Lisa de Moraes' TV Column Live

Apr 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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TV COLUMN for the week:

 

- DeAndre hits Falsetto Ceiling on 'American Idol'

- Discovery Communications unveils slew of shows for all its networks

- Matt Lauer to continue losing hair on 'Today'

- Keith Olbermann sues Current TV, as promised

- Katie Couric on 'GMA' beats 'Today' Wednesday

- Oprah Winfrey Network unveils game show, etc.

- Idolettes subjected to tunes from the 80's

- Discovery Communications dumps pinko liberal Planet Green for 'red, white and blue' Destination America

- Sarah Palin's 'Today' beats Katie Couric's 'GMA' on Tuesday

- Jon Stewart to Sarah Palin: Matt and Ann aren't Chez and Lenin

- Ryan Seacrest joins NBC coverage of Summer Games, won't replace Matt Lauer for now

- 'Dancing with Stars' adds sudden death dance-off to boost ratings against 'The Voice'

- Ousted Current TV anchor Keith Olbermann to Dave Letterman: I was a $10 million chandelier without a house

- President Obama to introduce USA network telecast of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' on Saturday

- 'Today' beats Katie Couric-anchored 'GMA' on Monday

- Letterman signs with CBS through '14 to become longest-running late night TV host

- Katie Couric co-anchors 'GMA': Day 2

- Neil Patrick Harris to host Tonys again

- Sarah Palin joins 'lamestream' media':  live blog

- Ryan Seacrest delays 'big' NBC announcement

- Weep Week on 'Dancing with the Stars'

- Katie Couric wins congeniality prize but Oprah breaks news in Monday infotainment show battle

- 'Today' unveils 'surprise legend' on Day 1 of Katie Couric battle

- Oprah: Had I known how hard it would be I might have done something other than launch OWN

- Katie's back! Live blog

- Tyler Perry casts Whitney Houston daughter on TBS sitcom

Hi everyone. Sorry for delay -- do you have any idea how hard it is to find some of my columns/blogs for this reading list?! Anyway, this is most of it. Happy reading and let's get started.....

Did you know Tony introduced the bright red mail-box to England?

Yes! While doing his "other job" --  after his mornings writing.....

Lizzy Hasselback has totally plagiarized Joel McHale's segment, "Reality Show Clip Time", shouldn't he at least get credit for it?

TV on-air talent ripping each other off? I'm shocked -- shocked!...(I haven't seen her "reality show clip time") ... when did that debut?

One of the two unresolved Mad Men cliffhangers was the government investigating Don Draper. I can understand glossing over the other since it seems obvious the company bounced back after losing clients but the investigation isn't so easy to ignore as if it never happened. Has it even be aluded it and I missed it?

...I've been so far down the Katie Courc vs 'Today' rabbit hole all week I have not yet sat down to watch Sunday's 'Mad Men'...I assume you did and they did not address it in Week 2. But show creator Matt likes to draw things out. A lot.  So I'm not completely surprised...

Hi Pookie! I need some quick, light entertaining shows to get on dvd or download. I love Raising Hope, the Daily Show, and Modern Family. I have watched previous seasons of Big Bang Theory and Cougartown. What others are your favorites? I would never have discovered Raising Hope without your discussions and I love it. For more serious shows, I love Dexter and Breaking Bad, FYI. Thanks from the Western Pacific.

Hi. You've named most of my fave comedies (except "BB" isnt' what it used to be) -- add "Episodes" to that list, on Showtime, and give "Veep" a try on HBO and if I think of anything else I'll toss it in later...

I liked that the most recent episode was 3hrs, 1) because there was nothing else on (DVRd Mad Men/The Killing) and 2) more people got fired! Donald stated that he hated firing people, but it's one of the best parts of the show for me. I understand they compressed two episodes into one ths week, but I think the show would be more fun if they canned two people weekly.

Golly yes -- and if they could whack two a week on 'The Voice' and 'Idol' I would be happy too. Really, I'm ready for them to just declare a winner on 'Idol', having seen plenty of this crop of Idolettes -- and yes, it is the best overall batch ever...

Pookie, Smash can only be saved if you rally your loyal readers to help the writers identify new locations for characters to break into song. They are running out of ideas. They've already done karaoke, Bar Mitzvah, dinner party, and drunk in Times Square. They are never going to make it through the 2nd season without you!

Breaking News:  Katie Couric guest-anchored "GMA" clocked 4.638 million viewers Thursday, according to early stats.  "Today" logged 5. 073 million. In 25-54 year old viewers (the currency of news programming), "GMA" averaged 1.864 million viewers and "Today" 2.091 million. Gap in age bracket is 228,000 which is the smallest of the week. Overall, it looks like "Today" will take the week, in overall audience, with one day's numbers yet to come. Today attracted the biggest crowds on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; Katie took Wednesday.

Now, on to your question: Why do they feel they can't just break into song when they're at the mani-pedi shop, or shopping for groceries, or at dinner? Like they do in, you know, Broadway musicals? Not sure why they only break into song during real-life break into song moments. But, anyway, if someone has decided that's the "rule" we should all contribute our suggestions -- time when we tend to break into song. For me that's:

In the shower

Walking Winkie

Working out

Any time I have my iPod on

At the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica when they're showing an old musical flick

Vacuuming

When I have music on in my house

That's it for me. Anybody else?

 

Pookie, for the love of Betty Francis Draper! Please tell me they filmed the scenes from last week's episode with January Jones when she was pregnant! Or that is some awesome makeup work. Either way, yikes ....

Aarghhhh! I haven't seen the episode. What happened? How bad was it?

I am actually surprised GMA had Couric come on this week. I figured a better time would be in late August or early September where she promotes her new talk show. I think Seacrest going to Today ...thats a near certainty. AI is near its last legs so this would be a smart move on his part. Lost in all of this...What about Regis substitute??? Is that happening anytime soon?

"AI" is not "near its last legs" ..it is the country's most watched TV show... Yes, it's numbers aren't what they used to be, but being the country's most watched program is not the same as "on death bed." Now that we've cleared that up: in late August, no one would see Katie on "GMA".... guest stunting in August is like that old middle school philosophy class question -- or was it science class? : if a tree falls in the forest but there is no one there to hear the crash, did the falling tree make a noise?  In September, meanwhile, she'll be WAY too busy doing her show... Now was the perfect time because it was NOT a sweep month, when 'Today" would have had boatloads of stunts and big "gets," but it's right about when she should be launching a marketing campaign to "warm up" America for the launch of her show in September. And, in re Regis, I'm all for getting him to do a week of "GMA"..I'd watch that for sure!

I've got it! Next season on Smash, they could be planning a revival of "Annie Get Your Gun," with Skylar Laine in hot pursuit of the lead role. I'd tune in to hear her sing "You Cain't Get a Man with a Gun."

She'd be loud, anyway. But now the storyline has Uma Thurman getting the Marilyn role (really?), Megan Hilty out, and  Kathy McPhee the better choice for understudy? Honestly, I cannot "suspend disbelief" to the degree I can buy into McPhee being in any way right to play Marilyn. I simply can't get passed it....

During DWTS this week, I realized I was doing a lot of smiling. I'm really enjoying watching all these people I've never heard of, who really seem happy to be there. Is this just me 'skewing old' again?

I refuse to believe it.. This is an interesting experiment on the part of the producers to see if people will watch the show when there is no "drama" overshadowing the actual competition, and it's all about the "dancing"...the experiment is somewhat flawed, because this is also the first season "Dancing" has aired head-to-head against "The Voice" which is definitely taking a chunk of the audience. That's why "Dancing" has changed the elimination night: from now on, the two lowest vote getting couples will dancea again and the judges will decide who gets the hook. Definitely makes results nights far more dramatic and interesting to watch... I'm all for it...

Any pictures for us of Winkie?

Winkie's making a video this weekend. Seriously.

I am part of the new viewers for this NBC Reality-competition show on Mondays - Tuesdays but am wondering if it gets better during the "Live" part of the season -- there is some genuine sense of the Judge sacrificing some singers at the show culmination -- is it more of a winner than the tired format of "American Idol" that headlines Ryan Seabiscuit who is eager to run more of the TV universe of reality and infotainment?

I find "The Voice" really compelling during "blind" auditions but it loses me after that when they go to the in-team sing offs, which seem to be more "scream offs" than singing. And I can't take seriously any judge wearing a bedazzled plate on her head...

Will the original series produced for Netflix be eligible for Emmy awards? They will be available to watch on television via streaming. Or, in the case of Lilyhammer, IS available to watch, although I have not seen the show and have no idea of whether this is even a consideration for that series.

I assume so, but you're asking a very interesting question and I will find out the answer and report back...

Hi, is "Revenge" ever going to come back on the air? I was addicted. Thank you. Enjoy your column.

Thank yo and yes, it's coming back in time for the May sweep, which actually starts late this month...

Any word for how long and for much $$$? Sorry announcement did not come with a replacement notice on Ann. Is it my imagination or has Natalie been downgraded and Savannah is the new it girl?

Savannah is the new "It" girl and the presumed Ann replacement, according to the rumor mill.... Did you hear her "report" on the death of the Porsche heir this morning. That was pretty funny about men going through middle age crisis giving a moment of silence. Yes, I know, she probably did not write that gag, she just delivered it, but her obvious delight at getting to deliver the line was very infectuous...anyway, I laughed --  and I'm all for anything that starts my day with a laugh...

Hi, Pookie, Do you ever watch "Ringer" with Sarah Michelle Gellar (on the CW network)? It's such a good -- if corny -- idea for a show, but very badly done: Identical twin sisters who haven't spoken in years, one with a heart of gold at the bottom of the social heap, a 12-stepping addict on the run from the Feds and a local mobster ... The other rich, cold and scheming -- an evil stepmother to her wealthy husband's troubled teenage daughter while also possibly pregnant by her best friend's husband. Both sisters want to disappear from their old lives, so enter the switcheroo with some differences -- Evil Sister only pretends to commit suicide and swims off to Paris with her platinum credit cards while Good Sister moves into the penthouse and seemingly becomes the Good Wife and Good Mother. Many, many plot twists ensue, including murder, attempted murder, financial fraud, rape allegations, additional pregnancies, and lots of redecorating. If only the actors could act and the director could direct, this would be really fun to watch! Instead, since I'm kinda hooked on the story-line, I slog through it just to see what happens, wishing SMG could manage some expression other than bemused. Any chance it'll be remade by more talented folks?

Good grief no. The original concept was kind of a knockoff of a great old Betty Davis flick in which she played identical twins and one was good and other was bad and "stole" good twin's boyfriend,  and they were in boat together, and evil twin drowns and good twin pretends to be her so she can be married to her boyfriend who married bad twin, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, Bette Davis was a terrific actress who could pull off this kind of high drama. Sarah Michelle Gellar and the producers -- not so much. In their defense, Davis only had to pull it off for two hours. These guys want to wring  four seasons out of it...

Am I the only one who really likes this show? It seems like it gets pretty universally ripped in your chats. No, it's not 30 Rock, but it's goofy and funny in a good natured way. Is it doomed to be cancelled, as it seems like all the shows I like are?

I actually like it and have said so. At least I hope I have. But I have also said it's really not doing well in the ratings. But, it's from Lorne Michaels who we suspect of having some great photos of someone socked away, because his shows keep on getting renewed without great ratings, like "30 Rock." And I say, more power to him and hang on to those photos, because I love "30 Rock" -- oh, if that wasn't in "what to watch" list earlier, add it for sure...

 

Now please tell me that Ann Curry is one step closer to hosting Dateline full-time. God, she is just awful.

I'm guessing today's "Today" news (Matt sticking around) is the first step towards trying to fix "Todays" very real ratings problems.. This show is a big money maker for NBC and, what with NBC's primetime doing so badly, NBC will work hard to get "Today" back on track....Last week only 119,000 viewers separated "Today" from "GMA" -- one year ago that number was nearly half a million viewers....

I didn't want to watch, but darn it, the girl can host a morning show. *Shakes Fists*

I too was impressed with her this week. Had forgotten how good she could be. Apparently being knocked down a peg from her CBS experience, looks very good on her. The week was, in some ways, very good advertising for her morning talk show that's launching in the fall... I'm sure she would have preferred to have won the ratings for the week, but it did serve to remind people how poised and personable she is doing morning TV -- as opposed to how stiff and uncomfortable she seemed, doing the evening news....

So I've watched the last 3-4 episodes of Breaking In. Are the boss lady (Megan something or other) and the hot assistant new additions since this show reappeared? Have they completely abandoned the "hired gig" of the week concept and will just have hijinks in the office? - I'm So Confused

It is confusing. When this show first launched, it was goign to be all about the break-in of the week. Show did not do well in the ratings. Somebody decided the perfect fix was to turn it into an office comedy. What?! And add Megan Mullally, who was terrific on "Will & Grace," among other work. No, I can't explain it. And no, you're not confused at all. The network and the producers, however --- very confused.

Talk about two shows really hitting their stride...love them. That is all. Normally I am only on here to kavetch about bad TV....In honor of Good Friday, I am changing my tune.... Daymon Wayans, Jr....is my new favorite Wayans!

Both good additions to the comedy firmament. ABC has really taken comedy crown away from NBC....

So GE has a new commercial discussing their massive turbines and how they're used in power generation. Great, interesting. Pretty cool to see. They then go on to say you wouldn't have Budweiser without their turbines. What?! At least BASF said their products went into other products. GE is now claiming that without them, nothing else would exist! Did Budweiser pay to be in a GE commercial? Some other strange arrangement? Is this the future? -I'm So Confused

Wow, lot of people claiming confusion in chat this week. Really, you guys are not confused -- just observant. I love those GE ads, because they're so cynical. Without General Electric, there would be no Budweiser Beer -- a terrible thing to contemplate....I do not know if Budweiser paid to be in the ad, but it's hard to imagine GE making it without getting something -- they're not philanthropists.

So, since ABC has been showing repeats of Modern Family for the last three weeks, I've been forced to look elsewhere for entertainment. Praise be to NBC! (not actually uttered) I've started watching Bent. It kept my attention. Not enough that I would sorrow at missing an episode or ever seek out a missed episode, but it was better than anything else on. NBC has show two episodes a week for the last three weeks. Before both episodes this week, an NBC commercial implied that this was the end for Bent. Is this true? To my, this means NBC cancelled the show before it started airing and just aired the six episodes that were made. Is this true? Why not at least give it a real shot rather than kill it before it started? - I'm So Confused

More confusion! This show was DOA. Don't expect it back....

Pookala: Here's my pitch for a summer series: Lock Keith Olbermann, Al Gore, Chevy Chase, Dan Harmon, Charlie Sheen and Chuck Lorre in the "Big Brother" house and film their wacky antics. Those who emerge alive at the end of the summer are given their own sitcom/ weight loss show / singing competition on a prime slot of NBC's fall schedule. Win-win for all involved. (P.S.: What is this "Current TV"? Is it one of those public-access channels at the end of my cable dial?)

This is genius.. But please, search each guy thoroughly before putting them in the house to make sure they aren't armed...we don't want anyone to get snuffed...and I think you need to add Joel Hyatt to the house -- that seems to be the person Olbermann's really got it in for at Current.

If the purported defections occur, in your opinion which is the greatest loss to the overall quality of SNL: Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudiekis, or Adam Sandberg?

No loss at all.... It's always best to cull the herd before their heads get too big...bring on the next crop, I say!

Ms. de-more-Ice: been tired of Katie for a looooong time. Including her weird 'splay my calf on my knee to showcase my legs' move. In her mid-50s perhaps we could pass on the whole Katie mania for a while? She choose to highlight her 'cute' and that has a shelf life. See Sawyer, Diane for a better example of a mature newswoman who isn't clinging to a teeny-bopper self-image.

Surely you jest?  Sawyer, the super-duper-earnest, sextuplet-chasing, sometimes sex kitten?

Hello Pookie! I loved listening to Matt Lauer put Ryan Seacrest on the hot seat this week. He proved with that one interview why the "Today Show" cannot afford to lose him. The idea that Ryan could fill his shoes is just preposterous, even though I think Ryan can be good under the right circumstances. I am distressed that Ryan may try to bring some of the Kardashian-type programming to NBC, though. Yuck.

Funny, because I thought Seacrest took over that interview when he said something along the lines of:  "Oh. didn't they tell you?" ...and "The real question is how long do you see yourself staying at 'Today'?" .. I thought Ryan seemed far more at ease during that exchange than did Matt..that said, yes, Ryan needs grooming. Which they're clearly going to start doing this summer with Olympics coverage. That is his "first assignment" for NBC, he said. It will be interesting to see what are his second, third and fourth assignments. They'll work Seacrest up to the point they feel he can interview a political figure without asking them who they're wearing... that will be the tipping point.

Do you watch a bit of "The Ten Commandments" every year?

No, I can only take so much of Charlton Heston... Actually I can take almost none of Charlton Heston... I do, however, watch "Easter Parade" -- never miss it.  This year, I'm also going to see "Harvey" on a big screen for the first time Sunday -- can't wait!

Pookie -- any questions for the Arbitron meter wearer this week?

I think one of them has made a return visit. Let me check....

Responding to some questions from last week's discussion: the PPM responds to sound, so if there are multiple TVs, in the gym or anywhere else, as long as they are on mute, the PPM isn't picking up any signal. Also, that means that the satellite box remaining on all night after the TV goes off on sleep mode doesn't matter for the ratings. An Arbitron rep called me this week (I just got the PPM last week, so she was checking into see how everything was going), and she kept saying I shouldn't tell anyone I don't know, or that I know is involved in the broadcast industry, that I'm a panelist, so I guess I could tell my family and friends if they ask. Amazingly enough, no one has noticed this odd bulge at my waistline, or if they have, they haven't asked me about it. I definitely am more conscious about what I'm watching, and I definitely will be careful about switching to something that I don't really like, even for just a minute, to avoid it showing up on the ratings. Obviously, I'm just one person, but I don't know how the ratings people figure the amount of time any one person spends on a particular show, and I don't want to boost even a little some show that I don't like.

Hi! thanks for joining us again and taking the time to answer some of last week's questions...

I'm losing my desire for "Touch". Maybe it's all the 9/11 References.

But don't you enjoy Sutherland's huffing and puffing? I know I do... and the numbers! I love numbers, as you know....

Please tell me there's a clause to send our beloved, arm patting, very very concerned and empathetic Ann Curry on a permanent road trip!

isn't it funny how that works so well for Di but not for Ann. What's up with that?

Anything worth watching on TV these days?

 How about that live wedding on country music trophy show? that's pretty great live TV.

Who won? Katie or Palin?

Palin won that day. Katie won on the Seacrest day...

In the eighties when Cheers was popular, did they sell Ted Danson wigs like with the Beatles in the sixties?

I love this question because it's so out of nowhere....did not realize girls were swooning over Ted Danson's hair including, yes we know, a hairpiece to cover up his bald patch in the back and coloring out the grey.... is that why your'e asking? Meanwhile, I like his hair much better now that he's let it go white. But, while we're on the subject: you know whose hair is much better these days? Matt LeBlanc, who used to have to color it on "Friends" because he was going grey and now doesn't, as star of Showtime's "Episodes."

How happy is NBC about its modesty successful debut? And what is the key demo for this program?

Really, how happy can NBC be that it's doing so much better with a show starring Betty White and a bunch of senior improv actors than it is with Whitney Cummings and Will Arnett, etc. when the network sells 18-49 year olds to advertisers and has tried for years to position itself as the too-hip-to-live broadcast network?

Hey, Pookie: I find myself in a TV viewing rut with not a lot that interests me in prime time. Lately, I have found myself perfectly content to watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's shows, "Chopped" and "House Hunters International", and the occasional "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon". I tape all of them to my DVR to watch at convenient times. Am I missing out on anything I should be watching?

See early discussion in this chat. There's loads of great stuff in primetime, and since you like late night TV, don't miss the debuts of Russell Brand's late night show and W. Kamau Bell's Chris Rock-produced late night show -- both for FX, debuting this summer...

Do you take offense when chatters compare you to a Trollope? Seriously, this chat is The Way We Live Now...

Of course not. I'm a huge Trollope fan.

This guy is almost a caricature of a pompous you-know-what because he is so over the top. Is he for real? And if he is so smart, why is he so bad at keeping his jobs? I do enjoy Countdown, although I never did find it on Current.

He's famously fractious. But, if you missed his "chandelier" exchange with Letterman this week, it was more wonderful live TV. At first, you thought he was kidding with the "chandelier" thing, then it turned out he wasn't kidding, then Letterman brilliantly turned it into a joke when he asked after a pause: "You're the chandelier, right?" When Letterman is actually awake and participating on his show, there's no one so good at late night TV...

Since "Once Upon a Time" was created by the same folks who gave us "Lost," will it meet the same fate? So far, "Once Upon a Time" has been excellent. But that was true with "Lost's" first season as well. But then the show went steadily downhill after the first season. Do you think that will happen to "Once Upon a Time?" I thought the episode with Roger Daltrey as the Mad Hatter was fun, though!

Fingers crossed it does not go the same way. It's entirely up to the producers...

It's gotten so much better this year with Xander Berkeley and Melissa Clarke playing a chess game between each other for Power. Is there any chance the Overseas saless might save this show?

Netflix deal with CW would be the salvation. That Netflix deal was huge for CW...

in your recommendations. I love Sue Heck!

Sorry -- I forgot.. Add it, please...

What happened to Discovery (and their collection of networks)? They used to be the commercial equivalent of PBS. I guess maybe that was their problem? Other than Mythbusters, now it's a weird collection of bizarre, over the top "reality" shows. Do people really watch this crap? Who wants to see a bunch of wacky fundamentalists with 20 kids? Or are we all just hoping the kids all end up being gay so it's sort of train-wreck TV?

What happened is the same thing that happened to A&E network which used to compete with PBS for crunchy gravel dramas -- remember, the Colin Firth version of "Pride and Prejudice" aired on A& E, as did the update of "Vanity Fair"...and, to finally answer your question, what happened was "demographics." All of these networks have strayed completely from their original brand" -- A & E standnig for "Arts & Entertainment," TLC standing for The Learning Channel, History standing for, well history -- in their effort to 'young up' their demos. And,it has worked. Brilliantly. Frankly it's been fun and fun to cover, as they morphed from their original strategy to what they are today. It's not unique to Discovery. MTV used to be the music TV network -- music videos galore....

Pookie, I agree this is a better than average batch of Idolettes; I can see 5 or 6 of them actually having careers. But I wouldn't have sent the hair home last night. I would have liked another week or 2 of the falsetto hair. I overcame my initial love of Deandre and knew he wouldn't last, but at least 1 or 2 girls deserved to go before him. Did I mention I liked the hair?

He had a great voice and should not have gone home. Period. Elise and Hollie should have gone home before him. But, as Kellie Pickler said so eloquently on last night's show, winning doesn't matter that much any more. Or, as she put it, "I think everyone's going to get a recording contract this season"....and she is a good illustration. You can have a fine music career by just "placing" on "Idol"  -- sometimes, as you know, the winner doesn't do as well as one of the season's other competitors -- Jennifer Hudson comes to mind, for instance. No, I'm not suggesting DeAndre is the next Jennifer Hudson, but he's got a following and he's good looking and only 17, and he will be going on the "Idol" tour.. So the odds of him getting a contract with some label are pretty good...

So was the whole Seabiscuit Today Show appearance / announcement Bob Greenblatt's proverbial horse head in the bed to get Matt to sign his Johnny Fontane contract?

My favorite question of the day. And, in response: "Yes?"

I'm new to this one -- I skipped last season -- but didn't they whack four last week? (And aren't they doing the same next week?) I've actually been surprised by how quickly they whittle them down. I assume that will slow down at some point.

You are absolutely right... I'm sleepwalking today -- I'm on west coast this week, which means getting up at 3:30 a.m each day to watch morning infotainment shows on east coast time... that' s my excuse and I'm sticking with it...

Pookie, I just wanted to say "Thank You" for watching those shows so we don't have to!

..and this comment has made it all worthwhile. Thanks!

Is that a euphemism, Pookie?

um, no, but if it was, what would you suggest (I have a sinking feeling I'm going to regret this very much)

Still looks hot. But that's probably just me. I prefer curves.

So, where do you fall in the Great Jessica Simpson Debate?

I can't be 100% sure, but I'm fairly certain that Pete told Don that he killed the deal/contract that required the government clearance checks. Don then paid Pete's additional monetary investment towards the company (the extra money they needed from the partners so they could stay afloat).

Yes, but I want to see more!

Lisa- I have to ask if you have heard of the show "Wheeler Dealers". A show where a British guy finds a used classic car to buy, then his pal fixes it up and they sell it. It sounds like a car geek show, but I am not a car geek and I think it's alot of fun. Both guys are personable and entertaining, and its fun to see someone else working on a car rather than doing it yourself. It's on some channel called VELOCITY. Check it out, you might be surprised.

I think Velocity just announced a knockoff, or maybe the same show, at its Upfront presentaition yesterday...

You haven't truly lived till you've watched an episode of "The Daily Show" with Portuguese subtitles! The one I saw last week -- about 1 1/2 weeks after it aired in the US, to judge by the context -- was with guest Grover Norquist (of the anti-tax pledge). The subtitles are actually not bad -- considering that there's a lot of colloquial English to cope with, not to mention that the translator also as to be highly knowledgeable re American politics, society, pop culture, etc.

that would be a fun column! Sadly, TV Column does not have much of a travel budget....

I have to disagree with the chatter who felt that this was good make-up. It was so obviously a fake fat suit that I was embarrassed for the show. It was so distracting, all I could think of was Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal. As for Betty getting fat, I'm all for it.

they are so meticulous about sets and costumes, I'm surprised..

Re Mad Men: January was either highly pregnant or very shortly post-, but there's no question the fat chin was makeup. Since they didn't want to write in a Baby Francis, my bet is that they will do the Daphne Moon-Crane trick from Frasier -- i.e., when Jane Leeves was pregnant at a time that didn't work for the character, they wrote in a huge weight gain and then sent her off to a "spa"/fat camp for a while -- so I expect to see Betty trundled off to some "resort" for overweight housewives. As for the morning shows, I am a longtime "Today" viewer (until 7:20 -- because at 7:30 they give up on news and go all reality TV or Kardashians -- then I flee to CNN), at least partly because the preceding local news is only tolerable on channel 4, and I tried, really tried to switch to GMA. I've always loved George, and I wanted to see Katie (certainly over the Alaskan Kardashian), but criminy -- even the "news" bits were horrifically bad, even by very low network news standards. Sheesh. You can put anyone you want in the anchor chair, but if you're going to dumb down and pun-up the most basic news stories, forget it.

Your segue gave me whiplash but: My guess is your guess, in re Betty... And watching every moment of the morning infotainment shows was an eye opener for me too this week. For years I have watched "segments" and "interviews" as I cover the shows, but not in years have I sat down and watched entire broadcasts of multiple shows, day after day.. "GMA" certainly is overcaffeinated....and yet, it seems to work, given the ratings...

Pookie, as a Serious Student of Television, I shouldn't have to spell this out for you. Megan Hilty, before SMASH, was only well known to Broadway audiences. McPhee, on the other hand, was watched by millions of the right age bracket on the most popular show on TV (as you just mentioned...). Do you want reality or do you want TV producers to do what they do to make money?

..and yet, the show's numbers are not good... just because someone was on "Idol" does not mean you can throw them into any project and it will work and "Idol" fans will watch... It will get you sampled on the first day -- the audience is yours to win or lose. If you cast that person in something for which they are not right, you will fail.  Oh, and while we're on the serious student subject, television is the genre that MAKES stars...For instance, most people were not familiar with the cast of, say of "Modern Family" for instance, before it launched -- except Ed O'Neill, of course, from "Married..with Children."...no, no one watched "Ed," in re Bowen...  "Modern Family" made them stars... ditto the cast of "Friends" and the cast of.. well  I could go on and on...

Why can't Mad Men just get credit for having a main femaie character who gained weight? (I did wonder if it was good padding and cosmetic work). But really, Betty's a troubled character. I loved the ending where she's eaten every bit of her own sundae and then finishes her daughers, and sits there alone in the kitchen.

I'm with you....

When will we know for sure whether shows like "Alcatraz" are or aren't coming back next year?

Often, networks will announce a boatload of pickups right around now. The ones that remain on the bubble find out their fate the second week of May -- that's called Broadcast TV Upfront Week. It's the week they all unveil their new-season plan to advertisers... I'll be there covering, again.

Pookie, I was super excited to see you quoted in a BBC article about why characters on fantasy shows tend to have English accents. It cracked me up.

I have strong feelings on the subject...

I would recommend adding "The Middle" and "Suburgatory" to your list. They air the same night as "Modern Family" and make great companions (I never thought I would be congratulating ABC's programming!)

done...

Do people really sit down and watch them? I have the tv on while I'm getting ready to go to work and it's kind of background noise along with the cats meowing for kibbles.

my guess is you are typical.. sorry, you're fabulous in every other way, but typical in your morning infotainment viewing habits...

Lisa, I tried to like SMASH. I really tried. I'll even go so far as to feel sorry for Katherine McPhee, who is running frantically in place to get me to like her awful, awful character. Am I supposed to hate Karen? She was great in the first episode, talented, somewhat insecure, but definitely self-assured enough to do that "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" act in a fresh new way. But ever since then, she's become whiny, needy and unbelievably unprofessional, and even her performances are down. The bar mitzvah was possibly her nadir, but I stopped watching after that (for many reasons). Am I supposed to like her?

I don't know who we're supposed to like .If I don't stop watching soon, I fear  I'll never be able to go see another Bway musical again. What a bunch of rotters....

Please settle this dispute between me and my wife.

You know, I am a disciple of "free spelling" -- you may already know that from my blog -- and being as non-rigid as possible when it comes to the English language, which I like to think of as a beautiful river, ever flowing, ever changing as it meanders hither and yon...  Remember when "continue on" was  redundant? Remember a time before "no worries"? I say there is room in this crazy world for both "toward" and "towards" and let's embrace both! At least, that's why I told my editor....

You left out "The Middle", which I know you like. "Suburgatory" has its moments, too. I just hope "Raising Hope" is doing well on Fox, since they have such a quick trigger finger when it comes to yanking sitcoms.

been fixed. thanks!

He seems to have gone all Charlie Sheen on the producers of "Community". Will the show be back again next year, and if so, will he?

Are you suggesting the war of drunken words between Chase and exec producer Dan Harmon was all ginned up by the incredibly talented NBC publicity department to try to get more people to watch "Community,"  like the Sheen/Chuck Lorre war did for "Two and a Half Men"? That would be great, because it needs all the ratings help it can get... I'm out of time. Thanks for joining me. Have a lovely weekend --  see you next Friday!

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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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