WXXI AM News

television

Netflix recently announced it will drop episodes of a new series weekly, instead of all at once. Hulu has already adopted the practice, and Disney and other competitors plan to do so. What does that mean for television binge culture?

We talk about viewing habits and the must-see shows on streaming services and TV. Our guests:

  • Todd Sodano, associate professor of media and communication at St. John Fisher College
  • Bob Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University

During the season premiere of the PBS Kids’ show “Arthur,” Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn, got married. The episode, “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” featured the wedding of Mr. Ratburn and his partner, Patrick. The show is the latest in a series of children’s television programs and books to highlight diverse characters and inclusive storylines.

This hour, we discuss the value of inclusion on screen and in print – as well as behind the scenes – and the learning goals for children. Our guests:

  • Lesli Rotenberg, chief programming executive and general manager for children’s media and education at PBS
  • Cara Rager, manager of educational training and family engagement at WXXI Education
  • Leslie C. Youngblood, author of “Love Like Sky”
  • Ed Popil (Mrs. Kasha Davis), local drag performer and children's book author

How have intimate scenes on stage, on television, and in film changed in the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp? "Intimacy choreography" is on the rise. The goal is to help actors feel safe and secure during scenes in which their characters are vulnerable.

Those principles are being applied in productions in Rochester. We talk members of a local performance who have gone through the training. In studio:

  • Ralph Meranto, artistic director of the JCC, and director of the JCC’s production of “Oklahoma!”
  • Jace Meyer-Crosby, intimacy director for the JCC’s production of “Oklahoma!”
  • Drew Jensen, actor in the JCC’s production of “Oklahoma!”
  • Jennie Gilardoni, actor in the JCC’s production of “Oklahoma!”

A long-running television game show that has inspired legions of fans and trivia buffs? What is Jeopardy?!

We discuss the cultural impact of this classic game show and its future. Host Alex Trebek recently told fans that he was diagnosed with Stage IV four pancreatic cancer. We sit down with former Jeopardy contestants who share their experiences on the show and discuss Trebek and his legacy.

In studio:

We talk TV! Our guests discuss the year in television: the successes, the failures, the reboots and revivals, and how television consumption continued to change in 2018.

What were your favorite shows? Are you streaming your shows, watching on broadcast TV, or both? Will the era of Must See TV ever return? We discuss those questions and more with our guests:

  • Kate Sweeney, theatre manager for Monroe Community College and organizer of Ambush Rochester
  • Eric Stevens, comedy writer
  • Bob Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University

What should we do when artists misbehave? In other words, when an author, actor, director, or artist does something offensive, acts inappropriately, or steps over the line in some way, should we stop consuming their art? When do we give them a pass?

The founder of Writers & Books, Joe Flaherty, dealt with this question when he was arranging for Philip Roth to visit Rochester. The late writer was considered a misogynist by many readers. But, as Flaherty wrote in an essay on the incident, “you have to separate the writer from his characters.”

What do you think? Should we consume and share the work of Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Harvey Weinstein, Philip Roth, and others? Should the work of artists in question stand on its own? Where do we draw the line? Our panel discusses those questions. Our guests:

  • Joe Flaherty, founder of Writers & Books
  • Patti Lewis, local actor, director, and teaching artist
  • Jonathan Ntheketha, senior assistant director of student success and outreach in the Multicultural Center for Academic Success at RIT
  • Bob Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University

Are sitcoms dying? As TV habits continue to change, viewers are moving further away from appointment viewing and the days of “Must-See TV.” But with the return of shows like Will & Grace, Roseanne, and others, could the sitcom be making a comeback? Or is the format back, but are we watching it in different ways?

We discuss the future of TV viewing with our guests:

  • Todd Sodano, associate professor of media and communication, and director of the Film and Television Studies Program at St. John Fisher College
  • Katie Libby, freelance writer and pop culture enthusiast
  • Juan Vazquez, digital engagement facilitator for WXXI News
  • Joy Press, author of Stealing the Show

A recent piece in the Washington Post is examining the heroes in romantic comedies in a new light. It argues that now, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, the persistence and grand gestures of men in films like Sixteen Candles and Say Anything are not romantic, but harassment.

Critics say they're just films and we should watch them with that in mind, but others say the media we create can reinforce or warn against certain behaviors in our society. We break it all down with our guests:

  • Monica Hesse, author and staff writer for the Washington Post
  • Esther Winter, local actor, choreographer, and director
  • Patti Lewis, local actor, director, and teaching artist
  • Jack Feerick, critic at large for PopDose.com and former critic for Kirkus Reviews

Will & Grace is back with new episodes, and a Roseanne revival is set to premiere next month. Plus, there are rumors of a Seinfeld reboot. Fans of these shows are excited about them returning to their screens. So why do we love seeing specific characters and shows back on TV after years off the air?

Our guests talk about nostalgia, and what the teams behind the revival shows need to do to keep their audiences watching. In studio:

  • Bob Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University
  • Kate Sweeney, TV fan and co-organizer of Ambush Rochester
  • Tom Proietti, resident scholar in media at St. John Fisher College 

The sitcom Will and Grace is making its return to the airwaves on Thursday, after finishing an eight year run in 2006. Former Vice President Joe Biden credited the show with educating Americans about LGBTQ issues.

We discuss the evolution of gay characters on screen, and whether the show deserves its reputation. In studio:

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