The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Apr 26, 2013

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

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Pookie, don't shoot me, but I love watching "Smash," especially when Megan Hilty is allowed to belt out a blockbuster, as she did last week. Any chance it will be granted a new chance on some cable channel? And what's up with the far superior "Nashville," anyway? Why is the network taking so long to commit to a renewal?

Don't hold your breath on "Smash." On the bright side, NBC has announced they're giving it a two hour series finale on a Sunday night -- the Sunday of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Meanwhile, "Nashville" had a bad week -- Wednesday's episode was a repeat and its is a serialized drama, but that's not my problem -- it's ABC's, for buying a serialized soap and then giving it a fit-and-starts schedule. Anyway, getting back to this week, its rerun episode clocked a mere 2.97 million viewers while, in same hour, a "CSI" rerun nabbed nearly 8 million and a "Chicago Fire" repeat bagged 4 mil. It also placed third among 18-49 year olds, which is what ABC cares about.

What have you heard about Netflix's "Hemlock Grove"? Sounds like it might be a bit too supernatural-y for me..

I can't even watch the promos that have been running as ads on media Web sites....It's not that it's too supernatural-y -- the promos look like it's a gore-fest.. I'm not the target audience, clearly -- I faint at the sight of blood, even movie blood in theaters.

Pookie, I am a bit puzzled over the kerfluffle with our Ann. I caught her on 30 Rock in the midst of Boston bombing coverage and I was reminded all over again that her wide eyed, whispery pathos drives me over the edge. So where is all this America's sweetheart coming from? She could read the news but when she gets off script, yowza!

How appropriate you saw her on comedy series "30 Rock" (I too have to stop and think whenever talking about "Rock Center" and "30 Rock" lest I use the other's name. Blame NBC -- I do.) Anyway, in my dream life, Hoda joins Matt Lauer on 'Today" and Ann is sent to join Kathie Lee Gifford on "Today: Happy Hour."

Hi Pookie. Love the new ABC show "How to Live With Your Parents". The cast is amazing - especially Brad Garrett and Elizabeth Perkins. They are hysterical. Any news on the future of this show? Will they be bringing it back in the fall or is it a goner and I shouldn't be wasting my time on it?

Last week it held on to 100 percent of its "Modern Family" leadin, among 18-49 year olds, who are the currency of ad sales at ABC. This week, it got a 1.5 rating to "Modern's" 1.8....given what an unspectacular season ABC is having with its new shows this season, my guess is its suits are pretty okay with that...

Hi Pookie! I'm one of those crazy people that really likes this show. However, I saw that the numbers for it this past Monday weren't great, since all the other shows around it that night were repeats. Do you see the show continuing for another season next year as a CBS replacement or should I view the last episode this year as the finale?

I never count out "Rules." It's the ultimate bench warmer sitcom and has done a job for CBS wherever they've tossed it on the schedule over the years. That said, I hear CBS suits are very happy with their comedy development this pilot season -- though they seemed very high on Kohan and Mutchnick's "Partners" last spring and we all know how that went. And, in conclusion: a show only gets more expensive from season to season -- not less -- and at some point it won't be worth the cost. Happens to even the best of utility players on a schedule.

Bandersnatch Cummerbund. Well, I watched the movie (Four Lions) that I mentioned last week, which was the only item that came up when I did a search for programs in which Benedict Cumberbatch appeared on my DVR. [Spoiler alert] So, definitely not a movie that expected to make a cross to a US audience. I don't think a single person had an RP accent and my guess is that at least 50% is needed for those of us trained on crunchy gravel dramas to know exactly what is going on. Also, Showtime seems to have removed it from its rotation which might be the normal progress or might be because it is about a group of terrorists who decide to set off bombs during the London Marathon. Bit too topical for entertainment. I think it was 3 years after 9/11 before Independence Day ran on TV again, and that was about space aliens who blew up NYC and DC, not people. BC played a rather hapless police negotiator trying to get the "dumb one" to talk about things he liked to convince him not to blow himself up along with a hostage. Maybe 3 minutes of screen time. Even in the US, I don't think that sort of part would impact an actor's image much (question from last week), but I also just don't see this movie being made in the US. Way beyond our comfort level. For example, the leader of the group had a wife and young kid. Both knew about his plans. The wife was gently approving. The kid was 9 or 10 and enthusiastic the way I would expect a kid to be enthusiastic about dad planning a camping trip. Even though the bomb belts they detonated seemed to just vaporize the terrorists (and anyone within about a yard) and otherwise do nothing beyond send out a large puff of grey smoke, I just don't think a movie like that could happen here. And at this point, I give up the discussion of Bandersnatch Cummerbund himself. I like his acting. Sherlock is great. Parade's End was fantastic. I just don't have anything else to say, and I'm worried a google search might turn up a lot of fanl/fanfiction stuff I' really prefer not to see. But perhaps I can explain why I fell in love with the name so the PBS executives can understand why it is so genius. Really, it isn't every year that someone says or types something that so thoroughly ties in to your childhood enthusiasms and a fond college memory that it gives you the best laugh you have had in years, perhaps ever. So, that is what you are going to get. I hope it will still be interesting enough to post. How many weeks do I have to make it last? And for some reason, I can't post anymore from work, so I can't respond to you during a chat. These posts will all be pre-submitted from home.

I'm terribly sorry you can't post in our chat any more from work -- you did tell them it was an important conference meeting, didn't you? I just read something about Bandersnatch that makes reference to a Brambletype school... I think that, before I leave, we are going to have to re-write/update  "Jabberwocky" :


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Pookie, I haven't been paying attention lately--what's the latest plan for Jimmy Fallon's current timeslot when he gets promoted to the Tonight Show?

I'm still holding out hope for Alec Baldwin, though I hear there's no truth to the report, and they call it "Late Rock." Don't forget, Lorne Michaels, who is taking over as "Tonight" show runner with Fallon starring, wants to return "Tonight" to its original, longer, format when Fallon take over, which would gobble up a chunk of Fallon's current timeslot..

I can't really describe why she grates on me, but she really does. Her seemingly fake sincerity and faked intensity made me change the channel.

I think you just described your reaction perfectly....

Pookie, I agree with you about Hoda. She's a very likeable personality, but also a very knowledgeable reporter. What's the likelyhood that if Ratings continue to head south, NBC might give Hoda, or even Erica Hill (who was great with Anderson on AC360) a shot? ... As you know, Savannah hasn't, exactly, lit up the blogsphere or the ratings.

Not Savannah's fault -- she's very bright and good on-air. But it's all about chemistry and there appears to be more of that with Hoda and Matt than Savannah...

Is "Hannibal" worth a shot? I do like creepy shows like "American Horror Story" but my dad said he hated "Hannibal" - we tend to have similar tastes but I like a lot of stuff he doesn't. He didn't like "30 Rock" but I still love him anyway.

If you're going to give "Hannibal" a shot -- do so quickly... Last night at 10 it averaged just 2.4 million viewers which, even for NBC these days, is a lousy number.

People, if you are going to write a novel-length comment, please use paragraph spaces! I didn't even bother to read the post about Benedict Whatever (I hate that guy - he seems like an arrogant snot) because it made my eyes cross.

Go back and read it -- it's a great read. seriously. And, now your request for paragraphs has been noted...

Pookie, I hate to be argumentative, but regarding the person who likes RoE. I saw this show a few weeks ago and hated it. Stupid, lazy, cliched and creepy David Spade as a ladies man??? Yuck.

And yet, for many years a great utility player for CBS, ratings-wise.

Where's the love for "Futurama"? This fat guys says "Best cartoon show ever!"

"Futurama" had a great -- if somewhat dramatic -- run, having now been canceled twice.....

If she teams up with Kathie Lee, who's happy in that scenario?


One would have expected years of Jim Belushi shows and Honey Boo Boo would have given you a cast iron stomach.

Anything but blood. And needles... can't stand the sight of them...

Hi, Pookie. Hoping the third time asking this will be the charm, here goes: I really enjoy "Golden Boy," but my sense is that it's not likely to be renewed (alas). Any word from CBS? Thanks!

"Golden Boy" this week fumbled about half its "NCIS: Los Angeles audience. "NCIS:LA" attracted 14.2 million viewers and "GB" hung on to 7.9 million. CBS needs to do much better in the timeslot. It might survive if CBS finds it another timeslot. Otherwise, not so much....

Pookie, I've been enjoying this show, but when I checked who played the Brad Garrett's wife it surprised me that it is Elizabeth Perkins. She is only five years older than Sarah Chalke (her on-screen daughter)! Is this correct? Reminds me of The Cosby Show with Claire only five years older than Sondra.

According to Emily Yahr's research, Elizabeth Perkins is 52 and Sarah Chalke is 36. It's not the most ridiculous mother/daughter casting I've ever seen. And I love Perkins with Garrett -- great teaming.

Pookie, do you think Don Draper can ever be saved? Or is his talent only looking good for the women he has affairs with?

Is it just me or is Don Draper looking really, really old this season? Seriously....

Is this our last lunchtime with you? If so (or if not), thank you for combining smarts and snark in such an entertaining, quotable way. It has truly been an education, just as you promised.

Thank you! But no, this is not our last chat. I'm with the Post until the end of May, aka end of the TV season.  We have many more weeks to chat, including Broadcast Upfront Week, when the broadcast networks unveil their new schedules to advertisers -- that's the week of May 13. Hope you'll join us.

Not the OP, but there's something about the window for WaPo chat questions that will combine separated paragraphs into a single long one. So it might not be the OP's fault.

oh golly. So did 'Jabberwocky' publish as one gigantic block of copy?

Do you think CBS has enough good Comedies to move Person of Interest to 10pm and fill 8-10pm with comedies?

PoI has been quite successful for CBS in the Thursday 9 p.m. timeslot. That said, the guy who runs CBS, Les Moonves, is the guy who provided NBC with a lot of its Must See TV comedy lineup when he was head of Warner Bros. And his team at CBS includes many members of his team back then. And TV industry suits are nothing if not sentimentalists, which is why I'm going with "yes" because I think the team at CBS would like nothing better than to take over Thursday comedy kingdom over which NBC reigned for years, but has now tossed away...  I confess, I'd also love to cover that development --  and, ultimately,  it is all about me.

Hosts can have multi-paragraph posts; we mere mortals cannot. Multiple line breaks just get gobbled up by the server and the result is a single paragraph.

We need to come up with a signal for a paragraph break. How about "Bandersnatch" in ALL CAPS? ....

...I like her. She's smart and funny and her comments to the contestants are generally perceptive. I've enjoyed this season of AI the most since Adam Lambert and Kris Allen. The singers are really good. The voters, for the most part, have narrowed it down to the right people (I'd have replaced Angie with Burnell though). I think more of them will succeed afterwards than in prior years. Candace is my favorite -- a real find. I'm rooting for her.

Tragically, the show is scoring record low ratings, which means the Idolettes are getting less exposure, and definitely less press buzz, than ever before...Fox is going to have to do something radical if it's to save this show and by radical I don't mean yet another batch of judges.

It doesn't look like it's a good anchor for 9pm Mondays. Do you think CBS will move it back to 8:30pm next season?

Doubt it... 8:30 and 9:30 are so-called hammock timeslots, where a network is supposed to put new shows that are hammocked between hits that air on the hour (at 8, and at 9)...

Is like the TGI Friday's of TV - No one really likes it, but somehow enough people end up there that they keep doing business. There's something to be said for bland and predictable and maybe a little unappetizing.

yes, so long as cast includes Patrick Warburton, who is terrific and will hopefully be cast in something better after this....

Pooks, I don't know who or what this "Hoda" is, but all I can think of is Star Wars when I read his/her (?) name!

The Americans producers were obviously reading this chat because in the last episode, we got blue/purple/pink eyeshadow on Keri Russell. No orange blouse yet....(though were those really an 80's thing?....)

Good for them! It was the right thing to do....

Forget about Don Draper. Can NBC Thursdays be saved?

No.  It's over.... More accurately: Yes, but now it's airing on CBS....

When does it come back Pookie? Poor Hank is trapped on the toilet for over a year now!

Aug. 11.

The last post regarding ROE just caused me to realize Patrick Warburton and the guy that plays the dad on The Middle are different people. Huh. I do like them both. I also didn't notice that my boyfriend of 5 years shaved off his beard and now he's mad at me. I need to pay closer attention to things.

I'd need to see 'before' and 'after' pix of boyfriend to truly understand the situation. Are you sure the guy without the beard really is your boyfriend of five years? That said, not knowing  Patrick Warburton isn't Neil Flynn does indicate you might need glasses, or more coffee.

'"Jabberwocky" published as separate lines and verses. But just as a test, let's see if this publishes as a separate graf. Or what if I insert two line spaces between?

Nope. You're going to have to separate your graphs with BANDERSNATCH

Is Simon just going to have to give up on this and go back to save Idol?

That would be a good start....on the other hand, it would deprive us of the latest Simon Cowell act of casting desparation on "X Factor." You have to admit, Khloe Kardashian and Britney Spears on "X" was pretty craptastic casting.....

My local station has been pre-empting it. Can we see it without having to register for Hulu?

Really? Where are you, and what is the station running instead? You do know it's been moved to Saturday nights, right?

About that show I also like it except for the cognitive dissonance that the sensible, responsible daughter is the one who's dependent on the well-set flaky aging hippie parents ... shouldn't they have had to move in with her?

Setting aside the fact that "cognitive dissonance" has 2 too many syllables for me on just one cup of coffee, I think I'll have to disagree. Responsible, conservative child with well-set flaky hippie parents is a time-honored TV gag -- remember Michael J Fox in "Family Ties"? In conclusion: it's a fun show and a terrific cast. That happens so rarely in comedy these days. Let's not pick at nits.....

We can't wait until you are here! Please be sure to let us know where we can find you here.

Will do -- thanks!

What a great ad slogan! I want to rush out and buy a box now, for the next time my graphs stick together in the dryer.

Why didn't I patent this???!!!!

Oh Pookie: working from home today, following this chat, and I switch channels on TV and catch -- get this -- Patrick Warburton on Probst's show, reading some new generation Suessian child's book to the studio audience. So, Warburton, Probst, Seussian kiddy lit, your chat -- how is this not the best moment of the week?

You betcha! But, why is Warburton reading some kids book on Probst's cloyingly touchy-feely talk show? Did he write it?

I did divide the Bandersnatch comment into at least two paragraphs. The comment engine doesn't retain the formatting. Not sure why. And I like your comments too, Pookie. You just made my day.


What's the order again, Pookie?

Off the top of my head:

Monday, March 13: NBC morning. Fox afternoon.

Tuesday, March 14: ABC afternoon.

Wednesday, March 15: TBS/TNT morning. CBS afternoon

Thurdsay, March 16: CW morning.

Shouldn't he be reading "Get the F$%k to Sleep!"?

Yes, except Probst would never stand for it....

I would have laughed, but that one hit too close to home for me. My 2nd grade daughter came home with head lice earlier this week; outbreak in school. And for this I pay private school tuition? Insert grumble here.

Good grief! What does one do for a daughter with head lice -- except feed her loads of ice cream?

Because you can't. It's not an invention or process. Not to be a pedant, but I think you meant either copyright or trademark. Not picking nits -- which we've already been advised to avoid -- just trying to make this wonderful chat even more informative.

Actually, I was thinking I'd actually have a Bandersnatch thinggummy, which would need patenting. Don't you think a Bandersnatch sounds like a tool for preparing vegetables -- or de-licing schoolchildren?

Couldn't resist trying a formatting test BANDERSNATCH I wonder how this will be displayed BANDERSNATCH with or without graphs or will is be formatted differently or as one single graph as previously submitted BANDERSNATCH thanks for your time Pookie

It works beautifully!

It was another guest's book. I guess that Probie, or at least his producers, realized that the author's voice would in no way approach Warburton's low key animated reading.

He does have a great voice -- he's the Ronald Colman of CBS sitcoms...

Either peanut butter or the Britney Spears treatment. For a 2nd grader, I'd advise a).

Peanut butter?

Pam and Jim are back together! Yay! now you can kill the show.

Emily Yahr, our resident Pam & Jim bureau chief, reports they were never formally split -- just fighting a lot. Discuss.....

Ah, Smash, the show everyone loves to hate! I'm in that minority that thinks portraying the world of Broadway musicals using the conventions of Broadway musicals themselves is just brilliant. That said, maybe they tinkered with the book too much, and despite some very good bits in every episode, it's now too bland to make a long run. Sigh.

The characters development gets undone and started over every week -- it's like watching "Groundhog Day." And Angelica Houston needs a new hairdo -- STAT! I could go on and on....and I too am a huge fan of Bway musicals. I wanted very much for this show to work. Sadly, they botched it.

What do you expect with all the booze and cigarettes?

Don Draper: the Gary Cooper of cable TV....

Hey, Pookie: Ah, the joys of having a DVR for our weekly Sunday night festival of riches ~ a little bit of "Chopped All-Stars", "Sixty Minutes", "Call the Midwife", "Mr. Selfridge" and, finally, "Mad Men". Does it get any better than this?

No. Unless you recorded all the Olivier flicks on TCM. Or the entire season to date of "Splash."

I'm not part of what I suspect is its target audience (I'm a guy), but I've started watching and I've really been enjoying it lately. Is it renewed for next year?

CBS will be thrilled to read this. Their biggest issue with "The Good Wife" is that the word "wife" is in the title which has driven away male viewers. That's why it got pushed out of its old timeslot -- its two leadin dramas skewed male and then the network's guy numbers fell off a cliff with "The Good Wife."  Yes, they should've thought of that before they debuted the show and asked guy focus groups if they'd watch a show called "The Good Wife." Needed a more macho name.

I have to say, I'm disappointed. With a name like that -- especially when adding that last name -- a Hoda deserves to be an exotic Star Wars alien, not a normal human being!

She's not a normal human being -- she's survived partnering with Kathie Lee for several years now and you have to have super powers to do that....and, she's a good TV reporter to boot...

<p> is the usual on computers; it might actually cause things to appear in paragraphs. Or it might break the system. Who knows?

yes, we could always try that....

Thanks for the link, Pookie, but you do realize that by publishing her full name, Hoda Kotb, you have done notyhing to dispel the Star Wars confusion amongst the general population?

is that why that hour does well in the ratings?

Pookie (may I call you Pookie? my opportunities are dwindling!), I am now hooked on Ru Paul's Drag Race. I'd never even heard of the Logo TV channel! My supervisor recommended it, and so we've been enjoying weeks of day-after-broadcast episode discussions. I really want to complain about this past week's Final Three show not revealing anything -- we have to wait another TWO weeks to find out who will be crowned as America's Next Drag Superstar. Why? And what will we do once it's over? (Work?) And did any of these paragraphs make it?

Wow -- just like this week's "Idol"... it's epidemic... They clearly wanted to drag it out for some reason or another...

Do you put any credence in the conspiracy rumor that Idol shut out the boys to ensure that a girl would win this year? I don't usually buy into conspiracy theories, but I can see how one mediocre-singing pretty boy with pettable hair would steal the tween vote right out from under any talented girl any day....

I don't care how it happened, I'm just thrilled a chick is going to win this season. After which, expect it to go back to the scruffy white guy with guitar formula, what with the ratings being off so badly this season. Apparently loads of tweener girls won't watch if there is not a scruffy white guy with guitar in the running...

The best thing about this show is Jennifer Coolidge. The girls try hard (you can actually watch them trying--it's a wonder smoke doesn't come out of the top of their heads), but she so easily inhabits Sophie and drops most of the best lines. "You've heard of Doctors without Borders? We were Nurses without Credentials."

Yes and, sadly, that is the best line so far this season....

A few years ago I quit watching singer competitions, partially due to my own taste, partially because many contestants got on my nerves, and also because I refuse to watch any show using screechy judges (I don't care how much money they earn, if I want to leave a supermarket when their songs play, they won't enter my living room). "The Voice" was the last straw, choosing people for their voice, then quickly eliminating the less-attractive ones. But It seems as though these programs are getting less media coverage, so I find them less annoying. I know the shows still have enough fans to keep them around for awhile, but are they on the wane?

"Idol" is most definitly on the wane -- this week posting record lows. "X" was on the wane from the moment it premiered. "The Voice" is the best of the lot, ratings-wise. It's just that it never produces a music star...and, the press has tired of the genre..

Oh Pookie, where to begin? 1) The publicist's comment to Anjelica Houston to not wear underwear? Ewww. 2) Eight, count 'em, 8 executive producers. Really? 3) Drag Queen make up turned up a notch on AH. 4) And the purpose of Rosie O'Donnell in the audience was what? They couldn't find some other D-list celeb?

Isn't Rosie the patron saint of Bway? Seriously -- huge supporter. I have no qualms with her being in the audience. But Houston without her knickers -- that's a nightmare that would stick with me for a few weeks...

Lisa, No One Cares What Ryan Lochte Does. Did we honestly expect the viewing public to care about Douchy McFratboy and his juvenile antics?

E! did, clearly.... I'm out of time. Thanks for joining me!

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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