television

My Big Break
6:20 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

For 'SNL' Cast Member, The Waiting Was The Hardest Part

Bobby Moynihan (left) appears on Saturday Night Live as the character "Drunk Uncle."
NBC Dana Edelson/NBC

As part of a new series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click and people leap forward into their careers.

For about a decade, Bobby Moynihan lived a double life. By day, Moynihan says, he tended bar at a Pizzeria Uno in New York. By night, he performed improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

But he says he always had one dream: to join the cast of Saturday Night Live.

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Television
10:04 am
Tue January 14, 2014

20 Million DirecTV Customers Just Lost The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore reporting from Manhattan's Battery Park during Hurricane Irene in August 2011.
Jonathan Saruk/The Weather Channel Getty Images

What was already a stormy relationship between The Weather Channel and DirectTV has now become something of a Category 3 communications catastrophe.

Twenty million DirecTV customers can't see The Weather Channel today because the two sides didn't reach an agreement on a new distribution deal before a midnight Monday deadline.

According to The Associated Press, "the two companies pointed fingers at each other":

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Television
10:14 am
Mon January 13, 2014

The Golden Globes Share The Wealth, Such As It Is

Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were the hands-down highlight of the deeply silly Golden Globes.
NBC Universal Getty Images

Let us say this first: The Golden Globes are Hollywood culture at its most purely self-perpetuating. Given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a small group of journalists so gleefully obscure that there is usually a joke about how gleefully obscure they are, the Globes lack the gravitas of the Oscars, which is really saying something, given the fact that the Oscars lack the gravitas of the Tonys and the Tonys lack the gravitas of a halfway decent episode of Law & Order: SVU.

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Entertainment
2:25 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

The Globes Will Be Golden, But Hollywood Remains Mostly White

Sunday's Golden Globes celebrate a diverse group of actors. Even so, very few shows feature minorities in leading roles on screen or off.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 1:57 pm

Sunday night is one of the biggest nights in Hollywood, as stars from film and television gather for the Golden Globe Awards.

This year's awards, which celebrate the best writing, acting and production of the year, are being hailed as the most diverse yet, with a significant number of minority actors up for awards.

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Comedy
6:27 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

As Zamata Joins 'SNL,' A Look At — And Beyond — The Prism Of Race

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

This week the long-running comedy show Saturday Night Live hired Sasheer Zamata as a new cast member. The show had come under criticism for its lack of diversity, especially its lack of black women; Zamata will be the show's first female African-American cast member in six years.

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Code Switch
12:39 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Conversation About 'SNL' And Diversity 'Just Getting Started'

Meet Sasheer Zamata, Saturday Night Live's new cast member.
Heidi Gutman ABC via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:10 pm

It may seem, now that Saturday Night Live has hired a black female cast member and two black female writers, that the conversation about diversity on TV's most influential comedy show is over.

But it's just getting started.

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Television
1:39 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

'Downton' Returns, And It's As Rich As Ever

Michelle Dockery's Lady Mary is in deep mourning as Downton Abbey returns for a fourth season on PBS.
Nick Briggs Carnival Film & Television Limited

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 7:36 am

When you think about what Downton Abbey has achieved, and is continuing to pull off, it's actually pretty remarkable. In an era when the most acclaimed TV series of the decade is an edgy cable drama about a dying, meth-making criminal, Downton Abbey draws similarly large audiences on broadcast TV — public TV, at that — with an old-fashioned soap opera about servants and household staffers and those they serve. As Season 4 begins on PBS, Downton Abbey is the most popular drama in the history of public television.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:46 am
Fri January 3, 2014

The Nose: Originality, Subarus and Sexuality, Anonymity, and Grand Exits

Tracy Wu-Fastenberg.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Today on The Nose, we'll talk about this relatively insignificant bit of Rush Limbaugh peevishness, and the degree to which each of us thinks he or she has (informally speaking) patented something: a word, a phrase, a style we've made our own.

Also, Adam Platt's decision to dispense with the fiction that he, as a restaurant critic, is anonymous. It's not exactly the same as claiming to create, but Platt is talking about the anxiety of influence in a different way. How can one do "pure" work? 

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:05 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Food Schmooze: Dinner for the Premiere of Downton Abbey!

Credit Jenny Audring/flickr creative commons

Today's show originally aired December 18 and 21, 2013.

From Faith Middleton: Our Food Schmooze crew decided to throw a Downton Abbey dinner party on the air to celebrate the return of our beloved PBS series, season four. As you can see, we've provided you with all of our delicious recipes, in case you decide to have your own Downton Abbey feast.

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Football
11:32 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Has Tim Tebow Found His Right Place At ESPN?

Tim Tebow, right, during a TV interview before last January's Allstate Sugar Bowl. He's taking his talents to ESPN.
Matthew Stockman Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 11:21 am

Although he says he still wants to be a quarterback in the National Football League, former phenom Tim Tebow has signed up to be a college football analyst for ESPN.

The sports network announced Monday that Tebow is coming aboard to be part of SEC Nation — a "pregame show that will originate from a different SEC campus each week beginning August 28, 2014."

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Television
9:28 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Is The DVD Box Set Dead? Yes ... And No.

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 8:35 am

Are we witnessing the twilight of DVD and Blu-ray?

Kinda-sorta. With the emergence of various digital distributions systems — streaming and downloading through your laptop, your cable system, your game console — it's easy to see how these discs will be the next physical media formats to fade away. DVD and Blu-ray could well go the way of CDs and vinyl, becoming a niche boutique market for collectors.

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Television
9:28 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Remote Control: It Was Hard To Turn Off The TV In 2013

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 11:00 am

Here's why picking a Top 10 list of best TV shows has become such treacherous work for critics this year: Quite simply, 2013 was the year quality exploded in the television industry.

Thanks to the simultaneous maturing of Netflix, AMC, FX, HBO, Showtime, Amazon, BBC America, Sundance Channel, iTunes and many more media platforms, fans of great television had more options than ever to find high-quality product whenever and wherever they liked.

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Television
2:13 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

David Bianculli's Top 10 Shows: 2013 Was A 'Good Year For TV'

Kevin Spacey (left) and Robin Wright star in House of Cards, directed by David Fincher. The Netflix series, which follows a Machiavellian politician, is an adaptation of a BBC series of the same name. Hear an interview with Spacey and Fincher.
Patrick Harbron Netflix

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 4:44 pm

This was a good year for TV, says critic David Bianculli, and that had a lot to do with two new shows from Netflix: House of Cards, the American adaptation of the BBC political thriller series, and Orange Is the New Black, a dramatic comedy which takes place in a women's federal prison. "I was very impressed with the overall quality of what Netflix gave us," Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "... That was quite a string of good shows."

So, without further ado, here's Bianculli's top-10 TV list for 2013:

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:05 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Food Schmooze: Dinner for the Premiere of Downton Abbey!

Credit cumidanciki/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: Our Food Schmooze crew decided to throw a Downton Abbey dinner party on the air to celebrate the return of our beloved PBS series, Season 4. As you can see, we've provided you with all of our delicious recipes, in case you decide to have your own Downton Abbey feast.

Across America, fans of the show are getting ready with celebratory foods ranging from a simple bowl of popcorn to dinners worthy of the royal family.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:48 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Naked, Afraid, and at the Mercy of Producers

Connecticut resident Shane Lewis starred in "Naked and Afraid" a reality television show on the Discovery Channel
Credit Discovery Channel

"Reality TV" is perhaps the biggest misnomer in the entertainment industry today. A better name would probably be "scripted unscripted television." It's not catchy, but at least it's accurate.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:18 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Catching Fire, Culture, Condoms, and the Law

Can Bill Gates inspire inventors to make a condom that's stronger, thinner, and more sensitive?
Credit Robert Elyov on Flickr Creative Commons

Why should sex feel bad? It shouldn't, and Bill Gates is offering $100,000 to the inventor of a condom that puts the pleasure back in sex. And, it isn't just about pleasure. Scientists at the University of Manchester's National Graphene Institute say a "redesigned condom that overcomes inconvenience, fumbling, or perceived loss of pleasure would be a powerful weapon in the fight against poverty."

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Television
5:25 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Sarah Silverman, Serving Up Sinfully Divine Comedy

Nothing's sacred in We Are Miracles — but then as Sarah Silverman told Terry Gross in 2010, "there's a safety in what I do because I'm always the idiot. ... I'm always the ignoramus no matter what I talk about or what tragic event, off-color, dark scenario is evoked in my material."
Janet Van Ham HBO

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:18 am

Sarah Silverman is funny — sweet, bawdy, innocent, outrageous, Emmy-winning, milk-through-your-nose funny. And her new comedy special, We are Miracles, debuts tonight on HBO.

Performing in front of a live audience, the comedian takes on religion, pornography, childhood, politics and stereotypes, and no one's left standing. (No really: One punchline involves Hitler being assigned "Heil Marys" as penance.)

Silverman tells NPR's Scott Simon that she thinks good comedy comes from "some kind of childhood humiliation or darkness."

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Television
7:37 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Shonda Rhimes Knows Where This 'Scandal' Will End

Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope on Shonda Rhimes' political drama Scandal, one of TV's most talked-about broadcast shows.
Danny Feld ABC

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 12:37 pm

Shonda Rhimes says the Washington she's created for the political drama Scandal is a dark, amoral one — and "a little Shakespearean," in the way it's a place where big themes play out among powerful people who aren't afraid to make bold moves.

"In the world of the show, [our] America sees Washington as this fairy-tale-beautiful place, and everybody who works there is really helping keep that illusion alive," the series creator tells Morning Edition's Renee Montagne.

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Television
3:08 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Bonham Carter Takes On Taylor, And She Did Her Homework

Helena Bonham Carter plays Elizabeth Taylor in Burton and Taylor, a BBC America movie that focuses on the famous couple's stint acting together on Broadway in 1983.
Leah Gallo BBC

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 6:39 pm

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were the real-life star-crossed lovers of the 1960s and '70s. No relationship better merited the adjective "tempestuous," and of none was that word more often uttered.

BBC America offers a dramatized glimpse of the relationship in its movie Burton and Taylor. The film focuses not on the couple's scandalous beginnings when they met filming the 1963 movie Cleopatra, but rather on their public curtain call as a couple, the 1983 Broadway revival of Noel Coward's play Private Lives.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:01 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Naked, Afraid, and At The Mercy of Producers

Connecticut resident Shane Lewis starred in "Naked and Afraid" a reality television show on the Discovery Channel.
Credit Discovery Channel

"Reality TV" is perhaps the biggest misnomer in the entertainment industry today. A better name would probably be "scripted unscripted television." It's not catchy, but at least it's accurate.

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
5:39 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Breaking Bad and the Chemistry Classroom

Credit Starmanseries, Flickr Creative Commons

Now that we're reeling at the prospect of life after "Breaking Bad," let's find out about the real lives of chemistry teachers! Hear from Dr. Donna Nelson, the consultant "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan hired to make sure the on-screen science was correct, and then go beyond the test tubes, and meet some chemistry teachers to hear about what actually goes on in the classroom.

What did you learn in the chemistry classroom? What's the future of understanding and harnessing the power of chemistry? Remember to wear your safety goggles for this Colin McEnroe Show.

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The Faith Middleton Show
2:03 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Junk Food TV

Credit Regan Walsh/flickr creative commons

Storage WarsCheaters, Hoarders — what's your favorite junk food TV? Why do we watch them, when we do? Do we test ourselves by seeing how others behave? Are reality shows for real?

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Where We Live
1:00 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

The Worldwide Leader in Cable

Tommy Gilligan/Pointer View (Flickr Creative Commons)

Concussions in football may be the biggest threat to America’s biggest game. For 15 months, ESPN teamed up with PBS’ Frontline for a film called “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.”

About a month and a half before the film premieres, ESPN has announced they are pulling out of the project.

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Television
3:10 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Americans Abroad Say They'll Miss ESPN TV

Connecticut-based ESPN has suspended its TV broadcasts in most of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and US sports fans living abroad say they’re having a tough time adjusting to the change.

Peter Alegi says Americans overseas love to argue about two things: U.S. politics and U.S. sports. Alegi – a self-described baseball nut - is a New Haven native who has lived for decades in Italy.  Speaking from the town of Todi, Italy, he says ex-pats will sorely miss TV broadcasts of major league baseball, the NBA and NFL.  

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Non-Profit Woes
1:03 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Amistad Goes To Puerto Rico...During Hurricane Season

The Amistad is heading down to Puerto Rico to film a NBC miniseries.
Ed G (Flickr Creative Commons)

State officials are expressing concern about a series of recent blunders by the Schooner Amistad, including the decision to sail to the Caribbean during hurricane season. 

The ship will be featured in a NBC miniseries on the pirate Blackbeard, starring John Malkovich. Amistad America will be paid $250,000 but will have to film in Puerto Rico during Hurricane season:

"I complained about it because we're talking about a tall, wooden ship. There essentially is no real safe harbor for that in a hurricane," said North Stonington State Representative Diane Urban.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:16 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Orange Is The New Black...But It's Still Orange

Prison Cell
Credit Kudumomo on Flickr Creative Commons

Piper Kerman brought a suitcase of cash across international borders as the 20-year-old girlfriend of an international drug trafficker.

By the time she was 34, Piper outgrew her need for adventure, but not the crime that landed her in prison more than a decade later, despite that she was living a respectable life with a boyfriend, family, and artisanal soap business in New York City's West Village.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:33 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Saying Farewell: Why We Set High Bars for Finales

Flickr Creative Commons, espensorvik

When "The Sopranos" ended -- the screen going black and an 80 percent chance that Tony got whacked and never saw it coming -- you really got the feeling that something new had been attempted. 

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News
5:13 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

The History — And Future — Of Cable's Bundling

Though you'd never see it listed on your monthly cable bill, nearly every channel you get has a secret price.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 6:13 pm

For Time Warner Cable customers in major cities, the battle for the future of television is playing out before their eyes.

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What We're Watching
3:30 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

The Woman Behind 'Orange Is The New Black'

Promotional image from the new Netflix series "Orange Is The New Black." (Netflix)

Netflix’s new original series “Orange Is the New Black” is based on the life of Piper Kerman, a Smith graduate and self-described WASP who must go to prison for 13 months when her past catches up with her.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
1:09 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

The Life and Times of Broadcast Legend Ivor Hugh

Chion Wolf

Let me tell you, in the bluntest possible manner, why we're doing a show with Ivor Hugh today.

Last year, I had the idea of doing a show that would have been a gathering of some of the voices from the era when radio was king. One of the names in my head was Ivor's. The other one was my friend and former colleague Arnold Dean. Arnold started in radio within a year of  Ivor; and, like almost everybody doing radio in the 1950s, both men then dabbled in the early days of television, because the early TV talent was radio talent.

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