Friday, December 30, 2005

Can't resist, one more

"PETA staffer legally changes name to"

Great headlines

There's bupkes going on in TV news today, but man, what a great day for headlines on the wire:

"Mich. man bowls 3rd 300 game, then dies"

"Pack of angry Chihuahuas attacks officer"

"Anti-Christian Jeans a Hot Seller in Sweden"

You see a headline like one of those, you are absolutely compelled to read the story, even if you know it's going to be utterly stupid.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

More cable Nielsens

Just FYI, the season finale of "Nip/Tuck" was number two on the cable Nielsen list from last week -- followed by multiple episodes of the WWE, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Fairly Odd Parents and Law and Order reruns. A step in the right direction, anyway.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Fall favorites

I asked readers in Tuesday's TV Talk which of the new fall shows were their favorites. A bunch of readers are ticked off that CBS cancelled "Threshold" (star Carla Gugino at right) and I've gotten a few votes for "Commander in Chief," too (which isn't cancelled, but is on hiatus until Jan. 10), and a couple for NBC's "Surface."

One reader asked the intelligent question, how do we know when a show is really cancelled? That's a tough one. The networks, as a rule, never, ever say when a show is canned. They're always "Move along, nothing to see here."

I used to have a dead pool and put chalk outlines around the new shows as they failed, but it seemed more than a little cruel. And, also, every once in a great while a show comes back from the dead, either because of an outpouring of fan support, or because the network just has nothing better to throw out there.

Don't hold your breath for "Threshold," I'm sorry to say.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Brunch with Bledsoe

Just had lunch with new KKTV/Channel 11 meteorologist Brian Bledsoe. We'll have more in the paper on him and the other new faces at KKTV (once they're hired) in a few weeks, but I thought I'd give you a few details on Bledsoe in the meantime:
  • He turns 31 on Friday.
  • He grew up on his family's ranch south of Limon.
  • His grandfather, Carl "Bev" Bledsoe was the Speaker of the House in Colorado "forever."
  • His wife, Dale Ann, grew up in Grand Junction. They met at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
Bledsoe says he couldn't be happier to be back in Colorado and doing weather at a station he watched growing up.

Monday Night musings

I'm having mixed emotions about saying goodbye to Monday Night Football (the final game was last night, for non-fans).

On the one hand, MNF gave every game some of the pizazz and pageantry of a playoff game. It was like a mini-Super Bowl once a week -- and not a bad way to ease into the work week. On the other hand, in its quest to provide spectacle and entertainment even when the game was a stinker, MNF had a lot to answer for: Dennis Miller, Eric Dickerson, Boomer Esiason, OJ Simpson, Terrell Owens and Nicolette Sheridan and the ever-more ludicrous opening graphics.

Still, when John Madden joined Al Michaels in the MNF booth in 2002, it was a terrific pairing and a return to letting the game do the talking. Madden's headed to NBC [edited], Michaels will follow MNF to ESPN next year.

In the end, I guess it's another sign of that era of event television -- television that the whole family will gather around the tube to watch -- is dead as the dodo. Sure, there's the Super Bowl itself (which Madden and Michaels will call), maybe the Oscars, and, to some extent, the Olympics, but now the list is more exceptions than rules.

Friday, December 23, 2005

It's Christmas time in the city

OK, so not a lot going on in television today. Come Tuesday, we'll probably be chockablock with stories about what Brad bought Angelina. In the meantime, I think I'm going to ditch this popsicle stand and go commit some merrymaking.

Cable Nielsens

Network TV ratings keep sinking downward, while cable shows (like "Nip/Tuck") keep raising their profile, which leads to a periodic debate around the old Gazette newsroom: We run the weekly network TV ratings, should we also start running the cable Nielsens? Esoteric, maybe, but these are the issues we ponder when we're not conducting pizza taste tests.

The argument against running the cable Nielsens? The ratings themselves. Consider this week's top shows:
Sunday night NFL Football (you'll get no argument from me there), "WWE Raw" (both the 9 p.m. and the 10 p.m. shows), "Law & Order: SVU" reruns, "SpongeBob SquarePants," more "SVU," regular "Law & Order" reruns, more "SpongeBob", "Fairly Odd Parents," more "SVU," and, finally, more "SpongeBob."

That's pretty much a typical week, although once the NFL wraps up, SpongeBob will kick up a few more slots.
Sooooo, until "The Shield," "Nip/Tuck," or "The Sopranos" crack the list, it looks like we'll continue to ignore the cable Nielsens in Ye Olde Newspaper.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Light posting today

I'm off to an undisclosed location for one of our periodic "GO" road trips. Hey, can't pass up free lunch.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Giselle Fernandez returns to KRDO

Well, sort of: She'll be hoofing it for ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" beginning Jan. 5. She was a reporter at KRDO back in the 1980s, according to the Gazette's fount of wisdom and history, Linda Navarro.

The Carver revealed!

OMG, it was Quentin!

OK, I was working on my car (busted brake line) and didn't watch the "Nip/Tuck" season finale, but I thought everyone else who also didn't watch would want to know. And, if it comes up around the water cooler, Kit was in on it and apparently Quentin has no, um... parts. Wedding tackle. Twig and berries.

I wonder if Bruno Campos (the actor who plays Quentin) gets a Christmas bonus for agreeing to that plot development.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Who doesn't love conspiracy theories?

Watch out for the black helicopters, Comedy Central fans:

Nip/Tuck finale tonight

In the realm of shows that attract far more hype than viewers, FX's "Nip/Tuck" is this season's runaway leader. The show wraps up the season tonight revealing who's behind the Carver's mask. You can get a jump on the buzz and buddy up to the serial slasher yourself over at My Space. Giving fictional serial killers Internet dating/friendster profiles is a little creepy.

A la carte

Today's cable a la carte column has drawn a lot of interest. So far this morning, about 90 percent of the calls are in favor of switching to an a la carte system, but there have been some thoughtful arguments against changing, too. It's always nice to hear both sides of an issue.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Yet more HD - get the plasma after all!

Not to beat a high-definition horse, but the U.S. House just agreed to transition all TV to digital by 2009. What that means is that you have until 2009 to buy a high definition TV, or to get a converter box for your current TV (cable and satellite subscribers should be OK, although they'll eventually need new boxes, too).

What you won't be able to do is nothing and still expect to watch TV on an old analog set.

Congress is setting aside a few billion to help people buy converters, although they're not subsidizing people buying HDTV's. Go figure.

Some of the existing frequency will be used for emergency responders (it's the fire department on channel 4... nah, it won't work that way), and the rest will be auctioned off.

Hold off on that plasma screen!

Late breaking update on high definition. Just talked with KOAA/Channels 5&30 GM Dave Whitaker about the station's jump to high definition. He says it's not looking good to have it done in time for the Olympics.

"We're already a week behind," he said. "We really, really, really want it, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen."

KOAA has the equipment in hand, but needs a break in our string of sub-zero temperatures to pour concrete (apparently Monday's balmy temperatures aren't enough). On the plus side, Whitaker said once KOAA gets its HD transmitter up and running, they'll have the most powerful signal in the whole state.

Altitude HD

Adelphia is now airing some of Altitude Sports' Nuggets and Avalanche games in high definition. It's on Channel 703, if you subscribe to Adelphia's HD package. The first HD broadcast was Saturday's Avs-Nuggets matchup.

I'm not a huge hockey fan, but if there's one sport that benefits most from high definition, hockey's it. The difference is huuuge. It's like when Fox introduced the glowing puck a few years ago. Except, you know, not entirely stupid. Football in HD ain't too shabby, either.

Speaking of HD, KOAA/Channels 5&30 and KRDO/Channel 13 are both supposed to/rumored to be/working toward getting their HD broadcasts up in the next month or so (KKTV/Channel 11 and KXRM/Channel 21 are both already broadcasting in HD). Whether that means we'll be getting the Super Bowl and the Olympics in high def, it's too soon to say.

We'll have more in the Gazette when they give us firm dates, but if you're looking for a ridiculously expensive last-minute Christmas gift, this may be a good time to spring for the plasma screen.

CORRECTION: I think I meant "Avs-Islanders matchup" -- although anybody who wouldn't pay good money to see the Nuggets out on the ice in skates is no sports fan. I get a big grin just thinking of Carmelo Anthony in the crease.

Midseason mania

We're still working our way through previews of the midseason shows (the shows the networks put up in January/February to replace the fall shows that failed miserably), but the early frontrunner is NBC's "The Book of Daniel." The plot is "7th Heaven" crossed with "Joan of Arcadia," but it's got a much more "Desperate Housewives"/"Six Feet Under" sensibility. Proving once again that any new TV show can be described entirely in terms of previous TV shows. More to come.

Friday, December 16, 2005

John Spencer RIP

John Spencer, who played chief of staff and vice presidential candidate Leo McGarry on "The West Wing," died today of a heart attack at 58. Spencer also starred on "LA Law" for four years. He was a heck of a character actor and was helping lead the revival of "West Wing" this season.

Sweet Apprentice slap-down

Randal's last-minute diss of Rebecca in Thursday's "Apprentice" finale was suh-weet. My wife was betting the whole two hours that Trump would end up hiring both of them, but Randal was having none of that. There can be only one, he says.
Nice? Not so much. Good television? Fer shur.

TV Talk on demand!

When the Gazette started the weekly "TV Talk" column two months ago, we quickly identified a major problem: It's a weekly column. Television never sleeps, never breaks, never breathes. Kinda ominous, when you put it like that. Anyway, starting a TV Talk blog means that Colorado Springs TV fanatics can talk over the latest "Lost" plot points, "American Idol" eliminees (is that a word?), or local news lineup shifts at any time of the day or night.
Plus, as your local TV scribe, I get to scribble down all those oddball thoughts and theories that never make it into the weekly column. I'm sure I'll sleep better with that stuff off my chest. So, read on, write in, rhapsodize about "Everybody Loves Raymond."