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Stay Tuned
Reviews, previews and much more on "24," "Lost," "The Real Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS" and many more of your favorite shows. This is the place to talk about all of the things that make us "Stay Tuned"…

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"Commander In Chief" Returns Tonight...

ABC is scheduled to air the remaining episodes of "Commander In Chief" beginning tonight (Wednesday) at 10. The episode they are scheduled to show tonight is "The Elephant in the Room," which is the one I called my "Pick of the Week" a few weeks back. When President Allen's appendix bursts, Templeton has to step in as President.

No matter what issues this show had--and it had many--I still believe this episode will be worth watching for Donald Sutherland's scenery chewing alone.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Stay Tuned: We're Not Done Yet!

So you might think now that the television season is over, that I wouldn’t have anything to write about.

Au contraire, my friends, there is still plenty to talk about.

There are new summer shows, all the news about the fall season, TV DVD releases and of course, my famous “Best of” lists.

If there’s anything you’d like me to discuss, just post a comment and let me know.

So what will we talk about next?

Stay tuned…

The "Alias" Finale: Getting Them in the End

So since I jumped to a wrong conclusion about the “Lost” finale, I thought I would watch the entire series finale of “Alias,” since I only saw the last half hour of it.

And just like “Lost,” seeing the whole thing did improve my opinion of the episode. But I still can’t say that I actually liked it.

The first hour was pretty strong with all of the globe-hopping action we’ve come to know. But the second hour lagged with the meaningless flashbacks to Sydney as a child. If they wanted to use childhood flashbacks, I think they should have shown her memories of living with Sloane while her dad was in custody. That could have been a nice contrast to her trying to stop him.

I enjoyed that Jack finally got Sloane in the end, but I hated that he had to die to do it since I love Victor Garber; but what a great way to go. “You beat death. But you couldn’t beat me.” I know that final scene with Garber had to be difficult for Jennifer Garner since she and Garber were so close. They both handled it beautifully.

And poor Balthazar Getty. His character, Tom, was pretty much pointless from the get-go, and then he got blown up before he got to go out with Rachel. You have to admit. His exit was better than anything else he got on the show.

Since I’ve never been an “Alias” fan, I’ll let those of you who are decide whether it was a good way to end the show. It did tie up all of the loose ends—sort of. I’m still not sure why Sydney was so important to Rambaldi. I’m still not sure what page 47, or the Horizon, or the amulet did, or who Rambaldi was, or…Okay, I’m pretty much lost on that entire Rambaldi thing altogether. And I think the show’s writers were as well.

It’s probably best to remember “Alias” in its prime. When a fresh-faced Jennifer Garner was wowing us with wigs and doing her own stunts. When a confused college student learned that the organization she worked for was actually the bad guys and vowed to help the good guys bring them down.

She did that in the end. There was just a lot of confusion before she got there.

"Lost": "Other" Questions

Some of you may be wondering why I hadn’t posted anything about the season finale of “Lost.” Since I had only seen the last half-hour, I didn’t think it would be fair to judge the entire episode on those confusing (and unimpressive) 30 minutes.

So over the Memorial Day weekend, I watched the entire two hours. And I’m glad I did because it was actually kind of impressive.

But boy, did it leave a lot of questions and one big disappointment.

I’ll start with the disappointment. It’s becoming clear through first Hurley’s and now Desmond’s flashback that Libby has a pretty fascinating backstory. So why did the writers decide to kill her?

According to interviews I’ve read with the executive producers, it was their plan all along to kill Ana Lucia since Michelle Rodriguez only signed on for a year. But because her character was so hated, they needed to balance her death with a more sympathetic character’s demise. Since they had run out of story for Libby, they chose her.

But clearly, they haven’t run out of story for her at all and word is she will appear in more flashbacks next season. I would’ve liked to have seen what other secrets she may have in her closet. Especially if her husband, David, turns out to be Hurley’s invisible friend, Dave.

Now on to the questions. The biggest one involves Penny Widmore, Desmond’s girlfriend. I wouldn’t think that she would know to look for Desmond by electromagnetic activity, so I’m guessing she must have something to do with the entire Dharma initiative and it’s just coincidence (or fate) that Desmond is involved. It’s probably a safe bet that her father is involved too—or at least I hope so. Any day you can see Alan Dale (Caleb, “The O.C.”) in action is a good day. And this time he got to use his real accent! Maybe Mr. Widmore concocted some way to get Desmond on the island and out of his daughter’s life (So maybe she does know that the electromagnetic activity leads to Desmond). And since Penny is involved, does that mean Desmond will survive whatever it was he did to the hatch?

You have to admire the show. When they decide to end a storyline, they end it in style. Don’t want the characters to have to push the button anymore? Let’s just blow up the hatch! But did Locke and Eko survive? Eko I’m not so sure about, but Locke I feel certain we’ll see again.

And I enjoyed finally seeing Clancy Brown (as Kelvin, Desmond’s hatch mate). If his voice sounded familiar, it’s because he’s the voice of Lex Luthor in the “Justice League” cartoons as well as the voice of Home Depot.

There are also the questions surrounding The Others. Who are they? The one who posed as Henry Gale said they were the good guys. But what do they want with Jack, Sawyer and Kate? Why did they write Hurley’s name on the list and then let him go? Why did the one guy wear a beard? And will Michael and Walt really make it home? Why can’t they ever find their way back if they do?

After just watching the last 30 minutes, I was concerned that “Lost” may be going too sci-fi. But after watching the entire thing, it looks as if it may be exactly the opposite. It appears that “Lost” is getting away from the sci-fi and going back to the character interaction that first made the show a hit.

This compelling finale was a great place to start.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

"American Idol": The Afterglow

A friend of mine told me today that only I could make online ticket buying dramatic, but if you were one of the thousands of people trying to buy "Idol" tickets this morning, you know that it was kind of a drama. I did manage to get three so I'll be there screaming with the rest of you.

As for last night's show, there are a few things everyone agrees on:

1) Meatloaf was horrible! MSNBC said he came off like a dirty old man leering at Katharine.
2) Prince was a welcome surprise.
3) Toni Braxton was not good. Some people criticized her singing, while others agree that she was a little inappropriate with Taylor. However, you might be interested to know that apparently Toni and Taylor walked off the stage hand in hand. Maybe he just thought that was his best defense!

Personally, I thought the show was pretty entertaining and by far the best "Idol" finale yet. Though the "Golden Idol Awards" were a little cheesy, the rest of the show had some fairly good performances (or at least interesting ones). And Prince was awesome. I hope the producers stick with this formula (with a tad less cheese).

Taylor will appear on "The Tonight Show" tonight (Thursday) and he and Katharine will appear on "Today" June 1st. Taylor's single is scheduled to hit stores Tuesday, June 13th.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Idol Finale: Minute by Minute...

Though I hate waiting two hours for the winner, I think the show finally figured out how to fill the time in a way that makes sense.

They ditched the always traumatic interviews with people back home and just stuck with music and LOTS of special guests.

In the end (literally), we were left with one American Idol.

For the past three seasons I have updated some of my friends (and their co-workers and families) on all things “American Idol.” It’s one of the things that helped me get this gig. One of the things I do is give them a minute-by-minute recap of the results shows, as they happen.

So, I figured I would share my recap of the finale with all of you as well. If you missed a minute, this will catch you up so you can discuss the show fully at the watercooler tomorrow morning. I probably got a lot of the song titles wrong, but cut me some slack. I’m writing pretty fast.

7:59 Carrie walks out singing…Then, Taylor…Then, Katharine…“I Made It Through the Rain”…The other finalists join them. They’re all dressed in white (an Idol tradition)…Gospel choir joins them…Taylor gets the biggest ovation.

8:01 Intro…Ryan hits the stage.

8:02 Ben Stiller and Heather Locklear are sitting together. He’s not hiding this time…For a minute, I thought Bucky was in the audience, but then I remember he has a twin brother.

8:03 Randy recap…His blue glasses don’t really match his suit…Paula recap to “So Emotional”…Simon recap to “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” The answer is yes, I do. He looks good tonight.

8:05 Uh-oh. Checking in with the hometowns—always a trauma…Jessie and Becky O’Donohue are in Birmingham, Alabama (Taylor’s)…Wow, that actually went well.

8:06 Tamyra Gray is at Universal Studios…That went fairly well too…All the signs had KIIS-FM stickers on them. Nice plug for Ryan’s station.

8:07 Paris sings…Al Jarreau joins her…”We’re In this Love Forever”…Paris is trying to look into it even though she’s singing him under the table.

8:09 Break. Good. I need a minute.

8:13 We’re back. Chris with Live (his favorite band)…Their lead singer kind of looks like Chris…Chris gets a big ovation…The harmony’s not really working…Let’s let Chris sing by himself some, please…Now the harmony’s working…Chris had fun with it…I think this just proved that Chris needs to go solo.

8:16 Kellie goes to Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant for “Puck ‘n Pickler.” He makes her eat snails and she spits them out in her napkin…Wolfgang is in the audience.

8:19 Meatloaf and Katharine do “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”…Yes, the Celine Dion song, if you can recognize it with whatever Meatloaf is singing.

8:21 Kat’s having a hard time staying on key because he’s nowhere near the key…She’s not a bad actress. Maybe all those people who think she should do Broadway are onto something.

8:22 That was a little disturbing. Break…

8:27 We’re back…Golden Idol Awards…Ryan said “First Annual.” Shame, shame.

8:28 Outstanding Female Vocal…Nominations: Cierra Johnson: “O Holy Night” with way long notes, Crystal Perizinsky (The one with the orange tan): “Lady Marmalade, Princess Brewer: “That’s What Friends Are For”…Winner: Princess Brewer. She’s not there.

8:30 Male Vocal…Marlowes Davis: “Fallin’,” Derek Dupree: “Shout,” “Crazy” Dave Hoover: “Bat Outta Hell.” He should win just for that jump…And he does…And he’s there…He immediately jumps into the crowd and almost hurts himself.

8:33 Break. Good move.

8:38 We’re back. “Puck ‘N Pickler”…She’s afraid of the live lobster. I think I’m with her on this one.

8:39 The guys sing together…“Takin’ Care of Business”…Ace leads off…Kevin…Bucky…Chris…Elliott…Taylor plays the harmonica…Bucky and Chris start “Tobacco Road”…Elliott and Ace, then Kevin join. Nice harmonies by everyone… “Don’t Stop”…Into the audience, of course…Hope they do this medley on the tour, though the last song didn’t really fit…Break.

8:47 We’re back. Ford ad: “Don’t Stop.” Didn’t we just hear that?…Recap of candid moments from all the ads while Kat and Taylor watch in drive-in…Taylor cries while watching…Those two do not sound good together.

8:48 Ryan gives Kat and Taylor the keys to their new Ford Mustang convertibles.

8:49 Back to the “awards”…Proudest Family Moment…Nominations: Elliott’s mom in Richmond, Kat’s dad watching her, Chris’ wife at his audition. The winner: Claudette, Elliott’s mom. I agree with that. She’s cool.

8:51 Claudette intros her son…He starts U2’s “One”…Okay, Bono is in Africa. Maybe Mary J. Blige will sing with him? Yes, it is. What is up with her giant white sunglasses?... Does Elliott get to sing anymore?...Okay, a little, but her microphone’s turned up more…Does Bono know about this?...That was more like a solo performance by her.

8:58 Carrie does “Don’t Forget to Remember Me.” I’m not really paying attention because I’m on the phone making ticket arrangements.

9:02 Randy Jackson Award for Public Speaking…Rhonetta Jackson, of course. The cursing ‘Lil Kim lookalike.

9:04 Rhonetta appears “via satellite” to accept her award.

9:04 Taylor starts “In the Ghetto”…Toni Braxton joins him…What is wrong with her? She’s doing more coming on to Taylor than singing with him…At least he gets to sing.

9:06 Uncomfortable moment alert as Toni puts Taylor’s arm around her. Yikes! Break…

9:10 We’re back. Katharine leads the girls on “Feel Like a Woman”… “Trouble”…Paris…Lisa…Katharine…Melissa…Kellie…Mandisa… “I’m a Woman”…Katharine leads “Natural Woman.” She’s getting to sing a lot…Lisa…Paris. Why couldn’t they let Mandisa do that one?...“I’m Every Woman”…Now it’s Mandisa’s turn…And of course, Mandisa strikes a pose.

9:14 Back to the awards…Best Impersonation…Nominations are Kenneth McErone as Cher doing “Believe,” Seth Strickland as Michael Jackson doing “Thriller,” Michael Sandecki as Clay Aiken doing “In the Still of the Night”…Winner: Michael Sandecki and he’s there.

9:18 Michael sings “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”…Of course, Clay’s there. What’s up with his hair?! He looks like one of the Beatles!...Michael’s shocked…He sings with Clay. That’s pretty cool…Okay, Michael, you can shut up now…Ryan goes and gets Michael and gets him to sit down. Good job, Ryan…His hair may be weird but his voice is still fine. I LOVE YOU CLAY!!!...Break…

9:24 We’re back…Burt Bacharach goes to the piano for a medley of his songs. Didn’t we do that last year?...Taylor starts “What the World Needs Now” and misses the key…Katharine…Ace, looking good in his suit, does “The Look of Love”…Melissa in a rocking dress. Ace appears impressed…Kellie does “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”…Bucky: “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”…That was actually not bad. Good job, Bucky!...Mandisa does “Say a Little Prayer”…Lisa: “Alfie”…Tell me again why I thought she was good…Elliott does “A House is not a Home”…Paula is, of course, enjoying it…Kevin does “What’s New Pussycat?” The crowd loves him.

9:32 Chris and Ace (Yikes!) and Kevin do “Arthur’s Theme”…Can we shove Kevin off the stage for just a minute?...Paris does “Close to You”

9:33 Paris intros Dionne Warwick for “Walk On By”…She’s faring better than Al Jarreau…Of course, Dionne starts “That’s What Friends Are For”…Taylor and Kat join her and then the rest of the Idols.

9:36 Taylor and Elliott put their arms around each other…Dionne completely misses the last note…Burt gives Dionne a hug…Ryan’s microphone’s not on…After the break…

9:41 Back to the awards…Best Male Bonding…The nominees are Ace and Chris (YIKES!!!), Ryan and Taylor (for lying on the floor), and Garrett and the “Brokenote Cowboys.” Gee, wonder who’ll get this one…Yes, the Brokenote Cowboys are there. They sing “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”…That one guy’s pretty good.

9:45 That was kind of cool…The winner’s kind of becoming an afterthought…Ryan says the surprises are done. He again asks the audience who they want to win…The camera shows the audience, but the lights start to blink on stage (but we don’t see the stage). Back on stage are two scantily clad women dancing. What the heck?

9:46 Ryan lied. It’s Prince!!! PRINCE!!!???!!!

9:47 Does that mean we’ll get a Prince theme night next year?

9:48 Didn’t know the song, but that was awesome!...He does another one…He still sounds great. He just made everyone else who performed tonight (except for Clay, of course) sound like total amateurs…Look for his songs to get majorly downloaded now.

9:49 Prince and his ladies leave the stage without acknowledging Ryan…After the break…

9:53 Are we going to have time to name the winner? Nice Coke ad. It says “Drink Coke. Now tell us the winner, Seacrest!”

9:54 We’re back…Taylor starts “Time of My Life”…Now Kat joins him…Kat, never wear a dress that you have to hang onto…This announcement is going to go quick.

9:55 They really don’t sound that good together. It’s too low for Taylor…Kat, don’t move too much. You’ll fall…Taylor wants to dance, but she can’t in that dress.

9:56 Moment of truth…63.4 million votes. Ryan says that’s more than any U.S. President has ever received.

9:57 Ryan intros the vote certifier. Kat looks confused. That’s not what she was expecting…The certifier hands Ryan the envelope.

9:57 The winner is…

9:58 Taylor Hicks!! YES!!!...Birmingham celebrates…Taylor breaks down…David Hasselhoff is crying…Kat doesn’t look surprised.

9:59 Ryan asks what Taylor would like to say to his fans. He screams “Soul Patrol!”…Kat thanks her fans.

9:59 Taylor sings “Do I Make Your Proud”

10:00 Taylor yells that this is the American Dream…Choir joins him…

10:01 Yeah, I know it’s a crappy song; but I’ve got chills…The pyrotechnics start…Taylor says thanks to the band, the Idols and his fans…Taylor, please stop saying “Soul Patrol!”…That’s what I’m going to write on my sign for Huntington…Confetti flies.

10:02 Taylor gets a big hug from Ace and then everyone else…We’re out!

I have to wonder if maybe they decided not to let Katharine and Taylor sing alone this year because they got so much flack for her song. What if she had won? Sheesh!

So, again, congratulations to Taylor Hicks, our new American Idol.

Please feel free to post a comment and let me know what you think. And feel free to call me on my “Idol” insanity.

Or do it in person in September…

All Hail Our New American Idol!

Congratulations to Taylor Hicks for becoming our new "American Idol"!

The show did a lot of things differently this year. In fact, they packed so much into the two hours the announcement was almost an afterthought.

I'll have much more later, so stay tuned...

"Idol": Preparing for the finale...

I'm a little surprised at how close everyone is saying the race between Katharine and Taylor is. I really thought Taylor was the clear favorite after last night; but I also thought Chris would win, so what do I know.

A few details are starting to seep out about what we'll get tonight. Two-time Academy of Country Music Award winner Carrie Underwood will perform and it looks like Clay Aiken will as well (I hope so. That guy needs to get back on the radar.). And, Katharine might be performing with Meat Loaf. Yes, you read that right.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

May Sweeps--The Final Day

Where in the world did the month go? Tomorrow is the official end of May sweeps and there are two major events, plus Dr. Phil.

Here’s a look…

At 8 p.m., CBS gives us “Dr Phil: Primetime Special: Escaping Addiction #2.” This time he focuses on drinking…On ABC at 8, we get a repeat of the “Lost” clip episode, followed by the two-hour season finale. We’ll find out why the plane crashed AND what happens when the button doesn’t get pushed so it should be an eventful two hours…On FOX, at 8 p.m., it’s the BIG one, the two-hour “American Idol” finale.

Now you’ve got until September to get ready for the next sweeps period.

Stay tuned…

"American Idol": Finally the Finale

We are finally here. Can you believe it? The finale of “American Idol”!

But before we crown a winner, there’s some singing to do. It was such a big night Simon wore a jacket. Personally, I like the t-shirts.

And why was Ben Stiller hiding behind that Middle Eastern woman?

For the final time this season, we go to the scorecard…

Round One
Katharine McPhee, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”: 23
As much as I dislike Katharine, I really like her doing that song. I think it was her best song choice of the season and it was a good choice tonight, even if the judges didn’t think so.

Taylor Hicks, “Living for the City”: 24
I was worried about him going with this one, but he brought it, way more than he did the first time he performed it. He showed absolutely no nerves and even went to a higher key. The only reason I didn’t give him a perfect score was that hideous jacket. Purple?

Round One Winner: Taylor

Round Two
Katharine McPhee, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”: 24
I have to give her kudos for finally toning it down. However, she seemed kind of uncomfortable. She told Ryan her ear monitor that gave her the key didn’t work. That would explain it.

Taylor Hicks, “Levon”: 22
How was this Taylor’s favorite song of the season? This was a lousy choice and he came nowhere near totally nailing it.

Round Two Winner: (As much as it pains me) Katharine

Round Three
These scores are out of 20 since they didn’t choose the song.
Katharine McPhee, “My Destiny”: 16 (and that’s probably generous)
Is this the song Chris would have had to sing if he had made it to the final? It was definitely not written with Katharine in mind. I think this is the worst “Idol” single ever! Even the glory note got a horrible transition. And of course, we’ve brought back the gospel choir. In the song’s defense, though, Katharine didn’t nail the notes it gave her, but they were few and far between. Hope the recording is much better.

Taylor Hicks, “Do I Make You Proud”: 19
I think this one was written with Taylor in mind (or possibly Chris). Yes, it was terribly sappy and the lyrics were pretty stupid, but it still worked, maybe more because of Taylor than the song. He nailed his glory note, though it had a bad transition as well.

Round Three Winner: Taylor

So who is our next “American Idol”? If it’s not Taylor (as Simon predicted), then there’s truly something wrong with the voting. For you conspiracy buffs out there, I would say that this week’s conspiracy was against Katharine since she got the raw deal on the singles. Did they purposely give Taylor the better song so he could come off better? Maybe Katharine’s song was better than she sang it? Yeah, right…

But just to be safe, I voted for Taylor six times. It may have been seven. I think at least one of them failed.

Don’t forget the two-hour finale begins tomorrow at 8 p.m. Unless they decide to mess with tradition, they’ll crown the new “American Idol” around 9:50 p.m.

And poor Daniel Powter. He sounded great, but no one paid any attention because they were too busy screaming at the video playing behind him. Wow, Kevin’s got a big fan club.

ABC does the right thing...

Today ABC named Charles Gibson as its new permanent anchor for its evening newscast, “World News Tonight.”

It’s about time.

ABC should never have gone with the two anchor format in the first place and Charlie Gibson was the only person who could come anywhere close to filling Peter Jennings’ shoes. Obviously, this hurts “Good Morning America,” which was hoping to close in on “Today” after Katie Couric’s exit, but it’s the right thing to do.

I just hate that it took Bob Woodruff’s tragic accident for them to see the error of their ways.

"Idol" Finale Update: What They're Singing

If you don't want to know what songs Katharine and Taylor are singing tonight, stop reading now.


Okay, if you're still with me, here's what you'll get tonight...

Taylor is singing the Elton John song, "Levon," Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City" and his single, "Do I Make You Proud."

Katharine will be singing the two judges' favorites I promised you. They are "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Black Horse and a Cherry Tree." Her single is called "My Destiny."

In the battle over song choice, I believe Katharine has won. I understand that Taylor is trying to sing upbeat songs since his single is guaranteed to be a sappy ballad, but I'm not sure he picked his best songs. Katharine definitely picked her best songs and is obviously in it to win it.

Another note on Wednesday's two-hour finale, Clay Aiken will be on hand, which really surprises me since I thought he was done with being connected to "Idol." Regardless, I'll be glad to see him. He's been gone too long...

Angela

"American Idol": More finale scoop...

The people at "Idol" are being EXTREMELY tight-lipped about tonight's final performances, but here's what I know...

Taylor won the coin toss and did the smart thing by deferring to Katharine. This means Taylor will get the last word.

I also read the two words that send dread into every "Idol" fan: Tamyra Gray. I'm hearing she may have something to do with the single. You may remember that Tamyra (a season one finalist) wrote the sappy single from season three, "I Believe." PLEASE don't let there be any truth to that. We can't handle another single like that one.

Monday, May 22, 2006

"24": An Ugly Ending

There are some shows that just shouldn’t end in a cliffhanger. “24” is one of them. After a cliffhanger every week for 18 straight weeks, one last one is a little hard to swallow.

Especially one as ugly as this one.

As we saw the last scene of the ship headed to China with Jack inside, I sat in total silence, unsure what to say. It was a jarring contrast to the plenty I had to say about the rest of the episode.

In short, the episode rocked.

Only “24” could end a major threat in the first 20 minutes and still have plenty of other stuff to fill a two-hour episode. But even though the threat was dispatched quickly, it was still plenty exciting. The contrast between Jack’s ruthlessness and the Petty Officer’s fear of killing someone was a great storytelling device. And I finally got what I wanted. Tell me you didn’t cheer when Jack took Henderson down. That guy SO had it coming.

With Bierko and Henderson out of the way, it was time to focus on Logan. I admit I felt sorry for Martha as she resorted to sleeping with her husband so Jack could sneak on the helicopter (She didn’t kiss Aaron again, why?). But it was worth it for us, as the confrontation between Logan and Jack was just as phenomenal as advertised. Watching Logan break down in the helicopter while Jack just stared at him was seriously awesome (and if I might say so, totally hot). I was glad to see that Jack didn’t kill him, because that would have been hard to come back from. Gregory Itzin (Logan) was his masterful self, going from terrified to smarmy in one breath. And I think it goes without saying that Kiefer was outstanding as well. I hope the Emmys agree.

Jack was pretty outstanding himself as he managed to get Logan without killing him by planting a microphone in Logan’s precious pen. The smile on Martha’s face as her husband was led away by the federal marshals said it all. Kudos as well to Sean Callery for dropping the weird James Bond music and just going with a straight dramatic score.

As has become the tradition on “24,” the last 15 minutes were filled by both happy and bittersweet moments. Bill asked Karen out (Way to go, Bill!), Audrey and Jack shared a special moment (Yuck!) and Chloe turned to her ex-husband (I did not like him!) after Bill gave her a picture of her and Edgar. But this being “24,” happy endings are not in the cards and Jack was ripped from his reunion with Audrey by masked kidnappers. I just knew it was the Chinese; and sure enough Jack was dragged into the same dimly lit room we saw last season. As he lay on the floor, asking to be killed, looking near death already, the Chinese promised to keep him alive since he was too valuable—exactly why Logan marked him for death last season.

As I said, it was a little hard to swallow. And seeing Kiefer Sutherland with a huge swollen eye really didn’t help.

So does that mean I think the ending was bad?

Now that I think about it, no, not really. It was nice that the show didn’t just ignore the whole Chinese thing and frankly, the idea of Jack and Audrey reuniting makes me sicker than Jack’s swollen eye. And now, we get to wonder who gave Jack up. Was it Logan? Was it Miles? Was it Graham (aka Dr. Romano)? Or was it the German intelligence agent Jack double-crossed? Or maybe the Chinese just have really good intelligence.

So what now? There are rumors that for the first time in “24” history, the next season will pick up right where this one left off. And “TV Guide” reports that both Aaron and Martha will be back next year—which probably means Logan will be back. And if Jack had to get caught by the Chinese to bring back Gregory Itzin, I might forgive them for the swollen eye.

You see, this season was the best “24” season ever because for the first time, we actually cared about someone other than Jack. The secondary storyline (which is usually a little ludicrous) was just as outstanding as the primary one.

Now that doesn’t mean I’m ready to say goodbye to Jack just yet, because I’m not—by a long shot. So I’ll look forward to January when Chloe gets back to work and gets Jack back.

In the meantime, I’ll just go back to my “Friends” reruns on TBS. They’re a lot less stressful.

Thanks for the ride, boys. It’s been fun…

T Minus Two Hours and Counting...

So we are now just a little over two hours away from the "24" finale. It's a day I look forward to and dread all at the same time. I want to see how it all ends, but I hate knowing we'll be without the show until January.

Because I so badly want to be surprised by what happens, I have avoided all my usual websites today. I've even avoided some e-mails from friends.

But then, I pulled my "TV Guide" out of the mailbox. I had already promised myself I wouldn't read it until after "24" in case it gave anything away. I didn't even have to open it. Right there on the cover was a piece of scoop from the show. It was something I was happy about, until I started wondering if it hinted at a major plot twist, which made me very unhappy. If "TV Guide" gave away the best plot twist of the year on their cover, I am going to have to go Jack Bauer on "TV Guide."

And that won't be pretty...

Stay tuned...

The Idols Are Coming! The Idols Are Coming!

In case you missed the big announcement, The Idols Live Tour is coming to Huntington!!!

The show is September 14th at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. this Thursday and range from $38.50-$68.50.

ARE YOU AS EXCITED AS I AM?

Yeah, probably not...

"Desperate Housewives": Well?

There was a fascinating article in this weekend’s “USA Today” about “Desperate Housewives.” In it, head writer/show creator Marc Cherry and several cast members admitted what we already knew: This season sucked.

James Denton (Mike), who we barely saw all season, said there were too many characters (He counted 19.). Marcia Cross (Bree) admitted to complaining to the writers about Bree. Teri Hatcher (Susan) said the writers never gave Susan a good story arc this year. Mehcad Brooks (Matthew Applewhite) complained about the disappointment of the Applewhite storyline and the total misuse of Alfre Woodward (Betty)—who wouldn’t even comment for the story.

But the most disturbing comment came from Marc Cherry himself who said that this season the writers (figuratively, of course) just threw some stuff on the wall to see what would stick and some of it didn’t stick.

Yeah, that’s the way to write a show.

The thing is, when the stuff didn’t stick, why didn’t he just throw it away? When it became obvious the Applewhite story wasn’t going to work, why didn’t he just get rid of them? When every critic in America complained that the ladies weren’t together enough, why didn’t he change that?

Could it be because he didn’t want to admit the truth—to us or himself?

Cherry promises that next year the show will go back to the way it was. So did tonight’s finale give me any hope that he’s right?

No. It did not.

Carlos cheating on Gabi? Dumb. The new storyline with Tom and Lynette? Totally stupid. Bree admitting herself into an institution and then not being allowed to leave? Whatever. Zach completely turning his back on his dad? Mean and out of character (for both of them). Not even the completely pointless flashbacks did anything other than to remind me how much I miss Steven Culp (Rex).

But then came the last five minutes. I have to admit I already knew what was going to happen to Mike because a friend of mine told me. I was starting to get a little frustrated because I was sure it would be Karl who ran Mike down and that story was really the only highlight of the episode. So I admit I was shocked (and relieved) to see Orson behind the wheel. And then when he showed up at Bree’s door, I have to admit I was intrigued (Boy, Bree can pick ‘em, can’t she?).

So is Mike dead? I honestly have no idea. In the same “USA Today” article, James Denton said he had no idea where Mike would end up. Marc Cherry said he hadn’t figured out what to do with Susan yet next season. And it looks like next season’s premiere will pick up six months after the finale. I think all that sounds bad for Mike. And if he does survive? I would look for him to have some sort of amnesia. How else could there be a mystery?

I said before that unless the finale was really good, I was done with the show. I can’t say it was really good (because it wasn’t), but the cliffhanger probably did its job. I will probably tune in next season.

But if Mike’s dead, I can’t see me tuning in for long.

Stay tuned…

Sunday, May 21, 2006

May Sweeps--Monday's Big Finales and Tuesday's Big Events

May sweeps officially ends Wednesday, but there’s some really good stuff before we get there.

Monday is full of season finales. On CBS, it’s the finales of “The King of Queens” (8 p.m.), “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (8:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.), “Two and a Half Men” (9 p.m.) and “CSI:Miami” (10 p.m.). On NBC, it’s the finale of “Medium” at 10 p.m. FOX gives us the two-hour finale of “24” at 8 p.m. On ABC, it’s the season finale of “Wife Swap” at 8 p.m., followed by the two-hour series finale of “Alias” at 9. MTV offers the season finale of “Punk’d” at 10 p.m. with victim Hugh Jackman.

Tuesday is about big events. On ABC, it’s “Stephen King’s Desperation” at 8 p.m., a three-hour TV movie about a small town possessed by evil starring Steven Webber and a majorly creepy Ron Perlman. On CBS, it’s the “41st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards” at 8 p.m. NBC has part two of “10.5 Apocalypse” at 9 p.m. Of course, the biggest event of the night is on FOX as “American Idol” offers the final performance show at 8 p.m., followed by the season finale of “House” at 9. I also strongly encourage you to check out “Pepper Dennis” at 9 p.m. on the WB before it disappears for good.

Wednesday, we find out why Flight 815 crashed and we crown a new “American Idol”…

An important note for "Alias" fans...

Normally, I don't encourage people to watch something other than "24" Mondays at 9, but because of ABC and their crazy scheduling ways, I don't want "Alias" fans to miss the final episode.

So, remember that "Alias" airs Monday from 9-11 p.m. on ABC.

I have to say that scheduling the series finale of "Alias" against the season finale of "24" is just plain wrong. Because these two shows came into the world together back in 2001, they have a lot of the same fans. Making them choose this way just shows how much respect ABC has lost for "Alias," which when it premiered was ABC's only real buzzworthy show.

But that was then and this is now. I guess even the name of J.J. Abrams isn't enough to give the show a classier exit.

Series Finales: "The West Wing," "That 70s Show" and "Will & Grace"

So now let’s catch up on some series finales…

I never liked “The West Wing.” In fact, I used to make fun of it by doing an impersonation of Toby, Sam and Josh discussing the origin of floor tile with President Bartlett butting in with the final word. I just couldn’t handle all the talking. Which is funny because I’ve loved everything else Aaron Sorkin has ever done (“A Few Good Men,” “The American President,” “Sports Night”) and his characters always talk too much. But I have to agree that the show was never as good without him at the helm. Even this season’s solid storytelling didn’t compare and that includes the somewhat disappointing finale.

For me, a good series finale is one that ties up all the loose ends and shows us where these characters that we’ve learned to love are headed. But “Wing,” because it was so focused on the transition of power, left a lot of questions. We got the impression that Will was going to run for the congressional seat in Oregon, but was Kate going with him since she was replaced at NSA? And we presumed that Donna and Josh were going to try to make it work, but we couldn’t hear Josh tell her anything, like, I don’t know, I love you? Would that have been too much to ask? It just seemed like the Bartlett administration was an afterthought. And since they were the people we were saying goodbye to, a little more camera time would have been helpful.

I really hate when actors forget where they came from and I suspect that’s what happened to Topher Grace of “That 70s Show.” He didn’t show up to the farewell party and he didn’t appear in the retrospective. However, he did grace us with his presence in the finale, but only for about five minutes. But since that five minutes reunited Eric and Donna. I’m almost willing to forgive him. Almost…

I liked that Fez and Jackie ended up together since he had a thing for her from the first season. After all the time they made fun of him for not having a girlfriend, it was nice to see Fez happy. And, no surprise, it was the returning Ashton Kutcher (who apparently hasn’t forgotten where he came from) who got the most laughs.

On Friday, I had three people ask me how “Will & Grace” ended, and I had a really hard time telling them. But by the time I told the third person, it started to make a lot more sense. It didn’t make me like it any better. It just made more sense.

It reminded me a lot of the “Mad About You” finale—which I hated—with its time jumping. But I admit the thought of Will and Grace’s kids getting married was a good one and the way they tricked us into thinking those teenagers were Will and Grace in flashback was clever, but the whole thing still bothered me.

First of all, if I was Vince or Leo, I would have told Will and Grace to stop yapping about each other and get on with their lives. Why didn’t Will ever consider that his constant fussing about Grace breaking her promise may have hurt Vince’s feelings since it appeared that Vince was Will’s second choice? Didn’t Will realize that if Grace had kept her promise (to raise her baby with Will) that he would have never gotten together with Vince and had their own child? It was just terribly selfish—which probably fit in with the characters better than I think. I liked that Will got back together with Vince (Bobby Cannavale was so good in this role.) but I’m not sure about Leo and Grace.

If I can digress for a moment, if anyone can tell me what happened to Taye Diggs’ character that Grace married, I’d appreciate it…

I loved, however, the opening dream sequence with Karen and Rosario as a couple and Jack married to Kevin Bacon. And I loved Karen and Jack’s duet of “Unforgettable.” It had absolutely nothing to do with the story, but it was cool to hear Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes sing together. Did anyone else notice how Megan Mullally eased out of her Karen voice as the song went on?

And did anyone else get the feeling for just a second that Jack and Karen might actually get together? I know that a lot of people were hoping that the show would end with Will and Grace as a couple, but I was glad to see the show stick to the characters we knew.

By the way, if you missed the finale, you can view it online for a few more days at www.nbc.com , or you can wait for the DVD which hits stores May 30th. You can also win the DVD in this week’s MyMovies contest. Go to http://www.herald-dispatch.com for more details.

Season Finales: "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS," "Boston Legal," and "Invasion"

This weekend, I did some catching up on a few season finales…

How I Met Your Mother” is one of the strangest shows I’ve ever seen. If you didn’t see how it began, it appears to be just a simple romantic comedy; but if you’ve seen the pilot you know there’s an interesting twist.

“Mother” shows the romantic adventures of Ted, Barney and the engaged Lilly and Marshall. The story is told through flashback by an older Ted (voiced by Bob Saget) who is telling his children how he met their mother (thus, the title). In the premiere, Ted met Robin and instantly fell in love with her. Just one problem. At the end of the episode, Ted told his children that was how he met their “Aunt” Robin—telling all of us that Robin is not their mother.

However, the show has continued the story of Ted and Robin. You want to root for them, but it’s difficult since we know they won’t end up together. You don’t want to invest too much into them because you know it won’t pay off in the end. But it was hard not to enjoy them rekindling their romance after Ted did a rain dance to get Robin’s camping trip with another guy cancelled.

When I saw how the premiere ended, my first thought was that it would be totally ironic if Lilly, who was engaged to Ted’s friend, Marshall, ended up being the mother. And low and behold, Lilly and Marshall ended their engagement in the season finale. Now obviously that doesn’t automatically mean my theory is correct, but there’s still a chance.

I once called “NCIS” the best show I’m not watching. But now, I have no idea where it’s going. I knew that someone was leaving the show but I never would have guessed that it would be…Mark Harmon.

Harmon’s Gibbs is the leader of the team. He is the straight man to all of their quirks. What do they do now? Get a new straight man? I don’t like the sound of that. I’ve got to believe that some major crisis will bring Gibbs back, especially since I haven’t heard anything about Mark Harmon wanting to quit the show.

“NCIS” has steadily grown into one of CBS’s biggest hits. Harmon has played a major part in that. I can’t believe CBS would just let him go.

If you’ve been reading my posts about the fall schedules, then you know that “Boston Legal” will be back next season. But apparently, the writers had some doubt when they wrote the season finale. There was Denny’s appeal to Shirley for a kiss (“It’s a sweeps episode, Shirley.”), Alan’s toast to a new season with the hopes they’d be on the same night, and the last scene showing only the attorneys’ business cards. I’m a little disappointed that ABC spoiled the Michael J. Fox surprise, but I’m sure it made more people tune in. As for whether Julie Bowen is leaving the show, I have no idea, but that’s certainly how it appeared. Maybe they decided they only had room for one straight arrow lawyer. I am disappointed that this probably means the end of Denise’s affair with Brad.

And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeri Ryan back next season (even though she has a new show). She and James Spader had way more chemistry then Spader and Parker Posey.

I warned you that you would be disappointed in the “Invasion” finale because I knew it would be a cliffhanger. And a cliffhanger it was. I’ve only seen two episodes, but I really liked the show and kind of wish I had watched it all along (I’ll catch up with the DVD when it comes out August 22nd.). The site of Sheriff Underlay carrying Larkin’s lifeless body out to the water so the aliens could save her was awesomely creepy and a great way to end the show. I understand that it was too expensive for ABC to renew, but I wish CW had given the show a second look.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

"American Idol": Finale Preview

So here's what I have heard about Tuesday and Wednesday's finale...

I was thinking what a good idea it would be to have Daniel Powter come sing "Bad Day" live on the show. Apparently, FOX heard my thoughts because he will perform on Tuesday's show. Why not during Wednesday's stall fest? I have no idea. Carrie Underwood will perform "Don't Forget to Remember Me" during Wednesday's show. I wish Carrie's people would forget this song, because I think it's one of the weaker tracks on her CD. They should dump it and go with "That's Where It Is."

Katharine promises she will wear a killer dress. In other words, look for some skin...

Katharine and Taylor are sworn to secrecy (so far) about what they'll sing, but Katharine says she's doing two songs that were judges' favorites. This means that they must only be singing one original song a la season two.

Katharine already has a new contingent of people against her--Elliott fans. They are angry because she appeared to celebrate after Elliott was eliminated, while Taylor remained somber. Katharine is not one of my favorite people right now, but I can see how it may have been difficult to contain her excitement.

I'll pass on more information as I get it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

"The O.C.": Where do we go from here?

Warning: If you haven’t yet seen the season finale of “The O.C.,” stop reading now.


I warned you about the “Hallelujah” song, didn’t I? And yes, I can’t get it out of my head either.

Even if all the press hadn’t already told us who was going to die, it was fairly obvious from the beginning. The dead meat stench around Marissa was pretty strong, although part of me did wonder if the stench was coming from Ryan.

I totally agree with Marissa leaving the show, which is probably why I didn’t cry. The writers had completely written her into a corner with the drinking, the coke snorting and the rotten boyfriend. But why did she have to die (and without telling Ryan she still loved him?)? The tabloids would tell you that Mischa Barton had become too difficult and wanted out, so maybe the show was looking for a permanent exit. If they did it for the shock value, they should have shared that with the FOX promo department who completely gave it away. Personally, I would have been okay with her just sailing off into the sunset.

So where does the show go from here? Honestly, I’m not sure it should have gone anywhere. Because last night’s episode was wrapping up the storyline of the fab four, it felt like a series finale. Maybe that’s what it should have been.

It was nice to see all the allusions to the first season: the model home, Ryan carrying Marissa, even that song. I especially loved Ryan saying the only thing he would have done differently was Oliver, which many people consider to be the character that started the show’s downhill slide. An early trademark of the show was that it never took itself too seriously. It was nice to see that back, if only for a moment.

I have a feeling we won’t get the answer to why Marissa died until next season when we see what the show has planned for who’s left. If the show returns to its former glory, I’ll be okay with new characters (although Caitlyn is way more annoying than Marissa ever was). But with the stiff competition it will face from the other networks, I have a feeling that this is it for “The O.C.” I would have liked for Marissa to be around for that.

“…and every breath you drew was hallelujah. Hallelujah, hallelujah…”

May Sweeps: The final weekend

Here’s what the final weekend of sweeps has to offer…

Friday brings a night full of season finales: “Ultimate Coyote Ugly Search” (8 PM, CMT), “Close to Home” (9 PM, CBS) and “Numb3rs” (10 PM, CBS). “Conviction” brings us a two-hour series finale at 9 on NBC. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” honors the top 20 videos in the show’s history with a two-hour special at 8 p.m. on ABC. And Dr. Phil looks at domestic abuse on “Dr. Phil Primetime Special: Escaping Danger” at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Saturday, it’s time for the late-night season finales with “Madtv” at 11 p.m. on FOX and “Saturday Night Live” with host Kevin Spacey (“Superman Returns”) at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.

Sunday is jam-packed! First, on FOX, it’s a night of season finales with “The Simpsons” at 8 guest-starring Mandy Moore and a 90-minute “Family Guy” at 8:30 p.m. which gives us a censored version of “Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story.” CBS kicks off at 7 p.m. with a Mike Wallace retrospective on “60 Minutes,” followed by the season finale of “Cold Case” at 8 p.m. CBS wraps up its night with a repeat of the “CSI:Miami”/ “CSI:NY” crossover. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look for the scary performance of James Badge Dale (Chase, “24”), but “Miami” fans will be disappointed with the “NY” part of the story that totally under uses Horatio. “Charmed” has its series finale at 8 p.m. on the WB. If you’ve been having cheesy disaster movie withdrawals, look no further than NBC which will air part one of “10.5 Apocalypse,” the sequel to the mega-cheesy “10.5” at 9 p.m. (The conclusion airs Tuesday.). The only reason I’m even thinking of giving this one a look is because Carlos Bernard (Tony, “24”) is in it (I know, I don’t know what he was thinking either.). And, of course, ABC brings us two two-hour finales with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” at 7 p.m. and “Desperate Housewives” at 9 p.m. where we see how everyone came to Wisteria Lane (including the deceased Mary Alice and Rex). I have a bad feeling that the cliffhanger is going to make some people VERY angry.

Coming up Monday, Sydney Bristow says goodbye and it’s Jack vs. the President…

Thursday, May 18, 2006

CW: More of the same...

There was very little media coverage surrounding the CW’s upfront presentation probably because there was very little new, besides the network itself. Most people are calling it the WB-UPN all-star line-up.

Here’s the breakdown…

Monday
8 PM—7th Heaven
9 PM—Runaway
“Runaway” is a drama produced by Darren Star (“Sex and the City”) about a family on the lam.

Tuesday
8 PM—Gilmore Girls
9 PM—Veronica Mars

Wednesday
8 PM—America’s Next Top Model/Beauty and the Geek
9 PM—One Tree Hill

Thursday
8 PM—Smallville
9 PM—Supernatural

Friday
8 PM—WWE Smackdown

Sunday
7 PM—Everybody Hates Chris
7:30 PM—All of Us
8 PM—Girlfriends
8:30 PM—The Game
9 PM—America’s Next Top Model encore
“Game” is a “Girlfriends” spinoff about women dating pro football players.

Coming in midseason is “Palm Springs,” a soap opera from Kevin Williamson (“Dawson’s Creek”) and “Reba” which was spared at the last moment due to a severe financial penalty if it wasn’t picked up.

Since there’s not much new, I don’t really have much of a take. I think that the Sunday comedy block may have worked better on Friday (Remember the days of ABC’s TGIF?), but because of UPN’s WWE, that’s just not possible. I’m glad to see “Veronica Mars” back (even if I’ve never watched it), but I really wish there was some way that “Pepper Dennis” could have found a place too.

So, what will work and what won’t?

Stay tuned…

FOX: Will they ever learn?

All of the other networks released detailed press releases about their fall schedules, describing their nightly strategies at length. But FOX didn’t bother, giving only a schedule and descriptions of new shows. That’s probably because they don’t have a strategy and there’s an excellent chance that the schedule we heard today will not be the one we end up getting.

Last year, FOX got a brilliant idea. To fill the schedule until “24” came back, they would use another serial thriller, “Prison Break.” The plan—thanks to some great marketing—worked, but no one at the network gave any thought as to what would happen to “Prison” after “24” came back. When the network said "Prison" would return in May and complete its season during the summer, the fan outcry was so big FOX changed its mind and brought it back in March, teaming it with “24.” It was a great move.

So Thursday, FOX announced that “Prison Break” will premiere early to get the jump on baseball, run until December, then go on hiatus until May, possibly running into the summer. What?! Did they not learn anything? And “Prison” isn’t the only show affected this time.

The good news is that it’s FOX and as I said, they’re prone to changing their minds.

Here’s the breakdown…

Monday
8 PM—Prison Break
9 PM—Vanished
“Vanished” tells the story surrounding the disappearance of a senator’s wife. It stars John Allen Nelson (aka Paul the Wine Guy from “Friends”). According to the schedule, it also vanishes in January so if it’s a hit, FOX will have two shows with nowhere to go. Wonder why they can’t have more confidence in their shows?

Tuesday
8 PM—Standoff
9 PM—House
“Standoff” stars Ron Livingston (“Sex and the City”) and Gina Torres (“Alias”) in a drama about hostage negotiators who happen to be in a relationship.

Wednesday
8 PM—Bones
9 PM—Justice
“Justice” comes from Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI”) and stars the fabulous Victor Garber (Jack, “Alias”) in a story about lawyers who tackle controversial and newsworthy cases.

Thursday
8 PM—‘Til Death
8:30 PM—Happy Hour
9 PM—The O.C.
“Til Death” marks the return of Brad Garrett (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) to series television. Garrett and Joely Fisher star as a longtime married couple who live next door to newlyweds. “Happy” is a little hard to describe but apparently it combines a straight arrow guy with a modern-day Dean Martin and shows how they enjoy the good life.

Friday
8 PM—Nanny 911
9 PM—Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy

Saturday
8 PM—COPS
9 PM—America’s Most Wanted
11 PM—Madtv
12 AM—Talk Show with Spike Feresten
“Talk” combines traditional elements of a talk show with comedy sketches.

Sunday
7 PM—Comedy Encores (Football Overrun)
8 PM—The Simpsons
8:30 PM—American Dad
9 PM—Family Guy
9:30 PM—The War at Home

After January 2007
Monday
8 PM—Standoff
9 PM—24

Tuesday
8 PM—American Idol
9 PM—House

Wednesday
8 PM—Justice
9 PM—American Idol
9:30 PM—The Loop

Thursday
Same

Friday
8 PM—Bones
9 PM—The Wedding Album
“Album” is a drama that shows weddings through the eyes of the wedding photographer, played by Bruno Campos ("Nip/Tuck").

Saturday
Same

Sunday
7 PM—Comedy Repeats
7:30 PM—King of the Hill
8 PM---The Simpsons
8:30 PM—American Dad
9 PM—Family Guy
9:30 PM—The War at Home

“The Winner,” the first live-action comedy from Seth McFarlane (“Family Guy”), will premiere mid-season. In it, a 43-year-old narrator tells the story of when he started to become a man in 1994, at the age of 32. Also for midseason, Steven Spielberg teams up with reality show guru Mark Burnett (“Survivor”) for “On the Lot,” a reality show looking for the next great filmmaker. On Thursdays and Fridays in September, we’ll get the latest brainchild from Simon Cowell, “Duets,” which pairs established singing stars with celebrities to perform duets. Viewers will vote for their favorites.

Here’s my take on the schedule…

Best Shot at a Hit: Unless it gets hit with an “Everybody Loves Raymond” jinx, I’d say “Til Death.” “Justice” probably has a good shot too, but I’m probably prejudiced by the thought of Victor Garber in a new TV show.

Best Shot at a Miss: Considering I couldn’t even come up with a description of “Happy Hour,” I would definitely say it’s a great shot at a miss. I also wonder if “Vanished” may be one “24” clone too many.

Most Questionable Scheduling Move: Do I even have to say? Why can’t “Prison Break” and “24” just live together happily ever after? And FOX has done it again by taking “Vanished,” another serialized drama, off the schedule in January. But as I said, don’t write any of this in stone.

Best Scheduling Move: ?

Strangest Renewal: Couldn’t FOX have found another poorly written and completely degrading sitcom other than “The War at Home”?

Up next, the CW…

"The O.C": "Hallelujah, hallelujah..."

My fiancé is an incredibly understanding individual.

I’m not sure he had any idea what he was getting into when he started going out with me. But over the years, he’s learned. So when I called him last night to ask him if we could postpone our date tonight since there was so much on television, he completely understood.

Now before you start calling me names, let me just say that under normal circumstances, I am willing to tape “The O.C.”—and many times I do—but this is not a normal circumstance. This is the season finale that will change the show forever. And I just know if I don’t see it live, someone is going to tell me what happened before I get to the tape.

My fiancé understands that—or at least he loves me enough to pretend that he does. Either way, he’s the best.

So what is so important that I would give up time with the love of my life? If you’ve seen the previews, you know that a major character dies. The gossip columns are sure they know who it is (I won’t tell you in case you haven’t heard.), but the show filmed five different endings, so not even the crew knows.

But more significant than the death of a major character is that fans are finally getting what I’ve been screaming for—change. Creator Josh Schwartz has finally acknowledged that the show has become too melodramatic and is taking back control of the show from the writers (including J.J. Philbin, Regis’ daughter) next season. He plans to take it back to the smart, quirky soap that it was in season one. There’ll be new characters and new scenery as Harbor is repopulated with new students (including Caitlyn, Marissa’s sister).

But one of the old crew won’t make it to next season. Remember how “The O.C” always plays the same song whenever anything really bad happens? I have a feeling we’ll hear it tonight.

“Hallelujah, hallelujah…”

And by the way, if it’s Seth who dies, there’ll be one less show keeping me away from my fiancé. I’m sure he’ll appreciate that.

"Reba" lives, "Bernie" doesn't...

I told you yesterday that "Reba" was not picked up by the CW, but in a last minute decision, it will now return. "Pepper Dennis" is, of course, not returning. I think I was the only person who actually liked that show.

In FOX news, "Bernie Mac" has been canceled, but "The Loop" will live to fly another day.

Check back later for all the details about the CW and FOX schedules...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"American Idol": And Then There Were Two

As you guys know, I never really liked Elliott all that much. But when I saw him and his mother and all those adoring fans, I admit, I got teary-eyed and I started to hope that somehow he would go on to next week.

But of course, that didn’t happen. However, it was close.

How close? According to the numbers Ryan showed us Elliott had 33.06% of the vote. The second highest was 33.26% and the top vote getter had 33.68%. I’ve never been good at math, but my calculations say Elliott missed by 100,000 votes. That’s pretty close.

So now we head to the finale. If it stays to form, we’ll get three songs. One song the contestant chooses (usually one they have previously done on the show), and two singles. One of the singles will be performed by both Katharine and Taylor. I think Katharine should go with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” Taylor could go with just about anything, but I’d choose something upbeat.

Remember, Katharine and Taylor will perform Tuesday at 8 p.m. and we’ll get the results after a TWO-HOUR stall fest beginning Wednesday at 8.

In the most unpredictable “Idol” season yet, can Taylor win out?

Stay tuned…

CBS: "We're number one. We can't be number two..."

Without a doubt, CBS is the easiest upfront for me to tell you about since there are only four new shows and very few schedule changes. They’re number one for a reason and their schedule continues to show it. While the other networks are taking chances with high concept shows, CBS is drawing on solid stars with even more solid producers and directors.

Here’s the breakdown…

Monday
8 PM—How I Met Your Mother
8:30 PM—The Class
9 PM—Two and a Half Men
9:30 PM—The New Adventures of Old Christine
10 PM—CSI: Miami
“Class” comes from David Crane, the co-creator of “Friends,” and tells the story of a group of 20-somethings who were in the third grade together and reunite 20 years later. Jason Ritter (John’s son) stars as one of the friends and legendary sitcom director James Burrows is an Executive Producer and directed the pilot.

Tuesday
8 PM—NCIS
9 PM—The Unit
10 PM—Smith
“Smith” is a drama starring Ray Liotta about a crew of career criminals plotting heists across the country. Virginia Madsen co-stars as Liotta’s wife.

Wednesday
8 PM—Jericho
9 PM—Criminal Minds
10 PM—CSI: NY
“Jericho” tells the story of what happens to a small town when a nuclear mushroom cloud suddenly appears on the horizon.

Thursday
8 PM—Survivor
9 PM—CSI
10 PM—Shark
“Shark” stars James Woods as a defense attorney who brings his cutthroat tactics to the prosecutor’s office. The show comes from Imagine Entertainment (Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s company) and Spike Lee directed the pilot.

Friday
8 PM—Ghost Whisperer
9 PM—Close to Home
10 PM—Numbers

Saturday
8 PM—Crimetime Saturday (crime show repeats)
9 PM—Crimetime Saturday
10 PM—48 Hours: Mystery

Sunday
7 PM—60 Minutes
8 PM—The Amazing Race
9 PM—Cold Case
10 PM—Without a Trace

Four shows are on deck for mid-season: “3 Lbs.,” a drama about NY neurosurgeons starring Stanley Tucci (resurrected from a failed pilot that starred Dylan McDermott and Reiko Aylesworth [Michelle, “24”]); “Waterfront” starring Joe Pantoliano as the colorful mayor of Providence, Rhode Island; “Rules of Engagement,” a comedy from Adam Sandler’s production company about two couples and a single guy starring Patrick Warburton (Puddy, “Seinfeld”); and “The King of Queens.”

Here’s my take on the schedule…

Best Shot at a Hit: Take your pick; but I’m going with “Shark.” It’s from Imagine, which brought us “24,” “Arrested Development” and “Sports Night,” so it’s bound to be good if people will watch. Plus, it follows the #2 show on TV, “CSI.”

Best Shot at a Miss: I’m not sure there is one. However, “The Class” may be too high concept (but it’s got a great pedigree) and “Jericho” may be too creepy.

Best Scheduling Move: Though I’m kind of sad to see the end of the network TV movie, I think CBS will do well with its new Sunday night schedule. I like CBS going straight after the family-friendly “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” with the family-friendly “The Amazing Race.”

Most Questionable Scheduling Move: None. This is why they’re number one.

Tomorrow, the CW takes the podium for the first time…

"Veronica" Lives!

Just wanted to pass along that "Veronica Mars" will return next season on the CW.

"One Tree Hill," and "Supernatural" also survived, but "Reba" and "Everwood" did not.

Meanwhile, CBS is only adding FOUR new shows to its lineup. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. However, they have cancelled the Sunday night movie and could move "Without a Trace" to that night.

Check back later for all the details.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"American Idol": Somewhere Over the Rainbow

My fellow Chris voter at work asked me who we were voting for tonight. I told her no one. “I just don’t care,” I said. But if Taylor brings it, I’ll probably vote for him.”

So what did I do?

First some other more pressing questions like don’t you just love Randy’s color-coordinated glasses? Wonder how Clive Davis felt about being demoted from the judges’ table? And most importantly, why does Ryan keep growing back that beard?

To the scorecard…

First, the Clive Davis songs. These scores are only out of 20 since the contestants didn’t make the song choice.
Elliott, “Open Arms”: 17
And here I thought Paula would pick a sappy song. I can’t stand that bravado and it was boring with a bad ending. Clive certainly didn’t do Elliott any favors.
Katharine, “I Believe I Can Fly”: 13
Apparently, Clive is a Chris fan trying to get back at Kat for making it past him. This was just awful (Paula certainly agreed with me.)! However, I think Simon took it easy on her to get her to the finale.
Taylor, “Dancing in the Dark”: 19
Didn’t you love Taylor’s shoutout to Bruce for letting them use the song? Don’t be surprised to see a campaign for a Bruce night next year. The song and the dancing with Paula (a la Bruce’s video with Courteney Cox) was good, but Taylor, stop saying, “Soul Patrol”!!!

Now, the judges’ choices. These scores are also only out of 20.
Elliott, “What You Won’t Do for Love”: 16
Paula actually chose well here, I’m just not sure he nailed it. Much more interesting than Elliott’s performance was the dirty look Paula shot Ryan during the introduction and the inappropriate look Elliott gave Paula during the song.
Katharine, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”: 20
Simon said his song choice would get Katharine into the finale, and it looks like he was right. I can’t believe I gave her a perfect score, but she deserved it. However, she needs to learn the lesson Simon was trying to teach her and stop being so over the top.
Taylor, “You Are So Beautiful”: 19
It appeared in the video that Taylor was not happy with Randy’s choice and he did seem a little uncomfortable, but it was a good vocal.

And last, the contestants’ choices. These scores are, of course, out of 25.
Elliott, “I Believe to My Soul”: 19
Sorry, still not impressed. He didn’t come to play two weeks in a row. It was nice, though, to hear Simon get all sappy with him.
Katharine, “I Ain’t Got Nothing But the Blues”: 19
Katharine, you’re on a stage, you might think about wearing a longer dress. And singing a better song.
Taylor, “Try a Little Tenderness”: 20
I have to admit that I missed part of this one because I was reading an e-mail from a friend of mine making fun of “Soul Patrol,” but what I heard, I didn’t like.

So who’s going home? It’s got to be Elliott. As much as I hate to see Katharine in the finale, Elliott just didn’t bring it enough to stay.

So did I vote for Taylor? Yes, I did—not because I thought he was overly fantastic, but because I can’t handle the thought of an Elliott-Katharine finale.

May Sweeps--What to Watch Wednesday and Thursday

Sweeps is now entering the home stretch, so here’s what’s coming up this Wednesday and Thursday (May 17th and 18th)…

Wednesday is a night of season finales. At 8 p.m. you can choose between the finales of “America’s Next Top Model” (8 PM, UPN/Midnight on WHCP), “Bones” (8 PM, FOX), and “The Amazing Race” (8-10 PM, CBS). Also at 8 p.m. on ABC, Sark returns to “Alias.” At 9 p.m. on ABC, “Lost” shows us what happened to Michael when he went after Walt and on FOX, “American Idol” expands to an hour to tell us who will be in the finale. At 10 p.m. it’s finale time again with “CSI:NY,” and “Law and Order,” which may be making some cast changes. “Invasion” airs its series finale (now that it’s been cancelled) at 10:01 p.m. on ABC. Let me just warn you now, you’re going to be mad at the ending. Also “Top Chef” (10 PM, Bravo) gives us part one of its finale.

Thursday we get even more finales beginning with the series finale of “That 70s Show” at 8 p.m. on FOX. Over on NBC, it’s the “Will and Grace” retrospective followed by the series finale at 9 with special guest stars Harry Connick Jr. and Kevin Bacon. At 9 p.m. on FOX, it’s the finale of “The O.C.” that will more than likely change the show forever. “CSI” (CBS) and “American Inventor” (ABC) will also wrap up their seasons at 9. Then at 10, it’s two more season finales with “Without a Trace” (CBS) and “ER” (NBC).

Coming up this weekend, more finales and disaster strikes…

ABC: Taking high concept too far...

I think ABC might have taken this high concept thing too far. And I think they may have made a big scheduling mistake.

Here’s the breakdown…

Monday
8 PM—Wife Swap
9 PM—The Bachelor/Supernanny
10 PM—What About Brian
This season’s bachelor is Prince Lorenzo Borghese, a 33-year-old cosmetics entrepreneur. The show will be set in Rome.

Tuesday
8 PM—Dancing with the Stars/Set for the Rest of Your Life
9 PM—Let’s Rob…
9:30 PM—Help Me Help You
10 PM—Boston Legal
“Set” is a new “alternative program” as ABC calls it. We used to call them game shows. This one sounds a lot like “Deal or No Deal” but with teams of two. “Let’s Rob…” is a comedy starring Donal Logue (“Grounded for Life”) about a group of misfits and their preparations to rob Mick Jagger’s apartment. Jagger is an executive producer and will make appearances. “Help Me” marks the return of Ted Danson to TV as the leader of a therapy group. The show also features Jere Burns who first made his mark in a therapy group on “Dear John.”

Wednesday
8 PM—Dancing with the Stars (Results)/George Lopez/According to Jim
9 PM—Lost
10 PM—The Nine
“The Nine” tells the story of nine people caught in a bank hostage standoff and how their lives intertwine afterwards. Each episode begins with a flashback that reveals another 10 minutes of the standoff. The cast is pretty impressive with Tim Daly (“Wings”), Chi McBride (“Boston Public”), Scott Wolf (“Party of Five”) and Kim Raver (Audrey, “24”). And yes, I am hoping it is successful, if only to keep Audrey away from Jack (and I also like Kim Raver).

Thursday
8 PM—Big Day
8:30 PM—Notes from the Underbelly
9 PM—Grey’s Anatomy
10 PM—Six Degrees
“Day” follows a couple’s wedding day for the entire season. Here’s the official description from the ABC press release: “If ‘24’ married ‘Father of the Bride,’ their child would be ‘Big Day.’” I believe the word you’re looking for is anyway…“Notes” follows a couple as they prepare to have a baby. “Six” is a drama about six people and their intertwining destinies. It’s executive produced by J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Mission Impossible III”).

Friday
8 PM—Betty the Ugly
9 PM—Men inTrees
10 PM—20/20
“Betty” is an hour-long comedy executive-produced by Salma Hayek and based on a Latino TV show. It stars America Ferrera (“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”) as a woman trying to make it in the fashion world where she doesn’t really fit in. “Trees” stars Anne Heche as a relationship coach who ends up stuck in an Alaskan small town filled with eligible men after her own relationship ends.

Saturday
8 PM—ABC Saturday Night College Football
ABC will carry 12 games from September to December.

Sunday
7 PM—America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 PM—Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9 PM—Desperate Housewives
10 PM—Brothers & Sisters
“Brothers” stars Calista Flockhart (“Ally McBeal”), Rachel Griffiths (“Six Feet Under”) and Ron Rifkin (“Alias”) in a drama about families and their secrets.

ABC has six shows on deck: “Day Break,” starring Taye Diggs (“Rent”) as a detective who keeps reliving the same bad day; “Traveler,” the story of two friends who are accused of being terrorists; “In Case of Emergency,” a comedy about a group of high school friends who reunite in the emergency room starring Jonathan Silverman (“Weekend at Bernies”) and David Arquette; “Greg Behrendt’s Wake-Up Call” featuring the author of “He’s Just Not That Into You” talking to couples about their issues; “Just for Laughs,” a hidden camera comedy; and “American Inventor.”

None of the shows ABC debuted last fall made this year’s schedule.

Here’s my take on things…

Best Shot at a Hit: Conventional wisdom would say “Brothers & Sisters,” simply because it follows “Desperate Housewives.” “Help Me Help You” may also see some success because of Ted Danson.

Best Shot at a Miss: Pretty much everything else, but I would especially point out “Bad Day.” Can you really set an entire season around a wedding? I warned you about “24” clones, I just didn’t expect a comedy to be one of them. This is what I mean about taking high concept too far. Interestingly, ABC rejected this same sort of concept for the now cancelled “Jake In Progress.”

Most Questionable Scheduling Move: As thrilled as I am that “24” will not have to take on “Grey’s Anatomy” (if “24” stays in place), from an objective point of view, ABC has made a HUGE mistake. I understand that Thursday is the biggest moneymaker of the week and I understand that ABC wants to take on “CSI” with its biggest gun. But if they had moved “Grey’s” to Mondays, it could’ve owned the night—especially with female viewers.

Best Scheduling Move: Saturday has become a TV wasteland of reruns. Bringing college football to primetime is a great move.

Strangest Cancellation/Strangest Renewal: If I had to choose between “Invasion” and “What About Brian,” I would’ve gone with “Invasion.” It has a much more fervent fan base that could grow over time. But “Invasion” is executive produced by Shaun Cassidy and “Brian” is helmed by J.J. Abrams, the hottest producer on TV today (not to mention one of the hottest film directors). Something tells me that’s what made the decision.

Biggest Disappointment: I think you already know what I’m going to say. They can give “Brian” another chance, but not “Commander In Chief”? Whatever.

Tomorrow, it’s CBS’s turn to remind everyone that they’re number one…

Ooh...It just got interesting...

You know how I said that "Grey's Anatomy" would be moving this fall, probably to Monday nights? Well, I was right about the move, wrong about the night.

"Grey's" is moving to Thursdays at 9 to take on TV's #2 show (after "American Idol"), "CSI," as well as the most anticipated new show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." In other words, I think ABC just declared war. I'm thinking FOX needs to step it up, but NOT with "24," okay?

Meanwhile, it looks like CBS has renewed "Close to Home" and "The King of Queens."

Check back later tonight for a complete look at ABC's schedule.

"American Idol": In case anyone still cares...

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Simon Cowell has picked Taylor Hicks as his new favorite to win—which probably means he’s doomed.

I’m trying really hard to care about what happens tonight, but so far it’s not working. I will still watch, but it just won’t be the same.

As I’ve said earlier, tonight we will get three songs from the contestants: a song they choose, a song a judge chooses and a song Clive Davis chooses. Simon told Jay Leno last night that he picked Katharine’s song (which he said would get her into the finals), which probably means that Elliott will be stuck with some sentimental mess that Paula chooses.

Also on “The Tonight Show” last night, Simon discussed the feuding between the judges and Ryan while taking several swipes at each of them, hitting Ryan the hardest. Of course, Jay surprised Simon (or it appeared to be a surprise) by inviting Ryan to come out and join them. Ryan said “of course” he and Paula were speaking, but Simon said that was “not entirely true.” Both of them accused Jay of stirring up the trouble since the “feud” began after Ryan and Paula’s “Tonight Show” appearances.

And wouldn’t you know that Ryan is growing his beard back again. Come on, Ryan! I’m finding it hard enough to care about this show. Throw me a bone here!

A Deadly Monday

First of all let me pass along thanks to CBS for airing their entire schedule 20 minutes behind, which allowed me to see at least some of all of my shows. It also made things very interesting for my VCR.

Yes, Monday was a crazy night. But it was also a deadly night as the body count was extremely high.

I’ll start with “Prison Break.” I have to admit the guys got a lot further than I thought they would before the cliffhanger came down. And there were some interesting moments along the way. T-Bag thought he was being clever when he handcuffed himself to Michael to prevent Abruzzi from killing him. But Abruzzi pulled a Jack Bauer and chopped T-Bag’s hand off to release Michael from him, leaving T-Bag out of the race. However, by the end of the episode, he was off and running himself. Ironically, it was Tweener who seemed to be the safest after Michael made him go his separate way (Why didn’t Michael think of hiding in a horse trailer?).

Probably the most interesting moment of last night’s finale was the Vice-President managing to kill the President to save herself from The Company. I don’t even know what The Company is, but it was cool to watch Michelle Forbes grovel at the feet of the new president. However, the President may have a problem since Veronica found the very much alive (yet toothless) Terrence Steadman.

Most finales are not without their disappointments, and this one’s came as the police knocked down Dr. Tancredi’s door and found her dead from a morphine overdose. Her death came as no surprise, but it still hurt. I think we were all hoping she and Michael would meet up again someday.

When the show ended, T-Bag, Tweener and Haywire were on the run and the fab five were trying to outrun the police after Abruzzi’s man took off in the jet without them.

Strangely, “24” seemed to have the lowest body count of any of the shows I watched Monday—which is a good thing because it means that my guy Aaron is still alive. If it had worked out differently, though, I would have been okay since he would have had a great last scene to go out on. Who knew that the use of a person’s first name could be so biting (“Is there anything else, Charles?”) or so sweet (“Martha?”)? I cheered when Martha killed the Secret Service Agent, but couldn’t she have given Aaron a little kiss? I know she’s married, but he earned it!

I am, however, a little peeved that it looks like Jack is not going to kill Henderson. That guy’s got it coming. And I still haven’t forgiven the show’s writers for giving Tony’s killer my last name (Speaking of Tony, why does Jack never mention that when he’s listing Henderson’s sins?)!

Now, all you “Grey’s Anatomy” fans might start yelling at me, but I was a little disappointed with last night’s episode. Now, granted, I only saw the last 30 minutes; but it was just in time to witness another death, and this one hurt too. I knew that Denny was not going to live. The dead meat signs were everywhere. But for him to die alone while reading a magazine? I didn’t like it. As someone said at work this morning, wouldn’t he be under constant supervision? I also thought Izzie’s breakdown was a tad over the top (Apparently, I’m just not a Katherine Heigl fan.). It was nice to see Derek and Meredith hook up—although I’m not sure the hospital was the best place—but the “who will she choose” cliffhanger is probably a little deceptive since we know she’ll go with Finn. You don’t honestly expect Meredith and Derek to get together so soon, do you? I did appreciate Christina going to Burke after seeing Izzie mourn her lost love. And I’m guessing the reason Calleigh didn’t judge Meredith for her hospital tryst was because she had just had one herself. Ah, prom…

Which leads me to “CSI:Miami.” In the worst kept sweeps secret of the year, Marisol died—not of cancer, but from a bullet fired by a Mala Noche gang member. It reminded me of when Crockett married Sheena Easton on “Miami Vice,” only to watch her die by the end of the episode. We had pretty much forgotten about the Mala Noche since they first appeared in the season premiere, but they reared their ugly heads in a big way last night. I have to say I enjoyed watching Horatio and Delko go all Jack Bauer on that gang member. Since I only saw the last 20 minutes, I missed any clues as to the identity of the mole; but if this show holds to form, that story’s going to be a disappointment anyway. Anytime “Miami” tries to do an actual storyline, it blows up in their faces (Raymond’s alive, anyone?).

So, the President, a governor’s daughter, a Secret Service agent, a recovering heart transplant recipient and a police lieutenant’s wife--not to mention a beloved dog. Wow. Talk about your bad Mondays.

Monday, May 15, 2006

NBC: Somebody got the message

Last year at this time, everyone could see that NBC was in trouble—everyone except NBC. Instead of trying to stop the hemorrhaging of viewers, they made boneheaded moves like leaving Thursday nights unchanged and airing both “Apprentice” shows at the same time.

But apparently this season, someone got the message as NBC’s schedule is filled with interesting high-concept shows, including one of the fall’s most anticipated dramas.

Here’s the breakdown, with the caveat that things could change along the way…

Monday
8 PM—Deal or No Deal
9 PM—Heroes
10 PM—Medium
Of course, they would put a show I’m interested in at 9 on Mondays. “Heroes” is about everyday people who discover they have superpowers. The ensemble cast includes Greg Grunberg (Weiss, “Alias”)

Tuesday
8 PM—Friday Night Lights
9 PM—Kidnapped
10 PM—Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Yes, “Friday” is a television show based on the movie and the book that inspired it. Kyle Chandler (last seen getting blown up on “Grey’s Anatomy”) takes over the Billy Bob Thornton role. “Kidnapped” is one of several “24” clones you’ll see this fall. This one follows the kidnapping of a teenager from a wealthy family and stars Dana Delany (“China Beach”) as the teen’s mother.

Wednesday
8 PM—The Biggest Loser
9 PM—20 Good Years
9:30 PM—30 Rock
10 PM—Law and Order
“20” stars John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor (“Arrested Development”) as two mismatched buddies who decide they only have about 20 good years left to live. “30 Rock” stars Tina Fey (“Saturday Night Live”) as a head writer on a live sketch show (a stretch for her, I know). Fey is also the creator, writer and an executive producer along with Lorne Michaels (executive producer of “SNL”).

Thursday
8 PM—My Name is Earl
8:30 PM—The Office
9 PM—Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
10 PM—ER/The Black Donnellys (January)
Without a doubt, “Studio 60” is the most highly anticipated drama of the fall. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at a late-night comedy sketch show (Yes, that’s right. NBC has a comedy and a drama with the same concept.) starring Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet and Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”). The show is from the genius mind of Aaron Sorkin (who created “The West Wing”). “ER” will run uninterrupted until December and then will be replaced temporarily by “Donnellys,” which tells the story of four young Irish brothers and their involvement in organized crime in NYC. It’s created by Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, the minds behind “Crash.”

Friday
8 PM—Deal or No Deal
9 PM—Las Vegas
10 PM—Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Saturday
8 PM—Dateline Saturday
9 PM—Drama series encores

Sunday
7 PM—Football Night in America
8 PM—Sunday Night Football
“Football Night” is network TV’s first hour-long pre-game show. Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth will host with Jerome Bettis, Sterling Sharpe and Peter King.

Sunday (in January)
8 PM—America’s Got Talent
9 PM—The Apprentice
10 PM—Raines
“Talent” is a nationwide talent contest produced by Simon Cowell and hosted by Regis Philbin that will debut this summer. “Raines” stars Jeff Goldblum as a police detective who talks with deceased crime victims.

NBC has also picked up two comedies for midseason: “The Singles Table” which tells the story of a group of single strangers that meet at a wedding reception and “Andy Barker P.I” starring Andy Richter as a CPA who becomes a detective after a case of mistaken identity. “Barker” is executive produced and co-written by Andy’s old partner, Conan O’Brien.

“Scrubs” and “Crossing Jordan” will return “at some point” in the season.

Here’s my take on the schedule…

Best Shot at a Hit: Let’s see. Aaron Sorkin and Matthew Perry. How can “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” possibly lose? Well, the tough timeslot against “CSI” doesn’t help, but I admire NBC for going right at CBS to take back its Thursday supremacy.

Best Shot at a Miss: “20 Good Years” looks good on paper, but I’m leery of comedies with such great talent. They never seem to pan out (“Center of the Universe,” “Out of Practice”). I’m also leery of shows based on movies, so I’m a little unsure about “Friday Night Lights.” And NBC is probably taking a bit of a risk with “Kidnapped.” If it works, it could be the next “24.” If it doesn’t, it’ll be the next “Reunion” and I can’t take another one of those.

Most Questionable Scheduling Move: About the only thing I would question is giving “Deal or No Deal” two airings. I think NBC could have filled the Friday slot with something else and two airings could lead to overkill.

Best Scheduling Move: Leaving “The Apprentice” off the schedule until January. I think we’re all over that “You’re fired” phase.

Biggest Disappointments: Why, oh why can’t NBC show “Scrubs” any love? I can’t help but wonder if they really wanted to cancel the show but they knew if they did ABC would get it, so they’re playing the “later” game. I’m also disappointed that they’re holding “Andy Barker” until midseason. I’ve got a bad feeling they really don’t care about this one either; they just didn’t want FOX to get it. It’s Andy and Conan. How could it not be funny?

Tuesday, it’s ABC’s turn when we learn what scheduling madness they have in store for us…

Sunday, May 14, 2006

"Grey's Anatomy": WOW!

So I watched an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” in its entirety for the first time tonight and all I can say is …

Wow!

Now, I know that I picked a particularly intense episode to start in with, but that’s probably why I was so impressed. I loved the whole Izzie-Denny storyline (although her total freakout was a little difficult to watch) and the tension that went with it. And I admit that I gasped at the sight of Burke on the sidewalk. I knew that there would be some wrench thrown in Izzie’s plans but I did not see that one coming. My only problem with it was that Izzie involved George. I understand why she did, but if she’s going down I hate that she’s going to take him with her.

And having watched an episode now I can say without a doubt that Meredith should definitely choose McDreamy. Yes, he didn’t tell her about being married, but then Finn lied to her about her dog. That’s a pretty big sin too. I like how the show is using Doc as an analogy for Meredith and Derek’s romance. Plus, didn’t you love how Derek and Addison had their big blowout right in front of everyone? And I love James Pickens Jr. as Dr. Webber. We need more “Another World” alumni out there (although I’m a little disappointed “World” is not included on his website bio).

Thank goodness I bought that extra VCR because now I’m going to need it since the first hour of the “Grey’s” finale is airing opposite “24.” And there’s a distinct possibility that could be “Grey’s” permanent home in the fall.

I really didn’t want to get hooked on another drama—especially since I’m bound to get hooked on “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” next season—but since “Desperate Housewives” has gotten so totally mean (And what was up with Gaby saying, “Carlos is dead” on next week’s previews?), I think there will be room on my schedule.

This Week: A Fall Preview

Beginning tomorrow, the networks begin their upfront presentations where they unveil their fall schedules. It’s our first look at what shows we’ll see, but maybe more importantly, it’s our first look at what shows we won’t see.

There are several shows on the fence including “The King of Queens,” “Veronica Mars,” “Invasion,” “Close to Home” and all of ABC’s comedies. For a change, I’m not sweating any of my favorite shows (with the possible exception of “Pepper Dennis”). However, I am sweating some scheduling since ABC will probably move “Grey’s Anatomy” to Mondays to take on “24” and NBC will probably put “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” (the new Aaron Sorkin show) on Mondays as well.

Be sure to check back each night to get a look at each network’s plans and my take on their moves.

May Sweeps--A Jumbled Monday and Tuesday

Let me just say it from the beginning. Monday’s schedule is all screwed up due to the President’s address. Let me tell you what I know…

FOX is delaying everything 20 minutes. That means the season finale of “Prison Break” will air at 8:20 p.m. followed by the second-to-last episode of “24” at 9:20 p.m….ABC has postponed “Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball” to next Monday to make room for the Presidential address. The two-hour season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy” will air at 9 p.m…NBC will join its two-hour “Deal or No Deal” at 8:25 p.m. followed by “The Apprentice” at 10 p.m…As of this writing, CBS had not made a decision, but I would look for them to preempt “The King of Queens.” If CBS airs their schedule as usual, you will get the season finale of “How I Met Your Mother” at 8:30 p.m. and a whopper of a “CSI:Miami” at 10.

Tuesday is a little more settled. At 8 p.m., NBC gets us ready for the “Will & Grace” finale with two of its best episodes guest-starring Matt Damon and Kevin Bacon (who returns for the finale Thursday). Then, it’s the “Scrubs” season finale at 9 p.m. and the “Law & Order: SVU” finale at 10 p.m…A team member leaves “NCIS” at 8 p.m. on CBS, followed by the two-hour season finale of “The Unit.”...ABC shows us the humble beginnings of some of our favorite stars in “Celebrity Debut” at 8 p.m., followed by the two-hour season finale of “Boston Legal” featuring the return of Michael J. Fox.

Coming up Wednesday and Thursday, a trio of reality shows declare winners and one show changes forever…

Friday, May 12, 2006

This has not been a good couple of days...

First, Chris gets eliminated from "American Idol." Now, I find out that President Bush plans a primetime address to the nation MONDAY NIGHT!!!

Let's just say I didn't react to well to that one.

So what does this mean for "Prison Break," "Grey's Anatomy" and MOST importantly "24"? I haven't been able to find out yet, but I'm working on it.

The address is scheduled for 8 p.m. and is expected to last around 20 minutes. NBC plans to air the address and join "Deal or No Deal" at 8:25 p.m. I'm betting that ABC will run 25 minutes behind, but where does that put FOX? I'm HOPING that they will alert the affiliates and do the same.

Or maybe, they'll just ignore the President's address all together.

Stay tuned...

"American Idol": The Day After

So here’s the latest on the travesty known as “American Idol”…

Fuel has officially offered Chris the job as lead singer of their band. They did so on “Extra.” Chris is contractually obligated to “Idol” for another three months, but he says he’s weighing all of his options. Personally, I’d like to see him go the solo career route, but joining an established band is probably hard to pass up…Interestingly, Chris auditioned for “Rock Star: INXS”…

Some people are giving Ryan some flack for being so abrupt to Chris (I didn’t see him being any different than normal.). Ryan said he was so shocked by Chris’ departure that he wanted it to “resonate with the audience.” Chris thought that Ryan was just joking with him and was actually going to say something else.

As for the judges’ reaction, Randy told Chris he was going to be okay. Paula couldn’t say anything because she was crying too much and Simon told Chris he never expected him to be eliminated and wished him the best.

Chris got a call from Ace after the show to make sure he was okay since Ace and Chris became like brothers. In fact, when they ended up in the bottom two together, Ace reportedly said he would have let Chris have his place if Chris had been voted off.

So why did he get voted off? Chris’ theory is that people thought he was safe, so they didn’t vote.

Shame on all of you if that’s the case. You notice that for the first time in several weeks, Ryan did not say how many people voted. I’m wondering if that means the numbers were down.

Stay tuned…

May Sweeps--The VCRs will be hot this weekend...

Here’s a look at the sweeps gems for this weekend…

Friday at 8, we get a look at another magician with “Keith Barry: Extraordinary” on CBS. Barry does his tricks for the likes of Jessica Simpson, Elijah Wood and Matthew McConaughey…At 9 on NBC, it’s the season finale of “Las Vegas” with guest stars Dean Cain, Jerry O’Connell, Wolfgang Puck and Sugarland…Over on ABC at 9, “20/20” takes a closer look at the medical mysteries of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Saturday, Bravo serves up two marathons: “The Real Housewives of Orange County” beginning at 10 a.m. and “Top Chef” beginning at 5 p.m…NASCAR goes primetime with the Dodge Charger 500 at 6:30 p.m. on FOX…The Justice League tries to save the world (again) in the series finale of “Justice League Unlimited” at 10:30 p.m. on the Cartoon Network…Julia Louis-Dreyfus hosts “Saturday Night Live” with musical guest Paul Simon at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.

Sunday is jam-packed so get those VCRs ready! At 7 p.m., see how it all began with the pilot episode of “The West Wing” on NBC. No, it’s not a retrospective, but it will make you nostalgic for the good old days of TV drama…At 7:30 p.m. it’s the season finale of “King of the Hill” on FOX with guest star Tom Petty…At 8 p.m. there are plenty of choices. On FOX, there’s Larry Hagman guest-starring on “The Simpsons,” the series finale of “The West Wing” is on NBC and the season finale of “Survivor: Panama—Exile Island” is on CBS…At 8:30 pm. on FOX, it’s the series finale of “Malcolm in the Middle”…At 9 are the season finales of “The Surreal Life” on VH1 and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” on NBC, which serves up two episodes with both detective teams (Logan is in the second one.). Plus, "Desperate Housewives" is new on ABC…At 9:30 p.m. on FOX, “American Dad” wraps up its season…Then, at 10 p.m. “Survivor” declares its winner during the reunion show on CBS and “Grey’s Anatomy” begins its season finale on ABC, with the two-hour conclusion on MONDAY at 9 p.m.

Coming up Monday, Oprah and men on the run…

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"American Idol": ?

I don’t even know what to say. I’m so angry right now I can’t even see straight.

And you can tell me it’s just a television show and you’d be right; but that’s not going to make me feel any better. I knew as soon as Ryan said he had actually grouped them into top and bottom two that there was going to be trouble.

Last night I said that I was worried about Chris so I voted five times. Now I wish I had voted twenty-five.

Now, I know that Chris is going to be okay. Tommy Mottola is probably calling him right now, and him not being the “American Idol” frees him up to do his own thing, but that doesn’t help me right now. The look on his face said it all. He’s angry and I can’t blame him. Did his fans let him down? Did Katharine’s fans rally? I’d love to know just how close the votes were. I’ve got to believe it was a razor thin margin.

As I grab my cell phone to download Chris' "Suspicious Minds" ringtone, I leave you with one thought.

Go Taylor go!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

May Sweeps--What to Watch Wednesday and Thursday

Here are the sweeps moments you can look forward to for Wednesday and Thursday…

Wednesday at 8 you can see twice the Jennifer Garner as she plays both Sydney and Anna (who is now a clone of Sydney) on ABC’s “Alias”...“The Bedford Diaries” wraps up its first (and only) season at 8 on the WB…At 9 p.m., “Criminal Minds” wraps up its first season on CBS…“Lost” picks up from last week’s shocker at 9 on ABC… Also at 9, “American Idol” gets down to the final three on FOX…At 9:32 on FOX, “Unan1mous” ends its first season (and not likely its last)…At 10 on CBS, a familiar face ends up dead on “CSI:NY”…Michael Imperioli returns to “Law and Order” (10 p.m., NBC) as Detective Falco…“Top Chef” serves up a reunion show at 10 on Bravo…And TV Land counts down the “Top 10 TV Moms” at 10 p.m.

Thursday at 8 on FOX, it’s the second-to-last “That 70s Show.” That’s followed by a special seven minute look at “X-Men: Last Stand” and “That 70s Show: The Final Goodbye,” which looks back at the show’s run and gives a sneak peek at the final episode…“Smallville” wraps up its season at 8 p.m. on the WB…Also at 8, “Survivor” reveals the final four (CBS) and “Everybody Hates Chris” wraps up its freshman season on UPN (10:30 p.m. on WHCP [Huntington area])…At 8:30 p.m., “Love, Inc.” wraps up its season (Friday at 10:30 on WHCP)…“My Name is Earl” gets an extended finale on NBC at 8:40 p.m., followed by an extended finale of “The Office” at 9:20 p.m…“CSI” gives us part one of its season finale as one of their own takes a bullet…“Cuts” gives us its season finale at 9:30 p.m. (Saturday at 12:30 a.m. on WHCP).

Coming up this weekend, super heroes and a president say goodbye…

"American Idol": Elliott Comes to Play

Last week I said we would dispense with Elliott and then let the final three fight it out. Today at work when people asked who was leaving, I said Elliott with no hesitation. But now?

Let’s face it. Elliott came to play tonight. Katharine, on the other hand, did not. Now, you can say because the theme was a male artist that she was at a disadvantage, but even when she picked the right song, she didn’t nail it.

And Chris and Taylor? To the scorecard…

Taylor Hicks, “Jailhouse Rock”: 23 (out of 25)
Just as I predicted last week, Taylor rocked this one out; but why did they have him start in the audience? Does Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe just enjoy seeing himself on TV? Kudos to Tommy Mottola for recognizing that the song needed a key change.

“In the Ghetto”: 25
Probably Taylor’s best performance of the season.

Chris Daughtry, “Suspicious Minds”: 24
I should have done a song prediction post this week because this is exactly what I thought Chris would sing. I would’ve liked him to deviate from the original a little more, but it was good and he got major kudos from Tommy (So I don’t think Chris has to worry about his future if he doesn’t win.).

“A Little Less Conversation”: 23
The low key was sexy, but what was that screaming at the end?

Elliott Yamin, “If I Can Dream”: 23
Tommy didn’t inspire much confidence; but Elliott managed to prove him wrong. I didn’t really care for the song and I thought he used too much vibrato during the first verse.

“Trouble”: 25
I originally scored this lower, but then I figured he earned the perfect score.

Katharine McPhee, “Hound Dog”/“All Shook Up”: 23
She “scored big” with Tommy, but I’m not sure she brought it home for the audience. And for the second week in a row, she brought a country twang into her voice (I’m not sure that was a good thing.). I liked the combination of songs and I loved how she turned around when she forgot the words.

“Can’t Help Falling In Love”: 21
This was the perfect song choice for her and she blew it. I actually wrote “too much” on my score sheet and then Simon used the same words. I think we’re both right. And the ending was totally off.

So did Katharine choke? Simon said that Elliott deserved to move on, but does that mean Katharine will be eliminated? And what about Chris? Was his second performance strong enough to stay in (I voted for him five times just in case.)? I think Taylor is definitely safe—unless everyone else thinks that and didn’t vote for him.

In other words, this will be one of the most interesting results shows in “Idol” history. I’m getting nervous already.

Monday Night Viewing: A Stressful Evening

So last night at 10 o’clock I was sweating, my heart was racing, my head was pounding and I felt a little nauseous.

That could only mean one thing. It must have been a great episode of “24.”

And it was, but it wasn’t just “24.” After A LOT of stalling, “Prison Break” finally stepped it up as the guys made a break for it. You knew they were going to make it out, but the tension was absolutely nervewracking. And watching the Vice-President lose The Company’s support was fun too (But is she really hooked up with that creepy Secret Service guy?). However, the best twist was when Westmoreland revealed where his money was hidden and that it was actually five million dollars. You just know that T-Bag, Tweener, C-Note and Michael will all try to get it, which will keep them all tied together. When the episode ended, most of our guys (except Westmoreland and Sucre’s cousin) were on the other side of the wall.

It had been a long time since “Prison Break” had been that tension-filled, so I wasn’t used to going in to “24” with an adrenaline rush already started—which almost made my head explode in the first 15 minutes. Last night was exactly the night I had hoped for when I campaigned for “Break” and “24” to be scheduled together.

In other words, it was a very stressful evening.

I knew that the F-18 was not going to shoot Jack out of the sky, but it was still pretty tense watching it unfold and watching Logan try and manipulate the situation. I hope Gregory Itzin has marked this one as a possible Emmy submission, although I have a feeling his best work is yet to come. And how cool was it to watch that plane coast toward the highway overpass (I’ll look forward to hearing how they did that on the DVD.)? And when Jack slid down the plane’s wing with his trusty man bag on his shoulder? Yeah, that was okay too.

Then, the real tension started. Yes, Jack got the recording back to CTU (He couldn’t have downloaded it to his PDA?) and he had a touching moment with Audrey that almost made me puke (Thank goodness Secretary Heller survived—for now.); but this is “24.” There is always more to the story. I just knew that there had to be something wrong with that recording. It couldn’t be that easy. But then Logan pulled out that wooden box, and I started to get sick. I knew there was a gun inside and he was contemplating using it. I almost couldn’t watch. Logan has been one of the most fascinating characters in “24” history and I couldn’t bear to watch him end it all. There had to be a way to stop it (If not for the storyline, then at least for Gregory Itzin’s Emmy chances.). But as it became obvious that Bierko was going to escape, I just knew that they were going to kill Logan and spend the rest of the season chasing Bierko.

Then it happened. Logan’s phone rang and I screamed at the TV, “Answer the phone!” As soon as the operator said it was an urgent call from CTU, I knew it was Miles. “TV Guide” said that fans would hate Miles after this episode, but I actually like him a whole lot better. He’s still a weasel, but he’s the weasel that saved Logan’s life. Miles told Logan that he was compelled to stop the release of the recording (in the hopes that the President would reward him). Watching Logan’s reactions change from defeated to surprised to elated was pure acting genius (Come on Emmys. Do the right thing this year.).

Miles went to Chloe and while distracting her with his annoying demeanor, he erased the recording.

I was so rocked by the evening’s events that I couldn’t even react to the sight of my beloved Aaron in next week’s previews (And if Logan ends up killing Aaron, I may wish he had shot himself.). Plus, I was too busy reacting to Henderson saying that the people behind everything could get to Jack. Did he mean the Chinese (unless we’re just forgetting all about that)? Did he mean they’ll kill Audrey? Did he mean they’ll kill Kim?

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this show?

Stay tuned…

Sunday Night Viewing

So now that I’ve got my “Desperate Housewives” rant out of the way, here’s a look at what else I saw on Sunday night…

It was nice to see C.J. and Danny finally talk it out on “The West Wing” after eight years of dancing around each other. I’m glad she chose the foundation job instead of working for the President. And didn’t Xander Berkley look so cool with that curly hair? I’m a little miffed, however, at NBC for choosing not to do a retrospective before the finale. “The West Wing” is one of NBC’s most honored shows. Doesn’t it deserve something extra instead of just a re-airing of the pilot? And only a one-hour finale? That’s a total crock. Do we really need two hours of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”?

Though I only caught the last 10 minutes, I have to say I was impressed with the “Crossing Jordan” cliffhanger. Lilly finally admitted her feelings for Bug (though a kiss would have been a nice touch) and Jordan went on the run after being accused of murder with Woody moving Heaven and Earth to clear her. I don’t know that I’ll watch next season’s premiere since the show is notorious for screwing things up, but it was a good finale for the fans.

So what did you watch Sunday night? Should it be Patrick Dempsey or Chris O’Donnell? For me that’s no contest but let me hear your thoughts…

"Desperate Housewives: I'm done

So as I was watching “Desperate Housewives” Sunday night, I finally came to a conclusion I’ve been coming to for months…

I’m so done with this show.

Let’s face it. When a show is as over-hyped as “Housewives” was, there’s bound to be a letdown. But in this case, there wasn’t just a letdown, there was a full blown crash and burn.

There are just too many storylines that have no point or just plain don’t make sense like Bree’s engagement to George, the entire Gaby baby storyline (Her screaming in the street as they took the baby was just laughable.), Bree’s alcoholism and anything to do with the Applewhites. The show had rebounded slightly at mid-season, so I kept watching; but two things about last night’s episode made up my last straw.

First, the Edie we know and love is a manipulator. She would have found much more devious ways to get back at Susan than just burning her house down. I know it was supposed to be ironic, but to me, it was a total copout.

Second, Peter (Bree’s sponsor) was a good character with a lot of potential. His sex addiction was an interesting (and original) obstacle in a possible relationship with Bree. But Sunday, that was ruined in the twisted (and totally annoying) Andrew storyline. It seemed that Bree and Andrew were going to call a truce and we would finally be done with all the nonsense. But instead, we got a stupid resolution that destroyed a good character. As a friend of mine pointed out, there’s still a possibility that nothing happened between Peter and Andrew, but in my opinion, the damage has already been done. There’s nothing I hate worse than twists just for the sake of twists; and this one was just plain mean. Watching Bree let her son go after fighting all season to keep him—even causing him to lose his trust fund—was just too much for me to take.

I’ll watch the final two weeks just to see how it ends, but unless they serve up an awesome cliffhanger (which considering last year’s is highly unlikely), I’m done with “Desperate Housewives.”

Then, maybe, I can finally make room for “Grey’s Anatomy.” That is, if ABC doesn’t move it to go head-to-head with “24” (which is highly likely).

Monday, May 08, 2006

May Sweeps--What to watch Monday and Tuesday

I hope you’ve stocked up on tissues, because you’re going to need them a lot this week.

Here are the sweeps moments you are scheduled to see Monday and Tuesday…

Your first chance to use the tissues will be tonight (Monday) when you say goodbye to the Camden family on the series finale of “7th Heaven” at 8 p.m. on the WB. Both Barry Watson and Jessica Biel make return appearances…At the same time, over on FOX, the guys FINALLY begin their escape on “Prison Break” and no, this is not a joke. They’re really going to do it. But not everyone is going to make it…At 8 on ABC, you can watch “David Blaine: Drowned Alive,” as he tries to set a record for holding his breath underwater…At 9 p.m. on Lifetime, Kelli Williams (“The Practice”) is a woman on a quest to bring her mother’s killer to justice in the movie, “Murder on Pleasant Drive”…At 10 p.m., Kelsey Grammer returns to NBC as the Angel of Death on “Medium.” Grammer is the show’s Executive Producer…Meanwhile, “What About Brian” wraps up its run on ABC at 10 and Horatio gets ready for his wedding on “CSI: Miami,” (10 p.m., CBS) but how long will the marriage last?

Get those tissues back out! Tuesday it’s the season finale of “Gilmore Girls” (8 p.m., WB) and it’s apparently a real tearjerker. Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe, “24”) guest stars as a troubadour (She sings a song she wrote.) in the final episode written and produced by the Palladinos, who created the show (They left in a network dispute.)…ABC gets all apocalyptic with the movie, “Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America” at 8 p.m…“NCIS” airs part one of its season finale as we learn more about Gibbs’ past while he recovers from a terrorist attack, leaving Tony in charge…Kathy Griffin gets back to her old tricks as she skewers celebrities in “Kathy Griffin: Strong Black Woman” at 9 p.m. on Bravo…Parker Posey guest stars on “Boston Legal” at 10 p.m. on ABC...And "Veronica Mars" wraps up its second season (But will it be its last?) at 9 p.m. on UPN (Midnight on WHCP-TV).

Coming up Wednesday, twice the Jennifer Garner and the fate of Libby…

"Ghost Whisperer": An Unexpected (But Welcome) Twist

It’s hard to do sappy and creepy all at the same time, but “Ghost Whisperer” manages to do it.

I told you last week that the season finale would be a doozy and it certainly was—just not how I expected.

If you’ve never seen the show, Jennifer Love-Hewitt is Melinda Gordon, a woman who can see dead people. Each week she helps the dead discover why they’re still here so they can cross over. Her husband, Jim, is a paramedic and she runs an antique store with her friend, Andrea (Aisha Tyler).

In part one of the finale (which I missed actually), Melinda saw a dead pilot whose plane was still in the air. Melinda called the FAA to warn them, but nothing could be done; and the plane crashed just outside of town.

In Friday’s conclusion--which was a considerably darker episode than usual--Melinda was overwhelmed by all of the deceased coming to her for help. It was extremely creepy to see her surrounded by all of the gray frozen people (The freezing was caused by the lack of air pressure in the plane.). Melinda tried to convince them to go into the light but she was continually thwarted by a sinister force that I like to refer to as the “Evil Leaper,” in tribute to a similar character on “Quantum Leap.” The Evil Leaper (who was creepy in his own right) convinced passengers that they could stay with their loved ones on Earth. Finally, in a bit of a showdown, Melinda was able to convince most of the dead to go into the light, but the Evil Leaper was able to claim some souls.

Meanwhile, Andrea was very concerned that her brother had been on the flight. She told Melinda that she had driven to his apartment, but he wasn’t there. Through the entire episode, Melinda tried to tell Andrea something, but Andrea refused to listen, not wanting to hear that he was dead. Finally, Melinda told Andrea that her brother was there and we saw him outside the store window. When Andrea was able to see him too, I thought we would get a sappy reunion to cap all the creepiness (Sappy is what the show is known for, after all.). But Andrea’s brother walked right past her open arms and hugged Melinda. As Andrea looked on in confusion, her brother asked Melinda how it happened.

It was a twist I didn’t see coming. Andrea was dead. That was what Melinda had been trying to tell her. Apparently, on the way back from her brother’s apartment, she got caught in the path of the plane crash.

For the very first time, I was impressed with this show. It was a totally unexpected move and I love those.

The final scene, however, was no surprise as Melinda watched in horror as the Evil Leaper appeared behind her friend.

For a show that I’ve been very hard on, it was a pretty good cliffhanger with lots of great questions. Did the Evil Leaper cause Andrea’s death to get at Melinda? Will the Evil Leaper get Andrea’s soul? If he does, will that keep Aisha Tyler on the show? And who will run the antique store now since Melinda’s always out running around helping dead people?

Stay tuned…

Friday, May 05, 2006

"Alias": Are You Kidding Me?

Okay, let me see if I get this straight.

We don’t see Nadia for most of the season because she’s in a coma. Her father, Sloane, sells his soul to Prophet Five to get the cure for her. The cure works and she gets her life back, only to be killed by Sloane.

Are you kidding me?

First of all, the sequence in which Sloane pushed her out of the way of the burning Rambaldi artifact was poorly done (It reminded me of Clark Johnson’s direction of “The Sentinel,” but I digress.). And, he didn’t appear to shove her hard enough that she would crash through a glass table, causing a shard of glass to penetrate her throat.

I understand that this is the last season of “Alias,” so we need a final showdown between Sydney and Sloane and a final resolution of Rambaldi; but come on!

"American Idol": Simon's Latest Prediction

Simon Cowell told "Good Morning America" yesterday that this year's finale will be a repeat of Ruben and Clay, the closest "Idol" finale ever.

In other words, he's predicting a Chris vs. Taylor showdown, although he said not to rule out Katharine just yet. If you recall, season two's number three finisher was also female--Kimberley Locke, who's not done too badly for herself either.

Simon also said that Elvis week would help both Chris and Taylor but would make Elliott and Katharine vulnerable.

I totally agree that Elliott is gone next week, but I can't decide what will happen among the final three. They all had best bring it.

May Sweeps--What to Watch This Weekend

So after this week’s last-minute move by ABC, I will preface this list with “schedule subject to change.”

Friday, “Reba” wraps up its fifth season at 9 p.m. on WB…Jerry O’Connell guests as his “Crossing Jordan” character, Woody, on “Las Vegas” and Spongebob Squarepants serves up a new episode at 7 p.m. on Nickelodeon…“Ghost Whisperer wraps up its successful first season with the conclusion of its two-part season finale at 8 p.m. on CBS…

Saturday, we get the fastest two minutes in sports (with the hour-long build-up); the Kentucky Derby at 5 p.m. on NBC…“Saturday Night Live” brings us a new episode with host Tom Hanks (for the 8th time) and musical guest Red Hot Chili Peppers…“Justice League Unlimited” begins its series finale (concluding next Saturday) at 10:30 p.m. on Cartoon Network. If you enjoy well-written cartoons in the spirit of “Batman: The Animated Series,” don’t miss this one…

Sunday, TBS gives us a three-hour “Seinfeld” marathon beginning at 8 p.m. with my favorite episode of all time with guest star Keith Hernandez…Jim J. Bullock and Carrot Top guest star on “Family Guy” (9 p.m., FOX)…“Crossing Jordan” wraps up its fifth season with Jordan waking up in bed with an ex-boyfriend. Problem is, he’s dead…Whoopi Goldberg guests on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” as does S. Epatha Merkerson as her “Law & Order” character, Lt. Van Buren. Guess she’s coming to tell Logan (Chris Noth) hi…Also at 9 on Bravo, it’s a special “Law & Order” version of “Inside the Actors Studio” with Merkerson, Noth, Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: SVU”) and Dick Wolf (the creator of all things “L&O”). Who were the ad wizards that decided to schedule this against an episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”?...And, of course, "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy" are all new beginning at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Coming up Monday…David Blaine tries not to drown and the “Break” FINALLY begins. No joke…

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Lost": HOLY COW!

If I spell some words wrong in this post it's because I'm still shaking from the ending of tonight's "Lost." HOLY COW!! Did not see that one coming!

Warning: Stop reading now if you have not seen the episode!

I'm wondering if the double murder of Ana Lucia and Libby (I presume they're both dead.) is what caused the actresses that play them to get drunk when they were arrested for DUI several weeks back (Being let go from a popular TV show could drive one to drink.). There were questions about the future of both of them since Cynthia Watros (Libby) has signed on to another pilot and Ana Lucia was so hated. Plus, Michelle Rodriguez was able to serve her jail time without any problems for the show.

But did they have to kill Hurley's girlfriend?

I had a feeling that something was up with Michael, but that didn't stop me from gasping so hard I started coughing.

If this show wasn't so creepy, I'd be a huge fan. But even with the creepiness, I'm hooked to the end now.

Stay tuned because the next three weeks are going to be a doozy!

"American Idol": Not Much to Say

I don’t really have much to say about tonight’s “American Idol” because everything played out the way it was supposed to. Paris and Elliott were in the bottom two and Paris went home.

The only real surprise was how stunned Katharine was that she wasn’t going home. Did she honestly think she’d get voted out?

Next week, we get the songs of Elvis as the Idols will be tutored by industry giant Tommy Mottola at Graceland. I knew an Elvis night was coming since the same company that owns Elvis Presley Enterprises also owns “Idol” (CKX).

I’m more excited, though, that Ace did “Father Figure” on the “Idol” compilation CD. And Chris did “Wanted Dead or Alive.” That CD is going to rock! It hits stores May 23rd.

Gotta go. I hear Ace singing “We Will Rock You,” which means my cell phone is ringing…

This just in: I AM ANGRY!!!

As if ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson wasn't already on my list for scheduling the "Alias" finale against the "24" finale (not to mention scheduling the "Grey's Anatomy" finale against "24"), now he's got me really steamed.

If you read my previous post, you know that I was all jazzed about seeing this week's "Commander In Chief." I even called it my pick of the week. Remember how I told you that President Allen would find a way to beat Templeton? Looks like ABC did it for her.

ABC has pulled "Commander" from the schedule starting this Thursday. It will be replaced by "Primetime." The remaining episodes will supposedly air sometime this summer. I should've known there was a problem when there were no "Commander" promos during "Boston Legal" last night.

This, my friends, most likely means the end of the Allen Presidency. I had thought there might be some hope after it was announced that the first season of "Commander" would be released on DVD October 3rd. But alas, it looks like there is none.

Now, it's important to note that ABC has done stranger things before, like last year when they renewed "Jake In Progress" at the eleventh hour (only to air a single episode); but I think this time it's really the end.

I have to say that "Commander" has been one of the most frustrating shows I have ever watched. It's sad that it's axed, just as it was getting its act together. It went from being the highest-rated new show to cancelled in one single season. That's got to be a record.

But if Steve McPherson is looking for someone to blame, he need only look in the mirror.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May Sweeps--My Pick of the Week

Here’s what’s on tap for Wednesday and Thursday, including my pick of the week…

Wednesday, “House” serves up the conclusion of its two-parter at 8 p.m. on FOX…“Lost” returns with an Ana Lucia flashback and the return of Michael at 9 p.m. on ABC…At 8 p.m. on the WB, “One Tree Hill” serves up its season finale, which could become the series finale if the CW doesn’t pick the show up…

Thursday, Christopher Knight and Barry Williams (Peter and Greg Brady) guest star as a gay couple on the first of two new episodes of “That 70s Show” (8 p.m., FOX)…Another Brat Packer returns to TV as Judd Nelson guests on “CSI” (9 p.m., CBS) and “Supernatural” wraps up its first season at 9 p.m. on WB.

But my pick of the week is “Commander In Chief,” Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC. Yes, I know that just two weeks ago I said I didn’t know why ABC even bothered to bring the show back; but that was before last week’s solid episode and before I heard the plot for this week’s show. Last week, President Allen’s Vice President resigned due to his wife’s ill health. This week, it’s President Allen who finds herself in ill health when her appendix bursts. So, of course, she has to go under anesthesia, which means a transfer of power. And if you all remember your social studies classes, the Speaker of the House is next in line for the Presidency. And that means Templeton.

Now, I know that even an unconscious President Allen will find a way to get the best of him, but I’ve got to believe that Templeton will get in some good licks before she does. And I know I will seriously enjoy watching Donald Sutherland make the most of it.

Coming up Friday, “Ghost Whisperer” wraps up its first season…

"American Idol": A Strange Night

Someone told me last week that they thought this year’s final five were not a very good group. I couldn’t disagree more.

Every year there has been at least one person that lacks real talent, but still makes it to the top five. In year one, it was Nikki McKibbin. In season two it was Josh Gracin (although we later realized his bad performances were more about lousy theme nights). In season three it was Jasmine Trias and last year it was Scott Savol and Anthony Federov. This season it’s…

That’s right. It’s no one. Because for the first time in “Idol” history, all of the top five are strong singers. Although I’m not sure they always showed that tonight. As the judges said at the end, it was strange.

To the scorecard…

Elliott Yamin, “On Broadway”: 20 (out of 25)
It was good, but it didn’t gel with me. I think it was too safe of a choice and there were too many runs.
“Home”: 20
This one was WAY too safe. It would’ve been nice to see him go out of the box.

Paris Bennett, “Kiss”: 22
Since Paris is a goner anyway, it was nice to see her do something funky. The last note was flat, but I loved her shoes. Interesting that Paris could do a Prince song since Ace couldn’t get them cleared.
“Be Without You”: 21
I nailed this one and why wouldn’t I? To me, it was the obvious choice, but I’m not sure she nailed it. And what was up with the camouflage?

Chris Daughtry, “Renegade”: 24
Did the Idols get a directive that they had to walk around the audience? That was my only problem with Chris’ performance.
“I Dare You”: 22
As everyone pointed out, Chris’ voice was going and it made him resort to screaming; and I didn’t really care for the song. Maybe he needed to go out of the box.

Katharine McPhee, “Against All Odds”: 19
Katharine, are you kidding me? Of all the great songs from 1984, you chose this one? I would’ve really liked to see her tackle a more powerful song like Carrie did last year with “Alone.” And there seemed to be something wrong with her voice.
“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”: 23
I had this one on my list of potential Katharine songs and then I scratched it because I didn’t think she’d have the nerve. Good for her for proving me wrong.

Taylor Hicks, “Play That Funky Music, White Boy”: 21
The old Taylor is back! Not a real vocal song and he didn’t hit all the notes that were there, but it was fun.
“Something”: 18
The performance was not that bad, but I gave him a two (out of five) in song choice because I considered it cheating. They let him do a song from an album on the Pop Album Catalog chart? What?! If everyone else had to do something current, Taylor should have had to as well.

So, I still believe that Paris is going home, but I think Elliott will give her a run for her money. And I have to wonder if anyone else will consider Taylor a cheater and start a backlash.

I also have to hope that next week’s choices are a little stronger.

Stay tuned…

"24": A No Realism Zone

The thing to remember about watching “24” is that you have to check your sense of realism at the door.

And that was certainly the case last night, or at least I hope so. I mean, I’d like to think that in today’s world it wouldn’t be so easy for a person to sneak inside a plane, knock out the air marshal and then sneak away with a passenger. I’d also like to think that an air marshal wouldn’t be such a coward. I admire the guy who decided he’d take Jack out, but thank goodness Jack didn’t have to shoot him. The pilot deserves some admiration, too, for trying to protect his plane, even though we were all rooting against him (Tell me you didn’t cheer when Jack threatened to crash the plane.).

Having the co-pilot be the bad guy was a good twist as well and pretty genius on Henderson’s part. I’m just sorry that the pilot saw the light too late and ended up being killed (Or at least I think that’s what happened. That sequence was terribly vague—maybe to spare us a little violence.).

And now the secret bad guy wants Logan to shoot the plane down. What happened to just having the Secret Service apprehend Jack? I guess he realizes that one listen of the recording and the agents would want to take out Logan themselves. But shoot the plane down?

Now granted, that will provide some great tension as we head into the final hours, but you have to admit it’s a little creepy.

Speaking of creepy, I’ve never really cared for Mike Novick and his squinty eyes, but I’m really hoping he comes through this time. He owes us after that whole overthrow of President Palmer thing in season two. And if he finds Aaron (alive, that is), he’s totally forgiven for everything.

And that weasel, Miles? He’s going to screw this thing up yet.

Stay tuned…

"American Idol": A Guessing Game

So I thought I’d entertain myself by playing a little “American Idol” guessing game. What song from the “Billboard” charts will the Idols sing tonight?

I’ve scoured the charts to look for possibilities. Keep in mind that I didn’t have access to all of the charts (stupid “Billboard” security) and I don’t know any of the country songs, so I couldn’t really pick from there. Plus, those pesky clearance issues can keep us from hearing songs we’d like to hear…

Remember (according to my information) that it has to be a song in the top 10 of one of the charts. So, here we go…

Paris—I’m not really sure it matters what she sings because she’s probably gone no matter what. But, I see her doing Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You.” She could also pull off Kelly Clarkson’s “Walk Away.”

Katharine—She could also pull off “Walk Away.” It’s a shame that Ayla already screwed up “Unwritten” or Katharine could do it. There’s probably a Mariah Carey song on one of the charts I couldn’t get to and there’s also Cascada’s “Everytime We Touch.” Personally, I’d love to hear her do “Like We Never Loved At All” but I’m not sure the Faith Hill part can exist without the Tim McGraw part.

Elliott—The song that jumps off the charts when I think of Elliott is Ne-Yo’s “So Sick.” I can totally hear him singing it. He might also try James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” or a country song.

Taylor—If anyone would attempt the irony of performing Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day,” it’s Taylor. I’d like to hear him do Lifehouse’s “You and Me” but he can’t stand to do another ballad. He might look at a country song.

Chris—He probably has the most to choose from. I can hear him doing “Right Here” by Staind, “Savin’ Me” by Nickelback or Lifehouse’s “You and Me.” He might also attempt “Dani California” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers or “Move Along” from the All-American Rejects. However, I’d really like to hear him do Rob Thomas’ “Lonely No More,” because I think it would be perfect for his voice.

Remember that the Idols are also doing a song from the year they were born, which unfortunately (in my opinion) could mean a lot of disco…

Stay tuned…

Monday, May 01, 2006

May Sweeps--What to Watch Monday and Tuesday...

Here are the special events May sweeps are bringing your way tonight (Monday) and Tuesday…

Tonight, after a four-year absence, former Brat Packer Molly Ringwald returns to TV on “Medium” (10 p.m., NBC) as the victim of a stalker…The Yankees and Red Sox meet for the first time this season at 8 p.m. on ESPN…“Supernanny” wraps up its season at 9 p.m. on NBC…

Tuesday, you can relive the days of shoulder pads and fights in the pool on “Dynasty: Catfights and Caviar” at 10 p.m. on CBS (not ABC where the show aired). Most of the cast reunites for the special produced by Henry Winkler (but only an hour?)…“House” (9 p.m., FOX) begins a tense two-part episode which concludes Wednesday…Larry Miller (“Runaway Bride,” and every other Garry Marshall movie ever made) returns as Edwin Poole and Brad and Denise deal with the repercussions from their “kissing training” on “Boston Legal” at 10 p.m. on ABC…“Nashville Star names its fourth winner at 10 p.m. on USA…Anthony Anderson (“Scary Movie 4,” “The Shield”) guest stars as Stabler’s old partner on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which also includes a guest appearance by Natalie Cole…Plus, season finales from “According to Jim” (8 p.m., ABC), “Hope and Faith” (8:30 p.m., ABC), “Blow Out” (9 p.m., Bravo), “The Real Housewives of Orange County” (10 p.m., Bravo) and “Thief” (10 p.m., FX)…

Coming up Wednesday and Thursday…More dirt on Ana Lucia, a couple of Bradys go back to the “70s” and another Brat Packer makes a TV appearance…