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.



March 2008 Archives

One 'Quarterlife' to Live

March 31, 2008 4:27 PM

The last month or so haven’t been terribly kind to “Quarterlife.” The original Web series from thirtysomething” creators Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick made waves when it was picked up for broadcast by NBC during the writers strike, when the network was strapped for fresh content.

The series was quickly shipped to sister channel Bravo after it imploded on NBC in its first airing on Feb. 26, pulling in record-low ratings for its time slot.

Bravo, in turn, ran the entire seven-episode series on Sunday, March 8, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Read More »

Diary of a ‘Mad’ Evening

March 28, 2008 2:29 PM

AMC’s “Mad Men” may be the first early-’60s-period-piece to hit television since “Happy Days,” but the word “nostalgia” has a distinctly different connotation here.

With the show’s Sodom-and-Gomorrah-on-Madison-Avenue ethos, the pleasures in Ike’s last days run less toward malteds than Martinis, and less toward bubble gum than bloody steaks and unfiltered Lucky Strikes.

The men of the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency make the Fonz seem neutered by comparison. 1960, if the show is to be believed, was a time when men were men, and the secretaries were nervous.

Read More »

The Truth Is Out There at PaleyFest

March 27, 2008 10:31 AM

Though the show they love has lain dormant for six years, fans turned out in droves Wednesday night to the PaleyFest to reanimate “The X-Files.” Like, say, a zombie. Or a golem. Or a giant human liver fluke.

During the clip reel of the nine-season show, “X-Philes” cheered for sci-fi Heathcliff Fox Mulder and savvy strawberry Sno-Cone Dana Scully. Things got especially rowdy in the seats when the two locked lips, a kiss that ended nearly a decade of sexual tension that had become as thick as ectoplasm.

Read More »

Show Us the ‘Dirty Sexy Money’

March 27, 2008 6:11 AM

So you thought “Dirty Sexy Money” was all about shallow, brainless rich people? Think again, Darling.

Series creator Craig Wright has grander ambitions, and he shared them with the audience at Tuesday’s PaleyFest tribute to the ABC series. After a selection of clips from the first season, he described the montage and the show as being about “deeply flawed people who are forced to deal with the ways in which money has contorted or misshapen their consciousness”—highfalutin’ stuff for a series often compared to the prime-time soaps of days gone by.

However, Wright said he “totally” embraces the soap label, calling the show “a ‘Dallas’ or ‘Dynasty’ for the new millennium, with an added dash of the self-awareness that we have in our society at this point.”

He also discussed how he feels “a sociological commitment to use network television as an influence for change” and is trying to transmit “the normalizing influences of diversity,” which is easier thanks to the show’s huge cast.

Read More »

That's Some Vicious Rapping!

March 26, 2008 2:13 PM

Maury Povich’s talk show, now in its 10th season with NBC Universal, has gotten an anthem. “Bring ’em Out,” a rock-rap power song performed by some of “Maury’s” own crew and other musicians, focuses on Mr. Povich’s iconic phrase as the hook.

The band, Vicious DNA, performed the song live on “Maury’s” stage and, through the magic of editing, a music video featuring some of the talk show’s most memorable introductions and reactions has been released. Check out the clip after the jump.

Read More »

Working Out With the ‘Stars’

March 26, 2008 12:14 AM

Credit: Kevin Parry/The Paley Center for MediaIf Friday’s PaleyFest panel is to be believed, “Dancing With the Stars” makes “Celebrity Fit Club” look like a walk in the park.

Celebrities including Jane Seymour and “Stars” judges including Len Goodman fielded questions when dance and Marie-Osmond-fainting enthusiasts alike turned out at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinerama Dome at the Paley Center for Media’s PaleyFest.

The ABC show, in its sixth season, has been a solid hit for the network. Based on the U.K.’s “Strictly Come Dancing,” “Stars” pairs up dancing professionals and Hollywood talent in a ballroom showdown on live television.

But dancing success comes at a price. Ms. Seymour said she pulled all the muscles in her rib cage during her dancing stint in the fifth season, while season-two winner Drew Lachey talked about costume difficulties and the pros and cons of training eight to 10 hours a day.

“You literally eat a pie for breakfast, a cake for lunch and then have a gallon of ice cream for dinner, and you’ll still lose 15 pounds that week,” he said.

Read More »

Adding Up the ‘Damages’

March 25, 2008 3:47 PM

Glenn Close is a killer psychopath.

At least, that’s the opinion of the fans who turned out Monday for the PaleyFest’s tribute to “Damages,” the hyper-Machiavellian legal thriller renewed for both a second and third season last fall by FX.

Moderator Stuart Levine cross-examined the panel on the depravity of Ms. Close (or rather, her character, Patty Hewes) while the audience salivated in the gallery.

Appearing for the defense: Stars Ted Danson, Tate Donovan, Anastasia Griffith, Noah Bean, Zeljko Ivanek and Ms. Close herself, with co-creators/producers Daniel Zelman and brothers Todd and Glenn Kessler.

Mr. Zelman and the Kesslers argued that the show studies the results of very human people—specifically women—gaining near-superhuman power. In the case of “Damages,” these results include blackmail, induced suicide, murder (both attempted and successful) and—a specialty of Ms. Close’s—the execution of a beloved pet.

Read More »

Catching Up on 'Gossip'

March 25, 2008 9:45 AM


Hollywood shined a little younger and brighter Saturday night as the cast and creative team of The CW’s “Gossip Girl” took the stage at PaleyFest. The show, the latest offering in the pretty-rich-white-kids-with-issues genre, is based on the popular teen novels and was created by the same folks who brought us the teen sensation “The OC.”

“Gossip Girl” follows a circle of overprivileged youth on New York’s Upper East Side and how their lives are affected by the rumors published on a popular blog called Gossip Girl. OK, so maybe it’s like “The OC,” but with really expensive clothes and a little more tech savvy.

All of the key actors from the show were at the Arclight Hollywood for the panel discussion, including Blake Lively (Serena van der Woodsen), Leighton Meester (Blair Waldorf), Penn Badgley (Dan Humphrey), Chace Crawford (Nate Archibald), Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass), Kelly Rutherford (Lily van der Woodsen), Matthew Settle (Rufus Humphrey), Taylor Momsen (Jenny Humphrey) and Jessica Szhor (Vanessa Abrams).

Read More »

Toast, Roast, It's All Done With Love

March 24, 2008 3:23 PM

The Paley Center for Media presented "The Comedy World of Judd Apatow and Friends" as part of PaleyFest '08 on March 17 at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

TelevisionWeek caught some highlights from the event, which, as might be expected, ended up being more of a gag reel/roast than a tribute to the writer-producer.

The clip features friends and former co-workers Garry Shandling ("The Larry Sanders Show") and Tom Arnold ("Roseanne") feting Apatow, along with a host of wisecracking others including Andy Dick, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen and Busy Philipps.

— Julieanne Smolinski

WWE Shares the Wealth From Orlando

March 24, 2008 2:13 PM

With all of The Daily Blink’s friends going around the country for the Easter weekend, it’s nice to get packages from their travels.


Why look! It’s a package from our close personal friends, Vince and Linda McMahon! Gosh, they shouldn’t have. Let’s see what they sent us.

Read More »

Little News, Lots of Love at ‘Buffy’ Reunion

March 21, 2008 3:32 PM

Buffy at Paley

Thursday night’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” reunion is definitely the highlight of this year’s Paley Festival. Tickets for the event sold out within two hours of going on sale, and with good reason. Almost all of the major players from the show were in attendance at Hollywood’s Arclight Theater.

The event was the biggest “Buffy” reunion since the show ended in 2003. In attendance at the panel were Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), James Marsters (Spike), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), Seth Green (Oz), Amber Benson (Tara Maclay), executive producers Marti Noxon and David Greenwalt and creator Joss Whedon. Notably missing from the lineup were Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Eliza Dushku (Faith), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles) and David Boreanaz (Angel).

Much of the discussion was about two of the show’s most memorable episodes—season six’s musical “Once More With Feeling” and season five’s “The Body,” where the characters deal with the loss of Buffy’s and Dawn’s mother.

The reunion was as much a chance for the cast to catch up on “Buffy” as it was for fans. Case in point: Ms. Gellar was unaware until recently that Buffy was experimenting with her sexuality in a recent issue of the “Buffy” graphic novel series. (Mr. Whedon last year put season eight of the show in comic book form.)

Read More »

‘Lights’ Still Up in the Air, Katims Says

March 20, 2008 6:26 PM

'FNL' At Paley

Attention, “Friday Night Lights” fans: Your show is still in limbo.

That’s according to “FNL” Executive Producer Jason Katims, who said a rumored deal between DirecTV and NBC to keep the critically acclaimed but low-rated high school football drama on the air has not occurred yet.

“There’s no deal yet for the show, but we remain incredibly optimistic that that’s going to happen and hopefully happen soon,” Mr. Katims said Wednesday at a “FNL” panel during the Paley Festival.

Mr. Katims did tease that DirecTV isn’t the only entity interested in the show, only the most publicized group. But he couldn’t give any definitive answer on when he’ll know about the deal, or how the deal would work.

“I think the answer is going to be pretty soon, and I say that only because I know I have to start breaking stories. I have a feeling that we are two or three weeks away from knowing what’s going to happen,” Mr. Katims said.

Read More »

How Britney Met Your Mother

March 20, 2008 12:18 PM

“How I Met Your Mother,” the critically appreciated CBS show currently in limbo for renewal, is turning to the one sure thing to get hype in the media industry: Britney! The network has released clips from her cameo on the March 24 episode of the show to stir up interest in the program.

She'll be playing a lovelorn receptionist at a dermatologist's office (a psychiatry clinic would be insensitive, we suppose).

Video after the jump...

Read More »

Getting Inside ‘Chuck’s’ Head

March 19, 2008 4:31 PM


The cast and creative team of “Chuck” dropped in for day four of the Paley Festival on Tuesday at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. Almost the entire gang was there, including Zachary Levi, who plays title character Chuck Bartowski, Adam Baldwin (John Casey), Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah Walker) and co-creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak, among others.

Sarah Lancaster, who plays Chuck’s sister, called in sick.

A high-spirited panel moderated by “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof covered topics that ran the gamut from whether “Chuck” was an analogy for World War II to what executive producer McG’s favorite swear word is (it’s the F-word), and who would win in a battle between Voltron and Godzilla.

Joshua Gomez, who plays Morgan Grimes on the show, answered “Godzilla,” a viewpoint Mr. Levi strongly refuted.

“You are so wrong! Voltron! Godzilla can’t split up into five different things! Voltron can come at him from all different angles!” Mr. Levi said.

Read More »

Coffee Talk With Jonah Hill

March 18, 2008 7:05 PM

The 25th annual Paley Fest continued last night in Hollywood. On stage at the Arclight Cinerama Dome: “The Comedy World of Judd Apatow & Friends.”

Apatow revisited some of his comedic classics, including “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Freaks and Geeks.” Not to overlook his recent movie blockbuster notoriety, including last summer’s hit “Knocked Up,” Apatow was joined by Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill.

Besides starring in the teen comedy “Superbad,” Hill is dating Ben Samberg, father to one Andy Samberg of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” At least, that’s what the latest entry in the “I’m sleeping with...” video genre would have us believe.

The clip, which aired during last weekend’s episode hosted by Hill, is in poor taste. I mean, who wants to make out with Hill!? Was Rudd not available!?

For that matter, does anyone else miss Molly Shannon?

— Sergio Ibarra

A Slice of Life With 'Pushing Daisies' at Paley Festival

March 17, 2008 7:29 PM

Pushing Daisies

The Paley Center’s annual television festival got under way Friday in Hollywood and continues with a series of screenings and panel discussion with the casts and creators of some of the hottest shows on TV, including “Friday Night Lights,” “Chuck” and “Gossip Girl.”

On Saturday night, the cast and creators of ABC’s freshman series “Pushing Daisies” took the stage at Hollywood's Cinerama Dome in an hour of cast love and laughs, thanks largely to Chi McBride, who plays private eye Emerson Cod on the show.

Also in attendance were actors Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Kristin Chenoweth and Ellen Greene, along with creator and executive producer Bryan Fuller and executive producers Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks and Peter Ocko. Noticeably absent was Swoosie Kurtz, who was out of town with her sick mother.

“Pushing Daisies” tells the story of a pie maker, Ned (Pace), who discovers at a young age that he has the ability to touch dead beings and bring them back to life. If he touches them again, they go back to being dead forever. And if he brings one back to life for more than a minute, someone (or something) else dies.

It's all about the karma, "Pushing Daisies." Keeping balance in the universe, making up for what you give and take from the world. This show is deep!

As philosophical as the premise could be, there’s also the monetization of Ned’s gift. He teams up with Emerson to solve crimes and collect reward money. Of course, they cheat by having Ned bring back the deceased and asking who killed them.

Things become complicated for Ned when one of the people he brings back to life is Chuck, his childhood sweetheart who lived across the street from him. She was strangled on a cruise, but after Ned brought her back to life, he couldn’t bear to send her back. She stuck around, and the two fell in love, though they can never touch. Imaginary handholding and kissing through plastic wrap ensued, and millions of viewers’ hearts warmed.

And who can blame them? An hour with the cast really does show the chemistry that the actors and producers have on the set and the kind of energy they bring to the program.

Early in the discussion, moderated by E!’s Kristin Dos Santos, the cast shared stories of how they came to be a part of the show. For most, it was a beautiful script that landed in front of them at a time in their lives when they were not looking to be in TV but couldn’t pass it up. McBride was quick to call them out on those statements, sticking to the age-old truth that actors look for “anything that will pay the bills.” His previous work includes roles in “Boston Public” and, more recently, the short-lived “The Nine,” which McBride said was the first show named after its audience. He also did a series called “Killer Instinct,” which he said should have been called “Kill It. It Stinks.”

Sitting next to the large and imposing McBride was the small and infectiously cheerful Chenoweth, loved by fans for bringing her Broadway experience and voice to the show. (She won a Tony for her role as Sally in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”)

Already, her repertoire of characters has quite a camp factor, in the very best way possible, but it’s scenes like this, where she laments being rebuffed by Ned and channels Olivia Newton-John, that Olive really stakes a claim as the unsung hero of the series.

At McBride’s request she gave the audience a taste of her singing voice, warbling ever so nicely ... about McBride’s noise hairs. Greene laughed. Like a donkey.

The show’s first season ended just after nine episodes due to the Writers Guild strike, which the creators said was a blessing for the show’s direction. Fuller and the other executive producers said because of the prolonged break, they were able to step away from the show and look back on the things that worked and what didn’t and plan the story arcs for the characters. The first season established itself as soft and romantic, and Fuller said he hopes season two will be harder.

What exactly is in store for the characters in season two, due back this fall?

The first five episodes have been approved, and Fuller is currently writing the first episode. He said Chuck will find out who her mother is, and Ned will try to help her “control her trajectory.” Olive’s love interest, Alfredo (played by another Broadway veteran, Raul Esparza), will return for some episodes, and he and Olive may sing together on camera. The series also is expected to explore Emerson’s decision to become a private detective after his daughter went missing.

Some of the show’s fans were able to ask questions about things only fans ever really think about. For example, we learn that Ned is in fact a vegetarian on the show, since anything that’s dead would only come back to life after touching him. In terms of the show’s distant future, the idea of Ned and Chuck having a child is up in the air, with concerns that Ned’s sperm would kill Chuck’s egg as soon as they touched. Chuck will also learn that, in being brought back from the death, she will not age.

As for the show’s near future, shooting for season two is expected to begin in June and premiere in September. The first season is slated for a June release on DVD in the U.K. and a September release in the U.S. A show soundtrack album also could be in the works, Fuller said.

— Sergio Ibarra

Updated: Ms. Chenoweth's Tony win. June 5, 12:55 p.m.

Let Them Eat Steak!

March 14, 2008 5:33 PM

You wanna be on top? Of a bunch of cold, raw meat?

Even if they didn’t want to, the ladies of The CW’s "America’s Next Top Model," now in its 10th cycle, had to look happy to be posing in a meat-themed photo shoot this week. The girls had to work their stuff among giant racks of beef and even wear some slabs on their body. It isn’t high fashion unless an animal dies.

Here we have some of the girls who received positive feedback for their pictures. Anya molded her body like a true model and worked with her surroundings.


Meanwhile, Whitney wore meat panties.


And to think, it used to be that the most uncomfortable thing models would get stuck in their underwear was sand.

Then there's Amis, who a-missed the mark while shoving some meat around and was sent home.


While a picture may be worth 1,000 words, the only word Amis suggests is "vegetarian." And Tyra Banks was not having any of that—she likes her meat.

Coming up next week, PETA stages an "America’s Next Top Model" boycott.

Is The Daily Blink the only one who finds it confusing that at the beginning of the last cycle of the show Tyra was all about having a “green” competition, forbidding the girls to smoke and shuttling them around Los Angeles in a smog-friendly bus? That trend didn’t last very long. But then again, no trend in fashion ever does.

Sergio Ibarra

Start Your Engines!

March 13, 2008 4:49 PM

Everyone with an Internet presence nowadays is concerned with a little three-letter acronym: SEO, or search engine optimization.

SEO boosts traffic to a site by convincing Google and other search engines that it’s the most relevant thing to a user’s search, which means that page will show up first during a search.

CBS looks like it’s slowly becoming a master of SEO, because look at what’s the first item returned if you search Google for “shark,” minus images.


Nope, not those sharp-toothed things that live in the ocean, but Mr. James Woods.

If this trend continues, confused and lazy schoolchildren everywhere will be submitting science fair projects about Mr. Woods, or perhaps Johnny Galecki.

Big Bang Theory

These Google shenanigans are nothing new to CBS, as Showtime has been mining search data for relevant ads for a while.

Andrew Krukowski

Where's John Adams?

March 12, 2008 3:54 PM

The Daily Blink, in its perambulations around the Web, keeps stumbling across promotions for HBO's upcoming miniseries "John Adams" in rather unusual places.

First it was at the U.S. Post Office Web site, where the noted letter writer was shilling for the power of the written word. The Daily Blink believes letter writing is a lost art, and most people use stamps only to pay bills and send birthday cards, but if anyone can persuade people otherwise, it is probably the second president of the United States.

John Adams

Today Mr. Adams and his miniseries turned up as the sponsor of the Daily Poll at the Internet Movie Database site. The question: What is your favorite Laura Linney movie of the last decade?

John Adams

Ms. Linney, of course, portrays Abigail Adams, the recipient of so many of those letters, in the HBO miniseries. The Daily Blink feels sure John Adams would vote for either "Man of the Year," with its theme of democracy in action, or "Kinsey," because, well, he was a bit randy himself.

The Daily Blink wonders where this little "Where's Waldo"-esque Web campaign will pop up next. Wig makers and blacksmiths probably don't have much of a Web presence -- maybe the tourist information site for Colonial Williamsburg?

Lisa D. Horowitz

Wrestling With Puberty

March 11, 2008 4:53 PM

It’s official. The Daily Blink has moved on from childhood, and is now a full-fledged young woman.

Well, maybe not, but we did get to see how it happens at the mun2- and WWE-sponsored “Ultimate Quinceañera” on Saturday.

A quinceañera, for those unfamiliar, is similar to a Sweet 16 party, and it’s an important event in Spanish-speaking areas of the world to mark a girl’s 15th birthday.

Mun2 and the WWE held a sweepstakes to throw one girl a quinceañera, and they received more than 10,000 unique entries. Starr, a 15-year-old from Van Nuys, Calif., was the big winner. (She's in the center, surrounded by her family.)

Starr and Family

So what makes this quinceañera an “ultimate” quinceañera?

How about WWE stars Carlito and Melina showing up?

Carlito and Melina

And maybe mun2 personalities Frankie Needles and Yasmin Deliz?

And a performance by Prima J, who had the lead single off the “Bratz: The Motion Picture” soundtrack?

Prima J

All in all, a great night for Starr. But, how does the WWE, a male-skewing organization, fit in with a 15-year-old girl’s birthday party?

“Surprisingly, 40% of our audience is female that watches ‘WWE Raw’ on mun2,” said Lisa Hackett, VP of marketing for mun2.

“We do have a lot of females,” agreed Melissa Seffens, WWE director of network affiliate marketing. “Either because they like the way the guys look or because their fathers watched it or their boyfriends or their brothers. But this was something we did just for the ladies.”

Starr said she watches “Raw.”

We asked the WWE stars at the party, knowing what they know now, what advice they would give to themselves at 15?

Melina said she wouldn’t be able to convince herself to do anything because her 15-year-old self would want to do it on her own.

“I would tell myself, ‘Forget wrestling and try football.’ The schedules are shorter, and it’s not as stressful or hectic. You don’t travel as much. You play, what? Sixteen games a year? I think I would have been good at football, if I would have tried it out,” Carlito said.

Both Carlito and Melina are prepping for Wrestlemania 24 matches, later in the month. Carlito is lined up for a Money in the Bank match, which involves climbing a ladder to grab a briefcase, all while fending off seven other competitors.

“You can’t really prepare for it. Actually, it’s more mental than physical. You have to go out there and realize that you are going to go through a lot of pain, and that you’re going to be hurting the next day,” he said about preparing for the match.

The match was in the news today as the WWE announced the 60-day suspension of Jeff Hardy for a second violation of the company’s substance-abuse and drug-testing policy. Mr. Hardy was scheduled to compete in the match.

Andrew Krukowski

The Perfect Gift for the Person Who Has Everything

March 10, 2008 5:31 PM

Got a tax rebate check burning a hole in your pocket? Instead of being a sap and saving it, why not stimulate the economy by buying massive amounts of pop culture knick-knacks?

For instance, Guernsey’s Auction House is prepping its Pugliese Pop Culture Collection for the block next week.


What well-respected person about town wouldn’t want Batman’s Shakespeare bust? You can set up the button in the neck to fire off a large cannon full of hundred-dollar bills.

The Flying Nun

Sally Field’s “Flying Nun” costume?

Maltese Falcon

Or go for the gusto and buy the Maltese Falcon. A mere estimated bid of $500,000 to $800,000 stands between you and something once held by Humphrey Bogart.

The auction is set to start Saturday, March 15.

Storm Warmings

March 9, 2008 8:51 PM

Weather Channel founder and erstwhile CEO John Coleman thinks his baby has long since jumped the tracks.

The weatherman of more than half a century (who was forced out of TWC in 1983) blasted the channel’s current direction March 3 at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change in New York. Jeff Poor, writing on the conservative-voiced Business & Media Institute Web site (businessandmedia.org), quoted Mr. Coleman—a vehement crusader against “the fraud of global warming”—as calling TWC “an outlet for global warming alarmism.”

“The Weather Channel had great promise, and that’s all gone now because they’ve made every mistake in the book on what they’ve done and how they’ve done it and it’s very sad,” Mr. Coleman was quoted as saying. “It’s now for sale. … Let’s hope the new owners can recapture the vision and stop reporting the traffic, telling us what to think and start giving us useful weather information.”

The report also said Mr. Coleman, now a weathercaster at KUSI-TV in San Diego, was advocating lawsuits against “the people who sell carbon credits. That includes Al Gore.”

— Tom Gilbert

Great Days for Fans

March 9, 2008 8:51 PM

An Example of the MSG Plus Interstitial Today’s relaunch of FSN New York as MSG Plus may or may not be one of the Greatest Days in New York sports history, but the network is proceeding as if it is.

The network is launching a series of one-minute Greatest Days interstitials discussing 50 top sports events of all time, such as Joe Namath’s Super Bowl Guarantee, Mike Tyson knocking out Michael Spinks and the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup after a four-decade drought.

Lydia Murphy-Stephans, MSG Networks’ executive VP for programming and production, said the channel will be looking for choices from New York-area fans by taking cameras to sporting events and asking for submissions on its Web site. The idea is to make the channel a home for the fan.

“We’re encouraging fans to be interactive,” she said.

Some fan suggestions will run on air, others online. The program will culminate later this year with a one-hour roundtable special featuring sports figures and fans discussing the Greatest Days in New York Sports.

Jon Lafayette

Tracking the TV Trends With Google

March 7, 2008 2:06 PM

Google has a lot of fun applications buried deep within its all-knowing exterior. Especially Google Trends, which maps out search trends in this handy-dandy line graph.

Let’s fire up Trends and see what we can find from this year’s television season so far:

Here we have the three most recently famous flash-in-the-pan broadcast shows: Fox’s “Anchorwoman,” CBS’s “Viva Laughlin,” and NBC’s “Quarterlife.”


According to the all-knowing Internet, “Anchorwoman” was the biggest flash. But don’t count out “Quarterlife” just yet. Its NBC days may be over, but Bravo is up to the challenge of showing how twentysomethings deal with crucial problems, like jobs.


Interesting to see the ups and downs of “American Idol” year-to-year, while “Survivor” sits in a steady holding pattern of “Oh, that’s on?”


Supposed fall of Western civilization “Moment of Truth” couldn’t withstand the rumbling blogosphere, filled with early ’90s aficionados clamoring for “American Gladiators.” God forbid NBC’s Ben Silverman greenlights a live-action version of Nickelodeon’s “Doug,” which would grind the Internet itself to a halt.


Speaking of nostalgia, “A Raisin in the Sun” might have stirring family drama, but does it have a talking car? Didn’t think so.

Andrew Krukowski

Not Exactly a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

March 6, 2008 3:41 PM

The FX con-artist dramedy “The Riches” is teaming up with eBay in a confusing, if altruistic, publicity gambit.

Viewers are invited to bid on a prize package that includes $100,000 in cash, with auction proceeds going to Oxfam America, the charity of choice of “Riches” star Minnie Driver. Also included are lunch with Ms. Driver, a season-one DVD box set and an “authentic prop” from the set of the show.

The press release invites bidders to go as high as $5, $10, even $25,000 for “a chance at attaining the American dream, without any of the con-artist consequences,” all “while making a difference.”

So why not just give $100,000 to Oxfam and auction off the swag and the meal with matchstick man manqué Minnie? FX marketing Executive VP Stephanie Gibbons explained that the chance to buy lots of money with lots of money “could be the deal of a lifetime for someone.”

Someone, that is, whose $25,000 bid can be authenticated, and whose “American dream” includes a faux date and a ski mask smeared with Eddie Izzard’s mascara.

The charity auction is featured at www.eBay.com/TheRiches from March 13-23.

— Julieanne Smolinski

It Takes One to Know One

March 5, 2008 4:30 PM

For those of you wishing, “Man, I need to know how former child star Danny Bonaduce feels about current child stars and stage parents,” VH1 has the show for you: “I Know My Kid’s a Star.”

Mr. Bonaduce will evaluate 10 teams of up-and-coming child stars and a stage parent, testing to see if they are ready for Hollywood. The winner receives $50,000 and representation from a noted Hollywood agent.

The dream-squashing festivities kick off March 20.

Because Mr. Bonaduce is involved, we assume the challenges that the kids and parents face will be tailored toward events Mr. Bonaduce has endured while television cameras rolled.

For instance, perhaps a Johnny Fairplay shotput event?

A child star versus child star boxing event?

Of course, if the kids follow Mr. Bonaduce’s example, they will receive the accolades they so rightly deserve, especially from the fine folks over at E!’s “The Soup.”

Andrew Krukowski

‘Project’ Preview

March 4, 2008 4:01 PM

As you may know, tomorrow night is the big “Project Runway” season finale on Bravo. If you didn’t know, fake it, lest the fashionistas and gays smite you for your ignorance.

To catch you up: Last week’s episode concluded with a faceoff between Rami Kashou and Chris March, who both designed full collections in hopes of being selected for the final round. After they had showed just three pieces each, however, Heidi Klum gave March the “auf Wiedersehen,” allowing Kashou to join Christian Siriano and Jillian Lewis in tomorrow night’s final showdown.

Project Runway (Bravo!)
(From left: Siriano, Lewis, Kashou.)

That’s a pretty bare-bones summary. Throw in some drapery, human hair and a couple dozen uses of the word “fierce” and you get a better assessment of what’s going on.

Now that you’re au courant, check out this sneak peek of tomorrow’s episode.

Also, just for kicks, find out why the official fan-favorite contest winner Siriano is so fierce.

— Sergio Ibarra

Can Baby Booties Save 'Las Vegas'?

March 3, 2008 3:13 PM

With campaign season still at its high, the public has been stepping up to fight for their causes. The latest issue igniting fans to seek justice: NBC’s sudden cancellation of “Las Vegas.”

Fans were shocked when they discovered that Feb. 15’s cliffhanger episode, “Three Weddings and a Funeral,” was actually the series finale. Reports broke the following week that NBC would not be renewing the show for a sixth season.

While it’s one thing for fans to begin a campaign to keep a low-rated or unrenewed show on the air, “Las Vegas” fans are fighting to correct a TV sin—the lack of closure and resolution expected from a finale episode.

“Las Vegas” fans have organized a mailing campaign to bombard NBC execs with baby booties—tiny socks to represent the unknown future of Danny (Josh Duhamel) and Delinda’s (Molly Sims) unborn baby. In the final episode, Delinda appeared to be having problems with her pregnancy.

Fan sites are collecting funds and providing information for others to make their contributions for the cause. One site says it has collected more than $1,900 and shipped 1,700-plus baby booties to NBC, telling NBC Entertainment Co-Chair Ben Silverman, “We deserve a real ending to the series we have been loyal to all these years.”

While a full series renewal seems unlikely, a real series finale for fans could be more likely. The CW’s “Girlfriends” ended its run under similar circumstances, but fan reaction may lead to a final goodbye.

Also, “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence has promised fans a concluding episode regardless of how long its current final season runs or where it ends (NBC or ABC?).

Will baby booties be enough to save the Sin City series? We’ll have to wait and see on that one. Had the campaign incorporated Duhamel’s swim trunks, we might have had a better answer.

After all, 95,000 views can’t be wrong, right?

-Sergio Ibarra

Unmarried in the Mob

March 2, 2008 8:51 PM

There aren’t many women in the mob, says Joe Pistone, who should know: He was the real-life “Donnie Brasco,” who infiltrated the Mafia as an FBI agent and now is executive producer of “Wisegal,” a Lifetime movie airing March 15 based on the life of mobstress Patty Montanari.

Mr. Pistone first heard about Ms. Montanari when he was introduced to her son by actor Leo Rossi of the series “Falcone,” also based on Mr. Pistone’s experiences. The son told Mr. Pistone how, as a widowed mother of three, Ms. Montanari got involved with a married Brooklyn capo, Frank Russo. (Mr. Pistone knew of Mr. Russo from his undercover days.) Mr. Russo put her to work and discovered her business savvy, and she became so trusted that she was soon handling hundreds of millions of dollars the Mafia skimmed from the casino business. Ms. Montanari was also quite a looker, Mr. Pistone said.

“At 65, she was a knockout. At 25 she was movie-star gorgeous,” he said—every bit as good looking as Alyssa Milano, who is portraying her in the movie.

After the mob rubbed out her boyfriend’s son—all part of being a wiseguy—Ms. Montanari managed to convince the boss to let her out of the mob, something else that’s rarely accomplished.

“They don’t take on females like this. That’s what makes it a compelling story,” Mr. Pistone said.

— Jon Lafayette

CBS: Mixed Signals

March 2, 2008 8:50 PM

CBS, once known as the Tiffany Network owing to founder William S. Paley’s commitment to high-quality programming, made a pretty clean break with its illustrious heritage last week: It announced a multiyear agreement to televise four two-hour mixed martial arts specials a year in prime time—making it the first of the big broadcast networks to delve into controversial MMA territory (of course, CBS’ corporate cable sibling Showtime has been carrying such events for more than a year).

So what gives? Demos, darling.

As a CBS rep explained, “This is an organized sport with strict rules and guidelines that attracts world-class athletes, young upscale audiences and mainstream advertisers. … CBS is tremendously proud of its heritage, a part of which includes taking chances on programming that many consider controversial but eventually became mainstream, such as ‘Survivor.’”

And then this coda, lest Blink be getting all verklempt about the standards of the good old days: “Mixed martial arts is also somewhat of a ‘back to the future’ programming move, as all or most of the broadcast networks programmed boxing in prime time in the ’50s or ’60s.”

— Tom Gilbert