Maybe those days are here once again.
A Washington Post gossip column item reveals that someone spotted 'SNL's' Andy Samberg walking into the White House gates, reportedly to meet President Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel, a meeting that was arranged by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. Something tells me it had something to do with this.
Shales tries to get to the heart of why Conan O'Brien, after a big start (of course), is losing more and more ground. He is even losing to David Letterman when Letterman is in repeats (overall ratings - Conan still wins the younger demographic).
He makes a lot of good points about how the set might be doing him in (too big), how the interviews are too rehearsed, and that there's too much prepared comedy. Those are all things that Conan and his crew will look at in the coming months, I'm sure. (I also think part of the problem is Conan's personality - I think he's more of an acquired taste than either Leno or Letterman.)
Like House is not your typical medical drama, Court K will not be a typical lawyer show, not that Boston Legal is typical, but you know what I mean. Court K is reportedly a lot grittier, with sardonic, dark comic elements. We'll have to see if any of the principals are hooked on Vicodan. I wonder if it'll remind me of the movie ...And Justice For All, which was also a dark comic look at a Baltimore courthouse. But then, wasn't that Night Court, too?
It looks like the rumors are true: Joe Scarborough is getting the Don Imus spot on MSNBC.
Howard Kurtz at The Washington Post is reporting that Scarborough and MSNBC are in final negotiations to make his Morning Joe show the permanent show in the 6am to 9am slot on the network. Scarborough has been filling in (with other hosts, such as David Gregory) since Imus went bye-bye, and has been getting good buzz (though not ratings). Some CBS radio stations might pick up the show as well.
In an attempt to figure out how Charlie Gibson has been able to power his ABC World News Tonight past the previously dominant NBC Nightly News in the ratings for 10 of the past 14 weeks, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz credited Gibson's "relaxed style" and willingness to go with his gut.
For example, on Tuesday night after controversial religious leader Jerry Falwell died, Gibson decided not to lead his broadcast with Falwell's death, unlike NBC and CBS. "[T]he decision underscored the extent to which Gibson is firmly in control at what recently emerged as the top-rated evening newscast," Kurtz wrote.
Ooookaaay then. A little tamer is The Washington Post's examination of 'The Cult of Bob Barker,' written by the paper's pop culture expert, Hank Stuever.
And please, this isn't a post about "quality" or "that show sucks!"
Actually, it comes down to this: 30 Rock is owned by NBC and Studio 60 is owned by Warner Brothers. That's one of the many interesting bits of info in Lisa de Moraes' Washington Post column. I mean, that has to be the reason.
As de Moraes points out, it can't be because 30 Rock got better ratings than Studio 60, because Studio 60 got better ratings. It can't be because 30 Rock got a higher rating in the all-important 18 to 49 demo, because Studio 60 had higher ratings there, too. And it can't be because 30 Rock gets the upscale viewers that networks and advertisers like, because Studio 60 was just as good if not better there, too. And I don't think it's because Studio 60 is more expensive than 30 Rock, though that might tie into the whole ownership thing.
It is funny to see Kevin Reilly not really talk about Studio 60, a show he was "really behind" and greenlighted for a whole season. The way he talks now, 30 Rock is the centerpiece to NBC's entire future.
I know, you might be thinking, who is Stephen Talbot and why should I care what he thinks of the TV news biz? Well, Talbot is a producer and writer for PBS' Frontline (his new episode, News War, debuted earlier this week), but that's not why I'm posting this. I'll explain that after the jump. In the meantime, go read the chat he has at The Washington Post's site and look at his picture closely. Where have you seen him before?
Talbot has a lot of interesting things to say about the news industry. He likes local news, but doesn't like it when they focus on just local stories, fears that people will just wake up one day and wonder why the only news they get is stuff about Anna Nicole and Britney, and he explains why Connie Chung gave up her great reporting career to do...well, whatever the hell she's doing now.
Oh, where have you seen him before?
A Washington Post columnist was stunned while reading a New Yorker article about 24, which featured concerns from military officials -- including some from West Point -- that torture scenes in 24 adversely affect how U.S. interrogators behave in the field.
Writer Peter Carlson couldn't believe that educated officers emerging from West Point would actually think that they were mini versions of Jack Bauers who could torture people just like on TV.
He quipped, "Gee, if these cadets can't tell the difference between TV and reality, I sure hope they're not watching 'Superman' reruns. They might try to fly out windows or catch bullets."
You've probably seen all of those CBS promos that say that Shark, the new James Woods legal drama, is the "most watched new show." Then how come the Nielsen numbers say that Heroes, the new drama over on NBC, averages 14.5 million viewers while Shark averages 13.4 million?
It's because CBS is using an odd little bit of ratings math. CBS released a statement to explain why they're saying that Shark is the most watched new show. Combined with the Washington Post's explanation of what CBS is talking about, it gives me the type of headache I used to get when trying to read chemistry textbooks back in high school.
I'm not sure if I'm a fan of these "What's In and What's Out" lists that seem to pop up every December or January. They seem to embrace trends instead of just quality. But I like Hank Steuver's writing and lists like this are a good conversation starter as the new year begins.
That doesn't mean I agree with him on everything. I mean, David Sedaris is "out" while John Hodgman is "in?" That's ridiculous (though I like Hodgman too). And Dancing with the Stars will never be "in" with me. But I love that he picks America's Next Model as being "out" and Ugly Betty being "in." Ditto his picks for Laguna Beach being "out" (Meerkat Manor is "in") and Dane Cook being "out" (thumbs up to Jim Gaffigan!).
What do you think is in and out, TV-wise? I'm sure they'll be a lot of opinions on Steuver picking Battlestar Galactica as being "out" and Heroes as being "in."
Just when Lost should be regularly beating the competition - we're heading towards the three month break cliffhanger - the show is actually losing viewers. The episode the other night, where Eko was killed off, lost 1 million viewers from the previous week, and was beaten by CBS' Criminal Minds. (Brett talked about this last month.)
Wow, so 17 million viewers actually watch Criminal Minds? I've seen the show twice and didn't really see anything special about it. Are people that frustrated by Lost?
One part of the article I don't really understand though. It seems to have the attitude that the "a character is going to die" episodes of Lost should pull in more viewers, but why? How would you know that a character is going to die unless you actually watch the episode? The hardcore fans of the show and web geeks, the only ones who would know ahead of time that a death might be coming via web spoilers, they're watching the show anyway, so why would that matter? Why would a death of a major character bring a ratings spike? (Or am I totally missing the point here?)
As you might imagine, the audience went nuts until Oprah dropped the bombshell. That $1,000 would go to someone other than themselves. That's the kind of gift that makes rich people feel good about themselves, and the rest of us feel sorta horrible. Sure, we want to give money to charity to. We'd like the good feeling that comes with tithing and personal philanthropy. We'd also like the good feeling that comes with paying the phone bill on time.
How do you feel about this change?
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