These listings cover television programs up to Friday, December 5.
Greetings, TV viewers!
The discussion topic for the Media Hour in the Greek Theatre this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Whyville time is "Who owns
TV?" That may sound like a simple question if you only think about the devices sitting around your house. But there's another ownership angle to consider. Somebody owns every program you get on your
TV -- and they all have their reasons for sending you shows. Mostly they do this to sell you things. But not always to give you useful information. Friday there's a program about this on PBS.
If you can't catch the show, look at the website I've listed below the show description.
For the Media Hour, watch the show(s)-of-the-week, jot down some ideas, then talk about them with me and other citizens (including other City Workers, if they're available) at the Greek Theater, over in City Hall. You'll find that the Theater makes discussions pretty easy, since City Workers are able to direct people's movement and behavior, when we need to, and it keeps everyone's chat bubbles from overlapping too much. We meet for MediaHour on Wednesdays from 6:30pm to 7:30pm Whyville Time (that's the same as Eastern Daylight Time).
Friday, November 28
"Pet Star: Finale" (Animal Planet Channel 8-10 p.m. E/P) This is a telecast of the finals of a competition involving animals and their owners from around the country trying to win $25,000 in cash and the title of America's most talented pet. Celebrity judges and the audience vote to select a winner from contestants that have competed all year-long.
"NOW with Bill Moyers" (PBS, 8-9 p.m. E/P -- check local listings) Two reports in this newsmagazine are about an aspect of tv, and other media, that you may not ever have thought about: A very few people own all these sources of information and they can stop you from getting certain news you need
-- including any reports about media owners holding back stuff you might want to know. Example: Host Bill Moyers interviews Jim Bouton, former Major League Baseball pitcher and author. Bouton, who turned Major League Baseball inside out with his best-selling book
Ball Four, tells Bill Moyers about the influence of Big Media on his crusade to save a historic baseball park in Massachusetts. Bouton 's adversary is the formerly family-owned local newspaper -- now part of a corporate media empire based in Colorado -- that wants to keep opposing voices silent so a new park can be built on land it owns. This was a firsthand example of how media conglomeration -- the ownership of this paper by a guy in Denver -- affected the local community," says Bouton. His latest book,
Foul Ball: My Life and Old Times Trying to Save an Old Ballpark, chronicles his battle in a report that goes to the heart of the media consolidation issue. The other story is about how this tiny group of owners influences what you see and read. Bill Moyers talks to John Leonard, media critic for CBS
Sunday Morning and New York Magazine. After a long career as a literary and television critic and social observer, Leonard gives viewers an inside look at how media consolidation and the quest for profits have limited reporter's freedom to report what's really happening. "CBS, part of Viacom, is part of a huge corporation and in business to make money. And anything that disturbs the audience out there is what they don't want." More info at
Saturday, November 29
"Moments In Time: Famine To Freedom -- The Great Irish Journey" (Discovery Channel, 6-7
p.m. E/P) This documentary is relevant to the Thanksgiving season because, like the Pilgrim's story of escape from adversity into a new land of plenty, it is a saga of survival. During a great famine in Ireland in the middle of the 19th century, over a million people died there of starvation and disease. Another 1.5 million Irish emigrated to other countries. The documentary reveals what life was like for Irish farmers during these tragic times by following a team of scientists excavating the site of a village of that era..
"The Meaning Of Everything: The Story Of The Oxford English Dictionary" (BookTV/C-SPAN-2, 11 p.m.
to midnight ET, 8-9 p.m. PT) This interview program is at an awkward time for viewers in some time zones, but I wanted to mention it here because the book presented is really interesting
-- and a kind of gold mine for trivia contests or test-taking. Author Simon Winchester discusses his book in which he tells the story behind the OED, and its impact on the history of the English language.
The program will be broadcast Sunday, November 30, 8-9 p.m. ET, 5-6 p.m. PT.
Sunday, November 30
"Dateline NBC" (NBC, 7-8 p.m. E/P) The main report in this edition of NBC's regular newsmagazine is about ATM's
-- those automatic "teller" machines usually found at banks. But these days, just about anyone can install and operate one anywhere. In addition to banks, they're in stores, gas stations, even in restaurants. But who owns those machines? A "Dateline" investigation found that it's a lot easier to buy and operate an ATM than you might think, even if you're a convicted criminal.
"Nature: Wisdom of the Wild" (PBS, 8-9 p.m. E/P check local listings) This natural history documentary describes some of the surprising ways in which animals help teach, heal and strengthen people, in body, mind and spirit. There's lots more about this topic at
Monday, December 1
"Incredible Catacombs" (Travel Channel, 9-10 p.m. E/P) This is a documentary about historic burial practices, and is rated PG because parts are scary and you should ask your parents about this topic before you watch the show. But it's educational. Beneath many of the world's most famous cities, some ancient civilizations can be visited where they are more or less frozen in time
-- in hidden vaults, mines and burial chambers. These subterranean worlds reveal eerie stories about historic events.
Tuesday, December 2
"The West Wing -- The U.S. Poet Laureate" (Bravo Channel, 7-8 p.m. E/P) This episode in the popular dramatic series based on a fictional U.S. President is about an activist poet. It raises the question, "Should writers get involved in social and political issues?'' The program is rated PG, so watch it with your parents
-- not so much because it's about controversial issues but because they may have been fans of the series when it was originally on NBC and they can explain who the characters are. In this particular program. Laura Dern portrays the activist poet.
Wednesday, December 3
"CBS 60 Minutes II" (CBS, 8-9 p.m. E/P) This newsmagazine features the work of the U.S. medical teams who treat military personnel who have been wounded in Iraq.
Thursday, December 4
"Killer Ants" (Discovery Channel, 8-9 p.m. E/P) This episode of the "Sci-Trek" documentary series is about some of the over 8,000 species of ants on the planet. Most are harmless, but some have a violent streak. African driver ants have eaten a horse in a day and suffocated a human, and the army ants of South and Central America can wipe out entire ecosystems.
Friday, December 5
"Platypus: The World's Strangest Animal" (Discovery Channel, 6-7 p.m. E/P) this is a documentary about a creature with a leathery bill, webbed feet, furred body with venomous spurs. And it has babies by laying eggs. The Australian platypus, surely one of the strangest animals that has ever been seen and hasn't been seen by many, because the platypus is notoriously elusive.