Open Mic

A Drama Series Re-emerges to Energize and Delight. Discovering a Remarkably Talented TV Writer — And Most Likely You’ve Never Heard of Him. Robert Duvall in a Long Forgotten Part That Must Be Seen

For the better part of the past several weeks I have been binge-watching four seasons of a TV show that has recently become available on DVD. And in a year that has brought such pleasures as the last season of…

Dec 31, 2013

Johnny Carson, the Grinch, and ‘Fear of Flying’

It was 2 a.m. one night in 1970 and Johnny Carson, 45, was on the phone, clearly drunk, slurring his words. Carson was at the watering hole Sinatra had made famous — Jilly’s in New York. The person he called…

Dec 23, 2013

Why Sports Is Must-See TV — Especially in the Digital Era

February 2014 will be a massive month for sports on television — with Super Bowl XLVIII slated for Feb. 2 on Fox and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, opening five days later with wall-to-wall coverage running through…

Dec 23, 2013

Jimmy Smits Opens Up About ‘Sons of Anarchy’ … and Being Kept ‘Off Kilter’ by Show Creator Kurt Sutter

It’s been 27 years since Jimmy Smits burst onto the scene as one of television’s most memorable characters, attorney Victor Sifuentes on “LA Law.” In many of his award-winning roles, including those on “The West Wing,” “NYPD Blue” and “Dexter,”…

Dec 10, 2013

If Only NBC Had the Guts Carrie Underwood Has

As predicted by just about everyone on the planet, Carrie Underwood sang beautifully on last night’s live version of NBC’s “The Sound of Music,” in a production that was torpedoed and sunk by her lack of acting experience. To call…

Dec 6, 2013

Jeff Zucker: The Blurring of Fact and Fiction

Reading CNN President Jeff Zucker’s comments yesterday about the future of CNN, I was struck in particular by one paragraph. Here it is, quoted from CapitalNewYork: “The 48-year-old Zucker initially faced internal resistance to his experiments beyond the realm of…

Dec 5, 2013

Dan Rather, JFK, Edward R. Murrow and the Business of TV News, Part 3: Is a Dream a Lie If It Don’t Come True or Is It Something Worse?

[Today's entry is the final part of our series that we began last Friday. It ends as it began, with Dan Rather. We started our longish -- yet still abbreviated -- journey through the history of CBS News with documentaries...

Nov 26, 2013

Dan Rather, JFK, Edward R. Murrow and the Business of TV News, Part 2: Is a Dream a Lie If It Don’t Come True, or Is It Something Worse?

[In part 1 of this piece, posted last Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, we spoke about the bad blood that continues between Dan Rather and CBS News. This led into a discussion about the sometimes very contentious relationship between CBS corporate...

Nov 25, 2013

Dan Rather, JFK, Edward R. Murrow and the Business of TV News, Part 1: Is a Dream a Lie If It Don’t Come True or Is It Something Worse?

Dan Rather is still clearly upset that he was fired from CBS News after working there for 44 years, and there remains bad blood between him and the network. Most recently he’s pissed that CBS didn’t mention him in the…

Nov 22, 2013

A Conversation With Daytime TV Powerhouse Queen Latifah

Just two months out of the gate and in the midst of her first November sweeps, Queen Latifah is more than holding her own with her eponymous syndicated daytime talker. It’s a competitive landscape with rivals including Bethenny Frankel, Ellen…

Nov 19, 2013