Stay Tuned
Reviews, previews and much more on "The Real Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS" and many more of your favorite shows. This is the place to talk about all of the things that make us "Stay Tuned"…

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Best and Worst of 2006 Primer

As I continue to work on my 2006 recap (I know, I’m running out of time.), take a look at what others had to say about the best and worst of the year…

Matt Roush (“TV Guide” Senior Critic)’s Top 10 Shows
10) Dexter
9) Lost
8) The Shield
7) Ugly Betty
6) NBC’s Thursday comedies
5) Battlestar Galactica
4) Grey’s Anatomy
3) Friday Night Lights
2) The Wire
1) 24

Gillian Flynn (“Entertainment Weekly”)’s Top 10
10) Heroes
9) Dirty Jobs (Discovery Channel)
8) Broken Trail (AMC mini-series)
7) The Office
6) 24
5) Bleak House (PBS mini-series)
4) 30 Rock
3) Battlestar Galactica
2) Friday Night Lights
1) The Wire

Ken Tucker (“Entertainment Weekly”)’s Top 10
10) The New Adventures of Old Christine
9) My Name Is Earl
8) Project Runway
7) The View
6) Countdown with Keith Olbermann
5) The Nine
4) Rescue Me
3) Friday Night Lights
2) 24
1) The Wire

“Entertainment Weekly” Worst Shows
5) Big Day
4) Shark Week and Shark: Mind of a Demon
3) My Boys
2) My Super Sweet 16
1) Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

It’s clear that the critics agree on three things from 2006: 1) NBC is on the comeback trail, 2) “Lost” is on the skids, and 3) “24” seriously rocked last season.

By the way, “Entertainment Weekly” named the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” its Entertainers of the Year. Kiefer Sutherland came in at #4, just behind Helen Mirren and Sacha Baron Cohen, so I’m VERY happy…

Idol Update, Part 3: The Year-End Charts and Kat's Track List

Carrie Underwood isn’t the only “Idol” alum to hit the Billboard year-end charts. Here are just some of the numbers…

Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway” was the #10 album of 2006 and Kelly was the #14 artist overall…

Taylor Hicks’ single, “Do I Make You Proud” was #1 on the singles sales chart. Katharine McPhee’s “Over the Rainbow” was #2…

And Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day,” which “Idol” used for the eliminated contestant montage was the #1 song of the year…

Katharine McPhee has released the tracklist for her upcoming CD. Katharine’s got some heavy hitters helping her out, but surprisingly Diane Warren is not among them (And here I thought it was a rule that every “Idol” CD had to have at least one song written by her). I would’ve thought Katharine would’ve been a natural for her work. Kara DioGuardi, who is quickly becoming another “Idol” favorite, does contribute two tracks, though. I’m also excited to see Austin Carroll co-wrote a track. You may recall that Carroll was the only star on the failed reality show, “The One: The Making of a Superstar” (See my post at It’s great to see Austin making a name for himself and I hope we’ll hear him doing his own stuff soon…

Here’s the cover art for the CD, courtesy of AOL:

As Katharine’s web site says, “We’re not in Kansas anymore”…

Idol Update, Part 2: Carrie's Big Year & Her New Love?

As I promised, Carrie Underwood is all over the “Billboard” year-end charts…

“Some Hearts” is the #1 album of the year on the Billboard 200 (which charts albums of all genres), which is pretty impressive. “Billboard” ranks Carrie at #15 on its Artist of the Year chart, which includes sales and airplay. She’s the #2 country artist and “Jesus Take the Wheel” is the #5 country song of the year. And that’s just some of the numbers…

On this week’s charts, “Some Hearts” adds to its quadruple platinum status by coming in at #4. “Before He Cheats” sits at #24 on the Hot 100…

Meanwhile, Carrie’s personal life is starting to get a lot of attention. “In Touch” is reporting that Carrie is dating Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Carrie was seen hugging Romo on the field before the Cowboys-Eagles game on Christmas Day. Romo apparently confirmed it to a sports editor from a Charleston, Illinois newspaper, when the editor told Romo his wife was wondering if the Jessica Simpson rumors were true. Romo responded, “No. Tell her I’m dating Carrie Underwood.” Way to keep it under wraps there Tony…

And Carrie, a word of advice. The way the Cowboys are self-destructing, you may want to stay off the field…

Idol Update: Good News for Clay, Taylor & Daughtry; Bad News for Clay and Taylor

There’s so much going on in “Idol” world that I’m dividing this week’s update into three parts.

Part one is all about good news and bad news. We’ll start with the good…

I hope all of you Claymates out there caught Clay Aiken on “Days of Our Lives” Tuesday as he was his usually charming self. I especially liked his nerves around Steve (aka Patch) when Steve came out of nowhere and started being nice to him. On Stephen Nichol’s blog (He plays Steve.), Nichols says that he and Clay improvised because Clay said he would “never remember the lines.” I (and Nichols) thought it actually worked a lot better that way. Clay performed “Everything I Have” as a gift from Steve to his wife, Kayla. It was a beautiful choice and it worked well with the show’s closing montage. I think “Days” should use the song as their new love theme. Nichols also reports that Clay was “very gracious, taking photos and signing autographs.” Clay brought his roommate and mega-“Days” fan Christy to the set and Josh Taylor (Roman), a Clay fan himself, introduced her to the cast. You can see the appearance for yourself at

In other good Clay news, “Entertainment Tonight” named Clay one of 2006’s top bachelors…

Taylor Hicks has set the dates for his tour. He’ll kick things off February 21st in Jacksonville. Taylor is playing in more intimate venues, so when he hits Columbus on April 24th, he’ll play at the Lifestyles Communities Pavilion…

Daughtry’s debut album officially went platinum this week. It sits at #8 on this week’s Billboard 200 chart; and “It’s Not Over” cracks the Top 40 of the Hot 100 at #38. Also this week, Daughtry was named to AOL’s Best New Artists of 2006 list, coming in at #7. Daughtry will perform live on the FOX New Year’s Eve special hosted by Cat Deeley (The show begins at 11 p.m.)…

And now for the bad news…

This week’s “Entertainment Weekly” named Clay Aiken’s “A Thousand Different Ways” #2 on its Worst Records of 2006 list. Kevin Federline’s debut was named the worst with Pharrell, Rascall Flatts and Janet Jackson rounding out the top five.

In other bad news for Clay, TMZ is reporting that Clay showed some diva-like behavior during his recent Christmas concert tour. A young fan claims that Clay did not allow him and other contest winners to sing as they were promised and that Clay refused to pose for individual photos, only group shots. There are also reports that Clay was rude to fans during the show. The guy just can’t catch a break, can he?...

Now here’s the bad news for Taylor Hicks. After debuting at #2, Taylor’s CD slid to #15 this week, experiencing a 30% sales slide during a week overall music sales increased 34%. I don’t think it’s time to push the panic button just yet, but Taylor’s people might start showing some concern—especially with the success of Daughtry…

At least Taylor’s chart news wasn’t as bad as Fantasia’s. She tumbled to #63 on this week’s chart, two notches below Kellie Pickler at #61…

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Coming Attractions...

Hello again, everyone, I'm back. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

Since I'm still getting my act together from being out of town, I'll have more later this week, including my Best of 2006 List (Hey, everyone else is doing it.) and my thoughts on "We Are Marshall."

So, as always, Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Idol Update, Part 2: Taylor's Numbers

Thought I'd interrupt my vacation long enough to tell you about Taylor Hicks' sales figures...

Taylor debuts at #2 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 298,000. That's down from Carrie's debut figures of 315,000. It's also not as many as the 304,000 that Daughtry sold in their first week...

Fantasia debuted at #19 with sales of 133,000. Her debut sold 240,000 in its first week...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Since I am going out of town for the holiday, I will be out until next week.

So to all of my readers, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

And of course, Stay Tuned...

Idol Update: The Big Event, Clay Christmas, The Return of Nadia, and More!

“Idol” producers are hinting at a big event that will take place in the middle of the season “that will blow America away.” Could this be the “Idol” answer to a possible showdown with “Dancing With the Stars”? I’ll let you know if I hear anything more…

Those of you who are longtime readers of my Idol Updates know that my season four nemesis was Nadia Turner (I still think Constantine getting voted off was a direct result of my enthusiasm at Nadia’s departure.). So imagine my consternation that Nadia is back and possibly in a big way. According to her website (although there is no confirmation on the ABC website), Nadia will co-host “The View” Thursday, December 21st. She is also scheduled to release her debut single in January and her debut album in March, though there’s no word on a label. “The View” airs at 11 a.m. on ABC (Check your local listings.)…

Friday, “The Megan Mullally Show” will feature pre-taped Christmas performances by both Clay Aiken and Kimberly Locke. You’ll also be able to enjoy the dynamic duo of Hall and Oates as well (Their outstanding Christmas CD is available now at FYE stores.). Check your local listings…

Speaking of Clay Aiken and Christmas, I finally got my hands on the Wal-Mart exclusive CD, “All Is Well,” which apparently is a little rare. Unfortunately, the CD is only available in stores, but if you can track down a copy, I encourage you to do so. Clay does a powerhouse rendition of the Michael W. Smith standard, “All Is Well” that shows off a low range he’s never displayed before. “The Christmas Waltz” is a cute choice, though it doesn’t really fit in with the other three songs. Clay chooses the Steven Curtis Chapman arrangement of “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” which sounds nothing like the original (which is not a bad thing). The CD closes with a solid rendition of “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” I’m hoping the choice of two tracks by contemporary Christian artists is a sign that we’ll get that contemporary Christian CD from Clay yet. I think it’s definitely something he’d like to do…

Here’s another note about Kimberley Locke. In the spring, she will appear on VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club.” I’m a little disappointed that Kimberley is giving up her full-figured status since she was an excellent spokesperson for Lane Bryant. I’m also a little disappointed that she is appearing on the show while her career is still alive. Maybe it will help her promote her new CD, which is scheduled for release in March…

Another season two “Idol” contestant is looking to drop some pounds and he’s getting an entire state involved. Ruben Studdard will help spearhead the “Scale Back Alabama” campaign which kicks off next month…

This week’s Kmart ad is incorrect. Katherine McPhee’s CD will not be released until January 30th. Poor Kmart. They just can’t seem to get those Idol dates right…

Finally, Ryan Seacrest will be making the publicity rounds next week as he gears up to again co-host “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” with Dick Clark…

ABC Throws Its Schedule Out the Window

ABC is making SO many changes lately that it’s hard to keep up…

Last week, ABC announced it was ordering more episodes of “Show Me the Money.” But Friday morning, the network came to its senses and pulled the order, saying it would burn off the remaining episodes until January. But later Friday, ABC pulled “Show” off the schedule altogether.

ABC has also pulled the plug on “Help Me Help You.” And “Day Break” becomes the latest serial to bite the dust as it has also been cancelled. The remaining episodes of “Break” will air on

So now, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” will air Tuesdays at 8 p.m., followed by two episodes of “Big Day”—but don’t be surprised if we never see the bride walk down the aisle, since cancellation is looming for that one too. Wednesday’s voids will be filled with the early return of “George Lopez” and “According to Jim” beginning this week…

McConaughey Gets Sacked

Poor Matthew McConaughey. He went all the way to Indianapolis to promote “We Are Marshall” during “Monday Night Football” and barely got to say hello—let alone promote the movie.

Unfortunately, he got sacked by ESPN’s lousy coverage, as they attempted to talk to him right in the middle of a Bengals drive. Instead of trying to rearrange things to allow more time, they went on with their regular broadcast—even going to a pointless sideline feature about one of the Colts players. McConaughey answered ONE question about the movie. If not for his ability to seize his talking opportunities, he wouldn’t have gotten to say anything at all. If I were him, I would’ve walked out of that booth, walked straight to the publicist and asked why I even bothered.

Which makes me wonder why ESPN even bothered. They couldn’t have interviewed McConaughey during halftime? I think we could’ve done without Terrell Owens’ latest antics or the pointless “Jacked Up!” segment we had already seen most of to make room for him.

ESPN has shown a lot of love to “We Are Marshall,” but they didn’t show it last night…

ESPN Fumbles the Ball

I have to admit with all of my other TV commitments on Mondays, I haven’t seen any Monday night football games this year.

But watching last night just confirmed for me that NBC is the best place to watch an NFL game.

First, there was the pregame. How much can you really talk about one game? And then, there were three different openings. Did we really need to hear that guy mock the name Houshmanzadeh? And what is up with that new version of Hank’s opening? Are we supposed to be impressed with all those people on the stage?

Then, there’s the coverage itself. I’ve never been a fan of Joe Theismann, but he’s a lot less annoying than Tony Kornheiser, whose main jobs are apparently to state the obvious and ask stupid questions.

Not that the commentary really mattered last night since everyone was apparently under the impression that Peyton Manning was the only one on the field at all times.

It didn’t get any better at halftime as Michael Irvin and Tom Jackson scared Bengals fans with the news that Carson Palmer looked hurt coming off the field. But were the announcers or sideline reporters listening? Apparently not because Suzy Kolber gave us neither a report on Carson or injured lineman Willie Anderson. What did she report? That the Bengals needed to execute on defense. Thanks for the news flash, Suzy.

Maybe NBC didn’t steal the best aspects of “Monday Night Football” after all. It looks like ESPN just fumbled them away…

"We Are Marshall" on A&E

"We Are Marshall" will be featured on the A&E program, "MovieReal" Thursday, December 21st at 11 p.m. with a repeat at 3 a.m. on Friday, December 22nd.

You can get all the details at

Monday, December 18, 2006

"We're Talkin' It Up!"

I was pretty bummed when I found out I missed another installment of "The Barry Gibb Talk Show" on "Saturday Night Live" Saturday night.

But thanks to the magic of the Internet, I got to see it at It's obvious that Jimmy and Justin are a little out of practice, but it was still hilarious!

What did we do before TV networks embraced the Internet?

"We Are Marshall": The TV Interviews

The "We Are Marshall" publicity machine is getting cranked up this week and here are the scheduled appearances (Remember that schedules are always subject to change):

Tuesday, Matthew Fox sits down with Jimmy Kimmel. "Jimmy Kimmel Live" airs at 12:05 a.m. on ABC, but in the Huntington area it airs at 1:05 a.m.

Thursday, Matthew McConaughey is on "The Tonight Show" at 11:35 p.m. on NBC.

Friday, Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, Anthony Mackie and Kate Mara will appear on "The View," which airs at 11 a.m. on ABC (Check your local listings.). Maybe with that many people, they'll actually get a word in edgewise. Then, it's Matthew McConaughey's turn to visit "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Matthew's in good company, because Hall and Oates will be there to perform from their Christmas CD (which is outstanding, by the way).

No doubt cast members will be appearing on the morning shows this week, but since they don't put their schedules on their websites, I couldn't narrow anything down. If you hear of any appearances I forgot, please post them as comments...

Pick of the Week: A Christmas "Justice"

If you’re looking for that sappy holiday movie to put you in the mood, then look no further than TNT for “A Perfect Day.” Rob Lowe, Paget Brewster, and Christopher Lloyd star in this tale of a writer who’s overtaken by fame and has to reconnect with his family. “Day” airs Monday, December 18th at 8 p.m. on TNT…

But my Pick of the Week is “Justice.” There aren’t too many of these left, so you need to catch them while you can. This one’s a Christmas episode where Ron finds himself with an unexpected party guest. “Justice” airs Friday, December 22nd at 8 p.m. on FOX…

Friday, December 15, 2006



Last night, I got some very disturbing news that may affect many of you as well.

Right on the heels of the dispute between Time Warner and WSAZ, there comes a dispute between Time Warner and Sinclair Broadcasting. How does this affect me and possibly many of you?

Sinclair Broadcasting owns both WCHS and WVAH. If an agreement is not reached by December 31st, former Adelphia customers now serviced by Time Warner could lose those channels.

That means no “24” and no “American Idol.” Now you know why I’m FREAKING OUT!!!

Now, I feel quite certain that Time Warner has some kind of contingency plan for us to pick up another FOX affiliate, because having a cable system without the number one show on television would be corporate suicide; but I have been a loyal watcher of WVAH since they were channel 23. It would be a real blow to lose them.

Since I missed the first part of the news story, I don’t even know what the issue is (something about transmission fees), but I implore both parties to come to some kind of agreement. I would be happy to offer myself as an arbitrator if necessary.

And I don’t know about you, but this constant threat of losing stations, is getting a little old. It starts to make you wonder if it’s even worth it to have cable anymore…

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Golden Globe TV Nominations: A "Hiro" Is Honored

Obviously most of the Golden Globe attention goes to the movie nominees, but since I’m a TV blogger, my focus is on the TV awards.

And even though I’m a little bummed that neither Gregory Itzin nor Jean Smart received any Globe love, I couldn’t be happier for Masi Oka, the loveable Hiro of “Heroes,” who did receive a nod.

Here’s the list:

Drama Series:
“Big Love”
“Grey’s Anatomy”

Patricia Arquette, “Medium”
Edie Falco, “The Sopranos”
Evangeline Lilly, “Lost”
Ellen Pompeo, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”

Patrick Dempsey, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”
Hugh Laurie, “House”
Bill Paxton, “Big Love”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”—WOO HOO!

Comedy Series:
“Desperate Housewives”
“The Office”
“Ugly Betty”

Marcia Cross, “Desperate Housewives”
America Ferrera, “Ugly Betty”
Felicity Huffman, “DH”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”
Mary-Louise Parker, “Weeds”

Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”
Zach Braff, “Scrubs”
Steve Carell, “The Office”
Jason Lee, “My Name Is Earl”
Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”

I won’t list the mini-series and movie categories for you since most of them are from HBO projects that many of us have never seen. I will mention, however, that Matthew Perry received a nomination for “The Ron Clark Story.”

The cruelest Globe categories have to be Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role in a Television Series, Movie or Mini-Series because they lump everyone together—comedy, drama, whatever:

Actress in a Supporting Role:
Emily Blunt, “Gideon’s Daughter”
Toni Collette, “Tsunami, the Aftermath”
Katherine Heigl, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Sarah Paulson, “Studio 60”
Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds”

Actor in a Supporting Role:
Thomas Haden Church, “Broken Trail”
Jeremy Irons, “Elizabeth I”
Justin Kirk, “Weeds”
Masi Oka, “Heroes”
Jeremy Piven, “Entourage”

The Golden Globe Awards will air on NBC January 15th at 8 p.m., but I won’t be watching since that’s the second night of the “24” premiere. Thanks a lot, NBC…

Photos courtesy of Gannett News Service

Jennifer Hudson Gets Her Globe Nod

If you had told me that an “American Idol” contestant would someday get nominated for a Golden Globe for acting, I would’ve said you were crazy.

But today it happened as Jennifer Hudson was nominated for Supporting Actress-Comedy/Musical for her role as Effie in “Dreamgirls.” And since the Globes are separated into two categories (Drama and Comedy/Musical), I would say her chances of winning are excellent.
I’m guessing not even Simon Cowell imagined that…

Matthew Fox Tells How One Aspect of “We Are Marshall” Upset the People Behind “Lost”

For those of you who don’t have satellite radio, Matthew Fox was on 20 on 20 on XM radio this morning doing promotion for “We Are Marshall.”

The most interesting tidbit he shared was that the people at Touchstone, who produce “Lost” were not happy about the red hair he sports while playing Red Dawson. Apparently there’s a clause in Matthew’s “Lost” contract that says he is not allowed to change his appearance (After all, where would he get hair dye on that island? From the hatch?). But after talking with McG, Matthew decided he absolutely had to dye it. Since at one point he was doing both projects at the same time, his plan was to dye it back before he got back to Hawaii. However, before he could do that, the pictures of him and Matthew McConaughey on set appeared in a magazine. When the Touchstone people saw the red hair, he says they were a little upset, but since Jack never had red hair, I’m guessing they got over it…

Speaking of “Lost,” ABC announced last week that the show will move to 10 p.m. when it returns February 7th. The move was made to avoid a showdown with the results show of “American Idol,” but Matthew says the move will allow the show to properly address its adult issues and the violence required for the stories. Sounds like things are about to get more intense on that island…

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"We Are Marshall": The Premiere Coverage

So if you live in the Huntington area, the most exciting thing on TV last night was the coverage of the “We Are Marshall” premiere.

As any broadcast journalist will tell you, nothing gets the adrenaline going like a live broadcast of breaking news. And I could feel that adrenaline coming through my TV screen.

Since I have friends at both WOWK and WSAZ, I don’t want to favor one station over the other, but I do want to recognize Spencer Adkins for his great work on the green carpet. My heart went out to him when he was forced to pass Matthew McConaughey down the line to go to a commercial. But he did get him back, snagging one of the night’s best interviews in the process.
I also want to send out kudos to WOWK (and their West Virginia Media partners) for ending their telecast with the names of those who died in the plane crash—including the flight crew. It was a real class act.

And speaking of class acts, what about Matthew Fox walking the carpet with Red Dawson, and then going back down the carpet to talk to fans?

In the opposite category, I have to mention how horrified I was at the reporter who picked up mementoes left at the Spring Hill Cemetery memorial during a pre-taped story. Those articles were left for loved ones, not for TV reporters to play with.

That disrespectful act aside, let me pass on my kudos to everyone who worked so hard to bring us all of the action—and kudos to the hard-working staff of “The Herald-Dispatch” who I know put in a lot of hours to give us the coverage you see today…

A Sitcom Giant Passes Away

As most of you have probably heard, Peter Boyle, probably best known as Frank Barone on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” passed away at the age of 71.

I just read “It’s a Good Thing You’re Funny,” the book by “Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal in which he says he hired Boyle because he was afraid of him. It seems that Boyle had to wait for his audition for a while, so by the time it finally happened he was good and agitated—which was perfect for Frank.

It was obvious in the later seasons that Boyle was in poor health, but his comic timing never failed. And his performance in the final episode should have earned him an Emmy (It went to his costar Brad Garrett.).

My favorite performance of Boyle’s is not Frank, though. It’s Jack McDermott from “The Dream Team.” Jack was the advertising executive who had a nervous breakdown and ended up in the mental institution with Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd and Stephen Furst. The scene where he takes his clothes off in the church and declares “we are all naked in the eyes of the lord” is one of the high points of the movie.

He will truly be missed…

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"We Are Marshall": A Chance to "Get It"

As “We Are Marshall” has its official premiere tonight, I hope you’ll allow me to go a little outside my usual topic…

I admit it. I was one of those people who just didn’t get it.

I couldn’t understand why Marshall University would have a ceremony every year to remember the plane crash that killed 75 members of its family. I couldn’t understand why everyone couldn’t just move on with their lives.

Then in the summer of 1994, I started work as a Staff Writer at The Parthenon, Marshall’s student newspaper. To fill up some space on a page, I wrote a small article about the memorial fountain. While writing the article, I went back into the archives to read about Harry Bertoia and his vision for the sculpture. I also read some of the articles about the crash and it got me to thinking a little more about what the campus went through in 1970.

That fall, the editors of the paper asked me if I would write a two-page article to mark the 24th anniversary of the crash. I jumped at the chance because it was a wonderful opportunity to gain some exposure as a student journalist. But I gained more than exposure and accolades that November. I also gained a new point of view and a newfound respect for what had happened 24 years before…

Because of all the interviews I did during my journalism career, these are the ones I will always remember. I can still hear the calm voice of the former student trainer who gave his place on the plane to another student and was called upon to help identify bodies. I can still hear him telling me how he tried to wrap his mind around the fact that no one survived; and I can still hear my voice asking the question, “So your family thought you were dead?”

I can still hear the pain in the voice of the Marshall graduate who lived in the same dorm as the players and who had to return home because she couldn’t handle living there without them. She had been waiting for my call and she was already in tears when she picked up the phone. I can still remember her hushed, quivering voice trying to answer my questions.

I have to admit that article was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to write, because I knew I couldn’t just slap something together. I had to find a way to do justice to the story. I had to do justice to these people who had trusted me enough to share these painful memories. I sat down and tried to figure out how to begin.

And that’s when I got it.

For those of us who were not alive in 1970, it’s hard to comprehend what Marshall and Huntington went through. I’ve experienced grief in my life, but this was something so far off the scale I couldn’t even imagine it. I didn’t understand that this was not just an event that took 75 lives. This was an event that took the entire soul of a community.

Yes, Marshall and Huntington have both managed to move on, but they will never forget.

And they shouldn’t.

It’s important that we pause each year and remember those 75 lives and the entire community’s struggle to “rise from the ashes.” For those of us who weren’t there, “We Are Marshall” will give us just a glimpse and give everyone a chance to “get it.” And I hope that they do…

A few years ago there was some discussion about not doing the memorial service every year. I hope that discussion never comes up again…

In 1995, as a reporter at WMUL, Marshall’s student radio station, I put together a feature for the 25th anniversary of the plane crash. This time, however, I gave the interviews to other reporters, knowing I couldn’t handle them myself. Both reporters came back a little shook up, but I hope they also came back with a better understanding themselves.

At the memorial service that year, Keith Morehouse read a poem that is the only fitting way for me to close this post. I hope Keith won’t mind me using it…

What happened to the school who lost its team, once the players were all gone.
It mourned and grieved, yet still believed that the games they should go on.

A team showed up in ’71. Would Marshall be the same?
The coaches knew. The players too. This was more than just a game.

An incredible loss to come back from. The journey would be long.
But in its quest to be the best, this team was thousands strong.

The wins have come, but the seasons aren’t done. This is everybody’s team.
See we’ve been blessed, unlike the rest, to live our loved one’s dream.

Idol Update: Fantasia & Taylor's New CDs, Carrie's Trip, Elliott's New Look and more!

Listening to Fantasia’s CD yesterday, I came to the conclusion that I’m just not a fan of hers. I really should have already known that since I bought Diana DeGarmo’s CD instead of hers, but this just confirmed it for me. Because I never heard her first CD, I can’t say whether it’s better or not, but it’s obvious she’s trying to find a new groove. I’ll let the Fantasia fans tell me whether it’s good or not. You can listen at By the way, Fantasia will be touring early next year with Jamie Foxx…

Also at the AOL site, you can listen to Taylor Hicks’ CD, which may very well be the best debut CD from an “Idol” winner yet. Further research reveals that “Give Me Tonight,” which I thought sounded like a remake, is actually a new song co-written by Taylor (I’m sorry to hear that.). “Places I’ve Been” was written by Diane Warren but the song Taylor co-wrote with John Mayer didn’t make the cut. If you buy the CD at Wal-Mart, you’ll get an exclusive track, “Hell of a Day,” which from the sample I’ve heard just takes away from the soulful ending of “The Right Place.” Be sure to let me know what you think…

Carrie Underwood is headed to the Persian Gulf as part of a USO tour. It’s been quite a year for Carrie as the year-end charts will soon reveal…

This week’s “People” details Elliott Yamin’s “mouth makeover.” A dentist in Beverly Hills corrected Elliott’s teeth free of charge. The dentist says that fixing Elliott’s overbite may even help him sing better because it will allow him to open his mouth more. You can hear Elliott’s version of “This Christmas” at

Don’t forget that Kellie Pickler is scheduled to appear on “Ellen” this Friday. Check your local listings…

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pick of the Week: Merry Chrismakkuh!

Before I get to the main event, there are two season finales I want to alert you to. “Nip/Tuck” finishes its season Tuesday, December 12th at 10 p.m. on FX and “Survivor” has its finale and cast reunion Sunday, December 17th beginning at 8 p.m…

Now, onto my Pick of the Week…

If you’ve never heard of the magical holiday known as Chrismukkah, then shame on you! Chrismukkah is the special day celebrated every year on “The O.C.” Seth created the holiday to join his father’s Hanukkah traditions with his mother’s Christmas ones. This episode is usually the best of the season and this year, it looks like they’re pulling out all the stops as Ryan and Taylor do an “It’s a Wonderful Life” and travel to an alternate Newport, where Ryan never came to town. And yes, I know that the previews showed Taylor telling Ryan that Marissa’s alive; but the chances of Mischa Barton showing up are about a gazillion to one. A favorite will return, but I’m told it’s someone in Marissa’s family. “The O.C.” airs Thursday at 9 p.m. on FOX…

Friday, December 08, 2006

One More Reason to Love CP...

As if I needed another reason to love Carson Palmer, I just found one...

He's a "24" fan.

In an article on the Bengals website, injured linebacker David Pollack says that Carson and his wife gave him the first three seasons of "24" to help him pass the time while he recovered from a broken neck. And no surprise, Pollack is now a fan himself (Carson, I think that's your cue to give him the other two!).

I should've known that it was Jack Bauer who inspired Carson's quick comeback from knee surgery...

By the way, you can catch Carson and company in action Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS as Randy Moss and the Raiders make their first ever trip to Paul Brown Stadium.

Friday Free-For-All: December 8, 2006

I’m hoping to get caught up enough on my unpacking this weekend to be able to get caught up on all of the posts I want to do.

Until then, it’s time for another free-for-all. What’s on your minds this week?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

DVD Review: "24" Season 5

It’s easy to understand how Kiefer Sutherland could get so wrapped up in watching a “24” episode (most of it for the first time) that he forgets he’s supposed to be doing commentary.

That, after all, is the magic of the fifth (and best yet) season of “24.” For the first time, we care about other stories besides Jack’s.

We’ve always cared about other characters like Tony, Michelle and Chloe. But their stories were always a part of Jack’s overall story. We cared about David Palmer, but most of the time his story didn’t make all that much sense (Remember the Vice-Presidential coup? How about his doctor girlfriend whose husband killed himself for no reason?). This year, not only did we care about President and Mrs. Logan, we found ourselves totally involved in their story. One particular episode, Jack only appeared on screen for eleven minutes, but I was so engrossed in the Logan storyline, I didn’t even notice until the show was almost over.

This was the second season “24” ran uninterrupted, and it’s clear the writers learned a great deal from season four. The continuity is the best it’s ever been as even the most outlandish twist still makes sense.

As for the DVD itself, the special features are pretty extensive and highly entertaining. There are interviews with all of the supporting characters that share a few interesting tidbits (Gregory Itzin wears earrings and a leather jacket? Jude Ciccolella is a folk singer?). We go behind the scenes with the camera operators for an extensive look at the shooting of a major explosion scene. Plus, two-time Emmy winner Sean Callery shows us how he scores the show. There are also commentaries from the writers, directors and several of the stars including Mary Lynn Rajskub, Gregory Itzin, Jean Smart, Julian Sands and Kiefer himself.

If you think you were upset at the deaths of some of the characters, wait until you hear Kiefer’s reactions. The first death (which occurs within the first 10 minutes of the premiere) actually makes him jump—and he knows it’s coming.

The most disappointing part of the DVD is the season six prequel that is supposed to connect the fifth and sixth seasons since it really only serves to advertise Toyota. We do get a glimpse at what Chinese captivity is like for Jack, but the sequence is truly pointless. I do, however, get some satisfaction in knowing that Jack has been able to keep quiet for seven months.

There are many of you out there who have said you would only watch “24” if you could watch all of the episodes one right after the other. If you’re one of those people, this is the season for you.

Jack Bauer and the Cheerleader

Forget Hiro! Jack Bauer's the one you call to save the cheerleader and the world!

I had to show you this cute shot from the Big in '06 awards. Thanks to RT for sending it to me.

I vote for a crossover...

Idol Update, Part 3: The Grammys and a "Dreamgirls" Controversy

The Grammy nominations were announced today and Carrie Underwood received three nominations: Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song for “Jesus Take the Wheel” and Best New Artist. “Jesus Take the Wheel” also received a nomination for Song of the Year, which goes to the songwriters. Carrie’s competition in the Best New Artist category is James Blunt, Imogen Heap, Chris Brown and Corinne Bailey Rae. Since the Grammys like to avoid the mainstream, I don’t think her chances are very good to win that one, but since Best New Artist usually turns out to be a curse, she probably wouldn’t want it anyway…

There’s apparently a small controversy surrounding the “Dreamgirls” award nominations. One expert is already criticizing the decision to put Jennifer Hudson in the Supporting Actress categories (so the studio can push Beyonce for the Lead Actress categories), since Jennifer is apparently the heart of the movie. Personally, I think it’s an excellent move for Jennifer since the Actress category is so loaded with talent this year and she has an excellent shot at winning (!) in the supporting category. However, it’s important to note that the Academy Awards do not have to follow the studio recommendations and could put Jennifer in whichever category they choose. The Golden Globe nominations will be announced December 14th…

Meanwhile, Fantasia tells “Entertainment Weekly” this week that she was hurt when Jennifer beat her out for the part. Fantasia called her and said, “Heifer, you took my part!” (What a lovely nickname for a friend!). Having seen Fantasia’s acting abilities, I’d say it was an easy choice…

Your "O.C." Catchup...

I’ve been telling people for weeks that they need to get back into “The O.C.” But people keep telling me that they haven’t watched it in so long, they don’t know what’s happening.

Allow me to catch you up…

Drama queen Marissa was killed in a car accident when her sleaze of an ex-boyfriend, Volchak,, ran her and Ryan off the road. This season began five months later with Ryan living in a nasty apartment in the back of a bar and exercising his demons by getting the crap knocked out of him in a fight club. When Julie Cooper, Marissa’s mom, told Ryan where to find Volchak so he could kill him, Ryan went to Mexico to find him, but Seth found Volchak first and told him to leave—even letting him know his dad would help him. Volchak did end up calling Sandy, who negotiated his surrender to the police—but not before Ryan showed up. However, Ryan realized that death was what Volchak wanted and he walked away, allowing him just to go to jail. Ryan then moved back in with the Cohens and got a job at the Mexican restaurant in the mall to try and put himself back together…

Julie wasn’t dealing with Marissa’s death very well herself, driving her fiancé Neil (Summer’s dad) back into the arms of his ex-wife. Neil transferred to a hospital in Seattle, but left Julie the house for her and Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn has brought her bad girl ways to Harbor and has teamed up with the younger twin brothers of Luke, who was Marissa’s boyfriend when the show began. Julie and Kirsten put more of their efforts into NuMatch, their dating service, until Julie started getting an interest in younger men. But when she and Kaitlyn ended up dating the same guy—who turned out to be the son of the man Julie was trying to get to invest in NuMatch—Julie decided to be a little more adult…

Summer and Seth were not handling the long distance relationship (Summer is at Brown, while Seth won’t join her until January to go to art school.) very well since anything about Newport only reminded Summer of Marissa. In fact, she couldn’t even stay in her own house since that’s where Marissa last lived. To fight her grief, Summer became an environmental activist and a bit of a hippy. After seeing a psychiatrist, Summer tried to go back to her old ways, only to realize that she truly had changed. But Summer found herself in trouble when she and her friend Che were caught releasing rabbits from a lab. Summer refused to rat Che out, but he did not do the same for her and even accused her of things he had done so that the “movement could survive”…

Summer saw Taylor Townsend hiding from her mother in Newport, when she was supposed to be in Paris. Taylor later revealed that she had married a man in Paris, and was now trying to get away from him. After her mother kicked her out, Taylor moved in with Julie and Kaitlyn. Her husband’s lawyer came to town to take Taylor back to France saying he would only grant the divorce if she had been unfaithful. Taylor told the lawyer that she and Ryan were lovers, but when Ryan balked at the charade, Taylor looked to be headed back to France. However, Ryan showed up at the last minute and gave Taylor a kiss that convinced the lawyer, and totally swept Taylor off her feet.

Setting her sights on Ryan, Taylor pretended to be a sleep therapist in order to seduce him. It didn’t work, but she managed to figure out that Ryan’s insomnia was due to the fact that he had nothing to look forward to since Volchak went to jail, since getting revenge was no longer something to shoot for. When Ryan figured out what was going on (Thanks to Seth.), Taylor lied and said she didn’t have feelings for him, then tried to blow his mind with her outfit at Sandy’s benefit. When she overheard Ryan tell Seth he was not going to date Taylor, she decided to give up. But for some reason, Seth practically dared her to keep trying and after bringing Ryan some tea to put him to sleep, she talked Ryan into a kiss. Taylor ran out, leaving Ryan only to say, “Whoa.” When Seth came to the poolhouse, Ryan was actually asleep, but the tea was untouched.

And now, you’re caught up. No more excuses!

“The O.C.” airs tonight at 9 on FOX…

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Taylor Does the Soul Patrol Proud!

From the very beginning, Taylor Hicks was not your traditional “American Idol.” The gray hair, the funky dancing—none of it looked like the “American Idol.”

So it only makes sense that Taylor’s CD would not sound like a traditional “Idol” winner’s album—and that’s a good thing.

The first track, the single “Runaround” sounds like nothing on the radio today with its brassy horns and rhythm changes. Things get a little more traditional with the Rob Thomas-penned “Dream Myself Awake,” but then it’s back to the soul again with “Heaven Knows,” “Gonna Move” and the Marvin Gaye-penned “Wherever I Lay My Hat.”

But then the CD takes a rather strange turn with the cheesy “Give Me Tonight” (Someone will have to tell me if that’s a remake, because it sounds familiar.). Taylor brings it right back, though, with the stirring ballad, “Just to Feel That Way.” “The Maze,” “Places I’ve Been,” “Soul Thing” and “The Deal” are not nearly as different as the first tracks but they still ooze the old soul vibe. The CD closes with the gospel-tinged “The Right Place,” which was written for Ray Charles before his death. You can almost hear Ray coming out through Taylor’s voice as he sings over the choir.

I really didn’t think that I would like this CD, but somehow I found myself enjoying it anyway. And I’m sure it will be incredible live. Kudos to Clive Davis, Simon Fuller, or whoever let Taylor make the right CD for him. Maybe the “Idol” machine is finally figuring things out.

If you’re a fan of Motown, Ray Charles or just Taylor himself, you’re going to love this one.

You can listen for yourself at:

Idol Update, Part 2: Taylor's Track List and Paris Signs?

The track list for Taylor Hick’s CD has been released and as I told you before, there’s a heavy dose of old soul.

Taylor will do his own version of the Smokey Robinson classic (originally peformed by Marvin Gaye) “Ain’t That Peculiar” on “Heaven Knows.” “Wherever I Lay My Hat” was written by Marvin Gaye and “The Right Place” was written for Ray Charles to perform shortly before his death. No surprise that my favorite of the three preview tracks, “Dream Myself Awake,” was written by a favorite of mine, Rob Thomas. Two songs that Taylor released on his second independent album before “Idol” also make the cut: “Soul Thing” and “The Deal.”

Here’s the entire list: “Runaround,” “Dream Myself Awake,” “Heaven Knows,” “Gonna Move,” “Wherever I Lay My Hat,” “Give Me Tonight,” “Just to Feel That Way,” “The Maze,” “Places I’ve Been,” “Soul Thing,” “The Deal” and “The Right Place”…

“USA Today” is reporting that Paris Bennett has signed a recording contract and will release a CD in February. No word on the label. If you saw Paris in concert, you know she’s quite the showstopper, so I’m happy for her if this is true…

Question of the Week: Christmas Gifts

For this week's question, I thought I'd test your creative skills. Ready?

If you could give any TV character (or characters) a Christmas present, what would it be?

For me, I would give Jack Bauer a date with me. Of course, I think that's more of a present for me than for him...

So what about you...

My Weekly Questions About "Heroes"...

So I did manage to catch “Heroes” yesterday, and as usual, I have a few questions…

Peter causes the explosion because he can’t control Sylar’s powers? So how did him saving the cheerleader save the world? And how did Nathan get to Texas so quickly?

Who is the person giving HRG orders? Is it Linderman?

And what is up with Hiro and that dragon?


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Idol Update: BMAs, New Clay Christmas, Taylor, Katharine, Daughtry, Kellie, Elliott and...Bucky!

Apparently I don’t understand how the Billboard Music Awards work. Since they’re based on actual chart performance, I figured that the best-selling album of the year would win. But apparently, that wasn’t the case since Carrie Underwood took home album of the year. Maybe the BMAs were afraid they’d ruin their credibility if they gave it to “High School Musical.” Carrie took home four other awards as well: Female Billboard 200 Album Artist of the Year, Country Album of the Year, New Country Artist of the Year and Female Country Artist of the Year. Rascal Flatts, which has the second best selling album of the year (of any genre) was shut out. I don’t understand it, but congrats to Carrie anyway…

Wal-Mart is offering an exclusive Clay Aiken Christmas CD with four new Christmas songs: “All Is Well,” “Christmas Waltz,” “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” and “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” The “All Is Well” EP is only available at Wal-Mart…

Wal-Mart is becoming the home for “Idol” exclusives. You can get two exclusive “Daughtry” tracks on their CD and there will be an exclusive track on Taylor’s CD as well…

Speaking of Taylor Hicks’ CD, this week’s Kmart ad is incorrect. The CD does not come out until next Tuesday. But Taylor will be heating up the airwaves this week to promote it. He’ll be on “Live with Regis and Kelly” Wednesday morning, and “The View” Monday, December 11th. He’ll also be one of the performers on “Christmas in Washington” Wednesday, December 13th at 10 p.m. on TNT.

Taylor told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show Friday that the comments about him not watching “Idol” were taken out of context, saying he only meant that he would be “giving up [his] crown soon” (Or perhaps he was just trying to gain some cred with an indie music magazine?). He also told Ryan his tour will begin February 24th…

Daughtry is off to a great start. “It’s Not Over” entered the Hot 100 as the top debut at #65. I haven’t seen them, but the song is apparently being used in “Prison Break” promos—which is an excellent choice. Chris has also signed a publishing agreement with BMG songs. Chris wrote or co-wrote 10 of his album’s 12 songs…

Katharine McPhee’s release date has officially been moved to January 30th, robbing her of any Christmas sales. At least one critic has questioned whether Katharine actually got her people to move the date or if she was just that behind in recording it. Either way, it’s going to need A LOT of promotion.

Katharine missed a golden opportunity when she won Big “It” Girl at the VH1 Big in ’06 Awards. Chris Daughtry lost Big Reality Star to Janelle of “Big Brother.” Thanks by the way to everyone who voted for Kiefer Sutherland, who won Big TV Star…

You can catch Kellie Pickler’s performance on the Grand Ole Opry tonight at 9 p.m. and Wednesday, December 6th at 1 p.m. on GAC…

Speaking of GAC, here’s big news for Bucky Covington fans. Bucky is now a part of the GAC Christmas Tour with Deanna Carter, Blue County, Steve Azar and Julie Roberts. He replaces Buddy Jewel who was unable to tour due to a broken wrist. You can see the concert in Knoxville on GAC Saturday, December 16th at 9 p.m. Bucky is debuting his new single, “Different World,” during the tour and is aiming for a January release date for his CD. No word on a label, but at this rate, we’ll have his CD before we have Katharine’s…

Elliott Yamin has signed a publishing deal with Sony. This is not a recording contract, but it will help him find a distributor for songs he has written. He’ll release a cover of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” on AOL next week…

Think all of the Oscar buzz for Jennifer Hudson is just hype? Check out what “Variety” had to say about her performance:

“An ‘American Idol’ finalist without prior screen experience, Hudson comes fully-formed to film. It’s the kind of galvanizing perf that calls to mind debuts like Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl” or Bette Midler in “The Rose,” with a voice like the young Aretha. More fully developed here than onstage, Effie is the fierce, wounded, pulsating heart of the movie. Her big song and second explosive number “I Am Changing” both elicit audience cheers and applause.”

YIKES! You can take a listen for yourself on the “Dreamgirls” soundtrack at

Monday, December 04, 2006

Picks of the Week: Heroes, Cops, Models, and Conan!

For those of you who are able to watch TV this week, here are my five Picks of the Week:

First, it’s the last new “Heroes” of the year and we’re supposed to get more details about the nuclear meltdown. Maybe we’ll also find out why saving the cheerleader was supposed to save the world. “Heroes” airs tonight (Monday) at 9 on NBC. By the way, it will return January 22nd…

Second, TNT is offering up a bonus two-hour episode of “The Closer.” Star Kyra Sedgwick’s husband, Kevin Bacon, directed the second hour. “The Closer” airs tonight (Monday) at 8 p.m. on TNT…

Third, the catfights are over for another season as “American’s Next Top Model” is chosen. “Model” airs Wednesday, December 6th at 8 p.m. on the CW…

Fourth, Conan O’Brien tries to give “30 Rock” a boost as he guest stars as himself and reveals a romantic past with Tina Fey’s Liz. “30 Rock” airs Thursday, December 7th at 9:30 p.m. on NBC…

And last, but absolutely, not least is “The O.C.” If you saw last week’s fantastic episode and the previews that followed it, I don’t have to give you a reason why. If you did not, this is your final warning (not really). “Grey’s Anatomy” is a rerun, so watch this show! “The O.C.” airs Thursday, December 7th at 9 p.m. on FOX…

My Personal Nightmare...

As I posted Thursday, I’ve spent the last three days moving. I have no idea how long it will be before I get myself together.

For those of you who have been through this experience, you know that chasing down the cable guy is one of the most difficult tasks, so I was prepared to go cable-less for a few days. But for some reason, the rabbit ears are not working, so I’m going TV-less too.

That’s right. I am completely without TV until Wednesday.

That sound you hear is my best impression of Macaulay Culkin in “Home Alone”…

This means I won’t be able to watch “Heroes” tonight. Normally, I would just catch the episode online, but I won’t have my Internet back until December 14th!

Thankfully, I have my mom to tape for me and to wait on the cable guy.

Until then, I’ve got DVDs—if I can find them—and I can read about what’s on TV in the magazines I get before my mail forwarding kicks in. Unfortunately, my “TV Guide” won’t make that cut…

As I said, my personal nightmare…