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Z on TV
Critic David Zurawik writes about the business and culture of TV
Army-Navy TV ratings up 7 percent over last year

The TV ratings for Saturday's Army-Navy game in Baltimore were up 7 percent over last year, according to CBS, which televised the game.

CBS said it was the highest-rated Army-Navy game in 15 years.

Nationally, the game drew a rating of 4.5 and share of 10, compared with a rating of 4.2 and 9 share last year.

In the Baltimore market, the game drew a 9.5 rating and 20 share, according to CBS. 

Navy won the game by a score of 17-10.

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CBS a little late and a lot lost in Ravens telecast

I knew it couldn’t last forever.

After two weeks of mostly praising CBS for its Ravens telecasts, Sunday’s coverage of Baltimore’s 20-12 victory over Jacksonville was dismal. And the problems went well beyond the booth team of Tom McCarthy and Adam Archuleta.

The most basic job of any live sports telecast is to show viewers the whole event, but CBS couldn’t even deliver that to its audience.

Baltimore viewers missed the opening snap of the second quarter Sunday. The telecast came out of a double-pump-quadruple-pimp promo for two of the “CSI” series to show Joe Flacco standing five yards behind the line of scrimmage looking downfield for a receiver.

Sometimes, locally owned or affiliated stations are responsible for “clipping” the network this way. But the promos were not for CBS-owned WJZ, they were for the network series.

Maybe one missed snap doesn’t seem like that big a deal to you by itself. But it is representative of how deep a backseat the viewing pleasure of the fan takes to...

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Watching the Ravens on CBS is a lot easier to take this year

One of the happier and more unexpected stories of the Ravens’ season has been the improvement in the CBS telecasts of the games.

Last week, the network’s second string team of Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts and Jenny Dell turned in a perfectly solid performance, and the same goes for this week’s effort by Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein and Chris Fischer in a 28-13 Ravens win.

I don’t even know what string they are, but it doesn’t matter because they did good work. After complaining endlessly last season about Sean McManus dissing Baltimore viewers with what I considered cut-rate staffing of Ravens games, I have to admit he’s treating viewers here probably better than we deserve given the economics of the business.

Not many markets outside of Baltimore and Miami carried the Ravens-Dolphins game. Heck, I probably would have been watching the Pittsburgh Steelers-Cincinnati Bengals game if I hadn't been reviewing the Ravens.

And, yet, we got a crew with three decent professionals in...

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Whether it's Eric Garner or Ray Rice, raw video drives national conversation

We are a nation being driven by video images.

Not the polished and buffed ones produced and packaged during the TV era by the networks and cable channels to sell cars, beer and cosmetics. But rather the raw, often disturbing ones passing unfiltered from security cameras or the hands of citizens armed with the latest digital technology to our computers, smartphones and TV screens.

If you call the footage of Ray Rice brutally punching his then-fiancee in an elevator shocking, what adjective do you use to describe the images of white police officers taking down and piling on Eric Garner as he repeatedly pleads that he "can't breathe"?

Garner died off-camera on the way to the hospital, we are told, but watching those images of the last moments of his life on the pavement, I felt as though I was witnessing an execution. For all the millions of video sequences I have watched and often written about, that is among the most powerful and troubling I have ever seen. The ISIS videos were far less...

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Former Baltimore sportscaster Jen Royle debuts on ABC's 'The Taste'

Remember Jen Royle from 105.7 The Fan?

Well, she's been doing OK in the world of Boston sports since leaving town, and last night she made her debut on the ABC reality show, "The Taste," a cooking competition. That's the one that includes Anthony Bourdain among its judges.

Lots of social media chatter about her clam chowder.

Here's a link to ABC's video of her audition, clam chowder and mini-bio.



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'The Wire' gets new high-def, remastered life on HBO

The new year is going to bring new life for "The Wire" on HBO.

The cable channel announced Tuesday that it is releasing a high-def, remastered version of the series on Jan. 5.

To promote the launch, the HBO Signature channel will air a marathon of all five seasons on "The Wire" starting on Dec. 26.

Here's the release from HBO:

In the six years that have passed since the conclusion of the HBO series The Wire,  the critically acclaimed drama has turned into a worldwide phenomenon that has been hailed as “one of the best and most original series on television in decades” by the New York Times. Now, new and old fans of the series can watch the show like never before thanks to a brand new High-Definition upgrade of all 60 episodes, which will debut in December on HBO Signature® and HBO GO®. The Wire: The Complete Series will be available to own on Digital HD Monday, January 5, 2015 and on Blu-rayTM in Summer 2015.
The entire series has been beautifully re-mastered in 16x9 Full-Frame HD...

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