Tagged: Comedy Central

Martha Thomases: TV Jones

Martha Thomases: TV Jones

Last Friday, in eight major television markets, CBS stations disappeared from televisions served by Time-Warner Cable. In addition, stations owned by CBS, including Showtime and the Smithsomian Channel, are also off the air.

Except there isn’t any air. And that’s part of the problem.

When television first became a business, the various stations broadcast over airwaves owned by the people and licensed by the government. Having a broadcast license was like a license to print money, and, in exchange, the owners of the license were expected to do things “in the public interest,” like news programs and public service announcements.

Because of, you know, capitalism, people learned how to make money from these forms of public service. News divisions must now be profitable. Public service ads are often underwritten by for-profit corporations, which use them as occasions to build their brands.

In other words, CBS (and the other networks) became corporate powers in no small part because our tax dollars allowed them to reach a mass market.

And then, cable.

Now, cable also depends on an infrastructure that owes its existence to public investment. Phone lines, the Internet – all came about because the government supported them. It is therefore not unreasonable to expect cable (and fiber optic and satellite) companies to do things in the public interest.

One of those things, mandated by local-carry laws, has been to carry local stations, including those affiliated with broadcast networks. In New York, that means the five major networks (ABC, CBS, the CW, Fox and NBC) as well as Channel 9, which is owned by Fox but doesn’t broadcast network programming, but does have a lot of baseball.

Several years ago, Congress, in its wisdom, decided that these poor network affiliates were being discriminated against by the nasty cable (and satellite etc.) companies. Cable stations get a fee for every subscriber, while the broadcast channels do not. Therefore, Congress allowed the broadcast channels to get a fee for every subscriber as well.

Which brings us to our current situation. In New York, CBS wants to raise its fee from $1.00 per subscriber to $2.00. Time Warner doesn’t want to pay that much. The previous contract expired in June, and, until now, Time Warner allowed CBS to continue to use its system to reach customers. However, with football season on the way, and new fall shows about to debut. They wanted to get the matter settled.

Which they are doing, in a manner that pleases no one.

If I lived anywhere else, I might consider switching providers. However, in Manhattan, satellite is not a reliable choice (skyscrapers get in the way), and not every building is wired for other cable providers. I don’t claim Time Warner is the best, but I’m generally happy with it.

I don’t get Showtime, and I don’t watch a lot of CBS. I like the first half-hour of their morning show (because they sometimes have actual news on it). I like Scott Pelley for my news anchor, but not so much that I can’t watch Brian Williams. I like Elementary, but it’s in reruns. Under the Dome is great, but I can see it on Amazon (although not until Friday and the folks at CBS are being such dicks that I can’t see it online because cable is how I get my Internet). None of this is so disturbing that I need to take extraordinary measures to survive this inconvenience. In other words, I’m not getting an antenna.

Would I pay an extra dollar a month? Maybe. However, if I’m going to have to pony up for CBS, I want to be able to decide what other stations I get – or, more important, don’t get. Of the Viacom stations (corporate cousins of CBS), I don’t need MTV or VH1, but must must must have Comedy Central, and sometimes Logo. I bet my choices would cost them more than they’d get for me to see The Late Show with David Letterman the few times I’m awake that late.

And I would really love the opportunity to get Fox News off my signal in any way, shape and form.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

Disney’s Planes Announces Dane Cook as Lead Voice

BURBANK, Calif. (February 28, 2013) – Dane Cook has been tapped to voice the lead character Dusty, a plane with high hopes in Disney’s Planes. Inspired by the world of Cars and directed by Disneytoon Studios veteran and aviation enthusiast Klay Hall (King of the Hill, The Simpsons), Disney’s Planes is an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure about Dusty’s dream of competing as a high-flying air racer—and his decidedly unfortunate fear of heights. The film takes off in theaters in 3D on Aug. 9, 2013.

“Dane Cook brings unmatched charisma and brilliant comedic timing and instincts to the character,” said Hall. “He gives Dusty a great edge.”

Cook is well known for his appearances on Comedy Central and HBO specials, and for his successful comedy albums. He recently guest starred on Louie opposite Louie C.K., and his film credits include starring roles in a host of films, including My Best Friend’s Girl opposite Kate Hudson, Dan In Real Life opposite Steve Carell, and Mr. Brooks opposite Kevin Costner. The actor/comedian just signed a deal with NBC Entertainment and Universal Television to develop a new project starring Cook.

The all-new story offers an exciting cast of characters and centers on Dusty’s high-flying dream. But Dusty’s not exactly built for racing, so he turns to a seasoned naval aviator who helps Dusty qualify to take on the defending champ of the race circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test as he aims to reach heights he never dreamed possible, giving a spellbound world the inspiration to soar. The film is produced by Traci Balthazor-Flynn and executive produced by John Lasseter.

DENNIS O’NEIL: ‘Tis The season, continued…

According to some recent news, the sun seems to be bouncing stuff off an invisible, planet-sized object near Mercury. Of course, the smarty-ass scientists have an explanation – don’t they always? – something about how the pictures are processed. Other, more sensible, people have speculated that the invisible thing is a spaceship hidden by a cloaking device, maybe spying on us from two planets away. (Really big binoculars?) I’m afraid that misses the mark, too. The obvious answer is…Santa’s sleigh! Think about it – a cloaking device. Of course. That explains why we’ve never seen it. And the size of a small planet (which is still pretty big)? Well, it can’t exactly be tiny, not when it carries all those toys for good girls and boys.

Now, it’s true that as I look about me I don’t see many good girls and boys. None, in fact.  So maybe the invisible sleigh is full of lumps of coal to be put in the stockings hung by the chimney with care, assuming anyone hangs stockings anymore.  This could be glad tidings. If the coal comes from Mercury – and surely it might – why, we might just have ourselves a source of clean energy.

Isn’t it grand when truth meets science?

***

About 15 years ago, give or take, a movie-involved bearer of my DNA put a video cassette into our VCR and showed us a short cartoon that was going around titled, just a bit sacrilegiously, Jesus vs Santa. The plot was simple: the Jolly Old Elf and Our Lord and Savior duke it out to determine who’s the king of the holiday. I forget who won and that isn’t really important (and herewith I resist the impulse to launch into a diatribe). What is important, or at least interesting, is that the two young guys who perpetrated the cartoon were (and are) named Trey Parker and Matt Stone and what played in our living room was the predecessor of Comedy Central’s champion half-hour, South Park.

The story probably doesn’t have a moral, or even a point, but if you really need one, you could try, You just never know, do you?

***

Jerry Robinson, a man I was proud to know, is gone. Others have celebrated his achievements and accomplishments, his generous spirit, his activism, and his art. I have nothing to add.

But, thinking of Jerry, I remembered a quotation from Raymond Chandler’s Simple Art of Murder: “He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world”

That was Jerry.

RECOMMENDED READING: Jerry Robinson, Ambassador of Comics. By N. Christopher Couch.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

Comics at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Comics at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Well, you knew Captain America was going to be there, didn’t you?

We also had V wandering around as well:

“Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us. But within that inch, we are free.”

It was a fun rally. We hope you were there or at a satellite rally, or caught the broadcast on Comedy Central.

‘MadTV’ Canceled by Fox

‘MadTV’ Canceled by Fox

Fox announced the cancelation of Mad TV. The series lasted an impressive 14 seasons but had suffered season-to-season ratings declines for a while now so the news came as no surprise.

"There’s been great interest in recent years," executive producer David Salzman told Variety. "We’ve had a number of networks inquire as to whether the show was coming off Fox and saying that they’d be interested. We have not started to talk to them yet, but now is the time to begin those conversations. I think we have real prospects, but you never know, especially given the economy."

The announcement came Wednesday, allowing the produces to plan to wrap production of the shortened season in December. "This will give us a proper sendoff, a chance to promote the finale and bring back old cast members," Salzman said.

"They said it was too expensive for a daypart where dollars have been shrinking," he said. "Their thought was, the show is what the show is, and that essence needs to be maintained — but it’s hard to produce as big and ambitious a show as ours for less money than they’re paying now."

Comedy Central has been airing reruns of the show, based in name only on the legendary humor magazine, but their deal with Fox expires at year end. Salzman intends to find a home for the 326-episode library and hopefully continue to produce new episodes.
 

‘Least I Could Do’ Volume Five Available for Pre-Order

‘Least I Could Do’ Volume Five Available for Pre-Order

Ryan Sohmer, creator of the webcomic Least I Could Do, announced that the fifth collection of his strip, titled Yield To Me, is available for pre-order. Four other collections are also available, collecting the first four years of LICD strips: I Have My Moments, My Will Be Done, Because I Can, and I Love This Guy. Limited-edition box sets of all five books are available for pre-order as well, and pre-orders of book 5 will also come with a limited edition key chain.

Least I Could Do follows the adventures of Rayne Summers, the wish-fulfillment Marty Stu of every single man. The comedy is reminiscent of Comedy Central’s The Man Show, with overblown plots that seem to somehow work out and constant sex-based farce. (Sohmer’s original blog post announcing the book also includes a photo of a naked woman tastefully presenting the book. This should give you an idea of his authorial style.) LICD premiered in 2003, created by Sohmer and Trevor Adams. Adams was replaced by Chad Porter later that year, then by current artist Lar deSouza in 2005.

Sohmer and deSouza also produce the fantasy webcomic Looking For Group. Their company Blind Ferret Entertainment produces animated shorts based on their comics, as well as the PvP and Ctrl-Alt-Del animated series.

Quesada and Colbert – Together Again!

Quesada and Colbert – Together Again!

Well, given the writer’s strike and the fact that people have to cross picket lines in order to get in the building, The Colbert Report doesn’t  announce their guests in advance. But Marvel Comics does. 

Marvel Comics today announced that Joe Quesada, editor-in-chief, will be a guest on The Colbert Reporton Tuesday, January 29. In order to do so, he must cross the Writers Guild picket line outside the program’s mid-town Manhattan studio.

The WGA has been on strike since early November, seeking (among other things) a share of Internet revenue and a larger portion of DVD profits. Ironically, the Marvel film studio just signed an interim agreement with the WGA last week.

The last time Quesada appeared on the show, the gave Colbert Captain America’s shield. Since his appearance is the very night before the release of the return of Captain America (Bucky gets promoted), perhaps Joey needs it back.

Then again, perhaps it won’t be Joe Quesada. Maybe it’ll be a Skrull. Skrulls would cross picket lines.

The Colbert Report airs on Comedy Central 11:30 PM Eastern and Pacific.

Martha Thomases co-wrote this here article.

Today South Park, tomorrow the world!

Today South Park, tomorrow the world!

Via Cynopsis: South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker entered into a heavy-duty contract with Comedy Central to create South Park Digital Studios. The facility, located inside of the show’s Culver City studio, will serve as a home for all digital extensions of the South Park franchise as well as an incubator for new animated projects. Comedy Central gets a first-look option at anything they come up with.

The deal also includes a three-year contract extension that will carry South Park through its 15th season and gives Matt and Trey an unprecedented 50/50 split in ad revenues generated across the web, video games and mobile platforms, in addition to undisclosed millions in upfront cash.

And to think they were going to quit after the 65th episode.