Monday August 18, 2014

An article in support of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight.  If you're not watching this show, I urge you to do so.  He's taken the success he had filling in for Jon Stewart and taken it to a whole new level.

A lot of people accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge over the weekend.  I won't bore you with links to their videos, but good on everyone who has kept this going with so much momentum.

Grit and Escape, two new networks, launch today.  Let me know how long it takes you to find them on your dial.

I haven't talked about this show yet, but I'm all in on Top Chef Duels.  It's an interesting spin on the Top Chef franchise and I find it pretty interesting.  Speaking of Top Chef, you should not drink and drive Bryan Voltaggio.

I watched the NBC show A to Z over the weekend.  As I mentioned late last week, the premiere episode (which doesn't debut for a couple of months), was released early by NBC.  The show is not half bad if you're into corny romantic comedies.  I like Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother) and Ben Feldman (Mad Men) and this is a show I'll continue to watch on Thursday nights this fall until it's canceled shortly thereafter.

Per Deadline, "Craig Ferguson is in advance talks with Tribune Media about doing a half-hour first-run comedy/talk show that would air in prime access, sources say. The CBS Late Late Show host plans to take his robot skeleton Geoff Peterson sidekick with him — along with Josh Robert Thompson, who does the robot voice. Those who’ve been watching Ferguson’s show recently have heard him make “whither I goest, you go” assurances to Robot Skeleton. Ferguson also is expected to take Secretariat, his pantomime horse —  and his longtime showrunner Michael Naidus. It’s expected that the new show, which would target a fall 2016 launch, would be shot in Los Angeles. He’s set to leave the Late Late Show in December.

Here's a long list with all of the Creative Emmy winners, if anyone cares.  Amongst the highlights:

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series
Joe Morton, Scandal 

Outstanding Animated Program
Bob's Burgers

CBS gave a put pilot commitment to an untitled comedy from Dan Sterling (The Office) and Phil Lord & Chris Miller (The Lego Movie), reports Deadline. The project comes from 20th Century Fox Television. 

Also at 20th Century Fox TV: Glenn Gordon Caron (Moonlighting), who signed a two-year overall deal with the studio, according to Deadline. Caron is an exec producer on FX drama Tyrant.

Under The Dome actually got interesting last week.  Here's a sneak peak of tonight's episode per TVLine, "[o]n Monday’s episode of Under the Dome (CBS, 10/9c), Barbie learns firsthand that there are secrets beyond Chester’s Mill — and TVLine has an exclusive first look at his big discovery.

"When Barbie hacks into his dad’s computer (with the help of tech whiz Hunter, played by The Young and the Restless‘ Max Ehrich), he finds that his father knows a bit more about the dome than he’s letting on — and it could mean trouble for Julia."  

Five lessons to be learned from FYI's Married At First Sight: from Real Screen:

"1) Leave the casting to the experts, not the TV execs
'When you cast this show of course you always look for the normal television qualities in people. But at some point in this casting process you need to let go from a television perspective and leave it in the hands of the experts. It’s important for the integrity of the format that it’s not television people who decide the couples. It has to be the experts because the experts have to be able to stand up for their matches.

'The production company and the network can only decide up until a certain point and from that point on it’s the experts who decide. If for instance the channel wants four couples and the experts give them six couples then the channel and producers can choose the couples they prefer. But if the experts only give you four couples, that’s what you go with.

'So it’s a little bit unnatural for the broadcasters and we have had some – not trouble – but more like discussions: this is an integrated part of the format that you need to let go of your normal television control. Otherwise it won’t succeed because no one on a television production is a psychologist or matchmaker. It has to be the experts who decide. From the broadcasters’ point of view, that’s the biggest control issue.

'2) Make an effort to understand the contestants’ interests

'You relate to the cast in a different way than you normally do on a reality show because you really want them to succeed. You don’t become a member of their family but you adopt them. Everything you do is to try to help them find love and stay together as a couple.

'You need to think on a psychological level. If we let them do something, how will it affect the storytelling and how will they evolve as a couple, and as individuals? Will it help them learn more about each other and thereby help them fall in love? If you would like them to go to Disneyland, then you need to think, ‘Will this help them find love?’ Yeah, it might if they both are big Mickey Mouse fans and love going to amusement parks.

'If you have a choice between two things, always pick the one you think will help them in a positive way. If you don’t work from that premise, you are working against the whole idea of the show. You want them to stay together in the end.

'3) People like to talk things through before marrying at first sight
'Now that we’re producing season two in Denmark, already we can see some issues we had from season one that are the same, but we’re getting better at providing the couples with a structure that helps them. When you have six weeks to decide whether you want to stay married to a person, there’s a lot of stress involved. We have improved the way we handle the couples so that we might help with that decision.

'It’s about how we use the experts. We underestimated the cast’s need to talk about the situation they are in. In the first season, we were a little bit afraid of pushing them too much to talk with the psychologist. Afterwards we found out the couples wanted to talk more with the psychologist to understand why they were being put together with this other person. When you meet a new girlfriend or boyfriend, at some point you start asking your friends and family, "What do you think about him or her?" We underestimated that one but I think we’ve done it better this time.

'4) Marriage is no joke
'There’s a thoroughly prescribed process that we follow right down to the point where we tell the cast they are to be married for the first time. You go from not knowing the cast to trying to get them to trust you so when you tell them they are to marry a complete stranger, they believe in what you are doing.

'There are a lot of shows out there in the dating genre that are more easygoing – it’s more of a game or for fun. This is actually not for fun. This could be a way forward for some people. It’s about teaching the production companies this process, persuading the channel to go along with the experts’ decisions and persuading the producers to make every decision they do in the interest of creating love. It’s not a difficult format to produce. It’s a difficult format to make ready to produce.”

'5) Producers should genuinely care about the cast
'If you really want to do people some good, that’s when you actually create great television. Married at First Sight came out of an idea to create something really loud and spectacular and it ended up being a show where we wanted people to find a partner for life. When we realized that’s the way we should approach it, it was a success.'”