The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Mar 15, 2013

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

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As a fan of several shows that apparently will never be released on DVD ("China Beach" and "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd") I keeping looking for these shows to at least be rebroadcast on Lifetime, OWN, Oxygen, anywhere! My daughter is in high school and I think "China Beach" would be an amazing thing for her to see and think about. I know the music copyrights issue is the dealbreaker for DVD, but Is that keeping these shows from being rebroadcasting too? Which networks do you think would be the most open to showing "China Beach" - I'll start a letter campaign! thanks so much

'China Beach' boxed set being released next month.  'Molly Dodd' more problematic, owing to music rights, or so the story goes.

Is this the beginning of the end or is there hope for a third season? Their first season was short. How many episodes left on this one?

Put your money on 'the beginning of the end'. NBC ordered 17 episodes this season, I believe and says all of this season's ordered episodes will air. The numbers are not good this season and hopefully the storylines will be wrapped up -- all of them. Or, they'll launch a kickstarter campaign to raise money for a sequel flick (please, no!)

Are they trying to have the sexiest cable news network line-up? Adding Ezra Klein sandwiched between Hayes and Maddow would do it.

Yes! And yes.

Pookie, is this more of a re-hash of what the book and film showed, or did they really get what was going on behind the scenes now that Mark Felt outed himself as "Deep Throat"?

I have not yet seen it, so I cannot answer that but I'm sure Discovery would say it's so much more than a re-hash... I mean, they've interviewed Jon Stewart about it, for goodness sake!

Was his being reassigned to Cable New Purgatory due more to Politics, or bad ratings?

Ratings. It's always ratings....

Was Veronica Mars really that good of a show? What dead television show would you pay money to see a movie version made of.?

Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, reprising Bertie Wooster and Jeeves characters, as seen on PBS a million years ago... I'd pay a lot. Also, maybe  "Moonlighting" for purely creep value, though I don't think I'd spend more than $10 on that one.

You're leaving us??? No!!!!!

Yes, I'm leaving the Post at the end of the TV season in May. The reason: I want to live with my family and, sadly, I don't mean that in the usual "fun but reckless sex scandal about to go public" sense of "live with my family."

At our place, we always called Survivor Producer Mark Burnett by "Loki" for his propensity to lie, obsession with fire, and callous disreguard for humanity. Now that "The Bible" is doing well, should we just change his nickname to "Satan"?

I'm very much enjoying this latest iteration of Burnett --had grown somewhat tired of his Section Commander in Parachute Regiment of British Army character.  

Has Nashville been picked up? And is it my imagination or has it been getting progressively soapier? We've almost run out of couples to pair off.

No word on pick up yet. and yes, it has gotten very, very soapy.

Dana Delany didn't want you to see that she has not aged in the past 25 years causing great concern about plastic surgery, botox, and witch doctor treatment. Then she realized, who cares, it is TV, it is Hollywood, she says, " I will never grow old and have to appear on Dancing With The Stars. Look at me, I am a cougar coroner on my new show. I will last longer than Mark Harmon." and with better skin, or at least better lighting

That's quite a theory! Witch doctors?

Pookie, you look wonderful today. Also, you make me spit out my cornflakes at the breakfast table at least once a week.

That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me all day...

Sounds like you just got played by the marketing department of China Beach. It read just like those "letters" to the Parade magazine that ask, "What is so and so up to these days? Funny you should ask, they have xyz coming out next week."

Your guess is my guess, but I thought I'd answer it anyway in case there are "China Beach" fans out there.. They should know their long wait is nearly over...

Are you really leaving us? Anything we can do to stop you? I can get a kickstarter campaign going to bring back My Boys!

That's very sweet but please don't bring back "My Boys" -- it needed to be put out of its misery...

Pookie, with all of NBC's changes, is there a possibility that Bob Greenblat might lose his job as NBC Programmer?

Well, they had a sensational fourth quarter. It's the first quarter that's killing the network. And, of course, the fourth quarter did well due to baseball and "The Voice" but still, he'll get credit because he's overseeing the west coast operation.

That's some substantial pledges. But isn't it like PBS, where you can expect a percentage of those pledges to fall flat?

Absolutely. And so, though they hit their goal in about 12 hours, the campaign continues. And, let's face it, it's not like Warner Bros. couldn't afford to make the low-budget, limited-release flick out of its own pocket. This is more of a publicity stunt than an actual need for the money.

Friday's will never be the same!

Yes, you are right. (thanks!)

Hey, Pookie: Much has been written and ballyhooed about ABC's "Good Morning America" overtaking NBC's "Today" in the morning info-tainment ratings. And, it seems all is not well behind the scenes at "Today" if we are to believe what's been written this week. I wonder if "Today" would still be No. 1 it hadn't been for ABC's unrelenting desire for the nation to take pity over Robin Roberts' health and keeping her in the forefront of their show even while she was on her leave of absence?

'GMA' ending 'Today's' ratings record happened before Robin Roberts' latest health scare, though I'm sure bringing her back did goose  'GMA's' February sweep numbers. Fact is the 'GMA' show has become more collegial and fun than 'Today,' with all its drama.  Morning infotainment viewers want to watch a group of people who seem to like each other having a jolly time.  It's not rocket science.

So last night that show had me laughing out loud over and over. I don't even watch the show regularly. I accidently left it on after Big Bang. What does all this laughing say about me? i'm scared

Ooh -- I haven't watched the episode. What happened? I can't tell you if you need help until I know what it was about...

Why have a lot of major TV shows been showing reruns? Is it the end of the season already?

The February sweep ended. March is a repeat month; April pretty much too. May will be original episodes and season finales...

I saw that the first episode of History Channel's "Vikings" did well. How well did the second episode retain the first's ratings? I don't usually like anti-hero-centered shows, but this one has kept my interest so far.

It went down, but by an acceptable amount -- did not fall off a cliff....

Well, you won't have "Smash" to kick around anymore. It's gone to Saturdays to die. Can we now just ignore the series on this chat and move on to serious, national affairs topics like "American Idol"?

You betcha! Do we think Nicki Minaj was really "stuck in traffic"?

Pookie, with everything failing this mid-season, do you think "Revolution" will come back to the numbers it had last fall?

No, but they'll be terrific for NBC, which has plunged off a cliff in the first quarter... at the network they're counting the days until 'Revolution' and 'The Voice' return....

Is it dead yet?

Not yet.

My dad is blind and on Wednesday night, he decided to try out the Video Description feature that all networks are required to do for a certain number of hours a week on Wednesday's comedy lineup, and naturally he made me watch with him. He has never seen any of the four shows. I used to watch "Modern Family" and have just recently started watching "Suburgatory." But we both agreed that out of the four (and we know that three were reruns), that "The Neighbors" was our favorite of the night (who can resist a musical?). Just wanted to add another voice to the growing consensus (at least in this chat), that it is a sweet silly show definitely worth the 22 minute investment.

Welcome to the club... how interesting it must be to "watch" 'Neighbors' using video Description. I'd love to hear their description of that comedy -- must be challenging!

Last week, you wrote in response to a comment that you though Comedy Central must have audience testing data showing that John Oliver has some appeal. Is another scenario that Jon Stewart has a lot of control and regardless of what Comedy Central wanted or didn't, Stewart said "John Oliver's my fill-in" and that's it.

Of course, since he exec produces the show. But Comedy Central is already in business with Oliver outside of "The Daily Show" so my guess is they are just fine with the plan, no matter how it came about

I thought the same thing - fishing for free press. How about some really obscure shows like Townies, Double Trouble (with the Sagal sisters), or It's Like, You Know...?

Among my most fond memories of my time at the Post will be the debates I had with copy desk over the years about presentation of TV show names that did not comform to Post style -- including "it's like you know..."

That's a show that needed another season. And would probably Defy the "Video Description" challenge.

That one would be tough -- and I'd like to see a sequel movie as well -- $20 on that one!

What are we to make of this big "I wasn't the one who wanted Ann Curry fired" campaign? Does NBC really think that if people believe that, then they will start watching "Today" again?

They apparently did same at an NBC News upfront with advertisers this week... clearly a campaign to turn things around.

I don't know whether Nicki Minaj was stuck in traffic, but she didn't seem to be able to get her makeup done until the commercial break (wore sunglasses the first song, then removed them for the rest of the show). Maybe then got her hair done, as the hoodie went down.

I love live TV!

Oh Pookie, it was so funny watching Jeff Probst giving Brandon Hantz a shoulder rub/hold the psycho back this week. But can we go back to having a season with normal people and not disgruntled mentally ill losers?

I really hope so...

Watching The Office last night, I can see why NBC (even as desperate as they are) passed on picking up The Farm. The actors who played Dwight's purportedly "wacky" siblings were about as dull as dishwater. I did like the song about aluminum and cinnamon, though.

deadly stuff, I agree.. anyone out there feel otherwise? Meanwhile, NBC has made a flurry of buys of reality TV programming this week, which doesn't speak well for its scripted development

Pookie: I tried mightily to watch Parade's End on HBO but Bandy was more boring than Charlie Sheen sober. Not being familiar with his other work, but knowing there's buzz about him: Was this a tour de force of acting in playing a character with no visible emotion, or is he a wooden stiff?

He's the Ronald Colman of our generation --  I could listen to his voice for hours on end.  Whether he can act is immaterial to me. My guess is you'll see a much more animated Bandersnatch as the villain in the new "Star Trek" flick...

Lisa -- Hate to saddle you with a question about a cheesy reality show, but do you know if the reality show centered around Major-League-Baseball pariah Pete Rose was renewed? (Former) Reds Fan

TLC burned off the last two epsiodes of 'Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs' on Destination America at 9 a.m. on a Sunday. That does not suggest a renewal is at hand.

Are you going to be doing recaps of "Idol" now that they have reached the top 10?

Nope, but I'd be delighted to discuss here... what do you think of the Top 10, or, rather Top 9?

Okay, so this isn't a very good show, but I have to admit I enjoy the scenes where Bill Pullman's character gets advice on being a good father and what have you in the Situation Room from the generals.

This was very nearly a good show...It's never a good sign when the show's Press Tour Q&A session is more clever than the pilot episode....

In the US, Saturday night is considered dead. No network makes a major play on the night anymore. But in the UK, one of the BBC's top shows, Doctor Who airs on Saturday nights to great ratings. Why the difference?

Once upon a time, Saturday night was big in the U.S., TV-wise as well... but the networks let it slip away...

May you rest in peace, dear, dear "Smash." (NBC moves "Smash" to Saturday.) Ain't never gonna survive on the night where TV shows go to die ...

nope, it's not looking good for 'Smash'

Am I the only who feels that Asa comes across like a Persian Yoko Ono?: - The test of the artist does not lie in the will with which he goes to work, but in the excellence of the work he produces. Thomas Aquinas

I did not think anyone could make me want to keep up with this show, but your Thomas Aquinas quote makes me think I'm missing something...

Not the show - yours. I'm so sorry to hear you'll be leaving The Post. Best of luck in the future!

thank you!

One former A-list star that I'm kind of surpised hasn't done some "premium" TV series is Winona Ryder (men and women who came up age in the early 1990s still have a soft spot for her). She's still around and getting side roles here and there (Black Swan or the Star Trek reboot) which she could still do if she was on some TV show.

I don't know if they could get insurance for her... on the other hand, 'Ally McBeal' managed to use Robert Downey Jr. -- though as a guest actor...

He can certainly make things look good, but can he really do a gritty spy show, Pookie?

If he can make sense of a flick about a tiger, on a lifeboat, I don't see why he couldn't make sense of even a Howard Gordon pilot...

Poor Matt Lauer never saw the backlash of his coolness to Ann Curry. That was some miscalculation. And, why is NBC letting him take all the heat? Don't they think he is a commodity?

NBC seems to be trying its darndest to get the heat off of Lauer, but the public is, so far, having none of it...

Here is my first: Will the characters on Big Bang Theory ever evolve?

No. Chuck Lorre does not evolve characters...

Joel McHale had some fun on The Soup about this series, including the intro "Last time, on 'The Bible.'" As McHale said, "Oh, no, now I have to sit through 1,700 years of recap." These chats will be greatly missed, especially the Wodehouse references. I'll share one: "I don't know if you know what the word 'excesses' means, but they are what Pongo's Uncle Fred, when in London, invariably commits."

thank you for that....

So now instead of asking when "My Boys" is coming back, we can ask you if you've reconsidered leaving.

I'm here, and chatting, until the end of May...

You mixed up baseball & football--please don't ever change!

good grief! I meant football...

I didn't think that it could get any worse than Ellis, but the annoying young playwright / bartender, who "don't need no stinkin' help from nobody" is making me pine for the sniveling snake of a person assistant. Where are the falling pianos when you need them?

He is the worst character yet on this show. "Smash" will go down in the books as a classic case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory....the audience was theirs to lose -- and they lost them.

...that the secret to a long and happy marriage is distance? :-)

Mom? Is that you?

I saw a 2-hour finale is coming. I hope that's a season finale, not the end of the show!! Do you know?

You mean "The Good Wife"? "the Perfect Wife" was a Lifetime flick, I think... CBS has not scheduled a two hour finale on "The Good Wife."  I'm confused. Perhaps I should have started this chat by mentioning that I've had no sleep....too many Bette Davis/George Brent movies on last night.

Kind of wish they'd move up Colbert Report instead of John Oliver. Not that Colbert and Jon Stewart were polar opposite when it came to comedy style, but wondering if John Oliver is too close to Stephen Colbert's type of humor that it's a bit bunch too get that much smart snark in one hour.

It's only for eight weeks while Stewart goes off to direct his movie... it would confuse viewers to move Colbert's show up and then move it back when Stewart returned. I like that they're giving Oliver a platform for eight weeks -- kind of like how The Smothers Brothers had Glenn Campbell fill in for them over the summer...or did I dream that...

I love the Neighbors, and watch it every week on ABC Player, as I'm not home Wednesday nights when it airs. I do that for The Middle and Modern Family, too, but I often reply Neighbors episodes multiple times because it's just that much fun. Does my after-the-fact viewing count in the show's favor with ABC as they weigh whether or not to give it another season?

If you're a Nielsen family, yes.

I was cautiously optimistic when I read that Lizzy was fired from the show, but I knew it was too good to be true! I just can't take her whiny, nasal voice, it's good that she gets cut off by the other host when she goes on. Barbara's bored look when Lizzy starts talking is priceless. People can have opposing political views, but at least have an honest debate instead of just spouting talking points from Fox Noise. I fast-forward when she talks about her family, snoozefest!

There certainly are a lot of Hasselbeck non-fans on today's chat....I too wish she'd brush up on her debate skills, what with her representing conservatives on the show.

People aren't watching your show because it's not good -- not because they're angry about Ann Curry. Really, I promise. I really, really promise. So, stop talking about Ann and just put out a good show.

 Hopefully, someone will read this...

Why does Barbara Walters like Elizabeth Hasslbeck? Surely they could find some pretty, young conservative who isn't shrill and has a sense of humor . Or is that impossible?

It's always dicey to replace someone on a show. If the show is working, you don't want to mess with the formula...

was once the realm of the Love Boat and Fantasy Island. I don't remember what was in the third hour, but who cares? Ethel Merman and Milton Berle on a boat and Pamela Sue Anderson (no, not that one) on the Island. Awesome.

You may have just described what went so horribly wrong with Saturday night....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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