Tuned In Journal http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:00:20 -0400 en-gb 'The Millers' is back on CBS http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38426-the-millers-is-back-on-cbs http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38426-the-millers-is-back-on-cbs

105348 D0270b2

CBS's disappointing sitcom "The Millers" returns for its second season on a new day tonight at 8:30. The show began with potential thanks to a talented cast that includes Margo Martindale, Beau Bridges and Will Arnett but the sitcom just wasn't that funny and their talents were squandered last year.

Now Sean Hayes ("Will & Grace") has been added to the cast. We'll see if that helps make it any funnier (CBS did not make a review screener available by deadline).

Read more after the jump. ...

CBS made some schedule changes after the new season started,including "The Millers" jumping to Monday, so I thought it might be helpful to recap where "Mom" will land this fall and where "The Millers" will move to in early 2015, barring any further schedule changes.

Here's what CBS has planned: 

 

Updated Monday, Oct. 20

8:00-8:30 PM              THE BIG BANG THEORY

8:30-9:00 PM              THE MILLERS (Season Premiere)

9:00-10:00 PM            SCORPION

10:00-11:00 PM          NCIS: LOS ANGELES

Updated Monday, Oct. 27

8:00-8:30 PM              2 BROKE GIRLS (Season Premiere)

8:30-9:00 PM              THE MILLERS

9:00-10:00 PM            SCORPION

10:00-11:00 PM          NCIS: LOS ANGELES

Updated Thursday, Oct. 30

8:00-8:30 PM              THE BIG BANG THEORY (New Time Period)

8:30-9:00 PM              MOM (Season Premiere)

9:00-9:30 PM              TWO AND A HALF MEN (Season Premiere)

9:30-10:00 PM            THE McCARTHYS (Series Premiere)

10:00-11:00 PM          ELEMENTARY (Season Premiere)

Updated Monday, Jan. 5

8:00-8:30 PM              2 BROKE GIRLS

8:30-9:00 PM              MOM (New Time Period)

9:00-10:00 PM            SCORPION

10:00-11:00 PM          NCIS: LOS ANGELES

Updated Thursday, Jan. 8

8:00-8:30 PM              THE BIG BANG THEORY

8:30-9:00 PM              THE MILLERS (New Time Period)

9:30-10:00 PM            TWO AND A HALF MEN

10:00-11:00 PM          ELEMENTARY

 

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:01 -0400
TV Q&A: 'American Horror Story: Freak Show,' 'Parenthood' and 'Full Throttle Saloon' http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38442-tv-q-a-american-horror-story-freak-show-parenthood-and-full-throttle-saloon http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38442-tv-q-a-american-horror-story-freak-show-parenthood-and-full-throttle-saloon

 

Click here for a link to headlines of recent TV news and views posts.

TV Q&A with Rob Owen

Submit a question to TV Q&A by clicking here.

This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” “Parenthood” and “Full Throttle Saloon.” As always, thanks for reading and keep the questions coming.

- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

Q: I know this is the last season for "Parenthood," but have they gotten new writers for the show? I ask because the whole dynamic of the show has changed, especially in the dialog between the characters. Suddenly they are speaking in short outbursts, talking over each other, or all of them speaking at the same time, etc. It lends a touch of frenzy to the mood of the show, and in a discussion with others, we agreed that it's very annoying and seems very unnatural to these characters we have become very fond of.

- Karen, 68, Orange County, Calif.

Rob: No, there was no shakeup in the writing staff and series creator Jason Katins remains the showrunner/head writer.

 

Q: Will there be a "Full Throttle Saloon" season this year on TruTV? They kind of left us hanging last season with an upcoming baby.

- Saundra, 70, Springdale, PA
Rob:
TruTV is shifting its brand to become a comedy network and a recent tweet from TruTV reports no new season of “Full Throttle Saloon” was filmed this year.

Reruns of past seasons are airing on ReelzChannel.

 

Q: When a TV series goes into syndication, are all episodes in the rotation or are some held back?

- Jay, Oakland

Rob: Yes, it is super annoying but often series are rolled out in batches of episodes and not always in chronological order. This seems to be more prevalent among sitcoms, where episodes that rated better in their initial run are more likely to be part of the batch presented in syndication.

Q: Do you know when the new season of HGTV’s “Flea Market Flip” will start?
Also, can you find out if the Food Network show "Mystery Diners" is real? There seems to be a lot of people who are on the show who are bad actors, especially at the end of the show when they are "busted."

- Darrin, 42, Pittsburgh

Rob: The second season of “Flea Market Flip” premiered in March 2013. It seems likely if it was renewed another season would have appeared by now. HGTV publicist Jade Williams did not respond to Darrin’s question.

A lot of evidence online suggests “Mystery Diners” is staged, including a Radar Online report  and a critique from Previously.TV.

Food Network publicist Julie Chudow offered this response: “Specific to your ‘Mystery Diners’ question, that program’s general premise is when a restaurant owner suspects employees of not doing their jobs, said owner/manager calls in the Mystery Diners. These Mystery Diners are undercover operatives who go into restaurants, bars and food service establishments with hidden cameras and perform surveillance to find out what's really going on when the boss isn't around – hence during any establishments requested visit, setting the stage for certain behavior to be captured is to be expected.”

 

Q: What happened to “Monk” rerunson Fridaynights on WPMY? I see it has been replaced by “Bones,” which is on every other station along with “Law and Order.”

- Phil, 64, Plum
Rob:
We reported on the My Network TV fall schedule in June which added reruns of “The Walking Dead,” which is improving MNT’s ratings, and “The Mentalist.” “Monk” was no longer on the MNT schedule.

“Monk” is available on Universal HD, which is available on DirecTV, DISH Network and some Comcast and Verizon FiOS systems. Check for a channel number on your cable system at the network website

 

Q: I swear when I was watching “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” it sounds like Kathy Bates as the Bearded Woman is sporting a DEEP Pittsburghese accent!  Can you confirm that?

-Ken, 49, Ross Township
Rob:
To my ear it sounded like a Baltimore accent but I went searching for confirmation and found it in Kathy Bates’ Twitter feed and in a Ryan Murphy interview with Entertainment Weekly where he explained, “Kathy came up with that idea which I love. She thought that Ethel would be from Baltimore. So we’re saying in that period the two most famous things to come out of Baltimore were Kathy Bates’ character and Wallis Simpson. She worked really hard on her Baltimore-ese. Somebody watched a screening of the first episode and said, ‘I thought Kathy Bates was out of a John Waters movie.’ And I’m like ‘You’re right!’ Because that’s set in Baltimore and back in the day, the accents were even thicker. But I love that. I love when she says ‘spektakular.’”

 

Q: Recently Jon Burnett has been off more than he is on television. Is he leaving the station? 

- Sandra, Gibsonia

Rob: V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N.

People who work in TV get vacation time, too. And as in most workplaces, the longer you’ve worked at a place, the more vacation you get, so veterans may get several weeks and they can only use the time during off-sweeps months and must avoid February, May, July, November and probably the start of the TV season in September, too.

“Rob, you are correct,” Burnett replied via email. “I’ve taken some vacation time recently. I am definitely still here at the station, hopefully for a few more years….at least! This week, in fact, I am covering for Jeff, so Sandra should get her fill of me, and then some, by Friday!”

 

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:12:01 -0400
Move over Laura Palmer, 'Sleepy Hollow's' Ichabod Crane has a secret diary, too http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38333-move-over-laura-palmer-ichabod-crane-has-a-secret-diary-too http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38333-move-over-laura-palmer-ichabod-crane-has-a-secret-diary-too

Secret Journal Hi res cover

Ratings for Fox's "Sleepy Hollow" (9 p.m. Monday, WPGH) may be down in season two, but the show still has a very devoted following of loyal fans, which is pretty much the same trajectory of ABC's late, great "Twin Peaks."

"Peaks" had its own book spin-off, "The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer," and now "Sleepy Hollow" gets "The Secret Journal of Ichabod Crane" ($14.99, Three Rivers Press).

Read more after the jump. ...

"Secret Journal," written by Alex Irvine, follows the events of the show's first season, as Ichabod (Tom Mison on the TV show) offers more wry reflections on modern life, including the Internet, election day and GPS devices. It is best read with actor Tom Mison's voice in mind.

"Walking down the street today, innocently preoccupied with the eternal war of good against evil (as one in my position often is)..." Ichabod writes.

The book is illustrated throuhgout with occasional sidebar files from the police department or medial examiner's office.

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Thu, 16 Oct 2014 11:06:01 -0400
The state of TV/film production in Western Pa. http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38441-the-state-of-tv-film-production-in-western-pa http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38441-the-state-of-tv-film-production-in-western-pa

On Wednesday, Post-Gazette movie editor Barbara Vancheri and I had the chancel to ask Pittsburgh Film Office director Dawn Keezer some questions about the state of TV/film production in Western Pennsylvania.

I was particularly interested to learn if North Carolina's decision to cut its film tax credit program to the bone might help spur more TV production locally.

Read more after the jump. ...

Here's what Keezer had to say about recent -- and potential future -- film and TV production in Pittsburgh:

{brightcovePG}3841248280001{/brightcovePG}

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Wed, 15 Oct 2014 17:16:01 -0400
PBS explores 'How We Got to Now' http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38412-pbs-explores-how-we-got-to-now http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38412-pbs-explores-how-we-got-to-now

How we got to now

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Technology author Steven Johnson ("Everything Bad is Good for You") hosts the new six-part PBS series "How We Got to Now" (9-11 tonight, WQED-TV), which looks at the men and women behind some of society's most revolutionary innovations.

In tonight's first hour, "Clean," Johnson looks at the advent of clean water supplies. In "Time" (10 tonight), he explores the creation of time zones.

Read more after the jump. ...

"You have no idea how hard it is to make compelling television about standardized time zones," Johnson said at a July PBS press conference.  "What we are trying to do with this show is tell the history of innovations. Each episode is focused on one facet of the modern world that we take for granted and tries to tell the 500‑year history of how it came about and all of the unintended consequences of each invention but to tell it in a way that really inspires the next generation of problem‑solvers."

Johnson said innovation is a current bizzword thanks to the work of Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs, but "How We Got to Now" looks beyond Silicon Valley.

"What we are trying to do with this show is remind people that there is a different kind of innovation out there that all of our lives benefit from, which is solving problems like how do you get clean drinking water to big, dense, urban centers? Or how do you create standardized time so that we can do things like say this program is going to air at 9:00 on October 15th and reliably know what time that is," he said. "[With standardozed time] they were solving that problem for the railroads, but it turned out to be an essential problem for national media. They didn't realize it at the time."

Johnson said the program tries to avoid being just a straight history.

"We have a lot of sequences that take place in kind of modern environments," he said. "So, for instance, in the 'Cold' episode, we go to this indoor ski slope in Dubai just to show how insane we've gone with our pursuit of artificial cold, that you can ski in the middle of the Arabian desert. You have these environments that I go into at various different points and the adventures that I go on then become starting points for a reflection back into the past and these stories from the past. So I think that creates a sense of you are not just hearing history because historical stories are interesting. You are hearing history that is really anchored in things that are really happening right now."

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Wed, 15 Oct 2014 00:00:01 -0400
'Chrisley Knows Best' returns on USA http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38411-chrisley-knows-best-returns-on-usa http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38411-chrisley-knows-best-returns-on-usa

Chrisley

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Viewers have asked, "Who is this Chrisley guy and why does he know best?" but the reality is, it doesn't matter. He's got a reality show and as long as viewers tune in and the ratings for "Chrisley Knows Best" (10 tonight, USA) remain high enough, we're stuck with Chrisley and his argumentative family.

(For the record, Todd Chrisley is an Atlanta-based businessman and "Chrisley Knows Best" has been described as USA's attempt to grow its own Kardashian clan in a petri dish.)

Read more after the jump. ...

At a USA press conference this summer, Todd Chrisley said he though the family was prepared to be on a reality show before it went on the air.

"In the very beginning, we felt like that we were kind of in a good place of knowing what to expect. But I don't think that you're ever in that good place," he said. "I think social media has been somewhat difficult at times, you know, in placing judgment or saying hurtful things about someone's appearance or someone needs to do this or whatever. But it goes back to what kind of parenting have we been successful in implicating. I teach my children each day, we do as a mom and a dad, that the world doesn't give you your self‑worth. We hopefully have helped you gain your self‑worth by knowing who you are. We just finished doing the NOH8 campaign, and so we've got a gentleman that came back and said he was so embarrassed and ashamed that the Chrisley family had participated and such. And I responded back and said, 'I love all my brothers and sisters, you included.' And he came back and apologized."

For the show's second season that begins tonight, viewers can expect more of the same family squabbles. Son Chase turns 18 and Father's Day doesn't go the way Todd expected it would go.

"There's a lot more, I'd say, of Faye, Todd's mother," said executive producer Stephanie Bloch Chambers. "I'd say there's a lot of Grayson, a little bit more than maybe you saw last season.  And there's a lot of humor, and I think, in the end, like this show, the honesty of this family creates a lot of humor.  So more of the same of kind of what you saw first season, but there's more of it."

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Tue, 14 Oct 2014 16:14:01 -0400
Saving the best for almost last: NBC debuts 'Marry Me' http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38409-saving-the-best-for-almost-last-nbc-debuts-marry-me http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38409-saving-the-best-for-almost-last-nbc-debuts-marry-me

marry me blog

 

Fans of ABC’s canceled “Happy Endings” can rejoice in the premiere of NBC’s “Marry Me” (9 p.m. Tuesday, WPXI), which could just as easily be titled “The Penny Show.”

Actress Casey Wilson, who played Penny on “Happy Endings,” stars in “Marry Me” as Annie, a similarly fast-talking, frequently flustered, desperate-to-be-loved control freak.

There’s just one problem with these similarities: “Happy Endings” was a ratings flop. Does “Marry Me” stand a chance? We’ll see, but in the meantime, “Marry Me” begins to stand on its own as it gets off to a funny, frantic start.

Read more after the jump. ...

Annie and boyfriend Jake (Ken Marino, “Party Down”) return home after a trip to commemorate their six years together with Annie expecting a marriage proposal before the trip’s end. When it doesn’t appear it will happen, she goes into a comic tirade that ends with a terrific payoff that continues to pay dividends throughout the episode.

“Marry Me” may provoke some viewers to question gender equality in comedy – it’s legit to wonder, why does the woman always have to be the crazy one? – but one TV comedy can’t answer for all shows. Taken on its own, “Marry Me” offers a fast-moving, often hilarious debut episode that traffics in pop culture references as it establishes Annie as the loon and Jake as the tolerant, abiding guy who loves her.

“For some reason I just always explode my life,” Annie says to Jake. “That is why I need you. Without you, I would spin off into space like Sandra Bullock in ‘Gravity.’ You keep me grounded like Sandra Bullock in real life.”

There may not be much to distinguish Annie from Penny but Ms. Wilson is so gleefully game to throw herself into playing these neurotic characters that it may not matter. Her energy and dedication to playing the fool make both roles fun to watch. And Mr. Marino manages to play the straight man without being overwhelmed by Ms. Wilson, a feat in and of itself.

“Marry Me” is created by writer David Caspe, whose previous series was – you guessed it – “Happy Endings,” which is where he met Ms. Wilson, who is now his wife. It’s fair to assume “Marry Me” is at least a little bit inspired by their courtship.

The “Marry Me” pilot also introduces friends and family members who orbit around Annie and Jake and though they don’t get much screen time in the premiere, several seem funny in their own right and they’ll be necessary as the show grows. Over time, a little bit of Annie – Jake calls her “my crazy little maniac” -- may go a long way and it will be helpful to have additional characters who can help carry the plots.

 

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:01:01 -0400
TV Q&A: 'Unforgettable,' 'Dallas' and WPXI personnel changes http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38423-tv-q-a-unforgettable-dallas-and-closed-captions http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38423-tv-q-a-unforgettable-dallas-and-closed-captions

Click here for a link to headlines of recent TV news and views posts.

TV Q&A with Rob Owen

Submit a question to TV Q&A by clicking here.

This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “Unforgettable,” “Dallas” and closed captioning. As always, thanks for reading and keep the questions coming.

- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

Q: I am confused. I get the Hallmark Channel on Direct TV and now Hallmark is advertising a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Is that going to be a new channel or are they just renaming the Hallmark Channel? Should I get in touch with Direct TV to see if I will get the new channel?

-Margie, 52, Cecil

Rob: Earlier this year Hallmark announced plans to rename and re-brand its Hallmark Movie Channel as Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. That change took effect on Oct. 1. The regular Hallmark Channel isn’t going anywhere (Channel 312 on DirecTV) and DirecTV carries Hallmark Movies & Mysteries on Channel 565.


Q: A question for you, what happened to the last installment of the TV program, "Unforgettable"?  KDKA-TV has been running "Madam Secretary" in the time slot.  When will the program be shown and will it be renewed?

-Dick, Bethel Park

Rob: All 13 episodes produced for season three of "Unforgettable" already aired (perhaps what Dick saw was a season-ending cliffhanger?).

No decision has been made on renewing the show for a potential fourth season.

UPDATE: Late today CBS canceled "Unforgettable" after three seasons.

 

Q: Thanks for answering my question about the future of "Dallas." Now that it's been canceled, is there any chance of another network or platform picking it up?

-Jan, 25, Sharpsburg

Rob: I doubt it. The reason TNT canceled it is because it skewed old. Networks want shows that skew young because that’s what advertisers say they want. But some fans are mounting a save-the-show campaign anyway

 

Q: There was a lot of new buzz this week about "Gilmore Girls" since it is now on Netflix. What kind of royalties do the actors get from this? You see many of the cast doing other things and others have disappeared. here also is talk about a Kickstarter campaign to get the GG movie into production, but Lauren Graham has said she was not interested, so why would anyone support that? Melissa McCarthy also is so busy with her own career, would she really go back to play Sookie? The only way a movie would fly is if they can get the original cast back. Could they get out of contracts or get wavers to do a movie?  Also, Amy Sherman Palladino MUST write the script. Is there hope?

-Marsha, Morgantown
Rob:
Once a TV series ends, no one is under contract though these days they do get residuals, how much those are, I have no idea. There’s a SAG standard but individuals may negotiate for something better. If a follow-up movie is to be made, all-new contracts must be written.

I agree that if Lauren Graham is not on board, there’s no point. I’m not holding my breath for this one but then again I never thought viewers would have the opportunity to re-visit “Twin Peaks”  so who knows what the future might hold.

Q: Someone said “The Amazing Race” was not going to be renewed after this season, is this correct?  If not, any chance it could be picked up by another network?

-Dorothy, 64, Imperial
Rob:
Someone was wrong. “Race” was renewed for two cycles in the current season – the one airing currently on Friday at 8 p.m. and another to air in 2015. After that, we’ll see, but I expect it will be return during the 2015-16 TV season.

Q: Is there any agency responsible for checking that what is presented on TV as “real” is actually real? On the Discovery Channel's “Naked and Afraid” they claim there is no food or water given to the participants but there are episodes where they eat and drink nothing for days yet keep on going. I think the FDA is investigating Dr. Oz but what about just lying as to audience about how a show is produced?

-Kate, 47, Scott

Rob: There is no government oversight for reality shows like “Naked and Afraid.” But producers do say they choose environments that provide sustenance. Perhaps the show is edited in a way that doesn’t show participants eating and drinking? Also, these are survivalists so they have some training in going without food and water.

We always seem to get a diversity of locations in terms of creating a series run.  We have different parameters that we need to address,” explained executive producer Steve Rankin at a Discovery Channel press conference in July. “They have to have the resources available for the survivalists to deal with. So there's got to be food sources, materials that they can make a shelter. They've got to be able to retain water, and we also have to ‑‑ we talked about the temperatures earlier, but there's got to be a temperature range that is not going to be unsurvivable. We couldn't put people into an alpine region, for instance. So we look at tropical. We look at Sub‑Saharan. We look at island. We looked at all of those things, and we tried to bring as much diversity as possible into that.”

 

Q: Why has the volume of background music become so loud that it drowns out the dialogue? I keep raising the volume to try to hear what they are saying, but that doesn't work because the music also gets louder.

-Nancy, 73, Pittsburgh

Rob: We have answered this one many times before. Odds are it’s not the show’s fault. It’s either the speakers on a new TV that are inferior to what the listener owned previously – try setting the TV to mono instead of stereo; some people report this helps – or the listener’s hearing has started to degrade. 

 

Q: Lately I've taken to watching TV with closed captioning on. When watching local news the captioning often messes up what they are saying. The types of errors I'm seeing look more like the kind you get from dictation software trying to figure out phonetically what was said, than a human mistyping, or mishearing what was said. For instance: a proper name is said and the typing hesitates for a moment, then a phonetically similar verb shows up. I can't believe a human would make that kind of error.
Do the local stations use software to handle their closed captioning or are humans typing what is said?

-John, 55, Green Tree

Rob: A little bit of both, perhaps.

According to WTAE chief engineer Dave Kasperek the Top 4 affiliates in the Top 25 markets nationwide, which includes Pittsburgh (Market No. 22), are required to do live captioning.

“However, there are other ways to use ‘live people’ captioners besides typing,” he explained. “All of our captioners use typing exclusively. But other live methods include speech from a person re-speaking the audio to a text-to-speech synthesizer. This method meets the legal test of live captioning but clouds the question somewhat.”

WPXI news director Mike Oliveira did not respond to John’s question.

KDKA news director Anne Linaberger said, “Our real time captioning of local programming is done by Caption Colorado, a company that provides this service to many stations around the country, and is done by a person and not software.” She did not respond to a follow-up question about whether their service is a person typing or a text-to-speech synthesizer.

 

Q: I love to watch the weekend “Today” morning show on NBC, but it seems that it's never the same time from week to week.  Is there some pattern I should be aware of? 

-Sue, 58, Baldwin

Rob: There is not. “Weekend Today” airs 7-8:30 a.m. Saturday and 8-9 a.m. Sunday on WPXI but it sometimes gets pre-empted or shortened or shifted due to sports. There is no pattern to this.

 

Q: I noticed on WPXI they shifted Valerie Smock to thenoonnews and put Scott Harbaugh on in the mornings and I tried twice to call WPXI to find out why and no one could give me a straight answer. Can you explain why they switched those two?

-Kevin, 58, Cranberry Twp
Rob:
TV stations do shift personnel around occasionally and by seeing where folks are shifted to we (and they) can often read the tea leaves. Move someone to a more popular newscast (mornings, evenings, late-night) and they’re probably in fine fettle; move them to a less popular newscast (noon) and their star may be falling.

Here’s what WPXI news director Mike Olivira had to say about recent shifts at Channel 11: “Valerie Smock is working on our noon newscast, the 7 p.m. newscast on PCNC and doing digital and social media work in the afternoons. We’ve moved Scott Harbaugh to the 4:30am-7:00am newscasts.

“We’re always evaluating our team and figuring out who fits best on each shift. Both Valerie and Scott are key contributors for WPXI, not just on television, but on all platforms.”

 

Q:  Why is the Food Network not in the Post-Gazette’s TV Week any longer? Also, where has Trina Orlando gone from KDKA?

-Tish, 67, Derry

Rob: Post-Gazette assistant managing editor for features/enterprise Virginia Linn explained, “The list of channels in Sunday's TV Week recently was reduced from 71 to 58 channels to accommodate new page sizes. The daily grid in Magazine -- Monday through Saturday -- remains the same at  90 channels and does include the Food Network. Decisions had to be made to eliminate some of the channels so the grid would fit in the smaller TV Week. We have received a few complaints about the absence of the Food Network and are exploring the possibility of restoring it in TV Week, possibly as soon as Oct. 26.”

We reported on the departure of Trina Orlando from KDKA-TV in July. She moved to Chicago to be with her fiance.

 

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Fri, 10 Oct 2014 23:37:00 -0400
Improbable, loopy 'Jane the Virgin' is a lot of fun http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38408-improbably-loopy-jane-the-virgin-is-a-lot-of-fun http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38408-improbably-loopy-jane-the-virgin-is-a-lot-of-fun

Jane the Virgin blog

 

If “How to Get Away with Murder” is fall’s most fun, gonzo new drama, The CW’s “Jane the Virgin” is the new season’s fizziest comedy confection.

Yes, it’s an hour long but like its forerunner series, “Ugly Betty,” also based on a telenovela, “Jane the Virgin” (9 p.m. Monday, WPCW) is as interested in comedy as it is in drama. And it’s an all-around hoot.

Read more after the jump. ...

At 13 Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) learned from her grandmother (Ivonne Coll) that she was to protect her virginity, particularly since she was born to a teen mom, Xo (Andrea Navedo).

At 26, Jane is still a virgin, much to the chagrin of her boyfriend, Michael (Brett Dier), a cop who may or may not have a shady past.

Jane’s worldview gets shaken when a doctor subbing for her regular doc gets her patients mixed up and artificially inseminates Jane. And that’s where the farcical nature of the story kicks into high gear. The sample Jane receives that causes her to get pregnant is from her boss, Rafael (Justin Baldoni), who she previously met and kissed years earlier. He’s in an unhappy marriage but stayed because cold wife Petra (Yael Grobglas) stuck with him when he had cancer. And, yes, the cancer means he can no longer produce a child except with the one specimen he had frozen, which is now inside Jane.

Crazy as all this plotting sounds, it’s actually just a small part of all the twisty turns the pilot episode takes as it weaves in Jane’s love of telenovelas with the soap opera that her life becomes.

Writer Jennie Snyder Urman (“Emily Owens, M.D.”) brings a light touch to the more serious questions – the possibility of an abortion is quickly taken off the table because it’s Rafael’s last chance to have a biological child – and leans more heavily into the comedy and soapy shenanigans.

As Jane, Ms. Rodriguez is poised to become a breakout star. She’s entirely likeable and down to earth despite the outlandish situations her character finds herself in.

The “Jane” pilot whips through story quickly while setting up all kinds of potential entanglements for the characters. Whether subsequent episodes can maintain that breakneck pace, which helps accentuate the comic absurdity of the show’s premise, remains to be seen, but “Jane” certainly gets off to a strong, entertaining creative start.

 

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Thu, 09 Oct 2014 09:23:01 -0400
'American Horror Story' goes to a 'Freak Show' for its new season http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38407-american-horror-story-goes-to-a-freak-show-for-its-new-season http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/38407-american-horror-story-goes-to-a-freak-show-for-its-new-season

AHS Freak Show Cast Art hires2

FX's "American Horror Story" (10 tonight) returns for its fourth installment, "Freak Show," and tonally its closer to seaso two's "Asylum" than season three's lighter, more fun "Coven."

Viewers who enjoy scares may prefer this iteration of the anthology series but the over-long season premiere -- it's 63 minutes without commercials, so expect it to run close to 90 minutes on air; set yoru DVR accordingly -- feels disjointed and the characters seem underdeveloped.

Read more after the jump. ...

"Freak Show" certainly does not lack for ambition, not with Sarah Paulson playing both heads of conjoined twins Dot (the sour head on the right) and Bette (the more enthusiastic head on the left). They eventually join a Jupiter, Fla., freak show run by Elsa Mars (Jessican Lange), who seems not to fit in with the freaks at first glance but reveals herself more fully by the end of the premiere.

Elsa's first lieutenant is a bearded lady (Kathy Bates) whose son (Evan Peters) has deformed hands he puts to use pleasuring the housewives of greater Jupiter in exchange for some extra cash. (The topic of sex also comes up with Dot and Bette when Elsa is recruiting them from their hospital bed to join her troop).

The second episode introduces a murderous strong man (Michael Chiklis, "The Shield") and his three-breasted, hermaphrodite wife (Angela Bassett) and better develops the Douglas Sirk-style scenes of a wealthy woman (Frances Conroy) and her disturbed son, Dandy (Finn Wittrock).

"Freak Show" is a darker, scarier entry in the "AHS" series and serves as a bit of a prequel to "Asylum" since it features the character Pepper before she was committed and there are some references to asylums and the end of the freak show era.

The scarier aspects of the new season are mostly provided by a deranged murderous clown whose motivations are unclear from the first episode.

"AHS" is always interesting and it's possible that with time and a few episodes to reveal more about the characters "Freak Show" will become worthwhile viewing but in the early going it feels depressing and strangely uninvolving and mostly weird/edgy for the sake of being weird/edgy.

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Wed, 08 Oct 2014 10:41:01 -0400