Didn't it used to be sweeps week? That one, short week when the networks sent out the siren call to viewers to witness that can't-miss television event? Forget that. Now it's sweeps months -- November, February, and May -- every single day, with not a minute to spare. It seems we just recovered from February sweeps, not to mention all those shameless -- shameless -- tie-ins. But here we go again. I knew I was in for a month of eye-rolling during the season premiere of The X-Files when the local Fox affiliate promised a "news" feature called "The TX Files" on the 10 o'clock newscast. Need I say more?
I confess to watching fair portions of the delightful Annie remake, the live, partially improved episode of The Drew Carey Show, and tuning in to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (all on ABC) just to see what all the hoo-ha was about. But after a while -- a very short while, it turns out -- all the hype, the splash, and the "watch-me-watch-me-watch-me!" demands of the networks take on the dulcet tones of a two-year-old's tantrum. And like any right-minded adult who just can't take it anymore, I leave the creature to its high-pitched squealing and walk away. But not too far. So, while leprechauns flit across the screen in the background, I turned my attention to the gentle hum of the computer, to search on the Web for the news and events that will shape TV viewing in Central Texas. Well, at least in my living room. Here are a few tidbits:
Can a Web geek, used to the cyber glow of computer screens and the disembodied chatter of chat rooms, make it as an onscreen celeb? No doubt. Knowles' appearances with Ebert were cool and confident. Surely he could carry his own in a half-hour program. The big questions are: What network will take him? When will it happen? What will the format be?
"TV has never seen a show like this before! It will be phantasmagorical! Nothing else can be said at present. We must protect the format from cheap imitations." This from the Ain't It Cool News (AICN) site, where a person identified only as Father Geek responded in an e-mail message to Knowles on the subject.
Knowles has shot three Ebert & The Movies episodes. The third episode, airing later this season, features Knowles and Ebert chatting about their favorite cult movies.
The new plan includes developing a set of goals for improving diversity in programming and production and a timetable for reaching those goals. A series of public hearings will be held in Los Angeles to gather viewer input, and finally, a full-scale boycott will be launched in January, lasting through February sweeps.
The November boycott was delayed due to a lack of information requested by the NAACP of the networks, and the organization's desire to "target the worst offenders appropriately," according to E! Online.
"Our complaint is not only about the lack of people of color as lead characters in the new fall shows, but more importantly, the other whitewash or blackout that continues to take place in TV board rooms, in their executive, production, and talent ranks, and among their writers, producers, and directors," Mfume said. In July, the NAACP purchased stock in all four networks. As a stockholder, the organization plans to make its concerns known at shareholders' meetings.
In related news, originally reported by the Chicago Tribune and posted by Lew Irwin's Studio Briefing last week: "A coalition of the nation's largest broadcasting companies will contribute several hundred million dollars to an investment fund aimed at boosting minority ownership of broadcasting stations. The fund would be available to minority broadcasters to finance as much as $500 million in TV and radio stations." The move is seen as a good-faith effort to boost minority and women ownership of stations. More information is expected for release in the coming weeks.
Take a station break at TVEye@auschron.com
Copyright © 2023 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.