The Weird Future Of Celebrity Apprentice

Reality Dehnart reports on the weird future for Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice," which NBC has announced will return. Eventually:

Sunday, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt told TV critics in L.A. that “we’re casting it now.” NBC reality executive Paul Teledgy added, “We’re going to shoot it in the spring. Then it will be available to us as an option for midseason.” If they decide not to use that option, that might bump it to summer 2015—or later, or at all?

Last July, NBC confirmed to me that the show wouldn’t shoot until this spring and air until this summer, so the network is on track for that production schedule, at least.

But the last season of the show aired between March 3, 2013, and May 19, 2013, so if it does surface midseason, it looks like at least a two-year gap between seasons, unless some show quickly tanks in the fall and NBC uses this to fill the timeslot.

When Tough Questions Go Horribly Wrong

NPR's TV critics Eric Deggans has a look at this week's TCA and two incidents in which critics got into trouble asking tough questions:

But occasionally, the effort to ask a tough question during a press conference filled with dozens of writers goes badly wrong, exposing the widening gulf between generations of journalists, the changing nature of arts criticism and the difficulty of expressing a complex thought in a 30-second turn at the microphone.

Jonathan Storm, a former TV critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer, found himself on the wrong end of that dynamic when he asked MSNBC and Today show anchor Tamron Hall how she balances her time among those two jobs for NBC and hosting a show called Deadline Crime for Discovery channel's Investigation Discovery.

Hall responded with a detailed story about how the show was inspired by her experience seeing her sister murdered; the anchor talked in a way that seemed heartfelt and emotional about guilt over once rejecting her sister for failing to disconnect from an abusive partner.

Storm's response was to seek an answer to the question he actually asked: "That's all very nice," he said. "But can you explain the relationship between your job and NBC and your job at Discovery?"

Time Warner, Fox Pay-TV Deals Face Probe By EU

Reuters reports that the European Commission plans to open an antitrust probe into licensing deals between major U.S. film studios and European pay-TV broadcasters. The antitrust watchdog will examine whether licensing provisions prevent broadcasters from providing services across borders.

The EU is focusing on licensing agreements between studios including Twenty-First Century Fox, Warner Bros , Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal and Paramount Pictures and European pay-TV broadcasters such as Britain's BSkyB, France's Canal Plus, Germany's Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia of Italy and DTS of Spain.

Netflix: 'Red Menace' Keeps Hollywood On Edge

Nicole LaPorte writes in Fast Company that Netflix has benefited from Hollywood's paranoid vision of it as "the red menace from Silicon Valley." As one observer said, "Nobody knows what the hell is going on inside Netflix. And that's the way Netflix likes it." The company's image as an outside force "gives it a cachet."

But Netflix is doing more than threatening HBO--what really has Hollywood worried is that the company seems in a hurry to redefine the very rules of the entertainment industry. Its willingness to sign up shows for entire seasons without first ordering a pilot (the one-shot episodes that TV honchos have for decades demanded before backing a show) has forced network executives to rethink a system that has defined television since its inception. And as the company has rolled out House of Cards, season four of Arrested Development, and Orange Is the New Black, Netflix's stock has soared--it almost quadrupled between January and Thanksgiving 2013. "There have only been a half-dozen shows," gripes one media executive, "and yet to read the press and hear the comments, you would think Netflix had found the cure for cancer."

Netflix's Ted Sarandos: The 'Evil Genius' Behind A TV Revolution

Allowing subscribers to binge on TV series has made Netflix into a global brand. But company boss Ted Sarandos tells The Guardian that it isn't stopping there: by moving into making shows, he wants to change what we watch as well as how we watch it:

To get a sense of what the 49-year-old Arizonan is doing to TV culture, imagine that you've just finished watching episode five of Joss Whedon's Firefly on your laptop, courtesy of Netflix. You've got places to go, people to meet. But up pops a little box on screen saying the next episode starts in 12 seconds. Five hours later, you dimly realise that you've forgotten to pick up your kids from school and/or your boss has texted you 12 times wondering if you're planning to show up today.

Does he feel responsible for creating this binge culture, not just here but across the world (Netflix has 38 million subscribers in 40 countries, who watch about a billion hours of TV shows and films each month), I ask Sarandos when we meet in a London hotel? He laughs. "I love it when it happens that you just have to watch. It only takes that little bit of prodding."