Thursday, November 30, 2006

NBC Thursday comedy block

Mostly enjoying the return of the NBC comedy block, but all those "Heroes" promos promising "A hero will be lost" require a call to the euphemism police. "Hello, euphemism police? We've got a television show blatantly misleading viewers."

OK, that's as funny as a "30 Rock" scene without Alec Baldwin. My brain's still unfreezing from this morning.

Did I mention I'm interviewing Sly Stallone tomorrow? For real. I have a very strange job. I understand there'll be snacks, though. Rocky Balboa and snacks, a Friday doesn't get better than that.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Denver = yawn

Ratings for the "Real World: Denver" premiere tanked compared to last season's Key West edition. The audience in MTV's core 12-24-year-old age group dropped in half.

Having been bar-hopping in Denver myself, I can attest that it's really not all that interesting, so I don't blame viewers a bit.


So on today's TV page, we had a story about the 100 greatest television catchphrases -- you know, "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?" and that sort of thing. Like most lists of this kind, it's a total load of crap. It has "I love it when a plan comes together," but not "I pity the fool." It has "Denny Crane," for reasons I can't begin to comprehend, but not "It's a good thing."

Come up with your own list. Post the most glaring omissions (or stupidest additions) in comments and I'll throw the best responses up here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Pay it forward

Well, Jodi Champagne, whose act of generosity I wrote about on Saturday, wasn't one of the featured stories on Monday's "Oprah," but it was still a cool story.

In October, "Oprah" had given each audience member $1,000 and asked them to spend the money to help a total stranger. Champagne was in the audience and she decided to help some local families who had lost their homes and possessions in a fire. First, she helped sisters Jenna and Baily Schryver, who lost everything in an apartment fire Oct. 15. Then, using an additional $1,000 that Wal-Mart provided, together they bought clothes and furniture for the Lopez family, who lost everything in a fire just a few days after the Schryvers.

Anyway, Oprah had a lot of heartbreaking and heartwarming stories about helping kids, helping patients, helping the homeless. So, a good hour of television even without a local connection.

Credit where credit is due

Gazette outdoors writer Dave Philipps didn't mention it himself -- so I can't blame KRDO or KKTV for not noting it in their stories -- but he's the one who came up with the idea (and organized the team and ironed out the logistics) of retracing Zebulon Pike's footsteps in honor of the 200th anniversary of the explorer's attempt to climb Pikes Peak.

As all of the stories did note, local historian John Murphy is the one who actually figured out what route Pike took, but I wanted to highlight Dave's involvement since I've been hearing about the planning of this thing for the past four or five months.

(And KRDO did say in the printed version of the story on their Web site that The Gazette had sponsored the expedition).

"The Nine" down to zero

ABC gave it a pretty good shot, but the serialized drama "The Nine" never caught on, despite a plum time slot after "Lost."

I always wanted to like "The Nine" more than I did. Great cast, led by Tim Daly, and pretty good writing, but the premise - the survivors of a botched bank heist form a lasting bond while the events of the robbery are slowly unveiled - always felt pretty thin to build a series around.

I fear this will mean bad things for "Day Break," the Taye Diggs serialized drama that replaced "Lost" for a couple months. I really like "Day Break," and its "Groundhog's Day" gone bad premise is killer, but what's ABC going to put on after it ("20/20" reruns for now) and are audiences willing to buy into the premise?

Friday, November 24, 2006

We survived, the Broncos did not

Well, the NFL put the Broncos-Chiefs game on the NFL Network, many in Colorado Springs couldn't see the game because of it, and yet the city still stands this morning. Jake Plummer's career may be a different matter.

I suffered for this one myself, since I was having turkey day dinner at the home of Gazette Outdoors writer/luddite Dave Philipps, who thinks a 20-inch tube TV without cable is just a nifty entertainment device. I'm pretty sure he has a Betamax around the house somewhere, too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Monday recap

I thought "Heroes" was pretty decent, although I saw all of the plot revelations coming a mile away (and I missed last week's episode). After all the build up, Sylar went down like he had a glass chin when he came up against HRG's crew. Hopefully, they have a plan to ratchet things up before the Christmas break -- I was expecting something a little more epic out of this ep.

Does anyone else have a take on what Sylar's powers really are?

"Studio 60" was less terrible than usual, although I couldn't bring myself to care about any of it. As much as I mock the Sorkin wish-fulfillment episodes, at least I sense that there's something human behind those. This one just seemed like a line-reading seminar. Dull.

Monday, November 20, 2006

South seas TV

So I'm back from a week on a cruise ship, celebrating my sister-in-law's wedding. Why she wanted her family to come along for the honeymoon remains an open question.

Anyway, the TV on the cruise ship was hit-and-miss. We saw the Ohio State-Michigan game en route from St. Maarten to Nassau, but missed most of the primetime programming.

One channel on the ship appeared to be devoted entirely to an endless loop of a particular "Two and a Half Men" episode. I'm pretty sure Dante wrote that one up in the "Inferno." Somewhere.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I Heart The Office

Who else loved last night's extended episode of The Office?? Can I see a show of hands? It was hilarious! From the "nifty gifties" to the welcome rap video - the whole integration of the two offices was awesome. But alas, poor Pam... she was so schoolgirlish and cute at having Jim back, and then.... Bam! The dreaded cold shoulder! Still, I like the storyline. The writers are doing a great job at prolonging the suspense for this potential romance.

I've only become a very recent Office fan - just since this season started. And I thank my lucky stars every day for Andy's enthusiasm for this show. I probably never would have watched it otherwise.

-Posted by Jen Mulson

'The Real World: Denver' arrives Wednesday

A heads-up: you can see plenty of Denver sites when the latest "The Real World" premieres on MTV at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The seven singles lived in very mod digs in LoDo, 1920 Market St. , and they bar hopped nearby. It's an amazing former-nightclub-turned-Colorado-hip home -- very ski area -- with mineshaft art, mountain-climbing gear, a bar made from a Jeep, clever designs that look at lot like the state flag, Love-Sacs, mountains scenes and much more. Love or hate the party animals in the cast, it's a great time spotting familiar Denver landmarks.

Posted by Linda Navarro

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Arrested Development

--Submitted by Willow Welter, features copy editor, since Andy Wineke is on vacation.
I just finished watching all 3 seasons of "Arrested Development" on DVD. This little gem, which aired on Fox and starred Justin Bateman, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor et al., was canceled last year, although it was some of the funniest, most intelligent writing on TV since the "Simpsons." The critics loved it, it won 16 awards -- 7 Emmys, a Golden Globe, 3 Television Critics Association awards and many more, not to mention the numerous nominations -- but none of that matters if a show's not getting viewers, which I suppose "Arrested" wasn't.
Maybe America wasn't ready for such a postmodern show; "Arrested" wasn't afraid to laugh at itself, and there were many moments when the dialogue broke character and acknowledged it was a TV show. The jokes were funny and smart on so many levels, with layers to almost every line spoken.
It didn't spoon-feed us; maybe that was the problem. Did its absence of a laugh track mean viewers didn't know when to laugh? Or did the narration (by Ron Howard, an executive producer of the show) not explain the plot well enough?
I think television, and the popularity of certain shows, can tell us a thing or two about our culture. Americans watch a lot of TV, so it's gotta say something about our interests. This week's Nielsen TV Ratings included THREE variations of "Dancing With the Stars" on the Top Ten Most Watched TV shows of the previous week. I don't want to dis people who like the show; hey, I like The O.C. and other television you could make fun of me for. (And I will definitely understand if The O.C. gets canceled after this year.)
But yesterday, a reader helped me further understand the TV-viewing audience, and what really matters to them. One of the editors here got a call yesterday from a woman concerned The Gazette had shown bias in a story.
The caller wasn't worried The Gazette had a liberal slant. She wasn't worried it had a conservative slant. She was upset because apparently one of our stories had conveyed a bias toward Emmitt Smith on "Dancing With the Stars." Apparently the caller thinks The Gazette clearly wanted Smith to win the reality show, and as we all know, a bias in a news story is unethical journalism.
That speaks volumes, on so many levels.

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen Media Research for Nov. 6-12.
1. “Desperate Housewives,” ABC
2. “Dancing with the Stars,” ABC
3. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS
4. “Dancing with the Stars Results,” ABC
5. “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC
6. “NBC Sunday Night Football: Chicago vs. N.Y. Giants,” NBC
7. “Dancing with the Stars Recap,” ABC
8. “Criminal Minds,” CBS
9. “Lost,” ABC
10. “CSI: Miami,” CBS
11. “CSI: NY,” CBS
12. “60 Minutes,” CBS
13. “House,” (Election Night special), Fox
14. “CMA Awards,” ABC
15. “NCIS” (Election Night Special), CBS
16. “Without a Trace,” CBS
17. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” ABC
18. “Cold Case,” CBS
19. “Deal or No Deal” (Monday), NBC
20. “E.R.,” NBC

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Looking for the villains

One of the interesting themes emerging from the new season is figuring out who are the bad guys and who are the good guys.

Both "Heroes" and "Jericho" have bad guys who might be good guys and good guys who might be bad.

In "Heroes," Micah asks his dad (Leonard Roberts, pictured here) if he's a good guy... He won't go home and rescue his mom, but he will rescue strangers in a burning car. I think he's a good guy. Relatively.

What's less clear is whether the cheerleader's dad might actually be on the good side.

In "Jericho," all the tension swirls around Hawkins, the hero undercover FBI agent or terrorist-who-nuked-America.

I hope he's not evil, but we just haven't seen enough on his damn laptop to tell.


Broncos snafus

Here's an email that was recently sent to KKTV and cc'd to us....

What's the problem at KKTV? I understand the Bronco game not being broadcast in HD by CBS, but what caused the game to repeatedly switch between the Atlanta/Cleveland game during the first quarter? Is one of your engineers a Browns fan and wanted to see the end of that game? Why does KKTV seem to have more issues from an engineering standpoint than the other local stations?

I watch a great deal of programming on CBS and prefer to watch in HD whenever possible. We've had numerous email conversations in the past regarding the technical issues switching between your HD signal and SD for local commercial insertions - a situation that has gotten better, but still has room for improvement. After two full years of HD broadcasts on KKTV, one would think you would be able to provide a more consistent level of quality over the other stations who joined the HD world after KKTV. The gray pillar box you broadcast when in SD mode and the significant changes in audio levels when switching are things that are within your control to fix. I tried to chalk it all up to "growing pains" during the first year of your HD broadcasts.
Now that it has continued for over two years I don't know what to call it.

The number of HD viewers in Colorado Springs and Southern Colorado is growing each day. Is it too much to ask for the same quality and consistency from KKTV that we receive from the other local affiliates? Given the ongoing nature of the issues at hand, I feel you really don't care about addressing these problems for your viewers, which is indeed disappointing.

Ric Sieben
Monument, Colorado


Yucky yucky "Bachelor" series should go bye-bye

Oh my goodness, Andy would be upchucking.

The absolutely gaggy "The Bachelor: Rome" with Italian Prince Lorenzo Borghese was down to three potential princesses Monday night. Lisa, who had a timeline which included getting married by 30, was dumped and ended up in the limo headed for the airport back to the U.S. Now he has two blondes to choose from: Jen and Sadie. Next week the women tell him what they think and how they hate-hate-hated Lisa. Oh, yippie. The week following he will give a ring to his favorite. Have you lost your lunch yet? This show needs to disappear forever and ever and ever. Right?

Posted by Linda Navarro

Monday, November 13, 2006

"Lights" gets a full season

We can't let Andy down as he's lounging around!

So here goes:

NBC seems to have ignored the ratings and is giving "Friday Night Lights" a full season of episodes. Sometimes it has landed down in 81st place but it's one of the season's best shows and NBC is going to give it some more time. The high-school-football drama is pulling an average of 6.1 million viewers and many of them have been with the show since the start. They're loyal to the back-up quarterback who's going to pull the Dillon, Texas, team into the win column.

Shows that don't receive a commitment for a full season get the death penalty.

Posted by Linda Navarro

Friday, November 10, 2006

The blog is yours

Well, not yours, technically. I'm on vacation all of next week, so I will leave the Springs TV Talk blog in the sure hands of Gazette entertainment editor Warren Epstein, listings editor Jen Mulson, entertainment writer Linda Navarro and the fine folks on the day copy desk -- who talk about TV more than the rest of us put together -- Carmen Boles, David Demi-Smith, Linda Doty, Kristin Marsh and Willow Welter.

Be kind to them, or, if you can't be kind, at least be funny.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Shows in trees

As I was just e-mailing Don, it's very, very weird that ABC picked up "Men in Trees" and NBC is reportedly picking up "Studio 60" for full seasons. Remember when shows needed... whatchacallit? Ratings, that's it. Remember when shows needed ratings before they got picked up.

UPDATE: "Men in Trees" will get the post-"Gray's" slot on Thursday nights. Buh-bye "Six Degrees." The "Studio 60" pickup is unofficially official.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Local and national election coverage

WED. UPDATE - Talking to folks around the office, the consensus is that KOAA had the best coverage, providing the information smoothly and working in pertinent analysis.

KKTV is getting a lot of criticism for a chaotic presentation and frequent snafus.

KRDO's Jon Karroll has earned praise, but people think co-anchor Nina Sparano seemed scattered.

Anyway, that's what a bunch of newspaper people think of the TV coverage -- if any TV people want to weigh in with their opinion of The Gazette's coverage, have at it! Turnabout is fair play.

Three "rookie" news anchors holding down the national desks tonight. I dunno what it really means, but so far I'd give the edge to NBC, where Brian Williams called in the old hand - Tom Brokaw - to pitch in on election night. They had the big gets early - McCain and Obama - and the tag team seemed pretty smooth to me.

I want to give Katie Couric the benefit of the doubt, but the weirdness about Tester in Montana - "The interesting thing about him is he lost three fingers in a meat grinding accident" - is not winning me over. Odd.

I haven't made up my mind about Charlie Gibson yet... after watching some more, I'm sticking with NBC as the one to watch.


There's nothing like the chaos of an election to highlight the shortcomings - or strengths - of local TV news. Technical glitches are a given, what's more important is how the anchors and reporters roll with them. Also, preparation means the difference between the anchors just reading numbers and being able to put them in context.

Locally, props to KRDO for committing to the hour of local coverage, but it made for some pretty dry TV. The folks there did their homework, though, I'll give them that.

Meanwhile, over at KXRM, things are more interesting, but not really in a good way. They're having trouble with the precinct numbers and an embarrassing mic gaffe with Rachel Regalado -- Joe had to call across to tell her to turn on her mic.

I'm having reception problems with KKTV and KOAA. Anyone want to chime in on how they're doing?

UPDATE: OK, now I've got KKTV again. I'd rate them OK. They've got the best graphics, but they're having trouble throwing things around - particularly Mindy Stone at the Beauprez concession. Sort of understandable, but the race was called an hour ago. No reason for the anchors to tiptoe around things at this point. Betty Sexton's report from the Ritter HQ was an example of how those things should go.

I'm going to get some sleep. The TV will be there in the morning.

Haggard accuser on KVUU

At 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Mike Jones, Ted Haggard's accuser, will talk on "My 99.9" KVUU (99.9 FM) and take questions from listeners (call 785-9999).

Monday, November 06, 2006

HDTV wish list

I'm working on a pre-Christmas story on high def TV's. I thought a fun spin to put on it would be to ask people with HDTV's, "If you were buying a TV today," what would you get? Would you go bigger, smaller, go direct-view instead of projection, LCD instead of plasma, do you wish you'd waited for prices to fall? That kind of stuff.

I figure that people thinking of taking the plunge this Christmas could benefit from your experience.

If you do, gimmee a call at 636-0275 or e-mail

Ding dong the witch is dead

Fox has finally put a stake through "Happy Hour's" heart.

You'll recall that this was the half-witted new sitcom that almost everyone predicted would be the first to get the axe this fall. And, in fact, it was the first series to get pulled from the schedule back in September. Like the Phoenix, though, it arose again in November, where it continued to be pummeled in the ratings.

Now, it's been pulled for the second time. Fox still denies the show has been canceled, but come on.

The new game show "The Rich List" also got the hook, while Variety is reporting "The O.C." will get a Wednesday tryout away from the firing squad at 8 p.m. Thursdays.

Friday, November 03, 2006

5 p.m. national

At 5 p.m., CBS, CNN, Fox and MSNBC - no one led with the story. The furor may be passing.
Chris Matthews got to it within a minute on Hardball. It was the second story on CBS.

All the focus was on the political ramifications.

Fox got to it 15 minutes past the hour, maybe the fourth or fifth story. Gave it maybe 20 seconds. CNN is still doing a big vote tampering thing on Lou Dobbs.

National media

I've been watching the national media all day and I don't know what's funnier: The fact that Fox has done one 30-second story in the last four hours or the fact that CBS news called the Gazette wondering if we had a photo of Haggard and President Bush together.

Not as funny, but surprising? Tucker Carlson on MSNBC is actually pretty good.

Props to KKTV

Yeah, KUSA broke the story, but the second-day reporting prize clearly goes to KKTV/Channel 11. They broke into Letterman to get the news update and "Good Morning America" and The Rocky Mountain News, the Associated Press -- among many others, I assume -- credited their reporting this morning.

Apparently, it was just shoe-leather, too: Nancarrow stayed out there after everyone else packed their bags.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Closer I am to fi-iiind

Pardon this interruption of the Haggard coverage, but that was another sweet Office. Loved the drinking game, loved Jim's sweaty hair after he biked to the office, loved Roy. Yes, that's right, I loved Roy. No, don't go there, but he cleans up real good.

I had never thought of doing Indigo Girls sing-alongs during late nights at the office, but I certainly will from this day forward.

Covering the coverage

UPDATE: At 6 p.m., KOAA's James Jarman said, "This is not a story that 5&30 would normally report on at this time, but this story is spreading like wildfire in the media."

Um, OK then.


OK, KK led with the story at 4:30 (but didn't have much to say), KOAA led with it and referred to an interview with Bob Loevy from CC later in the newscast. And KRDO? They alluded to the story and then went into a 5-minute weather segment. That. Is. Insane.

Tak Landrock did get to the story a few minutes later, and promo'd that they'd hear from the accuser at 6. I don't know if they didn't have the video, or just wanted to wait to get to it. I say, throw everything you've got out there. Only way to do it.

KOAA, btw, doesn't appear to have it on their Web site yet [EDIT - They did at 6]. KRDO reports it, but credits the Denver Post? What's up with that?

NBC national news did the story, basically picking up KUSA's coverage. I didn't see anything on CBS or ABC.
FYI, KUSA says they have at least one of the voicemails and they may play it tonight. Polish up your antenna!

More Haggard

Sorry, the story's been developing quickly. Go to for the latest. I'll still have a media story, but obviously something less "should they cover it or not."

Haggard allegations coverage

I'm looking into the media coverage of the allegations that New Life Church Pastor Ted Haggard was conducting a homosexual affair with a Denver man who described himself as a male prostitute. Haggard denies the allegation, but says the church will conduct an independent investigation of the charges.

Pretty seedy stuff, but Denver NBC affiliate KUSA/Channel 9 was working on the story for two months and didn't have the corroboration to go forward with it... until the accuser appeared on Peter Boyles' show on KHOW (630 AM) Wednesday morning.

Here's a link to KUSA's coverage. Check out the unedited interview with Haggard.

I talked to Tim Ryan, KUSA's assistant news director, about it and he said that when the allegations were going to become public, they felt OK doing the story once they had Haggard on camera denying the charges.

"It became public and we decided we would do the story if Pastor Haggard responded to it, and he did," Ryan said. "We presented it as such: There’s an allegation and there’s a response."

Paul Asay, our religion reporter, talked to KHOW. They said they put the accuser on the air Wednesday morning anonymously (and not naming Haggard at that point, either), because they knew KUSA was working on the story. Boyles had the accuser, Mike Jones, on again this morning after KUSA did its story.

So it appears KHOW says it's a story because KUSA was working on a story, and KUSA says it's a story because KHOW put him on the air.

Locally, I'm told KOAA/Channels 5&30 did a short story this morning. I didn't see anything on the other two, and KOAA didn't do a follow for 11 a.m., even though they had a story on Amendment 43 and Ref. I. The Gazette picked it up, citing KUSA's story.

I haven't reached KOAA news director Cindy Aubrey, but I talked to KKTV/Channel 11 news director Nick Matesi. He said they didn't do a story this morning because all they had to go on was KUSA's report. They're weighing doing a story for noon or 5:30 because New Life Church is planning to have a press conference or a formal denial.

"Obviously, anybody can say anything about anybody," Matesi said. "The question is, at what point does it become news. The reaction is almost what’s making news at this point. And on that basis, we are tentatively planning on having something in our noon (newscast)."

UPDATE: KKTV did a story near the top of its noon newscast. Anchor Kimberly Price said "Channel 11 has not been able to independently verify any of the claims and the man making the claims has not released any concrete evidence to us. Therefore at this time, we are not going to repeat specifically what he said."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Well, I'm still Lost

You killed Eko. You bastards! I'm so pissed. My wife is (was) jealous of my man-crush on Eko, so she's happy.

"Lost" is now three for three with actors that have run-ins with the Hawaii police. If that doesn't keep the rest in line, I don't know what would.

It will take me some time to work through my grief. In the meantime...

It's outstanding how awful the new characters are. It's like they're dubbed in after the fact.

You ever see "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead"? It's "Hamlet" as seen through the eyes of those two minor characters. Famous riff on the classic. This is like that, only, you know, bad.

And, as I recall, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern get executed at the end. We can only hope these new characters were introduced so "Lost" can keep the body count up.

On a related subject, I was thinking last week how refreshing it is to see Jack played as smart. I still feel that way, although I think Ben's playing him. Him and maybe Juliet, too. Riddles within riddles.

Did the thing with the cards remind anyone else of INXS' "Mediate"... now I've got it stuck in my head: "Hallucinate/Desegregate/Mediate/Alleviate/Try not to hate/Love your mate/Don't suffocate on your own hate/Designate your love as fate/A one world state/As human freight."

And now you've got it stuck in your head too. Hee hee.

Kidnapped gone

How bad does a show have to be to get kicked off of Saturday nights?

I'm the one that liked "Kidnapped" way better than "Vanished," so it's not like I'm dancing on its grave. But still, getting pulled from Saturday night is like getting canceled before the first episode ever airs. What is NBC going to put on in its spot, static? (Actually, Law & Order repeats).