The economy may be pounding entertainment companies left and right, but Time Warner Inc.'s pay cable channel HBO so far has been immune to the turmoil, its top executives said Thursday.
Speaking at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena, HBO Co-President Richard Plepler said the company's strong DVD sales, along with little evidence of subscribers' dropping the service to save a few bucks, had the network feeling "cautiously optimistic" that it could weather the storm.
HBO has about 30 million subscribers, up slightly from a year ago. It is also expanding its online presence with HBO Go, its re-branded broadband offering. The service, which is being tested in 5,000 Comcast homes, will offer 650 hours of HBO content. Plepler said HBO was talking with other distributors about carrying the broadband service. To access programming online, consumers will have to prove that they already are HBO subscribers.
Although the dollars are still coming in, HBO's other co-president, Michael Lombardo, said the channel was not looking to increase its programming budgets in the near future. He noted that the new comedy "Hung" would be back for a second season next summer, along with the series "True Blood" and "Entourage."
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Paranormal Romance asks some good questions of Charlaine
Q. Do you think Eric has grown because of his relationship with Sookie?
A. I think parts of Eric have surfaced that he thought were buried for good.
Q. What will it take for Sookie to understand the blood bond? (It seems as if she is losing her ability to distinguish between her own feelings, Eric’s feelings and those generated by the blood bond.)
A. This is an issue in the next book.
Q. In one podcast interview, you said you didn’t see Sookie turning into a vampire or even winding up with one — in the sense that she would lead a normal life and be with a human. Do you still think she will be able to do that — settle with one person? Not a vampire?
A. I said that Sookie will never become a vampire. And a vampire can’t give her what she’s always thought she wanted; a regular marriage with children. But that doesn’t mean Sookie will end up with exactly what she wants. I see no reason why she couldn’t settle with one person.
Q. What did you want readers to take away from DEAD AND GONE?
A. I don’t know that I had a specific goal; I had several themes, though. The ruthlessness and inhumanity of the fae, the outrages we commit in the name of love, and the loneliness of those who simply can’t fit in and are doomed by their own nature . . . those were all elements of the book.
Q. Do you have a good idea of how the series will eventually end? If so — have you ever changed your mind about the ending?
A. I do know how the series will end. And I have never changed my mind.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your cameo at the end of season 2!!!!
A. I’m sitting in Merlotte’s at the bar talking to Sam. I’m wearing a striped shirt. I have a line. I almost hope they cut it. I’m not an actor.
Q. Alan Ball has certainly developed the HBO show differently from the books. Does his vision of the show make you think about how you’re writing your current book? Have you ever gotten an idea from the show to build on in the book series?
A. I keep them separate in my mind. The book characters have been living with me for a long, long time.
Q. Do you and Alan Ball talk before, during, after the season?
A. We email back and forth from time to time, more frequently before each season. We are both very busy people. If I’m in Los Angeles, we usually have lunch together or something. And we have some good conversations when we’re doing publicity for the show.
Q. To you — what’s been the most interesting/surprising or creative storyline(s) that HBO has developed in the series?
A. Jessica, without a doubt.
Q. Which parts of the TV series most visually match what you envisioned when you wrote your book series?
A. Sookie’s house is perfect, though it doesn’t have the same layout. But the rooms are just right. In Sam’s office, the desk is turned in a different direction, but other than that it’s wonderful.
Q. Do you know ahead of time what is on each episode? Do you watch each Sunday?
A. I do know ahead of time. And I do watch each Sunday.
Q. OK — gotta ask because it’s everywhere! Bill Compton vs. Edward Cullen?
A. There is no contest.
Bon Temps has seen a lot of changes during the second season of "True Blood." Jason left town to bunk at Jesus camp. Sam has a potential love interest in fellow shapeshifter Daphne. And orgies are all the rage thanks to mysterious Maryann. But one of the best additions to the small Louisiana town has got to be newborn vampire Jessica, played by Deborah Ann Woll.
The 24-year-old Brooklyn native spoke with H Magazine(see her full cover after the jump) about preparing to play Jessica, on-set antics and her favorite horror flicks.
For Deborah, portraying a sheltered-teenager-turned-mischevious-bloodsucker took both mental and physical preparation. "Research is a great tool," she said. "The more I know about my surroundings and the situations I am in the more creative I can be. So there is the culture of Louisiana, the primal vampire animalistic qualities, the awkward home schooled teenager syndrome. Even sometimes looking up precisely what a word means can be very eye opening."
HBO announced the renewal of its entire summer original programming lineup, ordering another round of freshman comedy "Hung," veteran comedy "Entourage" and hit vampire drama "True Blood."
Network executives addressing the critics at the Television Critics Association's semi-annual press tour said "Hung" will get a second season, "True Blood" a third and "Entourage" a seventh. The new seasons will debut sometime next year, with "Blood" firmly planned for summer.
The freshly formed Sunday-night lineup has given HBO two consecutive hours of hit programming for the first time in years. "True Blood" in particular has managed to increase its audience with nearly every episode, giving the network its most-watched show since "The Sopranos."
"True Blood" has averaged 3.8 million viewers (11.2 when you add repeats, DVR and On Demand viewing), "Hung" has averaged 3.1 million (10.2 million cume) and "Entourage" brings in about 3.0 million (7.4 million cume).
Programming head Michael Lombardo and co-president Richard Plepler also dropped hints about the fates and air dates of other HBO programming during the network's executive session. (Full HBO executive session live blog here...)
Next year HBO intends to air "Big Love" in January and roll out its highly anticipated WWII miniseries "The Pacific" in March. The war epic will eventually serve as lead-in for "Treme," the New Orleans drama from "The Wire" creator David Simon.
Emmy-nominated "Flight of the Conchords" will also likely return, with executives making a third season sound very probable.
"When they're ready, we're ready," Plepler said of the show's musical comedy duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement. "They have the added challenge of writing an album ... we're waiting for them to tell us they're ready."
Though HBO's full development pipeline is expected to give the network some tough choices in the coming months, one project looking almost certain to make the air is Martin Scorsese's "Boardwalk Empire."
"By everything we've seen, it's fantastic," Lombardo said. "It's big; it's everything we hoped it would be."
Executives were less certain about critical favorite "In Treatment" and "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency," the latter program having lost executive producer Anthony Minghella during a cancer operation, but didn't rule out either show returning.
"We're trying to put it together," Lombardo said of "Treatment." "It's adapted from a series which there were only two seasons ... we're trying to see if it's possible."
The session opened with communications executive Quentin Schaffer setting the tone for the Q&A: "Two years ago we were feeling beat up, now we're feeling upbeat."
Plepler described the network's current business model as "resilient," noting, "We feel cautiously very optimistic ... All of our viewership is up across all categories ... We don't have more money to spend, but we have an enviable amount of money to do the projects we want to do."
When asked about the recent success of premium cable competitor Showtime, Plepler said he doesn't think of the playing field as "a zero sum game."
"Other people can do good work; it doesn't negate our good work," he said.
Here's the ratings for each of the renewed shows:
SD+1 (six episodes) -- 3.8 million viewers
Live+7 (four episodes) -- 4.5 million viewers
Gross Audience, including On Demand, repeats, DVR (four episodes) -- 11.2 million viewers
SD+1 (four episodes) -- 3.1 million viewers
Live+7 (two episodes) -- 3.7 million viewers
Gross Audience (two episodes) -- 10.2 million viewers
SD+1 (three episodes) -- 3.0 million viewers
Live+7 (one episode) -- 4.1 million viewers
Gross Audience (one episode) -- 7.4 million viewers
Fashion weekly said "
For those of you obsessed over True Blood on HBO (check it out, if you criminally still haven’t!), here comes perhaps the best treat any TV fan can get. The once-fictional Tru Blood beverage from the show is now being turned into a real Blood Orange carbonated drink that will arrive in shops this September. But the show’s creator, Alan Ball, had other ideas of what his dream ingredients for the drink should be. “Cabernet, the blood of European hemophiliac royalty, vodka, Viagra, and ecstasym” he recently joked. “Unfortunately, it’s highly illegal.”
Thanks to SarahFW for the drink recipes:
The Fangbanger - Tru Blood, Vodka
Death on the Beach - Tru Blood, Peach Schnapps, Pineapple Juice, Vodka
Plasmapolitan - Tru Blood, Citron, Cointreau, Fresh Lime Juice
* I've already had a Fangbanger ;-)
Our Camp Blood, friend Andy sent me this list of cool True Blood Sims character graphics.
Bill and Sookie
Sookie’s House from True Blood
Bill Compton’s house from True Blood
Posted by " Dallas " at 5:11 PM
Froma Grazia UK ( remember S1 just started there )
First it was The Wire, now it's True Blood. You know what I mean, the TV show you're vaguely aware is supposed to be fantastic but (whisper it) have never actually seen. So pay attention - no talking at the back - because even if you're not watching True Blood you should damn well be talking about it. Here's your print-off-and-casually-drop-in-to-pub-conversation guide to the show.
1. Practicalities first: True Blood is on FX at the moment (Friday nights at 10pm). But panic ye not, terrestrial traditionalists: It's coming to Channel 4 in October. And you can download it from iTunes. Our new secret obsession.
2. Now for the clever TV knowledge bit: The show comes from Alan Ball. As in the genius behind the spooky and powerful Six Feet Under. And the gorgeous and disturbing American Beauty? Your attention's piqued now, huh?
3. Clever TV knowledge bit (part two): Like The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Flight of the Conchords, The Sopranos, Sex and The City and almost every other amazing American TV show, True Blood was made by HBO - the premium American TV channel known for making clever shows for clever people.
4. Let's cut to the chase: This is a show about vampires. But don't be put off, even if you don't get the vamp thing. Even though it centres on a young woman's relationship with a brooding, 170-year old vamp, True Blood isn't just another Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's very different - not least because of the sex. There's an awful lot of it. Some of it's dirty and weird and with vampires - which is a good thing, obviously.
5. There's also an awful lot of violence - it's often weird and supernatural but heart-breakingly real at the same time.
Last week at Comic-Con, the big story wasn't comic books—it was vampires. Some 2,000 young women set up a tent city outside the San Diego Convention Center on Tuesday, sleeping rough so that they could attend the Thursday panel on New Moon, the upcoming sequel to vampire blockbuster Twilight.
It's just another sign of the massive popularity of vampires. Yet, like many people who acquire mega-celebrity, the vampire has developed an eating disorder. Read the books. Watch the movies. You'll see vampires who manage nightclubs, build computer databases, work as private investigators, go to prep school, lobby Congress, chat with humans, live near humans, have sex with humans, and pine over humans, but the one thing you won't see them do is suck the blood of humans.
All of Ausiello's other great interviews with Ball and cast are here
The 2010 Emmy season doesn’t officially kick off for another year, but the buzz starts right now: True Blood’s Michelle Forbes (Maryann) and Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica) better make the supporting actress cut for playing two of television’s most deliciously demarbled divas. My only complaint is that executive producer Alan Ball hasn’t put the two powerhouses in a scene together. Not yet anyway. For more on that, check out the fresh batch of Blood video — featuring interviews with Forbes, Woll, Ball, as well as Nelsan Ellis, Rutina Wesley, and Sam Trammell — after the jump.
More interviews here
CONTEST CLOSED - winner announced soon
Six word stories: describe some aspect of Season 2 in 6 words.
That's right, what you say has to be said in 6 words ...
The best ones will be chosen by a panel of luminaries and the winners will recieve a free Sookie book( you choice of titles) a very, very nifty item from our last Shreveport trip.
Post your "story" in the comments and remember to SIGN IN or sign your post!!!
Sookie and Charlaine do make the list, Dead Until Dark is #94
People talk a lot about the wisdom of crowds, but the truth is that large packs of people are better at judging some things than others.
Almost 16,000 of you cast some 136,000 votes in our Best Beach Books Ever poll. Whether such a vote can determine literary quality, who can say? But there's one thing a multitude of book-loving NPR types can most definitely do, and that's pick a list of books that will appeal to... book-loving NPR types.
Which means, if you're reading this, you stand an excellent chance of finding the book that will make your summer vacation among the 100 audience favorites below. Happy travels!1. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
4. Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding
5. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
6. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
7. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
9. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg
10. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
See all 100 here
Andy and Brian take on episode 6!
Thanks for the shout out ! WE LOVE having you guys on our Talk Blood blogtalk radio show Sunday nights, now you see how hard it is to react immediately to the episodes !
The guys will be on again with us for Ep 8 and we have big plans in the works for later in the season ..[stay tuned]
Thanks guys ...this might be your best True Blood vlog review yet.
Check out what Brian has to say about the ep here at Camp Blood.org