Wednesday, June 28, 2006

KKTV goes multichannel with My Network TV

This fall, KKTV/Channel 11 will be adding a digital subchannel to its broadcast, carrying programs from the new My Network TV channel, along with two extra local newscasts weeknights at 6:30 p.m and every night at 9 p.m.

The new channel, dubbed “MyKKTV,” will be available on channel 11.2 to viewers with digital televisions. KKTV’s regular CBS programming will still be on channel 11.1.

“Digital multicasting is an important step into the future for KKTV,” KKTV general manager Charlie Peterson said in a statement. “As broadcast technology continues to advance, local stations must ensure their viewers have the opportunity to reap the benefits.”

Subchannels are a wrinkle of high definition television technology that allows a station to transmit one or more regular-definition channels alongside its primary programming. Local Fox affiliate KXRM/Channel 21 offers a music video channel called “The Tube” on its digital subchannel, 21.2.

KXRM general manager Steve Dant said digital subchannels are the wave of the future.

“The subchannels are just starting to roll out and this is an early experiment in making that work,” he said. “It’s a ways away in terms of the market being able to receive that.”

KXRM’s “The Tube” is available to viewers who don’t have digital televisions if they subscribe to Adelphia’s digital cable package. KKTV doesn’t have a cable distribution deal for its subchannel yet.

KKTV news director Nick Matesi said the MyKKTV newscasts would be a new program rather than a repeat of the regular 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. news.

“The idea is to present viewers with more choices and opportunities to get their local news,” Matesi said in a statement.

My Network is a side project from Fox originally designed to provide programming to local stations that lost their UPN affiliation when that mini-network joined the WB to become the CW network (the CW also launches in the fall and will be carried locally on KXTU/Channel 57). My Network will provide two hours of primetime programming on weeknights and Saturdays. KKTV will round out the subchannel’s schedule with syndicated programs.


I spoke with Dave Whitaker at KOAA/Channels 5&30 yesterday, he said they were still shooting to be in HD by Friday. I'll be on vacation Thursday and Friday, so y'all let me know whether they make it. The thunderstorm beating up Cheyenne Mountain right now? Probably not helping.

A couple of people have told me KKCS (104.5 FM) is getting sold from Superior Broadcasting to Marathon Media. My understanding is that the two companies are closely related, so I don't know if it really means anything.

Haven't heard anything new on Citadel's plans for KRDO (95.1 FM), although everyone and their brother have told me they expect it to go country. Keep listening.

Monday, June 26, 2006

We'll be waiting a little longer to learn what will happen to the Peak

Afternoon update: Citadel operations manager Bobby Irwin said the company will unveil what its plans are for KRDO (95.1 FM) later this week. What was formerly "The Peak" has been simulcasting KSPZ (92.9 FM) and KKFM (98.1 FM) since Citadel took over the station from Pikes Peak Broadcasting on Sunday.

Irwin wouldn't say whether a format change was in the works or whether any of the Peak's deejays would be re-hired for the station.

"We are excited about the opportunity to make an impact on the marketplace," he said. "We think that we’ll be able to serve Colorado Springs in a way that it has it hasn’t been served before."

Stay tuned.

KRDO changes

So on Saturday, KRDO seemed to be playing its regular format, but without "The Peak" nickname. Then on Sunday, it started simulcasting KSPZ (92.9 FM) sometime in the afternoon. That continued until about 8 this morning, when it shifted back to a more AC format, but no jocks or commercials.

Bobby Irwin over at Citadel said on Friday he might have something to announce today, so we'll see (well, hear).

Meanwhile, KRDO/Channel 13's new owners arrive today to sign the final paperwork. I had an interview with Harry Hoth this morning and he's already pretty well cleaned out his office. It was an interesting interview -- should run sometime this week.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Black Friday in Springs radio

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on the radio...

In separate moves, local radio stations KRDO (95.1 FM) “The Peak” and KKCS (104.5 FM) laid off most of their staffs on Friday.

"There’s a lot of good talent out there that are looking for work through no fault of their own,” said Mark Goldberg, who was part of KKCS’ morning show.

Country music station KKCS laid off seven employees and its owner, Superior Broadcasting, plans to sell the station, general manager Cody Carlson said. Carlson and one other staffer will keep the station on the air until new owners are found. Carlson said she didn’t know who would buy the station or how quickly a sale might happen.

“It was a sad day today,” she said.

KKCS has struggled with reception issues and falling ratings since selling its old frequency, 101.9 FM, in January to Bustos Media, which turned it into Spanish-language station KGDQ.

“We were hopeful that they would actually fix the signal and it would stay on the air,” said Samantha Adams, who co-hosted KKCS’ morning show with Goldberg and her husband, Craig Morrison. “In this business anything can happen and there was writing on the wall.”

Pikes Peak Broadcasting is in the process of selling KRDO to Citadel Broadcasting, but the companies signed a management agreement that will give Citadel control of the station as of Sunday. In the switch, Citadel decided not to keep KRDO’s air staff, Pikes Peak Broadcasting general manager Neil Klockziem said, meaning at least five people lost their jobs (although they can reapply with Citadel).

Citadel operations manager Bobby Irwin said he couldn’t comment on the changes at the station and general manager Kevin Godwin was out of town and could not be reached for comment.

Pikes Peak Broadcasting is also selling KRDO (Channel 13) and KRDO (1240 AM), along with television station KJCT in Grand Junction, to the News-Press & Gazette company of St. Joseph, Mo. That sale will be completed on Monday, but Klockziem, who is staying on as general manager, said viewers shouldn’t notice any immediate changes at the TV station.

“It’s going to be pretty seamless,” he said.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

KRDO going full HD

I haven't been home to verify this myself, but KRDO news director Dave Rose says the station should be broadcasting all of ABC's HD programming now, or by tomorrow if they're not. KRDO has been broadcasting in high def since January, but only the programs ABC sent live in HD, like sports and awards shows and such. Now, they'll be able to do ABC's full primetime programming and other stuff that's delayed for the Mountain time zone.

Meanwhile, NBC affiliate KOAA/Channels 5&30 has crews up on the mountain every day working on their HD transmitter. They're still shooting for being on the air July 1 (they need another extension from the FCC if they aren't).

UPDATE: Well, GMA definitely wasn't in HD this morning, although it was in low-def 16-9 on 13-2 for some reason, so we'll see what's going on in prime time. I can't say I care too much until "Lost" begins in the fall, but it's nice to see the stations making progress.

KKTV and KOAA tied at 10 p.m.

The May Nielsen book is out and it's all tied up at 10 o'clock, with KKTV/Channel 11 and KOAA/Channels 5&30 even up in both rating and share. The two stations have been close at 10 for a long time, but this is the first real book since KKTV brought in Shannon Brinias, Don Ward and Brian Bledsoe to replace Eric Singer, Melissa Brown and Mike Madson (February's book didn't really count because of the Olympics).

So I'm wondering, all those hundreds of people who called me and said they'd never, ever watch KKTV again because of the change.... what happened to you?

Either a bunch of those people decided Don and Shannon weren't the end of the world after all, or a bunch of other people switched from the other stations to replace them, or, by some quirk of fate, no one who was pissed off about the change got a Nielsen diary in May. I'm looking at option numero uno: One book does not a trend make, but given that this fits into the pattern of the last several books, I don't expect KK's ratings to fall off a cliff anytime soon.

The fun part will be the next couple of sweeps periods. I expect to see both stations come out swinging.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dog sighting

Dog the Bounty Hunter is back in town, helping out local bail bondsman Bobby Brown and, presumeably, busting heads. Anyway, he was sighted today at the Safeway on Wasatch, bounty hunting posse and camera crew both in tow. Give me a shout if you see him out and about.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Joe Cole returning to Fox - KXRM will launch independent newscast Oct. 2

KXRM/Channel 21 is bringing back former news anchor Joe Cole as its news director and future co-anchor.

“He’s done a great job for us in anchoring the newscast,” said Steve Dant, KXRM’s general manager. “He knows the community. He’s done it all: He’s been a producer, he’s been a reporter, he’s been a weather guy.”

Cole will be in charge of hiring a news staff and launching an independent newscast for the Fox affiliate beginning Oct. 2. KKTV/Channel 11 has produced KXRM’s 9 p.m. news since it began in 2001.

Cole left KXRM and KKTV in September, 2005, to become the community relations director for Falcon School District 49. His co-anchor, Stephanie Pytlinski, has anchored the newscast solo since then. Cole won't return to the anchor desk until KXRM's own news launches in October.

“I always wanted to be in news management,” Cole said of returning to KXRM. “It’s just an exciting opportunity. When the door opens and on the other side is a dream job, you’ve got to jump through that door.”

Dant said KXRM would be hiring about 18 people to round out its news staff, along with building a studio and newsroom and buying vehicles, cameras and other equipment. At first, the station’s 9 p.m. news will still be its only newscast, but the program may be expanded to an hour, Dant said.

In March, Raycom announced it was selling KXRM and sister station KXTU/Channel 57, along with several other stations, to Barrington Broadcasting. The sale should close later this summer.

More ABC previews

Men In Trees
Love the title, but I liked the show better the first time around, when it was called "Northern Exposure." Actually, "Exposure" was wittier and quirkier than this tale of a dumped relationship counselor who decides to settle in Alaska to learn something about men. Huge irony props for casting Anne Heche as a relationship counselor, though. And they seem to have actually shot in Alaska, which gives them bragging rights over "Exposure" (shot in Roslyn, Wash. -- some of the cast used to shop at the supermarket where I worked. True story).

Help Me Help You
We've seen Ted Danson as the cranky doctor and the smooth bartender, now he combines the two to play a psychiatrist having a midlife crisis. Danson is tremendously likeable and the rest of the cast, mostly playing members of his therapy group with various problems, keep it from being all Ted, all the time. "Help Me" sometimes falls into tired conventions, but is usually smart enough to keep your attention.

Big Day (or maybe "A Day in the Life," they haven't decided yet)
An entire season about a couple's wedding day. Which would kick butt... if it starred Kiefer Sutherland. Instead, Wendy Malik is criminally misused as the obsessive mother of the bride and the rest of the cast doesn't quite get going. There is one nice "Say Anything" moment involving a pink boombox and the theme to "Good Times," but it needs a little more pop to rise above the crowd.

Monday, June 19, 2006

ABC comedies

Took a look at three of the upcoming ABC comedies last night. Here's the short and sweet:

Betty the Ugly
This show was a smash hit as a Spanish telenovela throughout Central and South America. Now in English, and starring America Ferrera from "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," it's still a fun, offbeat comedy filled with over-the-top characters. Vanessa Williams in particular chews scenery like Dennis Hopper in a dress. It's not laugh-out-loud funny, but it's a pleasing mixture of smart and stupid. I haven't heard whether ABC plans to stick with the short-run telenovela formula or (more likely) just launch this as a standard series.

Let's Rob...
This unusual sitcom has gotten a lot of good buzz. It's about a gang of misfits who decide the best way to turn their lives around is to rob Mick Jagger. Mick's not in the title for some reason, but he's the life of this party. The pilot's best scenes are a series of clips from a fictitious tour through Mick's palatial New York digs. There's a bit where Mick shows off his swimming pool, but says he never uses it -- "I don't like to get wet" -- but the dogs love it. Then there's a shot of like four dogs swimming around. Maybe you had to be there. The rest of the show, unfortunately, is stiff and not very funny. Hopefully, this will get re-worked before the fall.

Notes from the Underbelly
A sitcom about getting pregnant. Usually that's where sitcoms go when they run out of ideas, but this throws down the gauntlet right from the start. There are so many TV cliches associated with pregnancy and child rearing, but in the pilot "Notes" sort of dances around them, instead finding comedy in the uncomfortable truths the audience recognizes. The cast is all newcomers, which is sorta cool. This one has potential.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Fibark pix

I couldn't post these pictures over on the Out There blog for some extremely annoying reason, so I'll try here.

The scene at the Fibark Media Ducky Race. Note the swimmer in the background.

The victors podium. The gold should have been mine I tell you! Mine!

A few photos from the raft rodeo. A great deal of swimming going on for this one.

And the scene at the Extreme Boatercross Race up in Pine Creek:

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Run criminals run!

Heard that Duane "Dog" Chapman from A&E's "Dog the Bounty Hunter" is back in town. Although Chapman is based in Hawaii, he grew up in Denver and one of his kids lives in the area. Dog was hunting, and filming, in Colorado Springs last June as a favor to local bail bondsman Bobby Brown.

Set your VCRs

On tonight's "Tonight Show," Jay hosts both counterculture comedian George Carlin and rightwing talker Ann Coulter. Two great tastes that taste great together. Is it wrong to hope Jay rolls out a steel cage and let's the two hug it out inside? Two go in, but one comes out...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Coming Tuesday

For Tuesday's TV Talk, I thought it would be interesting to sit down with English fans to watch the England-Paraguay game at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, then compare their soccer watching style to American fans at Monday's U.S.-Czech Republic game. The English fans were cool, plus they won, so they were in a pretty good mood. The U.S. got its butt kicked pretty bad, 3-0, so not as much fun. I was impressed by the turnout on Monday though - I went to McCabe's and it was standing room only. I watched the England game at Thunder and Buttons and it was pretty crowded, too, but you sort of expect English fans to show up.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Previews: The new Fox comedies

Happy Hour
One of those truly lame sitcoms Fox seems to come up with about five times as often as its truly inspired sitcoms. Remember, the same network that gave us "The Simpsons" and "Arrested Development" was also responsible for "The War at Home" and "Nuked."Some minorly funny ideas floating around here -- 4 o'clock happy hour being pretty appealing more days than not -- but the acting, writing and laugh track are all subpar.

'Til Death
This is the kind of sitcom I absolutely hate: Ugly guy, hot wife, laugh track and cheap humor about marital discord. "According to Jim" is not a model for anyone to follow. So understand how difficult it is for me to say this: "'Til Death" is the best new sitcom of the year. Brad Garrett (Ray's brother from "Everybody Loves Raymond" is very good as the disillusioned history teaching hubby. Joely Fisher plays his not so understanding wife. And Eddie Kaye Thomas (Finch from the "American Pie" trilogy) is surprisingly effective as the not-so-naive neighbor next door. The writing is occasionally outstanding, playing off of sitcom cliches instead of conforming to them.

The Winner
When Rob Corddry, formerly of Comedy Central's "Daily Show," first shows up on screen, I was tempted to stand up and applaud. It didn't hurt that it's a pretty funny scene. From there, however, "The Winner"is a wildly uneven ride. Mixing voice-overs from future Rob, a la "How I Met Your Mother," with some Chris Elliott arrested adolescent humor (Corddry plays a 32-year-old living at home), "The Winner" veers between ancient sitcom tropes and a few offbeat laughs. The real winner here, though, is Keir Gilchrist, the kid who plays Corddry's next door neighbor's son. He's just as uneven as the rest, but he manages to steal a few scenes from his elders. I'd like to say this one has potential, but there's really nothing here to make me stick around to see how it develops.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

More previews

Sat down with NBC's "Heroes," CBS' "Shark" and "Smith" tonight.

"Heroes" is a "Unbreakable" style drama about ordinary people developing super powers. The pilot is very slow building. Dangerously slow building, in fact: Who's going to stick around to see the (pretty darn good) finale? Having just sat through "X-Men: The Last Stand," however, I'm prepared to forgive a multitude of sins, provided they don't come from Brett Ratner.

"Shark" is James Woods. Really not a lot else, but ain't that enough? Woods just goes nuts as a top gun defense attorney who loses it after a client goes bad and switches to prosecution. He's tough, amoral and mean, mean, mean. The story and dialog are totally hackneyed, but lord it's a kick to watch Woods do his thing. It's all the fun Dennis Hopper didn't get to have in "E-Ring."

And, saving the best for last, "Smith." Ray Liotta stars as a master thief with Virginia Madsen (!) as his recovering criminal wife. The look of this thing is cinema-quality. The cinematography is "Minority Report" crossed with "Miami Vice" (notwithstanding that the action takes place in Pittsburgh). The acting is just outstanding. But the storyline follows the "Ocean's 11," "Thief," "Heist," "Entrapment" and every other heist movie ever made. It's a great formula, but it's been done to death, death, death lately. "Smith" needs to give me something more to get past the familiarity and ennui, but man does this thing have great pieces to work with. Oh and, should note, it's utterly humorless and pretty depressing. This really ought to be on HBO, not CBS.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Speaks for itself

June 2, 2006
Bonds on Bonds Ends ProductionTollin/Robbins Productions and ESPN have decided not to produce any additional episodes of Bonds on Bonds. The next show was to have focused on a behind-the-scenes look at Barry Bonds hitting his 715th home run.

ESPN’s statement: “Bonds’ representatives wanted creative control for the final episode, which Tollin/Robbins Productions and ESPN have been unwilling to give throughout the project.”

Coming not so soon

I've been perusing the new fall shows the last couple of days and wanted to pass on a few thoughts.

First, NBC

"Studio 60" is the one the network is pinning its hopes on. It's another Aaron Sorkin drama. And, if you can imagine "The West Wing" transposed onto a late-night comedy sketch show, you'll pretty much have the idea. It's impressive just how Sorkin this thing manages to be: moralistic, speechy, self-referential, self important, somewhat humorless, and, naturally, very, very well written. It's hard to imagine a show about a comedy show that manages to squeeze so few laughs in, but the performances are great, particularly Matthew Perry and one-time "The Full Nine Yards" co-star Amanda Peet (although Peet wears the same expression through the entire pilot... very odd).

"30 Rock" is NBC's other show about what happens behind the scenes at a late night comedy sketch show. Bizarre? It's TV. This one is by and stars Tina Fey, along with a passel of her former "Saturday Night Live" co-stars. Can't say they don't know the parts, I guess. "30 Rock" is wildly uneven, but has some very funny bits, particularly from Alec Baldwin, who plays Fey's network boss. Baldwin doesn't so much chew scenery as explode it, landing in front of the camera like a bunker buster. He gets all the great lines: "I like you. You have the boldness of a much younger woman." The real drawback here is Fey herself, who seems uncomfortable acting out her own life and only occasionally manages to kick loose and have as much fun as everyone else seems to be.

"20 Good Years" is a total disaster despite some major league talent. Do you remember when John Lithgow was a dramatic actor? I enjoyed "Third Rock from the Sun," but ever since that show, Lithgow has been playing the same over-the-top madcap goofball. It can be enjoyable, but doesn't show much range. What prompted Jeffrey Tambor to follow up his own madcap genius in "Arrested Development" by playing a mousy judge here is a bigger mystery. Together, they're "Grumpy Old Men" with a laugh track. Who needs to see that?

Let's jump over to CBS for a couple of its hopefuls:

"The Class" is already getting critically lambasted. Let me go against the grain and say, I liked it. The show stars a raft of unknowns as one-time third-grade classmates who are brought back together for a party that immediately goes awry. The acting is spotty and the script could use fewer cliches and more panache, but the characters are amporphous enough to grow into something a little "Friends"-like. It will be canceled long before that happens, but I think in an alternate universe, it could grow into something worthwhile.

"Jericho," on the other hand, is already garnering some positive notices. I cannot imagine why. This post-nuclear thriller, starring the immortal pairing of Skeet Ulrich and Gerald McRaney, is like a WB show gone horribly wrong. The writing and acting are uniformly terrible, the direction leaves long, uncomfortable pauses between what passes for drama, and the plot points will make anyone old enough to remember "The Day After" wince. Are we so far past the Cold War that we'll tune in to see mushroom clouds used as a lame plot point?
One development some Colorado Springs viewers will get a chuckle out of: The first city to be nuked is none other than Denver, Colo. Other than that, the whole mess is borderline offensive.

That's what I've seen so far. I'll post more when I have time to dig in.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'm baaaack

After celebrating the end of the TV season with a week on the Green River through the Gates of Lodore, where the evening's entertainment was heavily reliant on fishing for M&M's out of the trail mix, I am back in civilization and have once again plugged my satellite dish hooked directly into my veins.

I miss anything good while I was away?