Exclusives

  • TVN Tech: Numbers Tell A Big Story At 2015 NAB Show

    With strong attendance and exhibitor presence, the annual gathering also offered intriguing looks to the future. Among the major hot topcs: the incentive auction, a spectrum repack and the possibility that a next-generation digital TV standard is well on its way to fruition. More | Add comment
  • TVN Focus: Soft Spring Forecast For Syndie Upfront

    Media buyers, sellers and media analysts say ad spending on first-run and off-net shows will be down by single-digit percentages from last year or, flat at best. Still, despite the so-so prospect for syndication overall, media buyers and sellers say top-rated first-run syndies such as CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil will sell out fast with prices significantly up over last year. More | Add comment
  • Zaller Q&A: There’s No Stopping The Move To IT/IP

    Devoncroft founder Joe Zaller says that the big shift from baseband video to IT files and IP infrastructure now underway will make other upcoming innovations possible for broadcasters.What I do know,” he says, “is that the future is expensive and I need to find a way to be really efficient and really agile, and IT technology gives me the way to do that.” More | Add comment
  • Jessell: Repack To Take Longer As Well As Cost More

    With estimates on the post-auction repack now running as high as $2.6 billion, the NAB is trying to increase the government reimbursemend fund, now capped at $1.75 billion. But NAB also needs to get to work on increasing the time broadcasters will have to move their channels during the repack. The current 39 months just isn't enough, given the capacities of tower and transmission companies. More | Comments (21)
  • Front Office: Blazing The Trail Toward TV’s New Frontier

    While some people talk wistfully about the Golden Age of television, I’d like to suggest that TV has the opportunity to create and enjoy its next golden age. But the secret is that maps from the past cannot guide us in the uncharted territory that lies ahead — there be dragons. Succeeding in the digital era will require blazing new trails. The speakers and panels and experts that will be featured at Media Finance Focus 2015 — MFM and BCCA’s 55th annual conference — can help you find your way. More | Add comment
  • TVN Tech: A New Season For Master Control Automation

    Changes in technology, changes in broadcast business models and changes in TV viewing habits have worked together to usher in a change of season from “big iron” master control switchers, which — with the assistance of automation technology — control everything needed to put a channel on air, to a season when less expensive, fully capable channel-in-a-box solutions have proliferated. Now another change appears at hand as cloud computing technology makes its presence felt. Read the earlier Hot Topics installments here. More | Add comment

Special Reports

  • TVN's FCC Watch: A quick briefing on FCC proceedings affecting TV broadcasters from communications attorneys David Oxenford and David O'Connor.
  • NAB 2015 HOT TOPICS: A multi-part series highlighting emerging tech trends in advance of the NAB Show. Topics include 4K cameras, IP newsgathering, editing workflow, IP workflow, audio developments, news production automation and master control automation.
  • NewsTECHForum 2014: Complete coverage of the second annual conference from TVNewsCheck and Sports Video Group
  • 2014—Year In Review: Revisit the year’s top developments in business, programming, journalism, technology, regulation and more.
  • Severe Weather 2014: A three-part look at the effects of social media on forecasting; a Q&A with the National Weather Service's Greg Carbin; and the latest on dual polarization radar.
  • Diginets 2014: A three-part examination of the revenue, programming and business strategies of multicasting.
  • Sales Management: A four-part look at the growing importance to stations of mobile viewing platforms; automated spot buying; improving digital sales operations; and a case study of a successful digital sales effort.
  • ENG 2013: A three-part examination of the state of the art in newsgathering tech, including bonded cellular, wireless mic issues and news vehicles.
  • THE TOP 30 TV STATION GROUPS: A plethora of mega-deals over the last 12 months has reordered TVNewsCheck's annual ranking. While the top three spots remained the same as last year — occupied by Fox, CBS and Sinclair — the rest of the top 10 is much changed with five companies gone through M&A activity.
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Latest News

Sun, Apr 26, 2015

Brian Williams Inquiry Is Said To Expand
The New York Times, Apr 25, 2015, 8:40 AM EDT
An NBC News internal inquiry is examining a half-dozen instances in which Williams is thought to have embellished his accounts, including an episode involving statements he made about events in Cairo during the Arab Spring. Link | Add comment
CEO Plepler: HBO Now Is ‘Millennial Missile’
The Washington Post, Apr 25, 2015, 8:35 AM EDT
HBO CEO Richard Plepler says the decision to launch a streaming service was approached with the care of a politician mulling whether to launch a campaign. Plepler says so far, HBO Now subscriptions have exceeded expectations. He calls the service a “millennial missile” for its appeal to younger consumers. Link | Add comment
Time Warner Cable Has New Suitor: Charter
The Washington Post, Apr 25, 2015, 8:38 AM EDT
Time Warner Cable, blocked from merging with Comcast this week by federal officials, may have a new suitor: Charter Communications. Charter, the nation’s fourth largest cable company, has begun exploring a bid for Time Warner Cable, an industry official familiar with the matter said Friday. Link | Add comment
FCC Suspends Analog-Digital LPTV Deadline
CommLawCenter, Apr 24, 2015, 5:26 PM EDT
The FCC’s Media Bureau issued a Public Notice Friday announcing that it would immediately suspend the Sept. 1 digital transition date for LPTV and TV translator stations. The FCC’s decision, however, does not affect Class A TV stations, which are still required to complete the digital transition by Sept. 1. Link | Comments (2)
closing bell
Dow Closes Up 21, Nasdaq Climbs 36
The Associated Press, Apr 24, 2015, 4:47 PM EDT
Tech earnings drove stocks moderately higher Friday. The modest gains helped close out a relatively strong week for U.S. stocks, with the three major indexes rising between 1.4% and 3.2% in five days. The Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq composite closed at record highs. Full Story | Add comment
overnights
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Grows With Big Plot Twist
Media Life, Apr 24, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT
Grey’s Anatomy has had a lot of shocking deaths over the years, but perhaps none more shocking than last night. The big twist paid off with a big viewership surge for the 11th-year show to kick off the May sweep period, which began last night. Grey’s posted its best rating since last September’s premiere, drawing a 2.8 adults 18-49 rating at 8 p.m. That was up 33% over last week’s 2.1. Grey’s finished as the No. 2 program of the night, behind CBS’s The Big Bang Theory (3.5). Link | Add comment
Brand Connections
Behind The AP's Apple Watch App Design
Medium, Apr 24, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT
Michael Boord, director of mobile products at The Associated Press, describes the organization's design approach to the Apple Watch. He says breaking news notifications will be joined by top story glances, and its functionality includes force touch to save stories for later and hand-off functionality. Link | Add comment
commentary by Sean Cunningham
It's Not A Video Revolution, It's TV's Evolution
Advertising Age, Apr 24, 2015, 2:19 PM EDT
Sean Cunningham, CEO of the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau: "TV content fuels the growth engine of American business. It delivers the scale and immediacy that big brands can't build without. Getting a clear picture on all TV viewing is critical to advertisers. The obstacle is a measurement industry that hasn't evolved with viewers' content commitment. Until we have an industry-accepted, single-source measurement for viewing across all platforms, there won't be complete transparency in video, and the full range of connections won't be usable for marketers." Link | Add comment
Jake Tapper To Host Sunday Program On CNN
The Associated Press, Apr 24, 2015, 2:26 PM EDT
The former ABC newsman, who hosts a weekday afternoon program on CNN, replaces Candy Crowley on the cable network's State of the Union. She left CNN in December and a rotating series of substitutes has been filling in ever since. Full Story | Add comment
Official Word: Comcast-TWC Merger Dead
TVNewsCheck, Apr 24, 2015, 8:54 AM EDT
Comcast Corp. this morning issued a statement that its merger with Time Warner Cable has been terminated. Chairman-CEO Brian L. Roberts: "Today, we move on. Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away. Comcast NBCUniversal is a unique company with strong momentum. Throughout this entire process, our employees have kept their eye on the ball and we have had fantastic operating results. I want to thank them and the employees of Time Warner Cable for their tireless efforts. I couldn’t be more proud of this company and I am truly excited for what’s next." Full Story | Comments (14)
Consolidation Lives Despite Comcast-TWC
The Associated Press, Apr 24, 2015, 5:51 AM EDT
Despite reports Thursday that Comcast is planning to drop its bid, cable companies are likely to keep merging as online video options proliferate, the number of cable and satellite TV subscribers slips and costs rise for the shows, sports and movies piped to subscribers. Full Story | Comments (7)
dma 10 (Houston)
KRIV Offers Web-Only Personal Take On News
NetNewsCheck, Apr 24, 2015, 8:05 AM EDT
Fox O&O KRIV Houston is launching a daily, half-hour original Web show on Monday geared at drawing viewers to its 5 p.m. newscast. 30 Minutes 'til Air will feature a more conversational, personal and behind-the-scenes take on news, aiming to weave on-air and off-air staff more closely into the news fabric. Sharri Berg, the Fox Television Stations' SVP of news operations and services, says this represents the growing use of a platform developed more closely around viewers. Link | Add comment
Brand Connections
Disney Bans Verizon 'Cheap Bundle' Ads
New York Post, Apr 24, 2015, 6:50 AM EDT
Verizon has been banished from the Magic Kingdom. Disney’s television networks and radio stations are refusing to accept ads for Verizon FiOS’ new slimmed-down cable TV package.   Link | Comments (3)
NBC's DC Bureau Opposes Williams' Return
The Washington Post, Apr 24, 2015, 6:34 AM EDT
Journalists in NBC News’s powerful Washington bureau expressed strong opposition to the potential return of suspended anchorman Brian Williams during a contentious meeting with the head of the network’s news division in February. Link | Comments (1)

Partner Perspectives

SPONSORED CONTENT
Aveco Automation Controls TV Giant's New Complex
TVNewsCheck, Apr 10, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
One of the largest media companies in the world has completed a large new production complex featuring 12 studios. It chose Aveco automation not only because the company offers the industry's only multi-studio production automation system, but also because the platform integrates so well with best-of-breed equipment from other providers. Full Story
market profile
TV Remains Strong In Washington, DC
Media Life, Apr 24, 2015, 6:15 AM EDT
Unlike some top-10 markets that had sluggish ad spending to start 2015, Washington (DMA 8), has been strong with political dollars flowing into local media. Telecom, auto and entertainment are also up to start the year, boosting spending above 2014. Link | Add comment
TVN’s Front Office By Mary Collins
How To Survive Post-Merger Credit Problems
TVNewsCheck, Apr 24, 2015, 5:42 AM EDT
The transformations resulting from M&A activity require media companies to adapt credit and collections policies to mitigate credit risks and strengthen their competitiveness. Looking at it from the half-full perspective, consolidation generally results in stronger agencies, reducing the risk of delinquent or non-payment for a media buy. From the half-empty viewpoint, companies need to understand that it’s sometimes difficult to collect payments from businesses that have been acquired by larger entities. Full Story | Add comment
NAB: Erase, Replace White Space Database
CommLawBlog, Apr 24, 2015, 8:16 AM EDT
The television white space database system, intended to increase the efficient use of TV spectrum, is a mess, according to the NAB. Because of that, the trade group has asked the FCC to suspend operation of the system until the “serious design flaws” in the system can be fixed. The FCC is thinking about the NAB’s proposal, and has solicited comments on it. Link | Comments (1)
YouTube At 10: The Video Site That Went Viral
CNET, Apr 24, 2015, 7:58 AM EDT
YouTube is the Web's de facto home for video. But 10 years ago, online video was anybody's game. As it celebrates a decade offering us everything from new celebrities to cat videos, YouTube has become a premier destination for content. Here's how it got there. Link | Add comment
commentary by Ken Doctor
How In The World Do You Sell A Tegna?
Capital New York, Apr 24, 2015, 6:30 AM EDT
Ken Doctor: "Gannett CEO Gracia Martore and her investor relations people have been busy priming the sales pump of their new broadcast-digital company for several months. Now they’ve got a name of sorts to put on the new company — after its divestiture of its financially woeful publishing division — that’s among the top three in regional broadcasters, with a strong digital classifieds portfolio." Link | Comments (1)
NBC Names Chip Sullivan Top PR Exec
Variety, Apr 24, 2015, 5:56 AM EDT
NBC has hired DreamWorks veteran Chip Sullivan as its top communications exec. Sullivan has worked in the DreamWorks fold for the past 20 years, focusing on features. In recent years he has moved between the live-action operation and the publicly traded DreamWorks Animation studio. Link | Add comment
Netflix Viewing Rises, Affects Trad TV Trends
MediaPost, Apr 24, 2015, 6:12 AM EDT
Netflix continues to have a major impact on TV viewing — its viewing hours, in relation to traditional TV viewing, are now double the number of a year ago. There were 10 billion hours streamed for Netflix against 129.5 billion hours for traditional linear TV viewing in the quarter. Link | Add comment
Horowitz New Fox Sports National Nets Chief
The Wrap, Apr 23, 2015, 6:34 PM EDT
Jamie Horowitz has been named as president of Fox Sports National Networks. The hiring marks the former ESPN executive's return to sports following his short-lived role as senior VP-GM at Today, which he exited in November. Horowitz will now oversee all programming, marketing and scheduling for Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 and will report to Fox Sports president-COO Eric Shanks. Link | Add comment
Stay Up To Date On 2015 NAB Show News
TVNewsCheck, Apr 13, 2015, 8:13 AM EDT
To be sure you don’t miss issues and announcements of importance to you at the 2015 NAB Show in Las Vegas, TVNewsCheck is providing links below to all our coverage. | Add comment

More News

FNC's 'The Kelly File' Among Top Social Shows
TVNewser, Apr 24, 2015, 7:58 PM EDT
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SVG Sets Date For Sports Venue Tech Summit
TVNewsCheck/Playout, Apr 24, 2015, 7:55 PM EDT
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Telos Alliance Turns In A Memorable Performance
TVNewsCheck/Playout, Apr 24, 2015, 7:53 PM EDT
Playout
Telos Alliance 'Party' Stirs Memories
TVNewsCheck/Playout, Apr 24, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT
This Week’s Top 5 Viral TV Clips
LostRemote, Apr 24, 2015, 2:48 PM EDT
MeTV Remembers The ‘M*A*S*H’ Finale
TVNewsCheck, Apr 24, 2015, 12:54 PM EDT
dma 27 (Indianapolis)
WRTV Unveils New Set By FX Design Group
TVNewsCheck, Apr 24, 2015, 12:46 PM EDT
Pub TV's Major Market Group Gets New Leader
Current, Apr 24, 2015, 8:18 AM EDT
Rentrak Adds Crossmedia Agency
TVNewsCheck, Apr 24, 2015, 8:12 AM EDT
Funny Or Die Launches News App
LostRemote, Apr 24, 2015, 8:01 AM EDT
Market Share (DMA 7: Boston)
WCVB Honored With National Headliner Awards
TVNewsCheck/Market Share, Apr 24, 2015, 7:55 AM EDT
Market Share (DMA 110: Sioux Falls-Mitchell, SD)
KELO Meteorologist Testifies Before US Senate
TVNewsCheck/Market Share, Apr 24, 2015, 7:51 AM EDT
dma 15 (Minneapolis-St. Paul)
Retired WCCO Reporter R.J. Fritz Fighting Cancer
StarTribune, Apr 24, 2015, 7:33 AM EDT
Ford To Lay Off 700 At Michigan Assembly Plant
The Associated Press, Apr 24, 2015, 7:24 AM EDT
dma 1 (New York)
Mets Close Gap With Yankees In TV Viewership
The New York Times, Apr 24, 2015, 6:43 AM EDT
dma 8 (Washington)
Handly To Replace Vance On WRC At 11 PM
Washingtonian, Apr 24, 2015, 6:18 AM EDT
dma 72 (Des Moines, IA)
Andy Fales To Co-Anchor WHO’s ‘Today In Iowa’
TVNewsCheck, Apr 23, 2015, 5:24 PM EDT

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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for April 23, 2015
  • 1.
    2.0/7
  • 2.
    2.0/7
  • 3.
    1.0/3
  • 4.
    0.9/3
  • 5.
    0.9/3
  • 6.
    0.5/2
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Joanne Ostrow

    Two Jews walk into a bar .... There's no punchline. It's a silly, sentimental episode of FX's The Comedians in which Billy Crystal and Josh Gad sing karaoke in L.A.'s Little Tokyo and reminisce about aging, family and the nature of comedy. The generation gap provides the crux of a comedy collaboration by Crystal (old-school Borscht Belt) and Gad (youthful Broadway) that is by turns gently narcissistic, occasionally gross and musically inclined. The 13 episodes are fun, not groundbreaking, but slickly produced and accented with musical comedy. Like the two stars, the series is endearing, loud and desperate for attention, but ultimately a love letter to comedy and comedy history.

  • David Wiegand

    Kings, queens, presidents and dictators all have official histories, but power brokers, as they embody the precepts of Machiavelli, often operate in whole or part behind the scenes. Henry VIII takes second billing in PBS's Wolf Hall, the sprawling six-hour adaptation of two historical novels by Hilary Mantel. The miniseries is both brilliant and maddening and only really pays off in the final two episodes, after you’ve more or less figured out who the characters are, how they’re related to each other, and what the hell they are saying during endless, slow-moving conversations spoken, of course, in what to many Yanks is a foreign tongue: British English.

  • David Hinckley

    HBO's four-hour documentary Sinatra: All or Nothing at All captures all the singer's swash and buckle. It also reminds us, in a smart way, that Sinatra became one of the four or five best popular singers of the 20th century. In other words, director Alex Gibney hasn’t set out to make headlines by focusing on the flaws or the dark side of a life that had plenty of both.

  • Brian Lowry

    NBC describes American Odyssey as “Traffic-like,” which might explain the lack of inspiration permeating this multi-pronged drama, which, much like sibling USA’s Dig, hinges on a vast (and tedious) conspiracy. The intersecting threads involve a U.S. soldier in North Africa, a corporate lawyer and an Occupy-type political activist, each embroiled in a monstrous plot reaching up and into government. First-rate casting — including Anna Friel, Peter Facinelli and Treat Williams — can’t obscure the been-there, seen-that sensation, which doesn’t spur much curiosity about how these tentacles connect or offer much hope the show will last long enough to find out.

  • Ed Bark

    Quotation marks should be used as disqualifiers whenever the “Church” of Scientology is put into print. This is no more a “Church” than an apple is an orange. But it’s been recognized as such by the IRS. How and why make for one of the more startling and dismaying segments in Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. It’s an extraordinary investigative documentary with the power to provoke anger, astonishment and any number of other strong emotions. HBO, despite an organized campaign of threats and intimidation from the “religion’s” legions of automatons, will premiere the two-hour film on Sunday, March 29. Must-see television? That’s an understatement.

  • Mark Perigard

    It’s the Walking Dead/Quincy/Psych mashup you didn’t know you wanted. But give iZombie a chance. You just might love it. CW, home to the DC Comics hits Arrow and Flash, dips into the medium again for this horror dramedy loosely based on the book from DC’s mature reader imprint Vertigo. iZombie is superbly cast and displays wit and surprises you don’t often find in the comics-to-TV genre.

  • Rob Owen

    Just a few weeks ago Netflix debuted The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a smart, funny series originally ordered by NBC and then sold off to Netflix when NBC executives realized they were cultivating a schedule that couldn’t possibly abide intelligent comedy. So in its place viewers get the Ellen DeGeneres-executive produced One Big Happy, a truly dreadful comedy that is the antithesis of Kimmy Schmidt. Obvious, dumb and mostly unfunny, One Big Happy is an embarrassment for all involved. It won’t have a happy ending. For all involved, it will be best if it just fails quickly and then quietly disappears.

  • David Hinckley

    Mark Schwahn has accomplished the near-impossible feat of making fake British royals behave worse than the real ones. Also, wisely, E!'s The Royals, a big new soapy drama about a fictional British royal family, isn’t populated with characters who mirror specific individuals in the real-life ruling Windsors. The quirks and neuroses are more mix-and-match.

  • Rob Owen

    TV fans who decry the dearth of quality comedies, especially viewers who appreciated NBC’s late 30 Rock, will revel in the first Netflix half-hour comedy series, the Tina Fey-produced Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Originally developed and ordered by NBC, the show segued to Netflix once NBC executives realized they didn’t have an obvious, hospitable place to put it on NBC’s primetime schedule. In other words, it was too smart/too weird a fit for NBC’s more mainstream fare. It’s a smart, funny series, and it’s a relief to know Netflix saved it from what was sure to be terminal neglect had it aired on NBC.

  • James Poniewozik

    ABC's American Crime is, like a lot of TV drama lately — Secrets and Lies, Broadchurch, The Killing — built around a murder. Someone has been killed, suspects have been apprehended, no one is sure yet what went down and why. But while the first four episodes of the series are gripping, and each introduces new complexity to a sweeping story, I would not call it a murder mystery. And that’s precisely why it works.

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