Goodbye Oprah, hello Scotty, and congrats Hines Ward: Lisa de Moraes' TV Column

May 26, 2011

Join Lisa as she chats about Oprah's farewell episodes, Scotty McCreery winning American Idol and Hines Ward taking the Dancing With The Stars Win Thursday at noon.

Submit questions early!

Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes will talk about all the drama, comedy and heartbreak of the world of television -- both onscreen and behind-the-scenes!


- Scotty McCreery, teen country crooner, wins "American Idol" in record vote
- Oprah Winfrey signs off after 25 years in daytime talk TV
- "Dancing With the Stars" 2011: Hines Ward wins the trophy

A quick production note:  Lisa will not be chatting next week and will return next next Friday, June 10th. But she'll get all questions you submit to her -- so ask away and tune in June 10th

It would have been much cooler had Oprah ended her show the same way you sign off: Outta time...bye. Roll commercial.

Oh great -- and just when I was planning to debut my new chat chat sign-off: 

"I won't say goodbye. I'll just say 'until we meet again -- to god be the glory'."

I admit to having watched 10 minutes of the OWN network before I turned it off. Any guesses how well OWN will perform in the long run? Idol thought: At a minimum, after last night we know who Tony Bennett thinks is a good singer.

Since it's launch, OWN is averaging about 300,000 viewers in primetime and 150,000 for total day, which is up 13 percent in primetime and flat in total day compared to how Discovery Health network had been doing same dates one year ago... FYI, the network that is now OWN used to be Discovery Health.  But in primetime, for example, 163,000 of those 300,000 OWN viewers are aged 50 years and older. And, sadly, advertisers aren't so interested in 50+ viewers.  Oprah and Discovery need to find a way to attract more younger viewers and surely, with all the brand power of Oprah, they had to have been hoping for bigger ratings boosts than this relative to how they were doing with Discovery Health. ..Meanwhile, Haley Reinhart sounded great with Tony Bennett.  I'm not sure that singing with her means he  thought she was the best of the "Idol" lot this season -- it just means it's who the producers wanted to pair him with. Good pairing!

As a Chicagoan, I can honestly say we are well rid of this egomaniacal famewhore! She makes Trump look reticent. The worst was her getting the city to shut down Michigan Ave. for 4 days so she could do an outdoor show. I hope her new network flops & she finds out she's just another celeb in Calif. for TMZ to make fun of!

Now hold on just a gosh darned minute... I think she does get credit for all those kids she sent to college, and the schools she build, etc. etc. etc... I'm taking the sweetness and light approach today...

Oprah was wondering if you had any thoughts about Sarah Michelle Gellar's new show the Ringer? It looks like a Lifetime Movie Network series or Danielle Steele book plot and that's a lovely thing!

I am so glad Oprah asked! Because this new series is a dead ringer for one of my favorite Bette Davis movies: "A Stolen Life" too is about identical twins, one of whom goes overboard and the other decides to steal her life only turns out her life was kind of a mess... Sure, she's no Bette, but I'm delighted the CW audience is going to be exposed to the film noir genre...

Is this a special bonus OPRAH chat, or does this mean we don't get to chat tomorrow?

This was unfortunately represented as an Oprah chat earlier today on the Post's site. I think, in their girlish enthusiasm about all the interest in our Oprah coverage, someone got carried away. Anyway, it  is an all purpose chat but I'm delighted to discuss Oprah til the cows come in if that's what people want to talk about. Or Hines Ward, or Scotty McCreery, or "Ringer" or whatever... ask away. I was planning to stand down from chatting tomorrow, but if the hue and cry goes up for another, regular chat, there's no shortage of things to talk about and my time is yours...

Pookie, are you getting an early start on your holiday weekend and we will be chat-less on Friday?

You guys tell me -- if you want a Friday chat too, I'm delighted to do so...

Really is that the best she could do for her final show. Tuesday should have been the last day.

I kind of liked the contrast. It was like nibbling on fruit after a heavy dinner. The orgy of celebrity excess on Monday and Tuesday being the heavy dinner -- but you knew that right?

I was OK with most of the shockers in the season finales of the drama shows, Castle saying he loved Kate,Alisa sneaking off with Will, and Patrick meeting Red John, but I was floored by Bones where Bones tells Booth that she is pregnant with his baby. Ignoramous that I must be, I was not even aware that they had been intimate. As such, it seemed like a shocker for which no groundwork was laid, pun unintentional.

Wwait a minute! I haven't seen the "Bones" season finale yet.  Did the writers never see "Moonlighting"? Were they not born yet when "Moonlighting" was on the air? How could they make such a stupid call? This  is fatal...oh and Patrick did'nt just meet Red John, he put three bullets into Red John -- I'm a stickler for details...

Can someone please put Shatner back on TV? The new boss for Dundler Mifflin? American Idol?

Can we start a petition to get him named new boss on "The Office" -- what an inspired bit of casting...

Scotty wins. The critics cringe. Why? The critics and blog writers seem to have a big problem with someone who is a country singer winning. Are these writers out of touch with the average american who doesnt live in a big city? There criticism has been over the top it seems to me.

oh golly, and I thought they were cringing because they couldn't take another minute of him mistaking the microphone for corn on the cob.... let's not forget the critics were perfectly happy when Carrie Underwood won -- thrilled in fact. I think the critics just don't think much of Scotty, and that it's not an anti-country-music, or a  red-state/blue-state thing...

Actually, although I was a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for its first four years and I like Sarah Michelle Gellar, I'm most excited about seeing Nestor Carbonell (Richard Alpert--sigh!) again. Would you believe I NEVER watched Oprah. I've also never watched her protege Rachael Ray other than on the Food Network/Cooking Channel.

Yes, I would believe it, because -- and I hope there are lots of editors around the country reading this -- there are far more people who have not watched Oprah in this country than there are people who have watched Oprah... Oh, and while I'm at it. She's not dying and she will be back on TV in early 2012 -- on OWN.

Glad Hines won, but didnt it seem overall that the season peaked around the middle and then became the same thing more or less week after week? And, if you like Maks, what do you think about the rumor he wont be back on the show?

Isn't that an annual rumor? Or did I just dream that? I'm sure if Maks is not back they will have no trouble finding another male dancer who describes himself as sex on a stick. Which really is this season's best line on TV... And yes, it does seem like "Dancing" goes on too long and starts to lose gas about three weeks before the season ends. On the bright side, it's about two months SHORTER than "American Idol.".. now there's a competition series that could use some more streamlining!

It's Friday, Friday, gotta chat with Lisa again on Friday ...

Shall we make that our theme song? We can change all the lyrics to conform -- like Stevie Wonder did with "Isn't She Wonderful" or whatever that tune is, during Oprah's orgy of celebritiess...

I would go for a Shatner stunt cast on "The Office" only if the members of the office got to speculate about whether their new boss wears a toupee!

why not?! Works for me. Honestly I haven't heard anyone's name suggested who makes me even remotely interested in going back to the show, until you guys named Shatner.. He's such a loose cannon it would be wonderful...

Hey, Pookie: Our household enjoys watching good dramatic mysteries, especially those on PBS' 'Masterpiece Mystery'. This spring, we've become hooked on AMC's 'The Killing'. We're forgiving that Vancouver is substituting for Seattle. Have you been following the show, and is this another AMC franchise show a la 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad'?

It's doing well, ratings-wise, so I'm hoping the right answer is "yes."

stop stop stop -- that moonlighting myth is just a myth. Those actors didn't like each other in real life, that show failed for lots of reasons. It is perfectly possible to have genuine caring committed, dare I say married, relationships on tv and have good tv. stop fueling the myth! That said, "Bones" is a show that is done and was awful to begin with but that has nothing to do with the leads being together or not.

I knew "Moonlighting." I watched "Moonlighting".. I was a big fan of "Moonlighting." And that show was killed by that storyline... oh and Bruce Willis wanted to be a movie star... Meanwhile, to make things perfect clear: there have been lots of shows on which the stars hated each other that thrived for many years. "Moonlighting" suffered Death by Storyline. 

Any inside information on the boy Cameron and Mitchell talked of adopting?

You know they're not real, don't you? It's just a sitcom and the baby is going to be an actor -- actually two actors who look alike, probably adorable identical twins....

I don't get out much, so I found the American Idol finale to be oddly entertaining but I feel oddly alone in needing to process what I saw, as none of my friends watch it. What was up with the lengthy Ford product placement in the middle of the show? And why were Bono and the Edge there on stage? I know they've gone more mainstream since I first became a fan in 1983, but American Idol? My head is spinning. Though I did enjoy the song. Was Lady Gaga really singing? Can't Stephen Tyler find a new song to perform? Thanks for indulging me. Whew!

There's a lot to cover here:

1) You don't expect Ford to give away FOUR cars on the finale show for nothing do you?

2)Bono is trying hard to salvage his $60 million not-yet-opened, trouble-plagued Bway production of "Spiderman" for which he wrote the score. Last night's "Idol" clocked nearly 30 milion potential tourists traveling to NYC this summer when they are NOW saying "Spiderman" will open.

3)Does it matter if Lady Gaga was really singing? I was in it to see the costume -- Venetian carnival party-goer, brilliant -- and to watch her writhe on top of the tower of rocks in the box (sounds Seusian, doesn't it?) with her lover and then watch those two crazy-in-love kids commit suicide by plunging to their faux deaths from the box on the rocks. It was like watching a greek tragedy. I found it deeply moving.

4) No. He can't.

I definitely think we need a Friday chat, if but for no other reason than to amuse/console/entertain those of us that have to work the ENTIRE day and aren't allowed to leave early...*sigh*

That is the best argument I've read so far. I'll talk to the chat producers and see if we can help you out...

Here's why I cringed at Scotty winning AI (and I'm not even a critic): yet another clean cut white guy wins despite the runner-up clearly being a superior talent (I am a professional musician so I do have some expertise there). Boooooring! Where's my hard-knock-life-turned-good all-American story? Where's any individualism? what AI winner in the past 4 years has had a decent career? Next year, unless they change the voting system, I will bet anyone $100 that another clean-cut white guy wins.

I will not take that bet! Scotty will probably be more commercial than the last three cut white guys behind guitars that won the competition because he's so far down the country-music rabbit hole....But it appears women can't get a fair shake on this show -- which is odd because the two most successful winners are Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood... Clearly there is some disconnect going on these days which probably has a lot to do with what viewers have stuck with the show and what viewers have moved on. It is an old franchise for a reality show.


I was hoping that Oprah would do a skit with Tom Cruise in a parody of the parody of Tom's hyper moments jumping around and all.

I think your odds of seeing that are far better on SNL...

I can pretend like it's Friday...Hax and Pookie are chatting. It IS Friday, right? ohpleaseohpleaseohplease

OMG, is Hax chatting today too? If that is the case I now need to immediately up the Crash Alert Level on this chat to Orange...

On that horrendous show "$h*t My Father Says"? Unless, Lisa, it was cancelled and I missed the announcement. And I think it actually has decent ratings, which is a sad testimony to the cultural state of the USA...

You're in luck -- it was cancelled...

Okay, so the two I have in mind weren't the stars of the show, but they were critical to its success--Vivian Vance and William Frawley, aka Ethel and Fred Mertz. Vance thought Frawley was an ill-tempered drunk (which he was). Frawley, when asked about Vance, said, "She's a nice little girl from the Midwest. And she oughta go back there."

The list is huge... and yet, their shows survived year after year...

Please tell me other people watched the looks like some of those guys (the Mask, Bentley, etc) are going to be train wrecks to watch....but I am a sucker...and I can't wait!! I also wonder what Drunk Tim thought as he watched himself last night....his family must be so proud!

Why do people watch this show, and The Bachelor, when in almost all cases -- like 99 percent -- there is no happy ending? It's very strange...

Another Chicagoan thrilled Oprah is packing her bags and moving west. If I never hear her voice or read her name again, I would die a happy woman!

oh great, where were you people when I needed you? ....

Is it going to be any good?

This is a trick question, right? You're a member of the Church of JJ? Well, I'll risk it: The premise looks to be one of those hilarious ones that JJ so loves and that his fans swallow whole. And, if his series track record is any indication, he will have fun with it for about one, maybe two seasons, and will then move on to his next bright shiny light....

What if we all clap our little hands together at the same time and repeat, "I believe in Pookie"?

works for me!

It's pretty hard to keep a show going if the entire premise of the show is unresolved sexual-tension between the female and male leads and then they end up resolving it.

actually that wasn' t the premise of the show. it just overtook the premise of the show. the premise of the show is that he was a rouge detective and she was a former model bankrolling his business...and  who knew this was going to be the most controversial thing on the chat?!

er, I'd hardle call Adam Lambert another clean-cut guy.

But Pookie, Adam did not win! Kris Allen won that season. And HE's captain of Team Clean-Cut White Guy Behind Guitar....

Please tell me A Gifted Man has a chance of succeding in its time slot, because I love Patrick Wilson!

Big chance. It's a sort of "Ghost Whisperer" meets "Touched by an Angel" meets "ER"... how can it NOT succeed in CBS's "Touched by Angel" timeslot?

I think Scotty was more authentic than most of the contestants with their falsetto trills and high heels. THAT is why America chose Scotty: he's authenticly himself, not a fabricated Hollywood toy. All the women looked like a Kardashian and sang throught their noses.

Well, I agree that the chick Idolettes were all victims of the "Idol" costumer. But they were clearly not Hollywood -- because all of them had so much trouble walking in those 8 inch heels while performing and knowing how to walk in 8 inch heels is the first requirement to becoming "Hollywood"...

They put too much attention on high heels, tight dresses and vamping. The guys (except Adam Lamber) just sing.

I agree -- and that's the fault of the show's producers and costumers -- not the female singers...

Not actors, but by all accounts Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer have respected one another some 40 years now, ever since they started covering Watergate locally. Am gonna really miss Lehrer when he signs off June 6.

Best Segue of This Chat.


Love the show, but thrilled they didn't do well in Nationals. However, overall, the Finale was anticlimatic and blah. Two thumbs down.

They came in 12th place! Which I'm guessing means were stuck with another season in which it's all about "Nationals." I'm getting pretty tired of the storyline loop on this show. Which is why I'm looking forward to NBC's midseason drama "Smash" -- "Glee" for Adults.

I don't know why we get so caught up in who won. Once you get to the top 4 or so, you've gotten all the exposure you need to make or break your career. Winning doesn't do anything more for your career than coming in 2nd, except obligate you to the man for more time.

You are right and it's another of the show's problems... If people aren't deeply invested in who's gonna win, they won't keep watching -- they think it's over once you get to the top 4.. I know I do..

Emily Deschanel is pregnant. Does sort of limit the options available to the show - either not mentioning it or continously standing behind large objects likely not the best idea.

Ha! Remember "Kate and Alley" (SP?) when one of the actresses got pregnant and they wrote a storyline in which she was in some accident and spent half the season in a hospital bed or something? And Jane Leeves was pregnant on "Frasier" but they just hid her tummy behind grocery bags and such... the possibilities are endless...

Did anyone notice how ill fitting his suit was? It was the most disconcerting thing about the show, and that's saying something...

I did not notice. Was it too tight or too loose?

The model/detective thing was just the set up. But this deserves its own dedicated chat.

I agree!

When JFK Jr. was on (tells you how long ago). I vowed never to watch again because of her interview. He was gracious talking about the family and looking at childhood photos on the big screen behind them. The up popped the salute photo from the funeral. He turned away. She asked him about That Day. "You turned three That Day. What do you remember about That Day?" He responded rather dryly that he didn't remember and he didn't want to talk about it. "You don't remember anything?" I think she even asked if he and Caroline talked about it. It was so clear that he was uncomfortable, crossed his arms over his chest, kept his back to the screen, but she kept going. Ugh.

I'd forgotten about that...

Pookie, surely you know better. Bruce Willis was a "rogue" detective, not a "rouge" detective. Yes, he wore makeup--all actors do on camera--but never bright red cheek makeup.

Hey -- I've had about four hours sleep over the last three days. If I'm remembering him with bright red cheeks, it's only because I'm still dreaming... Oh, and I'm a dyslexic typer when tired...

I'm curious as to why you were so negative about Madonna's tribute to Oprah. I didn't see it that way at all. I found it to be funny, playful and heartfelt. Naturally when you are tributing someone you will mention how they have affected your life. I found your comments unncessarily snarky and negative. Most other people I have talked to saw it the same way. Do you have some special beef with Madonna? I found your comments about her truly bizarre.

On the contrary, Madonna's comments were laugh-out-loud funny. Particularly the bit where she said:

“Whenever I’m asked who my role models are, or to name women I can look up to,  I always say.....

‘Dead or alive?’ 

I nearly choked on my capuccino. I was SO expecting her to have said "Oprah" -- and its appeared  Tom Hanks and Oprah  had expected same.  It was a brilliant made-for-TV moment and we love Madonna for it.

And, FYI, here are some clips about Madonna's school-building efforts, by way of comparing and contrasting with Oprah's, which Madonna herself did during her speech.

You two day coverage of Oprah's final shows have been nothing short of brilliant! If you don't get the Pulitzer for those, then the voting is rigged. Thank you for articulating the event so well.

Oprah? Is that you?

Lisa: Oprah is certainly worthy of admiration for what she has personally accomplished, for her charity work, and for her loyalty to old friends, like her mentor in Baltimore TV, Richard Sher. Yet there was something depressing about all the A-list celebrities coming by to kiss the hem of her garment. Eventually, I thought of the wonderful scene in I, Claudius where a number of nobles are summoned by Caligula, played by John Hurt. Petulantly, Caligula demands that they say what is different about him. The nobles are terrified and only Claudius (Derek Jacobi) is willing to gamble, "Oh...I see've become a god!" To which Caligula gleefully assents.

and they say the TV chat isn't educational! thank you for sharing...

WHAT? this got cancelled??? didn't get much of a chance. i thought it was pretty good, personally. but, what do i know ....

numbers were pretty lousy...

If I see another commercial for "Franklin & Bash" I am going to go crazy!

If I see another commercial in which Oprah is compared to Walter Cronkite, Johnny Carson and the series finale of "MASH" I'm going to go crazy.. Oh wait, it's over...

With "Happy Endings" getting picked up by ABC, does that mean Damon Wayans Jr.'s role in the new Zooey Deschanel show on FOX will have to recast his part?

Yes, Damon was in "second position" on the new show, which means if the show on which he already had a contract was renewed, he could not participate. It's like what happened to Jordana Spiro on NBC's "Love Bites" and TBS's "My Boys"..except then, after she had to drop out of "Love Bites," TBS went and cancelled "My Boys" ...

Most TV shows are filmed in LA. Most TV reporters live in LA. Most actors and actresses live in LA. Yet the upfronts are in New York. Why?

Ah, glad you asked. Because the Upfronts are all about putting on a dog and pony show for advertisers and Madison Avenue is still the epicenter of the ad industry in this country....

I missed the first two shows but chose to leave work early to catch the very last broadcast of a new Oprah show and I'm very happy I chose this episode. Watching stars perform and congratulate Oprah on a job well done is cool and all, but yesterday's show confirmed why she's And I couldn't help tearing up and feeling a tinge of sadness that yet another staple in my life is gone. I'm 28 and since forever there've always been at least two constants: Michael Jackson and Oprah on channel 7 at 4pm. Now both are gone.

I want to know who you work for and how I get a job there, where my boss is okay with my leaving work early to go home to watch Oprah.  You have the best boss -- ever.. But seriously, pookie, you should invest in a DVR -- if only for the sake of your career and job security...

Just as an FYI, Mandy Patinkin is going to be in concert at Music Center at Strathmore Thursday, June 9 and Friday June 10. Just my way of saying thanks for all you do. Your posts about the up-fronts were spectacular as always.

Thank you for the gift of this information. I was not aware!

On Frasier, they put her character in a fat suit and sent her to fat camp when she had the baby. Genius. Now, Elaine Benes carries lots of grocery bags and wore a lot of big jackets. JLD had at least 2 babies while on Seinfeld. P.S. I do remember Kate & Allie's Kate being hospitalized for a broken leg. lol!

I stand corrected. I knew they did something super-clever with Leeves on "Frasier" but it was a fat suit! What a clever show...

When MY jazz and show choir went to nationals in NYC we WON! So why am I not a huge star like Lea Michele?

Hey, congratulations! In re winning nationals, that is -- not in re not being a big star like Lea Michele... I can't answer that. You should ask Hax...

I've never watched a single episode of either AI or Oprah. Watched this season of DWTS b/c of Hines Ward. Agree that they pad the show with waaaay too much fluff. I am a huge Hines Ward fan and would NOT have been able to sit through the show w/o my DVR. seriously, how many times do they need to replay Hines dropping Kym on her head?

And now you can appreciate how difficult my job is! Meanwhile, Dancing isn't the only show that keeps playing that injury over and over again  -- I caught it yesterday on some other show -- maybe Kathie Lee and Hoda? I have to turn away every time they show it... it's a wonder she didn't break her neck.

Or in SVU when Olivia spent a season behind a computer desk instead of smashing suspects into walls!

certainly less fun than a fat suit, but still an option...

Reference to the finales of a number of TV series have been made during the run-up to Oprah's, yet none I've seen has show the best one of all -- Bob Newhart waking up in bed next to previous-series wife Suzanne Pleshette and telling her about the heartburn-induced nightmare he had about running an inn in New Hampshire with a beautiful blonde wife and supporting cast of wacky characters. Why the omission? Isn't the series available yet on DVD or something?

Because that wasn't a serious and tremulous series -- I think the producers of the Oprah finale ad were going for gravitas.... hence Cronkite, Carson, etc.. Oh wait, they did include the final scene from the end of The Mary Tyler Moore Show -- but it wasn't a gag, like the waking up in bed gag on the Newhart finale -- it was her turning out the lights which was a real three-hankie moment...

Someone said that the celebrities who were wishing Oprah farewell were all "swimming in the sea of me." That perfectly describes what was going on. Now that I think about it, all celebrities swim in the sea of me. But I was sorry to see Tom Hanks do it!

Me too...

Actually, they had some fun with it, making jokes about Daphne's mysterious "weight gain" (and subsequent loss -- if memory serves, I think her maternity leave might have been written as Daphne going off to a weight loss camp). I thought 30 Rock had some nice fun with Jane Krakowski's pregnancy in the last few episodes (except the hysterical pregnancy bit was actually less than, well, hysterical).

another great option. I think on the So You Want to Be a  TV Writer test they should make this a standard question:

"Irreplaceable Star on hit series gets pregnant. How would you handle?"

I'm thinking the cliff-hanger is whether Patrick is the one who shot Red John. when the shots were fired and Red John fell, Patrick looked mildly surprised, then took the gun out of his pocket, put it on the table, sat down and ordered a cup of tea. So one scenario is that he simply knew that standing in front of your arch-enemy with a gun in your pocket at the time he was shot was going to create complications until ballistics and trajectories and what-not are examined; then the mystery becomes "Who shot Red John?" (which is a much better scenario for next season that Patrick's trial for premeditated murder).

Gosh, I hope not....I was hoping next season would be all about Patrick in Prison...

Fri-day Chat! Fri-day Chat! Fri-day Chat. C'mon everyone, join me.

are we chanting to the strains of "Friday"?

All of my favorite shows have wrapped up. I don't really like reality shows and "Mad Men" is not coming back for a long time. I guess I'll have to either get a life or start watching baseball. What do you do all summer, Pookie?

I sit by the pool and drink Manhattans.....actually there's a lot of TV to cover in the summer -- not to mention the Summer TV Press Tour 2011...

Way too tight! Looked like something he wore about 20 lbs and 10 years ago. Sort of like Costanza's tuxedo in the Seinfeld where they went to the opera...

Maybe that's how they're wearing them this year? I did not notice but then I was on deadline last night... And, since you guys don't like my new sign off, I'll just say I'm outta time...bye!

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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