Relentless Robots Campaign For World Dominance

September 30, 2016
Hillary Clinton starred in three of this week's five MediaPost TV blogs. Read them all, below.

Hillary Clinton starred in three of this week’s five MediaPost TV blogs. Read them all, below.

THIS WEEK’S MEDIAPOST TV BLOGS, AND MORE 

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, Sept. 30, 2016 — Robotic humanoids were the stars of this week’s TV blogs as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went at it in their first debate and HBO’s “Westworld” drew nearer to its premiere this coming Sunday. Clinton was the star of three blogs — two on the debate and one about this Sunday’s season premiere of “Madam Secretary” on CBS.

Read all five of my MediaPost TV columns from the past week — plus my three of my TVNewsCheck.com stories from this week’s TVB (Television Bureau of Advertising) Forward conference Thursday in New York. Follow all the links below:

Monday, Sept. 26: Smell That? It’s Clinton And Trump Going Nose To Nose

Tuesday, Sept. 27: Pundits Say Hillary Won, But Was Her Victory Decisive?

Wednesday, Sept. 28: CBS, NBC Dueling Victory Declarations Sow Confusion

Thursday, Sept. 29: ‘Westworld’ Boldly Goes Where Man And Movies Have Gone Before

Friday, Sept. 30: Secretary Clinton Sees Herself In ‘Madam Secretary’

PLUS: All three of my stories from this week’s annual TVB Forward conference in New York for TVNewsCheck.com:

1 – TV industry analyst gives financial forecast: Wells Fargo’s Ryvicker Sees Positive Future For Local TV

2 – Top economist presents outlook for automotive industry: Car Sales To Slow, But Not Harm Local TV

3 – Fierce competition to bring electronic audience measurement to local TV markets: Dueling Ratings Firms Good For Stations

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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A Tale of Two Presidents: This Week’s TV Blogs

September 23, 2016
Another week, another five TV columns - read 'em all below.

Another week, another five TV columns – read ’em all below.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2016 — The new fall TV season got under way this week, so the TV blogs were heavy with reviews of new shows — including Kiefer Sutherland as a reluctant president in “Designated Survivor” on ABC. The real president turned up also — in a Hanoi noodle shop with Anthony Bourdain, the subject of Friday’s TV blog.

Two presidents — one fictional, one real — plus reviews of two other new shows and a morning-after look at last Sunday’s Emmy Awards. Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week right here:

Monday, Sept. 19: The Emmy Effect: We’re All Spectators At Somebody Else’s Party

Tuesday, Sept. 20: ‘Bull’ Title Is Truth In Labeling; NBC Says Look In The Mirror

Wednesday, Sept. 21: President Kiefer Sutherland Is ABC’s ‘Designated’ Hitter

Thursday, Sept. 22: ‘MacGyver’? Really? What’s Next? The New Adventures of ALF?

Friday, Sept. 23: Fun-Loving President Obama Is America’s Chowhound In Chief

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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Follow the Pointed Fingers to This Week’s Blogs

September 16, 2016
Pointed commentary: This week's MediaPost TV blogs.

Pointed commentary: This week’s MediaPost TV blogs.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, Sept. 16, 2016 — Far be it from me to point fingers, but this week I noticed something interesting (at least to me): TV network publicity departments love to provide photos in which people are pointing. Whether or not it is polite to point is beside the point, but they make for a nice photo gallery, don’t you think?

And now, please allow me to point you in the right direction to read the MediaPost TV blogs that go with the pointed-finger photos. Just follow these links:

Monday, Sept. 12: Anachronism Or Grand Tradition? ‘Miss America’ Crowns A New Queen

Tuesday, Sept. 13: Wild About Harry? It’s Difficult Not To Be

Wednesday, Sept. 14: Let The Finger-Pointing Begin: Who’s To Blame For This Mess?

Thursday, Sept. 15: NBC Points The Way To TV Heaven In ‘The Good Place’

Friday, Sept. 16: The Emmys Are On This Weekend, But Does Anybody Really Care?

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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From Trump to Zorn, It Was Four Days of TV Fun

September 9, 2016

THIS WEEK’S MEDIAPOST TV BLOGS

Four blogs for a four-day week: (top) New comedies on FX, "Son of Zorn" on Fox; (bottom) Trump-Clinton non-debate, 9/11 remembered. Read them all, below.

Four blogs for a four-day week: (top) New comedies on FX, “Son of Zorn” on Fox; (bottom) Trump-Clinton non-debate, 9/11 remembered. Read them all, below.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, Sept. 9, 2016 — In just four days, the MediaPost TV blog managed to review two new comedies on FX (they weren’t funny) and one new comedy on Fox (it was just weird); tried to make sense of the Trump-Clinton non-debate on NBC; and just said no to 9/11 commemorative specials. Read all four blogs right here:

Tuesday, Sept. 6: So-Called ‘Comedies’ On FX Contain No Laughs Of Any Kind

Wednesday, Sept. 7: In Fall Season’s Weirdest Show, Animated Warrior Takes Up Residence in California

Thursday, Sept. 8: Postmortem On Odd Non-Debate On NBC: So Who Won?

Friday, Sept. 9: Here We Go Again: Every Year At 9/11 Time, TV Overdoes It

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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Late Summer TV Blogs Are Typically Eclectic

September 2, 2016
Five summer days, five TV blogs -- read all five below.

Five summer days, five TV blogs — read all five below.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, Sept. 2, 2016 — The final week in August is one of the most difficult weeks of the year to come up with ideas for TV columns. The end result is usually eclectic, and this week’s lineup was no different.

Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week with these links:

Monday, Aug. 29: Seven Simple Rules For Writing TV Reviews

Tuesday, Aug. 30: Discovery Miniseries Tells Swashbuckling Story Of Harley-Davidson

Wednesday, Aug. 31: Twenty Years After Her Murder, TV Is Still Exploiting JonBenet

Thursday, Sept. 1: CNBC Documentary Might Be The Best 9/11 Show This Year

Friday, Sept. 2: Hey, Ladies, What Do You Think Of This ‘Bull’ Billboard?

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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In TV Season’s Dog Days, A Column About A Puppy

August 29, 2016
Paws for a moment or two to read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from last week.

Paws for a moment to read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from last week.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, Aug. 29, 2016 — When the Olympics ended Aug. 21 on NBC, the dog days of the summer TV season arrived the next day, leaving a TV columnist to depend heavily on his imagination to get him through last week’s five TV blogs.

The results included two reviews (yes, two new shows actually premiered this week), a look at the Ryan Lochte mess and NBC’s role in it, a column about a puppy, and a peek inside the mind of Hillary Clinton as she watches TV. How’d these ideas turn out? You be the judge: Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from last week with these links:

Monday, Aug. 22: Don’t Blame Billy Bush For Believing Lochte’s Lies

Tuesday, Aug. 23: ‘Golden Guys’: NBC Launches Travel Show With Celebrity Codgers

Wednesday, Aug. 24: On Wings Of LeBron, Cleveland Angel Investors Take Up Residence At CNBC

Thursday, Aug. 25: Imagine Using A Cute Puppy Just To Attract Attention

Friday, Aug. 26: All Trump, All The Time: Watching TV With Hillary Clinton

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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Wide World of TV: This Week’s MediaPost Blogs

August 19, 2016
From Dindin the Olympic penguin to John McLaughlin -- what a week in TV. Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week, below.

From Dindin the Olympic penguin to John McLaughlin — what a week in TV. Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week, below.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, Aug. 19, 2016 — This week’s MediaPost TV blogs were truly representative of the wide world of TV — stretching from Rio de Janeiro (the Olympics) to the U.K. (“Inspector Lewis”) and back to the USA (Comedy Central’s late-night woes, new research about prime-time TV, and John McLaughlin, who died this week at age 89).

Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week with these links:

Monday, Aug. 15: NBC’s Olympic Ratings: Down Or Just Moved To Other Platforms?

Tuesday, Aug. 16: ‘Inspector Lewis’ Finale Raises Question About British TV ‘Golden Age’

Wednesday, Aug. 17: Tough Acts To Follow: Comedy Central Struggles Without Stewart, Colbert

Thursday, Aug. 18: Innovative Magid Research Finds Most-Valued And Least-Valued TV Shows

Friday, Aug. 19: A John McLaughlin Memory That’s So Old, It’s On VHS

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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This Week’s Blogs: From Hitchcock to ‘Star Trek’

August 12, 2016
Five days, five blogs -- from Alfred Hitchcock to "Ray Donovan." Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week, below.

Five days, five blogs — from Alfred Hitchcock to “Ray Donovan.” Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week, below.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, Aug. 12, 2016 — How many diverse topics can one TV columnist cover in five days? Well, “diversity” was one column topic — with others ranging widely from Alfred Hitchcock and “Star Trek” to “Ray Donovan” and the Olympics.

Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week with these links.

Monday, Aug. 8: HBO ‘Hitchcock/Truffaut’ Documentary Needs More Of Them, Less Of Others

Tuesday, Aug. 9: TV Columnist’s Desperate Plea: Will Somebody Please Explain ‘Star Trek’s’ Popularity?

Wednesday, Aug. 10: Best Way To Enjoy Olympics Is Watch Them In Your Own Way

Thursday, Aug. 11: TV Critics Adopt Role Of Diversity Police, Attack CBS

Friday, Aug. 12: ‘Ray Donovan’ Renewal Is Summer Bummer For Ray

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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In Post-Convention Week, Trump’s In Two Blogs

August 5, 2016
This week's TV blogs -- from Colbert to Trump to Ailes and back to Trump. Read 'em all, below.

This week’s TV blogs — from Colbert to Trump to Ailes and back to Trump. Read ’em all, below.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, Aug. 5, 2016 — It was a week without political conventions on TV.  As a result, the TV blog returned to normal, covering a variety of topics drawn from the diverse world of TV. And yet, Donald Trump still managed to become the topic of two of them. Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week with these links:

Monday, Aug. 1: Stephen Colbert In Search Of Self

Tuesday, Aug. 2: Rubbernecking At A Trainwreck: The Donald Brags About His Ratings

Wednesday, Aug. 3: On TLC, A Kiss Is Still A Kiss, As Summertime Goes By

Thursday, Aug. 4: After Ailes, The Show Goes On At Fox News Channel

Friday, Aug. 5: The Greatest Donald Trump Story Ever Told

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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The Thrilla in Phila.: The Coronation of Hillary

July 29, 2016

THIS WEEK’S MEDIAPOST TV BLOGS

The Hillary Show: Four out of five of this week's MediaPost TV blogs covered the televised Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. Plus, on Monday: "Sharknado"! Blog links below.

The Hillary Show: Four out of five of this week’s MediaPost TV blogs covered the televised Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. Plus, on Monday: “Sharknado”! Blog links below.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, July 29, 2016 — It was a thrilla in Phila., a Democratic Convention in Philadelphia that provided four nights of television that closely followed four nights of Republican conventioneering a week earlier. For a TV columnist, it has been two weeks of televised politics, plenty to write about.

Read all four of my Democratic Convention TV columns for MediaPost with these links (starting with Tuesday):

Monday, July 25: Syfy Gets Some Help Promoting Its New ‘Sharknado’ Movie

Tuesday, July 26: Thrilla In Phila., Day 1: Comedian Wags Finger, Lectures Democrats

Wednesday, July 27: Thrilla In Phila., Day 2: Idiotic Celebrities And One Masterful Speaker

Thursday, July 28: Thrilla In Phila., Day 3: Dems Put The Party In ‘Political Party’

Friday, July 29: Thrilla In Phila., Day 4: The Coronation Of Hillary

PREVIOUSLY: Be sure to read all of my columns on the Republican Convention in Cleveland from a week earlier: “The Cleveland Trump Show” — find the links right HERE.

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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TV Howl Extra: My Interview With Irritable Al

July 27, 2016
Sen. Al Franken speaking at the Democratic National Convention Monday (July 25) in Philadelphia.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) speaking at the Democratic National Convention Monday (July 25) in Philadelphia.

‘He had a voice like a cartoon frog’ — book excerpt, below, from JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television by Adam Buckman

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, July 27, 2016 — Former TV comedian Al Franken made a splash Monday night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, delivering a speech ripping Trump University and then appearing with Bernie Sanders supporter Sarah Silverman in an attempt to unify the Democratic Party behind nominee Hillary Clinton.

But many of us on the TV beat remember Franken before he was a senator, when he was just another comedy writer, a “Saturday Night Live” veteran, trying to make a living in the TV comedy biz.

This is the story of one of those efforts, an NBC comedy series called “Lateline,” and what Franken had to say to me in an interview the day after the show was cancelled in 1999. This story is excerpted from my book called “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television,” available on Amazon:

Chapter Five: CAVALCADE OF STARS

Part I

Click on the pic to visit my Amazon book page.

Click on the pic to visit my Amazon book page.

Another comedian who agreed to get on the phone to talk about the cancellation of his own show was Al Franken, who also wound up casting the blame on someone else – in his case, NBC.

Read “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” by Adam Buckman: Order your copy today — right HERE!

Franken’s show was a sitcom called “Lateline,” a newsroom spoof in which he starred as a gung-ho but bumbling correspondent for a late-night news show modeled loosely on ABC’s “Nightline.”  NBC had just given it the axe and Franken had an axe to grind.  This was another instance in which I believed I had no chance of getting the star of a cancelled show (who in this case also happened to be the show’s creator and executive producer) on the phone to tell me why he thought his show was cancelled and how he felt about it.

But I put in the request anyway and, incredibly, an NBC publicist put Franken on the phone for me, even though Franken was furious about the cancellation and in no frame of mind to do an interview that would spare NBC’s feelings.  Instead, he unloaded on the network and the then-president of NBC’s entertainment division, Scott Sassa.

Al Franken in "Lateline."

Al Franken in “Lateline.”

“We made good shows,” Franken said calmly, sounding a little weary, at the outset of our conversation.  “I think NBC did a bad job in presenting it to the public,” he said, referring to the way “Lateline” had been scheduled.  The show had had a short, uneven history, premiering in March 1998 for just six weeks and then going away for a year.  It returned in March 1999 for a planned run of six more episodes, but five of them never aired after NBC cancelled the series the morning after the first one attracted one of the smallest audiences ever recorded by the network on a Tuesday night up to that time – 6.7 million viewers.

I then asked Franken about Sassa and whether the NBC president had called him personally to give him the bad news.  The question apparently hit a sore spot and Franken turned peevish.  No, Franken answered, Sassa did not call him.  “It would have been nice for Sassa to call me,” said Franken, who then basically called the head of NBC a liar.

At issue was a “promise” Franken insisted Sassa had made to him about NBC’s commitment to “Lateline.”  “I felt cold-cocked. … [He] promised me six shows,” said Franken, who characterized Sassa’s “promise” as “an explicit guarantee” that “Lateline” would have a run of six episodes to get on its feet.

“[Sassa] didn’t explain why he felt ethically that you can promise six and then pull [a show off the air] after one,” Franken complained.  (For his part, Sassa declined a request for an interview with me then, but an NBC spokeswoman denied Sassa had promised Franken anything.)

Franken then noted that it was unfortunate for the television production industry in New York for “Lateline” to be cancelled because it was one of only a handful of situation-comedies then being produced in New York City.  He then unloaded on me when it became apparent that I could not recall in that instant which other sitcoms were produced in New York.  As a result of this shortcoming, Franken basically called me an idiot who lacked the qualifications he felt were necessary for writing about television, though to my knowledge, the job of covering television as a journalist was one that Franken had never held.  I tried to explain to him that the identities of the other made-in-New York sitcoms (they turned out to be “Cosby” on CBS and “Spin City” on ABC) were irrelevant to our story.  And if they were relevant, I told him, then I would endeavor to report them correctly before the story got into print.

It wasn’t the first time I found myself explaining to someone that I wasn’t a walking, talking encyclopedia of television, that it was not important for me to know every little thing about television when conducting an interview such as this one.  The main concern for me, as with any journalist, was not necessarily to have every fact correct when you are interviewing a newsmaker and researching a story, though it certainly couldn’t hurt.  What mattered much more was getting it right by the time it appeared in the paper.  And I assured Franken it would be, though by this time, he had had enough of me and I had had enough of him.  After we hung up, I concluded that either Franken was having a bad day or he was basically an asshole.  I figured it was a little bit of both.

The story, headlined “Franken burns NBC bridge,” published on March 22, 1999, in the New York Post, was a great story for me, though I never learned how Franken felt about it.  However, I developed such a visceral dislike for him in the aftermath of that interview that I welcomed the occasional opportunities that arose later to take additional swipes at him.

Al Franken Parkay commercial.

Al Franken Parkay commercial.

One was an item I didn’t really have to write later that year, though I wrote it anyway.  “Former sitcom star Al Franken has landed on his feet – you can see him shoveling a forkful of steaming hot baked potato into his mouth in a commercial for Parkay margarine,” I reported on Oct. 25, in an attempt to write an item that would portray Franken as a has-been whose career had seen better days, but was now reduced to hawking margarine.

Franken went on to host a radio show on Air America, the short-lived liberal radio network.  When a condensed, one-hour version of the radio show, shot in the Air America studios on videotape, began airing in 2004 on the Sundance cable channel, I took up the cudgel again to describe him in a review as having “a voice like a cartoon frog.”  I also accused him of exhibiting posture unbefitting the profession of broadcasting, taking pains to write that Franken “slouches over his microphone like he has no spine” (my intention being to imply subtly that Franken lacked backbone, though I doubt anyone who read it ever caught this implication).  I never learned Franken’s reaction to this column either (if he ever even had a reaction), but he had backbone enough to run for the U.S. Senate in 2008, representing Minnesota.

[Excerpted from “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” by Adam Buckman. Copyright Adam Buckman 2014 All Rights Reserved.]

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Want more great stories from the TV beat? Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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Four Blogs On This Week’s Cleveland Trump Show

July 22, 2016
This week the Republicans, next week the Democrats: Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week, below.

This week the Republicans, next week the Democrats: Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week, below.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, July 22, 2016 — The Republican Convention in Cleveland was the TV show to watch this week — which is why I devoted four out of five blogs to it since Monday. Read all five of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past week, right here:

Monday, July 18: With Snipers Making Headlines, USA Network Introduces A Series About A Sniper

Tuesday, July 19: The Cleveland Trump Show, Day 1: Making Special Effects Great Again

Wednesday, July 20: The Cleveland Trump Show, Day 2: Where’s The Showmanship?

Thursday, July 21: The Cleveland Trump Show, Day 3: As Ted Talked, GOP Lost Cruz Control

Friday, July 22: Cleveland Trump Show, Day 4: Candidate Gracelessly Accepts Nomination

Next week: A Thrilla in Phila.: The Coronation Of Hillary

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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Hot Summer Blogs: From ‘Mr. Robot’ to ‘Fargo’

July 16, 2016
From "Mr. Robot" to "Fargo" and the Emmy nominations, here are this week's MediaPost TV blogs.

Here are this week’s MediaPost TV blogs — links below!

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, July 16, 2016 — The week started with a look ahead to the second-season premiere of “Mr. Robot” on USA Network and ended with a look at this year’s Emmy nominations announced Thursday — of which “Mr. Robot” received six. Read all of my MediaPost TV blogs from the past five days, right here:

Monday, July 11: No Easy Answers As ‘Mr. Robot’ Returns For Season Two

Tuesday, July 12: Obnoxious ‘White House’ Doc Reveals How First Families Live Like Royalty

Wednesday, July 13: Characters Have Many Vices, No Principles In HBO’s ‘Vice Principals’

Thursday, July 14: As Conventions Near, Late-Night Gets Serious About Politics

Friday, July 15: Thank You, Networks, For Tallying Your Emmy Nominations So I Don’t Have To

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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Back By Popular Demand: This Week’s Rundown

July 8, 2016

ALL FOUR MEDIAPOST TV BLOGS: July 5-8

This week's TV blog topics included PBS's "Capitol Fourth" show and the mystery of the year-old footage, Donald Trump's TV habits, Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit against Roger Ailes, and the familiarity of this week's mayhem in the streets.

This week’s TV blog topics included PBS’s “Capitol Fourth” show and the mystery of the year-old footage, Donald Trump’s TV habits, Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit against Roger Ailes, and the familiarity of the protest marches and violence in the nation’s cities this week.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, July 8, 2016 — Presenting the return of the weekly rundown of this week’s MediaPost TV blogs — written by yours truly, Adam Buckman. Follow the links, below:

Tuesday, July 5: Complaints About PBS Rainy Night Fireworks Footage Are All Wet

Wednesday, July 6: Couch Potato-In-Chief: Grazing Around The Dial With Donald Trump

Thursday: July 7: Thanks To Carlson, Entire World Can Read Her Lawsuit Against Ailes

Friday: July 8: And The Beat Goes On: Mayhem In The Streets Revives Baby Boomer Memories

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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This Year’s New York Upfront Tally: 36 Stories

May 20, 2016
10 more Upfrnt stories bring the grand total to 36 since the season began March 2. Read them all with the links below.

10 more Upfront stories for a grand total of 36 since the season began March 2. Read them all with the links below.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, May 20, 2016 — The New York Upfront season is now over. It ended yesterday with the CW at City Center. Catch up with my most recent coverage of the Upfronts from the last two weeks with these links, and read all of my previous stories too (links below) — a grand total of 36 events covered since March 2. See you next year:

May 11, Upfront Week Preview: Final Upfront Week Isn’t The Big Bang It Used To Be

May 13, Screenvision: Screenvision Upfront Stresses ‘Impact’ Of The Moviegoing Experience

May 13, Univision preview: Univision Upfront Preview Unveils New Comedies, Dramas

May 15, Telemundo/NBC Universo: With Eye On Rival Univision, Telemundo Outlines Upfront Program Strategy

May 16, NBC Universal: NBCU Upfront Promotes Multiple Networks

May 16, Fox: At Fox Upfront, What’s Old Is New

May 17, ESPN: ESPN’s Upfront Mantra: Nothing Draws Audiences Like Live Sports

May 17, Univision: Univision Upfront Includes Netflix Deal To Co-Produce ‘El Chapo’ Series

May 18, Turner Networks: Turner’s Upfront Vow To Reduce Commercials Is Growing Industry Trend

May 19, The CW: CW Upfront Promotes Appeal To Both Sexes, Confirms ‘Supergirl’ Pickup

Previously:

Posted May 11: More Stories from NY’s Upfront/NewFront Season

Posted April 25: In Case You Missed Them, 8 More Upfront Stories

Posted April 4: Curated: All 9 of My March 2016 Upfront Stories

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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More Stories from NY’s Upfront/NewFront Season

May 11, 2016

9 MORE BRINGS TOTAL TO 26 SINCE MARCH 2

Nine more upfronts and newfronts: Top: Outdoor Sportsman Group, ION; second row: Nielsen, Hulu; third row: Ellen Digital Network, BuzzFeed; fourth row: Time Inc., Newsy; bottom: TruTV.

Nine more upfronts and newfronts: Top: Outdoor Sportsman Group, ION; second row: Nielsen, Hulu; third row: Ellen Digital Network, BuzzFeed; fourth row: Time Inc., Newsy; bottom: TruTV.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, May 11, 2016 — Catch up with my coverage of the New York Upfronts and NewFronts from the last two weeks with these links:

April 28, Outdoor Sportsman Group: Outdoor Channel Seeks To Broaden Its Appeal This Upfront Season

April 29, ION Media Networks: ION’s Upfront Strategy: Deliver On Ratings, Earn Advertisers’ Trust

May 3, Nielsen: Nielsen Research Sheds Light On ‘Live’ Vs. Delayed Viewing

May 4, Hulu: Hulu’s Upfront Message: Think Of Us As TV, But ‘TV Redefined’

May 5, Ellen Digital Network: Ellen DeGeneres Dives Into Digital With Original Content Network

May 5, BuzzFeed, Hulu, Ellen Digital Network: Cold Coffee And A Giant Bug: Notes From This Week’s NewFronts

May 5, Time Inc.: Time Inc. NewFront Unveils New OTT Service, Expanded Video Offerings

May 10, Newsy: Newsy NewFront Presents 3 New Shows, Touts Multiplatform Reach

May 10, TruTV: TruTV Beefs Up Programming, Reduces Commercials For Upfront

Previously:

Posted April 25: In Case You Missed Them, 8 More Upfront Stories

Posted April 4: Curated: All 9 of My March 2016 Upfront Stories

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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Curated: My 6 Stories From NAB ’16 in Las Vegas

April 25, 2016
A visit to Las Vegas: view from a taxicab window, April 21, 2016

A visit to Las Vegas: View from a taxicab window, April 21, 2016. Photo by Adam Buckman

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, April 25, 2016 — It was another productive assignment at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas last week as I produced six stories in three days for TVNewsCheck.com. Read all six with these links:

Monday, April 18:

ABC’s Sherwood Unveils ABC Clearinghouse

Tuesday, April 19:

Ben Silverman Still Bullish on Broadcast

2016 Ad Sales: Local Core +4%, Network +10%

ABC and Affiliates Get Down to Business

Wednesday, April 20:

Scripps Pushes Declaration of Independence

Google’s Allegre Touts Totally Changed TV

Contact Adam Buckman: adambuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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In Case You Missed Them: 8 More Upfront Stories

April 15, 2016
Recent stories from the New York Upfronts: (top) Freeform and Cadent; (second row) Azteca America and Bounce TV; (third row) TV One and Crackle; (bottom) BET and MTV.

Recent stories from the New York Upfronts: (top) Freeform and Cadent; (second row) Azteca America and Bounce TV; (third row) TV One and Crackle; (bottom) BET and MTV.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, April 25, 2016 — Catch up with my coverage of the New York Upfronts from the last three weeks with these links:

April 8, Freeform: Disney’s Youthful Freeform Slots Late-Night ‘Later Bitches’

April 12, Cadent Network: Cadent Upfront Explores New Frontiers In TV Media Buying

April 13, Azteca America: Azteca America Upfront Highlights New Shows, Digital Initiatives

April 13, Bounce TV: Bounce Upfront Vows More Originals For African-Americans

April 14, TV One: On Eve of Upfront, TV One Makes Deal For ‘Empire’ Reruns

April 20, Crackle: ‘Break-Free Advertising’ Initiative Is Centerpiece Of Crackle’s Upfront Push

April 20, BET: Digital Relaunch Takes Center Stage At BET Upfront

April 21, MTV: MTV And New Management Team Announce 14 New Shows

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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Curated: All 9 of My March 2016 Upfront Stories

April 4, 2016
Nine upfront stories so far this spring: (top) Nickelodeon, TV Land/Nick at Nite/CMT, Game Show Network, (middle) National Geographic Channel, Pop Network, pop Op; Top: ot

Nine upfront stories so far this spring: (top) Nickelodeon, TV Land/Nick at Nite/CMT, Game Show Network, (middle) National Geographic Channel, Pop Network, Scripps (HGTV), (bottom) Hallmark Channel (Crown Media), Discovery Networks, Comedy Central.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, April 4, 2016 — Presenting all nine of my stories from the New York upfront presentations in March. More to come in April and May. Follow the links, right here:

March 3, Nickelodeon: At Season’s First Upfront, Nickelodeon Stresses Star Athletes, Toy Tie-Ins

March 4, TV Land/Nick At Nite/CMT (Country Music Television): Viacom Upfront Combines TV Land, CMT, Nick At Nite Into One Big ‘Family’

March 8, GSN (Game Show Network): At Upfront, Game Show Network Outlines Its Winning Strategy: Produce More Originals

March 15, National Geographic Channel: Nat Geo Leaps Into Upfront Season With Programming On A Global Scale

March 21, Pop network: Pop’s Upfront Pitch: We’re Growing, And Our Competitors Are Not

March 29: Scripps Networks: Scripps Networks’ Upfront Message: Our Viewers Buy What They See

March 31, Crown Media Family Networks (Hallmark Channel): Hallmark Upfront Emphasizes Family-Friendly Programming, Focus On Holidays

March 31, Discovery Networks: Discovery’s Upfront Pitch Touts Global Reach, Domestic Audiences

April 1, Comedy Central: Comedy Central Pushes 5 New Series, 10 New Specials

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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Hey, Now! A Treasury Of Garry Shandling Stories

March 28, 2016
Garry Shandling was proud of this headline and review of "The Larry Sanders Show" in The New York Post TV section. This picture ran in The Post on May 30, 1998.

Garry Shandling was proud of this headline and review of “The Larry Sanders Show” by Michele Greppi in The New York Post TV section. This picture ran in The Post on May 30, 1998. Photo by Lawrence Schwartzwald

THOUGH I NEVER KNEW HIM, SHANDLING NEVERTHELESS FIGURED REPEATEDLY IN MY CAREER

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, March 28, 2016 — I did not know Garry Shandling at all, but he figured into a couple of personal stories.

One was an interview I conducted with him over the phone some time in the 1990s when he was about to host the annual CableACE Awards. “ACE” meant “Award for Cable Excellence.” This was the cable industry’s answer to the Emmys back in the era when the Emmys used to shun TV shows made for cable.

My interview with Shandling does not survive – neither the audiotape nor the published story. For me, what was noteworthy about the story was that it enabled my long-deceased grandfather to earn a byline in TV Guide. The reason for this was because I had taken on this assignment as some sort of a writing test for a job at TV Guide at a time when I was working as the TV editor for the New York Post and didn’t want The Post to know I was applying for a job elsewhere.

So the TV Guide editor allowed me to pick a pseudonym for the byline and I chose the name of my maternal grandfather, Daniel Cooperman, who had been a lifelong pharmacist and, to my knowledge, never read TV Guide. He was a great guy and I was glad to get him a byline in what was at that time one of the highest-circulating magazines on Earth.

As for the interview with Shandling, I cannot re-create any of our conversation, but I remember that it was a terrible interview. On the phone from L.A., he was dour and combative, and gave the impression that he would have preferred to be doing just about anything else at that moment except be interviewed.

For me, it was the first of several such interviews with comedians in those days that eventually made me swear off interviewing comedians altogether – a self-imposed ban that I honored for nearly 10 years. I concluded from this handful of interviews that comedians – the people who make us laugh – are, generally speaking, unhappy people. Either they see interviews as opportunities to exercise their uncontrollable compulsion for spouting wisecracks, or if they are not in the mood for that, they just give answers that reveal they couldn’t care less about being interviewed. P.S. I didn’t get the TV Guide job.

I was nevertheless an admirer of Garry Shandling’s work, and I was well-aware of the attention that was being paid to “The Larry Sanders Show,” his HBO series about late-night TV. So some time in 1993, one of our TV reporters at The Post, Michele Greppi, interviewed Shandling about the show, and I put the story on the day’s list of stories we planned on publishing in the TV section the next day. And off I went to the morning editorial meeting in the editor-in-chief’s office.

On this particular day, we had a visitor who I had never encountered before at a morning news meeting – The Post’s proprietor, Rupert Murdoch. This was back in the days when HBO was not nearly the juggernaut it eventually became, and its audience (i.e. subscribership) paled in comparison to the major broadcast networks. Moreover, cable TV itself was still relatively new to vast swaths of the New York metropolitan area. Indeed, in the Queens neighborhood where I then lived, we didn’t get cable TV until something like 1989.

Mr. Murdoch said little or nothing while other editors recited their news lists. But perhaps because he was interested generally in TV, he decided to weigh in on mine. In his Australian accent, he questioned the value of slotting a story about this HBO series into the next day’s paper because, in his view, the show’s audience, and HBO’s distribution, was too miniscule to justify taking up space with it.

Somehow I came up with an answer. Recovering from the initial shock of being addressed by Rupert Murdoch, I told him that I understood his concerns. But I assured him that stories about HBO were relatively rare in the Post TV section – in proportion, I surmised, to the channel’s relatively small audience at the time.

I also added that as TV editor, I liked to pay particular attention to TV shows that were about television, and “The Larry Sanders Show” — which was about a fictional late-night show — was certainly a stellar example of this, and on that basis alone, would hopefully be of interest to readers of our TV section. Mr. Murdoch seemed OK with this explanation and the story stayed.

In the early summer of 1992, I attended a taping of the then-new “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” at NBC Studios in Burbank. Shandling was one of the guests that day. In those days, Leno was still trying to find his footing on the show and in a conversation he and I had backstage after the show, he fretted that he hadn’t been funny. Incredibly, I found myself in the unexpected position of having to assure Jay Leno that he had been funny, and that he shouldn’t worry about it.

As far as I can remember, I did not meet Shandling, but my impression after the show was that he got the best of Leno during their segments together, and I even formed the impression that Shandling was working hard to do so. I don’t truthfully recall if Leno was funny or not, but Shandling was.

On a Friday afternoon in May 1998, a Post photographer was trolling for celebrities on Madison Avenue when he ran into Garry Shandling at an outdoor café having lunch with Jeff Bewkes, then the chairman and CEO of HBO. Shandling was in the midst of reading the Post’s TV section, which that day ran a five-star review by Michele Greppi of the final-season premiere of “The Larry Sanders Show.”

The photographer, Lawrence Schwartzwald, asked Shandling to hold up the TV page, which featured a banner headline that read, “One last ‘Hey, now!’ for ‘Larry Sanders’.”

Garry, who was apparently more cooperative that day than he had been when I interviewed him some years before, gladly complied. This photo of Garry Shandling, smiling and apparently self-satisfied by the coverage that day, appeared in the next day’s TV section, Saturday, May 30, 1998.  In fact, I put it there.

Shandling, who died last Thursday at age 66, left a very long and valuable legacy on TV as a “Carson” show guest and frequent guest host, as the star of “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” in the early years of the Fox network. and then as the star and creative force behind “The Larry Sanders Show” on HBO.

For a time, Garry Shandling was omnipresent on TV, which explains why he recurs in these unrelated and, truth be told, beside-the-point stories from my own career on the TV beat. Hey, now.

Contact Adam Buckman: AdamBuckman14@gmail.com

Read Adam Buckman’s book: “JERK: How I Wasted My Life Watching Television” … Read a sample on his Amazon book page HERE … Then order it today!

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