Monday, February 26, 2018

Internet TV Digest #6

This is the sixth of an occasional feature on TV Banter called Internet TV Digest.  Internet TV Digest contains recent news, information and discussion about online television.


New on Netflix this March


If you enjoyed former U.S. President Barack Obama's appearance on the original Netflix series My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, then you will probably want to catch Letterman's next guest.  It's Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education. and human rights.  In 2012, Malala was struck by a bullet and injured by a Taliban gunman because of her activism.  She survived and became the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.  At the age of 17, she was the youngest-ever Nobel laureate. (You can watch her interview with Letterman on March 19th).

{Note to David Letterman: I suggest that you get rid of that long, scraggly beard.  Ugh!  It doesn't do anything for you.)

Netflix will also present some original documentaries that deal with issues relevant to Americans and others, such as public health and drug addiction.  Flint Town, which premieres on March 2nd.  It chronicles events in Flint, Michigan as officers deal with poverty and the absence of vital resources.  Take your Pills which premiers on March 16, focuses on the increase in prescription drug use in the United States.

In a lighter vein, the fifth season of Voltron, The Legendary Defender, an animated web television series, will be available for streaming on March 2nd.  Netflix's new baking show, Nailed It, will also be available on March 2nd.  It is hosted by comedian and director Nicole Byer and chocolatier Jacques Torres.  If you enjoy watching botched attempts at designing pastries, cakes and other culinary delights, this show is for you.

Amazon Prime makes deal with CBS for "The Good Fight"

Amazon Prime Video has made an international, multi-season deal with CBS Studios International for The Goodfight, a spin-off of the long-running CBS  hit series The Good Wife.
The Good Fight premiered on February 19, 2017 and stars Christine Baranski in her Emmy-winning role as Diane Lockhart from The Good Wife.  The first season contained ten episodes, the first of which aired on CBS, while the latter nine aired on CBS All Access, CBS' streaming service.  The show has the distinction of being All Access' first original scripted series.  The second season of The Good Fight debuts in the United States. on CBS All Access on March 4.

According to Variety, Amazon's agreement with CBS gives Amazon exclusive first-window licencing rights across Latin America and major European and Asian markets.  The Good Fight will also debut, via Amazon, in Belgium, Portugal, Turkey and New Zealand.

Amazon's deal with CBS also includes streaming rights to seasons of other hit CBS series such as The Good WifeBlue BloodsHawaii Five-0 and NCIS. for selected territories beyond the United States

N.Y. Times article says Hulu trying hard to compete against Netflix, Amazon and Apple, but future is clouded

Hulu is fighting hard to compete against streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon and Apple.  Netflix has a global audience of 100 million worldwide and 52.8 million subscribers in the United States.  In contrast, Hulu is only available in the U.S, and has 17 million subscribers.

Originally, Hulu was known as a means of streaming episodes of network television show.  In 2015, however, the screen adaption of The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright's Pulitzer Prize-winning book about Al Qaeda and 9/11, ended up on Hulu.  Then, in 2017, Hulu won eight Emmy Awards for its production of The Handmaid's Tale, based on the dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

Nevertheless, in a February 25, 2018 article in The New York Times, John Koblin contends that the company's future is uncertain, due to a complex corporate structure and the merger mania that has taken hold in the entertainment industry.  Hulu has four owners: The Walt Disney Company (30 per cent), 21st Century Fox (30 per cent), Concast (30 per cent) and Time Warner (10 per cent).  Disney's $52.4 billion acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox is currently awaiting government approval.  The deal is expected to be approved and would give Disney control of 60 per cent of Hulu.  As Koblin points out, Disney is already developing two streaming services.  Also, Disney owns ABC and Concast owns NBC Universal.  According to Koblin, a media analyst at BTIG, a global financial services firm, stated, "The question is which way it goes: Does Concast buy out Disney? Or does Disney buy out Concast?"

All of this means that Hulu may be caught in the corporate crossfire, at a time when it is particularly vulnerable.  BTIG reported that the company lost $920 million in 2017.  Yet, according to Peter Rice, president of 21st Century Fox, Hulu had more subscriber growth domestically than Netflix.  It still faces intense competition from rival streaming services.

- Joanne

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Y&R Report (February 17, 2018}: The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Most soap actors don't have a great deal of job security, especially with head writers like Y&R's Mal Young.  When Mal decides to write a character out, it happens very suddenly and abruptly.  Juliet, Graham, Scott . . . . POOF . . . Gone.  The latest is Noah.  After consulting with Grandpa Victor, he's decided to work for Newman Enterprises in India.  That came as a bit of a surprise to me because I thought Noah had been getting more of a storyline lately.  I expected him to be the manager of The Top of the Tower restaurant for a while.  After all, he just started the job.

Victor thinks a lot more of daughter Victoria than son Nick.  He advised grandson Noah to be more like his Aunt Victoria than his father, Nick.  He called Nick "weak."  Speaking of Nick Newman, when he discovers the secret Chelsea is hiding about Christian's paternity, he will blow a gasket.  When he learns that Victor is involved in the deception, he is going to become even more upset.  Nick has a problem with controlling his anger and he really needs to undergo anger management therapy. 

Since Melissa Claire Egan, who plays Chelsea Lawson, is leaving Y&R, the secret will soon be revealed to Nick and it is obvious that they are finished as a couple.  Nick will reunite with Sharon.  It's inevitable, although it may take a while for Nick to get over his anger and his bitter breakup with Chelsea.  Also, after being two-timed by Scott, Sharon doesn't want to rush into another relationship.  Still, Nick and Sharon are getting along much better these days and I can see them running the coffee shop together, as they did years ago.

As for Chelsea, I don't like the way she has been turned her into a con woman again.  I realize that Melissa Claire Egan is exiting the show, but the writers have provided no explanation for Chelsea's sudden reversion to her old ways.  Why would she change so abruptly without a plausible reason.  It's not logical.  Was the storyline just thrown together as a way for Melissa to leave the show?

Phyllis would make a top-notch detective.  The way she figured out Chelsea's fraudulent behaviour was quite impressive.  She was relentless in finding out the truth.  She's a much better detective that Clueless Paul Williams.  Although almost anyone is a better detective than Clueless, Phyllis was absolutely relentless in getting the goods on Chelsea.

The rivalry between two formidable businesswomen,Victoria Newman and Ashley Abbott, continues.  It now appears, however that Victoria has found a powerful ally in Jack Abbott, of all people.  She and Jack both want to achieve the same goal.  Victoria wants Ashley out of her hair at Newman Enterprises and Jack wants his sister back at Jabot.  Even though Jack is her father's arch-enemy and their two families are constantly feuding, Victoria and Jack have united for a common cause.

I don't expect Victoria and Ashley to ever work together because there would be no conflict.  I think Ashley will eventually return to Jabot.  By the way, in the last edition of Y&R Report, the readers' poll asked whether you thought Ashley or Victoria would win their power struggle.  So far, almost all of the respondents have chosen Victoria.

When I see Amelia Henle (Victoria) and Thad Luckinbill (J.T.) in their scenes together, I wonder how they could be divorced (or in the process of getting a divorce?) in real life.  Amelia seems to have a sparkle in her eye.  Either they are very good actors or they are rekindling their romance.  I also wonder how long Thad is going to stay with Y&R, because he nay want to concentrate on producing films again.  That could be why J.T. has a heart condition.  Maybe he will die tragically.  There has to be a reason why they have written his heart condition into the stroyline.  I doubt they would have just thrown that in for nothing.


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name. 

My email address:

Here are some comments from Carly in Barrhaven, Ontario:

I was completely turned off with Nikki and Arturo heading up to a room at the Genoa City Athletic Club (GCAC).  As if that would really happen!  I did find the Alzheimer storyline depressing.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed Marla Adam's acting. I loved her and hopefully she will be back soon.  

I don't like what they are doing with Chelsea, but I know she is leaving.

I do not like Tony hooking up with Ashley.  Surely they can find someone more appropriate for her.  He is too rough around the edges, in my opinion.

Well, Carly, I have to agree with you about Nikki.  She would never be that cheap.  Now would she have ever told Ashley that she was perfectly welcome to Victor.  Perhaps Nikki is finally finished with Victor romantically (I have my doubts).  Even if that were the case, I don't think she would invite other woman to pursue him, especially Ashley.  Remember, that Victor's affair with Ashley broke up their marriage .  Remember too that she used to tell Victoria that Ashley was the "wicked witch."  Nikki and Ashley may not be at each other's throats right now, but Nikki is no fan of hers.  They will never be best buddies.

Yes, Carly, Marla Adams has played the part of Dina magnificently.  I really hope she wins a Daytime Emmy for her role.

I don't like what the writes are doing with Chelsea either.  There was not enough foreshadowing.  It came on too quickly for my liking.  It seems contrived, as if it were written to allow her to make a quick exist from Y&R.

Tony Kingman does appear to be an opportunist and he's definitely not in Michael Baldwin's good books.  However, we need to see more of him before we pass a harsh judgement on him.  We have seen his seedy side but interesting characters are never one-dimensional.  may be more complicated and he may have different sides to him.  If the writers want him to win favour with viewers, they had better have him display some redeeming qualities.  Otherwise, viewers will never connect with him and his character will not be on the show for long,.  As for Ashley, she may fall for him.  After all, he's a handsome lawyer with a lot of social status.  That impresses her.  


Robert Adamson (Noah) is leaving Genoa City

Robert Adamson, who has played the role of Noah Newman for five years, is leaving Y&R.  According to Soap Central, Adamson did not choose to leave the show.  It seems that the show has decided to dispose of his character.  So, they have sent Noah off to work for Newman Enterprises in Mumbai, India.


Greg Rikaart will return as Kevin Fisher on Tuesday, February 20th on CBS (Monday, February 19th on Global TV in Canada.  It is unlikely that Greg's return will be permanent since he has signed to appear on Days of our Lives.  However, he could continue to make occasional appearances on the show.

Melissa Ordway's (Abby Newman) maternity leave has come to an end and she will be back in Genoa City soon.  In December, Melissa and husband Justin Gaston (ex-Ben Weston on Days of our Lives) welcomed a baby daughter named Sophia.  As Y&R fans know, Abby has been working for Newman Enterprises n Paris.  She is getting over a disastrous relationship with Scott Grainger.  I wonder who she'll become romantically involved with next?  At the moment, there doesn't seem to be any prominent Genoa City residents to match up with Abby.

Although nothing has been confirmed, Soap Central says it has learned that Y&R is considering recasting the role of Kyle Abbott.  Three actors have played the part of Kyle since 2010 but none has really caught on with fans.  Perhaps a new Kyle would be more popular.  Fans will remember that Kyle broke up with Summer and moved to New York.  When the board of directors met o decide whether Jack Abbott should remain CEO of Jabot, Kyle sent in a vote against his father.


Many Y&R fans want Adam to return, although it seems unlikely right now.  Apparently, head writer Mal Young is not planning to bring back the character from the dead.  Furthermore, if Adam were to return, there's almost no chance that Michael Muhney or Justin Hartley would play the role.  That means that a new actor would have to portray Adam.  How do you feel about that, fans?  Would you still want Adam come back if an new actor took over the part.

Would you like Adam to return, with a new actor playing the role?

Yes, he's a great character and it would be fun to see a new actor in the role.
I would like to see Adam return, but not unless Michael Muhney or Justin Hartley play him.
No. There's no need to bring Adam back. The character has run his course. He's dead. Let him stay that way. We don'tt need another character to come back from the grave.
I don't know.
Please Specify:
Created with PollMaker

That's all for now.  The next issue of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, March 3, 2018.

- Joanne

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Y&R Report (February 3, 2018): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Well fans, we have a power struggle between two strong and determined business women - Ashley Abbott and Victoria Newman.  Both are undeniably daddy's girls.  Victoria is Victor's princess, the heir apparent to Newman Enterprises.  Her goal is to please her father and win his approval, although he continually interferes in her life and has ruined almost all her relationships with men.  As for Ashley, the late John Abbot favoured her and called her "my beauty."  When Ashley learned that John was not her biological father, she was absolutely devastated.  She had a breakdown and suffered from amnesia.  So, her paternity is an extremely sensitive matter to her.  She is hurt that she felt forced to leave Jabot, the company her father founded.  She is determined to make her mark and her ultimate goal is to succeed ex-husband Victor Newman as CEO of Newman Enterprises.  This puts her in a direct collision course with Victoria, believes she is entitled to the crown because she has Newman blood.

Victoria and Ashley both have something to prove and neither wants to play second fiddle.  They both want control and they both want to do things their own way.  That's why it's doubtful that these two strong-willed women can co-exist at Newman Enterprises.  They will continually clash.  Something has got to give.  One of them will eventually have to leave. 

Soap opera storylines often move at a snail's pace.  So, it's appreciated that head writer Mal Young has picked up the pace of Y&R,  Unfortunately, however, he's moving too fast now. Whoa, Mal, slow down a bit!  Here are some examples to underline my point:

J.T. Hellstrom has been popping pills. (I thought he was addicted)  He was eventually shown visiting a doctor and later told Victoria that he had visited a taking medication due to a heart condition caused by electrocution.  It seems that about seven or eight years ago, a powerful storm/tornado hit Genoa City.  J.T. Hellstrom was involved in an accident when his car hit a tree when he tried to get to Lily and Cane at the lake retreat.  After regaining consciousness, J.T. tried to move on, but he was electrocuted when a power pole hit his car.  Lily and Cane found him on the side of the road and Cane performed CPR on him.  He was then hospitalized for electrocution (I had to look that up online.  Even though I am a longtime Y&R viewer, I had forgotten the incident).  It's true that the  electrocution was shown briefly during the flashbacks at the beginning of the show.  However, some people skip over the opening sequences.  The electrocution should have been mentioned during the episode and a flashback shown then, especially to make it clear to viewers who had forgotten it and for those who did not watch Y&R that far back.  That's just another reason why I prefer the previews at the end of the show, rather than an array of flashbacks at the beginning.

Out of the blue, handyman Nick found $250,000 hidden away in a bathroom wall duct. It was assumed Adam left the money there.  Chelsea suddenly started behaving mysteriously and lying.  Until then, there had been no sign that she was hiding anything.  It all happened out of the blue. We know her behaviour is somehow connected to Adam because she stashed the cash in Adam's vault at the Newman family crypt.  Chelsea also perpetrated a fraud against her own fashion line by creating a fake website identical to her own.  It seems to me that this is all related to the recent announcement that Melissa Claire Egan, who plays Chelsea, is leaving the show (See "Cast News" below for details).  Have the writers just concocted a quick storyline as a way to cause Chelsea to depart from Genoa City?  Is Adam alive and will she be reunited with him?  If so, why hasn't Chelsea shown any indication before that Adam is not dead.  (By the way, Mal Young apparently does not want Adam to come back).

In a recent episode, Victoria referred to Ashley as a "wicked witch" and claimed it was an inside joke.  She gave no further explanation.  However, only longtime viewers would remember that Nikki told Victoria that Ashley was a "wicked witch" back when Ashley was married to Victor and had become Victoria's stepmother.

Here are some more questions:

Question #1. Why did Noah suddenly decide to go to a movie with his sister, Mariah, especially after having an argument with her over Tessa?  Was it because Cane and Lily were shown at the movie theatre earlier and the producers thought it would be great to shoot another scene in that setting?  Who knows?

Question #2  Why has Tessa been sleeping in the Hamilton-Winters office?  She's not unemployed. She has a job working for Devon  She's not destitute and she doesn't need to be homeless.  Why hasn't she at least rented a room to live in?  Doesn't Devon pay her?  I think the writers wanted to devise a storyline in which Mariah would discover Tessa's homelessness and help her find low income accommodation.


Daniel Hall (Scott) written out of Y&R

The news is disappointing for fans of Daniel Hall (Scott Grainger).  Hall has been written out of the Young and the Restless indefinitely.  It appears that his storyline has reached an impasse.  Sharon is finished with him and Abby is in Paris while Melissa Ordway, the actress who portrays her, is on maternity leave.  Scott has returned London where he will remain for the time being.  The good news for fans is that he can always return to Genoa City.

Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) is set to leave Y&R

Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea Lawson) has confirmed that she will be leaving The Young and the Restless to pursue a career outside of daytime.  On her media sites, Melissa Claire wrote the following:

"After much thought and six wonderful years, I have decided to leave The Young & the Restless I love this show (and this genre) so very much, and I am so grateful to this amazing crew and cast, especially my beyond wonderful Joshua Morrow.  This cast, crew and everyone behind the scenes at Sony and CBS are truly the best at what they do and are my family.  To you incredible fans, thank you for EVERYTHING.  
This isn't goodbye.  Truly.  Just Goodbye for now.
All my love,

It's sad to see Melissa leave Y&R,  However, I'm sure we'll see her soon on prime time television.or in film roles. There is speculation that he is trying to replicate the success her former castmate, Justin Hartley (ex-Adam Newman), has achieved on This is Us.  According to Daytime Confidential, an insider said that "Missy sees how much success Justin is having with This is Us, and she wants to get out there and see what can happen for her."

Melissa joined the cast of Y&R in 2011.  Her final airdate has not been announced yet and the show apparently has no plans to recast her character.  That means there will be an opening for the Chelsea character to return at some time in the future.


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line.  I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them.  You do not have to use your real name.

My email address:



Who will win the power struggle between Ashley and Victoria?

My money's on Ashley. She's more wily than Victoria and extremely power hungry.
I think Victoria will win in the end. She can be as ruthless as her father. She has Newman blood and Victor will always support her when push comes to shove.
I think Ashley and Victora will eventually learn to work together
I don't know.
Please Specify:
Created with QuizMaker

That's all for now,  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, February 17, 2018.  The February sweeps have started, Valentine's Day is coming up and there promises to be plenty of excitement in Genoa City.

- Joanne

Friday, February 2, 2018

TV Trivia For You #8

Here is the eighth installment of  TV Trivia For You from TV Banter.  The first installment appeared on this blog  on June 14, 2012.  The second installment appeared on February 6, 2013, the third appeared on June 30, 2014, the fourth on November 14, 2014, the fifth on June 20, 2015, the sixth on March 1, 2016 and the seventh on January 23, 2017.


DID YOU KNOW that Mary Tyler Moore added the "Tyler" to her name in honour of her father, George Tyler Moore?  Mary related the story when she accepted the Screen Actors Guild's Life Achievement Award in 2012.  In 1955, when she was 18 years old, she was determined to make her father proud with her accomplishments.  So, set out to become a member of the Screen Actors Guild.  There was a problem, though.  There were six other Mary Moores on the SAG pages.  Mary was informed that if she wanted to work in the business, she had to change her name, but she was reluctant to do so.  "Change my name?" she told the audience at the SAG Awards.  "I'm Mary.  Mary Moore.  Everybody is going to know my name.  I can't change my name.  Besides, what would my father think.  It's his name too."

Fortunately, she came up with a solution  Instead of changing her last name, she would include her middle name, "Tyler," a name she shared with her father.  "  According to Mary, "Mary Tyler Moore" sounded right, looked right and made her father happy. 

DID YOU KNOW that Ryan O'Neal's given name is Charles Patrick Ryan O'Neal (some sources say Patrick Ryan O'Neal).  Ryan's father, Charles Eldridge O'Neal (1904-1996), a film and TV screenwriter and novelist, was known as "Blackie."  Ryan could not have used the name "Patrick O'Neal" because there was already a well known American actor by that name who was born in 1927 and died on September 9, 1994. 

Ryan O'Neal in 1968

Patrick O'Neal (1927-1994)

DID YOU KNOW that Michael J. Fox's middle initial is not really "J."  He was born "Michael Andrew Fox" on June 9, 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  However, when he registered with the Screen Actors Guild, he discovered that there was already a veteran character actor by that name.  According Michael's autobiography, Lucky Man: A Memoir, he didn't like the sound of "Micheal A. Fox" for two reasons.  Fox is used to describe someone who is attractive and he didn't want to be called" Michael, a fox."  Also the "A" sounded too much like the Canadian "eh."  He wasn't keen on "Andrew" or "Andy."  So, he finally settled on "J" as a tribute to actor Michael J. Pollard.  By the way, the "J" in Michael J. Pollard, stands for "John"

Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Pollard
Which actor appeared in the most American sitcoms?

DID YOU KNOW that comedian Tom Poston appeared in more American sitcoms than any other actor, according to USA Today Life editor Dennis Moore?  Born in Columbus Ohio in 1921, Tom was the perpetual second banana.  He appeared in at  least 45 series during a career spanning 50 years but did have a leading role.  His bugged-out eyes and the confused look on his face made an ideal fit for comedic secondary parts.  Although his film career never really got off the ground, his work on television was expansive.

At the beginning of his TV career, Tom appeared on Steve Allen's 1950s television variety series The Steve Allen Plymoth Show.  On the Allen show, he played a Man on the Street interviewee who couldn't remember his own name.

Tom went on to be a panelist on game shows and quiz shows, most notably To Tell the Truth.

Tom Poston on To Tell the Truth

Tom had regular roles on such television series as Family Matters, Murphy Brown, CoachHome Improvement, ER, Grace Under Fire, That '70s Show, and Will & Grace.  From 1979 until 1981, he appeared in 54 episodes of Mork & Mindy as Mr. Bickley.

Tom had a long association with Bob Newhart.  Frrom 1975 to 1977, he played Cliff Murdock on The Bob Newhart Show.  Tom is most often remembered for his role as dim-witted handyman George Utley on Bob Newhart's show, Newhart.  He portrayed Utley in all 184 episodes of the series, from 1982 until 1990.

As George Utley on Newhart

Tom Poston even wed the woman who portrayed Bob's wife, Emily, on the The Bob Newhart Show. From 2001 until his death, he was married to actress Suzanne Pleshette.  Tom died of respiratory failure on April 30, 2007. He was 85 years old at the time of his passing. Suzanne Pleshette died on January 19, 2008 after a battle with lung cancer.  She was 12 days short of her 71st birthday.

DID YOU KNOW that Ken Drake appeared in over 60 television shows, according to the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb).  The talented character actor had numerous television roles from the 1950s to the 1970s. He portrayed a vast array of characters, often playing multiple roles in the same TV series.  In the 1950s, Ken appeared in Science Fiction Theatre, The Millionaire, The Silent Service, Harbor Command, Target, Highway Patrol, Mackenzie's Raiders, Border Patrol and others. During the 1960s and 1970s, he guest-starred in series such as Pete and Gladys, Sea Hunt, King of Daimonds, Outlaws, The Everglades, Wide Country, The Beverly Hillbillies, Death Valley Days, The Twilight Zone, Dr. Kildare, Flipper, The Man from U.NC.L.E., Ben Casey, Petticoat Junction, The Big ValleyThe Rat Patrol, The Wild Wild West, Here's Lucy, GunsmokeBonanza, Ironside and Mission Impossible.

Ken Drake
Ken was married to longtime Los Angeles Times theatre critic, Sylvie Drake.  They had two children, a son named Robert and a daughter named Jessica.  Ken Drake died of a heart attack on January 30, 1987 at the age of 65.

- Joanne