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"American Idol" Results

By admin Published: April 30, 2008

This is one of those incredibly rare nights when the question of who is getting voted off is far less interesting than other stuff -- specifically, how they handle the Paula disaster from Tuesday night. Theories and speculation have flown all day -- it's been blamed on bad notes, confusion re the dress rehearsal, Paula's spaciness (whatever the reason for THAT), even Simon confusing Paula with whispers in her ear. (I don't remember seeing that on the air, but when clearly Paula's camp is looking for a plausible excuse, and shifting the blame is as good a way as any.)

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Into the Scripted: "Reaper," "Bones," "House"

By admin Published: April 30, 2008


Nice to see Lucy Davis again. Even better to see that she was still around at the end of the episode.

Trying to catch up on things I've missed. Am sampling the "Costas Now" town meeting, including the Bissinger rant/debate.(Good gosh, Braylon Edwards, what did you think you had walked into?) But here I'm going to talk a bit about some of the Monday/Tuesday dramas that I finally grabbed some time to watch today. After the jump. ....

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"Dancing With the Stars" Notebook

By admin Published: April 30, 2008

Goodbye, Shannon and Derek. A Monday/Tuesday wrap-up after the jump.

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"American Idol" Tuesday: Top 5

By admin Published: April 29, 2008

Since, as I mentioned below, I've been at the movies, I'm going to do some speed-watching tonight. But notes such as they are, including Paula losing track of who had sung, after the jump.

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Tuesday Night at the Movies

By admin Published: April 29, 2008


(Associated Press/Paramount)

Tonight I put on my movie-guy hat and hit a preview of "Iron Man." Not going into a whole review here, but I've been psyched for this pretty much from the moment I saw the suit, and I generally enjoyed the movie. A solid three stars (out of four). Very good performance from Robert Downey Jr. And it didn't hurt that I saw it in a theater with a huge screen and a seat-vibrating sound system.

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TCM Plans Big Sinatra Tribute

By admin Published: April 29, 2008

Had to believe it's been 10 years since he passed. But the occasion is being marked in a variety of ways, from the DVD release of the Philip Casnoff-starring "Sinatra" miniseries (on May 13) to a multiplatform TCM celebration. Details of that after the jump.

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Tuesday Morning Notebook

By admin Published: April 29, 2008

Notes on "HIMYM" and on Miley Cyrus, after the jump.

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Fun With Technology

By admin Published: April 29, 2008

I spent about two hours last night trying to get online before I gave up, went upstairs and curled up into a ball of nothing-is-going-right. (The earlier part of the day had included wrangling with my prescription plan over whether it would pay for some medication. Still haven't sorted out that one.)

The two hours included roughly an hour and a half of telephone time, the bulk of that on hold. There is something so delightful about -- after running through a series of automated-phone steps that haven't helped -- being on hold, finally getting a human, discussing the problem for a few minutes before being told you'll be connected to another technician for more help, spending another 30 minutes on hold, then getting a human who has no apparent knowledge of your earlier conversation.

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It's Official: More Britney on "HIMYM," and Soon

By admin Published: April 28, 2008

Not wanting to miss a chance to up the ratings during sweeps, "How I Met Your Mother" has set another Britney Spears appearance for May 12. Here's the announcement:

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Weekend Catch-Up: "The Office," "Grey's," "30 Rock," "Lost," "Survivor," "Reaper"

By admin Published: April 28, 2008

As I said in this morning's post, I spent the weekend doing things other than blogging, including yard work and even a trip to the movies. ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall." I may have more to say about it, especially about the difference between a comedy and a drama with laughs, with "Marshall" feeling more like the latter.)

But I am out of the cone of silence on all the shows mentioned above. Comments after the jump.

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Good Monday Morning

By admin Published: April 28, 2008

It's raining here but that's bearable after a weekend of warm temps and a lot of sunshine. (I can still feel the latter on the back of my neck.) The bricks around the flower beds, many sent tumbling during the winter, are back in place. New bricks circle the arbor and the two young trees, and the trees are looking spry after enduring winter. The lawn is lush, flowers are blooming many places. My hands feel a little raw, the back's got a bit of an ache, but I'll take it. It was good to have a couple of days to wander outside in shorts and T-shirt, and to see improvements at day's end.

Of course, I am way behind on TV chatter, even if I am up to speed on viewing. Hope to post some notes later today. I also hope that you, too, are enjoying the afterglow of the weekend.

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Frantic Friday

By admin Published: April 25, 2008

I'm in the cone of silence regarding almost everything on Thursday night. But I can point you to the last "American Idol" podcast, this time with musical accompaniment. Find it here. This may be the closest I ever get to being Howard Beale on camera.

Off-camera,. that's another story.

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"American Idol": Same As It Ever Was

By admin Published: April 24, 2008

(Update: Next week is the music of Neil Diamond.)

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Wednesday Night

By admin Published: April 23, 2008

I had a movie screening tonight so I have not yet watched the "American Idol" results. I know who is out, and am suitably appalled. But I'll save an extended rant until after I have watched the show.

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New "DWTS" Podcast

By admin Published: April 23, 2008


A little glitchy, but here it is. By the way, Extra! passed along this info from last night's "Dancing":

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"Law & Order": Farewell, Ed Green

By admin Published: April 23, 2008

"How do you do it?" detective Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin) asks his boss, Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) on tonight's "Law & Order."

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"Dancing With the Stars" Results

By admin Published: April 22, 2008

In-progress notes after the jump. ...

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"American Idol" Top 6

By admin Published: April 22, 2008


No matter how
the performances are
considered, Andrew
Lloyd Webber may be
the best "American Idol"
mentor ever.

Notes after the jump. ...

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Al Wilson, R.I.P.

By admin Published: April 22, 2008

The singer famous for "Show and Tell" has reportedly died. Here's a video from "Soul Train" of another song, "Willoughby Brook."

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"Meerkat" Movie On TV on May 25

By admin Published: April 22, 2008

It's a prequel about Flower. Details after the jump,

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More "Sarah Connor"

By admin Published: April 22, 2008

Official announcement this morning:

TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES (T:SCC) has been picked up for the 2008-2009 season.

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Hello, Pa. Primary; Goodbye, Dignity

By admin Published: April 22, 2008

Strange night Monday. President Bush on "Deal or No Deal." McCain, Clinton, Obama on "WWE Monday Night RAW." All four had pretaped segments within the shows -- plus Clinton and Obama were twice featured in wrestling matches, one using animated characters (and plugging the Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 video game), the other with actors appearing as them.

It was all pandering, of course, just like going on "SNL." But there are degrees. Bush's appearance -- to congratulate an Iraq war veteran who was competing on "Deal" -- felt the least sleazy of the lot. True, he's still trying to sell his war, but at least he wasn't begging for votes the way the other three did. I could have done without the federal-budget/"Deal or No Deal" joke, but part of this whole situation involves trying to seem clever.

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"How I Met Your Mother"

By admin Published: April 21, 2008

Sandcastles in the Sand

OK, so we've got the complete "Sandcastles in the Sand." And not a bad episode around it. Although the shocker -- the real "OMG" for a Monday night -- was, of course ...

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"Dancing With the Stars" Monday

By admin Published: April 21, 2008

In-progress notes after the jump, including a surprisingly pushy inquiry into the Shannon Elizabeth/Derek Hough romance issue. ....

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Life Among the Poets

By admin Published: April 21, 2008


Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath
(Photo from Smith College Web site)

After a hectic week and some chores on Saturday, the bride and I hit the wall in a big way. Much sleep resulting, a little bit of Cavs and Indians on TV, and time devoted to reading on Sunday.

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Another Piece of Sparkles

By admin Published: April 18, 2008

I like this clip, too, although the Tiffany cameo in the other snippet may be my favorite part of the video.

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Not Gone, Just Busy

By admin Published: April 18, 2008

It's been a big week for family stuff and road trips (Cleveland and back four out of the last five days). Saw last night's "Survivor" and a bit of "The Office" last night, and hope to post later.

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More Robin Sparkles!

By admin Published: April 17, 2008

New video for Monday's episode of "How I Met Your Mother"! Cameos by Tiffany, Alan Thicke and James Van Der Beek. Here's a preview clip:

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Universal Unveils Blu-ray Plans

By admin Published: April 17, 2008

As you know, with the expected demise of HD DVD, studios that were on that bandwagon are switching over to Blu-ray. Here's what Universal has in mind, including "Heroes: Season Two" on Aug. 26 and the Brendan Fraser "Mummy" and two sequels on July 22. ...

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Thursday Morning Grins

By admin Published: April 17, 2008

Yes, it's the legendary "Let's Go to the Mall" by Robin Sparkles. (Thanks to Alan Sepinwall for pointing this out.) "How I Met Your Mother" fans will note that Robin Sparkles was, in fact, "HIMYM's" Robin in her younger days. But you don't need history to appreciate the sublime, perkalicious '80s quality of the video.

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"American Idol": Two, Two, Two Nights in One (Updated)

By admin Published: April 16, 2008

Thursday morning: Next week is Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Original Wednesday post:

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Another Product: Burp Armor

By admin Published: April 16, 2008

I know I'm venturing afield from movies, TV, music and other standard topics here. But if we're talking about popular culture, how could we not include the Pope's Cologne or -- this is really its name -- Burp Armor. If for no other reason than knowing that its trim is in these colors: Creamsicle, Stitch, Creamsicle Stripe, Chocolate Stitch, Honeydew Stitch, Honeydew Stripe, Snow cone Stitch, Candy Stripe, and Candy Stitch. And I loved the press release, for so many terrible reasons, and the fact that an elaborate burp cloth can cost at least $25. It is so very Yuppie. The release is after the jump.

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The Pope's Cologne

By admin Published: April 16, 2008

The pope in this case is Pius IX, but the fragrance has gotten a boost from the current pope's visit to America. Info after the jump.

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New "Dancing With the Stars" Podcast

By admin Published: April 16, 2008

Includes attempts to replicate Priscilla Presley's face, and a discussion of dancing vs. swaying. (Also, see my Priscilla query in the post before this.)

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"Dancing With the Stars": Suitable Pop Culture Reference?

By admin Published: April 16, 2008

Priscilla Presley is out at "DWTS" and you will hear no complaints here. Bad dancing, creepy face. But here's the morning's question: What sort of Elvis-related comment would be the best to cover her departure?

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Where I've Been (Expanded)

By admin Published: April 15, 2008

The bride and I went to the Indians-Red Sox game tonight. (Red Sox won, 5-3.) Will catch up on posts about TV later.

As for the game, generally weird and disheartening. Interesting, to be sure, and we stayed until the Red Sox added a pad run in the ninth, but not the sort of game that makes you think the Indians are serious contenders this year. They had chances against Wakefield and didn't take advantage.

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Bravo Announces New Program Projects

By admin Published: April 15, 2008

A lonnnnnnnng announcement, loaded with reality, 12 returning shows, four new ones. Boilerplate after the jump ...

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Tuesday Morning Notebook: "DWTS," "Bones," "HIMYM," "Men" -- Plus A Couple of Afternoon Additions

By admin Published: April 15, 2008

Had some family business last night so I didn't get to all the viewing had hoped. Played catch-up this morning. A few notes on various topics after the jump.

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Monday Notebook

By admin Published: April 14, 2008


"I got a hit, Schumacher, and Ruddy doesn't count any more."*

-- Since I was the guy who asked NBC's Ben Silverman to explain how "My Name Is Earl" and "30 Rock" qualified as family-hour shows, it was with great amusement that I read a New York Times piece with an NBC executive admitting that the 8-9 p.m. slot isn't all that family on Thursdays. The exec told the Times that:

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New "American Idol" Podcast

By admin Published: April 11, 2008

"Dancing" Next Week: James Blunt, More Kids, Samba/Rumba

By admin Published: April 11, 2008

The official word from ABC:

After tallying the judges’ and viewers’ votes from a night of Samba and Rumba, the fifth couple to be eliminated from the competition is revealed on “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show,” TUESDAY, APRIL 15 (9:00-10:02 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Musical guest James Blunt takes the stage to perform “Carry You Home” from his latest album, “All the Lost Souls,” in stores now. He will be accompanied by two-time World Cabaret Champions and two-time U.S. National Cabaret Champions Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian.

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"CSI" Beats "Idol," Mariah Carey on "Idol" (Again) Next Week

By admin Published: April 11, 2008

This from CBS today:

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"The Office" at Home

By admin Published: April 10, 2008

An amazing, terrifying, weirdly hilarious episode. More after the jump. ...

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"Survivor" Tonight

By admin Published: April 10, 2008

It's still just a stick, just a bleepin' stick ...

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"American Idol" Results

By admin Published: April 10, 2008

In-progress posting during the show, with spoiler, after the jump.

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Thursday Notebook: "30 Rock," "Idol Gives Back" and A Clip

By admin Published: April 10, 2008

I've had Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" stuck in my head this morning, and it makes me smile, so maybe it will do likewise for you. I like the way this YouTuber used it. (Note: Some strong language in the song.)

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Skewering Chris Matthews

By admin Published: April 9, 2008

The New York Times already has online a profile of Chris Matthews by Mark Leibovich that manages to have some affection for Matthews while showing how, time and again, he put a big fat one in the middle of the snarkiness plate for the writer -- or a colleague -- to hit it out. There is, for example, this passage about Matthews and Keith Olbermann working together:

Sometimes during commercial breaks, Matthews will boast to Olbermann of having restrained himself during the prior segment. “And I reward him with a grape,” Olbermann says.

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"Dancing With the Stars" Podcast!

By admin Published: April 9, 2008

As you can see, we're working on improved production values. Next week: sequins.

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"Dancing With the Stars" Results

By admin Published: April 8, 2008

Short notes after the jump. ...

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"American Idol": Inspiration Tuesday

By admin Published: April 8, 2008

With "Idol Gives Back" tomorrow, tonight's theme is inspirational songs. In-progress notes after the jump. ...

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The Fringe Benefits of Fame

By admin Published: April 8, 2008

CMT announced what's in the gift bags for celebrities participating in its music awards on April 14. Quite a bit of swag (or, as CMT put it, ''a wide variety of fashion, beauty and music must-haves as well as unique travel opportunities''). But could we stop the use of the word "gifting"? The list is after the jump.

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A Grin For A Tuesday Afternoon

By admin Published: April 8, 2008

It's a bit of an oldie, but the song still makes me smile -- as does the video.

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"Dancing With the Stars" Monday

By admin Published: April 7, 2008

In-progress notes after the jump. ...

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Heston TCM Tribute, A Few Suggestions Beyond That and A Clip

By admin Published: April 7, 2008

Just in case you want to see "Planet of the Apes" again because of Charlton Heston, here's a time-saving clip of the big finish:

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Monday Morning Notebook

By admin Published: April 7, 2008

Although I lost my "television writer" title a year ago in favor of the bigger umbrella of "popular culture writer," I still write about TV. I recently reupped my membership in the Television Critics Association and keep tabs on the state of the business, my friends and colleagues. So a Broadcasting & Cable article on TV critics caught my eye. Might be of interest to you, too.

Couple of points about it: It is puzzling, as the piece notes, that most people watch television and many newspapers have found detailed coverage to be expendable.

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Sunday Notebook

By admin Published: April 6, 2008

Gorgeous day. The bride and I did a few things outside, including taking a nice walk, and I can even feel a bit of sun tingle on my skin. Looking forward to more of the same. A few viewing notes after the jump.

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"Conchords" Update

By admin Published: April 6, 2008

Their latest post says new season might air in January '09. Details here.

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New Kids on "Today" Clips

By admin Published: April 4, 2008

These are for HeldenFiles mainstay Target Demo, whose first concert was New Kids on the Block, and who may not be a regular "Today" viewer.

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More "King of the Hill"

By admin Published: April 4, 2008

Fox has ordered a 13th season of the series. Boilerplate after the jump.

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Frosty Freeze, R.I.P.

By admin Published: April 4, 2008

From the Associated Press:

Wayne Frost, a hip-hop pioneer known as "Frosty Freeze" whose acrobatic performance with the legendary Rock Steady Crew in the 1983 hit movie "Flashdance" set off a worldwide breakdancing craze, has died. He was 44.

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Friday Morning Notebook

By admin Published: April 4, 2008

Notes after the jump on "Survivor," the return of "CSI," "Leatherheads" the latest from the Black Keys.

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The Return of "My Name Is Earl"

By admin Published: April 3, 2008

Comments and spoilers about tonight's one-hour telecast, after the jump.

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For "7th Heaven" Fans

By admin Published: April 3, 2008

The series' creator, Brenda Hampton, has a new show in the works for ABC Family this summer, and casting has been announced. Those of you who have been asking me about Renee Olstead will not that she has a recurring role on the series. Here's the boilerplate:

ABC Family has announced casting for its as yet “Untitled Brenda Hampton Project,” by the creator of “7th Heaven.” Molly Ringwald (“Pretty in Pink”), John Schneider (“Smallville”) and Ernie Hudson (“Oz”) are among the cast, including newcomer Shailene Woodley (“The O.C.”).
This heartfelt one hour drama focuses on the relationships between families and friends and how they deal with an unexpected teen pregnancy. The series regular cast includes Shailene Woodley (“The O.C.”) as Amy Nicholson, Kenny Baumann as Ben, Daren Kagasoff as Ricky, Francia Raisa (“The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream”) as Adrian, Greg Finley as Jack, Megan Park as Grace Johnson, India Eisley as Ashley Nicholson, Jorge-Luis Pallo as Mark Green and Molly Ringwald as Anne Nicholson. The recurring cast includes John Schneider (“Smallville”) as Dr. Marshall Johnson, Ernie Hudson (“Oz”) as Dr. Ken Fields, Luke Zimmerman as Tom, Allen Evangelista (“Zoey 101”) as Henry, Amy Rider as Alice, Renee Olstead (“Still Standing”) as Madison and Camille Winbush (“The Bernie Mac Show”) as Lauren.

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"Idol" Next Week: "Gives Back," Inspirational Songs, Jordin Sparks, Chris Brown

By admin Published: April 3, 2008

Following is the official release about last night and next week. One note: No mention of this week's vote totals, which suggests they weren't great. (They weren't mentioned on the air either.)

Finalist Ramiele Malubay was eliminated tonight from the AMERICAN IDOL competition after she received the fewest votes. On Tuesday's performance show, contestants sang Dolly Parton songs, and Malubay, 20, from Miramar, FL, sang "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind."

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"American Idol" Results: 9 to 8

By admin Published: April 2, 2008

In-progress notes after the jump. ...

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NBC Fall Plans (Updated)

By admin Published: April 2, 2008

The whole announcement is after the jump. Will post thoughts later.

Well, it's later, and I have written a thing for tomorrow's Beacon Journal and I have no great insights re this schedule right now.

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"Birds of Prey" on DVD

By admin Published: April 2, 2008


(Photo from Birds of Prey Online)

Yup, the promising but short-lived series arrives on July 29. Full release after the jump. Liked what I saw of it, but not sure Warner can call a show that lasted 13 episodes a hit.

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"Dancing With the Stars" Podcast

By admin Published: April 2, 2008

Here I am again (and the "American Idol" podcasts will continue as well). New topic, new co-chatter, same old hair bump.

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"Project Runway," "Dexter," "Mad Men," "30 Rock" Among Peabody Winners

By admin Published: April 2, 2008

Also Colbert, "Planet Earth," "Nimrod Nation," others. Full announcement after the jump. ...

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Fun at the Movies, "Dancing With the Stars"

By admin Published: April 1, 2008

I took a look at who was bumped from "Dancing With the Stars." Will post that with a brief comment or two after the jump. But first, here's why I was close to a coronary tonight.

The bride and I went up to Cleveland for a screening of "Leatherheads," the new George Clooney movie. Preceded by a trailer for "Baby Mama." The trailer's not right --it's off kilter onscreen so the tops of people's heads are missing. Annoying but not unbearable. Then "Leatherheads" starts. The image is still off. There's a wide black band at the bottom of the screen, and the top of the frame is missing.

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"American Idol": Parton Ways

By admin Published: April 1, 2008

Notes after the jump ...

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Tuesday Plans

By admin Published: April 1, 2008

I am attending a screening of "Leatherheads" tonight so it will probably be late tonight or early tomorrow before I post about the "Dancing with the Stars" results and what madness ensues when "American Idol" meets Dolly Parton. Talk among yourselves, and I will be back when possible.

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Speaking of "Mad Men ..."

By admin Published: April 1, 2008

TNT is also getting into the advertising-drama game with a new show, "Truth in Advertising," to air in '09. Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanagh star, as does Cleveland's own Monica Potter. Details after the jump. ...

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"Mad Men" to DVD!

By admin Published: April 1, 2008


"Oh, no! I just got an HD DVD player from our client Toshiba!"

It arrives July 1, on standard DVD and Blu-ray. According to Lionsgate, the set will include "special bonus materials including commentaries, featurettes that explore the world of 'Mad Men' and much more! Mad Men: Season One will be packaged in a truly original sleek, limited-edition, metal 'lighter.' Full announcement after the jump.

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Monday Night Leftovers: "HIMYM," "Two and a Half Men," "The Bachelor"

By admin Published: April 1, 2008

I should also mention "New Amsterdam," but I'm something like three episodes behind in watching it. But I did catch up with all of the above last night and this morning. Notes after the jump ...

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Ray Romano's Next Move

By admin Published: April 1, 2008

TNT has made official its commissioning of a DRAMA pilot starring "Everybody Loves Raymond's" Ray Romano. Details after the jump. ...

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