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"…

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pick of the Week: Finally Time to Get "Lost"

This week’s Pick was a complete no-brainer, so I’ll just get right to it…

My Pick of the Week is the season premiere of “Lost.”

ABC did not make the premiere available to the media, however I have seen a VERY interesting and somewhat confusing clip that has me on total pins and needles for the premiere.

It’s time for the answers to begin rolling in, kids…

The two-hour premiere of “Lost” airs Tuesday, February 2nd at 9 p.m. after a one-hour recap episode at 8 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABC

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What Will The CW Update Next?

Proving The CW has no more original ideas, it announced today that it has picked up a pilot updating “La Femme Nikita.”

You may recall that “Nikita” was a French film that was made into the US film, “Point of No Return,” that was later made into the TV show “La Femme Nikita,” which ran for five seasons on USA.

It has our old pal McG, behind it, so it’s guaranteed to be a rip-roaring action fest, but it’s still a bummer, because “Nikita” was the show that first introduced us to the team of Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow, who went on to create “24.” And since they’ll have nothing to do with this one, I kind of wish they would have just left it alone…

And you have to wonder what The CW will update next? I shudder at the thought…

ABC Cancels "Ugly Betty"

ABC announced today that it is cancelling “Ugly Betty.”

The network made the announcement now to give the show a chance to craft a suitable series finale.

“Betty” has struggled in the ratings recently as ABC tried several different timeslots.

No finale date has been set.

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles/ABC

Conan and NBC Still Doing Business?

Here’s something interesting…

It seems NBC and Conan O’Brien are still doing business together. NBC has picked up a pilot from Conan’s production company, Conaco, called “Justice.”

The show follows a Supreme Court Justice who quits to start his own law practice.

A pilot order does not a series make, but wouldn’t it be something if it did turn out to be a hit show?

Can Oprah Save Jay?

Tomorrow, Jay Leno will tell his story to Oprah Winfrey on her show.

If anyone can help Jay rebuild his image it’s Oprah, but I’m not sure even she can…

You can see a preview here. And don’t miss the dramatic promo here

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” airs in Huntington/Charleston at 4 p.m. on WSAZ…

And yes, I will definitely be taping it…

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pick of the Week: A "Raw" Favorite

When nothing really special jumps out at me, it gives me the chance to spotlight a favorite I haven’t been able to tell you about…

My Pick of the Week is “Shatner’s Raw Nerve.”

If you’ve never seen it, “Nerve” features William Shatner interviewing celebrities. I know it sounds a little strange, but the show is actually really good. Shatner’s unique interviewing style really lends itself to learning a lot about the person he’s interviewing.

This week’s guest is the always outrageous Whoopi Goldberg. That’s followed by an encore of his interview with MacKenzie Phillips.

“Shatner’s Raw Nerve” airs Tuesday, January 26th at 10 p.m. on Biography Channel. You can watch a preview here.

Photo Credit: Scott Gries/Biography Channel

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Was This NBC's Plan All Along?

“TV Week” today pointed to a very interesting article from from December 2008.

In that article, James Hibberd quoted an NBC insider as saying that the network wanted to keep Jay so it would have a fallback plan in case Conan failed.

Was this their plan all along?

Here’s the quote:
“NBC has committed to Conan for ‘The Tonight Show’ and will go through with it.
It’s less of a financial decision, because the $40-45 million penalty payment is
not super relevant. If they went to Jay and said, ‘we need you to split the
payment,’ he’d do it. They’ve made a public commitment to Conan and don’t want
to get beaten up over it. NBC will do everything to try to keep Jay. Morning
shows, afternoon shows, daytime shows – he won’t take any of those. They will
try to keep Jay in the fold so if Conan fails on ‘The Tonight Show’ they will
put Jay right back in there. Jeff Zucker will call Jay into his office with big
wink and say, 'if you say it publicly I’ll deny it, but if Conan fails, I want
you back.' That’s just the way NBC works. Back when Dave and Jay were fighting
over 'The Tonight Show,’ they tried to see if they could do the same thing.
That’s what they’re going to try and do here with Jay and Conan, only they are
more likely to pull it off this time. One of the most important things to
remember about NBC, is they had Coke with Carson. There was no Pepsi. They gave
birth to Dave, then they suddenly had a cola war. They cannot bear the idea of
Conan or Jay going across the street."

You can read the entire story here.

Pick of the Week: Conan’s Undeserved Exit

You no doubt noticed that I have not done a Pick of the Week this week. That’s because I was waiting. And now that the announcement has been officially made, I can now make my Pick…

Some of you might be surprised…

My Pick of the Week is the final episode of “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.”

Though I have staunchly defended Jay Leno these past two weeks, let me say for the record that I have always loved Conan. I think he’s hilarious and he has proven that even more so through this entire ordeal. I didn’t watch a single episode of his “Tonight” though because I didn’t believe that he belonged at 11:35 p.m.—and still don’t.

But I also believe that he never deserved this. NBC should have let him go in 2004 when he had a real offer on the table. Now he faces an uphill battle to find a new home. Or better yet, Jay should have told NBC where to get off when they asked him to give up “Tonight” in 2004 and made the network get rid of him. Then he could have gone off to ABC or wherever.

But unfortunately we can’t turn back time and now we have to say goodbye to Conan, Andy, Max, La Bamba, and all of their friends for who knows how long. Conan’s final guests will be Tom Hanks, Will Farrell (his first guest) and Neil Young. It will be unbelievably bittersweet, but I know it will be funny.

I’ll be watching. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I will probably cry. I’m sure I won’t be alone…

The final episode of “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” will air Friday, January 22nd at 11:35 p.m. on NBC…

Conan Deal Official UPDATED

NBC announced its deal with Conan O'Brien via this morning's "Today" show.

You can read a good description of it from "Variety".

The deal is worth $45 million with $33 million going to Conan, and the rest going to his staff as severance pay.

Conan will be free to return to the airwaves as early as September. However, it's unclear at this point who owns the rights to "Triumph the Insult Dog" and the rest of Conan's characters and bits.

Jay Leno will return to "The Tonight Show" March 1st...

UPDATE: NBC’s Lee Cowan reported this morning on “Today” that Conan cannot take any of his characters with him. You can see Cowan’s report here.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NBC's Late Night Mess: My Dad Sets Me Straight

I consider my dad to be one of the smartest guys I know—probably the smartest. So when he talks I listen, even if it isn’t something I like to hear.

This past weekend, he shared with me his thoughts on NBC’s late night mess. We talked about people not understanding that Jay Leno did not ask for “The Tonight Show” back. We talked about how Conan O’Brien on “Tonight” had hurt the local news ratings as much as Jay’s show had.

But then, Dad offered this observation. “Jay’s not completely innocent in this.”

I’m not going to lie to you. As a die-hard member of Team Leno, that hurt. Mainly because he’s right.

I still maintain that Jay didn’t ask to bump Conan, but there’s no doubt that he dropped hints that he wouldn’t mind to. And even though Jay doesn’t have a manager, I still believe he had people working for him behind the scenes.

But you really don’t need any further evidence than the speech Jay made during Monday’s episode of “The Jay Leno Show.” The sentiment was there—that Jay wanted to keep his people working—but he didn’t drive it home nearly as hard as he should have. And it was pretty clear to me that Jay is getting what he wanted all along.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am still a card-carrying member of Team Leno and I still believe that he’s not getting a fair shake. I just wish that he had seized this opportunity a little better and really driven his point home.

This is where a manager would have really come in handy (If you’ve seen “The Late Shift” or read the book, you know why he doesn’t have one anymore.). Jay if you’re reading this, I want you to know I’m available...

Especially if you let my dad come work on your cars...

You can see what Jay said last night here…

"The Millionaire Matchmaker" Review: Something We Can Relate To

The cool thing about Bravo reality shows is that even though the people in them are generally on another level as far as social status, you can still find something to which to relate.

In the case of “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” it’s the dumb things men do to find a woman. Fortunately these particular men have Patti Stanger to help them out—if they listen to her…

If you ‘ve never seen it, “Matchmaker” follows Patti, the CEO of The Millionaires’ Club and her staff as they help millionaires find their perfect match. Patti is as truthful ast they come, which is exactly what these guys need. And her bluntness is helpful for the rest of us as well.

In the premiere, Patti’s client comes up with what he thinks is a clever date idea that Patti despises. I don’t think I have to tell you who turns out to be right. But I do have to tell you that it’s pretty entertaining. In the second episode, Patti has to knock a former child star’s ego down to size, while trying to prop up the ego of a PR executive.

Watching Patti’s interactions with her clients—as well as her faithful staff Destin, Chelsea and Rachel—is always entertaining. But upping the entertainment quotient this season is that Patti is planning her own wedding as well as trying to get new parents Destin and Rachel down the aisle. Plus, Patti is expanding her business to include both women and men.

And did I mention that Patti looks fantastic? Why would these guys not listen to her?

If you enjoy watching people try to find their soulmate but dating competition shows are not your thing, then “Matchmaker” is for you. And you might learn something about your own relationships in the process.

“The Millionaire Matchmaker” premieres Tuesday, January 19th at 10 p.m. on Bravo…

Photo Credit: Justin Lubin/Bravo

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"24" Review: Have I Outgrown My Favorite Show?

I watched the four-hour premiere of “24” weeks ago, but it’s taken me this long to write the review.

That’s mainly because I didn’t know what to say. You guys know that “24” is my favorite show but after watching all four hours, my immediate reaction was one of ambivalence. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either.

Then I read what a lot of other people had to say about the show and they all seemed more excited about it than I did. And that got me a little scared. Had I actually outgrown my favorite show?

I just couldn’t accept that. So today I watched all four hours again so I could write my review. And I’m happy to say that it's not true. I have not outgrown my favorite show…

Season 8 of “24” opens with Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) in a place we have never seen him before—happy. It’s nice to see him enjoying time with his granddaughter Teri, especially since Claire Geare is quite possibly the cutest child actress I have ever seen. But this being “24” you know that happiness isn’t going to last and before you can say “we’re running out of time” Jack is dragged into another CTU crisis involving an attempt on the life of President Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor, “Slumdog Millionaire”) who is involved in peace talks with President Taylor (Cherry Jones).

But CTU NY is a VERY different place than what Jack—or we—are used to. Instead of the cold dark place we remember from LA, it now more resembles the Starship Enterprise with its giant video screens, clear desks, cone-like interrogation rooms and Bluetooth headsets where everyone can communicate with anyone they want with a tap of the temple.

There are a lot of new faces too including Director Brian Hastings (Mykelti Williamson), Field Ops Director Cole Ortiz (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and data analyst Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff). Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is still around, but for the first time she’s not the expert in everything as she struggles to adapt to the changes as much as we are.

But you can’t keep a good woman down and soon Chloe is challenging Hastings’ methods with Jack’s help. And Cole, who is clearly a Jack fan himself, jumps into the fray as well.

“24” season premieres tend to start out slow while they set up the plot and this one is no exception. But Kapoor is outstanding as the leader of an unnamed Middle Eastern country. And his chemistry with Jones is so fantastic you’re willing to sit through their semi-boring discussions of weapon inspectors.

However, the slow pace does not last long as the soap opera-type elements that exist in every season find their way into the show by episode one—which is a little unusual. There are accusations of an affair and someone is confronted with their secret past. Normally, I don’t have a lot of tolerance for that stuff, but for some reason I’m willing to go with it mainly because of the actors involved (Somewhere along the line I’ve become a huge fan of Katee Sackhoff and I never watched “Battlestar Galactica.”).

In fact, I’m willing to go along with most of what happens in the first four hours. The red herrings seem way more obvious this time around, but I think that’s actually on purpose. There are several times where the show seems to be poking fun at itself. And that’s a nice change.

One thing I was not willing to go along with though was the hideous stall tactic that takes up much of the third episode. There’s at least one of those each season, but this one is one of the worst—if not the worst—I’ve ever seen. That’s not only because it doesn’t make sense, but also because it involves a bloody Jack and I am always opposed to any damage to his face. I actually fast-forwarded through all those scenes when I re-watched it.

But as bad as that is, I encourage you to stick with it because once we get past the stalling, the show really gets humming as we welcome back an old friend from last season with a brand new attitude that I am totally digging. By the time the fourth episode ends, you’ll be completely psyched for the rest of the season.

I’m still not sold on Williamson because he brings a completely different style to this year’s CTU head idiot who has yet to realize that Jack is always right. And I’m still not past my concerns that Prinze will be another Rick Schroder. But with Sackhoff and Rajskub offering solid support, I’m willing to play along for now.

I think because I watched all four episodes at once the first time, I might have overwhelmed myself a little. And I let the disappointment of the third episode make me forget the good parts of the first two. Yes, there are some been there, done that elements but you have to expect that with a show in its eighth season. And at times, I admit I found that familiarity downright reassuring.

Jack is back, kids. And isn’t that what’s really important?

“24” premieres with a two-hour episode Sunday, January 17th at 9 p.m. The final two hours of the premiere air Monday, January 18th at 8 p.m. on FOX…

Photo Credits: Brian Bowen Smith/FOX & Kelsey McNeal/FOX

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Human Target" Review: A Good Popcorn Flick on TV

Sometimes it’s hard to explain the appeal of a show. But the appeal of “Human Target” can be summed up in two words—Mark Valley.

I have been a fan of his since his “Days of Our Lives” days and I have been hoping that someone would give him a good show after he was completely wasted for all of those years on “Boston Legal.”

Someone has finally heard my pleas. And wouldn’t you know it’s our old friend, McG…

“Target” stars Valley as Christopher Chance, a bodyguard for hire that becomes the target in order to protect his client. It’s a part Valley was honestly born to play. He’s great with the action, the drama and the humor. Not to mention he’s got the chiseled good looks necessary to pull the role off.

And he’s surrounded by a great supporting cast. Chi McBride—who deserves a hit show almost as badly as Valley does—is Winston, the face of the security agency. Jackie Earle Haley (“Watchmen”) is the mysterious Guerrero who helps the duo get each job done. The chemistry between the three of them is outstanding.

In the pilot, Chance protects a woman (Tricia Helfer, “Battlestar Galactica”) who designed a state-of-the-art train. The hour is almost non-stop action and it looks fantastic. But because it’s the pilot, the action has to be balanced with an introduction of the characters and that drags it down a little. It’s the second episode (the series premiere) when the show really starts humming as Chance must protect a computer hacker who has discovered a skeleton key to the Internet. The show messes with time a little to great effect.

It would be easy to compare “Human Target” to “24,” but I think that’s a mistake. I would be much quicker to compare it to “The A-Team” or as Valley has said himself, “The Rockford Files” with a McG (who’s an executive producer) twist. Because “Target” doesn’t have that much of a serial element, you can just be entertained for an hour instead of trying to pick up clues and keep stories straight. For the record, I’m not against doing either one of those things, but sometimes it’s nice to just feel an adrenaline rush. And “Target” definitely provides it.

If you’re looking for a good popcorn flick that’s actually a TV show, then “Target” is definitely for you. I know I’ve already added it to my must-see list…

“Human Target” airs a special preview Sunday, January 17th at 8 p.m. with the series premiere in its regular timeslot Wednesday, January 20th at 9 p.m.

Photo Credit: Justin Stephens/FOX

Have Conan and NBC Reached a Deal? is reporting that NBC and Conan O’Brien have reached a deal.

According to the report, NBC will pay Conan $30 million to vacate the 11:35 p.m. timeslot. However, NBC could end up paying less if Conan ends up at another network quickly.

Neither NBC nor Conan have confirmed the report…

Dick Ebersol Votes Team Leno

I have always been a fan of Dick Ebersol, the chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics. But now I would like to take this opportunity to declare my outright love for him…

In the midst of barbs flying at Jay Leno from Conan O’Brien, David Letterman and even Jimmy Kimmel, Ebersol has stepped in to defend Jay, saying simply “We backed the wrong guy.”

You can read Ebersol’s interview with “The New York Times” here.

Photo Credit: NBC

"American Character" Review: Keeping the American Spirit Alive

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know exactly who I’m referring to when I say “my rock.”

If you’re new to my blog, my rock is the man who got me through September 11th and any number of other tragedies this country has faced. The one and only Tom Brokaw.

So when Brokaw speaks I listen. And next week he has something to say about the American character during our current economic crisis in his new special, “American Character Along Highway 50.” Brokaw visits with everyday people along the highway, which stretches 3000 miles from Maryland to California, to see how they’re coping in today’s tough times.

Though the overall message of the special is that the American spirit endures no matter what, not every story is an uplifting one. In fact, most of them aren’t. There are stories that will make you angry, ones that will make you cry, and ones that will make you want to pick up the phone and scream at your Congressman.

But that’s the point of the special—to show the real effect of these difficult times. Watching a young Ohio mother of a child with cerebral palsy dealing with the prospect of losing her health insurance is tough to watch. But it’s something we all need to see.

The special is beautifully produced with great use of music (including Green Day, Moby and Black Eyed Peas). And you can’t ever go wrong on any journey with the strong and steady voice of Brokaw leading your way. My only complaint is that the special isn’t long enough.

As I said, the special is hard to watch at times. But in the end, when you see these struggling people still fighting the good fight, you can’t help but feel better about our country.

I wouldn’t expect anything less from my rock…

“Tom Brokaw Presents: American Character Along Highway 50” premieres Monday, January 18th at 8 p.m. on USA…

Photo Credit: Whitney Curtis/USA

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jamie Oliver Clip Now Online

You can now see the two-minute preview of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" for yourselves, courtesy of

Be sure to let me know what you think.

You can view the clip here.

In Defense of My Guy

So somehow a column about the the background of the NBC late night mess turned into a full-on defense of Jay Leno...

Not sure how that happened, but it should honestly come as no surprise to anyone. You guys have known I'm a card-carrying member of Team Leno for years...

You can read my column in the "Entertainment Tri-State" section of today's "Herald-Dispatch" or you can read it right here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Letterman Brings Out...Kiefer in a Dress?!

So right in the middle of the late night wars, David Letterman has on his show tonight Kiefer Sutherland in a dress...

And no, that is not a joke...

You can see parts of the interview here. The rest will be tonight on "The Late Show with David Letterman" which airs at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.

Thanks to my second favorite Canadian for passing this on...

Why I've Fallen In Love With Conan All Over Again

I admit it, kids. I have fallen in love with Conan O’Brien all over again…

If you missed it last night, Conan came at NBC with guns a blazin’. You can see one part of it here. I have to give NBC props for putting Conan’s rants on its website, but they did not put his monologue on the site—no doubt because it was absolutely scathing…and darn funny…

As if that didn’t already have me falling, Conan’s first guest last night was my rock, Tom Brokaw and if Tommy B (which he joked was his rap name) can support Conan, how can I not support him?

You can see part one of his interview here…

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Your First Look at "The A Team"

Here is our first look at “The A-Team” movie…

After watching this trailer, I think my biggest problem is with Murdock. But I won’t judge until we see more of him…

It looks like Face (Bradley Cooper) is really the star of the movie which should make me happy since he was always my favorite character. But I’m worried they’re going to make him too much of an action hero. And if you recall that was never his thing…

But I have to crack up at (and appreciate) the fact they’re using the same van…

Take a look and be sure to let me know what you think…

In Case You Didn't Take My Advice...

If you didn't take my advice and missed last night's 100th episode of "How I Met Your Mother," you missed something pretty legen--wait for it--dary...

But now you can watch the "HIMYM" musical number featuring the amazing NPH in its entirety here.

Breaking News: Conan Rejects NBC's Proposal

This day just keeps getting busier and busier...

This afternoon, Conan O'Brien released a statement rejecting NBC's proposal/offer to bump "The Tonight Show" to 12:05 a.m. to make room for Jay Leno...

Here is the statement courtesy of

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I've been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I've been absurdly lucky. That said, I've been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over "The Tonight Show" in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my "Tonight Show" in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move "The Tonight Show" to 12:05 to accommodate "The Jay Leno Show" at 11:35. For 60 years "The Tonight Show" has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. "The Tonight Show" at 12:05 simply isn't "The Tonight Show." Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the "Late Night" show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of "The Tonight Show." But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn't matter. But with "The Tonight Show," I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it's always been that way.



I think I love him again. What do you guys think?

Breaking News: ABC Schedules Oliver’s Show UPDATED

I know that you will be able to read MUCH more about this in the print edition of the H-D, but I just wanted to weigh in very quickly…

ABC has scheduled the premiere of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” for Friday, March 26th at 9 p.m.

I just watched a two-minute preview and I have to tell you I have got a bad feeling about this…

I’m not saying the show looks to be bad. Actually, it looks to be quite good. I just don’t know if the people of Huntington are going to be okay with it.

It’s important to note that “Revolution” is a reality TV show first and foremost. That means in order to have a wonderful uplifting ending, you have to have a dreadful beginning. In other words, you have to tear down in order to build up. And every reality TV show has to have a villain. It’s just in this case, the villains are actually people we know and recognize—either by face, or in the case of one local DJ, by voice.

From the official press release: “Needled by local naysayers, challenged by ingrained unhealthy habits and government bureaucracy, and welcomed by some of the most surprising youngsters, families and local leaders, Oliver shows how, in just a few short months, he tried to transform Huntington as a template for the entire country. The stakes? Simply the health of our country’s citizens and the legacy for its children.”

This is going to be interesting folks. Stay Tuned…

UPDATE: You can read a transcript of the preview on the "Herald-Dispatch" website here.

Photo Credit: Holly Farrell/ABC

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Chuck" Review: The Best Show I'm Not Watching?

“Chuck” is one of those shows that I don’t watch, but I don’t know why. It’s got decent story and appealing actors. But for some reason I just don’t watch.

And after watching tonight’s two-hour season premiere, I can tell you that if I continue on that path, I will be missing out…

The commercials tell us that it’s “No More Mr. Nice Spy” but don’t worry. Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) is not becoming Jack Bauer. He is still the same geek we know and love. He just has a few extra skills (Thanks to his Intersect upgrade in the season finale.)—if he can control his emotions enough to use them.

And that’s the main story in these first two hours as Chuck and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) continue to struggle with their feelings for each other. In fact, the gang is splitting up when the first episode begins, but something happens that forces them to work together again.

That’s good news for us because the star of the show—no matter how adorable Levi is—is Adam Baldwin as Casey. He acts like he doesn’t want to be there, but you know that deep down he actually cares about both Chuck and Sarah and will do whatever it takes to help them.

The second episode brings it all together as the return of Sarah’s friend Karina (Mini Anden) forces Chuck to admit his feelings for Sarah as Sarah continues to try to be a good spy and bury them.

And guys, let me tell you there are more than a few moments just for you in these episodes—especially in the second hour which includes the spicier version of David Guetta’s “Sexy Chick.”

NBC knows they’ve got a good thing here so they sent the media the first five episodes. I’ve only seen the first two, but I like what I’ve seen…

But enough to add it to my must-see list? Stay Tuned…

“Chuck” premieres tonight (Sunday, January 10th) at 9 p.m. before settling into its regular timeslot Monday, January 11th at 8 p.m. on NBC…

Photo Credit: Justin Lubin/NBC

Pick of the Week: An Abundance of TV Riches

It was pretty tough making this week’s Pick. Not because there wasn’t anything to choose from, but because there was too much to choose from. An abundance of TV riches, if you will...

There’s the return of two of my favorites—“24” and “American Idol”—the season finale of another favorite—“Tabatha’s Salon Takeover”—and the return of “Leverage.”

But when you pack a guest appearance by Rachel Bilson, a musical number featuring Neil Patrick Harris, a cameo by Tim Gunn AND the appearance of the mysterious title character all in one episode, how can I possibly pick against that?

My Pick of the Week is “How I Met Your Mother.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, all of those things will be packed into the 100th episode of “HIMYM” as Barney (NPH) struggles with choosing between a girl and his suits. Meanwhile, Ted (Josh Radnor) gets one step closer to meeting the mother—for real this time, kids.

“How I Met Your Mother” airs Monday, January 11th at 8 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Celebrating "The Simpsons"

Tonight, FOX will celebrate the 20th anniversary of “The Simpsons” with a documentary produced and directed by Morgan Spurlock—“The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3-D and On Ice.”

But in typical “Simpsons” fashion, the special is neither in 3-D nor on ice (Don’t let the picture fool you.).

I’ve never been much of a “Simpsons” fan, but I completely recognize the contributions the show has made not only to pop culture, but also to TV itself. After all, we would never have met Stewie Griffin without Bart Simpson. “Simpsons” was the first to take chances and tell jokes that no one else did—even if they weren’t always popular (and they usually weren’t).

“The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3-D and On Ice” airs tonight (Sunday, January 10th) at 8:30 p.m., following the 450th episode of “The Simpsons,” on FOX…

Photo Credit: Daniel Marracinio

NBC Officially Cancels "Leno"

It’s official…

According to “Variety,” NBC confirmed this morning that “The Jay Leno Show” has been cancelled and that there is an offer on the table to move Jay back to late night.

More talks between NBC, Jay and Conan will take place tomorrow and NBC hopes a plan can be announced before the Olympics next month...

Stay Tuned…

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Late Night Mess Hits Home Locally

In my original post about NBC’s late night debacle I mentioned that it was the NBC affiliates that prompted the discussions about a move because of the effect “The Jay Leno Show” has had on their 11 p.m. newscasts.

An effect that has been felt significantly here locally…

In an article on the website of “The New York Times” Don Ray, the general manager of WSAZ is quoted as saying that the station makes 60 percent of the money it used to make at 11 p.m.

According to the article, the WSAZ 11 p.m. newscast in November received a 3 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic. That was down from a 6 rating the same month last year.

I would say that’s pretty substantial, wouldn’t you?

Ray went on to say that he was happy about NBC’s potential plan to move Jay back to late night: “It’ll be good to have Leno back following our news instead of leading into our news.”

You can read the entire article here.

Who Is Really to Blame for NBC's Late Night Mess?

So you may all be asking the question this week: Who is really to blame for NBC's late night mess? Well I can give you my answer in two words--Jeff Zucker.

And this morning "The Los Angeles Times" agreed with me...

You guys know I have long blamed Zucker for NBC's woes. It's nice to see someone else out there agree with me. If only someone at GE had agreed with me years ago, NBC wouldn't be in this mess.

You can read the excellent "Times" story here.

Conan Takes on NBC

Last night during his "Tonight Show" monologue, Conan O'Brien addressed the rumors surrounding him and Jay Leno...

You can watch it here. Notice that he says at the end that leaving NBC sounds like "an appealing proposition"...

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Jay Strikes Back!

Jay Leno had plenty to say about the swirling rumors on "The Jay Leno Show" tonight.

You can see it here. It's a great example of why I love him...

Is Jay Leno Returning to Late Night? UPDATED

This morning when I checked my e-mail there was a story in my inbox that NBC was cancelling “The Jay Leno Show.” Late this afternoon when I checked it, there was a story that said Jay was moving back to 11:35 p.m…

And then as I was just about to type this, there was another story in my inbox that NBC is exploring its options and will make a decision before its affiliates board meeting on January 21st.

What that decision will be is anybody’s guess right now but it’s looking more and more like Conan O’Brien may be in trouble…

What brought all this on? The affiliates (the local stations that carry NBC programming) are angry. Although NBC publicly insists that “Leno” is performing just as they expected it to, the affiliates are angry because “Leno” has hurt the ratings of their local newscasts. And Conan has been sliding more and more behind “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

After NBC denied a report from that “Leno” had been cancelled, reported that “Leno” would go on hiatus February 1st until after the Olympics when Jay would return in some form at 11:35 p.m.

“Broadcasting & Cable” is now reporting that NBC is seriously discussing moving Jay to 11:35 for a half-hour show that would be followed by “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

According to the report, if NBC decided to yank Conan off the air entirely, they could keep him off a rival network for two years, but they would have to pay him $25 million. They could also negotiate a smaller payout for an earlier release.

NBC defended Conan in a statement released late today: “We remain committed to keeping Conan O'Brien on NBC. He is a valued part of our late-night line-up, as he has been for more than 16 years and is one of the most respected entertainers on television.”

That sounds awfully similar to the statements NBC made when they were trying to figure out what to do with Jay, doesn’t it? Notice they didn’t say anything about remaining committed to keeping Conan on “The Tonight Show.”

You guys know I’d love to see Jay back where he belongs since he never should have been moved to start with, but I’m not sure –if the reports are true—that maybe NBC is righting its ship just a little too late. The damage has probably already been done…

And even though I haven’t been much of a Conan fan lately, even I know he deserves better than this. NBC should have never let it get this far…

UPDATE: "Variety" is now reporting that Jay has accepted an offer to return to 11:35 p.m. The report says that whether it will be a half-hour show focusing on the monologue or a full-blown return to "The Tonight Show" is up to Conan and his people after they decide what they want to do.

Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

FOX Pulls "Our Little Genius"

Late this afternoon, FOX issued a somewhat shocking press release…

After weeks of hype and a cushy post-“American Idol” timeslot, “Our Little Genius” will not premiere next week and no new premiere date has been set.

Even more surprising was this statement from the show’s creator, Mark Burnett, on why:

“I recently discovered that there was an issue with how some information was relayed to contestants during the pre-production of ‘Our Little Genius.’ As a result, I am not comfortable delivering the episodes without re-shooting them. I believe my series must always be beyond reproach, so I have requested that FOX not air these episodes.”


“Genius,” hosted by Kevin Pollak, is a game show in which “little geniuses” must answer increasingly difficult questions as they try to win money for their families. But the parents can stop the game at any time and walk away with whatever they’ve earned. To help them decide, they can check with adult experts throughout the game.

In its own statement, FOX said although the completed episodes will not air the families who participated will receive their winnings.

FOX will now expand “American Idol” to 90 minutes on January 13th followed by an encore of the 450th episode of “The Simpsons” at 9:30 p.m. On January 19th at 9 p.m. (when “Genius” was slated to premiere in its regular timeslot), FOX will air an encore of the pilot of “Human Target.”

Photo Credit: FOX

Will the President Postpone "Lost"?

For “Lost” fans, the wait for the season premiere has seemed like forever. Well now, thanks to our Commander in Chief, it might get even longer…

“The Washington Post” is reporting that the State of the Union Address may be moved from January 26th to February 2nd so that President Obama can use a signed version of his health care bill as a visual during his speech.

If the report is correct, then ABC would have to move the premiere of “Lost” later that week or the next week.

I think I hear the smoke monster starting to rumble…

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Examining The "Lost" Supper

These photos have been all over the Internet already so I apologize for my tardiness…

But here are the newly released cast photos for the upcoming final season of “Lost.” And yes they are both take-offs of “The Last Supper”—including one with everyone looking at Locke, who is seated in the same position as Jesus.

So do these pictures hold any real clues as to what we will see this season? My guess is…yes. It sounds like something Team Darlton would do. If you see something, feel free to share it by posting a comment.

Of course, the first thing you will see is that Emile De Ravin (Claire) is back as a regular cast member. Hmmm…

“Lost” premieres Tuesday, February 2nd at 9 p.m. on ABC…

Photos Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

How Richard Burgi Introduced Me to My Favorite Show

By now you’ve no doubt seen Sunday’s episode of “Desperate Housewives.” And you know that my hunch was right…

If by chance you haven’t stop reading now…

Karl died and received a really crummy exit. Check that. Make that one classy exit and one ridiculous one. Instead of following the lead of Susan’s story and showing Karl with some heart and class, Bree’s story turned him back into the gigolo he always had been just so they could set up a reunion with Orson. And that, my friends, was the last straw that made me cross “DH” off my must-see list.

Karl’s portrayer, Richard Burgi, truly deserved better…

It’s funny that I have such loyalty to Burgi. After all, he played my least favorite soap opera character of all time—Chad Rollo of “Another World.” But for some reason, I always try to sample every show I know he’s going to appear in.

In fact, it’s that loyalty that led me to watch a show I may have not watched otherwise. A little show called “24”…

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while now know that I am obsessed with “24” but I have to confess that I didn’t watch it from the beginning. I meant to, seeing as how it was the most critically acclaimed show of the fall that year, but I just didn’t. After all it was November 2001 and after 9/11 I wasn’t much in the mood for a show about terrorism.

But one Tuesday night I happened to be watching FOX and “24” came on. I was in the middle of wrapping Christmas presents so I didn’t change the channel. When I looked up and saw the name Richard Burgi in the credits, I figured I’d watch for a few minutes to see what he was playing. I was impressed to see that he was playing a nice guy for a change. A caring father who was concerned about the health of his daughter who had just been brought to the hospital after going missing.

Finally, he got the chance to see his daughter. He slowly walked into her room. “Daddy” she said as he walked in and he started reassuring her. But as he came closer she looked confused. Finally she said, “Who are you? Where’s my father?” He stroked her hair…and then proceeded to smother her with her oxygen mask. “What was that?!” I yelled at the TV. This sweet family man had suddenly turned into a killer (He would later be revealed to be working for the show’s villain to kidnap Jack Bauer’s wife.). In retrospect, it was the moment “24” became “24.” But for me it was the moment I fell in love. “This show is crazy” I remember saying to the TV. But in this case crazy was awesome…

I missed the next episode because I wasn’t used to watching, but I haven’t missed an episode since. There’s no doubt that Kiefer Sutherland has kept me watching, but it was Richard Burgi who got me to tune in at all.

Honestly, “24” has provided me with such great moments I can’t imagine not having it as part of my life. Maybe that’s why I feel such loyalty to Burgi. He introduced me to my favorite show…

I look forward to seeing him introduce me to my next one…

Photo Credit: Danny Feld/ABC

Kathy Griffin Banned From CNN?

Popeater reported today that Kathy Griffin has been banned from future CNN New Year’s Eve shows after she dropped the f-bomb during this year’s special.

I have to say that I’m pretty disappointed. Not in Kathy but in CNN…

You may remember that I praised CNN for allowing her to return after the controversy that she caused last year (which was much ado about nothing in my book). I thought Kathy and Anderson Cooper were hilarious and totally outdid any of the other New Year’s Eve specials (too bad the ratings don’t agree with me).

I saw the moment in question live and I have to admit I didn’t hear it (I did later on YouTube.). And even though Kathy lives to shock people, I think this was an accident.

If Popeater’s report is true and even Anderson Cooper is sick of Kathy then that’s one thing. But that’s not what I saw Thursday night. I think she deserves another chance…

Photo Credit: Bravo

Monday, January 04, 2010

Pick of the Week: "Friends" Reunite

If you’re a longtime reader, you know that “Friends” is my favorite show of all time.

So when “Friends” cast members reunite it is definitely must-see-TV for me…

My Pick of the Week is “Cougar Town.”

If you haven’t watched, “Cougar Town” stars Courteney Cox as Jules, a 40-something woman plowing back into the world of dating who’s unafraid to date younger men. You knew it was only a matter of time before Cox was joined by a “Friends” castmate and this week, Lisa Kudrow fills the bill as she guests as Jules’ dermatologist who has another special connection to Jules.

“Town” has gotten some flack lately for so strongly embracing of the cougar lifestyle, but I think the show is funny. And Kudrow is bound to make it funnier…

“Cougar Town” airs Wednesday, January 6th at 9:30 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Karen Neal/ABC

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Why I'm Crossing "Desperate Housewives" Off My List

It’s always hard when you cross a show off your must-see list—especially if it’s a show you’ve watched from the very beginning.

You give it chance after chance to get better because you just don’t have the heart to cut it out of your life. But then that final straw drops and you have no choice…

That’s exactly what has happened with me and “Desperate Housewives.”

Since I was pretty sure it would be the swan song of one of my favorite actors, I planned on making Sunday’s episode my Pick of the Week. But after watching it, I realized I couldn’t in good conscience recommend it to anyone.

Yes it’s that bad. But it certainly made crossing it off my list much easier…

The episode, entitled “If” does resolve last month’s cliffhanger but it also shows each housewife contemplating how their lives would be different if they made certain choices.

I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll just say that Gaby’s story is ridiculous (although it’s typical Gaby), Angie’s is pointless and overly dramatic, and Lynette’s appears to be only for the purpose of going on Felicity Huffman’s Emmy reel.

But it’s Bree’s that is the real atrocity here. Her “what if” story completely destroys the season’s best storyline for the sole purpose of justifying the soap opera nonsense that’s to come.

I must admit that I actually laughed several times during Susan’s what if story, which was the total high point of the episode. That’s because her “what if” is classic “DH” as it’s funny, touching and real all at the same time. It made me wonder what if the show had remembered why it was good to start with instead of worrying about giving us stupid repetitive stories. And then, as if on cue, Bree’s story completely destroys the good will of Susan’s story and totally mars a character’s exit.

“Housewives” earned a spot on my must-see list because it was unique and a great combination of drama and humor. But now it’s just a mess…

And I’ve got plenty of those in my life already…

“Desperate Housewives” airs Sunday, January 3rd at 9 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Ron Tom/ABC

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Best of 2009

Seeing as how this is January 2nd, I’m clearly a few days late with my annual list of the best shows of the year. But I hope you’ll find it in your hearts to forgive me and read on anyway…

As you may recall from last year, I follow the “All Madden Team” rule, which means I can only list shows I have actually seen. That’s why you won’t see “Mad Men” or “True Blood” on the list…

Just missing the top 10 are “Leverage,” “Million Dollar Listing” and “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.”

Now without further ado, here are my choices for the 10 best shows of 2009…

10) (tie) “Modern Family,” “Glee” and “Lie to Me”
In doing this list, I discovered something about my viewing habits: I am apparently losing patience with scripted series. Even though I was very excited about “Glee” and I thought “Family” was hysterical, I only saw one episode of each of them. I didn’t even bother to tape them. I loved “Lie to Me” last season but I didn’t see a single episode this season (I blame Bravo.). Still I felt that my list wouldn’t be complete without each of them.

9) “Men of a Certain Age”
I know that some critics think this show is too whiny but I think it is just real. Ray Romano is pretty much playing the same part he always does, but he does it well. Andre Braugher is the real reason to watch though as he is just as talented as ever playing the overworked car salesman Owen.

8) (Tie) “Flipping Out” and “The Soup”
This season of “Out” was not quite as strong as the last but it’s still worthy of the list. And just for the record, I am on Jeff’s side all the way. I really think Ryan did all those things. And how could I not include “The Soup” which is one of the few shows I try to never miss. In most cases, it’s the only way I see anything about some shows.

7) “How I Met Your Mother”
If I was judging strictly on last season (at the beginning of the year) this show would be near the top as it was at its creative peak. But the first handful of episodes from this season killed that momentum. Thankfully the show appears to be back on track with the return of the Barney we know and love.

6) “Football Night In America”
It probably seems strange to have a football pregame show on this list but it’s one of the few shows I tape on a weekly basis—even when I already know all the scores. This show has finally found the right formula with Bob Costas live at the game site and Dan Patrick running things back at the studio. Patrick and Keith Olbermann are at the top of their game doing the highlights. And Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison provide informative and interesting commentary. Plus Cris Collinsworth is still a part of things at the game site. I really hope NBC sticks with this combination for next season as well.

5) “Lost”
I was always confused but I was never not entertained. This show is steamrolling into its final season on a major creative high as it provided us with the best cliffhanger of the year. Where (or when) it goes this year is anyone’s guess.

4) “24”
After a year absence, this one returns to the list. Season seven was nowhere near the quality of season five but it was a HUGE improvement over the dreadful season six. And Kiefer Sutherland gave his best performance yet even though the Emmys, the SAGs and the Golden Globes completely missed it. Plus the show finally found a female character worthy to fight alongside Jack Bauer.

3) “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover”
Feel free to tell me I’m crazy ranking this show so high, but I can’t help it. It’s that good. Some minor tweaks to the formula improved the show dramatically over last season and Tabatha Coffey is as awesome as ever. But surprisingly the best episode of the season was the one where Tabatha actually failed even if it was a little painful to see.

2) “The Big Bang Theory”
Some critics would tell you that “Theory” has lost some luster ever since it got Penny and Leonard together. But after a slightly shaky start I believe the show got back on solid ground by focusing on the one thing we all want to see more of—the great Jim Parsons as Sheldon. How funny was it when Sheldon was revealed to be a football expert? Or when he was forced to take care of Penny? “Theory” is still the funniest show on TV and I will be taping it when it goes opposite my beloved “24” beginning later this month.

And my choice for the top show of 2009…

1) “Top Chef: Las Vegas”
For me, this list is about the shows that meant the most to me and that I never missed. So there is no way that I could put any other show in this spot. After all, it’s because of this show that I only saw one episode of “Glee.” I was so consumed with “Chef” reruns that I just didn’t bother. It was that good. The show may have focused a little too much on the Voltaggio brothers, but who could blame it? The sibling rivalry helped create the best season of “Chef” ever.

So what shows would you put on your list? Feel free to start the debate by posting your comments…

Photo Credits: Matthias Clamer/FOX, Danny Feld/TNT, Vivian Zink/Bravo, Eric McCandless/FOX, NBC Sports, Florian Schneider and Bob D'Amico/ABC, Michael Muller/FOX, Mitchell Haaseth/Bravo, Sonja Flemming/CBS, Justin Stephens/Bravo