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.



Ebert on Recovery, Roeper on Guests

October 16, 2006 12:00 AM

In a column on his Web site and in the Chicago Sun-Times last week, film critic and "Ebert & Roeper" co-host Roger Ebert wrote that due to his battle with salivary gland cancer, he won't be back to full speed "until sometime early next year." The column discussed his prognosis, his supportive friends and family and what it has been like to pull back from his famously busy schedule. Richard Roeper wrote in an e-mail to TelevisionWeek that dealing with "Ebert" guest hosts while Mr. Ebert recovers is "kind of like playing shortstop and having a different second baseman in the lineup every week." With no permanent guest host named, Mr. Roeper wrote, the show will continue "to bring in new and interesting voices" (such as Jay Leno, Kevin Smith and Aisha Tyler) but with an eye toward Mr. Ebert's homecoming. "We're keeping the show afloat," Mr. Roeper said, "but I can't wait for the day when Roger returns." - Christopher Lisotta

Busy in the Bungalow

Dick Robertson has been busy on Memory Lane since he stepped down in August as president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. The legendary syndication executive, now in a producing/consulting deal with Warner Bros., moved into a bungalow on the Warner Bros. lot, which he festooned with TV memorabilia from over the years. He and his longtime executive assistant Barbara Tuuri co-hosted an "open bungalow" barbecue Oct. 6 to welcome old Warner Bros. pals to his new professional home. While settling in and researching the building's history, Mr. Robertson has been developing two history-based long-form projects, an animation project and a Warner's Internet initiative. Perhaps his most dear project: Preparing a bid for WTKR-TV in his hometown of Norfolk, Va., where his father was a broadcaster and his own firstgrade class once appeared on-air. The New York Times Co. said last month it is putting the station, along with the eight others it owns, on the block (TelevisionWeek, Sept. 18). LIN, CBS and Sinclair all own stations in the market, No. 42 in the country. Mr. Robertson may be up against those companies, which could create duopolies, as well as suitors willing to buy the station group as a whole. He is putting together an investor group. There is "maybe a one in a million we'd be able to get it," he said. But don't count him out. Mr. Robertson, who has sold billions of dollars' worth of TV shows, is known to underpromise and overdeliver. "I'm back to being the entrepreneur," he said. -Melissa Grego

`Runway' Chatter

"Angela needs to stay down home on the farm and grow roses, not sew them." That's according to "Robin," a "Project Runway" viewer who submitted her thoughts on the show to Bravo. Such sentiments will soon be featured on the show, scrolling across the new ticker that the network is slapping up for Tuesday's seven-hour "Runway" marathon in advance of the season finale the following evening. Since "Runway" viewers are a notoriously vocal bunch, sounding off on various online message boards about who should or shouldn't be booted off the show, the network is giving them a chance to submit their 2 cents online or via text message, to be posted on the ticker during the marathon. "People will be able to comment on what they see on the air. We can tie it exactly to content that's going on in the episode," said Lisa Hsia, senior VP of new media for Bravo. She said Motorola came on board to exclusively sponsor the ticker and if it's a success, Bravo may use it for other reality shows.-Daisy Whitney

Dreams of Green

They've had championships. They've had Hall of Famers. They've had victory cigars. But the Boston Celtics were the only NBA team without cheerleaders until this season. To mark this moment in history, NBA TV will televise a three-part series, "Dreaming Green: The Making of the Celtics Dancers," beginning Oct. 23. The series follows the five-city search for dancers and their final auditions at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Ledyard, Conn. (Dancers are fine, but if you want to see great legs in Boston, get some old pictures of Larry Bird in those Kelly-green short-shorts.) Meanwhile, NBA TV kicks off a new documentary-style series Tuesday called "The Run" that features NBA stars telling first-person stories about important moments in their lives as basketball players. In the first installment, LeBron James talks about being in the playoffs for the first time last season. Look for Dwyane Wade and Elton Brand in upcoming episodes.-Jon Lafayette