television

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We're starting out today with a segment about "Generation-Like," the media term media theorist Douglas Rushkoff uses for the generation of Millennials  who live huge chunks of their lives on social media where they subsist on a form of metered approval.  

The new guy's getting pretty good reviews.

Jimmy Fallon took over NBC's The Tonight Show on Monday night, saying he just wants "to do the best I can ... make you laugh and put a smile on your face."

I Love Lucy was one of the most popular shows in the history of television. Its stars, redheaded Lucille Ball and her Cuban-American husband Desi Arnaz, became TV icons — but they almost didn't get on TV.

Kathleen Brady is the author of Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball. She says the network that wanted Ball to star in her own sitcom was not interested in her husband.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

While tying together all the stories for today's session of the Nose, I keep hearing (in my mind) Charlie Seen say, "Winning!" We have a lot of stories about how people who try to win, often by following the logic of a game out to its extremes.

Now that the Winter Games have begun, it's time to remind fans in the U.S. about how to watch them.

As NPR TV critic Eric Deggans said earlier this week:

He’s being called the “Jeopardy villain,” but Arthur Chu of Broadview Heights, Ohio, considers himself more of a “mad genius.” The 30-year-old insurance analyst and voiceover artist has won three times since he came on the show last week.

Some say Chu is taking all the fun out of the game. He goes for the hardest questions first, slams down his buzzer incessantly and tries to get the host to speed up. It’s all part of his strategy inspired by game theory — a model of strategic, mathematical decision making.

The Danish television series Borgen about a female party leader who unexpectedly becomes Denmark's prime minister was a hit in its home country and in the U.K. It won numerous international prizes, and a cult following in the U.S. after its sporadic TV broadcasts — Stephen King named it his favorite piece of pop culture of 2012. The third and final season has just been released on DVD by MHz Networks, which also brought out seasons one and two.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Today on the Nose, we'll discuss one of those eruptions that happen in the digital world -- a frenzy of discussion and expressions of outrage over an essay on the site xojane, by a writer who tried to describe her reactions, as a skinny white woman, to the way she thought a heavyset back woman was reacting to her in yoga class.

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.

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":

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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? 

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.

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."

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

Dec 31, 2013

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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."

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."

Shonda Rhimes Knows Where This 'Scandal' Will End

Nov 7, 2013

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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