By Meg James and Stephen Battaglio Los Angeles Times Wed., April 17, 2019 NEW YORK—The crowd packed into New York’s Radio City Music Hall for the final-season premiere of HBO’s juggernaut drama Game of Thrones. As audience members took their seats, they were greeted by an announcer who said: “Welcome to the beginning of the end.” For many who attended the gathering earlier this month, it was not hard to hear a more ominous meaning in those words. Ending a major hit show is not easy for any network. But the departure of Game of Thrones, which began its eighth and farewell season on Sunday, comes at a critical crossroads for HBO. The network has a new owner, and its longtime status as the most distinctive brand name in television can no longer be taken for granted. Game of Thrones has been not only a cultural touchstone, but a ratings behemoth for HBO. The drama about the warring factions of the fictional land of Westeros, based on … [Read more...] about Game of Thrones is in its final season. So what’s next for HBO?
By Debra Yeo Toronto Star Tues., April 16, 2019 A uniquely Canadian reality TV format is taking to the ice once again. CBC is bringing back Battle of the Blades, in which hockey players and figure skaters pair up to perform ice-dance routines and win money for charity. The competition series was last seen in 2013, when it was won by American pairs skater Amanda Evora and retired Canadian NHLer Scott Thornton. At the time, it was still averaging a million-plus viewers per show. The new season will once again be produced by Insight Productions, the company behind Canadian reality hits like The Amazing Race Canada and Top Chef Canada. Article Continued Below Former Olympian and figure skating hall of famer Sandra Bezic is the co-creator and executive producer. “Battle of the Blades is an audience favourite and the most successful original Canadian format of all time,” said Sally Catto, CBC’s general manager of programming, in a news release. … [Read more...] about Battle of the Blades returns to CBC in the fall
By Debra Yeo Toronto Star Mon., April 15, 2019 We still don’t know who will win the iron throne, but we know who won the TV ratings. Nielsen data from the U.S. shows that the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere set a new high for the series with 17.4 million viewers: 11.8 million who watched its broadcast debut Sunday on HBO and on DVRs, and another 5.6 million who watched on streaming platforms HBO Go and HBO Now. That tops the 16.1 million viewers who watched the Season 7 premiere on July 16, 2017 and, according to EW.com, makes Game of Thrones the most watched scripted entertainment program of the year. It beat The Big Bang Theory and the 14.1 million viewers who watched that comedy on Feb. 7 — and on a channel that’s less widely seen than Big Bang home CBS. HBO expects the total audience for Sunday’s episode to grow as more people tune in to on-demand and repeat airings. The seventh season of Game of Thrones averaged 32.7 million … [Read more...] about Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere breaks ratings records
By The Associated Press Fri., April 12, 2019 BERLIN—Spoiler alert: Computer science students at the Technical University of Munich have developed an application that scours the internet for data on the popular Game of Thrones series, and uses an algorithm to predict which characters are most likely to survive to the end of its final season. Project supervisor Guy Yachdav said Friday survival rates are predicted using longevity analysis similar to scientific studies used to examine the effects of medical treatments. He says although the analysis “relies on data taken from the world of fantasy, the exact same artificial intelligence techniques are used in the real world.” The results? Daenerys Targaryen has the highest chance of survival, at 99 per cent, and Bronn is the most likely to die next. Only time will tell, but the series — which returns for its eighth and final season on Sunday — is notoriously unpredictable. Article Continued … [Read more...] about Game of Thrones’ Bronn is next to die, algorithm finds
By Mae Anderson The Associated Press Michael Liedtke Fri., April 12, 2019 SAN FRANCISCO—Disney is raising the curtain on a hotly anticipated video steaming service that’s aiming to topple industry pioneer Netflix, once a valuable ally. The service, called Disney Plus, has been in the works for more than year, but Thursday marked the first time that the longtime entertainment powerhouse has laid out plans for its attack on Netflix and a formidable cast of competitors, including Amazon, HBO Go and Showtime Anytime. Disney Plus will roll out in the U.S. on November 12 at a price of $6.99 (U.S.) per month, or $69.99 per year. That’s well below the $13 monthly fee Netflix charges for its most popular streaming plan, signalling Disney’s determination to woo subscribers as it vies to become a major player in a field that has turned “binge watching” into a common ritual. Netflix will still have a far deeper video programming lineup after … [Read more...] about Disney unveils new streaming service to debut late this year