News Briefs: Comcast Is Now Offering HBO Without Basic Cable

By Kaitlin Thomas

Oct 26, 2013


Comcast has become the first TV provider to offer HBO to its customers without also requiring that they purchase a basic cable plan. The company is currently offering a trial period of the "Internet Plus" bundle, which includes internet service, broadcast TV, video-on-demand, HBO (and access to its online streaming service, HBO Go). Depending on the market in which you live, the bundle costs between $39.99 and $49.99 per month for 12 months, and is available until January 31 or July 31. Comcast is stressing that this is just a trial, and doesn't necessarily mean that it's moving to a full a la carte menu. [Variety]


... Someone isn't happy about that Charmed reboot we told you about earlier today. I'm not saying it's Rose McGowan, but it's Rose McGowan. [Twitter]

... MTV has renewed Catfish for Season 3. Apparently it was announced last week on the show's Facebook page, but no one likes the Catfish page, so no one really knew about it. Anyway, this is good news for everyone who's in an online relationship, because it means you still have a chance to be embarrassed on national television! [Variety]

... Lifetime has renewed Drop Dead Diva for Season 6. The order is for 13 more episodes that will air next year. The Season 5 finale, which will feature the return of a surprise visitor from Jane’s past, airs November 3. [EW]

... After an "exhausting investigation," ABC determined that the now-deleted popular Twitter handle @Scandal411 was not run by an ABC employee, but rather a former roommate of the employee. Yeah, sure, just like it was my "former roommate" who spent nine hours reading Supernatural fan fiction and binge eating Cheetos last Sunday. Yeah, my old roommate... [The Wrap]

... In more Twitter news, Kelly Oxford, a Twitter celebrity and an author, just sold a new single-camera comedy to Fox. Based on Oxford's own experiences, the untitled project centers on a 30-year-old single mother who runs the recreation department of a senior center. [Deadline]


... Jane Seymour has signed on to guest-star as Danny's teacher in an upcoming episode of Back in the Game. And apparently she really takes a shining to James Caan's character, The Cannon, because she asks him out on a date. She's nicknamed The Eviscerator for her no-nonsense, strict, and authoritative attitude. Sounds like a match made in TV sitcom heaven to me (TV sitcom heaven is not actually where sitcoms go to die; that's NBC). [TV Guide]

... Kristoffer Polaha (Life Unexpected) has been tapped to guest-star on CSI. He'll play Darryl, a charming blue-collar mechanic, in the November 27 episode. But this is CSI, so he probably has darker intentions than he's letting on, like up-charging you for your latest oil change. [THR]

... Gilles Marini (Brothers & Sisters) has booked a recurring gig on 2 Broke Girls as a Nicolas, a French baker and the owner of the Manhattan School of Pastry, where Max is taking classes in an attempt to improve her baking skills. He'll first appear in the November 18 episode. [TV Line]

... Former Office star Craig Robinson is back from his rather expensive vacation to the Bahamas and will be visiting another workplace comedy. He'll guest-star as Doug Judy, a small-time criminal, in an upcoming episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. [EW]

... Riley Smith (90210) is set to star opposite Lauren Ambrose in Deliverance Creek, the new Lifetime pilot from Nicholas Sparks. He'll play Toby, the former beau of Ambrose's Belle who attempts to defend her family’s land after the Civil War. Apparently this arc also involves becoming an outlaw, and I don't even know what else to say about that. [Deadline]

... Once Upon a Time in Wonderland has cast Australian actress Peta Sergeant (The Selection) in a super-secret-but-really-important role. The character is recurring, said to be iconic, and is being described as "a force of nature." Who do you think it is?! Who do you want it to be? [THR]

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  • mrjimmyjames Feb 20, 2014

    Well, Comcast needs to do something. Their service is horrible and you don't get enough for what you pay. Satellite is the free market and far superior.

  • AriSky Oct 27, 2013

    Still waiting for one of the cable companies to figure out how to let people create their own packages by pricing channels individually. I might actually get cable, then.

  • Akyriel Oct 27, 2013

    Dream on with millions who have been wanting that for years now.

    I would rather have a cable company provide just an On Demand option with no channels needed except, maybe, your local ones. This way, you could get your affiliates, PBS, and indie channels like MeTV, but if you want to watch American Horror Story, you can go through On Demand and not have the repetitive clutter of so many other channels you barely, if ever watch. The USA network, for example, has some good shows, but that's just it, as I only watch their original programs and maybe only two or three they air at a time. I could care less about anything else they have. SyFy is the same. I only watch some of the original scripted stuff and they only have one or two of those at a time. I may watch one of their stupid movies, but still could care less about wrestling, reality, and older repeats stuff.

    Most everything I watch is through On Demand now plus Hulu for what On Demand does not have, or has delayed, or has technical problems with.

    The problem is figuring out a reasonable cost for us while enabling the shows themselves to be successful and profitable enough to continue despite what they get from normal means such as full subscribers, ad revenue, etc. Do you pay a one month fee or buy episodes individually? At what price - $19.99 a month or $49.99 a month or $1.99 a show or $3.99 a show? How many ads would the cable companies and/or networks put in in to an On Demand airing to compensate, if any? Would they still run the same ads over and over again or could it become more diverse? I do not have a problem with commercials so long as they are varied. Otherwise, I feel like I'm being harassed.

    Right now I pay just over $100 for HD cable and I only watch about 25 cable channel shows at a time, so that's $4 a show per month. I do not get premium channels. If a season for a show is, let's say, 13 episodes, then that would be about $.30 an an episode. That gets much reduced if you wish to factor in the major network and PBS stuff I can get locally. That's not too bad, but I would like to have that cut in half anyway. I do not think there is a business model that could work for everyone for any less. If I could pay $49.99 a month for just On Demand with or without my local channels paying $2 a show or about $.15 per episode, I'd be very happy. More so, if they provide all the shows I watch or would want to. Even more so with commercial diversity to help compensate for costs. I might be willing to pay more if I get HBO On Demand and the like added to that, but probably no more than what I do now. I would be happy just to get access to their original shows too and not any films. I would be very curious to know how many would opt for something like this and get rid of all other channels and if cable companies, networks, and shows themselves could survive it.

    Sorry, did not mean to get on a roll there, but it was interesting to ponder.

  • saxyroro Oct 27, 2013

    I love love HBO. But I don't have cable. I want to pay for HBO. Until I can order HBOGO on its own, I'll continue to use my mothers account from across the country.

  • JT_Kirk Oct 26, 2013

    Rose McGowan is the one actress from that show who really doesn't get to say much about the Charmed reboot, she rebooted her face and made it impossible to hire her, she was a fun actress to watch but not good enough to overlook the damage surgery made to her brand (and I don't mean the "I had an accident on set and fixed it" surgery). Also, she was only a stopgap brought in after Shannen Doherty left.

    NBC isn't where sitcoms go to die, it's where they go to suffer painfully, NBC is sitcom purgatory that leads to sitcom hell.

    Craig Robinson, y u no leave ur drugs in ur luggage?

  • safibwana Oct 26, 2013

    I love Rose McGowan, but as a replacement character on Charmed, she has all the moral standing of "Coy and Vance Duke" to complain about the Dukes of Hazard movie.

  • CharmedOneP391 Oct 26, 2013

    to be fair she might've been a replacement character but she was on the show longer than Doherty was. she always seemed like she disliked the show whenever she did interviews though so her opinion doesn't surprise me.

  • Twezzy90 Oct 26, 2013

    Just so you know Alyssa Milano also said she didn't like the idea of the reboot.... Slightly nicer than Rose Mcgown but neither lady thinks its a good idea....

  • speedforce131 Oct 26, 2013

    That Internet Plus bundle looks pretty awesome. I like the direction it's going even though it's not quite there yet.

  • PhoenixTremayne Oct 26, 2013

    its comcast you can't trust them; everytime I got a package from them, they'd find reasons to add this and that and before you know it I"m paying over a hundred dollars a month, don't fall for it people

  • zeofan1 Oct 26, 2013

    Charmed wasn't well-written in the first place. It's not like CBS is touching some sacred cow.

  • SRJohansen Oct 26, 2013

    True that. They've done 91210 and Dallas and what ever else, this to me seems to fall right into that line.

  • JT_Kirk Oct 26, 2013

    The problem I have with all these examples is that they're never living up to the original in any significant way, they're always more generic and just trading on the recognizable name.

  • JoshuaAnderse Oct 27, 2013

    Kirk, I have to disagree with you about the new "Dallas." That show is just as big and bad (and by bad, I mean badass) as it ever was! It is by no means a reboot, which is the way every franchise should its original. Charmed may not have been too well-written, but it was a great deal of fun to watch and made darn sure that Piper would forever be my favorite witchy woman. I think it's a slap in the face to receive a full reboot, unless done in the genius manner of the new Star Trek movies. That being said, it wouldn't be too far fetched to see another power of three pop up. I mean, of all the demons, White Lighters, and witches there are, surely Prue/Paige/Piper/Phoebe aren't the only ones capable of some serious combo magic. Somewhere else in the world, a new generation of siblings could be coming into their powers.

    I'd definitely give it a chance.

  • zeofan1 Oct 28, 2013

    I guess it could 'fun' in a bad way (like 'The Room'). But then it was just boring. Once Paige arrived, she was the only one really invested in saving people, with her sisters actively trying to stop her from doing the right thing. Some magical heroes.

  • JohnCouto Oct 26, 2013

    but none of those reboots were on cbs. its cbs! it'll be awesome! :_

  • zeofan1 Oct 28, 2013

    CBS does okay at reboots. Hawaii Five-O is still going strong.

  • daniellecio Oct 27, 2013

    I don't think old people like witches...

  • zeofan1 Oct 26, 2013

    Charmed shouldn't be too hard to surpass in terms of writing quality.

  • JT_Kirk Oct 27, 2013

    And yet, somehow they'll fail anyway.

  • linkthehero82 Oct 26, 2013

    It's ironic that Catfish's renewal was announced on Facebook, aren't most people who are victims of "Catfishing" reeled in on know what this means don't you? MTV has catfished us all and the show is really cancelled. Bravo MTV, but I'm on to you!

  • hockeyrick Oct 26, 2013

    A "twitter celebrity?" How weird is that!!!!
    Charmed reboot? WHY?
    DDD is a very good show, compared with the drivel that is currently out there!

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