What's wrong with 'X Factor'?, Howard Stern, and Golden Globe nods: Lisa de Moraes' TV Column Live

Dec 16, 2011

Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes chatted about the about all the drama, comedy and heartbreak of the world of television. See below to see what questions readers brought up and what Lisa had to say about in response.

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Looks like Frasier got his wish -- another Emmy nomination. Is this Boss series worth catching up on? I avoided it and heard it was uber-cheesy. Plus, he's an acquired taste. Will take your advice on this one.

You mean Golden Globe nomination, I assume. Anyway, the show's fun/uber-cheesy. But, in truth, I'm always interested in watching programming that's put on the air by Chris Albrecht, the former HBO chief who is now trying, on a fraction of HBO's buget, to get some traction for Starz... I'm also relieved Grammer is trying something different.

None of the possible answeres in your X-Factor poll are the correct choice. The biggest problem with the show is that it has become too much about the judges/mentors and not enough about the competitors. When we see judges voting for what is in their best interest and not for the better singer/entertainer, it turns us off.

Excellent point -- Simon finds himself fascinating. What I can't figure is why this franchise is so big in other countries but not so much here. For me it was hilarious when LA Reid said because he is "a man of principle" -- he's voting to save his own team member, not the better singer... Odd way to define 'principle'

Dame Lisa -- Was so glad to see Golden Globe noms for, as you say, the "trippy" American Horror Story (and particularly Jessica Lange). As we are now finding most of the main characters dead or dying, and becoming resident ghosts, any scoop on how Ryan Murphy intends to keep this show up -- new family next season perhaps? Or maybe the series will free-fall (see Glee -- or maybe don't).

Well, it's certainly a great way to keep the show's costs down -- just keep killing off the characters. And, because it's called "American Horror Story" fans don't care complain -- it's a horror show, silly! When you say you're going to "graduate" characters off "Glee" all hell breaks loose... Lesson learned. Maybe Ryan Murphy needs to change the name of "Glee" to "High School Horror Story"...

Your Royal Pookiness - FX is giving Russell Brand a late night talk show? Really? I can barely tolerate him when he's hosting a 2 hour award show, let alone night after night. I'm sure there's something Katy Perry sees in him that I don't!

Speaking of acquired tastes....Maybe he's a very different person when he's not in front of a camera? I confess, I loved his creepy guest gig on Rosie's debut as talk show host on Oprah Winfrey Network. But I do love a good train wreck...

Lisa, please tell me Enlightened will be coming back. I know no one was watching it, but it really was one of the most original series I had seen in years. And the season finale left so much stuff unresolved! So, what are its chances of not being cancelled?


Quote from CSI: Miami last night, regarding a murder at a beauty pageant for 6-year-olds. Quite possibly the worst hour of television I have seen in a very long time. And my husband watches a lot of the Real Housewives. Love you Pookie, you look marvelous today! Arlington Gay (flying back to Arlington during the chat)

...and yet, somehow after watching those mothers on just one epsiode of  "Toddlers & Tiaras," I totally buy that line -- great verisimilitudinous touch... bet you didn't think I could spell 'verisimilitudinous'...

When a weekly program is preempted by some event there is often little or no notification. The show will in many instances just not show up at the appointed time. Happened to us most recently with "The Good Wife", last week, I believe. Why is this and is there notification available anywhere? Alex

I think "Good Wife" aired that night, but it was late, owing to football overrun -- I think it was an incredibly long football overrun on that particular night. Here's a good rule of thumb: during football season, if there's a game on a network before primetime starts, you're show is probably going to start late. In fact, broadcast networks pray for overruns -- do you have any idea what a football overrun does for a network's weekly ratings average. It's like manna from heaven...

Hey Pookie, During the start of the show when they roll through the credits I've noticed Cloris Leachman's credit as: ' and introducing Cloris Leachman as Maw Maw' Is this in regards to her character suffering from dementia? Does it make me a bad person that I find it funny considering the show is in it's second season?

I think it's just supposed to be funny....as though Cloris Leachman was some sort of ingenue making her acting debut? Wasn't she listed as a guest star the first season? I need more coffee...

What are the chances that "Glee" gets cancelled at the end of the season? The ratings have tanked, the kids are supposed to be graduating, and the writing and storytelling has gone from bad to worse. Or does the money they make selling the music just make everything okay?

um, yes... It will probably be back next season, because you typically need four seasons of a show to amass enough episodes to make it a powerhouse player in syndication. After that,  though, all bets are off....

Is there any commercial carrier who will let him on? Or will NBC need to Charter Flights for him from here on?

I hope he starts flying United. Then the sparks will REALLY fly -- excuse the pun.... Maybe TLC will let him fly for free on Southwest, so long as they can film him on every flight for their new "reality" series about that airline...

As horrible as Nicole is, I bet you anything that they bring her back next year, for precisely what a previous poster said - the producers have much bigger interest in the "drama" between the judges than the competitors or finding a new superstar.

In my dream, they dump her and bring back Cheryl Cole....and what the producers have the biggest interest in is improving the show's ratings.

Even though CBS is moving it to 9pm, is it actually dead, but it just doesn't realize it yet?

Well, it will then have an "Undercover Boss" leadin at 8, which might actually help its ratings. CBS is maybe the only network that can get viewers on Friday nights...

Lisa - I love you soooo much! I adore your column and, though I usually can't participate in your chats in real time, I usually read them as an awesome way to get through the hazy late Friday afternoons.

I really wish you hadn't taken a question in the chat last week that contained clear spoiler information about last weeks episode without warning to look away. When I finally saw the episode over the weekend - which I imagine is common for a show that is probably heavily dvr'd, it was deflating, and my husband, who didn't know the twist, was shocked by what went down.

Once an episode has aired,  I'm gonna talk about it....if you see a subject line -- like yours that says "American Horror Story" --  and it's about a show you love and have yet to watch the most recent episode of, you probably should skip that question and answer... consider that your spoiler alert always... Me, I hate surprises -- always have -- don't mind at all knowing what happens in advance... maybe that's why I enjoy "The Woman in White" every time I read it...

Despite the judges' inherent bias and endless bickering, a few good singers have made it to the semi-finals---contestants who are marginally more interesting than Scotty McCreary and Lauren Alaina. But the show has to change, everything is too amped-up: the overproduced staging, the crowd's hysteria, Nicole Scherzinger's emoting. In fact, a lot would get better real fast if they let go of Nicole.

Would love to see Nicole replaced.. Did you see Simon Cowell critiquing Nicole's performance on last night's show? He said he was going to critique her performance in the same way she's been juding the X-testants' performances all season: "I believe in you. You believe in me. You transcend the universe. God is smiling on you. Life is a waterfall and you are the ultimate rainbow."  I assumed -- or maybe just hoped -- it was his way of saying to her, on national TV,  "don't let the door hit you on your way out. "

Her debut was panned by some of your peers. My personal favorite is her total absence of charisma. Sorry if I'm drooling but how long will this charming "job" last for this world-weary jounalist. Bring back Making A Difference with the locals. P.S. You rock as a journalist, a woman and dog owner.

She was pretty dreadful in her "Rock Center" debut. Maybe she would be better at it had she practiced, all those years, by doing, you know, interviews with the press. Practice makes perfect, you know...

Pookie, tried to stay up for the riveting denouement when Babs would announce the most fascinating person of 2011 but I fell asleep. Inquiring minds need to kno ... zzzzzzzzzzzz

Babs crowned Steve Jobs the year's Most Fascinating Person... She explained she usually insists her most fascinating person be alive, but since she had been planning to interview him but it didn't come together before he died, it was okay -- or something like that... Interesting that Walter Isaacson got all that one-on-one time with Jobs, but Babs didn't get any. Could it be he was  not interested? Anyway, she apparently said she's retiring next year so this franchise will soon be put to pasture.. Unless, they give it to Di? Or Katie?! Good grief!

Lisa, Who on the USA programming team is sleeping with someone on the Hollywood Foreign Press that Piper Perabo last year and now Callie Thorne from entertaining but badly acted USA shows are nominated? There are so many better actresses in dramas right now I'm baffled!

You don't have to "sleep with" them -- what's up with that euphamism anyway -- you just have to throw good parties...

How does The Big Bang Theory stay in production? Awful does not begin to describe its stupidity.

How? By getting good ratings. I know, it's depressing that the ratings are good even now that the writing is bad...

Hello Pookie: Sorry but I got off the "the press should leave Chelsea Clinton alone" bus a long time ago. I initially agreed with the Clintons' exhortation that the media should let Chelsea grow up in the White House without the media hovering around her. However, all bets were off when the Clintons exploited Chelsea themselves in the famous holding-hands-while-the-three-walked-to-the-helicopter photo op the day after Bill finally owned up to dallying with Miss Lewinsky. Mrs. Clinton admits in her memoir that she was thoroughly ticked at her hubby but didn't want the press to know so she maneuvered Chelsea to walk between her parents. Not a nice thing to do to a daughter who also probably had some issues with her dad's admission but was forced to put on a show for the photographers. Can't have it both ways, Clintons! That calculated gesture made Chelsea fair game, IMHO.

I think we all need to agree on an age when kids of politicians become fair game. How about: when they're old enough to compete on "X Factor"...seems reasonable.

How's that Harry's law show? And how are the ratings? I kinda like Kathy Bates, and thought about watching it last year, but couldn't work it in. THen when Keen Eddie joined this year I thought I had to start watching it (love him, even though I can't think of his name, but damn that Keen Eddie show was good). But again, can't seem to work it in. Have a few eps stashed on the DVR, and time over the holidays. Whaddya think? Worth the time? Show going to stick around? Partly I feel like it seems like a tired premise - I was a huge Practice fan back in the day, and LA Law before that, but are we really still doing shows about quirky firms?

If you're David E. Kelley you are....I simply adore Bates so I get at least one terrific moment out of every episode. Isn't the mark of a truly gifted actor someone who can make something entertaining out of same old same old?

At first I thought that singer---not Nicole, the other one---was some kind of hoax. She sounded like she had just come from a bad audition for "American Idol"! And I'd never heard of her. Pookie, does this mean I'm getting old?

That's Florence + The Machine... I always enjoy watching her perform her breath-control act on competition shows -- I think she was on "Dancing with the Stars" this season too -- apparently you are not a fan of her singing style -- which I like to describe as "coming out on stage and visiting the neighborhood of her song's key, while engaging in much arm flinging and heaven-ward gazing"...I think it's something that can only be pulled off by a redhead in a maxi-dress...I'm not sure why, but I feel that's so.

Pookie, please tell me that Marcus' mom will stick to her guns and make that boy go to college now. He's given it his best shot---and he's affable, hard-working, mostly in-tune, and a cutie pie to boot---but he will never be a star. I hope he holds this as a great experience that is now over, and moves forward with his life.

You don't think that having become one of the semi-X's gets him a pass from mom to keep pursuing his dream for a while longer? I do...

I find "Two Broke Girls" and "Subugatory" two of the least funny and least original sitcoms I've ever seen. The latter's criticial view of suburbia might have seemed cutting edge in the 1970s, but now? The former program seems to try hard to be wacky, but fails. Tell me they aren't widely watched.

"Two Broke Girls" ratings are very strong, though, in fairness, a lot of that is the fact that, worked into its season average, is the gimongous audience it clocked in its premiere when it followed the season debut of "2.5 Men" in which Charlie Sheen's character got killed off... The more episodes of "2 Broke Girls" that air this season, the less of a factor that first episodes' huge rating will be. And no, I can't remember what the figure was. I'll look it up...

What do other people think of the 'Game On Santa' commercials by Best Buy? I think they are mean!

mean spirited. didn't somebody here do an article about mean Xmas ads. I'd top the list with that one..

Any chance the Republican debates get picked up as a reality show?

Pookster -- it already is a reality series...

The teasers for "Smash" look pretty promising. Have you had a chance to see it? Should I book room on my DVR for it?

Absolutely. It's ambitious. It may fall flat on its face, but it's ambitious and should be checked out. Two of the guy behind this --  Craig Zaden and Neil Meron -- are the same guys who made all those musical remakes for TV -- remember the Bette Midler version of "Gypsy" that aired on CBS? Or ABC's version of  "Music Man" with Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth? (I still think that role should have gone to Mandy Patinkin).

Okay, so now I know what Nicole Scherzinger is famous for, but boy, she makes some scary faces when she sings! She looked like she was smelling something really bad. (Maybe the overripe cheese of her song?)

I was trying, as I was recapping the episode, to come up with a pithy way to explain her facial contortions and finally gave up...."a smelling overripe cheese look " describes it perfectly.  Sorry we did not chat last night! But, she was also famous for, as you could see from the video that introduced her, incredible dance moves and booty shaking. So why, oh why did she just stand there like a lump during her performance?

My children just saw an ad for "Work It". Is the blindness they're now suffering from physical or psychosomatic? Just curious.

Psychosomatic.... I re-gained my vision in about 48 hours....

What a joke. It's obvious from the nominations that they dole them out based on who they want to see on their red carpet (Jolie) and who will tune in to see if their highly rated show wins (Glee). Merit has nothing to do with it.

Of course they do silly! It's the Hollywood Foreign Press Association doing the voting -- that should have been your first clue. Just give up on the idea of this being in any way legitimate,  sit back, relax, and enjoy the orgy of excess that is the Globes -- you'll have  alot more fun...

Hey, Pookie: Counting down the days until the return of the second series of 'Downton Abbey' and a chance to enjoy another PBS crunchy gravel drama. What can viewers expect from this year's installment?

Ah, this I won't discuss, because the episode have not aired here yet... But it's kinda tragic...

You are right, the land of TV is pretty snoozy in December. I can't think of anything to ask about, not even Seabiscuit to Today. Um... did Barbara Walters name an actually fascinating person as her #1 most fascinating person? Er... oh, forget it. Wake me up when "Christmas in Connecticut" is on.

It must have already been on, because it showed up in my DVR this week.....I think TCM ran it... I'm sure they will again before the holiday season is over... Christmas is just not Christmas at my house until Sydney Greenstreet says: "What a Christmas! Ho, ho, what a Christmas!" ...okay, I'm through talking about old movies on this chat. I swear...

Pookie, you said it was OK to ask TV sports questions, so here goes. There are always 10AM & 1PM NFL games, broadcast on either CBS or FOX, for a potential total of four. But all too often, one of those networks might only air one game, and fill up the other three hours with a series of stupid infomercials. WHO makes this decision, is it our local affiliate, the network, or somebody else? I think they are a bozo, and I want to make sure I complain to the correct idiot.

Glad you asked! We put your question to Post sports editor Mitch Rubin, and he says there are a lot of exceptions to the rules, but basically here's how it works: it's almost completely based on league rules about when the team in your local market is playing. For example, if the Redskins are playing on the West Coast at 4:15 p.m. game on Fox, and CBS has a double header that weekend, then more likely than not, people in this market will only get the CBS game at 1 p.m., not at 4:15 p.m.. But, Mitch hastened to add,  it's extremely complicated and can change at any minute. And, so, in conclusion, Mitch said,  "That's why God invented DirecTV." I hope this helps though I recognize I'm not giving you any direction in re which idiot to complain to...

I'm hoping you or the Chatters can help. I vaguely remember a short-lived TV drama about a Congressman that was elected to Congress under some special circumstances in which neither party had their hooks in him. I remember seeing an episode where the climax is that he agrees to something the Republicans wanted, but only if paid for by taxing those making more than $1 million. Everyone was then caught in a bind because how could anyone vote against a tax on just millionaires? Anyway, does anyone remember the name of this show or its star?

Seriously? Some network bought this?

Lisa/Pookie: I need you and the Pookiets insight. I love "Modern Family" and "Parenthood." Great actors and storylines BUT the women, and one guy, on these shows are grating. The most grating are the women on "Parenthood" to varying degrees. Parenthood-Kristina and Sarah (the worst), Haddie, Jasmine, and Julia (not so much). Is this the way women/wife's are today. I do not see much maturity in the characters. Kristina I would have divorced her long ago. Sarah is so insecure that who would date her. Julia, in my opinion, is the most mature. Yes, she may have her moments but it appears to me a little more balanced. And Jasmine plays the victim card so well that I wanted to throw her over the houseboat. I love the show but I cannot watch it for these women. I love Camille, Zeek, Adam, and even Crosby. "Modern Family" - love the gay aspect but Claire is a character that I want to throw my socks at when she comes on the screen. Also, can someone throw her a drumstick or two? Mitchell is almost on the same level as Sarah from "Parenthood." I would think twice about having a partner like him. I just can't watch. I know it is "must see TV" but I just can't. Am I missing something? Love your column...I used to live in DC and now in Denver...You rule...

Conversely, I used to live in Denver and now in D.C....Meanwhile, my head is still spinning from your question -- it's just way too hard. Maybe you're taking the people on your screen too seriously. I think you need a "Parenthood" drinking game, for instance. In no time at all, you'd be looking forward to the next original episode... And, really, it's just a soap -- everyone's grating on "Parenthood."


Is the Betty White lovefest finally over? Is it safe to turn on the TV again?

Not by a mile. She just got a SAG Award nomination -- or maybe it was two nominations. I just duck and cover when I hear her name... I can't take any more Betty White...

So two of the relationships that drove BE since it premiered seem to have ended with the last episode... one with two bullets to the head and that seemed kind of final. Is the show coming back and if it is has HBO said anything about what the heck the producers were doing in the last episode? Except for Steve Buscemi they'll have to have a whole new cast.

Again -- great way to keep a show's costs down -- just keep killing off the cast... And, is it okay that your line "one with two bullets to the head and that seemed kind of final" made me laugh out loud?

This man has some hold on primetime TV. He gets a new series every year. I get that he's critically acclaimed, but he kind of reeks of desperation.

He has the most incredible diction of any actor working in television. It's his secret. It's almost as good as having a proper British accent, which is total catnip to casting directors in Hollywood...

Its not "Christmas in Connecticut" but my teen aged son loves that Fred Astaire claymation Santa movie....

I'm guessing it's because he has fond childhood memories of it? I prefer Jimmy Durante's Frosty the Snowman, personally, but that's because I like my Fred Astaire dancing in "Holiday Inn."  Curses!  I swore I would not take any more old-movie questions and you tricked me!

In Hollywood everyone is jumping on the No Bullying campaign. But not one has stood and said what Baldwin did to that flight crew. He is the bully

You clearly don't fly much...

If Babs is retiring from doing the "most fabulous/most exciting/most whatever" next year, is this a gig that will be turned over to Katie Couric? I was kind of surprised that Katie had a show that ran for 2 hours that was so close in structure to Barbara Walters'.

Me too, it was frightening.... I'm out of time... 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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