The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Apr 12, 2013

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

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Pookie, clearly I was asleep at the wheel. What is this about you leaving?!?

Yes, leaving The Post at the end of the TV season, to join my family in Los Angeles.

Last night I dropped this show from my dvr. It just became too tedious. This season is just too bland. How is it doing in the ratings? Last night the judges let their save expire, meaning they will run out of singers by May 9th. Does Idol really end at the beginning of May sweeps?

Down compared to last season but past few weeks it's been trending upward, as you'd expect in a singing competition. Maybe you should stick with it, now that the show is free at last -- all the finalists at this point are female -- and there will be no  scruffy white guy with guitar crowned Idol this season. May 16 is Idol finale.

Pookie, I'm going to start a new weekly "Smash" Bash as I've now jumped on that bandwagon. Let us start with this gem: Liza Minelli's lip syncing! For the love of all things RuPaul, that was horrible! That dog from the baked beans commercial does a better job.

That is too funny! Your gag about the dog from the baked beans commercial, that is -- not that Liza was faking it. I like the idea of a weekly Smash Bash -- thanks!

Bandersnatch Cummberbund. Please note, I am the person who promised to type the name/meme every week until you leave. I am not the person who came up with it. And I am getting a little pushed for something to say. Really. I might not be able to do this (beyond just doing with no additional commentary) for another month an a half. However, I will say that I looked at the trailer for the Star Trek movie again and I think that you have to have a very special voice to play a villian while wearing a red pajama top. The whole "look menacing" thing can't be easy in clothes that are the 60's version of groovy military wear.

This is an excellent contribution to the weekly Mentioning of Bandersnatch Cummerbund! And yes, menacing is very hard to pull off while wearing red jammies.  I tried it as a child -- but failed to impress the mummy hiding under my bed, and Peter Pan's crocodile who was hiding in my closet. (My room was a great meeting place for monsters at night when I was younger).

The Glee crew prepare for Regionals by singing their "last song" -- two gunshots are heard and the High School goes into total lockdown where a SWAT team does not find a shooter nor any true clues as to the location of the limited shots . . . Seems like this show is ready for a Finale at the Nationals come May Sweeps . . .

Typically when a ratings-grab stunt is pulled during a non-sweeps week it means the show is trying to goose the ratings because the network is trying to make up its mind in re whether to bring it back next season. Otherwise, ratings stunts like that are saved for sweeps months.

Lisa, I have really gotten into this show. One of the things that I like is, I live in DC, and nothing on this show looks anything like DC. One of the characters was suppose to be at Dupont Circle and it looked nothing like Dupont.

We should discuss -- in what way did it look un-Dupont Circle like? Was there a palm tree sighting? ("Dynasty" reruns are always fun viewing for anyone who has lived in Denver, for palm tree sightings -- it never gets old!)

What were they thinking?

Ratings. You may have noticed press reports online that it was up 20 percent week to week (though that's maybe damning with faint praise given how the show's been doing -- it won its timeslot among 18-to-49-year-olds though its competition was mostly reruns and NBC's so-over Thursday comedies. Overall, it clocked about 6.8 million viewers.

So all those bios and history classes were for naught: Leonardo was actually a tail-chasin' ladies man - and Adrian Grenier lookalike to boot. Is this worth checking out?

Didn't you just answer your own question? Heck, it's on Starz, so you know it's going to be chock-a-block with sex, gore, and spectacle. Count me in!

Every single episode is a very special episode. It's exhausting. It's no longer the 1980s and Glee is not Mr. Belvedere. I miss the fun first season. Why do I keep watching?

I give up -- why?

His slide doesn't seem to be turning around. Is he irretrievably damaged goods or coming back? Not a morning TV watcher but the political drama is interesting from a distance.

NBC News made a big mistake when they replaced Ann Curry with Savannah Guthrie. Should have replaced her with Hoda who stepped into the spot recently and not only held her own, she made Matt seem likeable. They had actual chemistry! It's been ages since we've seen chemistry on that show and that is exactly what morning infotainment show viewers are seeking.

Hey Pookie: Do you typically watch any live prime time programming? Or, are you like most of us, who use our DVRs religiously to tape shows for viewing at more convenient times? Anything that's a must to see as it airs?

I watch shows live when I'm reporting on them for our Web site. Often I'm still at office when primetime is in progress, so I DVR. I tend to watch late night shows live and morning infotainment programming in the morning as I'm getting ready for work.

Is that like Scott Baio returning to his "real" family after starring as a sitcom dad? I can see it now..."Famous, pookielicious TV critic resigns from famous newspaper over principles to return to her wacky Southern California family to care for her nieces and nephews after their parents were killed in a motorcycle accident jumping a shark tank on a gravelly driveway." Madcap hilarity ensues. Who would portray you in the pilot?

That's easy -- Kay Francis.

Is that where the short, fat witch in my closet and the sea turtle swimming over the end of my crib ended up?

I never saw the sea turtle, but my room was a hotbed of witches... though the mummy was the worst of the lot. My father took me and my sisters when I was very young to a museum exhibit, to give my mother an afternoon off -- the exhibit included an impressive unwrapped mummy  in a glass case, that followed us home and took up residence under my bed.

no question - just wanted to say how much we'll miss him.

The guy was a genius -- be sure to check out his guest appearance on Jack Paar-hosted "Tonight" show with the stick.

Can we plan an online party before you go? Everyone has the same snacks at their computer and drinks whenever the word "Bandersnatch" is written.... Maybe Ann Curry could host because her sincere interview style will fit the mood of all of us chatters.

I'd be flattered.....

I didn't start watching Idol until 3 years ago. Last night they showed Kelly Clarkson from the very first season auditions. Would I recognize the show if I went back and saw those episodes? Was it obviously going to be a success in the ratings from the beginning or did it struggle?

Wasn't a monster relative to in-season stuff, because it launched in the summer, but anyone who covered TV knew it was going to be very very big to do those kinds of numbers in the summer.

Has Matt Lauer taken over from Seacrest-out? I have not seen Matt this many days in a row on the Today show since I started watching it - he's even there on Fridays!

Theyr'e trying to goose the show's ratings -- it's beaten with regularity by "Good Morning America" these days and I can only assume they've got numbers showing Matt brings in viewers.

You like Hoda? If I ever have a sick day and watch the last hours of Today, all I can think is that Hoda and Kathie Lee are perfect for the senior citizen crowd. And they depressingly know it, so it always seems like they are drunk just to fake their way through the show every day.

I'll check out the demographics on the Hoda/Kathie Lee "Today" and report back next week.

Just wanted to thank the person that shared the link to "Armchair Anglophile" last week. I'm really enjoying it. Unfortunately, the very good write up of "Call The Midwife" makes it painfully obvious how much PBS is cutting to allow for the lead in, promos and non-commercials. I already watch Downton Abbey on DVD. Think I'll have to add 'Midwife" to the list.

It's sad that PBS cuts to make room for the not-commercials, isn't it? Why can't the network just run the show in its entirety and let it run long -- like TCM does with its flicks. Then it shows shorts to fill the time so the next show can start on the hour.

I noticed it looked nothing like Dupont Circle too! For one thing, it seemed to be a square. Also there was a chain-link fence, and no fountain. And the benches were different.

No fountain! What do the producers take us for -- idiots?! I will get in touch with the network on this. Seriously. Surely FX can afford to shoot a fountain for the sake of verisimilitude.

Winters was a certifiable American treasure. See what I did there ?

very clever...

was married five times. You've got a lot to look forward to.

I know!

Hi just wandered if you had any infomation on whether Parenthood is still being considered for renewal or is it just not going to happen. Thanks

NBC has not yet announced "Parenthood's" fate. That saids, it does well demographically for NBC and demographics are all NBC has left in so many timeslots -- it only grabs a broadcast audience when "The Voice" and Sunday football are on -- and Olympics, of course...

Hi Pookie- The best episode since Charlie Sheen left was last week when the character of Herb returned to hang with Alan and Walden. The three of them had real chemistry. Are they planning to include Herb in more episodes?

I don't know but I'll be sure to watch the episode...thanks for the tip!

But if she takes over the mornings, who will take care of drunk Kathy Lee Gifford?

Anderson Cooper, of course!

I always thought of him as unappreciated. I think his best turn was when they made him Mork's baby (they aged backwards on Ork) and it looked like he and Robin Williams were just riffing off each other off-script.

I believe they were, according to press accounts...

Why was the text of the hotel ad in Latin?

See, this is what happens when you DVR a show and watch it at 2 in the morning -- you miss important details like this. I don't recall Latin text. You mean Veni, vidi vici Latin?

Hannibal = (Dexter + Criminal Minds) + (vampire of choice) + (food show).

And yet, only 4.3 million watched, against repeat competition. It won its slot in the key age bracket, though not by much. NBC has to be disappointed. But "disappointed" is now the natural condition at NBC...

Is there any remote chance he would lower himself to be Carson Daley's replacement on the most marginal of late night shows?

That never made sense to me -- why would he work that hard for a show at that hour? I'd like to see him become Jimmy Fallon's regular guest host on "Tonight" ...

Pookie, you look fabulous today. Re: the Mindy Project - I love this show! Even my husband enjoys it. Will it be renewed? Fingers crossed...

You can uncross them -- Fox has already renewed it for a second season.

Some shows announce they're in their 20th "season" but I know they haven't been on for 20 years. Is there a set definition or does it vary by show? One example is America's Next Top Model. Thanks for clearing this up for me!

Season is sometimes used to mean "edition." The broadcast TV season starts in September and ends in May -- it's a Nielsen thing. Some reality series air two editions per season -- like ABC's "Dancing with the Stars". But a network may call the spring edition of such a show its second "season"...

I didn't notice the hotel ad text being in Latin, but I presume that's because it's standard practice to use Latin filler in mock-ups. Take a look at wordpress templates - the text is all in Latin.

We have an answer.....Leave it to Matt Weiner to be so meticulous about details...

I don't know Latin, but it sure looked liked it. Not pig latin.

I think we've figured it out.

Does the poster remember that this show is set in 1981? The show is taking a lot of latitude (and getting away with it) because the DC of 30+ years ago does not have to resemble 2013. Honestly, I think they do a great job recreating the era and locations. Personally, what bothers me the most is that Keri Russell does not look very 1981. Not at all. No center-part to her hair, no orange blouses, no blue eyeshadow. It's like they're not even trying. Other than that, LOVE the show.

The fountain in Dupont Circle pre-dates the 80's....I'll forgive them the shocking lack of orange blouses if they add the fountain.

I think it was Lorem Ipsum. Wiki it - it's placeholder text, but I'm not sure if it's an anachronism or not.

thanks for more information!

Probably this:


The Latin text is a standard piece, too, not somebody's idea of a joke translated into Latin. I think meant to be a longer version of YOUR TEXT HERE that will also flunk spell check. Also keeps programmers from wasting $100/hour of your money thinking up something cute to put there temporarily. But despite all these efforts, apparently the Mad Men prop department managed to drop the ball?

What did they drop the ball with? Was their Latin some cute inside gag? Like "AMC suits are cheap sons of guns" in Latin?

He was great as the truck driver driven insane by greed in "It's a Mad mad mad mad world" Does that get shown anymore?

TCM... I see it on the schedule from time to time, though it's on my Life is Too Short list -- like Westerns.

If Tiger Woods wins, are we ever going to hear the end about his new enabler/girlfriend?

No. Never going to hear the end.

I completely agree! Why can't they have attention to detail like Matthew Weiner in Mad Men, where the theme to Sunday's episode was sideburns!

Orange blouses! Blue eyeliner!

I'm a senior citizen and cannot imagine that we are the target audience for this drivel. I miss the days when a "news division" was expected to present news. And no-one in a news division or anywhere else on live TV was allowed to drink on the air.

Now I have to look into the demographics. And the morning infotainment shows may not have had booze, but they did have a chimp.

For all the slushees thrown at kids by the football team, I was a bit disappointed it turned out to be an accidental discharge.

Yes, it could have been a great way to cull the herd and bring down the production cost for next season, ensuring "Glee" would be brought back for another season, despite its ratings slide... Sadly, you are not running the show.

You're right - she does have chemistry. Ethanol, to be specific. I would like to see the whole 4 hours of NBC's morning programming turned into a Hoda and Kathie Lee special, By 11:00 AM, the world of network broadcasting would be irrevocably changed.

First two hours: Anderson Cooper and Kathie Lee.


I'm out of time. Hope you'll join me 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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