TelevisionWeek's Blink page is an industry must-read, taking a sardonic look at happenings across the television business. This wry coverage is extended online and updated throughout the week.



Danny Goes Down the Wrong Road … Again

September 19, 2005 12:00 AM

According to Danny Bonaduce, his reality series for VH1 was supposed to be a "very cute, happy-go-lucky show" featuring Gretchen and their two children. Instead, "Breaking Bonaduce," the latest look at the former child star, who played Danny on "The Partridge Family" (1970-74), became a chronicle of another downward spiral. And in the upside-down logic of the star, that was just fine. At one point during the period the show was being taped, Mr. Bonaduce recalled, he had been locked up for 72 hours in a psych ward after a drug-induced freakout. "When my wife came [alone] to pick me up, I said, 'Where's the crew? Of course I want the cameras here!'" he told his wife. VH1 threatened to stop production as Mr. Bonaduce's behavior became increasingly self-destructive, but he insisted the show go on. "I was literally spinning out of control," he said, "and it was a bad call [by VH1]. ... Any network worth their salt would want to be there." He attributed the show's change in tone to his "chemical composition" and on-camera therapy sessions. "The doctor was prodding and poking around my life," he said. "I explained to him in no uncertain terms that I didn't like that. It got ugly and it stayed ugly." Future episodes show him in emotional collapse, taking steroids and boozing. Before the show aired, Mr. Bonaduce agreed with VH1 to enter rehab. He's currently sober. -Natalie Finn


Two of the latest stars on Broadway are Larry Aidem, president and CEO of the Sundance Channel, and Shelly Good-Cook, director of membership marketing at CTAM. Both performed on stage, in the Tony Award-winning musical-comedy "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" on Sept. 13, during a performance that was a fund raiser for Cable Positive. "Spelling Bee" chooses audience members to participate in each show. Mr. Aidem was approaching center stage to spell a word when it was announced, good-humoredly, that he does impressions of Kevin Kline. Mr. Aidem, who bears a passing resemblance to Mr. Kline, then proceeded to blow the spelling of his word. Ms. Good-Cook had better luck. As she was getting up to spell her name, she was announced as having recently come in second in a regional spelling bee that was won by a contestant named "Great-Cook." And she did spell her word, "jihad," correctly. -Chuck Ross

Getting Connected

It was a panel on the influence of women in cable TV, but some revelations at last week's Women In Cable & Telecommunications Executive Women's Luncheon in New York got very personal. Betty Cohen, named president and CEO of Lifetime earlier this year, lamented that her husband still lives in another city and won't join her permanently in New York until the end of the year. Brooke Johnson, president of Food Network, said, "Being a working mother is living with guilt." Lynne Costantini, senior VP of programming for Time Warner Cable, said she and her husband thought they could do "the Superman thing"-have a two-career family and kids-but it was impossible. She now rushes from the office to take her kids to games or lessons while returning e-mails on her BlackBerry as she waits at traffic lights. She also uses connectivity to stay in touch with her family: "I'm starting to have conference calls with my kids." Holly Leff, exec VP and general manager of television and on-demand for Nielsen Entertainment, said that on the same day she started her job a year ago, she learned she had breast cancer. During the early months of her treatments, she often worked from home: "Having the ability to work remotely … allowed me to survive the whole ordeal." -Alex Ben Block