Blog Archives

Marc Stryker

The irony isn’t lost on anyone who’s been following the television entertainment industry—in the face of the most significant disruption to its business model since cable, television is experiencing another golden age in quality programming. Actors and actresses are actually turning down motion pictures to star in television dramas and comedies, a trend unheard of in the 80s and 90s. Whether or not advertisers will continue to finance these productions is another matter, but until it’s all figured out, we’re happy to share with you the PPBH picks for television in 2012:


Modern Family – Season 3 ended with a hilarious parody of melodramatic telenovellas as Cam and Mitch’s adoption fell through and Gloria revealed her pregnancy. Season 4 has been a little up and down in comedy writing/acting (as the Dunphy children age, they get less funny), but still remains a compulsively watchable show. Still proud to have Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) as our fellow Salt Laker and best Dad ever.

Revenge – Finally, TV execs figured out the prime-time soap opera formula for 80s faves Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest and Knot’s Landing, and successfully transplanted them into our day and age with smartphones and mostly non-feathered hair.

New Girl – What started out as a star vehicle for Zooey Deschanel has morphed into an ensemble comedy where the sum is greater than its parts. Maybe SNL did the show a favor by highlighting Zooey’s incessant quirkiness in this dead-on parody. Don’t get us wrong – we like Zooey, but just in small doses. Max Greenfield’s Schmidt, on the other hand, is stealing the show with endearing douchebaggery.

Parks and Recreation – This show will go down in history as the best unwatched show ever. It’s a shame that the masses can’t get into Ron Swanson’s affectionate tea party libertarian hilariousness, Andy’s charming cluelessness or the episode where Tom Haverford is forced to abstain from technology after a texting and driving crash.

Reality Show Competitions – Ok, it’s tough to admit that sometimes we watch these shows but in 2012, we couldn’t resist a peek or two at So You Think You Can Dance, The Voice or that perennial contender that lives up to its name, Survivor.

Honorable Mentions: NashvilleScandal, Revolution, 30 Rock, The Office, Mike & Molly, Law & Order:SVU


The Walking Dead – Some fans felt that Season 2 was too boring, with lots of talking and little zombie killing. But that was the calm before the storm and Season 3 started off with a bang as our band of survivors waged a zombie genocide, clearing out a prison for their new home. New characters like The Governor, the return of one-armed racist hick Merle Dixon and a bloody birth escalated the tension to unbearable levels.

Breaking Bad – Most addictive show on television. As we spread the BB word to fellow PPBHers over the years, Netflix queues have been bursting at the seams with consecutive seasons and marriages/relationships nearly broken badly as one episode leads to the next, to the next and to the next…

American Horror Story: Aslyum – This is the kind of show that jumps the shark about five times an episode. If you thought Season 1 was over-the-top crazy, Season 2 ups the ante with everything and the kitchen sink thrown in. Already we’ve seen alien abductions, flesh-eating mutants, a serial killer called Bloody Face, a homicidal Santa Claus, demonic possessions, the Maroon 5 lead singer losing his arm (and everything else) and senior citizen actors Jessica Lange and James Cromwell hoping their children and grandchildren are not watching.

Duck Dynasty – If you haven’t been fully mesmerized by the antics of the Robertson clan, what’s wrong with you? Check out A&E’s chronicle of the founding family of the famous Duck Commander duck call. Okay, only PPBH partner Dave Smith was familiar with Duck Commander, but famous is as famous does. No scriptwriter could ever dream up this stuff.

Honorable Mentions: Sons of Anarchy, Suits


Game of Thrones – This show is still on? Haven’t they killed off all the characters yet? This show is the most epic fantasy series on the tube worth watching. Forgot about whatever is on Starz or Syfy.

Homeland – Some of us actually watched Pres. Obama’s favorite TV show and the others watched it through SNL’s obsession with including this Showtime political drama in its skits, here and here.

Dexter – This show is still going strong into seven seasons (that’s easy when you only have 12 episodes per “season”). PPBHers still can’t get enough of this well-intentioned serial killer and all his zany slapstick adventures.

Honorable Mentions: Boardwalk Empire (funny, we modeled our Holiday Card after this show, yet few of us watch it), Girls, Boss

What did you watch in 2012? Let us know. And if you missed our 2012 movie selections, check them out here. PPBH’s 2011 TV picks are also on the blog.


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Salt Lake City again defended its movie-loving crown in 2012, beating New York with sell-out theaters for Breaking Dawn, The Hobbit, The Avengers, The Hunger Games and pretty much any other G, PG or PG-13 movie released. So is PPBH representative of the Utah population’s frenzy for blockbuster movies? We asked our own PPBH employees what movies they didn’t mind standing in line for in 2012 and we didn’t get one vote for Breaking Dawn! But other than that (and some weird pick as usual by Jon Manning, star of Burning Pan), we sided with the masses on these picks:

Skyfall – See Hollywood, all a good Bond film needs is a great script, an interesting villain and a reason to care about what happens to Mr. Bond (oh, and finally a cool intro sequence set to Adele’s titular tune). The quiet, dialogue-heavy scenes were just as intense as the crisp action sequences and Javier Bardem’s brilliant turn as a former agent gone horribly rogue was the glue that held this thing together. And when you don’t have all of these elements, you get the craptastic Die Another Day.



The Hunger Games – Katniss was brought to satisfying life by Jennifer Lawrence. We had reservations about the choice of Gary Ross as director and the first, less-than-amazing movie trailer, but all doubts were set aside when Lawrence nocked her first arrow. So are you with Team Peeta or Team Gale? (Hey, had to compensate for Breaking Dawn not making the cut.)



The Avengers – We didn’t believe that even the supercool Joss Whedon could make a superhero ensemble movie work, but both near-universal critical acclaim and Titantic-like box office prove otherwise. He even managed to make the previously unfilmable Incredible Hulk look like a guy that could have his own great movie someday. Make sure you watch the post-credits scene at the shawarma joint.



Lincoln – If you ever read the dense Team of Rivals, the first thing you probably said to yourself was, “This would make an amazing movie!” Ok, probably not, but darn it if Speilberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner didn’t pull off a killer adaptation of a textbook.  PPBHers loved the way Daniel Day-Lewis disappeared into the role of Honest Abe during the tumultous times after his controversial Emancipation Proclaimation.



The Hobbit – Director Peter Jackson picked up the slack of his fantasy nerd buddy Guillermo Del Toro, who was originally going to direct this tale of Bilbo Baggins and his adventures before all that Lord of the Rings stuff happened. Neither is a good editor, so of course this is the nearly three-hour first installment of an unnecessary trilogy (the first film gets you through just about 100 pages of the book). Despite that, the movie managed to magically transport us back to Middle Earth and keep us reasonably entertained with dwarves, orcs, goblins, trolls and of course, a hobbit.



Moonrise Kingdom– You know what you’re getting with a Wes Anderson film and audiences tend to love it or be bored. Enough PPBHers loved it for the usual Anderson ingredients: static set pieces, uncomfortably long reaction takes, quirky dialogue and Bill Murray.


Wreck-it Ralph – Every year an animated film tends to come out of nowhere and deliver a little more animated originality than we usually get. This year’s was Wreck-it Ralph, the tale of an 80s arcade game villain who decides he wants to be the good guy. Great voice acting by John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman (okay, she can be a little annoying), Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch.



Lockout – From the cheesy French brain of Luc Besson comes this futuristic jail-break sci-fi yarn with Guy Pierce and Maggie Grace. You can thank Besson for the Taken and Transporter series, but he also directed The Fifth Element and The Professional. We loved the off-beat humor and gritty visualization of the overthrown jail orbiting the Earth and lines like: “Here’s an apple, here’s a gun, don’t talk to strangers… shoot them.”


The Cabin in the Woods – This was the other Joss Whedon film that came out in 2012 (he co-wrote it). If you’re a horror fan, this is a must-see. Clever, creepy, funny, scary and heart-warming. Okay, not that last one.



Nitro Circus: The Movie – Why the Jackass series continues to get the love while a film like this can’t get much distribution really defies all reason. The adrenaline junkies among us couldn’t resist this 3D showcase of impossible, insane and death-defying stunts.



Honorable Mentions: Sleepwalk with Me, Life of Pi, The Imposter, 5 Broken Cameras, The Dark Knight Rises, Argo, Seven Psychopaths, Prometheus, Man on a Ledge, The Vow and Big Miracle

This is the first installment of a series where we tell you our favorite picks for all things TV, music, books, ad/PR campaigns and online videos for 2012. Stay tuned! To see PPBH’s 2011 movie picks, check it out here.


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Contributed by Patty Clark

Some celebrate the holidays with ugly sweaters. Others give out generic cards or wait in ridiculously long lines. At PPBH, we party in the fashion of the 1920s.

As part of our annual tradition, we’re proud to present the 2012 PPBH holiday card. This year the agency partners are G-men about to bust up a speakeasy, led by the infamous gangsters of the 1920s.

Our holiday card features the greatest asset we have; every single member of our growing agency is in this card.

The creative team and our photographer has spent a significant amount of time planning, designing and executing this card, all in an effort to wish you a roaring good holiday.

Take a look at the behind-the-scenes video at

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Contributed by Jane Putnam

At PPBH, we work hard—and we play hard, too. One of many annual traditions we look forward to is the holiday party. This year, we kicked it up a notch and had a grand time at the Grand America. To summarize the party in one sentence: beautiful venue, delicious food, the best group of people and a great time. In fact, we were having so much fun we didn’t get as many pictures as we should have. Thanks to the PPBH partners for hosting another amazing holiday celebration!



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So how do you watch TV these days? If you’re like 44 percent of U.S. households, chances are you are using a digital video recorder, or DVR, to aid you in your viewing. And you use this device to not only record your shows, but to skip through the very commercials that fund the production of those shows. Once you harness and command the power of skipping through ads, you can never go back. But read any quote from a television executive about this trend and they’re all smiles, saying things like, “This means more people are viewing our content!” or “More time-shifted viewing means more viewers!” or my favorite, “Viewers are more engaged with ads when they are fast forwarding through them!”

If fast-forwarding through ads is synonymous with “engaging” with them, then the DVR truly is the device that will save television, not destroy it. But executives should have good cause for concern—TiVo’s proprietary data shows that when you look at a TV program and its time-shifted viewing, the viewing of the program can experience a seven times increase in viewership, yet the commercial pod for that same program barely doubles the live viewing. So what does this mean?

Commercials are being skipped—A LOT. In local television, ratings are the currency for which commercial rates are negotiated and set. In days of yore, we used the Live viewing rating. But now, the Live+7 rating is used, meaning all viewing that occurs both live and within the following seven-day period. So how is viewing in a market like Salt Lake City affected? Let’s look at the poster child of time-shifted viewing, Modern Family:

If the rating we based the Modern Family ad rates on are 15 to 37 percent higher than same-day viewing, what is the true value of that added viewership? If TiVo’s research holds true, we are paying for  fast-forwarded views as if they are the same value as a commercial watched live. On this blog we’ll continue to research the trends that are shaping media consumption today, so stay tuned for more installments. By the way, news viewing stays virtually unchanged from Live+Same Day to Live+7 Day, so the nature of the content will largely determine the extent of the time shift in viewing.

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I’m really not that old but after I found myself reminiscing to a teenager that I used to save college papers on hard, square-shaped things called floppy discs, I felt like I should remove my dentures and teeter toward a couch somewhere. Then I started to think back to when I was a peon print reporter nearly a decade ago and how today’s technology would have made my clueless, fresh-out-of-college life so much easier. So here’s why I’m jealous of reporters now.

Fast, Remote Internet Access
I would show up to a city council meeting armed with little more than a long skinny notebook. If they didn’t make an important decision until 11 p.m., I still had to dash back to my fat, fluorescent, Macintosh desktop, decipher all the scribbles from my aforementioned notebook and still give the copy editors time to do a look-over before the presses go at midnight. What if I had a laptop with an Internet card or an iPad with a 4G connection or, better yet, a public Wi-Fi connection at the city offices? I could have typed a clean story during the irrelevant portions of the meeting, quickly finalized it after the decision was made and gone home to put my feet up.

More Comments Online and Less Over the Phone
During one Christmas season I thought it would be brilliant to write a story about what the post office does with letters to Santa – bad idea. The morning it printed with a nice photo of the letters in several mail bins, my phone started ringing. “Do you think my child can’t read?” mothers would ask. Apparently I had ruined Christmas for some of the mini locals, a burden I had to carry with me for the rest of that season. But what if I had just received those rants in the comments section below the online version of the article? While neither options are desirable, I’d rather be slandered in typed words. Then I could at least enjoy my yuletide eggnog with a lighter conscience.

More Story Ideas
Coming up with seven ideas for stories every week was hard work. In addition to my beat I was tasked with calling all of the nearby police precincts every Saturday morning to see if anything had happened that I should cover. While some stories and briefs came of those calls, they were mostly for entertainment value. It wasn’t just precincts, I often found myself buzzing over all my other sources to see if anything new was going on or sifting through lame press releases. But what if my sources tweeted, texted and facebooked as much as they do now? Maybe I would have had more ideas buzzing over my head to choose from and been more on top of new developments.

Yes, I know that with great technology comes great responsibility and new challenges but I still think it would have been nice to have had the technology that is available to us now.

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Contributed by Jane Putnam

We are beyond thrilled to announce that Traci Houghton, PPBH’s director of finance, won the AAF-Utah’s Rockie Award in the office support category. Traci was recognized at a luncheon today at The Leonardo. Congrats, Traci! We are so lucky to have you as part of the PPBH family.


Read more about the AAF-Utah’s 2nd annual Rockie Awards here.

More photos from the awards luncheon are available on the AAF-Utah’s Facebook page.

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