Archive for the ‘TNT’ Category

TV Was Center Stage For Election Of Reality Star

November 11, 2016
This week's MediaPost TV blogs -- read 'em all below.

This week’s MediaPost TV blogs — read ’em all below.


NEW YORK, Nov. 11, 2016 — Pretty dull week, wasn’t it? Just kidding. Appropriately, three out of five of this week’s TV blogs were about aspects of the presidential election.

Read them here — along with two others: A review of “Downton Abbey” star Michelle Dockery’s dreary new drama series on TNT called “Good Behavior,” and a very personal message from a journalist (me) to the community of TV publicists.

Just follow the links, below:

Monday, Nov. 7: Clinton Spot Says Trump Is Coarsening America, But That Ship Has Sailed

Tuesday, Nov. 8: To Paraphrase J. Peterman On ‘Seinfeld,’ Thank You For A Job … Done

Wednesday, Nov. 9: Out-Of-Touch News Media Was Totally Clueless

Thursday, Nov. 10: What Have You Done With Our Lady Mary?

Friday, Nov. 11: Message To P.R. People: Stop ‘Reaching Out’ To Me, OK?

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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 Big Bird To ‘Perry Mason’: Last Week’s Blogs

August 24, 2015
From Big Bird to "Perry Mason": Last week's MediaPost TV blogs covered topics such as the HBO-"Sesame Street" deal, CNN's Morton Downey documentary, the threat of even more commercials on cable TV, the premiere of "Public Morals" on TNT, and a new look at "Perry Mason." Follow the links, below.

From Big Bird to “Perry Mason”: Last week’s MediaPost TV blogs covered topics such as the HBO-“Sesame Street” deal, CNN’s Morton Downey Jr. documentary, the threat of even more commercials on cable TV, the premiere of “Public Morals” on TNT, and a new look at “Perry Mason.” Follow the links, below.

NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2015 — Still in shock over HBO’s deal to grab “Sesame Street” from PBS, the week began with a follow-up on the big story from the week before. The week also saw a mini-revival of interest in Morton Downey Jr., thanks to a documentary on CNN. TNT premiered a new cop show set in the 1960s — “Public Morals” — and I ended the week with a reconsideration of a courtroom drama from the 1950s, the incomparable “Perry Mason.” Read all five of last week’s MediaPost TV blogs with these links:

Monday, Aug. 17: Tyrion, Meet Big Bird: How The Media Told The HBO-‘Sesame Street’ Story

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Remembering Morton Downey Jr.: Documentary Revives The Man And His Era

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Dear Cable TV Networks, Please Don’t Add More Commercials

Thursday, Aug. 20: Costumes And Cars Are Not Enough To Make You Believe It’s The ’60s

Friday, Aug. 21: Television Noir And The Zen Of Perry Mason

— Adam Buckman

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All 27 of My 2015 TV Upfront Stories, Curated

May 17, 2015
27 Pictures, 27 Stories: All of my Media Post stories from the 2015 TV Upfronts in New York — links below.

27 Pictures, 27 Stories: All of my Media Post stories from the 2015 TV Upfronts in New York — links below.


NEW YORK, May 17, 2015 — It was an upfront season to remember — programming presentations all over New York City from TV networks and on-line content providers stretching from Feb. 26 (Nickelodeon) to May 14 (NBC Cable). Here, in one place: All of my 27 stories for on the 2015 Upfront/Newfront season:

Feb. 26: Nick Kicks Off Upfront Season With A Big Production Promise

March 4: At Upfront, Formerly All-Male Spike Pushes Female Audience Growth

March 11: Fun And Games: At Upfront, GSN Has Good Time Stressing Originals

March 31: NBC Cable Nets Prance Into Upfront Season With New Shows

April 1: Discovery’s Upfront Strategy: Global Reach, ‘Personal’ Presentations

April 3: CMT’s Upfront Message: We’re Country To The Core

April 7: USA Network’s Upfront Theme: Heroes And Donny Deutsch, Too

April 9: New Pop Network Identifies Target Viewer As ‘Modern Grownup’

April 22: At Uptown Upfront, MTV Screams For Advertiser Attention

April 23: Arts Channel Ovation Unveils Bold Program Slate For Upfront Season

April 24: BET Wows Audience With Persuasive Upfront Show

April 27: BuzzFeed NewFront Pitches Virtues Of Short-Form Video Sharing

April 28: At NewFront, Yahoo Pins Hopes On Network TV-Style Programs

April 29: ‘Seinfeld’ Deal Dominates Hulu Upfront

May 1: Outdoor Channel Upfront Pitches Vast Reach Of Networks, Sites

May 1: A&E Upfront Goes Epic With ‘War And Peace’ Miniseries, ‘Roots’ Reboot

May 4: ‘Traditional’ Upfront Season Gives Way To Anything-Goes ‘Content’ Bazaar

May 8: Why Doing Away With Upfronts Would Be A PR Disaster

May 8: Screenvision Predicts Growth Of In-Theater Ads, Launches Ad-Targeting Tool

May 11: NBC’s 3-Pronged Plan For Fall: Stars, Live Events, Complex Dramas

May 12: Fox Fall Plan Addresses Tuesday Comedy Woes

May 12: ESPN Creates Programming, Ad Sales Synergies With ‘GMA’ on ABC

May 12: Univision Upfront: Bill Clinton Touts Hispanic Viewing Power, Net Promotes Novelas, Soccer Package

May 13: At Upfront, Turner’s Reilly Vows TNT, TBS Makeovers

May 13: CNN Adds Non-News Programming To Strong News Lineup

May 15: NBC Cable Stresses Reach, Scale Of TV Portfolio

May 15: Juvenile Seat-Saving Must Cease, And Other Upfront Observations

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Close to the end: Larry Hagman’s last hurrah

December 18, 2012
Larry Hagman in one of his final episodes of “Dallas,” just a few weeks before his death. (Photo: TNT)

Larry Hagman in one of his final episodes of “Dallas,” just a few weeks before his death. (Photo: TNT)



NEW YORK, Dec. 12, 2012 — Larry Hagman must have had strength and courage to spare because, except for looking a little thin, you would not otherwise think he was close to death when you watch the upcoming first episodes of his final season on “Dallas.”

Sure, he looks elderly (he was 81) in the two episodes TNT sent out for preview.  But, we know now, he was also terminally ill, and would die of cancer just five weeks after shooting the second of those two episodes.  He died in Dallas on Nov. 23, midway into the shooting of the sixth episode of the upcoming second season.

The season starts on Monday, Jan. 28, with two back-to-back episodes starting at 9 p.m. eastern.  In the episodes, Hagman — as J.R. Ewing — has considerably more to do in the second one than the first.

To be precise, I tallied just two scenes with J.R. (plus one quick glimpse) in the first episode, titled “Battle Lines.”  But he figured in seven scenes in Episode 2, titled “Venomous Creatures.”  Filming on the second episode wrapped on Oct. 15, five weeks before his death.  In those five weeks, he participated in the filming of three additional episodes and at least part of a fourth.  (His final shooting date, before his illness prevented him from continuing, has not been disclosed.)

In both of the episodes I watched the other day, J.R. is positioned as a kind of  mentor for the just-as-devious John Ross — his son played by Josh Henderson.  In Episode One, J.R. turns up to deliver a couple of pointed, but throwaway lines — one about snakes, and the other an off-color comment about how much fun it used to be to chase pretty secretaries around the office.

In Episode Two, the “Dallas” writers not only gave him more to do, but more to say, including lines that are so colorful they border on ludicrous (or march resolutely across that border).  “Love, hate, jealousy — mix ’em up [and] they make a mean martini!” he hisses, in one of his conversations with John Ross, as the two plot an underhanded takeover of the Ewing family business.  “And when we take over Ewing Energies, you’ll slake your thirst – with a twist!” J.R. adds, for good measure.

In another conversation with John Ross, J.R. notes his son’s anger with a former love, Elena (Jordana Brewster), who’s now married to John Ross’ cousin and rival, Chris Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe).   “She really did a number on you, didn’t she?” J.R. says to John Ross.  “Carved your heart out with a spoon, then licked it clean!” J.R. added (though his point was already made).

In retrospect, though, the lines were probably fun for Hagman to recite.  And if he was feeling any physical pain, or if he knew he would soon die and these scenes would be among his last, there’s no evidence of that in his performance.

He filmed these scenes (and the ones to come) so close to his death that you might say Larry Hagman died doing what he loved best — playing J.R. Ewing literally to the very end.

Contact Adam Buckman:

First photos: Larry Hagman’s last days on ‘Dallas’

December 12, 2012
Here's Larry Hagman, as he looked in early October during the filming of Episode Two of the upcoming season of "Dallas." (Photo: TNT)

Here’s Larry Hagman, as he looked in early October during the filming of Episode Two of the upcoming season of “Dallas.” (Photo: TNT)


NEW YORK, Dec. 12, 2012 — TNT has released the first photos of Larry Hagman from the new, upcoming season of “Dallas.”

The photos were taken just weeks before his death, during the filming of the second episode of the new season.  Titled “Venomous Creatures,” the filming of the episode took place from Oct. 4 through Oct. 15.

Hagman lived long enough to film scenes in the first six episodes of the upcoming “Dallas” season, sources confirmed.  But the beloved TV icon seems to have passed away while filming was still underway on Episode Six.  The shooting schedule for that episode was Nov. 15 to Nov. 28.  Sadly, Hagman died Nov. 23 in Dallas, succumbing to cancer at age 81.  TNT reps have not revealed the exact date of the last day Hagman worked on “Dallas.”

Larry Hagman and Jesse Metcalfe on the set of "Dallas" earlier this fall (Photo: TNT)

Larry Hagman and Josh Henderson on the set of “Dallas” earlier this fall (Photo: TNT)

The new season of “Dallas” is scheduled to start Monday, Jan. 28, with two back-to-back episodes on TNT (starting at 9 p.m. eastern).  The “Venomous Creatures” episode is the second of the two that will air that evening.  The show is expected to deal with the death of J.R. Ewing later in the season.

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Ray Romano’s search for the meaning of life

December 4, 2009

Ray Romano (with Scott Bakula, left, and Andre Braugher) is the center of attention in “Men of a Certain Age” on TNT. Photo: Alan Markfield/TNT


NEW YORK, Dec. 4, 2009 — What do we do, we men of a certain age, when we try to make sense of the new world?

Some of us try to find meaning in the past, which sometimes means attempting to mine significance from old music.  It’s a tactic applied repeatedly in Ray Romano’s new drama series about men in mid-life — “Men of a Certain Age” (premiering Monday, Dec. 7, at 10 p.m. on TNT).

In the five episodes TNT provided for preview, the show’s eclectic playlist ranges from the obscure — “Do You Know What I Mean?” by Lee Michaels — to the sentimental — “This Magic Moment” by the Drifters.  And the show’s theme song is “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)” by the Beach Boys (with its lyrics “Will my kids be proud or think their old man is really a square? . . .”).

Pop songs — especially those forgotten by most of us — may seem like unlikely destinations for an exploration into the meaning of life, but I’m here to tell you, when you’re 50, the search can take on many forms and take you to many unlikely places.

For example, my own search has taken me recently to this priceless video — on YouTube — of Hurricane Smith performing his one and only hit, “Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?” on the Johnny Carson show in 1972.  Smith, formerly a sound engineer who worked on a string of Beatles albums (up through “Rubber Soul”), was 49 years-old when he made his first trip to the U.S. to appear on the Carson show.  What does the story of Hurricane Smith’s personal triumph in middle age have to do with the meaning of life?  I don’t know — you tell me.

Meanwhile, on “Men of a Certain Age,” Romano plays Joe, a 48-year-old man (Romano himself will be 52 later this month) in the midst of a divorce.  He lives in a motel and runs his own business — a store selling party supplies.  In the store, Joe plays music from his youth — the album rock and Top 40 songs that his generation — my generation — first heard on the radio, which, in the era before the Internet, was the only source of music anybody really had.

Ray’s great in the role — the kind of performance at which cable has been excelling these last few years, the “surprise” performance so strong and sensitive that it astonishes, like Bryan Cranston in “Breaking Bad” and before that, Michael Chiklis in “The Shield,” both of whom won Emmys their first seasons out.

In “Men of a Certain Age,” intentionally or not, the Romano character emerges as the central figure in an ensemble of three; the other two are Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula.

Music of a certain age plays a central role in “Men of a Certain Age,” as if the show’s creators — Romano himself, along with one of his co-producers from “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Mike Royce — are embarking on their own search for meaning in middle age and have decided, through the medium of this TV show, to take interested parties along for the ride.

These might include all men over 45, but should also include anyone — grownups primarily since this new series shatters all kinds of language taboos for basic cable — interested in checking out a new drama series produced with brains, humor, maturity and respect for its audience.

And once again, it bears mentioning that this is the kind of series that only cable TV has the courage to attempt these days.

Contact Adam Buckman:

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