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Archive for Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tune In Tonight: ‘Hearst’ tells different tale from ‘Kane’

April 23, 2013

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As media experiences go, there’s nothing more peculiar -- and interesting -- than spin control seven decades after the fact.

Released in conduction with the 125th anniversary of the Hearst Corp., the documentary “Citizen Hearst” (7 p.m., BIO) has the unenviable task of retelling its subject’s story, a tale many people will associate with the 1941 drama “Citizen Kane,” whose title character was loosely based on Hearst. And that’s only a film generally considered to be the greatest movie ever made.

William H. Macy narrates this serviceable biography of the media behemoth and of its founder, William Randolph Hearst. The film is up-front about the ways his life corresponded to that of Welles’ creation. Like Kane, he is the son of a very rich man. In fact Hearst’s father became a senator from California. And like Kane, he eschewed his father’s life as a big-business tycoon for the nitty-gritty of newspaperdom.

While the film refutes some of the dramatic license of “Citizen Kane,” it hardly denies Hearst’s attempts to sway public opinion toward and against candidates, wars and policies, both as a publisher and politician. Feelings about Hearst run roughly parallel to contemporary opinions about Rupert Murdoch. Some chafed at his tactics or despised his politics. But they could not help admiring his passion for print and brash efforts to expand a media empire.

• Speaking of mature media brands, the G4 Network has been renamed The Esquire Network. Apparently it’s moving away from a “tech guy” vibe to a more upscale male demographic. It was supposed to debut today, but that has been pushed back until sometime this summer. Good news: among its offerings will be repeats of “Party Down,” which ran for two seasons on Starz. The loosely scripted ensemble comedy about Hollywood caterers was among the better comedies of recent years.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Farm to table via the Inferno on “Hell’s Kitchen” (7 p.m., Fox).

• Death walks the runway on “Golden Boy” (9 p.m., CBS).

• Luke Perry guest-stars on “Body of Proof” (9 p.m., ABC).

“Frontline” (9 p.m., PBS) examines “The Retirement Gamble.”

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