"Will McAvoy" Wins Best Actor Emmy (and My Critique of Season 2 of HBO's The Newsroom)

Sunday, September 29, 2013
[NOTE: this post will discuss story elements--and probably introduce spoilers--from the recently completed second season of HBO's The Newsroom...if you have not yet finished watching, be advised!] 

Jeff Daniels, star of HBO's The Newsroom, proudly poses backstage after winning his Primetime Emmy Award last  Sunday night (photo copyright PA Images Dan Steinberg/AP).

In a somewhat mild upset, a fictitious cable news anchorman beat out a similarly pretend former teacher turned meth manufacturer at last Sunday night's 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, broadcast from the Nokia Theater L.A. Live in Los Angeles.  Jeff Daniels, who plays cable news anchor Will McAvoy on HBO's The Newsroom, was chosen over a group of five others, which included perceived favorite Bryan Cranston (Walter White from AMC's critically acclaimed series Breaking Bad) for the honor of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. This was Daniels' first Emmy award nomination and second major acting award win (his portrayal as Dr. Ross Jennings in the 1990 film Arachnophobia earned him a Saturn Award for best actor in a science fiction, fantasy or horror film or television role).  I am calling it an "upset" because Breaking Bad, a very popular show via live and streaming viewing, was coming to the end of its five-season run tonight and its lead actor had won three consecutive Emmys between 2008 and 2010 (he also bested Kevin Spacey, Congressman Francis "Frank" Underwood from another of my favorite shows, the Netflix non-broadcast series House of Cards).

"Talking Heads" are Not News Anchors

Saturday, September 21, 2013

As much as I might like them in their regular roles, Ed, Al and Chris are not at their best when anchoring live news events.

This past Monday, our nation experienced its most recent mass shooting tragedy when 12 workers at a US military installation in the District of Columbia were killed and 14 were wounded when a lone gunman opened fire on a crowded atrium within the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters building at the beginning of the work day.  At around 8:20AM, Aaron Alexis, a 34-year old defense subcontractor and former Navy reservist, drove his rental car inside that defense-related installation with a recently purchased shotgun and 24 rounds of ammunition (he would also acquire a 9mm semi-automatic pistol from a security officer he shot on his way to that electronically protected main building and possibly one more from an internal official) and made his way to a strategic position on a 4th floor walkway overlooking that congested food service area during their breakfast service.  Facility and district law enforcement officials responded within 2-3 minutes of the 911 call and eventually encountered Alexis along the walkway.  After wounding an officer and at the end of an approximately 30 minute standoff, he was fatally shot and killed at around 9AM.  These are facts that, in the span of 24 to 48 hours after-the-fact can be succinctly conveyed in a 12-line area of a blog; however, in the immediate aftermath of such a rapidly evolving event, brevity and clarity is nearly non-existent and these scenarios pose significant impediments to those who have been trained to tell us the news.  A much more dire situation occurs when we must endure this process with people who have no formal journalism backgrounds and must ramble on because they must fill their outlet's unlimited air time and I personally witnessed that embarrassment on Monday afternoon on MSNBC.

MSNBC Dissed Me (Again)!

Friday, September 13, 2013

This was probably the only thing that The Daily Rundown got right in this recognition

Thanks to MSNBC's Chris Jansing, I learned a new word today (friggatriskaidekaphobia, or more commonly known as "fear of Friday the 13th") and I might have to affix blame to this rarely occurring calendrical event to explain how that channel screwed up (once again), this time on a very personal level, because I don't want to think that it may have been done deliberately.

Revisit: The (Re)Birth of a Network

Monday, September 2, 2013
[NOTE: this is a new feature that I'm hoping not to have to use that often that goes back to items that I previously posted on this blog and, through personal miscalculations or events totally out of my control, have been proven to no longer be accurate.  I couldn't decide between calling it a "retraction" or a "revision" so I opted for the "revisit" moniker instead.]

When I checked this blog's statistics over the weekend, I noticed that the post I did about Current TV back in March 2012 had 133 page views during the past week (August 25 - September 1) and 437 over the past month (August 1 - September 1).  At the time that I uploaded it, that cable news outlet was trying to posture itself as the 'progressive' alternative to MSNBC's left-leaning programming.  With a marque name on its payroll (the former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann), a solidifying prime-time lineup and simulcasts of popular liberal radio talk show hosts during the 6AM-noon time slots, it appeared that the station initially envisioned as a viewer-generated channel to specifically focus on the lucrative 18-34 market demographic could pose a serious challenge to the "Big Three" of cable news offerings.  The specific date of that posting was March 27th and it would be an event just three days later--unforeseen by me at that time--that would spell the beginning of the end of that challenge.