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(Accompanied by a Gnashing of Teeth)

By RD Heldenfels Published: January 9, 2006

This is the gnashing part: I was hip-deep in a project for my church last night and managed to forget ''The West Wing'' -- forgot to watch, forgot to record, the whole works. Am still kicking myself over that one. A ''West Wing'' watcher at work gave me a rundown, but it's not the same.


Today has been kind of busy: I wrote a column for tomorrow's Beacon Journal about '"The Shield,'' and began roughing out a profile of Mo'Nique -- the comedienne and actress from ''The Parkers.'' She's coming to the Cleveland Improv this weekend with her standup act, and we wanted to get a story in the paper.


Mo'Nique's assistant and I had not been able to connect on the phone, so I was assembling the piece from archival material -- a story I wrote back when ''The Parkers'' premiered (and Mo'Nique was much more engaging than Countess Vaughn, who was spinning into ''The Parkers'' from ''Moesha''); a transcript with Mo'Nique from last summer's press tour, when she was promoting a special for Oxygen, and some other odds and ends.


Then the assistant and I finally connected, and we worked out a chat with Mo'Nique on the phone tomorrow. I'm not killing the notes I was putting together, since there's always a chance the interview won't happen, but I'm going to be much happier to have the interview.


I actually did talk today to Eddie McClintock, a local guy who is co-starring in the new ABC comedy ''Crumbs.'' Eddie is a TV veteran, having also been a regular on ''Stark Raving Mad'' (an overlooked sitcom with Tony Shalhoub and Neil Patrick Harris) among other shows, and we have talked several times before. He's also a very good guy.


Here's one example. Many times, when you talk to people with TV shows in tough time slots, they'll fall back on a cliched, ''Well, we can't really think about that. We just have to do the best job we can.'' I asked Eddie about the slot for ''Crumbs'' -- Thursday nights at 9:30, a tough one. He talked about how he liked the lead-in (''Dancing With the Stars'') and the competition -- that ''Crumbs'' won't beat ''CSI'' but should do all right against ''Beauty & The Geek'' and ''The Office,'' and as long as it finishes second in its time slot, things should be all right. In other words, a thorough and honest answer. You don't know how much that can be prized by a reporter.


Not that the talking ended there. Before the day was done, I had also set up a couple of other interviews, one tied to a Hallmark movie getting a special premiere in this region, the other to a Spike TV series called ''King of Vegas,'' because one of the players is a local guy.


I also began doing some screening for my DVD column (''Old Grey Whistle Test,'' volume 2; ''The Adventures of Superman,'' season 2), went to a meeting at my younger son's school and wrote for this blog. There's also still some church work waiting, and more DVD, and maybe even some regular TV.


In fact, I just set the recorder for the late-night telecast of ''Celebrity Fit Club 3.'' I could give you a big explanation about it featuring Countess Vaughn, so it might give me a question for the Mo'Nique interview, but I thought of that question without even watching it. I just caught the episode last week and feel a wacky obsession coming on.

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