National News

First The Protest, Then The Storm: Bay Area's 5 Straight Nights Of Clashes

NPR News - Thu, 2014-12-11 00:55

Oakland and Berkeley demonstrators have broken into stores and blocked freeways and rail lines, part of a movement born of frustration about police shootings in Staten Island, N.Y., and Ferguson, Mo.

» E-Mail This

Police Finish Dismantling Hong Kong Protest Sites

NPR News - Thu, 2014-12-11 00:55

The main camp, which had stood for more than two months, was the center of the city's pro-democracy demonstrations.

» E-Mail This

Congressional Plan To Fund Military Comes With A Side Of 'Land Grab'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-12-11 00:55

Material tacked onto the authorization bill adds 250,000 acres of new wilderness, expands national parks, and moves toward a national women's history museum. 'Ethically, it stinks,' says Sen. Coburn.

» E-Mail This

10 of the most expensive TV shows ever made

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-11 00:12

Netflix's newest series, “Marco Polo,” will cost $90 million for a 10-episode season, making it one of the priciest TV shows ever ... pretty steep for a show that won't actually air on TV.

How did TV shows become so expensive? 

In honor of "Marco Polo's" premiere, here is a list of some of the most expensive TV shows ever made. 

10. Terra Nova (2011): $4 million per episode


“Terra Nova” was an ambitious flop, and proof that a big budget does not necessarily equal commercial success. Despite a pilot that reportedly cost at least $10 million, Fox cancelled the sci-fi epic after a few weeks.

9. Deadwood (2004-06): $4.5 million per episode

(Warning: An obscenity is uttered at the end of the trailer)

“Deadwood” is a western that aired on HBO for three seasons. Between horses, wagons, livestock coordinators and a large ensemble cast, the show was gorgeous to look at, but as with many other HBO shows, that quality came at a price.

8. True Blood (2008-14): $5 million per episode



Sure, vampires are trendy and oh-so pretty, but in this case they also come with a hefty price tag. “True Blood” is one more example of HBO 's willingness to shell out to create good-looking television. Unlike other high-budget HBO shows that aired for for only two or three seasons, “True Blood” got seven thanks to a vocal committed fan base.

7. Boardwalk Empire (2010-14): $5 million per episode


At about $5 million per-episode, “Boardwalk Empire” is an expensive production – but the most staggering number is the nearly $20 million it took to make the pilot. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the show built a $5 million, 300-foot-long boardwalk to re-create Atlantic City in the '20s.

6. Game of Thrones (2011-present): $6 million per episode


HBO, again: “Game of Thrones” premiered on the network in 2011, and is currently one of the most popular shows on television. It made headlines when $8 million was spent on one particularly epic second-season episode – it cost $2 million more than the average "Thrones" episode. (By comparison, an average cable show costs $2 million per episode.)

5. Camelot (2011): $7 million per episode (Starz)

It was received moderately well by audiences, but “Camelot” was not the success the Starz network hoped for. One problem: It had the misfortune of premiering around the same time as “Game of Thrones,” which would win the battle of the period dramas. “Camelot” was cancelled after one season. 

4. Rome (2005-07): $9 million per episode

The two-season historical drama had all the elements of an expensive production: Elaborate sets and costumes, overseas locations and a large cast. Series creator Bruno Heller has laid claim to being a pioneer, saying that “Rome” paved the way for other big-budget dramas like “Game of Thrones."

3. Marco Polo (2014-present): $9 million per episode

“Rome” also may have paved the way for the new show, “Marco Polo." The Netflix show, premiering on Dec. 12, has many of the trappings of other recent high-budget shows: It is a historically based drama filmed overseas in Italy and Kazakhstan, and produced in Malaysia.

2. Friends (1994-2004): $10 million per episode (season 10)

(Getty Images/Handout)

Over the course of 10 seasons, “Friends” became a cultural icon, a huge commercial success and produced no shortage of awkward cast photos. By the final season, the six co-stars each made $1 million per episode, a major reason the otherwise low-budget sitcom ended up near the top of this list. 

1. ER (1994-2009): $13 million per episode (at its peak)

(Getty Images/Handout)

“ER,” like "Friends,” was not always so pricey. But after re-negotiations in 1998, NBC agreed to pay Warner Brothers $13 million per episode. One TV producer called the deal “the half-a-billion-dollar blunder,” since the show cost the network $440 million over a two year period – but the "blunder" had staying power. "ER" ran until 2009, ending after 15 seasons and 331 episodes. Some might say the money was worth it just so George Clooney's million-dollar eyes could seduce the camera. Do you see it?

(Getty Images/Handout)

Yup, there he is.

(Note: Dollar amounts have not been adjusted for inflation.)

Here's Why Retailers Keep Sending You Catalogs

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 23:54

While other things made with paper have become obsolete, Americans received nearly 12 billion catalogs in the mail last year — and they love them, says one business consultant.

» E-Mail This

'People Are Going To Rebel': Slow Pace Of Rebuilding Frustrates Gazans

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 23:52

Three months after the war between Israel and Hamas ended, reconstruction has barely started. Many people still live in half-bombed houses. But there are a few bright spots and a bit of innovation.

» E-Mail This

Women's Work Is Never Done On The Farm, And Sometimes Never Counted

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 23:51

The percentage of female farmers is climbing — slowly, according to federal figures. But those numbers don't take into account the many new roles women are filling on multigenerational family farms.

» E-Mail This

A Toilet No More: NBA Team Changes Arena Plan After Jokes Swirl In

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 17:20

The Golden State Warriors have revised their new arena's design, after critics said that from overhead, at least, the building looked just like a toilet with the seat and lid down.

» E-Mail This

Gun Rights Outweigh Gun Control In New Pew Survey

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 15:57

For the first time in at least 20 years, significantly more Americans say it's more important to protect the right to own guns than to control gun ownership, according to a Pew survey.

» E-Mail This

For More Drinking With Less Buzzing, Session Beers Gain Fans

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 14:14

Light beer doesn't have to mean less flavor. A growing trend is offering another option. Session beers emphasize craft-beer taste with alcohol as low or lower than big-brand light beers.

» E-Mail This

Stocks Are Battered As Oil Hits Another 5-Year Low

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 14:02

Oil prices have fallen 40 percent over the past six months. OPEC, which is holding production levels steady, said today it expected lower global demand for oil next year.

» E-Mail This

Why Police Departments Have A Hard Time Recruiting Blacks

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 13:59

Since the Ferguson shooting, there have been renewed calls for police departments to hire more blacks and other minorities. But recruiters say there's a shortage of willing candidates.

» E-Mail This

From Potatoes To Salty Fries In School: Congress Tweaks Food Rules

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 13:41

The giant federal spending bill that's expected to go to a vote Thursday will give schools some flexibility in implementing nutrition standards. Also a winner: the potato lobby.

» E-Mail This

BET founder Bob Johnson wants a Rooney Rule for business

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-12-10 13:36

Bob Johnson, the first black billionaire and founder of BET,  has an idea for how to diversify the workplace: use the NFL's Rooney Rule, which requires interviewing minorities for football production jobs.

Don't most big companies already have best-practice rules to encourage diversity? "The companies say they do it, they have a commitment to do it," Johnson says, "but unfortunately, the results don't turn up in terms of the numbers yet." 

Johnson believes that there are countless talented, qualified minority Americans who aren't getting an open door. "If the minority meets the qualifications, they should be given every opportunity to be hired," he says. 

But how do companies get managers to broaden the applicant pool? According to Johnson, the boss has to be on board.

"It takes a commitment from the top, and the top being the CEO ... and then of course the members of the Board of Directors."


Some Deportees Return To Mexico But Their Stuff Stays In The U.S.

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 13:25

A new report says thousands of people are being deported without their belongings, money or ID. And that's creating even more hardship for Mexican migrants when they return home.

» E-Mail This

Brazil's Tearful President Praises Report On Abuses Of A Dictatorship

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 13:19

The 2,000-page document bring to light a history of torture, executions and disappearances during the 1964-1985 military dictatorship. An amnesty law means no one has been punished for their role.

» E-Mail This

Watch: Navy Ship Uses Energy Weapon In Arabian Gulf

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 13:08

The U.S. Navy says it made a "historic leap" by deploying a laser weapon system for the first time. A video shows the system, based on the USS Ponce in the Arabian Gulf, taking target practice.

» E-Mail This

Boredom On The Border Between Liberia And Guinea

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 13:06

To stop the spread of Ebola, Liberia shut down its border crossings to Guinea. That might have been wise from a medical point of view, but it's bad for the economy — and the restless residents.

» E-Mail This

Uber's Troubles Mount Even As Its Value Grows

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 12:57

The attorneys general of San Francisco and Los Angeles counties are accusing the ride-sharing service of misrepresenting its background checks on drivers. It comes amid a rash of bad news for Uber.

» E-Mail This

Debate: Should We Genetically Modify Food?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-12-10 12:56

Many crops we eat today are the product of genetic modifications that happen in a lab, not in nature. Scientists and consumers are divided how cautious we need to be about these foods.

» E-Mail This