A Word About One Foot on the Floor

Welcome to the Web companion for One Foot on the Floor: The Curious Evolution of Sex on Television, the book about the history of sex and controversy on television and related screens.  One Footnow available on Kindle in an updated and expanded electronic edition, takes the story from TV’s beginnings through the February 2012 sweeps.  Check back here.  This is where the story continues.   Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TV 2025

courtesy: TVtropes.org

courtesy: TVtropes.org

Right now, “there are no bad shows,” only small audiences. And thanks to technology, in the future we won’t be troubled by any less-than-ideal shows at all.

Oh, really?

Anyone who admits to watching television regularly knows how often it seems there’s nothing on, except bad shows.

This may be TV’s golden age, but what are we talking about, really, when we repeat that piece of conventional wisdom? Continue reading

Posted in Advertising, Controversy, Corporate Hollywood, New TV Season, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

CBS: Still Playing Its Winning Hand

'Petticoat Junction'

‘Petticoat Junction’

The Upfronts, TV Land’s annual rites of spring, culminate this week with lavish new-season presentations by the big, old-line broadcast networks for the assembled Mad Ave advertisers.

We already know a few things about what the broadcasters intend for this fall. For one, there is no radical departure or new format in the offing, the way there was at the turn of the millennium when TV Land began its long and generally depressing turn toward the cheap thrills (in both senses of the phrase) of reality TV. This year, the networks are relying, again, on more of the same — more comics shows, more religion-tinged mysticism, more sci-fi, more sitcoms with “blended” families (i.e., those with at least one gay family member), more procedurals and more cop shows.

And the other thing we know is this: Continue reading

Posted in Advertising, Controversy, Corporate Hollywood, History, New TV Season, Reality TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Survival’: With a Little Help From Your (Facebook) Friends

games2Does Survival Live, a new Discovery Channel reality show, sound like Hunger Games for the small screen to you?

“The 42-day live, multi-platform event will follow eight people abandoned in a remote wilderness with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” Adverising Age, the bible of Madison Avenue, reports. “As Discovery live-streams their struggles, it will allow contestants to build relationships with the audience and appeal to viewers to send them much-needed supplies like water or a cell phone. It’s then up to the viewers to decide whether or not to help the contestants, immediately impacting game play.”

No word yet whether this will be a battle to the death, just like on the big screen. Either way, it would hardly be the first time that a hit movie has set TV development execs to cogitating. Continue reading

Posted in Advertising, Controversy, New TV Season, Reality TV, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Cosmopolitans’ Coming to Amazon

Whit Stillman

Whit Stillman

Amusing indie films, often set in Reagan-era America, about the young and well-educated, the well-off and well-traveled, WASPs mostly, with all their thin-lipped manners and attitudes.

If you’re thinking Whit Stillman, the preppie auteur, congratulations, you’ve seen a lot of off-beat movies and you’re exactly right.  Continue reading

Posted in New TV Season, Sex | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vive la France!

france1Remember when the French were vilified by certain of our right-thinking commentators and politicos as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” and Republicans tried to rebrand pommes frites as “freedom fries”?

Those days are as gone as Saddam Hussein, and what we are left with is the disquieting suspicion that French culture may actually be as superior as the French believe it is.

Case in point: reality TV.  Continue reading

Posted in Controversy, Elsewhere, Reality TV | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sea Change Coming, Part 7: The Rise of Internet Advertising

courtesy: W3.org

courtesy: W3.org

This watershed moment for electronic media has been coming for a long time.

“For the first time, U.S. Internet advertising revenue has surpassed that of broadcast television thanks to sharp growth in mobile and digital video ads,” the Associated Press reports, citing data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, whose 600-plus members are primarily the media and technology companies that sell online advertising in the U.S.  Continue reading

Posted in Advertising, Technology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Going Dutch on Date Night

AdamNeveThe Dating Game on a tropical island, except naked.

That, more or less, must have been the pitch for Adam Looking for Eve, a new “hit Dutch dating show,” as a Brit tabloid called it recently.

Of course, it’s widely known that in the real world, as distinct from the online world and the television world, people don’t actually date anymore, at least not until they’ve gotten to know each other on JDate or via Skype.

So perhaps in the inevitable American version, nude dating will move off the island and begin in front of a computer’s camera before venturing into, say, Manhattan’s Chelsea or the Meat Packing District. Continue reading

Posted in Controversy, Elsewhere, New TV Season, Reality TV, Sex | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latest Dispatch From the Crowded Void

Water venting from a moon of Saturn

Water venting from Enceladus

Space is getting more crowded … with TV cameras.

Perhaps it was inevitable that in our digital times the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a competition with a $30 million prize to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon by the end of 2015, would be turned into a TV show.

Discovery and Science Channels, both part of the Discovery Networks, are turning the $30 million chase into a miniseries. Continue reading

Posted in Elsewhere, New TV Season, Reality TV, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brian Roberts Cuts the Cord

brianroberts“Cable is a relic of an antiquated model.”

Brian Roberts said that. On the face of it, it’s kind of incredible, coming from the head of Comcast, the largest cable company in America.

He said it while outlining his vision of Comcast in the future for The New York Times: An old media company transformed into a new technology company, “not a wire company,” whose true competitors are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and the like, not just other cable companies. Of course, if it’s not a “wire company,” its pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable, the second-largest cable company, is likely to be seen as less anti-competitive and monopolistic than if regulators simply view it as the biggest cable behemoth growing even bigger.  Continue reading

Posted in Corporate Hollywood, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Duck Dynasty Down

duckDynastyFor a while there it looked as if we might have strong evidence that the great American TV viewing public will no longer tolerate casual homophobia and racism, masquerading as, respectively, religious belief and a rose-colored recollection of palmy times on the plantation.

Well, we do. Sort of.

In the wake of widely reported casually racist and anti-LGBT remarks by “Duck Commander” and family patriarch Phil Robertson at the end of 2013, the fourth-season ratings for Duck Dynasty, cable TV’s biggest reality hit, dropped precipitously. In the first weeks of the new year, millions of viewers tuned out.  Continue reading

Posted in Controversy, New TV Season, Reality TV | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment