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The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Oct 05, 2012

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

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Didn't I hear that advertisers (or broadcasters) were going to be prevented from boosting the volume on commercials? Our old Magnavox kept the volume even between shows and commercials with "Smart Sound", but that had stopped working years ago. The jarring blast of sound is really noticeable on our snazzy new TV. I could have sworn this was going to be a violation or against the law or something.

The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (“CALM”) Act, which, we were promised, would end excessively loud ads on TV, became law on December 15, 2010.  It required the FCC to enforce a technical standard that would prevent screamingly-loud ads – by mid-December of 2011. So, last December,  the FCC announced with fanfare its plans to  implement the CALM Act -- one of the commissioners at that time promised TV ads would “never be the same” again, putting the Sham Wow!’s and Oxycleans of the TV universe on notice. And, as you note, it's been going really well ever since.. Oh wait....

EEK! Halloween comes early this year, and the prize for "most terrifying" AND "most inappropriate" goes to ABC for letting the spouse of a presidential candidate co-anchor a news program (!). In case anyone missed the headline, "ANN ROMNEY TO GUEST HOST GOOD MORNING AMERICA" !!! I wonder if she'll get to "explain" the need for stricter voter I.D. laws and to nix topics like gay marriage? Like it wasn't bad enough that the unqualified children of FORMER presidents get to be reporters on NBC, now ABC is handing over the anchor chair to a possible NEXT president's spouse! Pookie, I'm so afraid the next step is to let politicians-slash-government officials choose, edit and deliver the news themselves!

You and I are on the same page on this one. No matter how infotain-y they take "GMA" it's still produced under the ABC News umbrella...

Did you write it? Cuz I love it and the snarkiness.

I did, and thank you for noticing!

Okay, so I have watched two episodes of "Vegas" and I am still waiting for Dennis Quaid to smile. He looks constipated and, since much of his appeal is in his cheeky smile, the show is very hard to watch. How is the show doing in the ratings? Should I hope he gets some Metamucil or give up on it?

Did you see him on "The Talk" when the cast visited to pitch the show? He' looked pretty miserable there too though, in his defense, Julie Chen and some of the other "Talk"-ers were dressed up in full 60's Vegas showgirl regalia, which is enough to sadden even the bravest former movie star now compelled to do broadcast series TV.  But, you had a question, and you'd like it answered, right?  "Vegas" is doing well -- opened with 15 million viewers (and the highest timeslot rating among 18-49 year olds) last week and scored 12 million viewers (and another demo win) this week though, let's face it, it has little competition in its timeslot ("Parenthood" and "Private Practice" -- both struggling shows).  My guess is we're stuck with Dour Dennis for a while.

After I suffered through the second atrocious ep of that mess called "Revolution," I said never again, but even though I'm no longer watching it, I'm just curious. What are the ratings & are they falling every week as people realize how absurd the entire premise is? Will it even make it to the Nov. sweeps? The same goes for "Last Resort," except that it boasts a spectacularly great actor as the lead who can transcend almost any bad writing. But I think here, he's met his match, so same question, will it make it to Nov?

Lots to go over here:

"Revolution" is doing very well for NBC and the network a couple days ago gave it a full-season pickup. It benefits from following "The Voice" on Mondays. The week before the season started, "Revolution clocked a whopping 12 million viewers before the other broadcast nets launched their fall lineups; this week it's down to 8.3 million, against stiffer competition but still handily winning its timeslot among 18-49 year old viewers who -- all together now! -- are the currency of broadcast TV ad sales.  And my guess is the power will return on this show -- for those of you not watching it's about a world in which all the power goes off at once all around the world ---including all those energizer bunny batteries apparently, and the engines in your car, etc. and Kudzu has taken over all the skyscrapers, etc... Anyway, the power will go back on long enough for those citizens you see in the show to get their teeth whitening touched up -- golly they have bright teeth -- and their hair blow-dried so it will look nice for the next several months -- and then it will go off again, because otherwise there is no show. Now, in re ABC's "Last Resort"  it opened with more than 9 million tuned in last week and finished third in the age bracket, behind CBS comedies and Fox's "X Factor" and this week fell to around 8 million. That's not too bad considering how competitive the Thursday 8 p.m. timeslot is -- how competitive is the timeslot? Anyway, yes, they'll make it to November..

Have you had a chance to check "Rake" out? I know it's impossible to find (Audience Network), but I thought it was really funny and smart. I've been impressed by some of the shows the Audience Network has been able to get (Hit and Miss, Damages). Any chance Audience will be shown on other cable providers?

This question put my Flack-dar on high alert, but anyway....

What a coincidence your asking!... because Greg Kinnear has just signed to star in an American version of this Australian dramedy. For those of you not familiar with "Rake" -- think "House," only in the coutroom instead of a hospital, self-destructive/brilliant attorney, blah, blah, blah. Which is SUCH a happy coincidence, because "House" exec producer Paul Attanasio has been signed to exec produce! And, in case anyone's wondering, Audience Network is the exclusive entertainment channel for DirecTV customers.


My dad said it's because he's a recovering alcoholic. Not all of us are happy about the recovering part.... haha.

Is there something in the rule book that says recovering alcoholics are not allowed to smile?...Me, I'd put him in a flick, and make it a comedy. That smile is a terrible thing to waste...

Wait, people still watch commercials? I guess that means they are watching their shows in real-time. Craz-ay!

I know...

I think this show would be greatly improved if they killed off the incredibly annoying teenage girl post haste. Any chance of that, Pooks?

Let's all clap our little hands and say "I believe they will kill off the annoying teen chick on Revolution, I believe they will kill off the annoying teen chick on Revolution" and see if that works.

Do NBC has started buying up some of its new shows for the whole season, after only the first week? Is this tantamount to admitting that they can't cancel them regardless of whether they're any good or not, since they know that nothing else they can put on would be any better?

Not really the case, though yes, technically it is only the second week of the official TV season, NBC launched its fall lineup much earlier because a) it had the Olympics in which it promoted some of the shows so it made sense to launch them before people forgot about the promos and b) NBC has been doing so badly in the ratings it makes sense to launch shows early to get them out of the cruch of Premiere Week....

How is "The Neighbors" doing? I think it is funny in a weird sort of way, but my husband just goes What the!!

It is the No. 1 new comedy of the season... tell your husband he needs to watch.

I'm not connecting with any of these new shows on Fox. And now they're delaying "Touch" coming back. Has Fox been taken over rabid weasels?

Yes... good guess!

Pookie -- I've had too many activities that take away from my TV viewing time. Can "Elementary" wait until Summer Re-run Theater?

No. Because I'm watching it and want to be able to discuss it with you.... you've got time to catch up now before it get to be too late...

But Michelle Obama is more qualified than Ann Romney to co-host GMA? According to what standards? She will get her time too.

I think the network news divisions should stay out of that business during an election cycle.. I know --I'm old fashioned.

Lisa, I watched the first episode of "The Neighbors" because of you and found it oddly really funny. I laughed out loud more times than I'd care to admit. But, the second episode wasn't nearly as good. Do you have any sense of whether they used all their humor in the pilot and it's essentially over?

This is the problem with broadcast TV... So much more time and money is spent on the pilot episode than can be spent on all subsequent episodes that there is often a noticeable drop off in quality, etc from first to second episode.. Give it a few more weeks... because it made you laugh out loud more times than you'd care to admit, and it's the least you can do to thank it...

I see it got a full back-order, but is this only because it's following "The Voice"? What will happen during the Winter months?

You mean the "When 'The Voice' returns season"?

really, can this show just go away? Do its ratings really merit its continued survival?

Fox needs to kick "Glee" to the curb so it can move "X Factor" from 8 -- where it's getting killed by CBS comedies -- to 9, where it will get less-killed by CBS's "Person of Interest." Sadly, that is not going to happen.

I'm looking forward to the Stewart-O'Reilly Showdown than the next Presidential one. When is it supposed to air?

It's not "airing" -- it's streaming... The "debate" will be livestreamed Saturday night, starting at 8 p.m. EDT... For more information, check the web site

Sorry, Pookie, I just. don't. care. And I think it's because of people like me (millions, I tell ya!) who don't care about AI anymore is the reason their PR people are creating drama.

Aha! So you do think they're creating the drama....this is a school that is growing daily....I'm so looking forward to recapping "Idol" now....

He was on LATE, LATE with Craig Ferguson and seemed happy enough to be there but evinced little enthusiasm for his new show.

Yeah, kind of like Mandy Patinkin, in re starring on CBS's  "Criminal Minds" -- which Patinkin recently referred to as  "soul destroying"

I enjoyed it. OK, so I'm an idiot, but anyway - will it make it to mid-season? This premise could get old fast, but there seem to be enough gags to stretch it out that long. When they introduced the short fat alien as "Kareem Abdul Jabbar", I really broke up. And I don't know where they found the guy who plays Larry Bird, but I'm surely glad they did.

No, you're not an idiot... you've come to the right place. We take in all "Neighbors" lovers here... I thought, similarly, that "3rd Rock from the Sun" would get old really fast. But it did not... fingers crossed

I'm enjoying this so much more than I should--and a heck of a lot more than Suburbatory! It's just off enough to fit between The Middle and Modern Family.

I'm a "Suburgatory" fan but also like "Neighbors"...there's room for plenty of comedy on the schedule -- it's a good season for comedy. Except for "Guys with Kids" -- there's just no excuse for that one..

Really? Really? I would have thought The Birds would have been a better option for 3Dization.

My guess is Time Warner is looking for a way to get those of you who already have  "Wizard of Oz" on DVD or Blu- Ray, to toss that and purchase it again... Kind of like those "Singing in the Rain" bajillionth anniversary super-boxed sets with hundreds of bells and whistles.... I'm all for it, if it helps finance TCM...

The power of the people - it works! Remember earlier this year when we all kept wishing a piano would fall on Ennis' head (Smash) because he was so annoying? He's not coming back. It worked. I'm a believer! Gonna heal ya!

I do remember. I'm a big believer in the power of positive thinking....

My money is on the 7 foot tall avian. Can the Snuffleuphogas take on Paul Ryan?

you betcha!

I watched 666 Park Avenue and I think it has promise. If anything, it is a much better fit for that blonde actress than the cheesy cancelled Charlie's Angels.

Drat! I know you didn't mean to, but you've gone and  ruined "666" for me... I'd forgotten it's the same blonde. I'm here to tell you there has never been a more annoying actress get up on stage at a TV Press Tour in all my years of covering TV... She stands in a class all her own...

Hahahahahha. You never fail to amuse me.

Sadly, it's for realsies... Falls under ABC News, in much the same way "Today" is a production of NBC News...

Lisa - As much as I enjoy the characters and the scenery, I don't think I can take the idiotic scripts of "Hawaii Five-O" much longer. This past Monday they raced from HQ to save a girl trapped in a car trunk, without radioing for any other police in the area, or an ambulance even, to head there as well. And how did they know the girl was there? An overhead satellite spotted her through thermal imaging. This was an amazing satellite that read her heat signature as she was in the trunk of a car that was on the top deck of a concrete parking lot with the sun beating down on it. It's almost too painful to watch. Any chance it will get better?

None... just focus on the wonderful opening theme music...

My husband and I don't agree on much when it comes to TV. We both like "30 Rock," "Community," and "Modern Family"; after that, someone is breaking out a laptop or book to get through the other person's choice. But we both, for whatever reason, really like "The Neighbors." We feel like we should hate it, but darn if those aliens aren't so well-cast and hilarious! I don't know where they found that alien kid, but he totally looks like he'd be an alien. The humans, meh, but the aliens - just crack us up! I'm going to be really sad when this show is canceled b/c I suspect we are in the small minority who even gave this show a chance.

Again, No. 1 new comedy of the season.... turn that frown upside down.... blah, blah, blah....

I stopped watching sitcoms in the 90s. Every once in a while I will watch an episode of "The Office" or "The Middle," but nothing pulls me in. But there are so many new sitcoms over the last few years, so I tried watching "The New Girl" the other night and I just found the acting and storyline very weak. Is this supposed to be a good show? Maybe it's me.

It's you... There are some great comedies out there.. 2 Broke Girls, Guys with Kids -- JUST KIDDING! But, seriously, there are some good comedies: "Modern Family," sounds like something you have not yet sampled, based on what you said. It's a good place to start. I won't load you down with others.. We'll take baby steps, kay?

What do you think will be the first few shows to be cancelled? There are some shows I don't want to bother starting if they are only going to get cancelled. I assume I'm ok to start "Elementary" since it's doing decent numbers for CBS?

I think betting money is on Mob Doctor, right guys?

After three episodes "Animal Practice" could not be any worse. It isn't even worth fast-forwarding through the mindless drivel just to see Crystal. When does NBC do the humane thing and put this dog down?

I know what you mean, and the good news, if you're right, is that Crystal will probably get cast in something else because she's such a little star... I think they should make her a correspondent on The Daily Show...

What are your thoughts on this Pookie? Does the AMPAS REALLY think 12-year-old boys and adult men who are comic book nerds are going to tune in to see him? As a woman who enjoys indie films, as well as commercial fare, I can't fathom that this guy is going to be entertaining, much less bring more eyeballs to the tube. Kathy Griffin or Ricky Gervais, Chris Rock or Eddie Murphy would have been my choice.

I'm really looking forward to the Academy Awards hosted by MacFarlane! When I went to see him interviewed one year at the Paley TV Festival and he was wearing his customary public-speaking Scotch-on-rocks, I was told he is not comfortable with live public speaking and so always has a drink on hand. You remember the old flick "My Favorite Year" in which Peter O'Toole played a faded movie star similarly afflicted, who signs up to guest star on Sid Ceasar's show (given diff name for the flick) not realizing it's live TV? I'm counting on the upcoming Oscarcast going something like the  final scene in that flick.

Friends in NY claim it is "common knowledge" that NM has a child by ML. Do you think there's any merit to this?

If there is, you can be sure Ryan Seacrest, newest member of the "Today" show family, will get to the bottom of the report very soon...

GwK is just so bad, is there any chance that NBC will cancel and put Community in its slot?

That would be lovely, but I wouldn't count on it. Head of NBC Entertainment, Bob Greenblatt has said NBC needs to broaden out its primetime audience, and "Community" is one of the problems -- too nichy a show. It's been moved to Fridays -- Land of Low Expectations -- so it can produce more episodes for syndication. If NBC pulls the plug on "GwK" it would make more sense for the network to try another NEW, broader comedy in the slot...

I've struggled throught the first episodes of a show that has gone downhill this season, in my opinion. The characters seem inconsistent and the plot is missing those little moments that flesh out characters, their motivations, and give a sense of time/place. Even the fashion/decor porn aspect of it has disappeared under the weight of what is becoming a very standard gangster show.

I haven't yet watched this season and am sorry to read this review. HBO this week announced it has picked up the show for another season, which suggests their numbers are showing enough people feel otherwise...

On the basis of the first week or two's ratings, which show is the most likely to be the first one yanked? I'm betting on "My Gangsters" - er, "Mob Doctor".

the prevailing wisdom is that you're on target...

Lisa, I've given this show two heartfelt tries, but I really dislike it. Is it doing that well that it's already been picked up, or is it because NBC has something to prove. "Partners" is so much better.

"The New Normal" is getting beat in its timeslot by Fox's "The Mindy Project" among young viewers which, ironically, is produced by NBC Universal.. "TNN's" numbers aren't overwhelming.... and "Partners" isn't such a ratings barn burner either, over on CBS. Moving "Men" to Thursday may have helped CBS on Thursdays, but it's cost them ratings on Mondays for sure...

Actually, since I didn't find any of them believable evcept for Blaine's, I wasn't too hurt. But the lame "I got accidentally shot in Boot Camp" for Finn was even worse considering he didn't even get his hair shaved off. Make some sacrifice for the craft, people! So when does it come back?

After debate/playoffs, etc....November 8 is the return date, says Fox... and I'm with you in re shaving Finn's head. Heck, shave all their heads -- in a dance number.

Loving this show, but really annoyed by Lucy Liu as Watson. Not only don't I like the character the way she portrays her, I think New Watson isn't being written correctly -- she needs to add something to the mix, not just be a babysitter. As much as I hate the Action Adventure Hero Holmes (AAHH, tm pending) that Robert Downey Jr has made of the franchise, at least Jude Law's Watson actually contributes to the plotline. Why can't they do this with New Watson. Oh, and what's up with making New Holmes a recovering addict -- smells like a flimsy attempt to bring in a "House" factor, if you ask me. Once you take into account the L&O:Criminal Intent element, I'm starting to wonder why I like this show so much -- it's feeling mighty retread-y.

You do know that Sherlock Holmes, as written by Doyle, dabbled in controlled substances, right? But yes, I'm all for giving Watson more to do... hopefully that will happen in upcoming episodes...

Wow...couldn't disagree more. I think it's been great this year. Bobby Canivales new character is fantastic, and Nucky's decent into pure gangster has lots of promise.

another side heard from... Now I'm going to have to catch up asap..

Wasn't she supposed to be on another show, but TBS wouldn't drop the axe on My Boys? How'd that show do? I can't help feeling like she keeps getting screwed.

That show was re-thought, re-cast and died a quick death.. I can't even remember what it was called, but I think it was supposed to be a kind of "Love American Style" rom-com anthology re-boot....or, I dreamed that...

Is PBS's Jim Lehrer's career dead in the water after his weak showing on Wednesday evening's Presidential debate, where he couldn't even keep order?

"We've lost a pod" needs to become a Thing....

Think you might be wrong on the Cancellation Sweepstakes, Pookie. a) it's on FOX and b) they showed Her in her underwear this week. If they can manage b) for a few more weeks, something else will fall before Mob Doctor. Doesn't matter though, I've already penciled in the 2016 airing of "My Boys: Where are They Now?" on the TV Guide channel, so I've got something to look forward to....

Ah! I did not realize they'd played the chick with hot bod in her knickers card... Well played, Fox! Well then, I'm changing my vote...

Actually, it's a pretty realistic scenario where one half of a couple is moving forward in life/career while the other one is "left behind" (in the non-theological sense).

wow,that is so high school...

I think it had been something like 4 months since Finn's left boot camp, so it's plausible that his hair had grown out a couple of inches by the time he showed up on last night's episode.

but I want to see him with a shaved head....

Pookie, you've just forseen the solidarity-with-schoolmate-who-has-cancer episode!


making him attend 12 step meeting as part of your plotline just seems over-the-top, is all I'm saying.

it's an interesting update... but I can see how some Sherlock fans might take issue with the license...anyway,  Jonny Lee Miller's performance is fun to watch... I'm hoping they do an episode in which nothing happens and he just talks Holmes for 40 minutes...

My husband and I play a game when we watch this show. We try to end her sentences when she's speaking to anyone by saying "because I'm the mob doctor" to whatever she says to someone. Try it! It is so stupid, but makes the show enjoyable!

I LOVE this clever of you and your husband. seriously.

The show is already getting too preachy. Can we tell the scriptwriters to loosen up?

I think we just fixed the script by adding "because I'm the Mob Doctor" to the end of all her lines...I'm out of time. Thank you for joining me. Hope to hear from 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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