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April 24, 2014

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Best and Worst TV of 2009: Jason's List

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 21st 2009 5:06PM
Daniel Wright2009 was a good year for television. It offered the resurgence of the comedy on network television, and the continuing growth of original programming on cable. In all honesty, I don't think I could just do a list of what was great and what was horrible on television because I would need pages and pages.

Instead, I'm going to focus on the things that really stood out this year. Sorry, Mad Men fans, but even though this was a great third season and an amazing finale, I expect it at this point. It's the only way I could come up with to keep my list manageable.

Also, as a point of protest I did not include Jon, Kate or the balloon boy hoax. These events got more attention than they deserved already this year, and I feel bad I even mentioned them.

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Craig Ferguson Tops Jimmy Fallon in Ratings (Bring On the Free Candy!)

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 13th 2009 12:00PM
The Late Late Show With Craig FergusonIt looks like Conan O'Brien vs. David Letterman isn't the only late night war brewing.

For the first time since Craig Ferguson took over in 2005, 'The Late Late Show' has bested 'Late Night' in both total viewers (1.9 million to 1.3 million) and the advertiser coveted 18-49 demo (0.6/3 to 0.5/3), according to the Hollywood Reporter. The two have been neck-and-neck in the demo for the past seven weeks.

Ferguson's win takes on even more significance when you consider that it's coming almost nine months after Jimmy Fallon took over 'Late Night' from Conan O'Brien back on March 2, 2009. As the networks have been saying over and over again during the race between Letterman and O'Brien, late night isn't a sprint. It's a marathon. And after nine months, it looks like Ferguson is starting to pull ahead.

So, what sets Fallon and Ferguson apart? Let's break it down.

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Meet Robert Halderman, Letterman's blackmailer

by Danny Gallagher, posted Oct 3rd 2009 9:00AM
Robert Halderman, the man accused of extorting David LettermanSo just who had the unbelievably huge Mammoth balls to extort late night legend David Letterman? You're looking at him, not his balls thankfully.

Robert "Joe" Halderman, pictured at the right sitting in his unholy beach chair of evil, is the man the Manhattan District Attorney's Office brought extortion charges against for trying to score more than $2 million from Letterman as part of a blackmail plot.

Letterman admitted on the air that he had a sexual encounter or encounters with members of his staff, and that Halderman used the info he had on those encounters as leverage to extort money from him. I've got three to one odds that the "Fire David Letterman" club awards Halderman their "Humanitarian of the Year Award."

According to New York City's Department of Correction records, Halderman received a felony count of attempted grand larceny. He entered a not-guilty plea at his arraignment.

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New CBS comedy to tell a relationship story across 20 years

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 15th 2009 2:27PM
Andrew SecundaIt's hard to come up with a headline to sum up this new project by Andrew Secunda (Upright Citizens Brigade and Late Night with Conan O'Brien). I love the concept, though. CBS, which is developing the show with Secunda, calls it a multigenerational comedy. The show will be about a couple in love who move in together. From there, we start to get their story in a clever way.

Through the extensive use of flashbacks to their childhoods, we'll see how they developed the quirks and habits that they're discovering about one another now as adults. We'll also see their parents both now and 20 years ago, to see how they shaped their children, and how their own relationships in the past may impact the way their children are today. Why didn't I just say that in the title?

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Jimmy Kimmel explains how Billy Mays keeps doing commercials

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 3rd 2009 6:30PM
Yes, Jimmy Kimmel went there.

I was wondering when someone would do some sort of parody related to the death of Billy Mays, and it's Jimmy Kimmel Live. There have been jokes here and there, including some by Kimmel himself, but this is the first all-out segment I've seen. Over the line? Judge for yourself.

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India's plan for population control includes ... late night TV?!?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jul 21st 2009 5:00PM
Watching TV in bedThe world is facing a population explosion of Biblical proportions. People are procreating and reproducing faster than sustenance reserves and housing requirements can keep up with it. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have officially given up adoption for the next three Lents.

Something has to be done that doesn't involve condoms, birth control pills, or taking a hammer to certain parts of the human anatomy.

India claims they have found a solution. Television?

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Remember the good times we had with (at) Michael Jackson('s expense)?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jul 9th 2009 5:04PM
South Park poking fun of Michael Jackson
A lot of memories have surfaced of the good times that pop icon and musical genius Michael Jackson provided the world in the wake of his untimely and unfortunate death. However, an elephant in the room has wedged its wide butt in between the happy memories that range from "Billy Jean" to "Rockin' Robin," other than the eye-bleedingly bad Moonwalker movie.

Jackson's life outside of the recording studio and in the blood-soaked pages of the supermarket tabloids provided a lot of fodder for comedies and comedians that turned the man into a punchline just as fast as the radio waves turned him into a legend.

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Letterman Apologizes to Sarah Palin, Plus 5 More Famous Apologies

by Kelly Woo, posted Jun 16th 2009 12:00PM
David LettermanLast Monday, David Letterman took a number now controversial jams at Sarah Palin and her family's recent visit to New York.

Last night, he apologized.

In a special 'Late Show' segment, Letterman recanted a "coarse" joke said to be targeted at Palin's 18-year-old daughter, Bristol, which claimed she had been knocked up by Alex Rodriguez during the Yankees' seventh-inning stretch.

"There's no getting around it, but I never thought it was anybody other than the older daughter, and before the show, I checked to make sure in fact that she is of legal age, 18. Yeah. But the joke really, in and of itself, can't be defended," he said.

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If Mark-Paul Gosselaar is on board, the Saved by the Bell reunion is as good as done

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 9th 2009 1:27PM
Saved by the BellMy sister was addicted to Saved by the Bell, and to the hotness that was Zack Morris in particular. I'm not sure if she checked out Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night, but if she had she just might have been stunned to see Zack Morris there. And I do mean Zack Morris, because Mark-Paul Gosselaar did his entire interview in character as the coolest guy from Bayside High.

Considering that Gosselaar has been doing pretty well for himself post-Bell, with big roles in NYPD Blue and Raising the Bar, it's a big deal that he was not only willing to poke fun at his own roots (with The Roots as well for a rousing rendition of "Friends Forever"), but he also committed to Fallon's pet project: the Saved by the Bell reunion. Personally, I think a funny take on where those kids are today could be awesome. You could even work Showgirls into Jessie's post high school career path.

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Conan O'Brien, you magnificent nerd

by Annie Wu, posted Jun 4th 2009 5:30PM
Conan O'Brien
Mr. Conan O'Brien -- or ConeBone69, as some of us like to call him -- is still going through his first week at The Tonight Show, with both fans and critics watching his every move. No pressure. Naturally, we are witnessing the initial jitters and struggle to discover the right rhythm and tone in a new environment, but O'Brien's getting through it with minimal cringing (though the same cannot be said for Andy Richter's weirdly forced laughs).

One of the first things I noticed was that the set doesn't really feel like it's O'Brien's. Maybe it's just a super-jarring change from the cozier and much smaller Late Night home, or maybe it's because the new studio smell hasn't faded. It all seemed too shiny and new to feel real, is what I'm saying. But now this gem of a discovery immediately makes everything better: The new studio is in Super Mario's Mushroom Kingdom.

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Conan might be over-polishing his edges on The Tonight Show

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 3rd 2009 11:29AM
Conan on June 2 Tonight ShowI don't know about you folks, but I never look at the first episode of any new late-night talk show as a good indication of how a host is going to start out. Why? Everything's new and shiny and there's a big introduction and everyone's nervous, that's why. It's the second night, when things are settling down into more of a routine, that I pay more attention to.

And after watching the second night of Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show, I'm getting worried that, despite all his assurances to the contrary, Conan is too busy easing up on his edginess to make good comedy.

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Some 'uh-ohs' bubble up behind the scenes of The Jay Leno Show

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jun 2nd 2009 2:38PM
Jay LenoYou gotta love the ol' rumor mill. It sleeps less than Amy Winehouse.

Conan O'Brien hasn't even finished his first week as the new host of The Tonight Show and the insiders are already churning out rumblings about Jay Leno's new show.

Some sources close to the network and The Jay Leno Show told Kim Masters of The Daily Beast that Leno is slowly growing unhappy with his new time slot and the changes that are being made to the new show by the network. There are even concerns that the stress of the situation is starting to take a toll on the host's health.

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Point/Counterpoint: Conan O'Brien will succeed on The Tonight Show

by Nick Zaino, posted Jun 1st 2009 3:31PM
Conan O'BrienToday is the day Conan O'Brien takes up the mantle of one of the most beloved shows in TV history - The Tonight Show. And since feelings about O'Brien on some of my previous posts have been so strong, I thought it might be a good idea to do a point/counterpoint on the question, "Will Conan O'Brien succeed on The Tonight Show?"

I will be taking the position that he will be successful, and my formidable opponent will be John Scott Lewinski, who will take the position that O'Brien will not be successful.

My argument:

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Jimmy Kimmel dives face first into HD - VIDEO

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 16th 2009 12:06PM
talk show host Jimmy KimmelDoes the thought of this face in 720 lines of crystal clear resolution make the soup you had for lunch a week ago rise in your gullet?

If so (you extremely shallow human being who will spend life alone until you die), then you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that Jimmy Kimmel's first foray into high definition television was quite an improvement.

He even showed his viewers just how beautiful the difference was by making the switch live on the air during Tuesday night's episode.

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Tim and Eric and Jimmy Fallon - VIDEO

by Nick Zaino, posted Apr 15th 2009 4:35PM
Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great JobI had hoped to post the Tim and Eric interview from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon from last night, but this is all NBC posted of the segment. Fallon introduced them by saying they had been eating chocolate since Sunday and hadn't slept, at which point they burst into the studio and threw candy at the audience and the band. They made a passing attempt at answering Fallon's questions, and gave a bit of their history, but mostly stuck to the premise of being hopped up on candy. No one sticks to a premise like Tim and Eric.

If you're not familiar with Tim and Eric, you probably look at these two guys in pink chocolate-stained tuxedos and wonder what the hell you're watching. Sometimes, even when you do know Tim and Eric, and watch Tim & Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job every Sunday at 12:30 AM on Adult Swim, you are apt to say, what the hell am I watching.

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