WBEZ | ABC http://www.wbez.org/tags/abc Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Twitter, fandom, and why ABC's 'Scandal' matters http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-10/twitter-fandom-and-why-abcs-scandal-matters-108838 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/551127_688902614472857_511757039_n.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(Facebook/Scandal)" /></div><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34">The stigma of Shonda Rhimes&rsquo; shows are not unfounded. Now entering its 10th season, <em>Grey&rsquo;s Anatomy</em> has emerged as a constant, if not deeply flawed television show. Although most television shows require a level of implausibility for the sake of plot, <em>Grey&rsquo;s Anatomy</em> jumped the shark numerous times to settle into its role of over-the-top drama.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34">But for a show like <em>Scandal</em>, the over-the-top drama works. Set in the highest Washington, D.C. political circles, the more ridiculous <em>Scandal</em> becomes, the more entertaining it becomes for its viewer. <em>Scandal</em> has thus far succeeded by emphasizing its strengths. Its stellar cast keeps the plotlines safe from devolving into utter madness. As &ldquo;fixer&rdquo; Olivia Pope, Kerry Washington is a more than capable lead, inducing both envy and frustration in her show&rsquo;s viewers.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34">More than anything, <em>Scandal</em>&rsquo;s near-perfect formula of intrigue, sex, and crazy has created and sustained a community of fans that are dedicated to the show&rsquo;s plot and the show&rsquo;s success.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34">There is nothing greater in television watching right now than live tweeting with other <em>Scandal</em> fans.&nbsp;</span>Last night I&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/britticisms/status/385596526140997632" target="_blank">joked</a>&nbsp;that the return of&nbsp;<em>Scandal</em>&nbsp;was a return to the &ldquo;Black Girl Twitter&rdquo; community I loved so deeply. Without provocation, we all began watching and talking about the show as it aired. My timeline explodes with chatter about the show, its characters, the clothing, and the music as it airs.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1238890_680036928692759_691831075_n.jpg" style="height: 207px; width: 310px; float: left;" title="(Facebook/Scandal)" /><a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/Presentations/2009/44--Twitter-and-status-updating.aspx" target="_blank">According</a> to a 2009 study from the Pew Research Center&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/17-Twitter-and-Status-Updating-Fall-2009.aspx">Pew Internet and American Life Project</a>, Twitter users are more likely to be African-American women. As well, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/arts/television/scandal-on-abc-is-breaking-barriers.html?pagewanted=1&amp;%2359;adxnnlx=1358514825-5e%20djvuRuiG14b3JjZiqVg&amp;%2359&amp;_r=1&amp;%2359;adxnnl=1&amp;pagewanted=all&amp;" target="_blank">according to a report from the <em>New York Times</em></a> of Nielsen ratings, &ldquo;<em>Scandal</em> is the highest rated scripted drama among African-Americans, with 10.1 percent of black households, or an average of 1.8 million viewers, tuning in during the first half of the season.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34"><em>Scandal</em> premiered as the first television drama starring a black woman in nearly 40 years. Two years after its premiere, the television landscape is minisculely better. Earlier this year, NBC premiered (and quickly canceled) the drama <em>Deception</em>, starring Meagan Good. The show included similar themes to <em>Scandal</em> (revenge, secrets, affairs), but suffered due to a poor time slot and an even poorer narrative structure.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34">Still, <em>Deception</em> was an early sign that broadcast networks are making small strides in creating television shows that feature and cater to more diverse audiences. Successes breed copies. Successes breed trends.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34">Earlier this fall, FOX premiered <em>Sleepy Hollow</em>, a supernatural thriller starring Nicole Beharie. If her character&rsquo;s race was needed specifically for the plot remains to be seen. As it stands, this is the third drama on a major network to star a black woman in the past two years. Whereas we waited 40 years for <em>Scandal</em>, audiences now only had to wait a summer hiatus for additional diversity on their screens.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34">If a trend is now &ldquo;black female lead,&rdquo; it can potentially lead to the sort of television landscape that is sorely needed. However, if the trend proves unsuccessful, there could be a backlash, a desire to not include diversity on upcoming shows as it has proven (just once) to be unsuccessful.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34">&ldquo;<em>Scandal</em> this week!&rdquo; my aunt exclaimed at the dinner table this past Sunday. There sat three generations of black women and each was as duly invested in the show as the other. We all loved it for different reasons.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34">My mother and aunt love the plot, but love the troubled and troubling romance between President Fitzgerald Grant and Olivia more than anything. My grandmother invested time in it like other dramas and soap operas she loves (Tyler Perry&rsquo;s <em>The Haves and The Have Nots</em> being her favorite). For me, <em>Scandal</em> is all about the plot twists and Olivia. Each new episode is a moment to watch history unfold. From the beginning, <em>Scandal</em> felt capital &lsquo;I&rsquo; Important and I invested time in it because of that.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34">In an interview for the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/arts/television/scandal-on-abc-is-breaking-barriers.html?pagewanted=1&amp;%2359;adxnnlx=1358514825-5e%20djvuRuiG14b3JjZiqVg&amp;%2359&amp;_r=1&amp;%2359;adxnnl=1&amp;pagewanted=all&amp;" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a>, author Joan Morgan said, &ldquo;</span>It&rsquo;s about seeing the show where black women and other women are represented less about race and more about who they are.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-29fcfb70-7e9e-2bb4-96da-46e34161db34">Olivia Pope matters. On a show as ballsy and enthralling as <em>Scandal</em>, Olivia is the constant that keeps the show grounded in reality. With Olivia, we find a lead who is at once strong, vulnerable, and multifaceted. And although that means a lot to black female fans, it can and does mean a lot to <em>Scandal</em>&rsquo;s audience in general. </span></p><p>Hollywood is not merely a system of numbers. It is a system, period. It works through formulas and avoids risks. Audiences certainly suffer for this system, but when the system succeeds, there is little stopping executives from making the same decision, over and over again, wishing for the same results. When it comes to diversity, one can only hope that Hollywood finds this formula a lasting one.</p><p><em>Britt Julious is the co-host of&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbezs-changing-channels" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television. She also writes about race and culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 03 Oct 2013 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-10/twitter-fandom-and-why-abcs-scandal-matters-108838 It's criminal: WGN expands 'Sports Central' into oblivion http://www.wbez.org/blog/robert-feder/its-criminal-wgn-expands-sports-central-oblivion <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Jim-Laski.jpg"><img height="225" width="400" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Jim-Laski.jpg" alt="" class="size-full wp-image-19072" /></a></p><p><code> </code> <code> </code> Robservations on the media beat:</p><ul> <li>Only in the bizarre up-is-down, black-is-white alternate universe of WGN-AM (720) would the cancellation of Chicago's longest running sports talk show be called an <em>expansion</em> of sports. &quot;WGN RADIO EXPANDS SPORTS COVERAGE AND ADDS NEW GENERAL TALK SHOW&quot; read the headline of a press release issued late Thursday by the Tribune Co.-owned news/talk station. As of April 12, &quot;Sports Central&quot; will be replaced from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday by a &quot;current events talk show&quot; fronted by <a href="/feder/2010/02/they-did-the-crimes-so-why-is-wgn-punishing-us/15707">convicted felon</a> (and manifestly unqualified radio rookie)&sbquo;&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.wgnradio.com/shows/jimlaski/">Jim Laski.</a> <span style="font-weight: normal;">What a disgrace.&sbquo;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wgnradio.com/shows/sportscentral/wgnam-sportscentral-information,0,1106767.story"><strong>David Kaplan,</strong></a> who's hosted the weeknight sports franchise since 1997, will shift to Cubs post-game shows and other sports features. It's all the handiwork of obstinate program director <a href="/feder/2009/11/a-rude-pig-virus-infects-wgn-radio/8321"><strong>Kevin &quot;Pig Virus&quot; Metheny,</strong></a> who took on Laski, the former city clerk of Chicago who served 11 months in prison for accepting bribes, as a weekend host -- and his personal reclamation project. Said Metheny:</span></strong></li> </ul> <blockquote>&quot;In the past few months, Laski has built a strong track record on WGN.&sbquo;&nbsp; He's a fascinating character who was called to public service and eventually behaved criminally. He paid for his crime, is sincerely contrite and is moving on. He has a unique insider's perspective on life in and around Chicago.&quot;</blockquote> <ul> <li>WGN bosses cried foul last month when I <a href="/feder/2010/02/surprise-don-roma-chicagos-new-morning-faves/16088">reported here</a> that the station had lost in the morning-drive ratings for the first time ever to Citadel Broadcasting news/talk WLS-AM (890). They said I'd been misled. They said it was a mistake. They said I'd misread the numbers. Well, guess what? It happened again: WLS' <strong>Don</strong> and <strong>Roma Wade</strong> beat WGN's <a href="/feder/2010/03/whos-on-first-in-radio-it-depends-on-who-keeps-score/16486"><strong>Greg Jarrett</strong></a> among all listeners age 12 and older in just-released Arbitron figures for February.&sbquo;&nbsp;Any way you slice it&sbquo;&nbsp; -- &nbsp;from 6 to 10 a.m. (as Arbitron defines morning drive) or from 5 to 9 a.m. (the actual hours when Jarrett competes with the Wades) -- &nbsp;WLS comes out on top of WGN.</li> <li>After a year that saw <strong>Jerry Springer</strong> and <strong>Steve Wilkos</strong> move to Connecticut, and <strong>Oprah Winfrey</strong> announce the end of her Chicago-based talk show, the impending <a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/towerticker/2010/03/disneyabc-to-cancel-at-the-movies-siskel-and-eberts-old-show.html">demise of &quot;At the Movies&quot;</a>&nbsp;marks another setback for Chicago productions on the national stage. For ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, which has been the show's home base since 2001, it also means a loss of income from Disney-ABC Domestic Television and ABC Media Productions. &quot;We were both honored and thrilled to produce the show for nine years -- &nbsp;an achievement of which we can be very proud,&quot; said <strong>Emily Barr,</strong> president and general manager of Channel 7. Although the syndicated movie-review show never recovered from the departure of hosts <strong>Roger Ebert </strong>and <strong>Richard Roeper,</strong> at least it will die with dignity under <strong>Michael Phillips</strong> and <strong>Tony Scott.</strong> No word on what will replace it on Channel 7's lineup this fall, but a likely source of programming could be the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/01/even-in-tough-times-abc-7-succeeds-with-live-well-hd/11355">Live Well HD</a> digital channel.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.j2sc.com/joane.htm">J</a></strong><strong><a href="http://www.j2sc.com/joane.htm">oan Esposito,</a></strong>the former Chicago television news anchor, has agreed to speak publicly for the first time about her battle with cancer. In a story expected to air in May on Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9, Esposito will tell medical reporter <a href="http://www.wgntv.com/about/station/newsteam/dinabair/"><strong>Dina Bair</strong></a><strong> </strong>that she was diagnosed with lymphoma three years ago. It's now in remission. Bair, who worked with Esposito as an intern at Channel 7 and as a producer at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, also survived her own cancer battle with melanoma.</li> <li>At long last <strong>Roe Conn</strong> is expected to announce today that traffic reporter <a href="http://www.wlsam.com/Article.asp?id=152536&amp;spid=6789"><strong>Christina Filiaggi</strong></a><strong> </strong>will be returning to his afternoon show on WLS-AM. She could be back on as early as Monday. Filiaggi, who first joined Conn's show in 2001, was dropped in a budget cut in February 2008, brought back in June 2008, and dropped a second time in May 2009. Third time's the charm?</li> <li>Wedding bells are ringing this weekend for <a href="http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/about_us/personalities/Tera_Bio"><strong>Tera Williams, </strong></a>who may be <strong>Mayor Richard Daley's</strong> <a href="http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/mayor-daley-tera-williams-video#transcript">least favorite</a> general assignment reporter at WFLD-Channel 32, and <a href="/feder/2009/11/ex-fox-anchor-fighting-back-after-firing/8157"><strong>Mike Barz,</strong></a> former anchor of the Fox-owned station's &quot;Good Day Chicago.&quot; Williams posted a note on <a href="http://www.travelersjoy.com/members/teraandmike/">TravelersJoy.com</a> that they're hoping to &quot;go sailing in the British Virgin Islands for one week&quot; on their honeymoon.</li> <li>One editor and one reporter will be hired by Chicago Public Radio WBEZ-FM (91.5) as part of an Upper Midwest Local Journalism Center funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, according to <a href="http://cpb.org/pressroom/release.php?prn=814">an announcement</a> Thursday. The center, one of seven across the country, will operate in partnership with Michigan Radio and Cleveland's Ideastream.</li> <li><strong>George Castle</strong> kicks off the 17th&sbquo;&nbsp;season of his &quot;Diamond Gems&quot; baseball talk show this weekend with the addition of on an online outlet at the Times of Northwest Indiana's <a href="http://nwitimes.com/">NWI.com.</a> It continues to air on WLBK-AM (1360) in DeKalb at 1 p.m. Saturdays, WIMS-AM (1420) in Michigan City at 6 p.m. Saturdays, WJOL-AM (1340) in Joliet at 4 p.m. Sundays, and on <a href="http://SLRNRadioSports.com/">SLRNRadioSports.com</a> at 11 a.m. Fridays. Castle's 11th baseball book, <em>When The Game Changed: An Oral History of Baseball's True Golden Age 1969-79,</em> will be published in September by Lyons Press.</li> <li><strong>Ruth L Ratny,</strong> publisher of <a href="http://reelchicago.com/">ReelChicago.com,</a> will receive the Chicago Legend Award April 15 at the Chicago International Film Festival's Hugo Television Awards. Ratny has been an outspoken supporter of Chicago's film and television production industry for decades.&sbquo;&nbsp;<strong>Dean Richards,</strong> entertainment reporter and critic for Channel 9, will host the event at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago.</li> </ul></p> Fri, 26 Mar 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/robert-feder/its-criminal-wgn-expands-sports-central-oblivion