What's new in TV? Nothing and everything. It depends on where you're looking. Programming that beams into your living room appears the same with one noticeable exception. Content on the small screen is changing and changing fast (by TV standards). That is, because of all the burgeoning technology (more competition), networks are eager for shows to hit immediately. So, buh-bye Jenna Elfman in Courting Alex. Your numbers are weak. Make room for Julia Louis-Dreyfus' The New Adventures of Old Christine (premiering March 13). If that show doesn't hit, something else in the programming stew is waiting to be scooped up and flung at TV screens to see what sticks.
This is good and bad for conventional TV. Good, because TV is becoming less predictable. Bad, because great shows like Arrested Development get canned if they fail to make the numbers. The focus here is on the word "conventional." In my dream scenario, content on demand is what networks would heed. Can you imagine turning on your TV, and instead of seeing the typical lineup of programming, seeing a menu of programs to select and watch at your convenience? The choices could include conventional programming, for those who like the idea of turning on the TV at 4pm and knowing Oprah will be there. Even with the convenience of DVRs, TiVo, or the old reliable VCR, I still have to program my set to capture a show at a specific day and time. How marvelous would it be to know that when I tune into said network, I can elect to watch one or all episodes of say, Arrested Development, at two in the afternoon or two in the morning, for a month or another set period of time? Well, I can dream.
In the meantime, one local news program is moving in that direction. Last week, KEYE announced that they would start offering Web-only newscasts and weather forecasts. Called CBS 42 News @ Your Desk and CBS 42 Weather @ Your Desk, the streaming video will be available online, uploaded daily at about 2:45pm.
"The way people consume information is changing," says KEYE News Director Tim Gardner in a press release. "It's our goal to make it convenient for viewers to choose KEYE as their source for news and weather. The CBS 42 News and Weather @ Your Desk webcasts provide a quick, easy way to get updated on the day's news and weather on your schedule."
The three-minute newscasts will feature the day's top stories delivered by KEYE news anchors. Weathercasts will be updated twice daily during the week (at least once on Saturday and Sunday), delivered by KEYE meteorologists. Webcasts can be viewed at www.keyetv.com.
Nominees by the Numbers
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recently changed the process for how the prime-time Emmy Awards are selected. After initial memberwide voting, "blue-ribbon" panels will be convened to pare down the top 10 or 15 vote-getters for series and actor nominees to the final five nominees. Previously, all ATAS members could vote on all nominees. The new process, according to Dick Askin, chairman and CEO of the academy, "increases the potential for the widest and most diverse selection of nominees possible." Askin's comments appeared in last week's Broadcasting and Cable. The change should break the cycle of serial nominees and winners that has stultified the Emmys for many years.
TV on DVD
Recently released: Grey's Anatomy: Season One (2 discs, 9 episodes); Living Single: Complete First Season (4 discs, 27 episodes); Significant Others (2 discs, 12 episodes); The Avengers: The Emma Peel Collector's Edition (17 discs, 51 episodes); Action: The Complete Series (2 discs, 13 episodes); Bleak House (mini-series; 3 discs).
March 7: Police Woman: Complete First Season (5 discs, 23 episodes)
March 14: V.I.P: First Season (5 discs, 22 episodes); I Dream of Jeannie: Complete First Season (4 discs, 30 episodes)
March 21: The Flying Nun: Complete First Season (4 discs, 30 episodes); Gidget (4 discs, 32 episodes); Huff (3 discs, 13 episodes); Mind of Mencia (2 discs); Over There (4 discs, 13 episodes).
March 28: Robot Chicken (2 discs, 20 episodes); The Triangle (miniseries; 2 discs).
April: American Dad, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Tommy Lee Goes to College, Kate & Allie, Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, Life Goes On, Boston Legal.
As always, stay tuned.