Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Are you buying a new TV?

Here's an AP story saying that there's been an enormous pre-Super Bowl run on flat-panel HDTV's. The story says, based on a study of consumer intentions, that an estimated 2.5 million people will buy a new TV before the Super Bowl.

Maybe, if wishes were fishes. The only hard evidence the story provides is from Chicago -- where I totally expect people are buying TVs to cover every flat surface in their homes, offices, garden sheds and outhouses. But aside from there and Indianapolis, I don't think either team has a huge national fan base. And TV prices, from what I've seen, were a little better during the pre-Christmas sales than they are now.

Plus, the story includes this gem of a quote:

"People don't care about price," Mike Abt, president of the business his grandmother founded in 1936, said happily. "They're asking the salesmen what's the highest-quality set."

I'm pretty sure that's just one of those things salesmen say, hoping that somewhere, sometime it proves to be true. Out here in the real world, price is always right at the top of the list.

Still, I could be wrong. Anybody dropped 10 grand on a new set in the last few days?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Jeubs on "Kids by the Dozen"

The Jeub family of Monument, who I wrote about on Saturday, are being featured right now on TLC's "Kids By the Dozen." Actually, in their case, it's a dozen plus one: Chris and Wendy Jeub have 13 children. My wife's reaction, "I don't know if I can even handle one kid. I feel like such a wimp."

It's fun to see a little more about the Jeubs -- I spent an afternoon with the family, but the film crew spent a week there. Chris Jeub said he'd let me know what they thought of the reality TV treatment, so I'll post that up if I hear from him.

By the way, the family's Web site was accidentally omitted from the story, so if you want to hear more about the Jeubs from the horse's mouth, as it were, go to

Going, going, gone

"Armed and Famous" is sent to the great lock-up in the sky.


The CW cancels "Reba."

Leaving me with two thoughts:

1) I can feel my IQ rising already, even though I don't watch either program.

2) Does the CW air nothing but "America's Top Model" reruns now? I mean, people have disparaged MyNetworkTV, at least the three or four people that remember there is such a thing, but at least MNTV is attempting fresh programming. Failing, but attempting.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Cable rates going up, up, up

I still need some on-the-record comments, so if you want to express your opinion in print, call me at 636-0275

Comcast customers, brace yourselves. It’s time for the annual rate hike, and this year’s is steeper than usual.

While the rate increase comes hot on the heels of Comcast taking over Adelphia in Colorado Springs, the two aren’t directly linked. Comcast customers in Denver are facing roughly the same increases.

Rates for standard cable — the most popular package, which used to be called classic cable — will break the $50 mark, climbing $3.26 a month from $48.29 to $51.55.At the low end, basic cable goes from $17.65 to $18.54, while at the top end, the platinum digital package goes from $105.99 to $111.99.

In recent years, Adelphia’s average increase was usually 3 to 5 percent. This year, that standard package is going up 6.7 percent.

Percentage-wise, subscribers to the digital classic package take the biggest hit, with rates rising 20 percent from $9.95 to $11.95, on top of the standard cable fee. And if you get HBO or one of the other premium channel groups a la carte, you’ll pay $3 more a month, as rates climb from $15.95 to $18.99.

Not every charge is going up: Customers who use a cable card in their TV instead of a separate box will see their fees fall for the first TV, from $1.75 to nothing. Additional TV’s with cable cards, however, will cost $6.95 each, instead of $4.20.

The new rates go into effect with customers’ March bills.

Comcast acquired the Colorado Springs market from the bankrupt Adelphia last summer and officially took over Dec. 14.

The satellite TV services, DirecTV and Dish Network, are also raising their rates. DirecTV’s basic package is going up 4 percent and Dish Network’s 3 percent.

Weekend television

Man, is the pre-Super Bowl, pre-February sweeps TV this weekend bad. Ugly.

Saturday's always a wasteland, of course, but this week, "Catch Me If You Can" on ABC is about the only thing to distract you from shivering and/or shoveling snow.

Sunday has the Screen Actors Guild awards at 6 p.m. on TNT, for you Oscar-watchers. And for people named Oscar, "King of the Hill" returns at 7:30 p.m. on Fox. And Sunday night's "Battlestar Galactica" sounds pretty sweet - Baltar tries to off himself, among other things. 8 p.m. on Sci Fi.

I pass these meager tidbits along just so you can beat the rush to the video store.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cool Super Bowl story

This is from USA Today:
New bowl games always pop up. But here's one that, without a title sponsor or teams with track records, gets a fabulous time slot its first time out: The inaugural Baghdad Bowl, in Iraq, will air during CBS' Super Bowl pregame show.
CBS analyst Randy Cross says he proposed the idea to CBS after visiting a U.S. military base in Afghanistan last year. The idea is for U.S. soldiers in Iraq — male and female — to don Colts and Bears jerseys for a touch football game that, he jokes, "will give you an early indication" of the Super Bowl winner.
Not surprisingly, says Suzanne Smith, who is Cross' director on regular NFL coverage and will go to Iraq with him Monday, this bowl will be creative. Jeeps will be lined up to serve as bleachers, she says, "And we're talking about making some kind of goalposts." She is not sure about player gear — "Maybe they'll wear their helmets."
Smith, working with the military, says she'll be supplied with two cameras — "which I guess is a big deal over there" — and help in scouting locations: "In e-mails, like whenever you do a shoot, they
talked about the advantages and disadvantages of two sites. But with this, they talked about which is safer."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Go go, go Jackie go

I don't really have much to add here, except, who hasn't wanted to do this to their brother once in a while?

Oh and that kid bears a certain resemblance to someone. You think his cell phone never dies, too?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Almost forgot: Colbert-O'Reilly: Tonight!

O'Reilly is on right now, although the Colbert segment hasn't started (at least, right now on Dish, I can't remember if Comcast has Fox News on the same timing).

Colbert is, I think 12:30 on Comcast, 9:30 on Dish and DirecTV (repeated tomorrow at 9:30 on Comcast, though). Don't miss it.

(Although O'Reilly so far does not seem properly enthusiastic about this epochal event).

I'd like to apologize on behalf of my hometown

Seattle, not looking so good last night on "Idol."

One, I'd like to note that it never rains that hard there (although this winter, Seattle's about the only place in the country where the weather has been as uniformly rotten as it has in Colorado).

Two, the majority of the people shown on TV were from places very, very far from the Emerald City (although Red was all ours, and, I have to say, I know people like that. They grow in the damp like mushrooms).

Three, nobody did Perry Como, "The Bluest Skies You've Ever Seen are in Seattle"? Even sung facetiously, that seemed like a no-brainer to me. And from July 5 to mid-September, it's usually more or less true.

On the show itself, I've heard people talking about how Simon's criticisms crossed the line (which line? Some line). The comments about the "bush monkey" and the "giraffe" seemed to go a little further than Simon's usual mean -- but always accurate -- cracks about their singing. I think people remember the good parts of past seasons and forget how rough the beginning can be. Simon's said worse things in the past, I assure you.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Idol ratings, just FYI

Since a number of people have complained to me about the return of "American Idol" -- there's always a couple of holdouts -- I thought I'd just pass along that the premiere drew 37 million viewers. That's like two "CSI's." Impressive, and the highest in "Idol's" history.

Ken Burns at AFA Thursday night

This is a pretty big deal -- when Ken Burns spoke here last August, they charged $45 a ticket, and this is free.

Ken Burns, America’s most famous documentary filmmaker, is premiering his latest PBS series, “The War” at the Air Force Academy’s Arnold Hall at 8 p.m. tonight.

It’s a one-hour taste of what will be a seven-episode miniseries that explores World War II through the stories of ordinary people from across America. Veterans recollections are mixed with stories and recollections from their loved ones at home.“The War” won’t debut on PBS until September, but Burns is giving previews at several military institutions. Tonight’s preview at Arnold Hall is free and open to the public and Burns will hold a question and answer session after the preview.

When Burns was in Colorado Springs in August, 2006, for a speech at the Pikes Peak Center, he talked about his desire to retell the important events of World War II without relying on generals and political leaders.

“Our story of the second world war is a story from the bottom up,” he said at the time. “We are almost entirely indifferent to big names.”

“The War” will feature the filmmaking techniques Burns made famous, such as long voice-overs from letters and slow pans across still photographs. Burns tried to avoid using stars for the project, but Tom Hanks — or at least his voice — plays a prominent role reading the columns of a newspaper editor from a small town in Minnesota.

“We brought people into the editing room and they weeped at his performance,” Burns said in August. “I think it’s one of the best jobs (Hanks) has ever done, and it’s entirely off-camera.”

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

KRCC revamps schedule, adds "Democracy Now"

Local public radio station KRCC (91.5 FM) announced a major scheduling overhaul on Monday, adding the progressive news program “Democracy Now” and eliminating its twice-weekly local news show “Western Skies” in favor of daily reports during National Public Radio’s national news.Eric Whitney, KRCC’s news director, hit the ground running with the new format Tuesday morning with a report from the apartment fire near The Citadel mall.

“It’s just a matter of trying to take advantage of the breaking nature of radio news,” Whitney said. “If we’re going to make a major investment in local news, we want to make it available when most of our listeners are listening."

Most of the local reports will air during “All Things Considered” in the afternoon, usually replacing one of the two hourly NPR national news roundups. KRCC will still air a one-hour “Western Skies” at 10 a.m. Sunday mornings, which will include commentaries and expanded reports.

Getting “Democracy Now” on the air was the subject of a very public lobbying campaign by a group of listeners for the past two years.“I’m just thrilled,” said Eric Verlo, part of the group. “It opens up Colorado Springs to stories that people don’t normally hear or read reported.”Verlo and Dave Therault were among a group of protesters who walked six blocks on their knees in the snow a year ago in hopes of pressuring Colorado College, which owns KRCC, to add “Democracy Now.”

“I still have the scars from that one,” Therault said. “I was looking at them last night and saying, ‘Not for naught.’”

KRCC station manager Delaney Utterback hopes the program will improve the station’s listener base in the evenings — “Democracy Now” airs at 7 p.m weeknights.Stations can air “Democracy Now” free for up to a year, and then have to negotiate for broadcast rights.

“We wanted to see if we could build an audience with a show that we thought could be pretty popular,” Utterback said.KRCC is also adding “Bob Edwards Weekend” — an interview show based on the former NPR anchor’s XM Radio program — at 9 a.m on Saturdays and Sundays, adding the Boulder-based music program "E-Town” at 1 p.m. Fridays, bumping “This American Life” to 8 p.m. Fridays and following it with a new interview show called “Wire Tap,” from “This American Life” contributor Jonathan Goldstein.

A complete schedule is available at

JoJo to KYGO

The No. 1 DJ at Colorado Springs’ No. 1 one radio station is headed north to join the morning crew at Denver’s top station.

Country station KCCY (96.9 FM)’s morning host and program director JoJo Turnbeaugh will switch to KYGO (98.5 FM), Denver’s dominant country station, beginning Feb. 5.

“It’s kind of an honor when you think about it,” Turnbeaugh said.

Turnbeaugh and his morning show partner, Willie Fisher, have worked together for more than a decade at five different radio stations, including two in Denver. They came to Colorado Springs two years ago, first in the afternoons at KVUU (99.9 FM) and then in mornings at KCCY. Fisher plans to stay at KCCY with a new partner.

KCCY, owned by Clear Channel, has been rolling high for the last year, with competitor KKCS (104.5 FM) laying off most of its staff. In recent months, however, Citadel Broadcasting launched KATC (95.1 FM) “Cat Country” to take on KCCY.

“There’s a part of me that’s like, ‘Oh my god, we’re in the heat of the battle and I’m the general of the radio station — leaving,’” Turnbeaugh said.

But, he said, things will be fine at KCCY.

“This is one of those gold-plated situations for anyone to walk into,” Turnbeaugh said.

Monday, January 15, 2007

22, 21

"People, we need to do better than we're doing now."

Well, somebody finally said it.

Does anyone else agree that there's some egregiously bad acting this season? I'm thinking specifically of Regina King, and wasn't she up for an Oscar like last year? Ah well, what have you done for us lately?

Loved Jack shooting Curtis. And Curtis looks all wounded, like a puppy. What was he expecting, pony rides?

And I double loved them actually setting off the nuke. Not on a moral level, you understand. It's just that your average TV show would think setting off a nuclear device in the second episode of the season would be a touch excessive. Not that there aren't a few programs that a radiological weapon might improve. I'm looking at you, "According to Jim."

Isn't this the second time in "24" history that L.A. has gotten nuked? I think one nuke going off on American soil might be enough to get everyone at CTU-LA fired, or possibly imprisoned. Two, and I think the entire team would be taken out and shot. At least Angelinos don't have to worry about earthquakes anymore.

24, 23, 22...

There had been a lot of talk about how this season's opener was... slow. I dunno, I thought it moved along pretty well. Pretty grim, though.

I like that we're getting into the terrorist plots quickly, instead of dinking around forever with that family and the wedding and the fiancee like the show did last year (or was that two years ago?).

I don't mind the ridiculous plot contrivances -- heck, I actually enjoy the ridiculous plot contrivances -- but I do get tired of the politicians being complete idiots. Which may actually be the most realistic part of the show...
I feel bad for Kiefer Sutherland -- he can cover up the fake back scars with a shirt, but he'll have to have that hand scar put on every day for as long as this show lasts.

And, did you catch Carol McGraw's story on the Life cover Saturday? Even Jack's bag is a killing machine.

UPDATE: And how the hey did I forget to mention Jack ripping that guy's throat out with his teeth? That was the most ridiculous -- and best! -- death scene ever. The only conceivable way it could have been better is if Jack had to floss after he got out of the handcuffs.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

OK, now this local news competition thing has gone too far

Three of our four locals are covering Gov. Ritter's State of the State address live. "As the World Turns" fans are no doubt up in arms.

Most years, the president's State of the Union is barely newsworthy. I would be aghast if there was anything in Ritter's speech that was worth more than a soundbite. Right now he's talking about how good the skiing is here.

At least KOAA punted it to WeatherFirstNow.

UPDATE: Now he's talking about "Keeping Colorado's special places special." Good to know.

Price is Right

Heh - Angela, one of the finalists on "Price is Right" is from Air Academy High School. She looks like she's in college by now, which makes me wonder how the hay she's going to pay taxes on that showcase.

This also raises a question I've thought about a lot: Does a single day go by when someone from Colorado Springs is not on national television? Seriously, I think it may not.

UPDATE: Angela went over, so I guess she won't have to worry about those taxes. Always a silver lining!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

In the mailbox

"Raines" -- This is Jeff Goldblum in sort of a riff on "Ghost Whisperer": He's a cop who talks to dead people. The riff part is that he's only talking to himself, which makes for sort of an evolving storyline as Raines closes in on the truth. Intriguing, but uneven and slow-moving compared to most of the procedurals these days. I won't spoil the surprise, but if you watch to the end, let me know if you saw it coming. No premiere date yet.

"Psych" -- The premiere of the new season of USA's lightweight, but fun fake psychic show. Nothing new going on, but still enjoyable.

"Scrubs" -- The "My Musical" episode. "Everything comes down to poo" will be stuck in your head for weeks.

"Heroes" -- The next two episodes. You'll have to ask Gazette entertainment editor Warren Epstein about these: He gave me a guilt trip until I handed them over. I expect them back tomorrow. You hear that, Warren?

A House too far

Much discussion around the office this morning about last night's "House," which resolved the long-simmering vendetta against the good doctor by the police detective played by David Morse.

If you missed it, House, facing 10 years in prison, begins to relent and goes to rehab and apologizes to Morse and the rest of the people he's wronged. At the end, however, once he gets off because Cutty lies about giving him placebos instead of Vicodin, House reveals that he was sneaking pills in rehab and the whole thing was apparently an act.

I've been arguing that this is a giant cop-out, since it essentially renders that entire plot line moot: House didn't mean it, didn't learn anything, didn't change. It also cuts off future potentially interesting storylines, like House losing some of his acumen owing to the pain, House relapsing, House vacillating between genuine contrition and lashing out in self-loathing. As it is, nothing changes and the plot doesn't really move forward.

Oh, and this week's medical mystery was especially ridiculous, which sort of underlines the idea that this show is going nowhere.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Colbert and O'Reilly showdown

Sweet item off the wire today:

Bill O’Reilly and Stephen Colbert to trade appearances on eachother’s shows next week

NEW YORK (AP) — It may feel like looking into the mirror forBill O’Reilly and Stephen Colbert next week. The Fox News Channel host and Colbert, who has essentially basedhis comic character every evening on Comedy Central on him, will trade appearances on each other’s programs Jan. 18.
“I’m really looking forward to speaking to a man who owes his entire career to me,” O’Reilly said.
On “The Colbert Report,” Colbert portrays a self-involved talk-show host who has tried to bring “truthiness” to the world. His character owes an obvious debt to O’Reilly, who holds court in the “no-spin zone” each evening.
On “The O’Reilly Factor,” O’Reilly portrays a ... um, he hosts the top-rated program in cable news.
“I look forward to the evening,” Colbert said. “It is an honor to speak face-to-face with a broadcasting legend, and I feel the same way about Mr. O’Reilly.”

I predict this will all go wrong, and be so right.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Josh Blue on Bravo

Denver comedian Josh Blue -- winner of last season's "Last Comic Standing" -- is playing the Pikes Peak Center next Saturday (Jan. 13). But he's also on Bravo in about 10 minutes for a comedy special (4:30 p.m. Friday).
So, you could pay $30 a week from now, or watch for free right now.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The OC canceled!


Oh wait, I don't care.

Still, as a culturual icon of the early '00's, "The OC" is it. Teenagers will look back on this 10 or 20 years from now and talk about it just like I look back on "Airwolf."

February 22, it goes down. 'Cause that's how we do it in the OC, bee-yatch!

Knight Rider, Airwolf, Street Hawk, Automan...

... and the TV version of "Blue Thunder."

Dave P. and I were talking about other "super car" shows from the '80s. It was a great, great time.

Everybody remembers "Knight Rider," which I suppose was the most succesful of the bunch. I still remember everything about that show:
What did KITT stand for? Knight Industries Two Thousand, that's easy.
How about KARR, KITT's evil nemesis? Knight Automated Roving Robot.
Seriously, I have vast areas of my brain devoted to this junk.
What upgrade did KITT get in the final season? A retractable convertible top (still bullet-proof, thank goodness).

Airwolf was the super-helicopter, piloted by the indominitable Jan-Michael Vincent (can anyone explain why he hasn't been given a celeb-reality show yet?), that shot down a different 1950's era jet fighter every week. Why? Who knows?

Street Hawk was a super cycle that -- for reasons that were never really made clear -- always had to jump out of a building to get started. Couldn't afford the garage door, maybe? Not to be confused with the Super Cycle from CHiPs, this one had machine gun and lasers.

And last, but absolutely not least, was Automan. Which was a holographic superman who could only come out at night, when the power grid wasn't under a big load - it took all kinds of energy to make him tangible. He could create holographic cars and planes, too.

Am I missing anything? Vehicles in the Eighties were awesome. The A-Team van, the Love Boat, the Porsche from "Risky Business," some of the more ridiculous James Bond cars -- it was good times, all around.

I hate the Internet

So on Monday, I watched all four bowl games. Mostly I was interested in the Wisconsin-Arkansas game, being a Badger by birth, but I was pretty sure Boise State-Oklahoma was going to be good, too. And it was... until that final minute. After the Oklahoma interception put them up 35-28, I was like, "I've got to go to bed." And, as even non-football fans now know, the final minute and following overtime was maybe the greatest ever in the history of college football bowl games.

I mean, it was so great, NPR did a story on it. NPR!

Yesterday, I tried to catch up by watching the highlights online, but I couldn't get them to load. Today, I got the Yahoo Sports version downloaded, which featured the crappiest camera angles ever and none - NONE - of the wild-ass plays that won BSU the game.

As anyone who read my story on online TV last month knows, Internet TV is not ready for primetime. This is just another example of how much it sucks.

And also an important reminder that: football > sleep.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

November ratings

Just got the rundown on the latest ratings numbers from the November book. Traditionally, the book comes out right before Christmas, providing a big lump of coal to somebody, but it was late this year.

Anyway, the big news is KOAA's big numbers. Despite having new competition from KRDO at 5 p.m. and at 6 p.m., KOAA was up in both timeslots. You can't expect KRDO to capture a huge audience right off the bat with its new format, but the RDO'ers have to be disappointed with their first sally.

KOAA was up at 10 p.m., too, while the other guys were roughly steady as she goes.

KXRM seems to have gotten some pop from its new, independent news. They were up from 9-9:30. The program tailed off sharply in the second half-hour, but it's a good sign for the future.

One other thing I found really interesting - KOAA finished second in primetime overall, compared to NBC's national fourth-place finish. That Sunday night Broncos game drew huge numbers, of course, but apparently the Springs is a hotbed for "Heroes" fans and "Deal or No Deal," too.