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August 31, 2014

TV Royalty

Joan Rivers on longevity, Brooke Shields, and not caring about Johnny Carson

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 10th 2009 3:02PM
Joan RiversJoan Rivers was in Pasadena in July to promote her show on TV Land, How'd You Get So Rich?, but when I spoke to her after her presentation, I was more interested in a couple of issues. First, her longevity in a business that takes even older comedians and tosses them to the side (Cosby, for instance, is more community activist than comedian these days). Second, I wanted to ask her about her experience on The Apprentice, which included her feuds with wedding planners, Clint Black, and Annie Duke.

But, Joan being Joan, she also randomly let loose on Brooke Shields, Sarah Palin, and whoever else was in her mind during the ten minutes we spoke.

We start off by talking about longevity. She feels one of the reasons she stays relevant is that she doesn't live in the past. "I don't give a shit about Johnny Carson," she said.

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Jay Leno is the future of TV... even if he fails

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Sep 3rd 2009 2:29PM

Jay LenoIn the latest issue of Time (hits newsstands tomorrow) the mag's resident critic James Poniewozik has a great article on the upcoming prime-time premiere of The Jay Leno Show. Poniewozik makes the argument (an ubiquitous one at this point) that as a result of Leno's move to 10 p.m., your TV is shrinking.

As he puts it, in a TV viewing world where the attention span of potential eyeballs is so segmented because of cable, DVRs, and Hulu, NBC is throwing all their eggs in one basket with "America's most successful purveyor of vanilla."

However, a lot of people really like vanilla. Good sign? Hard to say.

Highlights and a look the issue's cover after the jump.

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Oprah IS Chicago

by Brad Trechak, posted Sep 2nd 2009 9:02AM
Oprah WinfreyMichigan Avenue, also known as the "Magnificent Mile" in Chicago will be closing down part of the street so Chicago's own Oprah Winfrey can do a live location taping to open her 24th season. It will no doubt be a show so ostentatious and so grand that it could only be Oprah. Naturally, since Oprah is generous to her people, the show and its accompanying performance by the Black Eyed Peas is free and open to the public.

It's hard to believe that Oprah is going into her 24th season. Actually, it's not that hard, as it feels like Oprah has always been around. Oprah is likely such a big part of the economy of Chicago that she probably has the Mayor in twice a week to clean her apartment.

If this is how the Queen of Daytime Television is starting her 24th season, how is she going to top it when she starts her Silver Anniversary season? Will she simply given a thousand bucks to every person in Chicago?

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This week's Entertainment Weekly is the one you've been waiting for

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 27th 2009 2:22PM
Entertainment WeeklyIf you're a Seinfeld fan, that is. If you're not a Seinfeld fan, please scroll up or down.

This week's Entertainment Weekly features a new photo of the cast for their Curb Your Enthusiasm guest appearances with Larry David. The cast will be in several episodes this season, playing themselves. The plot will have David getting them together for the Seinfeld reunion that fans want to see and we'll get a behind-the-scenes look at the fictional reunion and the fictional making of that reunion, which itself will be a real reunion.

Got that?

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BAFTA to honor Monty Python

by Brad Trechak, posted Aug 19th 2009 11:03AM
Monty Python BAFTA (The British Academy of Film and Television Arts) will be honoring Monty Python on the group's 40th anniversary. The surviving members of Monty Python will receive a special award for outstanding contribution to film and television in October. The event will be co-hosted by the Independent Film Channel and take place in New York.

Excuse me. What? An awards event hosted by a British organization for a British group is taking place in New York? Isn't that somewhat counter-intuitive? Unless IFC is picking up the whole check (which is a distinct possibility), this should be moved to London.

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Here's another big list of celebrities that are getting together soon

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 17th 2009 9:06PM
CronkiteLook at this cast list!

President Obama
Katie Couric
Bill Clinton
Tom Brokaw
Les Moonves
Andy Rooney
Nick Clooney
Jimmy Buffett
Mickey Hart
Buzz Aldrin
Bob Schieffer
Wynton Marsalis

What do they all have in common?

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We'll be seeing more of Leonard Nimoy on Fringe - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 6th 2009 6:44PM
Leonard Nimoy on FringeThe panel for Fringe just ended, and in it was some nice news for anyone who were psyched to see Leonard Nimoy appear last season as the elusive William Bell. The producers of the show told the gathered critics that Nimoy has already shot one episode for the second season and that they will want to have him on the show "as much as he wants."

EPs Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman, along with co-creators Roberto Orici and Alex Kurtzman, even talked about a day of shooting in a super-hot Vancouver soundstage, where Nimoy acted like a pro. "He never went back to his trailer, and shot pages of dialogue." So it seems like they like having him around the set.

The show will take place mostly in the present universe, but there will be some events that happen in the parallel universe introduced last year ( "over there," as the producers put it). Events "over there" will affect events in the present universe, as well.

More on the panel later.

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Does Wayne Brady have to choke a critic? The Let's Make a Deal panel - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 3rd 2009 6:54PM
Wayne Brady on the new Let's Make a DealOnce the panel for the new Let's Make a Deal was announced, you knew that at some point someone was going to ask Wayne Brady if he was going to have to choke a bitch.

That line, from the hilarious Chappelle's Show bit where Brady made fun of his squeaky-clean image, came up halfway through, when a critic asked Brady the question, "submitted from one of our readers on Twitter." I wonder if that reader was one of us critics, who all burned up the Twitterverse with the line as soon as we heard Brady would be here today.

Brady, who can improvise a song on the spot, just sat there in semi-silence. "That was a great choice of question," he said sarcastically. He isn't running from the bit, he said, and he's heard ten-year-olds try to say the line back at him at airports. But he's promoting a daytime, family-oriented show and just wanted people to talk about that.

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Surreal pop-culture moment: Norman Lear watching Patti Smith - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 3rd 2009 9:01AM
Patti Smith at the TCA tourOne of the things that never gets old about the press tour is that at any moment, you could be in the middle of a blow-your-mind, surreal pop culture moment. That's exactly what happened to me yesterday evening, as the PBS sessions were wrapping up.

Patti Smith had the last session, to promote her biographical movie on POV called Patti Smith: Dream of Life. It was fascinating, as she was pretty open with the reporters about why she let filmmaker Steven Sebring into her life for eleven years, what she likes to watch on YouTube (Maria Callas for one) and all sorts of fun stuff. But I had to leave to interview another legend, Norman Lear, who was there with producer Mark Johnson to promote the documentary Playing For Change: Peace Through Music.

When we were done with the interview, Lear, Johnson, the publicists and I were about to walk our separate ways when we heard music coming from the ballroom. When we open it, we see Patti Smith playing her guitar for the critics, in the middle of her second song. So imagine me and Norman Lear, standing there, listening to Patti Smith.

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TCA Awards: Mad Men, Big Bang, ER, True Blood, BSG are big winners - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 1st 2009 11:02PM
TCA logoTonight, the members of the Television Critics Association (including me) gathered at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena to give out its annual awards. The membership voted on the awards in the month leading up to the press tour; we were given a number of candidates to choose from in various categories. The membership was also asked to choose recipients for an individual Career Achievement award and the Heritage Award, which recognizes a past show that had a big impact artistically and on the industry.

The members gave ER its Heritage Award, which honors the impact the show has had on the TV landscape. As for current shows, the members gave Battlestar Galactica the Program of the Year award, Mad Men Outstanding Achievement in Drama. The Big Bang Theory won for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy, and Jim Parsons won the Individual Achievement in Comedy award for his performance. Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad won the Individual Achievement in Drama award. True Blood won the Outstanding New Program Award. And, finally, the award I'm most excited about (because she'll likely be there): Betty White received the Career Achievement award.

A complete list of winners is after the jump.

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Zach Galifianakis and Robin Williams are HBO's funny guys - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 31st 2009 11:53AM
Robin Williams and Zach GalifianakisI wanted to write about this panel last night. However, the cumulative effects of my afternoon sojourn to In-n-Out Burger to have a double-double and fries, both "animal style," and the evening Food Network party that included a roasted pig, gourmet grilled cheese and other chef-created delicacies, caused me to collapse into a food coma at around 11 PM.

But l couldn't let two of HBO's panels go without comment. One was for the new comedy Bored to Death, based on the writings of Jonathan Ames. Joining Ames on the panel were Jason Schwartzman (via satellite), Ted Danson, and the hot comedian of the moment, Zach Galifianakis. The other was Robin Williams, who was promoting his new HBO special, Robin Williams: Weapons of Self-Destruction, which is set to air in December.

It wasn't surprising that Galifianakis' weird sense of humor dominated his panel; anyone who's seen him on the Comedians of Comedy tour or in The Hangover would have expected that. The surprise was that, in his panel, Williams was more reflective and pensive than manic.

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The Seinfeld reunion on Curb will be about a Seinfeld reunion - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 30th 2009 9:59PM
Larry DavidIf the meta-ness of my headline confuses you, I apologize. It's the best way I could phrase it, because it's kind of mind-blowing in concept.

At today's HBO session at the TCAs, Larry David came on stage to talk about the upcoming season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. In it, as we all know, he'll be reuniting the Seinfeld cast on the show. And what will they be doing? They'll be working on... a Seinfeld reunion episode.

"The context is that for years I've been asked about a Seinfeld reunion," said David, "and i'd say no it's a lame idea. And then i thought it might be very funny to do that on Curb, and I kept thinking about it and different scenarios of how to pull it off."

When he talked to Jerry Seinfeld and the cast about it, they were all game. "So doiung a Seinfeld reunion show on Curb we'll see writing read through rehersals show being filmed. You won't see the entire show, you'll see parts of the show get an idea of what happened eleven years later."

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Joan Rivers takes her shots at David Tutera - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 30th 2009 7:29AM
Joan RiversI had the great honor of interviewing the legendary Joan Rivers after her TCA panel promoting her new TV Land show How'd You Get So Rich? While the panel was hilarious, Joan was in fine form during the interview, telling me a good story about why she doesn't dwell in the past, criticizing Sarah Palin and Brooke Shields, and giving her one-millionth rebuke of her Apprentice rival, Annie Duke, or "Annie Douche" as she called the poker star during the panel.

But Rivers also took some vicious shots at David Tutera, the party planner who left her and Duke high and dry on The Celebrity Apprentice's finale, quitting after Joan asked him to make some changes to his plan. Since Tutera is scheduled to do a panel on his show My Fair Wedding on Friday, I wanted to post what she said about him here and then give Tutera a chance to respond.

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Jane After Dark: The Wire - season four ends, alliances shift

by Jane Boursaw, posted Jul 26th 2009 6:00PM
The Wire, Season 4, Final Grades, Bodie

Well, well, well. How interesting to see the purchase of the nail gun we saw in the first episode of season four of The Wire come back around to bring everything together. "It's a tomb," says Freamon in "A New Day," and it all makes sense to me. Well, some of it makes sense anyway.

And then there's the teetering decision of whether Freamon will keep getting crap from the higher-ups about going out and looking for Marlo's bodies, using up manpower, and upping the murder rate of the city, or whether they'll do the right thing and actually do their jobs. Oh, the bodies that rolled in.

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Cronkite will keep introducing Katie Couric

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 20th 2009 6:30PM
Walter CronkiteRight after Walter Cronkite died, CBS decided to stop using his voice over in the intro of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, mainly figuring it was inappropriate to have a ghostly voice introduce their current anchor.

It seemed like a respectful decision, but it felt a bit wrong to me. The voice over was a simple sentence: "This is the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric." That's it. It felt like a good way to pay tribute to his immense contributions to television news and to bridge the years between his era and the current one. And, shockingly enough, it wouldn't have felt creepy at all, just comforting.

Cronkite's family must have felt the same way, as they've given CBS permission to keep using his voice at the top of the broadcast. How long CBS will keep doing it is anyone's guess. But if Billy Mays can keep selling Oxi Clean from the Great Beyond, why can't Uncle Walter keep introducing the news?

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