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The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Aug 10, 2012

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

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So TLC now has two series--Toddlers & Tiaras and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo--devoted to adults who do horrible things to children. What's next? To Watch a Predator?

Why do shows like this get made and yet nobody ever jumps on my idea -- "Celebrity Autopsy"?

It's got everything -- the Practically Perfect Reality Show:

1) Celebrities. No end of celebrities flirting with death via drugs, alcohol, racing paparazzi on freeways to make a point, etc. And, presumably, they'll come pretty cheap, sinc they're, you know, dead -- and,  presumably leaving behind  sponging family members who know their gravy train has just handed in his or her dinner pail.

2) Autopsy.

Anyway, to get to your point, I have tried to stay away from commenting on these above-named shows.  One of my nieces knew JonBenet Ramsey. I'll leave it at that.



He's getting rave reviews for his Olympics coverage. He was discussed as a replacement for Matt Lauer on the Today Show. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Am I the only one of the world who has never gotten his appeal? Why is he so well regarded? To me he's just a goofy ball of fluff.

That poll mentioned this week in the TV Column says he got a 78 percent "satisfactory" rating. But Bob Costas got a 92 percent...I'm not sensing  "rave reviews" there. But, I take your point. He does seem to be everywhere. My guess is it's because so many of the things he touches bring in great ratings. "Idol", anything Kardashian on E!, his radio show, etc... Everyone loves success...

I saw a few ads for Mindy Kaling's new show and now I'm concerned that it's going to be awful. Do you have any dirt on the buzz - good or bad? I like her and want her to succeed.

I, on the other hand, was fully prepared not to like it and found myself liking it -- a lot... that said, I've only watched the pilot and there have been times when I loved a pilot and did not like subsequent episodes. That's because studios typically spend loads more time and money on pilot episodes -- the episodes they're showing off to try to get a project greenlit to series -- than on subsequent episodes..Sometimes they also hire a hot-shot director for the pilot, who does not direct other episodes. Yes, there are people in Hollywood who are known as "pilot directors" and can make a living that way -- a really, really good living...

Pookie, I'll be joining late but wanted to get this question in: I'm no fan of Seabiscuit, and I loathe the reading of tweets as if it's "news" instead of vapid filler of airtime, but the prospect of giving Costas the boot totally thrills me. Am I reading too much into the polls? Is it possible that we could finally be free of the smug little troll (Costas, not Seabiscuit, for those having trouble following)?

Except Seabiscuit only got a 70-something "satisfactory" result on that poll I wrote about, while Costas got 90-something...sounds like we're in for many more years of Costas.. And Costas actually knows something about the sports he's discussing. Seabiscuit does not.. Though he is BFF with Justin Bieber and can therefore tell one of the U.S. women's teams -- was it gymnastics, or swimming? It's all a blur -- that he passed along their Bieber love to the guy himself and Biebs is going to send them "a package"..which sounded kind of dirty at the time, but I'd been watching loads of Games at that point and was somewhat delirious...

I am not the person who mentioned CBS This Morning last week but I want to add my thoughts about it. Charlie Rose is so eloquent. I have always admired him. I quit watching the other morning shows long ago. This one is worth a watch, give it a try.

When the show debuted, I enjoyed comparing the number of times he and Gayle  said "I" or "me"....I will watch again, based on your recommendation!

Hi Lisa, what's the likelihood that Cyndy Chupack might consider trying to bring "Love Bites" to a different network, say Lifetime or USA, in the same way "Arrested Development" getting new life breathed into it by Netflix?

Somewhere between zilch and nada is my guess (watch it be announced next week). "Arrested Development" found new life because while its audience was small -- too small for broadcast TV -- that audience was mad-crazy in love with the show. For distribution platforms that can sustain a smaller audience -- like Netflix, looking to get into original-episode production -- a small but rabid audience is like a gift from heaven, if the deal is brokered properly. The "Love Bites" story reads more like a Greek tragedy: star Jordana Spiro held against her will to a previous series commitment (on a show that was then canceled), other star Becki Newton got pregnant which delayed production, show re-tooled along the lines of "Love American Style," NBC off-loaded it as a summer show, and finally somebody goudged out their eyes after discovering they'd shagged their own mother...

Oh Pookie, it was purely craptastic! Scenes were chewed. Blood was splattered. Teeth were gritted. Nostrils were flared. Punches were thrown. Tears were shed. Horace and Greeley looked divine. Having a great time ... wish you were here!

Did Horace and Greeley survive? (looking forward to watching it this weekend!). TV Guide magazine's latest issue says Larry Hagman was making $75,000 per episode to chew scenery on this "Dallas" reboot and I hope at least some of it was spent pruning Horace and Greeley...

I understand that often shows will divide a season into two parts. However, in the case of "Breaking Bad," as I understand it, the two halves of the final season will be a year apart. So, why isn't this considered two (short) seasons? What is the advantage of labelling it as a two-part season? In other words, are there any rules for this, or is it more like the miniseries label and anything goes?

Contracts....If you call it "one season" you pay the agreed upon salaries for that season. If you call it "two seasons" the stars are going to want a raise. It' s all hooey and, as usual, has nothing to do with making it easy on the viewer...

Really, it's the 21st Century. Can't they show it both live and in Prime-Time?

NBC is -- on the Web... Like you said: it's the 21st century....

These salaries reported in TV Guide make no sense. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are worth more than the Ryan guy. I have never understood what Lauer does to deserve his salary. Ugh to Ryan and Lauer.

Lauer anchors a show that brings in pots and pots of money. Also, he caught NBC at a particularly advantageous time -- "Today's" ratings record had been snapped (or was about to be snapped) by "Good Morning America" and NBC really did not want to lose Lauer as they try to fix the problem. They wanted to lose Ann Curry. And, look at that -- they did!

Hey, Pookie: As the Olympic fortnight winds down this weekend, I can't help but think I spent way too much time cheering for athletes I've never heard of in sports I don't care about. Yet, like so many, I fall in love with the Summer Olympics every four years. In your opinion, did NBC deliver a gold medal in these 2012 London Games?

Yes. I'm basing that on pure tonnage -- I think it was up to 5 million hours of competition this time, across the various networks of Kabletown/NBC/Universal -- and the live web stream. I'm chosing to exclude the opening ceremony, for which NBC owes America an apology -- or at least a commercial-free preview of the "Animal Practice" pilot episode --  what with the incessant nattering of on-air talent during the ceremony, and then cutting the tribute to terrorist victims in order to show an interview between Seabiscuit and Michael Phelps. I fear for the closing ceremony...

I vote that each week you eliminate one letter of the alphabet from your chat responses. I'm still reading last week's chat and it's hilarious. Maybe I've discovered a new show.

Love it in theory....the only problem is my "T" key is working just fine and I'd have to go back and cut out all of them because I can't type this fast,  breathe and think to not hit the "T" key at the same time. ...I hope you noticed how well my "P" key is functioning this week.... Chicken fat -- the miracle laptop problem solver....

I considered last week's Modern Family v. Friends comparison (salary-wise) then took it a step further - I never watched first-run episodes of Friends - didn't watch until syndication and now I love to watch the reruns, for moment's such as these: "Rachel: Huh. A moo point? Joey: Yeah, it's like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter. It's moo." But I'm finding that reruns of Modern Family get deleted instead of watched - it's like the joke isn't funny the second time around, and even on initial viewing, the LOL moments just don't happen for me. But then again, I may not be their target audience - let's see - LOL at King of Queens and was uncomfortable with Married With Children.

If you loved "King of Queens" then you're probably a Leah Remini fan and you're going to love ABC's new comedy "The Family Tools" in which the plays Aunt Terry -- sister of a guy who who is forced to hand over his much-loved handyman business to his son, who has failed at nearly everyting he's's a perfect companion show for Tim Allen's ABC sitcom "Last Man Standing" but ABC has instead put Reba McEntire's "Malibu Country" in that Friday 8:30 timeslot and put "Family Tools" on the bench for midseason.. I'll keep you posted in re where it lands on the schedule and when...

Are others troubled by the tradition of Olympians draping themselves in the flag of their country following a competition? It seems somewhat disrespectful of the symbol of a flag. Why not give them flags on polls? Imagine the beauty and grandeur of the US wonen's soccer team taking a victory lap around Wembley Stadium, each with the stars and stripes flowing gracefully abover her head. To me, that would be a more respectful way for athletes to express their genuine national pride.

I too find uncomfortable-making the wearing of the U.S. flag as a cape, towel, robe, or sarong...when did this become an Olympics tradition?

Hi, Pookie, I think the major problem with Sorkin's "Newsroom" is the director. All the timing is off -- it's too slow! Sorkin's forté is rapid-fire banter and here it's delivered more like a dirge. Not all the actors are well-cast, either, but a better director could make them sound and look as though they were! Anyway, that's my opinion. Thanks for letting me vent.

You are welcome. I respectfully disagree. It's not perfect -- it's just so much better than so much of what's on TV. And I'm enjoying watching journalists being portrayed as sometimes's rather Capra-esque... But, for me, the very best part of the show is being reminded that Sam Waterston is one heck of an actor -- something I'd completely forgotten, thanks to all his years years on "Law & Order" .. It's like finding a long-lost friend. ..and the director/directors? deserve some of that credit....anyway, I like that it's a show people feel passionately about, one way or the other, that isn't about zombies... thank you, HBO.

And Please keep going! It was pretty boring to me. How did that preview do in the ratings?

Very well, considering the network. NBC has lost the circulation needed to launch a broadcast comedy show... so while it lost a good chunk of its Games leadin, it's naive to think it was going to hang on to most of it, given the hour -- "Go On" didn't start until 11:06 p.m., on a weeknight -- and the "borrowed" nature of  "Games" viewers

So they ended their season just like the old days...on a cliff-hanger! Were the ratings good enough for us to see the resolution next summer? And will Larry Hagman's eyebrows go bigger?

It has already been picked up for a second season...

I know she's a mother and everything, but NBC took her son off the Boot Camp show for medical reasons. Or did she want just any reason to get away from Howard Stern?

She got a lot of press, didn't she....Still, the Palin family have become the Barrymores of reality TV now, not the Osbournes, despite Sharon's best effort...

Kind of think it's wrong for the people behind "The Americans" to have the two leads have perfect non-regional American accents. When I was reading coverage of those Russian spies pretending to be Canadians in the 'burbs of Boston or New York, one thing that was kind of funny was that people would question them on their accents, they would say they were French Canadians and the people admitted to the reporter "I knew that wasn't a French Canadian accent, but what else do you do." I kind of like that instead of the ignorant American stereotype, people knew these people, with surnames like Foley and Heathfield, weren't French Canadian, but then it's that weird thing of how can you really "call them out on it" in any way.

You have apparently given this much more thought than I have... but aren't you dubious of people boasting after the fact "I knew that wasn'ta  french canadian accent"? Or am I just too cynical?

I put off watching Veep and finally watched the first episode last week. Holy crap - it was terrible. Unwatchable. And I'm someone that actually watched her last sitcom. I thought it was getting good reviews. Does it get better? Or am I just the only one that doesn't like it?

It's doing well for HBO, but that's doing well for HBO.. it's not garnering broadcast numbers, but then again, it doesn't have to... Me, I like it...

Ok, so Ryan Seacrest SUCKS as an interviewer for the Olympics. It's obvious that he knows NOTHING about Olympic sports so why subject him, or us for that matter, to his rambling, pitiful interviews? I mean really, just let him ask the athletes what they do instead of trying to act like you know something about track. Plus, have you seen Ann Curry at all during these games? I distinctly remember them pushing that as they shoved her out of the door!

Didn't she have one uncomfortable encounter with Matt this week?

on the radio, especially Ryan's Roses. If I judged him based on AI (which I don't watch) or other people's criticisms (popular to bash him) I would be missing out during my morning commute. Go Ryan!

He knows the music biz inside out... He's just not so up to speed on gymnastics...My guess is they thought he'd bring in viewers who don't know the sports but want to watch and want a "I passed along your love to my best pal Justin Bieber" kind of pop culture babble experience...

Hey, Pookie: Like much of the country, I tuned in each evening to watch NBC's prime-time coverage of the London Olympic Games. However, as a west coast viewer, I felt cheated. Not only did NBC withhold the glamour events -- swimming, gymnastics and track and field -- for prime time viewing, but living in California, I had to wait for west coast prime time, further delaying being able to see many of these events. Instead, I watched a lot of Olympics live online via the BBC and it was enjoyable. Is there any reason that NBC couldn't have shown its prime time coverage coast-to-coast ? I would have gladly watched from 5-9 p.m. my time in California while it aired in the east and midwest instead of having to wait until 8-midnight on the west coast.

If you are a lucky someone living on the west coast who is actually home from work by 5 p.m. can you please tell us what is your secret? NBC delayed the broadcasts to the west coast because far more viewers are home at 8 than at 5, which means more people will be available to watch, which means NBC can charge a higher ad rate, which means they will make more money, which means they can afford to keep on paying the kind of breathtaking figures they are to get exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to the Olympics. And, guess what -- it's been working just fine, ratings-wise.....sorry for you, but that's what's going on...

we were watching the olympics last night and bob costas said something about 'social media' and then 'speaking about social media, here's ryan seacrest' and my husband was like 'what???? - how are those two related????' - and I said: he's their social media expert, I think. Why, no one has any idea, but there it is. i mean, seriously, it's very weird.

Thats's wonderful. I think this years Olympics has set a new record for the level of nattering by on-air talent...

Actually, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis were planning to make a movie about 2 men who have little boys on the tot beauty pageant circuit. But then the Sandusky scandal broke, so they wound up opting for a plot about rival candidates for political office ("The Campaign").

good call....

Really? How about some of the REAL sportscasters who are doing yeoman work? Al Michaels, Bob Costas, Mike Emrick...

okay, let's all take a deep breath...Bob Costas got a much better response from viewers in that poll. Ditto Dan Patrick....

Did I see it correctly that Judge Judy makes $45 Million? That is more than anybody else on TV. Wow!

Well, not actually. For instance, Simon Cowell isn't even on the list because TV Guide backed off him -- apparetly they could not figure out how to separate his on-air salary from the $90 million Forbes says he makes annually from his various TV franchises, and attached record deals, etc... Oprah's also noticeably missing...This was supposed to be a straight salary list, but it's still not entirely clear to me whether the salary for  Mark Harmon, for instance, includes the chunk of change he gets as "exec producer" on "NSIC"....

Did Matt Lauer kiss the top of her head again?

I missed it. Anybody?

Apparently though pookie, there's a limited number of viewing hours you can watch on the web if you don't have ANY other tv service. So if you have no directTV or Comcast or FIOs after a few hours you can no longer view the Olympics. At least that's what my friend w/NO other tv tells me. :)

Yes, it's problematic for cord cutters...

I'm interested in seeing some shows that I didn't watch this year but that seem to have been pretty popular. If I start watching "Person of Interest" and a few others like that in their second season, will I be able to figure out who's who and what's happening, or will I be hopelessly lost?

On "Person of Interest" and other procedurals, I'd say no, you won't have trouble... If you're talking about something like "Game of Thrones," however -- it's hopeless, unless you get your hands on earlier seasons and brush up... and even then you may have trouble...

when was it on? seriously? i missed it. well, that's 30 minutes of my life that wasn't a waste.

That's only if you would not have liked it.. Lucky you -- NBC's going to air again. What aired Wednesday night, after the Games at 11:06 p.m., was a commercial free broadcast -- nbc called it a preview -- of the entire first episode of Perry's new "Go On." The show will debut in its regular Tuesday 9 p.m. timeslot as the TV season gets underway...

Did the flag as clothing trend begin with the 1992 men's basketball team (The "Dream" Team), or Carl Lewis in 1984?

any experts out there?

I'm generally not much of a sitcom fan, but I LOVED "Go On". Seems like a hard premise to keep going for several years, but I'll definitely watch it for now.

Glad to hear from a fan.. nobody does droll better than Matthew Perry and, as he pointed out at Summer TV Press Tour 2012, the writing is better on "Go On" than it was on "Mr. Sunshine" -- and he should know since he wrote "Sunshine." I notice some TV critics are accusing the new comedy of being suspiciously like "Community" but that's exactly what NBC needs, shows that take a good set up and broaden it out so that it can snag a "broadcast" audience, which "Community" failed to do -- hence its move to Friday to give it time to make enough episodes for syndication while not having to score a broadcast sized audience on The Night of Low Expectations...

Will it see a second season?

I hope so... I'm rooting for NBC to make a comeback this season. We need NBC....

I mean seriously. I have absolutely no problem with women wearing American (or British, or whatever) flag-themed bikinis. Makes me very patriotic. So how could I possibly complain about an Olympic athlete representing his or her country who celebrates by wearing a flag?

We seem to have struck a nerve here, with chatters forming two schools: the Flags Belong on Poles school, and the Flags Are Meant to Decorate Bikinis school. I see good arguments on both sides... please, everyone, weigh in!

Any chance we will get another Rock of Love. Its poetry in motion!

I'm going to repeat that, just so the network can use it in an ad:

Washington Post chat says  "Rock of Love": is "poetry in motion."

thank you for that....

Pookie, as a faithful follower of your column and chats, I am appalled that I now find myself feeling sorry for Ann Curry. I know she makes a lot of money. But still, her shoes did her in? Her dresses? She snubbed Matt Lauer on the air at the Olympics when he tried to be nice? I thinking Ryan Seacrest would be a great replacement for Lauer. Help.

You too read the recent article in which Ann claims her discomfort with stiletto heels, her love of brightly colored clothes and her unwillingness to dye her hair did her in. And, by "did her in" you mean her $10 million contract? Why can't we all get "done in" like that?

makes me a little woozy but here goes. He's actually really good at what he does on Idol but makes it look effortless so doesn't get credit for it. He's dealing with a live show, obcoxious personalities, diva-like behavior, kids with emotions and he has to keep the trains running on time. I still have tired of Idol and don't plan to watch it again, but it's a tough gig he handles realy smoothly. If I were a network exec, I'd want to hire him, too.

It's like you read my column...I have said same many times -- live TV is hard... he's extremely good at it... that said, I wish he knew a teensy bit more about Olympic sports but, in fairness, he was thrown into this fairly quickly and has several other things on his plate. The real test will be the next Games...

Setting aside Todd's current foray - has their brand shot its... well... um, run its course?

Absolutely not.. Bristol is returning to the all-star edition of "Dancing with the Stars" and is already complaining like a trouper about how the media is berating her, before the show even debuts...She's a TV rock star...

Maybe that's because the Osbournes have some actual discernible talent.

Hahahahaha... oh wait. You're serious. Tell me more...

That was the best television all week, Ann and Matt reunited ... Matt trying to let bygones be bygones and Ann not having any of it. Better than any reality show!

brilliant TV.. I hope Ann goes on "Dancing with the Stars" some day...

How many episodes are there in this series? I think the show could be good, but the flashbacks are too frequent and often repetitive. Plus I didn't realize until this series that Sigourney Weaver has no vocal range at all. She sounds the same in everything.

Just six, giving Weaver plenty of time to work on her vocal range.. But wait, she's got great range!... Ever see her in "Working Girl"? She ranged all over the place...

I hate the fluff that gets injected into our coverage of sports. In other countries they stick to the sports themselves, instead of running these syrupy profiles with violins humming in the background.

NBC swears by the syrup and violins because, they say, the American viewers gobble it up -- the syrup, not the violins...

I only watch the sports. When the studio peeps start talking, I mute or change the channel. Glance up every once in a while and "Oh look, it's the Olympics again!" and I unmute. It's really the best way.

no argument here...

may be able to charge a higher rate, but I like to be asleep by 11. and i see all my friend's facebook posts - and I'm like: wow, I have to wait THREE HOURS for this? no fun at all (I'm on the west coast too, but not in CA, yes there is such a thing).

NBC isn't charging a higher rate -- the olympics committee is getting a higher rate in the bidding wars that go on every time the contract comes up... I totally get the angst of west coast viewers... you should watch the live streams...

They can show it live on their ESPN channels and package it for ABC prime time. NBC does have other channels, but no sports channels where sporting events would displace regular programming. Also, that would rid us of their annoying 'anchors.'

I think Disney was among those who bid but bowed out, deciding NBC was offering stupid money...

What's the word on the new Sherlock? Is it any good?

love the pilot... mostly because of Jonny Lee Miller, and the utter lack of gadgetry... it's all in his head...

When Missy Franklin won her first race, all I could think of, in the wake of the "Batman" movie shooting, was "We're all Aurorans."

wow. I got nothin'...

Am I the only person who thinks Aaron Sorkin's characters have never talked the way real people talk. That said, I second the sentiments about Sam Waterston, and I'm happy to see Jeff Daniels doing some national work that's not promoting Michigan tourism. Wasn't he the doofy jerk husband in Terms of Endearment way back in the day?

yes, this show also reminds me that Jeff Daniels is a first-class actor. and Aaron Sorkin's characters have never talked in the way real people talk, but that did not bother people who watched "The West Wing" or "Social Network."  ...Journalists never talk the way Ben Hecht wrote them either -- but "Nothing Sacred" and 'The Front Page"/"His Girl Friday" are brilliant, nonetheless.

I believe the flag about the shoulders began with Michael Jordan in Barcelona in 1992. Apparently he did it to cover the Reebok logo since he was the face of Nike at the time.

interesting... I'm out of time. Thanks for joining me. See you next week...

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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