2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Q&A: Bear Grylls talks about his new show, shares hilarious Channing Tatum story

    Sun, July 27, 2014 by Terry Terrones with no comments

    Running Wild with Bear Grylls - Season 1

    Last week I had the opportunity to sit in on a conference call with Bear Grylls. The survival expert has a new show, “Running Wild With Bear Grylls,” that premieres Monday on NBC. In the series Bear takes celebrities on an outdoor adventure and tests their mettle. Below is a transcript of the conversation, which includes a hilarious anecdote about Channing Tatum. Other celebrity guests this season include Ben Stiller, Deion Sanders and the premiere episode’s first brave celeb, Zac Efron. 

    Q: Is there any celebrity that you did not get that you wanted? And do you have plans for a second season?
    Bear Grylls: We do have plans for a second season. And as for the guests, I just feel really lucky that we got such incredible stars to join us. And total credit to all six of the guests we had. They threw themselves into it 120% – nobody said, “Hold back”. I said, “Come on your own. No entourage and just trust me.” And they did that. And the show is a real credit to them. I think I’m certainly really proud of them.

    As for celebrities we wanted and didn’t get? We wanted to take Kristen Wiig. I’m afraid she suddenly got injured literally a couple of days before. So, that was sad.

    Q: Of all the places you’ve been and you’ve been all over the world, what’s the place that you connect with the most?
    Bear Gryll: Home. I think a lifetime of doing this has taught me two things. One is that – I do love it. I love the adventure. I love being out there. It’s where I come alive and it’s where I perform at my best. I love the wildernesses around the world we’ve gone to and it’s such a privilege.

    But also going away, a lot has taught me the value of home. When I’m up a mountain or in a mystical jungle, it’s a shining light making me work hard and get out of there in one piece. I’ve got a lovely family, three young boys and you see it’s a real lesson of going away. I said, “Home is good, eh?”

    Q: Have you had a chance to take your boys on any of these adventures?
    Bear Grylls: Yes. I mean I get to do that the rest of the year when we don’t have TV cameras around us, so they love it. I mean where I am right now, looking at all three boys, stark naked in the sea, in a pour, in the rain and I’m sheltered under a fallen tree trying to keep out of the rain talking to you so they love it. They live it. And I’m – it’s in their DNA for sure. (Bear was conferencing in from the shore in the south of England while watching over his sons. I could hear him talking to them periodically.)

    Q: Has there been any one place that was just so incredibly difficult that you have no desire to ever go back?
    Bear Grylls: Probably the black swamps of Sumatra, where the tsunami hit in 2001 decimated a big part of the island. It’s just full of this stinking black rotting swamp with all of these crocodiles feeding off the 6500 human corpses. They lost a lot of lives in that disaster and a disease-ridden, crocodile-filled, snake-filled place. But, yes, I’m not going to hurry back to that one.

    Q: I was wondering what was the process for choosing the celebrities that participated. And, also, were they given any kind of training beforehand to prepare them for what they’re going to go through?
    Bear Grylls: Well, we draft a list of people we really think will be great on this show, people we thought would dig it, we wanted interesting guests, who’ve got a great story and a big following and who would enjoy these sort of things.

    And when it comes to training we said, “You know what? You’ve just got to bring two things; a big bag of fortitude and a big backpack of enthusiasm and we’ll do the best when we’re out there.” And the fun thing is that they’re not too prepared, you know? And you wing it together and you see them on camera learning together and making mistakes together and that’s the fun real part of it.

    The only training I did with any of them was with Zac because I wanted to skydive with him so I gave him some training beforehand for a couple of hours the day before. But beyond that, everyone else just arrived with that fortitude and enthusiasm and I said, “We’ll just do it altogether.”

    Q: The editing gives you a rushed feeling. Can you talk about finding a balance between safety and making the show feel intense? And does a production throw things at you that you don’t know are coming or is the two days pretty much laid out for you?
    Bear Grylls: It’s not laid out at all and there isn’t a production, which is, for me, how it makes this so fun. We have two camera guys, two sound guys and we have a story producer, who’s making sure that we’re kind of watching what I say or what the guest says so it kind of makes a complete package and makes sense.

    But beyond that, we’re super a small crew. We scout the area from the air over a few days before so we have good idea of the route and I have a good idea of what we want to do, “Let’s get across the river. Let’s get across this river, we try and get out one of these rock faces here and somewhere around there will be a good place to camp. That’s going to be great extraction point because we get a helicopter in there and we’ll start off the journey on this high peak there.” And beyond that, we just get in to it and do it.

    And that’s what I think all of these guests have loved because they all come from a world where everything is rehearsed and pre-planned. And all of them have loved the vibe that we’re just winging and we’re doing it and some of the stuff works and some of it doesn’t. We have some cool resources to make it exciting. We have some helicopters and all of that stuff. As I said, they all come from this background where everything is so rehearsed and almost, invariably by the end they go, “I can’t believe I jumped out of a helicopter or I did this or I climbed up that.” There was no practicing or warning of – and that for me is a fun part of it.

    One of my favorite bits from the whole thing was with Channing at the end of it. I said, OK, you’ve done all these crazy things. You back-flipped from a helicopter into a lake, you climbed and slept on a rock ledge. You’ve done all of this, chased a rattlesnake, you name it. What was your favorite bit? He said, “When we were sitting on top of the mountain and the camera crew was gone, and it’s just you and me and you’re cooking the remains of the rattlesnake over the fire. You had your pants off because you were drying it on the rocks. You’re bent over the fire, your bum was right next to me, and one of your testicles drops down in front of me out of your underpants. And that’s when I knew this goddamn adventure is real.” So, that made me laugh.

    Q: Could you tell me, was there ever a point during filming where you thought that you wouldn’t be able to go on and finish the episode, either that the celebrity was scared or it’s just too dangerous?
    Bear Grylls: Yes. I mean, the truth is most of the journeys have moments on it where the person felt like this. I mean, even the first time we filmed, it was with Deion. And he was – we were halfway out of this big old 500-foot sheer rock face and just total fear came over him. And I’ve seen a bunch of times that people just need time, you got to sit beside someone and be patient with them and trying to sort them through it.

    He was speaking in tongues and everything by the end. But actually, what a privilege, you know. Because you can’t fake that. That’s just raw emotion. And credit to him. He calmed down and together we started to move and kept going because he can’t go down and he reached the top of it. And what a privilege to be beside him during those times and to see it so viscerally.

    We had another time with Ben. We were filming at Scotland and we had a very long – what do you call it? Jumar ascent, which is where you’re just climbing up this rope and it’s very tiring. I’ve done a bunch of it in the military, and it’s draining. And Ben digs deep, and he keeps going, and it takes forever and (eventually) after another hour, we get over the top. And he’s just so proud. He’s so proud that he goes, “That’s the most demanding and frightening and exhausting thing I have done in my life. I just didn’t think I could do it, but I’ve done it.”

    And that’s where the genuine sense of pride comes from because it’s real. It’s not make believe in the movies. There’s no one there to help you if it all goes wrong. It’s just you and me, we got to do this together. And that’s a pain, but it’s also the magic of this show.

    Q: When you think celebrity, you think of someone who is used of being driven around in fancy cars, fancy clothes. So, what do you think it is that would make a celebrity want to do this kind of adventure?
    Bear Grylls: Well, it’s such a good question, and it’s a really good one to kind of wrap the chat on actually because it is the intangible. Because they’re not doing it for the money, they’re not doing it for the fame, and they’re not doing it for the recognition or the exposure. These guys have all of that. They’re top of the game. They don’t need to take risks.

    And the truth of doing this, it can be seen as a risk because you’re officially risking it. You might look like you’re not brave or you’re not going to look strong or whatever. But the amazing thing is these guys really wanted to do it. And I think that it is a testament to people, at heart, love to challenge themselves. I think we all still have that yearning inside that could we actually really do it if it wasn’t a movie and it wasn’t make believe, if our lives or our family’s lives are really on the line, have I got it? Away from the trailers and the chauffeur- driven cars and the money and the – could I still test it?

    And I think this a great arena for these guys to come out, learn some skills that maybe they have always wanted but they’ve never had, to really challenge themselves, to really refine themselves and reconnect a bit. And almost all of these guys have – they said, one of the best bits was just having that space and that time to kind of think about life and that they, you know, how lucky they have been and how – there’d be so many ups and downs.

    And the wild does that. The outdoors does that. It creates bonds and it gives us space to breathe. And at the end of it, all of them had a smile on their face and there’s light in their eyes that money can’t buy. And fame doesn’t do it, and drugs doesn’t do it, and booze doesn’t do it. It’s the kind of light. And I’ve seen it a ton in people.

    It’s a God-given thing from the outdoors when you overcome a few obstacles in your life. And for me, it’s the real pride of this show. It’s taking people who we think are the world’s superstars and reminding ourselves that they’re all just normal people, they have their fears and struggles that – they have this tenacity.

    They’re all tenacious, and they want to go for it and prepare to take a few risks. And so many of us don’t want – people don’t want to take risks. They don’t want to look stupid, you know. But you’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t take risks. And this is really the lesson these guys kind of remind us of, that you’ve got to go for it. Life is precious. You might fall down a few times, but at the end of it, you’ll have that light in your eyes and you’ve earned it.

  • HBO announces new ‘Game of Thrones’ characters

    Fri, July 25, 2014 by Terry Terrones with no comments

    gameofthrones

    Pack your bags! We’re going to Dorne!

    HBO has confirmed some of the new cast members for the fifth season of the hit series “Game of Thrones,” with many of them appearing in a video that was unveiled today at San Diego Comic-Con 2014. Among the new actors and the characters they will portray are:

    - Alexander Siddig (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” pictured above) as Doran Martell. Doran Martell is the ruling lord of Dorne and older brother to the late Prince Oberyn Martell. Unlike his brother, Doran is even-tempered and deliberate.

    - Toby Sebastian as Trystane Martell. Trystane Martell is Prince Doran’s son and heir to Dorne. His father betrothed him to Myrcella Baratheon as part of the alliance offered by Tywin Lannister, then Hand of the King.

    - Nell Tiger Free as Myrcella Baratheon. Myrcella Baratheon is officially the eldest child of Cersei Lannister and the late King Robert Baratheon, though in truth her father is Cersei’s own brother, Jaime Lannister. For years, she has been a guest and ward of Prince Doran, betrothed to his son, but her position has become tenuous with the death of Oberyn Martell, the Prince’s brother.

    - DeObia Oparei  (“Doom,” “Moulin Rouge”) as Areo Hotah. Areo Hotah is the long-serving captain of Doran Martell’s palace guard, renowned for his loyalty and his longaxe.

    - Enzo Cilenti as Yezzan. Yezzan was an extremely wealthy slave trader before Daenerys Targaryen outlawed the slave trade.

    - Jessica Henwick as Nymeria (“Nym”) Sand. Nym Sand is the second eldest of the late Prince Oberyn’s bastard daughters. Her mother was an Eastern noblewoman who brought Nym up to be cultured, graceful and deadly with a whip.

    - Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as Tyene Sand. Tyene Sand is the daughter of the late Prince Oberyn Martell by Ellaria Sand, his final paramour. Tyene is fiercer than she looks, especially with her twin daggers.

    - Keisha Castle-Hughes (“Whale Rider”) as Obara Sand. A fearsome warrior, Obara Sand is the eldest bastard daughter of the late Prince Oberyn Martell. Her mother was a Dornish peasant girl who caught the eye of the late Prince.

    - Jonathan Pryce (“Pirates of the Carribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Tomorrow Never Dies”) as the High Sparrow. A devout and pious man, the High Sparrow came to King’s Landing to serve those forgotten by much of the world – the poor, the downtrodden and the infirm – and quickly amassed a large following.           

     

  • TV Review – NBC’s “Food Fighters”

    Tue, July 22, 2014 by Terry Terrones with no comments

    adam

    “Food Fighters

    Cast: Host – Adam Richman (“Man vs. Food,” “Fandemonium”), celebrity guest chefs include Lorena Garcia, Stefan Richter, Marcel Vigneron and many others viewers are familiar with from TV shows like “Top Chef” and “Chopped”

    Air-date, time: The premiere episode airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday on NBC

    The premise:The best amateur cooks in America put their signature dishes to the test against five professional chefs in “Food Fighters,” a high-stakes culinary program that’s one part game show, one part cooking show. Television personality, author and food enthusiast Adam Richman hosts this new series that gives culinary sparring a different look. In a series of increasingly difficult showdowns, a top-notch amateur home cook will face off one by one against five professional chefs. Armed only with recipes for their five best signature dishes, they’ll square off against an expert chef who will have to cook the same dish. The completed dishes will then be sampled in a blind taste test by judges known as The Dinner Party. After the two competing dishes are tested, the verdict determining the winner is given to the show’s host. If the home cook wins, they earn a cash prize. Even if they don’t win, they still get to face off again against another culinary expert, climbing a money ladder with increasing cash prizes for every professional chef they defeat.

    Highs: Home cooks vs. professional chefs is a clever premise. Whether its cooking or sports, who hasn’t wanted to try taking down a pro? We can all admit that while watching any kind of cooking show, each one of us has thought we could do at least one thing better than what we see on-screen. Even I’ve thought that and the only thing I know how to cook are omelets and grilled cheeses.

    You’d assume that a professional would have a distinct edge over a home chef but “Food Fighters” does a good job of evening the odds. Contestants not only get to cook their own recipes, they get to choose the order in which they cook them. Many of the pro chefs, especially in the earlier rounds, are known for a particular style of cooking. The home chef is told this and can strategize what to cook to gain an advantage. In the pilot episode I watched a homemaker take on a chef from Boston known as a top seafood chef. The home chef challenged the pro to make a better dessert than she could. The professional was at a distinct disadvantage since she never bakes and ended up losing the round.

    Besides the duels, there are many other elements that make “Food Fighters” a fun, family friendly show. The Dinner Party judges are just regular people like you and me. You won’t see celebrity chefs like Tom Colicchio or Anthony Bourdain sitting on high with smug looks, instead you’ll hear commentary from foodies, the type who would watch this show. Even the competing chefs are polite and are gracious when they lose. After being exposed to so many cooking competitions where chefs seem like all they want to do is kill each other, watching a show where pro chefs are good sports is refreshing.

    Lows: Despite a recent Instagram controversy where he made an incredibly stupid comment to one of his followers, I’ve always  enjoyed Adam Richman’s work but he doesn’t fit this program. On “Man vs. Food” Richman is funny, interesting and comes across as a regular guy who loves food. It makes him relatable. But in “Food Fighters” Regular Guy Richman has been replaced by Game Show Host Richman. Wearing a suit and tie and without injecting the humor he’s known for, viewers will see him as just another paint-by-numbers host who doesn’t really add anything to the fun.

    Grade: (B+): With wave after wave of easy-going celebrity chefs, interesting contestants and a unique premise, “Food Fighters” makes for an enjoyable cooking competition experience. Even viewers with minimal cooking skill will be able to picture themselves as part of the action.

  • 10 Ways to Fix ‘The Bachelor/Bachelorette’ franchise

    Mon, July 21, 2014 by Terry Terrones with no comments

    Andi

    What the heck has happened to “The Bachelorette?” The television program, not the constantly frowny-smiley faced female contestant who thinks every guy on the show is “hawt” and “a real man.” As another season of “The Bachelorette” winds down, I can’t help but wonder where it all went downhill.

    Andi was supposed to be feisty, smart and willing to speak her mind but she’s been a bust due to an inability to form meaningful sentences and a boring group of male contestants. The show suffers from such a severe lack of drama that producers tastelessly aired the announcement of a former contestant’s passing in a recent episode. And tonight viewers will be treated with TV filler in a “Men Tell All Episode” where the male contestants will tell us absolutely nothing new. Every viewer already has a good idea who the likely winner is (Nick Lithgow) and who the next Bachelor is probably going be (Farmer Chris). Where’s the drama?!?

    Then I remembered that this is how this show always plays out, it’s just too predictable. Time to shake things up. Here are 10 simple solutions to make “The Bachelor/Bachelorette” franchise better. You already air this show with tongue firmly in cheek ABC, might as well go a couple steps further to make a better program.

    lithgo_nick

    Mr. John Lithgow, meet your long lost son Nick. 

    1. Make major cuts on night one – “The Bachelor” starts with too many people. I get the idea of giving the Bach/Bachelorette a variety of people to choose from, so go ahead and start with 25, but have the Bach/Bachelorette cut that down by 10 on the first evening. This will allow for two things – 1) a more workable cast. It’s easier to get to know 15 people than 20-something. And 2) with so many cuts on the first night, men and women will be scrambling for attention. This should make for some good TV.

    2. Change up the casting process – Early in the show it’s hard to tell contestants apart because they all look alike. The cast needs more diversity and I’m not just talking about race either. I understand that good looking people are required for a program like this, but not all attractive people are a size zero or have to be a body builder either. And how about someone with a sense of humor for a change? A great example is former Bachelor Bob Guiney. He’s a decent looking guy with a sense of humor. “The Bachelor” could use more people like that.

    3. Teach contestants how to speak to the camera – Chances are, unless they work in the entertainment industry, the contestants on this program have no on-camera experience. And it shows. To make things more interesting, ABC producers should have some classes before the series starts to teach contestants how to speak to a camera. Avoiding repetitive phrases (“like, like, like”) and being able to express feelings would be much better than watching people stammering or constantly using clichés.

    4. Create competitions that build rivalries – This franchise is surprisingly short on drama, no one truly wants to look like a bad guy/girl. To fill the void, create some events that build rivalries. For guys this would mean having more physical contests. Men, especially in their 20s, are very physically competitive. Have them battle each other and release some testosterone and tick each other off. For women, the competitions need to be more subtle and mental. Doing a house gossip questionnaire where contestants have to answer things such as, “Which woman is here for the wrong reasons?” and revealing those to the group would be telling. Next thing you know two women hate each other that were friends. One final note on this, Chris Harrison should be running these events with the Bach/Bachelorette as an observer. Gotta keep their hands clean.

    5. Stop recycling contestants to be the Bach but let old players be contestants – The former-contestant-as-new-Bachelor gimmick has played itself out. There should be a ban on that. Let’s get to know somebody brand new, both to the audience and to competing players. However, I think it would be a great idea to let one or two former players on a new season of “The Bachelorette/Bachelor.” This franchise is “Survivor-esque” at this point, put those good looking people to good use. Former contestant Chris Bukowski tried to get in on this season at the beginning (he’d later say that it was a setup by ABC producers), I’d of let him. Throw former contestant or two in the mix and you have instant drama. The new Bach/Bachelorette is curious and the new contestants are nervous. Wouldn’t you love to see Michelle Money step out of a limo on Farmer Chris’s first night as the Bachelor? I would.

    6. Have a night vision camera in the fantasy suite – Come on ABC, we know what’s going on in there. Put a night vision camera in the fantasy suite and give viewers an idea of how things are going. You don’t need to go all “Real World” about it but your constant phony coy act about contestants NOT fooling around isn’t being bought by anybody.

    7. Have parents meet each other – When it’s down to about three or four contestants, have the parents from both sides of the family meet each other. This should lead to a number of “Odd Couple” style moments and maybe a better idea of how couples would truly fit together.

    8. Skip the hometown visit, change it to a house visit – The purpose of the hometown visit is so you can meet someone’s family, but really what any dating couple sees first is where their boyfriend or girlfriend lives. More enlightening to a Bach/Bachelorette is not where a person is from but where they are right now. I think a trip to someone’s apartment, where you see where they live and meet their friends and find out what a person’s day to day life would be like, is more interesting than meeting some doting parents.

    9. Shorten the show to eight episodes – This series is loaded with filler. Viewers start losing interest too quickly for it to go longer than eight episodes. It would save money on the helicopter budget as well. If this show was eight episodes, ABC could actually add another season too.

    10. Introduce black roses – Sometimes you’re just not feeling it, so why wait until the rose ceremony to cut somebody loose? Nothing would send a message that you mean business than dropping a rose in a dude (or dudettes) lap.

    Gazette media columnist Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association. When he isn’t watching quality programs like “Arrow” or “Game of Thrones” you can find him shamefully spending too much time thinking about bad reality TV shows like “The Bachelorette.”

  • Behind the Scenes at Local TV Stations Part 4 – KOAA

    Mon, July 21, 2014 by Terry Terrones with no comments

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    Time to see what they don’t show you on TV. My behind the scenes look at local TV stations concludes with Part Four today. You can find Part One (KKTV) right here, Part Two (KXRM) here and Part Three (KRDO) here.

    For my final installment in my Behind the Scenes web series I went to local NBC affiliate KOAA on an overcast Wednesday afternoon. I started my visit by chatting with president and general manager Evan Pappas. Evan is in charge of the Pueblo and Colorado KOAA broadcast centers, which employs a staff of 110 between the two facilities. As I was talking to Evan two things became very clear – his belief in KOAA’s duality (despite meeting in Colorado Springs he mentioned Pueblo often) and the effort to make the station not just a local TV station but a network station as well. Pappas believes the recent renovation of the 15,000 sq. ft. Pueblo facility and KOAA’s new 25,000 sq. ft. Colorado Springs building on Tech Center Drive does just that.

    The Tech Center building was purchased in 2013 and over the course of 18 months was gutted and renovated. While Evan wouldn’t give me an exact figure, he estimated the cost of the renovation to be over $5 million. KOAA moved into the building in April and started broadcasting from it in mid-June. After an extensive tour of the three story building with Evan, I chatted with the station’s news director, director of marketing and with anchors Rob Quirk and Lisa Lyden.

    Below is a photo gallery of my visit, be sure to click on the pics for a larger view. Because the station is so large, you’ll see more pictures from this location.

     

  • Longest. ‘The Simpsons.’ Marthon. Ever.

    Mon, July 21, 2014 by Terry Terrones with no comments

    TheSimpson

    Hit network shows are syndicated to cable networks all the time, but with its recent acquisition of “The Simpsons,” FXX is looking to make a big splash. Today during the TCA (Television Critics Association) summer tour, FXX did just that.

    To celebrate their exclusive cable and VOD (video on demand) rights to the legendary animated comedy, FXX will air a marathon of “The Simpsons” on August 21 – September 1, making it the longest-running marathon in television history. For 24 hours a day, over the course of the 12 days, FXX will air 552 episodes of “The Simpsons”through Season 25 as well as “The Simpsons Movie”(airing after episode 400), in chronological order.

    In October FXX will also launch Simpsons World, a “Simpsons” digital experience featuring content through SimpsonsWorld.com and accessible through handheld/connected devices via the FXNOW app. With Simpsons World, fans can find new ways to explore Springfield’s characters and locations, create personalized playlists and share favorite show clips and quotes. All authenticated viewers will have instant and on-demand access to every single “Simpsons” episode ever, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via SimpsonsWorld.com, and FXNOW apps for iPhone, iPad, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Android phones and tablets, Smart TVs, and set-tops devices.

    What’s an authenticated viewer? Someone who has a cable provider that features FXX. That’s the tricky part, as only 60% of cable providers offer the channel. Execs seem to be aware of that and are working to figure away around it but in the meantime, 40% of you may have to hold out on 24/7 “Simpsons” access.

    On a final note, starting September 2nd, FXX will regularly schedule “The Simpsons” episodes on weekdays and weekends. This will include a four-hour “Simpsons” mini-marathon that will lead to new episodes airing on Fox on Sundays.

     

  • ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘True Detective,’ big winners at 2014 TCA Awards

    Sat, July 19, 2014 by Terry Terrones with no comments

    MissPiggy

    The Television Critics Association (TCA) recognized the top programs and actors of the 2013-2014 television season tonight, at its 30th Annual TCA Awards presentation. The invite only, untelevised event was held at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel, and was emceed by Terry Crews, actor and host of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and star of FOX’s hit sitcom “Brooklyn Nine Nine.”

    Results for nominees and the night’s eventual winners were determined from votes cast by the TCA’s membership, comprised of more than 220 professional TV critics and journalists from the United States and Canada. The winners represented a mix of shows and stars in 12 categories, highlighting the best in comedy, drama, reality, miniseries, news, and youth programming. The evening’s big winners included AMC’s celebrated drama “Breaking Bad,” winning Program of the Year for the second consecutive season, and HBO’s crime drama “True Detective,” which won Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials.

    Photographs from the TCA Awards are available at http://bit.ly/1q8pOd4.

    2014 TCA Award recipients are as follows:

    • Individual Achievement in Drama: Matthew McConaughey (“True Detective,” HBO)
    • Individual Achievement in Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep,” HBO)
    • Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” (FOX and National Geographic Channel)
    • Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (LOGO)
    • Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: “The Fosters” (ABC Family)
    • Outstanding New Program: “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix)
    • Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials: “True Detective” (HBO)
    • Outstanding Achievement in Drama: “The Good Wife” (CBS)
    • Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: (Tie) “Veep” (HBO) and “Louie” (FX)
    • Career Achievement Award: James Burrows
    • Heritage Award: “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
    • Program of the Year: “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
  • TNT renews three summer shows, sets final season for ‘Falling Skies’

    Fri, July 18, 2014 by Terry Terrones with no comments

    thelastship2In a press release sent out today, TNT announced that the station has renewed hit summer shows “The Last Ship,” “Major Crimes” and “Falling Skies.” The next season of “Falling Skies” will be its fifth and final one, wrapping up the battle for Earth between humans and alien invaders. TNT has received significant ratings from all three series in key demographics.

    “The Last Ship” has been a hit in its first season. The drama from executive producer Michael Bay has averaged more than 7.2 million viewers in Live + 7 delivery in its first season and currently ranks as basic cable’s #1 scripted series this summer with adults 18-49 and adults 25-54. The show is also cable’s #1 new series for the year-to-date among total viewers and adults 25-54.

    “Major Crimes” is showing an uptick over last year, with 7 million viewers in Live + 7 delivery for its third season so far. It ranks second behind “Rizzoli & Isles” among the summer’s top scripted series on basic cable. “Falling Skies” has averaged more than 5.5 million viewers in Live + 7 delivery for its fourth season, including 2.5 million adults 25-54 and 2.1 million adults 18-49.

    “TNT’s refreshed and recharged drama brand is soaring this summer, and that is due in large part to these three enormously popular dramas,” said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “The Last Ship” has become this summer’s top drama among key adult demos with its epic scale and visceral storytelling. “Major Crimes” continues to be one of the most enduring and popular crime-drama franchises on television. And “Falling Skies” has begun an ambitious and thrilling story arc this summer as it sets the stage for next year’s climactic final season.”

    Although its ratings have dipped from its first two seasons, the announcement of the final season of “Falling Skies” is a bit of a surprise. However, with the success of “The Last Ship” and with the buzz surrounding next month’s “Legends” (starring Sean Bean), TNT probably feels comfortable enough in its programming that it can find ratings winners big enough to replace it.

  • TCA 2014 – ‘Brooklyn Nine Nine,’ panels and set visits

    Thu, July 17, 2014 by Terry Terrones with no comments

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    Greetings from sunny and not rainy at all Southern California! I’m in Beverly Hills for the 2014 Television Critics Association summer tour. Not all of it, however, as this bad boy runs for almost three weeks. I’m here for a few days near the tail end to get inside info on this fall’s television programs.

    But what is the TCA summer tour? It’s a chance for cable and network television big wigs to show TV critics (or more specifically, TCA members) what they have up their sleeve for the upcoming year. Every network, from those that stream shows (Amazon, Hulu) to cable (AMC, Showtime) to the big four (Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC) hawk their wares and try to put their best foot forward at this press only event. There are oodles of television execs, writers, producers and actors all on their best behavior, attempting to impress a very tough crowd – TV critics. This is not a fan event, TV critics (as the name implies) are a very cynical bunch.

    A lot of what I’ll be seeing and doing will be shared on twitter (@terryterrones if you’re interested in getting the scoop), it just makes a little more sense to use it instead of blog posts as I’ll mostly be getting small bursts of information. But since what I saw yesterday makes for a good photo gallery, I thought I’d post it.

    Today (Thursday) I’ll be sitting in on CBS panels, all day. Friday will be The CW and Showtime, Saturday FX and Sunday will be Fox. I’m not planning on any other blog posts so, again, Twitter would be the best place to go if you’re interested in getting an insiders look at the TCAs. But let’s take a look back at Wednesday first.

    Yesterday started with a Q&A with the cast and writers of the Fox comedy “Brooklyn Nine Nine.” Last season ended with a cliffhanger where Andy Samberg’s character (Jake Peralta) left to go undercover for the FBI. Before leaving he told his rival/love interest Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) how he felt about her. Show co-creator/writer Mike Schur talked about their relationship. Schur said they weren’t worried about past romances in comedies (he specifically mentioned Pam and Jim from “The Office”) and will just play out the relationship however it plays out. He doesn’t seem worried about how it will affect the show as it won’t be a main focus of the series. The show’s writers also said there will be a time jump to start season two, that Patton Oswalt is likely to return and that they are thrilled about moving to a Sunday time slot.

    After walking around the “Brooklyn Nine Nine” set and getting to interview some of the cast, our group took a bus ride to Warner Bros. There I sat in on a panel for the talk show “The Real.” It’s essentially “The View” for women of color. It premieres September 15. This show isn’t really for my demographic but I can tell you I was impressed by Loni Love. She’s very funny. Next there was a panel for “The Lottery,” which premieres on Lifetime this Sunday. The premise for the show is similar to the movie “Children of Men.” Coincidentally the executive producer for “The Lottery” is the same person who wrote the screenplay for “Children of Men,” Timothy Sexton. The series is set in the not-so-distant future where women have been unable to become pregnant. I haven’t watched the pilot yet but it sounds intriguing. Next, “Extra” host Mario Lopez came out and announced the show’s two new on-camera staff members. I’d like to tell you who they are but I wasn’t really paying attention.

    Once a break concluded after Lopez’s short presentation, everyone came back to the theater style venue we were in and watched the pilot for Fox’s new drama “Gotham,” which premieres September 22. It was excellent and not exactly what I was expected. “Gotham” is a very gritty and dark police procedural set in the Batman universe. The show introduces a ton of characters Bats fans will be be familiar with (The Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy). I found the performances of Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie to be solid but most impressive was Jada Pinkett Smith. I was surprised by how well she played the vicious mob underboss, Fish Mooney. I’m not quite sure what direction they’re taking the young Bruce Wayne or Selina Kyle/Catwoman characters (Kyle is peppered throughout the episode but never speaks) but if the pilot is any indication this series is in good hands.

    My day ended with a trip to the Sony lot to walk around a set of the Showtime program “Masters of Sex.” It tells the story of sex researchers Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) and Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) of Masters & Johnson fame. To be sure, it is quite racy but it’s not quite as salacious as the name indicates. I hung out at the home of character’s Bill and Libby Masters, which was decked out with plenty of 1950s charm. The entire cast was present, including Annaleigh Swanson who plays Betty. Much to my surprise I discovered that Annaleigh is from Colorado and graduated from Wheat Ridge High School.

    Alright, that’s enough rambling. A photo gallery is below. You can click on the pictures for an enhanced look if you so choose.

  • Weird Al does his best ‘School House Rock’ impression

    Tue, July 15, 2014 by Terry Terrones with no comments

    WeirdAl

    Chances are, sometime during your adolescence, you fell in love with Weird Al Yankovic. With goofy lyrics about topics as ridiculous as ice cream, the Amish, and the challenges of being white and nerdy, all set to a tune popular for its time, he hits the 8-14 year old demographic right on the head. I first became a fan of Al’s in the 1980s. His parody of the hit Michael Jackson song “Beat It” was the talk of my junior high and I’ve been a fan ever since.

    While most people graduate from Weird Al as they get older, for those young at heart (or those who’ve maintained a love of silly things) there is still joy to be found from his music. Case in point is Weird Al’s latest album, which was released today. So far I’ve only listened to one song, but what a funny song it is. If you’re a stickler for grammar, you’ll get a kick out of “Word Crimes,” a parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” I’m certain English teachers around the country will be putting this song to use in the fall.