Showbiz Sandbox 186: Bill Carter of the NY Times on Cable Ratings, Jay Leno and the Shifting Television Landscape

March 18, 2013


Bill Carter of the New York Times has been reporting on the television industry for over 30 years. Who better to ask about why nothing seems to make any sense about this year’s television season? For example, cable shows have been pulling in more viewers than any of the networks. Broadcast networks that were topping the ratings just months ago, are now struggling at the back of the pack. As if that wasn’t enough, it looks as if the battle over late night programming is heating up again.

In a wide-ranging conversation, Carter touches on everything from the reason networks have been cutting back their original programming to why ratings have become so complicated to tabulate (hint: it has to do with DVRs). He explains all the troubles NBC is having not only in primetime, but also with their morning news programming. Carter literally wrote the book on late night television (actually two of them), so his thoughts about which of the ever growing list of hosts is most dominant, and why, is rather insightful.

Meanwhile, the Cannes Film Festival announced the selection of Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” as their opening night film. What stunned many Cannes veterans is that the festival would choose a film which will open theatrically in North America just five days before it premieres on the Croisette this May.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment headlines, including “Django” in China, “Veronica Mars” on Kickstarter and David Bowie’s return to the music sales charts.


China Box Office Die Hard Tops

China Box Office: ‘Journey to the West’ Nears All-Time Domestic Release Record

China Lifts Ban on IMDb

Saying ‘Gatsby’ Will Stay Put, Warners Explains Cannes Strategy,0,299050.story

How Cannes Sacrificed Tradition to Land ‘The Great Gatsby’

Winter TV Schedule Brings Shift in Ratings Race

‘Big Bang Theory,’ a Broadcast and Cable Juggernaut

NBC Executive and Leno Said to Have Clashed Over Jokes

Vevo Launches Linear Web Network

Django Unchained Sets China Release

‘Django’ Composer Takes Aim at Tarantino

Good Wife Syndication Deal

Hydra Changes Contract Terms In Response To Pressure

Q&A: Hydra Vice President and Digital Publishing Director Allison Dobson on New Author Contracts

Disney Cancels “Clone Wars” and All But Kills “Detour”

Seeking Funds for Movie, Creator of ‘Veronica Mars’ Turns to Kickstarter

Veronica Mars Movie reaches Goal In Less Than One Day

Veronica Mars Kickstarter Proposal

‘Veronica Mars’ Film A Go, Thanks To A Kick From Kickstarter,0,5476074.story

NBC Moves Smash To Saturdays

Justin Timberlake SNL Show Hits 14th Month High

Bowie and Bon Jovi debuting At Top Of Charts Next Week

Bowie Tops UK Charts For First Time In 20 Years

Twitter Acquires We Are Hunted, Readies Standalone Music App

Time Warner Cable Wikipedia Entry