Friday, December 30
1. Big Brother 6. The sixth season of CBS’ summertime show started as most seasons begin: slow and tedious. While Julie Chen’s robotics were fun, the theme, a “summer of secrets”, was lame as usual. But soon, an alliance formed, and its members decided they were better than the rest of the people in the house. Thanks to the HOH rules, and to a player named Kaysar, that alliance was quickly shattered, and our summer changed forever. Kaysar screwed up and was evicted twice, the second time after America voted him back in just to spite the alliance. Kaysar may have lit the match, but it was Janelle who carried the torch, standing in for us as she ripped the other alliance (“bye bye, bitches!”). But the most fun was a group of people who were so hate-worthy they even called us “pieces of shit.” That’s interactive TV.
2. The Project shows: Project Runway and Project Greenlight. Let’s face it: The Apprentice isn’t really a demonstration of business skills, and America’s Next Top Model doesn’t really emphasize modeling as much as it emphasizes drama. But on two Bravo shows, talent is truly on display. The cable network’s smash show Project Runway—which debuted in late 2004 and concluded in 2005, and kicked off its second season a few weeks ago—contestants have to demonstrate their skill every week, or else they go home. Better, they’re talented and outspoken, sniping about each other and injecting the show with plenty of drama to make it engaging television. The same is true of the probably-cancelled Project Greenlight, which moved from HBO to Bravo to produce a horror film. When the third season finally debuted last March, the show had the most unlikely reality star at its helm (John Gulager), and he, along with always-entertaining asshole Chris Moore, produced a film that will debut in 2006. The drama came not from artificial situations, but from the real-life struggles of talented people working to produce the best film possible. TV doesn’t get much more real than that.
3. Bravo’s Showdog Moms and Dads. In the middle of the season, a random woman’s dog attacked a random guy in a park. From the driver’s seat of her van, that woman explained in broken English that even she was scared by her vicious dog. She said, “He bite me in my vagina. When I’m walking and he sees other dog, he right away, he jump on my vagina, because he get so crazy!” With peripheral cast members like her, plus an extremely strong, fanatically obsessed group of dog owners, is it any wonder that people watched attentively? The show was easily the best of the Moms and Dads series, and one of the best series of the year.
4. Bobby and Whitney in Being Bobby Brown. After every damn pseudo-celebrity got their own lame-ass show to try to be the next Osbournes, the celebrity reality subgenre appeared to be all but dead, save for the always-dramatic The Surreal Life. Then Bravo gave us Bobby and Whitney in their own series, and they were infinitely fascinating, proof that the subgenre is fine as long as interesting celebs are the focus. Now we just have to hope that Bravo comes up with the cash so there will be a second season. Hell to the yes.
5. The casts of The Amazing Race. It’s time to admit a sad truth: The Amazing Race is no longer the most amazing reality show on television. As the seasons pass, long-time fans can tell that the tension is generally crafted by masterful editors, and even Phil, he-of-the-massive-package, seems a bit bored at times. The show has also turned to gimmicks (the Yield, for example), pandering to audiences in order to increase its ratings. And the eighth “family” season sucked so much that the producers should apologize to the show’s fans. That season was, however, rescued by its often-hysterical cast, from the love-to-hate-them Weavers to the just-love-them Gaghans. And who could forget the Godlewski sisters, the Linzes, or the Paolos? Casting also contributed to the success of the seventh season, which featured heroes/villains Rob and Amber. Casting former reality stars is obnoxious, but the couple did energize the season with their aggressive game play, and love them or hate them, they made the show incredibly entertaining. As long as TAR continues its strong casting, they could have teams race around Epcot’s World Showcase and we wouldn’t really care.
6. Losers are the new winners. If there was a trend this year in reality TV, it was that the losers sometimes win, or at least embrace their loserdom. The most obvious examples came from Big Brother 6 (see above), while The Amazing Race had its share of famous losers (also see above). On Survivor, a show that’s all about competition and strategy, two consecutive seasons saw well-liked survivors take third place in order to atone for their sins (Survivor Palau’s Ian) or just because they were nice people (Survivor Guatemala’s Rafe). Dr. Jeff stole everyone’s hearts on The Biggest Loser 2, while Contender favorite Peter Manfredo, Jr., lost to Sergio, got another chance to prove he wasn’t a loser, and then lost again. And let’s not forget all the metaphoric losers, of which there are so many I can’t even begin to count. As we enter 2006, we can be sure that more losers will come our way. Thankfully.
Thursday, December 29
Bad Girl's Guide, UPN. Jenny McCarthy stars in a comedy that I awarded no stars when it premiered. I predicted failure, but that wasn't difficult. The failure was evident in every frame and lame joke.
Battle of the Network Reality Stars, Bravo. The original "Battle of the Network Stars," from the 1970s, was a blast. This updated version was a bomb because it had no stars. 'Reality Stars' is an oxymoron. And the people gathered here to compete - well, let's just say they made the roommates on "The Surreal Life" look like diners at the Algonquin Round Table.
Britney & Kevin: Chaotic, UPN. Someday, if not already, Britney Spears will look at this personally approved reality series of hers and ask herself what anyone who saw it was wondering: "What sort of white-trash idiot is this?" She may never have the emotional distance or intelligence required, though, to realize that question applies not only to her hanger-on Kevin, but to herself as well.
But Can They Sing?, VH1. No. Morgan Fairchild strutting to "These Boots Are Made for Walking" had a certain train-wreck fascination, but Bai Ling in anything was an attention-starved horror to behold: all costumes, no talent and her wardrobe was even scantier than her vocal range. Bye, Ling.
Intervention, A&E. This series took people in deep emotional pain and at very vulnerable times in their lives, and abused them for the sake of alleged entertainment. Just ask Vanessa Marquez, the "ER" actress profiled and taken advantage of in the pilot. Unforgivably exploitive.
The Law Firm, NBC. What was David E. Kelley thinking in putting his name to this dull, poorly structured, horribly cast reality series? Clearly, he wasn't thinking at all, and was spending all his time on the infinitely superior "Boston Legal." This should have been thrown out of court. Almost immediately, NBC dumped it onto Bravo.
Martha Behind Bars, CBS. How bad was this second Martha Stewart biopic starring Cybill Shepherd? Much worse than the first, which is bad enough. And even worse than either of the real Stewart's two new shows from 2005, which is unthinkable.
The Real Gilligan's Island, TBS. The first edition of this putrid reality-competition series made my Bottom 10 list last year. The 2005 edition was even worse, making it the only show to make the Bottom 10 two years in a row. Quite an achievement: a monument to terrible TV.
Who's Your Daddy?, Fox. When this series premiered, offering a grown adopted woman the chance to identify her biological father from a group of candidates, I called it "a horrible, repellant, indefensible television show." If anything, I was too kind. It was one of the last of the mean-spirited reality shows.
The Will, CBS. CBS unveiled this series the first week of January, and yanked it after a single telecast. As a result, we never did learn which of Bill Long's family members and hangers-on impressed him enough to win the ranch he was offering as this reality show's prize. To viewers, though, the only impressive thing here was the utter inhumanity of the entire enterprise. I called it "the worst show of the year," and added: "Granted, the year is only six days old at this point - but for the next 359 days, it'll be the low point to beat."
--Skating with Celebrities could also cost him his dignity
Wednesday, December 28
There are so many things I could say here, but I won't. Let's just commence with the burning already.
Wednesday, January 11 -- 8:00-9:00
"Lost: Revelation" Discover the complete story of the grueling first 48 days on the island for the fuselage survivors and the tailies after the crash of Oceanic flight 815. --RECAP--
CONFIRMED -- RECAP
Wednesday, January 11 -- 9:00-10:00
"The 23rd Psalm" --Episode 2.10 Mr. Eko interrogates Charlie about the Virgin Mary statue, Claire begins to lose faith in Charlie when she discovers his secret, and Jack is an interested observer when Kate gives the recovering Sawyer a much-needed haircut. --EKO-- Guest starring: Adetokumboh McCormack as Yemi, Ronald Revels as Goldie, Pierre Olivier as Olu, Kolawolfe Obileye, Jr. as young Eko, Cynthia Charles as Nigerian woman, John Bryan as thug captain, Eliis St. Rose as priest, Moumen El Hajji as tough Moroccan, Lawrence Jones as lead soldier, Olekan Obileye as young Yemi and Achraf Marzouki as Moroccan no. 2. Written by Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. Directed by Matt Earl Beesley.
CONFIRMED -- COMPLETED
Wednesday, January 18 -- 9:00-10:00
"The Hunting Party" --Episode 2.11 Jack, Locke and Sawyer pursue a determined Michael after he heads into the jungle toward the dreaded "Others" in search of Walt. Meanwhile, Sun has a surprising reaction to Jin's desire to join the search party, and Hurley and Charlie commiserate over the age-old conundrum of "what women want." --JACK-- Guest starring: John Terry as Dr. Christian Shephard, Monica Dean and Ronald Guttman.
CONFIRMED -- POST PRODUCTION
Friday, December 23
1. American Idol 2’s Corey Clark. Maybe he had an affair with Paula Abdul, maybe he didn’t. But it seemed more than coincidental that he decided to reveal this news right at the peak of season four. And, surprise, he had an album to promote! With partner-whore ABC News at his side, Corey’s indictment of the show took a back seat to promoting his crap-ass record (with lyrics that included the phrase “straight up”) and book. The only redeeming part about any of this is that Corey Clark has since disappeared from the cultural radar, hopefully forever.
2. Martha Stewart. She asked for it, really, and clearly embraces the title, even though she didn’t use the word. A few weeks ago, Martha said that she involved herself in The Apprentice: Martha Stewart because, and I quote, “it would get attention. … it was just a job. I got paid a fee. I have no participation in the show.” Um, your name is in the damn title—not even Donald Trump named his show after himself, and his ego is bigger than something that’s really fucking big. Trump, who won a whore award last year, almost won another this year, because although he serves as executive producer on the show and was set to make money from it, he bailed and started badmouthing the show when its ratings failed to improve.
3. Quasi-celebrity/reality couples. This year, there were far too many couples that were either born of reality TV shows or assumed that having their relationships play out in front of an audience meant that they were suddenly huge celebrities (ahem, entire cast of Laguna Beach). All of them, to a degree, used their love as a way to get into our living rooms, and when a whore promises love, well, you know. Britney and Kevin basically sold their life, via their home videos, to UPN for their show. Nick and Jessica finally split, long after we knew it was over, and long after our belief in their relationship had faded. The most tragic moment in quasi-celebrity relationships came when Kathy Griffin filed for divorce from Matt, but thankfully they’re back together. Laguna Beach’s Talan takes top honors, however, for his engagement with Kimberly Stewart that ended 11 days later.
4. The producers of Battle of the Network Reality Stars. Dear producers: Did you really think you could paint some pieces of wood and sandbags, turn on the cameras, and expect viewers to show up and advertisers to pay? Reuniting reality cast members can definitely work (see MTV and E! for examples), but it doesn’t succeed when you have nothing for them to do but play shuffleboard. Actually, shuffleboard would have been an improvement over your lame challenges. Next time, look for ideas somewhere other than a show that was successful more than 20 years ago.
5. Toni Ferrari. Earlier this year, Love Cruise and Paradise Hotel star Toni Ferrari revealed that, because of her fame, she “was physically attacked in NYC,” “was bombarded by belligerent angry nightclub patrons and suffered severe trauma,” and “encountered a stalker who literally camped out in front of her apartment building and threatened her life.” These stories, of course, are horrifying, and no one deserves to be treated that way. But Toni falls into the reality whore category for a) announcing this in a press release that b) was really just a way to say that she was shopping her own reality series. And c) never mind the whole ongoing “Please respect me, I’m a real actress” routine which was perhaps believable until she showed up for her first day of work on E!’s The Scorned. If reality TV has caused one a great deal of consternation, one would imagine that peace would not be found on yet another reality show; likewise, credibility as an actress wouldn’t appear to come from being a pain in the ass on the set of a crap-ass made-for-TV-movie, even if Toni was the best actor there.
6. The entire cast of Kill Reality and The Scorned. You made one of the worst TV movies ever produced. You played pranks that involved shit and trashed a house that was not yours. Someone among you spread rumors just to bring more attention to the project. You should be ashamed—except for the fact that we all loved watching every second of it.
Thursday, December 22
But Ryan has not been hired by E! just to work his ass-kissing magic on the red carpet. Instead, he’s likely to be hired to develop shows and host E! News daily. Thus, in addition to his hosting duties and his daily radio show, he’d be hosting a daily news program. That should start right in the middle of the fifth season of Idol.
For his efforts, he’ll be paid in the millions. According to Variety, E! and Ryan’s people are working on “a three-year deal in the high seven figures that calls for the ‘American Idol’ host to become lead anchor of daily news flagship ‘E! News’ and to develop original series for the network via his Ryan Seacrest Prods. banner.”
Tuesday, December 20
Friday, December 16
Article on Eavesdropping
I also find it interesting that the NY Times seems to have purposely stalled on printing the story so Bush could get re-elected. Read About It Here
Also see this Doonesbury Cartoon
Commander In Chief
Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series - Drama
Patricia Arquette - Medium
Glenn Close - The Shield
Geena Davis - Commander In Chief
Kyra Sedgwick - The Closer
Polly Walker - Rome
Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series - Drama
Patrick Dempsey - Grey's Anatomy
Matthew Fox - LostHugh Laurie - House
Wentworth Miller - Prison Break
Kiefer Sutherland - 24
Best Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Everybody Hates Chris
My Name Is Earl
Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Marcia Cross - Desperate Housewives
Teri Hatcher - Desperate Housewives
Felicity Huffman - Desperate Housewives
Eva Longoria - Desperate Housewives
Mary-Louise Parker - Weeds
Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Zach Braff - Scrubs
Steve Carell - The Office
Larry David - Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jason Lee - My Name Is Earl
Charlie Sheen - Two And A Half Men
Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made For Television
Into The West
Sleeper Viva Blackpool
Best Performance By An Actress In A Mini-Series Or A Motion Picture Made For Television
Halle Berry - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Kelly Macdonald - The Girl In The Café
S. Epatha Merkerson - Lackawanna Blues
Cynthia Nixon - Warm Springs
Mira Sorvino - Human Trafficking
Best Performance By An Actor In A Mini-Series Or A Motion Picture Made For Television
Kenneth Branagh - Warm Springs
Ed Harris - Empire Falls
Jonathan Rhys Meyers - Elvis
Bill Nighy - The Girl In The Café
Donald Sutherland - Human Trafficking
Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role In A Series, Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made For Television
Candice Bergen - Boston Legal
Camryn Manheim - Elvis
Sandra Oh - Grey's Anatomy
Elizabeth Perkins - Weeds
Joanne Woodward - Empire Falls
Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Series, Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made For Television
Naveen Andrews - Lost
Paul Newman - Empire Falls
Jeremy Piven - Entourage
Randy Quaid - Elvis
Donald Sutherland - Commander In Chief
Best Picture Drama
The Constant Gardener
Good Night, and Good Luck
A History of Violence
Best Picture, Musical/Comedy
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Pride & Prejudice
The Squid and the Whale
Walk the Line
Woody Allen, Match Point
George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck
Peter Jackson, King Kong
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Fernando Mereilles, The Constant Gardener
Steven Spielberg, Munich
Good Night, And Good Luck
Best Actor, Drama
Russell Crowe, Cinderella Man
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Terence Howard, Hustle and Flow
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck
Best Actor, Musical/Comedy
Peirce Brosnan, The Matador
Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale
Johnny Depp, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Nathan Lane, The Producers
Cillian Murphy,Breakfast on Pluto
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
Best Actress, Musical/Comedy
Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice
Laura Linney, Squid and the Whale
Sarah Jessica Parker, The Family Stone
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
Best Actress, Drama
Maria Bello, A History of Violence
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Gwyneth Paltrow, Proof
Charlize Theron, North Country
Ziyi Zhang, Memoirs of a Geisha
Best Supporting Actress
Scarlett Johannsson, Match Point
Shirley MacLaine, In Her Shoes
Frances McDormand, North Country
Rachel Weisz, Contant Gardener
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
Best Supporting Actor
George Clooney, Syriana
Matt Dillon, Crash
Wil Farrell, The Producers
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
Bob Hoskins, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Best Foreign Language Film
Kung Fu Hustle
Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat - Syriana
James Newton Howard - King Kong
Gustavo Santaolalla - Brokeback Mountain
Harry Gregson - The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
John Williams - Memoirs Of A Geisha
Best Original Song
"A Love That Will Never Grow Old" -- Brokeback Mountain
Music By: Gustavo Santaolalla
Lyrics By: Bernie Taupin
"Christmas In Love" - Christmas In Love
Music By: Tony Renis
Lyrics By: Marva Jan Marrow
"There's Nothing Like A Show On Broadway" - The Producers
Music & Lyrics By: Mel Brooks
"Travelin' Thru" - Transamerica
Music & Lyrics By: Dolly Parton
"Wunderkind" - The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
Music & Lyrics By: Alanis Morissette
And this week, the great Lena Olin made her return to Alias!
I hear more former castmates are likely to join the show again in the coming weeks. I think it may be Melissa George (who was married to Sark's character in Season 3) or MAYBE, just maybe, it's Francie!!!!!
Now that The O.C. sucks and Alias doesn't, Alias is going on top of my Season Pass.
However, Dog the Bounty Hunter, which follows a bounty hunter and his family, and Inked, a workplace series set at a Las Vegas tattoo company, have both been renewed by the network. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “star Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman did not come cheap, re-signing for about $100,000 per episode.” In February, 26 episodes of Dog will star airing, while Inked’s 20 episodes will begin airing sometime in the spring.
Being Bobby Brown will be back, but only for a half-hour holiday special. On Dec. 21, Bravo will air a half-hour episode titled “Christmas with the Browns,” which hopefully has nothing to do with Whitney pooping.
Fresh off of her break-up with Nick Lachey, Jessica Simpson is reportedly considering letting cameras follow her as she picks up the pieces and tries to figure out what to do next. Digital Spy says Jessica is “considering signing up for a reality show which would follow her life as a single woman.”
Thursday, December 15
Wednesday, December 14
Monday, December 12
Fear Factor [NBC, Dec. 6, Tuesdays at 8]
Party Party [Bravo, Dec. 6, Tuesdays at 9]
Queer Eye: The Wedding Season [Bravo, Dec. 6, Tuesdays at 10]
Project Runway 2 [Bravo, Dec. 7, Wednesdays at 10]
The Biggest Loser: Special Edition [NBC, Jan. 4, Wednesdays at 9]
Dancing with the Stars 2 [ABC, Jan. 5, Thursdays at 9]
The Bachelor 9 [ABC, Jan. 9, Mondays at 10]
American Idol 5 [FOX, Jan. 17, Tuesdays at 8 and Wednesdays at 9]
Beauty and the Geek 2 [The WB, Jan. 12, Thursdays at 9]
Skating with Celebrities [FOX, Jan. 18 at 9, Mondays at 8]
Gastineau Girls [E!, Jan. 31, Tuesdays at 10]
America’s Next Top Model 6 [UPN, March 1, Wednesdays at 8]
Nashville Star 4 [USA Network, March 7, Tuesdays at 10]
The Contender 2 [ESPN, April]
Survivor Panama: Exile Island [CBS, spring]
The Apprentice 5 [NBC, spring]
As reality blurred reported exclusively in November, Survivor will yet again head back to Panama when the series returns in the spring. The 12th season of the series will be the third filmed in the same location.
However, while he teased the new season, Jeff Probst made no mention of the show’s third appearance in the same location. Instead, he focused new twists, the most significant of which gives the show its subtitle, Exile Island. Here’s how Jeff described the new game element:
“Next season, Survivor travels to a stunning location with an all-new twist. In the , that will play into the game like never before. Each week, at least one castaway will be banished to this desolate place, separated from their tribemates for days at a time in one of the most unforgiving environments yet. Strategy will be turned on its head, and survival will take on a whole new meaning. And though this island will be a place to be feared, something hidden within its rocky shores may be the key to $1 million and the title of ‘sole survivor.’”
At Survivor Maps, Dan Bollinger has identified “exile island,” and has noted three separate tribe camp locations, which could indicate either a start with three tribes, or a third location for the merged tribe.
Probst also promised us that the 16 players “will be divided into tribes in a way never before seen.” Survivor Panama will debut in the spring, although it does not yet have a premiere date. Presumably, it won’t begin until after the Olympics, which will air through the end of February.
It's a rare reality-show finale that leaves me smiling and feeling content, but with Danni, Stephenie, and Rafe constituting an entirely deserving final three on Survivor: Guatemala, it actually took me a few minutes to find something to whine about. (Well, other than the fact that our regular columnist, Dalton Ross, is on assignment tonight, meaning we'll have to get by without his delightful reviewing skillz.) And then it hit me: How can any of these people claim to be true Survivors when they never had to gag their way through the traditional Survivor challenge of Swallow the Unsavory Local Delicacy?
Sure, Danni somehow remained physically and mentally strong while wasting away to the same weight as my five-year-old nephew. And it was nothing short of miraculous the way she managed to overcome a numerical disparity of six (post-switcheroo) Nakúm to one Yaxhá to outlast Judd, Jamie, Cindy, and Lydia. But if she never had to chow down on a half-formed bird fetus, or fight back her rising bile while gnawing on a fetid calf intestine, does she really deserve $1 million?
I'll begrudgingly say yes, only because on tonight's finale, Danni (along with Steph and Lydia) made me reach for the Tums with no help from Mark Burnett by pulling a charred chicken carcass from the ashes of a Mayan sacrificial ceremony they'd witnessed a few hours earlier, then greedily devouring it. Having Rafe object to the fowl act only made the moment that much more genius, as did food-obsessed Steph remarking, ''There's a dead chicken over there that's cooked to perfection!'' and wondering aloud if a ''a prayer of forgiveness or something'' might be in order to appease the Mayan gods.
(The ceremony also yielded the quote of the night, from Rafe: ''Steph's like, 'Did they kill it, Rafe?' And I'm like, 'Steph, they just ripped the chicken's head off and threw it in the fire. It's a dead chicken.' '')
Given the women's lack of cultural sensitivity (and disregard for the dangers of feasting on poultry that's been left sitting for hours in the Guatemalan heat), how awesome was it when that vicious thunderstorm came swooping down? For a second, I thought Rafe might've locked up victory by currying the favor of the Mayan ancestors, but then I remembered nothing annoys me more than when folks suggest that the results of network reality series are somehow part of God's master plan. I mean, if you truly have faith in a higher power, then it would seem logical to me that you'd figure he or she's got better things to do than to tune in to CBS every Thursday evening and breathlessly await Jeff Probst's weekly cry of ''Survivors ready? Go!''
Anyhow, if anyone was favoring Rafe in the immunity challenge that followed the chicken sacrifice, it was Survivor's producers. Seriously, the minute Jeff mentioned that the maze-ing race ended with a puzzle challenge, you knew the gay Mormon was going to crush Steph and Danni. The only surprise, in fact, was seeing Lydia's delighted expression when she climbed the ladder with all her pieces seconds before the challenge was completed. I know Rafe and Steph probably messed up by choosing to keep Danni over the spunky fishmonger, but when a contestant proudly boasts during tribal council that ''I did not win anything since day one,'' she needs to pack up her belongings, including the blow-dryer and hair product she must have had secretly stashed somewhere in the jungle. (Oh, come on now, you all saw the way her complicated, sweeping 'do didn't move for 37 days.)
Lydia's exit, though, may have inadvertently led to Rafe's demise in the game: Undoubtedly this season's strongest physical competitor, he was just a shade too confident that he'd make the final two no matter who won the endurance challenge, leading to his absentminded slip of the hand.
What he didn't count on was the fact the contest was ''weighted'' in Danni's favor: Given how emaciated she'd become over the course of the season, the final test resembled what you'd get setting a sack of potatoes (Rafe), a bag of rocks (Steph), and a pile of feathers (Danni) onto three wobbly pedestals. Clearly, the lightest load is going to have the smallest effect on the pedestal's equilibrium. Steph, however, tipped the balance in her favor by struggling valiantly as she lost and then weeping dramatically, inspiring Rafe to tell Danni she no longer had to honor her promise to take him to the final two. Poor Rafe seemed genuinely surprised when Danni wisely chose the generally disliked Steph to face the jury with her.
Was Steph's use of waterworks as strategic as the time last season when she persuaded Janu to remove herself from the game? If so, then more power to the big-hearted Jersey girl. I know a lot of folks who've been kvetching loudly about Steph's lies to the members of the Nakúm alliance. But if this were football, nobody would object to Steph's tackling an opponent. And in the game of Survivor, duplicity is perhaps the most essential skill of all. Knowing that, how can any fan of the show fault her for doing it, and doing it well? And how can Judd (or Jamie or Bobby Jon or Cindy) not respect the fact that they simply got outplayed?
To me, no one was more hypocritical or less amusing at tribal council than Judd. You know he so wanted to deliver a Susan Hawk ''snake-rat'' watercooler moment, but his ''the only thing you should be starving for is my vote'' was both embarrassingly rehearsed and too clever by half. (The only criticism I can offer up about Steph is that based on her appearance at the reunion special, the woman should not be allowed near a makeup table for the rest of her natural life.) Far more memorable was Rafe's emotional assessment that Steph was ''the ultimate Survivor,'' followed by his excellent advice that she use her closing statement to outline the reason she was more deserving than Danni.
While I have to give Steph credit for being refreshingly honest and admitting that she'd backstabbed during the game, she never did exactly articulate why she deserved to beat Danni. And maybe, on some level, it's because she didn't. Whereas Steph often seemed to be using Rafe's road map, Danni's seldom-recognized strategic planning was some of the best Survivor has seen: Aligning with the Nakúm members to vote out her buddy Gary? Demonizing Cindy's perfectly reasonable decision to keep the car — or should I say Torrent, since the word was mentioned some 347 times during the course of the episode and the pre-ad-break promos? Twisting Judd's smack talk to turn Steph against her No. 1 ally? Convincing Rafe she'd take him to the final two even if she knew he'd defeat her? And then flipping the script by coldly kicking him to the curb at the last possible second? She may not have swallowed a live insect, but Danni masterminded all those other steps to bring home the championship, one-upping her beloved Kansas Jayhawks in the process. Come to think of it, CBS should consider stealing Danni from radio and hiring her as an on-camera sports analyst. After all, there have been far less appealing reality-show has-beens who've scored a 16th minute of fame. Maybe it's time for someone who's smart, honest, and appealing to make the leap as well.
What do you think? Do you respect the game played by the three finalists? Who came off best and worst in the last tribal council? And who would you most like to see again on TV?
Friday, December 9
The lineup includes National Football League Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, Drew Lachey of 98 Degrees and brother of Nick, Oscar winner Tatum O'Neal, actor George Hamilton, ESPN personality Kenny Mayne and Stacy Keibler of World Wrestling Entertainment. Soap star Lisa Rinna, Hollywood actress Tia Carrere, newscaster Giselle Fernandez and teen rapper Romeo round out the field.
"The family is in a state of emergency. They consider it a life-or-death situation," a source close to the family told the newspaper. The source said a phone call from the Jackson children's nanny to Randy Jackson raised concerns the musician is bingeing on drugs.
''I'll think about you guys when I see the stars through my sun roof of my new car.'' — Cindy, after being voted out at tribal council
You know what I'll think about from now on as I look at the stars? Well, probably Halle Berry in a bikini, but you know what else I'll think about? What a moron Cindy is! First she wins the car, which guarantees you won't win the million dollars. You know why they call it the ''curse of the car''? Because you just won a freakin' car! In a game that is all about finding a reason to vote someone off, this is the ultimate reason. But then Probst goes and tells her about the curse and gives her an opportunity to give up the car while also giving away four free cars to her tribemates. Granted, having those four Pontiacs rolling up single file was the most blatant case of peer pressure since Mike Harmon in eight grade tried to convince me that ''all the cool kids smoke menthols.'' (Turns out he was wrong about that.) Anyway, after much hemming and hawing, Cindy decided to keep her new ride. Great. Now, not only was she getting a free car, but she was basically taking four free cars away from the people with the power to deny her a million dollars.
And who was the one to get all huffy and puffy about it? None other than Mr. Morals himself, Rafe! Now, it should be noted that I see Cindy's point in that they may have just voted her out anyway, so why not grab the free car at the very least? But that's a bunch of hooey. Rafe said it himself: ''If Cindy had decided to give the four of us cars, there is no way on earth I could vote her out at the next tribal council.'' Again, no way on earth!
Speaking of no way on earth, that brings us to the funniest line of the episode, which comes to us from Lydia before the reward challenge: ''I haven't really won anything, so I just have this crazy feeling that this might be my opportunity.'' Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. That is just too precious. Almost as precious as her comment about Rafe: ''We're looking at him as one of the girls.''
Hold on! Stop the presses! Stephenie has won an individual immunity challenge! It's funny because in Palau we talked about how Stephenie was such a fierce competitor stuck with a tribe full of lame-os, but this season she's been on top more for her strategizing than for her physical prowess (although we did see her pretty clearly swayed by Rafe in this vote). I do think Steph has pissed off too many people to win the final vote, though. It seems everyone who has come through Survivor Live has had less than kind things to say about the Jersey girl. And I don't know if anyone has enough respect for Lydia to hand her an oversize novelty check. (Although Judd surprisingly had some nice things to say about her last week — surprising in that Judd usually says nice things about…well, no one.) That leaves Rafe and Danni as the two people most likely to bring home the bacon.
Of course, when considering all this, one must also take into consideration what we saw in the promo clip for Sunday's finale. Why? Because there was a shot at tribal council of the final four that blatantly showed who was wearing the immunity necklace and the last letter of the 15th person voted out! What the hell? I freeze-framed that sucker, and it's as clear as day! Don't worry, I'll keep this spoiler free, but it's there if you want to check it out.
Speaking of checking out, that's me. I'm heading out to the finale in L.A., specifically to see if Bobby Jon is busting out any more sweet Miami Vice threads. (Don't worry, you'll still get a finale write-up — and surely from a much more qualified writer.) So thanks, as always, for playing along this season. Happy holidays and all that jazz. As the immortal Casey Kasem would say, keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars. And when you reach for those stars, think of Cindy.
What do you think? What would you have done in Cindy's place? Did they really goof and put a spoiler in the preview of the finale, or was it a red herring? And who is going to win Survivor: Guatemala?
Thursday, December 8
Nicole Richie and DJ AM have called off their engagement.
Oh, tragically frail Nicole. We’re going to have to put the poor thing on watch; to win AM back, she just might do something stupid. In a fit of hysterics, she’ll crawl to Carl’s Jr. and, as she weepily orders her meal, she’ll curse Paris Hilton and beg for forgiveness. And as Nicole shoves that $6 burger into her distended belly, her body will go into shock and we’ll inevitably find her days later, slumped over a formica bench, her once-lithe body smeared with ketchup and left for dead.
In the game of love, nobody wins.
FX confronts racism by changing black and white families’ races with makeup
A black family from Atlanta and a white family from southern California both changed their skin color with makeup and then lived together for six weeks for a new reality series.
FX will air the results as Black, White, a six-episode series that debuts in March.
The show is produced by American Candidate and American High producer RJ Cutler and Ice Cube. “Racism is prevalent, and white America and black America are two different places. The only way they’re really going to become one is if white people can find a way to see the world through the eyes of black people and vice versa,” Cutler told the New York Daily News.
He said that producers “spent the better part of a year … designing the makeup, which has the unprecedented bar of needing to succeed not only under the scrutiny of the cameras but to succeed under the scrutiny of another human being who would be standing 3 feet away from you.”
Responding to potential criticism about putting white people in blackface and black people in whiteface, Cutler says, “The fact that people are made up is not inherently problematic. … Young, old, male, female, the concept of living in someone else’s skin, there are many possibilities. I think anybody who’s interested in entertaining and engaging and dramatic television is going to watch this. This is dramatic storytelling, and at the center of it are big, fat, important issues.”
Wednesday, December 7
Julia goes home, and who is on her couch waiting for her to arrive? Her mom!
Can't wait for next week. Looks like the Carver is back again!
Charlize Theron put in her, I think, best performance in her handful of episodes. Best joke of the season: Her handler warns Micheal that if he would've seen her a year ago - before her plastic surgery - he wouldn't have fallen in love with her. And then they show a picture of Charlize in Monster with the caption "A Year Ago." Fucking hilarious!
Please, please, please... HBO or FX. Pick this show up.
Tuesday, December 6
I love her, and I want her back on TV. This sounds like a good project for her.
Monday, December 5
This is one of the more touching, exciting and thought-provoking documentaries I've seen in a while. Mark Zupan is an inspiring. Mostly because he refuses to live his life differently than he did before his tragic truck accident. He is badass, and if you called him "crippled," he would kick your ass in a major way. He has a hot girlfriend and they have hot sex. And he LOVES competition. And he takes his rugby seriously. As do his teammates.
The documentary follows the U.S. and Canadian teams (rivals) all the way to the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. If you know anything about the Paralympics, it's anything but the Special Olympics. While the Special Olympics are important, its basic principle is that everyone is a winner. In the Paralympics, there is only one winner.
Watching them fight it out and go through the highs and lows of the game, you realize they are just like everyone else. And strangely, you don't feel sorry for them. (Which is, believe me, how exactly how they'd like you to feel about them.)
Watching this movie will make you think loads about your own life. What would happen if you or someone you loved became a paraplegic? Was it worth it that time you drove home drunk last week? Or what if some asshole was driving drunk and crashed into your car? Or what if you were riding a horse and fell off breaking your neck?
These are things that can happen in an instant and completely change your life. That is why this movie is such an inspiration. Because Mark Zupan and the other rugby players are just like us.
Friday, December 2
10. Make an even larger 'Mission Accomplished' sign
9. Encourage Iraqis to settle their feud like Dave and Oprah
8. Put that go-getter Michael Brown in charge
7. Launch slogan, 'It's not Iraq, it's Weraq'
6. Just do whatever he did when he captured Osama
5. A little more vacation time at the ranch to clear his head
4. Pack on a quick 30 pounds and trade places with Jeb
3. Wait, you mean it ain't going well?
2. Boost morale by doing his hilarious 'Locked Door' gag
1. Place Saddam back in power and tell him, 'It's your problem now, dude'
Banished from the night, and temporarily off the air entirely, is "Joey," the spinoff that lost all of the energy and most of the viewers from "Friends."
Starting January 5, NBC's new Thursday lineup will be "Will & Grace," in its final season; the new buddy comedy "Four Kings"; the strong freshman show "My Name Is Earl"; and "The Office."
"ER" will remain in its customary spot at 10 p.m. ET, NBC said.
Sniff, sniff. Do you smell something? No, it's not Stephenie passing gas, but rather the stench of betrayal. And it smells good. Damn good.
Look, Judd was pretty much asking for the boot. He acted like a big buffoon for the majority of the season. He traumatized poor Margaret, vomited all over the shelter, and said the word man approximately three times per sentence. But still, that was COLD! And who did him in? None other than his Garden State girl, Stephenie. One minute they're hanging out with their loved ones together; the next she's slitting his throat. That was some Sopranos-type action. I guess that's the way they do things in Jersey. (Of course, I live in Jersey and the only thing I've killed recently is a few cans of Milwaukee's Best.)
Actually, I really have to give Danni the credit for this one. She saw an opening when she heard Judd talking turkey with Lydia, and immediately went to Stephenie with it. Was Judd gonna flip on Steph? No. But it doesn't matter. The seed of doubt was planted.
Now don't get me wrong — it's not like I actually feel sorry for the guy (although he did provide a pretty classic line when he equated the joy he got from having his wife visit to ''eating 25 White Castle cheeseburgers...man.'' Wow, and I thought Steph had some problems with gas). But I do have to give Judd props for giving us one of the all-time best Tribal Council send-offs EVER. Instead of ''Good luck!'' or ''Nice one'' or ''Bye, ya'll,'' he busted out a little ''I hope you guys all get bit by a freakin' crocodile.'' (???) Oh, and then he called them scumbags approximately 367 times.
Of course, this was made even sweeter (and more inexplicable) by the fact that just moments earlier he was talking about how all this friendship stuff was a bunch of hooey and that ''Everybody wants somebody to go home. That's the bottom line. That's what we're here for.'' (Also inexplicable was his assertion after getting voted out that ''The one thing I didn't do is lie to anybody...man.'' Reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaally? (Selective memory is awesome. I need to get me some of that.)
Speaking of selective memory, I was worried that I would be trying my hardest to forget the family visit portion of this episode, but it ended up not being quite as painful as usual. (Still painful, mind you, but a tad more tolerable.) The tears were relatively contained, and the segment was just tacked on to the end of the food auction challenge. I actually didn't even notice the family members come out at first because I was still so shaken up by hearing Jeff Probst inquire about Lydia's booty. (Watch out, Julie!) I still have no clue why no one else put up a fight against Danni in bidding for the immunity challenge envelope, though. A visit from a loved one is worth 880 bucks, yet help getting immunity is only good for 200? What the hell is that? How can you ever feel safe with only six players left? As evidenced by Judd, you can't.
And speaking of challenges, while I like the giant puzzle board challenge in theory, in practice it was pretty much impossible to follow and therefore completely drama-free. Much like a good portion of this season. Not last night, however, thanks to Jersey Judd. With Judd and Jamie now both on the jury, we should have some serious fireworks at the final T.C. This could be bad news for Stephenie, should she make it that far. They're more likely to feel betrayed by her than by anyone else out there. And they don't particularly seem like the type of chaps to put personal feelings aside and vote simply for who they feel played the best game.
As for who I'm rooting for, it would have to be Danni, who really showed me something this episode (something besides merely being hot, that is), and Rafe, who still looks like he's about to emotionally collapse at every turn, even when he's setting strategy and winning challenges. I would say he's climbed the top of my ladder, but well, you know how that goes with Rafe and ladders.
What do you think? Where does Judd's exit rank in the history of great Tribal Council send-offs? And should Danni try to form an alliance with Lydia and Cindy to take down Steph and Rafe?
Thursday, December 1
"Senior gay bloggers Trent and Perez Hilton weasled their way into (or, in Perez's case, close to) the Hollywood premiere of Brokeback Mountain last night. Because Ang Lee's passionate Western is to The Gays what The Passion of the Christ was to people who shop at Big Lots and have sex with their cousins, the boys' reaction to the festivities can best be expressed in a high-pitched squeal."
I just thought that was an amusing post.
So, Kate and a horse walk into a flashback....
There's a general consensus among Lost fans that Kate is the blandest and least engrossing character on the island — this despite the writers' desperate attempts to give her a labyrinthine criminal history. Tonight's episode, the first Kate-centric one of the season, did little to reverse that perception. We learned that Kate was leered at and possibly abused by her stepfather. We learned that Kate learned that her stepfather was, in fact, her real father, from her real father, who wasn't her father at all. (All together now: Whaaa?) We learn that Kate has ''murder in her heart.'' (Pseudodad knew this from birth?) And that Sawyer loves Kate, at least when he's feverish and raving.
And all of this adds up to...a gorgeous black horse. Is it the emblem of Kate's tormented gypsy spirit? A spectral revenant of Wayne, the father she murdered? A symbol of redemption? The dark stallion mentioned in the book of Revelation (as many have suggested)?
Who knows? And, quite frankly, who cares? Kate and her Bonnie-sans-Clyde hillbilly backstory have both always promised more than they've delivered in the drama department. The best moments of this episode were on the fringes.
First there's Locke and Eko, a screen pairing we'd all like to see more often. I'd watch Terry O'Quinn and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje play Parcheesi in total silence — they're both so rapturously good. Tonight, Locke's dominance is seriously threatened for the first time: Eko comes bearing enlightenment and warnings. (''Do not mistake coincidence for fate.'') He brings one of the missing pieces of the Dharma orientation film. (There are several splices, so expect more nasty surprises.) And Michael, unaware of the ''new'' revelations on the strip, is tempted by that demon, instant messaging, and immediately succumbs.
What's not so nice: I can already feel the Dharma mythology getting tangled. Perhaps I'm paranoid. I just don't want us on the path to the Black Lodge.
Notice how I'm not even broaching the subject of Jack and Ana Lucia. I know how y'all feel about Little Ms. Gunhappy. But just for the record, not every interaction between a male and a female has to be primarily sexual — even on a desert island. Even over shared Hatch hooch. Jack and Ana Lucia, I predict, will have more of a Locke-Eko vibe than a Sawyer-Kate frisson. They're inverses, after all — if the island math holds up.
And now, dear friends, I have questions for you: What's the time line on Kate's tale of woe? Sharp-eyed viewers have noticed Sayid on the TV in Pseudodad's recruiting station — he's being led away in shackles by American soldiers. Does this put the incident in 1991? Were air bags standard on most cars back then? Am I overthinking all of this? Please set me straight. Or, failing that, buy me a pretty black pony.
Now this is an episode I dig. What Kate did was blow up her stepdad, who was actually her real dad, which made her angrier than the fact that he was beating her mom. She's captured by Mr. Marshal, who will eventually rue the day he ever picked up this assignment, but she escapes when the dent-proof car he's driving slams into a pole. On the island, this translates into her freaking out a lot and hallucinating just a little bit, and kissing Jack and running away from him. And she also sees a black horse, but if that's a hallucination, than Sawyer (who comes to and flirts with her and stuff) is having the same one. And what's especially weird about the black horse is that it was a black horse that the marshal was swerving to avoid when he went off the road and hit the car.
Locke screens the cult classic Orientation for Eko and Michael. What's kind of trippy about that movie is that if you play Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" it totally matches up. Locke and Eko are beginning their live game of backgammon, I think; at any rate, Eko sees the film and we find out that the Bible that the Tailaways snagged in Arrow station had a missing piece from the film. So Locke chooses the "deleted scenes" option on Orientation: Eko's Cut, and there's really not that much new revealed, just Dr. Kandel stressing that the computer is not to be used for anything other than entering the numbers, as that may cause another incident.
Michael is not in the hatch very long before he starts screwing around with everything. Unbeknownst to anyone else, while Locke and Eko are watching the lost Kandel scene, Michael manages to stop the timer, and then the computer says (well, displays, anyway), “Hello?” so he types it back. And then the computer displays, “Who is this?” And Michael types that it is Michael. And there is this long pause, and then the computer types, “Dad?” So in addition to everything else, the Others are not doing a good job of supervising Walt's internet usage.
Lacey, what a liar. I like her! But damn, she called everyone out on their shit behind their backs, MTV recorded and showed it to us, and yet she denies she did anything wrong. She is so disillusioned.
Nehemiah, what a homo! He spent the entire show complaining that they made him look like "a homosexual" (seriously, who says that word anymore) and then he went off on Danny for not returning his calls. They almost had an all-out brawl. I think he's jealous of Melinda.
Jo and Wes are, surprise, dating. I can't tell if she is cute or hideous. I think it depends on the camera angle. I guess they are cute together.
Melinda and Danny got engaged. They are like the super hot couple that doesn't talk to anyone else because they are "too good." I really dislike them a lot.
I am missing some things, but it doesn't really matter. All you need to know is that they spent an hour arguing.
Wednesday, November 30
2. Nicole Kidman ($16 to $17 million)
3. Reese Witherspoon ($15 million)
4. Drew Barrymore ($15 million)
5. Renee Zellweger ($10 to $15 million)
6. Angelina Jolie ($10 to $15 million)
7. Cameron Diaz ($10 to $15 million)
8. Jodie Foster ($10 to $12 million)
9. Charlize Theron ($10 million)
10. Jennifer Aniston ($9 million)
Poor Paris Hilton. Although she didn't get money for her movie. She got crabs.
[Source: Hollywood Reporter]
The ACR issued a statement warning that Cruise and Holmes could potentially harm their unborn baby by performing ultrasounds without the benefit of a doctor's supervision
"This is a patient safety issue. Untrained people, even if they have the financial means, should not buy, or be allowed to buy and operate, ultrasound machines which are, in fact, medical devices and should not be used without a medical indication," said Dr. Carol M. Rumack, chair of the ACR Ultrasound Commission.
---I think the warning could pertain to jumping on couches as well.
Loved Quentin and the Army guy. How sick is that? And does anyone think Quentin is NOT the Carver at this point?
I never would've guessed what happened to Kimber. Ick! I wonder if we'll see more of that.
And how scandalous was Christian and his "pathetic" patient?
Tuesday, November 29
What's with Michael's obsession with Ryan on The Office? Is he in love with him?
I don't know, but I heard he's buying Ryan an iPod for Christmas...not exactly within the $20 Secret Santa parameters. Also, Dwight's office fling is going to continue. Stand by for more Birkenstock-knocking! (Damn, I love that show.)
Okay, spill it: Who do you think the Carver is?
I no longer think it's Matt.
Can you rule out Julia's mother as the Carver on Nip/Tuck?
Crap, what did that Little Engine say again?
From spygrl1210: Kimber was definitely kidnapped by the Carver, right? She wouldn't leave Christian.
You just wait. No, she didn't leave Christian.
Is Kimber dead?
Does Kimber go back in time, à la becoming a born-again virgin (with surgical re-hymenation) so she's pure on her wedding night? They do that now.
Good guess, but that's not what I meant by "going back in time" on the message boards.
Is the Kimber tragedy really mind-blowing?
I haven't seen it. But when I heard it, I was actually kind of sick to my stomach.
By the way, the other half of the first season won't begin until May. Confirming that Fox has the most idiotic execs in Hollywood (even more so than NBC).
Good Night, and Good Luck
The Squid and the Whale
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck.
Gregg Araki, Mysterious Skin
Rodrigo Garcia, Nine Lives
Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale
BEST FIRST FEATURE
Crash Director: Paul Haggis
Lackawanna Blues Director: George C. Wolfe
Me and You and Everyone We Know Director: Miranda July
Thumbsucker Director: Mike Mills
Transamerica Director: Duncan Tucker
Ayad Akhtar, Joseph Castelo, Tom Glynn, The War Within
Guillermo Arriaga, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale
Dan Futterman, Capote
Rodrigo Garcia, Nine Lives
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Amy Adams, Junebug
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Happy Endings
Allison Janney, Our Very Own
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
Robin Wright Penn, Nine Lives
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Firdous Bamji, The War Within
Matt Dillon, Crash
Jesse Eisenberg, The Squid and the Whale
Barry Pepper, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Jeffrey Wright, Broken Flowers
BEST FEMALE LEAD
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Dina Korzun, Forty Shades of Blue
Laura Linney, The Squid and the Whale
S. Epatha Merkerson, Lackawanna Blues
Cyndi Williams, Room
BEST MALE LEAD
Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck.
I've bolded the ones I think sound most interesting...
NBC has ordered up two projects from Baer Bones and Wolf Films: Brave New World and The Whole Truth, according to Variety. Brave New World is based in the world of science and its technological advances which may, or may not, be in opposition to some people's moral ethics. Patrick Harbinson is signed on to write this script. The latter, The Whole Truth revolves around a television investigative reporter and the lengths he will go to get the full story. This project will be written by Jonathan Greene.
Fox has ordered a project from HBO Independent Prods and Parallel Entertainment, called Big Loud Lisa, and starring comedienne Lisa Lampanelli who Variety describes as a female Don Rickles. The script will be written by Steve Rudnick and Leo Benvenuti, who will also exec produce along with Lampanelli.
WB has ordered up a pilot starring Nick Lachey as a newlywed and a big league baseball player. As you might have guessed, Jessica Simpson is not involved. Danny Jacobson will write the comedy pilot.
ABC has an untitled drama project with penalty in development about a woman who is a "relationship expert" who followed her fiance to an Alaskan town over run with men, only to find her fiance has been cheating on her, says Variety. Jenny Bicks is writing the script as well as exec producing along with James Mangold and Cathy Konrad.
The WB has also picked up a project from Jenny Bicks and HBO Independent Prods, this one is called Mommies Who Drink, which, according to Variety, is based on the novel by Brett Paesel by the same name (the book is scheduled for release thru Warner Books this summer). The project is a drama about mothers who are going thru the real life struggles of raising kids.
And finally, Bicks is working on a third project, this one for Showtime, called 36-24-36, about three women - grandma, mom and daughter - who own and operate a strip club.
Monday, November 28
With a single blow of their satirical hammer, Trey Parker and Matt Stone obliterated Rent with Team America: World Police's "Everyone Has AIDS," a song that perfectly captures the Broadway phenomenon's jarring, almost surreal juxtaposition of "gritty" subject matter and gee-whiz pep rally execution. But someone neglected to inform Sony, which is now releasing a long-awaited, long-overdue film adaptation that plays like Last Exit To Brooklyn as reinterpreted by Up With People. Yes, Rent is the movie about AIDS, heroin addiction, homosexuality, strippers, marijuana, cross-dressing, and bisexuality audiences can take their grandparents to go see safe in the knowledge that any lingering trace of danger or authenticity has been carefully removed by director/co-writer Chris Columbus, who previously proved his countercultural mettle with Mrs. Doubtfire and the first two Harry Potter films.
My Fair Brady has been renewed for a second season. The first season was filmed early last summer and focused on Adrianne Curry and Christopher Knight’s tumultuous relationship.
This new season will follow the couple as they plan their wedding and get married. In a statement, Chris Knight expresses surprise that their relationship has lasted.
--well, that is certainly encouraging, isn't it?
The chunk of Vermont marble was part of the dentil molding that serves as a frame for nine sculptural figures completed in 1935. The piece that fell was over the figure of Authority, near the peak of the building's pediment, and to the right of the figure of Liberty, who has the scales of justice on her lap . No one was hurt.
If this is the case, then why aren't more politicians (*cough* Taft *cough*) being prosecuted and resigning from office?
Even super-agent Sydney Bristow couldn’t triumph over the inevitable. After five years, two timeslot switches and one major bout of fan backlash, ABC’s “Alias” is ending its run this May.
ABC confirmed the decision late Wednesday, leading into the four-day Thanksgiving break. The show, which will go on hiatus next month during series star Jennifer Garner’s maternity leave, will return at midseason for its final 13 episodes.
Though the timing of the decision, months before the season ends, is a surprise, the substance of it is not. Garner has a burgeoning movie career and a baby on the way, and producer J.J. Abrams has two other shows on ABC, including upcoming midseason drama “What About Brian.” Everybody's busy in a sense.
ABC simply confirmed rumors that have been floating around the internet since the show’s fifth-season premiere. It was made easier for network by the fact that with the move to Thursday night “Alias” was generating its worst-ever ratings.
“Alias” has always been a show long on potential with little to show for it. It was ABC’s only critical hit during the lean years between “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” and “Desperate Housewives,” and although it never received big ratings, it had a dedicated cult following.
That helped the show get renewed four times, despite rarely winning its timeslot during its first three seasons and in 2003 becoming the least-watched post-Super Bowl program ever. The show struggled for three years in the Sunday 9 p.m. timeslot before being moved last season to make way for “Housewives.”
In moving “Alias,” ABC rewarded Abrams, also the man behind “Lost,” with the lush post-“Lost” Wednesday 9 p.m. timeslot. There the show performed well but lost an increasing share of “Lost’s” audience as the season went on, finishing with a so-so 4.2 18-49 average.
With “Housewives,” “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy” doubling those numbers, and several of its shows now basking in critical acclaim, ABC had fewer reasons to continue with the imaginative “Alias.”
This fall, ABC moved "Alias" to Thursday nights. Thursday is a normally premium night, except at ABC. No Thursday 8 p.m. show has survived since “Mork and Mindy” in the early 1980s. Thus far this season, “Alias” has averaged a 2.3 in 18-49s, behind even the WB’s “Smallville” in the same timeslot.
Yet in many ways it was a smart gamble for ABC, in effect a do or die proposition, a chance for "Alias" to show it could make it on its own without "Lost" to prop it up. If it could not persuade fans to follow it once again, and ratings sank, ABC could kill it once and for all, its conscious clear of any remorse. And that's what happened.
But this season “Alias” also has suffered a fan backlash over the exit of series co-star Michael Vartan, Garner’s on-screen flame and former real-life paramour.
Vartan’s secret agent Vaughn was an extremely popular character, and many fans speculated on message boards that Garner had asked for Vartan to be written off to avoid tension between him and her new husband, Ben Affleck.
Sites even sprang up asking ABC to reconsider the long-rumored death, which happened on the season’s first episode.
“Don't bring Alias back from hiatus until MV [Michael Vartan] is signed back on,” writes one recent poster on Television Without Pity’s boards. “Please...I beg of you...stop this torture.”
Vartan will return as a guest-star later this season and presumably will appear in the series finale during May sweeps.[Source: Media Life]
That means that if The Simpsons (or whatever is scheduled to air at 8:30 on Sundays) is officially scheduled to run 2 minutes past 9, then Desperate Housewives will begin recording at 9:02 instead of the recording being completely cancelled. This has happened too often.
Nice feature. Long overdue.
CBS' Cold Case has added Tracie Thoms to the cast as regular Kat Miller, a street-wise young narcotics detective who becomes a member of the Philadelphia homicide squad after assisting in solving an old case from 1973. Thoms' first episode aired last night.
NBC has picked up a new comedy project from Happy Madison Prods and Sony Pictures TV, based on the life and times of stand up comic John Caparulo. Caparulo grew up in a small town in Ohio, and this project picks up with his returning home after college, rather than going on to do all the great things expected of him, says Variety.
NBC has also ordered a script of a project from Al Roker Prods and NBC Universal, based loosely on Roker's life as a dad and a weather forecaster. According to Hollywood Reporter, the working title is Meet the Rokers. Ralph Farquhar will exec produce.
Also from HR, ABC has ordered a script starring David Arquette as a private investigator in a small town. The untitled project was developed by Arquette and Courteney Cox. Jeremy Stevens is on board to write the pilot as well as co-exec produce along with Arquette and Cox.
NBC's new drama pilot Kidnapped has cast three, with two others currently in negotiations. Mykelti Williamson (you remember him as Bubba in Forrest Gump) has been signed along with Carmen Ejogo and Boris McGiver, while Linus Roache and Delroy Lindo are still in talks. The project from 25C Prods, NBC Universal Television and Sony Pictures TV, is the unfolding of the kidnapping of the teenage son of a wealthy NYC businessman, and the subsequent investigation.
NBC pilot project Heist from Sony Pictures TV, Hypnotic and NBC Universal, has added three to the cast: Steve Harris, Michelle Hicks and Billy Gardell. These three join Dougray Scott who will play the lead role. Heist is an ensemble project that follows the process of planning and executing three simultaneous jewelry store robberies, over the course of a single season.
The WB is looking at a project from Tollin-Robbins Prods and writer Harley Peyton called City of Gold, an adventure drama. Set in the Amazon, the story revolves around a father/son archeological team, per Variety.
The performances are great, but who wouldn't have expected that? 6 of the 8 actors are from the original stage production from 1996. They know their characters. They're almost not acting. And boy, can they all sing!
The direction was hideous. I knew all along that Chris ("Home Along," "Harry Potter," "Stepmom") Columbus was not the right person for the job. For a show about AIDS, death, drugs, sexuality and artistic integrity, he is not the right person. This could've been a great movie under the direction of someone like, say, Spike Lee (who was originally attached to direct). Instead it is an ABC Family made-for-TV musical with some damn good performances.
Thursday, November 24
Wednesday, November 23
Oh, what a tangled web (of characters) we weave!Easter Egg or Fake Egg? The Others' legs. The tattoo on the shark. Hurley and Locke having the same boss. These are the teensy, blink-and-you'll-miss-'em clues we've been driving ourselves crazy with this season on Lost, as we rewatch episodes, freeze-frame shots and play audio backwards. But do they really mean anything? I asked big cheese Damon Lindelof for a few answers.
And get this. "People find Easter eggs that we didn't plant," Lindelof admits with a laugh. "Especially when they go digging back into the first season, and then you go, 'Oh, no. Well, that wasn't us. I wish we could take credit for that!' "
Still, many of them are legit. Jack rushing by Shannon and her stepmonster in the hospital in last week's episode solidified the theory that Mr. Rutherford--the guy who died in the car crash that injured Julie Bowen's character--was indeed Shannon's father. Harold Perrineau's wife Brittany (the Lotto girl and Sawyer's fling) will be back for a third intentional egg, and Yunjin Kim hints that the "best one yet" appears in the 10th episode. "It made me go, 'Oh my god!' " she says.
And that is the greatest part--turns out, the actors freak out about this stuff as much as we do. In fact, some of them are big ol' fangeeks. (Love it!)
Jorge Garcia says the tattoo on the shark was "a big shocker." He adds, "We were all watching it at Josh [Holloway]'s house, and they were like 'Wait a minute!' We had to stop it and bring it back and watch it in slow motion. And [the tattoo] was missing when they reran it, well, according to some podcast I've been listening to."
Harold Perrineau is also getting techie. "Today, we were online, looking at a map, trying to figure out, 'Okay, look, this plane left from Nigeria, right? And okay, so then, we left from Australia, so...' We were just in it for hours trying to figure out where we might be. What can I say? I'm into it!"
Even (my favorite) Daniel Dae Kim admits, "I started thinking about the theories. And when Mr. Eko's character first came on, I started thinking 'What an odd name. Mr. Eko.' And I actually sat down and started doing anagrams for the name. And I thought to myself 'Now I've really gone over the edge!' "
By the way, did you see that Daniel was named one of People's Sexiest Men Alive? Hubba-hubba! His humility proves he's just as gorgeous on the inside as on the out (a cliché, but so true in this case). He actually blushed when I asked him about it in Hawaii. "It was a complete shock," he said of making the list. "I never, never would've guessed something like that. You know, for an Asian-American guy to be named in that issue is fairly groundbreaking, and so I'm very honored and flattered to be that guy."
After a momentary lapse of gossip rag baby-whoring reason, Britney Spears has finally come to her senses and given the go ahead to People to print photos of her with newborn son Sean Preston on their cover. Proud father Kevin Federline is pictured too, his cornrows pulled extra tight, resulting in a convincing simulation of actual smiling.
CBS’ Early Show is keeping up its tradition of strong, unflinching journalism with its lates on-air talentt hire: Survivor and Amazing Race runner-up Rob Mariano. (So which CBS exec does Rob have naked pictures of?)
Rob won’t exactly be joining intrepid journalist and Big Brother host Julie Chen as a host; instead, he’ll host his own regular segment “Rob to the Rescue,” in which he pretends he’s Ty Pennington and/or Amy Grant. (Actually, since he drives and narrates, it’s more like A&E’s Random 1. He’ll help people solve problems, and give them stuff that has been selflessly donated by companies who want their name spoken on air as much as possible.
In the first segment, which CBS has made available online, Rob travels to rural Michigan, for, as he says, an “afternoon,” to help a woman who rescues horses repair her fence.
Tune in next week where Rob tries to repair his career by begging Bunim/Murray to cast him on the next Challenge.
They sort of annoy me (especially their looks - he is "prettier" than her), but I think this is really funny.
January 17 at 9-10p: Love Monkey starring Tom Cavanagh as a 30-something single record exec, working and dating in NYC
January 23 at 930-10p: The Jenna Elfman Show about a single woman with the single goal of balancing her legal career with finding true love
Tuesday, November 22
1. Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys)
2. Liam Gallagher (Oasis)
3. Kanye West
4. Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons)
5. Brandon Flowers (The Killers)
6. Devendra Banhart
7. Pete Doherty (Babyshambles)
8. Jemima Pearl (Be Your Own Pet)
9. Bob Dylan
10. Carl Barat (Dirty Pretty Things)
Hint: It's not Heath Ledger
Anyways... here's the list, which includes a Burberry coat, the new iPod, "The Oprah Sweater" by Ralph Lauren (vomit), Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker (vomit) and a Blackberry! I *so* want to go to this show next year.
10. Oakley Thump: If you've overdone it with the eggnog, a $500 pair of sunglasses with a built-in MP3 player might seem a divine combination. It's not. The poorly fitting earbuds chafe, the glasses feel flimsy, and the style is dated. And what happens if you want to rock out at night? Unless you're buying for Bono, pick up an iPod shuffle and a pair of Revos for half the price.
9. Voodoo Doll D210: If you give someone this zippy breadbox-sized PC, they'll be sticking pins in your effigy all year—and you'll be out more than 3,000 smackeroos, too. Voodoo crammed two CPUs and two hard drives inside, but left out the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. If you buy one anyway, get a pair of industrial-strength ear protectors too, as it whines like a 747 taxiing for takeoff.
8. H2i SimplyTouch OpticalBar: Turn any monitor into a touch screen! That's the promise; the reality is different. The OpticalBar sits atop your monitor and tracks your finger as you touch special parts of the screen. Alas, it works more slowly than the midnight shift at an all-night diner, and often gets your order wrong, too. Opt for a tablet notebook instead.
7. ROKR E1: The Oakley Thump of the mobile phone set; at least it's a decent phone. The hype around "The First iTunes Phone" created unfulfillable expectations. It's not as polished as an iPod, and its oddly limited music storage makes a mediocre player even worse. Glacially slow music-transfer speeds put the final nail in this coffin. Sony Ericsson sells a much better MP3-phone combo, but I suggest a shuffle and a RAZR phone: Cheaper—and better, too.
6. Cinego D-1000: It slices! It dices! It projects your DVDs onto the wall! You might be tempted by this combination front-projector and DVD player, but stay away. Marred by a minuscule remote, nasty interface, and terrible video quality, it'll be quickly relegated to the garage or eBay. For budget home theater, hold out for HP's ep9010 combo, or pick up a cheaper projector and a DVD player for less.
5. PQI mPack P800 Media Player: Looking for a portable music and video player? The mPack looks attractive—you can record video and FM radio directly, and it even includes a CompactFlash slot. But playback is a problem. Even with the most recent flash update, fast-forward and rewind simply do not work, despite the manual's direction. The screen is terrible, the interface abysmal, and the physical buttons erratic. Apple's video iPod, the Creative Zen Vision, and anything from Archos deliver a better experience for less.
4. Dual XNAV3500P: Even alpha males can use a little GPS assistance now and then. This hybrid car and portable mapping system seems solid—until you start using it. Marred by an awful interface and a poor data-entry keypad, it failed our tests. Pick up a TomTom GO, or give an IOU for Garmin's amazing Nuvi, debuting here in January.
3. PepperPad: Following in the footsteps of the Audrey, Netpliance, and NIC, this is an Internet bubble failure five years too late. More expensive than a laptop, with a battery life measured in minutes, and a tiny 8- by 6-inch touch screen, this home Internet tablet has few redeeming features. Unless you're a fan of freaky keyboards, opt for a cheap tablet PC instead.
2. Sony S2 Sports Network Walkman NW-S23: Pity poor Sony. It invented the Walkman and then squabbled as Apple stole its lunch. This player finally supports MP3 files, yet it lacks so much else that it's hardly worth the price. With ergonomics straight from a Klingon warship, balky software, and a poor display, this one deserves a place in the remainder rack. Again, you're better off with a shuffle.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for... the worst product of the year—and from a surprising source.
1. Samsung Digimax V700: Samsung can seemingly do no wrong these days. The company has supplanted Sony as the top electronics brand, exuding both quality and cool. We hope this terrible digital camera is an aberration, not a sign of things to come. With slow performance, lousy auto-exposure, and some shutter lag, this 7.1-megapixel camera never should have been released. Compact cameras from Canon, Sony and Nikon are far better—even if they do cost a bit more.