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 (October/November/December)

2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Hot in Cleveland - Season Five Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series
Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mister Ed - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - TARGET="_blank">Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series
11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series
11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 23

Bad Judge - "Knife to a Gunfight" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Tedward (Tone Bell) is concerned for Rebecca's (Kate Walsh) safety after a convict who's case she tried is released. She contemplates getting a gun and handles the case of a dim and unaware thief. When the ex-con thanks Rebecca for giving him a chance, Tom (John Ducey) is persuaded to push for lighter charges on the mentally unstable criminal.

A to Z - "D Is for Debbie" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Zelda's (Cristin Milioti) aunt suddenly dies, she struggles with the decision to invite Andrew (Ben Feldman) to the funeral. Andrew tries to support Zelda through her grieving process and has convinced himself that she wants him there, but is afraid to ask. Meanwhile, Stu (Henry Zebrowski) and Stephie (Lenora Crichlow) vie for the attention of a musician (guest star Tyler Ward) at the funeral and Big Bird (Christina Kirk) looks to trim the fat at Wallflower in her own special way.

Instant Mom
- "Children of the Candy Corn" (Nick at Nite, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Stephanie feels unneeded when all of the kids have their own plans and ditch her on Halloween. Meanwhile, Charlie tries to maintain his perfect rating as the best house in the neighborhood. Guest Star: BJ Mitchell.

See Dad Run - "See Dad Run Halloween" (Nick at Nite, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
David hopes to get the kids in the Halloween spirit, so he takes them with him to "exorcise" the Ghost of Stage 19. The kids aren't impressed until crazy things start happening at home, and the whole family is freaked out.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 20) (All times ET unless noted)

Thursday, October 23

  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Stark Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Catch Neil on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jack McGee (The McCarthys/Players) - Jack stops by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Encore! Encore!/Charlie Lawrence) - Nathan appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Garry Marshall (Creator of Happy Days/Laverne & Shirley/Mork & Mindy) - Garry is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Bill Cosby (The Cosby Show/Cosby/The Bill Cosby Show) - Bill appears on a repeat of The Colbert Report at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at LargE) - Wanda chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Sean Hayes (The Millers/Sean Saves the World/Will & Grace) - Sean visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jennie Garth (Mystery Girls/What I Like About You) - Jennie stops by ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso and dancer Witney Carson discuss how they plan on winning Dancing with the Stars on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Michael Cera (Arrested Development) - Michael talks about This Is Our Youth on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Kristin Davis (Sex and the City/Bad Teacher) - Kristin talks about the rumors of a third Sex and the City movie on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Casey Wilson (Marry Me/Happy Endings) and Ken Marino (Marry Me/Party Down) - Casey and Ken are guests on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings. Casey will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - Roseanne appears on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.