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October 19, 2014

TV Squad Lists

Three Key Factors in the Success of 'Undercover Boss'

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 16th 2010 5:02PM
undercover_boss_cbs_logoSince landing the cushy debut time slot after the Super Bowl to launch its run, CBS's 'Undercover Boss' has been an unqualified success for the network. In fact, in nearly every Sunday since its premiere -- with or without the lead in of a sporting event -- 'Undercover Boss' has showed well in the ratings.

The season finale on April 11 was the number one program in the 18-49 rating, the one that TV execs covet the most. Therefore, you can understand why 'Undercover Boss' easily earned a second season renewal. It won't be a mid-season drop in, either. You watch, it's going to be on the CBS upfront schedule for the fall.

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Oh, No: They're Making a Boston Version of 'Jersey Shore!'

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 16th 2010 3:08PM
Boston
I have no interest in watching MTV's 'Jersey Shore,' for approximately 75 reasons. But I think it can be boiled down into one sentence: why in God's name would I want to watch 'Jersey Shore?'

But here's the deal: they're making a Boston version. I live in the Boston area, born and raised, so of course I have to at least check out the first episode, right? It scares me a bit though. What are they going to get wrong? What are they going to get too right? Will the show make me want to hide the fact that I'm a Bostonian from people and start talking about how much I like the Lakers, making sure I pronounce my "r" in Lakers with more emphasis?

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Five of the Creepiest Real Life Versions of Famous Cartoons

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 15th 2010 6:03PM
The real life Mr. GarrisonIn TV, there are two distinct worlds: our world and the cartoon world. So far, we've gotten along pretty well because, for the most part, cartoons have kept their animated butts in their world.

We don't allow it to happen very often because when cartoons try to invade the real world on those rare occasions, the transference is nightmarish. Their distorted animated features and expressions can make 'Eraserhead' look like an Olson Twins movie.

Here are five of the creepiest looking and sounding real life cartoon crossovers that will have you bleaching your brain with the magic of Clorox 2.

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You'll Want to Hang Out With These Four TV Families

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 15th 2010 2:02PM
modern_family_fizzbo_clown_cake
Family is really important, although these days on television, we're seeing more and more groups that are sort of like family, friends or office mates or co-workers that supply the support and love of a traditional clan, but don't have share any DNA with one another. But there's nothing quite as dysfunctional and compelling as a real family, the old-fashioned type with lots of siblings, some aunts and uncles, maybe even a set of grandparents.

Currently, there are four traditional families on TV that would be a lot of fun to hang out with. They're all different kinds of family, but they could all provide just the kind of craziness to create a really good time. Check it out:

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Five Ingredients That Make USA Network Shows Work

by Rich Keller, posted Apr 14th 2010 3:11PM
The character-driven shows of USA Network...'Burn Notice,' 'Royal Pains,' and 'Psych'
A while back, while announcing the season premieres for 'Burn Notice' and 'Royal Pains', I briefly mentioned the reason why these original USA network programs, as well as their other offerings, work so well. As I thought about it some more, I realized that it wasn't just the focus on characters and the mix of comedy and drama that made these shows click with audiences. There was more to it. In fact, three more 'its' to make a TV Squad list. How's that for ironic!

So, if you'll indulge me for a moment, here are the five things that make USA network shows resonate with viewers.

1. Actual character-driven shows -- When USA uses the tag line "Characters Welcome" they aren't kidding. Every original program since 'Monk' has been character driven. They haven't relied on special effects, or musicals, or unanswered questions that, when answered, produced more unanswered questions. It's characters that drive the shows and move them forward.

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When the Shows Go Marching In: A History of TV Shows Set in New Orleans

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 13th 2010 11:04AM
The skyline of New Orleans from Uptown
Very few shows have featured New Orleans as its setting, and it's not hard to see why. The list is a mix of critically acclaimed but quickly canceled shows, and critically disemboweled and canceled-just-as-quickly shows.

'Treme,' HBO's new drama from 'The Wire' creator David Simon and 'Wire' writer/producer Eric Overmyer, could break the mold that so many others have tried to crack. Judging from the first episode, their chances are looking good. If 'Treme' goes on to achieve the fame that 'The Wire' has, it won't just have its staff, creators, or even the city to thank for providing such beautiful inspiration.

It will have these other shows to thank for choking on that overcooked beignet for them.

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Three Bad Things About One Great Invention, the Remote Control

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 12th 2010 5:02PM
remoteRegardless of what I just said in that headline, let me assure you: I love my remote control! It's the device that tells me "you don't have to just sit there and watch what's on. You have options!" It's perfect for someone who watches a lot of television, vital for someone who writes about television, and it really is the can opener of the living room. It's the tool you absolutely need.

Having said all that, there are several problems I see with having something so convenient at your fingertips as you watch the tube.

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Three Reasons Why the Worst Job on '24' Is President of the United States

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 12th 2010 9:00AM
24_fox_cherry_jones_flag
If you ask most people, the idea of being President of the United States is likely one of the best jobs ever. Every little kid is told if he or she works hard, some day they could be the Commander in Chief. And yet, if you have been watching the eight seasons of '24,' there is probably no worse career choice than running America while Jack Bauer is handling a CTU assignment. In fact, when you look back on the presidents who have inhabited the White House during Jack's tenure, being the most powerful world leader is a high-risk profession that's not for the faint of heart.

Unlike other television series that have taken viewers inside the Oval Office, '24' presents the president in crisis mode, so perhaps it's a bit unfair to compare. Still, if you had your choice, you'd rather be Jed Bartlett on 'The West Wing' than Wayne Palmer or any other '24' president. Here are three reasons why the worst job on '24' is President of the United States:

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Six Stars That Should Have TV Shows Again

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 10th 2010 2:00PM
MancusoThere are so many channels now, and so many celebrities. It seems like everyone will get a TV show at some point. But there are still some TV stars that no longer have TV shows but really should. For example, someone like Tom Selleck should have a weekly series again, and luckily he is going to return to TV in a new show on CBS.

If not for that recent announcement, Selleck would have been number one on the list that follows after the jump: five stars I'd like to see on a regular TV series again.

1. Nick Mancuso. Mancuso starred in one of my favorite TV shows, 'Stingray,' and he has had a rather interesting career since then. He's been in a couple of TV shows and a slew of movies (including the 'Under Seige' films), but these days it seems like he's very content focusing on his artwork, his writing (check out his blog), and doing the occasional role in a movie.

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Top Five Death-Wish Shows on the Discovery Channel

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 10th 2010 9:00AM
Deadliest Catch, crab fishingDiscovery Channel unveiled its lineup for the 2010-11 season this week, and it looks like more stellar programming for the real-life stories network. You can read more about it here, but two that caught my eye are 'Engineering the Impossible,' where a team of specialists search for clues about how some of the world's most fantastic structures were built; and 'The Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero.' a documentary executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

This made me think about some of my favorite shows on the Discovery Channel, and I realized that they usually involve people in ridiculously disgusting or deadly situations. I think of these as the "real" reality shows, rather than the manufactured reality shows like 'Survivor' and 'The Amazing Race.'

Ok, we'll take Bear Grylls out of the equation, because, clearly, there's no need for him to be dropped into the wilderness and have to drink his own pee. But the others on my list are just awesome people doing death-wish jobs no one else wants to do. Follow me after the jump to see who made my top five list.

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And Still More Fanesia Moments: Conan, 'The West Wing,' and Barney Fife

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 8th 2010 5:03PM
ConanSeveral years ago on this very blog I introduced the concept of fanesia. That's not a new soft drink or an 'American Idol' contestant, it actually stands for 'fan amnesia,' those TV moments that we refuse to acknowledge even happened on our favorite shows. Past examples I've used have included Fitzwallace dying on 'The West Wing,' the last episode of 'Seinfeld,' Mark dying on 'ER,' and 'Will & Grace' not speaking to each other for years in their final episode. In my mind, those things never happened on those shows.

Here are four more. Let us know your favorite Fanesia moments in the comments.

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Six Game Shows that Used Actual Torture

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 8th 2010 4:00PM
An act of torture during the InquisitionIf you were shocked to hear about ABC's 'Downfall,' a game show that drops people off of buildings for our amusement, you clearly don't watch enough TV and lead a rich, fulfilling life.

Television's long and storied history is filled with game and competition shows that pit their contestants in a physical, psychological and gastrointestinal showdown, most of which were lost to the ravages of obscurity. Well, it's "filled" if you only look at the last few years or so when the economy tanked and people turned to humiliating themselves in the national media to keep from having to hunt small rodents for sustenance. That's how 'The View' got started.

These are the shows that not only tortured contestants, but also their viewing audience unless Dick Cheney happened to be watching any of them.

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Five Shows I'm Looking Forward To This Summer

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 8th 2010 1:05PM
Mad Men
Since summer is the time for beaches, parades, cookouts, and fireworks, and I hate beaches, parades, cookouts, and fireworks, it's TV time! That's especially true since there are more original shows on summer now than there used to be. Here are the five shows I'm looking forward to the most. And none of them are reality shows.

1. 'Mad Men.' To use a popular phrase, duh. Of course this is number one on my list. It's still weird to me that the best drama on television is a summer show. I don't know why this is still surprising, since we're not living in 1980 anymore and summer in a real TV season now and not just a place for repeats, reality shows, and shows that need to be burned off.

Maybe it's best that this show airs in the summer. It has a little more breathing room than it would have if it debuted in October.

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Five Great 'SNL' Hosts That Will Never Happen

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 6th 2010 6:29PM
'SNL' logoA host can make or break an entire episode of 'Saturday Night Live.' In fact, the mere presence of some celebrities like Chevy Chase, Milton Berle and Frank Zappa have turned their slice of Saturday late night into the lowest moments of "Must-Miss TV."

However, things are looking good this season. A preliminary list of hosts includes Oscar nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe, former 'SNL'er and '30 Rock' star Tina Fey and 'Golden Girl' actress and new found Internet champion Betty White.

However, some pop culture icons, nay legends, will never get to prove their celebrity power by hosting this comedy powerhouse simply because they never got an invitation, the show wasn't around in their time or they physically couldn't go to the studio. These hosts would have made for the best shows if the laws of time and space went on a week-long coffee break.

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Five Burning Questions About the Food Network

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 5th 2010 2:08PM
ina_garten_the_barefoot_contessa_food_network
Whether it's 'The Barefoot Contessa' or 'Tyler's Ultimate,' there's a wide variety of food, cooking, chefs and experts on The Food Network. For the most part, the diversity is great and if you're a food fan -- a foodie -- you can watch FN for hours on end and be entertained. However, if you do watch for more than a few hours, especially the 'in the kitchen' programming which is all about creating dishes, there are some things that stand out -- five burning questions about the Food Network.

1. What's with the hygiene?
On nearly every cooking show, the food preparers -- whether they're an American Iron Chef like Bobby Flay or a restaurant owner/home cook like Paula Deen -- are obsessive about washing their hands. Any time they touch meat or chicken, there's a camera following them to the sink to wash hands with soap.

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