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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"…

Friday, September 28, 2007

Keep those comments coming...

Of all the shows I thought people would rally around, I have to say that NBC's "Life" was not one of them...

But sure enough, rally people have as you've noticed if you've been reading the comments I've been getting on my "Life" post. This one is my favorite:

Yeah, maybe you need to meditate on it. Sorry this series took you out of your
comfortable blank stare and tried to make you think!

And my comment to that? Keep it comin'...

The blogging process is a lot more fun when I get to hear what others think--even if they don't agree with me--so keep posting those comments. You can also always reach me at hdstaytuned@hotmail.com.

By the way, you can read the rest of the “Life” comments here.

I'm finishing up a VERY busy week, so I'll be catching up over the weekend with my thoughts on "Reaper" (LOVED it), "Dirty Sexy Money" (Liked it a lot), and "Big Shots" (Haven't watched it yet)...

Plus, I'll have my Pick of the Week. Here's a hint: It's a season finale with a lot of heat...

Stay tuned...

Your Thoughts on "Grey's" and "Practice"

So you guys know I don't watch "Grey's Anatomy," but I know a ton of you do, so what did you think of last night's premiere?

Also, did any of you "Grey's" fans watch "Private Practice"? Was it as bad as the critics said it was?

Let me know your thoughts...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"High School Musical" Times Two

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I just want to know what took them so long…

This Sunday, you can see a “High School Musical” double bill with the original and the sequel running back to back for the first (and probably nowhere near the last) time.

The double bill begins at 6 p.m. on Disney Channel…

And the season's first casualty is...

It’s officially only week two of the new fall season, but we’ve already had our first casualty.

FOX announced today that it is pulling “Nashville.” The move comes as no surprise since the show had only pulled in an average of 2.4 million viewers in its two airings.

Since nothing officially gets cancelled any more, FOX is saying the show will return sometime in October. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Personally, I think FOX marketed the show incorrectly. I would’ve pushed the relationship drama instead of the music stuff, and I would’ve promoted the show’s “Laguna Beach” connections a little more…

Until “The Next Great American Band” premieres October 19th, FOX will fill the Fridays at 9 slot with repeats of “K-Ville”…

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Punch In the Gut

Alright. Tell the truth.

When the news broke today that Kiefer Sutherland was arrested for DUI, how many of you immediately thought of me?

That’s what I thought. Because everyone who knows me knows that I have nothing but love for Kiefer. Even when he does really stupid things like he did early this morning...

So I know that all of you are waiting to hear what I have to say about it. The only problem is I don’t really know what to say.

What is it about celebrities that make us pull them into our lives and think about them like they’re our friends and family? When they hurt, we hurt. When they’re happy, we’re happy. And when they disappoint us, it feels like a punch in the gut…

Let me just cut through the crap here. Kiefer Sutherland is going to jail. And he deserves to go. He drove while intoxicated—a bad enough offense on its own—which was a violation of his probation. The minimum sentence is five days, but he could end up with a lot more (He's due in court next month.).

And yes, it does feel like someone punched me in the stomach. I really thought that maybe Kiefer was past all of this, but this shows that he isn't after all.

So let me cut through some more crap. Kiefer Sutherland has a problem and he needs to take care of it before someone—maybe him—gets seriously hurt or worse.

After all, this is a guy who got drunk and tackled a Christmas tree because he thought it was funny. This is a guy who got drunk and tried to join a male revue. This is a guy who got drunk and mooned a crowd of people before taking a seat in a booth with his pants and underwear around his ankles.

See a pattern here?

As I said, I’ve still got nothing but love for Kiefer, but he’s needed help for a long time and I really hope some time in jail will finally push him to get it.

The problem, of course, is what all this means for “24.” No doubt, it will mean more production delays since the star of the show will be in jail (unless they convince the judge to delay his time until the summer or during the Christmas break). And if Kiefer finally does get the help he needs, it could mean even more delays.

And I honestly hope that happens. Because as much as I love “24,” I love Kiefer more.
And I want him to still be around when the show finally ends…

I guess I figured out something to say after all, didn’t I?...

"Heroes": Have I Just Gotten Too Cynical?

If you’ve been reading the comments, you already know that I thought last night’s premiere of “Heroes” was boring. But why?

Did last season’s finale really leave me that cynical? Or maybe it was because I had read all of the episode’s surprises in next week’s “TV Guide.”

Or maybe it was just that boring…

Let’s face it. There’s A LOT on pressure on “Heroes.” It’s on the cover of EVERY magazine, it was all the rage at Comic-Con, and it’s the greatest hope for an entire network…

So nothing was going to live up to all of that hype. Still, last night’s premiere just didn’t seem to have the same spark that last year’s did. And from everything that I’ve been reading, it looks like I’m not alone in that thinking…

Warning: If you haven’t seen the season premiere of “Heroes,” stop reading now…

There are very few shows that command my attention so completely that I don’t take my eyes off the TV. I’m usually always doing something else while I’m watching. Therefore, I hate subtitles. Therefore, I hated three of the stories on last night’s show. It was bad enough when we had to follow the subtitles for Hiro’s story alone, but last night added two new heroes that require subtitles and we had to have subtitles for Kaito and Ando. It was highly annoying. And since none of them were really saying anything that important, completely unnecessary…

And why should we care about Hiro and his hero? I know it’s supposed to provide some comic relief and that it will probably tie in with everything down the road, I just couldn’t get myself to care…

The new murder mystery should be interesting, yet somehow it isn’t. Maybe it’s because the characters are people we don’t really know that well yet, so we don’t care that they die and we don’t care that someone wants to kill them.

Maybe I really have gotten cynical…

There’s also an originality problem. This new virus storyline is totally out of the pages of “X-Men”…

But for me, it’s always been about HRG (Yes, I know his name is Noah, but I don’t like that.) and he was in fine form last night. Just when we thought he had totally become a family man, he goes all Jack Bauer on his supervisor. And we learned that he is working with Mohinder to bring The Company down from the inside.

I just wish they hadn’t used him to pimp Nissans. That was a little pathetic…

Last year, I couldn’t get enough of the show. But now I feel like I could take it or leave it.

I’ll give it another week, or possibly two. But if I don’t start seeing the spark that was obvious from the beginning last year, I’ll have to cross another one off my list…

This Week's TV on DVD: The Onslaught Slows

Your wallet will be glad to know that the TV DVD onslaught is slowing down a little.

Here are some of the TV DVDs you’ll find in stores beginning today…

“The Bronx is Burning”: The Complete Mini-Series
“The Best of the Cosby Show”
“Dog the Bounty Hunter: The Arrest”
“Drawn Together”: Season 2 (Uncensored)
“Grounded for Life”: Season 5
“Inside the Actors Studio: Leading Men”
“The King of Queens”: Season 9 (final season)
“My Name is Earl”: Season 2
“Numb3rs”: Season 3
“The Streets of San Francisco”: Season 1, Vol. 2
“The Unit”: Season 2
“The Untouchables”: Season 1, Volume 2
“Voltron Defender of the Universe Collection 4: Red Lion”
“What About Brian”: The Complete Series

Now It's Your Turn!

As the fall season kicks into high gear this week, be sure to tell me what you think...

What shows are you watching? Is anyone hooked on "Kid Nation"? Or how about your thoughts on the new contestants on "Dancing With the Stars"?

Just post a comment to the blog or send me an e-mail at hdstaytuned@hotmail.com...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pick of the Week: Time to Get "Dirty"

There is SO much to choose from this week, but I have to go with the show that I’ve been most anticipating…

My Pick of the Week is the premiere of “Dirty Sexy Money.”

Now I know that getting started with a new ABC show is always a risky proposition, but a show in the tradition of “Dallas” with Donald Sutherland as the patriarch? How can I possibly stay away from this one?

“Dirty Sexy Money” premieres Wednesday, September 26th at 10 p.m. on ABC…

Also if you’ve ready my review, you know that I highly recommend “Journeyman,” which premieres Monday, September 24th at 10 p.m. on NBC…

This Week's HUGE Premiere Schedule

This is the big one. Premiere week. No less than 42 shows will have their season or series premieres this week.

So get out your calendars and make your plans now. Remember that schedules can change without notice…

Monday, September 24th
Chuck—8 p.m., NBC. You can see my review here.
How I Met Your Mother—8 p.m., CBS
Dancing With the Stars—8 p.m., ABC (Women only)
Heroes—9 p.m., NBC
Big Bang Theory—8:30 p.m., CBS. You can see my review here.
Two and a Half Men—9 p.m., CBS
Rules of Engagement—9:30 p.m., CBS
The Bachelor—9:30 p.m., ABC
CSI: Miami—10 p.m., CBS
Journeyman—10 p.m., NBC. You can see my review here.

Tuesday, September 25th
Dancing With the Stars—8 p.m., ABC (Men only)
Bones—8 p.m., FOX
NCIS—8 p.m., CBS
House—9 p.m., FOX
Reaper—9 p.m., CW
The Unit—9 p.m., CBS
The Singing Bee—9:30 p.m., NBC
Boston Legal—9:30 p.m., ABC
Law & Order: SVU—10 p.m., NBC (with guest star Cynthia Nixon)
Cane—10 p.m., CBS

Wednesday, September 26th
Dancing With the Stars Results Show—8 p.m., ABC
Bionic Woman—9 p.m., NBC. You can see my review here.
Private Practice—9 p.m., ABC
Criminal Minds—9 p.m., CBS
CSI: NY—10 p.m., CBS
Life—10 p.m., NBC. You can see my review here.
Dirty Sexy Money—10:01 p.m., ABC

Thursday, September 27th
Smallville—8 p.m., CW
Ugly Betty—8 p.m., ABC
My Name Is Earl—8 p.m., NBC (1 hr.)
CSI—9 p.m., CBS
The Office—9 p.m., NBC (1 hr.)
Grey’s Anatomy—9 p.m., ABC
Without a Trace—10 p.m., CBS
ER—10 p.m., NBC
Big Shots—10:01 p.m., ABC

Friday, September 28th
Ghost Whisperer—8 p.m., CBS
Las Vegas—9 p.m., NBC
Moonlight—9 p.m., CBS
Deal or No Deal—8 p.m., NBC (New Day)
Numb3rs—10 p.m., CBS (Directed by Tony Scott and guest-starring Val Kilmer)

Saturday, September 29th
Saturday Night Live—11:30 p.m., NBC (Hosted by LeBron James with musical guest Kanye West)

Sunday, September 30th
Desperate Housewives—9 p.m., ABC
Dexter—9 p.m., Showtime
Brothers & Sisters—10 p.m., ABC
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition—7 p.m., ABC (2 hrs.)
American Dad—9:30 p.m., FOX

Also, on Sunday, September 30th, you can catch the “Rock of Love” finale, which VH1 postponed from last week, at 9 p.m…

"The Big Bang Theory" Review: It's Just Funny

If you read my Emmy predictions post, you noticed how I kept saying that any win by “Two and a Half Men” would drive the critics crazy. But I never said why…

It’s simple really. Critics (most of them anyway) despise “Two and a Half Men.” It’s not sophisticated, stylish humor. It’s just basic down-and-dirty (and sometimes REALLY dirty) humor.

So it’s no surprise that not too many critics have spotlighted “The Big Bang Theory,” which comes from Chuck Lorre, the creator of “Two and a Half Men.”

And it’s no surprise that “Bang” is pretty funny…

“Bang” centers on roommates Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki). They’re geniuses—except when it comes to social interaction. So when Penny (Kaley Cuoco) moves in next door, the guys aren’t sure what to do.

Leonard is immediately interested, but Sheldon is concerned that she’ll mess up their structured lifestyle. And it becomes pretty clear that she will—in a good and funny way.

The show gets of to an odd start with Sheldon and Leonard at a sperm bank and some of the early jokes are a little complicated (They’re geniuses after all.), but when Penny enters the picture, you’ll be laughing so hard you won’t even remember that. Be warned, though, that some of the jokes are a little raunchy. However, that probably won’t stop you from laughing.

Sheldon and Leonard’s friends are a little annoying, not to mention totally unoriginal since one is a geek who thinks he’s a ladies’ man and the other is Indian and rarely speaks. And Parsons can sometimes be a little stiff, but the funny jokes (and there are several) outweigh all of that.

If you don’t like your standard multi-camera with a studio audience sitcom, then you won’t like this one, but if you don’t mind a little spicy humor presented in a traditional way, you’ll want to give “Bang” a shot…

“The Big Bang Theory” premieres Monday at 8:30 p.m. on CBS…

"Gossip Girl" Review: Needs More Suds

Mix the story of six high society teenagers with the creator of “The O.C.” and you should get some good soapy fun.

Unfortunately in the case of “Gossip Girl,” should is the operative word…

“Gossip Girl” refers to a website that New York private school students are addicted to. It dishes all the gossip on NYC’s elite. And the person behind the website (voiced by Kristen Bell) serves as the show’s narrator. Thankfully, however, the show doesn’t try to make her all-knowing since there’s no way Gossip Girl could see everything.

The show opens with some major gossip from the site. It girl Serena (Blake Lively) has returned after a year at boarding school. But her BFF Blair (Leighton Meester) isn’t too happy about it since Blair has become the new it girl. And she’s not crazy about the way her boyfriend, Nate, looks at Serena.

Outsider Dan (Penn Badgley) is happy to see Serena back in town since he’s been in love with her for years—even though she has no idea who he is. Dan’s sister Jenny (Taylor Momsen) is working her way into the elite crowd by doing tasks for Blair.

Nate (Chace Crawford) is also happy to see Serena because, yes, he does indeed have a thing for her.

And then there’s Chuck (Ed Westwick). Chuck is the troublemaker who preys on any girl he can, especially impressionable freshmen like Jenny…

What we know that Gossip Girl doesn’t is that there’s much more to Serena’s departure and return than meets the eye. She’s returned because her younger brother tried to commit suicide. She left after she got drunk and slept with Nate. Now she’s trying to change her partying ways and erase the guilt she feels. She does manage to patch things up with Blair, until Nate tells Blair the truth, freeing himself to pursue Serena. That is until his father reminds Nate that he’s trying to close a major deal with Blair’s mother, which makes Nate go back to Blair, promising he’ll never talk to Serena again.

Serena, meanwhile, starts on a new path by going out with Dan. But she’s sucked back into Blair’s world again when Dan has to go to Blair’s party to rescue Jenny from Chuck, who threatens to expose all of Serena’s secrets.

At the risk of majorly repeating myself, “Gossip Girl” isn’t a bad show. It just doesn’t have that “O.C.” zip—yet. But there are real possibilities here.

However, there’s one thing that will always hold the show back for me—Chuck. It’s been a long time I’ve reacted so negatively to a TV character, but Chuck is just so vile, I can’t help it. I know he’s supposed to be a smooth operator, but he just makes my skin crawl.

And if Dan hadn’t gotten to Jenny in time, I would’ve never watched the show again. Hopefully, the show will start giving Chuck some other traits besides his roaming hands. And hopefully the show will find a way to kick up the suds.

Maybe Gossip Girl needs some better sources…

“Gossip Girl” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CW…

"Back to You" Review: Finding An Excuse

In my Picks of the Week post, I said there was no excuse for “Back To You” to not be funny.

I guess I underestimated the show’s creators since they managed to come up with one…

If you missed it, “Back To You” begins with the rise and fall of anchorman Chuck Darling (Kelsey Grammer). Chuck left his job in Pittsburgh to go to bigger markets, eventually ending up in Los Angeles, where he was fired after an on-air outburst that became a YouTube sensation. Now he’s back in Pittsburgh with his old co-anchor, Kelly (Patricia Heaton), trying to adjust to his failing career.

And Kelly tries to adjust to having Chuck back as her partner…

Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer have instant chemistry and all of their scenes crackle. But apparently that’s not enough as the writers throw in a twist that threatens to bring the whole thing down—a twist I admit I saw coming from the promos and magazine articles, but I hoped wasn’t true…

Chuck is the father of Kelly’s 10-year-old daughter, which he discovers during his first newscast back.

I guess the writers felt that the constant bickering between Chuck and Kelly would get old, so they needed to give their relationship more substance. But a child? Sorry that just doesn’t work for me…

Because I don’t know about you, but I just don’t find irresponsibility funny…

I would prefer the show stick with the workplace and the comedy that can be mined from TV news—although that would work a lot better without the annoying 26-year-old news director. He’s young and stupid. We get it already. And weathergirl Montana’s constant flirting and emphasis on her Latina background gets old really quickly.

The show would do better to focus on Gary (Ty Burrell), the veteran reporter who was passed over for the anchor spot, and Marsh (Fred Willard), the obnoxious sportscaster.

I will give “Back” another shot to see if I’m wrong about the whole twist ruining the show, but I’ve got a bad feeling that this fall’s sure thing is about to come up lame…

“Back to You” airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. on FOX…

"Journeyman" Review: Finally Some Wow

On an episode of “Top Chef,” guest judge Ted Allen said, “We’re in need of some serious wow here.” And that’s exactly how I’ve felt about the new TV season so far.

But fortunately for me—and all of you—I finally found the wow in a highly unlikely place.

After all, NBC’s “Journeyman” had been done before with a show called “Quantum Leap.” A guy travels though time to right wrongs and change strangers’ lives. But “Journeyman” is so cool and stylish that it never comes off as stale.

“Journeyman” refers to Dan (Kevin McKidd), a newspaper reporter who’s all about breaking the big story. He has a beautiful wife (Gretchen Egolf) and son, although he’s still haunted by the memory of his dead fiancé, Livia (Moon Bloodgood). And he has a somewhat strained relationship with his brother (Reed Diamond), who’s a cop.

One night, Dan somehow finds himself in 1987, where he sees Livia. But because it happens so quickly, he thinks it’s a dream. However, his next trip is longer, and he begins to disappear so much that his family and friends believe he’s using drugs. Neither his wife nor brother will believe a story he can barely believe himself.

Little by little Dan realizes he’s traveling through time to help someone, but he also ends up reliving his own life along the way, which allows us to see why Dan and his brother don’t completely get along and what happened with Livia.

But since life in the present continues without him, can Dan change history for the better without losing his family?

The show does an excellent job of setting the scene for Dan’s trips. I especially liked when the TV that was playing Matt and Meredith on “Today” earlier in the episode was playing Bryant and Jane on “Today” in 1987 talking about the NFL strike—which, yes, did happen that year. Music is also used to set the mood beautifully.

The show does make one significant misstep in the story as the writers throw in an interesting twist. But the scene is so misplaced it disrupts the flow of the story and actually comes off as an afterthought. It would’ve worked much better at the end or even as a big reveal in a later episode. And Dan’s mission doesn’t get a lot of development, but since they’re trying to introduce all the characters, I’m willing to overlook that.

If you liked “Quantum Leap,” you’ll like “Journeyman.” But even if you never saw “Leap,” you’ll totally get into the story of a man making a difference while possibly sacrificing his own happiness. It’s the perfect companion to “Heroes.”

“Journeyman” premieres Monday, September 24th at 10 p.m. on NBC…

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Life" Review: NBC Must Be Joking

In the new NBC drama, “Life,” the main character says that the universe is playing a joke on all of us.

I think it’s actually NBC that’s playing the joke by putting this show on the air…

“Life” centers around Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis), a cop who spent 12 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He sued the police department and received an undisclosed settlement rumored to be around $50 million. And Charlie was reinstated to the force as a detective.

His new partner, Dani (Sarah Shahi), gets stuck with him because she screwed up with drugs. But her lieutenant (who partnered with Dani’s father) gives her a way out if she reports any wrongdoing by Charlie that could allow her to fire him.

And it doesn’t take long to see why Dani would consider that request…

Since “Life” is really just your basic cop show, they try to make it different by making Charlie a little eccentric. He spouts Zen constantly, he eats fruit non-stop and he hires an ex-con (Alan Arkin) to manage his money. I was tired of him within the first five minutes when he started whispering in the ear of a dog and actually waited for him to answer.

And his new discoveries after 12 years (camera phones, IMs, etc.) are funny for the first two, but then they get old really fast.

The show spends so much time on Charlie’s quirky personality that they barely address the most interesting story—Who set Charlie up? We get a small inkling at the end that even sheds a little light on why the lieutenant may want to get rid of him, but by then I was so annoyed by the whole thing it was hard to care.

And using scenes from a documentary to frame each segment is almost as annoying as all that Zen.

The concept of “Life” is a solid one: A wrongly convicted cop trying to get his life back and trying to discover the truth. Unfortunately, the writers decide to play it for laughs and as good as Lewis is, it just doesn’t work.

Maybe I just need to meditate on it…

“Life” premieres Wednesday, September 26th at 10 p.m. on NBC…

This Week's TV DVD Releases

So, I’m a little behind with this, but yes, it’s another big release week in TV DVD world...

Here’s a look at this week’s major releases:

Boston Legal: Season Three
Brothers & Sisters: Season One
The Best of Rocky and Bullwinkle: Volume 2
Casper: Volume 1
Everybody Loves Raymond: Season 9 (The Final Season)
Family Guy: Volume 5
Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Best of Seasons 1 and 2
Ghost Whisperer: Season 2
The Best of the Johnny Cash Show: The Deluxe Version
Josie and the Pussycats: The Complete Series
Married…with Children: Season 7
Masters of Horror: Sounds Like
Masters of Horror: The Washingtonians
Smallville: Season 6
Stargate Atlantis: Season 3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 1, Volume 2

Also in stores this week is “Superman: Doomsday.” It’s not technically a TV DVD, but it does come from the same people who gave us “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited.” However, take note that it is PG-13, so it’s not for little kids…

"Chuck" Review: McG Steals the Show

Since it comes from the creator of “The O.C.,” Josh Schwartz, and his fellow “O.C.” executive producer, our pal McG, I was pretty excited about seeing “Chuck.”

I just wish I was as excited after seeing it…

If you missed it, Chuck (Zachary Levi) is the leader of the Nerd Herd at a Buy More store (Think Geek Squad at Best Buy.). His biggest struggles in life are deciding whether or not he wants to be a manager and dodging his sister’s attempts at fixing him up.

That is until his old college roommate, Bryce (Matthew Bomer of “Traveler” in a truly inspired guest spot), gets him involved in national security. Bryce sends Chuck an e-mail of images that contains all of the secrets of the CIA and NSA. When Chuck watches the images, he downloads all of the secrets into his brain.

It’s only a matter of time before Chuck has both the NSA and CIA on his tail in the form of CIA agent Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) and NSA Agent John (Adam Baldwin). John was sent to kill Chuck, but when Sarah realizes the secrets are in Chuck’s brain, she convinces him to keep Chuck alive because they need him.

And when Chuck realizes what he is capable of doing, he starts to embrace life a little more.

Let me say that “Chuck” is not a bad show. It’s just not quite as good as I hoped. The breakdown for me was in the combination of action and comedy. The action stuff pops, but the comedy often falls flat. The running joke of Chuck’s sister’s fiancé Captain Awesome gets old rather quickly and Chuck’s slacker best friend is pointless and annoying.

And don’t even get me started on Chuck’s bland and pointless sister (Sarah Lancaster)…

Zachary Levi (“Less Than Perfect”) is outstanding in the title role and Adam Baldwin is always great in a law enforcement role (I LOVED him in “Independence Day.”). But the star of the pilot is none other than McG who directs the episode. His action sequences are outstanding with all the “Charlie’s Angels” goodness he could pack in them. The sequence with Bryce stealing the secrets made me wish that “Traveler” had made as good of use out of Bomer. And the sequence of Sarah taking out rival agents on the dance floor with her hair pins was a little trite, but McG still made it work.

There’s a lot of possibility here as we see Chuck adjust to his newfound life, while we learn that Sarah may have a few secrets of her own (If you pay close attention, you’ll see them coming.). Schwartz just needs to steer more to the spy side than the normal life side.

Because who wants normal anyway?...

“Chuck” premieres Monday , September 24th at 8 p.m. on NBC…

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Belated Birthday Present From "24" and FOX

So yesterday was my birthday. But the folks at “24” and FOX decided to wait until today to give me my present…

My morning started with a quick check of my e-mail. There was a message from RT, my second favorite Canadian, who told me that FOX was going to announce big “24” casting news today, including the return of a favorite character.

And that was all I needed to hear to start bouncing around the room. Because based on all of the news that had been coming out about the show it could only mean one person…

Let’s face it. It’s been a rough couple of months for “24” fans. First, we’ve had to listen to endless trashings by the critics. Then production was postponed for three weeks so the writers could rewrite the planned story for next season. Then production was delayed for another two weeks so the writers could plan out the story even more. It was starting to sound like they had no plan whatsoever for the new season—just exactly what the show didn’t need. We “24” fans seriously needed some good news.

And today we got it.

Normally I don’t post news items that give away plotlines, but this one is so exciting I really have no choice. If you don’t want to know who will be returning, stop reading now.


Still with me? FOX announced today that this season of “24” will feature the return of none other than Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard).

Last season, word leaked out that the final scene of the finale was going to be Tony walking up to Jack and saying something like “We need to talk.” Some reports have the scene actually being filmed. But the producers changed their minds. However, when the fans saw the finale without Tony, they got a little angry and the producers revealed at Comic-Con that they were still considering a Tony comeback.

When I first heard about this I groaned. After all, “24” is a show that prides itself on the real world it creates each week. Having a character come back from the dead is more soap opera than Emmy-winning drama. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought “Bring it on.” I loved Tony and I have never forgiven them for killing him off in the pedestrian way they did. He—and we—deserved so much better. And maybe now we’ll both get it.

Obviously FOX knows the impact of the news since they actually revealed it in their press release about the upcoming season. Yes, the revelation will lessen the drama of his return, but FOX knows that fans are disillusioned and this is just the thing that could bring them back.

And the truth is it’s not as implausible as you might think. Tony “died” when Christopher Henderson (I still haven’t forgiven them for using my last name for this character.) injected Tony with the serum Tony planned to use to kill Henderson. But Tony wasn’t an expert in torture. Maybe a drug that Tony thought would kill Henderson would actually only paralyze him and make him appear dead—which is what happened to Tony. And since Tony thought the drug would kill him, he gave up and let go. But somewhere along the line Tony woke up many hours later and was wisked away somewhere to recover from his injuries. With Jack a prisoner in China, Tony may have been trying to live a normal life and was out of touch with what was happening at CTU—which is why he didn’t show up to help Jack last season.

You can say jumping the shark all you want, but I am beyond thrilled to have Tony and Carlos back. I just hope the writers have veered away from their original plan to make Tony a bad guy. Because if Tony isn’t working with Jack, then all of this is for nothing.

And if they’ve brought him back just to kill him again, I will seriously go Jack Bauer on somebody…

“24” premieres January 13th with a two-night three hour premiere on FOX…

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In Defense of Ryan Seacrest

As you guys know, TV critics are not my favorite people these days. I’m still smarting over them voting “24” as the second worst show on TV…

So when Robert Bianco wrote a scathing review of this year’s Emmys in Monday’s “USA Today,” the claws came out. I had planned to do a simple recap of the best and worst moments of Sunday’s Emmys and once again point out that I was one of the only people who saw the James Spader upset coming. But after reading Bianco’s column, I feel it is my duty to stand up and defend one Ryan Seacrest.

One of the biggest knocks (by many critics) on Seacrest is that he’s not a comedian so not all of his jokes worked. Do the critics actually think he wrote those jokes? Do they not realize that there was probably some comedian writing them for him? And how many times does a comedian have a joke bomb during an awards show? All the time! So why are they holding Seacrest to a higher standard?

I agree that his Henry VIII costume was a bad idea, but didn’t Whoopi wear different costumes at the Oscars? Did anyone attack her for her choices? No. And why?

Because people are so sick of Ryan Seacrest that they will find any reason to attack him. Call it jealousy, call it schadenfreude (a German word meaning pleasure taken from someone else’s misfortune), call it whatever you wish, but people wanted to see Ryan fail. Even I was curious as to how he would handle it, and at the risk of sounding like the president of his fan club, I thought he handled what he was given quite well.

After all, Ryan was not responsible for that hideous in-the-round set that caused half the place to look at people’s backsides all night. And of course he went out into the audience. He had to. He was practically on top of them!

And it wasn’t Ryan who decided to do a musical tribute to “The Sopranos." How is “Walk Like a Man” the proper soundtrack for people getting whacked anyway? That tribute would have been so much more powerful if they had just showed people (celebrities, viewers, etc.) talking about the impact the show had on them.

And it wasn’t Ryan who came up with that pointless montage of late night hosts’ one-liners. Why didn’t they just let Ellen do a monologue? Were they afraid that would make us wonder why they didn’t ask her to host?

And it wasn’t Ryan who decided to bring the show to a standstill with that Tony Bennett-Christina Aguilera performance. Yes, I realize that Tony ended up being the night’s big winner, but thanks to that stupid set, the performance just didn’t work, especially since Christina wasn’t herself (Maybe she was nervous about walking up and down that piano for no reason.).

But it WAS Ryan who kept the show moving with a short monologue and rapid one-liners instead of long unnecessary introductions. The critics say they want a comedian to host, but then they’re right there complaining when the show runs over by a half-hour because of the comedian’s monologue and other comedic bits.

In my opinion, this year’s Emmys were actually a step in the right direction. If I want to see comedians do comedy, I’ll watch Comedy Central. I watch the Emmys to see the awards and I would much rather they use the time to actually show us clips of the nominees than for some lame gag.

Plus, the host not talking as much let the winners talk more. I think this was the best year in a long time for acceptance speeches. I would give the award for the best one to James Spader (“Boston Legal”), who seemed embarraseed by pulling off the upset. Terry O’Quinn (“Lost”) also gave a good one when he said he’d like to experience a “Desperate Housewives” paycheck. If you’re into inspirational speeches, America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) obliged. And Katherine Heigl admitting that her mother didn’t think she had a shot at winning was classic.

And I don’t care what Robert Bianco says. It was funny when Steve Carell jumped on stage to accept an Emmy he didn’t win from his pals Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. That’s the kind of spontaneity the Emmys have always lacked. The kind of spontaneity FOX was hoping to create with that hideous setup. Good idea, bad execution.

The critics—especially Bianco—trashed FOX for the opening number that kicked off the show. I find it funny how the same critics who applauded Conan O’Brien’s musical salute to NBC’s troubles last year are now bashing FOX for their “Family Guy” number about the “swill on TV,” calling it “inappropriate for the occasion.” Other than that completely mean joke about “Scrubs” not being funny, I thought it was pretty good. You can check it out for yourselves…



Personally, I believe FOX deserves kudos for trying something new. Not everything worked, but it was nice to see a network put their personal stamp on the show instead of doing the same old same old. Granted, the viewers didn’t agree (the show had its smallest audience since 1990), but I think it was worth the chance nonetheless.

However, next year, I think you can count on the same old, same old making a big comeback with some comedian hosting a show filled with meaningless video montages and unnecessary comic bits.

Boy do I wish FOX had made this thing work…

And in one more act of solidarity with my guy Ryan, let me just say…

Henderson, out!

So what did Sally Field say anyway?

So what exactly did Sally Field say during her acceptance speech that got her censored?

I presumed it was because she was railing on the war, but apparently she also dropped in a curse word…

What she said was, “And let’s face it, if the mothers ruled the world, there would be no godd--- wars in the first place.” Backstage Field admitted she “probably shouldn’t have said the God in front of the d---.” But then she added, “I would’ve liked to have said more bleeped-out words, but that’s life.”

Whatever happened to just saying thank you?

Field was not the only one who was censored by FOX. Remember that I said the director made a mistake during Ray Romano’s monologue? Not so. FOX was censoring Ray’s remark that Kelsey Grammer was now “screwing” his wife (his former TV wife Patricia Heaton, who is co-starring with Grammer in "Back to You").

Though I applaud FOX censoring Field’s unnecessary cursing, I think I would’ve let that one go—especially since they let Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher go on and on about her cleavage…

Monday, September 17, 2007

Picks of the Week: Great Expectations...

September is a magical time full of great expectations…

That more often than not turn into bitter disappointments.

Of the four new shows I’ve seen, I’ve only been slightly impressed with one of them (“Nashville”) and optimistic about another (“Chuck”). So, I hesitate to use my picks on shows I haven’t seen yet. However, because they’re two of the shows I’ve been anticipating the most, I can’t help myself…

This week’s Picks of the Week are “Back to You” and “Gossip Girl.”

If ever there was a show that should be a hit, it’s “Back to You.” It stars two comedy heavyweights, Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer. Its creators created “Frasier” and “Just Shoot Me.” The pilot is directed by the legendary James Burrows. There’s really no excuse for it to fail…

But then again, didn’t we think that about “Studio 60” last year?

However, I’m holding out hope that this one is going to work—no matter how naïve that might be…

“Back to You” premieres Wednesday, September 19th at 8 p.m. on FOX…

“Gossip Girl” is one of two shows from “The O.C.” creator Josh Schwartz. This one teams him up with his “O.C.” cohort, Stephanie Savage, which is why I have the highest of hopes for it. But then, I had high hopes for “Chuck” too (More on that later.)…

However, since this one seems a little more “O.C.”-like, I think it will turn out better. And if it does, it would become the first CW show I have ever watched on a regular basis…

“Gossip Girl” premieres Wednesday, September 19th at 9 p.m. on CW…

This Week's Premieres...

Get out your calendars! It’s time to look at this week’s season premieres…

Monday, September 17th
Deal or No Deal 8 p.m. NBC with special guest Donald Trump as the banker
Prison Break 8 p.m. FOX
K-Ville 9 p.m. FOX. You can see my review of this show here.

Tuesday, September 18th
Beauty and the Geek 8 p.m. CW

Wednesday, September 19th
America’s Next Top Model 8 p.m. CW
Back to You 8 p.m. FOX
Kid Nation 8 p.m. CBS
‘Til Death 8:30 p.m. FOX
Kitchen Nightmares 9 p.m. FOX
Gossip Girl 9 p.m. CW

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

Sunday, September 23rd
CW Now 7 p.m. CW
60 Minutes 7 p.m. CBS
Online Nation 7:30 p.m. CW
The Simpsons 8 p.m. FOX
King of the Hill 8:30 p.m. FOX
Cold Case 9 p.m. CBS with an episode featuring the music of Nirvana
Family Guy 9 p.m. FOX with a “Star Wars” parody approved by George Lucas himself
Shark 10 p.m. CBS

This Week's Season Finales

All the new fall season premieres mean that some shows are saying goodbye.

Here’s a look at this week’s season finales…

Tonight, “Saving Grace” has its mid-season finale at 10 on TNT. No word on when the rest of the season will air…

Tuesday, “Big Brother 8” reveals its winner at 9 p.m. on CBS…

Wednesday, NBC reveals the “Last Comic Standing” at 9 p.m…

Thursday, USA’s red-hot “Burn Notice” wraps up its first season with a two-hour episode at 9 p.m…

Friday, “Painkiller Jane” wraps up its first and only season at 10 p.m. on SciFi…

Sunday, “Power of 10” wraps up its first season, although it will be back soon, at 8 p.m. on CBS…

Also Sunday, Bret makes his choice on “Rock of Love” at 9 p.m. on VH1. You know you’re dying to know who it is…

This Week's Special Events

Remember last year when the Emmys were in August when there wasn’t anything else going on?

I miss that…

I’ll try and have more of an Emmy recap for you later, but right now, I need to get you caught up on all the things happening this week—and there are a lot of them…

First, let me tell you what special events you’ll get this week…

Tonight (Monday), Charlie Sheen goes “Inside the Actors Studio” at 8 p.m. on Bravo. I hope he does something about those bangs…

On Tuesday, it’s a tribute to Elvis with comments and performances from singers of all genres. “Elvis: Viva Las Vegas” airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on ABC…

Friday, Disney cranks up the hype on its newest movie star, The Rock, when he guests as himself on “Hannah Montana” at 8:30 p.m. on Disney Channel.

Also Friday night, CMT gives us its newest edition of “Crossroads” with the eclectic team-up of Babyface and Trisha Yearwood (9 p.m.)…

Sunday, it’s a mini-“90210” reunion as Ian Ziering guests on “Side Order of Life,” which co-stars Jason Priestley. Could Ian be the mysterious Cell Phone Man? “Side” airs at 9 p.m. on Lifetime…

Sunday, September 16, 2007

So How'd I Do?

So, how did I do with my picks?...

I correctly picked three categories: Drama, Supporting Actor in a Drama, and Actress in a Comedy...

Three of my Wild Cards won: Supporting Actor in a Comedy, Comedy and Actor in a Drama. I am most proud for picking up on that last one. Tomorrow, all of the critics will talk about what a surprise Spader was, but I knew that the Katrina episode would score him some major points. I think it might have been a little bit of a political statement...

Thankfully, too, I was right about Ryan Seacrest. For the most part, the show did just stick to the awards, and that was what I was hoping Ryan would do for the show. I'm not so sure about that whole in-the-round thing, though, as it did cause the people on stage to have their back to half the place. Something tells me the next network (which I think is CBS) won't go with that.

I'll have much more on this later in the week, but since I've been in front of the computer for almost four hours straight now (if you count all of the work I did on my Idol blog), I think it's time to quit...

Thanks for hanging out with me...

The Final Award

One more award to go…

Helen Mirren is on the stage to present it…

Drama Series...

And the winner is…”The Sopranos”…They play the final scene of the show while everyone makes their way to the stage…

David Chase accepts and thanks HBO and the cast…He thanks the musicians who licensed their music…

Ryan says goodnight…

And we’re done…

What You Missed...

Okay, so let me catch you up on the two categories you missed…

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart got into a mock political debate on the environment as Stephen took the stage with a gas-powered leaf blower. Jon said maybe there shouldn’t be an awards show and Stephen said that when celebrities stop publicly congratulating themselves, “the Earth wins.”

Lead Actor in a Comedy…

And the winner was…Ricky Gervais for “Extras” in an upset…He’s not there so Jon and Stephen say they’ll give the award to their friend, Steve Carell. Carell jumps up on the stage and the three of them jump up and down in celebration…

Hugh Laurie and Felicity Huffman took the stage to present Lead Actress in a Drama…

And the winner was…Sally Field for “Brothers & Sisters”…Sally dedicates her award to all the mothers, especially those who wait for their children to come back from war…Everyone applauds, which makes her forget what she was going to say…Then she starts saying, “In fact, if everyone was a mother, there wouldn’t be…” and the director cuts away and cuts the audio. I’m thinking that one wasn’t a mistake. Maybe the other one wasn’t either…

We then got the In Memoriam package…

Comedy Series

Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton present Comedy Series…

And the winner is…”30 Rock”…WOAH! I did not see that one coming…

Tina Fey is accepting…She thanks Jeff Zucker and Kevin Reilly for keeping them on the air and thanks Ben Silverman in advance for doing the same for the next seven years…And she thanks their “dozens and dozens” of viewers…

I figured when they lost all of the acting awards they didn’t have a chance…

Lead Actor in a Drama

Ryan introduces Jimmy Smits and Kate Walsh to present Lead Actor in a Drama…

The crowd loves Kiefer…

And the winner is…James Spader. I warned you…He says he feels like he just stole a pile of money from the mob. He asks, “Where the h—l is Elaine Stritch when you need her?”…He says he’s been to thousands of concerts in his time and “these are the worst seats I’ve ever had”…

They show all of the other nominees except Kiefer. Could the camera not find him? I want to see if he’s with anyone…

Lead Actress in a Comedy

The most eventful segment of the whole show, and my computer decides to lock up…

I will catch you up on the two categories you missed in a moment…

William Shatner and Debra Messing take the stage to present Lead Actress in a Comedy…

America Ferrera of “Ugly Betty”…I finally get another one…

Reality-Competition Program

Ryan returns wearing the costume of Henry VIII from “The Tudors”…

He introduces Wayne Brady, who laughs his head off at Ryan’s outfit…

Ryan runs off the stage as everyone laughs…

Wayne introduces a game of “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” for the honor of presenting the next award. He “randomly” chooses Rainn Wilson and Kanye West. They’re competing with the category, the songs of Kanye West…The first song is “Stronger” and Kanye performs it, but he gets the last line wrong by saying “you” instead of “ya.” Rainn Wilson does the song in his style and gets all of the words and then does some more, which even gets a laugh from Kanye—especially when he says “I could be your black Kate Moss tonight”…So, Rainn wins and Kanye says, “I never win,” but he still stands with Rainn to present Reality Competition Program…

It wasn’t quite as lame as it reads…

And the winner is…”The Amazing Race”…AGAIN! I really thought they’d lose it this year…It’s taking them forever to get up there because there’s a TON of people…

Directing and Writing for a Comedy

Teri Hatcher and Anthony Anderson take the stage to introduce the winners of Guest Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series…What’s up with THREE “Desperate Housewives” getting to present?...

The winners Stanley Tucci (“ER”) and Elaine Stritch (“30 Rock”) take the stage to present…Elaine is confused. She says, “I’m not faking it. I really don’t know what the h—l I’m doing”…Now, she’s completely ad-libbing and Stanley doesn’t really know what to do…I LOVE her…

Directing for a Comedy Series…

Richard Shepard, “Ugly Betty”…Their first win tonight…Stanley and Elaine leave the stage before the winner does. I’m thinking Stanley thought that was best…

Teri and Anthony return for Writing for a Comedy…They’re showing the nominees on portable video devices. I have no idea why…

And the winner is…Greg Daniels for “The Office”…The Comedy Series race just got interesting…

Individual Performance in a Variety/Music Program

Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher take the stage. Her assets are definitely on display…And Brad cracks a joke about it…Then he takes a shot at Charlie Sheen…

Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program…

And the winner is…

Tony Bennett, “Tony Bennett: An American Classic,” of course…He goes to the stage without kissing his wife…He thanks the show’s sponsor, Target, “a very wholesome company”…Tony leaves the stage the wrong way and Joely doesn’t have the chance to catch him…

Al Gore Gets a Rousing Ovation...

Ryan attempts a lame “Sopranos” joke, but he handles it okay when it bombs…

Masi Oka introduces the segment on the Interactive Emmy award winner. Boy, he sounds so dignified…He introduces the founder of MySpace, who introduces the award winners: Al Gore and Joey Hyatt for Current TV. They get a standing ovation, although I’m quite certain that’s for Al. Tell me again why he isn’t running for President? I think that’s what everyone in that place is thinking…They LOVE him…

Directing and Writing for a Mini-Series or Movie

Kathryn Morris and Danny Pino take the stage. They let them walk in from the back so everyone can see Kathryn’s legs…

Directing for a Mini-Series, Movie or Dramatic Special…

And the winner is…Phillip Martin for “Prime Suspect,” which is probably kind of an upset since he was competing against “Broken Trail” and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”…

Kathryn and Danny reappear for Writing in a Mini-Series, Movie or Dramatic Special…

And the winner is…Frank Deasy for “Prime Suspect”…So much for the big night for “Broken Trail”…

Oh boy, the rumors about Kanye West and Rainn Wilson are apparently true…

Lead Actress in a Movie or Mini-Series

Sally Field and Patrick Dempsey present Lead Actress in a Movie or Mini-Series…

And the winner is…of course, Helen Mirren for “Prime Suspect”…Is there anything she doesn’t win lately?...She looks great in that purple dress…

There’s Tony Bennett’s wife again. I’m going to have to google her later to see how young she is…

Lewis Black takes the stage to talk to network executives. He rails on network promos that appear on the screen during the shows and he gets applause…And he rails on the shrinking of credits, which gets more applause…Now, he’s onto the crawl during the news…

Wow, Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer are both doing quite well in the women department…

Lewis plugs the FOX schedule, and of course, a graphic appears on the screen…

"The Sopranos" Tribute

Joe Mantegna introduces the “Sopranos” tribute…The cast of “Jersey Boys” perform “Walk Like a Man” while “Sopranos” clips play on the screens…Now it’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”…I think “Frankie” might actually be singing this one. It looked like he lip-synched the last one…Now we’ve got dancers and a band for “Who Loves You Pretty Baby”…

Okay, that wasn’t too bad, but I think they could’ve found a better tribute than that…

Now, the cast of “The Sopranos” takes the stage, and there are a lot of them…

Just caught a glance of Rene Auberjunois and he looks rough. I guess getting fired from “Boston Legal” was hard on him…

The cast takes a bow, and they’re kind enough to turn around and acknowledge the other half of the room. They get a standing ovation…

Made for TV Movie...

Glenn Close, Kyra Sedgwick and Mary-Louise Parker take the stage…

Glenn points out the trend in cable of shows that feature strong female characters…

Made for Television Movie…

And the winner is…“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”…That’s really no surprise. It received more nominations than anything else this year…Dick Wolf (of “Law & Order” fame) accepts…

Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or Movie

Mark Harmon and Marcia Cross take the stage to present…Mark seems a little uncomfortable. Maybe he’s intimidated by Marcia’s cleavage…

Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or Movie…

And the winner is…Judy Davis, “The Starter Wife”…Marcia seems surprised that she isn’t there to get it…

The president of the Academy, Dick Askin, takes the stage for the final time (It’s his last year as chairman.)…He shows a video of the humanitarian things that Emmy members do…He introduces the two Governor’s Award winners: “Idol Gives Back” and “The Addiction Project.” Do you think FOX put him up to this?...

Variety Series and Special

Steve Carell comes from under the stage to present…

He introduces a video of his castmates talking badly about him…

He pretends to be offended…

Variety, Music or Comedy Series…

And the winner is…“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”…Jon hugs Stephen Colbert, one of his fellow nominees…He says “what a great show this part of the audience has seen tonight,” taking a slam at the round stage. It is a little crazy…

Steve Carell returns to present Variety, Music or Comedy Special…

And the winner is…No big shock…“Tony Bennett: An American Classic”…

Tony comes to the mike to introduce his wife…and boy, is she young!...

Ryan introduces the accountants from Ernst and Young…

So how's Ryan doing?

I don’t know why everyone was so upset about Ryan Seacrest because he’s barely doing anything…which is actually what I was hoping for…

With him and this weird set, it really does seem more like an episode of “Idol” than the Emmys…

But maybe that’s not a bad thing…

Don’t forget that you can jump in on the action by posting a comment…

Directing and Writing for a Drama

Hayden Panettiere and Neil Patrick Harris take the stage…Neil comments on her turning 18…Sorry, it’s hard to buy the innuendo when we know that Hayden is not Neil’s type…

They are there to introduce the winners of guest actor and actress in a drama…

Leslie Caron, the winner for Guest Actress takes the stage to present Outstanding Direction in a Drama…

And the winner is…Alan Taylor for “The Sopranos”…

Hayden and Neil return to present Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. They never did announce the Guest Actor winner, but it was John Goodman (“Studio 60”)…

And the winner is…David Chase for “The Sopranos”…They’re going to have a big night…David Chase thanks Stephen J. Cannell, who I love for creating "The A-Team"...

The "Roots" Tribute and Outstanding Mini-Series

Queen Latifah introduces the “Roots” tribute…The finale on January 30, 1977 is still the third most watched TV program of all time (after the “M*A*S*H finale and the “Who shot J.R.?” episode of “Dallas”)…Okay, apparently Queen is doing the entire tribute…

Okay, I was starting to think that was it…Several of the cast members take the stage and get a standing ovation…Cicely Tyson commandeers the microphone…Now LeVar Burton speaks…John Amos…Ed Asner…Louis Gossett Jr., who is still incredibly eloquent…Ben Vereen and Leslie Uggams present Outstanding Mini-Series to…

No big shock…“Broken Trail”…I told you they’d have a big night…Robert Duvall, one of the executive producers accepts it…And for the second time tonight, he gets played off…I think one of the other producers wanted to say something, but he didn’t get the chance…

Kiefer Makes An Appearance...

Ali Larter and Kiefer take the stage to present, and of course, they play the theme to “24”…They look pretty good together…

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or Movie…

Okay, I need a minute, because his hair looks so good longer…

No big shock. The winner is Robert Duvall for “Broken Trail”…He says it’s great to get the award from a fellow horseman (He’s talking about Kiefer.)…

Ryan says to log onto FOX.com to read one of the blogs that are being done live from the awards. Why would you do that when you have me?...

Tony and Christina Perform and Another Award

Ryan tells us about all of the things they’re doing to be carbon-neutral…He takes a shot at “Kid Nation” by saying the cast is powering the broadcast by running on treadmills…

Tony Bennett and Christina perform “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” from “Tony Bennett: An American Classic” that has already won four Emmys and is up for two more…There are dancers all around the stage…Christina looks great in a strapless hot pink dress, but I think she’s definitely pregnant…

She’s making me a little nervous walking up and down on that piano…

Okay, that was the first pointless musical performance of the night…

Alec Baldwin presenting Outstanding Direction for a Comedy, Music, or Variety Program…

And the winner is…Rob Marshall for “Tony Bennett: An American Classic”…

Writing for a Comedy, Music or Variety Series

Jon Cryer and Jennifer Love-Hewitt come to the stage to present…Shockingly, she’s not showing any cleavage…

Writing for Comedy, Music/Variety Series…

“The Colbert Report” tape shows the writers punching Colbert, “The Daily Show” tape shows Alberto Gonzales not remembering any of their names, The “Conan” tape shows a bunch of illegal immigrants gathering in the back of a truck driven by Conan, “The Late Show” tape shows President Bush doing stupid things, The “Bill Maher” tape shows feet under bathroom stall doors and then Bill Maher walks in and freshens his breath…

And the winner is…the team from “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”…Conan seems stunned…The writer accepting says he prepared a speech because Katherine Heigl’s mom said they would win (That won’t make Katherine happy.)…He says the rest of the staff is in New York because they have a show to do “thanks to O.J.”…

Supporting Actress in a Drama...

We’re back. Ellen is talking to Hugh Laurie like he’s a real doctor…She says she has no idea what she’s introducing…She finds the prompter and goes onstage…It’s a montage of topical one-liners from the late-night shows, “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” and Bill Maher…Now they’re showing everyone’s tributes to Tom Snyder…

I think we could call that the first pointless montage of the night. Why didn’t Ellen just do a monologue?...

Eva Longoria and the cast of “Entourage” take the stage to present Supporting Actress in a Drama…Jeremy makes fun of their script…

And the winner is…Katherine Heigl from “Grey’s Anatomy”…BOO HISS!...They make sure to say her name right (which she thanks them for), she gives T.R. Knight a big hug…She says her mother told her she didn’t have a shot in h—l of winning so she didn’t prepare anything and when everyone laughs, they cut to her mom who seems upset that she said that…They show her mom again, and she’s still not happy with the cameraman…

Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series or Movie

Katherine Heigl and Kyle Chandler take the stage…Katherine corrects the announcer for getting her last name wrong…

Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series or Movie…The winner is…Thomas Haden Church from “Broken Trail.” I think this will be a big night for that movie…He looks a little like an unmade bed…and he pretty much admits that…Everyone’s getting emotional tonight…

Supporting Actress in a Comedy...

Ryan acknowledges “all the great actresses in the room tonight”…Sally Field…He points out the “drug-dealing soccer mom,” Mary-Louise Parker…Ryan says that “Weeds” is a great show and an amazing after-party, “right Paula?” The audience kind of boos. The director cuts to Paula, but she wasn’t paying attention and looks a little irritated. Ryan says “you know I love you”…

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey appear onstage to present Supporting Actress in a Comedy…

And the winner is…Jaime Pressly of “My Name Is Earl”…She’s wearing a strange dress…She thanks her lawyer and manager and says, “Thanks to our little engine that could and finally did”…

The first two awards...

Ray Romano takes the stage. He says he misses doing his show but then the director accidentally cuts to a wide shot and we lose audio so we don’t hear Ray’s joke. Oops!...Ray’s doing a monologue about how his wife would like him to go back to work after two years…He says he got “The Sopranos” ending because “that’s how sex ends for me”…

Finally, the first award—Supporting Actor in a Comedy…

And the winner is…Jeremy Piven from “Entourage”…He struts up to the podium without even glancing at his co-stars…Jeremy kisses his award in honor of his father…

Vanessa Williams and America Ferrera take the stage to present Supporting Actor in a Drama…

And the winner is…Terry O’Quinn from “Lost”…Yea! I got one!...He says that sometimes when he’s rolling around in the mud and getting shot at and beat up he wonders what it would be like to bake a sheet of cookies on Wisteria Lane and get one of their checks…

Ryan takes the stage...

Ryan Seacrest emerges to “Party Like a Rockstar”…

Ryan says, if you didn’t already notice, “we’re on FOX this year”…He calls it the “results show”…

Ryan takes on his critics and mentions past hosts, including “my friend, Ellen”…Ryan says none of them would have come four hours early to host pre-show. He’s a “full service host”…He goes into the audience to talk to Eva Longoria about her outfit…And he says hello to Teri Hatcher, and the audience nervously laughs, as she nervously smiles…

Ryan points out the casts that are sitting together “in the round”: “Ugly Betty,” “House,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Entourage,” “Two and a Half Men,” which Ryan says is one of his favorites, “Heroes.” So why is Terry O’Quinn sitting behind Hayden? And in a pink shirt, no less...Ryan says his 18th birthday present to Hayden is “sitting her as far away from Jeremy Piven as possible”…

Ryan does a song fakeout by singing “There’s” and then saying “not a chance in h—l I’m going to sing tonight”…

"Family Guy" Kicks Things Off...

Okay, this round thing looks REALLY weird.

Brian and Stewie Griffin are kicking things off with a song…

They just attacked Sanjaya, saying he had a voice that made you want to kill a cow…

They just slammed “Scrubs” for not being funny…

And “Cavemen,” “Two and a Half Men”…

The song is “if you want it you can find it on TV”…

They just said Isaiah Washington was taking Kramer’s place…and the quick director cut to T.R. Knight who didn’t look happy to be on camera…

The first jab at “The Sopranos” ending tonight…first of many I’m sure.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert appeared to have enjoyed it…

Your comments are welcome...

Remember that you are welcome to comment as we go along.

I will check the comments and publish them as often as I can.

We're a few minutes away now...

We're Almost Ready

As I sit here waiting for the Emmys to begin, my screen saver is going on my computer with all of the images from last year and it makes me a little sad.

To tell you the truth, I had no intention of live blogging the Emmys this year, because I didn’t really care what happened. But when everyone went crazy over Ryan Seacrest hosting and how he was going to screw up everything, I couldn’t resist. For the record, I think Ryan will be fine. It’s the stuff they surround him with that we have to worry about.

Speaking of which, FOX is still stirring up the rumor that Britney Spears will make an appearance. The pre-show co-host Mark Steines said they were unable to confirm the rumor. Why wouldn’t someone working for FOX be able to confirm the rumor? Because they want you to keep watching, of course! My guess is she won’t appear, but if she does it will be only to present.

Now, I don’t have TiVo or DVR, so I’ll probably miss a few things—especially with this theater in the round setup they’re using. But I’ll do my best to keep up…

We’re just 15 minutes away now, so stay tuned…

Friday, September 14, 2007

My Emmy Predictions

So now it’s time for me to make my Emmy predictions. And I’m not going to lie to you. It was pretty tough this year…

If you’re new to how I do this, I pick who I think will win, plus I pick a Wild Card, the nominee I think has a great shot at playing spoiler. Then, I pick the person I really want to win.

Last year, I got two picks, two Wild Cards and two Want to Wins—which is not very good, but since Kiefer and “24” won, I don’t really care.

So without further ado, here they are. Feel free to let me know your picks by posting a comment, or sending me an e-mail to hdstaytuned@hotmail.com...

Outstanding Drama Series
“Boston Legal”
“Grey’s Anatomy”
“Heroes”
“House”
“The Sopranos”

My Pick: “The Sopranos.” This is Emmy’s last shot to honor the show many consider to be one of the best in history.
Wild Card: “Grey’s Anatomy.” I originally said that “Boston Legal” could play spoiler, but not every judge saw the Katrina-inspired episode and I don’t know how “BL” had five other solid episodes to submit (Series nominees must submit six episodes.).
Want to Win: Without “24,” I honestly don’t care, but “The Sopranos” probably deserves it.

Lead Actress 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”

My Pick: This one’s a doozy, but I’m going with Edie Falco, strictly on sentimentality.
Wild Card: It’s hard to pick against Sally Field, but Kyra Sedgwick not winning last year was a surprise, so I’ll go with her here.
Want to Win: Minnie Driver. I don’t really know why.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
James Gandolfini, “The Sopranos”
Hugh Laurie, “House”
Denis Leary, “Rescue Me”
James Spader, “Boston Legal”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”

My Pick: It’s a tough call between Gandolfini and Laurie, but I’m going with James Gandolfini.
Wild Card: Although I think if Gandolfini doesn’t win that it will probably go to Laurie, the real wild card here is James Spader. Voters may be swayed by the content of his episode which railed on the Bush administration for its handling of Katrina.
Want to Win: Do you even have to ask? He’s got no chance, but he did submit a good episode—the season finale which gave him his best scene of the year (a scene which was his idea, by the way).

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

My Pick: Terry O’Quinn. This one is probably the most interesting category of them all. Several critics are saying the frontrunner, Masi Oka, stumbled by submitting the episode “5 Years Gone” because it shows more future Hiro than loveable Hiro. But that is the same episode that got him the nomination, so I’m not sure I agree with that theory. However, I’m going with Quinn because the voters got to see strong performances from him in two episodes—his submission and the submission of Michael Emerson.
Wild Card: Voters will also get to see two episodes from Michael Emerson (his and Quinn’s), but he could be hurt by his character and there’s that whole “Sopranos” sentimentality. But for me, the real wild card here is T.R. Knight, who might reel in some sympathy votes.
Want to Win: I’m okay with Emerson or Quinn, because they’re both deserving.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Rachel Griffiths, “Brothers & Sisters”
Katherine Heigl, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s”
Sandra Oh, “Grey’s”
Aida Turturro, “The Sopranos”
Lorraine Bracco, “Sopranos”

My Pick: Sandra Oh
Wild Card: Lorraine Bracco
Want to Win: Anyone but Katherine Heigl

Comedy Series
“Entourage”
“The Office”
“30 Rock”
“Two and a Half Men”
“Ugly Betty”

My Pick: “Ugly Betty”
Wild Card: “30 Rock”
Want to Win: “Two and a Half Men.” That would REALLY rile up the critics.

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”
Steve Carell, “The Office”
Ricky Gervais, “Extras”
Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”
Charlie Sheen, “Two and a Half Men”

My Pick: Alec Baldwin. He’s got all the buzz.
Wild Card: Tony Shalhoub. Emmy LOVES him.
Want to Win: Charlie Sheen. That would really rile up the critics.

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
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”

My Pick: America Ferrera
Wild Card: Tina Fey
Want to Win: Fey, because I like her, or Julia Louis-Dreyfus because she gets zero love from her network

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
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”

My Pick: Rainn Wilson
Wild Card: Jeremy Piven
Want to Win: Kevin Dillon. I’d also be okay with Neil Patrick Harris. And since Jon Cryer would really rile up the critics, I’d be okay with that too.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
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”

My Pick: Elizabeth Perkins
Wild Card: Jenna Fischer
Want to Win: Holland Taylor, but not because it would rile up the critics. They actually like her, and so do I.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
“The Amazing Race”
“American Idol”
“Dancing With the Stars”
“Project Runway”
“Top Chef”

My Pick: “Project Runway.” I believe it’s finally their year.
Wild Card: “American Idol.” They submitted the “Idol Gives Back” episode, so that’s bound to stir some voter emotion.
Want to Win: “Project Runway”

Remember, the Emmys air live this Sunday beginning at 8 p.m. on FOX. I'll be away from the blog until I rejoin you Sunday night to take you through the entire event.

So, you know what to do...

PLEASE Tell Me This Is a Joke!


"US Weekly" is reporting that FOX is in negotiations with Britney Spears to perform at Sunday's Emmys.


According to the mag, Britney is weighing the offer as a chance to apologize for the VMAs.


STOP THE MADNESS!!!

The Latest on the Emmy Ceremony

So what excitement does the Emmy telecast have planned for us Sunday night?

I’ve already told you about the “Family Guy” musical number and the performance of “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” by Tony Bennett and Christina Aguilera, but now it’s been announced that the cast of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” will participate in a tribute to “The Sopranos.” Oh boy…

Plus, the rumor mills are spinning that Kanye West will perform with Rainn Wilson (“The Office”). I have no comment on that one.

There will also be a tribute to “Roots” on its 30th anniversary, which may be the only appropriate thing we see Sunday.

Remember, I’ll be here commenting on all the action as it happens, barring any technical difficulties from Time Warner or Verizon. I hope to have my first post up by 7:55 p.m., but that probably depends on when Kiefer walks the carpet. Since the Emmys are on FOX, maybe he’ll actually get a little camera time this year…

"Nashville" Review: Getting Sucked In

Since I’ve never seen a single episode of “Laguna Beach” or “The Hills,” I never dreamed I would like anything about FOX’s new docudrama, “Nashville.”

But somehow I got sucked right in and by the end of the episode, I was in total speculation mode as to what will happen next…

“Nashville” follows five friends as they navigate Nashville and the music industry:

Matt Jenkins had some success, including a performance at the Grand Ole Opry, but then was dropped by Universal. Now, he’s struggling to make a comeback with the help of his friend, Jeff.

Chuck Wicks is on the verge of success. When the episode opens, he’s preparing for his first showcase for the record execs at Sony BMG.

Rachel Bradshaw is the daughter of Terry Bradshaw. She’s looking to make a name for herself in country music without the help of her father. She gets support from her friends Sarah and Lindsey.

Clint Moseley is the rich kid who works for his dad’s company selling airplanes. He is not in the music industry, but is friends with all of the others who are.

Mika Combs is the new girl in town fresh from Hazard County, Kentucky. She’s hoping to make it big as a singer.

When the episode opens, Rachel has a boyfriend, but it becomes clear fairly quickly that there is something between her and Clint, who is good friends with Chuck.

Mika moves into the apartment building where Matt and Jeff live and Matt starts hanging out with her.

But when they all come together at the end of the episode for a celebration (I won’t give away what they’re celebrating.), the sparks start to fly and some claws come out. After all, every docudrama needs a bad girl. I just never dreamed that it would be Terry Bradshaw’s daughter.

I can’t wait to see what daddy’s got to say when this one’s over…

If you’re waiting for me to tell you what it was about the show I liked, you’re going to have to keep waiting because I really have no idea. Maybe it was the pretty people, maybe it was the slick production (from the creators of “Laguna Beach”), maybe it was the music—I just don’t know.

I said in my review of “Bionic Woman” that a pilot had to introduce all of the characters and the plot and make it compelling enough for you to want to come back. Somehow “Nashville” did that for me.

And here I thought I’d have Friday nights free…

“Nashville” premieres Friday at 9 p.m. on FOX…

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Bionic Woman" Review: A Pilot is a Tricky Thing

As I’ve said many times, a TV pilot is a tricky thing.

You have to introduce all of the characters and set up the plot while making the episode compelling enough to make people come back.

Unfortunately, the pilot for NBC’s “Bionic Woman” doesn’t really succeed at any of those…

“Bionic Woman” is the story of Jaime Sommers (Michelle Ryan), a 24-year-old bartender who’s raising her teenage sister after the death of her mother. Her boyfriend, Will (Chris Bowers), is a scientist and a professor of bio/environmental ethics.

One night, the two go out to dinner and Jaime tells Will she’s pregnant; and he proposes. As they are discussing their future on the car ride home (Yes, there are a lot of “Alias” undertones here.), a semi hits their car in the side, causing it to flip wildly. Will survives nearly unscathed (the semi hit her side), but Jaime is critically wounded.

Will has Jaime taken to a secret medical facility where they implant her with bionics to replace her amputated legs and arm and her eye. Will, who we quickly learn is part of an underground group that experiments with bionics, convinces the group to let Jaime live so she can be their next test subject.

Realizing that Jaime will never go along with the training and other plans the group has for her, Will helps her escape and tells her to live her life like nothing ever happened. Of course, that lasts for all of about two seconds as Jaime gets involved with some of the group’s darker secrets.

And there are a ton of secrets as the pilot introduces mystery after mystery. First, there’s the mystery of what this group is and what it does (The show’s website gives much more background than the pilot, including a name, the Berkut Group.). There’s the mystery of Will’s father, who developed the technology but then ended up in prison and may be behind Jaime and Will’s accident. There’s the mystery of the man who apparently wants Will dead.

And then there’s the mystery of Sarah (Katee Sackhoff), Berkut’s original test subject. The group thinks she was killed (We see her die in a flashback at the beginning of the episode.) after going insane, but she wreaks quite a bit of havoc in the pilot, including driving the semi that hit Will and Jaime.

But maybe the biggest mystery of all is why we should care about Jaime, since she’s the least interesting character of all of them. It is the members of the Berkut Group who prove the most fascinating, but the pilot is so anxious to get on with the action that it doesn’t take any time to introduce them properly (I guess that’s what the website is for.).

In fact, NBC has done the show a great disservice by not allowing the pilot to run two hours. Not only would it make the premiere more of an event, but it would have allowed more plot development. I realize that the plot will develop more as the show goes on (or at least I would hope it does), but the ridiculous pace of the pilot may turn some people off before it has the chance.

For example, Will’s involvement with the group comes way too quickly. It would’ve been more interesting to see him sneak around behind Jaime’s back. This would also have allowed some more drama after the accident as Will would have to juggle saving Jaime’s life with the prospect of making Jaime a soldier.

But in all honesty, the entire backstory was a blur as the show hurtled toward its big dramatic action sequence. One member of the group says that eventually Jaime will realize she’s being held against her will, and then in the next scene, Jaime says, “I’m being held here against my will.” How did she come to that conclusion so quickly? There were no signs that pointed to that. Then when Jaime returns to her normal life, she struggles a little, but soon she pieces everything together and rushes off to fight the bad guy. Since they gave her that annoying little sister, they obviously want to focus a little on her personal life, so why don’t they show us her struggle to deal with her escape from death and what it means to her life?

Of course, the answer to that is because the show so desperately wanted to get to the big action scene that it didn’t care how it got there. And in doing so, it shortchanged the story of its main character.

So when Jaime and Sarah fight it out in the rain on a rooftop, it’s actually Sarah that we’re more interested in since Katee Sackhoff dominates the episode. It’s a great scene, but it just rings a little hollow. By jumping one rooftop, Jaime realizes she can take on another bionic woman? And for what? What about the sister she was so concerned about a half-hour earlier? It just doesn’t work.

There’s already some drama behind-the-scenes on this show which hopefully will mean improvement, because there are definite kinks to be worked out. As I said earlier, the teenage sister is a complete annoyance, so if she’s going to stick around, she needs a little more substance—as does her big sister, the show’s main character.

And as good as Katee Sackhoff is, there’s a fine line between cool and campy, and she crosses it more than once with her performance. But in her defense, she’s just reading the lines she’s given. Calling a timeout to the fight just to smoke a cigarette? Whatever…


I love Miguel Ferrer as the head of the Berkut Group and Molly Price gives a surprising, but excellent performance as Ruth, another group member. And even though we only get a glimpse of the backstory between Sarah and Jae (Will Yun Lee), it proves to be the most interesting story of the hour.

There is a lot of potential here, but I don’t know if viewers will give the show a chance to live up to it. I have to admit I won’t…

“Bionic Woman” premieres Wednesday, September 26th at 9 p.m. on NBC…

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

TV on DVD: Another Big Week!

It’s another big week in the world of TV on DVD, so get those credit cards warmed up…

The big release this week is the third season of “Grey’s Anatomy.” You can also pick up the “Grey’s Anatomy Volume 3” soundtrack this week.

Here are some other titles that hit stores this week:

“The Addams Family” Volume 3
“Bones” Season 2
“Charmed” Season 8 (The Final Season)
“Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes” Volume 2
“Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” Season 2
“Fraggle Rock” Season 3
“Goosebumps” (3 different volumes)
“I Dream of Jeannie” Season 4
“Judge Judy: Justice Served”
“Las Vegas” Season 4
“McHale’s Navy” Season 2
“The Starter Wife” Mini-Series
“Supernatural” Season 2
“Tom and Jerry: Spotlight Collection” Volume 3
“Two and a Half Men” Season 1

There’s even more next week, as we get the final season of one of TV’s most beloved sitcoms…

Fall Preview: What Do the Critics Say?

When I look at what critics have to say about the new TV shows, I turn to the big three—“USA Today,” “Entertainment Weekly,” and “TV Guide.”

But this year, “TV Guide” didn’t pick its favorites as it usually does. Instead they picked 10 shows for their “Hot List,” which I think meant shows that could produce pretty pictures.

Taking all three lists into consideration, there were only two shows that made all of them: FOX’s “Back to You” and CW’s “Reaper.”

I would also count CW’s “Aliens In America” in that list too, even though it did not make the “Hot List,” since later in the magazine they call it the “freshest, funniest half-hour pilot of the season.” I guess it didn’t make a pretty picture…

Here is the “TV Guide Hot List”:

1) “Pushing Daisies” (ABC)
2) “Back to You” (FOX)
3) “Dirty Sexy Money” (ABC)
4) “Chuck” (NBC)
5) “Private Practice” (ABC)
6) “K-Ville” (FOX)
7) “Gossip Girl” (CW)
8) “Reaper” (CW)
9) “Cane” (CBS)
10) “Bionic Woman” (NBC)



Robert Bianco of “USA Today” picked the top 10 best new shows:

1) “Pushing Daisies,” which Bianco calls the “best blooming show of the year,” which “may be the best pilot since ‘Lost’”
2) “Reaper”
3) “Chuck”
4) “Samantha Who?” (ABC)
5) “Aliens In America” (CW)
6) “Back to You”
7) “Private Practice,” which Bianco picked based more on the cast than the actual pilot
8) “Women’s Murder Club” (CBS)
9) “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
10) “Gossip Girl”

“Entertainment Weekly” only picked five shows: “Aliens In America,” “Reaper,” “Dirty Sexy Money,” “Bionic Woman,” and “Back to You.” Its TV critics were divided on “Pushing Daisies,” so it did not get selected.

Later this week, I’ll tell you which shows I’m looking forward to seeing…

Goodbye to Jane...and Angela

Monday, we got the sad news that Jane Wyman had passed away. She was 93.

I know she was an Academy Award winner, but for most of us she will always be Angela Channing, the fabulous matriarch of the Channing family on “Falcon Crest.”

Angela was the “Crest” equivalent to J.R. Ewing, but as much as I liked J.R., I loved Angela more. She was charming, she was manipulative, and she had my name—which for a young girl was pretty cool.

That’s why it was such a blow when “Crest,” in its final season, decided to cut back Wyman’s role and put Angela in a coma. They thought they were appealing to younger viewers by focusing on other characters, but in actuality, they killed the show. The writers finally decided to give Angela a miraculous recovery, but it was too little too late. Jane Wyman WAS “Falcon Crest” and it couldn’t succeed without her.

Thanks to YouTube, you can see Angela and Wyman in action. You have to sit through some boring stuff with Cole and Maggie, but it’s worth it to see Angela at her manipulative finest.



Even though we hadn’t heard from her in years, she will still be missed…

MTV Goes Broadway

For the first time in TV history, a Broadway show will be broadcast in its entirety while the show is still running on Broadway…

MTV will air “Legally Blonde: The Musical” three to six times in six weeks.

The first airing is scheduled for Saturday, September 29th at 1 p.m.

The latest on the "HSM" Scandal...

So here’s the latest on the Vanessa Hudgens Internet photo scandal…

“People” magazine reported this week that the photos were sent to Drake Bell of “Drake and Josh” a couple of years ago, before she was a star. Bell’s rep told “People” that he never received them.

Disney, which told the “Chicago Tribune” it is continuing negotiations with Hudgens for “High School Musical 3,” issued this statement: “Vanessa has apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment. We hope she’s learned a valuable lesson.”

Vanessa and her people did the right thing in telling the truth so quickly and I hope Disney recognizes that and sticks by her…

Kathy and Justin Take Home Emmys

Saturday night, the Creative Emmys were handed out and Justin Timberlake and Kathy Griffin both emerged as winners…

However, if you’re hoping to hear Kathy’s acceptance speech for Outstanding Reality Program (Non-Competition), you can stop now because it will not be shown during the E! telecast of the event since the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences called it “offensive” and the Catholic League said it was a “vulgar in-your-face brand of hate speech.”

So what did she say? In mocking people who thank Jesus in acceptance speeches, she said, “I want you to know that no one had less to do with this than Jesus…Suck it Jesus. This award is my god now.” By the way, if she lost, she was going to go on stage anyway.

You know that I’m a fan of “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” so I was thrilled to hear that she won, but couldn’t she have just said thank you, or paid tribute to her dad? One of the reasons I loved the show this year was because Kathy finally showed a human side. So much for that I guess…

Andy Samberg accepted the award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for “D--- In A Box” from “Saturday Night Live,” for which Justin Timberlake was one of the writers (So yes, he does get an Emmy too.). This one was a rough category for the presenter since they had to announce this one and “Everything Comes Down to Poo” from “Scrubs.” So who was the poor person? None other than Miley Cyrus. She sidestepped the issue by referring to the winner as “Team from SNL.”

By the way, the win only added to the rumors that Justin and Andy will perform the song at the Primetime Emmys, but Justin has a concert at the Staples Center that night. My guess is that if they do perform it, it will be via satellite from the concert. Justin and Andy did perform the song live on Justin’s tour stop in New York…

Other major winners were:
Guest Actress, Comedy: Elaine Stritch, “30 Rock”
Guest Actress, Drama: Leslie Caron, “Law & Order: SVU”
Outstanding Animated Program: “South Park”
Guest Actor, Drama: John Goodman, “Studio 60”
Children’s Program: “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee”
Guest Actor, Comedy: Stanley Tucci, “Monk”

The Creative Awards Emmy Ceremony will air on E! Saturday, September 15th at 8 p.m.

Remember that I’ll be here blogging the Primetime Emmys as they happen Sunday night beginning at 7:55…

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Premiere Alert: "The Biggest Loser"

Starting next week, the premieres will be coming fast and furious, but this week it's kind of slow...

Tonight marks the premiere of "The Biggest Loser" on NBC. It's also the debut of Alison Sweeney ("Days of Our Lives") as the regular host, replacing Caroline Rhea.

So what happened there? You could speculate that NBC was looking to appeal to a wider demographic, but I would also guess it was about money. Since Sweeney is already on the NBC payroll, she's bound to be cheaper...

"The Biggest Loser" premieres tonight (Tuesday) with a two-hour episode beginning at 8 on NBC...

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Day I've Been Dreading Is Finally Here

The day I have been dreading for years is finally here…

Tonight, I will not be able to watch “Friends” at 7 o’clock on FOX 11 (WVAH).

Now, I know that I have seen every episode a billion times and that I have all of the DVDs, but it’s just not the same. That half-hour at 7 o’clock has been part of my daily ritual for years, and it’s going to be hard to get used to not having it.

I remember that FOX 11 used to show back-to-back episodes until they got “Everybody Loves Raymond.” I remember how mad I was then, but I consoled myself with the fact that I still had one episode.

But then, every fall, I would hold my breath a little as I waited to see if FOX 11 was making any changes to their schedule; and then I would celebrate when they left “Friends” alone.

Now, that fall has finally come…

Beginning tonight, FOX 11 will show back-to-back episodes of “Two and a Half Men” at 7 p.m. “Friends” is moving to 2 p.m.

For the record, I have nothing against “Two and a Half Men,” but it’s just not “Friends.” I also don’t understand why it’s necessary to run back-to-back episodes since they’ll just burn through the seasons faster and they could’ve taken the opportunity to re-team it with its old CBS partner, “Everybody Loves Raymond.” And then, they could’ve moved “Friends” to 6:30 p.m.—which would have been okay with me since I can’t sit through the evening news anymore anyway.

There’s a running joke in my family that my mom doesn’t like change. Apparently, she’s not the only one…

Britney At the VMAs: So Much For a Comeback...

Holy cow!

How pathetic was that Britney Spears performance last night?

It’s clear that it’s been so long, Britney doesn’t even remember how to do it anymore. After all, she used to be one of the best lip synchers in the business, but last night she wasn’t even trying. I’m not even sure she knew all of the words (and there aren’t even that many).

Plus, it was painfully clear that she hadn’t attended all of the dance rehearsals. It reminded me of those children’s recitals where there’s always one kid who isn’t quite getting the steps and has to look around at the other kids to catch up.

Britney’s handlers should have NEVER allowed her to take such a high profile gig when she clearly wasn’t ready.

So much for a comeback…

You can see it for yourself at http://www.mtv.com/overdrive/?id=1568788&vid=173440

Pick of the Week: Are You Ready For Some Football?

I generally try to steer my picks away from sports, because I know not everybody’s into that kind of thing, but this week I really have no choice…

My Pick of the Week is the kickoff of “Monday Night Football” featuring the Bengals and the Ravens.

It’s actually a doubleheader tonight with the Cardinals and 49ers in the late game, but if you stay up to watch that one, you will never make it to work tomorrow.

“Monday Night Football” premieres tonight at 7 on ESPN…

Friday, September 07, 2007

Let the Fall Season Begin!

For me, the new TV season officially begins when I reach in my mailbox and pull out my “TV Guide” Fall Preview issue.

So let the season begin…

Beginning Monday, I’ll start getting you caught up on what you need to know before all of the new premieres. I’ll tell you which new shows the critics think you should watch and which new shows I think you should watch. Plus, I’ll keep you informed of all the premiere dates…

As Jack Bauer would say, “Now we’re gonna have some fun”…

Scandal Rocks "High School Musical"

What could possibly stop the juggernaut that is “High School Musical”?

How about a nude photo of one of its stars on the Internet…

The star in question is Vanessa Hudgens (Gabriella). And yes, it is her in the picture.

Yesterday, her rep issued a statement saying, “This was a photo which was taken privately. It is a personal matter and it is unfortunate that this has become public.”

Today, Hudgens issued an apology to TVGuide.com, saying, "I want to apologize to my fans, whose support and trust means the world to me. I am embarrassed over this situation and regret having ever taken these photos. I am thankful for the support of my family and friends."

"The Enquirer," which broke the story, reports that the picture was taken for her boyfriend, Zac Efron.

This comes the same week that the new issue of “Teen” magazine hits the stands with Hudgens on the cover. In the interview inside, she says, “I’ve been brought up with very good morals, and I’m not going to go out and do something I don’t want other kids to do. I love being a role model because, in Hollywood, there aren’t a lot of role models to look up to.”

Ouch…

Now the speculation begins as to how Disney will react. Disney refused to offer a comment today as to whether this incident will cost Hudgens a role in "HSM 3."

I’m betting that $1 million offer is looking pretty good right now...

In her defense, she didn’t get wasted and hit a tree, or any of the other things teen stars are doing these days, but it does give ammunition to all of the people who have been doubting the wholesomeness of the “HSM” stars.

And it gives Disney one heck of a problem…

Ryan on the Emmys: Will He Get Musical?


During a telephone press conference, Ryan Seacrest revealed that this year’s Emmys would kick off with a musical number. When he wouldn’t give any details, the anti-Ryan bloggers kicked into high gear, concerned that Ryan would attempt to sing himself.

But now comes word from FOX that Stewie and Brian Griffin of “Family Guy” will “honor the year in television with a 2-D original performance.” Speculation is that this was what Ryan was referring to.

Ryan also said that producers were still trying to get Justin Timberlake to participate, but his show at the Staples Center that night “makes the equation more complicated.” Of course, we know how much FOX loves taped-as-if-live musical performances, so maybe they’ll go that route…

As for Ryan himself, he told reporters, “I’m not going to prove myself to be a late-night host at the Emmys. I’m going to try and make the show fun, and I would love to be funny, and I’m going to try my best to have a sense of humor about it. Some people are laughing reading the line, ‘Ryan Seacrest is hosting the Emmys.’”

In all honesty, I had no intention of live-blogging the ceremony this year, but the prospect of the entire thing blowing up in FOX’s faces was just too good to resist. And I like FOX…

The 59th Primetime Emmys airs Sunday, September 16th at 8 p.m. on FOX. I’ll be live-blogging beginning around 7:55 p.m. and I’ll have my predictions for the winners on Friday…

Britney Begins Her Comeback Sunday


You can stop all the rumors...

MTV has officially announced that Britney Spears is scheduled to open the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday with a performance of her new single, "Gimme More."

I say "is scheduled" since you never know with her these days.

The "2007 Video Music Awards" will air Sunday, September 9th at 9 p.m. on MTV...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tim Gunn Makes It Work

Last night, Bravo gave us a sneak peek of “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style” by showing us the second episode a week early.

And it was just as good as advertised…

“Style” combines elements of Bravo’s two most iconic shows—“Project Runway” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”—to show us one woman’s inspirational journey.

In this episode, the woman was Karen Vito, a forty-something mother who insisted on dressing “sexy” (read that as slutty) wherever she went, including PTA functions. Both her husband and her daughter were embarrassed by her appearance, so Tim and his “fashion accomplice” Veronica Webb, swooped in to help.

I was concerned that Veronica would take away from Tim, but she’s actually a good partner for him. It gives him someone to talk to, both to celebrate and commiserate. Interestingly, in this episode, it was Tim who held back, fearing that he would upset Karen—until Veronica said she looked like a stripper. Then the Tim we know and love came out in full force.

On a side note, I found it kind of comical that Veronica was lecturing women on wearing too much makeup when she was wearing enough to choke a horse. But since she’s not the star here, I found a way to look over that.

Last week, I said that Tim Gunn was a reality TV legend. You need to only watch him for a few minutes to see why. He was born for TV. Only Tim Gunn can say things like, “I’m responding well to what that’s doing for you” and not sound like a snob.

Since this episode hasn’t aired yet, I won’t give away what happens; but I will say there were a lot of tears (mostly Karen), a lot of frustration (mostly Tim) and a lot of heartwarming moments (from everyone). Plus, I actually learned a few things about clothes.

But just like “Queer Eye,” this show is not just about the makeover. It’s about changing a life and it’s clear that Tim takes that duty very seriously. The special gift he gives Karen at the end tells us that.

“Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style” premieres tonight (Thursday) at 10 p.m. on Bravo…

Sherri Shepherd Finally Gets To See "The View"

Several media outlets are now reporting that Sherri Shepherd has finally been given her seat on “The View.”

Barbara Walters will make the announcement on the show Monday.

As you may recall, Shepherd was the first choice to fill Star Jones’ chair, but negotiations broke down over the money it would take for Shepherd to move her family. Kathy Griffin was reportedly the runner-up (Okay, Bravo, what are you waiting for?).

The announcement comes one week after Whoopi Goldberg began her stint on the show. Goldberg’s debut was not without controversy as she angered PETA officials by taking a seemingly sympathetic stance toward Michael Vick.

“The View” airs weekday mornings on ABC. Check your local listings for the time in your area…

A "Dale" Reminder

Since the blog was down for a while yesterday and then I posted a bunch of stuff on top of my review, I wanted to give you a "Dale" reminder.

Tonight is the last time you can see "Dale" on TV until 2008, so be sure not to miss it. It airs tonight (Thursday) at 8 on CMT.

For my review of this excellent documentary, go to http://media.herald-dispatch.com/blog/tuned/2007/09/nascar-fans-you-must-see-dale.html...

Playing Catch-Up...

So last night, I went a little blog crazy and caught up on all the things I wanted to share with you, so be sure to scroll down because there's lots of stuff to see, including the latest on "High School Musical 3," the Emmys and the most controversial new show of the season...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

NBC Says Goodbye to iTunes

If you watch your NBC shows by downloading them from iTunes, you’ll be out of luck in a few weeks…

NBC Universal has told Apple Inc. that it will not be renewing its iTunes contract that expires in December. So, iTunes has decided it will stop selling NBCU shows at the onset of the fall season.

So what happened here? As with most things, it’s all about the money. NBC wanted to offer packages of bundled programs at different prices, while Apple wanted to stay at its set $.99 and $1.99 price points.

NBCU programming accounts for 40 percent of iTunes video downloads.

To counteract losing iTunes as a place for its programming, NBC is now offering its shows through Amazon.com’s Unbox service. NBC shows will no doubt also be available through the upcoming NBC/FOX Internet service, Hulu.

"Heroes" Admits the Problems With the Finale

So you know my frustration with the “Heroes” finale? Apparently, I’m not alone…

Masi Oka (Hiro) told “USA Today,” “It was sort of a mixed bag. I heard people who absolutely loved it, and some people were mixed about it. From my perspective, we had a lot of stories to tie up. If we had the two hours to tell the story we wanted to tell and finish it off, they would have been blown away.”

So why didn’t they get the two hours?

Tim Kring, the show’s creator, told “USA” that he thinks the finale frustration came because some questions were stretched out for the whole season. “Had we not waited that long, we would not have built up such a percolating, simmering question.” Kring hopes to fix that problem by making shorter story arcs with faster answers.

It’s nice to see that they see the problem and are taking steps to fix it.

And, of course, that probably means I’ll give the show one more shot…

NBC Messes With a Favorite

Hasn’t NBC heard the expression of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?

First, NBC announced that Keith Olbermann was joining one of my favorite shows from last season, “Football Night In America,” which means less camera time for my man, Cris Collinsworth. Then, the show’s new producer told “TV Guide” the show “will be much less structured than last year” and the structure was what I loved most.

Now, NBC has announced that Faith Hill will sing “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night,” the opening theme to “Sunday Night Football.”

And what was wrong with Pink? Doesn’t NBC remember the backlash ABC got when it replaced Hank Williams, Jr.?

NBC is quickly getting on my nerves…

NBC's NFL coverage kicks off Thursday, September 6th at 8 p.m...

Will a Writers' Strike Destroy the Season?

Don’t get too used to your favorite shows when they return later this month since they many not be around too long…

The networks are bracing for a strike by the Writers’ Guild of America. That would leave shows without any writers, which would mean no scripted shows.

So what are the networks planning in case of the worst? Most shows will have stockpiled enough episodes to last for a while, but if the strike persists, the networks will have to resort to other measures. That means more reality shows and some of the networks are already negotiating to buy British and Canadian shows.

The networks could also take programming from their sister cable networks. For example, NBC could show “Burn Notice” (from USA), ABC could show “Hannah Montana” (from Disney), and FOX could show “Damages” (from FX). Warner Bros. is reportedly already shopping around “The Closer,” with the most likely destination being CBS.

But unfortunately, reruns would be unavoidable.

The WGA contract expires October 31st.

Stay tuned…

Will Seacrest Ruin the Emmys?

Ever since Ryan Seacrest was named the host of the Emmys, writers have been saying that he’ll ruin the Emmys.

So the blogosphere lit up this week with news that Ryan Seacrest was not the only person in the running…

Tom O’Neill from GoldDerby.com reports that Hugh Laurie was the choice of several FOX execs and that a standoff between pro-Laurie execs and pro-Seacrest execs is actually what postponed the announcement. According to O’Neill, in the end, the powers-that-be decided Seacrest would bring in a larger audience and Laurie, who is only known in the states for “House” and not for his improv comedy, would be too jarring for fans who would have a hard time separating fiction from reality.

Yes, Laurie would probably have been funny, but I still think Seacrest was the logical choice (Apparently I’m alone in that thinking.).

Personally, though, I think the Emmys will ruin themselves just fine without Seacrest’s help…

Last week, FOX announced that Tony Bennett and Christina Aguilera will perform at the ceremony. And the reason for that would be? I mean, can’t they just hand out the awards?

One performance you won’t see at the awards is Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake doing “---- In a Box,” their Emmy-nominated song from “Saturday Night Live.” Sources say FOX asked the duo to make the words more family-friendly and they refused. I think it was a strange request on FOX’s part since the category the song is nominated for isn’t part of the main ceremony and will actually be decided a week earlier (What if it lost?).

The 59th Primetime Emmys will air Sunday, September 16th at 8 p.m. and yes, I will be blogging live again this year. So mark your calendars and come join me...

Scott Baio is 45...and Engaged...and About to Become a Father

You just knew that when “Scott Baio is 45…and Single” wrapped up last week that it couldn’t be the end. And thankfully, it won’t be…

VH1 has announced a second season of the show. Only this time, Scott will be engaged and about to become a father.

If you missed it, “Baio” ended with Scott telling his girlfriend, Renee, that he was ready to get married. She, in turn, surprised him by telling him she was pregnant.

The finale also lent a little more credence to the theory that a lot of the show was set up—especially since Scott’s ex, Julie, who seemed to hate him so much turned out to be a friend of Renee.

And am I the only one that finds it hard to believe that with all the women Scott had been with, Renee is the only one he ever got pregnant? Could it be that he knew about the pregnancy all along and just went through the motions for the show?

Even if that’s the case, it doesn’t matter to me because I’ll still be watching. Those fatherhood classes should be a hoot…

And the fact that a major womanizer is having a girl? Priceless…

The Teen TV Choices...

So let me play a little catch-up and tell you the TV winners at last week’s Teen Choice Awards…

“High School Musical 2” took home Choice TV: Movie…

“Grey’s Anatomy” won Choice TV Show: Drama…

“Hannah Montana” took home Choice TV Show: Comedy, while Miley Cyrus took home Choice TV Actress: Comedy and Choice Summer Artist.

By the way, at the awards, Miley revealed she had just passed the test allowing her to study at a 10th grade level even though she should be in 9th grade. When a reporter asked her if her dad would help her with her studies, she replied, “Are you kidding? He just tries to get me to play tic tac toe on the back of my notebook”…

“The Simpsons” won Choice TV: Animated Show, while “American Idol” took home Choice TV: Reality/Variety Show…

Hugh Laurie (“House”) won Choice TV Actor: Drama and Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes”) won Choice TV Actress: Drama…

Steve Carell (“The Office”) won Choice TV Actor: Comedy…

Allison Mack (“Smallville”) won Choice TV: Sidekick and Tyra Banks won Choice TV: Personality…

“Heroes” won Choice TV: Breakout Show while America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) won Choice TV: Breakout Star…

Sanjaya (“American Idol”) took home Choice TV: Male Reality/Variety Star and Lauren Conrad (“The Hills”) took home Choice TV: Female Reality/Variety Star…

Vanessa Williams (“Ugly Betty”) took home Choice TV: Villain, while Zac Efron won Choice Male Hottie and “Degrassi” won Choice Summer TV Show…

Fall's Most Controversial New Show

If controversy translates into ratings, “Kid Nation” will be the highest-rated new show of the season.

“Kid Nation” is a reality show were kids ages 8-15 spend 40 days in a New Mexico ghost town, following their own rules without adult supervision.

The controversy started when a “New York Times” article described the filming conditions as unsafe after several kids needed medical attention after they drank bleach left in an unmarked bottle.

Then, the New Mexico Attorney General got involved after complaints that state child labor laws were exploited. CBS maintains the show “was filmed responsibly and within all applicable laws…at the time of the production.” New Mexico has since modified the number of hours a minor can work in a production.

The Attorney General is also investigating if producers kept state inspectors who wanted to review work permits from the set. CBS says the production was exempt from work permits since the kids were participants, not workers.

Now, Hollywood unions are getting involved, taking this opportunity to attack the networks for using reality shows “to keep costs down by not paying writers and actors.”

For me, the worst part of this show is the parents who allowed their children to participate in the first place—especially when you take a look at the contract the parents had to sign (courtesy of “The Smoking Gun”).

The contract specifically says that the show was set in “inherently dangerous travel areas that may expose the Minor and other participants to a variety of unmarked and uncontrollable hazards and conditions that may cause the Minor serious bodily injury, illness or death, including, without limitation: general exposure to extremes of heat and cold; water hazards; floods; drowning…encounters with wild or domesticated animals…

“TV Guide” reports that the contract also said the show was not responsible if a minor got pregnant or contracted an STD during filming.

By the way, the penalty for contestants who talk? $5 million, which CBS can collect up to three years after the show ends.

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

The "Dallas" Movie: A Comedy?

It almost physically pains me to type this…

The “Dallas” movie is now a comedy.

Betty Thomas, who directed both “Brady Bunch” movies has signed on to direct and Pam Brody, who wrote “Hot Rod,” is working on the script.

The story will reportedly show the 80s-style Ewings in today’s world, which puts them in crazy situations, a la “The Brady Bunch Movie.” But reports are that the production company has already threatened to pull the plug if it’s not funny.

If everything works out, the movie will start shooting in January.

John Travolta is still attached to play J.R. Ewing, while producers are hoping to convince Shirley MacLaine to play Miss Ellie.

A comedy? Yes, there were always parts of “Dallas” that were funny (even if it didn’t mean to be), but to purposely make it a parody just makes me sick…

"High School Musical 3" Hits a Snag

If you’ve been to Wal-Mart lately, you know that it’s been turned into a “High School Musical 2” shrine.

Last week, my fiancé and I were there and he turned to me and said, “What is ‘High School Musical’ anyway?”

I’m not going to lie to you. It made me reconsider our entire relationship…

For those of you who do know what it is, I’ll tell you that “HSM 2” continues to excel on the Billboard charts. The soundtrack is now spending a third week atop the Billboard 200 after selling 1.9 million copies.

But there is some bad news for “HSM.” The planned theatrical sequel has hit a major snag over money.

Two weeks ago, the cover of “Life and Style Weekly” proclaimed “High School Musical Big Fight! The stars are arguing over everything—especially Zac!” But in reality, it’s nothing so dramatic, as you discovered if you actually read the magazine.

Reports are that Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens (Troy and Gabriella) were offered $1 million to do the movie and they turned it down. “L&S” reported that Zac turned down $2.75 million and is encouraging the entire cast to get all they can. “L&S” also reported that Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay) wants to see a script before she commits.

The original writer, producers and director are all already on board.

Disney has dropped the idea for a “Haunted High School Musical” and will instead focus the story on the characters’ senior year.

It’s easy to say that Zac and Vanessa are being greedy, but when you think about all of the money “HSM” has earned Disney, don’t they deserve a little more?

"Anchorwoman" Is Still Worth Checking Out

So two weeks ago I was all set to give you a review of “Anchorwoman” and then FOX pulled the plug.

In all honesty, I liked it. I was expecting a goofy fish-out-of-water story, but instead it was actually an intense look into a TV newsroom.

In case you missed it (and judging by the ratings, you did), “Anchorwoman” followed a Texas TV station after it hired former WWE diva Lauren Jones as an anchor.

The most interesting storyline of the show followed the news anchor and producer of the five o’clock news, Annalisa. Because Lauren had no journalism experience, Annalisa had to write all of Lauren’s stories for her. And she had to do it way in advance so Lauren could rehearse. Plus, she was forced to give up most of her air time to Lauren. Needless to say, that didn’t sit well with her and created an interesting work situation.

There were some lighthearted moments, though, especially in the second episode when Lauren mistakenly danced behind a reporter doing a live shot. And it was interesting to see the photographer who gave her such a hard time in the premiere give her so many compliments in the second episode. I have a feeling there’s more to that story…

FOX has made the remaining episodes available on FOX.com. If you get a chance, I recommend checking them out…

The "Grease" Winners Hit Broadway

A few weeks ago, Chuck Minsker gave us an update on Derek Keeling, the Scott Depot native who finished third on “Grease: You’re the One That I Want.”

But what about the winners of the show?

The new Broadway revival of “Grease” opened three weeks ago with Max Crumm and Laura Osnes in the lead roles. In a review, “USA Today” said Crum “sings and dance nimbly and projects the easygoing confidence of a budding alpha male.” The review said Osnes is “pretty as a picture but emits a nervous energy and an endearing awkwardness that makes her a convincing foil.” The paper gave the show 2 ½ out of 4 stars.

“Entertainment Weekly” was not nearly as kind. “EW” said, “Osnes’ trilling soprano is more suited to say, ‘The Little Mermaid’” and Crumm “puts a goofy spin on rebel Danny, but he never quite connects.” They gave the show a C-…

You can read Chuck’s update on Derek at:
http://media.herald-dispatch.com/theater/2007/08/update-on-derek-keeling.html.

By the way, the runners-up are also working. Ashley Spencer is playing Amber in “Hairspray” until October 21st. Austin Miller will star in the off-Broadway musical Tully (In No Particular Order)” September 20th-28th…

Can "Traveler" Become the Next "Jericho"?

For “Traveler” fans wanting the answer to the question, “What is the Fourth Branch?” you’re going to have to wait a little longer…

“Traveler” creator David DiGilio has promised to hold off on sharing any answers until a fan campaign to resurrect the show plays out.

Fans are mounting a Chip Campaign, encouraging people to send potato chips to TNT to convince them to pick up the show. They’re hoping TNT will air the completed episodes and then continue the show or do a wrap-up movie. The chips idea comes from Will saying the painting of the Declaration of Independence was a chip (It’s weak. I agree.).

You can get more info at http://www.porters-and-soldiers.com/.

Meanwhile, Steven Culp (Special Agent Chambers) did reveal to “TV Guide” that Chambers was a member of the Fourth Branch because his family were longtime members…

TV Guide Sets Its Red Carpet Team


TV Guide Network is giving Lisa Rinna a partner for the red carpet—Joey Fatone.

The duo will premiere on the Emmy red carpet September 16th on TV Guide Network…

"Dancing With the Stars" Gets a Spin-off...

It was only a matter of time before “Dancing With the Stars” got a spin-off…

“Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann” will feature “Dancing With the Stars” judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba forming rival performance troupes that will face off in weekly battles.

Drew Lachey, who won the second edition of "DWTS," will host.

“Dance War” will premiere this winter on ABC…

The End of "ER"?

If the rumors are true, this will be the final season of “ER,” and the producers are already preparing by trying to bring back old favorites…

Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) will return for multiple episodes this season to check out the Joshua Carter Center, which was financed by a gift from his family. Producers are also hoping to bring back Thandie Newton, who played Carter’s wife.

Producers have also talked to Julianna Marguiles (Carol) and Gloria Reuben (Jeannie).

Also on the dream list? Eriq La Salle (Benton), William H. Macy (Morgenstern), Sally Field (Abby’s mom) and Danny Glover (Pratt’s dad). Laura Innes (Weaver) and Shane West (Ray) could return as well.

And, of course, the show would love to welcome back its most famous alum, George Clooney.

I think they should have the hospital be haunted by the ghost of Dr. Romano so that Paul McCrane can return as well…

In the meantime, “ER” has bolstered its current cast with the addition of Reiko Aylesworth (Michelle, “24”). Aylesworth will play the hospital’s new chaplain and a love interest for Gates (John Stamos).

I haven’t watched “ER” in a long time, but that just might make me check it out. I’m not sure about the religious element, though…

NASCAR Fans: You MUST See "Dale"

I’ve been a NASCAR fan for most of my life. I used to tell people that I’ve been a fan since the Man in Black was the man in blue and yellow…

But during those 20+ years, I was never a Dale Earnhardt fan. Sure, he was fun to watch; but he always seemed to wreck my favorite drivers. And he always won; and I didn’t like that.

But last night, watching him finally win the Daytona 500 as part of “Dale,” I bawled my eyes out.

Come to think of it, I cried the first time too…

Even if you weren’t an Earnhardt fan, you couldn’t help but be happy for him. And all of the other pit crews coming out to greet him was nothing short of amazing.

If only the story could’ve ended there…

But of course, it didn’t. We all know how Dale’s story ended. And yes, I cried at that part too (Actually, I cried for the entire last half hour of the movie.).

I didn’t cry the first time, though, because there was no reason to think that Dale wouldn’t walk away like he always did. As the movie showed, he had much worse wrecks. So, it’s a little frustrating to think that seemingly minor hit into the wall was the one that took his life.

I guess it was just his time…

Instead of questioning his death, however, we should be celebrating his life. And there’s no better way to do that than with “Dale.”

Let me cut right to the chase. “Dale” is a masterpiece. Though the story does jump around a little bit and there is more than one bad segue, the movie as a whole is beautifully put together.

Using his 1998 Daytona win as the framework, “Dale” tells Earnhardt’s story through the words of the people who lived it—including Dale himself. The producers picked all the right interviews and clips and Paul Newman was an inspired choice to narrate, although most of the narration is done by Dale himself.

There are some classic stories told during the movie’s two-hour runtime from Steve Byrnes, Steve Park and Brian Williams that show Dale’s caring, fun loving side. But there are also some hard-to-hear stories too, mostly from Dale Jr., who talks about the hard time he had getting close to his father.

But the hardest parts to watch come in that brutal last half-hour. Watching Darrell Waltrip deal with the excitement over his brother’s win and then the pain of the loss of his friend, who just three days earlier had told Darrell he was happier than he had ever been, is just heartbreaking. And when Dale’s in-car camera goes to white, you can’t help but feel sick.

Thankfully, the movie doesn’t end there. Instead it wisely keeps telling the story until it reaches Dale Jr.’s emotional Daytona win five months later. And yes, I cried then too—both times. Just try to tell me you didn’t too…

The segue from that win into the movie’s final act is a little rough and the ending doesn’t quite work, but you’ll be so busy wiping the tears from your eyes, you’ll hardly notice.

Yes, “Dale” probably paints too rosy of a picture of his life and it does leave quite a few details out. But if you are a NASCAR fan of any driver, you MUST see “Dale.”

“Dale” encores tonight (Wednesday) and Thursday night at 8 on CMT. According to the CMT website, these will be the only times the movie will be shown on TV until the DVD release in 2008...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

This Week's TV on DVD: It's Getting VERY Expensive

If you’re a big fan of TV shows on DVD, September is going to be VERY expensive for you…

When TV shows first started coming out on DVD, it was only classic shows. It took current shows a couple of seasons before they started cranking them out. Then the geniuses at FOX decided to take a chance and release season one of a show before the second season came out, allowing viewers to catch up. That show was, of course, “24” and the rest, as they say, is history as that kind of release schedule has become the norm.

And that makes September VERY busy…

The marquee releases today are the third seasons of “Desperate Housewives” and “The Office” but there are plenty more to choose from. Also hitting stores today are:

“30 Rock” Season 1 (also available in two different volumes)
“The Black Donnellys” Complete Series
“Bosom Buddies” Season 2
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” Seasons 1 & 2
“Nip/Tuck” Season 4
“Prison Break” Season 2
“The Real Housewives of Orange County” Season 1
“Robot Chicken” Season 2
“Rules of Engagement” Season 1
“She-Ra: Princess of Power” Season 2
“Spongebob Square Pants” Season 5: Volume 1

But don’t spend all of your money this week because there’s much more to come, including a certain hospital show I know a lot of you are crazy about…

Monday, September 03, 2007

Picks of the Week: An Easy Choice...

You may remember that last week I struggled a little with my picks, but this week was easy…

My first Pick is the premiere of the only Dale Earnhardt biography authorized by his family. “Dale” is narrated by Paul Newman and features tons of footage from interviews, races and home movies.

“Dale” airs Tuesday, September 4th at 8 p.m. on CMT…

My second Pick is the premiere of Bravo’s newest reality show, “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style,” which is based on the book by the same name. I’m suffering from serious “Project Runway” withdrawal, so this will help a little; and maybe I’ll learn a few things. Plus, as a bonus, during the premiere, we’ll meet this year’s “Project Runway” contestants for the first time.

“Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style” premieres Thursday, September 6th at 10 p.m. on Bravo…