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Z on TV
Critic David Zurawik writes about the business and culture of TV
Once idealized as TV dad, Bill Cosby becoming pariah to industry

Just as TV once helped create the image of Bill Cosby as the idealized father, Cliff Huxtable in the "The Cosby Show," so is it now helping in the undoing of that image, with Netflix shelving a Cosby standup comedy special that had been scheduled for Nov. 28 and NBC cancelling a deal it had with the 77-year-old comedian to develop a sitcom.

The proposed NBC family sitcom was supposed to feature Cosby in the role of a patriarch.

And now comes TMZ late Wednesday reporting that TV Land has eliminated Cosby from its website, shutting down all links to his TV shows. (Read that here.) This could be worst news of all for Cosby in this very bad week as it suggests he is already starting to be erased from TV history.

The actions by NBC, Netflix and TV Land come in the wake of multiple allegations by women that Cosby raped them in the 1970s and '80s.

Cosby, who had previously settled one such claim, denies the allegations, but his denial through a spokesman that he "is not going to dignify" the...

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Q&A with Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe has deep Baltimore roots that he says served him well during a decade as host of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs." From spending a day on "Sesame Street" helping Oscar on his dirty jobs, to serving as pitchman for Ford F-150 trucks, the Towson University graduate has become a ubiquitous TV presence in his jeans, jersey, work boots and baseball cap.

Last month, the 52-year-old performer launched a new show, "Somebody's Gotta Do It," Wednesday nights on CNN. The series, which features people who are passionate about their jobs, opened strong, drawing about a million viewers, with half of them in the highly coveted 25-54 age range.

I've been seeing you in connection with Baltimore-related stuff this fall. There's a funny video you did at Camden Yards before one of the League Division Series games with Detroit, for example. Have you been back more?

I was born there, and I spent the first 25 years of my life there. And my parents are still there. And my old friends from high...

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New level of Fox News dominance demands analysis, not dismissal

Any day now, I am expecting to turn on the tube and see an ad that says, “More Americans get their TV news from Fox than anywhere else.”

Whether that pleases or horrifies you, it’s time to think seriously about what that says about Fox, CNN, MSNBC, the state of network news today and the role TV plays or doesn’t play in providing us with reliable, trustworthy information.

Much of the media establishment seems bent on ignoring the incredible ratings success of Fox News. Or, maybe it’s just that Fox has pounded CNN and MSNBC in the ratings for so long that another victory doesn’t seem like “news” – especially with MSNBC imploding and CNN committing to any genre but news in an effort to find new audiences.

But there are three ratings stories the last two weeks that taken together show Fox News rising to a new and remarkable level of dominance - and they have been underreported in the mainstream media.

First, Fox News beat not just CNN and MSNBC, but also ABC, NBC and CBS on Nov. 4, the...

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About to turn 3, 'Lilyhammer' might just be the future of TV

E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt is not one of the first people I ever thought of in connection with the future of TV.

But with the third season of his Netflix series, "Lilyhammer," about to drop Friday, I am here to tell you he has become indispensable to any discussion of where the medium is headed.

While Baltimore-made "House of Cards" is the series that generates most of our future-of-TV talk because of its digital and on-demand distribution model, "Lilyhammer" has all that and more. It preceded "House of Cards" as the first original series from Netflix to drop a full season all at once and be accessible 24/7 for streaming.

And I'll also tell you at least one way in which "Lilyhammer" is more intelligent, edgy and sociologically resonant than the Kevin Spacey political drama — in its ongoing critique of multiculturalism, the ideology that dominates American political life but is rarely explored in mainstream media.

Series creators Anne Bjornstad and Eilif Skodvin say they...

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Glenn Clark starts new online sports talk show Monday

Sports talk host Glenn Clark, who was fired earlier this year in the downsizing at radio station WNST, is starting a new daily online show Monday at 10 a.m.

"We're going to do two hours of streaming every day at PressBoxOnline.com," Clark said. "And they've started a new website for me as well, GlennClarkRadio.com."

Listeners will find his new morning show by going to either of those sites, according to Clark.

"We are excited to be adding GlennClarkRadio.com to our stable of sports media properties," John Coulson, managing partner of PressBox, wrote in an email to the Sun.

"The world of streaming 'radio' broadcasts is growing rapidly as people get more and more of their information online, especially through their mobile devices," he added.  "Glenn's background as a sports talk host, with an in-place following, makes him the ideal talent to be successful with a daily live streaming broadcast."

PressBox is "an 8 1/2 year old sports media company dedicated to publishing original sports...

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Talking On Election Night Failures Of Jay Carney, Nate Silver On Media Buzz

I had a chance to take on some of the many election night media failures with Howie Kurtz, Mary Katherine Ham and Ana Marie Cox on "Media Buzz" Sunday. From criticism of Jay Carney to Nate Silver,  no punches were pulled. Take a look.

 

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