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Wednesday Morning Notebook

By admin Published: March 19, 2008

Should have gone to sleep after "Dancing" but switched over to the Akron-Florida State game and stayed through overtime. So I'm fuzzy-minded this morning -- and another longish day looms. But there are always things to talk about ...

-- Judging from the latest numbers over at Dialidol.com, David Archuleta is continuing a cruise toward the championship. Last week, even with a subpar performance, he was the only contestant to seem obviously safe -- leading the field, and outside a margin of error in which every other contestant resided.

Coming off a decent performance this week, he's in the same position: first place, beyond the margin of error, while the other 10 are all in a too-close-to-call range. (How close is that? Well, last week Dialidol had Syesha Mercado at the bottom and David Hernandez -- who was actually voted off next to the bottom -- and Kristy Lee Cook, the other bottom-three resident, sixth from the bottom in the DialIdol stats.)

This week's Diaiidol bottom three is KLC, Amanda Overmyer and Chikezie, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some different names in the bottom three -- including Jason "Smiley Button" Castro or Michael Johns.

-- When going through some backlogged papers and files some time back, I came across an August 2000 issue of Entertainment Weekly. Cover headline: "Are there no limits? Filth, raunch, violence & hate rule popular culture -- has showbiz finally gone too far?"

I held onto the mag because I figured it would some in handy sometime for a "the limits are always being debated" pieces when someone new decided that standards were lost. I mean, people are repeatedly outraged about things -- the old movie production code of standards was formed in 1930, Congress was holding hearings about TV's content half a century ago -- but the line keeps getting pushed.

And the March 24 TV Guide makes my point. The cover, with a photo from "The Tudors": "How far can TV go? Is it just us ... or is sex on TV steamier than ever?" Steamy, maybe not. More explicit, all the time.

-- This Time Warner digital conversion is clearly not the smooth process I hoped for. As I mentioned in my last post about it, the Channel 47 situation is awkward. And this morning, the HD feed of HBO West -- which had been listed, and is promised in the new TW channel guide -- had disappeared.

On top of that, the HD tier is not entirely user-friendly. Let's face it, if you want to use your HD TV set and your services, you want to plant yourself what's now the 400-number channels and just stay there. But where the HD program lineups for the commercial broadcasters are consistent with their analog feeds, the HD versions of public-TV stations WNEO and WVIZ are often different from what's on the analog channel.

Before the realignment, you could find the analog and HD versions of public TV side by side, and so not have to go hunting for them down in analog in the onscreen guide. Now the strict constructionists at TW have them far apart, inconveniencing viewers. Similarly, the weather feeds by WOIO and WKYC, which had been handy to the HD channels in the previous structure, have been moved into the "news & weather" tier in the 300s, again out of a convenient viewing neighborhood.

-- I'm adding a separate post about Anthony Minghella, who died this week.

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