Thursday, July 12, 2012

This Day In TV History: July 12

Survey says! On this day in 1976, the original version of the long-running hit game show Family Feud with Richard Dawson debuted on ABC daytime.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

DirecTV vs. Viacom

As explained on DirecTV's page, Viacom wants a 30% rate increase for the networks they provide. DirecTV did not concede to Viacom's demands, and as of 11:46 PM last night, 20 million households lost 26 channels. Networks such as Nickelodeon, MTV, TVLand, VH-1, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, Centric, Spike, et. al.

My sympathy towards Viacom is at zero and while I would be quite angry if I were a DirecTV consumer, and even looking at some of the problems they themselves have caused with conglomerate disagreements (like what happened with Fox) and with steep rate increases, I have to give the subscriber a little credit for standing their ground this time and saying enough is enough for their viewers and that the rate increase was not happening.

There's a Facebook page that Viacom has launched to try and plead their case about their DirecTV battle, and get support from their consumers. It's quite hilarious. None of the consumers are falling for this at all. I'd guess well over 95% of the comments are anti-Viacom.

Also when reading the comments, I noticed several angry parents pointing out the fact that there are ads about this situation on Nick Jr's and Nickelodeon's websites. They have a very valid point here. You have to dig pretty down in the dumps to use kids to get your point about more money across like this. There's no denying it, too -- you know a bunch of children saw these ads and were not happy with the result. They're going to want their SpongeBob, they're going to want to see iCarly and Big Time Rush.

Does Viacom really NEED this rate increase? My guess would be no. These channels do well. Especially the ones seen in more households like MTV, VH-1, and BET. And when you count in the lengthy commercial breaks during all these channels plus the merchandise that's put out: DVD's, toys, etc., and the fact that they're a billion dollar corporation, still to this day, says that a "pennies a day" increase rate is not a bit necessary. They're in no way having financial problems. They just can't be. Not to mention, the economy is still in a dire state. A lot of consumers for that reason alone are not going to be up for any kind of significant increase. Not to mention, if it's a mere "pennies a day" increase, why are they fighting so hard for it?

Ridiculous greed-powered decisions like this are what drive people away from subscription television and are what takes them to places the Internet to get their entertainment.

All of a sudden, my complaints towards Charter Communications look like pretty small potatoes compared to this. Let's hope that for DirecTV that this mess is settled quickly. Because while I'm commending DirecTV, the only people I really have any actual sympathy for in this conflict is the consumers. They're the ones that are getting screwed the most.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

This Day In TV History: July 7

On this day in 1975, the daytime soap opera Ryan's Hope debuted on ABC.

Created by Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer, the serial was about an Irish family, the working class Ryan family in the upper west side of Manhattan.

One of my favorite things about Ryan's Hope was the way the characters were written. They weren't perfect. They had flaws. They made mistakes. But they were written so realistically and purely. Good character-driven material on daytime soaps these days can really be hard to come by.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Remembering Andy Griffith

Sad to hear of yet another legend who left us this year. Andy Griffith, actor and singer, passed away this morning in his North Carolina home at the age of 86.

He is of course best known in the television world for two successful series. First as Sheriff Andy Taylor on the The Andy Griffith Show, the weekly sitcom that took place in the fondly remembered fictional world of Mayberry, which aired on CBS from 1960-1968. Also, he was the star of the long-running drama Matlock, which aired from 1986-1995. Andy was also a well-known singer and had also starred on Broadway and in movies in the 1950's before getting his successful shows on television.

TVLand and Turner Classic Movies will be airing tributes to Andy, starting tomorrow. A marathon block of The Andy Griffith Show will air on TVLand from 8 AM-1 PM Eastern time on July 4, and from 11 PM-8 AM on Saturday July 7 and Sunday July 8. On July 18th, Turner Classic Movies will air four of his signature movies: A Face in the Crowd (1957), No Time for Sargeants (1958), Hearts of the West (1975), and Onionhead (1958), all starting at 8 PM Eastern time.

Andy also appeared occasionally as guests on the classic Goodson-Todman game shows What's My Line? and I've Got A Secret. Including the memorable "man with the inner tube" episode of Secret. Here he is on an episode of What's My Line? from June 25, 1958:

Monday, July 2, 2012

Anderson Cooper - It's Official

So if you haven't heard already...

For many years this issue with Anderson Cooper's sexuality has been a debate with a number of people, sometimes heated. But this question was discussed for the first time publicly from his own point of view in this open e-mail to Andrew Sullivan which includes these words:

“The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”

Anderson Cooper, I am so proud of you. He has always been one of my heroes in the world of television news and journalism. Always has been, always will be.

You know something… what’s funny to me is that with all the pictures of him out in public with a guy and stuff what actually made it click for me was his friendship with Kathy Griffin, seeing the way they click together, especially on the New Year's Eve shows. I love their relationship. It’s so sweet and hilarious.

And forget these facetious “FINALLY” headlines. Coming out is a personal journey. If this announcement was too slow for some, well then that’s too bad for them. While a lot of us say with some people “duh” or “we already know”, it’s about personal liberation. It doesn’t matter if I knew or if anyone else knew beforehand. What matters is that he said it when he felt like it, and that he felt comfortable about doing it.

Alex Trebek Recuperating after Heart Attack

Alex Trebek is back home from the hospital following his mild heart attack this past week.

Great to hear that he's doing better. It's also no surprise at all that Alex wants to go back to work when he recuperates. He's had his share of problems like his car accident in 2004, the incident with the burglar last year, and after his first heart attack in 2007, and just like the first time, it hasn't stopped him from showing up back to work to do Jeopardy!. He's a real trooper and one of my personal favorites in the game show world, and I'm happy that he has a continued interest in working.

Wishing him the best and a quick recovery.

Monday, June 25, 2012

This Day In TV History: June 25

On this day in 2009, the music world lost a legend; Michael Jackson passed away. Michael's music videos were some of the most popular on cable, including on networks like MTV, and helped vitalize the network in the 1980's.

In 1999, soap fans bid farewell to the long-running soap opera Another World, as it ended its run on NBC after 35 years.