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

Tuesday, July 29

Family Guy - "Christmas Guy" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Carter Pewterschmidt cancels the annual Quahog Christmas carnival, because he hates the holiday, Peter must transform his father-in-law from a Scrooge into a hometown hero in order to salvage the event. Meanwhile, Stewie devises a master plan to get the one and only thing he wants for Christmas.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Full Boyle" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Detective Boyle’s new romance has upped his swagger, but Jake intervenes before his colleague goes “Full Boyle” and gets too serious, too soon, with his girlfriend (guest star Marilu Henner). Meanwhile, Rosa and Amy have trouble taking a costumed citizen crime-fighter seriously, and Captain Holt has a new opponent.

New Girl - "Exes" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Nick has an awkward run-in with his ex, Caroline (guest star Mary Elizabeth Ellis), Jessica tries to convince him he can still be friends with her, by introducing him to her former boyfriend, Berkley (guest star Brody). Meanwhile, Coach uses Schmidt’s loft to impress a date, but things turn farcically disastrous when Schmidt arrives home with his own potential bedmate.

The Mindy Project - "Indian BBW" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mindy (Mindy Kaling) discovers an incriminating video of herself that is floating around the internet, so she enlists the help of Peter (Adam Pally) to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

Sullivan & Son - "Open Mic Night" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
When Steve wants to have an Open Mic night at the bar to get on the Hot List in The Pittsburgh Reader, Susan discovers she has a new talent...and it involves making fun of Ok Cha. But when Open Mic night goes awry, Steve brings in Carol and Owen (and their inappropriate act) to save the day.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 28) (All times ET unless noted)

Tuesday, July 29

  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Chris on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Judy Greer (Married/Mad Love/Miss Guided) - Judy appears on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) - Aubrey stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Molly Shannon (Kath & Kim) - Molly is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Cloris Leachman (Raising Hope/The Facts of Life/The Mary Tyler Moore Show) - Cloris appears on a repeat of The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings.
  • Leah Remini (The King of Queens/Family Tools) - Tune in to see Leah on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Joel McHale (Community) - Joel will be on GMA Live! at 9:00am. He will also be a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.