The Biz


Robin Roberts Talks About Her Return to Good Morning America

Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts, who made an emotional return to her co-anchor chair at ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, is taking it one day at a time. "My doctor is saying the test is tomorrow," Roberts said in an interview at ABC's Times Square studio after her first show back. "When I wake up am I going to want to come in and go to work?" read more

The Biz: Do Reality Fans Hate the Fakery?

House Hunters

For reality-TV fans, the revelation that not every aspect of a show is legit is like learning there's no Santa Claus. They move on and enjoy the presents.

But the curtain on "reality" is getting pulled back more and more. Last spring, HGTV acknowledged that the home viewings on House Hunters are done for the cameras after buyers have already chosen their properties. In his recent wrongful-dismissal suit, former Storage Wars star David Hester charged producers with planting valuable items in the bins up for... read more

The Biz: Cards Stacks the Deck with Real Journalists

Kevin Spacey

TV shows and movies set in Washington, D.C., often cast real-life members of the media to report on fictional proceedings. But the new Netflix political drama House of Cards takes that to a new level. 

ABC's George Stephanopoulos plays himself in the series' second hour, interviewing a Secretary of State nominee on his This Week set. No spoilers, but it's a tough grilling that provides a turning point in the story... read more

The Biz: Can These Shows Be Saved?

Happy Endings

When the networks decide which programs to pick up for fall and which ones to ax, it's not only about the Nielsen numbers. "There is more financial analysis going on than ratings analysis," says one executive. Here are the prognoses for a few series fighting for survival.

Happy Endings
Finding a home for Happy Endings since it moved from Wednesday and away from its strong­­ lead-in Modern Family has been tough (it now airs on Tuesday, a night full of comedies). And its scheduling options are limited, since ABC still... read more

The Biz: Was The Writers' Strike Worth It?

Writer's Guild

Watching New Girl or Homeland on your computer, mobile phone or Xbox has become so second nature to viewers, it's hard to recall that new technology once brought Hollywood to a standstill.

But how writers were paid for the digital distribution of their work was at the core of a 100-day work stoppage that put primetime TV viewers on a strict diet of reality and reruns in 2007 and early 2008. Daily Variety deputy editor Cynthia Littleton, who chronicles the battle and its lasting impact in her new book TV On Strike: Why Hollywood Went to War over the Internet (Syracuse University Press), says while many writers took a financial beating from the walkout, they had little choice but to take a hard line. The emergence of Netflix, Hulu and other services since the strike has proven online viewing is a robust business. We asked her about the strike's aftermath and what's ahead... read more

The Biz: Jon Lovett Returns To The Beltway In 1600 Penn

Jon Lovett

Just when Jon Lovett thought he was out of politics, they pulled him back in. The 30-year-old former stand-up comic toiled over speeches for President Obama for three years ­before he quit in September 2011 to pursue comedy writing in Hollywood. "The one thing I didn't want to do was a show about the White House," he says. "I was too close to it." But on January 9, Lovett... read more

The Biz: CNN's Piers Morgan Targets Guns

Piers Morgan

Every cable news anchor gets his or her share of hostile tweets. But CNN's Piers Morgan might be the first to spark a petition to the White House demanding deportation. More than 80,000 signatures have been gathered from pro-gun activists angry over the British journalist's repeated calls for an assault-weapons ban in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 children dead. They can sign all they want — but he's not backing down.

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The Biz: Coming Soon to a TV Near You

Richard Gere

This may go down as the year movie studios discovered that there's no place like home for watching some first-run films.

In Demand, a major distributor of video-on-demand services for cable systems, says 2012 saw a 21 percent increase in the number of movies it offered subscribers on the same day or before they played in theaters. Thirteen distributors now supply new films to VOD and online streaming services, more than double the number in 2010, when indie distributors like IFC and Magnolia were leading the trend. read more

The Biz: Christiane Amanpour Goes Back to the Beginning

Christiane Amanpour

The sight of Christiane Amanpour reporting from conflict zones in the Middle East is one of the most familiar images in television news. So it will be a real change of pace for viewers when she's seen as a relaxed traveler — and mother — in Back to the Beginning, a two-part special airing Dec. 21 and 28 (9/8c, ABC). Amanpour and her son Darius hit the road earlier this year to explore the ancient sites depicted in "the oldest stories ever told," as she puts it. They take an archeological tour through Turkey and the Middle East to examine the sites of biblical tales that unite rather than divide the followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Amanpour talked to The Biz about the special and her new boss at CNN, Jeff Zucker.

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The Biz: Why Shark Tank Is Bigger Than Ever

Shark Tank

American workers haven't had it easy these days, as they deal with high unemployment rates and home foreclosures. What better way for them to escape their economic woes than to watch a ­reality show where the stars are a bunch of one-percenters?

That's why they're tuning in to ABC's Shark Tank, which has quietly grown into a hit with close to 7 million viewers each week. The show... read more

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