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"…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"On the Road" Review: Finally Santino Gets the Spotlight

“Project Runway” has tried many times, but it has never been able to duplicate Santino Rice.

Santino was brash and offensive and absolutely hilarious. I mean, who could forget his spot-on impersonation of Tim Gunn or the Daniel Franco song he sang with Nick? If there was any “Runway” contestant screaming for his own show, it was Santino.

And now, six years later, it’s finally happened. And he’s bringing another of the best-known “Runway” contestants with him…

“On the Road with Austin and Santino” teams Santino with Season 1’s flamboyant Austin Scarlett. They’re going on the road to visit small towns across the country to give complete fashion makeovers to women for special occasions in their life. But there’s a catch. The duo can only use materials that are available to them where they are.

In other words, there’s no Mood fabric store around the corner…

In the premiere, Austin and Santino must design a cocktail dress for a rodeo trick rider for a cowgirl ball. The duo disagree immediately over which material they should use—gingham or lace—and the client doesn’t really help them any. So now they must put their differences aside and come up with the right dress.

Of course, they do. But in the process they also come up with a pretty charming show that showcases two fun personalities. You have to hand it to Lifetime for going with this one AND for dumping the dreadful “Models of the Runway” to make it happen.

“On the Road with Austin and Santino” premieres Thursday, July 29th at 10:30 p.m. on Lifetime, after the 90-minute season premiere of “Project Runway.”

Photo Credit: Darren Michaels/Lifetime

Reliving My Favorite TV Weddings

I promised all of you that I would share the reason for my being away from my blog all last week, and here it is…

I got married!

In Thursday’s “Herald-Dispatch,” I reminisce about some of my favorite TV wedding moments. And thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can relive some of them with me…

The wedding of Ross and Rachel in Vegas on “Friends.” Note that this clip is from the premiere of the next season, so you don’t get to hear the audience’s total shock when Ross and Rachel come through the door. You can see it here.

The wedding of Whitley and Byron on “A Different World.” I still consider the moment when Dwayne declares his love for Whitley as one of the most romantic moments in TV history.

Music video type scenes in TV shows were a brand new thing in 1984. So when “Days of Our Lives” used “Holding Out for a Hero” for the scene where Bo kidnaps Hope from her wedding to Larry Welch, you knew it was a big scene. It’s amazing how young everyone is. Can’t believe that now Bo’s gone back to Carly and Hope is trying to kill Bo. You can see the scene here.

After Ray saved Robert and Amy’s wedding on “Everybody Loves Raymond” with his classic editing speech during his best man toast, Robert and Amy did a very non-traditional first dance…

But my favorite TV wedding comes from “Full House” when Jesse serenaded his bride Rebecca with The Beach Boys’ “Forever.” You can see it here.

So what is your favorite TV wedding? Let me know by posting a comment, or by sending an e-mail to

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My TV Enemy Retreats

Here’s a question for my longtime readers…

Who is my TV enemy?

Points to you if you remember that it’s Steve McPherson, the Entertainment President at ABC. Time after time, he has screwed up my favorite shows and then had to cancel them—“Commander In Chief,” “Dirty Sexy Money,” and I feared “V.”

But maybe now I can actually feel free to get hooked on an ABC show…

“The Hollywood Reporter” is reporting that McPherson has reached an agreement with Disney to leave his post. “Variety” writes that he was asked to resign.

Both trades report that he had been on the hot seat for a while because of his failure to produce hits to compliment aging faves like “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“Variety” reports that Paul Lee, president of ABC Family, will take his place on the programming side.

I am never one to find joy in other’s misery, but I can’t help but be a little happy that McPherson is gone. It will be interesting to see where he shows up next…

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Stay Tuned...

No doubt you’ve noticed that I’ve been a little distracted lately, as I’ve missed more than a few things. And now I will be away from the blog for the next week.

I promise that all will be revealed when I return, so Stay Tuned…

Your First Look at "Batman: Under the Red Hood"

This Thursday, you’ll be able to read my full review of the latest DC Universe movie, “Batman: Under the Red Hood.” In the meantime, you can see a clip of the movie here.

If your computer uses QuickTime, you can see the clip here.

Photo Credit: Warner Home Video

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Psych" Review: I Know You Know This Is a Good One

My fiance and I don’t watch any of the same shows. So any time I get to talk about one of his faves, I have to take the opportunity.

And that’s the case this week, as his favorite show, “Psych,” returns for its fifth season…

If you’ve never seen it, “Psych” follows police consultant Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend and partner/sidekick Gus (Dule Hill). Shawn’s father, Henry (Corbin Bernsen), honed Shawn’s powers of observation over the years, and now Shawn uses those powers to help the police solve crimes. But since he can’t really explain his skills, he makes the police think he’s psychic.

Reluctantly going along with Shawn are Santa Barbara Police Chief Karen Vick (Kirsten Nelson) and Head Detective Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson). Lassiter’s partner, Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), is a little more willing to go along with him.

“Psych” is known for being a lighthearted, fun show. So the season four finale, in which both Juliet and Shawn’s girlfriend were kidnapped and nearly killed by Mr. Yin, was a real departure. Thankfully, the show has rediscovered it sense of humor in the premiere, but the repercussions of the finale continue to resonate. Juliet has temporarily transferred to a post in City Hall and doesn’t seem anxious to return to her regular job. Shawn’s screw-ups with the Yin case have caused the police to be a little less willing to use him—especially since the SBPD has hired Shawn’s father to manage all police consultants. And Henry is even more unwilling to put his son in danger.

In the premiere, Shawn decides that he and Gus need to solve a kidnapping to show the police—and his father—that they are still useful. And Shawn gets even more excited when the case allows him to fulfill a childhood dream—taking karate lessons.

By making the case about two Asian gangs, it allows us to see some cool karate action (not from Shawn), with kicks coming almost as fast as the quips between Shawn and Gus. But the case is also interesting and you can follow along with all of the clues that Shawn picks up along the way.

Roday and Hill have the best chemistry of any duo on TV, and they’re a lot of fun to watch. And it’s great to see a TV veteran like Bernsen with such a great comeback role. Plus, Lawson will always have a special place in my heart since she starred in my favorite Disney TV-movie of all time, “Model Behavior.” Omundson and Nelson are solid as well.

With “Monk” off the air, “Psych” is left to carry the banner for USA as its longest-running show. And the network couldn’t have a better show leading the charge. I highly recommend it.

And to paraphrase the show’s theme song, I know, you know that I AM telling the truth…

“Psych” premieres Wednesday, July 14th at 10 p.m. on USA…
Photo Credit: Williams and Hirakawa/USA

Where's Oliver?

For those of you who—like me—were confused at the absence of Mitchel Musso (Oliver) in the opening credits of tonight’s premiere of “Hannah Montana Forever,” there is an explanation…

I’m waiting to get official word from Disney Channel, but Musso tweeted today that he will only be in two episodes of the show’s final season, because he is busy filming his new show, “Pair of Kings.” It will debut on Disney XD in September.

I think it’s great that Musso is finding something to do post-“Montana,” but it’s a little sad that he won’t be there for the final season. I hope one of those two episodes is the last one…

More Emmy Observations...

Here’s some other notes form the Emmy nominee list…

The Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad is nominated for Outstanding Commercial. I think it should win on special effects value alone…

The series finale of “Lost” was nominated for several technical awards, as well as Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. I was a little surprised to not see more nominations for the “Ab Aeterno” episode, but I guess the finale overshadowed it…

The awesome Sean Callery was nominated for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score) for his outstanding score of the “24” series finale. But unfortunately, I don’t think he’s got much of a shot against Michael Giacchino, who scored the series finale of “Lost”…

If I had to choose the worst opening credits on TV, I would pick the ones for “Human Target” in a heartbeat. Apparently, Emmy voters don’t agree with me since those credits and the main title theme were nominated…

I’m happy to see Mike O’Malley nominated for Guest Actor in a Comedy for his role as Burt on “Glee.” O’Malley’s talents have been underappreciated for years, and I really hope he finds a new show soon that can make the most of those talents. He’s got stiff competition, though, from the funniest guy in TV, Fred Willard (“Modern Family”), and Neil Patrick Harris (“Glee”)…

I am, of course, thrilled to see Gregory Itzin (“24”) nominated for Guest Actor in a Drama and if there was any justice in Emmy world, he’d win. But since John Lithgow submitted himself in this category, even though he appeared in every episode of “Dexter” last season, Itzin’s got no chance. It’s good to see Dylan Baker (“The Good Wife”) get some love in this category too since he is always awesome…

The Guest Actress in a Comedy race is very interesting this year since it pits Betty White (“Saturday Night Live”) against Tina Fey (“Saturday Night Life”). Jane Lynch (“Two and a Half Men”) also received a nod in this category…

Elizabeth Mitchell was nominated for Guest Actress in a Drama for her work in the series finale of “Lost.” It’s too little too late, but we’ll take it…

Remember that the Emmys air Sunday, August 29th on NBC. Jimmy Fallon has the hosting honors this year. The guest star and technical categories will be handed out at the Creative Arts Emmys Saturday, August 21st…

Thoughts on the Emmy Nominations

Because you guys expect honesty, allow me to make a confession…

I am really not into the Emmys this year. Which is why it has taken me three days to post my thoughts about the nominations.

But the Emmys are the awards that honor TV. And I am a TV writer. So I am going to put my personal feelings aside and talk about the nominations for the major categories…

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper

Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO • HBO Entertainment
Larry David as Himself

Glee • FOX • A Ryan Murphy TV Production in association with 20th Century Fox TV
Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester

Monk • USA • Universal Cable Productions in association with Mandeville Films and ABC Studios
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk

The Office • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions and Reveille LLC in association with Universal Media Studios
Steve Carell as Michael Scott

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal Media Studio
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

I am thrilled to see Parsons in this category. And if the voters do the right thing, he’ll walk away the winner. But it will be awfully hard to ignore perennial winner Shalhoub in their last opportunity. There’s been a lot of talk about the exclusion of Charlie Sheen, but if you’ve seen “Two and a Half Men” lately, you know he didn’t deserve it.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Breaking Bad • AMC • Sony Pictures Television
Bryan Cranston as Walter White

Dexter • Showtime • Showtime Presents, John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company, Clyde Phillips Productions
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan

Friday Night Lights • DirecTV • Imagine Entertainment in association with Universal Media Studios and Film 44
Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor

House • FOX • Universal Media Studios in association with Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House

Lost • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios
Matthew Fox as Jack Shephard

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television
Jon Hamm as Don Draper

I don’t think I even have to tell you my disappointment at Kiefer Sutherland being left out of this category. It’s not a surprise, but it still hurts. Critics are doing flips that Chandler was finally recognized, and as over “Lost” as I am, I can’t disagree that Fox did some amazing work in that series finale.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Glee • FOX • A Ryan Murphy TV Production in association with 20th Century Fox TV
Lea Michele as Rachel Berry

The New Adventures Of Old Christine • CBS • Kari's Logo Here in association with Warner Bros. Television
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell

Nurse Jackie • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Lionsgate Television, Jackson Group Entertainment, Madison Grain Elevator, Inc. & Delong Lumber; A Caryn Mandabach Production
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton

Parks And Recreation • NBC • Produced by Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal Media Studio
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

United States Of Tara • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Dreamworks Television
Toni Collette as Tara Gregson

I am very happy to see Louis-Dreyfus in this category and I truly hopes she wins to rub it right in CBS’ and ABC’s faces.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
The Closer • TNT • The Shephard/Robin Company, in association with Warner Bros. Television
Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson

Damages • FX Networks • Sony Pictures Television, FX Productions and KZK Productions
Glenn Close as Patty Hewes

Friday Night Lights • DirecTV • Imagine Entertainment in association with Universal Media Studios and Film 44
Connie Britton as Tami Taylor

The Good Wife • CBS • CBS Productions
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit • NBC • Wolf Films in association with Universal Media Studios
Mariska Hargitay as Det. Olivia Benson

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television
January Jones as Betty Draper

The only real absence I see in this category is Holly Hunter (“Saving Grace”). Otherwise, they did a pretty good job.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Glee • FOX • A Ryan Murphy TV Production in association with 20th Century Fox TV
Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel

How I Met Your Mother • CBS • Twentieth Century Fox Television
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson

Modern Family • ABC • Twentieth Century Fox Television
Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell

Modern Family • ABC • Twentieth Century Fox Television
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker

Modern Family • ABC • Twentieth Century Fox Television
Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy

Two And A Half Men • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper

The big absence here is Ed O’Neill, who was the only one of the male stars of “Modern Family” to not get nominated. Personally, I think Cryer deserves the award right now just for filming the episode of “Two and a Half Men” that focused on his girlfriend’s time of the month. YUCK!

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Breaking Bad • AMC • Sony Pictures Television
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman

Damages • FX Networks • Sony Pictures Television, FX Productions and KZK Productions
Martin Short as Leonard Winstone

Lost • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios
Terry O'Quinn as John Locke

Lost • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios
Michael Emerson as Ben Linus

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television
John Slattery as Roger Sterling

Men Of A Certain Age • TNT • TNT Original Productions
Andre Braugher as Owen

Again, a pretty good job. I’m glad to see “Age” get some recognition through Braugher. But I don’t know how anyone can beat those “Lost” boys. The only question is which one of them will take it home.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Glee • FOX • A Ryan Murphy TV Production in association with 20th Century Fox TV
Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester

Modern Family • ABC • Twentieth Century Fox Television
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy

Modern Family • ABC • Twentieth Century Fox Television
Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett

Saturday Night Live • NBC • SNL Studios in association with NBC Studios and Broadway Video
Kristen Wiig as Various Characters

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal Media Studio
Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

Two And A Half Men • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television
Holland Taylor as Evelyn Harper

If the critics had their way, Lynch would have this one right now. Again, a good job.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Burn Notice • USA • FOX Television Studios in association with Fuse Entertainment
Sharon Gless as Madeline Westen

Damages • FX Networks • Sony Pictures Television, FX Productions and KZK Productions
Rose Byrne as Ellen Parsons

The Good Wife • CBS • CBS Productions
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma

The Good Wife • CBS • CBS Productions
Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television
Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson

Anytime you can honor Baranski, it’s a good thing. The omission here is Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy”).

Outstanding Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO • HBO Entertainment

Glee • FOX • A Ryan Murphy TV Production in association with 20th Century Fox TV

Modern Family • ABC • Twentieth Century Fox Television

Nurse Jackie • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Lionsgate Television, Jackson Group Entertainment, Madison Grain Elevator, Inc. & Delong Lumber; A Caryn Mandabach Production

The Office • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions and Reveille LLC in association with Universal Media Studios

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal Media Studio

The omissions everyone are talking about are “Parks and Recreation” and “Two and a Half Men.” “Men” in no way deserved it as much as its counterpart, “The Big Bang Theory.”

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad • AMC • Sony Pictures Television

Dexter • Showtime • Showtime Presents, John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company, Clyde Phillips Productions

The Good Wife • CBS • CBS Productions

Lost • ABC • Grass Skirts Productions, LLC in association with ABC Network and Studios

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television

True Blood • HBO • Your Face Goes Here Entertainment in association with HBO Entertainment

I am not nearly as hurt about the exclusion of “24” from this category, because I knew it wasn’t going to happen. And quite frankly, it didn’t really deserve it.

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report • Comedy Central • Hello Doggie, Inc. with Busboy Productions and Spartina Productions

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart • Comedy Central • Central Productions, LLC

Real Time With Bill Maher • HBO • Bill Maher Productions and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment

Saturday Night Live • NBC • SNL Studios in association with NBC Studios and Broadway Video

The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien • NBC • Conaco & NBC Universal

The big story here is the nod for “The Tonight Show”—especially since “The Late Show with David Letterman” didn’t get one. The press is making a big deal out of the fact that Jay Leno didn’t get nominated for anything, but that’s not a story because he never does.

Outstanding Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow • PBS • WGBH Educational Foundation
Marsha Bemko, Executive Producer
Sam Farrell, Supervising Producer

Dirty Jobs • Discovery Channel • Produced by Pilgrim Films and Television, Inc. for Discovery Channel
Craig Piligian, Executive Producer
Eddie Barbini, Executive Producer
Mike Rowe, Executive Producer
John Ford, Executive Producer for Discovery Channel
Scott Popjes, Supervising Producer
Dave Barsky, Supervising Producer
Leigh Purinton, Producer

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution • ABC • Ryan Seacrest Productions and Fresh One Productions
Jamie Oliver, Executive Producer
Ryan Seacrest, Executive Producer
Craig Armstrong, Executive Producer
Adam Sher, Executive Producer
Roy Ackerman, Executive Producer
Charles Watcher, Co-Executive Producer
Zoe Collins, Co-Executive Producer
Jason Henry, Co-Executive Producer
Anthony Carbone, Supervising Producer
Joe Coleman, Supervising Producer

Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List • Bravo • A 4 Aces and a Kicker production in association with Picture This Television and Bravo Media
Michael Levitt, Executive Producer
Kathy Griffin, Executive Producer
Bryan Scott, Executive Producer
Lisa Tucker, Executive Producer
Cori Abraham, Executive Producer
Andrew Cohen, Executive Producer
Jenn Levy, Executive Producer
Amber Mazzola, Co-Executive Producer
Kelly Welsh, Supervising Producer
Blake Webster, Producer

MythBusters • Discovery Channel • Produced by Beyond Productions Pty.Ltd for The Discovery Channel
John Luscombe, Executive Producer
Dan Tapster, Executive Producer
Tracy Rudolph, Supervising Producer
Steve Christiansen, Supervising Producer
Alice Dallow, Producer
Wendy Woll, Producer

Undercover Boss • CBS • Studio Lambert
Eli Holzman, Executive Producer
Stephen Lambert, Executive Producer
Shauna Minoprio, Executive Producer
Alex Weresow, Supervising Producer
Stef Wagstaffe, Executive Producer

I thought “Revolution” had a great shot at winning, but I forgot about “Undercover Boss.” That one will be hard to beat.

Outstanding Reality – Competition Program
The Amazing Race • CBS • World Race Productions Inc.
Bertram van Munster, Executive Producer
Elise Doganieri, Executive Producer
Jerry Bruckheimer, Executive Producer
Jonathan Littman, Executive Producer
Amy Nabseth Chacon, Executive Producer
Mark Vertullo, Co-Executive Producer
Evan Weinstein, Co-Executive Producer
Dan Coffie, Co-Executive Producer
Giselle Parets, Supervising Producer
Barry Hennessey, Supervising Producer
Matt Schmidt, Supervising Producer
Jarratt Carson, Supervising Producer
Michael Norton, Senior Producer
Patrick Cariaga, Senior Producer
Bob Parr, Senior Producer
Phil Keoghan, Producer

American Idol • FOX • FremantleMedia N.A., Inc. & 19TV Ltd.
Ken Warwick, Executive Producer
Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Executive Producer
Simon Fuller, Executive Producer
Charles Boyd, Co-Executive Producer
Patrick M. Lynn, Supervising Producer
Megan Michaels, Supervising Producer
Toby Gorman, Supervising Producer
Norm Betts, Producer
Sam Brenzel, Producer
Melanie Oberman, Producer
Katie Fennelly, Producer

Dancing With The Stars • ABC • BBC Worldwide Productions
Conrad Green, Executive Producer
Rob Wade, Co-Executive Producer
Joe Sungkur, Supervising Producer
Ashley Edens-Shaffer, Supervising Producer
Erin O'Brien, Senior Producer
Kim Kilbey, Senior Producer
Dan Martin, Senior Producer
Deena Katz, Senior Producer
Tara West, Producer
Joshua Firosz, Producer
Renana Barkan, Producer
Josh Figgs, Producer

Project Runway • Lifetime • The Weinstein Company, Miramax Films, Bunim-Murray Productions and Full Picture
Harvey Weinstein, Executive Producer
Bob Weinstein, Executive Producer
Jane Cha, Executive Producer
Desiree Gruber, Executive Producer
Heidi Klum, Executive Producer
Jonathon Murray, Executive Producer
Sara Rea, Executive Producer
Colleen Sands, Co-Executive Producer
Gil Goldschein, Co-Executive Producer
Sasha Alpert, Producer
Megan Bidner, Producer
Lisa Fletcher, Producer

Top Chef • Bravo • Magical Elves, Bravo
Dan Cutforth, Executive Producer
Jane Lipsitz, Executive Producer
Liz Cook, Executive Producer
Casey Kriley, Executive Producer
Andrew Cohen, Executive Producer
Dave Serwatka, Executive Producer
Rich Buhrman, Co-Executive Producer
Gayle Gawlowski, Co-Executive Producer
Fred Pichel, Co-Executive Producer
Tom Colicchio, Co-Executive Producer
Nan Strait, Co-Executive Producer
Erica Ross, Supervising Producer
Julia Cassidy, Senior Producer

I was hoping that the voters would acknowledge the worst season of “Idol” by not giving it a nomination. I’m not sure what should have gone in its place—maybe “Top Chef Masters”—but it does not deserve to be there.

I’ll have more notes for you in my next post…

Pick of the Week: Entertaining AND Enlightening

I never like to discuss religion or politics in my blogs. So when both of those come crashing into the middle of one of my favorites shows, I admit it. I squirm a little.

But when the issues are presented in this entertaining of an hour, I handle it a whole lot better…

My Pick of the Week is “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.”

In this week’s episode, Kathy is honored by the Human Rights Campaign for her work to further gay rights. And that honor inspires her to go to Washington, D.C. and lead a rally to garner support for overturning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Kathy honestly means well and she works hard to help the HRC, which organizes the rally for her. But as usual, her mouth gets her into some trouble, as she learns very quickly that her style doesn’t exactly translate to Washington.

“D-List” is always at its best when Kathy shows some heart, which she does a great deal in this episode. But she never loses her sense of humor, as there are several laugh out loud moments during the hour. However, the laughs never overshadow Kathy’s mission to bring attention to her cause.

And whether you agree or disagree with that cause, the hour is guaranteed to make you think—especially when Kathy talks to soldiers directly affected by DADT.

The episode might even open your eyes as it entertains you. And isn’t that what good TV is all about?

“Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List” airs Tuesday, July 13th at 10 p.m. on Bravo…
Photo Credit: William B. Plowman/Bravo

"The Closer" Review: Still Getting Her Man

Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) is one of the most unique characters TV has ever seen—especially in a procedural. Who else would show up to a crime scene with her giant handbag on her shoulder and a big flowered hat? Or dump a giant box of candy into her desk drawer in the middle of an interview?

But those things are common place for the woman they call “The Closer.” She’s called that because she knows just what to do to make people talk. But in the sixth season premiere, outside forces are interfering with her abilities—namely a brand new state-of-the-art headquarters. There are all kinds of glitches with the technology and one of them actually completely messes up Brenda’s interrogation.

However, Chief Pope (J.K. Simmons) is completely in love with the building—for reasons that become evident by the end of the hour—so he encourages Brenda to adapt. And she does, but in her very own unique style. So to the surprise of no one, Brenda still finds a way to get her man before the episode is over.

Kyra Sedgwick is playing the role of her career here and she’s surrounded by one of the best ensemble casts in TV. And the cases are usually just as engaging as the characters. My biggest problem with the show is that sometimes the endings are just a little too rushed. Yes, I know that Brenda needs to close the cases. It’s not the confessions that bother me. It’s how the team puts it all together so quickly just before Brenda gets the culprit in the box. For example, forty-five minutes into the premiere, the team still has no clue, but in the next five minutes, they tell us every detail of whodunit. Did they know all of that stuff all along and were just holding onto it for suspense, or what?

If you’re willing to look over that, “The Closer” is an entertaining show and a unique spin on the usual procedural. And the cliffhanger ending of the premiere promises a spin in a completely different direction that could give the show an even more different look, which in its sixth season, is pretty amazing.

“The Closer” premieres Monday, July 12th at 9 p.m. on TNT…

Photo Credit: Karen Neal/TNT

"Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch" Review: Child Please!

Let me say one more time that I really wish Chad Ochocinco would just concentrate on football. As a huge Bengals fan, I am a little concerned as to how all of these distractions will translate to the football field this season.

But no matter how hard I try, I can’t stay mad at him. Chad is as adorable as they come. And that is on full display in the charming “Chad Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch.”

In the premiere, Chad brings together 85 women (Get it?) and puts them through—what else?—mini-camp. But instead of running sprints and doing receiving drills, the girls are asked to trash talk and show off their end zone celebrations.

Eventually the woman get pared down to 17 and are moved into a house. Then, they will be matched up against each other bracket-style. As Chad says, this is the “Ochocinco way,” and it’s clever and fun. Just like Chad himself.

Helping Chad along the way is Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Bernard Berrian, who Chad calls “B Twice.” Terrell Owens also makes an appearance at the opening party and immediately causes trouble for one of the girls.

It’s interesting that there is very little mention of the Bengals during the show, although Chad does take a very funny jab at the Steelers. The only real mention of Cincinnati comes from one of the girls, who is from there. But she doesn’t really do the city any favors.

VH1 has been looking for the right personality to fill the shoes of Bret Michaels and I think they’ve found it. What made the “Rock of Love” shows work is that no matter how many girls Bret made out with, he never came off as a gigolo. He was a sweet, caring guy just looking for love. And Chad comes off much the same way.

Will he come off more sleazy as time goes on? Child please!

The special 90-minute premiere of “Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch” airs Sunday, July 11th at 9 p.m. on VH1…

Photo Credit: 51 Minds/VH1

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Jamie Oliver Reacts to the "Revolution" Nomination

ABC just released this statement to me from Jamie Oliver regarding the Emmy nomination for “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”:

“This is incredible news! Even to be nominated is such an honor, and such a pat on the back for the TV and Campaign teams and for the good people of Huntington, WV, for all their hard work. Balancing programme making with a real live campaign is always a challenge, so everyone involved should take this nomination as an encouragement to keep on fighting the good fight!”

The network also gave me this statement from Ryan Seacrest, who is one of the show’s executive producers and was also nominated for his work as the host of “American Idol":

“I am honored that the Academy chose to recognize my work on ‘American Idol’ and ‘Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution’ – two projects that I am both deeply devoted to. ‘Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution’ has inspired so many Americans affected by obesity while ‘American Idol’ has inspired millions to go after their dreams. I feel lucky to have been part of such moving programming and it has been an incredible experience to contribute to both shows.”

"Revolution" Gets A Nod

The Primetime Emmy nominations were announced today, and as I predicted, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” was nominated in the category of Outstanding Reality Program.

It was the only nomination the show received.

This category is always one of the more eclectic ones, and this year was no exception. Also nominated were: “Antiques Roadshow,” “Dirty Jobs,” “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” “MythBusters” and “Undercover Boss.”

I think “Revolution” has an excellent chance at winning, if it can overcome the emotion of “Boss.” But “Kathy Griffin” is always a wild card—in more ways than one. Even if “Revolution” does win, she might run up on the stage anyway.

I’ll have much more on the rest of the nominations tonight…

The 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy awards will air August 29th at 8 p.m. on NBC. However, take note that the Reality Program award—unless something is changed this year—will be presented during the Creative Arts Emmys August 21st.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Pick of the Week: Watching a Fave Find Love

Those of you who are longtime readers of my blog know that I am a huge Cincinnati Bengals fan. And that means I adore Chad Ochocinco.

Yes, he talks too much. Yes, he should focus more on football than his outside pursuits. But I still adore him. So how can I possibly deny him his shot at finding love?

And more importantly, how can I not watch?

My Pick of the Week is “Chad Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch.”

The romance reality-competition show is old hat to all of us by now. But Chad throws something different into the mix by pitting the girls against each other in a bracket style competition. He’ll start out with 85 girls and then whittle them down to one.

The key to a successful one of these shows is a likeable bachelor/bachelorette, a la Bret Michaels in “Rock of Love.” And I don’t think you can get much more likeable than Chad, so I think VH1 could have something pretty special on its hands.

I would much rather watch Chad catching touchdown passes from Carson Palmer, but I will be watching this too. I might even wear my Chad jersey a couple of weeks just to show my support…

“Chad Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch” premieres Sunday, July 11th at 9 p.m. on VH1. You can see a preview here.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

"Covert Affairs" Review: These Characters Are Welcome

We’ve seen the tough and sexy female spy show before. But when that show is on USA, it’s bound to be a little different.

After all this is the network where characters are welcome…

The female spy is Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) and the show is “Covert Affairs.” Annie is in the CIA training program when she is suddenly called into action for an important case. She immediately discovers the CIA is not a normal place to work and she has to figure out how to balance her secret not normal life with her normal family life living with her sister, who’s on a mission to fix her up.

Annie’s tour guide at the CIA is Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham), a blind techie. Her ice queen boss is Joan (Kari Matchett), the head of the super-secret Domestic Protective Division. Joan’s husband is Arthur (Peter Gallagher), the director of Clandestine Services.

Annie appears to have been fasttracked because of her language skills. But a twist in the final act gives us a hint of another reason. It’s a good twist that makes it possible to look over the silly subplot of Joan using the resources of the CIA to try and catch Arthur in an affair.

Perabo is a great lead and the supporting players are perfectly cast. I was afraid that Auggie being blind was going to get old, but it actually worked for the entire hour mostly due to Gorham’s portrayal. Plus, the action scenes are solid.

This show has lots of promise, it just needs to flesh out the characters a little more. I understand the idea of showing the personal lives of the agents, but there needs to be more of a balance.

And I think watching our tax dollars being used to monitor a possibly cheating husband’s phone calls instead of chasing terrorists is not what any of us want to see…

“Covert Affairs” premieres Tuesday, July 13th at 9 p.m. on USA…
Photo Credit: Christopher Kalohoridis/USA

Friday, July 02, 2010

"Rizzoli & Isles" Review: Real Promise Ahead, But Now...

I have been a fan of Angie Harmon since I watched her kick some tail in “Agent Cody Banks.” She plays sexy, yet tough as nails, as well as anyone.

So I have no problems with her playing another cop in the new TNT drama, “Rizzoli & Isles.” In fact, I was looking forward to it.

But then I watched it…

Harmon is Detective Jane Rizzoli. She’s sexy, yet tough as nails, as the only female detective in Boston’s homicide division. Her best friend is medical examiner Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander). Together they solve crimes and help each other navigate their personal lives (or lack thereof, as is sometimes the case).

Rizzoli also has to deal with her overbearing mother, Angela (Lorraine Bracco), her very green partner, Frost (Lee Thompson Young), and her ex-partner, Korsak (Bruce McGill).

In the premiere, a serial killer surfaces that appears to be a copycat of a serial killer that nearly killed Rizzoli. In trying to solve the case, she must deal with her past demons and come face-to-face with the killer again.

The concept of the show is sound and the cast is good. The problem is that the premiere is just too dark. The case is so demented that it overshadows everything else. And at times it’s even a little hard to watch.

Plus, I find it hard to believe Bracco as Rizzoli’s mother. It is mathematically possible. I just find it hard to believe.

With such a dark story out of the way early, the show does have real promise—especially with guest stars like Mark-Paul Gosselaar on the way. So I’m going to reserve complete judgment until I see another episode.

Just be warned that the first one is not pretty…

“Rizzoli & Isles” premieres Monday, July 12th at 10 p.m. on TNT…

Photo Credit: Darren Michaels/TNT

Book Review: "The Days of Our Lives"

When I’m not watching TV or writing about TV, I’m reading books about TV. What can I say? I have limited interests…

The latest TV-related book is “The Days of Our Lives: The Untold Story of One Family’s Dream and the True History of Days of Our Lives” by Ken Corday. Corday has been the show’s executive producer since 1985.

Corday has a great writing style and the story of his parents, Ted and Betty Corday, and how they created “Days” is a good read. And the tragic story of Corday’s brother and his battle with mental illness is fascinating and gives great insight into the heart of the Corday family.

But let’s face it. If you’re reading this book, you’re reading it for gossip about “Days.” And unfortunately that’s in short supply here. I know it would be hard to tell every little story from 25 years, but a few juicy ones would be nice. And the juicy ones that Corday does mention, he says so little that he comes off like a tease.

He mentions how the Salem Stalker storyline (in which several longtime characters were killed off and later were revealed to be alive) ended up betraying the viewers’ trust and ultimately leading to lower ratings (an opinion I completely agree with, by the way), but he doesn’t elaborate enough to give us the full picture. And one must wonder why he didn’t fight against his head writer (the late James Reilly) a little harder. He also tells how he was forced to lie to the entire cast about the “deaths,” but he didn’t really share much about their reaction when he revealed the truth.

He praises John Aniston (Victor) as an important part of the cast (which he is), but he gives no insight as to why Reilly wrote him out of the show twice. Perhaps he didn’t want to speak ill of Reilly. But if you’re not going to dish the gossip, why write the book?

He hints that NBC played hardball during every renewal negotiation, but he never elaborates on why or what happened. I’m sure he doesn’t want to step on any toes, but why mention it at all if we’re not going to get the whole story?

And he praises Drake Hogestyn and Deidre Hall (John and Marlena) for everything they did for the show, but he totally breezes over why he had to let them go. I think we all want to hear the explanation for that one.

Like I said, Corday’s family history is interesting and nice to read, but that’s not why you buy the book…

“The Days of Our Lives: The Untold Story of One Family’s Dream and the True History of Days of Our Lives” is available now…

Photo Credit: Sourcebooks