'Celebrity Apprentice,' 'Downtown Abbey,' and the Winter Press Tour: Lisa de Moraes' TV Column Live

Jan 06, 2012

Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes chatted about the about all the drama, comedy and heartbreak of the world of television. See below to see what questions readers brought up and what Lisa had to say about in response.

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Watched a couple minutes of this sitcom last night. Only a true professional can adequately describe how bad it was. Please tell me it did terribly and Cougar Town is coming back next week?

Hi from Winter TV Press Tour 2012 in sunny Pasadena, where I'm sorry to report it's been in the 80's the past couple days...anyway, "Work It"  is so bad  GLAAD has crowned "Bosom Buddies" -- that other guys-in-drag sitcom,  "smart social commentary" in comparison ... And, "Work It" opened Tuesday with only about 6 million people watching. That said, it's  "Last Man Standing" leadin had only clocked about 7.9 million people.  

Can you tell those guys they're drifting away from what makes the show fun with dead parents and barren uteruses and having other characters be the unreliable narrators? Thank Pookie!

But, pookie, this is a common affliction of sitcoms in their seventh season. To their credit, the producers have not yet written that Very Special Episode about Date Rape, and for that they deserve a lot of credit. Right? Or am I just feeling too charitable here in sunny Pasadena?

Do you ever watch the morning shows? My commute changed recently so I can catch the first hour or so, and I gotta say the sparks fly between Nancy Grace & Dan Abrams on GMA when debating some legal/criminal case. Nancy is openly derisive towards him and he struggles to stay calm - I'm waiting for the day when his head explodes. It reminds me of Jane Curtin & Dan Akroyd of SNL way back when. And because they are on for only 4 minutes, they both go straight for the jugular - well, she does at least. It's a hoot!

No wonder ABC's "GMA" is now enjoying its closest ratings to NBC's "Today" in years! I'd watch that -- every morning...

Did the male Reporters Who Cover Television really think that the koala was cuter than Zooey Deschanel?

Yes, guys apparently are suckers for koalas -- koalae? -- Who knew? I smell a CBS sitcom....."Two Men and Their Koala"?

Drew Carey is so right. Craig Ferguson is the best host on late night TV. He show never fails to deliver a hearty laugh as well as being thought provoking at times. He is great. How are his ratings for late night?

They're fine. What Drew said was that Ferguson had the same gift as had Johnny Carson, for making all his guests feel like his equal and -- most important -- for actually listening to what his guests were saying, rather than looking down at cards with questions provided by his producer, who had conducted a  "pre-interview"...Ferguson is the best interviewer in last night.

Is it stupid, or just outright racist?

Why is this an either/or question. can't it be both? Let's be generous and call it both....

So how long does ABC try to make "Work It" work? I around 6 mil for a debut enough for a quick death?

They'll keep it on for a while if only for the publicity.

Enjoying the spring-like weather out here in LA?

You betcha!

J.J. Abrams, Sam Neill, Jorge Garcia--I'm really looking forward to this show. Have you seen it? What can you tell me about it?

If you love JJ and his "Team Investigates Mysterious [Fill in the Blank]" shows -- "Lost," "Fringe" --  you're gonna love this....

Is this an actual show, or another metaphor for the GOP Primary?

Yeah, it's a political metaphor for the GOP primary -- but on CW, so they have to find a single-syllable word for "metaphor" in their promos.....

For running during the summer. Don't they know the summer months belong to basic cable?

CBS, its parent, had enormous luck with "Flashpoint" from Canada, in the summer.....summer used to belong to basic cable, except that the most watched show of the past several summers has been NBC's "America's Got Talent"

Pookie, How is the WPT going? I heard the B-52s played for PBS and rawked the house! Have there been any other acts?

B-52s were good but Tony Bennett tore the place up last night....except The Reporters Who Cover Television are still wincing over his answer to a question about why he always wears suits -- even when recording with younger singers for "Duets II" which will be a "Great Performances" special on PBS  in a couple weeks -- which is why he was here. Bennett said he wears suits because we are supposed to be civilized human beings and when you dress like a slob you're not civilized. Alan Sepinwall is still talking to the room about it this morning as we're sitting here waiting for the head of NBC to come take questions. Apparently Bennett really struck one of Alan's nerves.

This is my last year in the most coveted demographic. I'm wondering what sort of ritual I should observe on my birthday. Is there a Day of the Dead to Us rite? Do I cover my TV with black cloth? Hire young men 18-34 to sit shiva for my deceased demographic importance? Or will I one day wake up and just be able to get the Hallmark Channel?

This one's easy: spend the day practicing lying about your age so you can do it convincingly...

Would him leaving American Idol be the final straw?

Simon -- is that you?

Word is they'll offer him a new contract when this one expires, only not the stupid-money $40-something million deal he's now laboring under....guess when the producers discovered ratings went UP after Simon Cowell left, the producers and Fox started thinking that maybe anyone on the show is replaceable...

I love this show, and the actor in the lead role is so yummy.

I'm hoping you mean Jim Caviezel, not Michael Emerson....The show isn't attracting as many people as had "CSI" in the Thursday timeslot, but "CSI" is an old show and networks need to be growing younger ones all the time, lest they wind up like, well NBC -- once the undisputed king of all TV which relied on "Friends" and other hits too long and was unable to develop new hits and look where it is now.....

My wife made me watch the Jersey Shore AND she scheduled the DVR to record Work It. Should I get a divorce?

A compassionate man would get her help. A smart man would get a "hobby."

I THOUGHT I'd read that "Man Up" had been cancelled, but it's still on. I find Tim Allen so irritating in this show (I liked him on Tool Time, though), I can't even have it on in the background. My husband, however, snickers at it, before I leave the room, or switch channels. It seems to be on during prime TV background time, which is also prime book-reading time. Perhaps there's a drug that will make this show less annoying for me?

You are confusing "Man Up," which is cancelled, with Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing" which is not....But, please, tell us more about Pharmaceuticals for Television Tolerance. How do we join? 

If I understand it correctly, TV shows need to be popular with young male viewers, but the only young male viewers counted are the ones who are already a part of a Nielsen family? Or are they counting them in other ways? It seems as though that sample would be statistically insignificant. Actually, they should be counting all teenagers with entitlement disorders (especially those whose parents have limit-setting disorders). They'll be the most likely to buy whatever the advertisers are selling.

Get yourself an agent and pitch yourself to television networks -- NOW! You have a brilliant future ahead of you in the biz....Unless you are over 40,  in which case, never mind.

I want my vermin-eating supermodels!

Funny how that reminds me of the time I took a can of fried caterpillars -- a Christmas gift from my father -- to lunch in middle school and it caused a min-sensation in the lunch room. Why, of why, didn't I see that I had a ratings hit on my hand and become a network programming suit?!

Hank gave Downton Abbey a negative review, while many other reviews are more positive. Isn't he a true believer of crunchy gravel dramas?

You'd have to ask Hank.... Hank did say the first season of "Downton Abbey" was the very best show of 2011...On the other hand, he called "New Girl" the worst show of 2011  -- the same year CW debuted "H8Ters."  I simply cannot explain it...

Liked your column yesterday about the PBS presser and Mitt Romney saying that he loves Big Bird but PBS should sell ad time. Let's go with that. Who do you think would buy time on Downton Abbey? People who breed fox hounds? Waxed cotton clothing companies? Swane & Adaney, British manufacturer of 200 dollar umbrellas?

Financial adviser companies, pharmaceuticals, luxury car manufacturers -- same advertisers you see on Sunday Beltway shows and other programs that attract an older, upscale audience... I'm out of time. See you next Friday!

In This Chat
Lisa de Moraes
Pulitzer Prize winner, Peabody recipient, Medal of Freedom honoree -- Lisa de Moraes is none of these, but she is an authority on the bad direction, over-acting, and muddled plot lines being played out in the TV industry's executive suites. de Moraes worked for a decade as the television editor at The Hollywood Reporter, the entertainment industry trade paper, where she was routinely on the receiving end of more shouting phone calls from TV suits than Paula Abdul's manager.

When she upgraded to The Washington Post in 1998, a well-known executive producer called to suggest she have someone else start her car, but her trenchant writing (and refusal to use words like "trenchant") earned her the following praise from the brilliant, handsome media observer at Slate: "She writes like a wicked bitch." Wikipedia has called her "a noted television columnist," but they're often unreliable. It's pronounced "deh more ICE."

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