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Michael Bay’s CES Implosion Threw Samsung a Curve

1/13/2014 12:00 AM Eastern

Samsung hoped its press conference at last week’s International CES in Sin City would generate a lot of buzz about its new “curved” line of 4K sets, which claim to drive home the kind of immersive experience consumers can get at the movie theater.

Mission accomplished. Well, sort of. Samsung’s presser got heaps of attention, but not for the reasons the CE giant probably intended. Samsung invited director Michael Bay on stage as a surprise guest to tout the new technology and how it will help viewers enjoy his movies.

It got off to a smooth start. “My job as a director is, I get to dream for a living … I create visual worlds that are so beyond everyone’s normal life experiences,” Bay explained. Makes sense. That’s exactly the kind of experience that these new curvaceous 4K creatures are supposed to generate. In fact, Bay is working with Samsung on a curved-screen experience to promote Transformers 4.

And then it got weird when Bay himself was thrown a curve as the teleprompter apparently went awry, causing the director — who apparently could use an improv lesson or two — to go off-script.

“The type is all off . Sorry, but I’ll just wing this,” stammered Bay, whose pirate drama, Black Sails, will mark his made-fortelevision debut when it premieres on Starz on Jan. 25 (see Content). “I try to take people on an emotional ride and, umm….” Enter uncomfortable silence, stage left.

Samsung Electronics America executive vice president Joe Stinziano then stepped in and, casting himself in the role of the director, asked Bay what he thought about the Curve. “Excuse me; I’m sorry; I’m sorry,” Bay responded, and promptly walked off stage, leaving the audience chuckling and wondering if this was all part of an act.

The show went on, but without Bay.

Soon after, Bay released a statement about the on-stage freeze-up: “Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES — I was about to speak for Samsung for this awesome Curved 105-inch UHD TV. I rarely lend my name to any products, but this one is just stellar. I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down — then I walked off . I guess live shows aren’t my thing.”

Samsung still got its money’s worth, and maybe more. Bay’s flub probably helped the CE company get more media attention (count The Wire among the guilty) than it would’ve gotten if the presser went off flub-free.

And it provided fodder for the likes of Jimmy Kimmel and The Soup’s Joel McHale, who quipped: “Since when did Michael Bay care so much about a script?” It also enabled a teaching moment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, when former George W. Bush communications chief Nicole Wallace (who sympathized with Bay) compared his performance to Sarah Palin’s disastrous interview with Katie Couric.

At last check, CNET’s posting of the on-stage implosion on YouTube had generated 503,301 views, while another individual posting on the video streaming hub had reached a lofty 885,978.

Who Gets Slinged Most? SpongeBob SquarePants

Sling Media’s place-shifting technology is perfect for the sports nut on the go, so it comes as no surprise that live sporting events have historically been the most sling-worthy things on television. In fact, the idea of being able to watch the San Francisco Giants (the home team of Sling Media founders Blake and Jason Krikorian) via the Internet from any corner of the globe was the genesis of the original Slingbox.

But what other TV shows do consumers like to sling? We’ll have an answer to that question each week, now that Sling Media has decided to post a running list of the most place-shifted TV shows and live sporting events every Monday.

Timed with last week’s International CES, Sling Media released its first batch of rankings (for the week of Dec. 29-Jan. 4).

The NFL wild card game between the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals topped the debut sporting events chart, followed by other pro-football games, college bowl games and ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter.

The TV shows list, meanwhile, mixed in a batch of dramas, daily doses of news and entertainment, and a few guilty pleasures.

In order, the most-slung TV shows of the week were: SpongeBob SquarePants, The Big Bang Theory, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Today, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Pawn Stars, NCIS, Duck Dynasty and Family Guy.

Sling wasn’t alone in touting its place-shifting chops last week. TiVo, which lets users stream video in or out of the home via the TiVo Stream sidecar or from its new line of Roamio DVRs, released its list of the top streamed programs for last November, mixing sports with TV shows.

NFL and college football led that list, followed by The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, The Walking Dead, Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Big Bang Theory (showing crossover Sling-TiVo appeal), Saturday Night Live, The Voice, The Blacklist and How I Met Your Mother.

September