Weekend 'NewsHour'

Cable news currently seems to be in a state of disarray, and the traditional network news divisions are struggling to get airtime. Sensing a chance to expand its claim in the highly competitive broadcast-news arena, public television plans to extend its revered "NewsHour" program to weekends.

The new program, titled "PBS NewsHour Weekend," will be, strangely, just a half-hour long. Beginning Sept. 7, it is to air every Saturday and Sunday from the studios of WNET in Lincoln Center in New York City.

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Current "NewsHour" correspondent Hari Sreenivasan will anchor the broadcast. Sreenivasan has been with "NewsHour" since 2009. He also serves as the show's director of digital partnerships. Before PBS, he was with CBS and ABC in their news divisions.

The use of online and social media is expected to play a more prominent role in the weekend program.

Netflix deal

Netflix's deal to air original television programming from Dreamworks Animation is a major coup for both companies.

Though financial details were not disclosed, Netflix Inc. says the multi-year agreement is its biggest deal ever for original first-run content. It includes more than 300 hours of new TV episodes in a multi-year deal starting in 2014.

The transaction helps Netflix compete with pay TV channels such as HBO and Showtime, and it gives Dreamworks a potentially lucrative outlet for its shows as it tries to shed its reliance on two or three big-budget movies each year.

Netflix Inc. doubled down on original children's programming, hoping to strengthen its push to become a family entertainment brand. The new content should ease some of the pain of losing a range of kids shows from Viacom Inc.'s Nickelodeon network, including future episodes of "Dora the Explorer," which Amazon.com Inc. snapped up for its streaming service in early June.

TV music day

MTV, VH1 and CMT are going back to their roots on the Fourth of July.

The networks said they will throw a "Music Independence Day" party that day, showing videos and giving exposure to artists at a time it can be hard for them to break through to a larger audience.

Each of the networks began their lives as music video channels but shifted to other, more lucrative programming through the years. Music programming is limited now - a wee hours dance party on MTV, the "Jump Start" morning show on VH1, a weekend Hot 20 on the country-oriented CMT. Much of their music content now is concentrated online or on digital channels like VH1 Classic.

"This harkens back to the core of these music brands," said Van Toffler, head of the Viacom Networks.

MTV on July Fourth will have hours devoted to particular music genres, highlighting artists like Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. VH1 will show videos and performances from the likes of Alicia Keys, Pink and Maroon 5, and telecast a live concert that night from Philadelphia featuring the Roots and John Mayer. CMT will offer a "barbecue playlist" of artists like the Avett Brothers, Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan.

On TV Wednesday night

This should be fun: Heather Locklear joins the cast of the legal dramedy "Franklin & Bash." She plays the firm's new partner, charged with corralling rambunctious attorneys Peter and Jared (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer). 9 p.m., TNT.

Time to drown our sorrows over many cans of Slurm. The sci-fi cartoon series, "Futurama," is coming to an end - but not before a final run of 13 fresh episodes that begins tonight. 10 p.m., Comedy Central.

For the Season 5 premiere of "Hot In Cleveland," Betty White and the gals are going live. So who will be the first to blow a line or crack up uncontrollably? 10 p.m., TV Land. See story, B2

Top iTunes albums

1. "The 20/20 Experience," Justin Timberlake

2. "Ice On the Dune," Empire of the Sun

3. "Ultimate Hits," Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

4. "Hunter Hayes," Hunter Hayes

5. "Random Access Memories," Daft Punk


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