Monday, July 30, 2007

Ahhhhh! It's a guy in a bear suit. Run away!

More silliness from Bear Grylls.


As the radio dial turns...

Radio news always comes in waves in this town. There'll be nothing, nuthin' for months, and then everything will happen at once. So now we got CK getting fired at KATC (95.1 FM), then hired at KVUU (99.9 FM).

KVOR (740 AM) should announce their new afternoon show host today.

And KCCY (96.9 FM) announced this morning that former program director Val Hart is coming back to town -- I think to join Willie on the morning show. Hart went up to Seattle to launch a new country station there, which I thought was going pretty well for her.

Nobody ever truly leaves Springs radio, though -- they just get a leave of absence.

Oh, the latest Arbitrons will be out Thursday.

Friday, July 27, 2007

More HD for Comcast customers

On Monday, Comcast will be adding six high definition channels to its HD package: Cinemax HD (channel 753), VERSUS/Golf Channel HD (channel 754), Universal HD (channel 755), MHD (channel 756), National Geographic HD (channel 757) and A&E HD (channel 758).

Those join the 13 already in the package. You need digital cable and an HD subscription ($7/month, $11.95 with the HD DVR), but rates aren't going up.

Local HD fans have been waiting for this for a long time, so it's good news for them. And another good reason to upgrade to an HDTV if you've been considering it -- it's less than a year and a half until the existing broadcast signals go away and you'll need some sort of converter to keep your old TV.

"Lost" look-forward

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan has a bunch of interesting stuff from the Comic Con convention in San Diego (is Con convention redundant?).


- More flash forwards next season
- Michael's back for the whole season, not as a guest star
- They still have no idea what to do about Nestor Carbonell's character, Richard (Nestor is starring in CBS' "Cane" and CBS isn't keen on letting him do walk-ons at another network). That's probably a bad thing.
- A few vague predictions about storylines - something with Ben, something with Libby, something with Rousseau
- The season finale with the Jack and Kate flash-forward isn't the end of the story.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Spay" will stay!

This made me happy. It probably means I'm a stuck-in-the-past statist, but it made me happy.

Oh, and Michael is back on "Lost" next season.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Arrrr! Pirate Master be walkin' the plank

Yeah, that post title sucks, but it's the last chance I'll have to talk pirate gibberish.

I actually thought "Pirate Master" was silly enough to be fun, although it probably says something that I only bothered to watch the pilot.


Monday, July 23, 2007

That didn't take long

Longtime KKMG (98.9 FM) deejay Chris "CK" Knight, who was let go two weeks ago from his gig at KATC (95.1 FM) popped up this afternoon on Clear Channel's KVUU (99.9 FM).

Clear Channel market manager Bob Richards said CK would fill in for George McFly in the afternoons on My 99.9 this week, then cover middays for recently departed Marko until a new program director is hired and then he'll land a fulltime spot on one of Clear Channel's four stations.

"I thought he was the best talent that Citadel had and I’m thrilled to have him," Richards said. "I’ve often said that Clear Channel had some of the best personalities in the market. Now Clear Channel has all of the best personalities in the market."

Heh. Radio guys give the best quotes.

Tell me you didn't see this coming


TCA Awards

The Television Critics Association handed out its annual awards Saturday night. I wasn't there, but I did get to vote (hooray for me!).

The winners:

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA: Michael C. Hall, “Dexter” (Showtime)
HERITAGE AWARD: “The Sopranos” (HBO)

My reax: "Program of the year" isn't what you might think -- it's for overall impact, rather than best program. So "Heroes" edges out "Sopranos" or "The Wire" or "FNL" because it changed the scene more than those others did.

I thought the "Dexter" choice was interesting. It's a good show, but I think the premise's quirkiness buys it street cred that the show's actual quality hasn't earned. Baldwin is a critical darling, of course. As are "FNL" and "The Office."

So, pretty predictable. I suppose that may be a feature, not a bug -- after all the random weird nominations for the Emmys, the TCA Awards at least make sense.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Emmy nominations reax

Here's the list.

I've never been a fan of the Emmys, but this list seems even more terrible than usual.

"The Sopranos" scoring 15 was predictable, and although I wasn't a huge fan of the final season, I won't knock the noms, given the show's legacy.

There are a couple nice surprises (Masi Oka, Alec Baldwin, Jenna Fischer, "Battlestar" getting writing and directing nods).

But there are just a bunch of terrible, terrible noms. "Boston Legal" springs to mind. The voters must have accidentally been watching last season's "24."

Almost nothing for "Lost," after a truly rousing comeback last season. Nothing for "The Wire." I think the only thing "Rome" scored was for hairstyling. My freakin' god.

And, sorry to beat that horse again, but practically nothing for "Friday Night Lights." I mean, even if you don't care for the program, anyone who would seriously argue Connie Britton doesn't even deserve a stinkin' nomination is freakin' blind. Edie Falco and Minnie Driver are the only ones in the drama actress list I agree with -- and Falco didn't have her best season.

The supporting actor in a comedy is probably the best overall category -- although putting Drama and Ari from "Entourage" against each other is silly, given the way that show has tailed off in quality.

I know, it doesn't really matter. "The Sopranos" will win everything anyway. But reading those noms was an irritating way to start the day.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Costas: I love FNL

Still no news from the press tour, but there was this irresistible tidbit for "Friday Night Light" fans.

Money quote: "I think the television show was better than the movie, and the movie was pretty good. The TV show is one of the best things going, and I just hope it finds an audience."

Of course, there was also this unsettling bit of "FNL" gossip. Actually, it's pretty amazing that there is such a thing as "FNL" gossip. Maybe a good sign.

Oh, and Sci Fi Wire tracked down some "Heroes" spoilers.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Slow week at the Tour

The annual TV Critics Association fall TV tour is going on this week in Pasadena, Calif. TV writers from around the country all pile into Hollyweird and the networks wine them and dine them and tell them how great the fall season is going to be. So basically a business convention, but there are usually a few big announcements to liven things up. So far... not so much.

There was "The Apprentice" celebrity edition, some minor scheduling and casting decisions at NBC -- Jerry Seinfeld guest starring on the season premiere of "30 Rock" -- a little more on the Ken Burns "The War" miniseries at PBS and... crickets.

So I'm not writing much, but be assured that I remain vigilant in the event that some actual news happens out in Passe - dena.

Monday, July 16, 2007

20 minutes 'til the Gazette goes live

I know this is super dorky, but it's still kind of exciting to have the lights and cameras and everything in the newsroom. The first "live from the newsroom report" should be at 4:13 on News First Now (Comcast Channel 9).

I'd just like to note that Tom Roeder, the Gazette's military repoter, is one of three people in the newsroom who does, in fact, own a tie (it may be a clip-on - I can't vouch for him). Probably why they gave him first crack at the camera.

Oh, I suppose this is technically the big launch for KOAA's 4 p.m. newscast, too. But we know where the real excitement is coming from.

UPDATE: Speaking of the newscast itself... eh, it's OK. I was expecting something a little more conversational. The shooting at the governor's office might have necessitated a more serious take, but they still jumped right away to Mike Madson's weather report. I was thinking Laura Rojas and Madson would do more banter. I'm not opposed to features like the "Chef's Corner," but I think they work better done live on the set or maybe with more of a build-up, so it's not just thrown in. I'd like to have seen more of Madson doing his Madson thing - explaining how sweating cools you off or boiling an egg on the sidewalk or some such.

Poor Tom, he had to follow the moose photo. That's tough.Good thing he had the Special Forces in the prison story -- funniest story of the month. I was hoping he could get Rojas to crack a smile. She seemed a little nonplussed at Tom's wild-eyed tales of gun-toting secret soldiers.

Friday, July 13, 2007

No "Deadwood" movies?

This is the first I'd heard of this. I thought they were still a done deal. But maybe the burden of disappointing, well, everyone with "John from Cincinnati" has worn David Milch out.

Honestly, while I enjoyed "Deadwood's" first season, the novelty wore off in the second and I didn't follow it closely after that.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Army Wives signs up for a second tour

Variety reports that Lifetime's "Army Wives" will be back for another season next spring. "Wives" has been averaging 3.6 million viewers and is Lifetime's most successful original program ever.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pool party probe

Have you heard about this thing out in Chicago? Local TV reporter captured wearing a bikini at the pool of the estranged husband of a missing woman.

It sounds incredibly tawdry, although, upon actually reading the agreed-upon facts, I think it's merely mildly sleazy in the way big city television news is often mildly sleazy.

I mean, the station employed her to get these scoops and, had another station's cameras not happened to catch her there, her station wouldn't have had any qualms about running a story based on sucking up to that family. As the Sun-Times story says: "Throughout her 11 years at the station, Jacobson has been known as an aggressive reporter who ingratiates herself with sources and sometimes employs questionable methods to get stories. Though she was a lightning rod for rumors, her bosses generally looked the other way and praised her for bringing them the scoops."

It goes without saying that if she'd been captured having a nice, fully-clothed dinner with the family, nobody would give a fig. Maybe in a better world, her bosses would care where those scoops came from, but in this one, they only discovered their ethics after this story blew up in their faces.

As Jacobson said herself: "I know I made a lapse in judgment. I know it and I apologize for it. But I'm a competitive person and I did it to advance the story. I learned some things about the case that were pretty interesting that I never got to report.
"The competitive pressure is unbelievable."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Springfield, it's a heck of a town

Springfield, Colorado was denied in the hunt for the real (well, real-ish) Springfield for "The Simpsons" movie.

CK out at Cat Country

Turns out, you can spell "cat" without a C. Or, I guess, a K.

Longtime local DJ Chris "CK" Knight was given the heave-ho this morning from Citadel Broadcasting's KATC (95.1 FM), after a year with the country station. CK came over from a long and very successful stint at KKMG (98.9 FM), Citadel's Top 40 station, but couldn't push Cat Country past its arch-rival KCCY (96.9 FM).

"I thought the morning show, I thought we were making progress," CK said. "It was a different approach than what I was used to on Magic, but I was trying to make an adjustment. We weren’t completely in the toilet."

Radio's one of those fields where you're always between firings, but CK hadn't gotten canned since 1992 in St. Louis, not that he didn't come close a few times on Magic. His former Cat Country co-host Alisha and midday guy Cutter will helm the show for now.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Summer of the living dead

Reuters is reporting that NBC will renew "The Apprentice" for another season, possibly two.
It's been a spooky kind of summer, with "Jericho" escaping death's icy grip, "According to Jim" crawling out of its shallow grave, still in search of brains, and now the Donald once again lurking in the dark spots on the television schedule, in search of fresh victims to add to his zombie army.

It's an immutable rule for columnists: If you have three examples of anything, it's a trend that must be reported on. I don't know if I'll get to that this week, but I have plenty of time to kill yet this summer.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Child's play

Speaking of '80s television (see previous post), my editor and I were arguing about whether "The Simpsons" counts as a children's show.

She argues that the show's humor and topics are clearly aimed at adults. I counter that although it airs in primetime (as"The Flintstones" did originally), the overwhelming number of "Simpsons" fans are kids and it was among kids that the show had the biggest influence (witness the number of 12-year-olds wearing "Don't have a cow, man" t-shirts back around 1990).

I am unswayed by the fact that much of the show's humor is too sophisticated for children -- much of the humor in Pixar's "The Incredibles" was too sophisticated for anyone who hadn't studied Nietsche, but it didn't keep the crowds away.

Anyway, weigh in with your opinion and I promise not to dismiss it out of hand*.

*Dismissing opinions out of hand doesn't allow me the pleasure of crushing their flimsy logic in the iron grip of my logic. And so forth.

One other semi-humorous '80s aside: While I was writing Thursday's column, I needed to look up when Dana Carvey first did his "Nah ganna do it. Wouldn't be prudent" riff on the first President Bush. The only reference I could find to the actual date was in David Halberstam's book "War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals." I find that seriously weird.

Everything old...

This week's TV Talk (which still runs Thursday -- you're just getting the advance copy) looks at the influence of '80s schlock television on today's culture. Kinda playing off "Transformers" and that sort of thing.

In the column, I allude to the number of fall TV pilots I've seen that would be right at home in 1984. No, not "Bionic Woman" -- that show is ironically grounded in the 21st century. But, for instance, last night I was watching another NBC pilot, "Life," which could have been sandwiched between "Magnum, PI" and "Matt Houston, PI" on the schedule. Except, you know, for its regrettable lack of a "PI" in the title.

I was talking about this phenomenon with my wife and it's something I'll need to return to in the fall when these shows actually premiere.

I think the key ingredient that makes these "80's" shows is the dotdotdot. If the show's premise involves a (usually silly) twist on a standard plotline that requires a pause for effect, then it's a dotdotdot.

Confused? Let me explain: The A-Team is the perfect example of this. A team of supersoldiers is wrongly convicted (dotdotdot) and escapes to fight injustice.

The show's intro actually has a pause right in it, albeit in the wrong spot: "In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the…A-Team."

Get it? So "Matt Houston" was "rich businessman has a secret life... fighting crime." "Remington Steele" was "struggling PI invents glam alter ego to drum up biz (dotdotdot) only to have a mysterious stranger assume the role." "Knight Rider" was "cop is left for dead, but given a new face and a new life dotdotdot plus a supercar." That one doesn't work as well.

I think in the perfect formulation, the dotdotdot would always be followed by "fighting crime."

My wife thinks "Greatest American Hero" fits into this niche: Nebbishly teacher has an alien encounter and is given superpowers dotdotdot to fight crime." I argue that that show was too campy from its conception to fit this mold.

Also, "Magnum PI" doesn't quite fit, since there was really no twist, just a bunch of deus ex machina to give Tom Selleck a Ferrari, helicopter and friends with guns on a pretty limited salary. The beauty of Magnum is how much fun they had playing with the illogic of the setup.

Anyway, I'm trying to think of a few more examples. "Heart to Heart" works, although I think that was from the '70s. Same with "Charlie's Angels." "Airwolf" sort of falls in the "Knight Rider" category. "The Scarecrow and Mrs. King" is a teriffic example of what I'm talking about. (Or, in the '80s vernacular, "what I'm talkin' 'bout, Willis").

"Moonlighting" kind of works, even if the writing was better than most of these others: "Rich socialite loses everything dotdotdot except for a fleabag detective agency."

Does "Riptide" fit? I loved that show, but I think it falls more in the Magnum file - deus ex helicopters and speedboats. "Miami Vice" belongs in that column, too.

How about "The Fall Guy"? I really don't remember anything about that show.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm back... and I'm not happy

So this happened last week, but shouldn't go uncommented upon: ABC is bringing back "According to Jim" for midseason.

CBS renewing "Jericho" after a passionate fan outcry? That's cool. Kinda funny. But "Jim"? Without a doubt, it's the worst sitcom on television, and in the running for worst show overall. That's just plain old mean.