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

Friday, August 22

Last Man Standing - "Hard-ass Teacher" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Eve has decided she wants to go to college at West Point. In order to do so she needs to get straight A’s, which might be a problem considering her geometry teacher, Mr. Hardin, is called “Hard-ass” Hardin for a reason. In turn, Eve asks Mike and Vanessa for their approval to switch teachers to an easier class -- a move Vanessa approves of but one that Mike sees as just the easy way out.

Last Man Standing - "April, Come She Will" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Vanessa’s mooching sister April comes to visit, Mike suspects it’s because she needs money. Sure enough, April explains that she’s decided to have a baby but doesn’t have the funds for a donor egg. While Vanessa and Mike aren’t on board, Mandy comes up with a solution. Meanwhile at Outdoor Man, Mike tries pulling a prank on Chuck Larabee that gives him some new perspective.

Jessie - "Coffee Talk" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jessie scores two VIP wristbands to Emma and Zuri's dream concert and the girls compete for the extra spot; Bertram is obsessed with his new talking coffee maker.

Dog with a Blog - "Karl Finds Out Stan's Secret" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Stan's secret talent is revealed to the family's neighbor, Karl; he doesn't find out about the blog, the moon walking or the driving, though.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 18) (All times ET unless noted)

Friday, August 22

  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Catch Julia on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Damon Wayans, Jr. (New Girl/Happy Endings) and Jake Johnson (New Girl) - Watch the stars of Let's Be Cops on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Max Greenfield (New Girl/Modern Men) - Max appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Hank Azaria (The Simpsons/Free Agents) - Hank is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman) - Tune in to see Mary on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison is a guest on a repeat of Tavis Smiley on PBS, so check your local listings.
  • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney is part of the guest panel on a repeat of Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Brandy (The Game/Moesha) - Brandy appears on a repeat of The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings.
  • Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory/Blossom) - Tune in to see Mayim on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Jason Biggs (Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason is a guest on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Learn how Cedric is killing his cholesterol on a repeat of The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/One Day at a Time) - Valerie joins the Chew Crew on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.