New York Times reports: From taxi tragedies to transcript cheats

In the newspaper world, there are opposite extremes.
There’s the quick whirl of breaking news. Deadlines loom, editors wait, expectations build. And there’s the way the New York Times and some others approach a detailed piece.
Viewers will see that when “The Weekly” debuts June 2 on FX.
“To spend six, nine, 12 months on (a story) is something that The Times has always done,” said Caitlin Dickerson, whose immigration report is scheduled for June 16. Read more…

Hilty: Second-hand fame, first-class talent

Megan Hilty has built an impressive life from second-hand parts.
“Most of my career (is) basically stuff that other people have already made ridiculously famous,” said Hilty, who has a special Friday (May 24) on PBS.
That started as Kristen Chenoweth’s stand-by in “Wicked,” on Broadway. “It was terrifying …. My Broadway debut, I had two-hours’ notice. It was opposite Idina Menzel, shortly after she won her Tony. And I’d never done the show with people before.” Read more…

Memorial Day eve: A small-town guy meets the masses

Like many small-town kids, Justin Moore’s friends talked about moving to somewhere bigger.
That could be … well, almost anywhere. Back then, Poyen, Ark., had 272 people; it later soared to 290.
“I was the one, out of all my buddies, who didn’t want to leave,” Moore recalled. “I’m the one who did it – and the only one who didn’t want to.”
Not to worry: Moore, 35, is now back in Poyen, with his wife and four kids, running the ranch he worked as a kid. But he often travels to much bigger places to do country music – including PBS’ Memorial Day eve concert, Sunday in Washington, D.C. Read more…

Mega-corp has an anti-establishment classic

This isn’t what you’d expect – George Clooney and “Catch-22” as key pieces for a mega-corporation.
But that’s how things unfolded. Consider:
— On Tuesday (May 14), the deal was announced: Disney, which owns ABC, gets full control of the Hulu streaming service; in 2024, it could buy the portion owned by Comcast (NBC’s owner) for $27.5 billion. That follows a trend, with Disney buying its way (Pixar, Marvel, “Star Wars”) to the top.
— And just three days later (today, May 17), Hulu launched one of its biggest shows, Clooney’s “Catch-22” mini-series. Read more…

ABC’s fall plan: Fewer new shows, but more “Conners”

ABC will jump into the fall with a less-is-more plan. Except for “The Conners,” for which more is more.
Last year at this time, the network was announcing seven new fall shows, plus four more for mid-season. It was too much, new programming chief Karey Burke said this morning; she has just four new fall shows (one a familiar reboot), with three for mid-season.
She will, however, have more “Conners” (shown here), the show that powers Tuesdays. It had only 11 episodes this season and nine (as “Roseanne”) the previous one. Now Burke expects to be “very close to a full season,” which would be about 22. Read more…

Fox in the fall: Scripted shows are scarce

When the new TV season starts next fall, something will be missing (almost) from Fox: Scripted, live-action (not animated) shows
.Indeed, the network will only have five of them, all wedged into a Monday-through-Wednesday stretch. The rest of the week has football, wrestling, “The Masked Singer” and Sunday’s animation.
Gone are “Star,” “Lethal Weapon,” “The Cool Kids,” “Rel,” “The Gifted” and more. In addition, this will be the final season of “Empire” (shown here), which Fox is painting as a positive. “We are turning the last season of ‘Empire’ into a large event,” said programmer Michael Thorn. “We really want to go out with a bang.” Read more…

“Big Bang”: The end of a long and funny journey

For a dozen years, “The Big Bang Theory” has given us great comedy – sharply written, perfectly played, with likable characters colliding in fun ways. It has its last new episodes Thursday (May 16), so here are a few things:
First, an overall story, partly looking back to the show’s start. Then a few time-and-channel details, followed by some trivia. Also, please catch the recent story about Kevin Sussman, who plays Stuart. Here we go: Read more…

Here are Bunker and “Big Bang,” old and new

Right now, TV viewers can tour classic comedies, old and new.
At the core are network events on May 16 and 22. Before that, two other channels – one cable, one digital – get us in the mood:
— May 16: “The Big Bang Theory” has its final new episodes on CBS. Earlier — including tonight (May 10) — cable’s TBS has “Big Bang” reruns, often focusing on one character per night
.– May 22: ABC tries live productions of scripts from “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” Before that, the GetTV digital channel has a five-night, 30-episode “All in the Family” spree. Read more…

Once-woeful Stuart is going out with a big bang

It was another celebration – one of many in the final “Big Bang Theory” season – and Kevin Sussman seemed apologetic.
“I have to go,” he said quietly. “I’ve got an audition.”
Auditions used to bring futility and frustration. “As a struggling actor, I couldn’t get any work,” he said.
But now things should be different: He’s Stuart on “Big Bang.” The show is – as Warner Brothers TV chief Peter Roth said in the celebration — “the longest-running multi-camera comedy in television history.” Read more…

Chernobyl re-visited: A continent in fear

For a time in 1986, fear encased Europe.
A fire raged at a nuclear plant, in the Ukraine city of Chernobyl. Hundreds of people were hospitalized’ 30 died soon, thousands had lingering deaths. The health impact remained for generations.
But there’s more. Kary Antholis, HBO’s mini-series chief, recalls the pitch from writer-producer Craig Mazin: “He said, ‘You have no idea …. It was hours away from devastating millions of lives and wreaking havoc on the European continent.’” Read more…