The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Oct 19, 2012

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

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So Thursday morning during the first hour of Today I learned; a) some random people some dumb leg crossing thing in photos and b) filthy rich Matt Lauer is slightly richer because West Virginia found $62 in an old checking account. I thought to myself, "why on earth haven't I joined everyone else in switching to Good Morning America?"

Force of habit? I give up -- why? Through last week,  "GMA" has clocked a bigger crowd than "Today" for the past 9 weeks and 14 of the last 16 weeks -- "GMA" did not win the two weeks "Today" was at the London Games. In the age bracket, "GMA" has won the last seven weeks and nine of the past 13 weeks.

Why can't I stop watching Scandal?? The acting is soooo bad--rather, Kerry Washington is sooooo bad, swinging between Ann Curry-ish syrup and Ann Coulter-ish ferocity with nothing in between so quickly and so often I want to just grab her by the shoulders and tell her a pope joke so she will just chill out a bit. (Her wardrobe, however, is fabulous.) So why do I inflict it on myself? Is it masochism or train-wreck condition?

 It's like a made for TV Harlequin novel...  She's shagging POTUS!... They're not even scenery chewing on this show  -- they're scenery gorging...It's irressitable...

Lisa: As you forecast, Animal Practice received a quick cancellation. What now for it's shining light, the capuchin Crystal? They had a monkey on 30 Rock last night, so perhaps there's hope.

 "30 Rock" included a monkey only to mock "Animal Practice" future there...

What's the status on the future of HIMYM? The Voice and Dancing With the Stars seem to be taking a chunk of their ratings, so will CBS want to re-up for another year? Or will this show finally reach a merciful conclusion? After last week's episode, I hope for death (to the show).

I did not see the epsiode yet, but I don't think CBS is going to blow up its Monday lineup, though it's taken a hit this season. "HIMYM" is one of CBS's youngest skewing shows.

So NBC is airing the Munsters pilot as a Halloween special - does that mean it's dead and that even stellar ratings precludes it from airing as a series?

I think it's dead as a series, so they decided to one-off it as a Halloween special.. Great repurposing...

Hello, Lisa. Please tell me what genius decided to change the name of American Horror Story to American Horror Story : Asylum? My DVR isn't that smart, and it didn't record.

That's so you'll know it's no longer a drama series -- it's a miniseries... ":Asylum" this year... My guess is each season will have something similar: "AHS: Cemetery,"  "AHS: Scary Hotel" "AHS: DMV"...Sorry to hear it did not record.

How has the decision to move Revenge to Sunday nights paid off for ABC?

Mixed results. First, ABC needed a "Desperate Housewives" replacement. "Revenge" was the most likely candidate. Three weeks into the new season, "Revenge" has averaged slightly more viewers than it had in the first three weeks of last season, when it aired on Wednesday, but, in the Sunday timeslot, it's not clocking quite as big an audience as had "Desperate" in its final season - and "Desperate's" final season got off to a slow start compared to even its penultimate season and way down compared to its glory days. 

Does Sylvia Kristel make it into the "In Memoriam" presentation?

I hope so and doubt it, given the number of home-grown types who have died this year. But thank you for the shout-out to Sylvia Kirstel.

How can they have cancelled her show when there were so many other worthy targets? And replacing her with that no-talent wench Whitney makes it even more hurtful! What can we do to soothe dear Crystal's anguish?

Let her take a well-earned rest..Series television is hard work. I hope she focuses on her film career now.

Cancelled!? Does that mean Crystal will be put down???

Good grief no... Crystal is a movie star and was slumming on broadcast TV.

The bastards at Kabletown have canceled Animal Practice. Now how am I to get my weekly Crystal the Monkey fix! Woe is me!

I know, it's pretty sad. She was the most talented comedic actress on NBC and I wish the network had named her one of the co-hosts of its upcoming Golden Globe Awards... but that's not going to happen, given the whole "All About Eve" thing going on between Crystal and Tina Fey -- as evidenced in that "30 Rock" episode...

What did you think of the season premiere and any predictions for how this storyline will playout? I admit that I couldn't imagine how the premise of showing people week after week being tortured in an asylum could hold any interest but I wasn't expecting all of the sub-plots. Inter-racial marriage when it was still illegal in some states. UFOs and space aliens. Lesbian reporter who is committed as retaliation for looking to do an expose' on the asylum and so much more. Plus it was great to see some actors and actresses return from last season. I was only expecting Jessica Lange, who is great in this role too.

It's some kind of wild ride this season....And, for the chatter who said their DVR did not record the first episode, FX is re-running the pilot episode on Wednesday at midnight, after the network runs Episode 2 at 10 and 11 p.m.

My DVR didn't record it because of loss of signal and FX is not repeating episode 1. What's the best way if possible to watch it online?

No easy legal way to watch online at this point but, as I said, you can try again on Wednesday at midnight, after the back-to-back telecasts of Episode 2...

Bwah ha ha! Snorted diet Coke out my nose. :-)

For sheer terror, few things rival a trip to the DMV...but the list is endless: "AHS: TSA," AHS: Metro Redline,"

So I saw this week that BBC America has scheduled a start date for season 2 of The Hour at the end of November. It strikes me as odd that they would delay until after November sweeps. Do smaller cable networks have different sweeps, or do they just not feel they can compete, so they opt to get what they can when other networks are not trying so hard. Also, do you know how many episodes they will have in season 2 (season 1 was only 6 episodes)?

Sweeps are not so relevant for cable networks. My guess is yes, BBCA is trying to stay out of the crush on this show.


The Enquirer is reporting that she has checked into Betty Ford, suffering from exhaustion and dehydration and asks for privacy for her family at this difficult time.

Goody! That means she will be a judge on "X Factor" next season!

Well, she could just sleep on her piles of money. That monkey gets no sympathy from me - she makes more than many Americans will ever see!

You mean her trainer does. There's something Dickensian about these animal actors and their trainers...

Are you kidding - that show is awesome! And this is from a guy who had to be forced kicking and screaming by his wife to watch it the first couple of times - I'm hooked. Smartly written, I think the acting is actually pretty good, and only worry it will go the way of other good shows like this such as "Eyes", "Smith", "Trust Me", etc.

Ah, but those shows did not come from the Temple of Shonda...ABC worships at the Temple of Shonda


Thank you for that! Now I'll have nighmares tonight...any other ideas for upcoming seasons of "AHS?"...

Is Whoopi really a plant for the Republican Party? Could anyone have set up Mrs. Romney better yesterday?

Guessing you did not read the comments to my coverage of Ann Romney's Mitt-less appearance on "The View" loads of them were about that...

I love the show and am happy for its return next week... does the fact that ABC moved it to Tues from Weds after Modern Family mean they trust it to bring in ratings on its own?

It means ABC needs the post-"Modern Family" timeslot to grow more new comedies and it's sink-or-swim time for "Happy Endings."


How about just "AHS: Presidential Election Cycle"...

Possible subplot at the emissions testing center.


...or Blue State, depending on your nightmare

also good....

When did the History Channel become nothing but shows about junk. 12 hours of Pawn Stars followed by 12 hours of American Pickers. I miss it when it was the Hitler Channel.

Thank you for giving me my first good laugh of the day... I confess to enjoying "Pawn Stars" but then, I'm an antique junkie...

Or is that redundant?

not redundant -- brilliant..."AHS: Kiddie Pageant"... perfect...

The Beltway. Monday mornings. Long lines to the ladies restroom.

we practically have a whole network...

My hunch is that the Viewettes went easy on Ann Romney because it would make her husband's stated fears of appearing on the show, as recored on that hidden video about which "Mother Jones" reported, look a bit paranoid.

I did not think they were overly each on Ann Romney -- especially when you stop to consider they had her doing cooking segments on the same network's "Good Morning America" just the other day -- and "GMA" is an ABC NEWS show...and did you see the Romneys on "Live with Kelly and Michael" -- talk about softball questions...

I watched Emily Owens, MD w/ Meryl's daughter and didn't feel like my time was wasted -- pleasantly surprised -- I hope it makes it. Characters more complex than the initial intro-setup -- pretty nice freshman entry esp compared to the usual CW fare. Did you see it pookie?

I too have been pleasantly surprised by this show to date. Mark Pedowitz, the guy who runs the network since 2011, has done a good job re-casting this network. "Arrow" did a huge opening number by CW standards...

Where the precinct is haunted by the ghosts of Chris Melloni's old prisonmates from "Oz" (including the psychologist in a dual role that includes good ole Vern Shillinger). Great cross-promotional potential with NBC/Universal.

wow, you gave this a lot of thought....except FX is owned by Newscorp, so, probably no dice. sorry!

self-explanatory, really, but the production numbers would be spectacular.

I love this, and so does Emily Yahr, our TeamTV "DWTS" recapper. She says she's very much on board with this idea...

Then when it goes into syndication, Lifetime can run a marathon of all the episodes every year in early April.

that's brilliant...

Does Fox broadcast the Idol finale live everywhere, or do they tape delay it in the west? If it is delayed, does anyone watch it out there when they can find out the results online?

It's tape delayed and yes, its silly, except there are so many fewer viewers available on the West Coast at 5 p.m. than at 8 the show would take a ratings hit and advertisers would be unhappy....

Does Shonda Rhimes know that shonda means shame in Yiddush.

It's a lovely name...

This is like Oprah vs. Jerry Springer. One attempts to be classy, the other aims for trashy. If you like Antiques Roadshow you'll like Pawn Stars. If you like Monster Brides you'll like Hardcore Pawn. Btw, I like Pawn Stars too. But I don't need four hours a night of it.

then just watch one hour -- two at the most, three I'm under the table, four I'm under the host... oh, sorry, sometimes I can't help channeling Dorothy Parker..

Baba Wawa is a Boston native, and also had a long-ago affair with a Republican Massachusetts Senator (Edward Brooke). So perhaps she's got a soft spot for Massachusetts Republicans.

I don't think that's what was going on there. But, you bring up a very interesting "AHS" possibility. "AHS: The View"

was moved to the military channel.

There you go -- everbody wins!

Set in the DC Navy Yard.


Set your mousetraps, as well as your DVR.

I have no comment, but we needed to share this one...

I thought she'd already found a new gig ...

Not on "30 Rock" as a regular, for sure...

Where the souls of dis-spirited Nats fans can torment the Nats management for taking Sephen Strasburg out of the rotation...

FX branches into sports horror...

So is Shadynasty - until you see it written out.

Likewise, Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busso...

AHS: IRS, AHS:L&O:SVU, AHS: HMO, AHS: FLOHVA (political ads in swing states), AHS: XFinity (cable goes out), and my favorite: AHS: A-Rod (so wealthy, yet so hated),

i hope Ryan Murphy is reading....

More than Tina Fey ( who I hadn't realized wasCrystal's mentor/stepping-stone as in "All About Eve") -- or is it the other way around?

 Crystal was the Sarah Bernhardt of NBC...

Not only is it a lovely name, Pookie, but it's ironic, too, since it's pretty clear that Ms. Rhimes has no... well, you get where I'm going.

I love ironic names...  a crook named Honor, a recluse named Welcome...

When was the last time they aired a documentary on that channel?

Next you'll be asking me when was the last time TLC ran a "learning" program, or A&E ran an arts program. Remember: change is good...

When is Community coming back? November? January? Never?

It was scheduled to return TODAY, only NBC decided to scrub its plans to bury it, and "Whitney" on Friday nights. "Whitney" just got relocated to Wednesday night -- no word yet on "Community" timeslot. Hang in there! And yes, it will return -- it needs to make more episodes in order to hit the magic 100 for syndication library...

Just as long as it's not "Scandal."

Yeah, I think that one's been taken...

where a tv critic is brought in each week to be tortured for not appreciating sutter's brilliance in devising a series about non-racist but misogynistic murderous criminal enterprise motorcycle thugs.

FX would never let it fly, since Sutter is one of their biggest ratings getters...

Next up on BBC 9.

You could actually have a lot of fun with that one...

My husband was also crushed to discover this did not record. But there are repeats you can record!! Check your DVR. The first ep is rerunning several times.

yup.. thanks!

Saw the show and like most didn't like it but seeing as she's a local girl should we show her some love or is it more why bother?

I think the local-girl thing was good for "show her some love" the first season, and now the show needs to stand on its own...

What happened to the cavemen, the slicked back hair guy, and the gecko? The current ads with the two smug, self-satisfied Smuckers Brothers wannabes are just awful. Their ads used to be the best, now they're the worst.

I too think they're lame-ish, but I'm guessing they're targeting young guys, not me...

So what was FOX programing thinking when they burn a first run "X Factor" after a rerun of "Ben and Kate"? I would imagine most viewers looking for "X Factor" bailed. Was the switch to "The Mindy Project" for 10 min only come after a realization that FOX should leave something for the "X Factor" rerun on Tuesday? Are they idiots or maybe they just hate Simon Cowell?

First, Fox has a new-ish scheduling exec. Second, they made bad choices that night, you are right... and the bad choices continue:  Fow announced today that, contrary to its previous announcement that it would rerun the botched episode of "X" on Tuesday in its entirety from 8-10 p.m., it will rerun the episode -- but only after "Raising Hope" and "Ben and Kate" and "New Girl" episodes -- and it won't start until 9:30. And it will last until 10:30, which is 30 minutes past the usual end of Fox's primetime, and, obviously, it will not be the entire episode, which was two hours long, but just 1 hour long with a recap of the bits that aired this week at the start... And, in conclusion, Fox has bungled this about as badly as I have ever seen a network bungle a show in all my years covering the industry. Oh, and about Simon: he thought he was saving the best -- himself --  for last on that episode, and it wound up being a bad call on his part, didn't it?

where both TV critics AND Emmy voters are tortured each week for not recognizing the brilliance of a non-racist but misogynistic, murdering, torturing, criminal enterprise motorcycle club of thugs who just want to protect their small town from all the other thieves, rapists, drug dealers, pornographers, murderers out there just dying to get in there.

getting better by the minute...

All the past crazy contestants (William Hung, Pants-on-the-ground, etc.) come back and perform a variety show

good grief....

Is it wrong that when the commercial for the new Galaxy tablet comes on (I'm watching commercials, how 2004....) -- you know the one where they tout it's wireless download capability by showing how it can download movies, etc. -- and the picture of the the lizard "Rango" from the movie of the same name shows up in the screen of the product, for a moment I think that it's a GEICO commercial? EVERY. TIME. You'd think I'd have learned by now...

thank you for this confession....confession is the first step -- to something. I forgot what...

ABC appears to be insistent on airing Revenge from 9pm to 10:01pm. Is there a reason for this or are they just being jerks?

Usually that means a network is trying to jam in another ad break at that show's rates... longer overruns usually mean trying to thwart dvr-ing....

Since it's about wry thirty-somethings in Chicago, they can bring in characters from My Boys!

perfect, for when "Mob Doctor" is canceled...

Stick with it, if only for the male lead. That guy is brilliant in the role he's been given.

I second that emotion. I'm impressed too.

Seriously, no Walking Dead comments yet? The body count in that episode was epic !

Thank you for mentioning! That was a humdinger episode and speaking of epic, how about its basic cable record ratings... Beating all broadcast nets in key demos...broadcast network suits lusting after the numbers, but knowing they could never get away with the content...

Pookie, I have to admit that I'm not a fan of Mindy Kaling -- I just don't *get* her. Should I make an effort to watch her new, poorly named sitcom, or should I just let it glide softly into the night, given the embarassment of other riches that are clogging my DVR?

Make the's an interesting show...

Do you think we could get a countdown clock to the start of Downton Abbey on the chat box? Can't wait until we can start the Downton drinking game again.

lovely idea....

Are there many people on the West Coast who are SO INTO competition shows that they rush to look up the results at 6 p.m. rather than just waiting to watch the show? How many people watch the show as scheduled anymore anyway as opposed to DVRing?

It's one thing while you're still at work to look up the results on your computer at 6 -- it's another thing entirely while you're still at work to sit down and watch the two hour broadcast... and that, pookie, is the problem...

Ah, they run documentaries all the time, just not in prime time, when they're competing for eyeballs with the TLCs and A&Es of the world. They've really only ceded the moral high-ground during prime-time viewing, because they couldn't afford not to. And while I can lament that, I can't blame them for it, just like most PBS pledge-drive hucksters, I blame the viewers for not supporting quality television.

You mean "young viewers"...changing these networks' lineups in primetime has really 'younged up' their audience. It was the oldsters watching History Channel when it was The Hitler Network... a far younger crowd is watching "Pawn Stars" etc... ditto the changes to A&E, TLC, Bravo (remember when it used to air arts programming instead of "Real Housewives"? I'm out of time. Thanks for joining me - have a lovely weekend!

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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