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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Time Warner's "new" interactivity

As they say, what goes around, comes around. Time Warner Cable will offer interactive polling to customers during a very limited number of shows, starting Friday with "Degrassi: The Next Generation" on The N (8 p.m. Friday, digital Channel 124). Viewers can express their opinions about characters and story lines, by responding to an on-screen question using the remote control. Then results are posted in real time.
Gee, this new capability sounds like the new QUBE technology introduced when Time Warner – then Warner-Amex Cable – first wired Sharonville and the northern Hamilton County suburbs 25 years ago. Anyone remember Warner-Amex's QUBE, and the short-lived live local origination “Gong Show”-style variety shows where viewers could vote to reject performers?
Time Warner last spring had announced the interactive feature was coming, but it took until now for the Cincinnati (not Dayton) customers to get it. Similar polling will be available to Time Warner customers during “Top Chef”starting Oct. 18 (11 p.m., Bravo, Channel 70).
Anyone else remember old shows on QUBE?

The Debate debate
I know there was conversation on my blog yesterday about the parallel universe of talking about serious issues on TV (the gubernatorial debate) and frivolous ("Dancing with the Stars"). A couple of observations:
--Hey, people watched the debate! The 7-8 p.m. Blackwell-Strickland debate on Ch. 9 was #2 in the overnight ratings, averaging 10 percent of our TV households. Ch. 12’s "Raymond" and "Entertainment Tonight" was first (15 percent). The debaters beat entertainment shows on Ch.19 (9%), Ch. 5 (8%) and Ch. 64 (6%).
--Vivica A. Fox was robbed. Sure, Springer is funny, but Fox should have made it to the Final Four on "DWTS" with Joey Lawrence, Monique Coleman and Mario Lopez.
--And here’s a little side dish: Don’t expect to see Glendale’s Heidi Mueller -- the "Passions" soap actress and daughter of Don ("Who Wants To Marry My Dad") Mueller -- on the show again with Mario Lopez’s parents.
In an e-mail to friends Don explains: "Let’s politely say that they are not hanging out anymore… Too many rumors and published articles about Mario and his new dancing partners’ activities, along with some non truths told to Heidi along the way. (Read between the lines). Again, trying to be polite in my explanations."


at 10/05/2006 11:42 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember qube that stupid box with the cord on it #$^&*&%#$^&&*

at 10/05/2006 12:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, John, do you do "tech" or just programming? I have Time Wrner with the digital tier and a new 36" LCD panel TV that receives HD. The thing is, when I watch HD events, I really don't see a lot of difference in picture quality.

The LCD picture is awesome, nut it is awesome for regular broadcast as well so I can't see a difference.
Is there anyway I can tell I am actually receiving it in HD? (Please don't tell me to call Time Warner Customer Service, I'd rather put a toothpick in my eye then go through that hell...

Thanks to you or any other bloggers who can help.

at 10/05/2006 1:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mario Lopez is such a dog...he was married for like a week to the stunning Ali Landry before straying. I guess once you're Slater, you're always Slater!

at 10/05/2006 2:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

warner amex was WACCI
Warner Amex Cable Communications Inc

at 10/05/2006 3:45 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The QUBE box worked once for me and only once. I remember a simple game show where three contentants competed against each other and the viewer also competed as well. Don't remember the actual name of the show though. I remember pushing one of the black buttons on the side of the box and waiting for the little red light to disappear. Unfortunately, the red light didn't disappear many times. I also remember a non-hosted movie/tv trivia show. Every night of the week at 7:30pm there was a different program. It wasn't long before the shows repeated or disappeared for good.

at 10/05/2006 4:04 PM Blogger Chris said...

12:47...Do you subscribe to the HD channels? Just having the Digital Tier doesn't sound to me like you get HD. I don't have TW, so just speculating....

at 10/05/2006 4:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, here goes:

QUBE channel 30

Mondays: Curtain Call. 5 acts get voted on by the viewer. Hosted by Rod Swartz (now Head of Princeton HS television).

Once a month: Cincinnati Alive with hosts Robin Wood and Craig Kopp. People involved with this show included John Riggi, who ended up being on Carson and was Garry Shandling's executive producer for a while, Drew Hastings and directed by John Burshtan, who went west with people from channel 19 to Los Angeles, ended up writing for The Joker's Wild in 1990.

One highlight of QUBE: FLOTSAM, a fake cable convention that had a lot of Cincinnati jokes and superb writing. It aired live unannounced at 11pm one night from WCET.

Wednesdays: Screen Test. Trivia show hosted by Flippo the Clown.

at 10/05/2006 6:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

After watching DWTS I now understand why Ali Landry is no longer with Mario Lopez. The guy is a rollercoaster full of emotions. Maybe he's bipolar.

at 10/05/2006 9:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:47 Hook up an antenna to the tv and tune into the networks during prime time. almost all of the prime time programming over the air is in Hi Def.

at 10/05/2006 9:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey tv dude - is the OSU game gonna be on local airwaves this saturday? I know it's an ESPN Gameplan game, is anyone gonna pick it up???

at 10/05/2006 10:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

didnt bill meyers take over screen test for flippo the clown

at 10/05/2006 10:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Myers did a "QUBE Network" gameshow. It was a Wheel of Fortune kind of show where the viewer would call in and select a number to expose a letter.

True story: The puzzle was partly displayed and the QUBE Network went blue for a few minutes until someone selected very-hoped for vowel. The puzzle was "The Count of Monte Cristo". Let's just say the count was off one vowel. Bill handled it like a pro. (Wonder if that was the right expression to use!)

at 10/06/2006 10:24 AM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

I forgot that Robin Wood, Craig Kopp and Bill Myers did shows on QUBE years ago. I knew I could count on you all. Thanks.

at 10/08/2006 2:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

the easiest way to tell if a program is in HD or not is to set your TV format so that the sidebars are on there and it's not stretched out.

If a program is in HD it will be in full screen. The non-HD programming will have the sidebars.

at 10/21/2006 5:29 PM Anonymous louie bourgeois said...

The greatest days of CINCINNATI TELEVISION ever.......R.Lyons,Paul Dixon
and....yes ----QUBE TELEVISION
........most of which was LIVE..

louie bourgeois
1980-1984 StudioTech,Editor,Videographer

.....Now in my 21st Yr. as
an independent VIDEO company

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