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October 8, 2015


Our Favorite TV Sidekicks: They're the True Stars of the Talk Shows

by Liane Bonin, posted Nov 18th 2009 4:14PM
On June 23, 2009, the trademark laugh of the greatest sidekick of all time was silenced as Ed McMahon floated up to the great sidekick couch on the sky. While Publisher's Clearing House commercials and 'Star Search' reruns will never be the same, the good news is that McMahon, who rose up in the wake of some pretty stellar sidekicks himself, set the bar high for those to follow.

Perhaps he set it too high, though, as newcomers to the talk show field like Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson have chosen to fly solo on their talk shows. And that's a shame. Like wine in a box and BBC America series, these straight men of the chat circuit are all too often underappreciated and overshadowed but consistently, inconspicuously deliver the goods.

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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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Don Rickles on the D-List, The Tonight Show, and more

by Nick Zaino, posted Jul 7th 2009 2:03PM
Don RicklesIt's always great to see Don Rickles on TV. He's rarely out of form, and he has a knack for sailing some great zingers past the censors. Which means his appearance on last night's My Life on the D-List was a perfect opportunity, a place where he could be a bit more loose.

We got a taste of that from him, walking around Kathy Griffin's house, but we also got a glimpse of the guy I have heard about from comedians who've met Rickles - the old softie who is ever willing to talk shop with other comics. It was a great moment when Griffin and Rickles talked about how both of their mothers would try to tell them not to pick on people so much, with Griffin's mom providing a bit of the dialogue. Meeting Rickles was on Griffin's mother's "bucket list."

I thought I'd use the occasion to take a look around YouTube to find some of Rickles' best TV appearances. He seems to have been everywhere, from The View to cable.

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Ed McMahon did not work for Publishers Clearing House

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 23rd 2009 6:40PM
Ed McMahonDuring some of the television obits I've been hearing about the late, great Ed McMahon, one of the most common misunderstandings about the Tonight Show sidekick's career has been perpetuated: that he worked for Publishers Clearing House, handing out big checks to unsuspecting sweepstakes winners.

Well, Ed did work for one of those sweepstakes-and-subscriptions houses, but it was PCH's main rival, American Family Publishers. He often appeared in the AFP's ads and mailings with his Bloopers and Practical Jokes buddy Dick Clark.

Not once did McMahon work for PCH, but as Bob pointed out in his obituary, jokes about his sweepstakes work often kept the mistake alive.

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TV News Daily: Jessica Simpson Lands VH1 Reality Show

by Andrew Scott, posted Jun 23rd 2009 12:00PM
Jessica Simpson and Sandra Bullock

Jessica Simpson lands a new reality show gig on VH1, Ed McMahon passes away at 86, FX picks up the TV rights to 'The Proposal' and more TV news.

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Ed McMahon Dies at 86

by Andrew Scott, posted Jun 23rd 2009 11:00AM
Ed McMahon'Tonight Show' sidekick Ed McMahon died early this morning in Los Angeles.

According to his publicist, Howard Bragman, McMahon, who was hospitalized with pneumonia in February, died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after suffering a "multitude of health problems the last few months."

Among the reported ailments: bone cancer, an anonymous source told the Associated Press.

He was 86.

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Does your day need a Hiyoooo? You're welcome

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jun 6th 2009 11:03AM
Ed McMahon, the inspiration behind Hiyoooo.comDid you ever tell a joke that really wasn't funny but you knew would draw huge laughs if you just had someone willing to back you up? Have you ever really zinged someone that had it coming, but the zing alone wasn't enough to drive that emotional stake into their ego? Ever just wish that you could have the glory and majesty of Ed McMahon in your home? Now you can have all three.

Introducing Hiyoooo.com, the world's first virtual sidekick. Just say what you gotta say, click Ed's giant head, and all of your statements carry the air of "Hey now"' better than any rap battle audience ever could.

I've been using this thing all throughout my day: in the home, at the office, with my dog. This thing has become so useful in my daily life that I'm thinking of hiring the Shamwow guy to spread the power of its message. I'm sure he could use the money.

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Greatest 'Tonight Show' Moments

by AOL TV Staff, posted May 13th 2009 6:00AM
Hugh Grant The Tonight Show'The Tonight Show' has been a late-night institution for more than 50 years (yes, that's right -- half a century).

Jack Paar, who took over the reins from Steve Allen in '57, put the show on the map, with big-name guests and outspoken antics. Johnny Carson, who stepped in when Paar left, made the show appointment viewing for millions of fans and became one of the most beloved TV hosts of all time.

Now, with Jay Leno's last 'Tonight Show' airing Fri., May 29, and Conan O'Brien taking the desk while Leno makes the unprecedented move to prime time, to a 10 PM slot in the fall, we look back and count down the top 20 moments of 'The Tonight Show.'

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More sad news on Ed McMahon

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 10th 2009 1:04PM
We reported Ed McMahon's "very serious" medical condition a few weeks ago, and it tugged at the strings of our very weak and sodium clogged hearts.

He's a TV legend, so much so that even people who didn't grow up watching The Tonight Show at least know of him and his work. It's been even harder to duplicate. Hank Kingsley was right. Sidekickology is a "dying art."

But a few little factoids popped up around the Internet surrounding McMahon's hospitalization, and it made the news even more tragic and depressing.

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Ed McMahon in the hospital in very serious condition

by Danny Gallagher, posted Feb 27th 2009 3:26PM
One of television's biggest success and tragedy stories has started to take a turn for the worse.

TV legend Ed McMahon, 85, has been in the hospital for the last month and his condition has only gotten worse.

TMZ reported a source close to the family said his condition has been upgraded to "extremely serious" since he has been moved into an intensive care unit. He has also contracted pneumonia, which at his age can make things very serious.

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The Super Bowl Commercials: The Best - VIDEOS

by Richard Keller, posted Feb 2nd 2009 1:10AM

The best ads from Super Bowl XLIII(NOTE: The following post talks about my favorite commercials of this past Super Bowl. There are absolutely no spoilers in this post. That is, unless you didn't watch the Super Bowl, recorded it for future viewing, and have decided to ignore every single other media outlet, as well as friends and family so no one tells you who won. If that's the case, don't blame us for your extremely poor time management skills.)

Well, it's all over except for the pack-up, the clean-up and the over-analyzing of the analyzing of the game that was actually played in Tampa. Super Bowl XLIII is now in the history books and so are its commercials. This year featured some returning companies, some new ones, plenty of NBC promos, and a koala puppet being punched in the face. In other words, a bit of everything. Out of all of them, here are some of my favorites.

(NOTE 2: The embedded videos come courtesy of Hulu. If you cannot view these videos I have linked the commercial titles to another site that you should be able to view.)

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Super Bowl 2009 Preview: The Commercials

by Andrew Scott, posted Jan 30th 2009 6:00PM
Most people watch the Super Bowl, airing Sun., 6PM on NBC, for the football game.

But for some of us -- admit it, you're one of them -- the biggest sporting event of the year is really all about the commericals; those quick, 30-second ads which companies spend millions of dollars on to make us laugh and chat about at the office on Monday.

In its four-decade-plus history, the Super Bowl has had its fair share of these moments: the Budweiser frogs; Michael Jordan and Larry Bird shooting outrageous hoops to win a McDonald's Big Mac; Apple's '1984'-inspired Macintosh commercial, shot for $1 million and directed by Oscar-nominee Ridley Scott.

This year promises to continue the tradition with ads featuring celebrities, soda and -- you guessed it -- beer. According to E!, the celebrity lineup includes Conan O'Brien for Anheuser-Busch, will.i.am, who will sing Bob Dylan's 'Forever Young' in a commercial for Pepsi, action star Jason Statham for Audi and John Turturro's second commercial for Heineken.

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More financial woes for Ed McMahon

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 21st 2008 3:23PM
Ed McMahon 1Somebody give Ed McMahon a job, please! There are more stories emerging about the famous TV sidekick's financial woes, and it's just sad that he's in such dire straits.

Granted, he's not alone in these tough times -- and, yes, he has had millions in his time -- but the revelations that the former Tonight Show star and Star Search host is in money trouble strikes me as really unfortunate. And apparently that help from Jay Leno is slow in materializing. Why isn't Publisher's Clearinghouse giving him a gig?

The latest news is that Citibank is suing McMahon for $200,000, a loan they extended to Ed. In a lawsuit filed in L.A. Superior court on June 9, the bank is seeking $179,687 in damages, plus legal fees. This is on top of the potential foreclosure on his Beverly Hills home.

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Jay Leno offers help to Ed McMahon

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 9th 2008 11:23AM
lenoLast week, the news about Ed McMahon possibly losing his Hollywood home spread across the airwaves. Surprisingly, there were many comments here that were downright unsympathetic to the former Tonight Show sidekick. Apparently, people in show business are sympathetic. Current Tonight Show host Jay Leno has vocally offered to help Ed with his financial problems.

Jay, who is in the last year of manning the desk that Johnny Carson manned for years with Ed right by his side, promises to come through for Ed. According to Leno's PR man, "Everybody loves Ed. Jay and others on the show are discussing how they can help him."

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Tough times for Ed McMahon

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 4th 2008 10:24AM
edIt's no secret that the country is in severe financial straits, especially people who are caught in the real estate merry-go-round where they find themselves unable to pay their monthly mortgage. Amazingly, someone as seemingly well-heeled and secure as Ed McMahon is one of those people struggling. Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show is on the verge of losing his Beverly Hills home through foreclosure.

Published reports claim that Ed McMahon's home on Mulholland Drive, part of the gated hilltop development called The Summit, has been on the market for sale since 2006. Unfortunately, moving real estate in a depressed market is very tough. Complicating matters for McMahon is the neighborhood, in particular, one neighbor: Britney Spears.

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