The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Oct 12, 2012

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

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I watched Nashville the other night hoping that it would be great and it was. I am hooked and looking forward to the season.

It's TV critics' fave new series of the season. But so far the  breakout hit appears to be CW's "Arrow" which scored 4 million viewers. While that's not a huge audience for broadcast TV, it's a huge audience for CW -- in fact it's biggest audience in 3 years. When you consider CW aired a bunch of stuff this week that clocked 500,000 viewers, and 700,000 viewers, it puts "Arrow" in perspective. CW is back in the game...

Was one of the ways to fix the show include adding more crying? There seems to be an awful lot of bawling from the x-testants this season. Perhaps this is why the producers want to see Britney cry?

Britney has been annoyingly meltdow-free on the show, despite Simon Cowell's best effort... I was sure when he had some stalkers audition she would flip out. Now he's wishing he'd hired Nicki Minaj instead... so much more material to work with there!

So there was a line in the pilot of "Nashville" that Connie Britton's father implies the elder of her two daughters wasn't fathered by her husband Eric Close. Just thought it was kind of funny (or maybe extremely clever and calulating on her part) that her lover Charles Esten and Eric Close look so much a like that nobody would ever really be able to tell either way.

And they say the soap opera is dead.. Hooey. It's alive and thriving at ABC.

Do the actors do their own singing? If they do, then both Connie Britton and Charles Esten (swoon) need to put out albums, stat. My whole family loved it, and not a country music fan in the lot.

I think I heard somewhere that they do - at least the female leads.. I may have dreamed that...

Loved Connie Britton on the series debut of "Nashville," and thought Hayden Panettiere did a good job of being mean. But too many of the male characters all seemed to blur together for me. Will this improve in subsequent episodes, Pookie, or will we need a figurative falling piano to land on a few of them, like on "Smash"?

I'm always in favor of having pianos fall on TV characters -- no matter what the circumstances.. Kind of which CBS had done that when Mandy Patinkin decided to bail on "Criminal Minds" but, of course, he did not give them any notice -- just took a powder suddenly. It takes time to plan and execute a good piano drop..

Please say Nashville did well! I loved it, except I couldn't keep all the guys straight. Was it just me, or did they all kind of look alike?

I'm hearing from a lot of people saying same -- they all tended to blend together... one of them needs to shave his head, or get a face tattoo. And yes, it did an okay opening, though it was not an out of the gate hit. Opened with around 9 million tuned in . CBS's "CSI" in the same timeslot, clocked around 11 million. "Nashville" was just ahead of "CSI" among 18-49 year olds, but that's kind of damning with faint praise when you stop to consider how old "CSI" is and "Nashville" is a brand new show...

...on the entire cast of "The New Normal." What a bore that show is.

I do not enjoy being preached at. Even when I agree with what's being preached...

When I am asked to input a topic into the chat window, the three examples listed are bipartisanship, redskins defense, and bridezillas? Is this a sign or merely a plucky coincidence?

That's just wrong! Can we please come up with three better examples?

I've always preferred the open elevator door without an elevator car, personally.

Fan of "LA Law" I take it? What a great episode that was!

What's going to be Paula Abdul's buzzword when she guest-judges on "Dancing with the Stars"? What's the terpsichorean equivalent of "pitchy"?

I didn't think "pitchy" was her thing on "Idol" -- I thought that was Simon and Randy... Wasn't she all about telling the Idolettes how they made it their own and other self-actualization blah, blah, blah? Seems that would work on "Dancing" as well....I can't wait to see Bruno with Paula. He'll eat her up.

How about My Boys, Jordana Spiro, and TBS (three birds, one stone)

Much better.....and thanks....

I keep expecting this to occur someday on "Big Bang Theory," as welllllllllllllll........

I know what you mean. That elevator is like the knife that was introduced in Act 1 of the play. It must be used by the time the curtain goes down. My guess is Lorre's saving it so if any of the cast pulls a Charlie Sheen on him -- down they plunge...

I agree with the earlier comments about not being able to tell the men on Nashville apart because they all look alike. Just like the women on Dallas.

Can one of them wear and eye patch or something... Lose a limb?

I used to like Two and a Half Men, and last season had its share of funny moments. But last night's episode was wildly inappropriate and unfunny, especially for a program that airs at 8:30. I thought it was just me, but I was watching with my 23-year-old son who said, "wow--this is just uncomfortable."

Yikes, what did I miss on last night's epsiode? My guess is they're really turning up the "volume" now that it's moved to Thursday night because CBS wants to own the night, with its comedies. CBS: the new NBC...

Every time Paula says "choreography", "Lakers" or "music video" - take a drink!

Great idea... Goodness knows this show needs something. What a strategic error ABC made this season doing an all-star edition. America doesn't want to see the same celebs come back who did it well. They want to see a new crop of celebs -- or the ones who did badly... This season has disaster written all over it.

...and the cast member returns from the dead played by Kathy Bates, in another Emmy-winning turn for her, right?

I hadn't heard Bates would be back for another round as Charlie Harper.. Seems like a funny joke -- once.

It's really starting to grow on me. Though Nene Leakes' character could go away; she's kind of useless, and this is coming from a Real Housewives Fan! Ellen Barkin is awesome - a Queen of Snark in the making.

Ellen Barkin is terrific  and they're lucky to have her in the role because otherwise the character would be utterly insufferable...

...down the entire bottle.

great idea.. I have no idea what this is about but I still like it, in theory.....  Is this in re Paula Abdul on "Dancing"? In which case, I like it even better!

Give one a red fez, one granny glasses, and the third mutton chops. At least we can always identify Powers Boothe: he's the one chewing the scenery.

I am a huge fan of scenery chewing. TV needs more scenery chewing... seriously.

Their relationship is stale in the bedroom, so Alan and Lindsay want a three-way...and Lindsay wants Walden as their third. A long, uncomfortable scene of the three of them in bed, with Alan as the third wheel.

ick, ick, ick....

Oops! I meant that Bates would come back as any "Big Bang Theory" cast member who pulled a Charlie Sheen.

Oh. My bad... I need more coffee for sure.... great idea. She can be Lorre's go-to thespian...

NBC's new strategy should be rerunning all of the beloved 80s sitcoms (Cosby Show, Cheers, etc.) in primetime. Seriously, how could this not work?

Well, it would skew a million years old -- that's a problem. Last night NBC's comedies "30 Rock" and "Up All Night" died in the ratings -- only around 3.6 million viewers. Yes the early numbers are a bit funky due to the debate being live across the country. And, how about that debate? Was that terrific live TV or what?

Any update on when Rules of Engagement will return? Didn't CBS dump a show this week that would open up a time slot?

Yes, they pulled "Made in Jersey" but they're filling the Friday timeslot with "Undercover Boss" -- so no room for "Rules."

Hey, Kathy could be Sheldon's beloved but as yet unseen MeeMaw...unless they're saving that role for Roseanne.

Not gonna happen... No love lost between Lorre and Roseanne.. She's maybe the only person who took Charlie Sheen's side on that very public fight between the two men...

Very few people (except the ones commenting on your last blog post) tune in to see near-professional quality dancing, any more than people watch Biggest Loser to see tight bodies. They tune in to see celebrities do something outside their comfort zone and either fail spectacularly or succeed to a degree, just like regular folks. So Kirsty will be sticking around because she's a senior citizen and Bristol will stay longer than she should because she's young and kind of hapless, and either Shawn or Gilles will win because they're cute and can actually dance, depending on which definition of "cute" prevails.

Wait, you mean Emmitt isn't going to win?

While watching the debate and following the threads on my Facebook feed, I kept hearing how Paul Ryan looked like Eddie Munster or Freddie Kruger.

it was a coin toss...

I hear Brett Butler might be available.

Even LESS love lost between Brett and Lorre... No I don't think any woman who's ever worked with Lorre on one of his comedies is going to volunteer to work for him again...

The Partners need to get the faling piano treatment! Michael Urie is terrible without Becki Newton. How close is CBS to cancelling it and putting in "Rules of Engagement"?

This is a trick question, right? CBS announced it this morning and I missed it while in home-repair hell this morning (hence late start for chat today)....Nope? Anyway, yes, CBS is hurting on Mondays, but I don't think swapping out this show will do it... They're getting kicked by "The Voice"....

Why is the dog named Brandeis?

I give up, why?

For the same reason I have a dog named Vanderbilt? (Actually, Vanderbilt is not named after the school -- he's named after a character in "Holiday Inn." Which brings me back to my first answer:  I have no idea.

My various TV guides show CBS CSI:NY at 9 PM tonite (where it belongs).

Yes, CBS announced this week it was yanking "Made in Jersey" from the Friday 9 p.m. hour in order to move "CSI" back to that timeslot, and will air reruns of "NCIS" etc at 8 until "Undercover Boss" debuts on Nov. 2... CBS did this because it's behind NBC for the season so far in 18-49 year old viewers and CBS thought it was going to win the season and wants to make absolutely sure it does..CBS made that move the day after NBC announced it would NOT debut two comedies: Community and Whitney, on Friday nights as planned because NBC thinks it will do better on the night with "Grimm" rerun leading into "Grimm and NBC is right.. Friday is suddenly a hot night this season...

I kept expecting VP Biden to yell at Con. Ryan to get off his lawn.


If they did it right they could run 6 comedies over the course of the full season without any repeats. Do the math. 33 season weeks with 4 comedy slots= 6 shows with 22 episodes each.

That's the general idea. Except NBC also wants to broaden out its audience and none of these comedies is going to accomplish that. Which is why NBC has conceded Thursday nights -- epic fail for those of us who have covered TV for years...

...his unfathomable affection for Jenna Elfman

ugh. yes, I had blotted it out... thanks for reminding me..

This was from her opposites attract song and video. I am sad that I know this.

I'm embarrassed that I did not know it... thanks!

As a long time follower of this chat, I'm a bit in the dark re: Chuck Lorre and the female comediennes that worked for him. I know Brett Butler had a comedy years ago; what happened?

She wound up playing bartender on Charlie Sheen's FX comedy, unless I dreamed that too...

Quote: "I kept expecting VP Biden to yell at Con. Ryan to get off his lawn." That joke was done to death with John McCain in 2008.

You're right -- it's funnier with McCain....

Elaine Stritch!

I love her... I'd watch that... but isn't she already under contract to play Alec Baldwin's mom on "30 Rock"?

Do you think it will turn into 10 Little Indians?

Yes. Absolutely...

Watched the first two episodes On Demand and I have to say I was impressed by the production values. However, as a fan of Dennis Quaid, I wish he wouldn't spend every seen looking like he's having wisdom teeth extracted. By the way, read up on the real life incarnation of his character, Sheriff Ralph Lamb, and he wasn't as squeaky clean as he's portrayed on the show. But he was a guy who really did slap around mobsters who got out of line/

Watching Quaid on this show makes me sad... I gave up. I'd like the role better if the guy wasn't so sanctimonious and good

I saw a PSA on CBS that was "listed as being by a male cast member of "Made in Jersey -- AFTER the show was canceled!

oops... apparently they did not get the memo in time to pull the psa...

Worst casting of any new show this decade. Maybe next time, they should try an actual actress from New Jersey! Plus we wanted a piano on Stephanie Marsh when she was on L&O:SVU, what moron approved that casting?

And should Eric Stonestreet not be cast as a gay man in "Modern Family"?

I heard NBC was delaying its return. Does this mean its going to be put in place of "The New Normal" soon?

My guess is "Community" and "Whitney" will return on Wednesday or Thursday nights -- safe bet since those are NBC's two comedy nights with shows that are doing poorly in the ratings

I tuned into the "30 Rock" last night and it looked like Tina Fey was making out with James Franco in the middle of a Staples store using Office Supplies. Am I correct in thinking that it got bad ratings last night?

Dead last in the demo -- behind even CW's "Vampire Diaries" according to early stats... But early stats on debate nights aren't as reliable as usual... and about 3.8 million viewers according to those early stats... that's pretty grim...

Yeah, but if he wasn't, then you'd be watching "Justified" or, even worse, "Longmire", just set in the desert. And who really needs that....?

You're right -- add him to the cast of "Two and a Half Men" and have done with it...

BORING! Can they just bring in the flight crew from "Pan Am" to save it?

I'm getting a lot of this today... You guys don't love this show? Even though it's Satanic?.. And stars Terry O'Quinn? And was created by a guy who worked on "Fringe"?  (I once lived in the Ansonia, which is the outside of the spooky building, so I love it for those shots alone)

I didn't know he was English.

yup... totally.

Pookie - not a question, but wanted to share my favorite debate moment: Biden: (blah, blah, something about Romney's 47% comment) Ryan: "I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way." *Audience laughing, Ryan smirking, mentally calculating number of points scored with said "zinger"...* Biden: "but I always say what I mean." I did take points off, though, for Biden's distracting smiling/laughing throughout the debate. On a related note, can we please stop using the word "zinger"?

Moment shared.. and yes "zinger" is overused...

I always assumed you named the dog after Anderson Cooper's mother.

Nope. He's named after the little boy on "Holiday Inn." I used to have a Westie named "Daphne," after the little girl in the flick.

Are its ratings holding up?

It wasn't on last night because of the debate... last week it held up well.

I'm only watching for Vanessa Williams. Of course, I'd watch her read the back of a cereal box and be captivated.

And I'm watching for the apartment building exteriors.. Funny thing, that...

He can be "Gay for Pay", but Stephanie March can't act her way out of a paper bag! Falling Piano treatment!

She was only intended to be in the pilot. The lead actress in question -- the one people have savaged for not being from Jersey but instead being a Brit playing someone from Jersey -- you know, like Meryl Streep playing Brit Maggie Thatcher in "Iron Lady" -- is Janet Montgomery.

The good thing about Falling Pianos is that you don't need motors and electronics to use them. May I nominate the woman playing Charlie on "Revolution"?

I'd like to see two or three piano drops on "Revolution"... that would be hard to pull off plausibly though, as you say, you don't need electricity for a piano to fall off a mezzanine..

Whaddaya mean Emmitt Smith? I expect Kelly Monaco, the original, to take it again. Boy, do people go for her. Since the first season of DWTS she's appeared in, uh... in, uh... or even plain.

that's the funniest thing I've seen in print all day... and I read everyone's debate coverage from last night...

Is it true it is sinking?

Yes, a long with a lot of CBS's Monday. The comedies are getting pounded by "The Voice" and "Revolution at 10, is doing well enough after "Voice" it's dinging "5-0"...

Or Renee Zellweger playing diarist Bridget Jones?

yup... and Simon Baker playing Patrick Jane. And Damian Lewis playing Rep Nicholas Brody. And Hugh Laurie playing Dr. House... we could go on and on...

I was watching "Chinatown" with a bunch of pals and about halfway through, one of them said, "Wow, what beautiful window treatments." You and he should hang out.

Love to. I confess I watched "The Winslow Boy" a second time when it came out, just to look at the house interiors -- even though it starred Jeremy Northam.


Pookster, totally off subject. But if you love NYC apartment building architecture, you really should read Michael Gross' 740 Park Avenue. Excellent book. Lots of dirt, too.

thanks. I do love NYC apartment build architecture. Old Los Angeles stuff too... nuts about it.

My mother liked the Mary Tyler Moore Show because she once knew the woman who owned the house where Mary's apartment was.

Where was the house, actually?

Is your name Mazie?

No. But I do love that name too... my next female dog, maybe....

I love you so much for this! Seriously, Holiday Inn is the best Christmas film ever! My family watches it every Thanksgiving to get in the Christmas spirit and then at Christmas itself. It's a shame it never seems to be shown on TV.

The skin-crawling blackface scenes -- both of them -- probably have something to do with that...

Peter Berg of FFNL is accusing Mitt Romney of plagiarism for appropriating the FNL mantra "Clear Eyes. Full Heart. Can't Lose."

You knew that was coming....

I gave it 3 eps and then gave up. And I will always give anything from the church of JJ Abrams a chance. But this one is boring and awful.

I'm with you on the boring part...

I'm loving the second season of it, but not so much for "Revenge". She needs to return to a "Vengence of the Week" format.

The problem with "Revenge" is: What is the third season?

Is Eric Stonestreet not from New Jersey? And, seriously, what is it with the whole "the show's about a girl from Jersey, so the actress should be a Jersey girl" thing? If that's the way it worked, folks, then only California and NYC natives would be able to audition for about 85% of current scripted TV shows, cause that's what most shows are about. Except for "Glee", of course, but I didn't hear anybody complaining that they didn't hire Ohio-born natives to play the 30 year old high school students in that show. Please, people, stop with the vehement "New Jersey parts only for New Jersey natives" stuff, it's starting to sound like overcompensation for the fact that your state might be smelly and ugly and full of really dumb guidos or something. Oh, wait...

Wow, this answer started out so sane, and normal.. and then went clear off the tracks...

I can think of at least three actors on "Big Bang Theory" who've worked with Chuck Lorre before: Johnny Galecki, Sara Gilbert and Laurie Metcalfe.

Men don't seem to mind him. it's the chicks that too -- particularly the starring, diva chicks... I think it's a case of an irresistable force meeting an immovable object. Or, put otherwise, diva vs divo....

Actually, that episode was brilliant and the office supply store scene was organic--it was built around Liz's love of being able to reduce everything to a spreadsheet using colored markers to indicate upcoming shows and cross referencing them with her, uh, most fertile days. That's what culminated in slo-mo pouring of huge containers of staples, etc.

I've DVR'd it.. Now very anxious to watch this weekend....thanks!

This is the only new comedy that I like. Did it get a full season renewal yet?

Yup. Fox picked up "Mindy" and "Ben and Kate" this week... you're in luck!

I just said something about Fonzie and my two 23 year old colleagues looked at me blankly. They have never heard of Happy Days! I feel like I just became obsolete.

Do you remember Phil Silvers? It's kinda the same thing...

She's now on Young and the Restless, my wife watches, not me

Thanks for the update...

Do you, or did you, or will you also, have a dog named Daphne?

Did...she was killed in Georgetown by a hit and run driver...

I was more expecting Rep. Ryan to whip out those gym photos of him in "Time" Magazine!

I'm going to post all goofy comments about the debate last night...

I was more expecting Joe to use his dentures as a white Board in illustrating that you can't cut taxes, increase defense spending and balance the budget.

I got loads more where these came from....

Sorry, Pooks, should have been more clear with my question. Dirt please on Chuck Lorre and the women that worked for him. I smell a scandal?

I don't think so much. Well-known story that divas were tough to work for, and Lorre had a substance problem in those days -- I think it was alcohol and he's discussed it publicly...

Lisa, you're too young to remember Paula's dancing and flirting with an animated cat. It was in the day when MTV actually showed music videos.

MTV showed music videos? Next you'll be telling me A&E used to telecast BBC crunchy gravel dramas... and TLC used to run educational programs.

"I kept hearing how Paul Ryan looked like Eddie Munster or Freddie Kruger. " With the mien of Steve Newlin. Once you see it, you can't unsee it!

...and more...

Wait, you mean Kathy Bates likes other wo-.... oh, wait, just like Pookie, I, too, am in desparate need of coffee and misread that. However, wouldn't it be even better if, in the event a Big Bang Theory castmember goes Charlie Sheen on Lorre, wouldn't it just be easier for Lorre to get a bandaged-faced extra to play the character from a hospital bed, then have Bates resurrect her Annie Wilkes character and have her go all Misery/stalker on the character. Hilarity ensues (I promise).

Not bad, but hard to explain.. "They fall down the elevator shaft" is so much cleaner...

Which one will be the next to get cancelled? I cant stand Go On...I thought from what I saw the New Normal had potential.

"Go On" has been renewed -- sorry Pookie. Emily has her money on "Mob Doctor" but I'm thinking it might be "Animal Practice" which makes me very sad for Crystal's sake.

Does Joe Biden actually wear dentures -- not that this harmed George Washington's reputation, mind you -- or does he just have a really good dental hygienist (and if so, could I please book an appointment with her)? Inquiring minds want to know.

I don't know and will leave that to someone who cares... super white teeth in an older person used to mean "dentures" -- about two decades ago.

I made out with Joe Biden's son in college! Just had to share.

Which son: Joseph III (Beau) or Robert Biden?  Do we get details?

Silver what? :-)

I rest my case....

Am I the only one who won't watch disaster shows if they could happen to me? With Newt writing op-eds about how sunspots could destroy the electrical grid, watching Revolution would have required pulling my head too far out of the sand. I'm glad I don't seem to be missing much.

What you're missing is a big wet kiss to the NRA...

Didn't Roseanne, and Brett Butler, when they starred on Chuck Lorre's sit-coms?

Those sets must have been some kinda fun, huh?

It's just caps.

I always learn so much on these chats.. Sadly, I've run out of time. Have a great weekend. Hope you'll join me 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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