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 (March)

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series Bewitched - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek) Maude - The Complete Series WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete First Season (Shout! Factory) The Donna Reed Show - Season 2 (MPI Home Video)

03/03 - CHiPs - The Complete Third Season
03/10 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series
03/10 - Hey Dude - The Complete Series (Walmart Exclusive)
03/10 - Petticoat Junction - Family Favorite Episodes
03/17 - Bewitched - Season 5 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Bewitched - Season 6 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Bewitched - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Maude - The Complete Series (Shout! Factory)
03/17 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete First Season (Shout! Factory)
03/17 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Second Season (Shout! Factory)
03/24 - The Donna Reed Show - Season 2 (MPI Home Video)
03/31 - Silicon Valley - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
03/31 - Veep - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, March 29

The Simpsons - "Super Franchise Me" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Marge opens a sandwich franchise store after her sandwiches become a huge hit at Springfield Elementary. But running day-to-day at the store proves challenging, especially when the same franchise opens another location across the street.

Bob's Burgers - "Carpe Museum" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
While acting as a parent chaperone on the school’s trip to the museum, Bob has a father-daughter bonding moment with Louise. Meanwhile, Gene and his friends are on a hunt to find exhibits that feature the female anatomy. Also, Tina questions her dorkiness and, on the steps of the museum, Linda lends her unique chanting abilities to striking museum workers.

The Simpsons - "Covercraft" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Homer has a mid-life crisis, takes up bass guitar and forms a cover band with some of the other dads in town. But the band’s modest early success is soon overwhelmed by the breakout potential of their most unlikely star, Apu.

Family Guy - "Our Idiot Brian" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Meg convinces Brian to take the SATs for her, but when he tests poorly, they start to suspect that Brian might not be that smart, after all. Naturally, Peter shows Brian the joys of being stupid and the benefits of having a low IQ.

The Last Man on Earth - "She Drives Me Crazy" / "Mooovin' In" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Phil Miller continues to live in Tucson.

I Didn't Do It - "Logan Finds Out" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Logan is dumped by his girlfriend; Lindy, Garrett and Delia find out that Jasmine likes Logan but she begs her friends to keep her secret.

K.C. Undercover - "Daddy's Little Princess" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The Coopers are tasked with protecting Prince Promomomo; Craig becomes worried when K.C. and the Prince begin flirting.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 30) (All times ET unless noted)

Sunday, March 29

  • Betty White (Hot in Cleveland/The Golden Girls/Mary Tyler Moore) - Betty talks about her passion for life on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 9pm ET/PT on OWN.
  • Regina King (227) - Catch Regina on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, March 30
  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Stark Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Watch Neil on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Encore! Encore!/Charlie Lawrence) - Nathan is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Kristen Schaal (The Last Man on Earth/The Hotwives of Orlando/30 Rock) - Kristen visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Becki Newton (Weird Loners/The Goodwin Games/How I Met Your Mother) - Becki appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC. Becki and Zachary Knighton will also be on Good Day LA on Fox 11 LA KTTV in Los Angeles.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Alyssa guest hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Regina King (227) - Regina chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) - Billy talks about the game show Monopoly Millionaires’ Club on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Hilary Duff (Younger/Lizzie McGuire) - Hilary appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) - Candace discusses her new Hallmark Movies & Mysteries original A Bone to Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Kevin Rahm (I Hate My Teenage Daughter) - Kevin talks about what to expect on the final season of his popular show Mad Men on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Sutton Foster (Younger) - Sutton discusses her starring role in TV Land's Younger and talks about her exciting solo debut at Carnegie Hall on HuffPost Live at 3:40pm.
  • Rob Corddry (The Winner) - Rob is a guest on SportsNation at 3pm on ESPN2.
  • Garcelle Beauvais (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Garcelle guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Girlfriends) - Tracee is a guest on VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live at 9am.
  • The Cast of Younger - Patricia Field, Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, Nico Tortorella and creator Darren Star are guests on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.