In Depth

Adalian Column: What Do CNBC Blowhards, Ashton Kutcher and Craig Ferguson Have in Common?

Channeling Larry King once again…

CNBC's Rick Santelli

CNBC's Rick Santelli

Rick Santelli, the CNBC blowhard who moronically lashed out at President Obama’s mortgage rescue plan last week in a much-publicized rant, certainly had every right to speak his mind as he did. And I have every right to never watch CNBC again until the network takes him off the air. … It’s not just that his arguments were idiotic (though they were). It’s not that he was loud and obnoxious (this is the home of Jim Cramer, after all). But if CNBC is going to go down the same politics-masquerading-as-news path as MSNBC and Fox News, then consider me an ex-viewer. … As a friend told me, “CNBC shouldn’t care about red or blue … only green.” …

If I had to choose between a third season for “Chuck” and a fourth year of “Friday Night Lights,” I’d go with “Chuck.” The former is a brilliant show that has zero hope of growing its audience. The latter is stuck in a lousy timeslot on a network that’s (probably correctly) focused on shoring up its big hits rather than nurturing its young ones. … Of course, in a perfect world, NBC never would have ordered extra episodes of “Knight Rider” and “Kath and Kim,” and would have devoted the extra coin to keeping both “FNL” and “Chuck” in production. …

It was superclassy of CBS to issue a press release Friday noting Craig Ferguson’s latest meaningless total-viewer victory over Conan O’Brien. Such a nice way to wish Mr. O’Brien well on his final day as host of “Late Night.” … Despite his handler’s petty chest-thumping, I’m still happy things have worked out for Mr. Ferguson. He’s a genuine talent. … While on the after-hour tip, here’s hoping those in the media who still believe in the myth of the “late-night wars” will calm down and give Jimmy Fallon at least a year to find his groove. …

Craig Ferguson

Craig Ferguson

The numbers for the premiere of Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” were better than some outlets described them. But they weren’t worthy of the promos Fox aired last week declaring the show the network’s “new hit series.” Wishing doesn’t make it so, guys. Nor does the fact that other networks do it, too. … From my Twitter pal A Plus K comes this observation about the season’s first live “American Idol” episode: “Surprised at the production glitches, the clunky blocking with the rents, and funky mix. I bet Mike Darnell was going insane!” He’s totally right (at least about the snafus). … P.S. A Plus K = Ashton Kutcher, whose Tweets are actually pretty interesting. He’s no Wil Wheaton, though. …

Saw Writers Guild of America president Patric Verrone having coffee last week—at a Panera Bakery in Santa Monica. What a difference a year makes! … I’m still not a fan of how the WGA handled its strike, but compared to the folks at SAG? Mr. Verrone is friggin’ Winston Churchill. … Glad to see multicamera pilots are making a comeback this development season. I still wish there were more attempts at family shows with a strong central lead like “Roseanne” or “Home Improvement.” Standup isn’t that dead, is it? … I’m also shocked NBC chose not to move forward with its 1980s-set comedy from Bob Brush and Sony. I didn’t read the script, but somebody is going to get very rich with a half-hour set in another decade. Ask A Plus K about nostalgia and comedy. Or Garry Marshall. …

The blogosphere wasn’t sweet on last week’s episode of “Lost.” Probably because it was the most easy-to-comprehend, emotionally rewarding episode of what’s been an amazing season. … I will be very, very sad when the final episode of “Lost” airs on May 26, 2010. My head won’t hurt as much, but I will be sad. … Ben Grossman of Broadcasting & Cable sent me a link about J.D. Fortune, the winner of “Rock Star: INXS.” He’s been thrown out of the band due to a cocaine habit. So does this mean CBS will finally bring the show back so INXS can find a new lead singer? Or does Marty Casey get to take over now? …

Repeats in February just feel weird. Darn you, digital transition, for messing with my TV calendar! … Speaking of the digital transition, this Oklahoma City TV newspaper editor makes Rick Santelli look like a genius. I mean, you’re really going to use the delay in the DTV switchover date as an excuse to bash the Liberal Washington Elite? Really? Kinda fitting that Oklahoma City seemed to have an unusually high number of confused citizens last Tuesday. … Dot’s all, folks!