Remote Control

Remote ControlWhat can possibly follow an extremely active first six months of 2011? Try these observations out for size:

***Original programming on cable networks continues its summer dominance over broadcast networks. We’re now at the point where on some weeknights other than Friday or Saturday, the combined ABC/CBS/NBC share of households is 16 or 17 percent, and throwing Fox in doesn’t take that share beyond 20 percent. Things get tougher next week with the return of TNT’s The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles, plus an all-drama night on Syfy with newcomer Alphas.

***Also on any given night, Univision beats The CW and ties/beats Fox or NBC in household ratings. Telemundo regularly beats The CW in the same category. In specific demographics, both networks do better. Spanish-language TV will come into the fall with a head of audience steam and more ad dollars powering the medium than ever.

***We’ll hear more cable networks prep for introducing new scripted and reality series year-round, and more of those networks will target fall, just as AMC successfully did last year with The Walking Dead, and HBO with Boardwalk Empire.

***Comcast will introduce the first three channels of its “Diversity Project”…eight independently-owned services owned or managed by people of color, available to the top-ranked cable operator’s 20 million-plus subscribers. All eight will debut by 2018; these first three (two African-American owned, one Latino) premiere before February 2013. David Jensen, the Comcast executive overseeing this venture, hints that, based on the submissions received for this first round, they’ll be more than eight channels launched. He calls it “overdelivering.” My questions: Will Time Warner Cable and other multichannel distributors clear these first three networks when they debut, and will a similar project surface at Time Warner or somewhere else?

***Google TV 2.0 gets off the ground by the end of September, finally allowing those 200,000 Android and 60,000 Adobe Flash application developers the ability to adapt their mobile phone work to TV and create new applications just for the tube. Wish Google TV’s main officials were more forthcoming about when they will wave the flag for all developers to start developing.

***Of the more than 20 new scripted shows coming to TV this fall on the broadcast networks, only one has a lead actor of color–Charlie’s Angels on ABC. Very few have actors of color in ensemble or supporting roles (The Playboy Club from NBC is one of those few, with at least two.) and there’s little evidence of producers/writers/director of color behind the scenes. As we near 40 percent of the nation’s population being multicultural, how big a factor will diversity be in what new broadcast and cable series flourish this season ahead? Keep watching.

***Don’t close the door on 3D TV’s future just yet. Yes, the ballyhoo of how many 3D sets would be sold last year was way off the mark. However, Consumer Electronics Association and several independent researchers (including SNL Kagan) forsee better-than-anticipated 3D set sales this year, helped by a mini-splurge this fall. Supporting factors: most set makers adopting passive glasses, lack of an anecdotal tidal wave on people getting sick from 3D glasses, and the existence of 24-hour networks (ESPN3D, 3net, n3d, etc.) providing original content on a recurring basis.

Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!

About Simon Applebaum

Simon Applebaum hosts and produces Tomorrow Will Be Televised, the radio program all about TV. The program runs live Mondays and Fridays at 3 p.m. Eastern time, noon Pacific on BlogTalk Radio (, with replays at



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