The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Sep 21, 2012

Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes discussed all the latest in TV news - on and off the screen.

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Lisa - I haven't watched "Survivor" for probably 10 years, but caught about 20 minutes of it the other night. Boy, Jeff Probst is just showing up for a paycheck these days. He delivers every line in a dead monotone fit for a subway conductor - "nowontotribalcouncil," "thatstwovotesforrussell." After saying the same lines over and over for hundreds of episodes, he is totally on autopilot.

He's saving himself for his new syndicated daytime talk show, in which he is super-aspirational...

I was home from work sick one day and through bad judgement I watched Hoda and Kathie Lee for a while. Being a male over 50 I guess I am outside their target audience but please let me ask you this? Is there any explanation for what I saw or is one just supposed to watch it and be amazed. They should have to send a bottle of wine to everyone who watches that. J. Fred Muggs was a more coherent Today show host then these two.

I blame your doctor -- clearly you were not sufficiently medicated... Given the proper medication, Kathie Lee and Hoda are the Chet Huntley and David Brinkley of morning infotainment TV...

I caught a few minutes of Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan, and it was painful to watch. They seem awkward with each other, like two neighbors at a BBQ who are unsuccessfully trying very hard to like each other. I don't watch these types of shows, so maybe they're all like that, but I for one will not watch it again.

Kelly's best rapport, of course, is with Anderson Cooper, but, unfortunately, he wanted his own starring vehicle -- which isn't doing so hot in the ratings. In my dream world, he dumped his show and agreed to become The Permanent Person Upstaged by Kelly. She makes him giggle. I love watching Anderson giggle. It's infectious. Even when what she said isn't that funny...

I know "Psych" is off your radar a bit, but I think it's such a clever show where the two main characters play off each other so well. Do you have any idea when it's going to be back on? They say Winter, but what does that mean? Why is it taking so long. "The Mentalist" is great, but it doesn't quite make up for the fun of "Psych."

"Psych" is particularly well cast, I agree. USA has not yet announced a start date for seventh season of "Psych", other than "this winter."

I actually thought it was pretty good with the most annoying character getting killed in the pilot so a more interesting character can step in. Why didn't anyone watch it but me?

Because everyone was watching "The Voice" that night -- and by "everyone" we mean about 13 million people which, of course, is far from "everyone" in the country... anyway, getting back to your question: it's a bad fit with "Bones" and someone needs to tickle Jordana Spiro. I know she's got troubles an all -- or, her character does that is -- what with her owning the mob big time for not offing her deadbeat brother, which is a nuisance when the mob decides they want you to off one of your patients if you take yourself seriously as a doctor -- and if there's one thing Jordana Spiro's character does on this show, it's take herself very very -- very -- seriously.

Will you be chatting during the Emmys this year?

Thanks for asking! The answer is: kind of....Chats are out for trophy shows -- we're live-bloggers now! I'm very pleased I'll be live blogging my favorite trophy show of the year, and I sincerely hope you will join me.  They have not yet created the link to the live blog, but they will on Sunday at 4 p.m.... I assume there will be a link to it on our homepage...

Divine Ms. de M, Is there any definitive word (or even substantive gossip) on the return/cancellation of "Army Wives"? For months it was "This is the end" and "It all ends" on the promos, but the last episode was certainly more of a "we're coming back" cliffhanger and I have yet to see any official cancellation. The web site is mute on the subject. I'd hate to lose another show I've invested 6 years in!

Glad you asked! Lifetime JUST made it official: the network has renewed the show for a seventh season, 13 episode order, for a 2013 return....

Hi Pookie, When does the new season of "Smash" start? Will they finally realize this season that Katharine McPhee is NOT Marilyn?

Hope so! NBC has scheduled it for "midseason" which means after "The Voice" when the season of the singing show that's going to be judges by Usher and Shakira debuts, most likely...

Who's doing better in the rating: "The Voice" or" X Factor"?

"The Voice" -- no contest. This past Monday NBC's "The Voice" clocked nearly 14 million viewers. Meanwhile, Tuesday's two-hour "X" only logged 9.5 million viewers. The next night, last night, when "X" only asked viewers for a one-hour commitment -- and when it wasn't airing against a rerun of  "The Voice," it managed to snag 10 million viewers...

NBC showed commercials saying "11 million people watched 'Revolution' last Monday" Is that what really counts as a hit on NBC?

Holy Cow yes! It wound up being closer to 12 million when the final nationals came in and NBC was probably breaking out the champagne when those numbers came in....That's great retention of its "The Voice" audience...

I hear there are some good comedy programs on TV but I can't last through the laugh tracks long enough to find out. As I grow older it seems my tolerance has dwindled to zero. Either that or they legitmately are more annyoying than they used to be. Laughter from shows filmed (or taped) before a live audience is tolerable. Artificial laughs from laugh tracks is not. We are long past the pioneer days of television when producers must have thought the viewing public wasn't saavy enough to know what was funny w/o being prompted. Why are these still used?

Laugh tracks are not used because producers thought the viewing public wasn't savvy enough to know what was funny in the "old days." Laugh tracks are used because research shows people are more likely to laugh in company and TV viewing tends to be a solitary thing -- moreso now than ever before, what with everyone watching their own shows in their own rooms in the house, or on their mobile device on the freeway, etc... and most of the new comedies this season are laugh-track free, so you're in luck! Only CBS's "Partner" on the fall schedule, if I'm remembering correctly. New comedies without laugh tracks include "Ben & Kate," "The Mindy Project," "Go On," "The New Normal," "Animal Practice,"  "Guys with Kids," and "The Neighbors"...

Pookie, why didn't you warn me? I hung in there waiting for improvement until maybe 30 painful minutes had creaked by and I realized doing almost anything else would feel like fun by comparison. The utter stupidity of it all might have been helped by better pacing, but that apparently would have required a few jolts from an electric cattle prod and those weren't working 'cause I guess all batteries died when the lights went out and water and wind and lightening either ceased to exist or can't be used to generate electricity for some reason -- possibly the utter stupidity of the entire show. Am I right that this production was too bad for the SciFi channel, Family Channel or Lifetime and NBC bought it from the remnants pile? And please, will it go away quickly? BTW, I liked "Lost" but this -- This was like a hybrid of one of those 1940s/50s Creature from the Swamp bad science movies with the worst 1950s/60s Christmas season TV schmaltz.

I blame a failed education system -- my assumption is that the rocket scientists leading the cast don't realize they can use flowing water, or heck, a few horses and cows, to generate some electricity...and no,this was not a show that was rejected by other networks. On the contrary, this was a big deal get by NBC -- from Eric Kripke and  JJ Abrams, who told the L.A. Times, which reported with a straight face: "Eric Kripke came to us with an idea that was undeniably good. It was such a great premise for a series that it was just that feeling of the misery that you’d feel if you had a chance to be part of that and didn’t take advantage of it... He’s so obviously the real deal, and we’re just really lucky and honored that he wanted to collaborate with us on it."

Pookie, please help. Would you please all of the new comedy shows this fall that don't have any laugh tracks/audience 'sweetening' added? If you'd also note the shows that are single camera, I'd be especially grateful. (And by the way, you look marvelous today!!)

Single-camera comedies are laugh-track free comedies... Hope you saw the list I provided earlier. If you want more details, ask away!

Inquiring (and disappointed) political junkies want to know: WHO did get all the tickets? This sounds like a conspiracy to deny the delights of a/c auditorium to the 99.99% who can't be in Washington, D.C., that evening. What's your scoop?

The two debaters announced their smackdown on their shows before the announcement went out, so my guess is fans of both men's shows snatched up all the tickets.

 

When I heard Nicki Minaj had joined "American Idol," I wondered how she, Mariah Carey and Britney Spears were going all get along just inches from one another. Then I realized those entertainers might well be on different shows entirely. I can't be the only tv viewer who gets these shows and their growing ranks of divas confused. But to be honest, I find it hard to give a rat's patootie.

And yet, you're asking the question! I, of course, care passionately about these shows because they are my sporting events of choice... Maria Carey and Nicki Minaj are on the same show: "American Idol" which debuts in January. Britney Spears is on the show with Demi Lovato: "X Factor."  Shakira is going to be subbing for Christina Aguilera on the spring edition of "The Voice." Now you're up to speed!

There was a huge Facebook campaign to bring back cancelled "Harry's Law" and Kathy Bates. Any chance that it could actually happen or is the series dead in the water?

Dead and buried... Facebook campaign would only have worked if , well, actually there is no circumstance under which it would have worked. This show got cancelled because

1) It skewed very old -- NBC sells 18-49 year old viewers and also the fact that its median age is younger than some of the other broadcast networks -- and

2) NBCUniversal did not own the show. It was owned by Warner Bros. .That puts an on-the-fence show in a bad position in this age in which networks look for ancillary revenue streams for their programs...Remember the season CBS canceled "Without a Trace" which was actually doing okay on the schedule, and bought the NBC series "Medium" for a full season instead, when "Medium" had aired for a few seasons on NBC and NBC had offered to pick it up for another season -- but only for a limited number of episodes for midseason? That was because "Without a Trace" was a Warner Bros. TV show, while "Medium," while airing on NBC, was produced by CBS and needed another full season, or maybe it was two more seasons, of episodes in order to have made enough episodes to be a strong player in syndication... and that, pookie, is how scheduling decisions get made these days at the broadcast networks.....

I read the review in Entertainment Weekly this morning and it was merciless, culminating in a grade of F+ (I think that's the first time I've seen that.) Is this lawyer show really that bad? By the way, congrats on using "rannygazoo" yesterday. Oh, well, tinkerty tonk.

And you, on using tinkerty tonk -- one of my favorite expressions.  TV critics tend not to like CBS series. CBS has learned not to take it seriously. They care if viewers like their shows... Advertisers don't pay to reach critics -- they pay to reach viewers.

Two factors why "Downton Abbey" would (or maybe should) win. One is bigger audience and also more of the people watching the Emmys at home will be rooting for it. "Mad Men" ratings went down from this season premiere episode. "Downton Abbey" ratings went up. Also think there is a bigger cross-over between people who watch "Downton Abbey" (your mom or your granny, but not just them) and the people who watch the Emmy awards show then you would have been those who watch "Mad Men" (the staff at Slate.com) and the Emmys.

Emmy Awards are never handed out based on ratings which is why shows with small audiences, like "Mad Men" can have a stranglehold on the best drama Emmy category for four years in a row.  That is to the TV academy's credit because it also means fewer and fewer people watch the Emmy broadcast and the academy relies on the license fee it gets from the broadcast networks for a big chunk of its operating budget each year.... It is one of the concerns of the broadcast networks, which take turns broadcasting the Emmy show -- that so many cable shows with relatively small audiences are dominating the trophy show these days it's affecting the trophy show's audience...

By previewing your new comedies before the official start of the season, I have already found out that they are depressing, boring, and unfunny. Now I don't have to worry that I missed the "Next Best Thing" because it sure isn't on NBC! Thanks Bob!

The downside of previewing a new show during the Olympics is that, if it's bad, you're just letting that many people know very early how bad it is...

Revolution was pretty decent with one glaring exception - how does everyone (especially their hair) look so good without running water and hair dryers? How did the numbers look?

Reminds me of when I was a child in Denver and we liked to watch Dynasty reruns to spot palm trees in Denver...it was a hoot... I too will be watching Revolution every week to spot blow-dried hair, etc... My theory is that this show is actually a comedy...

Hi Lisa: This week, "Modern Family" re-ran last season's finale, and I cried all over again, watching Jay dance with Lily. Is this the year Ed O'Neill finally gets his Emmy?

I certainly hope so. If Kathy Bates can win an Emmy this year (she snagged the best comedy series guest actress win for playing Charlie Harper's ghost on "Two and a Half Men," which was handed out last weekend during the so-called "Creative Arts Awards" portion of the two-night Emmy process), then why not O'Neill. Bates had been nominated 10 times without a single win...

Boo! What, does it take a lot more money to chat than to "Live Blog"? That is so lame!. Could you please tell the WaPo Powers that be that we prefer Chats?

Excuse me, but I refuse to be a lame live-blogger. I am going to be a fabulous live-blogger! Hope you will give it a shot. And, while we're on the subject, we've already put up,  in the TV Column blog,  the ballots in the glam categories, so you can test your Emmy predicting skills...I'm going bold this year and predicint sweeping changes. I've already predicted Jeff Probst will not win the Emmy for best reality series host, for the first time since the category was created.

OK, first let me say that I have a huge amount of respect for this pioneering woman, and in fact I actually like her. BUT based on dipping into the View a few times lately, followed by a little of that ABC special she did on TV History or whatever, I think it may be time for her to ride off into the sunset. Is there anybody who could ever tell Ms Walters that?

In a word: no.

I subscribed to Showtime recently for "Weeds" and for the upcoming season of "Dexter." What else should I be watching with this subscription? I have access to many of their original series online too. After "Dexter" I'm canceling unless I find something worth keeping up with.

"Homeland," "Episodes," "House of Lies," "The Borgias."

The usual two-hour debut was cut to 90 minutes, so he wasn't as much time devoted to the challenge and tribal council. He really didn't get much on-camera time this week.

I still maintain he's saving himself for his daytime talk show -- and that he's not going to win the Emmy for best reality series host on Sunday!

keeps having 'guest hosts' on. is he auditioning for someone permanent? why not kelly?!

He is going to have guest hosts regularly because his numbers aren't so hot and the producers are trying to gin up a bigger crowd.. They have come to realize he's pretty stiff unless he has someone sitting next to him who makes him giggle. If only they'd listened to me!

In Shakespeare's play, it's mentioned that Hamlet attended the University of Wittemberg (a real German university that still exists today). In the present-day Washington, D.C.-set Hamlet, maybe he alumni of my alma mater, Wittenberg University, which is a liberal arts school in Springfield, Ohio.

In the show description, the modern day Hamlet guy is described as a "renegade JFK Jr. type" which I'm guessing is code for "trust funded Harvard grad" ...hate to disappoint you...

Noticing that this new season, there are a lot of slubby girls (okay, still pretty but not exactly Bond girl beautiful or anything), but also a lot of handsome young men who have been to gym. I guess the guys shouldn't complain (how many shows were with skinny pretty wife but overweight doppy husbands), but do wonder I'm done for it. I guess I'm more in the fantasy element of TV rather reflections of reality. I like pretty people on TV even if I'm not one of them.

who are you talking about -- or, more accurately, about whom are you talking? Star of Ben and Kate has the best gene pool ever -- Don Johnson dad and Melanie Griffith mom -- and star of Emily Owens MD ditto -- Meryl Streep mom -- and female lede on Animal Practice is annoyingly cheerleader-cute like, though I'll admit the female lead in new "Beauty and the Beast" isn't as pretty as the guy playing the Beast which is why the network decided the guy had to have a big scar on his cheek so you could tell which was supposed to be the Beast and which the Beauty because otherwise it was going to get totally confusing...and then, in other new shows, the female leads are Lucy Liu, Vanessa Williams, Hayden Panettiere, Connie Britton, the gorgeous Janet Montgomery, blah, blah, blah...Who are these "slubby" girls.. and what does "slubby" mean, anyway? Are we talking about Mindy Kaling, star Fox's new "The Mindy Project"?

Any word on this coming back? I live in the neighborhood in Miami where it's shot (the Grove, as in Coconut Grove) and it's a source of much anxiety that there's no word yet. Also, does Panda Cam count as TV? It's my go-to show these days.

No, Panda Cam does not count, but it's pretty adorable.... "Burn Notice" comes back Thursday, Nov. 8.

Where did Charlie find her fashion-forward boots? Since she was a young girl when the world went kaput I don't get where she would have found boots like that. Cause you know she wasn't wearing size 8 boots when she was 5 so they had to come from somewhere.

She pulled them off some corpse?

I refused to watch, since the premise makes no sense. As you point out, having electricity stop working isn't a failure of machinery; instead, it's a failure of the fundamental laws of nature, just as if gravity suddenly stopped working and people started floating off into space. Actually, that show sounds more interesting, in a lot of ways...

I'd watch that show!

How is Savannah Guthrie doing on the Today Show? Is it weird that I am actually missing Ann Curry's fashion choices? Sometimes Savannah Guthrie's clothes are a little too much for me in the morning.

Ann Curry has the BEST taste in clothing and can wear them like nobody's business. Ann's problem was/is Anderson Cooper's problem -- inability to loosen up....

How many David E. Kelly shows were located in Boston and we never heard a "Bahston" Accent for the entire run?

Well, human beings are able to re-locate to large urban areas without picking up the local accents, but palm trees surviving at 5,000 feet and in 15 percent humidity, with 7.5 months of winter is another thing entirely... I rest my case... anyway, I have fond childhood memories of palm-tree watching on old "Dynasty" episodes...

It seems sort of nitpicky to criticize Revolution for having characters who look nice. After all, how did those people on the island on Lost manage to stay clean and have well-trimmed stubble? Besides, all of TV looks better than real life. (Except for you, Lisa. You look fabulous.)

I know what you mean -- it's like all those middle-class people living in LA in shows who can somehow afford to live in houses that would, realistically, go for about $2 million... still, REvolution being about apocalypse and survival, this kind of nit-pickery seems somehow more appropriate... anyway, I'm enjoying it so far

n'est pas? Love you pookie! Your output is prolific, you are prodigious!

Ah -- schlubby! I should have sensed that... but still, I'm not seeing the schlubby chicks trend the person was referencing, except Lena Dunham on "Girls" and Mindy Kaling on "The Mindy Project" and, in both cases, I applaud the network for their bravery in putting on shows starring not-model-like female leads...Though I too do love my TV eye candy...

Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham, Kat Denning?

okay, so we're up to three...and Melissa McCarthy.... but only two from "new" shows and "Girls" is no longer so new and I can't believe I'm defending model-esque women on TV... how did I get here? So -- bravo all you networks who dared to put "real" women into primetime.

A few years ago, MY NAME IS EARL visited Frostburg State College in western Maryland, my alma mater. Sometime between 1986 and the 21st century, palm trees sprouted in the mountains of western Maryland, too.

They've apparently developed a more resiliant palm tree...

I guess that explains the sweaters. I always thought it was somewhere in Texas, like Dallas, or SoCal. BTW, where was Knott's Landing supposed to be? SoCal?

Wasn't Knotts Landing in wine country -- northern California? I guess I could look it up, but wild guessing is so much more fun...

It's really the only show I'm looking foward to starting up again - is it coming soon or do I have to wait for Spring? Oh, Blue Bloods is filiming outside my window this weekend (I live in Queens) - I'll snoop and report back if anything exciting happens or blows up.

Yes Please! You are now officially our "Blue Bloods" cub reporter. I expect a full report in next week's chat, even if nothing exciting happens or blows up. Details of stars trailers, how extensive is the crafts table.. etc.... no detail too small...

Given NBC's dire ratings situation the past few years, is there any chance they could bring back "Southland" from cable exile to the Peacock Network?

No....

Isn't that bit easy, since the Probster wasn't nominated?

Drat! You've exposed my predicting system.

I only asked about them because the commercials for their shows are all over the place, and I can't always fast-forward through them. In my mind, I lump them all together, and I am baffled by how many people watch the shows. I'd much rather watch a football or baseball game, Pookie.

My theory is that these singing competition shows are, in fact, watched by fans like sporting events.. People pick their fave singers and root for them, like a sports team.. I am recapping X Factor and Idol and I like to think I'm covering a sporting event...

I thought from the headline that there was a new show with singing judges in a salad bowl. THAT, I'd watch. Like the old Fruit-of-the-Loom commercials with singing grapes, apples, bananas, etc. (I think someone famous started out as one of those fruits.)

Anybody know who was that famous person who started out in a Fruit of the Loom ad?

So the Romneys express that they want to go on "The View" in October, so the Obamas snag a spot in September. Is there someone with a lick of sense in their Boston Campaign Offices?

Are you asking if there is someone in the Romney campaign with a lick of sense? I don't know but when his campaign gave Elisabeth Hasselbeck that statement to read on the air this week -- after the tape came out in which he said The View was a high-risk show because it included four sharp-tongued non conservatives -- saying the Romneys would be glad to visit the show in October, anyone with a lick of sense probably finished the thought with "which means the Obamas will visit in September. And Voila! It was announced the next day... This isn't rocket science...

So the Obamas interview at The View is going to be taped? As in, they are tape-delaying the whole 1 hour, or they are editing in the interview to a live broadcast tues?

This is not unusual.. It's how the Romneys visited "Live!" with Kelly and Michael" this week. The trick is to have the hosts all wearing the EXACT same outfits during the pre-taped interview as they wear during the live show in which the taped bit is woven in... Like Kelly and Michael did....

Your response above begged the question: why do TV critics tend to not like CBS shows? Is it because the network skews old? Or there are procedurals which don't appeal to the sophisticated sensibilities of critics? I don't get it. Can you elucidate?

CBS shows tend to be very "tidy" -- storylines that wrap up in an episode, clearly defined heroes and villains... Multi-cam comedies with laugh tracks and procedural crime dramas, etc.  They also like to mix the cast with older, established stars to snag older viewers and younger stars to snag some younger ones.  CBS shows also tend to do well in fly-over country... TV critics, meanwhile, tend to like more complex shows with serialized storylines, anti-heroic leads, etc...

A very young Kurt Cobain was a blueberry in a Fruit-of-the-Loom ad for children's underwear back in 1974. Ah, the memories . . . .

really? I need video!

F. Murray Abraham

Really? Can we have a Kenedy Center Honors year in which all of the honorees got their start in Fruit of the Loom ads? I'd watch that!

The fruits are apple, green grapes, purple grapes, and currants. F. Murray Abraham played a leaf.

Thanks for the additional information...

That was Osacar winner F. Murray Abraham. yes, I knew that too without looking it up. I have no life.

You guys are the best!

Jeff Probst is for *looking at* not for listening to. I thought we all knew this! Don't criticize the man's delivery.

Sorry, but he's no Simon Baker. Heck, he's not even a Jonny Lee Miller.... No, I still refuse to accept that People mag named Probst one of some year's prettiest people...

http://www.tvacres.com/admascots_fruitloom.htm The roster of actors to play Fruit of the Loom characters (who first appeared in 1975) include veteran actor F. Murray Abraham as the talking Fig Leaf; comedian Joey Faye (died 1997) as the dancing Green Grape in the 1980s commercials; Harry Goz (died 2003) as the Big Apple.

this list keeps growing...

The "landing" was a suburb of L.A. The soap that took place in the wine country of northern CA was "Falcon Crest". I knew that without looking it up, and I'm so ashamed. Shoot me now.

Really, you should be proud, not ashamed...

She may dress it on the show, and yes she's not a stick. But schlubby she is not.

She's quite pretty in person....

If you're looking for sexxxy ladies, they're all married to schlubby guys. On TV, anyway.

I wrote the comprehensive piece on this very subject, and gave it a name: Male Pattern Optimism...some of my best work at The Post...

Er, some palm trees grow in the desert. Some can withstand sub-freezing temps. With careful selection, I'm not sure it's impossible.

but the 5,000 feet will kill them...

Ouch! Why the hatin' on Kristen Kreuck? I always thought Lana Lang was pretty smokin'. Maybe not the leading actress of her generation but...

It's not that she's not very pretty . she is... But the guy lead gives Narcissus a run for his money...

I checked out the new season, but after seeing the celebrity infestation, I'm over it. I guess if he lasts until next season, he'll be doing paternity tests.

no doubt....

Could critics' objections have anything to do with the fact that the lead is a Jersey girl from England, because, you know, there just aren't any actresses from New Jersey?

No. The reason she was picked is because she's very good. I don't see why someone should be denied a role they nailed just because they have a British accent. Seems like a form of discrimination to me. Any more than I think Meryl Streep should not be allowed to play a Brit...

I thought the premiere was fantastic, even if they killed off one of my favorite characters. (And my niece was an extra in the swanky whorehouse!) A+, although merely an A for the first episode of Downton Abbey's 3rd season (we have ways).

I love this sentence and hope some day to have the opportunity to use it myself:

My niece was an extra in the swanky whorehouse!

Not exactly a totally new concept. Back in 2000, Ethan Hawke starred as Hamlet, but it was set in skyscrapers of Manhattan and about Corporate America (his family run the "Denmark Corporation").

Ah -- but it didn't air on Fox, and right after "American Idol." That's what tickles my fancy....I'm out of time. Hope you'll join me Sunday for Emmy live-blogging.. Fill out your ballots!

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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