The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Nov 09, 2012

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

- Find everything Lisa de Moraes:
Lisa's Blog
- Lisa's Column
- Lisa's Chats

Follow @PostLive on Twitter

Lisa, while watching The Arrow on CW this week, I noticed something strange. During the establishment shots between scenes where they edit in a 2 second flyby of a a city skyline or some scenery, several different locales stood in for Starling City. I definitely recognized the Baltimore and Philadelphia skylines, I think there was a night shot of Chicago, and I possibly saw the Port of Los Angeles. Is it common for TV shows to use various stock footage like this, or is switching it up some kind of in-joke played on the audience?

I hope it's the latter -- I love inside gags.. I will find out. My guess is they called Acme Stock Photo company, and said, "Mrytle? That you? I need stark skyline shots and I need them STAT. Anything you got. Gimme a dozen or so -- the bleaker the better!

Pookie, please pass along this note to ABC. Dear ABC, thanks for the many shots of Cheryl Hines's cleavage.

I promise I will. ABC suits will get a kick out of it.. I love her "Suburgatory" character...

Pookie! Now I know what happened to all of those nasty blankets my great aunt used to crochet with yarn for the backs of her sofas - Cee Lo wears them on TV! Seriously, there are no mirrors back stage?

I, on the other hand, get so nostalgic when I see him wear granny's crocheted  throws. I hope he never stops wearing them..

Was it just me, or did Channel 7 go to local coverage on election night? I did fall asleep at times, but every time I woke up they had the local anchors on chatting about VA's race. Did they notice Diane Sawyer's slurring early and just decide the local coverage was better? They didn't even break in when the presidential election was called, but let Tim Kaine let everyone know while he was speaking. Also, what is UP with Scandal and their conspiracy crap? It's bad and way too hard to follow.

I very much doubt it had anything to do with Diane Sawyer's performance that night. Our ABC station in Washington is not owned by the network; it's owned by Allbritton. Because Virginia was a hot state, tune in was going to be high on election night - and that means a lot of people watching ad breaks... I was not watching that station when Obama gave his speech but if it did in fact not show Obama's speech, it sounds like they decided to stick with local results, knowing viewers had many options for watching Obama...And, in re "Scandal" -- it's the November sweep...

Pookie, I've only watched brief fragments of the various singing competition shows, and I, honestly, don't understand the appeal. Especially considering that they've really not produced a return on what they're selling. Arguably, Jennifer Hudson has been the most successful, and well-known singer to have benefited from these type shows. And she really is very talented. And yes, Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, have experienced a level of success, although, they're a bit more niche, I think, in terms of their well-known-ness with the masses. Certainly, they've not been embraced by Hollywood or the massive PR/marketing machine that comes with it. ...My point: The shows now seem to focus more money and marketing on the judges and hosts, who are already famous, and don't seem all that interested in truly cultivating talent, which is fine. ... I just don't understand how those who view these programs don't see through the smoke and mirrors and stop watching, so that, hopefully, such dreck can eventually be cancelled. ... Your thoughts, please.

First: Carrie Underwood is a huge, huge star.

Second: Kelly Clarkson is an enormously successful recording artist.

Third: NBC jumped from fourth place to first because of "The Voice."

Fourth: between "The Voice" and "X Factor" last Wednesday night, there were about 18 million people watching singing competition that night in primetime.

Now, to your points. Yes, there has been soooo much focus on the judges.. And yet, in its second season, with OOH It's Britney SPEARS -- at a reported salary of $18 million, "X Factor" is down -- a lot -- compared to last season, which was considered such a ratings disappointment, the producers and Fox decided to shell out $18 million for Britbrit. The only good thing to be said about all the money spend on that show's judges is that while it's doing poorly, it is winning its timeslot among teens, for which Fox and Simon Cowell should probably be thanking new judge Demi Lovato.

And yes, you are right, "The Voice" has produced no recording stars. Ditto the first season of "X Factor" though Simon Cowell will talk until he's blue in the face about One Dimension -- the made-for-TV boy band he created for the British version of the show. They've been successful as recording artists...

Pookie, there's these Messages talking about erectile dysfunction, auto insurance, and catheters where the political ads used to be. Can't we just tell them all that they don't work?

Isn't that a great story? All that money poured into TV ads, and what does Romney's camp have to show for it? I missed the ED and car ads, I confess and was so happy to see them return...

Has ABC ever released an official response about her behavior? And what was up with Matt Dowd and his "last time two white men will be running for president" comment?

How lucky is ABC's Matt Dowd that Diane Sawyer's behavior on election night had become a big deal in the blather-o-sphere -- someone created a twitter account @DrnkDianeSawyer -- and so his gaffe got lost in the noise...

I saw the pictures from the Victoria's Secret special and it struck me that Justin was just trying really, really hard to convince everyone how into the models he was. Nothing against the young man, but what was his management thinking, booking him onto a show his main demographic is way too young to watch?

Justin's growing up fast, isn't he? My guess is he's looking to snag some non-tweener fans -- hence the undies show appearance.

So what is your take on Diane's performance oh-expert-divine-all-things-television-pookie? Do you think she was sauced, off her meds, geeked up on election night, please we need your expert opinion.

Whatever she was doing, I hope she keeps it up. I loved it.. It took me back to her days of  super-sexy Vanity Fair covers, and coquettish newsmag interviews...Really, it's the most memorable election night coverage in, like, forever, and I'm grateful to her for it...

Clay Aiken isn't doing badly, either, although I don't think he's aged very well. Certainly he's done well enough to set himself up for life, though, if he's managed his money intelligently.

Yes, he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat -- remember, he did not win -- and then snatched defeat from the jaws of victory ever since...

New drinking game for X-Factor. Every time a host / contestant / judge says "America" you have to drink. Examples: "Let's see how America voted"; "I hope I did enough for America to vote me through"; "America is ready for another bland boy band"; etc. I believe A.C. Slater alone put me on floor.


Lisa, how long do you think the Khloe/Mario combo is gonna work on X Factor? They constantly talk over one another (K more than M) like a child wanting attention. I find them annoying and was perfectly happy without them on the show. Am I a minority here?

Well, they needed somebody to host, after sacking Too Tall Steve Jones... But yes, Khloe is something of a mess on the show. Isn't it wonderful how every little thing Simon Cowell did to "fix" the show's ratings problems has not panned out and the numbers are now venturing into truly awful?

So "Hell on Wheels" gets picked up for a season 3, which is confusing because I don't know how much further off the rails they can take the plot... But "Political Animals" is over? Was Sigourney too expensive?

The numbers on Political Animals were not great and I'm pleased it's gone because Ciaran Hinds was horribly miscast, and painful to watch.. And "Hell on Wheels" got picked picked up, but without its creators -- their contracts were not renewed -- and the network announced another writer was going to be showrunner and then he said "I don't think so" so it's in question whether "Hell" actually is going to have another season.

It is terrible the way ABC News is giving Diane Sawyer a complete pass on her behavior which was available for everyone to see. They forgot Groucho Marx's famous line: Who are you going to believe, what I tell you (exhaustion) or your lying eyes. How long to do you think some local anchor would have lasted after that performance?

 We're still talking about it two days after the election. When was the last time anyone was still talking about some newscaster's election night performance two nights after the election? With the exception of Brian Williams saying NBC star Donald Trump "has driven well past the last exit to relevance and veered into something closer to irresponsible" -- and, okay, Matt Dowd saying this election was the last time two white guys would run for president -- Princess Di was the only memorable bit from election night...I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Elementary snags Post-Super Bowl slot

Shouldn't CBS have put 2 Broke Girls instead? It looks like they need a ratings boost.
Someone posted this question but it got frozen while I was answering, so I'm trying a cut-and-paste:
I think CBS made the right call and here's why: CBS does not have a hit this fall, like it did with "2 Broke Girls" last fall. "Elementary" is, however, a solid performer and getting it in front of potential new viewers, which happens to shows that get the post-Super Bowl timeslot, could really help the show out... I hear they may try some fun stunt casting of Holmesian nemeses (nemesi?) in the episode. I'd love to see Judy Dench as Prof. Moriarty -- or Hugh Laurie!

Can we take up a collection and buy that girl on "Revolution" another facial expression? I mean she has two: wrinkly forehead that passes for anger, fear, consternation, indignation and a host of other emotions; and the same look my beagle gives me when I'm lecturing him about why he shouldn't drag my socks into the back yard to bury. Buying her a third expression would bring a lot of variety to that show and since it's on NBC wouldn't it be considered a donation to a not-for-profit organization?

I love your description of her as a chastized beagle! Which third expression should be take up a collection to buy her. Nothing too challenging, obviously. Maybe a lip curl? Or head scratch? Or open-mouthed gasp?

I was the one with that question. Thanks for taking the effort to answer it. And I do agree Hugh Laurie would make a great Moriarity!

You betcha! Or Ciaran Hinds!

Pookie -- I agree that Hugh Laurie would be an excellent Moriarty. What role should Stephen Fry play?

Doesn't matter for the post-Super Bowl episode. CBS needs major star wattage and much as you and I love Stephen Fry, he can't open a show -- or get people to stick around after the Super Bowl to watch, anyway.. They need Hugh Laurie... Or how about  Bandersnatch Cummerbund to play Moriarty? I know -- he'd never do it, being so invested as he is in not liking that anyone besides himself is allowed to play Sherlock Holmes these days. Or maybe he's just expressing his allegiance to the PBS Sherlock creator, who seems particularly unhappy that CBS went ahead and did a Sherlock show without him, though they did approach him first -- he turned them down.

Why didn't L.A. just have him sing "Danke Schoen" for the coup de grace? I don't think Jason had a chance at winning, but he was ill-used by the clueless L.A. That red jacket was the stuff of nightmares.

I'm utterly unimpressed with LA Reid.  Jason's got a perfectly lovely voice and could have landed some kind of career out of "X," had not Reid dressed him up like Liberace or Wayne Newton every week and given him a couple of hideous  Vegas act numbers to sing...

Pookie, May I order a Piano Fall for that "Charlie" Girl on Revolution? She just seems to be there to make dumb decisions for the rest of the crew.

Pretty soon, I hope.

Pookie, can you explain how it is that Juliette had to drive down an apparently long driveway to the locked front gate of her estate when her mother first arrived, but this week, when her mother came out of the house screaming, a bunch of curious neighbors were watching from a road right in front of the house as if they were in a suburban neighborhood?

Apparently they don't think anyone's paying close attention....I can't explain it. Where's Continuity when you need them?

I heard parts of Potomac are impacted by the shooting of a Judy Dench movie today. Do you know what it is?

BBC flick called "Philomena"....

Pookster, you wrote: "I wish everything was live on TV -- then you'd see the broadcast network's numbers go back up..." How then, pray tell, do you explain SNL? Not a ratings chart buster, for sure.

For Saturday night and that late in the day... it does plenty well, ratingswise... That said, this year's election cycle numbers were hugely disappointing. the writers are blaming instagram or something like that, but really, they just didn't deliver the goods this election cycle...And yes, live TV is so much fun. You never know when a news anchor is going to accidentally call President Obama "Barack-o-rama."

Pookie, can you explain how it is that Juliette had to drive down an apparently long driveway to the locked front gate of her estate when her mother first arrived, but this week, when her mother came out of the house screaming, a bunch of curious neighbors were watching from a road right in front of the house as if they were in a suburban neighborhood?

Did you guys see my first answer to this question? It was great! Apparently the chat ghost was not that impressed and has sent the question back to me to answer again. But I'll fool him -- I'm just going to type a bunch of nonsense and publish it... and then I'm going to call it a day because I've run out of time..

But Bandersnatch Cummerbund and Jonny Lee Miller toured together in "Frankenstein," taking turns playing Dr. Frankenstein and his monster. They're great friends, and Jonny has said that Bandersnatch gave his blessing to "Elementary." And for what it's worth, BC would be a great Moriarty.

He'd be brilliant as Moriarty. That's why I suggested it... And yes, Jonny is saying he has Bandersnatch's blessing, but Bandersnatch has not had much good to say about the show...I'm out of time.. thanks for joining me and sticking with this maddening chat!

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."

The TV Column
Lisa's Blog
Lisa's archived Q&As
Entertainment: Television
Recent Chats
  • Next: