The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Nov 30, 2012

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

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How much longer do you think Leno will helm Tonight? Is Jimmy Fallon a shoo- in for Jay's desk?

Didn't he retire from "Tonight" in 2009? You think he's going to make that mistake again? My guess is the only way he retires is when some other network offers Jimmy Fallon their 11:30 p.m. timeslot and NBC promises to "retire" Leon and give "Tonight" to Jimmy.

The Mindy Project has exceeded my expectations. It is laugh out loud funny and fresh and different from most of what's on TV right now. Is it doing well? I don't think I've enjoyed a comedy as much since Arrested Development. Does that mean it's doomed?

Last week, "Mindy Project" clocked 2.6 million viewers when its "New Girl" leadin clocked 4.1 million. Similar story in demo. This week it's a similar story. This is not ideal, but there may be some niche demo -- you know, well educated women making more than $100K -- that makes it worth Fox's while to keep it on the air...

your take on us avoiding the fiscal cliff---thanks

So easy: spend all your money between now and the deadline...problem solved

Oh Pookie, I was genuinely upset when I heard about Larry Hagman's death. From his early days on I Dream of Jeannie to the heyday of Dallas and most recently the Dallas return, he gave us characters that we loved to talk about, and that's what makes good television.

I know! The little chair in my house over which I haggled with Hagman is now my Larry Hagman Memorial had to be there...

Happy Endings is my favorite show now. How are the ratings so far? I'm about to lose Community, 30 Rock, and what's left of The Office (and possibly HIMYM), so I'm running out of sitcoms.

Well, if you call clocking 4.4 million viewers last week, off a "Dancing" audience of 13 million "doing well" then it's doing well.. Actually, I think it's more telling that ABC gave it the timeslot after "Dancing" -- you don't waste a timeslot like that on a show you don't want to survive and prosper

Why does the kid from Two and a Half Men mouth off about a show paying him six figures an episode? He's not so gifted an actor or good looking enough to have a lot of backup options. And I didn't need to find God to know that show is terrible.

Hey, he's a kid and, what with him having been working as an actor since he was just a tot, I'm guessing he's had a kinda strange upbringing and doesn't know much about the real world -- like how to tie his own shoes -- and he's figuring out who he is, blah, blah, blah... Didn't you do anything stupid when you were a teenager?...I can think of half a dozen really idiotic things I did without breaking a sweat... Angus's problem is that he did it on such a big scale... But, unlike Charlie Sheen, Angus apologized to the cast, crew, network execs, etc...I think that makes him the more mature actor. 

I watched Arrow for the first time this week and, oh boy, it was so bad. The acting, the writing, the fact that the hero had to hurry to save someone but he took time to put eye makeup on first as part of his costume. But his abs were nice. If the show was just his abs for 42 minutes, I might consider watching. How's it doing in the ratings? And what are the odds of a "his abs only" show?

It's doing really, really well for CW. And I'm so glad to get your take on the show. When I was sitting in the theater and CW showed the clip of the show, in which Arrow was working out, the female ad and station execs sitting around me gasped. I told the network chief Mark Pedowitz after the presentation the show needed more working out, less dialogue.. He didn't believe me, but I knew I was right.

Boardwalk Empire is turining into Bored-walk empire. When is "Game of Thrones" coming back, Pookie?

April... that's as close as HBO has gotten to a date...

So the captain of the Titanic could have taken the helm of the Queen Mary (if he'd survived).

Hey, Zucker was really, really good at news programming.... Entertainment programming baffled him. He's playing to his strength in this new job...

So I saw that Smash will be coming back in February in with Jennifer Hudson and Sheryl Lee Ralph. They can't possibly be thinking of casting a black Marilyn, even though that would make for interesting tv. Also, how is Nashville doing in the ratings?

This season, there's going to be a storyline about a second play being produced for B'way, so I'm not sure how they are being deployed on the show. Meanwhile, "Nashville" this week did just okay....

Being more mature and professional than Charlie Sheen - now there's a low bar.

Hey, it's a start... He's also more mature and professional than Katherine Heigl who, as I recall, took the money and ran on her starring vehicle "Knocked Up" after it came out, and also had some less than laudatory things to say about "Grey's Anatomy" --  the show that made her a star. Who else is Angus T. Jones more mature and profesisonal than?

I had a dream about you and larry hagman was in it....

Were we haggling over a little chair in a shop outside of Santa Barbara? Was I wearing sexy "I Dream of Jeannie" harem pants? I need details!

But way back then, our fiscal fallout was more along the lines of no allowance for the week ($5). If I was pulling in $350k per episode, I'd darn well keep my stupid opinions to myself. Gotta love the interwebs!

You got off easy -- I think I got grounded for the rest of my life... Why am I defending this guy? Have I been seized with the holiday spirit? Hate when that happens!

... so we can get back to asking you whether we can look forward to the return of "My Boys."

I'm going to have to find another show to be deeply superstitious about... any suggestions?

I lost all respect for LA as a music exec when he had poor Vino sing that song all by himself. How could he imagine any solo artist could pull that off?

I lost all respect for him early on this season when he had a temper tantrum because he was going to have to mentor people who were older than 25...he's made some really lousy song choices for his X-testants this season. I have come to the conclusion there's a lot less there than meets the eye... on the other hand, I feel the same way about Simon Cowell -- he had Emblem 3 sing a MONKEES tune?! Paleeze!

Do they not remember the ratings failure that was "Beacon Hill" (set in a tony part of Boston)? As I recall, it was from the same folks who gave us "Upstairs, Downstairs," who thought it would be a lucrative idea to create a similar series set in the US.

NBC is the network that's re-doing "Sound of Music" -- with Carrie Underwood! And "Dracula"...and so on and so on...

Why do I have a feeling that Angus Jones' character is going to be a transvestite for the rest of the show's run?

I was disappointed this week's Vanity Card did not address the video. Maybe next week!

She dresses terribly, is not very attractive, and has an odd "look Ma, I'm on TV" expression on her face during each "X Factor." If the show survives to another season, do you think Khloe will be unceremoniously dumped?

Golly I hope so... She's just awful. It's like a high school production. I'm super unimpressed with Simon's choices for the show this season. The only improvement seems to be the ticking off of the voting results each week. That was pretty hilarious the first time Simon was confronted with the "old" country singer getting the most votes...

I start the bidding with Lindsay Lohan.

Excellent start to our list...


I hope they cast Blake Shelton as Baron von Trapp. He's already part of the NBC family...

Did Lindsay Lohan realize she was depicting an actual person rather than a made-up movie star? She did nothing even to attempt to capture Elizabeth Taylor's speaking voice, articulation, carriage, etc. Her smoky-voiced rapid mumble was SO not Elizabeth, and every time Lohan made an "entrance," she looked like she was wearing her mommy's clothes. But I took no delight in all this; it just made me sad.

I too found the whole production very sad. Where was the director? Where was the script writer -- the same guy who did "Temple Grandin"...some lines in that flick were cringe-inducing...Elizabeth Taylor/Lohan telling paparazzi "You call yourself journalists!!" What was the screenwriter thinking/drinking when he wrote that line?

Lisa, when I watched last night's episode of Two and a Half Men (I lost a bet), the one scene they had Angus play centered on his character bragging about having caught the clap from his new girlfriend. No wonder the kid went off the deep end. This season has been creepy--between the episode about the three-way, and the one with Miley Cyrus as the object of lust of the two guys old enough to be her dad--the kid is not wrong.

I'm with you on that. But, if he's unhappy being on the show, just leave. Don't denounce it as filth, in an attempt to put everyone else out of work... Not cool.

Love your segments on the Kornhieser radio show. You should do segments more often.

I agree! Start a petition....

The new season will feature teen contestants, and will neither feature weigh-ins, and nobody will be eliminated. While I think this is a kinder way for a weight-loss reality show to behave, PLEASE explain to me how this will be compelling television.

I think it's only the teens who will not be weighed in and not eliminated. Yes, it's strange... They're trying to have it both ways -- not be cruel to kids, but still have an elimination show... The teens aren't really competing -- they're just there, losing weight...

Awhile back, I asked why the judges on Project Runway say "Mary" Claire (rhymes with dairy or Barry) instead of "Marie" Claire (muhREE). I believe you said you pronounced Marie the same way they did. So my question is would you then call the female Osmond sister Mary Osmond? Or if you had been given a penance after going to confession, would you be saying a Hail Marie? That would have ended very badly for me, had Sister Siobhan overheard.

I don't pronounce Marie Claire "Mary Claire." I'm surprised to read that I said I did. It was my evil twin -- that's my story and I'm sticking with it...

Rank these mayors in terms of most to least likely to run for president in 2016 -- Antonio Villaraigosa, Rahm Emanuel, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, and Michael Bloomberg.

I have a lot of political questions in my queue... Did you guys get rerouted from some political chat? That said, I'll play along and answer: Rahm Emanuel. Do I win?

True/False -- Charlie Crist will be the Democratic nominee for governor in Florida in 2014?

True?... I'm enjoying this game, mostly because I have no idea what I'm talking about....

Were you aware the that Celebritology Blog from the Washington Post website ran the following headline on 28 Nov: "Jessica Simpson reportedly pregnant again; Angus T. Jones apologizes"?

That's hilarious!

Despite a strong Republican current in 2010 and in South Carolina, Nikki Haley won by about 4.5% against a candidate who wasn't exactly a heavyweight (not that there is a big name Democrat in South Carolina these days). Given the state GOP's penchant for infighting, is she at much risk in 2014?


I know she isn't the most gifted politician, but are you hearing anything about Brewer trying to make a national run? Strong anti-illegal immigrant bona fides would surely help in a GOP primary, no?


It's finally happened: a couple of weeks ago I was reading the transcript for this chat and read the name "Bandersnatch Cummberbund" and couldn't remember his actual name. Yes, I had to look it up on IMDB to convince myself that that wasn't really it. The assimilation is complete!

You are welcome! I too now have to think of his actual name... Honestly I like Bandersnatch Cummerbund so much better.

Hi Lisa, I'm having Yakult withdrawal. Why hasn't the cute little pup been featured in any of this fall's episodes and when can we expect him to return?

I don't know and I too am missing Yakult. I just checked some industry web sites and gleaned no information as to her next appearance, though I did learn she's a Chihuahua/poodle mix, and her parentage is "unknown."

Pookie, So Jake found God and called his show -- a show that made him a millionaire at 19 years old -- filth. This begs the question: Who is tha real opposite of Charlie Sheen: Jon Cryer (the good soilder) or Angus (the one who trashes the show for moral reasons)? If I'm Chuck Lorre, I find Cryer his own show (or even a movie). Somebody who has always taken the high road should be rewarded with more work.

Sounds like Cryer will have his own show next season, if Angus remains true to his beliefs and bails at the end of this season. There never was a character more easily written off a show than Angus's....

In the last chat people said that they DVR Glee and just zip to the musical numbers. I've adopted this pattern too. It works really well for CNN.

I too enjoy the musical numbers on CNN -- great production value!

Winter finale means? Please tell me revenge isn't getting the axe. What's coming & goin. I luv the mindy project h8 modern family, there I said it

No, it just means its a heavily serialized drama and they don't repeat well so, instead of a slew of repeats for a while, it's going off the air... Unless it's cancelled. (just kidding, don't panic)

I participate in two chats on the WaPo, yours and the Fix. I got your two chat pages mixed up late one night, so apologies for the political questions, pookie!

You kidding -- I LOVED them! I felt 50 percent smarter, just thinking someone cared about my views on politics...Of course, I confess, for a minute I was afraid the Post had decided to change my beat and was breaking it to me on the chat.. Do you have any idea how much fun I'd have at a White House press briefing?

If Bandersnatch Cummerbund ran for political office and had a strong republican backing would he then have a penchant for cooperating with the Democratic contingency for bipartisan...I can't even finish the question why are you getting ridiculous political questions in a television chat?

I can see the headline:

Bandersnatch Cummberbund Makes Case for Bipartisan Cooperation

Has jumped the shark....the cutesy baloney among most of the actors was tolerable to watch Linda Hunt as Henrietta--the real class of the show, who has been a wonderful actress since "Year of Living Dangerously." Time to put this one to bed. Hopefully its ratings are terrible and they will find a better role for Hunt.

Nope. Ratings good... sorry.

So if the kid is written off the show do they A) add another half man or B) make one of the remaining 2 men gain a bunch of weight so that he's functionally one and a half men?

This one's easy: someone drops off Walden's love-baby at the doorstep. He's rich and the mother decided he should raise the kid, who's adorable and in diapers. I've got the next season all mapped out: "2.5 men" now morphed into a  sort of  3 Men and a Baby only it's just two guys instead of  three.

When can we expect Rules of Engagment back on CBS? For some twisted reason, I miss the show!

I know what you mean! It's like a kind of "Rules of Engagement" Stockholm Syndrome... I hate it, and yet I miss it...CBS has not yet said when "Rules" is going to come back...or what's going to replace cancelled sitcom "Partners." They have a midseason sitcom about guys who move from midwest to LA to work for Groupon and hilarity ensues --  so maybe when that's canceled...

How is this show doing. Also, what's the demographics for Downton Abbey?

I'm trying to find the connection between Ben and Kate and Downton Abbey. Has Melanie Griffith been cast in "Downton"? Maybe playing Shirley McLaine's younger sister? Anyway, getting back to your questions: Ben and Kate is doing well enough to get a full-season pickup and PBS does not issue demographic information -- and Nielsen will not give the press any PBS show ratings stats. My guess, based on its popularity, is that it attracts more young viewers than most PBS non-kiddie programming...

Jake dies when he drops his rifle (hilarity ensues) and his love baby from the clapridden girlfriend gets dropped off at grandpa Alan's doorstep.

Or that!

I'm excited- but I'm worried. I know it's jsut at concept- but coudl this be good? I think no way it comes close to Boy Meets World.

No. This is a remake that should not happen...

ALL of ABC's serialized dramas are having their "winter finale" in the next week or so. I think the only one not coming back is 666?

'Winter Finale' is the new slanguage for "November sweep ending/February sweep up next"....."Last Resort" is also a goner

Lisa, how come everyone else has his/her picture posted, but you don't? It would be nice to see who we are communicating with. Thanks.

I think in previous chat we settled on my looking like this....

Angus is right; the show is filth. Surely everyone involved knows that? I can't imagine they're that offended. Now the part where he tells his original audience of 7th Day Adventist teenagers not to watch--again he's right, but I can see the network objecting. I doubt Angus really wants his contract renewed; if nothing else, he's reached the age where child stars go off to college. The bigger problem for Angus is that he dishonored his parents. They're the ones who signed him up to appear on what was a raunchy show from the beginning; they're the ones who probably signed his current contract, or advised him to sign, with a show that has now moved from raunch to filth, to play a character that has developed from innocent child to pothead, while at the same time apparently preaching "Christian values." To me, as a Biblicist Christian, that's pretty damning. And by the way, the context of "Jake is nothing" is that Jake is a fictional character. Angus was comparing the excitement of fans who admire him because he's Jake with his own excitement at meeting someone whose real-life achievements he admires. He wasn't dissing the show at that point, but then he realized this man he admires likely has a very low opinion of show.

Of course I'll post this...all opinions welcome -- except anyone who says I don't look like Kay Frances in a black negligee and feather boa ...

Why would they give Jon Cryer a new show rather than just continuing on with this one? Surely Angus is even more easily replaced than Charlie Sheen.

you betcha.. easy as falling off a log to end Jake storyline...

The showrunners need to take this break because it's very close to jumping the shark if it hasn't already. The mom storyline and the writer taking the murder rap were beyond silly.

Show has sooo jumped the shark.

Now that 666 Park Ave. has been cancelled, can you answer a question for me? What exactly was that show about?!? So confused!

I think it was about Satan in the basement.. anyone else who can help?

Pookie, in some circles that's called "hybrid vigor"!

I like that! I've had many hybrid vigor dogs in my family.  Some more hybrid and more vigor than others...

Apparently he is also called "Benny Batch" by those not familiar with this chat. But that name pales in comparison.

I think we need a list....anyone care to start us off?

Thank you.

you are welcome....

benedict cumberbatch

yes, it usually comes to me after a minute, but I do have to stop and think....

I believe they're trying to give it a French pronunciation: "MAH-ree," to sound all classy and fashionable. They're not saying "MAIR-ee."

Wait -- isn't it a French publication? So many questions and I'm out of time.. Drat! 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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