News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday at the age of 95, seemed like an indelible and welcome presence on our TV screens over the last two decades -- not quite omnipresent, but hardly invisible either. In fact...that's all a bit of an illusion: He didn't do all that many major TV interviews. I suppose this all comes under the heading of "He Had More Important Things To Do..." But more important than TV! In fact, there are some politicians who don't make a beeline for the camera, and he was apparently one of them.
I've collected a few notable interviews here,however, from Oprah to Charlie Rose, and a couple in between. Of course, this is hardly conclusive -- far from it -- but this small tour does reveal a gracious screen presence who seemed to intuitively understand the two rules of interviews: 1.) Don't evade; 2.) say what's in your heart (as long as what's in your heart isn't loathsome, I suppose -- then please hide it.)
I've posted Charlie's full interview below -- please don't blame me, Charlie, but it's good; the world needs to see! Meanwhile, if you're a Newsday app-ster, please head on over to Newsday.com/tvzone. .
And the numbers are in: NBC's live presentation of "The Sound of Music" is officially one of network TV's -- not just NBC's -- glowing triumphs of the year: 18.5 million viewers. Over three hours.
Let me make this plain and clear: Network TV, except for football, just doesn't get this kind of crowd anymore. I can assure you - they are celebrating at 30 Rock, and well they should. This was a gamble that paid off, and paid off handsomely - especially in social media, which was just off the charts last night. Love this live presentation -- which I mostly did -- or jeer (some tweeters did that too) people were clearly intrigued, and mostly happy with what they saw. Yes, Carrie Underwood has a huge fan base, and doubtless it turned out in force for her. But the "SOM" franchise has an even bigger one. The double effect, along with the uniqueness of a live venture, made this thing explode.
Why a triumph for "network TV?" Because it essentialy proves that old idea of a "national hearth" still has a certain vitality to it -- if the program is right. One little irony, perhaps, is that a live presentation like this - not done in half a century -- was lifted directly from the Old Days. It wasn't some new-fangled gimmick.
Some more stats...
- Most tuned in during the 8 p.m. - expected - although the vast majority of the 19.7 million viewers who were watching at the peak time, 8:30, stayed around until the end: A total of 17 million viewers were watching at 11, according to "Fast National" Nielsen figures yesterday.
-Thursday's win for NBC wasn't merely unusual but essentially unprecedented in recent years - perhaps many years - as it's struggled on what was once a bread-and-butter night. Some reports yesterday indicated that this was the highest performance on the night since "ER's" April 2, 2009 finale. But "Sound of Music" exceeded that performance - 16.2 million viewers over two hours.
-According to NBC, "With 18.470 million viewers, it’s the NBC’s most watched non-sports night on any night of the week since Jan. 15, 2007 (Golden Globes, 20.036 million)."
Following the death yesterday of Nelson Mandela, the networks are just now setting a weekend of tributes and retrospectives. First up, CBS News will air “Nelson Mandela: Father of a Nation,” a one-hour "48 HOURS PRESENTS." And ABC just announced a Robin Roberts/David Muir-anchored special tonight at 10, entitled "Nelson Mandela: A Man Who Changed the World."
Meanwhile,...Read more »
NBC's live version of "Sound of Music" arrives from the Grumman stages in Bethpage, and a few million "Sound of Musicologists" will be fully expected to weigh in on their various and sundry disputes with the version -- from cast, to Carrie, to music, to costumes, to ... well, head to Twitter for the storm.
So here's my question: Good move or bad? I'll answer that one! A...Read more »
Sarah Palin was on "Fox & Friends" a little while ago to discuss Martin Bashir's abrupt exit-stage-left out of MSNBC yesterday. Interesting clip in several ways: Foremost, it's clear the "Friends" are looking to rend this bone a little more vigorously than Palin is of a mind to.
She actually lauds the media coverage of the comments that led to his demise, while the "Friends" think he should have been canned instead of allowed to take the easy way out.
(Note to "Friends:" It remains abundantly unclear whether he was in fact allowed to resign or forced out — or more likely whether this was one of those one-step-ahead-of-the-sheriff situations.)
Newsday app readers know the drill: head on over to Newsday.com/tvzone to watch.
For those not otherwise engaged on the shank-end of 2013, this . . . an all-you-can eat "Breaking Bad" and "Walking Dead" marathon. (Come to think of it, scratch the phrase "all you can eat" in the context of anything to do with "The Walking Dead." Let's just call this a binge party!)
The binge party begins Dec. 27, and herewith the details:
"A four-day Breaking Bad marathon, which kicks off at noon ET/PT each day from Friday, Dec. 27 through Monday, Dec. 30, will feature every episode from the series’ critically acclaimed five seasons, making AMC the only destination for cable subscribers to watch every Breaking Bad episode for free. On New Year’s Eve day, Dec. 31, at 9 a.m. ET/PT, AMC will air a two-day marathon of The Walking Dead. Beginning with the pilot, episodes will air back-to-back in chronological order until 5 a.m. ET on Jan. 2, 2014."
ABC correspondent and anchor Amy Robach - who underwent a double mastectomy for advanced breast cancer three weeks ago - returned to "Good Morning America" yesterday, saying "I feel remarkably well. Mentally, it's another challenge because that was phase one." Robach also told viewers and colleagues that she would continue to work while undergoing chemotherapy.
Her treatment...Read more »
Either he resigned or has been forced out, but Martin Bashir has now become the latest casualty at MSNBC to beat a path to the exit after making explosive remarks -- in this instance about Sarah Palin.
Meanwhile, if you're coming to this post a bit late, check out Sarah Palin's comments on "Fox & Friends" Thursday morning.
Back to Bashir: He posted his resignation notice on Mediaite yesterday saying:
"After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday. Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation . . ."
Briefly, the history: On Nov. 15, Bashir called Palin a "world-class idiot" for comparing the U.S. debt load to China to slavery, then noted -- for some inexplicable reason -- that some slave masters had forced their slaves to eat excrement, and that the same thing should happen to Palin.
He almost immediately apologized, and has done so since, but it's also clear the damage could not be undone. Palin herself castigated him, MSNBC backed away, and before long he was on an "extended" break. Meanwhile, Palin supporters have been hammering MSNBC, and by association NBC News, for the bizarre comment.
More from the Bashir note
" . . . It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments. I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast."
Bashir, 50, has been an MSNBC afternoon anchor since 2010, after a longer run at ABC News.
"House of Cards," the series that sent Netflix soaring into the brave new world of binging and original production, has set a return date for the series: Feb. 14.
And yes, in case you are wondering, the entire 13-episode season will be available immediately. "Cards" -- followed by "Arrested Development" -- truly established what was then a curious template for viewing, and which was voraciously debated at the time. Wouldn't an immediate, all-at-once download, for example, eviscerate that all-important "buzz" that viewers feed off during a series' run?
As it turned out, didn't much matter. "Cards" was considered a success, or at least that's the claim of Netflix -- which never releases download figures, much to the chagrin of traditional networks which say Netflix is playing by a different set of rules that it doesn't care to divulge.
Nevertheless, there's little doubt this is exactly what many subscribers want -- instant gratification, and all at once, or over a 13-hour stretch. Netflix even went ahead and ordered an entire second season of "Orange is the New Black" even before the first episode appeared. That would now seem to have been a good bet: "Orange" got critical love and presumably subscriber love, too.
Meanwhile, a few new details about the second season, as follows:
In the second season, Francis (Kevin Spacey) and Claire (Robin Wright) Underwood continue their ruthless rise to power as threats mount on all fronts. Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara, “American Horror Story”), an up-and-coming reporter and Francis’s former paramour, is inching closer to the truth about his crimes. President Garrett Walker’s (Michel Gill, “The Good Wife”) billionaire confidante Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney, “Southland”) demands that Francis reciprocate political favors or face retribution. And Claire must confront the increasing glare of the spotlight as it eats away at her and Francis’ once private existence. The Underwoods must overcome these dangers -- past and present -- to avoid losing everything, regardless of collateral damage they leave in their wake.
Meanwhile . . . a tease, and Newsday app readers, please go to Newsday.com/tvzone:
"The Blacklist," which ended the first half of its freshman season last night with a bang (bang and bang), just got a second season pickup. The only hidden surprise in this announcement is: What took so long?
Per NBC...The Blacklist” is the No. 1 drama on the Big 4 networks in the 18-49 demo, averaging a 4.9 rating/13 share in most current viewing. It is the No. 2 scripted...Read more »