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"…

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

FOX Moves "Touch" Premiere

The ripple effect of the delay of the Daytona 500 is now being felt in the FOX schedule.

“Touch,” the new Kiefer Sutherland drama, has now been moved to Thursdays. It will premiere Thursday, March 22nd at 9 p.m. The preview episode will air again Thursday, March 15th at 9 p.m.

The “Alcatraz” season finale will now air Monday, March 26th at 8 p.m. “The Finder” will air its spring finale Thursday, March 8th at 9 p.m., but is scheduled to return later with all-new episodes.

In other words, they’ll burn off the rest of “The Finder” episodes during the summer after FOX has already cancelled it…

“Bones” will move to Monday at 8 p.m. beginning April 2nd. “House” will air at 9 p.m. on Mondays with a retrospective special airing Monday, May 21st, followed by the series finale.

FOX also announced that its 25th anniversary special will air Sunday, April 22nd at 8 p.m…

Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/FOX

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

FOX Chooses JLo and Marc

Jennifer Lopez and her ex-husband, Marc Anthony are bringing their new show to a network JLo is familiar with—FOX…

“Q’Viva! The Chosen” will premiere Saturday, March 3rd at 8 p.m. and will continue for five weeks until the finale Saturday, April 7th at 8 p.m.

In the show, JLo Marc and concert director Jamie King travel through 20 countries to find the best Latin singers, dancers, musicians and other performers. After traveling the globe, they’ll review the talent and then bring “the chosen” ones to the U.S. for a special performance…

Am I the only one who thinks JLo and Marc still share a lot of chemistry?

Photo Credit: FOX

"The X Factor" Auditions Go Bigger

FOX has announced the audition process for “The X Factor” and it’s bigger than ever…

Online auditions open March 1st at The MyStudioHD Recording Studios will travel to New Jersey, Phoenix, Nashville, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New England and Las Vegas also beginning March 1st.

The Open Calls begin March 14th in Kansas City. There will also be open auditions in Austin, Texas (March 22nd), San Francisco (April 20th), Greensboro, NC (May 1st) and one more city to be announced later.

New this year, artists with pre-existing management contracts can now audition, subject to limited restrictions.

The prize this season is once again a $5 million recording contract with Sony Music. According to the FOX press release, winner Melanie Amaro, Astro, Chris Rene, Josh Krajcik, Marcus Canty and Rachel Crow all signed deals with Sony.

Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid will return as judges with a whole new crew to be announced later.

I’ll have much more on this later this week after a media conference call with Simon and L.A. I’m guessing the main topic will be all those judge rumors…

Photo Credit: FOX

NBC Makes Some Spring Tweaks

NBC announced today the additions of three new shows to its spring schedule…

The comedy “Bent” will premiere Wednesday, March 21st at 9 p.m. with two episodes. The show will then air back-to-back episodes the next two Wednesdays.

The good news here is that “Bent,” which is a really good show, is finally premiering. The bad news is that it’s only six episodes and they’re being burned off rather quickly…

To make room, “Rock Center with Brian Williams” will move to Wednesdays at 10 p.m. beginning March 7th, when “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” goes on hiatus. It will return Wednesday, April 11th at 10 p.m. when “Rock Center” moves back to 9 p.m…

Also being added to the schedule are “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” and “Best Friends Forever.” Both will premiere Wednesday, April 4th beginning at 8 p.m…

NBC also announced that “Community” will return Thursday, March 15th at 8 p.m. To make room, “Parks and Recreation” will leave the schedule until April 19th at 9:30 p.m. when “Up All Night” wraps its run…

And yes, I do believe this is as confusing as it looks…

Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Debbie Gibson on "Celebrity Apprentice": All of the Rivalries Are Real

My husband has a lot of celebrity crushes—“The Price Is Right” girls, Tiffany on “Let’s Make a Deal,” a couple of local news anchors. But one celebrity has always been number one in his heart—Debbie Gibson.

So it’s pretty cool that Debbie is a contestant on the new season of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Especially since one of my all-time faves, Clay Aiken, is also a contestant.

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with Debbie, fellow contestant Arsenio Hall and host Donald Trump himself. Debbie talked about why she decided to do the show and the decision process she went through and about keeping your cool with the cameras on you. Plus, she reveals another celebrity who really wants to be on the show. And Trump talked about how great the show is and how people are knocking down his door to be on it…

Here’s some of what she and Mr. Trump had to say…

Debbie on why she decided to do the show: “Basically it’s so taxing to my nervous system. I thought oh my god, do I want to put myself through this. I knew it was not for the faint at heart. Ultimately, the charity aspect was what kept nagging at me. And I do think anybody would be lying if they said that was the only reason they were doing it. Because obviously this show is an amazing platform for every project you’ve got going on. Maybe things that I’ve been doing in my career that people didn’t know about. This shines a big light on everything. But ultimately the charity aspect is the backbone of the show and if you are going to get up on very little sleep and run around and basically achieve the nearly impossible in 24 hour periods of time, it is amazing that there is that as the backbone of the show because millions have been raised for charity every season. Being a part of that and watching that unfold was incredible."

By the way, Debbie’s charity is Children International.

Trump on what he knew about Debbie: “I didn’t know Debbie as well as Arsenio, other than I watched her on Broadway in ‘Les Miz’ and she was fantastic. I mean the thing that I knew about Debbie she’s a very, very talented singer and actress. And I was actually there Opening Night when she opened in ‘Les Miz’ and it was great. I still remember it. The way she sang.

Trump revealed that one of the biggest rivalries on the show was comedian Lisa Lampanelli vs. former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza. Debbie said she found herself sticking up for Dayana quite often.

Debbie on whether the rivalries are real: “When you watch the show as a fan, you wonder how many of the relationship issues are provoked, maybe by producers or whatever. And what I learned is that all of the roller coaster relationships and rivalries are real. You are in close quarters with people. You don’t get along with everybody. I usually get along with everybody, but I had my share of rubbing elbows with somebody. And then it would take a turn and one day you’re getting along and somebody you thought you liked would show some colors you didn’t like and suddenly that took a turn. So all that stuff’s real which was one of the biggest surprises for me.”

Trump and Debbie on Debbie’s rival: Trump: “Deborah had someone in particular that really went after you for which I never even understood why.” Debbie: “And then it turned and now we’re actually friends. Go figure.”

Trump on the cast: “This was a very, very smart cast. People are going to learn a lot from ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’ I’ve had emotional casts, and this was one of them, but this was a very smart group of people as a whole.”

Debbie on getting along with Lisa Lampanelli, who has been complimentary of Debbie in recent interviews: “Lisa and I hit it off. We’re both New Yorkers. Since I started in pop music, people assume you’re sort of precious and prissy. And I think Lisa might’ve been surprised that I’m very much like her. I spent a lot of my life schlepping around New York, not having anyone do things for me. So the two of us, we had a similar energy and if something involved—say we had to take photographs of each other—we didn’t care how we looked. It’s like, let’s get the job done and move on. We did hit it off and it’s really nice to hear she’s so complimentary.”

Debbie on whether she showed any surprising behavior: “I mean I definitely had times—you think you’re nuanced in business and you can maintain your cool. But I’ve got to tell you with very little sleep and cameras on you all day, definitely there were moments when I got a little snippy with people probably. I have three sisters, so that’s kind of like a dynamic that I grew up with. I think I have a very kind of nice demeanor, but at the same time, when pushed, I will snap. I have a backbone, but I don’t feel like I have to flaunt that until I need to. And there were moments when I needed to.”

Debbie on her strategy: “My strategy was to have no strategy which might have been the smartest thing or might not have been the smartest thing, you’ll have to see. I really wanted to play the game well. To play as a team player. And really come into the boardroom each week with an open mind and a clean slate so when Mr. Trump said who fell short, simply answer the question. I didn’t have any agenda or anything against anybody in particular. There was some of that going on behind the scenes. Some of the women would sort of want to target somebody in particular. And I just couldn’t sleep at night if I did that, so I didn’t. I wasn’t a part of that. I just wanted to be…one thing I learned from the show was not to be shy about fundraising. Mr. Trump taught me that. You really learn from this show. Just when you think you’ve tapped out all your resources, there are more. So it was really an amazing experience in that way for me.

On what celebrity she would want on the show just so she could see them fired: “My obvious answer would be Tiffany. But I actually know she wants to be on the show and I actually endorse her being on the show. So that was somewhat sarcastic.”

Trump on how the cast is chosen: “All you can do are pick who you think are the best, which in this case are 18 people. It’s the largest cast we’ve ever had because it’s done so well they have two extra episodes this year. It’s just something that you have to go with your gut. You pick the people that you think will be really good together. And I think that’s why we have a great cast this time. It is very easy for us to get people on the show.”

Debbie on whether she was concerned the show would hurt her brand: “In terms of being a pop singer, being a performer, I thought to myself being seen in a group of people, being seen in this context, how will that feed what I do, what I love to do, which is be on stage. And you really have to come around to the fact that we do live in a different world now and this kind of visibility is a really…Unless I go and make an idiot out of myself, I thought it’s only going to enhance everything I’ll be doing. So I did go through that concern and actually had a conversation with Cyndi Lauper’s manager and she said, no. Where houses were half sold, they went to sold out. It’s just the visibility factor is amazing with this show. But I did have that concern in the beginning.”

Debbie on meeting with former contestant Marlee Matlin before doing the show: “I wanted to go on and be myself and be authentic and I felt like she was the least gimmicky of everybody I’d ever seen on the show and I thought I would approach it in a similar way.”

Debbie on what she learned: “I really just learned that I’ve always been resourceful, but I realized just how resourceful you can be in that you’ll do a project in whatever time you’re given. If you’re given three months to stage an event, you’ll probably use every minute of the three months. If you’re given 24 hours, you can get it done. It was a pretty incredible thing to realize. It was like I knew that, but to be able to actually exercise it and do it was amazing.”

“The Celebrity Apprentice” premieres Sunday, February 19th at 9 p.m. on NBC…

Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Today's Column...

In today's "Herald-Dispatch," you can read my thoughts on Sunday's premiere of "The Celebrity Apprentice."

Later today, I'll share Debbie Gibson's thoughts on being a contestant on the show from last week's media conference call.

As always, Stay Tuned...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Whitney Houston Tributes Continue

The tributes to Whitney Houston are continuing this week…

Lifetime, which aired Houston’s first film, “The Bodyguard,” last night is re-airing the film Saturday, February 18th at 8 p.m. “Biography: Whitney Houston” will air immediately following at 11 p.m.

If you miss Saturday’s airing, “The Bodyguard” will air again Sunday, February 19th at 5 p.m…

Encore will show two other Houston films, “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Preacher’s Wife” Friday, February 17th at 8 p.m. and 10:05 p.m…

And now here’s the doozy. ABC is airing a special two-hour edition of “20/20” called “One Moment in Time: The Life of Whitney Houston” Friday, February 17th at 9 p.m. According to the ABC press release, the special will include Diane Sawyer’s 2002 interview with Houston. It was that interview that included the famous “Crack is whack” statement.

I had actually speculated whether ABC would dig that interview out of the archives and it looks like they have—although the press release does not say if the interview will be shown in its entirety or we will only see selected segments.

I would look for the ratings to be pretty big for this one…

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Encore

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Delve Into the Science of Online Dating

Ever wonder what goes into those online dating matches? Now you can go behind the scenes of some of the biggest online dating services…

In a new CNBC original, Amy Robach visits, and several other companies to more closely examine the science of matchmaking. She also compares those services to real-life matchmakers.

Some of the online companies are a little less revealing than others with one of them being downright cagey. And it’s very interesting to see what all the new mobile dating apps can do. Actually, it’s downright scary…

“Love At First Byte: The Secret Science of Online Dating” premieres tonight (Thursday, February 9th) at 9 on CNBC. An encore will air at 10 p.m.

Billy Vera: How "At This Moment" Changed His Life...And More!

My husband is a huge fan of “The King of Queens.” So he watches at least three episodes of it each night on TV Land. That means I hear the smooth sounds of Billy Vera and the Beaters singing its theme song at least three times a night—that is, if my husband doesn’t drown it out…

So after several weeks of hearing Billy Vera’s voice, I decided to see if I could track him down and talk to him about “The King of Queens” theme, as well as some of his other TV moments. It didn’t take much tracking since Billy’s pretty accessible. And he’s a pretty great guy that I really enjoyed talking with…

You can read the story behind “The King of Queens” theme in today’s “Stay Tuned” column. But we talked about several other things including his #1 smash, “At This Moment,” the TV theme he pitched in a restroom and what he’s up to now…

Before we walk down memory lane, tell me a little bit about what you’re up to now.

I just finished making my dream album with a big 18-piece band at the legendary Capitol Studios where Frank Sinatra and Nat Cole and Dean Martin recorded their big albums. I’m hoping to get it out by the end of May or June. It’s basically a salute to the great black songwriters of the 20s, 30s and 40s. You know, Duke Ellington and Count Basie and people like that.

You’re so accessible to your fans through your website and Facebook, That’s different than it was when you started out.

It sure keeps your name out there and keeps people aware of you. And it’s really good. It saves you a lot of money in PR people.

I know you’ve told this story billions of times, but if you don’t care to indulge me, tell me the story of “At This Moment” and “Family Ties.”

We had recorded the song in 1981 on an album that was the first Billy and the Beaters album. We had a little hit record off of that called “I Can Take Care of Myself.” And “At This Moment” was the follow-up single and there were some internal problems at the record company. The head of promotions quit, he had a fight with the boss and so the record only went to the low ends of the charts. And that was it. The record company went out of business not long after that and I was without a record deal for about five years, scratching out a living acting and doing things like that. One day, one afternoon, I got a phone call and this guy introduced himself over the phone and said he was the producer of a show called “Family Ties” and that they had been to the club the previous weekend to see the band and he said I heard you do a song I think would be great for an upcoming episode of the show. We figured out what the song was and they used it on the show when Michael J. Fox meets the girl and it got a bagful of mail. Which was unusual. I had had songs on television shows before that a number of times but never got any mail from it. It’s just usually background and that’s it.

So that gave me the idea to see if I could get somebody, a record company, interested in letting me record the song again and nobody was interested. So finally one day I’m having lunch with Richard Foos, the guy that owned Rhino Records, and I said hey Richard—you know they were in the business of reissuing records—and I said how many records do you need to sell to break even, albums? He said we have low overhead here, probably a couple thousand. I said what if I guarantee you 2000 records that I could sell in the club if necessary and you license it from whoever owns the company that went out of business. And he said sure. He basically did it as a favor to me because he liked me. I don’t think he thought anything was going to come out of it. By the time we got it out, we missed the reruns of the show, but as luck would have it, the following season, the girl breaks up with Michael J. Fox on the show and they used the song again. And this time the story of the song, boy loses girl, is the same as the story of the episode. And America went nuts. NBC told us that they got more requests, more phone calls, more letters than anytime in the history of the network. This time they were armed with the information. This is the name of the song, this is the name of the singer. And people started calling radio stations themselves, so without any promotion, because Rhino wasn’t in the business of putting out contemporary records so they didn’t really know how to promote a record. It was really that rarity. A grassroots hit. Little by little the thing ran up the charts and went to #1. And that was it. That’s the story.

There’s a story that’s been floating around Huntington for quite some time that a DJ here was one of the first people to play “At This Moment.” Do you know if that’s true?

It could be. The first one we heard about at that time, there were two. One was in Hawaii of all places and the other one was out in Colorado. People jumped on it pretty quickly. Rhino did hire a promotion guy who had me come into the record company every day and make a million phone calls to radio stations. They want you to come on and say, “Hi, I’m Billy Vera and I listen to KRAP everyday.”

Now you can just use Facebook and say, hi there. I had eggs for breakfast today.

Yeah, this tuna fish sandwich is really good.

What does “At This Moment” mean to you?

It changed my life. I was 42 years old by the time it came out. I had already had a bit of a career in the 60s with a few hit records both as a singer and a songwriter. And then the 70s music just radically changed and I couldn’t figure out where to fit in. So all throughout the 70s, I thought it was over as a performer. And then when that little hit came in the early 80s, I thought well I’ve got a shot again and then that fell through when the record company went out of business. It was just up and down and up and down. But “At This Moment” was so huge of a record, it finally, I felt like I was in the club. After all those years and all kinds of offers came from everywhere. More television, more acting jobs and gigs for the band and me. It just made me part of, I was now a full fledged member of show business. We did “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” nine times. We were a big favorite of Johnny’s.

Tell me about singing “At This Moment” on the TV Land Awards.

That was fun. That was a big surprise that they asked me and I just had a ball. It was really well organized as those shows go. They gave us the full star treatment. I flew out there business class and they put us in a big Park Avenue hotel. They had a limousine and you even had your own wrangler to tell you where you were going next. It was quite fun.

And it must have been cool to serenade the “Family Ties”cast.

That was very cool. I got to talk to them. They of course knew the song. It had been a big part of their show. It was really cool. I got to meet a lot of people from “Family Ties” and other places. Get my picture taken with Stevie Wonder and Bill Cosby, all these cool people. I had a ball.

So how did all of your other television work come about?

A few years earlier [prior to “King of Queens”], I had done the theme song to a show called “Empty Nest,” which lasted about four years. Because about halfway through, somebody got the bright idea to do a newer version of the song, although I preferred the way they did it the first time, the original version. You know, TV executives always feel like they have to improve things that need no improvement.

And then I did another show, the first one I did was around the time “At This Moment” was big. I got a call from a producer who had been the producer of a show I had acted on. He said do you feel like writing a song for this new show we’re doing? Corey Haim and Burt Young. Burt Young playing a marine of many years who gets out of the service and goes back to college and his roommate is Corey Haim and the show was called “Roomies.” So, my old songwriting mentor, Chip Taylor, who had written “Wild Thing” and “Angel In the Morning,” he was out visiting and we had been writing songs together for an album I was going to do. So I said, let’s do a—We always were big Ricky Nelson fans because I had had a Ricky Nelson hit when I first started my career. So we wrote this sort of Ricky Nelson type song. We wrote it in about a half hour, but we had to wait another half hour so they wouldn’t think it was just something that we had laying in the can. So we waited and we said we’ve got a song for you. Can we come play it for you and he said yeah, get over here. So I made them all go in the men’s room so we could get that old echo. And we played the song for them in the bathroom. And they liked it, and then I got Ricky Nelson’s original guitar player, the legendary James Burton, to play on the session. And we recorded this really nice little song and the show came on and the public didn’t like it and it only lasted for three or four episodes.

I have to say, it is not a chore to hear your voice every night. Now when my husband starts acting like Kevin James, that’s another story.

Uh-oh. [Laughs] That seems to be the formula for a successful sitcom. Going back to Jackie Gleason, Ralph Kramden. You take a dopey husband and a wife that’s much smarter and you put them together and stir the pot and you’ve got a hit sitcom. If you look at it there’s tons of those like that. “Married With Children,” “King of Queens.” That seems to be THE formula.

So the formula we don’t have anymore are these great TV themes. As somebody who has recorded great theme songs, that must be a little sad for you knowing that those songs just don’t exist anymore.

Boy they’re really quick, aren’t they? What’s that show, “Mike & Molly”? I mean, it’s like 10 seconds long.

And it sounds like it would be a really great song if we heard the rest of it.

Yeah, it does. Maybe he wrote a whole song and maybe it was good. But they only wanted 10 seconds. Oh well.

Like you say, TV executives make these decisions and think we don’t want to sing along to theme songs anymore.

My favorite TV executive story. I had a friend who was an art director at CBS. He was in charge of doing the print ads for the television shows. Back when they did print ads. And we used to have lunch a couple of times a week. I’d go over to CBS. And he said, man you’re not going to believe what I just heard. I was walking down the hall and so-and-so, I can’t remember his name, but this really top executive at CBS, was yelling at one of his underlings. And he said get it here quick. I don’t want it good, I want it now. To me that was typical TV executive thinking. I don’t want it good, I want it now.

That explains a lot of stuff.

Yeah, buddy.

So you’re on the road quite a bit…

Not really. With a nine-piece band, the economics of traveling without a current hit record, forget about it. We play locally, Southern California.

What else are you hoping for 2012, you know, before the world ends and we’re all gone.

Somebody said if the Mayans are that smart, why are they gone?

That’s an excellent point.

I have had for quite a few years now a voiceover career. And I do a lot of commercials and just talking. So, that’s what I mainly do. And then I also do reissue work. I go in the vaults of record companies and I’ll compile CDs of stuff from a period of music that I’m most familiar with—the 50s and the 40s and the early 60s. And I’ll write notes, the essays for the booklets. I just wrote the essay for the new Ray Charles boxset that just came out. And I did a B.B. King one that just came out a little while ago. That’s the thing I do that’s the most fun, although it pays the least. And Michael Buble recorded “At This Moment” on his last album, which has been selling like crazy. In fact, the most recent check I got from that paid for my big band album. Thank you, Michael Buble.

He’s a very talented guy. That’s got to be pretty flattering.

Yeah, he sure is. And boy, he did a studio version of it and he also did a live version of it. So I get paid twice.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

No, there is not. It was a total surprise. It wasn’t like they came to me and said hey, we want to do your song. They just did it. They contact the publisher and that’s that. Get the license. So, it was a wonderful, wonderful surprise.

Billy, it has been an absolute pleasure talking with you and walking down memory lane with you. And I hope to hear your voice every night for many more days to come.

I hope you’re right. I hope they keep playing that show.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Breaking News: The End Has Come For "House"

A little less than an hour ago, FOX released the official announcement: This season will be the last for “House.”

The move had been rumored since the schedule was announced in May since FOX’s contract with the show was only through the end of this season.

Here is the official statement from executive producers David Shore, Katie Jacobs and Hugh Laurie in its entirety:

“After much deliberation, the producers of ‘House M.D.’ have decided that this season of the show, the 8th, should be the last. By April this year they will have completed 177 episodes, which is about 175 more than anyone expected back in 2004.

The decision to end the show now, or ever, is a painful one, as it risks putting asunder hundreds of close friendships that have developed over the last eight years - but also because the show itself has been a source of great pride to everyone involved.

Since it began, ‘House’ has aspired to offer a coherent and satisfying world in which everlasting human questions of ethics and emotion, logic and truth, could be examined, played out, and occasionally answered. This sounds like fancy talk, but it really isn’t. ‘House’ has, in its time, intrigued audiences around the world in vast numbers, and has shown that there is a strong appetite for television drama that relies on more than prettiness or gun play.

But now that time is drawing to a close. The producers have always imagined ‘House’ as an enigmatic creature; he should never be the last one to leave the party. How much better to disappear before the music stops, while there is still some promise and mystique in the air.

The producers can never sufficiently express their gratitude to the hundreds of dedicated artists and technicians who have given so generously of their energy and talent to make ‘House’ the show it has been - and perhaps will continue to be for some time, on one cable network or another.

The makers of ‘House’ would also like to thank Fox Broadcasting and Universal Television for supporting the show with patience, imagination and large quantities of good taste. The Studio-As-Evil-Adversary is one of the many clichés that ‘House’ has managed to avoid, and for that the cast and crew are deeply grateful.

Lastly, the audience: some have come and some have gone, obviously. This is to be expected in the life of any show. But over the course of the last eight years, the producers of ‘House’ have felt immensely honored to be the subject of such close attention by an intelligent, discriminating, humane and thoughtful - not to mention numerous - audience. Even the show's detractors have been flattering in their way. Making the show has felt like a lively and passionate discussion about as many different subjects as could possibly be raised in 177 hours. The devotion and generosity of our viewers has been marvelous to behold.

So, finally, everyone at ‘House’ will bid farewell to the audience and to each other with more than a few tears, but also with a deep feeling of gratitude for the grand adventure they have been privileged to enjoy for the last eight years. If the show lives on somewhere, with somebody, as a fond memory, then that is a precious feat, of which we will always be proud.

Everybody Lies.”

"The Voice": Will NBC Kill It With Another Bone Headed Move?

Want to know why NBC is last and probably will be for quite some time?

Check out this story from It seems that NBC is considering bringing “The Voice” back this fall instead of waiting until next year to debut another season.


As Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer of “Idol” pointed out to reporters yesterday, an increased number of singing competition shows has caused viewer fatigue. So wouldn’t one more cause even more?

I know that NBC is smelling blood with “The X Factor” reeling, but wouldn’t it be a better idea for them to come up with good scripted shows to compete with it?

If only that were the worst part of the story. According to various reports, only Christina Aguilera has signed on for the fall season, if NBC chooses to do it. Because the other three—Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton—are actually still relevant in the music world, they would probably be unable to do the show twice in one year. So, NBC would have to find three new judges.


Does NBC really think Xtina is why we watch? In my opinion, she’s the worst part of the show with her annoying speeches and her skanky outfits that make the show all about her. No, the reason to watch “The Voice” is Adam and Blake. Even Lythgoe knows that, as he told us yesterday that he enjoyed their relationship. A “Voice” without them just wouldn’t work—viewer fatigue or not.

I’m sure Mark Burnett would love to crush Simon Cowell, but NBC needs to make smart decisions. I’m sure FOX considered a second addition of “Idol” over the years, but it wisely didn’t make that mistake. NBC should follow its example…

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

"The X Factor": Who Actually Fired Paula?

So whose decision was it to get rid of Paula on “The X Factor”?

Simon Cowell gave an interview to “Extra” where he muddied the waters on the issue by saying he would’ve liked to have kept Paula and that he was told it “had to be done straight away.”

Maybe Simon isn’t as all powerful as we thought he was…

Simon also crosses Mariah Carey and Beyonce off his list of potential judges.

You can see the interview here.

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"The River": Review: Are You Onboard?

As you know, I’m not a fan of scary TV shows or movies. But there’s just something about the new ABC drama, “The River” that might change my mind…

When the premiere opens, we learn about beloved TV host Dr. Emmet Cole (Think a calmer Steve Irwin) and how he disappeared deep in the Amazon with his camera crew. His son, Lincoln (Joe Anderson), has him declared dead and leads his funeral service. But his wife, Tess (Leslie Hope), refuses to give up—especially when Emmet’s homing beacon goes off. And Tess convinces Lincoln to go to the Amazon with her to find Emmet.

Joining them on the search is Emmet’s usual boat captain, the captain’s daughter, Emmet’s cameraman’s daughter and a mysterious bodyguard.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The expedition to bring Emmet home is being filmed for a documentary produced by Emmet’s ex-producer, Clark (Paul Blackthorne). Everything seems normal until the crew breaks open the door to the panic room, expecting to find the crew. Instead, they appear to unleash some sort of evil spirit. An evil spirit that Emmet had been learning about in the last few weeks of his life and documented on hundreds of videotapes left on his ship.

I don’t want to give away too much, but the crew must find a way to deal with this new spirit while trying to uncover what happened to Emmet. Lincoln, who had a very strained relationship with his father, and Tess disagree about whether to continue the mission, as well as argue about secrets Tess kept from Emmet (We don’t learn what those are, but I think we get a pretty big hint.). Clark wants to live, but he also wants to make a good show. And all the while Jahel (Paulina Gaitan), the captain’s daughter, issues foreboding warnings about the expedition and the mysterious spirit plaguing them.

Although I’m still not a fan of creepy things swooping in out of the dark, there’s no denying the concept of “River” is fascinating. The documentary shooting style is genius and the show finds a clever way to explain all the cameras. I’m not all that into dark spirits with strange names but I’m totally into sleazy producers looking for big ratings (And Paul Blackthorne is a great one) and mysterious family secrets.

By the end of the first hour, you’ll be on board with the expedition as well. But at least you have the benefit of being able to cover your eyes. And if I keep watching this one, that’s most certainly what I’ll have to do…

But it might be worth it to follow what may very well be the most fascinating new show of the year..

“The River” premieres tonight at 9 with two back-to-back episodes on ABC…

"The River" Teaser: Fascinating...

So remember that review of "The River" I promised you? No worries, it's coming before the show premieres tonight at 9 on ABC...

In all honesty, it could very well be the most fascinating new show on TV this year...

Stay Tuned...

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI: What Ad Topped Your List?

So another Super Bowl is in the books with some super lame commercials and a super awesome halftime show…

Oh, and the game was good too…

Before I delve into those commercials, let me say something about the amazing Kelly Clarkson and that pitch perfect dramatic rendition of the National Anthem. I’m pretty sure that she was lip synching, but so what? It was incredible…

And let me also get my thoughts out about the halftime show. I admit. I L-U-V Madonna. Yes, it was clear she wasn’t singing, but Madonna has always been about the show and this was an amazing show. LMFAO was pretty much a waste, but Cee-Lo Green was a fantastic addition and sounded great. LOVED her dramatic exit…

Now, to the commercials. Was it just me or are they getting lamer each year? Remember the days of those great Nike and Pepsi commercials? There were none of those this year.

In all honesty, the two best commercials were network promos—“The Voice” promo featuring the surprise appearance by Betty White and the “Tonight Show” promo featuring Madonna hearing Jay Leno’s “Like a Virgin” ringtone.

But here are my Top 5 actual commercials:

5) Pepsi: “King’s Court”

Can you say unique? I liked this one because I really thought Melanie’s commercial would just be her singing and drinking a Pepsi. This was pretty cool.

4) Oikos Greek Yogurt: John Stamos

Stamos is always a welcome presence on TV—especially when he’s being sexy, but the humor was a nice twist.

3) Hyundai: “All For One”

Who doesn’t love people spontaneously breaking into the “Theme From Rocky”?

2) Acura: “Transactions”

This one was cute already with all of the “Seinfeld” references, but the appearance of Jay Leno was awesome. Although I’m a little disturbed that Jay has such a great evil laugh. By the way, the version posted here is longer than the one you saw during the game.

1) VW: “The Dog Strikes Back”

This commercial was cute already with the dog, but the “Star Wars” bit pushed it over the top. I really didn’t see that coming and it was all so realistic. It actually hurt me, though, to have to explain it to my husband, who has never seen any of the “Star Wars” movies.

Honorable mentions go to (“Give and you shall receive”) Chrysler (Clint Eastwood), (Little boy pees in the pool) and the Samsung commercial featuring “I Believe In a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness. The biggest disappointments for me were the Matthew Broderick Honda commercial and all of the Bud Light commercials. I have no idea why the company known for the funniest ads would play it so straight…

As for the annual USA Today Ad Meter, which always seems to go with ads featuring animals, will rate the VW commercial near the top, but I also look for the monkeys ad to rate high (because they always do). The Doritos ad featuring the dog using Doritos to keep the guy quiet will probably rate high too since it was cute up until the point you realize it’s about a cat-killing dog.

So what about you all? What was your favorite ad? And are the days of the ads as appointment TV over since you can see most of them online days before the game?


"Smash" Review: Will It Be the Smash NBC Needs It to Be?

Beginning tonight, NBC will start trying to turn its season around. It begins with the Super Bowl, followed by the premiere of Season 2 of "The Voice." Then tomorrow night, it's the premiere of the new musical drama from Steven Spielberg, "Smash."

In Thursday's "Stay Tuned" column, I shared my thoughts about the show NBC is hoping will live up to its name. If you missed it, here it is:

Last weekend, I finally got the chance to watch the movie, “Bridesmaids.” For months, I had heard just how hilarious it was so I just knew it was going to be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen.

But at the end of the two hours, I was still waiting for the hilarious. It’s not that the movie was terrible—because it wasn’t—I was just thoroughly disappointed that it wasn’t as funny as I thought it was going to be. In other words, my expectations ruined the movie for me.

I tell that story because I had the same exact feeling after watching the first two episodes of NBC’s new drama, “Smash.” After months of hearing how “Smash” could be the show that turns NBC’s fortunes around, I thought I was going to see something spectacular. And although the show is good, it never quite hits spectacular, once again leaving me disappointed.

Ironically, “Smash” is about a group of people trying to create a smash hit—in this case, for Broadway. Julia (Debra Messing) and Tom (Christian Borle) are longtime musical writers who are writing a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe. The show catches the attention of successful producer, Eileen (Anjelica Huston), who hires the brilliant director, Derek (Jack Davenport), who Tom despises. The show seems to have its star in Ivy (Megan Hilty), until newcomer Karen (Katharine McPhee) walks into the audition room. Now the show’s team must decide who is the better Marilyn while working on all the other details of the show.

The songs are terrific and clever. There’s an elaborately choreographed baseball number where Marilyn learns about the sport after she starts dating Joe DiMaggio. And her transition into a 20th Century Fox studio star is marked with “The 20th Century Foxtrot.”

The cast is also fantastic. The problem is that there are just too many characters with too many stories. Julia and her husband are trying to adopt a child. Karen is struggling to maintain her relationship with the mayor’s press secretary. And Eileen is dealing with a nasty divorce. Because there are so many stories, they all start to feel a little like filler between the musical numbers. And quite frankly, the action gets a little boring.

The expectations surrounding the show are understandable since its executive producers include Steven Spielberg and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the team behind the Academy Award-winning “Chicago.” But when people see it doesn’t quite live up to the hype, those high expectations could end up keeping “Smash” from being the smash NBC so desperately needs it to be.

“Smash” premieres Monday, Feb. 6 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Photo Credit: Mark Seliger/NBC

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

"X Factor" Shakeup: Paula and Simon Speak

Yesterday, both Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell released statements regarding Paula’s departure from “The X Factor”…

Here they are courtesy of “The Hollywood Reporter”:

Paula: “Yes, it's true; I won't be returning to ‘The X Factor’ next season. I’ve learned through my longevity in this industry that business decisions often times override personal considerations. Simon and I, along with Fox and Fremantle, have been communicating about this for a while now, and I have absolute understanding of the situation. Simon is, and will remain a dear friend of mine and I’ve treasured my experience working this past season with my extended family at Fox and Fremantle. I want nothing more than for ‘The X Factor’ to exceed ALL of their wildest dreams. This truly has been a blessing and I am most grateful.”

Simon: “I want to say a massive thank you to Paula, Nicole and Steve for being part of ‘The X Factor’ last year. We had a lot of fun making the show together and importantly, we found some real talent and stars. You do develop friendships with the people you work with and Paula, in particular, is a very close friend and I expect to be working with her on another project in the near future. I'm sure all three are going to have massive success in what they do next, but now is the time to thank them all for everything they did last year.”

Mike Darnell, the grand pooh-bah of FOX reality programming issued this statement:

“We love Paula. She is a remarkable talent and we appreciate all of her contributions. We're lucky that she is a part of the FOX family, and we look forward to working with her again soon.”

I think that sounds very much like FOX and/or Simon have plans for Paula, which makes me feel a little better about the whole thing. I wonder if maybe Paula didn’t feel a little underutilized on “Factor” herself and is now looking to do something else herself.

What is that something else? I have to think “So You Think You Can Dance,” another Fremantle show, has an eye on her. And you know that “Dancing With the Stars” has wanted her as a contestant for years, but it sounds like she’s still under contract to FOX, so that probably won’t happen.

Whatever she does, I wish her the very best. She deserves it…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX