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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"…

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Days of Our Lives": Hooked All Over Again

When I was a kid, I used to stay with my grandmother a lot.

She had cable (which I didn’t), but I could only watch what she wanted to. And at one o’clock, that meant her “stories,” i.e. her soaps.

One of her stories featured a super-cool villain (I’ve always liked the bad guys.) with an awesome nickname (“The Phoenix”) and a great evil laugh. His good-guy son was a dashing Count with a glamorous wife, AND an evil twin, who was even more dashing. It wasn’t long before I was hooked and watching the show at my own house.

But over time, these characters that got me so hooked began to disappear. The villain left and came back several times, becoming more ruined each time. The evil twin died, the glamorous wife left and the dashing Count left and came back with a totally different personality.

But now, “Days of Our Lives” has brought them all back. And I am hooked all over again…

After a year of financially dictated storylines, Hogan Sheffer has finally started to deliver, giving the show a sense of history it had long been missing. It’s obvious that Sheffer has been watching those episodes from the 80s and I love seeing how he incorporates them into the current story.

But most importantly, Sheffer found a way to bring back my favorite characters of Stefano, Tony, Anna and Andre DiMera and actually give them something decent to do.

It almost makes me forgive him for killing my all-time favorite soap character, Jake McKinnon (“Another World”/“As the World Turns”). Almost…

For those of you who have only been watching “Days” in the last ten years or so, you may think that the “Andre has been Tony for the past 20 years” story is stupid and totally illogical. But for those of us who remember the old Tony, it makes perfect sense. In fact, just before the big reveal, I was talking with a friend about how I couldn’t understand how Tony could become evil incarnate after shunning Stefano all those years ago. Now, it makes perfect sense. So perfect, in fact, it’s hard not to think that this story was in the plans all along.

Of course, Sheffer wasn’t the head writer then, so it couldn’t have been, but it sure seems like it.
To tell you the truth, it had been so long, I had forgotten what the old Tony was like. But the brilliant Thaao Penghlis (Tony/Andre) has reminded me. As soon as it was revealed that Tony was Andre, I could totally see it. Andre was always more harsh and spoke at a faster pace. Tony paused more with his speech and had that elegant air about him. If ever anyone at “Days” deserved an Emmy nomination (They rarely get any.), it’s Penghlis for his brilliant tour de force.
But Tony isn’t the only character acting like his old self again. Sheffer has managed to bring all the characters back as they were. Anna is as self-absorbed as she ever was. She and Marlena still don’t get along that well and Lee-Ann Hunley (Anna) and Drake Hogestyn (John) still have that same crackling chemistry they had when they toyed with getting his Roman and Anna together before she disappeared from the show.

And Stefano. Ah, my beloved villain. After all of the stupid stories they have given him over the years, the true Stefano is finally getting back to what originally made him a bad guy to start with—his vendetta with the Bradys. And now, we’re actually finding out why that vendetta started—something no other writer attempted to do. Granted, I get a little bored with watching the cast sit around and read love letters, but Allison Sweeney (Sami/Colleen) and James Scott (E.J./Santo) are doing a great job in the flashbacks. Even their accents are convincing (although Scott’s is a little scary at times).

And speaking of Scott, who could possibly resist that gorgeous British accent? I know E.J. has done horrible things but that was with a different writer. Sheffer’s going to fix all of that now, so I won’t feel guilty for liking him…

In the interest of fairness, I have to confess that I only watch the DiMera-related scenes, so I can’t tell you whether any of the other stories are any good or not (although I suspect they’re not since I can’t believe that guys that young own their own airline), but as far as I’m concerned, Sheffer has the show back on track…

And it couldn’t come at a better time, since NBC has already said it probably won’t continue the show past 2009. If “Days” can get its act together now, it will look mighty attractive to everyone else. I just hope Ken Corday keeps giving Sheffer all of the resources he needs to make it work—including letting him stay in his job.

On second thought, Hogan, if you let Tony impersonate Andre (my dream storyline), I will TOTALLY forgive you for killing off Jake. It’s been seven years. It’s about time I made piece with that anyway…

ESPN's NASCAR Coverage: What?!

When football season starts, I have to admit that my interest in NASCAR begins to wane.

This year, it might start waning a little sooner…

Sunday, ESPN/ABC took over the NASCAR broadcasts for the rest of the season. As you know, I was impressed with TNT’s coverage and I was said to see it end. That sadness is even more profound now…

The trouble started with one of the cheesiest intros I have ever heard. Since the race was at “The Brickyard,” ESPN chose to do an intro focusing on bricks…

“The brick. The building block of civilization. A demonstration of man’s will over nature.”

What?!

Apparently ESPN was so proud of the intro, they showed it twice—once to intro the pre-race show and once to intro the race itself.

And unfortunately that wasn’t the only thing they chose to repeat. We heard FIVE TIMES in an hour how it was Dale Jarrett’s crew chief, Todd Parrott, who came up with the idea for the winner to kiss the bricks. In fact, the pre-race show was completely obsessed with kissing the bricks, showing clip after clip after clip that finally made me yell at the TV: “The winner kisses the bricks! We get it! Enough already!”

Maybe since ESPN has been out of the NASCAR business for a while, they forgot how long the races were and that they would need to have lots of DIFFERENT things to show throughout the race. Instead, we got the same winning moments and interviews we saw during the pre-race show…

And maybe their long absence from the sport is why they felt the need to have Aerosmith sing that cheesy “Back In the Saddle Again” song. I hope they got paid well for doing that because if I was Steven Tyler, I would have been embarrassed to be singing those cheesy lyrics in that dumb firesuit. “I’m drivin’ in a fast car…”

What?!

In all honesty, I’m not even sure what the purpose of the pre-race show was since it conveyed absolutely no information whatsoever. In fact, it was Jeff Gordon who told us that there would be a competition caution. None of the dozens of ESPN reporters even mentioned that important point…

But the two words that nearly made me change the channel after five minutes? Suzy Kolber. She drives me crazy!!!

If you’re not familiar with Suzy, she is one of the sideline reporters for “Monday Night Football” and is apparently now the host of “NASCAR Countdown.” I liked her when she started out on FOX, but then apparently someone told her she was the most talented broadcaster on the planet and it went to her head. She knows everything about everything and instead of letting the experts tell her what’s happening, she has to inject her knowledge with every question.

Now, in her defense, her supporting cast was not exactly exceptional. Dale Jarrett came off terribly stiff, probably because he didn’t want to be there (He planned on racing, but failed to qualify.). Rusty Wallace is, well, Rusty Wallace—and that’s not a compliment. And Brad Daugherty? I was a big fan when he played for the Cavs, but he's just hasn't found his NASCAR stride yet. I know he knows the sport (He's an owner, among other things.). It just doesn’t always come out that way. And with what FOX has done with their broadcasts, the old days of one guy looks into the camera and talks, then another and then another just doesn’t work anymore…

I was a little more optimistic when the race was getting ready to start since I’m a fan of Dr. Jerry Punch and I knew he would do a good job. But then the engines started and the picture went to the most pathetic “24” split-screen I have ever seen. One box showed half a steering wheel. One box showed pavement and another showed the water tower next to the speedway.

What?!

There were a few bright spots throughout the coverage, though. The game show bit with Kevin Harvick to find out whether his crew chief or wife knew him better was cute (His crew chief crushed his wife.). And the in-race reports from Dale Jr. and his crew chief, Tony Eury Jr., worked well (until Jr. blew an engine, but that wasn’t their fault). And Jerry Punch did do a good job, for the most part.

The high-tech garage they had to illustrate the cars was cool, but it would’ve been nice if they’d put someone in there who could talk like a normal person. I’ve been a NASCAR fan most of my life, but I had no idea what Tim Brewer was talking about most of the time. And hearing Jerry Punch tell us what “perfect” explanations he was giving us got a little annoying—especially since it wasn’t true.

I should thank ESPN, though, because they’ve now freed up an hour of my Sundays that I would normally reserve for watching the pre-race show. Now, I can use that hour to watch whatever re-runs Bravo is showing.

Even “Hey Paula” would be better than watching Suzy Kolber…

Monday, July 30, 2007

Is "The View" Going Posh?

Today on “The View,” Barbara Walters confirmed that the show’s two new hosts will be announced this week.

This news comes after London’s “Daily Star Sunday” reported that Victoria Beckham is in the running pending a two-week tryout. Walters said today that Beckham’s hosting stint was “news to us” and then went on to unequivocally shoot down the rumor by saying, “She is not. We wish her well. We think she’s wonderfully exciting but that is not who we’re going to have on.”

Most sources now agree the additions will be Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd.

I hope this means Bravo is on the phone with Kathy Griffin right now…

And by the way, for those of you still trying to place where you know Shepherd from, she co-starred with Sara Rue and Andy Dick in “Less Than Perfect,” but she’s probably best known as Robert’s partner Judy on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” And because it’s in my contract to mention any “Friends” references (Okay, it’s not in my contract, I just like to.), Shepherd played Rhonda, the museum tour guide, in “The One With Phoebe’s Uterus.” Her big line was, “I’m Rhonda. And these aren’t real”…

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Don't let it consume you...

When my friend, Derek, told me he was taking over the movie blog, I gave him one piece of advice: Don’t let it consume you.

Unfortunately, that’s advice I’ve never been able to follow myself…

I worked at a radio station with a guy who always said, “It’s for the listeners.” And that’s the attitude I’ve always taken with this blog, as every day I find at least five things I want to share with all of you. And I truly hope you like what I do.

Unfortunately, wanting to share, and having the time to share are two totally different things. That’s why you get long strings of posts that you’re forced to scroll through.

However, I hope you will because I’ve got lots of great stuff for you from Press Tour, Comic-Con and more…

And remember that you can always reach me at hdstaytuned@hotmail.com with questions, comments or if you just want to say hi…

Pick of the Week: All "Hannah," All Day Long...

Before I give you my Pick of the Week, let me tell you about some other significant TV happenings this week…

“My Boys” returns Monday, July 30th at 10 p.m. on TBS…

Wednesday, August 1st it’s the season finale of “American Inventor” at 9 p.m. on ABC. At 10 p.m., ABC brings back “The Nine” for its final six episodes at 10 p.m. (I will warn you, however, that you won’t find out what happened in the bank. An ending was not written for the 13th episode.)…

Saturday, August 4th, ABC premieres the anthology series, “Masters of Science Fiction” (10 p.m.). The first episode stars Judy Davis as a cancer-stricken psychiatrist who tries to treat an amnesiac (Sam Waterston)…

Sunday, August 5th, TNT premieres the three-part mini-series “The Company.” Chris O’Donnell, Alfred Molina, and Michael Keaton star in this story of the Cold War rise of the CIA (8 p.m.)…

And now for my Pick. I had planned on picking the Karina Smirnoff guest spot on “Hannah Montana,” but Disney switched the episodes on me and aired that tonight. So I was forced to find something else. Luckily, Disney came through for me again.

This week’s Pick of the Week is the “Hannah Montana” marathon Saturday, August 4th. You’ll get 16 episodes of “Hannah” beginning at noon on Disney Channel…

When My Enemies Square Off...

As you guys know, I call ABC President Steve McPherson my TV enemy.

And as you also know, TV critics have made their way onto that enemy list as well.

So what happens when my enemies square off?

Here’s the blow-by-blow from James Hibberd of “TV Week”…

At the ABC opening panel at TCA Press Tour last week, a critic asked McPherson about a rumored “Lost” announcement at Comic-Con the next day. McPherson responded, “They do have some announcements they are going to be making that I think everyone will be pretty excited about.”

Then another critic asked, “Do you want us to go to Comic-Con tomorrow instead of this session?” McPherson joked, “Let’s go now. You want to go?”

The session moved on to other topics, but then another critic told McPherson, “I don’t think my editor is going to be very happy when she reads on a blog later this afternoon that Steve McPherson promised that the biggest news regarding one of the highest-rated shows on the network would be coming at a fan convention the next day.”

Then another chimed in. “Not to be a crybaby…[but] what’s the point of having 150 reporters with access to millions of readers sitting here?” McPherson tried to joke again. “Okay, I’ll give you the announcement…I cast Don Imus on ‘Lost.’”

The joke didn’t work. Another critic jumped in. “This is a serious question. Newspapers spend a lot of money to get us out here. A lot of us are fighting to stay out here. We write about all your television shows. If you are not going to tell us what it is, you can at least tell us why you’re not telling us.” McPherson tried to calm the growing storm. “Comic-Con has been a place that ‘Lost’ has had its presence for a long time. They have an announcement that [Damon Lindelof] wanted to make at Comic-Con…It’s not earth-shattering…It’s not going to change the face of television.”

Suddenly, an ABC publicity executive appeared on the stage and whispered to McPherson. He turned to the critics and told them that someone spoke to Lindelof and Lindelof gave his permission to give the news to the critics.

Though it’s true that I rarely agree with anything TV critics say these days, I quite enjoyed reading this exchange. I’m guessing that McPherson won’t make that mistake again…

[SPOILER ALERT]

And in case you’re wondering, the “Lost” announcement was that Harold Perrineau is returning to the show. Though that information is interesting, I have to agree with McPherson that it wasn’t earth-shattering. And most of the critics in the room agreed…

"HSM 2" gets off to a great start...


“High School Musical 2” got off to a great start last week as “What Time Is It?” the first single from the movie’s soundtrack debuted at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“Time” sold 87,000 singles and 31,000 downloads.

The full soundtrack hits stores Tuesday, August 14th, and the movie debuts on Disney Channel Friday, August 17th…

Val Kilmer Gets Set to Sharpen His Math Skills...


CBS has announced that Val Kilmer will guest star on the season premiere of “Numb3rs” September 28th.

Tony Scott, who executive produces the show with his brother, Ridley Scott, will direct the episode. Tony directed Kilmer in “Déjà vu,” “Top Gun” and “True Romance”…

"Variety" on "The View"


“Variety” reported last week that “The View” is indeed in final negotiations with Whoopi Goldberg.

The trade also reports that Sherri Shepherd is in talks for the other spot.

Sources tell “Variety” that an announcement on both hires could come as soon as next week…

Shonda Speaks!


One of the most anticipated panels during ABC’s part of Press Tour last week was the “Private Practice” panel.

Not because critics are so excited about the “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off (They’re not.), but because they wanted to finally hear from Shonda Rhimes (the “Grey’s” and “Practice” creator) about the firing of Isaiah Washington from “Grey’s.”

Here’s what she had to say…

Was it hard for her to let Isaiah go? “It wasn’t. It was a decision that was a long time in coming, and it felt like it was the right decision for all of us”…

Was the decision imposed on her by ABC? “The great thing about [ABC Studios head] Mark Pedowitz and [ABC President] Steve McPherson is they never imposed anything on me”…

So did she agree with the decision? “Of course I did”…

Would she have written the season finale any differently if the controversy hadn’t occurred? “I wrote the season-ender exactly as I planned to write the season-ender. What’s kind of amazing is the season-ender finished the story of Preston Burke that really paid tribute to that character and the talent of Isaiah Washington in a way that made sense. But also went exactly where our show was planning to go anyway”…

So, is Shonda Rhimes just being the good ABC soldier, or was she ticked off at Isaiah Washington herself? What do you think?...

Can we call this the final word on Isaiah-gate?...

TV News From Comic-Con

Once upon a time, Comic-Con was the place where fans of comic books could mingle with their favorite writers and artists.

It’s still that place, but now the comics industry has taken a back seat to the latest sci-fi movies and TV shows…

Here’s some of the TV news that came out of Comic-Con this week…

This fall, DC Comics will release a hardcover book of the 43 “Heroes” comic-book vignettes that were posted on the NBC website. There will also be “Heroes” action figures and other merchandise…

At the “24” panel, Executive Producers Jon Cassar, Manny Coto, Evan Katz, and David Fury all agreed that last season was a disappointment. They also shared some insight into season seven (more on that later)…

At the "Lost" panel, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof shared that the show will feature both flashbacks and flash forwards this season. And they premiered the “Lost” video game trailer, which you can see here...


"Price": The Signoff Will Live On

Monday, Bob Barker got some good news from his replacement, Drew Carey…

Carey told Barker that he will continue to use Barker’s signature signoff, “Help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered.”

Barker said he was going to ask him to continue it, but Carey volunteered. Barker said he “thanked him profusely.”

Dr. Phil McGraw also plans to use the signoff. Barker said it would be great if “all the TV hosts would do it.”

CBS President Nina Tassler has told Barker that few changes will be made to the “Price” set or format. Tassler is talking to Barker about hosting some specials with “Price” clips. Barker is also in negotiations to write a book.

As Barker said, “I’m having a hard time convincing myself that I’m retired.”

McPherson Vs. Silverman: Round 1

ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson had plenty to say last week about NBC Co-Chair Ben Silverman…

After Silverman told critics at Press Tour that he had pursued Isaiah Washington before he was fired, McPherson told the same critics, “If [Silverman] was in fact talking to him before he was available, that’s inducement to breach. So I don’t know, he’s either clueless or stupid”…

On Silverman saying he didn’t understand why Washington was fired, McPherson said, “Was he living in a coma?”…

McPherson called NBC’s downplaying of the Washington incident “comical”…

When the critics asked Silverman about the firing of Kevin Reilly from NBC, Silverman said he just got to NBC and he wasn’t involved. McPherson’s response? “Kevin Reilly stood up for ‘The Office’…then to stand up and say ‘I just got here…’ Be a man…You guys let [Silverman] off the hook…that’s your prerogative. I live in a world where somebody stabs your best friend in the back…I don’t buy it.”

In case you couldn’t tell, McPherson and Reilly are longtime friends. The remarks are a little unusual, however, since Reilly is now at FOX and Silverman is still the executive producer of the ABC hit “Ugly Betty”…

By the way, Kevin Reilly revealed during the FOX Press Tour panel that he learned his job was in jeopardy when someone sent him an anonymous e-mail that said, “Ben Silverman has been offered your job”…

Finally, Mark Your Calendars For ABC...

Here’s the schedule for ABC’s season premieres…

Monday, September 24th
8 p.m.—Dancing With the Stars
9:30 p.m.—The Bachelor

Tuesday, September 25th
8 p.m.—Dancing With the Stars Performance Show

Wednesday, September 26th
8 p.m.—Dancing With the Stars Results Show
9 p.m.—Private Practice
10 p.m.—Dirty Sexy Money

Thursday, September 27th
8 p.m.—Ugly Betty
9 p.m.—Grey’s Anatomy
10 p.m.—Big Shots

Sunday, September 30th
7 p.m.—Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (two hours)
9 p.m.—Desperate Housewives
10 p.m.—Brothers & Sisters

Tuesday, October 2nd
8 p.m.—Cavemen
8:30 p.m.—Carpoolers
9 p.m.—Dancing With the Stars Results Show (Regular time period)

Wednesday, October 3rd
8 p.m.—Pushing Daisies

Sunday, October 7th
7 p.m.—America’s Funniest Home Videos

Friday, October 12th
8 p.m.—20/20
9 p.m.—Women’s Murder Club
10 p.m.—Men In Trees

Monday, October 15th
9:30 p.m.—Samantha Who?

Tuesday, November 27th
10 p.m.—Cashmere Mafia preview

Tuesday, December 4th
9 p.m.—Cashmere Mafia (official premiere)

"24" Goes Green

FOX owner Rupert Murdoch is mandating that his shows get involved in the environmental movement. And “24” is taking the lead…

Last week, FOX announced that “24” will attempt to become the first TV production ever to save enough energy and reduce enough carbon emissions over the course of a season to make its entire season finale “carbon neutral.” The show will use: biodiesel fuels for its generators and production vehicles; wind, water and solar power to run production; and hybrid vehicles for the production crew. Kiefer Sutherland and other cast members will film environmental PSAs and “when appropriate,” the show will introduce environmental issues into storylines.


That smell you’re getting a whiff of is the smell of a big fat PR stunt…

The Fourth Branch Stays Secret For Now

“Traveler” creator David DiGilio is keeping the show’s secrets secret for now.

He wrote on his blog that he wants to wait until the show is officially cancelled before he spills where the show was headed in season two. And since networks never officially cancel anything, fans will probably be waiting a long time…

Apparently Digilio wasn’t listening to ABC President Steve McPherson at last week’s Press Tour. McPherson told critics that “Traveler” was cancelled because “we were disappointed with the way that show was creatively developed.”

Of course the show wasn’t developed the way it should have been! They had to stuff 13 episodes into eight at the last minute because of McPherson!

Now you know why that guy’s my TV enemy…

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Who's Visiting Springfield This Year?

The stars are once again lining up to guest star on “The Simpsons” this year…

In the season opener September 23rd, Lionel Richie guests as himself and Stephen Colbert guests as Homer’s life coach…

September 30th, Steve Buscemi is a bank robber who forms a connection with one of his hostages—Marge…

October 7th, Jack Black is the owner of Coolsville, a new comic-books emporium.

Later in the season, we’ll get a “Frasier” reunion as Kelsey Grammer returns to his Emmy-winning role of Sideshow Bob and brings David Hyde-Pierce (as his brother Cecil) and John Mahoney (as their dad) along with him…

Also coming this year are Jon Stewart, Matt Dillon, Maya Rudolph, Dan Rather, Placido Domingo, Kurt Loder, Weird Al Yankovic, Beverly D’Angelo and Topher Grace…

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Is "The Singing Bee" Losing Its Buzz?

Last week’s third episode of “The Singing Bee” was down in the ratings 28% from its premiere.

But as you know, “Bee” has already been renewed for next season.
Maybe, NBC pulled the trigger too soon?...

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Coreys Return

For any of you who ever had a crush on one of the Coreys (It was Feldman for me.), you won't want to miss the premiere of the new reality series, "The Two Coreys."

The show follows the action as Corey Haim moves in with Corey Feldman and his wife, Susie, and their child (Yes, Feldman is now a father).

The situations are all set up, but Feldman assures us that what happens during the situations is all real. One situation (in the third episode) involves Feldman telling Haim that Warner Bros. is making a "Lost Boys" sequel and not using any of the original people, which causes Haim to break down.

Can you blame him? I almost cried when I heard that and I wasn't in the movie...

"The Two Coreys" premieres Sunday, July 29th at 10 p.m. on A&E...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Who Will Be Able to Handle Barbara Walters?

First, they disagreed about who would take over “The Price Is Right” (They were both wrong.). Now, they’re disagreeing over who is joining “The View”…

The “NY Post” is reporting that Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Griffin and Sherry Shepherd are the frontrunners. One source told the “Post” all three would be hired and would participate on a rotating basis, but then an “insider” told them that wasn’t going to happen and two of the three would be hired to replace Star Jones and Rosie O’Donnell.

Meanwhile, the “NY Daily News” reports that Kathy Griffin is out and that Whoopi Goldberg will be announced next week. The “Daily News” had no mention of who might fill the other seat if Kathy is out of the running.

Now, you guys know I love Kathy Griffin, so I want the best for her and I honestly don’t think that’s “The View.” Why? Two words—Barbara Walters. In an interview with “Steppin’ Out” magazine, Kathy said Barbara is “a very complicated woman.”

Kathy must really want this job because I’ve never heard her be that diplomatic, but I’ll follow her lead and say that I think Barbara is probably very “difficult”…

For proof, you need look no further than her behavior during Ross “The Intern” Matthews’ stint as a guest host on “The View.” First of all, Barbara didn’t know who he was. Then she made fun of his voice on the air. Then she told him to be still more than once, AND she continually rolled her eyes while saying how wonderful it was to have him there.

Of course, she was nothing but gracious for “The Tonight Show” cameras that were filming behind the scenes for a piece on “Tonight,” but the damage had already been done with the rest of the piece (featuring “View” clips).

You can see an abbreviated version of the piece (which actually spares Barbara a little) at http://www.nbc.com/tonight show. The whole “View” episode can be viewed in parts on YouTube.

You may have heard that Barbara lashed out at Jay Leno and Rob Schneider for their bit with Schneider as Lindsay Lohan. I’m wondering if her anger wasn’t actually stemming from how bad Ross’ bit from the same show made her look. You wanna talk about mean…

I'm actually rooting for Whoopi, because I have a feeling none of that stuff will fly with her...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

CBS Makes "Pirate Master" Walk the Plank

CBS has pulled the Mark Burnett reality show "Pirate Master" from its schedule beginning tonight (Tuesday).

The remaining episodes will be made available at www.cbs.com...

It's Finally Official: Drew Carey, Come On Down...

Drew Carey confirmed on "The Late Show with David Letterman" last night that he is replacing Bob Barker on "The Price Is Right."

He told Letterman that he was offered the show after CBS saw the pilot for "Power of 10." He told "The Insider" that there was no audition and that the report in Variety saying the deal was contingent on that was incorrect.

Bob Barker told the AP that he was "cool" with it, even though he was not familiar with Carey's hosting style.

No doubt, a lot of people will be watching "Power of 10" to get a preview of his skills. It premieres August 7th.

I like Drew Carey, but I'm still not sure about this. Remember all of the stumbling he used to do when hosting "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" Granted, he was trying to keep his cool with three of the funniest guys on TV giving him a hard time, but still...

And I find it hard to believe that he's a better choice than John O'Hurley, but we'll see...

So what do you think of the choice?

And while you're thinking, check out his announcement on "The Late Show" from YouTube...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pick of the Week: Kathy Sheds More Tears

Two heavy-hitting actresses are coming to TV this week, but neither is my Pick of the Week…

Monday, July 23rd, Holly Hunter takes on her first TV role in “Saving Grace” (10 p.m., TNT). Holly is a spirited detective with serious personal issues. Tuesday, July 24th, Glenn Close returns to FX with “Damages” (10 p.m.). Close plays a tough lawyer out to get a ruthless business man (Ted Danson)…

But the lady who gets the honor of being my Pick of the Week is Kathy Griffin. Now let me just say for the record that Kathy is not for everybody. She can be a little raunchy at times, but she always manages to suck you in with her kind heart. We’ve watched her cry over the end of her marriage, the death of her father and the touching stories of prison inmates. In the season finale, we’ll see her cry again as she scatters her father’s ashes in Ireland. “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List” airs Tuesday, July 24th at 10 p.m. on Bravo…

An honorable mention goes to my guilty pleasure from last year, “Who Wants to Be a Super Hero?” which kicks off its second season Thursday, July 26th at 9 p.m. on SciFi…

News from the CW...

Here’s some Press Tour news from the CW…

The CW’s new fall season will kick off September 18th with the two-hour premiere of “Beauty and the Geek.” One handsome man and one geeky woman will be added to the mix this year…

“America’s Next Top Model” has been renewed through the 2009-2010 season…

Last year’s Pussycat Dolls winner, Asia, has opted to pursue a solo career. When a reporter pointed out that the winner going solo made the show kind of pointless, CW President Dawn Ostroff replied, “There’s no guarantee for how this will turn out. The participants get exposure. At the end of the day, you can’t make anybody do anything, but you can give them the opportunity.” Maybe the Pussycat people should talk to the “American Idol” people about how to draw up an ironclad contract…

"Jericho" Is Saved, But What Now?

As I suspected, “Jericho” was a popular topic at Press Tour last week…

At the “Jericho” panel, CBS gave each of the critics a bag of peanuts and a “Save Jericho” t-shirt; and everyone on the panel showed nothing but gratitude for the fans that saved the show.

The fans can expect some changes, however. The writers had originally planned for part of season two to be set in New York; but because it’s just seven episodes, the show will be “lean and mean” and “focus on just a couple of people.” The main focus will be on Hawkins and Jake trying to save the world.

The producers do promise that all of last season’s cliffhangers “will be paid off” by the end of the season premiere.

As for last season, the producers said that it was always their plan for Johnston (Gerald McRaney) to die so Jake could become the leader. Season one will be released on DVD October 2nd…

CBS did not give an indication of when “Jericho” will premiere…

Zac Efron Talks "High School Musical"...

While I sit hear watching “High School Musical,” I thought I would share some “HSM” info with you from a “USA Today” interview with Zac Efron…

So why did they not use Zac’s voice in “HSM”? They thought his voice was too low for the songs, so they blended his voice with Drew Seeley’s (If you pay close attention, you can hear the back and forth between the voices in the songs.). But for “HSM 2,” it’s completely Zac’s voice on eight new songs (It’s also his voice in “Hairspray.”). “I’ll be honest, I’m pretty excited. There was a huge misconception at the beginning of ‘High School Musical.’ I’m so excited to sing my own part.”

And why did we not see a Troy-Gabriella kiss? They filmed one, but as director Kenny Ortega explained, “We decided that wasn’t what it was all about.” They have shot a kiss for the second, but Ortega said they haven’t decided if it will be used…

There are rumors that there was friction on the set of “High School Musical 2” because Zac is getting so much attention and because he didn’t go on the tour (He was filming “Hairspray.”). Zac denied that saying, “We are still very close.” And he was “sorry” that he couldn’t be a part of the tour. “I’m happy people loved it.”

As for his participation in the third movie, Zac said, “It’s in the studio’s hands. But the idea sounds great and I love to work with my friends.”

Disney better move fast because Zac’s dance card is filling up quickly. His next movie is “Seventeen,” which is a new spin on the Tom Hanks movie “Big” about a high schooler with a man’s mind. New Line signed him for the movie after seeing him in the “Hairspray” dailies…

One more note about “HSM.” “High School Musical: The Ice Tour” kicks off August 31st. The show stops at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati January 9th and at Wesbanco Arena in Wheeling March 5th. And yes, there will be basketballs on the ice—at least 40 of them…

Rosie Gets an Apology

After he sprung a surprise offer to join “The Apprentice” on Rosie O’Donnell last week, NBC Co-Chair Ben Silverman followed the offer up with an apology…

Silverman sent Rosie a personal note saying he was sorry if she had been offended by the idea.

Silverman has talked with Rosie about a daytime talk show and a nighttime pundit show on MSNBC (which Rosie is reportedly not crazy about)…

Drew Carey gets closer to coming on down...

Drew Carey confirmed last week that he is in negotiations to take over “The Price Is Right.”

“It would be really fun to do,” he told critics during “The Power of 10” panel. “That show needs to be treated with a lot of respect.”

Carey added that “nothing’s been decided yet” and that negotiations are “going back and forth.”

Carey said that after “The Drew Carey Show” ended, he didn’t want to work in TV again and he only agreed to do “Power” if he could have a schedule that would allow him to attend L.A. Galaxy games.

When asked if he could handle taking on “Price,” he replied, “I wouldn’t have gone into negotiations with them if I didn’t think I’d be able to enjoy it and be good at it”…

LeBron gets the SNL nod...

LeBron James will host the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live” in September.

This announcement comes on the heels of James co-hosting the ESPY Awards with Jimmy Kimmel. James appeared in several skits, including his own version of Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative,” which you can view here…

Saturday, July 21, 2007

"Viva Laughlin": Is the Singing Becoming a Dirty Little Secret?

Every network has a show that the critics love to take shots at during Press Tour week.

For CBS, that show is “Viva Laughlin.” And CBS is really not helping the situation…

If you’ve only seen the recent commercials for the show, then you don’t know what’s becoming its dirty little secret. It has characters who sing.

Even the show’s executive producer went to great lengths to say the show is not a musical. “We’re a dramatic television show with music…We’re telling story first. We need to have solid story to tell, and then we use the music to enhance that.”

One of the show’s stars, D.B. Woodside, tried to defend that stance even further. “It’s not a musical because there’s never a character or actor who bursts into song. Every time a character sings, it’s more revealing about who that character is. It’s not because we’re trying to run away from it.”

D.B., I love you. But have you even watched the show? I would totally call Hugh Jackman getting out of a helicopter and singing “Please allow me to introduce myself” as bursting into song.

Interestingly, the 14 commercials for “Viva” during the Tonys all featured singing, hoping to appeal to Broadway fans. But I think that those who may have been intrigued by the spots will be disappointed when they see that the actors sing along to the original tracks (It is pretty lame.).

What this all boils down to is that CBS is trying to avoid the “Cop Rock” stigma. Since I liked “Cop Rock” and I want the best for D.B., I’m going to withhold my judgement…

And since I mentioned “Cop Rock,” this gives me the perfect opportunity to share one of my favorite YouTube clips with you. And yes, that’s Paul McCrane, better known as Dr. Romano from “ER” (or Graem Bauer on “24”)…

"NCIS": "In the Best Interest of the Show"

One issue I didn’t think about CBS President Nina Tassler having to deal with was the tiff between “NCIS” Executive Producer Donald Bellisario and his star Mark Harmon that resulted in Bellisario leaving the show. But Tassler got several questions asking about the nature of the fight…

Tassler told critics that it wasn’t unusual for a star to fight with a showrunner, but she wouldn’t reveal the issues in this particular situation. She did admit that she tried to mediate the argument without success.

However, she said that it was “resolved in the best interest of the show.”

If Bellisario had more episodes planned like the season finale, his departure is absolutely in the show’s best interest. Maybe that horrible finale is what the fight was about…

“NCIS” premieres Tuesday, September 25th at 8 p.m. on CBS…

Has "Criminal Minds" Found Its New Leader?

“TV Guide” is reporting that “Criminal Minds” is close to hiring a replacement for Mandy Patinkin and it’s…wait for it…Geena Davis.

“Minds” star Shemar Moore told Michael Ausiello that she was the frontrunner. He also said that Michael Keaton was a possibility, but he apparently has passed (That may have made me actually watch the show!).

On Patinkin’s exit, Moore told Ausiello, “We just want the courtesy and respect we deserve. And we felt like if he had given us that initially this would be much easier to deal with. He essentially just slapped us in the face…Mandy’s a volatile personality. He had his good days and he had his bad days.”

Moore pointed out that his exit shouldn’t be that big of a surprise since he did the same thing in 1995 when he left “Chicago Hope.” Moore told "USA Today" that he knew Patinkin wouldn't last six seasons. He left Patinkin a message because "he's a friend," but he hasn't talked to him and doesn't know where he is. Moore also said Patinkin left messages with the show's cast "a couple of days ago" saying "Hi, how are you? We'll talk soon."

As I suspected, CBS President Nina Tassler was forced to answer a lot of questions about Patinkin at Press Tour. Tassler told critics that Patinkin asked to be released from the show for a “personal issue…I can only hope that in the very near future, Mandy will be able to answer these questions.”

When someone pointed out to Tassler that the official statement from CBS said “creative differences” and she said “personal issues,” Tassler said, “Creative differences is a euphemism for personal issues.” That got a big laugh from the critics.

The premiere is being rewritten to explain his absence. Patinkin will apparently do one episode of the show to wrap up Gideon’s story.

That’s not going to be pretty…

“Criminal Minds” premieres Wednesday, September 26th at 9 p.m. on CBS…

"Cold Case" will smell like teen spirit, while "CSI" and "Trace" crossover...

Here’s a few CBS notes from Press Tour…

The “Cold Case” premiere will feature the music of Nirvana throughout the entire episode. If you don’t watch the show, popular music is used to set the year of the flashbacks. It’s also the reason why the show may never be released on DVD. “Cold Case” premieres Sunday, September 23rd at 9 p.m. on CBS…

“CSI” and “Without a Trace,” which have been reunited on Thursday nights, will do a crossover by sending William Peterson to “Trace” and Anthony LaPaglia to “CSI”…

Viewers will be able to sign up to receive e-mails from CBS called Eye-Lerts to let them know when the NFL delays Sunday programming. How about they just cut “60 Minutes” down so the programming doesn’t get so far behind? Wouldn’t that be easier?...

Did NBC almost lose a "Bionic" star?

One of this week’s “TV Guide” covers features two of the stars from NBC’s most buzzworthy new show, “The Bionic Woman”—Michelle Ryan and Katee Sackhoff.

But what “TV Guide” didn’t know (besides the fact that NBC would add Isaiah Washington to the cast a week later) is that Katee Sackhoff had not officially signed to be a part of the show…

Last week, after her absence from the “Bionic Woman” panel at Press Tour, Katee Sackhoff and NBC finally agreed to terms for a recurring role on the show.

There was some speculation that Sackhoff was upset about the hiring of Isaiah Washington since she has become somewhat of a gay icon due to her role as Starbuck on “Battlestar Galactica.” No word on whether there is any truth to that speculation…

It’s interesting that NBC made Sackhoff such an important element of the show without making sure she would actually be a part of it…

"Kid Nation" Courts Controversy

One of the hot topics for CBS at this week’s Press Tour was the building controversy over “Kid Nation,” the reality show featuring children trying to build back a ghost town (Many are comparing it to “Lord of the Flies.”).

Reports surfaced last week that CBS and the show’s producers skirted child labor laws by classifying the production as a “summer camp” and taking advantage of a loophole in New Mexico labor rules (That loophole has since been closed.).

CBS President Nina Tassler told critics they knew the show would create controversy. “It’s good that we’re talking about the issues and challenges that those kids have to go through. But the whole objective is to get out there and do something different.” Neither Tassler nor the show’s Executive Producer would confirm the reports (of course).

“Kid Nation” premieres Wednesday, September 19th at 8 p.m. on CBS…

Now mark your calendars for CBS...

Here’s the rundown of CBS premiere dates…

Wednesday, September 19th
8 p.m.—Kid Nation

Thursday, September 20th
8 p.m.—Survivor: China

Sunday, September 23rd
7 p.m.—60 Minutes
9 p.m.—Cold Case
10 p.m.—Shark

Monday, September 24th
8 p.m.—How I Met Your Mother
8:30 p.m.—The Big Bang Theory
9 p.m.—Two and a Half Men
9:30 p.m.—Rules of Engagement
10 p.m.—CSI: Miami

Tuesday, September 25th
8 p.m.—NCIS
9 p.m.—The Unit
10 p.m.—Cane

Wednesday, September 26th
9 p.m.—Criminal Minds
10 p.m.—CSI: NY

Thursday, September 27th
9 p.m.—CSI
10 p.m. Without a Trace

Friday, September 28th
8 p.m.—Ghost Whisperer
9 p.m.—Moonlight
10 p.m.—Numb3rs

Thursday, October 18th
10 p.m.—Viva Laughlin (preview)

Sunday, October 21st
8 p.m.—Viva Laughlin (official premiere)

The "Traveler" Finale: A Little Too Familiar


I promised you the finale of “Traveler” would be wild and it was; but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed…

Since the episode was completed before the show was cancelled, I knew we wouldn’t get all the answers, but it would have been nice if the answers we did get had made more sense…

And it would have been nice if it all hadn’t seemed so familiar…

Apparently, the bombing of the Drexler building was meant to destroy the painting of the Declaration of Independence because it revealed a secret fourth branch of the government, which was somehow connected to the organization that Will worked for.

Did that make sense to you?...

The episode was filled with lots of action, incriminating tape recordings, agency moles, and lots of talk about illegal activities for the good of the country. I almost checked my DVD player to make sure I wasn’t watching the fifth season of “24.”

I said “Traveler” was a “24” clone. I guess they took that to heart…

I had really hoped we’d get a twist in the mole story and it wouldn’t be Chambers—who I had suspected since the first episode. But it was him and we lost Borjes in the process, which was a real shame since Anthony Ruvivar was really starting to click in the role…

The cliffhangers, though, did make up for some of the confusion as Marlow discovered that Chambers was a mole and Freed and the evidence exonerating Jay and Tyler was destroyed in a bomb (Too bad Jay and Tyler didn’t watch that fifth season of “24,” or they would’ve known to make a copy of the evidence.).

The show’s creator has promised to tell us what we would have seen in season two on his blog. I hope he also explains what we saw in season one…

Billy Ray Tickets On Sale Now!

No doubt you've heard that Billy Ray Cyrus will be in Ashland July 31st at 8 p.m. at the Paramount (Be sure to check out Dave Lavender's story for more details.).

But here's two things that you may not know. The tickets are actually on sale at www.ticketmaster.com right now. The original report was that they didn't go on sale until Monday, but they've actually been on sale since Friday, which those of us who logged onto Ticketmaster Friday night accidentally found out...

The other thing you may not know is that you can hear Billy Ray's entire CD, "Home At Last," online now at http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/cyrus_billy_ray/1604670/album.jhtml. It's an interesting mix of covers and originals, beginning with the outstanding "Ready, Set, Don't Go"...

Billy Ray will also be doing a CD signing at the Ashland Wal-Mart before the concert beginning at 5 p.m...

Friday, July 20, 2007

My New Guilty Pleasure

With “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List” wrapping up its season Tuesday, I need to pick a new guilty pleasure and last Sunday, I found it—VH1’s “Scott Baio is 45…and Single.”

I call “Kathy” a guilty pleasure because there are times when I feel a little guilty for watching it. But for some reason, I never felt guilty for watching “Baio.” Maybe that’s because in some odd way, the show is actually quite compelling…

If you missed it, “Baio” follows Scott (Don’t ever call him Chachi!) Baio as he tries to figure out why he’s still single at 45. To help him, he hires a life coach, Doc Ali—who he affectionately calls Dark Alley. She tells him to stop seeing his girlfriend, Renee, be celibate for eight weeks and talk to his old girlfriends to try and get some answers (She even makes him sign a contract.).

On this journey with Scott are his friends, who look like they’re right out of an episode of “Entourage”: Restaurateur Steve Cuccio, Jason Hervey (of “The Wonder Years” and one of the producers of the show) and Johnny V., Scott’s self-described wingman since he was 15. Steve and Jason like Renee and are all for Scott doing Doc Ali’s program, but Johnny V. is not on board at all. As Scott tells us in his voiceover, without him, Johnny probably wouldn’t have any success with women. It becomes pretty clear as the episode progresses that he doesn’t want that to stop anytime soon.

Renee, meanwhile, is extremely unhappy about the situation—especially since it probably looked to her like Scott was about to propose (It was SO “Legally Blonde” it wasn’t even funny.)—and gives him an ultimatum that if he doesn’t make a commitment to her by the end of the two months, she’s gone.

First up on Scott’s old girlfriend visit list is Sue, the first girl he had real feelings for. When she reminds Scott how he used to breakup with her for a weekend just so he could see other girls, Scott is horrified at his behavior and apologizes.

Next up is the first girl Scott ever slept with, none other than Erin Moran who played Joanie on “Happy Days” (as Scott tells Doc Ali, “Yes, Joanie really did love Chachi.”). They have apparently had some kind of falling out (although we don’t hear what it was) and the tension between them is pretty obvious as she calls him on some of his bad behavior. She tells him that she broke up with him because he freaked her out with a marriage proposal, which makes Scott think that maybe she led him on his current path. Erin convinces Scott to join her at an autograph session—which he despises—and he actually manages to have a good time until Johnny V. intervenes and gets in a fight with Erin.

Now, it’s possible that Johnny is not nearly as bad of a friend in real life as he is on the show and that he’s just trying to amp up the drama. But I’ve got to believe that he is a big part of Scott’s problems. Apparently, Doc Ali agrees because the previews for next week show her telling Scott he can’t see him anymore.

I think the reason the show works is because it’s like we’re watching a therapy session unfold on our TV screens. Every one of these women teaches Scott something else about himself and the reason he hasn’t been able to commit. And maybe along the way, we can all learn something too…

It may be uncomfortable for him, but it makes for good TV for us.

“Scott Baio is 45…and Single” airs Sundays at 12:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on VH1…

My Thoughts on Lifetime's New Sunday Dramas...

I’ve been so busy this week with the TCA Press Tour and the Emmys that I haven’t had the chance to give you my thoughts on Lifetime’s new Sunday night dramas…

“Side Order of Life” and “State of Mind” actually have several things in common. They both introduced us to their female lead characters with dream sequences in which they’re faced with a truth about the state of their lives. And they both have female lead characters who start to see things after a traumatic event.

But that’s where the similarities end, as “Life” takes the fun approach to a woman in a personal crisis, while “Mind” takes itself WAY too seriously…

“Life” stars Marisa Coughlin as Jenny, a photographer for “In Person” magazine. The truth she faces is that her marriage to Ian (Jason Priestley) may not be the best thing for her. Those doubts are reinforced by her best friend, Vivy (Diana Maria Riva), who tells her that she’s been making life a “side order” as opposed to the main course.

Jenny’s trauma occurs when she finds out that Vivy has an inoperable brain tumor. The news sends Jenny into a bit of a tailspin, which leads her to accidentally call another man. But the man proves to be so reassuring that she ends up calling him two more times, even though she doesn’t even know his name.

Meanwhile, Jenny starts to see things like the Hollywood sign talking to her or the actual souls of her photo subjects. This new awakening earns her a byline at the magazine edited by her friend, Rick (Christopher Gartin), who has always had a crush on Vivy.

By the end of the episode, Jenny has decided to postpone her wedding (but stay with Ian), and turn the ceremony into a celebration of Vivy’s life.

“Life” is what I would call a harmless show. It’s not too serious or not too silly. It just is. The cast is extremely appealing, although I’m slightly bothered by Jason Priestley playing an overly ambitious corporate type—not because he’s not okay in the role, it just bothers me. I guess it’s that whole good guy image he’s got.

I have to admit that I spent most of the hour trying to identify the voice of Cell Phone Guy. I’ve decided it’s Steven Weber, but I haven’t found anything to back that hunch up (If you guys have a clue, please let me know).

“Side Order of Life” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Lifetime…

“State of Mind” stars Lili Taylor as Ann, one of the psychiatrists at New Haven Psychiatric Associates. The truth that she has to face is that there is a problem with her marriage. Her trauma occurs when she sees that truth firsthand when she catches her husband having sex with their marriage counselor.

Ann goes into a tailspin that results in her being rude to her patients since she is now seeing and hearing Phil during her therapy sessions.
To fill Phil’s office, she brings in a new lawyer in town, Barry (Devon Gummersall). Barry quickly finds himself getting involved in the others’ affairs as he steps up to defend James (Derek Riddel) when the police question him about a patient’s disappearance. Lili asks Barry to represent her in her divorce, but Barry gives the impression he might have a little crush on his new landlord.

“Mind” should be just as harmless and frothy as “Life,” but it isn’t thanks to a slew of melodramatic plots that bring the whole thing down. Two of the other associates, Taj and Cordelia (Mido Hamada and Theresa Randle), appear to be having an affair (The Lifetime website confirms that suspicion.), even though the married Taj is constantly vocalizing his opinions on the sanctity of marriage. And James, a child psychologist, tries to get through to a Russian orphan who is adopted by a rich American family. When the child disappears, the police suspect James of being a child molester…

And that is the story that manages to kill any chance this show had of making it on my must-see list. Even though James is a licensed child psychologist, the police automatically jump to a sordid conclusion, without giving any thought to the fact that the child may have runaway to James because he thought James was his only friend (which is what he did). And to make matters worse, Barry jumped to the same sordid conclusion when he saw the child in James’ room. It just didn’t fit.

I actually had high hopes for this show since I really like Lili Taylor—and she is good as always—but I can’t handle melodrama just for the sake of melodrama.

I guess that’s my state of mind…

“State of Mind” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Lifetime…

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Thoughts on Emmy's Most Controversial Race

This topic will no doubt be discussed ad nauseum for the next TWO MONTHS, but I wanted to throw my two cents in anyway…

Why did “Friday Night Lights” and “Lost” not get nominated for Outstanding Drama Series?

Let’s backtrack for a minute. Last year, there was a huge outcry when “Lost” did not get a drama nod. The reason, everyone agreed, was that “Lost” did not choose the right episode to submit. Critics, journalists, and anyone else with a keyboard or pen complained that episode choice figured too much into the process. So, the Academy changed the rules and added what I call the “Dancing With the Stars” rule: The judges’ scores (based on sample episode screening) would only count for 50% of the overall score. The other 50% would be determined by the popular vote of the TV Academy members that established the top 10 finalists (For a complete description of the Emmy process, scroll down to the next post.).

According to Goldderby.com, both “Friday Night Lights” and “Lost” made the list of 10 finalists that were screened for the judging panels. “FNL” submitted its pilot, while “Lost” submitted the season finale, “Through the Looking Glass.”

For me, the “FNL” omission is not that much of a surprise. Though it made the top 10, I’m guessing it was on the low end since it doesn’t have as much hype surrounding it. It needed a good episode to sway those voters who were not as familiar with it. But instead, they submitted the clichéd and overly sentimental pilot. If “FNL” is truly as good as the critics say (I stopped watching after the pilot.), there had to be a better episode to submit.

The situation of “Lost” is a completely different story. Last year, they submitted a confusing episode with too much sci-fi and not enough character. But this year, they submitted the outstanding finale. So what went wrong?

I told you earlier that there were some grumblings by the judges about the “Lost” entry being two hours. But my source (That’s right. I have an Emmy source. It’s very exciting.) told me not to worry about that because they were one of the grumblers and still ranked “Lost” number one. Maybe there were more grumblers than they thought…

However, as my source also pointed out, Emmy voters don’t always follow the rules. Though “24” submitted a solid episode, most of the voters, according to my source, knew that the season fell apart later which influenced their votes (and killed the chances of “24” getting nominated). Maybe the same logic applies to “Lost.” Maybe there was some kind of backlash against the show for it being so popular, or maybe the voters resented the rules being changed for it, or maybe they were sick of hearing how stupid they were not to nominate it last year. Or maybe what seemed outstanding to those of us who follow the show just seemed confusing to people who had never seen it?

Which leads to another important question in this debate. Why “Boston Legal”? According to Goldderby, the episode “BL” submitted was “Angel of Death.” In the episode—which I didn’t see because I had already written “BL” off—Alan (James Spader) travels to New Orleans to help with the defense of a doctor who euthanized five patients during Hurricane Katrina. Some of the speculation on Goldderby was that the episode was too preachy and heavy-handed, but I think it had exactly the opposite effect. I think that the judges were moved by the story and by the risk the writers took in bringing it to the screen. Voters only watching this episode didn’t know anything about all the crazy sex stories that brought the season to a screeching halt for longtime fans like me.

And there’s a chance that the voters may have connected with some of the political rhetoric they heard about how the government let New Orleans down and ranking “BL” high was their own political stand.

ABC does not offer the “BL” episode online, but you can see Alan’s closing argument here. It may give you a little more insight…



Personally, I can’t speak to whether “FNL” should have been nominated, but I do believe “Lost” deserved a nod. However, the Carlton Cuse-Damon Lindelof hater in me finds it kind of amusing that the Emmy changes meant to get their show in ended up failing them. And since “BL” gets zero love from ABC and Steve McPherson—my TV enemy—I’m okay with them getting love from the Emmys. I just wish it would have been for a better season.

And now, my dear reader, I turn it over to you. What do you think? You can post a comment or you can send me an e-mail at hdstaytuned@hotmail.com.

And if there are any other Emmy voters out there who would like to defend their choices, I would LOVE to hear from you…

So how do the Emmys work anyway?

So before we can look in depth at why certain shows were snubbed by the Emmys, we need to take a look at the Emmy process. Here’s a rundown of how it works, courtesy of Tom O’Neill from Goldderby.com/”The Los Angeles Times”:

Shows that wish to be eligible for the Emmys must be submitted for nomination, which costs $100-$400 per entry (The Emmys are the only major award that charges a fee to be nominated.). During the eligibility period (June 1, 2006-May 31, 2007 in this case), these shows can have the Academy distribute DVDs to TV academy members (which also costs money). Unlike the Oscars, Emmy campaigners are allowed to decorate the boxes with graphics and quotes from TV critics.

All 13,000 members of the TV academy can then vote by checking off a paper ballot of eligible entries. Only actors can vote for actors, directors for directors, etc. Voters are not required to view any video.

The top 10 finalists in the series and acting categories (based on this popular vote) are then screened to judges who attend the panel sessions in L.A. or New York City. Actors could vote at home if they signed an affidavit swearing they had watched all 10 entries. For each entry, the judges view one sample episode that is chosen by the participating actors and programs. Judges rank all 10 entries against each other, 1 to 10.

TV Academy accountants then take the judges’ scores and mix them up on a 50/50 basis with the results of the original popular vote (just like they do on “Dancing With the Stars”). The five contenders with the highest combined scores become the nominees. This is the first year the Academy has used this process. Last year, only the judges’ scores determined the nominees.

The nominees for all other categories are determined exclusively by the popular vote.

All winners are determined by a screening process. Voters are limited to participating in four categories each: two in their peer group and two program categories. The average voter judges two races. The judges rank the entries 1 to 5 (1 being the best).

Actors are judged on one sample episode. Series are judged on six episodes that are split into three sets of pairs that are distributed randomly to voters. Contenders may change their episode sample from the nominating process if they wish.

The contender with the most number one votes wins. The other rankings are used only in case of a tie.

Now you see why O’Neill calls the Emmy “Hollywood’s most complicated award”…

Some Other Emmy Nominations...

After looking through the entire list, here are some other nominations of note…

First, here are the nominations for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program:
“The Amazing Race”
“American Idol”
“Dancing With the Stars”
“Project Runway”
“Top Chef”

“Race” has won this award every year since the category was created…

The episode “Lost” submitted for the Outstanding Drama Series category, the season finale entitled “Through the Looking Glass,” received three nominations including Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Writing, but no Drama nod. I’ll have much more on that later...

“Friday Night Lights” did receive a nomination for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series, although none of its leads were nominated. “Studio 60” also received a nomination in that category. It’s too bad that outstanding cast was never given anything outstanding to do…

“Studio 60” also received a nomination for Outstanding Directing for the pilot, directed by Thomas Schlamme. “Friday Night Lights” received a nod in this category as well for its pilot directed by Peter Berg, who directed the “FNL” film…

Spike Lee received a nomination for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming for “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” his Hurricane Katrina documentary for HBO…

“D--- In a Box,” the “Saturday Night Live” digital short featuring Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake, received a nomination for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. Timberlake and Samberg are both listed as writers on the song. Joining them in that category are two songs from the “Scrubs” musical episode: “Everything Comes Down to Poo” and “Guy Love”…

Kudos to Matthew Perry for his nomination for Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. Perry’s portrayal of Ron Clark in “The Ron Clark Story” has earned him the trifecta of awards nominations—Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG—but no wins. And with Robert Duvall, Jim Broadbent, William H. Macy and Tom Selleck nominated with him, I don’t think he’ll get a win now…

Christian Clemenson was nominated once again for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role on “Boston Legal.” As much as he dominated that show this season, however, I think this is the wrong category. He’s joined by two “Studio 60” guests: John Goodman and Eli Wallach…

“Desperate Housewives” didn’t get much love in the major categories, but it did get some much deserved love in the Guest Actress in a Comedy category with nominations for both Dixie Carter, who was phenomenal as Gloria Hodge, and Laurie Metcalf, who re-energized the show with her unhinged Carolyn Bigsby…

Jean Smart received a Guest Actress in a Drama nomination for her role as Martha Logan on “24.” I really hope she wins this since she was ripped off last year. Emmy voters only seeing this episode won’t know what a waste of a good character and actress this truly was…

“Hannah Montana” received a nod for Outstanding Children’s Program…

“Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List” was once again nominated for Outstanding Reality Program. I guess the voters didn’t hold her fake Emmy meltdown last year against her…

I’ll have much more on the Emmy nominations, including my take on the already controversial Outstanding Drama Series category a little later…

By the way, the Emmys air September 16th at 8 p.m. on FOX. That's two days before my birthday and one day after the Idols concert. It'll be a big week...

The Supporting Categories...

Let's take a look at the Emmy nominees in the major Supporting categories...

Supporting Actor in a Comedy:
Kevin Dillon, "Entourage"
Jeremy Piven, "Entourage"
Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother"
Rainn Wilson, "The Office"
Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men"

I am SO happy for Kevin Dillon, who has truly become the heart of that show. And Neil Patrick Harris is so deserving, but it would have been nice to see the "Scrubs" supporting cast finally get some Emmy love...

Supporting Actress in a Comedy:
Jaime Pressly, "My Name Is Earl"
Jenna Fischer, "The Office"
Holland Taylor, "Two and a Half Men"
Conchata Ferrell, "Two and a Half Men"
Vanessa Williams, "Ugly Betty"
Elizabeth Perkins, "Weeds"

I don't know what it is about Conchata Ferrell that makes the Emmys love her so much. And yes, I know she's from West Virginia, but I also know she badmouthed West Virginia when she was on "LA Law," so there...

Supporting Actor in a Drama:
William Shatner, "Boston Legal"
T.R. Knight, "Grey's Anatomy"
Masi Oka, "Heroes"
Michael Emerson, "Lost"
Terry O'Quinn, "Lost"
Michael Imperioli, "The Sopranos"

Kudos to the voters for recognizing both Emerson and O'Quinn; but I really wish they would've gone with Jack Coleman instead of Masi Oka for "Heroes." And T.R. Knight? Yeah, that one's not going to create any controversy--especially since Isaiah Washington withdrew his name from consideration...

Supporting Actress in a Drama:
Rachel Griffiths, "Brothers & Sisters"
Katherine Heigl, "Grey's Anatomy"
Chandra Wilson, "Grey's"
Sandra Oh, "Grey's"
Aida Turturro, "The Sopranos"
Lorraine Bracco, "Sopranos"

Interesting that voters nominated every major female cast member of "Grey's Anatomy" except Ellen Pompeo (Meredith)...

Comedy Series...

Here are the nominees for Comedy Series...

"Entourage"
"The Office"
"30 Rock"
"Two and a Half Men"
"Ugly Betty"

There were no real surprises in this one. Jon Cryer let out a little giggle when he heard "Men" announced and he should. "Men" has received zero love from the press since it premiered and it's the #1 comedy on TV...

I will have MUCH more on this later today, so stay tuned!

Comedy Actor and Actress

Here are the nominees for Comedy Actor and Actress...

Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
Steve Carell, "The Office"
Ricky Gervais, "Extras"
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"
Charlie Sheen, "Two and a Half Men"

America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty"
Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine"
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds"

I guess the voters fell for all that dramatic crap Lynette went through on "Desperate Housewives." And Julia gets a nod for "Christine." Take that CBS...

Drama Actor and Actress...

Here are the nominees for Lead Actress and Actor in a Drama Series...

Patricia Arquette, "Medium"
Minnie Driver, "The Riches"
Edie Falco, "The Sopranos"
Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters"
Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU"
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"

James Gandolfini, "The Sopranos"
Hugh Laurie, "House"
Denis Leary, "Rescue Me"
James Spader, "Boston Legal"
Kiefer Sutherland, "24"

In the actress category, I'm thrilled for Minnie Driver, who is extremely deserving of this one, while Patricia Arquette is a bit of a surprise.

James Spader sneaking into the Actor category just confirms for me that "BL" submitted some pretty strong episodes. But considering how weak this season was, I can't wait to find out what those were...

And THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to the Academy for not punishing Kiefer Sutherland for the mistakes of his writers...

Drama Series: Let the Whining Begin...

Okay, the critics are going to whine, but not for the reason I thought...

Here are the nominees for Outstanding Drama Series:
"Boston Legal"
"Grey's Anatomy"
"Heroes"
"House"
"The Sopranos"

Yes, you read that correctly. "Boston Legal." No "Lost" and no "Friday Night Lights."

Let the whining begin...

I'm going to do some research and find out what episode "BL" submitted that everyone was so impressed with...

It's Just a Few Minutes Now...

In less than 10 minutes, Kyra Sedgwick and Jon Cryer will announce the Emmy nominees in 11 major categories...

I've got the live webcast up on my computer now and will pass info along as I get it.

I had a big headache when I got up this morning. I've got a bad feeling that's an omen of the headache I'll have reading all of the critic complaints if "24" gets nominated and "Friday Night Lights" doesn't...

I'll be back...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Brothers & Sisters" Gets a Lethal Weapon

“Brothers & Sisters” is getting a lethal weapon…

Danny Glover will play Sally Field’s new love interest in 8-10 episodes this season. His character is Senator McCallister’s (Rob Lowe) campaign manager.

Field and Glover co-starred in “Places in the Heart” which earned Field an Oscar…

Will Rosie Turn on the "Lights"?


When I think about projects for NBC that Rosie O’Donnell could become a part of, “Friday Night Lights” is not the first show that comes to mind. But…

“FNL” Executive Producer Jason Katims told Michael Ausiello that he is wooing Rosie to play a female soccer coach that is angry about the football program getting more than she does. He said that it would initially be one episode, but it could be more if she wanted it to be.

Katims plans to approach Rosie in the coming weeks. Rosie talked about being a fan of the show when she was on “The View”…

Speaking of “FNL,” the soundtrack will hit stores July 24th. It features music from The Killers, Outkast, Spoon and more.

The “FNL” DVD will hit stores August 28th for the ridiculously low retail price of $29.98 (You can pre-order it at Amazon for only $19.98!)…

NBC Gets Set for Thompson Presidential Run

Election campaign rules could possibly intrude on NBC’s scheduling…

NBC announced that it will stop scheduling “Law & Order” episodes with Fred Thompson as of September 1st. This is to stay in line with the equal time rules for political candidates. Thompson is not yet a presidential candidate, but he is expected to declare soon.

The equal time rules do not apply to national cable networks, but NBC may decide to voluntarily pull the episodes from cable as well.

Thompson appeared in 115 episodes of “L&O”…

The "House" Cleaning Continues...

If you’re a fan of “House,” you know there was a bit of housecleaning in the season finale as Foreman and Cameron resigned and Chase was fired.

Now, FOX has announced the new faces that will join the cast. Olivia Wilde (best known as Marissa’s girlfriend on “The O.C.”), Kal Penn (“Harold & Kumar” movies), Peter Jacobson (Debra Messing’s husband in “The Starter Wife”), Anne Dudek (“Big Day”) and Edi Gathegi (“Lincoln Heights”) will have recurring roles on the show.

So does that mean that Foreman, Chase and Cameron are gone for good? FOX said, “Any effects of this ‘house-cleaning’ or the changes it may bring to House professionally or personally remain to be seen.”

Personally, I can’t believe that a show as popular as “House” is making this many changes. I thought if it wasn’t broke, you don’t fix it…

The Battle of the Singing Game Shows

So, who won the battle of singing game shows last week?

NBC’s “The Singing Bee” was last week’s most-watched show with 13.3 million viewers. FOX’s “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” debuted with 8.3 million viewers.

If you’re trying to figure out which one to watch, let me give you the rundown…

“Lyrics” is hosted by Wayne Brady and is in the same vein as “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Contestants march up the money board by choosing categories and singing songs in that category. The contestants completely sing parts of the songs with accompaniment by the band. If contestants correctly fill in the blanks on the screen while singing, they get to move on. If they’re stuck they can use one of three helps. The top prize is $1 million. The bandleader is Ricky Minor of “American Idol”…

“Bee” is hosted by Joey Fatone who’s backed up by dancing girls called the Honey Bees. A group of contestants are called up on the stage and must sing their way into the next round. The four who get the words to their songs first move on to round two where two contestants compete against each other and try to fill in as many blanks as they can with different songs. The two winners face off in round three by trying to correctly sing a chorus of a song. The winner of that round goes to the final game where they fill in more blanks to win as much money as they can. The top prize is $50,000 and a trophy. The contestants only sing the blanks (The band handles the rest.), with the exception of round two where they have to sing the entire part of the song. The bandleader is Ray Chew, the musical director of the Apollo Theater Foundation.

Of the two, “Bee” is the most fun, and it would be cool to see Wayne Brady on it since I think it better fits his personality. Joey is a good host, he just needs to find another word besides “sweet.”

“Bee” was also easier for me since it stuck mostly to songs from the 80s and 90s. But the truth is if I was on the show, when that screen went blank, I would go blank too…

“The Singing Bee” airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on NBC. “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on FOX…

The "Jericho" Fans Set Their Sights On Critics

The “Jericho” Rangers are now setting their sights on TV critics…

Critics are receiving this e-mail from “Jericho” fans:

“I understand you will be out in California for the press tour. The fans are working VERY hard to recruit new viewers and we are always interested in any new information that can help our cause…If you learn anything new or can talk/write about ‘Jericho’ to keep it in the forefront, the fans would be EXTREMELY grateful!!”

One critic told “TV Week” he responded to one e-mail: “We are not part of your campaign. You are making a serious miscalculation.”

Another said, “We need to give CBS [heck] for encouraging these people.”

Since TV critics are not my favorite people these days, I don’t have a problem with people bugging them. But I hope this plan doesn’t backfire on the Rangers…

This is Why I'm Sick...

NBC’s new entertainment head honcho Ben Silverman has won over the critics during this week’s Press Tour.

But he just makes me feel like losing my dinner…

“TV Week” reported yesterday that Silverman’s cell phone ringtone is “This Is Why I’m Hot!” Silverman admits to sometimes “busting into a little dance” when it rings…

Excuse me, I need a minute…

Drew Carey, Come On Down?

Another day, another “The Price Is Right” rumor. But this one appears to have some teeth to it…

First, the “New York Daily News” reported that Drew Carey is the top choice with an offer contingent on him doing a full-episode run-through and on the success of “Power of 10,” which premieres August 7th on CBS.

Then “TV Guide” reported that Carey appears to be the front-runner if he can come to terms over compensation. “TV Guide” said a decision could come “any day”…

Now mark your calendars for NBC...

Here’s the rundown of NBC’s premiere schedule…

Tuesday, September 11th
8 p.m.—The Biggest Loser

Monday, September 24th
8 p.m.—Chuck
9 p.m.—Heroes
10 p.m.—Journeyman

Tuesday, September 25th
9:30 p.m.—The Singing Bee
10 p.m.—Law & Order: SVU

Wednesday, September 26th
8 p.m.—Deal or No Deal
9 p.m.—Bionic Woman
10 p.m.—Life

Thursday, September 27th
8 p.m.—My Name Is Earl (one hour)
9 p.m.—The Office (one hour)
10 p.m.—ER

Friday, September 28th
8 p.m.—Deal or No Deal
9 p.m.—Las Vegas (two hours)

Thursday, October 4th
8 p.m.—30 Rock

Friday, October 5th
9 p.m.—Friday Night Lights

Thursday, October 25th
9:30 p.m.—Scrubs

"SNL" Hits Starbucks

Want to own the wildly popular “Saturday Night Live” digital short “---- In a Box” featuring Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake? Now you can, but you’ll have to go to Starbucks to get it…

NBC is releasing the “Saturday Night Live: The Best of ‘06/07” DVD August 28th exclusively at Starbucks.

The DVD will include the uncensored version of the short, which this week was called the turning point of the season by “SNL” Executive Producer Lorne Michaels…

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The "Law & Order" Franchise Makes Some More Changes

At press tour, Dick Wolf, the creator of the “Law & Order” franchise, announced that Chris Noth will get a new partner—at least temporarily.

Alicia Witt (“Cybill,” “Two Weeks Notice”) will join the cast of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” to replace Julianne Nicholson, who will miss some episodes due to maternity leave.

But she may not be the only one missing episodes. Wolf said he had “no idea” how Noth’s possible involvement in the “Sex and the City” movie will impact “CI.”

“Criminal Intent” premieres Thursday, October 4th at 10 p.m. on USA…

Meanwhile, over on the mothership (the orignial "Law & Order"), Linus Roache (“Kidnapped”) will come on board as the new ADA. As I told you earlier, Sam Waterston will be the new DA, replacing Fred Thompson. Roache joins his “Kidnapped” co-star Jeremy Sisto, who will be Jesse Martin’s new partner. Wolf said he was a fan of “Kidnapped,” which led him to the hirings…

Roache had been announced as playing Julianna Marguiles' husband in the FOX show "Canterbury Law," so I presume that deal has fallen through (or their marriage falls apart very quickly)...

Speaking of Martin, he has only signed on for the first 13 episodes of “Law & Order.” If the show’s run is extended, Martin may leave or they may cast another detective. “Jesse has been doing this for a while. He’s kind of conflicted about it,” Wolf told critics…

So what do the “L&O” shows have planned for “Green is Universal,” the environmentally friendly programming week I told you about earlier? Wolf said he didn’t know anything about it. Oops…

Rosie Says No To The Donald


It looks like our hopes of Rosie O’Donnell being a contestant on “The Apprentice” have already been dashed…

Rosie’s spokesperson told the Associated Press, “It will never happen in this lifetime or beyond”…

Can NBC Keep Jay and Conan?

There have been reports lately that NBC may change its mind about giving Conan O’Brien “The Tonight Show,” but NBC co-chairs Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff said at Press Tour that plans are still on track.

They’re instead talking to Jay about other options, such as a prime-time show. “We love Jay Leno,” Silverman told critics. “We want him to stay at NBC for life.”

NBC will need to do something since most people in the industry believe that FOX and/or ABC will make a move for Jay…

Aaron Sorkin Speaks About "Studio 60"

In an interview with the “Los Angeles Times,” Aaron Sorkin broke his silence about the end of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”…

“I don’t know how to emphasize this enough that I’m not disappointed or upset with anyone but myself,” Sorkin told the paper. “There are only two possible reasons for ‘Studio 60’ failing—it was either my fault or it was just one of those things. On some shows, you can make mistakes and still survive. But with this one, I made too many mistakes for it to survive.”

It’s clear, though, that Sorkin (pictured here with longtime collaborator Thomas Schlamme) has come to terms with the failure. “Expectations were high and I couldn’t come close to meeting them, so you’d have to say our show failed in a big way. But when you get to write 22 episodes and have them produced exactly the way you want—well, as someone I know once described it, ‘Things are OK when the things you complain about are the things you used to dream about.’”

Don’t worry about Sorkin, however. He just signed a deal with Dreamworks to write three movies, the first of which Steven Spielberg plans to direct…
And I have to give him credit. He did manage to give the show a happy ending.
"Studio 60" hits DVD October 16th...

Monday, July 16, 2007

So who's got "Talent"?

Last week, I got a request for a post about "America’s Got Talent."

I don’t watch “Talent," but thanks to the fine folks at “Entertainment Weekly.” I’m all caught up on the 20 finalists.

Here’s the rundown of the finalists and their talents:

Popovich Comedy Pet Theater: “Pet theater,” i.e. placing animals into human situations















The Glamazons: A singing group dubbed the “plus-size Pussycat Dolls”

















Johnny Lonestar: A “high-energy cowboy act,” including roping, gun-spinning and whip-cracking














Terry Fator: Ventrilquist


















Calypso Tumblers: Reggae-infused dancing and tumbling
















Jonny Come Lately: A rockabilly band covering Ray Charles to the Clash











Antoinette “Butterscotch” Clinton: Beatboxing
















Sideswipe: Performance-style martial arts
















Robert Hatcher: Singer















Kevin James: Magician















Second Story Guys: Dancing on stilts














Mohammad Kashif: Bollywood-esque dancing

















The Duttons: A fiddle-playing family band of nine adults and five children








Julienne Irwin: Singer and youngest contestant (14)













The Fault Line: A capella singing “with an edge”

















Cas Haley: Sings and plays acoustic guitar



















Manuel Romero: Singer




















Jason Pritchette: Sings and plays guitar















Southern Girl: R&B Trio















Boy Shakira: Belly Dancer paying homage to Shakira



So do you have a favorite? Post a comment and let me know what you think…

The semifinals of “America’s Got Talent” begin Tuesday, July 17th at 8 p.m. on NBC…


My apologies for the craziness of this post. I don't think it was meant to hold 20 different pictures.
Photos courtesy of NBC and EW.com...

Patinkin Makes His Departure Permanent

Mandy Patinkin will not return to “Criminal Minds” after all.

CBS and ABC Studios (which produces the show) released this statement today: “Mandy Patinkin asked to be released from his role on Criminal Minds. We have honored this request, which was not in any way connected to contract renegotiations or salary issues. His departure...will be explained to audiences in an episode to be filmed in the near future and broadcast early next season. We thank Mandy for helping to make Criminal Minds a strong and successful series, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors. A new character will be added to the series for next season.”
I nominate Carlos Bernard (Tony, "24") for that new character...

A statement released on behalf of Patinkin reads, “Due to creative differences, Mandy has asked not to return to Criminal Minds this season. Mandy would like to thank the studios and network for releasing him from the series and he wishes the cast and crew continued success in all of their endeavors and looks forward to continuing to work with the Disney and CBS companies in other capacities in the future.”

Creative differences? Hmmm…No doubt this will be the main topic on critics’ minds when CBS takes the Press Tour stage later this week…

"The Apprentice" Returns With...Rosie?

Are you ready for this?

Not only is “The Apprentice” returning to NBC for 13 episodes mid-season, it’s returning with a celebrity edition.

NBC co-chair Ben Silverman said Donald Trump “immediately embraced” the idea, but Silverman had to convince producer Mark Burnett, who has always been reluctant to do celebrity editions of his shows.

So who will participate? One of the first calls Silverman made was to the staff of “The Office,” which he produces. He said the idea of actors who play office workers on TV competing with business tasks in real life “had its appeal.”

Also on Silverman’s want list? You guessed it. Rosie O’Donnell. Silverman’s co-chair Marc Graboff confirmed that NBC has talked to Rosie about “a number of ideas.”

If Silverman gets Rosie, I might even have to watch it. I also think Kathy Griffin would be a good choice too…

NBC Makes Some Moves...

Here’s a round-up of scheduling announcements NBC made during Press Tour today…

In November, NBC will present “Green Is Universal,” a week-long campaign of shows across NBC-Universal’s platforms adopting environmental themes…

“Chuck” will now lead off Monday nights, replacing “Deal Or No Deal.” So much for that “no scripted shows at 8 p.m.” mantra…

“The Singing Bee,” which was originally scheduled to rotate Friday nights with “1 vs. 100,” has moved to Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. This is an interesting move considering “Bee” has only aired once (though to really good ratings)…

“The Biggest Loser” will now be expanded to 90 minutes to fill the Tuesday gap left by the departure of “Chuck.” Interestingly, “Loser” is produced by NBC co-chair Ben Silverman’s production company…

“Deal or No Deal” is moving to Fridays at 8 p.m., followed by “Friday Night Lights,” which has now switched places with “Las Vegas.” Personally, I think moving “Deal,” one of NBC’s few proven hits, is a big mistake…

Uri Gellar and Criss Angel will team up for “Phenomenon,” a reality show searching for the “next great mental”…

Sitcom legend Norman Lear (“All in the Family”) will produce a one-hour comedy that focuses on “a battle of the sexes”…

Jerry Seinfeld will guest as himself on the second-season premiere of “30 Rock” October 4th…

NBC’s fall line-up will kickoff September 24th…

Isaiah Washington Returns to TV

Isaiah Washington is returning to TV after signing a development deal with NBC.

Washington will guest star on “Bionic Woman” in episodes two through six. Some reports have the pilot being rewritten to include him as well. Washington’s deal also includes a potential action drama for the 2008-2009 season.

“Bionic” is considered by many to be NBC’s strongest shot at a hit this fall.

Or at least it was…

Tim Gunn gets ready to show us how to "make it work"...


Bravo announced today that Tim Gunn’s new show, “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style” will premiere September 6th at 10 p.m.

Still no word on when the fourth season of “Project Runway” will premiere. I hope it’s soon, because I desperately miss that show…

Is the "Price" Getting Closer to Being Right?

Is CBS getting closer to making a decision on a new “The Price Is Right” host?

“TV Week” reports that show staffers are being told to expect to return to work by the end of the month. The premiere will need to be completed by mid-August to stay on schedule.

At the pool party thrown by the Game Show Network during Press Tour, “Price” announcer Rich Fields gave a little more insight into the hosting race. Fields said George Hamilton was “very personable and smooth” but he relied too heavily on the cue cards and he couldn’t keep the games straight. Fields also confirmed that Rosie O’Donnell didn’t get the job because she demanded too many changes, including reducing the number of episodes produced each week and spending more time chatting with contestants (as well as the other changes I told you about earlier). He told “TV Week,” “CBS met with her for one lunch, she wanted to make all those changes and that was all they needed to hear.”

Other sources told “TV Week” that Mark Steines was verbally offered the gig before Rosie got involved. He’s still considered a leading contender, but Todd Newton and Drew Carey are said to still be in the running. Carey is asking for a higher salary than CBS would like to pay, but they are still interested.

And one other person who was taken out of the running because of a high price tag? Ryan Seacrest. How would that work, you ask? Fremantle Media, who produces “Idol” also produces “Price.” I was wondering when his name would come up…

The Truth Is Still Out There


It looks like the much-promised second “The X-Files” movie is finally going to happen…

David Duchovny told “USA Today” during the Press Tour (He’s promoting his new Showtime show.), “I think we’re going to do a movie in the fall. I’m actually supposed to get a script next week.” The script was written by “X-Files” creator Chris Carter and longtime “X-Files” writer Frank Spotnick. Carter will direct the film.
Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are both committed to the project which Duchovny expects to begin shooting in November. The first movie, released in 1998, grossed nearly $190 million worldwide.

The Latest on "High School Musical 2"

During their part of the Press Tour Saturday, Disney announced its plans for the premiere of “High School Musical 2”…

“HSM 2” premieres Friday, August 17th at 8 p.m. with a telecast hosted from a backyard barbecue with the movie’s stars and director Kenny Ortega. An encore will air Saturday August 18th with an interactive online chat with the cast. Then, a third showing will air Sunday, August 19th as a sing-along edition.

The Friday premiere will be followed by a sneak preview of the upcoming animated series “Phineas & Ferb” and a new episode of “Hannah Montana.” This fall, Disney Channel will air “High School Musical: The Music In You,” a documentary that follows Fort Worth students putting on their version of “HSM.”

Disney Channel brass are already talking about “HSM 3.” “USA Today” is still reporting that the third movie will be a feature film, but “TV Guide” made no mention of the big screen. Disney Channel’s president told “TV Guide,” “We’re working on a script and talking to talent…We’re happily optimistic we’ll put everybody back together.”

If a third movie happens, it will have to work around Zac Efron’s busy schedule. He is set to play the lead role in a big screen remake of “Footloose.”

Speaking of “High School Musical 2,” Tuesday, you can pick up the CD single of “What Time Is It?” the first single from the soundtrack.

And don’t forget that the auditions for the First Stage Theatre production of “HSM” are this Saturday. For more details, visit Chuck Minsker’s “Tri-State Theater” blog by clicking on the link at right.

Chuck is also promising us a big announcement associated with the show. I’m hoping that he’s found some way to couple the show with a “Hannah Montana” concert. But that’s just because I’m a little obsessed…

Homer gets ready for his close-up...


Homer Simpson will appear on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” Tuesday, July 24th to promote “The Simpsons Movie.”

There’s no word on how the appearance will work, but I hope it doesn’t make Jay look stupid…
"The Simpsons Movie" hits theatres Friday, July 27th.

Stay Tuned for LOTS of Stuff...

This past weekend began the Television Critics Association Press Tour. This is the time when the networks trot out the stars and executives of their shows, usually in panel discussions, for the critics.

Most of the cable networks had their panels over the weekend. NBC will be up today and tomorrow. CBS is lined up for July 18th and 19th, with the CW on July 20th. FOX takes the stage July 22nd and 23rd and ABC wraps it up on July 25th and 26th.

Here are some of the hot topics the networks will no doubt have to face:

NBC has signed Isaiah Washington. More on that later...

CBS execs will have to deal with the Mandy Patinkin situation and it will be interesting how the network will present "Viva Laughlin" since the commercials are not showing the musical aspect of it at all. And there will no doubt be questions about the return of "Jericho"...

The CW will probably still have to deal with questions about "Veronica Mars"...

The FOX brass will have to deal with a ton of questions about "24"--especially if the show gets an Emmy nod...

And I hope someone gives ABC a really hard time about "Cavemen"...

All of this means I will have LOTS of stuff for you in the next two weeks, so Stay Tuned!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Picks of the Week: An ending and a new beginning...

Before I give you my Picks—which I think you can probably already predict—let me tell you about some other shows you can look forward to this week…

TV Land has two premieres of note Wednesday night. First, “TV Land Confidential” (10 p.m.) looks at series finales, including how Bob Newhart was able to keep the final scene of “Newhart” a secret. Then, “Back to the Grind” (10:30 p.m.) allows TV stars to take on the jobs of their most famous characters. Loni Anderson takes a job as a radio station receptionist, while Erik Estrada tries to ride with the California Highway Patrol, if he can get his motorcycle license first…

Thursday, we finally get the premiere of the mega-hyped “Mad Men” on AMC about cutthroat ad execs in 1960. It’s probably worth a look since it stars John Slattery (Victor of “Desperate Housewives”). “Mad Men” premieres Thursday, July 19th at 10 p.m…

And now to my Picks of the Week…

First up, it’s the series finale of “Traveler.” As I said in last week’s post about the show, this finale is going to be wild. I only hope it is able to deliver some closure to the whole thing. Plus, I hope the producers of “24” were watching so they will consider hiring Aaron Stanford (Will). The series finale of “Traveler” airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on ABC…


My other Pick is, of course, “Hannah Montana.” This week, after her dad (Billy Ray Cyrus) cancels a Hannah appearance, Miley (Miley Cyrus) decides to go without him so she doesn’t get shown up by her biggest rival, Mikayla (Selena Gomez, the star of an upcoming Disney series). But, of course, her dad catches her, which teaches him a lesson in letting go that leads to a performance of Billy Ray’s new single, “Ready, Set, Don’t Go.” Camryn Manheim guest stars. This episode of “Hannah Montana” airs Saturday, July 21st at 8 p.m…

"Hannah" Looks to Hit the Big Screen


The headline on the cover of this week’s “TV Guide” promises big news from Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus and it certainly delivers…

Billy Ray told “TV Guide” that he and Miley have set aside February and March of next year to do a “Hannah Montana” feature film. Billy Ray said he will also be a producer on the film.

Disney, meanwhile, would only tell “TV Guide” that a “Hannah” film was “in development.”

Now before you all panic and worry that a film could be overkill, I remind you that “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” was a huge success and a good movie as well. It would’ve produced quite the franchise if Hilary Duff hadn’t walked away…

"Criminal Minds" loses its star

If you’re a “Criminal Minds” fan, this may or may not be good news…

Mandy Patinkin is off the show. “TV Guide” reports that he will return for one episode this fall to wrap up his story.

Patinkin has long had a reputation as a diva and this post by Executive Producer Ed Bernero on the most popular “Minds” fan blog pretty much confirms it:

There have been several reports recently in the media about the Mandy Patinkin situation on Criminal Minds. Firstly, they are true -- Mr. Patinkin has left the show. What's troubling to us though, is that the reports tend to suggest or hint that the Producers, the Studios or CBS have something to do with what has happened. Phrases like 'maybe cooler heads will prevail...' and the like have been used. Let me make this clear: this is not about a contract renegotiation, this is not about money, this is not about something Mr. Patinkin asked for that wasn't provided -- in fact, everyone involved in the show has for two years bent over backward to give him anything he wanted.

Mr. Patinkin told the show, the studios and the network that he was returning right up to the day before we started shooting the first episode and then simply did not show up. He also has not contacted anyone within the show (producers, cast, crew) to explain why he isn't returning. Even to this moment, we have no word from him. He gave us no advance notice that anything was wrong, no opportunity to find a way to make the loss of this character work, no indication that we should be looking for someone else, no warning that we might have to rewrite the first seven scripts (which is how far ahead we try to work) without the central character in them. None. Zero. He was not, as some media reports have indicated, written 'lightly' in our first episode, in fact, it was quite the opposite. Because of the construct of the first episode story, he was actually in the center of that episode. He left us completely in the proverbial lurch.

As loyal fans of the show, we think you all deserve an explanation and I wish I had a better one to give you. The most amazing writing staff in television is working very hard to find a way to make this work and we will find a way to give you the organic, dramatic experience you expect from CM.

If I have new news I will provide it, and if there are questions you have... we will do our best to answer. If you hear a rumor, please ask us. I remain touched and humbled by the support you have all shown the show.

Thank you so much

Ed Bernero

Whether or not you think this is a bad thing depends on whether or not you think Patinkin’s Gideon was a good character. Personally, I’ve always thought that Patinkin was doing his best Vincent D’Onofrio impersonation and trying to dominate the show by chewing all of the scenery. Rumor has it at least one of his co-stars—Thomas Gibson—agreed. I’ve got to believe that this is the best thing for the show.

But what do you think?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Disney sets its marketing sights on Billy Ray...

Having successfully debuted “Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus” at #1, the Disney marketing machine now sets its sights on Billy Ray…

“Home At Last,” Billy Ray’s first CD for Disney, will be released July 24th. It’s an eclectic mix of originals and covers that you can hear clips of at http://disneymusic.disney.go.com/albums/billyraycyrushomeatlast.html.

The first single is “Ready, Set, Don’t Go,” which Billy Ray wrote about Miley. Disney is taking full advantage of that with a video featuring old photos and home movies of Miley, as well as clips from “Hannah Montana.” The video is now being shown on Disney Channel (You can also watch it below, courtesy of YouTube.).

Billy Ray will sing the song on the July 21st episode of “Hannah Montana” (8 p.m., Disney Channel) as part of a story in which Robby Ray (Billy Ray) realizes he needs to give Miley a little freedom. I would have the tissues handy…

The song is available now on iTunes. Don’t be surprised if you start hearing it at a lot of weddings pretty soon. It is a beauty…

You can also find Billy Ray and Miley on the cover of the newsstand edition of next week’s “TV Guide.” I would love to tell you some tidbits from the article, but I can’t since “TV Guide” apparently decided to send subscribers a completely different issue without the “Hannah” article. And no, I am not happy about that…

Billy Ray is scheduled to go on tour beginning in mid-October…

The Latest on "The Price Is Right" Host Search

The New York City tabloids are in disagreement this week about who has the inside shot at replacing Bob Barker on “The Price Is Right”…

The “New York Post” reported that six candidates have participated in actual run-throughs with live studio audiences: Mark Steines, Todd Newton, George Hamilton, Mario Lopez, Dave Price and John O’Hurley. “Post” sources report that the frontrunners are Steines, the co-anchor of “Entertainment Tonight” and Newton, who is currently hosting a live version of “Price” in Las Vegas (and who, as you see in the picture, hosted the Powerball “Instant Millionaire” show). These same sources told the “Post” that George Hamilton is no longer in the running.

According to the report, only “serious candidates” have done actual videotaped run-throughs and Drew Carey and Ian Ziering have not auditioned.

However, the “New York Daily News” reported that Ziering has received a call-back from the “Price” producers and that “he really, really wants it.”

Meanwhile, Rosie O’Donnell revealed during her recent R Family Vacations cruise that she didn’t turn “Price” down. They turned her down. “They thought I was too controversial to host the game show.”

Rosie also said she wanted to “gay it up” (her words) with a chorus line of Broadway hunks (instead of “Barker’s beauties”), confetti, musical bumpers and a set redesign. Rosie admitted she was disappointed by the network’s decision…

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Traveler": Whoa!

I have to admit that I didn’t see it coming…

Last night, “Traveler” showed why it’s the best of this season’s numerous “24” clones with a great cliffhanger that sets up what will no doubt be a wild finale…

Warning: The remainder of this post contains details about last night’s episode of “Traveler.”

Brushing aside the pointless personal stories (a “24” trademark, by the way), here’s what we learned last night:

Will has a recording of Joseph ordering him to blow up the Drexler and to leave Tyler and Jay to die in it…

Freed, the mysterious character played by Neal McDonough, works for Homeland Security, but is also the former deputy director of the FBI. He sold shares of Holloway Insurance, thereby profiting from the Drexler bombing…

Freed also ordered the death of Will’s girlfriend, Maya, as Will learned when he went on a violent rampage leaving his arms dealer hanging and the actual killer dead. Will turning around and killing the guy after he got Maya’s name wrong was total Jack Bauer (or at least the Jack from seasons two through five). I really wish we would have brought him back into action sooner since he has become the heart of the show…

It became even more clear that there is a mole in the FBI (another “24” trademark) and it seemed to clearly be Chambers (Steven Culp)—who I had long suspected—until, for the first time, suspicion fell on Marlow. That would be an interesting twist…

But it’s the ending that was the best twist so far. After being lured to a club by Jay and his girlfriend Kim (They thought Marlow would help them.), Marlow managed to get the upper hand on Jay and was all set to take him into custody when Tyler appeared, holding an officer at gunpoint.

“You’re not going to shoot anyone,” Marlow reasoned with him. “No, but I will” was the response as Marlow turned to lock eyes with the man holding the gun on her—Will.

I actually said, “Whoa!” out loud, I was so impressed.

Now, there are some of you who watched the episode that would tell me it was completely unrealistic that Will could make it from Boston to New York City that quickly; but I’m a “24” fan, remember? I believe you can get from one end of Los Angeles to the other in five minutes…

Now it’s true that much of the story seems a little rushed and thrown together, and last night’s episode was a perfect example of that. But remember that there were supposed to be 13 episodes and they had already completed eight when they got the word there would only be eight total. Clues they had planned to reveal over time had to be inserted in earlier episodes and revealed more quickly. (Carlton Fogg’s “You’re not strong enough” confession had to be one of those plots that got rushed.).

Which leads to the big question. Just how much of a resolution are we going to get? The previews show the guys going after Freed, but will we ever find out what this whole conspiracy is actually about? And what is this organization that is meant to “save the country”?

And what in the world happened to the painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence? And is that why Will stole that particular painting? To declare his independence from the organization?

But most importantly, when is ABC going to stop messing with me?

On second thought, I take that question back. I don’t want them to get mad at me and pull next week’s finale…

The series finale of “Traveler” airs Wednesday, July 18th at 10 p.m. on ABC…

An Emmy Buzz Omission...

In reading an MSN article called "The 10 Best Actors on TV," I was reminded of an actor I forgot to mention in my Emmy buzz post as someone I'd like to see on the list of finalists for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama--Robert Knepper of "Prison Break."

There were many times when T-Bag was unwatchable, but it was never because of Knepper. He somehow always finds a way to give T-Bag just enough heart to make us glad he's still around.

His chances of an Emmy nod are pretty much nil, but I wanted to make sure and mention him anyway...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Response From the "Jericho" Rangers...


Today, I received a response from Thurber, one of the "Jericho" Rangers, about the Clay Aiken interview (Scroll down if you don't know what I'm talking about.):

"We're really glad that Clay Aiken is a big fan of the show and was able to spread the word about it to his fan base. Everybody who fought for Jericho brought their best to this effort, and obviously Clay was part of that. So many people made the leap from 'Nuts' to peanuts, it is probably impossible to limit that to any one fan. For instance, Shaun O'Mac of blog talk radio was urging his listeners to send packets of them the week before the upfronts just to let CBS know how much we liked the show. But sending larger bulk orders? Who knows."

Thanks to the Rangers for getting back to me and best of luck to them as they continue to promote "Jericho."

A reminder that "Return to Jericho," the clip show to get you caught up on the first half of the season, airs Friday, July 13th at 8 p.m., followed by the next episode at 9 p.m. on CBS...
Image by Ranger Rubberpoultry and courtesy of JerichoLives.com...

Should prisoners really be watching that?

I have to share something that happened last night on my summer guilty pleasure, "Kathy Griffin: My Life On the D-List."

Kathy performed at a prison for the women one night and the men the next. But she didn't fill the room at the women's performance because many of them wanted to watch "Prison Break."

Is that really a good idea?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Buzz on the Emmys

Goldderby.com is the premiere awards website as voters anonymously post their comments about who they think will be nominated or win based on their own opinions and conversations with other voters.

This week, two Emmy voting panelists shared what comedies and dramas are likely to get nods next Thursday (July 19th).

For Best Comedy Series, they’re predicting “Two and a Half Men,” “Entourage,” “30 Rock,” “Ugly Betty” and “The Office.” For Best Drama Series, they’re predicting “The Sopranos,” “House,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Heroes” and…wait for it…“24.”

I never thought I would ever say this, but I really hope they’re wrong about “24.” I couldn’t stand listening to critics all across America whine for two months that the “second worst show on TV” was nominated instead of “Lost” or “Friday Night Lights.”

Remember, though, how the nominations work. There’s a popular vote by members of the Academy, which is whittled down to the top 10 nominees. An episode of those 10 shows are screened for a panel who vote on them. This year, a new twist has been added that combines the panel vote with the popular vote (a la “Dancing With the Stars”), but episode choice is still crucial.

And since “24” submitted its premiere, it’s got a good shot at being nominated. But since “Lost” submitted its outstanding season finale, I have to believe that these panelists are mistaken…

Except for the fact that apparently there was some discontent from voters who had to sit through the two-hour finale, after already sitting through six hours of shows. And “Friday Night Lights” did submit its pilot, which I found incredibly annoying, so…

In case you’re wondering the other three drama finalists were “Boston Legal,” “Dexter” and “Rome.” The other comedy finalists were “Desperate Housewives,” “Extras,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Weeds,” and “Scrubs” (which submitted the corny musical episode for some strange reason).

Here’s a look at some of the finalists in other categories, according to Goldderby:

Best Comedy Actor:
Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”
Steve Carell, “The Office”
Ricky Gervais, “Extras”
Jason Lee, “My Name Is Earl”
Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”
Charlie Sheen, “Two and a Half Men”

I’ve got to believe that Zach Braff (“Scrubs”) is also on that list as well. Baldwin, Carell and Shalhoub are locks for nominations.

Best Comedy Actress
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”
America Ferrera, “Ugly Betty”
Tina Fey, “30 Rock”
Teri Hatcher, “Desperate Housewives”
Felicity Huffman, “Desperate Housewives”
Mary-Louise Parker, “Weeds”

I think Ferrera is the only real lock here, but I’m really rooting for Fey and Louis-Dreyfus, who isn’t getting much love from CBS.


Best Drama Actor
James Gandolfini, “The Sopranos”
Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”
Eddie Izzard, “The Riches”
Hugh Laurie, “House”
Denis Leary, “Rescue Me”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”

I really hope that Matthew Fox is a finalist and surely Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: SVU”) is on the list. Gandolfini and Laurie are the locks here; but with the right episode choice, Kiefer could still pull out a nomination. It’s not his fault the writers made him a guest star on his own show. But the critics will have a cow if he gets nominated and Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”) doesn’t.

Best Drama Actress
Patricia Arquette, “Medium”
Minnie Driver, “The Riches”
Edie Falco, “The Sopranos”
Ellen Pompeo, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”

I’m sure that Mariska Hargitay (“SVU”) is on this list too, and possibly Sally Field (“Brothers & Sisters”), unless she’s in the supporting category. Falco and Sedgwick are locks here. The omission that would give critics something to whine about in this category would be Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”).

Best Supporting Drama Actor
Michael Imperioli, “The Sopranos”
Masi Oka, “Heroes”
We’ve only got two names confirmed as finalists in this category, but they’re both locks. I really hope that Jack Coleman (“Heroes”) made the list, but I doubt it. I’d also like to see Peter MacNicol (“24”), but since he didn’t have one single great episode (He was fantastic in all of them.), it probably won’t happen. And there’s bound to be some “Lost” actors among the finalists. If it were me, I would’ve voted for Michael Emerson (Ben).




Best Supporting Drama Actress
Katherine Heigl, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Sandra Oh, “Grey’s”
CCH Pounder, “The Shield”
Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s”

Oh is the lock here.





Best Supporting Comedy Actor
Jon Cryer, “Two and a Half Men”
Kevin Dillon, “Entourage”
John Krasinski, “The Office”
Jeremy Piven, “Entourage”
Rainn Wilson, “The Office”

Cryer is a lock because he’s announcing the nominations and so is Piven, although I’m rooting for Dillon. It would also be nice to see John C. McGinley (“Scrubs”) finally get a little Emmy love.


Best Supporting Comedy Actress
Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds”
Jamie Pressley, “My Name Is Earl”
Vanessa Williams, “Ugly Betty”

You’ve got me on this one.

The Emmy nominations will be announced July 19th at 8:40 a.m. ET.

FOX and NBC Play Musical Chairs...

FOX and NBC are playing musical entertainment chairs. But which one of them will come out the winner?

Just weeks after he announced NBC’s fall schedule, Kevin Reilly was fired as NBC Entertainment President. Jeff Zucker, the president and chief executive of NBC Universal, told “The New York Times” that “the network has had a difficult couple of years and it needed a jolt.”

The jolt Zucker gave the network was to hire Ben Silverman as the new co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and the head of the NBC Universal Television Studio. Silverman has risen to prominence in the industry through his production company Reveille which produces “The Office,” “The Biggest Loser,” “Ugly Betty” and “The Tudors.”

Apparently Silverman was getting attention from other networks, and Zucker snapped him up before someone else could, giving Reilly, who seemed to be turning a corner for NBC, the boot.

So what great things has Silverman done in his first few weeks? He renewed “The Apprentice” and he optioned an American version of the popular telenovela “Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso,” which translates to “Without Breasts There Is No Paradise.”

Oh, and according to the “Times,” he brings a small set of chimes to meetings so he can play the NBC jingle whenever he gets happy about something.

Yeah. That sounds like the jolt NBC needed, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, Kevin Reilly has been named the Entertainment President at FOX, elevating Peter Liguori to chairman. Since Reilly was fired, you might question FOX’s decision. But Reilly was the person who greenlighted “Heroes,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Deal or No Deal.” And, ironically, he stuck by the low-rated “The Office,” allowing it to become a critical darling.

And Reilly and Liguori worked in this same arrangement before at FX where they developed “The Shield” and “Nip/Tuck.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner…

The sad truth is that no matter who the Entertainment President is, NBC will have a very hard time turning things around because the problem is the guy doing the hiring and firing, Jeff Zucker. The NBC decline began under Zucker, but somehow he continued to work his way up the corporate ladder.

Most critics agree that Reilly was on the verge of making a real difference at NBC by sticking with “30 Rock” and “Friday Night Lights,” and greenlighting buzzworthy new shows like “The Bionic Woman.” But now Silverman will get all the credit if that strategy works.

And who will get the blame if it doesn’t? Unfortunately not Zucker, who truly deserves it…

The "Price" Is Not Right for Patrick Either

Cross one more name off the list of people in line to replace Bob Barker…

ESPN’s Dan Patrick was approached by “The Price Is Right” producers, but he turned them down.

Patrick will be in need of a job somewhere, though, after he announced Monday that he is leaving ESPN (both TV and radio). His last radio show will be August 17th…

Mark Your Calendars Now...

It’s only July, but FOX has already released its fall premiere plans. Here’s the premiere date rundown, so you can mark your calendars…

Thursday, August 30th
8 PM—Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Saturday, September 8th
8 PM—Cops
9 PM—America’s Most Wanted

Thursday, September 13th
9 PM—Kitchen Nightmares

Friday, September 14th
9 PM—Nashville

Saturday, September 15th
11 PM—Mad TV
Midnight—Talkshow with Spike Feresten

Monday, September 17th
8 PM—Prison Break
9 PM—K-Ville

Wednesday, September 19th
8 PM—Back to You
8:30 PM—‘Til Death
9 PM—Bones

Sunday, September 23rd
8 PM—The Simpsons
8:30 PM—King of the Hill
9 PM—Family Guy

Tuesday, September 25th
8 PM—New Amsterdam
9 PM—House

Sunday, September 30th
9:30 PM—American Dad

I'm guessing they're holding "The Search for the Next Great American Band" until after baseball.

For descriptions of the new shows, visit http://media.herald-dispatch.com/blog/tuned/2007/05/fox-gets-real.html...

Did the Claymates save "Jericho"?

Did the Claymates save “Jericho”? Clay Aiken apparently thinks so.

In an interview with the “Houston Chronicle,” Clay pretty much takes credit for the entire “Jericho” movement…

“The show ‘Jericho’…I loved it. I started blogging about it on my fan site. It got canceled, and I blogged about how upset I was. I said, ‘The Claymates can do anything. How do we get this show back on the air?’ Honestly, within a week they had organized a campaign amongst ‘Jericho’ fans to send nuts to CBS. It kind of started in that place. And it’s back on the air! It just blows my mind.”

Those of you who frequent my “Idol Chit-Chat” blog know that I love Clay, but does he really believe he started this?

I sent an e-mail to Jericho Rangers Headquarters (Yes, you read that right.) to get a reaction, but I haven’t heard back from them. One commenter on the “Chronicle” website said “The campaign was well underway when someone posted on our message board that the Claymates wanted to get involved. It is unfair for this credit to be taken from the people who actually deserve it.”

To check out one of those people who deserve the credit, check out http://www.jericholives.com/. It’s pretty impressive…

Isaiah's Side of the Story

Sunday night, there was nothing on TV, so I started flipping through the channels and landed on an encore of Isaiah Washington’s “Larry King Live.”

I didn’t mean too, but an hour later, I had watched the entire thing.

Here’s Isaiah’s version of the story…

Isaiah said that he was angry because Patrick Dempsey was late to the set and when Patrick did show up, he insisted on waiting for Ellen Pompeo, who was to do something with Patrick off-screen. Isaiah told him, "I don't need to wait for Ellen because I can act." That insult outraged Patrick and the two got in each other’s faces. That’s when Isaiah used the f-word to describe himself, as in “You can’t treat me like a f----t.”

So how did T.R. Knight get involved in all of this? Isaiah said he has no idea, but apparently he did bring up T.R. in order to tell Patrick that he wasn’t being fair to the rest of the cast. And Isaiah apparently said something to the producers about a conversation he and T.R. had about T.R.’s dissatisfaction with his character. It was that dissatisfaction, Isaiah believes, that led T.R. to exploit the situation to improve his character’s story. Isaiah told Larry that T.R.’s statement on “Ellen” that Isaiah called him the f-word and everyone heard it was a lie.

Isaiah said he has no idea who tipped off the “National Enquirer,” who originally reported the story. He told Larry, "I hope they got paid.”

But here’s the real kicker. I think I believe him…

Of course, I believed Paula Abdul when she said that technical problems made her a babbling idiot during her satellite interviews…

In this week’s “TV Guide,” a body language expert said that Isaiah wasn’t telling the truth because of how uncomfortable he seemed. I’d be uncomfortable too if I was reaching into the toilet to pull out my flushed career.

So what do you think? Did T.R. Knight use the situation to improve his standing on the show or is Isaiah just trying to save face?...

Monday, July 09, 2007

"24": Houston, we have a problem...

Houston, we have a problem…

My second favorite Canadian, RT, alerted me to a rather disturbing story on TVGuide.com…

Production on the seventh season of “24” has been delayed for three weeks because the show’s execs have scrapped their entire storyline for the season.

According to my scoop hero, Michael Ausiello, the overhaul occurred when FOX nixed an idea to shoot a number of episodes in Africa (!). The show tried to find a suitable substitute in Los Angeles, but ultimately decided to throw the whole thing out.

The idea that the writers once again have no idea where they’re going does not inspire a lot of confidence in the upcoming season, which—let’s face it—really needs to be a good one in order for FOX to preserve one of its major international moneymakers.

Especially when the pressure from TV critics is getting even more intense. This week, the “TV Week” Critics Poll named “24” the second worst show on TV behind “October Road,” but ahead of “Real Wedding Crashers” (“The Sopranos” was named the best.).

Now I agree that “24” did not have a good season, but the second worst show on TV? I don’t think so…

But the poll does underscore my point that “24” needs to seriously bring it next year, or risk losing even more of its fans. Maybe even me…

Okay, you know I didn’t mean that…

Pick of the Week Take Two

After I had already published my Pick of the Week post, I realized I picked the wrong show. I somehow missed it in my blogging notebook…

I wonder if Kathy Griffin ever has that problem with her comedy notebook…

The show I meant to pick is “Psych,” which returns for its second season with a parody of “American Idol.” Shawn and Gus (James Roday and Dule Hill) go undercover on a hit reality singing show to find out who is behind the death threats being received by the nasty British judge (Tim Curry). Gina Gershon plays the loopy female judge.

“Psych” airs Friday, July 13th at 10 p.m. on USA...

And I still recommend that you watch “Traveler”…

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pick of the Week: A "Traveler" Reunion

There’s A LOT of stuff on TV this week, so let me give you the rundown…

Monday, July 9th you can look back at the career of Steven Spielberg through the eyes of Steven Spielberg. “Spielberg on Spielberg” airs Monday at 9 p.m. on Turner Classic Movies. Also at 9, it’s the series premiere of “Greek,” a college comedy starring Spencer Grammer, Kelsey Grammer’s daughter. At 10 on ESPN, it’s part one of “The Bronx Is Burning,” an eight-part mini-series that details the New York Yankees 1977 pennant race…

Tuesday, July 10th, it’s the season premiere of the critically acclaimed “Eureka” at 9 p.m. on Sci Fi. At 9:30, it’s the series premiere of “The Singing Bee,” a game show hosted by Joey Fatone that challenges contestants to remember song lyrics (NBC). Tuesday also marks the return to TV of the beloved “Tru Calling.” Sci Fi begins airing the show’s two seasons Tuesday at 7 p.m…

Wednesday, July 11th, it’s FOX’s turn to let people forget song lyrics. “Don’t Forget the Lyrics,” hosted by Wayne Brady, premieres Wednesday at 9:30 p.m…

Friday, July 13th at 9 p.m. on USA, it’s the season premiere of “Monk” with guest star Sarah Silverman…

Sunday, July 15th, VH1 and Lifetime break out their new lineups. VH1 premieres its newest dating show, “Rock of Love,” starring Poison’s Bret Michaels (9:30 p.m.). Then at 10:30, it’s the premiere of “Scott Baio Is 45…and Single,” which follows Baio as he makes amends with his former girlfriends, including Erin Moran, who played Joanie on “Happy Days.” Lifetime has two premieres: “Side Order of Life” starring Marisa Coughlin as a photographer who starts doubting her perfect life with her fiancé (Jason Priestley) when her best friend is diagnosed with cancer (8 p.m.) and “State of Mind” starring Lili Taylor as a psychiatrist whose life falls apart when she catches her husband cheating on her (9 p.m.)…

But even with all of that to choose from, my Pick of the Week is “Traveler.” This next-to-last episode features the reunion of Jay and Kim and secrets about the FBI get exposed. “Traveler” airs Wednesday, July 11th at 10 p.m. on ABC…

TNT Goes Wide Open...

Kudos to TNT for their “Wide Open Coverage” of Saturday night’s Pepsi 400.

If you missed it, TNT gave us the race with only three local commercial breaks an hour. The limited national spots were shown at the bottom of the screen as the race continued on screen as well. The race was also presented in widescreen format with the letterbox moved up to the top of the screen and the graphics placed at the bottom.

Although the constant reminder that it was the local cable providers that needed the commercial breaks and Bill Weber having to introduce all of the commercials and sponsor changes got a little annoying, the concept was a good one. Plus, I actually liked the graphics at the bottom of the screen as opposed to the top.

And most of the sponsors really embraced the whole thing with longer, more creative commercials. The Subway commercial with Larry McReynolds was a good one, as well as an extended one with the Goodyear blimp guys. And I felt a hint of “24” in the Nextel commercial where a guy abandoned his friends to sit with three attractive women at a race. However, Toyota completely missed the boat, using graphics that couldn’t be read in the small screen.

I’m actually kind of sad to see TNT’s run end next week since they’ve done a good job. They’ve combined the best aspects of FOX’s and NBC’s coverage, bringing over Larry McReynolds and letting him be a major contributor. Bill Weber and Wally Dallenbach (NBC/TNT carryovers) are working better together than ever. And Kyle Petty is continuing to grow as an analyst. His pre-race interview with his dad, The King, was top-notch and should be part of TNT’s Emmy reel next year.

TNT’s coverage, though, has not been without its hiccups as sometimes they let their technology get the best of them. That spinning pre-race set is totally out of control and Kyle’s commentary from the car at Sonoma produced an embarrassing moment when Kyle dropped the f-bomb on the audience (Shame on whoever should have been monitoring the radio transmissions before they went on the air.). And, pre-race show host Marc Fein just doesn’t work.

But as a whole, TNT has got their act together. It will be interesting to see what ABC/ESPN will now bring to the table…

TNT’s coverage of the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland begins Sunday, July 15th at 2:30 p.m. with “NASCAR on TNT Live!”…

"Hannah" Debuts at #1

Much to the chagrin of Kelly Clarkson fans, “Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus” debuted at #1 after selling 326,000 copies (Kelly sold 291,000).

Two singles from the CD cracked the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100: “Life’s What You Make It” at #25 and “Nobody’s Perfect” at #27.

It was very smart for Disney to release Miley’s debut CD along with the second “Hannah” soundtrack, allowing them to introduce a new artist while satisfying an already established fan base. It’s also good for Miley since she’ll actually get some credit for the album’s success. The other album was credited to Hannah Montana.

Miley’s CD, which she co-wrote much of, is a perfect example of a Disney star CD—lots of dance songs with not much depth. The exception to that is “I Miss You,” which Miley wrote after the death of her beloved “Pappy,” which shows us Miley’s promise as a songwriter.

That’s not to say, however, that Miley’s CD is bad, it just pales in comparison to the surprising maturity of the “Hannah Montana” CD.

Since the CD is supposed to be from Hannah’s point of view, there are several songs about knowing the real her, including the relentlessly catchy “Rock Star.” But Miley/Hannah is at her best, when she gets to belt out a ballad (which is why I’m a little surprised there aren’t more ballads on Miley’s CD). The girl power anthem “Make Some Noise” is a great song for kids and adults alike and would be perfect for a Lifetime movie-of-the-week (and I mean that as a compliment). “One In a Million” with its catchy lyrics (“They say that good things take time/But really great things happen in the blink of an eye”) would be perfect for a romantic movie.

If you’re a parent looking for something decent for your tween daughter to listen to that you can actually handle yourself, “Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus” is exactly what you’re looking for.

And Miley Cyrus could be the role model you’re looking for as well. Check out her three family rules (from her “People” cover story):

1) Don’t behave like Lindsay. Miley’s parents give her news clippings of the antics of Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears to show Miley what not to do.
2) Spend wisely. Miley gets a $300 monthly allowance and no credit cards. Miley uses her allowance to go shopping with her friends Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens (both of “High School Musical” fame).
3) Thou shalt attend church. Miley and her family go to church every Sunday.

By the way, Miley does have a boyfriend. He’s 14-year-old Nick Jonas of the Disney act, The Jonas Brothers. However, Billy Ray told “People” that Miley has only been on “group dates.”

As for what’s next for Miley, AOL reports that she will have a small role in “High School Musical 2”…

What are teens watching?

The nominees for the Teen Choice Awards were announced last week and there are some puzzling ones…

In the Favorite Drama category there’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” “House,” “Lost,” “Kyle XY” and “Heroes.” For Favorite Comedy, it’s “Entourage,” “Ugly Betty,” “The Office,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Hannah Montana.”

Now, could someone please tell me who the parents are that let their teenagers watch “Entourage”?

The “Teen Choice Awards” will air August 26th at 8 p.m. on FOX. Teens can vote for their favorites at http://www.fox.com/teenchoice/...

A "Superhero" gets his due...

You may remember that last summer, I was really into the SciFi reality series, “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?”

As season two gets ready to start, season one’s winner gets his due…

Last week, Dark Horse Comics released a “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?” comic featuring Feedback (Matthew Atherton), last season’s winner.

Later this year, there will be action figures released and in August, SciFi will premiere the TV-movie, “Mega Snake” featuring Feedback.

Season two of “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?” premieres July 26th on SciFi…

Are You Kidding Me?

In the category of Are You Kidding Me?, NBC has renewed "The Apprentice."

Some reports say the show will be back for two more seasons, while other reports have the show coming back one more season with an option for another.

This is what happens when you put a reality TV guru in charge of your network...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"The Nine" Returns as "Traveler" Exits

After a LONG hiatus, “The Nine” will return to ABC next month.

But don’t expect to find out what actually happened in the bank, since no ending was written for the 13th episode. “The Nine” returns Wednesday, August 1st at 10 p.m., taking over the timeslot now held by “Traveler.”

Speaking of “Traveler,” ABC has released the cast from their contracts, thereby ending the show. However, it does appear that ABC will allow the show to air its final two episodes. But I never take anything ABC does for granted…

“Traveler” airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on ABC…

"GMA" Says Goodbye to One of Its Own

The entire second hour of Monday's "Good Morning America" will be devoted to Joel Siegel, the "GMA" movie critic who passed away last week after a long battle with colon cancer.
Former "GMA" anchors Joan Lunden, David Hartman and Charlie Gibson and former weatherman Spencer Christian are scheduled to appear.

"Good Morning America" airs Monday 7-9 a.m. on ABC...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Stone Phillips says goodbye...

I planned on making my Pick of the Week post my last before I officially go on vacation. But after watching tonight’s “Dateline NBC,” I had to write just one more.

If you missed it, NBC aired “Stone Phillips: 15 Years of Dateline,” a retrospective of interviews by “Dateline” host Stone Phillips. The episode was his last edition of “Dateline.”

Phillips is a victim of the budget cuts at NBC News. Just as they did earlier with John Seigenthaler, NBC decided not to renew Phillips’ contract and go with anchors who could do multiple jobs. Ann Curry from “Today” will continue as the show’s host.

Since his departure will save the network $7 million a year and “Dateline” is scheduled to only air on Saturdays next season, it does make financial sense. But it is a shame to see such a network fixture go.

Though it was not shown during the hour-long special, the Stone Phillips interview I will always remember was when he interviewed Tom Brokaw after the anthrax scare following 9/11. I’ll never forget watching my hero Brokaw break down in tears of anger that someone had threatened the life of people he cared about. He wasn’t the only one who broke down in tears that day…

It’s important to give credit to NBC for allowing Phillips the chance to properly say goodbye to the audience. You can even leave messages on the “Dateline” website at http://insidedateline.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/05/22/200003.aspx. And credit should be given to Phillips for handling his departure with such class.

In his goodbye, Phillips quoted a football coach he had recently interviewed who told his players that no matter what happened on or off the field, the most important play was the next play. What that play is for Phillips remains to be seen.

Whatever it is, I wish him the best of luck.

And with that, I’m officially on vacation. I’ll catch you all next week…

Pick of the Week: The Return of "Jericho"

Before I give you my Pick of the Week, let me spotlight a few other things going on this week…

There’s a holiday this week and that means marathons…

Wednesday, July 4th you can catch marathons of “Monk” (6 a.m., USA), “Law & Order” (8 a.m., TNT), “King of the Hill” (Noon, FX) and “The Twilight Zone” (8 a.m., Sci Fi). But my recommendation is the marathon of season three of the fabulous “Project Runway” (10 a.m., Bravo). I wish that show would hurry up and come back…

Saturday brings a marathon for music lovers with “Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis.” Sundance has the most coverage with 22 hours beginning at 4 a.m. Bravo picks it up at 9 a.m., CNBC at 7 p.m., and NBC at 8 p.m…

But my Pick of the Week is the return of “Jericho.” The fans got the show back on the air, but whether the campaign is ultimately successful will begin to become clear this week. Friday, CBS re-airs the excellent pilot. Next week, we’ll get the recap special and then we’ll see the remainder of the season’s episodes.

In my blog about the pilot back in September, I said, “Every year, there’s at least one show that I actually like, I just don’t have time to watch it. This year that show will probably be ‘Jericho.’”

Thanks to the “Jericho” rangers and CBS, I’ve got another chance…

“Jericho” airs Friday at 9 p.m. on CBS…