The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Dec 21, 2012

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

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Best. Line. Ever. Thank you for that.

You are welcome! Are we taking bets yet, in re KKO returning next season as ko-host of  "X"? So far they've announced Britbrit is back and ditto Demi, but LA Reid is bailing.....

I've also suspected that the real reason for "Last Resort" was to reuse the sets ABC paid for for "Lost".

How many more shows will it take to cover the costs of those sets? They'd already amortized the cost of the sets across the  Shonda doc-drama "Off the Map" ...I'm all for recycling, but this is getting ridiculous....

I keep meaning to write in. If anyone is bothering to watch Project Runway Allstars *yawn* they will hear Carolyn(?) Murphy, the Heidi replacement, pronounce Marie Claire the way we think it should be pronounced -Muh-Ree instead of the way Heidi says it -Mary. Hope that clears it up.

Yes, it does....thanks.

Lisa: what is the contract status for each of the "X Factor" judges? I know LA isn't coming back but Britney looked completely bored (and sometimes embarrassed to be there) throughout the whole season so I pictured her frantically calling her agent last night to find a way out of the contract. I also have to imagine that KKO won't be back though I did kind of enjoy the cheesiness of Mario Lopez so hope he returns. Bottom line, this whole season seemed like a high school talent show with fancy lighting so there needs to be some major changes.

$15 million a year... (in answer to your comment that Brit looked bored. I thought she looked medicated or stage frightened throughout, rather than bored. Sadly, she waited until this week to come out of her state of stupor.Her comments were pretty lively this week. Too late, ratingswise, sadly.  I'm seeing early stats that show the finale doing nosedive at 9, and only clocking 6.5 million viewers overall. Of course this ratings grid also says it was "Glee" in that hour. )

I like Mario Lopez on the show and actually love Khloe K-O and her one and only question: "How do you FEEL?"

Who would you like to see replace LA Reid on "X" next season?

Thank you for being here every week - I look forward to Friday afternoons with you, and miss you when you have to cancel. As more and more of my favorite live chats disappear, I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the time that it takes you to do this every week, and I hope that you have a peaceful, restful holiday. (I also enjoy your recommendations, and am looking forward to watching Christmas in Connecticut for the first time this week!)

How lovely -- you made my day....I enjoy the live chats -- think it's nice to, once a week, interact with non-industry people and still talk about TV --  though the Post is going in another direction.....

'Carly Rose comes out to sing “How Do I Live Without You” the Leann Rimes tune, and suddenly Leann is there too. Carly duets toe to toe with Leann; it’s an impressive outing.' You sure about that? Even Leann admits it was horrible. Did you get impressive and excremental mixed up?

I should have been more clear: I thought it was impressive on Carly Rose's part. 13 year old who keeps her calm during duet train wreck... having nothing to compare Leeann's performance against, not being a country music fan, I had nothing to compare it against. For all I know, she's like that every week.

Um, can you please tell me what has happened to several channels, like TLC? What type of learning do they think we are going to get from watching these horrible shows. And, the Animal Planet channel used to actually be about animals (not Big Foot). And SyFy just shows really bad, gross horror movies. Is this what they think people want and if so, is this what people want??

We've covered this before on chat but I'm delighted to discuss again for newbies: Actually, it is what people want... TLC has not been about "learning" for about a decade. AMC, which used to be a movie channel (M=Movie, C=Channel) is now better known for "The Walking Dead" and "Mad Men." A&E used to stand for Arts & Entertainment and battled PBS for crunchy gravel dramas (Colin Firth "Pride and Prejudice" aired on AQ&E, NOT PBS) and now stands for "Intervention" and "Storage Wars." Here's the short version: these networks skewed older. Advertisers don't like older. Owners decide to try to grab younger viewers. These networks have greatly improved their young demo stats with the change in direction.

I saw John Travolta on Life with Kelly and Michael the other day. Does he spray on his hair or what? Has no one had the nerve to tell him how rediculous he looks? Surely he can afford better.

You talking about that funny hair hat he's wearing these days?   Let me just say this about that: Frank Sintra could have afforded the best toupee in the world... And Michael Jackson, at one point, could have afforded the best plastic surgeon in Los Angeles.

Has been picked up for a second season? I like it but am bored with the plot line of the corrupt father/husband. And the singer/waitress is a tad bit precious for my tastes.

Emily Yahr is a diehard fan of the show and our WaPo TeamTV country music expert (too bad I didn't check with her in re Leeann R performance before recapping  "X" Wednesday show!) and she and I both agree nobody cares about the politics/evil father plotline. Emily would also like to add she has no  patience for the singer/waitresses "terrible fake accent."  Anyway, they seems to be diving more into the juicy Rayna vs. Juliette storyline  for the rest of the TV season. That bodes well for the spring, don't you think?

Pookie, I need your help! As cheesy as this special undoubtedly was, I really wanted to see it and forgot to DVR it last night. NBC says it will reair tonight from 9-10PM, but it looks like a new episode of Dateline is scheduled for then. Any ideas as to where I will be able to find it? MSNBC? Thanks and Happy Holidays!!!

I'm sorry to report an NBC rep we contacted said there are no current plans to re-air the special, and we're not seeing it available on hulu or

Hey, Pookie: As we draw nearer to the season three U.S. premiere of "Downton Abbey", why do you think a program of its kind has become such a great success here in the U.S. It's been interesting the past week or so seeing all the buzz generated from the cast members appearing on various TV talk shows and such. And, BTW, the parody skit of "Breaking Bad", entitled "Breaking Abbey" on the Colbert Report last week was priceless.

As a huge fan of British crunchy gravel dramaas, the wonder to me is that it's taken people and others (cough*press*cough) so long to "discover" how great they are. Just think how huge this would be here if PBS actually aired it when it first unspooled in the UK? This waiting six months nonsense is so 1980's...

Can I recommend the Shatner's Toupee blog ( for those wanting a deep dive into the topic of celebrity hairpieces. Top notch journalism.


So are you leaving too? Just finally accepting that Jen is leaving the post and celebritology is over and see your comment that the post is changing something with you...

No. What I meant to say was  that The Post is not emphasizing weekly chats any more.. They prefer to do chats in a more opportunistic way -- when some big event is happening -- and use their limited interactive staff to work on other projects.. I used to have a producer for my weekly chat. Now, I'm on my own. That's often not a problem but, when you have tech glitches, like last week -- well, you saw the result... and now I know not to use the words "going in another direction" under any circumstances!

what do you mean??!?

sorry! did not mean to cause "??!?" outbreak....

Neil Patrick Harris. Duh.

I would so seriously watch that.. Don't think Simon would want to compete. Also don't think he'll be a free agent next season -- I think CBS will try to return "HIMYM" because it has not done well this season with its new comedies.. Had "Partners" been a hit, I could see "HIMYM" being shown the door...

And your little dog, too! What Marathons are you looking forward to this holiday Season? We always like The Three Sttoges and The Twighlight Zone. I think Syfy is showing all 10 of the Star Trek Movies.

Nothing says Xmas like  "Twilight Zone" marathon. Did you see the series is being re-developed -- presumably for CBS? I traditionally drag out my xmas flick DVD's and do a binge viewing. It's my obsessive compulsive disorder. If I don't get through them -- it's not Xmas. This year I'm in Los Angeles and happily the Aero Theater in Santa Monica is showing some of them on their big screen. "White Christmas" was last night and until you've seen Rosemary Clooney" in that black velvet Edith Head number with the rinestone brooch on her backside and George Chakiris hanging on her shoulder, you haven't seen "White Chritmas." Tonight is "It's a Wonderful Life," and so on... I wish they did something similar in Washington.

When did Simon start acting more like a creepy boy band manager than a judge who would actually tell the truth when contestants sucked? Emblem-3 was a talentless travishamockery of all things that make sense in the world yet he acted like one of their Moms.

Simon changed when he moved from Idol to "X."  The show format -- with judges also mentoring "teams" doesn't allow for the judges to actually critique the performers....They're going to slam the competition and praise their team members. Heck, LA Reid even put on a cowboy hat last night and this is the guy who threw a hissy fit when he was told he was going to get the "over 25's" as his team... Ironically, his 37-year-old guy won the competition.


Any hot news from Hollywood? Who had the best interview with you? Did you ask Jimmy Kimmel a Leno question?

Winter tour starts on Jan. 3. I came out here earlier to attend a Kimmel taping before his haitus,  chat with his exec producer, attend xmas parties, etc...

Im heartbroken and it's Christmas...tears are running down....:(

Golly.... I keep sticking my foot in my mouth and chewing. I plan to continue the chat and the paper is nice enough to let me do so. They just don't provide any team support any more....This is a good place for me to mention that the Winter TV Press Tour 2013 begins Jan 3 and runs for about 2.5 weeks and on those Fridays during tour we may have to schedule chats earlier in the day, to accomodate press tour schedule...

Does WaPo keep Nielsen-type "ratings" to see how many people are viewing the online chats? I would think the Friday PM TV chat would be a ratings winner. It's hard to believe there aren't enough people following these for it not to be in the Post's best interest to keep them going on a weekly basis.

The paper gets numbers on everything.... It's just like working at a TV network! Kind of fun and interesting to experience, after having covered the networks going through something similar, starting about a decade ago...

You make every Friday special. Your columns are hoots. Happy Holidays!

Thanks! what a nice xmas gift!

I echo "Merry Christmas"'s sentiments -- these chats are fantastic. Thank you for sharing your insights and humor with us each week!

thank you! I should ineptly answer chat questions and leave people thinking my chat has been scrubbed more often! You guys have made my day...

CBS redeveloped Twlight Zone once. It lasted one season and it was horrible. The writing and acting stunk even though they got name stars on some episodes. Do you think CBS will do better this time?

I hope so.... but "X Men's" Bryan Singer is developing, so expect it to be less thoughtful and more stunt driven... oh wait, that would make it "horrible." Sorry I've got nothing comforting to say

That just deserved saying again!

it does!

Was actually American Movie Classics and everything was black and white.

My BAD. you are right. I need was TCM before there was TCM...

What show is really hitting it out of the park so far this season?

Sunday football! I know, that's not what you were asking. "The Voice"! I know, not that either... but those two shows catapulted NBC out of the ratings hole in which it was sitting in a big way this quarter and it's kind of the big story of the fall....None of the new scripted shows really took off; several did quite nicely however, like NBC's "Revolution." Oh, and "Duck Dynasty" -- another big story. Redneck TV is doing well, numbers-wise.

In the history of television, has there ever been a compelling business/fraud/money-related plotline in a soapy "lifestyle" drama? In shows like the OC, Gossip Girl, Nashville, 90210 (etc), there's inevitably some story line about a corrupt business man or some other legal issue that I fall asleep during. I like these kinds of plotlines in other shows (when they're done well), but when I watch a soap, I'm watching for the clothes, crazy hair, and smooching.

I think the writers do it so they can feel good about what they do, don't you? In much the same way I toss a Shakespeare quote into the column and chat as often as I can. You know, like:

"Alas poor 'Walking Dead' showrunner Glen Mazzara. I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."

That is how I plan to cover today's news that Mazzara is out on "The Walking Dead" as announced by AMC today -- marking the star of the traditional holiday TV Take Out the Trash period... AMC, on the bright side, allowed as how it had picked up the show for a fourth season -- duh -- while slipping in the news they've bid so-long to Mazzara, the guy who, you'll recall, replaced Frank Darabont. The mortality rate of showrunners is very high on this zombie-drama. You think it's the genre?

Does Jenna Elfman know where the bodies are buried?

No fair -- that was MY guess!

Just wanted to say how much I look forward to this chat every Friday and hope you don't go away. I think the Post is making a terrible mistake in doing away with the chats. Happy Holiday and Happy New Year to each of you out there!

This is getting positively Dickensian! God bless us every one! (thanks)

How much does L.L. Bean pay the WUSA (channel 9) news team to wear those jackets with the company's logo displayed even more prominently than the station's?

Doesn't the CNN gang wear some company's logo on their chests when they're out covering hurricanes and such? I think it's become the new norm in TV news...

Part of the problem is that there's probably quite a bit of overlap here with WaPo's superb Celebritology blog and chat, whose demise has left some of us verklempt, as Mike Myers' Linda Richman would say. As you might imagine, we're especially nervous about the Post's other star bloggers/chatters, including our Pookie.

Thank you...and I will make sure Jen sees your comment

Pookie -- You look marvelous, give my regards to Winkie and Vandy, and I'm looking forward to your dispatches from the winter press tour.

I'm really looking forward to this press tour...Jeff Zucker taking CNN questions (hopefully), Jimmy Kimmel talking about his first few days trying to take down his hero David Letterman, Sesame Workshop taking questions (hopefully) about election results and Clash...I could go on and on...

Actually AMC was bette than TCM - it was the serious classic movie channel - because thy didn't o around colorizing B&W movies ike TCM did.

yeah, and look where it got them....

Do you have Vanderbilt and Winkie wear those little doggie antlers the way that Eddie on "Frasier" did? What is Santa bringing them this year?

Winkie will wear most anything. He was a pink bedazzled dancing bear for Halloween. Vanderbilt is a snob and refuses to get into the holiday spirit. They are both getting chewbones, and all the wrapping paper they can shred, for xmas...

Duck zdynasty a success....I've seen the show...I guess the world is ending....

Today, I'm told....

I am a fan of just about all GOOD attempts at bringing Sherlock Holmes to film and TV. Loved Brett, Downey, Cumberbund. I think there is less of the original Holmes in Elementary than the others, but the show still holds my attention for the full hour. Could this be due to House withdrawal?

My guess too. And if you were a "House" fan you're gonna love "Rake," being developed for Fox, starring Greg Kinnear as a brilliant, self-destructive criminal defense laywer who lacks a self-edit button.

Pookie, I only watch the news and baseball, but I love your chat. Merry Christmas.

Merry Xmas to you...

Jordana, where art thou? Any chance we can petition the producers of Revolution to swap out the actress with the single facial expression for Jordana Spiro? As a bonus, they can change the title of the show to "My Revolution".

I think Spiro's maybe too old for the role... and if they dumped Single Expression Chick, who would we talk about on Fridays? I have vowed to begin including weekly Single Expression video clips in chat next calendar year...

How about "Dallas" or "Dirty Sexy Money" (which I loved)?

Yeah, and look where it got "Dirty Sexy Money"..."Dallas," meanwhile, did have those storylines but they were so buried under all the soap, they couldn't do much damage.

It was great in its early days and even managed some original program like Remember Wenn about a 1940s radio station, but it was mostly showing B movies, not the classics we see on TCM.

Ted Turner gets credit for buying the MGM library.....

Pookie, you should get the Post to take this on. I *have* seen White Christmas on the big screen but would love to see Christmas in Connecticut and Remember the Night in glorious Cinemascope. (By the way, I love the former movie almost as much as you do, but what movie exec thought dull Dennis Morgan would be a good match for the sensational Stanwyck? Think how much better it would be with, say, Jimmy Stewart in that part.)

He was a very big deal at that time, I'm told... their Justin Bieber, maybe? anyway, when you've got sydney greenstreet and cuddles, etc. it doesn't matter so much

Does Vanderbilt like watching the movie in which his namesake appears? Does he leave the room when the "Abraham" number comes on screen, as I do?

Not at all because adorable Vanderbilt does not bark in "Holiday Inn.".. Only scenes of major dog barking get his attention. Next time I'll name my dogs after big screen pets....

but re: Star Trek movies, when the (truly dreadful) first movie came out, I saw it advertised on a big roadside sign, along with another movie (wow! duplex cinema!). The sign read: "Star Trek / The Jerk" and that is how it's been referred to in our family ever since. And I also love your chat. I toggle back and forth between yours and Hax's. Makes Friday afternoons at work much better. Thank you both.

That's funny -- it makes my Friday afternoons at work much better too...

Just sayin'

I'll make sure post management sees this... they'll be sending you the bill...

And you print things like "Does Jenna Elfman know where the bodies are buried?" You never answer my questions, and I really care about whether or not Leverage will be renewed. At least you could say, "I don't know, but I'll find out."

Pookie, I try to get to as many questions as possible each week, but can't get to them all I'm sorry if more than your share of questions have gone non-answered over time.... Now, about Leverage:  the exec producer says he's written the  season finale, airing Tuesday,  as a series finale, and that though he has not gotten official word he's more than hinting he thinks it's over. The network is not saying yet, so far as I know.

I thought proof of that was the success of Honey Boo Boo. I felt my IQ drain just typing her name.

I know how you feel. Imagine covering that show for a daily newspaper...

It was a victim of the writers' strike.

that killed it quicker than it would have died, but it would have died... and I was a fan of the show...

What about the original film where the song was sung, "Holiday Inn"?

Younger Bing -- and Fred....though the black-face scenes are major cringe inducing....

Pookie, will you be chatting next week? If so, it'll be the perfect excuse for me to escape my family for an hour while I'm trapped in Small Town, PA for the week.

No. I'm heading to Denver to visit family before start of press tour. Will be back the following Friday.

I stopped watching AMC when they started editing the movies for content, which was just before they started inserting commercials.

yeah, it was a slow, sorry decline...

Any odds on the longevity of a non-Hagman Dallas? The "oldtimers" participation was the main reason this relaunch succeeded where others died a quick death.

I don't hold out much hope. Meanwhile, did you see that Roger Moore has been signed for theTV series  remake of "The Saint"? I think we have a trend story brewing....

Wow, dude. Chill. Or someone's getting coal in their stocking next week. :-)

It must be frustrating if you join the chat regularly and regularly don't have your questions answered. Wish I had more time, but instead have daily deadline...

Is this show scheduled for midseason on Fox, or next fall? I do miss the House of old, not the self-destructive mess it became in the final two seasons.

My guess is next fall, though more likely next spring, given how tough it is for Fox to launch new dramas in the fall owing to baseball pre-emptions... Notice Fox is launching its biggest project for this season -- Kevin Bacon's serial killer drama, in the spring? My guess is that will be the template...

Wow, Lisa - I had no clue, and am even more impressed! Serious Question person needs to step it back a notch. You're flying solo, and making it look effortless (tech issues aside)

Thanks, but please let's cut  Serious Question Guy some slack -- I'd be annoyed too..and don't forget all that good will toward men stuff this time of year, right?

Netflix doesn't carry it, but will let you put it in their 'saved' section--for future purchase, one supposes. Don't know if it's a licensing problem or a not-enough-people-want-it problem. I've requested it. Maybe some others can, too?

This movie only recently started being shown on TCM.,.. I think Universal has the rights to it.. and it's now being sold by TCM.. my guess is that's why netflix has not got it available... I was perfectly happy to purchse it, since I have Obsessive Compulsive Xmas Movie viewing disorder. I added it to my list... watch it every year. I recommend it highly... I'm out of time. I hope everyone survives the end of the world today and has a happy new year.  I'll be chatting again two Fridays from now.. please keep an eye out for time changes to chat during press tour period.. Bye!

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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