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GQ Serves Up Tasty Cheers Anniversary Present

Today of course, the pitch would be all about the “reality” of a Boston walk-down bar. A vehicle designed to allow viewers to follow along as real-life customers chew on the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Bruins and billionaire Frank McCourt.

But 30 years ago, the sitcom still ruled the prime time TV airwaves. And as the October issue of GQ wonderfully celebrates, there was no better example of the artform than the show launched on September 30, 1982. There is so much great stuff in the mag’s Cheers oral history. Here are just a couple of bar-nut size teases:

James Burrows: When I got the first draft of the pilot from Les and Glen [Charles], I said to my wife, “Oh, my God, these guys have brought radio back to television.” They had written this smart, intellectual story. I’d never seen anything like that on TV before—just guys sitting around, talking.

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Bill Maher Conservative Panelist: ‘I Made the Mistake of Replying with Facts’

What’s it like being the “token Conservative” on that raucous Friday free-for-all known as HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher? After last week’s show, San Diego radio host and columnist Roger Hedgecock has shared his experience.

Hedgecock was joined on the panel by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and TIME magazine reporter Rana Foroohar. Anyone with right leanings who agrees to do Maher’s program is to be commended, and this latest brave soul admits he knew what he was in for. But he still takes Matthews to task:

“I didn’t expect Matthews to falsely claim that President Obama inherited unemployment over 10%. Unemployment in January 2009 was actually 7.8% and has not been that low since. Then Matthews really lost it, bellowing you people are just racists who hated Obama from the first day. I haven’t heard the “you people” phrase since Ross Perot used it in front of an African-American audience in 1992.”

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NFL Network Finally on Time Warner Cable

It only took nine years but Time Warner Cable customers (which is a majority of Southern California) can finally watch Thursday Night Football and the RedZone with the addition of the NFL Network.

“We’re delighted to have reached an agreement for NFL Network and NFL RedZone that provides a good value to our customers,” said Melinda Witmer, executive vice president and chief video and content officer for Time Warner Cable. “The additional games this year and the proven appeal of NFL RedZone will certainly prove to be a draw for our customers. We look forward to a long and productive relationship with the NFL.”

It’s remarkable that it took this long for the two sides to reach an agreement when you consider the popularity of the NFL. (Let’s just hope it doesn’t take nine years for DirecTV to get the Pac-12 Network)

According to LA Observed, you can find the NFL Network on channel 355 if you have the variety or premium Sports Pass tier and channel 356 for the RedZone channel.  Both networks will debut on Sunday.

Enjoy, football fans.

Video: Blake Griffin Visits Sesame Street

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin will make his Sesame Street debut on Monday during a segment where he demonstrates the word “champion” with character Abby.

No offense to Griffin or the Clippers, but wouldn’t this role be better served for someone on the Los Angeles Lakers where they actually have champions?

Regardless, this is great public exposure for not only Griffin but the Clippers organization, who routinely plays second fiddle to the Lakers.

Showtime Renews Episodes for 3rd Season

Matt LeBlanc is so good at playing himself, he won a Golden Globe for the effort. And we’re going to get to see him do it again in 2013 when Episodes, Showtime’s satire of the television industry, returns for a third season. David Nevins, President of Entertainment for Showtime, announced the new season of Episodes today, which will consist of nine half-hour episodes.

LeBlanc’s portrayal of a middle-aged celebrity desperately trying to become relevant again is painfully funny. But the main draw for us fishies is that Episodes is a show about writers, relatable scribes struggling with both the creative process and a soul-crushing corporate structure, as obsessed with profit as they are clueless about creating anything of real value. And that’s what success looks like in our industry! What else can you do but laugh?

SoCal Connected Moving to Nightly Format

SoCal Connected, KCET’s investigative news magazine series, will air nightly when the fifth season starts on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. with encore episodes at 10:30 p.m.

Hosted by Val ZavalaSoCal Connected won 16 Los Angeles Press Club Awards in June and was just the second news organization to win the “Public Service Award” for their expose on the spending at the Housing Authority of Los Angeles (HACLA).

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ABC’s Unnecessary Censorship of Jimmy Kimmel

We had to read a portion of this week’s TV Guide magazine interview with Jimmy Kimmel twice. Just to make sure it wasn’t some sort of gag.

In tangential response to the question, ‘As the ratings climb, has that given you more leverage?’, Kimmel replied:

“… Once in a while, we’ll have a fight over whether something is too obscene. One of the dumbest things ever happened about six months ago. There was a stick figure drawing of a naked woman, and there was a dot where each nipple would be, and they made us blur the dots out, which I figured was a little bit much for midnight.”

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Radio Hosts Gear Up for Full Season of TV’s Dish Nation

Rehearsals started this week in Studio City for Dish Nation, KTTV FOX 11′s mash-up of celebrity news. Following a limited 2011 test run, the program is scheduled to return to the airwaves September 10  at 12:30 p.m. /6:30 p.m weekdays in SoCal and at various other times on Fox stations across the country.

The interchangeable sets of featured radio show teams include DJ Laz and his KXOL 96.3 FM morning show sidekick Liliani Gonzalez. Both recently relocated to the west coast from Miami.

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NBC Validates ‘The Michael J. Fox Exception’

In this week’s edition of TV Guide magazine, LA bureau chief Michael Schneider has the lowdown on how actor Michael J. Fox’s return to NBC series work came to pass earlier this month. It all happened incredibly quickly.

The prime time sitcom will be loosely based on Fox’s family life and dealings with Parkinson’s disease. Schneider writes that instead of the usual two-week pitch process, it took just two days for Fox and his project partners – Sony Pictures Television, producers Will Gluck and Sam Laybourne – to consummate a deal:

That’s partly because NBC’s whopping [guaranteed] 22-episode order was too big to ignore — and too much for the other networks to match. Major episodic commitments were a bit more common in the 1990s, but the networks long ago stopped making such risky, pricy bets. But a show starring an icon like Fox doesn’t come along every day. Gluck calls it “The Michael J. Fox Exception.”

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Playboy TV Answers Everything Their Viewers Always Wanted to Know

Exactly 40 years ago, Woody Allen gifted the world with the comedy Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask. This weekend, Playboy TV will debut The Truth About Sex. A.k.a. everything their subscribers wanted to know about sex and were definitely not afraid to ask.

According to the press release, burning questions to be truth-tested will  include: Does male foot size really correlate? Is there a scientific explanation for “beer goggles?” And are blonde women more sexually adventurous?

The ten-part series was executive produced by Jon Hotchkiss, former showrunner of Emmy-winning Showtime series Penn & Teller: Bullshit!:

“Sex is exhilarating and fun, or so I’ve read on the Internet. It’s also complicated and confusing. With this new series, I’m thrilled we’re able to clear up the complications, debunk the misinformation, and still give Playboy TV’s audience what it desires: facts. Naked facts.”

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