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The Number Of Black Owned Full Power TV Stations Dropped To Zero In 2013

2 January 2014 5:56 AM, PST

Among everything that happened last year, there was one major newsworthy item that was completely overlooked by the media: the sad statistic that there are no longer any black-owned, full power TV station in the United States.According to the New Pittsburgh Courier, which reported the story earlier this week, there were some 18 black-owned stations in 2006, which represented 1.3% of all TV stations. That number dropped down to just five last year. And in 2013, those five no longer existed, all being bought up by larger media companies.The reason for this sorry situation started back during the late 1990s, when “Congress and the Federal Communications Commission allowed massive consolidation in the broadcasting industry. This policy shift crowded out existing owners of color and ensured that it would be nearly impossible for new owners to access the public airwaves..."One of the last few remaining black-owned full power stations, Roberts Broadcasting -. »

- Sergio

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Berlinale: The Past Regained

2 January 2014 5:00 AM, PST

During Afm I was privileged to interview Beki Probst, Director of the European Film Market, one of the three top international film markets in the world and Wieland Speck, Director of the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama. Both are innovators of what have become the standard features of film markets and festivals. Beki and Wieland speak about their roles live-on-video filmed during Afm by doc filmmaker Robert Ball.  The Berlin International Film Festival began in 1951 at the height of the Cold War as a signal to East Germany that West Berlin was still in the Avant Garde. It is now one of the world’s leading film festivals selling something more than 300,000 tickets to the public. When the festival moved from West Berlin to Potsdamer Platz in time for its 50th anniversary in 2000, its name was changed and trademarked as the Berlinale. The European Film Market (Efm) was created by »


- Sydney Levine

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TV Is The New Cinema: Putting 2013 Behind Us

31 December 2013 5:02 PM, PST

If I were doing a typical ten best list this year — which I’m not, but if I was — here are a few of the items that might be on it: The underrated excellent program of the year was "Hannibal" (NBC), an elegantly malign serial killer thriller that as close to a premium cable program, in its uncompromising approach to challenging subject matter, as anything the broadcast tubehas yet produced. The show I had the most fun watching during the latter half of 2013 was "Masters of Sex" (Showtime), a surprisingly romantic comedy of sexual manners, with electrodes and dildo cams. A list of notable newcomers would certainly highlight the actress Margot Bingham on "Boardwalk Empire" (HBO), a femme fatale torch singer whose charms ignited a conflict between the mobsters Michael K. Williams and Jeffrey Wright, a subplot that single-handedly brought this moribund series back to life. My favorite new program »


- David Chute

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The Number Of Black Owned Full Power TV stations In U.S. Dropped To Zero In 2013

31 December 2013 1:52 PM, PST

As the last few hours reminding in 2013 tick away let’s pause to reflect on a sad statistic that was completely overlooked by the media this year. That there are no longer any more black owned full power TV station in the United States.According to the Pittsburgh Courier, which reported this story yesterday, there were some 18 black owned station in 2006 which represented 1.3% of all TV stations. That number dropped down to just five last year. And in 2013 those five no longer exist being all bought off by larger media companiesThe reason for this sorry situation started back during the late 1990s when “Congress and the Federal Communications Commission allowed massive consolidation in the broadcasting industry. This policy shift crowded out existing owners of color and ensured that it would be nearly impossible for new owners to access the public airwaves”.. One of the last few remaining black owned full power stations, »

- Sergio

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'Downton Abbey' Is Back: A Preview and Review (Season Four Clips)

31 December 2013 10:04 AM, PST

A guilty pleasure for many of us, frothy Brit soap opera "Downton Abbey" returns stateside January 5 on PBS (months after it's been seen by the lucky folks in the UK). (Spoiler Alert: don't read on if you are not up to date.) This is the series that left our jaws agape as it killed off at the end of Season Three not just one but two key characters. Young actor Dan Stevens ditched Matthew Crawley just after he was finally blessed with a newborn; Stevens wanted to move on with his career (he starred opposite Jessica Chastain in Broadway's "The Heiress" and in "The Fifth Estate" with more to come from directors Scott Frank and Tom McCarthy and a spot as Lancelot in "Night at the Museum 3"). This left show creator Julian Fellowes to pick up the pieces.  Front and center in Entertainment Weekly's annual winter TV preview issue is »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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Even With a Short Final Season, 'Treme' Finds a Beautiful, Bittersweet Ending

30 December 2013 12:43 PM, PST

The article below contains spoilers through the Sunday, December 29th, 2013 episode of "Treme," "...To Miss New Orleans." Oh, I'm going to miss spending time with these characters. That's not something I thought I'd write when "Treme" premiered in 2010, a series that seemed to combine all of co-creator David Simon's least commercial and most didactic impulses, a New Orleans-set drama about musicians, about authenticity and about the ways in which the city, freshly ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, was being failed by the country and the state. It felt smart, urgent and scoldy, putting monologues on the state of things in the mouths of John Goodman's irate English professor Creighton Bernette and Steve Zahn's DJ and rabble-rouser Davis McAlary that seemed transparently aimed at viewers rather than anyone else on screen. But in the penultimate episode of season one, Creighton threw himself off the ferry after spending a day »


- Alison Willmore

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Watch Idris Elba-Headlined BBC Racing History Doc 'King of Speed' Now!

30 December 2013 8:59 AM, PST

The seemingly always busy and active Idris Elba toplined this 2-part, 2-hour feature documentary that sees him travel the world, looking at the history of motorcar racing. Titled Idris ElbaKing Of Speed, the BBC2 doc series highlights the colorful political, social and historical evolution of racing, from prohibition to the present.  Southan Morris produces and directs. The project was shot earlier this year, and eventually aired in the UK. And while it's not yet officially available in the USA, it was only a matter of time before the film was uploaded online, for the rest of the world to watch. So, don't be surprised if this disappears before you get a chance to watch it below. It won't be the first time that Idris has fronted a documentary series for British TV. There was Channel 4's 2011 doc series How Hip Hop Changed The World, which was followed by the 2-hour doc, »


- Tambay A. Obenson

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From Ed Sullivan to the Muppets: Five Definitive Programs From the Golden Age of the Variety Show

30 December 2013 8:33 AM, PST

This post is presented in partnership with Participant Media's new television network Pivot and its series "Hitrecord On TV," premiering January 18, 2014 at 10Pm Et/Pt with back-to-back episodes. Joseph Gordon-Levitt describes his upcoming "Hitrecord On TV," which will make its world premiere at Sundance this year as what's only the second television offering to screen in the festival's history, as a "re-imagined variety show." The program, in the spirit of Gordon-Levitt's collaboration-based arts collective hitRECord, will feature short films, conversations and performances -- in short, the variety of elements from which variety shows take their name. It's been several decades since the variety show ruled the airwaves, but it is a television tradition as old as the medium itself, and has been home to some of the small screen's most important cultural moments over the years. Here's a look back at five of TV's great variety shows: The Ed Sullivan Show (1948-1971) The greatest of. »


- Danny Bowes

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5 Best Bets on TV This Week: 'How to Survive a Plague' on PBS, 'Community' Returns and More

30 December 2013 8:10 AM, PST

Sure, Sunday tends to be overcrowded with high-end TV (like "Downton Abbey," returning to PBS this week), but what to watch the rest of the time? Every Monday, we bring you five noteworthy highlights from the other six days of the week. "In Memoriam" Monday, December 30th at 8pm on TCM Turner Classic Movies' year-end "In Memoriam" tribute is a salute to those who passed who weren't already honored during the year. The night begins with the 1941 Deanna Durbin musical "It Started with Eve" at 8pm, followed by Annette Funicello's 1964 "Bikini Beach" at 9:45pm. Eileen Brennan stars in Neil Simon's 1978 "The Cheap Detective" at 11:30pm, while Jonathan Winters plays a pair of brothers in 1965 black comedy "The Loved One" at 1:15am. Karen Black received an Oscar nomination for her performance in 1970's "Five Easy Pieces" at 3:30am, while Julie Harris is terrific in 1955's »


- Alison Willmore

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Review: 'Getting On' Season 1 A Perfect Prescription Of Sweet & Sour Laughs

30 December 2013 7:08 AM, PST

Whenever a U.K. comedy crosses the pond for an American makeover, the first concern generally tends to be about capturing the spirit and tone of the original. And while I haven't seen the British version of "Getting On," whatever happened in translation didn't seem to dilute a potent blend of sweet and sour laughs in HBO's take on the series. Retaining the tradition of truly cringeworthy moments of comedic embarrassment popularized by the efforts of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and combining it with heart and (fleeting) moments of genuine emotion, "Getting On" makes the most of its six episode first season. Set in the Billy Barnes Extended Care Unit of Mt. Palms Hospital in Long Beach, California, the show follows the increasingly knotty and overlapping travails of an ensemble of workers in the geriatric ward. Alex Borstein ("MadTV," Lois Griffin on "Family Guy") is the central focus as Nurse Dawn Forchette, »


- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell and Company Give Improv Comedy a Try in Showtime's 'House of Lies Live!'

30 December 2013 6:47 AM, PST

"House of Lies" cast members Ben Schwartz and Josh Lawson are veterans of the Los Angeles improv scene -- co-stars Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell, not so much. But in the unusual special below, the four ditched their characters to join comedians Lauren Lapkus, Ryan Gaul and Eugene Cordero, who also appear in the upcoming third season of the management consultant series, for some long-form improv at L.A.'s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. "House of Lies Live!" airs on Showtime tomorrow, December 31st at 10pm, but you can watch it in full online below. Season three of "House of Lies" kicks off January 12th.

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- Alison Willmore

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