Jan 21, 2011

Returning from her Winter TV Press Tour 2011, Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes takes your questions on Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes, American Idol, the departure of Regis Philbin, and the "Skins"/child porn controversy. Ask about the drama, comedy and heartbreak of the world of television -- both onscreen and behind-the-scenes!

2,500 responses: What do you think of the new "Idol" judges?

Take the poll before the chat:

I've never been a fan of "Two and a Half Men," but then I decided to think of it as a Charlie Sheen reality show with Jon Cryer as some court-appointed guardian there to ensure he doesn't get killed. Now I can tolerate it a little more.

Hi. Love your line of thinking! Now all they need to do is both become an  odd shade of orange...

I think this is one of the best shows on television. Please tell me it won't be canceled.

Its ratings are such that it's not a slam dunk, but ABC seems to like it. The big question: the guy now running programming at ABC -- Paul Lee -- did not develop any of the shows on the schedule. And people are more invested in keeping something they developed and scheduled than something the previuos guy developed and scheduled. So it may be more dicey for "on the fence" shows at ABC in May when network suits are making the final cuts... And, it also  really matters whether ABC's sales department loves the  show -- do they think they can sell it to advertisers in a big way.

Pookie, are you back yet? My Fridays have not been the same without you.

Thank you.. I'm very glad to be back. 

I've been waiting several weeks to tell you how wonderful your article was about Oprah. A gem.

Then it was worth it.... I'm still recovering from that Oprah Q&A session...I have sat in on press tour filibusters before, but never anything like that one. Hundreds of glazed eyes in the room when it was over..

Here's the Oprah column.

Will there be a chat this week? I haven't been called pookie in like a month!

Yup -- you've come to the right place....

Has Glee jumped the shark with the announcement of a Bieber-riffic episode?

Every time they announce a "pop star-themed" week, I think this show has jumped the shark. The secret to this show's success seems to be that it owns the shark. It is the shark....

should replace Regis.

He's good with Kelly but he's about to launch his own daytime syndicated talk show and so he's not going to want to share the spotlight with Kelly. Please do vote in our Who To Replace Rege poll today -- we were careful not to include the names of anyone who already has a gig -- we're doing a serious poll here, folks. Oh, except Howard Stern. No rumor mill would be complete without Howard Stern's name....

Lisa, I have missed you a lot. How did Glee win over Modern Family for best comedy at the Golden Globes? The persona of the Glee actors at awards ceremonies is really arrogant - and - rarely does Glee make our family laugh.

I too am a very big Chris Lloyd/Steve Levitan fan and think they have come up with one of the best comedies I've seen in ages in "Modern Family." But, in fairness to "Glee" -- which I'm happy to see succeed because I'm a fan of musicals --- the category is "comedy or musical".....so I"m assuming they're supposed to figure out whether "Modern Family" is a better comedy than "Glee" is a musical. Oh wait, it's the Hollywood Foreign Press Association! nevermind...

Lisa, So glad you are back! Missed you so much the last two weeks! Has Good Guys already gotten the hook or FOX waiting to deliver new episodes?

You need to figure out a way to say goodbye to "Good Guy" because it's a goner. makes me sad too...

I don't think it will be Anderson Cooper. Morning show hosts have to chit-chat more about their private lives and Anderson Cooper is notorious for not looking about his private life especially his romantic life.

And yet -- he's about to launch his own syndicated daytime talk show! Won't that be interesting....

What should we see, what should we avoid?

I'm going to accentuate the positive: Based on what I saw and heard at Winter TV Press Tour 2011, I'd suggest catching  Showtime's "Episodes" which has already debuted and which is refreshingly clever -- well written, nicely cast and Matt LeBlanc is no longer dying his hair, for which we are thankful.  And watch Discovery's Science channel's "An Idiot Abroad" in which Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant send Karl Pilkington to see the seven wonders of the world and he hates eveyr minute of it....funniest press tour session ever. And Masterpiece's "Downton Abbey" -- also already debuted -- is dreamy for fans of crunchy-gravel period dramas...Ditto HBO's  "Mildred Pierce" particularly if you loved Joan Crawford's scenery-chewing version, mostly to marvel at how very different are the two productions (this one's closer to the book)...And HBO's "Too Big To Fail" is a hoot...But, really, you need to keep an eye on all the OWN shows if you are a serious student of TV, just to see what it is Oprah comes up with and how she tinkers with the product, etc...

Her Golden Globe win on Sunday was well-deserved. Any chance the fine folks at the television academy will finally put her up for an Emmy this year?

I hope no,t because her husband, Kurt Sutter, says the Emmys are hooey, and they're rebels and renegades and they don't need no stinkin' trophy shows, so it would probably be very distressing to them both if she was nominated -- and horrifying to them if she won..

While I do believe it could be Rickey Gervas or Neil Patrick Harris...I think there is someone else in mind who isnt on the list ...maybe someone who has guest hosted before like Ryan Seacrest whom you didnt have on the list.

Again, we only put people on the list who do not already have full-time talk show gigs -- no Jimmy Kimmel, or Jimmy Fallon, like you've seen on other lists. Because, let's face it, they're not going to give up starring in their own talk show to play second fiddle to Kelly on her show, no matter how cute and ripped and blonde she is... I included Neil Patrick Harris because his show's a weekly and other people have done two gigs at once if one of the gigs isn't a daily grind...

Fox doubled-up episodes of Human Target the past few weeks. Was this simply to get it out of American Idol's way, or are they burning the episodes because they're cancelling the show?

Yes, and yes...

I mind the mild uproar of ethnic stereotyping when NBC's "Outsourced" premiered, but didn't watch it then. I saw it the other night and thought is was pretty funny. A bit rough with room to improve, but I wish them well.

Your reaction seems to be typical....it's doing okay. Particularly given that it's on NBC, which has become kind of a niche network these days...

What do you think of her first foray into TV? I thought the beginning was hokey but got better. They need to move the shoes out though to be taken at least a bit more seriously.

It's Daved E. Kelley, pookie! -- they are never going to move out the shoes. The shoes will have their own Very Special Sweep Episode, in which the shoes get married, tackle their substance-abuse issue, or have a baby. Just you watch...Meanwhile, I think Kathy Bates if the best thing that's happened to Kelley in a while --- she is terrific in anything she does and I always enjoy watching her performances. Yes, the premiere was hokey but I think Kelley was just going for louder than even his usuall stuff -- which is saying a lot -- because he knew how tough the launch was going to be for this show.  Okay, I confess, he actually said as much at the tour...

What about that guy who played J. Peterman on Seinfeld to replace Regis. It seems like he used to do Family Feud for a while. Or isn't he old enough to be the "grandfatherly" type that's needed to make this a success?

John O'Hurley would be good -- I forgot about him... drat.

So Pookie what do you think about the start of Season 10? I think Steven Tyler is the new Paula only WAY crazier which I didn't think was possible which means I LOVE HIM!!!

I have become a huge overnight Steven Tyler fan. I really did not get that hiring. I was soooo wrong. Now if they would just stick a pin into the fleshy part of JLo's leg every week, maybe they'd have something... If she starts whining about how hard this is one more time I'm gonna throw my Louboutins at her...

Why did TNT only show six episodes? What was the purpose of saving the rest of the shows for the summer? My impression is that TNT likes the show, especially since it constantly gets good reviews.

The network likes the show and did not do it any favor with its scheduling. It's ratings were not great when it came back. It's a good idea to save the rest of the episodes for the summer, when cable shows traditionally have an easier go of it because the broadcast networks go into reruns and cheap reality fare...

What has been great about Live with Regis and Kelly and even back when it was Kathie Lee, was the New York feel of the show. The host needs to be someone in New York that is plugged in and attends events and parties in New York, which ihas made it so much fun to hear them chat. My vote is Andy Cohen of Bravo. Adorable. Funny. Plugged into NY and to popular culture.

What a great idea! -- except, oh, he runs programming at Bravo and does his Bravo show as well...and why do I think he'd last on the set with Kelly about a day before some verbal death match would break out. Wait a minute -- that's brilliant TV...

Pookie, Do you think Ricky went too far at the Golden Globes? I thought it was really funny.

I don't think he went nearly far enough... I love Gervais, but his Globe gags were so OLD.... Robert Downey Jr at Betty Ford -- really?.. That gag's been around since Downey was doing 'Ally McBeal' way back  in, I think,  2000... because he couldn't get any work in movies as a result of his personal problems.  And Gervais's   "two guy star Scientologists who pretend to be heterosexual" gag? "South Park" did that gag, brilliantly, in November -- of 2005! I expected much more from Gervais... It made me sad..

Pookie - don't EVER leave like that again, Okay? The above is admittedly overboard, but I definately missed your chats. First, the poll - great addition of the Martin Short choice. I know everyone loves NPH (and I do too), but I saw Short on Real Time w/ Bill Maher the other night and he was seriously good in that format. I never would have thought... Second - Scoudrels? Is this definately no more, or is there a chance it could get picked up again if one too many new shows get offed? Thanks!

I love overboard... Anyway, I too was pleasantly surprised by Short on "Real Time" -- as I was surprised at how good he was on FX's "Damages." He's got hidden depths, as they say. I'm casting my vote for Short...

I can't keep track of who owns which networks and shows. Is there any possibility of the guys from Pawn Stars showing up on CSI at some point?

Absolutely! Anything is possible these days, now that Justin Bieber played a serious dramatic role on "CSI"...

I like Idol so much better this year! Simon was great because he told the truth and didn't sugar coat things, but man, he got predictible at the end. He hated country music, I get it. I love the new cast. Steven Tyler is great and restores the mystery of whether a judge will try and hook up with a contestant. I yell at J Lo to be meaner, but that's fun because I can yell at the tv. No idea how they will be live, but I look forward to hollywood week! Let's hope they bring back the "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch" montage.

Glad to learn others enjoy yelling at their TV like I do. You might also try keeping a basket of dinner rolls by your side when you watch this show -- they're fun to hurl at the set when you get really annoyed and if you have a pet you will become their hero, though they will be pretty fat by the end of Idol seasons. JLo needs to get a pulse and stop focusing on her hair and her outfit. Though I did covet last night's trenchcoat... Oh, and Simon didn't speak the truth that last season -- I think he deliberately he sabotaged the show because he knew he was going to come out with his "Idol"-killer show in the U.S. in the fall.. I'm blaming Simon for Lee DeWyze...

Do you think that Tyler and JLo get 2-for-1 deals for lip botox? How about for hair extensions? Don't you think Tyler would make a better judge on "Who wants to be an aging rocker's groupie?" His leer was scary and set such the wrong tone for what it'll take to win this thing.

Sorry, I'm a fan since he said, after one auditioner's particularly loud, off key performance: "Well, if it wasn't for all that!..." That was brilliant... the guy's positively urbane. Who knew?

Don't listen to the commenters complaining about your sarcasm! Sarcasm is what makes your writing so funny, and it's definitely the only way to watch American Idol and most other TV. If they want to take the show seriously, they can go somewhere else. The rest of us need you to help us mock the show so we won't feel so dorky about watching it. Keep up the snark! We need you.

I adore "Idol"... really, I could not have blogged Idol for all these years if I did not enjoy it...I'm guessing "Idol" fans are very sensitive these days because change is hard and they too are worried about its ratings. They need to focus on the fact that it's still the most watch show in the country and not going away any time soon....

I got to watch Onion Sports and it is almost too good at what it does. Its nails SportsCenter. Have you been able to see it yet? Do you think we have shows like My Boys to thank for getting another Sports TV show on the air (to be honest, I don't really believe that last sentence, but I did want to work in a My Boys reference).

You think it "nails" SportsCenter -- meanwhile, I can't tell the difference.. I'm like all those people Gervais was talking about in his interview last night on the "I'm Piers Morgan and You're Not" show -- people who thought the British "The Office" was an actual documentary series when they first saw it...

Do you think the audience was truly hating on Ricky Gervais, or were they secretly loving it but had to be politically correct ("Hollywoodly correct"?) and act as if they disapproved? 'Cause some of that stuff was truly funny.

I spoke to people in the room and they were uncomfortable mostly. Me, I was sad and hoping Gervais would suddenly bust out with something that was, you know, not stale.. It's a night I'd like to put behind me. I know he's capable of being much, much fresher and he is one of the funniest guys around.

...but I'm loving Steven Tyler on Idol. I decided to tune in to the opening show just so I could scoff for ten minutes or so, and I wound up watching for an hour! Then I watched it again last night! Pookie, please assure me that I haven't lost my mind.

If you have then you are in good company. I was the official captain of Team Eye Roll on the Steven Tyler hiring, and was stunned at how much I enjoyed watching him on the Wednesday premiere. Last night he seemed too toned down, but that comes with the territory on a show like this. We've got five months ahead of us...

I actually kind of enjoy this show, but in the recent weeks, they have shown the young, spunky accomplice sunbathing in her underwear, stripping down to her underwear to be a distraction and being forced to strip down to her underwear, oil up and wriggle through a ventilation shaft to help with a heist. I had to ask the expert: am I being pandered to? Any, oil slithering aside, I have found this show fun and entertaining, even if it does fall into the "turn brain off before watching" category. I assume it is on its last legs?

I'd like to quote from the reference book "TV Industry Lessons to Live By," which is always at my side:

When a TV series  adds spunky accomplice who is seen sunbathing in her underwear, strpping doown to her underwear to be a decoy, being forced to strip down to her underwear and wriggle through a ventilation shaft to help in a heist - it's time to take the show off your DVR list.  It's desperate.  It's over.

Ok - I just spit diet coke all over my keyboard laughing at that one. How am I going to explain that to text support? But maybe the massive ego is necessary. And I guess this will be better than the previous "I'm Larry King and I have no idea who you are" show.

Spitting coffee right back at ya over your "I'm Larry King and I Have No Idea Who You Are" ....tell tech support you were doing research....

Conservative bloggers are claiming that Ricky Gervais is their hero, for skewering Hollywood liberal types at the Globes. But don't they realize that Gervais is a liberal and an atheist?

I'm guessing their DVR's did not grab that last minute of the show when he delivered his "I'd like to thank God -- for making me an athiest" gag...Now, I'd like to ask a question that, as a huge Gervais fan,  has been bothering me for days. Why the heck did he host this lamest of trophy shows in the first place? Rick's my guy who MOCKS trophy shows -- not host them.. Really, it's like some Greek tragedy in my world...

...that I've been saving up to ask you: How many times did you watch "Christmas in Connecticut" this season? Twice for me.

I confess: I watched it three times. I love Sydney Greenstreet -- the man was a genius... "What a wife!".....sorry, for he rest of you who don't care...

When is it coming back - is it coming back?

NBC isnt saying when it will be back. But, really, even if they did it would not matter because the Comcast buy of NBC Universal has been given a thumbs up by FCC and is expected to close at the end of this month and Comcast had already, weeks ago, named their new programming chief, Bob Greenblatt.. so anything NBC says these days may only hold true for about another couple weeks....

What do you think will happen with this show? Thanks.

I think it will do a big number on  Jan. 31, when it presents its Very Special episode, in which the 17 year old high schooler who has taken a firm anti-clothing position and experimented with erectile dysfunction drugs has an epiphany and runs down the street...  I'm guessing it will win a Peabody and everyone will live happily ever after...

How can people even compare Tyler and JLO with Nasty Pants and Qualude Head? When the show first opened they could not have dreamed of getting a legendary rocker and legitamate movie star/pop star on their panel. It is a tribute to the show's success that they are able to land such great talent . Ten years ago nobody wanted the gig , now everyone was fighting to get it. I'm just sayin....

pookie, you are sweet, but have you seen the stats on JLo's latest movie and album, etc? Yes, she's no Paula in terms of over-dom, but this gig came along at exacdtly the best time for her... I will concede that I was totally wrong when I signed up to be Captain of Team Eye Roll in re hiring Tyler. I am a total convert...

In the wake of conservatives Tucker Carlson, Tom DeLay and Bristol Palin, what Democrats do you think "Dancing With The Stars" ought to choose to compete?

The executive producer of the show, Conrad Green, and I had just that conversation the other day. His argument is that every Hollywood type he casts IS the Democratic "Dancing" representative...this makes me sad because I was so hoping we'd see Al Gore on the dance floor...

Did you watch the NBC competition mini-series with all those a capella groups this past December (hosted by Nick Lachey)? I thought the groups and the show were so much better than "American Idol" -- genuine talent, not a loser in the bunch. Will it return for another series?

NBC seems to be very happy with this show as a holiday period short-order. That said, the network is being sold to Comcast and who knows how they feel about it.... see above..

Lisa, how about a radio host branching into TV for the Regis slot. I'm thinking Stephanie Miller but I'm sure there are others. Love TV, love radio, love you!

You think Kelly would actually stand for another chick as her co-host. I know Miller's  brunette and all, but she's way too attractive for Kelly to sign off on that...

Why does Jean Marsh (co-creator of "Upstairs, Downstairs," who played maid Rose on the original series, have her knickers all in a twist over the success of "Downton Abbey"? I loved the original U/D, and am now enjoying "Downton," which is whetting my appetite for the return of U/D, not detracting from it. Someone should tell Jean Marsh just to chill.

I know she made a crack about it at Press Tour, calling "DA" her "warm-up" act, but I did not know her undies were in a total bunch over it. Meanwhile, some Brit at the tour told me they were disappointed in the "Upstairs, Downstairs" update. I have to say I'm wondering how I'm going to suspend SO much disbelief that I buy into Marsh's character coming back  allegedly SIX years after the end of the time when the first show ended , when she has aged about 30 years in real life...

What were Idol's ratings this week?

Wednesday's season debut clocked more than 26 million viewers and last night's show (early stats) logged about 23-24 million. Yes, this is down compared to last year. Yes, the show moved from Tuesday/Wednesday into more competitive Wednesday/Thursday play pattern. And, Most Important, yes it is still THE MOST popular show on American TV.... I'm out of time. Thanks for joining me.

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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