'Idol' goodbyes, Katie Couric, and '30 Rock' live: Lisa de Moraes' TV Column Live

Mar 30, 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.

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I'd like to suggest that "The Voice" judges change their clothes for each episode during their current phase. Adam Levine has been wearing that nubby oatmeal sweater for WEEKS, and it appears that Christina Aguilera's glittery black mini-frisbee has become a permanent part of her head. Seriously, if "Jeopardy" a host/contestant can change their clothes, so should "The Voice." Or at least, wear something less obtrusive. I don't like being reminded that this stuff was all recorded at the same time, yet they're obviously stretching things out with all kinds of filler. Like empty calories.

That would just be stupidly cheap of them to not give the judges a costume change for each episode, even if they tape several at the same time -- particularly when judge-fashion is such a big deal. Okay, it's a big deal in my world anyway -- but sounds like others pay attention too. Aguilera's bedazzled platter hat is fun once, but sad the second time.  You won't catch Jennifer Lopez EVER being seen in the same outfit twice on 'American Idol'  -- heck, I'm surprised she doesn't have outfit changes during commercial breaks.  And I'm confident you won't see the same outfit twice on whoever becomes Simon Cowell's new punching bag/judge/mentor chick next season.

NO WAY would Betty Draper take vitamins she'd had made from her own dried placenta!! How on earth will I look at her, and not think about her eating her...well....eew.

For those of you who missed it, 'Mad Men' actress January Jones is touting the benefits of eating placenta (in dried, pill form) to help with post-partum issues. On the other hand, there's some women who say it caused their post-partum issues. Humans are the only mamals that don't eat their own placenta, Jones argues... Yes, and puppies eat their poop,  I reply... Having no kids, I should probably shut up right about now on the subject.

I watched The Biggest Loser for several seasons, but not in the beginning, and not recently. I never was a Jillian fan (too few moments of niceness overwhelmed by meanness). But she did make for some good TV! Did the drop in ratings coincide with her exit, or have viewers just been getting tired of the entire show? I should add that I'd DVR it, pay minimum attention to the competitions, then fast forward through everything else to the weigh-ins.

I think this is a reality series that has run its course (5.6 million viewers this week)... and it's on NBC, which is always challenging...and it's on opposite "Dancing with the Stars' now, which doesn't help....Not all reality shows have as long a shelf-life as "Idol" and "Dancing," and "Survivor."

So the adults on Modern Family want raises. How quickly does ABC cave? Do they have to fire some of the kids to pay for the adults? That middle child better watch out.

They "cave" very quickly, because this show has been the brightest spot on ABC's primetime schedule. No, they don't have to fire one of the kids.  But if a show becomes extremely expensive (and that is going to happen faster on a big ensemble show than on a show that stars one person for obvious reasons) and the ratings start to slide, it will become a "loss leader" and it will be cancelled. On the other hand, if ever there was a time for this cast to demand a big pay raise  -- that time is now.  I say, 'Take the money now and don't worry about four seasons out.'


is always so sad. Any chance something happy might happen?

Slattery's character seemed to have a lot of fun this week. But I take your point. Apparently the 60's stank...Oh wait. Something happy did happen. Don Draper re-married, and a hot young chick who "speaks French."  Why didn't we get to see the happy wedding? Oh, that's right, the show's creator, Matt Weiner, was too busy fighting with the network and the studio, so it couldn't come back to the schedule for 18 months, and Weiner decided a lot of time would have had to have elapsed. Plus, think of the production cost savings!  No wedding bells for us!

The two hour Mad Men episode was almost unwatchable because of the constant phone ringing and tapping of typewriters. I know they want to make it seem like a real office, but they really have to turn down the background noise. Am I the only one who noticed this?

No, I did. But my reaction was different. I loved, loved, loved all the typewriter noise... They're going for verisimilitude here....

I am an official Arbitron panelist! I have the Portable People Meter (PPM) that I have to carry with me everywhere I go, and every single thing I watch or listen to on the radio is registered on that thing. The responsibility is overwhelming! However, I'm not supposed to tell anyone that I'm doing it (which is why I'm outing myself in this anonymous forum - I can't keep this a secret for 1-2 years, plus an additional year after my term is up!). I'm not sure why it is so important that it be a secret - are they worried that someone will kidnap me and force me to watch or listen to a show against my will, to influence the ratings? Anyway, now I'm feeling a bit self-conscious about how often I have either the TV or radio going when I'm at home. Also, does the PPM really think I'm watching TV throughout the middle of the night, when my TV monitor turns off in sleep mode but the satellite box is still turned on? I wonder if I should do something about that . . .

You are supposed to be anonymous so some show producer does not call you and make you an offer you can't refuse, if only you'll watch/listen to his show. And yes, it's important. The sample size for ratings in TV, anyway, is strangely small, so everybody counts. A lot.


Pookie, could we institute a rule limiting the number of standing Os the Idol judges are permitted each week? If they get only one "Judges Save" per season, maybe they should be limited to one standing O per week. It was embarrassing to see them popping up like marionettes for sub-par performances.

It has gotten silly....this week in particular. Ryan Seacrest counted five in all, over 9 performances (plus three 'Medley Trios').



I've been disappointed to see that the Battle rounds, which by their very nature encourage over-singing, tend to devolve into screaming matches---and then the better-looking person is usually named the winner. Kind of defeats the premise of the show, doesn't it? Do you think this show actually has the staying power that Idol has demonstrated all these years?

In other countries it's continuing to do well but I agree that this round of the competition should be re-thought..

Pookie, is it good news that "Smash" is getting a new showrunner? Because this once-promising show has been getting more and more craptastic. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Breaking into song on your lover's doorstep, getting 'roid rage after taking Prednisone, fully furnishing your mother's empty apartment while she's gone for a few hours. . . it's all just cringeworthy. Will a new showrunner make a difference?

Hope so! Needs help.

How is Touch doing? My husband and I can't decide if we like it or not. I told him it's like watching someone set up dominoes. Kinda boring at first and then... whoosh!

My question is: where will this show be in season , oh, say, 3? But then, I asked that question of "House" too: how many times can we watch the same story being played out over and over, and look how long that show has lasted (I know, about two seasons too long is your response)...love your dominoes theory... it's perfect.

I've been trying to love this show, but it jumped the shark for me this week. The "Touch Me" song was blatantly just an excuse to have Kat McPhee make a music video, without having any chance of being part of the Marilyn musical. Plus, does anyone really care if Ellis is gay or straight? That scene of him in bed with his girlfriend was pointless.

Give it another shot next season. New show runner...hopefully a re-boot.

So tell me: what kind of dirt does Ann Curry have on NBC bigwigs? Nobody likes her, including, apparently, Matt Lauer, and she is an atrocious interviewer and journalist. How does she get such high-profile gigs?

By dutifully doing her work for years and years. She got passed over a couple times and, let's not forget, she gamely jumped off a bridge and who knows how many other horrors, for her bosses. I say she deserved the chance, but the ratings do seem to show she needs to go.

Raising Hope: Martha Plimpton, Garrett Dellahunt and Cloris Leachman do a wonderful job (not to mention the producer(?) is locally grown!), and its a "can't miss" show for me, yet the ratings seem very average. Why is that? It will be back next season, yes?

I don't think you need to worry about this one. Fox has so many other holes on its schedule, now that it's canceled "Terra Nova" and "House," for instance, and this show is doing pretty well, for a live action comedy, on Fox...

While I am glad Breaking In has been rescued from the scap heap, Megan Mullally is intorerable? Will somebody please put that one trick pony out to pasture?

Think of her as the price you paid to get this show back on the air. It was toast and adding her is one of the reasons it got snatched from the jaws of ratings defeat...

Why is The View on hiatus this week? More important, why is Eliz Hassleyack allowed to be rude to guests (ie she made faces at Kathy Griffin and turned her back!), and Good Lord, why was she elevated to TV news reporter when she's a proselytizing partisan and an infomercial spokesperson? I despair!

Did I miss a headline? Elizabeth Hasselbeck is a TV news reporter somewhere? "The View" is not a news program. It's an entertainment program. It can be confusing, because Barbara Walters, who is sometimes a journalist, is an exec producer and appears on the show.

So is Colton a clever little lad pandering to the religious right, or is he sincere? When he Tebowed at the end of his song, I just about choked. (Maybe even he realized that was a bit much, 'cause he quickly changed it to a full kneel.) Maybe I'm cynical, Pookie, but the whole schtick seemed orchestrated to me.

I dont' know and frankly I don't care whether it was spontaneous or planned. I'm in total agreement with the show's Mentor in Residence and record label CEO Jimmy Iovine -- it was bad.  Iovine is the saving of this show. I really enjoy listening to his comments on the Idolettes. And, apparently the judges listen when he nicks them, which he does with regularity.

I know he's an incorrigible cad, but Don Draper is also an oddly sympathetic character. I'm not prepared to see him whipped by his young sexy wife and transformed from a dapper lady-killer into a stodgy old-timer who just doesn't get it as the '60s erupt around him. I have a feeling this season is going to depress me.

Apparenly in the 60's, life was over when you hit 40... I'm learning so much from this show. Seriously. Young Sexy French-singing wife is kind of Lady Macbeth-ish, don't you think? Telling him she's not sure she likes his friends at the office? Yikes!

It pretends to be about professionals adapting to becoming parents a bit later in life, but these people barely parent and barely work. What exactly are we supposed to relate to here?

I think Maya Rudolph... I've noticed that lately they're promoting her as the star of the show, rather than Applegate and Will Arnett

Wedding episodes are so hackneyed and desperate. When a show's desperate they always turn to weddings or a new baby in the family. The term "jumping the shark" should be replaced by "tying the knot." Only one show actually jumped the shark out of desperation, but many many more tied the knot for the same reason.

You mean kind of like how the Pam and Jim love life caused the U.S. version of "The Office" to jump the shark about half way through the first season, but kept some veiwers (chicks, you know who you are) watching, season, after season, for the super-cliched proposal, stupendously cliche'd wedding, and fantastically cliched baby-birth? I agree completely.

Will "missing" have any flashback episodes?!?

oh god, I'm afraid it will....

Kat McPhee's character + falling piano = a grateful nation.

ouch. hooray!

I might have to rewatch the Mad Men episode from Sunday, but was there any explanation about how Don could go from that small, dark dwelling to a great big place with new furniture? AND a new wife? None of those things are inexpensive. Or maybe he got a big raise...I probably should stop drinking wine on Sunday nights.

Didn't he get rid of financial obligations to his first wife? Didn't he move into that small dark dwelling when he moved out? Wasn't that temporary? This question is making my head hurt.

Falling Skies: "They Have my Son!" Missing: "Where is my Son!?" Touch: "I'm ordered around by my Son" The Walking Dead: "I keep losing my Son" Mad Men: "I have a Son?"

Too much?

Didn't she compare herself to some great humanitarian, as if?

If she did, and I don't remember that, it's no worse then Allison Janney calling herself a role model for millions of women around the world, which she did....TV corrupts; starring roles on TV corrupts absolutely...

"Verisimilitude" --- I am really impressed! Or are you using a spell checker as you go along?

Oh no, pookie! That word is a part of my everyday vocabulary! Learning that word was my big "take away" from college. That, and a commanding knowledge of the works of Anthony Trollope....very useful.

My prediction: not gonna last. Seems whenever he tries something mainstream, he just can't stick with it. I assume it is part of his self-loathing.

It's part of his "self-preservation." He's fallen off the cliff -- pop cuture wise -- since going to satellite TV. I used to see stuff on him in the news every week. After going to satellite, that dropped to near nothing --  until the "Talent" deal.

Where is "Revenge" and when is it coming back? I don't understand how shows are scheduled anymore. They disappear without notice and then reappear with little fanfare---how are they supposed to develop a following?

Actually, the return of shows is promoted by its network -- it just gets lost in the din of all the other shows that are coming back and being promoted... Too much noise for the information to break through the clutter. It's like all that  typewriter noise on "Mad Men"...Anyway, "Revenge" returning April 18...Typically, broadcasts shows take a hiatus between the February and May sweeps -- that's pretty standard...frequently a network uses the timeslot to test something they want to consider for next season. Networks are, right now, figuring out their schedules for next fall's primetime. They announce to advertisers the second week of May...

Interesting product integration by Subway on "Community" last night. I'm somewhat, but pleasantly, surprised by what the company let the show do to their company name. And because of their support of my favorite show, I just bought a footlong Subway sandwich.

..which is why Subway let them "do to their company name" what they did....

I wasn't a big fan of Alcatraz, but I have to say the blond was the worst cop ever. Every week she would have her gun pulled on a criminal and every time he'd get away. You could have a great drinking game by taking a shot every time she let a guy get away after she had the drop on him. At least we got some good laughs out of the show.

Literally every single comment in the chat, email, etc. I have ever gotten complaining about this show focuses on  the same thing. Her. How many different ways are there for someone to have a gun pointed at a criminal's chest and let them get away? Shall we start a list of her achievements?

How likely is it that the season finale for "Alcatraz" is the finale, period? And if it's not, does the last episode indicate that the show's runners finally figured out that one of its main problems was its lead actress?

"Alcatraz's" hopes for renewal got better when Fox cancelled "Terra Nova" and "House." A network only wants to launch so many new shows in the fall -- particularly Fox, which has so many baseball interruptions in the fall...

I've read a lot of griping over the show, but I liked it. I think that Jon Hamm is an amazing actor. His portrayal of Don Draper is so different than other characters he has played, but I totally buy him in those other roles. I was distressed to see Roger losing his grip, however. I miss the old, egomaniacal Roger. He did still get some great one-liners, though.

I think John Hamm looks amazing in a 60's business suit and with his hair slicked back. As an actor, and with bangs -- maybe not so much. John Slattery, on the other hand, is a revelation in this show and I could watch him for two hours every Sunday night.

British actor Jack Davenport has come a long way from his days of playing a romantic nerd on the British comedy "Coupling" to playing a ruthless music director with a thing for bedding his starlets on NBC's "Smash". Is this a case of good character acting or simply having a British accent to die for?

you know the answer -- he's a terrific actor...

Pookie -- Now that Smash has given us an episode of everything that is hated (the sullen teen, evil Ellis, the cute British boyfriend's job), do I need to start treating this show like Glee? As in, not grounded in story continuity at all?

hope not but seems likely... sigh.

As someone who graduated college in the early 70s and started my career, I loved the sound of those IBM Selectrics, but I wish we could have seen Roger show up for that 6 a.m. "meeting" in Staten Island.

Hey -- those IBM Selectrics cost money -- they had to save money somewhere. Don't forget, Weiner got a gimongous pay raise and wouldn't let them add in as much product placement or as many ad breaks as they wanted. They've got to recoup the money somewhere. Hence -- no wedding and, apparently, no meeting in Staten Island -- meaning "another set".....

I was a Lostie who wanted to love Alcatraz, but I can't get over some of the similarities. I find myself going - oh, they're turning the Donkey Wheel (safe-like door) to enter the Hatch (weird room full of computers), and - surprise- Charles Widmore (Warden) is behind it all. And that fog is coming perilously close to being Smoke Monster.

Are you suggesting the creator is a one-trick pony? Or just lazy?

So, does this change your viewing habits at all? I mean, I am not sure I would want an official record of all the Dance Moms, Impractical Jokers and Tosh.0 that I watch. I'm not sure if I'd just lie or simply skip some of the crappy shows I watch when nothing else is on.

Arbitron Person -- are you still with us? We'd love to know the answers....

I watched last year and thought the talent was better even though this year "the show claims" to have more talent than the previous year. I don't really have any particular rooting interest yet as opposed to last year (Dia Frampton) and maybe that is what's hurting the show.

Yeah, and last year on "Idol" they claimed it was their best crop of singers ever and it was maybe the worst since the first, summer season. The biggest problem with "The Voice" and , apparently, "X Factor" is that the winner doesn't matter and does not move the needle...I'm not hearing or seeing, anything of the first "The Voice" winner. They fell of the cliff -- like Taylor Hicks from "Idol"..."Idol" at least has, in the past, produced some winners who became big noises -- Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, most particularly.

I'm glad after the Pilot that they gave Ashley Judd some cream to take care of the bags under her eyes. How many episodes are going to be shown before summer? What do you think its chances are for the Fall?

You think it was cream that made her face blow up like that? She says it was sinuses. I have my doubts...

Kill Ellis! Did I mention, kill Ellis!

Oh, so you think the piano needs to drop on him? Let's take a vote. Personally, I can live with Ellis if they promise to drop a piano on McPhee's character. Anyone else?

I used to like that show, but then when they finally brought it back after its way-long hiatus, it could just as well have been called "Please Cancel Me Now". Why did they do that?

Bill Lawrence, at his open bar news conference during the most recent Press Tour, said it was because he lost the battle to change the name from "Cougar Town" to something non-Cougar-ish...He said someone told him no dice -- you can see their point -- it would have made selling the show in synidication very challenging, among many other problems....So he decided instead to strip the show of every last trace of  cougar-ness....No, I can't explain the self-destruction going on there. And, in fairness, I got to the news conference late and don't know how many liquids he had consumed by the time I spoke to him...

OP probably needs to adjust their surround sound settings.

You mean like they need to do on "Idol" so you can actually hear the singers?

My viewing habits haven't changed at all since I started wearing the meter. I'm sure that Arbitron is fascinated that my viewing habits are so DVR-centric. I only seem to watch sports and local news "live". Maybe I'm helping to prop up the ratings for Chopped, though. It's my new obsession.

Interesting. Next question: what does this meter look like and have you had to change your fashion choices in order to "wear the meter" all the time? It is huge? Does it fit in a pocket? Does it come in colors, like the iPhone?

1) I don't listen to Stern but know many people who listen everyday and talk about it all the time - like some kind of weird cult now as it's on satellite radio.. 2) I guess Community is the new Chuck regarding Subway...

Yes, Community is the new Chuck... and look at what the Subway deal did for Chuck (hint: a lot)...meanwhile, yes, Stern's fans are fanatic, but are they going to want to see a neutered Stern on "Talent"? And the number of people who listen to Stern daily plummeted when he went to satellite, which is to be expected... and the number of news stories on Stern also plummeted...

Is there any way to turn the fake TV shows on 30 Rock into real ones. I'm dying to see MILF Island. And frankly, I'm surprised Fox hasn't already done that. Btw does Fox still try to insist that you guys to write its name in all caps as if it's an acronym like CBS, NBC, and ABC?

I've never had anyone from Fox insist I use all caps... Yes, they use all caps in their news releases but I'm tolerant. Tolerant is my middle name...

Do you think they'll move "2 Broke Girls" to 9pm and put "Person of Interest" in the 10pm slot for a 2-hour Comedy Block? Or do you think they'll do something else?

They'll go with a two hour comedy block if they have enough pieces, for sure.. they've been itching to do it for a while. Remember, the guys who have been running CBS for years used to be the guys who ran Warner Bros. TV -- the company that gave NBC its incredible Thursday night lineup: "Friends," "ER" etc...  These guys want Thursday night in a big way....Thursday is a money-printing night for the broadcast networks because, among other reasons, studios launch their movie campaigns, car companies want to promote their new vehicles.. Apparently people decide what flicks they're going to see that weekend, and what new cars they're going to go test drive (seriously, no joke) on Thursday nights....

Don could always have afforded that big apartment. He had Joan find him the one he lived in after the divorce, and was too busy drinking himself into a stupor to even notice how dingy it was. It made perfect sense that his new bride would inspire the new digs---and he has plenty of money, having sold the house he and Betty lived in.

I rest my case....all part of Divorcing, 60's Style....

I thought it was "Pookie". I'm so confused.

I'm Brazilian -- we have loads of "middle" names... we collect them, like Apple products, or Madame Alexander Dolls...

Maybe winning a singing contest on tv is now so much more common that people just don't care as much as opposed to when Kelly Clarkson won....

That does not explain Carrie Underwood or Scotty McCreery going platinum (gak)... sorry but I think that theory does not hold water...

Pookie, is there any chance this isn't as bad as the commercials make it look?


What does it say about me that I liked the whole concept of Don Draper's singing hottie wife a lot better when everybody was mis-spelling the song "Zooby Zooby Zoo"? The "correct" spelling kind of ruins it for me.

Yes, "Zooby, Zooby, Zoo" makes her look stupid... but "Zou  Bisou Bisou"  is maybe more Euro-trash than stupid?

It's the size of a small pager (I think). It easily fits in my pocket or clips to the waistband of my skirts that lack pockets. They also provide a lanyard, but there's no way I'm going to wear it visibly in public. You are supposed to wear the meter from wake up until bedtime and it sits in the charger/data transmitter overnight. It's basic black -- no cute ipod colors available.

Pookie -- you need to bedazzle this meter -- STAT! Dare you. Seriously.. And did you, in fact, change your viewing habits when you became a "home" because you didn't want to admit, or were horrified to actually discover, how many hours of trashy TV you watch every week? Or do you turn your TV on to your fave show, even when the cable network is running a marathon of episodes you've already seen and have no intention of watching, just to help boost the show's ratings? I'm fascinated by the whole process and the psychology of being tied to a gadget every waking moment of ever day...

Kathy Griffin, Bethenny Frankel, someone else they drag out of cave, shove a microphone in front of their face and pay a studio audience to sit in front of ... should I bother?

It will be fun to see what Katie Couric and Jeff Zucker come up with in the fall..

This Live episode just reeks of Desperation. Is NBC finally going to cut the Baldwin cord?

Hope not. It's a fave of mine... I don't see is reeking desperation...just an effort to make noise during a crowded may sweep period.. Personally I applaud the move and wish other shows would follow suit. It's fun to watch live television...

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is a showrunner?

Ah, the showrunner is the person who actually runs the show.. There are now so many people listed as "exec producers" on series -- including cast members who've gotten too big for their britches and whose agents have negotiated for them to "double dip" -- which is to say, get paid two salaries -- on the show...So, you should always look to see who is the "show runner" which tells you who is actually doing the heavy lifting....

Pookster, so very glad Mad Men is back, but am I the only one who took issue with the whole "let's jump ahead and skip the important stuff" routine? Draper wedding, Joan baby, etc. I found it all very disconcerting. Made me have two martinis instead of my usual one during show time.

Repeat after me: cost savings are are good, cost savings are good.....

What does that mean anyways? "I go to the the theater twice?" Can a Francophile help us out?

I don't care what it means. I think your translation is beyond perfect. When I watch the episode again I'll assume Don is getting embarrassed, because his hottie wife is purring "I got to the theater twice" to him in front of all his friends...

But I love Sean Bean! He's why I DVR'd the show!

well yes, there is that....( FYI, Sean Bean plays Ahsley Judd's government agent husband in this show -- for which he has our sympathy -- only he had the good sense to get himself blown up by a car bomb in the pilot's prologue. So if we're going to see more of him, and we'd love to see more of him took, we have to put up with flashbacks)

The only wedding we've seen on "Mad Men" was Roger's daughter, and we were only shown that because it was such a bust, being on the day after JFK's assassination. I too salute Weiner for generally avoiding weddings---but boy, he sure knows how to throw parties!! The one on election night, the office Christmas party from last season, and Megan's shindig have all been fabulous set pieces.

Frankly I thought this birthday party looked pretty lame... I was expecting something far more lavish....HBO would have made it more lavish...

Both Kutcher and Cryer get no raises for 2 years? Is Lorre wanting one of them to walk away?

Yeah, because we're all getting raises every year... Hello?Who else is going to hire Jon Cryer, really? And Ashton Kutcher should get a million bucks per episode, which is still less than Sheen was making, and the addition of  Kutcher not only saved this show, it goosed the ratings. My idea: take Kutcher's raise out of Cryer's salary -- CBS and Warner Bros. thought they'd have to kill the show at the end of this season, and now lucky Cryer has a great-paying gig for at last another season beyond that. As I see it, he owes Kutcher...

So what are your thoughts on what the other shoe will be with re: to the new Mrs. Draper? Suicide, split personality, other ideas?

She'll have an affair with a younger man and Draper will officially enter the land of the pathetic...or get back together with his wife... either way,  so sad...

Awake: "Is my son dead?"

ooh, we did. Thanks!

She was the nicest person ever on Survivor. Our insurance agent went to Boston College with her and said she's a real sweetheart, even after Liz ate her gluten-free meal at a mutual friend's wedding.

Does missing your gluten-free meal normally turn someone into a raving shrew? I don't know alot about gluten allergies, but somehow that does not seem like the ultimate illustration of niceness...

Love the dominoes analogy, but it really is tedious watching them get set up. And you can sorta tell how it will all come together in the end, which takes away any surprise.

But Sutherland pants! And puffs! And speaks really quickly!

Actually, I can see a lot of Trollope in your writing. He was the master of covert snark.

No one has ever compared my work to Trollope... I'm not sure I agree, but thanks!

The PPM looks like a beeper, and I did have trouble yesterday when I was wearing a dress. I ended up carrying it in my hand when I was moving and leaving it my lap when I sat at my desk. Also, you can't lie about what you watch - it catches digital signals and then transmits them with this wireless modem in the middle of the night when the pager thing is charging.

Yes, but you can turn on a TV to a show and then not watch it, right? Like that "mad Men" marathon on Sunday someone wrote in about -- maybe I did not post that one. Will do so now...Aren't you tempted to do that and then go out and walk the dog, so it logs hours of "Mad Men" watching, or whatever is your show you're most passionate about? I don't think I could stand the temptation to help out a much loved show in that way...

Is the person supposed to track tv watching while on the treadmill at the gym too? Is it sweat proof?

Excellent question. Arbitron Person?

I just started this week, so no change so far, but we'll see as things go on. I did become incredibly conscious of how much I flip around during commercials (the people who get ratings from Arbitron probably don't like that), plus my main landing spot was HGTV. Love that House Hunters!

Has anyone ever asked you to watch a show to help with its ratings. Like another family member? Or maybe a TV Columnist? Do your neighbors sometimes wonder what is  that black box you always have on your person?

According to the world wide web, AMC is showing reruns Sundays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., most every Sunday. Don't know if the shows are from last season, this season or combination thereof.

And the question is? Cable networks use this model -- they debut an episode of something and then play the heck out of it -- in repeats throughout the week, in marathons months later, etc....

My agent still liked her even though Liz accidentally ate my agent's gluten-free meal (they were both blondes in pink dresses, and the server goofed).

Oh, this is proof of how nice your AGENT is! My bad, I mistook this as a illustration of Hasselbeck's goodness...

When does the name change to "The OCD Channel" happen?

hilarious --- but not gonna happen..

If "Mad Men" were on NBC, it would have been dragged out into a three-parter with stunt-guest appearances by Julia Roberts and Jerry Seinfeld.

Correct. And, had it been on CBS, Draper would have been played by Kathy Bates...

"Bones" has been on for seven seasons??!! It has to be the current holder of the "According to Jim" Memorial Trophy, bestowed annually upon the show that you thought was cancelled years ago. I think the ceremony is held at the Reseda Denny's and hosted by David Spade.

Actually, "Bones" has been a great utility player for Fox for years.. Yes, it does not get the press because it's not "ooh, from JJ Abrams"...

Season 2 is here!!!!!!!!!

Sunday. HBO.

Is April the sweeps period for morning/afternoon shows? If not, then why not do this then. The other option would be right before her show lauch in September.

Because  "Today" won't be choc-a-bloc with stunts and big "gets" so she will probably end "Today" show's 17-year winning streak....it's evil genius.. I love it...

But when I watched a show off my DVR, they wanted me to write down when it was originally recorded. Too much work. Keep yer $10.

wow, that' s a lot of work...

Clearly we need a whole chat dedicated to these mysteries.

i'm game if you are....

I usually leave my meter in the car while I'm at the gym. I think it would explode from the overstimulation of 4-7 TV screens showing different channels at the same time. Also, the meters are motion-sensitive. If it sits unmoved for 30 minutes, it turns off. So you can't leave it in front of a Mad Men marathon and take Winkie for a walk.

drat.. you could do a struggling show so much good...oh, I'm probably not supposed to suggest that. Put it out of your mind. Forget I said it.

1. Gym - yes. We have to wear it everywhere, and it picks up the signals from wherever you are. Apparently this gives a truer read of how people listen to the radio. Don't know if it is sweatproof, but my guess is yes. It clips on just like a beeper and is encased in metal. 2. Turn on and leave - I don't think it works this way, because if you take it off, it turns itself off after about 20 minutes of no motion. This is different from when it is in the charger and is still collecting data.

Wait a minute -- other arbitron person says theirs would go haywire from all the diff TV sets linedup... Have you had that experience?

I would follow that for an hour. They'd probably get kicked out the program, but we have so many questions for you, Arbitron people!

I'm with him....

I'm still waiting for BitchHunter to land on NBC's fall schedule. That show looked awesome.

I think they're casting it now. Lorne Michaels exec producing, naturally.

I can see how that meter is clearly superior in recording real habits. If I journaled, it would be all PBS, Downtown Abbey and Good Wife, so I look literate. Meter-me is more like Pawn Stars, Community and Walking Dead.

so true...

I can't wait til this shows up on TLC- a show about the people who watch shows which decides which shows we all can watch.

TLC would get seriously pounded by ratings crunchers if they tried to do that. but it would be fun to watch...

You seem to be deliberately misunderstanding me. Liz was such a sweet person that my agent could overlook Liz's eating her dinner.

No, trust me, it's not deliberate. ..it's genuine -- I've just had a long week. and I'm not a smart as I look. I look really smart....I am now utterly convinced that Hasselbeck is a lovely person and did not intend to eat your agent's gluten-free lunch at the wedding. I think I've got it straight now...

Can he just meet her already, and get off the show?

But it's like CBS's youngest skewing show! Can't  we just put up with it for the sake of keeping "NCIS" on the air? I love writing about "NCIS"...it's so strange!

So being an Arbitron ratings-generator is like being Lindsay Lohan?

Well, yes, I guess so!... Can they give you an ankle strap, Arbitron People? That would be so hot. Then you'd look like you were being monitored for good behavior, instead of TV viewing. It would make you look easily 50 percent more mysterious.  Not that you don't already look pretty mysterious (in the best possible sense of the word, of course. I don't want to offend anyone else on this chat!)

I would be happy to participate. My husband and I both follow your chat and we have worn meters since Sept. 2011.

Wow.. For how long are you an Arbitron household? Only one year, or can it go on indefinitely?

I don't know about you two, but my 3 year old Comcast DVR displays the date and time of the original broadcast right in the program information box on the recording. Not sure I see how copying that down in the journal that you're already writing the program name in is too much work....

But it's all that "remembering"....I can't even remember what day of the week it is sometimes. Let me tell you about the time I left my assistant a pointed phone call while I was at the press tour, because he was not answering my urgent messages and, after an hour or so, I realized it was Sunday....

If it's motion-sensitive, then how does it record if you veg out on the couch? Also, couldn't you just put it on your dog's collar and leave him home while you go shopping?

excellent questions, all....

Any thoughts on whether "Fringe" will make it? Perhaps have a truncated new season?

I think I counted how many episodes they have and it's enough for a syndication libray. This show is being played on Friday nights to get enough episodes...

Does everyone in the audience at "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" have to vote for one of the four choices when the contestant asks the audience which answer is correct? Or why are such a high percentage of the audience answers wrong? I know this question is a few years late but I wasn't watching the show a few years ago. Thanks.

How would they know which audience members actually know the right answer? Are you suggesting people in the audience who don't know the answer should not push the button, or whatever it is they do, to register a guess? Guess I should not have ended this with a question because I'm out of time, I see. Thanks for joining me! Have a lovely weekend and I hope to see you 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."

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