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Jack Myers On the Road

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The focus went back and forth from what new series Nick and its sister services (Nick Jr./Nicktoons/TeenNick) will offer to how those new series will live online and other ways beyond the TV screen. For example, Game Makers, a forthcoming series from iCarly/Victorious/Sam & Cat creator Dan Schneider about two girls who launch a new games venture, will turn whatever games get created by this scripted pair into online destinations and smartphone/tablet apps. (Suggestion: Don't forget smart TVs and devices that make TVs smart, such as Roku, Google Chromecast, etc.) Other series will be positioned for merchandising/advertiser tie-ins through a new Inside/Out Solutions unit. Meantime, Nick perennial SpongeBob SquarePants may be headed for Broadway in musical form. If the opening number showcased (directed by Tina Landau) is a barometer, parent Viacom may have just the thing to break into the family-friendly musical scene dominated by Disney. Solid pace and plenty of clips to view, supported by a wry appearance from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-star Will Arnett. Echosmith continued Nick's string of solid Upfront event musical wrap-ups.

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Which brings me to this week’s breathtakingly original episode of ABC’s “Modern Family,” a television milestone shot in its entirety on iPhones, iPads and such that explored the impact of digital communication and social media on American life. It was the best half-hour of comedy I have seen all season, and in my opinion the best episode of this series in many years. It was certainly the funniest. I’ll admit I began to tire of “Family” last season, when it started to feel hopelessly repetitious, but after this episode I’m suddenly interested in it all over again. It was actually exciting to watch and great fun to think about after the fact. Situation comedy doesn’t get better than that.

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