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.



August 2008 Archives

'Gossip Girl' Chucks DVD Screener

August 26, 2008 5:03 PM

If you’ve been holding your breath all summer for season two of “Gossip Girl,” it’s almost here. The new season premieres next Monday, but The Daily Blink got a sneak peek of the first three episodes from the much-hyped show’s return.

Gossip GirlWhile there were definite OMG moments, the biggest delight came when The Daily Blink saw the cover of the DVD screener, which features a perfectly leering Chuck.

Don’t even get the Daily Blink started on all the twisted sexual connotations of that image. Wholesome as cherry pie? Not so much, as you probably already know from the sex-filled promos and scandalous billboards.

Despite (because of?) the Parents Television Council's protests, we’re betting that the kids are going to take Chuck’s cherry pie bait right out of his palm. The Daily Blink sure did, popping in the DVD the second it got home and watching all three episodes in one sitting. At the end, the Blink slipped the disc back into the package and looked at the question on the DVD cover.

“ready4more?” (Capitalizing and writing out words is far too exhausting.)

Yes, please.

Check out the first five minutes of season 2 behind the cut to find out what had the Daily Blink salivating for cherry pie.

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ABC Goes Retro for ‘Life on Mars’ Promos

August 26, 2008 11:27 AM

If you’re looking for some far-out retro promos, ABC is the place to be.

Life On Mars Retro Promo

The Alphabet network is reviving the look, the feel—even the sound—of its 1973 on-air brand in order to promote its upcoming time-travel cop show “Life on Mars.” First up: A 30-second promo that uses the “Mod Squad” theme and a vintage ABC meatball logo to get viewers in the mood for some retro crime-solving.

“The premise of the show is about a guy who wakes up and thinks he’s in 1973, and as Marla (Provencio) and I were brainstorming, we thought, ‘If we were to cut a promo in 1973, what would it look like?’,” said Mike Benson, who heads ABC marketing and promotion alongside Ms. Provencio.

Check out the promo after the cut.

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‘Idol’s’ New Judge Speaks Up

August 25, 2008 3:15 PM

Kara DioGuardi

New “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi is interested in speaking her mind in her upcoming position, but she had nothing but praise for her new “Idol” partners, including her former songwriting partner Paula Abdul.

“I’ve always had a great relationship with Paula,” Ms. DioGuardi said, speaking with reporters via conference call today. “I can’t imagine her not being happy [with Ms. DioGuardi’s judge position].”

Ms. DioGuardi is no newcomer to “Idol” or to music. She is a veteran songwriter who has worked with several former “Idol” winners, as well as penning multiple musical hits, such as Kylie Minogue’s “Spinning Around” with Ms. Abdul. She also appeared as a judge on ABC’s short-lived “Idol” knockoff, “The One: Making a Music Star,” in 2006, which Ms. DioGuardi said made her more experienced and television-ready.

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9-0-2.0: Malibu Beach Party

August 25, 2008 3:03 PM

Got the press release last week describing a party on the beach in Malibu to celebrate The CW’s revamp of “Beverly Hills, 90210." Umm, hello? The Daily Blink was so there to take in the sights, sounds and gossip on Saturday night. And to see just how one “lives by the code.”

90210 Premiere Party

The Daily Blink, with photographer in tow, descended on the picture-perfect town of Malibu to be shuttled over to a patch of sand and rock just off Pacific Coast Highway. This random lot—usually filled with trash and boulders, surfers parked and changing into their wetsuits, waves crashing—had been transformed into a magical Hollywood wonderland for one night, to celebrate The CW’s latest effort to capture those elusive teen viewers.

The impressive show CW put on, coupled with all the recent buzz surrounding the new “90210,” got the Daily Blink thinking back to the original series premiered in 1990. The Daily Blink was just starting seventh grade—junior high! “90210” was the big show that season and Fox made sure we all knew about it. The network handed out “90210” posters and book covers at school (so we could plaster our textbooks with the cast members’ faces) as the Daily Blink discovered the world of high school along with the characters on the show. The revival makes us look back on the series with a fond nostalgia, which is exactly what The CW is banking its future on. Without a doubt, there’s a lot riding on this series.

And let’s get this question out of the way: Absolutely no footage, other than the promos we’ve been seeing online, was screened at this event. Saturday night was all about spectacle and flash.

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Making Amends

August 24, 2008 8:55 PM

Zoila Chavez

Viewers of Bravo’s “Flipping Out” know that its star, stressed-out perfectionist Jeff Lewis, who buys, fixes up and resells houses for a living, is not an easy boss—in fact, the entire series is pretty much built around how outrageously trying he can be. During the season just ended, in a misguided attempt to express gratitude, he gave his long-suffering housekeeper, Zoila Chavez, a rather harshly rendered portrait of herself in a maid’s uniform—apparently the last thing in the world she wanted (and who can blame her?). But annoying though he may be, Mr. Lewis’ heart turns out to be in the right place: As the season ended, he decided to make it up to Ms. Chavez by having the network auction off the painting, promising her whatever sum it fetched. Unbelievably, the monstrosity last week pulled in a winning bid of more than $10,000 on Bravo.com—a handsome bonus for Ms. Chavez and a masterful bit of situation flipping for Mr. Lewis.

—Tom Gilbert

No Regrets

August 24, 2008 8:54 PM

Attack of the Show

G4’s “Attack of the Show” tackles subjects such as video games, television and nerd culture. But during a recent set visit, it nearly took on the censors. “AOTS” films live daily at the Comcast Studios in Los Angeles, and while it may sound to viewers like there’s a rambunctious studio audience, it’s simply staffers and crew behind the scenes reacting to hosts Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn. At this particular show, during a pre-taped segment entitled “In Your Pants” that addressed sexual issues, sex columnist Anna David gave Ms. Munn a curt answer. Ms. Munn, watching the tape in the studio, jokingly yelled out “That [c-word]!”—an epithet people tend to severely frown upon—even though an “AOTS” director had announced seconds beforehand that the mics were hot in order to add laughter and applause to the segment. Ms. Munn’s salty language, which was met with some red faces and embarrassed titters, luckily didn’t make it to air. Ms. Munn, however, remained nonchalant about the potential gaffe—not a surprise coming from the same person who, when sarcastically asked about the romantic tension between herself and Mr. Pereira, told a room full of stony-faced critics at the Television Critics Association in July: “Well, he already put it in my ass.” “AOTS” airs weekdays at 7 p.m. on G4.

—Andrew Krukowski

Revision3 a Winner

August 24, 2008 8:53 PM

Revision3 took the cake in TelevisionWeek’s online poll to determine which Web-video studio is most likely to create the first Internet megahit (if a self-selected, Web-savvy population of Internet video enthusiasts voting compulsively constitutes a valid polling population, anyway). But Blink will temporarily banish its skepticism and embrace Revision3 as a true champion that pulled in 63% of the 700 votes received through Aug. 22. The studios “Internet Superstar” and “Diggnation” drew the attention of voters, who put MTV Networks vet Herb Scannell’s Next New Networks in second place with 16% of the votes.

—Greg Baumann

To Promote ‘90210,’ The CW Plans a Real Labor Day Treat

August 24, 2008 8:50 PM

90210 Ice Cream Truck

The CW has come up with a “90210” marketing idea that’s as chilly as the on-set stares between Shannen Doherty and Jennie Garth.

To promote its already much-hyped ZIP Code revival, The CW will give away 100,000 ice cream novelties over the Labor Day weekend. The network has hired ice cream trucks to drive around waterfront locations in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago to distribute the tasty treats.

“The trucks will be decked out in ‘90210’ key art, and they’ll be playing the ‘90210’ theme song,” said Rick Haskins, chief of marketing for The CW. He didn’t have specifics on the exact varieties of the frozen confections, but did hint that there would be popsicles and something in the chocolate family.

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Boning Up on the 'Bro Code'

August 22, 2008 2:41 PM

The Bro Code

Want to know how to live by the Bro Code? “How I Met Your Mother’s” Barney Stinson will teach you the way in “The Bro Code,” a rule book for male friends featuring pearls of wisdom such as:

—“Regardless of veracity, a Bro never admits familiarity with a Broadway show or musical.” (Broken many times over by Barney’s portrayer, Neil Patrick Harris, and, in equal measure, Jason Segal.)

—“Bros before hos.” (Broken by Barney himself last season.)

The book, due out Oct. 14, will be written in the voice of Barney by show writer Matt Kuhn (of the infamous “Slapsgiving”), who also writes Barney’s Blog for CBS’ Web site. If you’re looking for old blog entries, such as the Daily Blink’s personal favorite, “Twenty-Four Ways in Which Women Are Like Fish” (“both attracted to shiny objects”), CBS has taken them down, but this site has helpfully archived “The Bro-Nicles of Barnia.”

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‘Today’ Soaking It All in in Beijing

August 20, 2008 2:39 PM

It was a classic “Today” show moment Wednesday morning (Wednesday night Beijing time), when Meredith Vieira and Ann Curry chose not to flee the fountains that cranked up not quite when expected.


SPLASH ZONE "Today" anchors Meredith Vieira and Ann Curry get soaked by fountains.

Instead, they frolicked like kids with a garden hose in the backyard and tried, more or less successfully, to get the always fastidious Matt Lauer and comic relief Al Roker to go with the water flow as well.

A couple of hours later, talking to a reporter back in the States, “Today” executive producer Jim Bell comfortably conceded, “We may have gotten a little carried away there, but fortunately we recovered in time, because we still had two hours of show left.”

That meant finishing the shift in wet hair and clothes for Ms. Vieira and Ms. Curry, who also kicked off her soggy shoes and worked barefoot.

“We’re going to take up a collection and head over to the Silk Market tomorrow and see if we can’t find her a similar pair,” Mr. Bell said. “You can tell we’re getting a little loopy with the hours and being on at night. We’re clearly having a lot of fun here. The Olympics have been just a magical event this time around for everybody.”

The icing on the magical cake: Preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research indicates “Today’s” Beijing sojourn has paid off with leads of 2.5 million viewers or more over ABC’s “Good Morning America.” That’s the NBC morning show’s biggest lead in at least eight years over its closest competitor.

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‘90210’ Stays Secret: No Screeners

August 18, 2008 1:21 PM

What happens in the 90210 will stay in the 90210…at least until 9.02.

That’s the word from the CW, which Monday put out a statement declaring that it would not be sending critics advance screeners of the two-hour premiere of “90210,” its new spinoff of Fox’s 1990s hit “Beverly Hills, 90210.”

“The CW and our studio partner CBS Paramount Network Television have made the strategic marketing decision not to screen ‘90210’ for any media in advance of its premiere,” the statement read. “We're not hiding anything . . . simply keeping a lid on 90210 until 9.02, riding the curiosity and anticipation into premiere night, and letting all our constituents see it at the same time.”


HARMLESS PDA "90210's" Ethan (Dustin Milligan) and Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) share a smooch in a crowded hall.

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Zucker Can Take Whatever Critics Dish Out

August 13, 2008 6:15 PM

Jeff Zucker

If Jeff Zucker has any regrets about Jay Leno’s likely departure from NBC, he’s not letting on.

In an interview with Portfolio magazine, the NBC Universal president and CEO said agreeing to make Conan O’Brien the host of “The Tonight Show” was a decision that had to be made.

“You have to make these calls,” Mr. Zucker told the magazine. “You’d rather make these calls a little too soon than a little too late.”

While NBC Universal had taken plenty of media heat over the NBC broadcast network’s continued fourth-place status, Portfolio serves up a rather upbeat profile of Mr. Zucker, painting him as a forward-thinking executive trying to reinvent the TV business.

The magazine acknowledges that much of Hollywood remains skeptical, particularly of NBC’s announcement that it was dramatically cutting back the number of pilots it producers.

“There’s a lot of mansions built in these hills on the old ways of doing business, and they would like to perpetuate that,” Mr. Zucker said. “I think they find this very threatening.”

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We’re With the Band

August 12, 2008 12:05 PM

Band From TV Most actors seem to also sing out of a burning desire to be media hyphenates. The actors in Band From TV sing for a good cause.

“Heroes” star Greg Grunberg started the band to raise money for epilepsy research, inviting his fellow actors to play and sing with the band for their own charities.

Last Saturday, band members Grunberg (drums), “Desperate Housewives’” James Denton (guitar, vocals and a mean harmonica), “The Bachelor’s” Bob Guiney (vocals) and “House’s” Jesse Spencer (electric “sexy violin”) headlined a free Netflix Live! on Location concert and screening of some classic TV series on DVD outside the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. Nice idea having the event outside, but the hay-like shavings on the ground and persistent bugs aren’t really what you think of when you hear “Pine Meadows Lawn.” There should be at least some grass involved.

But the Daily Blink will forgive the blunder because it was all for a good cause, with Netflix donating money to each actor’s charity. Plus, the Band put on a infectiously fun performance with the help of some special guests.

Half the “Heroes” cast must have been working overtime because the other half was rockin’ with Grunberg. Hayden Panettiere introduced the band and Milo Ventimiglia snuck onstage to snap pictures. His onscreen brother, Adrian Pasdar, spent the night on-stage playing guitar in his too-cool-for-school sunglasses.

Check out video from the concert after the cut.

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To School With 'Seinfeld'

August 10, 2008 9:00 PM

Seinfeld College Tour Bus

“Seinfeld” is going to college this summer—lots and lots of times.

Syndicator Sony Pictures Television is dispatching a 60-foot-long, biodiesel-fueled “Seinfeld” bus Tuesday from Atlanta to embark on a 26-city, 10,000-mile interactive “‘Seinfeld’ Campus Tour” designed to more closely involve students with the iconic off-NBC show that most of them grew up with.

At each stop, visitors can enter the bus and visit a replica of the diner from the show; order from Kramer’s Yogurt Bar; watch video of the series’ most memorable moments; and see original costumes, one of the show’s Emmy statuettes and an original script with writers’ notes.

Outside the parked bus, Sony will erect a 1,700-square-foot compound of tented kiosks offering classic carnival games with a Seinfeldian twist, including a Marine Biologist Hole-in-One putting game and a Frisbee competition called Monk’s Diner Plate Toss.

Tom Gilbert

The ABCs of Putting Celebrities on the Soap Box

August 10, 2008 9:00 PM

ABC Daytime Campaign

Like the late entrepreneur Victor Kiam, who told TV commercial watchers in the ’80s that he liked Remington shavers so much he bought the company, Vincent Pastore liked “General Hospital” so much after taping a promo spot for the ABC Daytime drama that he wanted to join the cast&mdash:at least temporarily.

That was an offer ABC couldn’t refuse.

So Mr. Pastore will begin taping a one-week stint in September, playing the visiting father of mob man Max (Derk Cheetwood), a role that’s not much of a stretch given that Mr. Pastore’s mobbed-up “Sopranos” character, Big Pussy, was dispatched to sleep with the fishes after he turned government informant.

No other such guest stints have been reported with the remaining eight unlikely celebs who star in the promo campaign&mdash:ABC Daytime’s biggest in at least six years—which began rolling out last week on ABC and SoapNet and continues into September.

The spots—available for viewing below—are real attention-getters, whether it’s Mr. Pastore delivering talking points on family, loyalty, honor and vengeance or tattooed freestyle motocross “godfather” Mike Metzger talking about the high he gets from the action on “One Life to Live, “All My Children” and “GH.”

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'90210' Campaign: Behind the Hype

August 7, 2008 5:20 PM

The CW’s just-launched on-air advertising campaign for “90210” spares no adjectives in selling the show.

In a promo subtlely called “Believe the Hype,” an announcer refers to the original “Beverly Hills, 90210” as a “show that defined a generation.” The new version? “The most anticipated premiere of the season!” (Actually, given the lack of buzz around this fall’s crop of freshman series, that claim might not be so far off.)

Given that The CW still hasn’t sent out screeners of the two-hour premiere, Blink watched the promo for you. So what can be gleaned from the 30-second ad? You’d be amazed.

—Two male characters get into a shoving match in a parking lot. Rich kids are such rebels!

—A young couple are seen in the beginning throes of passion.

—Annie (Shenae Grimes) whines about life in the Zip. “I’m in this new place where I don’t know anybody! Nobody acts like they do back home!” she says.

—Two characters dance as if they’re about to make love in this club (In this club. In this club.).

—There’s a football game. And Mean Girls walking the halls in a pack.

—Kelly sighting! “You know what these people in Beverly Hills are like,” says a still-sexy Jennie Garth.

—Two people make out in a car.

—And the character who’s not Brandon (Tristan Wilds) floats on a pool raft and says, “Everything’s going to be all right.”

The new “90210” premieres Sept. 2. Or, as The CW puts it, 9.02.

—Josef Adalian

Cookin’ With the NFL

August 1, 2008 2:57 PM

Sunday Night Football Cookbook

Sports fans lookin’ for some new takes on grub soon will be able to tap into the palates of some of the country’s best eaters and feel good about themselves while chowing down on ribs. NBC is set to release “The Sunday Night Football Cookbook” featuring recipes from former NFL players such as Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber, as well as broadcaster John Madden and famous chefs from each of the NFL’s 31 cities, including Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse. All NBC’s profits from the book will go to Feeding America, a nonprofit agency that supplies food for the country’s impoverished through donations to food banks. In addition, Time Inc. Home Entertainment will contribute a portion to the charity. NBC Sports, TIHE and NBC Universal all are committed to at least $5 million in media value toward pushing the book, which was slated to be announced at the pre-season “Hall of Fame” game over the weekend. The book, which features 150 recipes, will be available at bookstores beginning Sept. 2 for $27.95.

—Chris Pursell