarily evicted; Danny asks Hattie if they can crash with her.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 21) (All times ET unless noted)

Wednesday, July 23

  • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - Watch Eric on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. He chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. He will be on SI Now at 1pm. He stops by PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:35am.
  • Josh Charles (Sports Night) - Josh appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Hank Azaria (The Simpsons/Free Agents/Herman's Head) - Hank talks about the Showtime series Ray Donovan on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show/Cosby) - Phylicia appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.