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Tonight I will live blog along with the Golden Globes. This annual affair, put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is a freewheeling preview of the Oscars. But, there is a caveat. The HFPA is a very small group of "press" from small outlets around the world. There has been a deal of controversy as of late, with the HFPA declining membership to mainstream critics from larger papers and outlets in Australia, Europe and Asia. In fact, there have been some whispers of nomination and vote buying.

Still, the award show is a lot of fun. Tonight's host, Ricky Gervais, will have plenty of time to jab modern Hollywood. Of course, this evening is mostly about film. Winners get a "boost" going into Oscar season. But tonight is also about TV, as the Globes present awards to actors and shows.

So, tune in with me tonight starting just before 7 PM Central for all the fun.
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Here's a very quick rundown of my 10 favorite television series from this past year:

10. The Middle/Modern Family (ABC)
9. Raising Hope (FOX)
8. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
7. Futurama (Comedy Central)
6. Justified (FX)
5. Dexter (Showtime)
4. Friday Night Lights (NBC)
3. Community (NBC)
2. Breaking Bad (AMC)
1. Fringe (FOX)
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So here is what I am watching (and time-shifting) each night of the week for the Fall 2010 TV season (all times are Central)...

7-10 (ESPN) Football OR
7-8 (FOX) House
8-9 (NBC) The Event
9-10 (CBS) Hawaii Five-O

(CBS) How I Met Your Mother/ Mike & Molly
(FOX) Lone Star
(NBC) Chuck

7-8 (FOX) Glee
8-9 (FOX) Raising Hope/Running Wilde
9-10 (NBC) Parenthood


7-8 (CBS) Survivor
8-9 (ABC) Modern Family/Cougar Town

(ABC) The Middle
(CBS) Criminal Minds
(FOX) Lie to Me/Hell's Kitchen

7-8 (FOX) Bones
8-9 (FOX) Fringe
9-10 (CBS) The Mentalist

(CBS) Big Bang Theory/CSI
(NBC) Community/30 Rock/The Office

8-9 (CW) Supernatural

7-10 (NBC) Football OR
7-8 (CBS) The Amazing Race
8-9 (HBO) Boardwalk Empire
9-10 (CBS) CSI: Miami

(AMC) The Walking Dead
(FOX) The Simpsons/Family Guy/American Dad
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That is right. The other night I took a dose of Night-time (the local knock-off of Nyquil) to stave off the flu or whatever the people in my house have come down with.

And, in nature's sick way of punishing me, I fell asleep on the couch. I remember the first 10 minutes of the show, then woke to see Jimmy Kimmel.

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Hello all. It is the middle of January, and that can mean a few things.

One, it is cold. At least in the Northern Hemisphere.

Two, the NFL playoffs are in high gear. Geaux Saints!

And, three, the Golden Globes are waiting in the wings. This Sunday, January 17, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will hand out this year’s first crop of major awards. While the Oscars are just for movies, the Globes combine the best in film and television.

But the Globes are not just any other award show. They are different in two ways. They are selected by a very small group (between 50 and 100 voting members who are, as the name implies, foreign media members who report from Hollywood), and they are more casual than the Oscars and Emmys. The latter makes for a more free-for-all award show where celebs routinely do odd things. The former, well, that means the voters tend to go to those with more global reach and certain political philosophies rather than the most deserving.

Still, the Globes are a great indicator to what the Oscar season has in store. So, without further delay, here are my picks for the 2010 Golden Globes!


Best TV Series - Drama

Nominees: Big Love, Dexter, House, Mad Men, True Blood
Will Win: Mad Men
Should Win: Dexter
--- Mad Men is an excellent series and has won this award before. That should be enough to give it another win. But Dexter, also an excellent series, had its best season yet. The serial killer drama should win, but will sadly fall short.

Best TV Series - Comedy or Musical
Nominees: 30 Rock, Entourage, Glee, Modern Family, The Office
Will Win: Glee
Should Win: Glee
--- That’s right. The HFPA will get this one right. Glee has a lot going for it. One, it is a great series. Two, it’s a feel-good show. Three, it is supremely musical. Four, it is beyond diverse. It has something for everyone AND it is excellent. The only series that could upstage Glee would be Modern Family. Not likely, but it has an outside chance.

Best Actor - Drama

Nominees: Simon Barker (The Mentalist), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Hugh Laurie (House), Bill Paxton (Big Love)
Will Win: Hugh Laurie (House)
Should Win: Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
--- Hugh Laurie will walk away with the award. Any why not? He is British, a plus for the foreign voters, and he is an amazing actor who blew me away in House’s opener. But Hall, who plays the titular Dexter, makes cold-blooded sociopath look cool.

Best Actress - Drama
Nominees: Glenn Close (Damages), January Jones (Mad Men), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Anna Paquin (True Blood), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
Will Win: January Jones (Mad Men)
Should Win: January Jones (Mad Men)
--- Another winner for the HFPA. January Jones is the best actress on the show. She outshines even her co-star, Jon Hamm, and that says a lot.

Best Actor - Comedy or Musical
Nominees: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Steve Carell (The Office), David Duchovny (Californication), Thomas Jane (Hung), Matthew Morrison (Glee)
Will Win: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Should Win: Matthew Morrison (Glee)
--- While Baldwin is a shoe-in (he has won the Emmy for the role already AND he is a HFPA favorite), Morrison shines as the glee coach in Glee.

Best Actress - Comedy or Musical
Nominees: Toni Collette (United States of Tara), Courtney Cox (Cougar Town), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Lea Michele (Glee)
Will Win: Toni Collette (United States of Tara)
Should Win: Tina Fey (30 Rock)
--- Collette has always had broad support within the HFPA and this year is no different. Add the fact she just won an Emmy for this role into the mix, and she should walk away with a Globe. But Fey’s spot-on genius as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock should be the winner.


Best Drama
Nominees: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, Up in the Ait
Will Win: Up in the Air
Should Win: Precious
--- Up in the Air has Clooney. And in Globes season, that is enough for a mediocre film to take home the biggest prize. But it is Precious that should get the nod.

Best Comedy or Musical
Nominees: (500) Days of Summer, The Hangover, It’s Complicated, Julie & Julia, Nine
Will Win: Nine
Should Win: The Hangover
--- Nine is a lavish musical. That is all the HFPA look for. Though, I must admit (500) Days of Summer could get the upset win. But it is The Hangover that is the best comedy. Too bad the best comedy won’t win the best comedy category.

Best Actor - Drama
Nominees: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up in the Air),  Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), Tobey Maguire (Brothers)
Will Win: George Clooney (Up in the Air)
Should Win: Colin Firth (A Single Man)
--- Clooney cannot walk into the HFPA’s ballroom and not go home with a prize. It’s as simple as that. Too bad he’s not the most deserving. That honor goes to Colin Firth. Too bad he’s going home empty handed.

Best Actress - Drama

Nominees: Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria), Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
Will Win: Carey Mulligan (An Education)
Should Win: Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
--- Mulligan is a British actress in a British film. So, of course, the foreign media will award the Globe to her. And she is deserving. Just not as deserving as Sidibe, who managed to put warmth and love into a loveless and cold character in Precious.

Best Actor - Comedy or Musical
Nominees: Matt Damon (The Informant!), Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes), Joseph Gordon Levitt ((500) Days of Summer), Daniel Day Lewis (Nine), Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man)
Will Win: Daniel Day Lewis (Nine)
Should Win:  Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man)
--- Daniel Day Lewis is another HFPA favorite. And in Nine he sings and dances. That is enough for a Globe win. But Stuhlbarg is far and away the better actor in the black comedy from the Coen Brothers.

Best Actress - Comedy or Musical

Nominees: Sandra Bullock (The Proposal), Maron Cotillard (Nine), Julia Roberts (Duplicity), Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia), Meryl Streep (It’s Complicated)
Will Win: Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
Should Win: Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
--- This is an easy one. Despite Cotillard being foreign in a musical, Streep knocks it out of the park as Julia Child. End of story.

Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Matt Damon (Invictus), Woody Harrelson (The Mesenger), Christopher Plummer (The Last Station), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Will Win: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Should Win: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Another one the HFPA will get right. Waltz’s brilliant turn as a Jew-hunter in Tarantino’s flick shines above the others. Add to it his European birth, and the Globe is his.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Penelope Cruz (Nine), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Julianne Moore (A Single Man), Mo’nique (Precious)
Will Win: Mo’nique (Precious)
Should Win: Mo’nique (Precious)
--- Wow. The HFPA is racking the right choices up. Mo’nique makes Precious even more authentic as the abusive mother. But it is her end of the film apology that makes her performance award-winning.

Best Director
Nominees: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), James Cameron (Avatar), Clint Eastwood (Invictus), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
Will Win: James Cameron (Avatar)
Should Win: Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
--- The HFPA will likely give the nod to Cameron for his anti-capitalistic, liberal epic, Avatar. He deserves it for the tech, but for nothing else. Quentin Tarantino deserves the win for vision and actual direction. But, the HFPA could go for an upset and give the Globe to Bigelow. They’d love to crown a woman, especially one who spearheaded an anti-Iraq war flick.

Best Animated

Nominees: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, Up
Will Win: Up
Should Win: Up
--- Up is the best animated flick of the year. In fact, it may compete with the big boys come Oscar time.
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It seems as though TV viewers have finally figured out CNN. For the past ten or so years CNN has trended further and further from unbiased journalism. And, at last, viewers have decided to punish the network that literally created cable news programs.

For two decades CNN did what cable news channels should --- they reported the news. When it came to the news there was no slant, no opinion, nothing but the reality of the world. They also had a few opinion-driven shows, but those programs were balanced in all respects. But then, when Fox News launched in the mid- '90s, CNN started to falter. Having another news network on cable made CNN uneasy about their status as the "trusted news leader." So, they started to experiment with more and more political programming. CNN started have mini-debates during news programs, instead of keeping those debates on the more appropriate political shows (see Capital Gang or Crossfire). Every topic had a guest or two that would battle it out. Nearly every news story was debated instead of being reported. This, not surprisingly, boosted CNN's ratings. It also gave Fox an early run for its money (and viewers).

Trying to copy CNN's change, the new kid on the block, Fox News, followed suit, adding opinion programs and debates on various news topics during straight news programs. Eventually, this change, along with faster-paced programs, beautiful on-air talent, cool graphics, and other small tweaks, pushed Fox News back into first place. But the race between Fox News and CNN  was still a photo finish most of the time.

And that remained true until the late nineties. At that time the powers that be at Fox News tried something new. They decided that having just one or two opinion shows during the day wasn't good enough. No, they found people wanted to see these shows during primetime. So Fox News made opinion-driven shows its entire primetime block (one conservative in O'Reilley, a conservative and liberal in Hannity and Colmes, and a liberal in Geraldo). The channel also added more viewer-driven shows during the day (see Dayside). But, most importantly, Fox News found that there were millions of viewers who were willing to tune in to the channel if it would present the news without the bias being shown by CNN.

By this point, CNN had hired talent who brought biased views on the news into living rooms every day. The bias, though, was still not as prevelant as the bias shown by (to this very day) ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS. CNN's hosts made sure to prop up certain politicians, defend certain political stances, and literally crusade for certain political causes. Fox News, brilliantly, "called out" the bias of CNN and other channels. Fox News promised to not have that slant (of course, the channel now has a centrist-right slant, but nothing as radical or extreme when compared to any other network --- keeping in mind the US is a center-right nation).

Then came MSNBC. MSNBC started taking viewers from CNN from day one. Poll after poll showed viewers were falling away in huge numbers.  MSNBC, a network that has been clear about its extremely liberal bias from day one, practically preyed on CNN's viewership. Every time CNN would make a change to gain back some of its viewership (crusading for Democratic stances, profiling Democratic politicians, supporting Democratic causes, hyping every single news story involving high-profile liberal issues, etc.) MSNBC would ramp up its own coverage of stories favored by its more liberal viewers.

By 2005, though, CNN's sister channel, HLN (formerly Headline News), also changed its primetime from an all-news lineup to all opinion. Originally the new opinion shows were three-to-one liberal. But at least they tried a conservative (Beck). That was true until the network bowed to liberal interest groups and let Beck go (eventually to Fox to what has now become one of that channel's highest rated shows). Now HLN is a four hour block of left-leaning programs.

So here is where we stand:

Fox News is the highest rated cable channel with a series of conservative primetime opinion shows and straight news programs with a center-right slant, with nearly 53% of news viewers in primetime.

MSNBC is in second place with a series of very liberal primetimes opinion shows, a series of liberally-slanted news programs, and a couple of straight news programs with a center-left slant, with nearly 19% of news viewers in primetime.

HLN is in third place with straight news throughout the day and a series of liberally-slanted talkshows in primetime, with nearly 15% of news viewers in primetime.

Then, last, is CNN, with about 13% of news viewers in primetime.

CNN, the former biggest name in news is now dead last. Show after show after show on CNN pushes an agenda. From "Black in America" to "Latino in America" to "CNN Heroes" to everything reported by Rick Sanchez , Anderson Cooper, Christianne Amanpour, and Anthony Ware, CNN's coverage comes from a clearly biased point of view. The network still tries to sell itself as a middle of the road network. But viewers, with their remotes, say CNN (and HLN and MSNBC) is not so middle of the road. Even the Pew Research Center, an independent and highly respected polling organization, have concluded it is not CNN, HLN, or MSNBC with the most diverse audience. Nope, its Fox News. The last Pew survey showed Fox News viewers were 38% conservative, 34% independent, and 28% liberal politically. (MSNBC is more than 65% liberal, and CNN and HLN are more than 50% liberal.)

So CNN fails as being an independent news source. The ratings and the polls show it. CNN still does not want to admit its bias. And that is its problem. This is not a liberal nation (again, this is a center-right nation). There are not enough liberal news viewers for three cable networks, three braodcast networks, and public television (plus the portion of liberal viewers who tune in to Fox for different perspectives).

Having a degree in journalism, it is sad to watch the slow, painful death of a once-great news institution. But CNN is getting what it deserves. If they would stop lying to their viewers and cop to the clear bias, CNN could rally and go after the small (but second place) audience of MSNBC.

CNN. Not a leader in news. Not even a follower.



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February 2013



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