Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I, for one, welcome our new Claymate overlords

You MUST read the comment thread for the Idol post below. Someone linked to it at and hilarity ensued.

You get a nickel for every malapropism you find.

I hereby vow to blog about Clay Aiken as often as possible in the future.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Heroes help

I basically liked last night's episode of "Heroes" ("Company Man"). But there were a few logical lapses that irritated me. I know, I know, it's a show about superheroes. I don't ask that it be realistic, I only ask that it be internally consistent and not obviously stupid.
So, one: Claire subdues radioactive man by injecting him with a sedative. A liquid sedative. At the same time that he's throwing off enough radiation to set the curtains on fire (what all that radiation is doing to the rest of the Bennett family is also a fair question).
Two: HRG's boss talks about what an asset Parkman would be. But wait, the company already had Parkman and then let him go. Why didn't they recruit him then?
"Heroes" often gets credit from "Lost" fans because, unlike the ABC show, "Heroes" pretty consistently doles out meaningful answers and generally keeps the plot moving forward, instead of spinning it in circles. However, "Company Man" was supposed to tell us HRG's story, but all it really did was tell us what we already knew: He works for some secretive organization with questionable ethics and that he adopted Claire when she was just a baby. The only real revelation was that Claude (the invisible man), used to be HRG's partner.

More answers! More!

What about the other Idols?

Got an e-mail this morning from a reader who saw the Chris Daughtry story and had a few questions about other Idols:

Found your article on Chris Daughtry interesting. One thing you eluded to was that other former "idols" have gone idle, but no real follow up on what that really means for each individual artist. I certainly don't know what all of them are doing. Wondering if you or someone can do an article
on 'what are they doing now', popularity waning or gaining? big selling records or flops?, did they make much of an impact on America?
Season 1: Kelly Clarkson
Season 2: Rueben, Clay
Season 3: Fantasia, Where did she go?
Season4: Carrie Underwood
Season 5: Taylor

Fair enough. I replied: We wanted to have a box with record sales with today's story, but ran out of time to track them down from official sources. However, if you're willing to accept numbers from Wikipedia, I can tell you:

  • Kelly Clarkson is a superstar, with 8 million records sold

    Rueben has become a mid-level success with a mix of gospel and R&B records, with about 2.5 million records sold.

    Clay Aiken has a rabid fan base, but hasn't crossed over the way Clarkson has. He's sold nearly 3 million albums.

    Fantasia recently starred in a Lifetime movie about her life story. Her first album went platinum (1,000,000 sales) and her second album has sold about 350,000 copies.

    Carrie Underwood is a superstar in country music, with about 5 million albums sold.

    Taylor Hicks - The jury is still out. His post-Idol album went gold (500,000 sales), but hasn't had the widespread success of Chris Daughtry.

The more interesting thing to me is what happened to past Idol runner-ups like Bucky Covington, LaToya London or Constantine Maroulis. You've probably heard what Jennifer Hudson has been up to.

Idol Worship is another good site for getting record sales.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar ratings

Ratings were up slightly for last night's Oscar ceremonies over last year. I thought the whole thing was a gigantic snoozefest, but I guess once you turn it on, you're in for the duration whether the show itself is great or dull. The numbers were a 27.7 rating and 42 share, compared to a 27.1 and a 40 for 2006.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar blogging

Warren and I are doing a lil' liveblogging over on the Gazette film blog. Come on over.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

"On the Lot" to premiere May 16

We've been talking about the new Steven Spielberg reality show "On the Lot." And now it looks like we won't have long to wait to see what Mr. E.T. comes up with. The show will premiere on Fox May 16, just after the next-to-last "American Idol" of the year.

"Idol" will give "Lot" a huge lead-in -- and we all know "Idol's" real drama is in the fifth, fourth and third-from-last episodes, not the finale -- but I'm not sure if the "Idol" audience will be all that interested in a bunch of film geeks getting worked up over lighting. Maybe Mark Burnett can pull it off, but I'll be skeptical until I see the show.

DVR's, Nielsens and "Lost"

This was getting buried down in comments on an earlier post, so I'll bring up Eli's comments and my reply to here:

Eli said:

Here's another thing with LOST and TV ratings...
How they conduct viewing audience is going to have to change. I know the mag Entertainment Weekly did a feature on this last year. People more and more are DVRing shows. I DVR every show I watch now because I am absolutely sick to death of commercials. I will not sit through a live, real time show (unless it's sports) anymore because of them.

In the case of LOST it's even more imperative to tape the show because of all the other things going on in the background. Check out the website "Lost Easter Eggs" ( if you don't believe how many people dissect every second of every episode.

The article in yesterday's Life section [on "Lost's" sinking ratings], I think, was an Opinion Editorial that should not have ran in the state it did. The editors did a bad job of letting it run. In this case the article failed to mention that the latest numbers came on the heels of Valentine's Day, and failed to mention anything about DVRs or that LOST is likely the #1 DVRed show on the air. Which ratings (unless I'm mistaken) do NOT take into account.

It is increasingly apparent in this day and age - when Britney's head shaving and Anna Nichol Smith's embalmed body can consume every media venue in the US of A - that journalists no longer simply report the news, they have to go out and add to it.

My response

Eli, Nielsen did start measuring "time shifted" shows last year (it also just began measuring college students -- look for Adult Swim ratings to spike!). "Studio 60" gains the most viewers once you count DVRs in, although obviously not enough to make it a hit. The overall numbers of DVR users
are still relatively low. They matter, but not like you might think.

An unrelated, but I think interesting point, on DVR's: A recent study showed that most people with DVRs DO NOT skip commercials. I found that fascinating. Viewers either appreciate the chance to get up and use the john, or they forget to skip ahead, or there's a commercial that catches their attention, so they stop and watch it.

BTW, when you say "the editors did a bad job of letting it run," those editors would be me. I'm the guy who does the TV grids and the highlights and picks the stories for the daily TV page, so if you ever have a question, comment or complaint about that stuff, I'm your guy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Another local On the Lot entry

This one is from Nathan Latear. It's a treatise on dealing with houseguests titled "Mac's Apartment."

The first two, if you're too lazy to scroll down, were "The Gamer's Guide to Love" and "Venusian Beauties.

No tomorrow for local Today anchor applicant

Colorado Springs' Lynette Ballard was up for that "anchor for a day" contest on the Today show, but lost in the semifinals a couple minutes ago to Brad, the cowboy-booted cattle rancher from Montana. Still, she had a pretty good audition tape. Check it out on the Today show site (the links on the lower left).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

KTSC problems

If you were wondering what was going on with KTSC/Channel 8 last night, I reached engineering manager Ian Hartley this morning at the transmitter on Cheyenne Mountain, where he was working on the problem.

A computer problem with the microwave transmitters shut down the station about 9:40 p.m. Monday, Hartley said. The backup system was also malfunctioning, but they got the station back on the air by midnight. However, it crashed again sometime during the night and it was off the air until this morning. It's back up and seems to be fine now, however.

Monday, February 19, 2007

"You're not supposed to find it funny"

A quote I couldn't pass up from Aaron Sorkin in wire story on the presumed-late, not-so-great "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip":

“I want to make it clear,” Sorkin says of his drama, “you’re not supposed to be finding it funny."

UPDATE: Oh, the irony. If last night was the final "Studio 60," it went out with... not a bang, certainly, but at least a couple laughs. The romance stuff between Matt and Harriet still stunk, but there was a predictable, but funny, bit with a baby doll and a guillotine and Simon confessing to sleeping with the wrong writer was kinda funny and there were a few other things that merited a chuckle.

I mean, it was no "Two and a Half Men," but for Aaron Sorkin, this was a laugh riot. And now it's over. Which is funny too, come to think of it.

On the Lot

Tomorrow's TV Talk will feature a couple local contestants for Fox's upcoming Mark Burnett-Steven Spielberg reality show "On the Lot."

It's sort of a "Project Greenlight" but probably more Burnett-ish, if that makes sense. The deadline for film submissions was Friday and the show should pop up on the fall schedule.

Here's links to the film shorts from Tony Vilgiate and Rob Adriel, "The Gamer's Guide to Love," and Travis Wade's Ed Wood-esque "Venusian Beauties." If you know of another local entry, or have some thoughts on those two, fire away in comments.

"The Gamer's Guide to Love"

"Venusian Beauties"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bad Lost

Wednesday's "Lost" episode crashed in the ratings like Oceanic Flight 815. Only 12.8 million viewers tuned in, down from a high of 20 million. Is it the new, "Idol"-safe time slot? Or did the hiatus kill things? It's ugly when a pretty good episode bombs that badly.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Good Lost

My wife saw the implications of Desmond's flashbacks before I did -- although she was still surprised by the Charlie-is-gonna-die twist. That's good. Lost works best when it can spring a good surprise on ya. And the whole flashback-but-not was a welcome twist on a tired formula.

Studio 60 gets pulled

Variety is reporting that NBC will pull "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" after next week's episode, in favor of moving up the premiere date of the new drama "The Black Donnellys" to Feb. 26.

"Studio 60" has struggled in the ratings pretty much since the get-go (plus it's stunk ever since the pilot), so the real wonder is how it held on this long. And hey, maybe NBC is so enamored of that Sorkin magic that it will pop back up on the schedule.

"The Black Donnellys" is a little like "The Departed" -- a group of 20-something brothers in Irish Boston accidentally fall into running a local wing of the mob. It's gloomy and a little unlikable, but at this point, I'd still take it over "Studio 60."

And now a word from our sponsors...

I've been biddy with a few things (Chris Daughtry, Oscars and, if he ever calls, Carlos Mencia), so I'll pass the blog over to Gazette video game writer Terry Terrones who wanted to share these thoughts:

Why Rob and Amber Matter
You see it all the time. A sports announcer is courtside at a basketball game as a bunch of morons wave, jump around and generally act like they’ve never seen a camera before. Why do people do this? Because they want to be on TV. And who can blame them, everybody wants to be on TV…well at least that’s the way its seems if you look at television programming today. There’s a reality show that covers just about every relationship, career, competition, or psychological dysfunction known to man. Heck, I even have a reality TV show about myself that’s set to film in two months (okay, not really but I am fielding offers and would love to tattoo on my back).
While most people feel that the rise of reality television is one of the signs of the apocalypse, I see its popularity as a good thing…mostly. Film and TV act as our form of escapism. We can’t be Jack Bauer, in fact no one in real life could (I would love that magical cell phone of his though) but its fun to pretend. We can, however, lie and cheat like a “Survivor” castaway or sing as bad as an “American Idol” contestant. We see it everyday at work, or if you’re really lucky, after work on karaoke night. Most reality shows show normal people in unusual situations and because of that we can relate to them more than some actor in desperate need of a cheeseburger solving crimes in a dark room with a penlight. What would I have told Donald Trump if he called me out? Which of my family members would I take with me on the Amazing Race (my brother, easily)? These are real questions that I could actually answer because I can apply to be on these shows. There’s no applying for a job on “The Office!”
And even if you can’t relate to reality shows, the situations they put people in are at least funny or ridiculous. Do you know why I watch “Supernanny?” Partly because I like to say “That’s not ‘ceptable” in a cockney accent to my wife but mostly because it really helps me to appreciate how well behaved my own kids are.
Sure there are reality shows that make me feel hungry (“Americas Next Top Model”, these girls need a sandwich), confused (I’d like to know who thought “Beauty and the Geek” was a good idea) and downright fearful for the human race (ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Breaking Bonaduce”!) but they are at least they’re interesting.
Just like with most network programming, there is plenty of reality junk to avoid but I’m going to go ahead and watch “Rob and Amber: Against the Odds”. Its nice to know there’s a husband out there who’s an even bigger idiot than me.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Idol idle

Did you catch that? Robyn Troup, who won Sunday night's "Sing with Justin Timberlake" at the Grammys contest, got cut in the group round. I guess that's a good-news/bad-news kinda thing.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Did you fall for the Wookiee prisoner trick?

I thought "Lost" came back with some flair last night. Apparently I'm not alone: The server is so busy over at the official "Lost" fan site,, that I can't even log on.

Plenty for fans to chew on: The Clockwork Orange mind experiment, the continued theme of fertility research, the predictable -- but still pretty funny -- bus accident, creepy Ethan, Ben saying that Alex is his daughter -- is there some additional connection to the French woman? -- and on and on.

BTW, judging by the photos on the ABC Web site, next week will be a Desmond flashback.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Awesome Heroes trivia

I totally missed this last night, but I'll go home at lunchtime and rewind the DVR: As Hiro's dad, played by George Takei, is getting in his car, we briefly see the car's license plate.

The plate number? NCC-1701.

Disappointing Heroes

I was so disappointed by "Heroes" last night. I mean, it was an OK episode, but I hated the Hiro thing.

What made Hiro interesting was that he was an ordinary office drone who was given a tremendous gift. He was the only one who really enjoyed himself with his power. Now, he's the CEO's son and there's some kind of Hamlet thing going on. It's such a comic book cliche. Lame. Also, having Nathan be Claire's father was soooooo predictable. If HRG really had been her father, or someone else interesting, that would be creative. Nathan was clearly the path of least resistance.

One totally awesome scene worth noting: When Peter's freaking out at the end and Christopher Eccleston just knocks him flat. Peter's had that coming all year.

Now compare this to "24," where predictability is ironclad law. Anyone who watches the show at all knew Morris would be the engineer the terrorists needed to kidnap as soon as the subject was raised two weeks ago. And everyone knew Jack's father and brother were still running some plot he hadn't uncovered. And an evil vice president was as predictable as sunrise. Fortunately, "24" doesn't rely on creativity to deliver the goods. It just moves real fast and hopes no one looks too closely.

Monday, February 05, 2007

New local TV Yahoo Group

Blabbing Mike over at used to host a pretty popular message board about local TV. His interests wandered, however, and last week he decided to shut down the board to focus on other things.

Certainly his right, but I always liked the idea of a standing message board so people would know where to go if something happened in local TV. So, I'll throw this out there and hopefully people will find it and use it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Winners and Losers (aside from the Bears)

Emerald Nuts - Robert Goulet. They need to make a series out of this. Or maybe a movie. Or a trilogy.

Bud Light - I guess if they didn't have a winner out of the three dozen ads, it would be pretty sad. I think the first one, rocks-paper-scissor, was the best.

Sierra Mist - The combover was a winner, although I'm sure I'll be sick of it in two more weeks.

Snickers - Will & Grace was on the air for like 10 years without showing a man kiss. Enough said.

Garmin - It felt fresh and fun, despite the proliferation of monster-themed ads these days.

And the looooooooooosers:

Go - So done with it. Get a clue.

Salesgenie - These spots would put the Matlock crowd to sleep. If they had put their $2 million into a paper shredder, at least they could have lined the hamster cage with it. This was a total waste.

Prudential - A rock. Arock. aaaarock. Enough said.

Of course the real winner was you, the viewer. Or not.

Adding it up

Forget about amazing kickoff returns, let's go to the real action.

Bud Light, Doritos, Blockbuster lead it off.

Bud Light rock, paper, scissors was kinda funny. B+

The other two, eh. I'm not even sure what was happening in the Doritos ad, although it seemed sorta silly.

Sierra Mist combover -- Funny. I'm surprised how fresh the're able to keep that schtick.

Salegenie - F. Aren't sales guys supposed to be a teensy tinsy bit dynamic? Or at least, not actively, offputtingly dull.

Sierra Mist karate - Well, this schtick felt tired.

The FedEx commercial was good looking, but random.

Bud Light auctioneer - Funniest so far.

Is there like a hurricane hitting Miami that nobody told me about? Man is it raining hard. But it's warm, making it the world's biggest wet T-shirt contest (although the contestants are a bunch of 50-year-old middle managers, which does take some of the fun away).

Snickers - Two seconds after Warren says "I think the audtioneer is going to be the commercial to beat," this one brings down the house with the unintentional man-kiss.

Then an old Gilette commercial? Why spend the money to show people something they've been tuning out for six months?

There's been a lot of ads for CBS shows. You think this thing sold out?

This Chevy commercial blows. Car commercials always suck. Why is that?

Carlos Mencia. No speak English. Kinda funny.

Having Justin Timberlake in a promo on the Super Bowl seems like CBS is thumbing its nose at the FCC. Heh.

Some of the cameras are fogging up because of the rain, which defeats the purpose of watching the game in HD.

Speaking of HD, we have three TV's on -- the HD LCD, a small TV in the kitchen with an antenna and a 25-inch tube in the extra bedroom hooked up to the satellite. All three are on different time delays: The HD is first, followed three seconds later by the antenna TV in the kitchen, and then like 12 seconds later by the satellite. So if you miss a play grabbing a beer, you have to sprint into the bedroom to catch it on satellite. Funny.

Ooh, now we get to the Go Daddy comercial. Vicarious thrills? Actually, not nearly as funny as the first four times we saw it. Time for a new idea gy.

The Coke GTA ad is another one that looks great, but doesn't have a point. Seems to be a theme this year.

Budweiser Dalmation - Pretty darn cute. Nothing better than drunk pets.

Garmin Mapzilla - Better than I thought it would be, although when Garminman zaps Mapzilla with his directional lazer, it looks like he's whizzing.

Careerbuilder scores even without the monkeys. Love the officeworkers jumping off the cliff.

Doritos- Gets a little distrubing behind the cash register.

OK, I take back the car comment. The HHR "Hot in here" spot was pretty freakin' funny. The girl covering her eyes while the old guy rubs up against the car was the best bit.

Bud light slap fight - Funny. Random again, but funny.

Heart commercial. Weird. Everyone here is with me on this one.

But I'm totally Jonesing for the giant PSP they showed when they came back from commercial. Suh-weet.

GM retired robot. Very cute, although probably not popular with laid off auto workers.

Halftime - Dude, the glyph is back! TAFKAP forever, baby.

What's up with the lady in the hat?

And Prince would the last guy I would expect to do covers. Rolling on the river? And a really weird "All Along the Watchtower"?

Um, is CBS going to happy with the shadowbox thing? That guitar was looking a little... you know.

So, no Janet Jackson, but hey, better than McCartney.

Memorial Health- Is that the first local commerical?

E*Trade - Bank robbery. Boring.

Bud Light gorillas? Huh?

Sheryl Crow - Proof that women watch the Super Bowl? Dull commercial, though.

Another pretty good ad for Careerbuilder.

The Taco Bell lions got a laugh in our room.

Really, the game is more interesting than the ads this year. Go figure that.

Robert Goulet - OK, this is my favoite of the night. Got to love some Goulet. Thank you, Emerald Nuts.

K-Fed - If you heard about the "controversy" over this one, you knew the schtick, but still kind of funny.

Bud Light axe - Again, if you heard of this one, you knew what was up, but eh, OK.

Where're we at. Budweiser crabs. Say that out loud a couple of times and you'll see the problem.

Speaking of problems - The Prudential going on and on about "A Rock." Say that fast and you'll see the problem. Nobody thought about that? Alrighty then.

BTW, I think the Colts just won the game on that INT return. Messy game, but exciting.

That Budweiser Select ad was one of the big, hyped things before the game, but it just reminded me of the video game scene from "Never Say Never Again." Heh - 1980's video games. Always funny.

Honda gas pump slalom - I love seeing the 20 mpg Ridgeline in with the real misers. I guess they were hoping no one noticed.

I always like the NFL's "next year" commercials. Especially the Broncos guy getting hosed off. And the Brett Farve addition was genius. Go Pack!

Hey, and that really is game. Manning really, really ought to put a smile on his face.

Pre Game!

OK, it's 11 a.m., we're one hour into the Super Bowl pre-game, 5.5 hours 'til game time, and I'm left with one very serious question:

When did Tom Selleck become the voice of NFL films?


OK, now we're at the real pre-game festivities. And I missed the introduction, so can anyone explain to me what the hay is going on? Marching band football players? Acrobats in underwear? And some kind of octupus thingee? It's all making me a little queasy.


Christopher reports that if you took the "under" on Billy Joel's "Star Spangled Banner," you're in the money. Congratulations.


The NFC has won 10 coin tosses in a row? And CBS doesn't have "60 Minutes" investigating this travesty of justice?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Super selling

Check back here on Sunday, 'cause I'll be liveblogging the Super Bowl ads again.

We're having a Super Bowl party (I'd invite you, but I have a very limited budget for dip), so if I'm running behind, it's just 'cause I'm out tending the grill.

The Broncos are going country

Broncos football games are switching bands on your radio dial next season, leaving KVOR (740 AM) for country station KCCY (96.9 FM).

Bob Richards, the market manager for KCCY’s parent company Clear Channel, said he thinks the country station will be able to promote and market the Broncos affiliation better than news-talk station KVOR could. KVOR, Richards said, was always competing with KOA (850 AM), the Broncos flagship station in Denver, which is also available in most of Colorado Springs. KCCY, on the other hand, benefits from the better sound quality on FM.

“We’re going to take the same game you can get on KOA and broadcast it in crystal clear FM HD,” Richards said. “The difference in quality is tremendous.”

Officials with Citadel Broadcasting, which owns KVOR, did not return calls for comment.

KCCY will broadcast the pre- and post-game shows, but not Broncos coach Mike Shanahan’s Thursday night show or the Gridiron Grill fan show. Richards hopes to bring Broncos players and cheerleaders to the Springs for events and promotions in the future.

Broadcasting sporting events on FM music stations has become a trend nationwide. Locally, classic rock station KYZX (103.9 FM) “The Eagle” picked up the rights to Colorado College hocky games this season.

Lite bright terrorists?

I'm interested in hearing what other people think of the hoo-ha over the Aqua Teen Hunger Force promotion up in Boston. On the one hand, it's pretty dumb these days to be sticking mysterious boxes around major metropolitan areas. On the other, well, it's pretty clearly a cartoon character flipping the city the bird. No one in the other cities where the guerilla promotion ran thought twice about it.

I tend to think that the Boston officials are overreacting -- they got some report on suspicious devices, got understandably worked up before they understood what was going on, and then couldn't back down once they realized it was a stupid joke.

Speaking of stupid jokes, I got the two new Adult Swim programs in the mail the other day (Adult Swim is a block of semi-adult-oriented mini-programs late night on Cartoon Network, if you're not familiar). "Saul of the Mole Men" and "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job."

Based on the titles, you'd think these might be pretty funny, but they're just like everything else on Adult Swim: Weird almalgamations of nonsequiters that seem expressly designed to appeal to stoners. If you've seen the "marketing" gurus the police arrested in Boston, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

One of the Boston Globe stories about the incident actually included this quote: "Was it funny? Maybe, in the right frame of mind. Adult Swim shows "do go over a little bit better with some herbal enhancement," said Ryan Ball, Animation Magazine's staff writer and Web editor.

I know the importance of niche marketing and all, but there's still something kinda disturbing about an entire TV network devoted to potheads. You know what I mean?