Don Cornelius, 'X Factor,' and 'Downton Abbey': Lisa de Moraes' TV Column Live

Feb 03, 2012

Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes chatted about the about all the drama, comedy and heartbreak of the world of television. See below to see what questions readers brought up and what Lisa had to say about in response.

- Find everything Lisa de Moraes:
Lisa's Blog
- Lisa's Column
- Lisa's Chats

We've never watched "Downton Abbey," but we've borrowed the season 1 DVD, and have been recording season 2. Since we're reportedly getting shorted on the TV broadcast, should we just wait for the next DVD (assuming we like the show)?

I hate waiting. ...Watch it now, then get the DVDs and see what you missed!

Will the WKC dog show finally be broadcast on one channel this year, or will it jump to another channel during the broadcast, as it has in years past? It's not a huge deal in the big scheme of things, except when I mess up programming the DVR, but I do find it annoying. And THIS would be one show that I'd love to see broadcast without a delay!

Alas, Monday's competition is still being divvied up between two of The Networks of NBC Universal. So you can watch Westminster on USA from 8-9 p.m. but after that you're going to be watching "WWE Raw" so you'll need to switch over to CNBC -- yes, CNBC.  Tuesday night, Westminster coverage returns to USA at 8.  West Coast Viewer Alert: it's time delayed in your area....And don't forget Sunday's Super Bowl alternative, the Puppy Bowl VIII, on Animal Planet, starting at 3 p.m.,  featuring rescue dogs and a kitten halkftime show (we checked after someone asked during last week's chat) as well as Piggy Pep Squad and Meep the Bird tweeting the game  from the stadium, which we hope is not overdoing it this year. Here is the starting lineup. 


Monday, February 13
Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups
8-9 p.m. (ET) live on USA Network
9-11 p.m. (ET) live on CNBC

Tuesday, February 14
Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups, Best In Show
8-11 p.m. (ET) live on USA Network

Breed judging highlight videos are available throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday on the Westminster Web site. These highlights will be available after the show, as well.

West Coast viewers: Please note that the West Coast telecast is delayed for your time zone. Since results are posted to our Web site as they occur live, if you want to enjoy the drama of the moment, please avoid the Westminster Web site after 5 p.m. Pacific Time on each evening.

Pookie, which were you: Team American Bandstand or Team Soul Train? I'd spend 4 hours watching Saturday morning cartoons, high on sugary cereal, followed by AB, and flow right into ST. Ah, those were the days! I miss my youth.

Confession time: Even as a child, my taste ran more toward Broadway musicals and recordings of young Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, etc. Oh, and the science songs my parents -- both in science -- gave us to listen to:

The air moves in

The air move out

And tosses the light of the stars about.

The moving air,

Expands the light

And that's why the star

They twinkle at night!

Great tune! And, who can forget:



What is friction!

Friction is the rub a dub dub dub

Rub a dub

Of objects

that are moving,

and the rub a dub of objects

is friction at work!

So, as you can see, Soul Train and American Bandstand were not part of my upbringing...


Pookie, I'm trying to find all the corporations that support the Komen Foundation and show its pink ribbon logo, so I can write appropriately outraged letters about the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Are there any networks or particular shows that have used the pink ribbon?

Yes, various networks have used the pink ribbon logo from time to time. Lifetime for instance, has the pink logo on its web site for its breast cancer miniseries "Five"... but, News Update: After three days of controversy the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Cure breast cancer charity says it's reversing its decision to cut breast-screening grants to Planned Parenthood.

It's so refreshing to have a Bachelor who's relatively straightforward, doesn't artificially agonize over sending women home, and isn't always gushing about "finding love." It's pretty obvious that he's just fine with choosing the hottest girl, having a few great months of sex and magazine covers, and then going home alone to his now well-publicized vineyard.

I don't know about you, but I'm frankly surprised Disney-owned ABC is not editing out his candor,  given how deeply invested that media conglomerate is in the lucrative fairytale romance/wedding business.  It's as if Disney allowed Cinderella take off those beauty-knows-no-pain glass slippers and put on a pair of Uggs. ..

Has anyone ever commented on the fact that in the first season of Downton Abbey, the incident of who should get the prize for their roses was directly lifted from the film Mrs. Miniver? How do they get away with that?

It's been so long since I watched "Mrs. Miniver" I don't remember that plot point. Hey, maybe that is the answer to your question -- nobody remembered.  

The Good Wife got moved to Sundays and had several episodes start late due to football overruns. i hope that it is still holding its own. Last Sunday's episode, the one where Will might be indicted by the Grand Jury, was so aboslutely amazing that I rewatched it to see how it all hung together. It is a better ensemble show than Modern Family.

I'm not sure I agree in re "better ensemble show" -- hard to compare since one's a comedy and one's, well, not. Can't we just go with "both great ensemble series"? Anyway, "The Good Wife" is doing fine for CBS in its new, Sunday timeslot -- and will probably do better next season if it remains there because ABC's "Desperate Housewives" will go away. Last week's episode of "The Good Wife," btw, averaged 11 million viewers -- and that's not yet factoring in DVR-viewing. That's a bigger crowd than watched the return of  original "House" and an original episode of ABC's "Once Upon a Time."

Hi Lisa, happy Friday! Two quick questions (and I apologize if you've coverd this previously) is Pan Am being cancelled or no? I've actually gotten into it, I like the campiness. Also, what's happened to Bones? We got a few new episodes and then it disappeared...

"Bones" star on maternity leave. "The Finder" keeping the timeslot warm.  "Pan Am" on the bubble. Its future depends on how ABC's midseason dramas fare. Don't blink or you'll miss the last couple episode of the first season. It returns on Feb. 12 and the "season" finale  epsiode - "1964" -- airs Feb 19:  New Years Eve approaches for the start of '64 and life has changed abruptly for the Pan Am crew since President Kennedy’s assassination.


I saw a couple of shows and completely forgot about it. Then my husband reminded me by asking who won. I looked it up in wiki and was meh about the winner. Besides other finalists got recording contracts. It just seems so similar to American Idol. What's the point?

The point was Fox did not want Simon Cowell going to NBC, so they had to get in bed with him on this singing competition -- which, BTW,  pounded "Idol" in the UK.  Better to get in bed with him and have the ratings that hurt "Idol" get factored into your season average, than let the show go to NBC and have the ratings that hurt "Idol" go toward NBC's season average...

Hey, Pookie: Too many good and, unfortunately, bad TV programs vying for our attention these days. Sometimes, you just want to curl up on the sofa and be entertained by the simple enjoyment of HGTV's "House Hunters International" or Food Network's "Chopped" with a bowl of ice cream. What is your favorite kind of TV program to put a smile on your face?

"Daily Show," crunchy-gravel miniseries, and any move directed by Stanley Donen

Do you think X-Factor would be better if Simon was the only judge? Seems like it's headed that direction anyway.

Not at all. and it's important he have as many mentors as he has "groups" in the competition because that's how he distinguishes his show from Idol and it's very important that he do so since the cretor of Idol sued him for stealing the concept....

Any hope that JJ Abrams will kill off the blonde girl and put in Maggie Grace from "Lost"?

No. And thank you for that question! Meanwhile, I understand this was promoted as the all things Downton Abbey chat but any and all TV questions are welcome!

If PBS was smart, they billed 'Downton Abbey' as just that rather then Masterpiece. While of course loads of people loved Masterpiece Theater, there were loads that hated it and hate it still. DA is produced by NBC Universal and ITV which aren't exactly upmarket cultural outlets.

NBC Universal's international TV division purchased the Brit production house Carnival Films, that produced "Abbey" after, I think, it was well into the franchise. ..I'm actually curious why some people "hate" Masterpiece. That's a pretty strong word.. I can see being indifferent, but actual hate? Please tell me more...seriously. What's there to hate?

The Reporters Who Cover Television genuflect to television journalists? I'm impressed. And I loved your comments about the Person to Person reboot.

Holy cow yes. You should've seen them when Tom Brokaw would come to Press Tour....

Somebody on the chat last week mentioned that "Rob" is unrealistic, but in real life Rob Schneider is married to a Latina lady.

And Tina Fey worked on "SNL" but that doesn't make "30 Rock"  realistic.. It's hilarious, and it has great moments of truth about the insanity of the TV biz, but Fey takes great liberty with "reality" on that show...

Guessing Mitt Romney doesn't care about Bates and Anna romance or anything else about the downstairs servant parts of the show.

Season 3: The Safety Net of Highclere Castle...can't wait!

And I still love it!! Why, Pookie, why? I'm sure that Matthew will somehow walk again, I'm confident he will marry Mary, I'm hopeful that Lord Grantham won't actually boff the comely maid, and I doubt very much that poor Anna will ever find happiness with Bates. In other words, I've already got all the plot lines mentally sewn up to my satisfaction but can't wait for each new episode. Every week I feel like I'm waiting on the docks for the next installment of a Dickens novel.

Glad you mentioned that. It is like waiting for the next installment of a novel that's been serialized in a publication.

I just found out she's 32 years old. Isn't that a little long in the tooth to be "adorkable"? Or are female characters now going to be as regressed as all the endlessly adolescent male characters these days?

Yes, why should the guys get the corner on the stunted-growth market? Heck -- David Spade is pushing 50 and he's still trying to play adorable  slacker.  I'm all for 32 year old actresses playing adorkable 20-somethings on TV.  There is no rule that an actress can't play slightly younger than her actual age. Judy Garland was in her 20's when she played a high schooler in "Meet Me in St. Louis."

Why does Thomas seem to be frequently wearing lip gloss? A couple of times it looked like he had on enough face powder to be a member of Louis XIV court.

You think that's bad, wait until you see PBS's "Masterpiece" broadcast of the latest version of Dickens' "Great Expectations." The guy who plays Pip has the prettiest, poutiest lips -- way prettier than the actress who plays Estella. It was all the talk the day the cast came to the January press tour, and the concensus among the TV critics seemed to be that Pip should not be prettier than Estella.

Since the contestants are all screened before they reach the judges, why do they let so many crappy people through? So they can make fun of them on the auditions show? Does anybody ever get angry at being ridiculed (like the hotel guy whose singing was shown driving people crazy) or do they sign a release saying they can get shown however the show wants?

Yes and yes. And, if you're wondering why people sign a release, only to be made to look ridiculous, keep in mind that all those people being pulled over in various cop-ish reality series are also okay with being shown on TV... Some people simply do not care how they are portrayed on TV -- just so they're there... where would the cable TV industry be without them, bless their little hearts.

Still no mention of it on Animal Planet's website, but the Puppy Bowl facebook page says there will be Kittens!! Whew! Your chat last week had me scared they had eliminated it. Of course they are only on for 10 minutes or so, but still, too adorable to miss.

I think there is now mention of the kittens on Animal Planet's site -- see the link I provided earlier... But it doesn't hurt to say it again...

What does Simon have up his sleeve now that he has fired everyone? It looks like desperation to me. I can't imagine that any new host would bring in the numbers he promised at the beginning of the first season.

This was a lot of firing for one season -- in case anyone missed it, Simon let go "The X Factor" host Steve Jones, judge Nicole Scherzinger (hooray!) and, the only surprise, judge Paula Abdul. Focus groups said very clearly they did not like the two female judges because they made it all about themselves and they did like the two guy judges, who treated it like a sporting competition. So the producers now have to find a new judge/mentor who presumably is a) female, b) celebrity and c) not so hysterical about sacking kids from a competition. Ironically, Kara DioGuardi would do nicely.

Soul Train brought excitement and great music into homes across American every Saturday. I watched it with family mainly from the mid 1970s to mid 1980s.

And, how about the outfits! I'm still waiting to see if Recording Academy is going to do a Cornelius tribute during Grammy Awards broadcast on CBS.

I did watched the first season on PBS and then the DVD. There was an extra scene where Mr. Bates tells Mrs. Hughes he gets his fair skin from his Irish mother and William the Footman tells Lady Mary about how he wanted to be a groom after Lady Mary see how natural he is with her horse, but William's mother wanted him to be a footman. That was about it.

And if, during those bits, the clothes were gorgeous and the gravel crunchy, those scenes were well worth saving...I'm not loving that scenes have been cut for American broadcast.

I gave up on Mr. Bates ever being happily divorced and married. It will not happen. His wife will not let it. The writers will not let it.

Maybe if there's a fourth season?

OK, Dame Pookie, I am sitting here in my tiara, pinkie up, waiting for your genius: apparently after Season 2, which we are currently watching, and season 3 which is currently filming across the pond, there was a Christmas Special of two hours of wonderful drama for our British cousins. Do you have any idea when and if PBS will show it here?

How can they not, given that "Downton Abbey" has put PBS back on the map... It even made the cover of TV Guide -- the first time a PBS program has made the cover  since 1980...I don't believe PBS has announced a date yet.

The online version of the NY Daily News had the best headline on this: "Trump Endorses Romney; in equally important news, guy in Queens shaves."

That's hilarious, if true. Heck, even if it's not true, it's hilarious....

I think you should do recaps of the WKC dog show.

Ah -- you clearly did not read my coverage the year The Post sent me to cover Westminster. It was way back in 2004. I wish I could provide links to the two pieces but the links to those articles are non-functioning so far as I can tell from my computer. Sigh. Anyway, it was hard to cover. Some of the things they did to those dogs were appalling...I actually have a hard time watching the show since I attended. ..Sorry to bring down the mood on the subject, but that's how it is. 

Lisa, what do you think of the BBC Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch (great name, eh?). I just picked up the first season and thought it was one of the best things I've seen. (It's on PBS Mystery.)

Love the update and wish they were doing more.. I think the new season is just three episodes -- debuts in May. And since he's now been picked by JJ Abrams for the next Star Trek movie, he'll be too big a star to do more... sigh...

Do you think Simon's unceremonious ouster of Paula means he might bring back Cheryl Cole? Wasn't Paula the real reason Cheryl didn't work out---I heard there was tension between them.

Golly I hope they bring her back. I'm dying to know what all the fuss was about. I did not see her on the UK version.

Pookie -- Any casting requests to go along with Shirley Maclaine? I think we need a nice American cousin to romance poor Lady Edith.

Gak! No! What an awful bit of casting....

I heard the ratings went up. Can it save the show?

Doesn't need saving. Yet. Fox does well with this show thanks in part to its many ancillar markets -- like tune downloads.. But yes, the show got a ratings bump with the Michael Jackson episode...

Please, please, please tell me Mariah Carey won't be one of the new judges. It seems so likely that she'll be as annoying and diva-like as Christina Aguilera is on The Voice.

I cannot watch Mariah Carey and her fluttering hand... anybody else distracted by the way she flaps one hand around in the air when she's singing? And I can't see her being anything but emotional when someone like little Rachel Crowe gets whacked, can you?  That's what focus groups said they did not like to see on the show -- Nicole Scherzinger's  hyperventilating and moaning when the judging got "too hard"...

Having watching Upstairs Downstairs all those years ago, it's no surprise the writers of DA stole from "Mrs. Minver." The show steals boodles from UD. There was a significant plot turn on UD when Lady Bellamy was lost on Titanic. AB went for that at the very start of the series.

I don't think "Upstairs Downstairs" has the copyright on Titanic victims storylines. But the producers of "UD" did make mention of this when they came to Press Tour to plug their update, and "Downton" had not yet debuted...

airs as the season finale on PBS, Feb. 19

Oh, that's right -- of course! PBS did announce.. thanks.

I want to like the show, but it's all just a hot mess that for every one funny joke there's 7 that make you groan. Can NBC just give up and let Chelsea Handler star in her own role?

Here's a better idea. Give Chelsea Handler a late night talk show where she can rock. Oh wait....

This can be our new "My Boys". Pookie, when are the wine glasses the size of Milk jugs coming back?

Feb 14 -- perfect way to spend Valentines Day, right?

How fitting that it came just before "Celebrity Apprentice" starts airing a new season.

If by "fitting" you mean "great publicity" -- very...

that until 3 or 4 days ago, I thought Don Cornelius was one of the evil land-barons from the Zorro series? Does this make me a bad person, or just woefully uninformed?

That's Don Diego, silly!

I must say the last "Pan Am" cliffhanger was not the most clever. OK, no one tell me whether or not President Kennedy dies after he's shot. I want to wait until they show the next episode.

Spoiler alert!


(oh yes, and, in re that other question, in anticipation of comments, yes, I know, Don Diego is our hero Zorro, not the evil land barron)

Is this the URL you're looking for, Pookie?

No, sadly. That was my last day coverage and quite prefunctory -- who won, etc.... The day before I wrote a much bigger piece about what goes on off-camera at the dog show and it was quite an eye-opening expience for this reporter. Link is not functioning, as best I can tell.

Yes, Rob Schneider in real-life might be married to a hot Latina, but that's because he's an SNL alum who's been in some feature movies and probably still has enough residual income to be deemed semi-rich by most of America. ?Rob? the TV show character is a schlub who just happens to be married to a hot Latina because, well, just because. Hence the un-realism. (Granted not as pithy or wise as your explanation utlilizing the Tina Fey analogy, but still on point.) (and I'm the poster from last week, BTW)

Hi, Poster From Last Week! And we at TV Column have given a name to frumpy guys married to hot chicks -- Male Pattern Optimism. See ABC's "According to Jim."

Out of deference to my fave, Cheech Marin, I tried to watch Rob! last night, but after 45 seconds of tired old jokes being delivered by tired old Rob Schneider (who isn't funny, never has been funny, and never will be funny), I dove for the remote and put on Wipeout for intellectual stimulation. My IQ immediately jumped 30 points. The question is--how can CBS afford to put on something so bad? Are they just conceding the 8:30-11 slot to NBC?

On the contrary. "Rob" clocked nearly 11.3 million viewers -- finishing behind only Fox's "Idol" (18.4 million in that half hour) and 3.4 percent of the country's 18-49 year old viewers -- again, behind only "Idol".... "Rob" stomped all over NBC in the half hour. Here's what "Parks and Rec" averaged in the timeslot: 3.7 million viewers and 1.8 percent of 18-49 year olds. You're thinking of 15 years ago when NBC was a powerhouse on the night. No longer the case, pookie.

Pookster, am I the only dude on the planet who hasn't watched a single episode of Downton Abbey? Plus I want to keep putting a "w" in there to make it Downtown.

Starring Petula Clark?

How about this new show "The River"? Should I watch it? I'm trying to stick with Alcatraz but it's really not cutting it for me... too much crime procedural, too little time travel. I am in desperate need of something to replace LOST :(

Well, "River" is definitely more of the "tangled weed storyline" genre than "Alcatraz." I find it unintentionally comedic, but give it a shot...

Heck, Cory Monteith of "Glee" is nearly 30 now.

Yeah -- that too!

Sure, Judy Garland was in her 20s form "Meet Me", but, heck, the Glee kids are in their 30s and still playing high schoolers. As were the original 90210 kids, I think. Regardless, my problem with Zooey isn't that she's a 32 year old acting like a HS sophomore (and a naive unsophisticated sophomore, at that), it's that, as I was explaining to my parents, they've taken an adorable woman and made her so annoying that she isn't even attractive anymore.

I know you're in good company,  but I've not yet reached my breaking point. I'm still enjoying the did 7.3 million others this week...

Having never subscribed to premium channels (HBO, Showtime, etc.), we are only now getting our experience with "The Tudors" thanks to BBC America. We love the show, but given all the talk about how PBS has trimmed "Downton Abbey," do you know if the same thing has been done to the "Tudors"? And, to keep the universe in order, I do have to say that Henry and the gang are now "My Boys."

Thank you for that. I'm feeling particularly superstitious these days... I confess I do not know if BBCA has trimmed "Tudors" but you're probably just missing a bit of bodice ripping if it's so...

This is going to sound snobby, but the simple fact is that the Masterpiece Theater brand is viewed as too snooty by the average TV viewer. Joe and Joanne six-pack might fall for a Jane Austen adaptation that stars the latest Hollywood stars, but trying to sell them on the idea that snooty British TV is for them, especially when there are Real Housewives reunions to catch up on, is a long haul. Promoting Downton as its own entity, unaligned to the Masterpiece brand, would have probalby allowed for even broader appeal

I take your point but still don't get that it would inspire "hatred" just because it's got Brits in the cast... Anyway, PBS is thrilled with the number of viewers coming to the franchise, even through the Masterpiece brand...

Is he the kiss of death for a show (like Ted McGinley?) I love him and his voice and I would hate to see Smash go down because of him.

I think Jack Davenport IS the reason to watch "Smash." Well, okay, him and Angelica Houston...

What about 20- or 30-somethings playing teenagers? I think that's harder to pull off, depending on the performer. Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future and Tom Welling in Smallville come to mind, as well as Gabrielle Carteris from 90210. Why not simply try to hire performers close to the characters' ages?

I know I'm not much for math, but I don't think 32 is far from, say, 27....

why did nbc cancel sunday's episode? donkey fluids? did they even realize that this went over the bounds of taste?

NBC's not talking, it appears... NBC is a network desperate for eyeballs these days..

Lisa, please don't spread misinformation in this chat! Last week a chatter referred to Downton Abbey being severely edited for broadcast in the U.S. and this wasn't corrected. Episodes on PBS and Netflix are different lengths because they are chopped up differently (7 60-ish minute episodes vs 4 90-ish minute episodes), not because one is broadcasting more material than the other. No major plot points are missing. The controversy started with a nasty article in some British newspaper that said that major cuts were made for the U.S. broadcast, to appeal to stupid, lowbrow American viewers and to make time for Laura Linney to introduce each episode. It's just not true - any edits that were made between the version shown in Britain and in the U.S. amounted to no more than a few minutes, total.

I take your point about PBS stringing it out for more episodes than its play pattern in UK, but I'd rather not have "a few minutes" edited out, thank you... In much the same way I'd rather not have "a couple pages" of  a good 700-page book cut from the version I download to my Kindle.

"Critics were too polite to note that no one had asked Sean Connery to play Coco Chanel." HA! That is all.


How can you hate a franchise that after announcing that Alistair Cooke was retiring, applauded Sesame Street's subsequent announcement that Alistair Cookie would continue as host of Monsterpiece Theatre?

I too am baffled...

Last week's episode brings in the Lady Chatterley plot, too.

...Maybe we should decontruct each episode and chart all the great works of literature from which it "draws"...all in the public domain, no doubt..

I wish people would stop griping about lost minutes! This season of Downton Abbey is EXACTLY THE SAME as the original UK version! Last year was short by a few minutes but ONLY a few. It just looked a lot different because it was re-edited to fit into PBS' contracted times (1:30 last year). People! GET OVER IT and start enjoying the show while it's here! Whew... you may now continue with your day :)

I want my lost minutes! Oh wait, I saw them...

It's stuffy, boring, pretentious, dry, cheap, unknown and unattractive actors with can be super hammy, going-nowhere plots, endless adaption of works that have been adapted a zillion times before or adapting a boring book nobody ever heard of. I don't know, there's a case to hate anything.

Okay, I confess, I'm with you on the "another adaptation of 'Great Expectations' -- really?!" part... I did a major eye roll...

Maggie Smith is such a genius at playing older that I didn't realize she's actually 6 months younger than Shirley MacLaine. Will they age Shirley to match Maggie?

More important, will they get her to act? as opposed to just be in the scene and ooze "I'm Shirley MacLaine"? Like she did in that Lifetime biopic on Coco Chanel? Actually, her performance in that one is best described as "I'm Shirley MacLaine -- I don't DO accents"...

When I was a kid in the early 70s, Soul Train was the coolest thing on TV, and I never missed it. I loved everything about Don Cornelius, and bought as many 45s as I could when they were played on the show. I can still picture myself--a dorky, overweight, red-haired suburban kid--dancing along to with the Soul Train dancers. I can't believe he's gone.

thanks for sharing...

I realize that it is probably the most watched thing of the year but seriously? couldn't NBC at least give me an actual DATE so I could know when Smash was debuting? Surely I'm not the only musical-loving non-sports fan...

Yes, but last year 111 million people watched the super bowl, and this year's game may do better than that, so linking it to Super Bowl in ads was not such a bad idea...

I love the lyrics to your science songs - were they sung to any familiar melodies? Reading your post took me back to all those classic "Schoolhouse Rock" sequences from my childhood Satruday mornings (speaking of which, to this day I can still rattle off the entire preamble to the US Constitution but struggle to do so without singing it).

No -- all original melodies, so far as I can tell.. My very proper grandmother was so horrified when she came to visit and heard the science music my parents had given their daughters to listen to, she gave us some rock album for Christmas that year....

I am absolutely sick over the casting of Shirley McLaine as Cora's mother. She's scary looking. I want Maggie Smith to pound her with her parasol

Me too...But not because she's scary looking, though she it, but because she stopped acting ages ago.  The way she swanned around doing her I'm Shirley MacLaine routine  in that Chanel biopic was truly annoying and I'm afraid we're in for more on "Downton."

Just sayin'. And I too cannot wait to see him on "Smash."

he's lovely in "Smash"...let me know what you think when you see it...

Whenever the phrase "Masterpiece Theatre" causes you hatred to rise, do what I do--remember the Sesame Street version--"Monsterpiece Theater" with Alistair Cookie.

Great way to end this chat... thanks for joining me. Enjoy Super Bowl, Puppy Bowl, and we'll talk about the "Smash" debut next Friday..

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
Lisa's archived Q&As
Entertainment: Television
Recent Chats
  • Next: