Feb 04, 2011

Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes takes your questions. Ask about the drama, comedy and heartbreak of the world of television -- both onscreen and behind-the-scenes!

Results of our poll:

Now that 'The Good Guys' is cancelled, any chance of Jenny Wade and Sarah Chalke remaking Cagney and Lacy for the USA Network? Or we add in Jennifer Taylor and remake Charlie's Angels?

Sarah's in that new CBS show 'Mad Love' which, yes, is dreadful but no more dreadful than, say King of Queens which means it will probably be around for several seasons... so she's already tied up... too bad

Hi Lisa -- any advance word on what the Glee folks have in store following the Super Bowl? And if the Super Bowl happens to go into overtime or something, will they lose their intro audience? Come to think of it, Super Bowl audience...Glee fans. What's wrong with this picture?

The Glee post-Super Bowl episode will, we're told,  include a production number in which the cheerleaders' suits have been modified to have bra-like tops with sparklers coming out of them, which makes them look like those  Gaultier  bras of which Madonna used to be so fond... someone attached to the show said they figured that was the way to attract the Super Bowl audience. Sadly, they're right.  Fox generally tends to have its act more together than, say ABC, and my money is on them making sure the "Glee" episode begins before 11 p.m. -- if it starts after 11, it will not be incluced in primetime and so will not count in its season-to-date stats... That's what happened the the post-bowl telecast of "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC -- game ran long and ABC did not shut up its game-anchors's post bowl blah, blah, blah-ing in time to get the show started before 11... If "Glee" starts soon enough, it will, yes, lose a boatload of the bowl audience but it can afford to lose one or two boatloads and will wind up with the biggest leadin audience it's ever going to get in its history, by quite a margin...

CBS moved this show to Friday nights. Is that Burn-off Theater and the end of the Defenders?

Not necessarily, though it would be better had it not moved. They've been doing well with their Tom Selleck show Blue Blood on Friday nights but wanted to give it a run in Defenders' timeslot to see if they could do better with the Selleck show...

Lisa, I am really bummed that Alec Baldwin won his 5th SAG award. I honestly believe that Ty Burrell is a better comic actor, but I would have been happy if Steve Carell or Ed O'Neill would have won. Is Baldwin REALLY that much better than the competition? Is Juliana Margulies that much better than Glenn Close that one couldn't have won last year and the other this year? Movies are one-shots, but the Emmys and SAGs seem to delight in rewarding the same people over & over. (I admit I'd like to see the Steelers win their 7th Super Bowl, but, hey, it's where I'm from!)

You're asking the wrong person. I also think very highly of Burrell but I think Alec Baldwin is a comedy genius, and not just when he's working off a script. When he's hosting a trophy show, a guest on a talk show -- heck, even co-hosting The Essentials on TCM -- he just signed up for another season, hooray -- the guy is just drop-dead hilarious and I think he deserves all the trophies he gets... Meanwhile, I was not a big fan of Close's scenery chewing on her FX show.... but I take your point that TV trophy distributing tends to be redundant and hence the Emmys don't get nearly the audience as the Oscars....

This show is soooo bad. Yet my son (tween) and my MOTHER (seventies) like it. What gives?

NBC has cut the order on this one -- you're troubles may soon be over.. Comcast is taking over NBC and is already making moves to wipe the NBC primetime slate clean. It cancelled The Chase too... bye bye.

Pookie -- who is your pick in the all-important Puppy Bowl?

My money's on Calvin, the border terrier.. I'm a sucker for small terriers...

I read where CNN primetime has only climbed to 2nd place over MSNBC but behind Fox during the Egypt Kerfuffle. Has it lost it's status as the go-to spot for breaking. live International developments? (Or do most Americans just not care about Egypt that much even with Anderson Cooper getting punched in the head?)

...and American Idol is getting more viewers than all of them combined....

Lisa: Do Hollywood producers think it's 1974 or thereabouts? The idea that young Hill types are living and/or playing in Georgetown is several decades out of date. Thirty five years ago, when the neighborhood was still semi-affordable, filled with local shops, had two cool repertory movie theaters and you could run into Ben Bradlee at the drugstore, you would find the young'uns in Georgetown (I know, because I worked there), but now its all chain stores, chain restaurants (Billy Martin's excepted) and tourists. On the other hand, I guess pitching a series called Seventh Street wouldn't get very far.

TV shows never bother being tethered to reality. When the show "Melrose Place" was on Fox, the street that's called "Melrose Place" did not actually have any apartment buildings on it. it was hair salons and expensive antique stores....

As a serious student of American Idol, I've been watching the auditions and noticing that they are letting a lot of really young kids through. Obviously part of their bid to try and appeal to a younger audience. Here's the question -- how are they going to get these kids past Hollywood week? Historically, the younger ones can't quite manage the stress, lack of sleep, team work needed to get through those auditions and end up dropping like flies.

I know they have lots of changes planned for Hollywood Week and I'm hoping the group sing is out. It's stupid and has NOTHING to do with the reality of trying to find a new pop star. The producers have said they dropped the age to 15 for eligibility in response to one thing: Justin Bieber...

Did you see last week's 30 Rock where Lester Holt was announcing the "tragedy" at Mel Gibson's compound? It really slammed Gibson hard (as well as Jon Gosselin, which was awesome). Did NBC just decide they were never going to work with Gibson again so they should just go for it? Aside question: how do the NBC news anchors agree to spoof themselves so often? I love it but wonder if they worry about credibility.

NBC seems to be the best-organized network when it comes to promoting their on-air news talent by putting them into entertainmetn shows. Or maybe there news talent just has the best senses of humor about themselves. Personaly I love watching Brian Williams slow-jam the news with Fallon. Williams is funny in person but can be so stiff in his newscasts... I think it's smart to let people see this other, kinda goofy, side of him...

If Taye Diggs is on stage but standing next to Sofia Vergara, is he really there?

IF anybody is on stage standing next to Sofia Vergara are they really there? May be Johnny Depp, but pretty much not anybody else...

Hey Lisa, Would you think I was being too cynical if I said that SpikeTV's biggest regret about filming "Coal" in a mine cited for numerous safety violations is probably that the mine didn't collapse during the filming? Now that would have been reality TV!

Had lunch with Spike suits during this reality-TV conference that went on in Washington this week. They seemed very excited about the show... let's face it, Beers, the producer, does shows about professions that are inherently dangerous. I'm glad that the fact that this show is happening has drawn attention to the mine and caused more coverage of the violation charges to happen. That's a good thing, right?

Last night's ep included Jack's plan to be prepared with a celebrity special to raise money for every possible natural disaster. As luck would have it, the first one was a storm on the wee Pacific island owned by Mel Gibson. Clearly 30 Rock will never call on Mel for a cameo henceforth.

I'm sure the show will survive with out Mel....it was a great gag...

Lisa - More and more a I look at a show's credits (mostly one-hour dramas), I see the lead actor as the Executive Producer. Is there any particular reason for this?

Yes, the actor wants

a) more creative input

b) more money, they get paid twice.....

These are two new shows and I wonder how they are doing. Both strike me as very missable once you watch the first two episodes as I have. The plots don't seem to be that compelling.

The first is from David Kelley, the second from Shonda Rhimes. The attraction for the first show is Kathy Bates who is always worth watching -- frankly I'd watch her read the phone book once a week because she would somehow find a way to make it fun and interesting.  I can't find anything similar to say about "Off the Map" except that during the press tour the creator said it was original conceived as a way to amortize the cost of all those sets, etc. that ABC parent Disney had built in Hawaii for "Lost"....I don't feel any great need to help out Disney or ABC by watching a show that's about amortizing costs...

what's up with all the re-runs of modern family and others, yet NBC is running their sched as usual ....even top chef was a re-run last week?

The February sweep started on Thursday.. any shows that aired earlier in the week were probably reruns and Thursday shows would have been originals. I can't tell for sure but I think you're comparing ABC's Wednesday comedies to NBC's Thursday ones? That would be the reason for the difference between reruns and originals...

With much of the world rocked by unfair decisions by its highest leaders, do you know if anyone's asking for the head of Rebecca Eaton (Exec. Prod. of Masterpiece) after the cheap Dallas-esque last episodes of Downton Abbey and Sherlock Holmes? (and I do mean her actual head, nothing figurative here... I'm really mad.)

I guess the producers want to make sure viewers come back for the next season....you should focus on being thankful Masterpiece still even exists, and maybe thank Rebecca... PBS never could find a replacement corporate sponsor for Masterpiece...  if you like the franchise, consider putting up with those episodes you clearly did not like to be your contribution to keeping the franchise around...

 

Lisa, I'm concerned about all the canceled chats lately. Is there someone else? I think your pookies have a right to know.

Okay, here's the story:  I took two weeks off around the holiday season,  to recover from columnizing and blogging Dancing with the Stars... Then I went to the press tour, which had been slimmed down from 2 weeks in the winter to 10 days by jamming a ridiculous amount of Q&A sessions into each day so there was no time to breathe, much less do a chat. Then, more recently, I had to cancel after suddenly  inheriting a little stray dog that was in bad need of a bed, a collar, some food and a trip to the vet to get his shots and find out what was hurting him, etc... totally unexpected. His name, BTW, is Winkie and he's adorable...

Pookie- Welcome back! I missed you so much! I know there are other things in the world to focus on, but what are they going to do when the "Modern Family" baby (Lily) grows up? I hope this show continues for a long, long time, but part of its charm is that this docile baby rarely cries/fusses and just kind of sits there are lets Cam put wigs on her head and dress her up like Cher. In fact, she just kind of hangs out like a blob. I kind of want them to suspend her in time, because if she grows up into an obnoxious, cutesy Michelle Tanner-like character, I will puke. You got that dude?

You are preaching to the choir. She is the greatest prop -- sorry but it's true. I hope they have got this figured out. I do NOT, repeat NOT want another Olsen twins situation on ABC....

While BBT has been somewhat suffering this season, last night I laughed till tears came to my eyes over both Penny's drama lessons for Sheldon (with roles reversed), and the "Bollywood" parody with Raj and Bernadette. We need more epis like this!

I DVR'd it to blog Idol. Now I'm really looking forward to watching it tonight.. I too think this show has had better seasons and I'm glad to hear last night's episode was good...

Don't blame Rebecca or Masterpiece for this. Both shows originated in England and it was the writers and directors there who chose how they ended not the producers here. I, by the way, enjoyed both.

The British producers count on the co-funding from WGBH, the "producer" in the U.S. for PBS...and Rebecca does work with the show runners on these programs she orders... Yes, the writers want to make sure this franchise continues in the United States, if only for that reason, though I'm sure there are many other reasons. Those writers and directors want to make sure the ratings on the finales are good on both sides of the Atlantic

Just wanted to say that I loved the finales of both Downton Abbey and Sherlock. Did you watch DA, Lisa? If so, what did you think, and when can we expect season 2 here in the states?

I am a sucker for crunchy gravel dramas....loved it.

Is he doing press today? (Page, Liz Kelly's dog, does on occasion.) Would love to see a picture of him.

No, Winkie just got fixed and is currently recouperating and not speaking to me...but I will send him your best wishes..

I don't understand this. BBT theory is pretty lame.

I'm an aerospace brat. I can't help it. I like the comedy about the science geeks. It reminds me of the people who used to come to my house for dinner when I was a little girl...

Pookie, we felt slighted, but now all is forgiven. I'm looking forward to Mr. Sunshine. Should I get my hopes up, or does this show not have much of a chance. Allison Janney playing off Matthew Perry, got to have some laughs going for it.

 You may remember I was not a huge fan of Janney during her "I'm a Role Model to Millions of Women" days on "The West Wing", but on this she is wonderful playing a nut...

Lisa, after last season's finale episode of House, I really thought it would be painfully bad to watch the whole House-Cuddy relationship. But I must admit that I was wrong. I actually like the way they're handling it. Also, Winkie is an adorable name for a dog. Wasn't one of the dogs in Best in Show named Winkie?

So I have been told, in re Winkie, but I can assure you that is not why he got the name. I will post a picture of him next Friday and you will see that there is simply no other name you could give him. He was born to be a Winkie...

I follow pbs on twitter and they've said Downton Abby will be back next January. According to Dan Stevens (Matthew's) tweets, it picks up during the war.

...this is for all of you who did like the ending and the first season...

Was it just me, or did this year's SAG awards show turn into a total snooze? All of the winners were predictable, the dresses were less than astounding, and no one got drunk. While Betty White's speech was adorable, natch, I was cringeing as Steve Buscemi stumbled through his acceptance. Made me long for another win for the eloquent Hugh Laurie.

I am so over Betty White.. Can we please get her to retire? Yes, the SAGS were a snore....I'm suffering from trophy show overkill and think it's time to cull the herd. How do the rest of you feel about it? About 8 trophy shows too many on American TV?

Hey, Pookie: Have you taken the opportunity to check out MTV's "Skins" to see what all of the fuss is about? Funny how the public isn't adverse to a program like "Skins" yet their britches get all twisted when Al Jazeera English starts popping up on American cable systems or Roku.

I have learned a lot from this "Skins" story -- like the fact that Parents TV Council does not watch BBC America, which aired the British version long before MTV debuted its U.S. adaptation....

See, but that's the thing. This season has been totally non-science-related jokes. It's all been comic books and other geeky things. And that's lame.

Yes. They definitely tried to "broaden" the show out for the move to Thursday. That is why I do not think this season has been so great.

I'm a geek and love geeks. But that's how I know these people are faux geeks. And that guy who had been on Roseanne? His fake geek accent is so badly affected. Freaks and Geeks knew how to do the geek thing.

He's turned out to be the least interesting part of the show, and yet was originally supposed to be its star. Always interesting when that happens on a show...

Thank you! This needed to be said. And it's not really Betty White's fault for going along with all this crap, but still its tiresome and we're tired. Yeah, she's old! Enough already.

We need to start a support group...

Now that the dreaded episode 3 of MTV's Skins has aired, can we concede it's not obscene, just badly acted? It's amazing how the British cast made this episode gripping and consistently over the top, while the American (Canadian?) actors, using an almost-identical script, come off as shallow and just going through the motions.

Brit version was much more interesting. And fresh. Having watched it the first time around, I'm a little bored with this one...

Has there ever been a show that originated in the US that was adapted in England?

Law and Order?

Not really a question, but I have to say I'm surprised to learn I actually like Stephen Tyler on American Idol. He creeps me out a little bit when he flirts with the much younger contestants, but at least he's having fun and making it fun for contestants and viewers alike. Actually, I do have a question: how likely is it he's going to get himself in trouble and create a big scandal with one or more of the female contestants?

You mean is he going to go Paula on us? I'm guessing that, after that kerfuffle over Paula and the guy contestant a few seasons ago, the Fox Decency Police make  it extremely clear to Tyler what the rules are, in re fraternizing with the talent -- as in "Don't." I too have been pleasantly surprised by how much I'm enjoying him on the show and he strikes me as a smart guy who is not going to jeopardize his ride on this gravy train... 

I loved loved loved it, but was very frustrated when nothing was resolved. How long do you think we have to wait until the next episodes? Frankly I hope Matthew doesn't marry the awful Lady Mary. And aren't all of the men going to be dead soon anyway with the war just around the corner? Of course, that beautiful house is actually the star so I guess the men aren't that important.

I have nothing to add -- I just wanted to share your last sentence with the rest of the people on this chat....

Glad to here you've adopted a poor stray. He'll return your kindness with unbounding love. I hear Winkie's a big boxing fan. How does he like Lights Out?

Like I said, he's not speaking to me right now...when he's forgiben me for having him fixed, I'll be sure to ask... I'm out of time. Thanks for joining me -- I'm very glad to be back chatting regularly....

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."

The TV Column
Lisa's Blog
The TV Column Live Q&A
Recent Chats
  • Next: