Strike!

You may be having a sense of deja vu when next you watch your favorite television television show. The Writers Guild of America, the folks responsible for much of the content on TV and in movies, is on strike. The sticking point? Authors want a bigger share of the lucrative DVD market and a stake in the burgeoning web market. Studios and networks say no way, not wanting to cut into their cash cow or hamper their efforts to draw in web viewers.

The effects will be felt most immediately in late night TV and other programming that relies heavily on current events, including, sadly, The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Soap opera fans beware, for daytime television will follow shortly. Prime time TV and movies won't be affected immediately. Of course, if the strike lasts 5 months like the last one, even all you Lost addicts out there may be getting a bit of strike fatigue.

Fox television stations, now with added business!

Not content with merely acquiring the businessperson's bible, Rupert Murdoch has been reaching business folks through the cable lines as well. The newly-launched Fox Business Network is positioned to compete with the previously (almost) unrivaled CNBC.

Certainly, Fox Biz Network must be hoping to snipe a few CNBC viewers. But at least based on the first week, it's not wholly clear that they'll attract the same people. CNBC is known for its sometimes, well, overly passionate commentary about the stock market. Fox Biz seems like it's going beyond the minutiae of the market to target a broader audience.

Television news, of course, has a sordid history, to which Mr. Murdoch has contributed his own fair share. The question on people's minds now is whether Fox Biz will do to CNBC what Fox News did to CNN, especially with the power of the Wall Street Journal behind it. Perhaps Murdoch is writing the next chapter in that sordid history.

Teen books on TV

With the new series Gossip Girl premiering on CW last week, I've been thinking about other television series based on books for teens or tweens. My list is sadly short: Gossip Girl (series by Cecily Von Ziegesar), Little House on the Prairie (series by Laura Ingalls Wilder), and of course tons of comic book-based television shows.

Sure there are movies based on teen books such as How to Deal based on several books by Sarah Dessen, I, Robot (original book by Isaac Asimov), and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (original book by Ann Brashares).

And there’s never a shortage of books based on TV shows such as Teen Titans, Smallville, and That’s So Raven.

However, when it comes to television shows based on teen/tween books, the list is short. Can you think of any?

Reliving 1987 (ish)

This week some of my old childhood favorites are being released and re-released on DVD. You're never too old to watch David Bowie in all of his make-up and glam-rock-splendor in Labyrinth. And if puppets are your thing, The Muppet Show Season Two has just been released in addition to Fraggle Rock Season Three. Check out the children’s DVD collection at AADL, and don’t ever apologize for checking out an item labeled “Youth.” Kermit and Gobo are funny no matter what age you are.

Tim Gunn is back

Fashion gurus and reality TV hounds are most likely familiar with Bravo’s hit show Project Runway. The dapper and debonair Tim Gunn is the witty pedagogical figure who acts as a mentor and gives the designers advice regarding their designs. Tonight is Bravo’s premiere of his new show: Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style.

Spoiler Alert!

Can’t wait for the fall television season to begin? Looking forward to intrigue on Wisteria Lane? Romance at Seattle Grace? Adventure on a remote island? Can’t wait to know what happens? Check out spoilerfix.com. The website is one stop shopping for an episode by episode “sneak peak” of what “may happen” on Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, and many other popular tv series. Be warned! If you don’t like knowing what is going to happen, not even a hint, this website isn’t for you.

Gee, Mr. Wizard

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Don Herbert, who taught those of us of a certain age how to Figure It Out with goofy science experiments on TV, died yesterday. The Mr. Wizard web site lets you watch video clips of the show, peek inside his science files and work on this week's Science Secret. Mr. Wizard's legacy of fun science is alive and well at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. The Museum, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, currently has an historical exhibit in the lower level of the Downtown library through July 14.

Pomp and Circumstance

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Cue the Elgar for the airing of the Ann Arbor high schools commencement ceremonies on CTN. CTV 19 will air the ceremonies for Community, Pioneer, Stone and Huron Monday, June 11th – Saturday, June 26th.

A Dangerous Mind Comes to Town

Part secret agent, part talent scout - Chuck Barris has lived a life most of us only dream about. Host of The Newlywed Game, The Dating Game, and The Gong Show, and a one-hit wonder with the 1962 hit "Palisades Park," Barris also wrote Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: The Unauthorized Autobiography, ("a remarkably well-crafted and entertaining book" Publishers Weekly) which includes a dubious "confession" of his double life as a decorated CIA assassin. (The book was later made into the 2003 film directed by George Clooney). Barris' most recent effort is the novel The Big Question.) Bang a gong with one of the more inventive minds of the television era next Tuesday, May 22, at 7:00 p.m. in the Downtown Multi-Purpose Room.

Welcome News on Wireless Washtenaw

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Wireless Washtenaw is almost ready for prime time. And to get you up to speed and ready to log on, CTN Channel 19 will be talking to the movers and shakers behind this county-wide initiative on Conversations beginning Wednesday, April 11th at 10:30 a.m. with daily replays. Check the CTN schedule for full details.

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