Monthly Archives: March 2011

Monkey Island

Image taken from http://www.ncl.com

This past week we went freestyle cruising on the Norwegian Spirit cruise ship. It was an incredible time but needless to say, there were not many things to watch or alternate media forms to engage in. With our blackberries, iphones, ipods and androids locked safely in our cabins, we enjoyed the pool deck and the hot hot Mexican sun.

However, there is nothing that gets the male 18-34 demographic riled up like NCAA basketball:

Six Monkeys!

Unfortunately, our vacation week fell smack dab within the March Madness tournament. So, with paws wrapped around Bourbon & Cokes the monkeys howled at the bartenders (in the most polite fashion, of course) until they tuned all channels to CBS, TruTV, TNT or TBS to catch as much of the March Madness games as possible.

Interestingly, in a press release given by Turner Broadcasting System, the parent company of TruTV, TNT and TBS, the company notes that the viewership of the March Madness tournament within the first two weeks was staggering. Nearly 100 million people tuned in at some point to the live coverage of the games on either of the four networks. This is up 11% from last year’s 89.6 million viewing audience.

In an ever-increasing media industry, live sports may be the only thing barring  a completely on-demand system. As companies such as Netflix and Hulu and even Facebook continue to expand their available content, channels like ESPN, ESPN2, FOX and CBS reached unprecedented numbers this year throughout sports coverage, especially during the winter football months. This is a clear indication that there is still a strong desire for appointment television. The future of content distribution is a topic that we will look further into in later posts. Leave a post on where you think we’re headed in these uncertain times!

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#Twitter

Picture taken from twitter.com

Within the past three months, we have developed a fascination with Twitter. Although the social site has been mainstream for a decent amount of time, it has just recently crossed into our sphere. Perhaps we thought it was stupid, or childish or too similar to Facebook to bother with it. In fact, the only reason we began using it in the first place is because one of the monkeys had to occasionally create posts for one of his classes (what a joke, writing 140 characters as a homework assignment, try writing a blog!) Here is an interesting article from USNews.com about professors taking advantage of twitter. However, once the line was cast we were hooked. None of us are huge posters. For instance, someone might post on a friday: “Happy Friday Boys”, or on a sunday: “House clean” or on a thursday:  “taking care of business before the treachery begins”. It’s the following aspect of twitter that is extremely useful to us. For instance, by following NPR or CNN we can get up to the date information straight to our phone. Or, we can follow our favorite comedian: Daniel Tosh, actor: Leonardo Dicaprio, athlete: depends who you ask, or degenerate: Charlie Sheen. In my world that revolves very tightly around television and film I can follow producers, directors, networks and production companies to find out what’s going. Moreover, twitter is a great way for us to extend our locus of control and seek out career and internship opportunities as this post dutifully explains.

All Monkeys are hands on deck with Twitter:

Let’s take a look at the different demographics behind twitter use. In November of 2010 the Pew Research Centerconducted a study reviewing twitter profiles and this is what they came up with.

Chart taken from designdamage.com

The first thing to note is that only 8% of Internet users are Twitter activated. Although this is an enormous amount of people, it shows that Twitter is still a  minority. Next, we see that more women are tweeting. This is a bit of a surprise to me, especially the 3% discrepancy between men and women. The most important statistic that we can glean from this chart is that 14% of the 18-29 demographic is on Twitter. This is crucial information for advertisers looking to tap into this much valued demographic. The last thing of interest is that the Hispanic race has a whopping 18% Twitter profile. I honestly have no guess as to why this might be but I will definitely put some thought/research into it and update this blog after. To close this post I will leave you with 5 ways to use twitter to be a happier person. Enjoy the warm weather for those if you in the Northeast and happy spring break to the University of Maryland. I myself will be heading off on a cruise to Mexico with the other Monkeys so will be out of the blogosphere for a week and a half! Adios!


Cable Pilot Watch 2011-2012

Unfortunately, Deadline.com‘s all-star reporter Nellie Andreeva only covers the broadcast TV pilot season (ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX). For example, in her blog post on Tuesday, March 8th 2011, Andreeva “takes an analytical look at the current broadcast pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.” As you may have noticed, many of the monkeys are not content with the programming of the masses and have a strong appetite for cable television. Therefore, we have asked Nellie to post a parallel article relating to the cable pilots below:

PILOT SEASON: Similarities and Congruences

Part of a series that takes an analytical look at the current cable pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.

Unlike broadcast, cable TV can be out there. Way out there. For these smaller networks it’s more about holding onto their niche audiences than appealing to the masses. This gives the cable pilot season a unique range with limited trends. However, there are certain things that we can expect to see make it to the 2011-2012 season such as paranormal adventures, workplace dramas and crime procedurals.

This season A&E has added a haunted docu-soap to their development slate. The network has greenlit an unscripted pilot called The Unexplained from Executive producer Doug Liman. According to A&E’s press release, “the show will deliver real-life stories that take audiences to places they have never been before: investigating, questioning, experiencing and chasing down answers to the most bizarre stories and strangest paranormal occurrences.” (The Futon Critic)

On the scripted side, the CW Network has several paranormal projects all of which have been ordered to pilot. The first is Awakening, created by Jason Rothenberg and Bill Robinson. The pilot features Lucy Griffiths as Jenna Lestrade and Meredith Hagner as Jayce Lestrade. The two play combative sisters who come of age amid the beginning of a zombie uprising. Sticking with the female-skewing paranormal stories, the network is also introducing Spellbound from Executive Produce Becky Hartman-Edwards. The pilot is a dramedy about a young life coach/witch in new york who uses her magical powers to help others solve their problems.

Moving to the realistic, (yet still quite fiction in some instances) are the work dramas. In the past year, the USA Network has proven to be a master of scripted workplace television with hits like Royal Pains and White Collar. The formula for edgy characters that push professional boundaries can be seen in their pilot orders for Necessary Roughness and Wild Card. Necessary Roughness is produced by Sony Pictures Television and focuses on a tough, Long Island divorcee (Callie Thorne) who gets a job as a therapist for a professional football team in order to make ends meet. Wild Card, from creator Stephen Godchaux, stars Ben Lawson (Will Garrett) as a Las Vegas lawyer who must handle all of the curve balls Sin City can throw at him.

For the pay-cable channels, HBO has a workplace drama in contention hailing from recent Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin’s pilot is currently untitled but characterizes the behind-the-scenes action of a nightly cable news show. Moreover, both Showtime and Starz also have workplace pilots in development. Showtime is mulling over House of Lies featuring Don Cheadle. Lies is a half-hour, dark comedy created and written by Matthew Carnahan from the hit  book House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Tell You the Time by Martin Kihn. The Starz pilot, Boss, is from Executive Producers Brian Sher and Kelsey Grammar (also starring) and is a political thriller about the mayor of Chicago.

Crime procedurals have been very  successful on broadcast air with hits like CSI, NCIS and Law & Order so it is no

AMC's "The Killing" From bscreview.com

wonder that cable networks are attempting to re-create the magic. Master class network AMC has recently ordered its pilot The Killing to series. From writer, executive producer and Cold Case series showrunner, Veena Sud,  The Killing tells the story of the murder of a teenage girl in Seattle and the subsequent police investigation. Interestingly, The Killing is based off of Forbrydelsen, a Danish television drama miniseries that  gained record viewership in Denmark. FX has also ordered a crime procedural to pilot called Powers from creator Charles H. Eglee and based off of the novel written by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. Powers is a police procedural set in a superhero-populated world. Lastly, TNT is in motion to to turn its pilot The Rabbit Factory into a series. The Rabbit Factory is from executive producer/writer Allen Loeb and tells the story of recently widowed police Detective Mike Lomax and his newly married partner, Terry Biggs. The plot focuses on Lomax who continues to receive humorous and heartfelt letters from his wife a year after her death. Lomax also tries to navigate the singles world while maintaining his pedigree as one of L.A.’s finest.


What We Watched Last Night 3/6/11

Another Sunday, another night of great television. Tonight we postponed the usual Showtime lineup to go a little less traditional route. After all, we do have a DVR and can save the premium cable for time-shifted viewing late into the night. In a bold yet tasteful move, we decided to indulge in food-based TV. Here is the lineup:

8:00PM America’s Next Great Restaurant (NBC)

Picture taken from Eater.com

Premise:

The premise behind this show is that a cast of successful chefs and restauranteurs including Bobby Flay and Curtis Stone select a group of wannabes to develop their restaurant dreams into a reality. The aspiring owner with the best concept and food is rewarded with a chain of restaurants in three different cities in the U.S. funded by the four hosts’ oodles of money.

Why we watched:

1. Celebrity factor of Bobby Flay & Curtis Stone

2. Enormous payout for the winner

3. Unique concept of pitching a restaurant instead of the common format of owning the food. If Top Chef and The Apprentice were married, this would be their lovechild.

Overall:

Overall, the show wasn’t bad and definitely an entertaining hour in an 8:00PM time slot that is a hard sell. Some of the  aspiring owners did, however, seem a bit rough around the edges and I cannot say that I would be thrilled to invest in them as the hosts claim to be doing. Three monkeys hung around for the duration of this show giving it a score of three.

9:00 PM Chopped All-Stars (FOOD)

Picture taken from foodnetwork.com

Premise:

Now this show is cool. Instead of a cooking show that takes an entire season to yield a winner, Chopped has one every episode. Four chefs compete in a timed appetizer, entree and desert round and the chef with the worst dish is eliminated after each course. Add to the mixture that they have to cook using a mystery basket that can contain some of the most outrageous ingredients imaginable and you have great TV on your hands. Chopped All-Stars ups the ante featuring some of TV’s favorite cooking personalities testing their skills in the Chopped Kitchen. The format for Chopped All-Stars is four episodes of the preliminary rounds and then the winners of each episode face off in the finals to try to win $50,000 for a charity of their choice. Can’t go wrong with giving to charity.

Why we watched:

1. Instand gratification format of the show

2. High-stakes with familiar faces and chefs of the most excellent quality

3. Quirky and near-impossible challenges that the chefs don’t always succeed in

Overall:

In terms of cooking shows, Chopped is a monkey favorite. It is high-energy, eccentric and brings food to an action-packed and frantic state. Unfortunately, it is not on the air in premieres as often as we would like. When it is, it has high attendance rates.

 

 

 

10:00 PM Iron Chef America (FOOD)

Picture taken from Gothamist.com

Premise:

To close out this delicious night of viewing we watched the very popular Iron Chef America. Like Chopped, Iron Chef is an intense and timed battle between chefs. However, in this format it is a duel between only two culinary experts and usually these chefs are of the utmost skill.  In many instances, Bobby Flay himself graces the ovens of kitchen stadium with his southwestern style. Moreover, each chef has to create an entire four course meal that is inspected under the critical buds of the judges. Iron Chef America is actually based off of a Japanese version of the same name that was adapted of U.S. TV.

Why we watched:

1. The skill and expertise of the chefs is literally mouthwatering

2. The production value and unique experience of watching the chefs battle it out in Kitchen Stadium, quite possibly America’s only cooking arena

3. The instant gratification of one of the chefs winning at the end similar to Chopped.

Overall:

Although a great show, the timeslot falls into  primetime homework space for a few of the Monkeys so only three were able to tune in this week. This is certainly a downfall of the 21-22 year old demographic and one that definitely needs to be taken into consideration.


Websites On the Radar

Here are a few of the websites that have been on our radar the past few weeks:

Uncrate

www.uncrate.com

Picture Stolen from Uncrate, Apple Ipad 2

Uncrate.com is the ultimate men’s guide to gizmos, watches, clothes, tools and things that most people cannot afford but desperately want. The logline of Uncrate is “the buyers guide for men.” This website is awesome for staying up to date on the latest trends and sneak peaking the coolest stuff that has just hit the market. For those guys with a birthday or anniversary coming up we highly recommend that you slip this URL into your girlfriend’s laptop. Six out of six monkeys can be caught checking this website on a daily basis.

Gilt Group

www.gilt.com

Picture taken From Gilt

Gilt Group is another cool website for those looking to stay fashionably fresh, however unlike Uncrate, by becoming a member of Gilt you can purchase designer brands and cool accessories for an extremely discounted price. One of the monkeys actually just purchased a new Burton jacket from the group and pretty much went bananas when it arrived on the doorstep. Becoming a member is easy and you can even invite your friends to join and get vouchers if they buy things. Gilt Group does not have a unanimous user count like Uncrate but it still earns an honorable four monkeys.

Barstool Sports

www.barstoolsports.com

Picture lifted from dudetruth.com

If there is a tale of  blogging success than it has to be David Portnoy from Swampscott, Massachusetts. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Portnoy started a sports blog called Barstool. Although the blog initially focused on sports, it has transformed into a space that covers anything and everything that may interest an 18-34 year-old males and in many instances, female. Some topics include supermodels, celebrities, videos of people doing stupid things and anything that catches the attention of this web-surfing machine. Over the past year, Barstool has exploded and in turn expanded its empire to Barstool New York, Barstool Philadelphia, Stoolala (for women readers) and BarstoolU geared towards college readers. Portnoy has found a way to monetize Barstool and is able to employ a handful of writers who get paid to blog. Recently, he has turned into a sort of celebrity over the internet and has even been featured in Boston Magazine. Barstool is a monkey favorite and for this bunch the posts cannot come fast enough. Blog on bro, blog on. Six Monkeys!