Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

When I was growing up, it seemed like The Emmys and the Miss America Pageant were super-duper bigtime television events. Everyone looked forward to the glamour, the spectacle, the sheer buzzworthiness.

Not no more. Both shows, broadcast over the weekend, pulled in pretty sorry ratings, for different reasons but with one main thread: Lack of interest from modern audiences.

Last year’s stealth-like presentation of the Miss America contest caught me by surprise, and had me wondering if it would stick around for much longer. They revamped, and caught my attention late in the week, mainly thanks to a wire story about how skimpy this year’s Speedo-provided swimsuits are. I’m always for more skin, but not quite enough to have me sitting at home on a Saturday night.

As for the Emmys, I didn’t bother to mention them at all last year. Since I haven’t watched them since I was a little kid, and I watch precious little TV these days anyway, the decline doesn’t resonate much with me. The notion that all the prizewinners were limited-audience cable shows says more about how fragmented the audiences are getting than about the overall quality of the programming. And while I love Gary Shandling, I can’t say I would have chosen him for a mainstream awards show.

I guess the advertisers are going to have to find greener fields…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/21/2004 08:00pm
Category: Pop Culture, TV
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Sunday, September 19, 2021

tampa with a crime scene
I snapped this photo last night, while walking down 7th Avenue in Ybor. It’s a sidewalk chalk-rendered ad promoting the premiere of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” reruns on Tampa Bay’s local UPN station.

I think it was at the corner of 20th Street. That’s irrelevant, since the chalkmarks will eventually be washed away by one of our frequent rainstorms. I really need to better cultivate my photo-taking instincts; I had to stop myself and backtrack a few steps to get the pic, instead of automatically whipping out my cameraphone upon seeing something photo-worthy.

Sidewalk advertising has been around for several years now, and it’s not a particular favorite among pundits. I agree that it’s best used sparingly for maximum effect (try getting every advertiser and client on the same page, though). But I think in this case, it’s eyecatching and creative. Using a chalk outline motif reminiscent of police homicide work is especially appropriate for a show like CSI, rather than being an odd fit. And Ybor is one of the few high-traffic pedestrian areas in Tampa where an ad like this should be effective.

Let’s just hope they don’t push it. For instance, I don’t think the Tampa Police Department would appreciate finding one of their genuine sidewalk chalk drawings surreptitiously festooned with a CSI ad.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/19/2004 06:17pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., TV
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Saturday, September 18, 2021

NBC’s fledgling “Father of the Pride” is hauling in some unique star power for this coming week’s episode: Donkey, of Shrek movies fame, will be making a guest appearance. He’ll even be voiced by Eddie Murphy, just like in the theaters.

The cartoon-crossover potential is at least as strong as it was for “The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones”. Maybe even on the magnitude of the infamous “The Critic” guest shot on “The Simpsons”.

This should definitely pull in the kids, and maybe even boost the ratings for the week. I’m not sure it’ll be enough to salvage what’s been described as a dog of a show.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/18/2004 08:33pm
Category: Movies, TV
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Monday, September 13, 2021

Inspired by The Paper (a mediocre flick, in my opinion), Connecticut-based Blue Chip Films is trying to sell some network on “Deadline @ The Philadelphia Inquirer”, a reality show set in the Philly newspaper’s newsroom.

At first blush, I can see why this would be such a hard sell: Who wants to watch a bunch of desk jockeys? But thinking more about it, a newsroom is a great potential setting for action, drama, conflict, and foibles on display. Plenty of yelling and tension, which is essential for reality TV. Not to mention the possibility of filming reporters as they work their beats.

Plus, with as little regard that the general public holds journalists these days, the maxim of loving what you hate plays out best on TV. Only a behind-the-scenes look inside a law office would be more popular; I seem to recall something like that being proposed, but I don’t know if confidentiality considerations allowed that to get off the ground.

Of course, “potential” is the key word. There are slow news days, and even those are filled with their own brand of excitement when you’re on the desk. I’m not sure how well that excitement would translate to the average viewer. But that’s what video-editing is for, and over the course of a couple of months, there’ll be plenty of deadline-busting nights. A prime candidate: Election night, with this November’s Presidential contest a perfect plotline. Especially if it’s another too-tight-to-call race.

From my own experience, you can’t beat the sports desk for nightly excitement, particularly in the fall. On a typical night, you’ve got college games, pro games, high school scores being called in, late results to wait on, photos to coordinate… It’s a splendid adrenaline rush to have to get everything in shape within a couple of hours.

Anyway, I’m expecting to see something about this from Steve Outing at Poynter, since the story also ran in his main gig, Editor & Publisher.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/13/2004 09:16pm
Category: Publishing, RealiTV Check
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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Good God, y’all! Stumblebee points the way to an online repository of relic 1980s TV commercials, all in Windows Media Video format.

All the toy commercials you’d expect, including He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Smurfs, and Rainbow Brite, are on here. But there’s also a fair amount of non-children’s products represented, too, including Krazy Glue and The Clapper.

I’ll be busy for a little while…

(Via Very Big Blog)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/11/2021 03:44pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture, TV
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Friday, September 10, 2021

Is the bloom off the rose for the Fab Five? “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” is dipping in the ratings, not enough for imminent cancellation but enough to wonder if its days are numbered (and if its popularity wasn’t fad-based to begin with).

I think I lucked out with the first episode of “Queer Eye” I ever saw; I don’t think it’s been matched by any subsequent episode I ever saw. The funniest thing about that episode was the reaction of the boys when they got their first look at their subject’s girlfriend: She was a tacky-trashy borderline skank, decked out in cheap leather, including some gaudy knee-high boots. They all stared at the monitor with mouths agape, aghast that they put forth all their efforts to impress that, and one of them uttered, “I think some hooker in Trenton is looking for her missing streetwalking boots right now.”

That managed to hook me right away. The perfect mixture of cattiness and fashionista.

Alas, I don’t think I’ve seen another gold-medal moment from the show since. It seemed to get old real quick for me. The endless reruns don’t help, either; it seems that on those rare occasions when I’m in the mood to watch it, it winds up being one I’ve already seen, or have seen enough of to know that I don’t want to watch in its entirety.

More than anything, I’ve become more acutely aware of the blatant product placement that’s run rampant since the show hit it big. I’m not quibbling; I know it’s part of the game with a show like this. But when the food guy pushes a banal wine like Yellowtail, that’s only a notch above rotgut, it becomes pretty transparent. Of course, fashion guy Carson takes the cake as the main shill of the group; he’s got zero fashion sense, and is just draping his subjects in the highest bidder. Again, I know the score, but you can’t make it overly obvious.

Can they regain their forward momentum? Here’s a suggestion: Start a rumor that two of them are dating one another. I’d nominate Kyan and Jai. Make it reality, even.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 09/10/2021 08:53pm
Category: TV
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Wednesday, September 08, 2021

If anyone would like to explain to me how “Dog The Bounty Hunter” is supposed to be a good fit with A&E, I’m all ears.

If junk like this is what this also-ran network is relying on for ballast, it might as well commence with the inevitable re-branding efforts right now. Consign “A&E” to the dustbin of cable history and start over.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/08/2021 10:34pm
Category: RealiTV Check
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Thursday, September 02, 2021

not a tumor
Just before going to bed last night, I flipped through the channels and landed on VH1. “Popumentary: Arnold Schwarzenegger” was on.

I watched only three minutes of it. It was enough to let me know that it was the God-awfulest crap ever made. Ever.

What I saw:

Arnold (played by a guy who barely resembles the real deal, although he does sound a lot like him) arriving in America, circa 1968. He’s training in a gym, getting cussed out by his trainer. He poses in front of a mirror, when his trainer brings in some guy to meet him. Arnold offers his hand in greeting, it’s refused. Arnold says, “Too bad, you just passed up a chance to shake hands with the next Mr. Universe.” The guy says, “Mr. Universe, huh? Well, you look like a fat piece of crap to me.”

Just then, the picture freeze-frames, and VH1 throws up a “Pop-Up Video”-style graphic that says the following: “Actual quote was, ‘piece of @#$%!’, but because we’re VH1, we can’t allow that.”

With that, I turned the TV off and hit the sheets.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/02/2021 09:50pm
Category: Celebrity, TV
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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The November run to the White House is looking like another tight one, so both sides are looking for every edge they can find to reach all voting persuasions: Democrats, Republicans and undecideds. The obvious medium? Television, of course. But where on TV? On the shows each voter group favors, thereby giving campaign ads their most effective timeslots.

Let’s see what shows click with which political bent, as determined by research by Interactive Media Worldwide:

For Republicans:
“Everybody Loves Raymond”
“The Amazing Race”
“JAG”
“8 Simple Rules”
“Last Comic Standing”
“Without A Trace”

For Democrats:
“Will & Grace”
“Extreme Makeover”
“Judging Amy”
“Quintuplets”
“For Love or Money”
“Crossing Jordan”

For undecideds:
“My Wife and Kids”
“Fear Factor”
“CSI: Miami”
“Friends”
“Who Wants to Marry My Dad?”
“JAG”

Hmmm… So basically, all three groups have one thing in common: All the shows they like suck. Suck hard.

Maybe the radicals are right: The two-party system is an illusion.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/31/2004 10:12pm
Category: Politics, TV
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Sunday, August 29, 2021

on which to poop
I just spent the past couple of hours watching “The Best of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog”.

Laughed my ass off, as expected. If anything, this DVD exceeds expectations; just about every Triumph appearance from “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” is on here (although I know it’s not definitively complete). My only gripe is the odd way they arranged the content: For some reason, they present a sort of highlight lineup of seven segments, then shunt the rest of the clips into the Extras menu. It doesn’t make any sense, because, for instance, the first two Westminster Dog Show segments are in the main lineup, but the third one is placed in the “More Poop” tabs. Go figure.

My thorough enjoyment of the disc made up for the hassle in trying to locate a copy. I could have just ordered it online, but I wanted it now, not a week from now. So here’s where I went:

- Target. The closest and most convenient discounter in my neighborhood. They were either sold out, or weren’t carrying it at all. Bummer.

- Walmart. My first-ever visit to Walmart! No, not really; but it certainly felt like it, because I don’t think I’ve stepped inside one more than twice in the last five years (and never visited it very much in my entire lifetime).

How is this possible in today’s America? I’m certainly not averse to dropping cash at one of these monstro-marts (see above). I guess I live in one of the rare patches of land where there is no Walmart location that’s particularly convenient for me; this store is in a part of town that I never normally frequent, and so it’s just not someplace I need to visit. I haven’t felt deprived over it, believe me.

It was about what I expected for a Saturday afternoon: Choked with people pushing their carts full of crap into each other. I thought this location was, at some point, the largest Walmart in Florida. If that ever was the case, it no longer is; but it’s still pretty sprawling. Not sprawling enough to hold a copy of the Triumph DVD, though! Foiled again, and feeling mildly pissed that I wasted my time.

It was late Saturday afternoon by now, so I was screwed: No Triumph for me until today at…

- Best Buy. Jackpot! Found the disc here, discounted even. I should have gone to Best Buy first; the only reason I didn’t was that I had hoped to avoid crossing the bridge into Tampa to get there (it’s the closest one to me, factoring in Pinellas traffic).

Interesting sidenote: The $5.99-bargain DVD display was dominated, in my eye, by about 50 copies of Apt Pupil. I almost bought a copy, motivated by equal doses of curiosity and pity. But I’d never seen the flick (always meant to), and I couldn’t recall the critical acclaim for it, or lack thereof. So I passed.

And then I came home, got about 90 minutes of sun, then fired up the DVD player. Fun-fun!

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/29/2004 08:23pm
Category: Comedy, Movies, TV
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Saturday, August 21, 2021

A distinct sub-genre has emerged within the reality TV universe: Cosmetic surgery makeovers. “The Swan” started it, amid plenty of criticism. The concept has evolved from a contest-style show to a “purer” behind-the-scenes format — resulting in some curious brands.

To wit:

“Dr. 90210″ on E! started airing this summer. To counter, Bravo will soon debut “Miami Slice”.

From these titles, I’m inferring that we can look forward to episodes featuring Luke Perry and Don Johnson getting Botox tuneups and ass-lifts.

I don’t watch reality shows, but… Hell, I still wouldn’t watch this. Not even if they had an episode with Jennie Garth getting a boob job.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/21/2004 07:20pm
Category: Pop Culture, RealiTV Check
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sexy city
I do like those promos for “Sex and the City” reruns on TBS, where Carrie and crew are depicted as gossipy teenage girls in a highschool cafeteria. The girl playing a young Charlotte bears an especially strong resemblance to the adult version.

However, to keep things chronologically accurate among the girls, shouldn’t the Samantha character be aged about 10 years older than the rest of them? I’m thinking she should be their homeroom teacher or something…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/21/2004 06:48pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., TV
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