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"…

Monday, January 31, 2011

Michael Waltrip Book Review: A Cathartic Experience For All of Us

Imagine if after years of failure, you finally break through and achieve one of the greatest successes your profession has to offer. But you can’t really celebrate that success because the person who made your achievement possible died helping make it happen.

It sounds like something out of Hollywood, but unfortunately, it actually did happen to someone. And now that someone, Michael Waltrip, is finally sharing the details of his triumphant and tragic day at Daytona nearly 10 years ago.

“In the Blink of an Eye: Dale, Daytona and the Day That Changed Everything” takes us through the events of February 18, 2001—the day Dale Earnhardt died—as they happened. It gets a little hard to read as you experience Waltrip’s joy, knowing what’s coming. And Waltrip doesn’t pull any punches sharing all of his feelings about Earnhardt’s death and his own life afterward. Anyone who has ever lost someone close to them will completely understand.

But the book is about more than just the events of that day. It’s also Waltrip’s story of how he got into racing and the people who helped him out along the way—including the King, Richard Petty. Waltrip is very honest about his mistakes and no one needs to remind him about his 0-463 record before that Daytona win. He’s quite honest about that as well.

The good news is that Waltrip doesn’t get bogged down by it. Instead, he focuses as much as he can on the positive as the book moves along at a pretty brisk—but entertaining—pace. And when he gets to that day, you can almost feel the catharsis as he was writing. Grief, anger and guilt all come out on each page. I have to believe it will be a catharsis for Earnhardt fans as well—especially since it gives them such an inside look at the driver they loved.

The book ends on an optimistic note as Michael Waltrip Racing finally starts putting the pieces together after an extremely rocky start.

At only 240 pages, “Blink” is a fairly quick read, so you are left with a few questions by the end. But considering everything Waltrip puts on the pages, you can’t really blame him for wanting to keep some things to himself. And that always leaves room for another book, which would be more than welcome.

“Blink” is not just a must-read for Waltrip and Earnhardt fans, it’s a must-read for all NASCAR fans. That day truly did change everything for us. And this book may very well be the cathartic experience we have all needed.

“In the Blink of an Eye: Dale, Daytona and the Day That Changed Everything” is available Tuesday, February 1st.

Photo Credit: Hyperion

Thursday, January 27, 2011

OWN Releases a First Look at "The Judds"

They call it a sizzle reel. It’s a brief trailer of sorts that networks send to the media to promote their shows. Yesterday, I had the privilege of viewing the sizzle reel for the new OWN series, “The Judds.”

The video opened with Wynonna Judd saying, “See, I didn’t have a childhood. Because, you know, I worked for Naomi Judd.”

I’d call that sizzle, wouldn’t you?

Naomi Judd also speaks in the video and she admits that she was tough on her daughter the first go-around. She’s hoping that things will be much better during their reunion tour. But it’s only a few seconds before we start to see that not everything will go picture perfect. However, when the duo gets on stage, magic happens—which I could see in just a few seconds of footage.

OWN has set the premiere date for “The Judds” for late March. A final date will be announced soon. Here’s the official network description:

“‘The Judds’ is a unique docu-series that captures the loving yet often complex relationship between Naomi and Wynonna Judd -- one of the most successful mother-daughter duos in the history of entertainment.

Set against the rich backdrop of their much anticipated reunion tour (the first in 10 years), "The Judds" follows Naomi and Wynonna's emotional journey, as they work to heal old wounds,
reconnect with their fans, and share the spotlight once again.”

I’m looking forward to the show, not just because of The Judds being from right here in our area, but also because it looks like it could be a pretty good one.

I hope to have much more as we get closer to the premiere…

Friday, January 21, 2011

Keith Olbermann Says a Classy Goodbye

Just search for "Keith Olbermann" on Twitter right now and your screen will light up...

If you haven't heard, Olbermann is out at MSNBC and we don't really have the details why. MSNBC released this statement:

"MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of Countdown with Keith Olbermann will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC's success and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

Speculation is that the move had something to do with Comcast officially taking over NBC Universal this week, which NBC has denied.

All I know is that Olbermann made an incredibly classy exit tonight that you can see here. I wish him the very best of luck...

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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Fairly Legal" Review: USA Welcomes Another Great Character

With such a great run of successful dramas with quirky characters, you’d think the day would come that USA’s luck would run out.

Today is not that day…

That’s when USA rolls out its newest drama, “Fairly Legal.” “Legal” stars Sarah Shahi as Kate Reed, who after becoming disenchanted by the law as an attorney, now works as a mediator. When we meet Kate, she’s returning to work after the death of her father, who ran the firm where she works.

Kate is forced to work with her stepmother, Lauren (Virginia Williams), who she hates, to try and keep the firm going. That means having to ask for favors from her soon-to-be-ex-husband, Justin (Michael Trucco), a San Francisco ADA. Helping Kate keep it all together is her assistant, Leo (Baron Vaughn).

In the premiere, Kate is court-ordered to mediate a lawsuit, but she also finds herself trying to do the right thing in a case involving one of the firm’s biggest clients. Of course, doing the right thing puts her in direct opposition to not only Lauren and Justin’s wishes, but also her father’s.

Shahi is fantastic in this role as she goes from quirky to crusading to vulnerable and is totally convincing doing it. Williams is perfectly cast as the witch, even though it appears she may not be quite as bad as Kate thinks. Ethan Embry (“Sweet Home Alabama”) also lends solid support as Kate’s brother, Spencer, who quit the firm to become a stay-at-home dad.

Kate’s methods of mediation may come off as just too easy or way too clever sometimes, but they’re still entertaining. And the resolution of the main case in the episode will definitely leave you wanting to see more.

“Legal” still has all the hallmarks of a legal drama—the battling attorneys, the passionate speeches and the behind-the-scenes deals—but the difference here is that they’re given the USA touch. And that means a good drama with great characters that you’ll grow to love.

Although with Shahi playing Kate, that won’t take long…

“Fairly Legal” premieres tonight (Thursday) at 10 p.m. on USA…

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/USA

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Melissa Peterman on "Working Class": "I think we achieved a real family"

It was something I had never heard from an actor/singer in my nearly five years of doing this: “If you have any follow-ups, just call me.”

But then, Melissa Peterman has every reason to want to talk more about a project she has every right to be proud of--her funny new CMT comedy, “Working Class.”

“I’m very excited,” she said. “We’ve finally had our baby and now we’re just looking forward to showing everyone our baby.”

In my “Stay Tuned” column today, I talked about how real the show is and Peterman told me that was exactly the plan. “That’s really what we hoped to achieve. We want it to feel like you could run into these people anywhere,” she said. “Of course it’s TV, so you’ve got to have the funny in it. I think we achieved a real family.”

Peterman stars as single mom, Carli Mitchell, who struggles to provide for her three children, as well as her brother (Ashland native Steve Kazee) who lives with them. “Her family is going to come first, but she’s still on her own journey. She’s got a great sense of humor,” Peterman said. “She’s an optimist. The glass is half full. She’s always thankful for the things she does have. If nobody went to jail or got caught on fire, it was a success.”

With production on the show over since December, Peterman is excited for other people to finally see it. “I feel proud of the show. It’s one of those things when everything felt right. I feel like it’s going to be a success,” she said. “Our hope is that we get people to CMT to watch it. I want it to go for 10 years. I want to get to the episode where Will [Carli’s seven-year-old] gets his driver’s license.”

To make ends meet, Carli works at the deli counter in a local restaurant with her neighbor, Hank, played by Ed Asner, who Peterman was thrilled to snag for the show. “I screamed like a little girl. He’s a legend,” she said. “He has seven Emmys. That’s enough that he could use them to tip people. ‘Here take this. I have more.’ He calls me Blondie, I call him Old Man.”

Peterman says her greatest moment of 2011 so far happened at a lunch at Asner’s home. “I had to turn to my son and say, ‘Put the Emmy down.’”

But Asner is not the only stand-out in the “Class” cast. “From top to bottom, the cast is fantastic. We got the best people for the roles, but I’ve learned they also have to be good people. And they are,” Peterman said. “There are no attitudes, no divas. They come to work and they wanna play,” she said.

“We probably text or call each other at least daily—or at least I do. They might all be getting sick of it,” she joked. “It feels like a family.”

In addition to the cast, the show has gotten some great guest stars. “Lesley Ann Warren plays my mother. The Steve [Kazee] and Kathy Kinney [“The Drew Carey Show”] episode is absolutely hilarious.”

The second episode features a guest appearance by Ryan Stiles (“The Drew Carey Show”). “I broke so many times to the point where I had to get it together,” Peterman said. “I finally got through the take, but for people who know me, if you watch, you can see my cheeks twitching.”

All 12 episodes of the show’s first season were shot in eight weeks from October to December, which is a pretty breakneck pace. “I’m very proud of everybody involved,” Peterman said. “There’s no way we could have had it happen if everyone didn’t give it their blood, sweat and tears. We had the best of the best.”

In fact, Peterman and the producers/creators feel so good about the show, she admitted they’re already looking ahead a little to season two. “We hope more amazing talent is willing to come on board,” she said. “We’re already proceeding in our heads as if a second season is happening.”

Peterman said she is happy to be on CMT and she has no concerns about people getting tripped up by the idea of Country Music Television. “The face of cable is changing. There are great shows happening on cable. CMT has the most loyal, fantastic fan base ever. We want to build on that and bring in an even wider scope,” she said.

“CMT is prepared to get the word out. It’s a good solid family sitcom,” Peterman said. “The CMT fanbase is so loyal. They’re ready to get on board. We want to utilize them.”

Although Peterman is ready to be accepted as a new character, she admitted she will always identify with Barbara Jean and “Reba.” “When ‘Reba’ went into syndication, it got a second life and a whole new audience. I love it when people come up and talk about the show,” she said.

“When I’m 80 and in a nursing home, I hope people still call me Barbara Jean. I love it,” Peterman said. “I love that people still remember an episode and want to talk about it. I hope a day doesn’t go by that people don’t want to talk about it.”

Peterman is now excited to introduce the “Reba” fans to her new series. “I think people who loved ‘Reba’ will love ‘Working Class.’ It has that same feeling,” she said. “It’s smart and funny, but it’s real.”

“Working Class” premieres Friday, January 28th with back-to-back episodes at 8 p.m. on CMT…

Photos Credit: CMT & Ron Jaffe/CMT

Tonight's the Night to Be "Hot" or "Retired"

If you’ve watched any TV Land in the last few months, you know that “Hot in Cleveland” returns tonight, followed by the premiere of “Retired at 35.”

The first five minutes of “Hot” are hilarious as everyone gets out of the way and lets Betty White and Mary Tyler Moore do their thing. But then the episode gets a little wobbly as “Hot” threatens to fall victim to one of the stalest sitcom plots ever—the green card dilemma.

“Retired” seems like your familiar traditional sitcom, but then the plot takes a turn you didn’t see coming. However, the twist comes too early and the show completely goes off track—especially when the writers of the second episode seem to have completely forgotten to watch the first one.

You can read more of my thoughts in last week’s column.

“Hot In Cleveland” and “Retired at 35” premiere tonight beginning at 9 on TV Land…

Photos Credit: TV Land

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Breaking News: Regis Is Retiring! UPDATED

Here’s some huge TV news just breaking this morning…

Regis Philbin is retiring from “Live With Regis and Kelly.” He made the announcement at the beginning of the show this morning, saying he will step down around the end of the summer.

You can read the AP story about the announcement here.

I no longer watch “Live,” but there is no doubt Regis is a legend and I hope he gets the classy exit he deserves.

UPDATE: Here's the video of the announcement.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The "Hannah Montana Forever" Finale: A Sadly Quiet Goodbye

Last night, as I was flipping through the channels, a commercial caught my attention. It was a spot on the Disney Channel for “Hannah Montana Forever.”

But the ad was not for just any episode of “Hannah,” it was for the last episode.

I think I turned white as a ghost…

I immediately felt terrible. How could I have let such an important show slide off my radar? I felt like I had let all of you down. So I immediately went to the Disney Channel press site to find all of the information I had missed.

But the funny thing is there was no information to miss. No press releases, no photos. In fact, no new material had been added to the site since late November. A Google search shows that the finale didn’t even get reported on the major Internet news sites until Monday. And there was no mention of it in this week’s “TV Guide.”

Yes, it’s clear. Disney is ready to let Hannah Montana go…

It’s hard to believe there would be so little hype about such a huge show ending, but with all of the negative press Miley Cyrus has been getting lately, you can see why Disney would prefer a quieter exit. But it’s still kind of sad.

The finale of “Hannah Montana Forever” airs Sunday, January 16th at 7 p.m. You can see the commercial preview here. The DVD of the entire season of “Forever,” which will include the cast reflecting on the show, hits stores Tuesday, March 8th…

Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico/Disney Channel

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Top Chef All-Star" Jamie: "I didn't like how I was being portrayed"

What is it about reality shows that get us so personally involved in them?

Last night, I was actually queasy as I waited for Padma to render the judges’ verdict on “Top Chef All-Stars.” Why? Because my guy Blais was in the bottom group and appeared to be in real trouble.

You should NEVER listen to Marcel, Blais. Never, ever…

Warning: Stop reading if you have not yet seen last night’s episode of “Top Chef: All-Stars.”

But thankfully, the judges eliminated Tiffani and the person who most needed to go—Jamie.

Jamie’s attitude had gone considerably downhill over the past few weeks. She appeared to be dodging the challenges and acting like she didn’t even want to be there. The downfall started when she went to the hospital to get stitches for her cut finger. Her attitude about leaving and returning seemed like she didn’t even care and when she only came back with two stitches, she was roundly criticized by her fellow cheftestants.

Then, in the US Open Elimination Challenge, Jamie refused to serve her dish to the judges because her peas weren’t done yet and then seemed to hide during the rest of the challenge to avoid having to serve her dish (which she did).

Today, I participated in a media conference call with Jamie and for those of you who already don’t like her, what she had to say is not going to change your mind any. She was highly critical of the way she was portrayed on the show and played the editing victim card every time she could.

For the record, I’m not saying she wasn’t right in her assessment. I’m just telling you what went down…

“I am exactly the same person I was the first time [in season five],” she told us. “Unfortunately there was a lot that wasn’t shown because of editing. I kind of stopped watching because I didn’t like how I was being portrayed.”

When we got to talk to Jamie this afternoon, it was clear that she had already answered a lot of the same questions several times already and it was starting to wear a little thin. Especially when talking about cutting her finger.

“When I cut my finger it was 5 o’clock in the morning. I had only slept for 45 minutes in two days. The medic said, ‘You need stitches.’ She gave me no other options.” Because she hadn’t had much sleep and because she’d never been to the hospital, she freaked out. “I was like, ‘oh my god, my finger’s going to fall off.’”

She told us that she doesn’t regret going to the hospital because she can still use her finger on a daily basis.

Another hot button issue for her was the tennis challenge. She had said earlier in the call that she shouldn’t have listened to some of her teammates and went ahead and used canned peas during the tennis challenge. So, I asked her if one of those teammates was Angelo and she interrupted me to exclaim that yes, it was—Angelo and Tiffani, the same people that screwed up Spike’s dish. They talked her out of it because they said it was All-Stars and canned wouldn’t cut it.

“I said to them [on camera] that I wouldn’t have enough time to get them done, but they didn’t show it. It’s a competition. I should’ve known better.” Jamie was most frustrated by the fact that it looked like she didn’t cook, but there were spectators who came to eat and when they arrived, the peas were perfect.

“That dish is delicious. The people that came through loved it. To have it edited that I didn’t cook at all was a bummer.”

When I asked her about Angelo always having his hands in peoples’ dishes, she said it was absolutely true. “I watched him do it with Spike. He tried to do it with me. That’s just him…It’s definitely a mind game. That’s why they put you in a house together. That’s why you have no free thought of your own. [When you’re in the bottom] it’s hard to get out of that hole.”

Jamie found herself in that hole last night along with her teammate Antonia. The judges criticized Antonia for not helping Jamie’s dish, but Jamie said that wouldn’t have mattered. “She didn’t think there was anything wrong with my dish. I didn’t think there was anything wrong. Antonia and I are really good friends. I apologized to her. I felt bad because I dragged her down to the bottom.”

Jamie thought it was a little strange that two people from her team went home when Fabio, Blais and Marcel only cooked one dish. “There was no accountability for their dish over there.” Jamie thought either Marcel or Fabio would go home since Blais cooked the fish and the judges thought it was perfect.

When someone asked Jamie for her prediction of a winner, she answered, “Watch out for Richard Blais and Antonia.”

I would watch out for Carla. The chefs totally underestimate her.

Next week, it’s “Restaurant Wars” with the return of Anthony Bourdain…

Is it Wednesday yet?

“Top Chef All-Stars” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Bravo…
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Bravo

Conan On Whether He'll Ever Talk to Jay Again: "I don't think so"

Yesterday, TV critics got a tour of the “Conan” set. reports that after hearing Michael Wright, head of programming at TBS, say that Conan can do the show as long as he wants to, Conan O’Brien himself responded by saying:
“My goal is not to do this forever I just want to do this really well for a period of time until I have nothing left to say and then go away.”’s James Hibberd also reports some other interesting stuff Conan had to say about Letterman, Leno and NBC…

On his holiday phone call from David Letterman: “It was just a quick call. We hadn’t spoken in a long time. He said, ‘I haven’t checked in on you and want to make sure we’re good.’ I said, ‘We’ve always been good.’ I said he didn’t owe me a call, but I appreciate it.”

On whether he’ll ever talk to Jay Leno again: “I — no — I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s — there’s nothing to be figured out. We all know the story. Life is short. I have kids and family and life to live. I don’t think about it too much. And I’m sure he’s busy.”

On what he misses about NBC: “I was with that company for a long time and had a lot of amazing experience with them and felt like I was part of that family. It meant a lot to me and there are times when I still feel that loss. There’s a whole body of work I’m now detached from and I know I will not go into that world again.”

On whether his audience chanting “Conan! Conan!” is getting old: “We can’t seem to stop it. It will play itself over time. It’s been a crazy journey of discovery — this show could become a game show in a year. [The chanting] has a Stalin-esque feel about it. It’s fun to be Mussolini for five minutes. We certainly don’t take it seriously or encourage it.”

On the best thing about his show today: “There’s nothing like walking away from ‘The Tonight Show’ to really appreciate being on TV. The feeling here is a very different feeling. There’s like a pirate ship feeling to this show. That’s the biggest comment I get, anywhere I go: ‘You look like you’re having a blast.’”
Photo Credit: Art Streiber/TBS

Meet the New Detective on "Law & Order: Los Angeles"

Yesterday, I told you that Skeet Ulrich is leaving “Law & Order: Los Angeles.” So who will replace him as one of the show’s two detectives?

How about Alfred Molina?

But wait, you say. Isn’t Molina already playing a DA on the show?

Yes, but according to, Molina’s character, Ricardo Morales, will be revealed to have been a member of the LAPD for 15 years, earning the rank of detective. When he becomes frustrated with life as a prosecutor, he goes back to the police force.


Terrence Howard (Jonah Dekker), who alternated episodes with Molina, will now be the principal DA and appear in every episode.

Since I don’t watch “LOLA,” I’ll let you guys comment on this one…

Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Two Familiar Faces Return to "Survivor"

The cast of “Survivor: Redemption Island” has been announced and there are two names on the list that “Survivor” fans are very familiar with…

Former “Survivor” contestants Russell Hantz and Boston Rob Mariano will return for another shot at the prize. They will join 16 other contestants on the show. Rob and Russell will be members of separate tribes.

I am not a “Survivor” fan, but at some point, don’t you have to draw the line with these two? This is Rob’s fourth try and Russell’s third. Where does it end?

Feel free to disagree with me…

“Survivor: Redemption Island” premieres Wednesday, February 16th at 8 p.m…
Photos Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kiefer's Next Project

For me, any time Kiefer Sutherland does anything, it’s big news. But this is BIG news… is reporting exclusively that Kiefer’s next TV-related project will be a web series for Hulu.

It’s called “The Confession” and will consist of 10 5-7 minute webisodes. Kiefer will play a hitman who has a discussion with a priest (John Hurt) about why his victims deserved to die. According to the report, the series “ends with one helluva twist.”

“The Confession” will premiere on Hulu in March.

Also in the story, Kiefer gives some hope to us “24” fans about a big-screen version, calling it “the little engine that could.” I like the sound of that…

Photo Credit: Lorenzo Agius/FOX

Congratulations, "NCIS"!

Congratulations to the show I often refer to as “The Little Show That Could,” “NCIS,” which received its largest audience ever last night.

22 million people tuned in for the show’s first new episode since December 14th.

To have a show reach this kind of pinnacle in its eighth season is pretty unheard of, but then “NCIS” has never followed conventional TV patterns. And I mean that as a compliment…

And things just keep getting better for the show as Bob Newhart guests on the December 18th episode as Ducky’s (David McCallum) predecessor. And without “American Idol” to compete with, there’s no reason to think that the show won’t continue to dominate—even with “Glee” as its competition…

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

CBS Gets More "Bang"!

We’re going to be seeing much more of Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Raj and Howard on our TV screens…

CBS announced today that it has reached a deal with Warner Bros. Television to renew “The Big Bang Theory” through the 2013-2014 season.

Nina Tassler, CBS Entertainment President said in a press release, “It doesn't take a theoretical physicist to see why this show is a BIG part of our comedy future.”

I can’t wait to see what it does against “American Idol” beginning next week…

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Is "Desperate Housewives" a Goner?

During its part of the Winter Television Critics Association Tour, ABC announced early season renewals for six of its shows.

The lucky names that were called were: “Modern Family,” “The Middle,” “Cougar Town,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” and “Castle.” A deal for two more cycles of “Dancing With the Stars” is on the way.

Notice anyone missing? How about “Desperate Housewives”?

Let me say that leaving “Desperate” out of this week’s announcement does not mean it will not get renewed for another season. But if you listen closely, you can hear some vultures starting to circle…

“Desperate” has seen a ratings decline over the years (not to mention a decline in quality) and the cast’s contracts are up at the end of this season. If the ladies get the kind of payday they’re no doubt looking for, the show may become too expensive. Plus, creator/showrunner Marc Cherry has already said he’ll be stepping back to work on his potential new show for ABC.

“Brothers & Sisters” and “Detroit 1-8-7” are also in limbo…

Stay Tuned…

Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

"Law & Order: Los Angeles" Gets a Revamp

The “Law & Order: Los Angeles” cast picture you see here is about to look very different, according to

The website reports that three cast members have been let go from the cast--Regina Hall (ADA Evelyn Price) and Megan Boone (DDA Lauren Stanton), and—here’s the big one—Skeet Ulrich (Detective Rex Winters)), who was the first actor cast on the show.

It’s not unusual for creator Dick Wolf to revamp the “L & O” shows after their first season (Remember that George Dzunda left after the first season of the original.), but to get rid of the star in the middle of the season? To me this smacks of a little desperation on the part of Wolf and NBC.

It also makes me a little sad at just how far the mighty have fallen…

Photo Credit: Florian Schneider/NBC

When I read this today, it made me incredibly sad…

It’s a report from about how “Two and a Half Men” wanted to shut down production to give Charlie Sheen some time to go to rehab. But according to the story, Charlie refused and even got a lawyer to keep it from happening.

Charlie, I know there’s no way you’re reading this. But if by some chance there is, you need help. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your fans who adore you and adore your show.

Please, before you or someone else gets badly hurt…

Photo Credit: Copyright 2009 Warner Brothers Television. All Rights Reserved

"Harry's Law" Review: Will People Stick Around to See It Get Better?

I consider myself a fan of producer David E. Kelley. But here’s the thing I’ve learned about his shows. When they’re good, they’re very, very good. But when they’re bad, they’re horrid.

His latest dramedy, “Harry’s Law,” is not horrid. But it’s not very, very good either. And for NBC, who is banking on the show to help turn around its season, that is very, very bad…

“Law” stars Academy Award winner Kathy Bates as Harriet “Harry” Korn. Harry is one of the top patent lawyers in Cincinnati until she finds herself bored with her job, which gets her fired. So, she decides to open her own practice in a rough part of the city. But two life changing events introduce her to two different people that convince her to become a different kind of lawyer. One is her first client, Malcolm (Aml Ameen). The other is Adam (Nate Corddry), her first associate.

Because this is Kelley, there has to be a quirk somewhere. The quirk here is that Harry’s practice is in an old designer shoe store. And her perky assistant Jenna (Brittany Snow) insists on continuing the shoe business. So it becomes Harriet’s Law and Fine Shoes.

All of the elements of a Kelley show are in the pilot—the hot button social issue case, the political speeches during defense arguments and the slightly offbeat characters. But the show never really comes together. In fact, the pilot was so rough, I was shocked when I rewound the tape to the opening credits and saw that Kelley wrote the script himself. It was just nowhere near his caliber of work.

You’d think that Bates and Kelley would make a good team, but Bates appears to be sleepwalking through the pilot—as bored as her character in the show’s opening minutes.

Thankfully, the hour is somewhat rescued by the always solid Paul McCrane (best known as Dr. Romano on “ER”) as the prosecutor. Kelley gives him a quirk that could come off as annoying in another actor’s hands, but McCrane plays it beautifully.

It’s Corddry who holds down the show until Bates finally wakes up a little in episode two. In fact, everything gels a lot better in the second hour as we see some glimmers of Kelley brilliance. Especially with guest star Christopher McDonald as Adam’s opposing counsel.

The problem for the show and NBC is whether or not viewers will give the show a second chance after the first uneven hour. I really hope they do because I’ve got to believe it will get better.

And how can I not root for a show in Cincinnati?

“Harry’s Law” premieres Monday, January 17th at 10 p.m. on NBC…

Photo Credit: Matthias Clamer/NBC

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Debbie Gibson Vs. Tiffany Smackdown: A Little Preview

How’s this for a headline:

Chaos in the Everglades! Giant Pythons and Mutated Alligators Go On a Rampage and Only Two Feuding Women Can Stop Them

Pretty cool, huh? And when those two feuding women are Debbie Gibson and Tiffany? So awesome I can’t even see straight!

“Mega Python Vs Gatoroid” will premiere Saturday, January 29th at 9 p.m. on Syfy.
But here’s a fantastic sneak peek to tide you over…

I think some guys I grew up with just passed out…

Tonight's the Night: The True Return of Diana to "V"

Tonight is the night, ladies and gentlemen…

We got just a glimpse of her last week. But tonight, Jane Badler returns in all of her delicious glory to the “V” universe as Diana goes to-to-toe with her daughter, Anna (Morena Baccarin).

If you watched last week’s premiere—and judging by the ratings most of you didn’t—you know that Anna is struggling with understanding human emotions. She knows that showing hers will destroy her and so she’s trying to destroy them first. Now, she has to go for help to the last person in the world she wants to go to—her mother—to try and understand what’s happening.

Badler absolutely steals the show and it’s a delight for all of us who were fans of the original series.

Tonight, we get more details about the “V” mole in the FBI (Yea! It’s not Roark Critchlow!) and Anna goes after Ryan (Morris Chestnut).

The reveals are coming fast and furious, so you may want to tape as you watch. Seriously…

And speaking of reveals, I knew there was something fishy about Erica’s (Elizabeth Mitchell) son, Tyler (Logan Huffman). Didn’t you? Or maybe I should say something scaly…

“V” airs tonight (Tuesday, January 11th) at 9 p.m. on ABC…

Sunday, January 09, 2011

"Shameless" Review: Not My Kind of Family

In my opinion, William H. Macy is one of our finest actors. And there’s nothing in his new Showtime drama, “Shameless,” to change my opinion of him.

My opinion of the show is another story…

“Shameless” is a remake of a UK show about the Gallaghers, a working-class family in Chicago. Frank (Macy), the patriarch, would prefer to spend his disability check on booze than on his six kids. In fact, he’s rarely home, leaving oldest child Fiona (Emmy Rossum) to run the house. All of the older kids earn money to help pay the bills—both honestly and dishonestly.

In the pilot, Fiona discovers there may be more to life than just playing mom when she meets the charming Steve (Justin Chatwin). Her oldest brother, Lip (Jeremy Allen White), finds himself in a mess with Karen (Laura Slade Wiggins), the girl he tutors. And he has even more on his plate when he discovers a secret about younger brother, Ian (Cameron Monaghan).

The cast is great. Rossum is a real revelation and it’s always great to see Joan Cusack (Karen’s mother, Sheila). And the show is gritty and real—the kind of stuff executive producer John Wells (“ER”) is great at.

So why was I not completely blown away?

I think it stems from the fact that the show is as shameless as the Gallaghers.

Because it’s on Showtime, it can get away with a lot more. But where the show gets in trouble is when it does more just because it can. For example, Karen is more interested in doing sexual favors for Lip than she is in studying. And there is plenty of frank discussion between Lip and Ian.

But the biggest problem is Frank. Yes, he’s totally realistic, but that doesn’t make him any easier to watch. It’s clear that we’re supposed to like him and maybe even think he’s a little funny. But his actions make that completely impossible.

“Shameless” is not a terrible show. It’s just that the Gallaghers are not a family I want to spend an hour with.

“Shameless” premieres Sunday, January 9th at 10 p.m. on Showtime. Please note the show contains adult language and situations.

Photo Credit: Showtime

"Episodes" Review: Welcome Back, Matt LeBlanc!

If you read my column in the H-D Thursday, you already know that I liked the new Matt LeBlanc comedy, “Episodes.”

Usually, I can only base my opinion of a show on the pilot. And more often than not, the pilot is not a good measure of the show. But in this case, I can promise you the show is good because I’ve actually seen the entire seven-episode season.

In all honesty, if I had only seen the pilot, I might feel differently. It’s a little slow and Matt LeBlanc barely appears in it. But when combined with the rest of the season, you have a complete picture. And a funny picture it is.

The story revolves around Sean and Beverly Lincoln (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Grieg), the hottest comedy writers in England. An American TV executive (John Pankow) decides he wants to bring their show to America with them writing it. But things don’t go easily for the couple as they realize in Hollywood, nothing is what it seems and no one really tells the whole truth.

Soon, their smart, witty comedy becomes just another ordinary sitcom starring Matt LeBlanc. But as Beverly gets more and more frustrated, Sean starts to enjoy the Hollywood life to which his new friend, Matt, introduces him.

“Episodes” is a witty satire of life behind-the-scenes of a sitcom. Pankow is great as the completely clueless executive and Kathleen Rose Perkins steals every scene she’s in as his second-in-command. I have to say that the show’s a little sad too, because you know that there are network executives who are just that clueless.

You’ll see how the season ends coming from a mile away, but it’s a fun ride getting there. And you’ll be eagerly waiting for the ride to start again.

“Episodes” premieres Sunday, January 9th at 9:30 p.m. on Showtime. Please note the show contains strong language and adult situations.

Photo Credit: Showtime

Friday, January 07, 2011

History Channel Pulls the Plug on "The Kennedys"

Here’s a bombshell that just landed in my Inbox…

History Channel is not airing “The Kennedys” miniseries starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes and developed by “24” co-creator Joel Surnow. The news comes from “The Hollywood Reporter.”

A History Channel rep tells the “Reporter,” “Upon completion of the production of ‘The Kennedys,’ History has decided not to air the 8-part miniseries on the network. While the film is produced and acted with the highest quality, after viewing the final product in its totality, we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand.”

“Kennedys” was to have been History’s first scripted mini-series and was the network’s most expensive program ever.

The project has been controversial from the beginning because of Surnow’s involvement since he is a well-known ultra-conservative. The miniseries also drew fire from Kennedy historians.

The report says, “No advertisers had registered complaints or concerns with the miniseries, confirms an A&E spokesperson, but the content was not considered historically accurate enough for the network’s rigorous standards.”

The miniseries is still scheduled to air in Canada on March 6, and will still be broadcast internationally. The producers may try to get a US airing on a pay cable network. In 2003, after CBS bowed to advertiser pressure and cancelled its mini-series, “The Reagans,” the project went to Showtime.

I have to say I was looking forward to the miniseries because of the involvement of Surnow, and other members of the “24” family, including director Jon Cassar and music composer Sean Callery.

Photo Credit:

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Return of "V"

Don’t forget that tonight is the triumphant return of the Visitors to television. “V” is finally back.

And trust me. If you miss this one, you’ll miss a lot because they’re throwing EVERYTHING our way that they can.

For more on the show, be sure to check out my column from a few weeks back.

“V” airs tonight (Tuesday, January 4th) at 9 p.m. on ABC…

Monday, January 03, 2011

The "24" Movie Goes Into "Suspended Animation"

Here’s bad news for those of us hoping to see a “24” movie sometime soon… is reporting that FOX rejected the script written by Billy Ray (“State of Play”).

“24” Executive Producer Howard Gordon told EW that the project is in “suspended animation,” but Tony Scott and Kiefer Sutherland are still talking about it.

I would love to know why FOX rejected the script. I can’t help but wonder if economics had anything to do with it…

Photo Credit: Lorenzo Agius/FOX

Sunday, January 02, 2011

My Final Word on NBC's Late Night Fiasco

I’ve spent much of this weekend watching some of the new shows the networks will be introducing in the next few weeks.

But before I look ahead to what the new year has to offer, I need to take my last look at what I consider to be the biggest TV story of 2010—NBC’s late night fiasco.

When people look back on the whole thing, they are going to look at “The Jay Leno Show” as a huge mistake. But the truth is there were a number of mistakes made by everyone involved along the way.

Here are the biggest mistakes in order of their occurrence:

1) NBC Head Honcho Jeff Zucker decides to give Conan O’Brien “The Tonight Show” to keep Conan from going to FOX.
This was the biggest mistake of all, in my opinion. Jay was #1 by a large margin and making millions of dollars for the network. But Zucker was concerned that Conan leaving would hurt NBC. However, as we all learned—and NBC should have already known—Jay and Conan had two completely different audiences. Conan was not going to hurt Jay. NBC should have just let him go.

2) Jay Leno accepted the five-year succession plan in 2004 giving Conan “The Tonight Show” in 2010.
In Jay’s defense, NBC really didn’t leave him with much of a choice. He could’ve walked at the end of his contract, but NBC could’ve possibly taken him off the air for the remainder of that contract if they wanted to be spiteful. And five years seemed like such a ways off, it probably seemed crazy to walk away from five more years of the show. But most importantly to Jay, he didn’t want a repeat of NBC’s previous late night debacle. But looking back, Jay maybe should’ve told Zucker to stick it.

3) Conan O’Brien accepted the five-year succession plan and rejected FOX’s offer.
Conan wanted to host “The Tonight Show” and when NBC dangled that carrot, he couldn’t resist. But what Conan didn’t realize—but should have—was that he wasn’t “Tonight” material. He appealed to a niche audience with his comedy, while Jay appealed more to the masses (For the record, I’m not saying Jay is funnier, he just appeals to more people.). Conan should have realized that and gone to FOX, where he would’ve been a great fit.

4) Jeff Zucker decides to stick with his plan and not buy out Conan’s contract.
As Jay continued to dominate the ratings and Conan started to slip behind Craig Ferguson’s show from time to time, NBC could’ve pulled the plug. They could’ve paid Conan off and let him go someplace else. It would’ve looked bad, but nowhere near as bad as what happened. And people would have understood the reasoning.

5) Jay Leno accepts a show at 10 p.m. and rejects a move to ABC.
The mistake here was not the creation of the 10 p.m. show. If Jay had left NBC, he would’ve crushed Conan, so you can’t blame Jeff Zucker for being desperate. The mistake was that Jay accepted the deal when ABC was all lined up (Jay even had Jimmy Kimmel on board.). In his defense, his reasons were sound. Jay would have to be off the air at least six months, which would have cost his staff their jobs. Plus, Jay was concerned how that much time off the air would affect his ratings. Plus, Jay is a creature of habit and had gotten used to his NBC routine and there was some loyalty at play—although I’m not sure why. I believe that even with the time off, Jay would’ve crushed NBC—which would’ve served them right.

6) NBC makes it impossible for “The Jay Leno Show” to be successful.
The affiliates were nervous about “Leno,” so NBC asked that Jay’s best bits—“Headlines,” “Jaywalking”—be moved to the end of the hour. But because the network had also insisted there be only one guest to differentiate it from “Tonight,” the second segment had to be filled by comics and bits that weren’t always funny. Without a strong second segment, people quit watching and the show was doomed.

7) Jeff Gaspin, NBC’s programming chief, tells everyone else about moving Jay Leno back to 11:35 p.m. before he tells Conan.
When you look at everything involved and the situation NBC found itself in, the plan to put Jay at 11:35 p.m. and move Conan back to 12:05 a.m. was not totally insane. Especially when you hear that NBC planned for it to be a temporary move until Jay retired. But Conan’s reaction was completely understandable since he was the very last person to know. Jimmy Fallon even knew the plan before Conan. If they had gone to Conan first—and if Zucker had gone instead of Gaspin—things might have turned out differently,

Now, even though things have settled down quite a bit with Jay back on top and Conan at TBS, late night has been forever changed. I have to admit that I no longer watch “The Tonight Show” myself. That’s mainly because Kevin Eubanks is gone, but I do feel like the show is a little tainted now.

Thank goodness the people at Comcast were smart enough to realize Jeff Zucker needed to go.

If you want to get the whole sordid story, I highly recommend Bill Carter’s outstanding book, “The War for Late Night.”

Photo Credit: NBC

My Favorite TV Moment of 2010

Last week’s “Stay Tuned” column looked at my five biggest TV stories of the year. You can read the column here.

I also wanted to share my absolute favorite TV moment of 2010. It’s the only one that actually made me squeal out loud…