The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

May 24, 2013

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

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What went wrong?

FYI, the show is returning next season, on Fridays at 9. If you're aking why the move from Monday to Friday, the answer is probably "The Voice." NBC's singing competition took a whack at CBS's once-dominant Monday lineup last fall. CBS will have three new shows on the night this coming fall, also including new comedies "We Are Men" and "Mom," as well as two highly serialized dramas that will share the Monday 10 p.m. timeslot, starting with Toni Colette starrer "Hostages."



I caught up on the second season of DALLAS and ended up liking it much more than expected but...its nextgen cast is disconcertingly baby-faced. How come characters that are supposed to be about 30 look 17 while the "teenagers" on show like 90210 look 30?

Josh Henderson is in his early 30's, Jesse Metcalfe is in his mid 30's,  Jordana Brewster is in her early 30's. Maybe after years of seeing 30-somethings playing "teens" on TV -- some cast members of "Glee" also are members of this club -- you've come to believe these are teen faces?

Rizzoli & Isles. Franklin & Bash. Now King & Maxwell. Are these shows proof that the best cop show in history might still be on the air if its name were South & Land?

Too bad "Southland" started on NBC and, by the time it migrated to cable, it was too late to change the name...

Please share your three must-watch ideas from the batch of newbies. And then your "avoid at all costs" group, too. We won't have the benefit of your wisdom next fall.

I consider most buzzy and must-watch to be the same thing. Based on the buzz at the current international screenings going on in Los Angeles -- that's where reps of overseas networks come watch the new program pilots and buy them for their nets -- I'd say NBC's "Blacklist" ( if you thought James Spader was chewing some mighty fine scenery on "Boston Legal" you need to watch this new drama), and the Michael J. Fox comedy on NBC, and CBS's Robin Williams comedy "The Crazy Ones."  While watching the clip at the upfronts, I felt like I was watching the TV equivalent of online real-estate photos -- you get to see all the pretty bits in the house, but none of the crummy parts.   But you're chatting with the gal who can't think of Robert Mitchum in his short-lived 90's "A Family for Joe" comedy series without shivering.

So it got renewed, right? Given the unevenness of this past season, I was kind of hoping it would end before it got drawn out into a long, slow, sad death. Any hopes for redemption for this show?

I think the show is what it is...which is to say 'lucky'... NBC simply could not kill all its comedies...

I was surprised that it was one of the lowest rated finales ever. I was more engaged in the show at the end of this season than I normally am.

Sadly, there were not enough like you. Word is they're going to shed some of the pro dancers -- and maybe also judges Carrieann Inaba and Len Goodman, which would be a shame -- the judges that is. They also need to lose the too-large and utterly uncharming set and go back to the low-budget, chummy set the show used to have... 

Pookie - you look fabulous today, albeit a little sad. Is that because today is the last chat? Oh please tell me we have at least one more week! I'm already depressed by this weather and don't want to feel any worse.

I will tell you that, because this is not the last chat. My last chat will be next Friday. Hope you'll join me....

Someone should do a remake of Breakfast at Tiffany's or Roman Holiday for Zendaya. I don't know how well she acts in speaking rolls, but her dancing made me think of Audrey Hepburn. A tall Audrey Hepburn, but still...

Audrey Hepburn was tall, by Hollywood standards. that's why she's always in flat shoes, so as not to overshadow her male star...and, sorry to disagree, but nobody should remake "Breakfast at Tiffanys" or "Roman Holiday" -- as evidenced by the remake of "Sabrina" that crashed and burned.. Some iconic movies should not be re-made because they can only fail.

Dear Seth, sorry you won't have time to host the Oscars again. Oh wait, nobody asked. Besides, you weren't that great. Signed, the Viewing Public.

Dear Seth,

I'm sorry to hear you will not host the Oscars again, as some involved with the production asked. You were that great. Signed, me. (Yes, I enjoyed the broadcast, including Seth "Take No Prisoners" MacFarlane... I enjoyed watching him take cheap shots at an industry that takes itself way too seriously -- especially at the Oscars. )

When a show puts two actresses on a big slow boat to go hide in China, does that mean they are leaving the show?

that's a good rule of thumb...where did that expression come from?

Procedurals do pretty well on CBS Friday nights. It's not the death-slot that it is on Fox. Plus, they can always move it to another night after something new flops.

Exactly.... 'CSI' was born on a Friday night...

Wow, that's surprising. Maybe the GLEE "kids" need to add some seventy year olds to their cast. Or find out what moisturizer the DALLAS young'uns are using.

I think you've figured it out! thanks....

Talk about your bad timing with the tornado episode. How many other shows have featured some tornado threat? I can think of two: "Dallas" and "Roseanne". Do you know of others?

None I can think of.

Pookie, what happened? I really thought ABC would pick this show up for fall. The cast was amazing. Someone has to find a new sitcom for Brad Garrett and Elizabeth Perkins to star in. They had great chemistry.

I agree -- they were hilarious together and I also liked the show... one of few cancelations I'm sorry about...

Usually when the writers are wrapping up a series season, they try to come up with a cliffhanger such as: unplanned pregnancy, murder-suicide, political financial scandal, paternity test results, etc. But Nashville somehow decided "all of the above." Can a show jump the shark on its very first season?

oh yes, indeed! The show is undergoing pretty major behind-the-scenes re-casting now, in preparation for next season.

Is it my imagination, or do they regularly telecast the 2005 movie PRIDE AND PREJUDICE about once a month?

I have not noticed but that kind of play pattern would not be surprising for a cable network. Too bad, too, because the '05 version of this Jane Austen classic, with Keira Knightly and David MacFayden, was awful.

Blitzer "directing" the tornado survivor to be a Christian and thank God was really quite horrifying to me. Any chance he's learned anything at all from this pompous, patronizing misfire? Or shall we await a similar moment at the next disaster?

Yet another reason to love live TV...In Wolf's defense, I was watching CNN's tornado coverage that day, among other networks, and many, many of the local people who were interviewed said god had saved them, or they survived by putting their faith in god,  and that their lost possessions didn't matter because all of their things were god's things, etc. ...You could almost hear the producer in Wolf's ear telling him to stretch out the interview, and Wolf thinking he was on safe ground when he headed down the "did you put your faith in the lord" road... It did make for great live TV when the woman he was interviewing responded that she's an athiest -- and his priceless response to that resulted...

Designing Women had one.

Thanks! I'd forgotten...

I recall a tornado episode of Mr. Belvedere that freaked me out when I was little. Criminal Minds had a tornado serial killer last year, I think.

tornado serial killer?

Didn't "Desperate Housewives" have one? They had so many "events".

I think you're right. Okay, so we've established that tornado storylines are right out of "TV Series Sweeps plotlines 101" -- along with very special episodes about blackouts and date rape ...bad luck for "Mike & Molly" that their May sweep season finale tornado episode aired the same day this tornado wiped out a section of Moore....

Were you asking where this expression came from (or "slow boat to China)? It's that you can't whip someone with a switch that's thicker than your thumb.

thanks for that....

Wanted to get that compliment in, and ask, what do you know of the "Ray Donovan" Showtime show?

It debuts June 30 and stars Liev Schreiber as a Hollywood fixer, which is all you really need to know, though the rest of the cast is great... Schreiber always delivers interesting performances. ...

Does recasting include the actress who playing Scarlett, who always sounds as if she just left the dentist after a particularly thorny root canal and the novocaine hasn't begun to wear off?

Writers, behind the camera....

Most writers have probably paid enough attention to the news to realize that some little town is wiped off the map every spring by a tornado, so if you want your episode to air during May sweeps, that plot-line is off limits. Notice that the Wizard of Oz always aired in November. (WTTG did run a Simpsons repeat that referenced tornado destruction last week, though. Oopsie.)

Yes, the storyline probably is best used in November sweep, or February...

Another TNT title. The really scary thing is that, after my wife and I watched that interviewer and the lady laughingly said she was an atheist, my wife said, "I hope that woman doesn't get death threats."

Yeah -- I don't think Wolf was the only person surprised by her response...and I will cherish the memory for years of Wolf, standing there trying to get her adorable baby to say "bye bye" into the microphone...

The headline at the top of the page misses the point of your story. It wasn't that Wolf was surprised an atheist survived the tornado; he was surprised a tornado survivor happened to be an atheist.

the headline was intended to be silly...

Was I the only person who noticed that ABC was running ads for "How to Live With Your Parents...." calling it the biggest hit comedy of the season a day before they cancelled it? Pookie, if I can't trust the network suits to give me the truth when advertising their shows, and if you're leaving the Post, who is there left to trust?

But they were telling the truth! The highest rated new comedy of the season was "How to Live with Your Parents"! That6 is in part owing to the fact it debuted so late in the TV season and therefore had no repeat episodes added to its average, and aired so few episodes it's ratings had not yet found bottom...

Brad Garrett will be back soon---he's going to be the dramatic lead in NCIS: Bakersfield.


Desperate Housewives did an awesome two-part tornado themed episode a few years back. It was the year of the most recent writers' strike.


I've never been more than so-so on the show, mostly watching it as an alternative to comedies. If they shed Carrie Ann and Len, I'll probably opt to walk the dog instead. They have, however, muddied the waters when it comes to who is dancing with whom. They've now made some of the pro dancers bigger stars than the celebrities they're dancing with. They need to go back to grabbing the ballroom specialists from SYTYCD, so we can watch the judges training the dancers to teach. (I'm thinking of you, Lacie Schwimmer, choreographing for yourself rather than your pupil.)

Lose the pros, lose the set, lose the Justin Bieber appearances -- but don't lose Len!

Yikes!! I had blocked that show out of my memory. Poor Robert Mitchum was really showing signs of a lifetime of spectacular living when he came to that. His performance made the title of the great biography about him very apt: "Baby, I Don't Care."

I wish I could.

There was that really strange and long episode of Mad About You when Jamie kept chasing tornadoes...

Really, there needs to be a law: no more TV tornadoes....

Yeah, a guy in Kansas killed people in tornadoes. I don't think they even had to arrest him -- tornado sucked up the bad guy at the end.

golly, what a sappy storyline.... sorry I missed that one...

I think the previous poster is confusing the 2005 "Pride and Prejudice" with "She's out of Your League", which E Exclamation Point shows about every other day....

How does one confuse "Pride and Prejudice" (even the lousy 2005 version) with "She's Out of My League"?  It can't be done!

Do you think any future show creators are going to be given the lattitude that Matt Weiner has? There have been some great moments throughout the show, but last weeks episode went way off the deep end. There has been one good episode this season and the rest have either bored me to tears or made me roll my eyes.

Yes -- like every show creator on HBO's lineup, for instance. And  I think you're in good company, in re your thoughts about recent episodes of "Mad Men."

NBC's lineup in early 90s included a hurricane theme that crossed over from Golden Girls, to Empty Nest, to Nurses. Don't ask me why I remember that.

I remember, back in the day.... it was very clever: a storyline (blackout, etc) that would travel from show to show, across the night, on the network's lineup. Worked particularly well on its Thursday slate of comedies...

Am I the only one wondering what happened to her cats?

I'm with you! CNN -- are you reading? We need pet updates

I'm a sucker for dogs and happy endings so I gotta go with the little old lady who lost her dog in the storm and he came crawling out of the wreckage on-camera. Please tell me that wasn't staged.

We also need an update on this story -- did she take the dog to the vet and how is he/she?

Thanks so much, Pookie (my first time to call you that!)! Thanks for all the wonderful reading over these years. I join the millions of fans who are in your debt for the hours of joy you've given to us. I'm not going to be available for the Friday discussion so I'm sending this in advance. Please let us know how we can continue the chat. All the best in California...missing you already. Elizabeth

I too have enjoyed our chatting over the years. thank you.

I see Eden Sher is nominated for a Critic's Choice Award for The Middle. She is great on one of the only shows I watch on network TV. Will it be coming back next year? We'll miss you!

Yes, the show has been picked up for another season and she's in the cast...

Wikipedia says it's a rough measurement, which fits better in this context - the thumb is about an inch wide, and can be used to estimate size. My thumb is about 3/4 inch wide, FWIW. Maybe they're talking about a man's thumb.


Yeah. He would use tornadoes as a cover for kidnapping people or disposing bodies or something. I'm a fan of the show, but it was pretty lame because if required the serial killer to be able to predict tornadoes better than the National Weather Service.

Golly... meanwhile, still in re Wolf, I'm listening to CNN as I chat, and another tornado survivor, with newborn baby, tells CNN, of surviving the twister: "I feel like god's prepared me for anything....our house is gone but he will provide."

The lady and her dog were both on CBS This Morning (or at least a clip was.) They're fine, and the lady said, "I didn't know so many people cared." Sniff.

thank you, and talk about missed CNN opportunity, unless CNN also interviewed her and pooch, and I missed it...

After that last post (2:02 pm) I just measured my thumb. Is it time to go home yet?

Okay, now I have to measure my thumb: 3/4 of inch....nope not time to go home yet.

Glenn Beck thinks the Wolf Blitzer interview with the atheist was a set-up. Link:

 Thanks for sharing -- remember when Glenn was on CNN?

But they were little rural tornadoes that just swept up a house trailer or knocked down a farmhouse here or there, not massively destructive urban ones. Tornadoes, as you might imagine, make crime scene analysis quite difficult. The killer's motivations and methods were pretty byzantine, too, as I remember. It was quite difficult to follow the storyline while changing channels away from the torture scenes.

In Colorado I used to sometimes see mini-tornadoes -- dust-nadoes -- just big enough to scoop up a prairie dog... Not sure why I'm sharing that information but anyway....

My theory is that while she was calling for him, she sounded frightened, so he opted to keep hiding. Once she was sitting calmly talking to an also calm reporter, he felt safe enough to try to come out. (This is based on having had a nervous cat who wouldn't come out of hiding for hours after I got back from vacation if I inflicted a house sitter on him, because he was afraid I was the sitter. It only made things worse when I got a live-in sitter, because his previous theory had been that when someone took a bath, it must be me. After that, I just left him alone with extra litter boxes, lots and lots of water, and an open food bag.)

Where is Animal Planet on all these tornado pet stories? What about the guy on CNN who'd lost almost all of his horses?

I think he was one of the storm chasers, and he kidnapped his victims and kept them locked up until there was a batch of tornados somewhere, at which point he took them there and started amputating parts, if I remember rightly.


Or was it that film that Helen Hunt starred in about tornado chasers? It may have been titled "Twister."

I think both are correct...

I was channel surfing last night and caught this 4 STARRED rated silent movie on TMC (I think) and it was so cute. It was filmed in 1922 - my 8 year old son was getting a kick out of this movie as well . My son kept asking why they didn't have sound with the movie, he said it would have been better (LOL).

TCM ran a Harold Lloyd mini-marathon last night. ...he was great.

Now that we've met (or at least seen) the mother (even though Ted hasn't), can we stop watching now? It will be a relief.

You've invested all this time, surely one more season isn't too much to ask. ...

"There was that really strange and long episode of Mad About You when Jamie kept chasing tornadoes..." The OP was making a "Twister" joke!

yes, I figured that out -- eventually.....

the finale was ucky. i don't know what else to say. the whole 'investigation' was so crazy, and wasn't really resolved. and if someone was targeting the agents, why would they even think about putting it 'on the back burner.' WOW i would just quit if the FBI said that to me. how could you do your job in that situation? It was weird that it was luke skywalker though...seriously. The whole time I was staring at him thinking: what episode was he on? where have I seen him before?

Frankly this is starting to sound like a bad drug trip... are you sure this was an episode of "Criminal Minds"?

Len and Bruno also judge the British equivalent of DWTS, so a change would not make them unemployed. If any of the judges go, please, please replace them with more ballroom dancing professionals. One of the nice things about DWTS, Tom Bergeron's quick wits being the other, is that the judges really know what they're talking about . (I'm looking at you, AGT.)

It would be a mistake to lose Len... meanwhile, I'm sure you've heard they're trying to cast better known alums in the judges' panel on "American Idol" which is a clever gimick -- Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, Clay Aiken on the wish list...

Saw him in Star Trek. I wish they hadn't cut the shower scene. . .

You and me both. ... hopefully, there will be at least one shirtless scene in the next "season" of Sherlock on PBS... I'm out of time... hope you'll join me next week. Have a lovely holiday weekend!

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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