CNN anchor Don Lemon sparked a explosion of reaction after listing "five things" black people should do to improve their communities.
LOS ANGELES – Spike Lee casts a wary eye at my question, well aware what most journalists expect when they roll up on him and ask about the George Zimmerman verdict.
Still, after chatting up TV critics here on the film version of Mike Tyson’s one man show that he’s created for HBO, Lee spared a few words for the explosion of talk about racial issues in the wake of Zimmerman’s acquittal for shooting unarmed, black teen Trayvon Martin.Full Story
CBS-owned Tampa CW affiliate WTOG-Ch. 44 could be dropped from Bright House Networks cable systems as the network fights over fees with Time Warner Cable.
LOS ANGELES – While stars such as Jon Voight and Ted Danson enjoyed cocktails and finger food, CBS executives paced along the roof of a parking garage across the street from the Beverly Hilton hotel here Monday, cellphones plastered to their ears, trading information on the company’s contentious negotiations with Time Warner Cable.
Even as company CEO Les Moonves traded chitchat with TV critics during a press party for the network’s fall season, Time Warner was briefly pulling CBS channels off its systems in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles. Eventually, the companies worked out an extension until 5 p.m. Friday to work out their differences.Full Story
CBS president and CEO Les Moonves tackles critics questions today at the TCA summer press tour.
LOS ANGELES – This is what the top of the heap looks like.
Facing a roomful of TV critics Monday, CBS president and CEO Les Moonves was confident and playfully direct, touting his networks success in attracting young viewers, offering some of TV’s most-watched series in NCIS and Big Bang Theory while sparking some of the most recent trends, with the success of its Under the Dome series.
The big news: Dome will return next summer, officially transforming from a miniseries (one season only) to a limited series (fewer episodes). Horror novel master Stephen King, author of the book on which the show is based, will write the first episode of that new season (presumably, that means the dome won’t be vanishing this season; sorry for the spoiler, fans.)
Otherwise, Moonves met critics’ questions with the self-assurance you would expect from a guy who answers to almost no one; a refreshing quality in the age of media conglomerates where even network bosses may have two or three bosses.Full Story
NBC star Mike O'Malley hopes to appear in Glee's tribute to the show's late star and his former castmate, Cory Monteith.
LOS ANGELES -- I knew Mike O’Malley was one of my favorite character actors – from a heart-rending turn as dad to gay teen Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) on Fox’s Glee to a chilling guest role as gangster Nicky Augustine on FX’s Justified.
What I didn’t know, was that he’s also been a writer over the past three seasons on one of the most distinctive comedies on cable TV, Showtime’s Shameless. And even though he’s got another great network TV gig now – starring in NBC’s promising comedy Welcome to the Family – O’Malley faced questions at the TV Critics press tour Saturday on a development from his past: the death of former Glee co-star Cory Monteith. Full Story
Michael J. Fox faced reporters here Saturday to talk about his new comedy, The Michael J. Fox Show.
LOS ANGELES – There may not be a worse time in history to be a broadcast network television executive.
These days, competition comes from all sides, as cable television and online streaming sites like Netflix erase the distinctions which often kept viewers glued to the big broadcasters. Worse, these other platforms have learned how to make money on a smaller stage, profiting off every disaffected viewer turned off by the less challenging stuff on big networks.
Small wonder there’s more than a tinge of desperation in the words of Jennifer Salke, the latest NBC executive handed the seemingly impossible task of salvaging the network’s audience at a time when viewership seems to dip 4 to 7 percent every year, no matter what they put on air.
“The cynicism against networks from the viewing audience is just bigger than ever, given the popularity of all the cable material,” said Salke, whose official title in president of NBC Entertainment, just after talking up NBC’s new fall slate to a roomful of TV critics here Saturday. “They expect the stuff to not be any good. We’ve trained them to expect stuff to be pulled off the schedule, so they approach it as ‘It’s a network show. How good could it really be?’”
Which explains why the network’s new mantra revealed to critics here sounded more like a note of surrender: The year of improvement.Full Story
Music mogul Sean Combs tells TV critics about his new music channel, Revolt.
LOS ANGELES -- He’s created his own record label, worked with the biggest names in hip hop, guest acted on CSI: Miami and amassed a sprawling network of businesses leaving his net worth pegged somewhere at $550 million.
But when star producer/artist/hype machine Sean “Puff Daddy/P. Diddy” Combs faced a roomful of journalists here today touting his new cable channel for young urban music fans, Revolt, he almost looked – dare I say it? – nervous.Full Story
Tim Allen talks about the n-word and developing a new standup comedy act before his show at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
Tim Allen wants to talk about the n-word.
He doesn't want to use that often-derided euphemism, either. He says the word itself with a directness that hearkens to his self-professed comedy heroes, Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce.
But it also comes close to sounding like a well-meaning white guy who may not understand how tenuous the ground he's walking on could become. "(The phrase) 'the n-word' is worse to me than n-----,' " said Allen, who spoke to me on a day when the controversy ignited over Paula Deen's admitted use of that slur in 1986.
For him, the criticism that keeps any nonblack comic from using the word is a step backward from the days when Pryor and Bruce were breaking comedy boundaries by purposefully using street language in ways middle-of-the-road comics wouldn't dare.
"You want to take the power away from that word so that no one is offended by it," he added, telling a 50-year-old joke by Bruce about how President Kennedy could defuse slurs by using them to describe Jewish, Italian and black people in his cabinet. "If I have no intent, if I show no intent, if I clearly am not a racist, then how can 'n-----' be bad coming out of my mouth?"Full Story
Keith Olbermann talked Carlos Danger, Anthony Weiner and his new ESPN2 show at TCA today.
LOS ANGELES -- Want to see a roomful of TV critics blanch?
Tell a joke like the one James Brolin let loose here Wednesday, wrapping up a press conference on a heartwarming Hallmark Channel movie about a Christmas, a young kid and his dog with a story that involved putting your wife and pet in a trunk to see who is happiest with you when it opens again.
And yes, this came from Mr. Barbra Streisand.Full Story
WFLA-Ch. 8 will move syndicated show Dr. Oz to 3 p.m. to make room for a new 4 p.m. newscast.
Even as news outlets Tuesday were juggling stories on Anthony Weiner and England’s new royal heir, Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8 was dropping news of its own – announcing a new, hourlong 4 p.m. newscast scheduled to debut Aug. 26.Full Story
Lakeland couple Julie and Rusty Bulloch have taken in 30 foster kids over 16 years; the family's story is told on the Up channel's Bulloch Family Ranch
To be honest, when I first met the Bullochs', I assumed they were going to get their clocks cleaned.
Not because they're bad people. In fact, the Lakeland family's blend of rural Florida eccentricity, inclusive spirit and strong, religious-based values is so attractive, its easy to see why the UP channel chose a series based on the Bullochs for their grand rebranding from the old name, GMC TV.
But the series which resulted, detailing the everyday life of a family which has taken in 30 foster kids over the past 16 years, was so lacking in meanness, fake drama and cynical snobbery, I assumed it would struggle for viewers.
Shows how much I know.Full Story
The logo of the Television Critics Association
There may be no corner of media in the throes of more change than the modern television industry.
Which is why it’s a particularly delicious time to be heading out to Los Angeles for 10 days of press conference cocktails parties and rumor-mongering with the biggest executives, producers and stars of the moment on the small screen.
That’s right. It’s time for the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour.Full Story
George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict sparked an explosion of race-centered commentary in media.
In the week after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, I’ve done a lot of interviews trying to explain the aftermath.
Here’s two of the most recent, an appearance on NPR’s On the Media and a stop by CNN’s Reliable Sources. But no matter how much time you get to chew this stuff over – and on CNN, we only had six minutes for three different people – there’s a feeling of too much left unsaid.Full Story
President Obama speaks on race, Trayvon Martin and the George Zimmerman verdict Friday.
Here we go again.
Once again, America’s first black president has responded to a racially-charged, internationally-seen issue with his own personal observations on race.
And once again, some who oppose him have used the moment to accuse him of being the one who has a problem with race.Full Story
George Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara accused journalists of parroting an unfair story about his clientcreated by other lawyers and activists.
Trayvon Martin: Thug or victim? George Zimmerman: Racist wannabe cop or misunderstood Samaritan?
By now, the war of media images embedded in Zimmerman’s murder trial for killing unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin is obvious. But how did it develop, and what does it mean for journalists covering race in the months and years to come?Full Story
The Walking Dead returns for its fourth season Oct. 13 on AMC
The best thing about Comic Con for us geeks not fortunate enough to afford a weeklong trip to San Diego, is the public release of all the cool movie and TV trailers.
And by far, the best release to emerge last week was AMC’s 4 ½-minute trailer for the fourth season of The Walking Dead, which returns with new episodes at 9 p.m. Oct. 13.