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TelevisionWeek is teaming up with TV industry veteran Marianne Paskowski. The blog will give Marianne a forum to convey her deep knowledge of the industry and pass along some of the juicy morsels she's hearing on the grapevine. Marianne has covered the TV industry from the inside out and top to bottom, and TVWeek's readers are bound to benefit from her sharp eyes, ears and wit. TVWeek.com invites readers to jump online, chime in and pick Marianne's brain on the latest industry news.

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May 2007 Archives

Filling Rosie's Big Shoes on 'The View'

May 31, 2007 3:24 PM

I’m wondering if Vegas oddsmakers are now taking bets on who ABC’s Barbara Walters and producers of “The View” will hire to replace Rosie O’Donnell who recently said adios to the popular morning talk show.

Personally, I won’t miss Rosie at all, finding her abrasive and a limelight grabber. There are some interesting names out there already. Roseanne Barr, who has publicly said she wants the gig, is the horse I’m betting on today. She’s funny, versatile has excellent timing and could do this job with one hand tied behind her back.

Other names that are being tossed around are Whoopi Goldberg and Bette Midler. Love them both, and it could be interesting to see either in the role. So let’s all give Barbara Walters our two cents worth and tell her whom we want to see in Rosie’s old perch.

Where's 'The Donald' Going?

May 25, 2007 4:03 PM

With the fate of Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice” still up in the air because NBC did not announce its return this fall, you wonder what’s really going on here.

For starters, “The Donald” is still under contract with the Peacock net, even though he issued a statement saying that he is moving away from “The Apprentice,” to a major, new TV venture, which he declined to mention. There’s been some idle speculation that he’s in talks with News Corp about creating a show for its new cable net the Fox Business Channel which launches this fall.

That my friends, is not going to happen. Why would the ego-driven Trump hook up with a new cable net which does not have full distribution, and one that will be competing with the more established CNBC? Even CNBC struggles with its primetime ratings, but at least has some star power like Suzie Orman.

It also sounds like Fox is going to launch its new biz channel on a shoestring. So this is hardly the showcase for such a showman. Meanwhile, NBC for its part, has a June 1 deadline to decide if the “Apprentice” will enter its 7th season. Sure sounds like a lot of saber-rattling to me, as the two parties feud over control and bucks.

So I’m betting Trump will return for another season of “Apprentice.” How about you?

'24' Loses Water Cooler Edge

May 23, 2007 5:09 PM

Not surprised to see that the finale for Fox’s “24” scored only a 3.8 rating in Nielsen’s overnight markets, compared to last year’s 5.5 rating . That’s quite a steep drop—31 percent—for the once red-hot counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer.

This past season, I didn’t pre-record or watch it live once, because I know that come December, I could buy the whole year’s worth of episodes, if I feel like it, for fifty bucks and save myself a lot of grief. Given the nature of the plot—miss one episode, and you’re hopelessly lost—the best way to view the series is to just OD on it, like a binge drinker, and watch all episodes, back-to-back on a rainy weekend, and then just forget about it for a year. And I know a lot of people who watch “24” the same way.

So, I haven’t seen one single episode of the ’07 season, and could care less, and don’t know if it’s better or worse than last season. And oddly, I didn’t think about it for a nano-second this year given the total lack of buzz. It’s water cooler status is on the ebb. I was only reminded of its existence and my former, intense addiction to it, when I read how badly its season ender fared. That’s not good for the show’s future, when the addicts are walking away.

So does ‘24” still have legs, given the nature of the ongoing and complex story line? I’m starting to wonder. Having said that, Fox, just before the season’s finale, announced that it would renew the show for another two years. I guess I found my 12-step cure to my addiction to “24,” and it looks like others have, too.

So weigh in, Jack needs our help.

'Zorro' Prepping for Discovery Sale?

May 18, 2007 3:27 PM

Consider myself among the folks who are asking that question as “Zorro,” my new name for Discovery Communications’ chieftan David Zaslav continues to swashbuckle his way through the company, this time announcing that come fall, it will close down its 103 retail units, leaving another 1,000 employees out of work. That’s long overdue because the stores are more like mini-museums rather than true retail outlets, and are money losers, located in high-end malls and pricey locales like New York City’s Grand Central Station.

The news about walking away from retail, however, does come on the heals of earlier cost cutting at Discovery, as “Zorro” laid off 200 employees, and insiders and outsiders alike, say they expect to see more “Marks of the Z,” if you will, sometime in June.

On top of that Discovery had just sold its 25 percent stake in The Travel Channel to Cox Communications, suggesting the company is trying to make the bottom line more attractive to would-be-buyers. To Wall Street, all of that activity signals that Discovery might be for sale in the not too distant future.

So what media biggie would make for a good fit? Let’s hear from the oddsmakers out there. Disney could be a nice fit, given its family-friendly orientation.

A&E's 'Confessions of a Matchmaker'

May 14, 2007 3:57 PM

The cable nets are just beginning to hype their new, original summer shows. A standout is A&E’s “Confessions of a Matchmaker,” a reality-based show which airs June 16. Why? Well we all know people who have gone to dating services, online or in person, but are too embarrassed to fess up. And for good reason. I have a friend who joined an online dating service and wound up with a druggie, who she actually had to get a restraining order slapped on to keep him away from her and her child, after changing the locks, phone numbers and email accounts. Bad scene.

But this reality show’s host Patti Novak, owner of Buffalo Niagara Introductions, a matchmaking service based in Buffalo, N.Y., gets results from her tough love methods. She told me her goal is to take the stigma out of matchmaking, which is now a regulated industry.

In one episode, a 41- year old, successful and attractive male who is a virgin had absolutely no idea he was gay until he hooked up with Novak, who finally got him into a gender appropriate relationship. But not all of Novak’s matches work, which makes this show so real, and Novak will tell you why. In another segment, Novak preps a young, overly made up, tanning-parlor-crazed woman to tone it down and stay out of the nuke booth for at least one week. Of course the airhead didn’t listen and it was fun to watch her mortified date run for the hills.

I recommend “Confessions of a Matchmaker” to all of my single friends. And if you’re really serious, a relo might be in your cards. Buffalo, per capita, is one of the cities with the highest population of single people. Who knew?