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Notes: "Spotlight," "Mockingjay 2," "Man in the High Castle," more

By Rich Heldenfels Published: November 20, 2015

I saw the movie "Spotlight" not long ago, in order to help out with this article about the movie and how the Catholic church is reacting.

My more general thoughts about the movie: It is very much worth seeing, in part for the reasons given in the above article, but also because it is well acted (particularly by Michael Keaton and Liev Schreiber, but also by supporting players such as Paul Guilfoyle and Jamey Sheridan). And, for someone who has long labored in newspaper work, it is at once a look at how things used to be (both in the budgetary liberties available and how research was before seemingly everything was online) and a reminder of how they should go. There's no desperate tweet-first-update-later mentality at work here; there's an ongoing discussion of what a story should be and what it takes to get it right, even if that means taking longer to do the job.

See the full review below. 


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Special screening of film produced by Kenny Lofton

By Rich Heldenfels Published: November 17, 2015

The official word: The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) is excited to announce a special Cleveland screening of "My First Miracle," produced by legendary Indians centerfielder Kenny Lofton's FilmPool, Inc., on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 7:00pm at Atlas Cinemas - Lakeshore 7, 22624 Lakeshore Blvd., Euclid, OH. A limited number of tickets are available to the public for a $15 donation at A portion of the proceeds from the screening will be donated to MetroHealth's Cancer Care Family Community Room. "My First Miracle" opens for a limited run on Friday, December 4, 2015 at Lakeshore 7.

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ABC sets mid-season plans

By Rich Heldenfels Published: November 17, 2015

The official word: The ABC Television Network has announced midseason premiere dates for new series “Of Kings & Prophets,” “My Diet Is Better Than Yours,” “The Catch,” “The Family” and “The Real O’Neals.” Season premiere dates were also announced for returning favorites “The Bachelor,” “Beyond The Tank,” “Galavant” and “Marvel’s Agent Carter.” They will join the schedule with acclaimed series “American Crime,” previously announced to make its second-season premiere WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6.
Editor’s Note: Tuesday comedies “The Muppets” and “Fresh Off the Boat” will return with all-new episodes beginning TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2. The TGIT lineup of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder” returns with all-new episodes THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11. “Once Upon a Time” and “Quantico” return with all-new episodes SUNDAY, MARCH 6. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” returns with all-new episodes TUESDAY, MARCH 8. “Nashville” returns with all new episodes WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16.
Below are ABC’s midseason premiere dates (all times ET):
8:00-9:00 p.m. “Galavant” (Season 2 Premiere)
8:00-10:00 p.m. “The Bachelor” (Season 20 Premiere)
9:00-11:00 p.m. “Marvel’s Agent Carter” (Season 2 Premiere, 2 hours, regular time period 9-10 p.m.)
10:00 p.m. “American Crime” (Season 2 Premiere)
8:00-10:00 p.m. “My Diet Is Better Than Yours” (Series Premiere, 2 hours)
10:00 p.m. “Beyond the Tank” (Season Premiere)
8:00 p.m. “The Muppets” (New Episodes)
8:30 p.m. “Fresh Off the Boat” (New Episodes)
8:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy” (New Episodes)
9:00 p.m. “Scandal” (New Episodes)
10:00 p.m. “How to Get Away with Murder” (New Episodes)
8:30 p.m. “The Real O’Neals” (Sneak Preview)
9:30 p.m. “The Real O’Neals” (Sneak Preview)
9:00 p.m. “The Family” (Sneak Preview)
8:00 p.m. “Once Upon a Time” (New Episodes)
9:00 p.m. “The Family” (Time Period Premiere)
10:00 p.m. “Quantico” (New Episodes)
8:00 p.m. “Fresh Off the Boat” (New Time Period)
8:30 p.m. “The Real O’Neals” (Time Period Premiere)
9:00 p.m. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” (Series Return, New Episodes)
10:00 p.m. “Of Kings & Prophets” (Series Premiere)
10:00 p.m. “American Crime” (Season Finale)
10:00 p.m. “Nashville” (Series Return, New Episodes)
10:00 p.m. “How to Get Away with Murder” (Season Finale)
10:00 p.m. “The Catch” (Series Premiere)

Watch as the Sharks roll up their sleeves to help their entrepreneurs make the tough decisions that hopefully lead to success, growth and profits on “Beyond the Tank,” the companion series from the producers of the Emmy-winning reality series “Shark Tank.” Each episode of “Beyond the Tank” features captivating and surprising outcomes, and examines the highs and lows after the Sharks strike a deal with the entrepreneurs on “Shark Tank.”
As the Sharks travel across America to mentor the entrepreneurs, assess the businesses and provide their industry expertise -- to make a profit -- audiences will realize the challenges and spirited negotiations are never over. What lies in the aftermath of their investment? Did a promising deal turn sour, or did it lead to millions of dollars in sales?
The Sharks are: Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner and chairman of AXS TV and outspoken owner of the 2011 NBA-champion Dallas Mavericks; real-estate mogul Barbara Corcoran; “Queen of QVC” Lori Greiner; technology innovator Robert Herjavec; fashion and branding expert Daymond John and venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary.
Mark Burnett, Leslie Garvin, and Clay Newbill are the executive producers of “Beyond the Tank.” Mark Burnett, Clay Newbill, Yun Lingner and Phil Gurin are the executive producers of “Shark Tank,” which is based on the Japanese “Dragons’ Den” format created by Nippon Television Network Corporation. The series is produced by United Artists Media Group in association with Sony Pictures Television.
The return of last season’s breakout comedy extravaganza “Galavant” reunites screenwriter/executive producer Dan Fogelman (“Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “Tangled,” “Cars”) with the award-winning musical team of composer Alan Menken (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast”) and lyricist Glenn Slater (“The Little Mermaid,” “Tangled”). Having discovered the dark side of Madalena, our dashing hero’s adventures continue as he embarks on an unlikely bromance with King Richard and fights to rekindle the romance with his true love, Isabella. “Galavant” will premiere on SUNDAY, JANUARY 3 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) with two 30-minute episodes, back-to-back on the ABC Television Network. The ten episode series will run each Sunday night for five-consecutive weeks.
“Galavant” stars Joshua Sasse as Galavant, Timothy Omundson as King Richard, Vinnie Jones as Gareth, Mallory Jansen as Madalena, Karen David as Isabella and Luke Youngblood as Sid.
Executive producers are Dan Fogelman, Alan Menken, Glenn Slater, Chris Koch, Kat Likkel and John Hoberg. Abbey C Studios Ltd. produces “Galavant” for ABC Studios.
“Marvel’s Agent Carter” returns for a second season of adventure and intrigue, starring Hayley Atwell in the titular role of the unstoppable agent for the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve). Dedicated to the fight against new Atomic Age threats in the wake of World War II, Peggy must now journey from New York City to Los Angeles for her most dangerous assignment yet. But even as she discovers new friends, a new home – and perhaps even a new love – she’s about to find out that the bright lights of the post-war Hollywood mask a more sinister threat to everyone she is sworn to protect.
“Marvel’s Agent Carter” stars Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter, James D'Arcy as Edwin Jarvis, Enver Gjokaj as Chief Daniel Sousa, Wynn Everett as Whitney Frost, Reggie Austin as Jason Wilkes and Chad Michael Murray as Chief Jack Thompson.
Tara Butters, Michele Fazekas, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Chris Dingess, Kevin Feige, Louis D'Esposito, Alan Fine, Joe Quesada, Stan Lee and Jeph Loeb are executive producers. “Marvel’s Agent Carter” is produced by ABC Studios and Marvel Television.

Hosted by Shaun T, creator of the workout sensation “Insanity,” the new reality series “My Diet Is Better Than Yours” features celebrity trainers coaching average Americans to lose weight and get in shape. Each trainer brings his/her own individually designed and wildly diverse diet and exercise plan to their contestant, and works with them to change their lives and prove that “My Diet Is Better Than Yours.” In the end, one team will reign victorious. “My Diet Is Better Than Yours” is produced by Kinetic Content and Milojo Productions.
An epic biblical saga of faith, ambition and betrayal as told through the eyes of the battle-weary King Saul, the resentful prophet Samuel and the resourceful young shepherd David -- all on a collision course with destiny that will change the world.
One thousand years before Christ, the first king of the Israelites, Saul, struggles to unify the 12 Israelite tribes and defend his fledgling nation against savage enemy attacks. The prophet Samuel relays a message from God to King Saul that he must destroy one of Israel’s ancient enemies. But when Saul defies that message, Samuel prophesies that the Lord will tear the kingdom of Israel from him and choose another in his place. In time, Saul comes to realize that his greatest threat will not come from his enemies, but from the shepherd, David.
“Of Kings & Prophets” stars Ray Winstone as King Saul, Olly Rix as David, Mohammad Bakri as Samuel, Simone Kessell as Queen Ahinoam, Nathaniel Parker as King Achish, Haaz Sleiman as Jonathan, James Floyd as Ishbaal, Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Michal, Jeanine Mason as Merav, David Walmsley as Joab.
“Of Kings & Prophets” was developed by Adam Cooper & Bill Collage. The executive producers are Chris Brancato, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Reza Aslan, Mahyad Tousi. “Of Kings & Prophets” is produced by ABC Studios.
Ben Higgins, the handsome software salesman who was sent home by Kaitlyn Bristowe last season on “The Bachelorette,” confessed to Kaitlyn that he thought he was "unlovable." Even so, he saw a "great life” with her, only to have his hopes dashed and his heart broken when he was left without a rose. Now, Ben is ready to open himself up again to love, but he still has the lingering fear of being unlovable. He will attempt to put his heartbreak behind him and overcome that fear as he searches for his one true love and, maybe more importantly, a woman who loves him back.
Hosted by Chris Harrison, “The Bachelor” is produced by Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television. Mike Fleiss, Elan Gale, Bennett Graebner, Peter Scalettar and Nicole Woods are the executive producers.
Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos) is LA’s top private investigator — and the one woman you don’t want to mess with. But when her fiancé (Peter Krause) cons her out of millions and disappears, Alice goes on a private mission for payback. No matter where it leads or the secrets she must keep along the way, Alice will stop at nothing to catch her man. From the producers of “Scandal,” “Greys Anatomy” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” “The Catch” is a one-hour drama starring Mireille Enos, Peter Krause, Alimi Ballard, Jay Hayden, Jacky Ido, Rose Rollins, Elvy Yost and Sonya Walger. It is executive-produced by Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Allan Heinberg and Julie Anne Robinson.
This thriller follows the return of a politician’s young son who was presumed dead after disappearing over a decade earlier. As the mysterious young man is welcomed back into his family, suspicions emerge — is he really who he says he is?
“The Family” stars Joan Allen as Claire, Alison Pill as Willa, Margot Bingham as Det. Nina Meyer, Zach Gilford as Danny, Liam James as Adam, Floriana Lima as Bridey, Madeleine Arthur as Young Willa, Rarmian Newton as Young Danny, Rupert Graves as John and Andrew McCarthy as Hank.
“The Family” was written by Jenna Bans. Executive producers are Jenna Bans and Mandeville Television’s Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman and Laurie Zaks. “The Family” is produced by ABC Studios.

A seemingly perfect family’s life takes an unexpected turn when surprising truths are revealed. Instead of ruining their family, the honesty triggers a new, messier chapter where everyone stops pretending to be perfect and actually starts being real.
“The Real O’Neals” stars Martha Plimpton as Eileen, Jay R. Ferguson as Pat, Noah Galvin as Kenny, Matthew Shively as Jimmy, Bebe Wood as Shannon and Mary Hollis Inboden as Jodi.
"The Real O’Neals" teleplay was written by Casey Johnson & David Windsor and Josh Sternin & Jennifer Ventimilia, based on a story by Josh Sternin & Jennifer Ventimilia. Executive Producers of the series are Casey Johnson, David Windsor, Stacy Traub, Dan Savage, Brian Pines, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Dan McDermott and Todd Holland.

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The Browns' REALLY bad days

By Rich Heldenfels Published: November 6, 2015

I have a piece online and in the print Beacon Journal today marking the 20th anniversary of Art Modell's announcing the Browns' move to Baltimore. That decision set off a wave of protests, coverage, litigation, negotiation and looks at what appeared to be some Browns "lasts," such as the last home game and the last appearance on "Monday Night Football." Those didn't prove to be the real "lasts" since the Browns returned in 1999 but for several years, those 1995 events were benchmarks. And they sent me into the archives for a couple of things.

Here, for example, is a piece I wrote before the Browns bid farewell to "MNF," which will be 20 years ago on Nov. 13. From the Beacon Journal that day:

Whatever you thought of the late Howard Cosell, Northeast Ohio should miss him tonight. 
The Browns, who beat the New York Jets in ABC's first Monday Night Football game in 1970, will make what likely will be their last appearance as Cleveland's team on the series tonight at 9, when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cosell, famous as an announcer on MNF, in his later years denounced what he called the NFL's "power, greed, arrogance, complacency and disregard for the public."
One reason for his anger was that his friend Carroll Rosenbloom had moved the Los Angeles Rams to neighboring Anaheim.
Veteran Cosell watcher Marc Gunther pondered the Browns' move to Baltimore and said: "Can you imagine Howard on this topic? I'd pay to watch Cosell talk about this."
It would indeed have been fun to hear Cosell, who died last spring, tee off on Browns owner Art Modell. And the pleasure would have been greater because Modell helped to make Cosell a star.
Gunther, who writes about television for Knight-Ridder, also is co-author of Monday Night Mayhem, a 1988 history of Monday Night Football. The book begins with these words: "Art Modell."
Modell, after all, was a key player in the NFL's deal with ABC to broadcast Monday night games.
"The other owners were very skeptical that they could draw a crowd for a Monday night game," Gunther said. So Modell volunteered Cleveland as the initial site. The game not only drew 85,703 people to the Stadium, but was a ratings success.
Although Cosell's abrasive style put him at risk for a few weeks, the series was on its way. Even with changes in the announcing booth -- from the original trio of Cosell, Keith Jackson and Don Meredith to the current lineup of Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Canton native Dan Dierdorf -- the show goes on.
Cleveland got other showcases on Monday night (Gunther says it was Monday night games that made the Dawg Pound a national phenomenon), but it also was clear, in that first game, that Cleveland helped MNF.
The New York Jets represented a new wave in the NFL as one of the former AFL teams that just been merged into the older league. The Browns, with decades of glory behind them, represented football tradition.
Tradition, of course, that Modell has since tossed aside.
Monday Night Football is just one part of the change the Browns are causing in TV and radio.
No sports team has been bigger with Northeast Ohio audiences than the Browns. One benchmark of the Indians' success was that their postseason TV ratings were comparable to what the Browns have drawn for playoff appearances.
It's a bit early to assess the effect of the Browns' departure. We don't know, for instance, if another team can be in place by next season. And broadcasters tend to be tight-lipped about financial questions.
Bill Scaffide, general manager of WKYC-TV (Channel 3), which carries the Browns and the AFC, talked at length recently about the demoralizing effect of Modell's move. But when asked what it meant in terms of advertising revenue, Scaffide would only acknowledge "some financial impact."
Still, the Browns' ratings for regular-season games last year on Channel 3 were about 60 percent higher than when the station carried another conference game. Playoff ratings were even higher.
The plentiful Browns-related shows, such as Browns Insider, also fed a viewer appetite before many were dropped last week in the anti-Modell backlash. In talk-radio, a hot Browns topic invariably draws more calls than other subjects.
Television, of late, has demonstrated the importance of the Browns beyond Northeast Ohio.
ESPN has reported extensively on the impending move, and when Today broadcast from Baltimore last Wednesday, it was a major point of discussion. Host Bryant Gumbel even joked that a schooner in Baltimore Harbor was part of a Cleveland attack on the city.
Baltimore's NBC affiliate, WBAL-TV, is excited at the prospect of Browns telecasts. In fact, the station picked up last Sunday's Cleveland-Houston game.
That meant that Baltimore fans saw the team while viewers in Northeast Ohio, where the game was blacked out, did not.
The ratings were lackluster, said Sharon Walz, director of research for WBAL. However, the telecast was added at the last minute and not well-publicized, she said. Fans, burned in previous negotiations to return a team to Baltimore, also might have been keeping their enthusiasm in check until the deal formally was announced.
Still, WBAL probably will carry other Browns games, and Walz envisions a return to the ratings glory the old Baltimore Colts achieved before leaving town in 1984.
Baltimore television has made some major changes since then, including a switch from ratings diaries to meters. And WBAL has been an NBC affiliate only since January, when Baltimore went through a round of affiliation changes -- much the way Cleveland did a year ago.
So Walz was reluctant to draw specific comparisons between ratings in the early '80s and the late '90s.
But the Colts did draw viewers in a way that non-AFC games, or even games featuring the nearby Washington Redskins, did not. And the major networks will have to hope for big gains in Baltimore if Cleveland is without its own team.
Modell might be getting big money from Baltimore, but he's doing it in a smaller TV market: Cleveland is the 13th largest in the country; Baltimore is 22nd.

And here is a short piece I wrote after the game telecast. From the Beacon Journal, Nov. 14, 1995.

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Video: Two Guys Talkin' about which presidential candidate they'd want on 'Saturday Night Live'

By Published: November 6, 2015

Donald Trump is hosting Saturday Night Live this week. If the current list of 16 presidential candidates got to host, who would be the best and the worst? Malcolm X Abram and Rich Heldenfels make their picks.

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New "Star Trek" TV series coming in 2017, will peddle CBS All Access

By Rich Heldenfels Published: November 2, 2015

It is a thing apart from the next "Star Trek" movie, which is due in 2016. I have a few thoughts about where the programming strategy fits in "Star Trek" history here.

Here is the official word on the TV series:

CBS Television Studios announced today it will launch a totally new “Star Trek” television series in January 2017. The new series will blast off with a special preview broadcast on the CBS Television Network. The premiere episode and all subsequent first-run episodes will then be available exclusively in the United States on CBS All Access, the Network’s digital subscription video on demand and live streaming service.


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Video: Two Guys Talkin’ about TV shows that deserve a second chance

By Published: October 30, 2015

This week, Malcolm X Abram and Rich Heldenfels – our Two Guys Talkin’ – discuss canceled TV shows they’d love to be reborn. What shows do you think need a second chance?

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"60 Minutes" looks at heroin epidemic in Ohio

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 29, 2015

The official word:  Today, the faces of heroin are young, middle to upper class and suburban. She plays high school sports. So does he. Their parents were shocked when they found out. But it’s not just young people. It’s all ages and it’s happening across the U.S. So Bill Whitaker went to the heartland to report this story, to Ohio, where its attorney general says the heroin epidemic is the worst he has ever seen. Whitaker’s report will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Nov. 1 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.


            “This is the worst drug epidemic I've seen in my lifetime,” says Ohio A.G. Mike DeWine. “Anybody watching today, this show-- it could be your family. There's no typical person. It just has permeated every segment of society in Ohio,” he tells Whitaker. “There is no place in Ohio where you can hide from it.”


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Some Amy Schumer tickets remaining; chance for general public purchases Thursday UPDATE: Sold Out

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 28, 2015



As you may know, the superb Schumer -- writer and star of "Inside Amy Schumer;" "Trainwreck" and a recent HBO special directed by Chris Rock -- is coming to Kent State on Dec. 6. So far, tickets have been available only to Kent State students, faculty and staff, and are being snapped up. But, at this writing, there are still about 500 tickets left and however many of those remain at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday) will go on sale to the general public. You can get more info about buying them here.

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Miss Universe, Miss USA move to Fox

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 28, 2015

You may recall a parting of the ways with NBC when Donald Trump owned the pageants. But he sold them.  The official word:

IMG and The Miss Universe Organization today announced “THE 64th ANNUAL MISS UNIVERSE® PAGEANT” has been picked up by Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX). The three-hour annual event will air live from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Sunday, Dec. 20 (7:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX. As part of IMG’s agreement with FOX to broadcast MISS UNIVERSE®, the network will also have domestic rights to air MISS USA®.


“MISS UNIVERSE® is a unique, global media property and this partnership with FOX marks a new era for The Miss Universe Organization as a whole,” said Michael Antinoro, SVP of Original Content, IMG. “As the broadcast leader in innovative and groundbreaking live events, FOX is the perfect partner as we look to implement new and exciting changes to this show and the franchise.”

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