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The VMAs

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 31, 2006

My ears have regained their ability to hear now that a decent interval has passed since the visiting Target Demo shrieked her rage at ''My Humps'' winning an award. So here are the notes on the night.

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Sci Fi's Hold on Wrestling

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 31, 2006

Just because I find it so laughable that Sci Fi considers wrestling part of its mandate, I pass along this announcement:

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Glenn Ford

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 31, 2006

My awareness of Glenn Ford's career was based mainly on seeing him in features on ''Saturday Night at the Movies,'' ''The Million Dollar Movie'' and various late-late shows on TV. When I read that he had died (one obit is here), it took me a little time to remember if I had ever seen one of his films in a theater; only when I looked at a list of his work did I go, oh, yeah, ''Superman.''

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''Rock Star'' Wednesday (Written While Telecast in Progress)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 30, 2006

Things seem right for a multiple elimination tonight -- so many contestants, so few weeks left. And midway through the show we've had a surprise of sorts: Everyone except Magni has been ''at risk'' in the vote.

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Couric Under Fire

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 30, 2006

Back in July, Katie Couric tried to demonstrate her seriousness in front of reporters by wearing pants -- a distinct difference for someone who was so leggy on the ''Today'' show. In doing so, she probably encouraged viewers -- like me -- to study her wardrobe even more when she makes her debut on ''The CBS Evening News'' next week.

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Cavs-FSN Deal Official

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 30, 2006

Here's the essential part of the announcement:

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''Rescue Me'' (Spoilers if You Haven't Seen Tonight's Episode)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 29, 2006

Fingers crossed on technology: Since I saw tonight's season finale last week, I'm posting this with a timer set to display it after the telecast. Hope it works. If it doesn't, well, I warned you in the header about spoilers.

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Why Celebrities Shouldn't Write About Their Love Lives

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 29, 2006

Tom Arnold and his wife are separating. (The story's here.) After reading that, I reached onto my bookshelf for ''How I Lost 5 Pounds in 6 Years,'' his 2002 autobiography. There I found that the woman he is now separated from is ''loyal, honest, stunningly beautiful, and the sexiest woman I've ever seen.'' Also ''smart, hardworking, funny, and close to her family.''

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''Rock Star'' Tonight, A Bit of ''Celebrity Duets''

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 29, 2006

The Dilana melodrama continued tonight, and I'm not buying it. As the field of singers gets smaller (six tonight), the show wants more narrative to fill the hour. And, I still suspect, the show would like to dampen Dilana's vote totals some, or at least give the appearance of dampening it, so viewers go to the final show with a little suspense. But she still comes across as the most logical person to front Supernova, and by drawing out her drama, ''Rock Star'' also let her close the show. Though she wasn't, to my great surprise, the best performance of the night, maybe not even second best.

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Diver Dan? Yes, Diver Dan

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 29, 2006

For those of you who have not forgotten a single frame of video from your childhood, comes this press release:

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The Perils of Promos

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 28, 2006

So there we were, the bride and I, watching ''The Closer'' and talking here and there about what we thought had happened. Well, I was talking, anyway. I do that. Then, late in the show, as the pieces were falling together, TNT ran a promo that included a big scene from the episode we were watching. Which was also a scene that we had not actually watched in the episode yet. And which confirmed suspicions we had about one of the chararacters -- before we had had those suspicions confirmed in the actual watching of the show.

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Emmy Winners on DVD

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 28, 2006

In case you're looking for shows and stars that won Emmys last night, here's some info.

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Good Morning World

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 28, 2006

Early Sunday evening I turned on the Emmys for a couple of minutes and saw Megan Mullally winning for best supporting actress in a comedy. ''OK,'' I thought, like a cop ushering rubberneckers away from an accident. ''Nothing to see here. Let's move on.''

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Golf Sunday

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 27, 2006

About 15 minutes ago, CBS finally came on with coverage of the Bridgestone golf championship here in Akron. I'd be pretty excited to watch -- except CBS is running tape-delayed coverage from much earlier today (nor, at this point, does it have a graphic onscreen identifying this as taped coverage). Because of worries about the weather, which has included rain here and there, the final round started early at Akron, with even the marquee names on the course before CBS started its telecast. So I've been following the tournament a bit online, and even more via live coverage on XM radio's Channel 146.

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Emmys, Saturday Notes (With More About ''Nip/Tuck's'' Nod to Akron)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 27, 2006

Not sure how much of the Emmys I will watch tonight, since my teeth are ground down enough as it is. But if you're planning to tune in, check out my column in today's Beacon Journal on five things you should know before watching. (I just heard from a blog reader who noted I had an error in the link. I have now fixed it.)

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''Actors Studio'' on DVD

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 25, 2006

Let us turn now to a television landmark. A series that through its dealing with social issues in the framework of an absurdist, island-bound comedy was able to make us confront our own sense of how we should get along with our fellow man -- and woman. Let me further say that your work on this show was not only the fulcrum on top of which the more extreme characters teetered, but a window for America into this experiment in civilization. I am speaking, of course, of ''Gilligan's Island.'' And I thank you, Dawn Wells, for your contribution to it.

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A Toast to Civic Pride!

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 25, 2006

You've probably seen this new survey of ''America's Drunkest Cities.'' (If not, you can link here.) It's obviously a sham.

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''Rescue Me'' Winds Down

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 25, 2006

The show ends its third season on Tuesday. (A fourth season has already been ordered.) I have seen the season finale, liked parts but didn't like a couple of significant elements. I can't explain why without spoiling some things. So I'll save that for a post after it airs.

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Melissa Joan Hart's Different Phases (Or Faces)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 25, 2006

I found this release provocative, for reasons I'll get to after the excerpt:

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Yeah, That Was Dilana

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 24, 2006

Pretty strange to see Dilana apologizing all over the place on Wednesday night's ''Rock Star: Supernova'' telecast. Everything she said -- and apologized for -- was just a variation on themes she was hitting in mid-July when she talked to several larger gaggles of reporters visiting the mansion. (See my previous post, Notes from the Dilana Fan Club, ''Beacon TV'' Division.)

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''Survivor'' Plays the Race Card ...

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 23, 2006

All right, so ''Survivor'' has already played the race card more than once -- presenting people who fit stereotypical images. But in the new tribal arrangement, it sounds as if it's really going to put race on the front burner. Here's the announcement from CBS:

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Cookie Controversy Considered

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 23, 2006

The following was in today's mail, and it made me smile. (I especially liked Cookie Monster's blaming the media.) I even read it aloud -- although I don't think my Cookie Monster impression is podcast-worthy. Anyway, from the folks at ''Sesame Street'' ...

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''4400'' Renewed

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 23, 2006

I watched ''Rescue Me'' but wasn't inclined to post last night. Maybe later today. ''Rock Star'' is still waiting in the DVR, so ditto. But ''The 4400'' is one of those shows I get asked about a lot when it's on hiatus. (''Wildfire,'' often mentioned in my Q&A at www.ohio.com, is another.) So here's some news for fans, from yesterday's e-mail:

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It's Podcast Season! ''Nip/Tuck,'' New Fox Shows

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 22, 2006

We will be doing more podcasts as the TV season develops.

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So We've Begun...

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 21, 2006

Fox kicked off its fall-season lineup tonight. You can find my thoughts about it here.  Now that you've had a chance to see tonight's two shows, hat about your feelings? ''Prison Break'' off to a good start? Anything surprise you? Is ''Vanished'' a good companion? Is it a good show? The comments section awaits...

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TV Diversity, And Lack of Same

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 21, 2006

Just about as long as there has been television, there have been questions about the diversity of characters on the air -- whether, in fact, we can find people like ourselves to watch. Here's an announcement from today's mail about how TV handles one form of diversity:

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Our Fragmented TV World

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 21, 2006

I get a healthy amount of reader mail, not least because I write a nationally distributed column answering TV questions. But I also get letters about things I write, especially when people are ticked off. After I wrote a column for Sunday's Beacon Journal about a new show on Oxygen, this note arrived:

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On the Print Side: Dave Chappelle

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 19, 2006

Regular blog readers may remember my rumination on Dave Chappelle and Bob Hope. Asked to write about Chappelle before his appearance in Cleveland on Sunday, I went back to some of those notes and expanded on them for the print Beacon Journal. (Chappelle was not available for an interview.) You can find the result here.

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''The Fantasia Barrino Story''

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 18, 2006

In July, I saw  couple of clips from the Lifetime movie ''The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale,'' which premieres Saturday night at 9 on Lifetime, with prime-time replays on Sunday and Monday. Based on those clips -- including a wrenching scene of Fantasia, playing herself, in church -- I thought she had the goods to be a real actress. Since then, I have seen the entire movie. I still think she has the goods, just not as many as I thought before, and the movie itself is not as good as I hoped.

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Little Things That Have Made Me Happy Lately

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 17, 2006

The latest Webisode of ''The Office'' on www.nbc.com. Not that this one was better than the others, just that I enjoy them, and the Webisodes are getting me through a summer without new broadcast episodes. And, as long as I was at Nbc.com, I watched ''The Chronicles of Narnia'' one more time. Joke's old now. Still makes me smile.

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Alien Territories: ''Laguna Beach,'' ''Stargate SG-1''

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 17, 2006

There are shows you can fall into without any preparation, like ''Law & Order'' or ''The Closer'' for the most part. The show is there, the characters are defined, you're up to speed immediately. There are shows so rich in history and character, you almost need a primer to watch. ''Homicide: Life on the Street'' comes to mind, as does ''Veronica Mars,'' or ''Buffy'' in its later seasons.

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''Bachelorette'' Bit

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 17, 2006

I still think one of the best moments in reality-TV history was ''Bachelorette'' Jen Schefft's deciding not to make a match with EITHER of the last two bachelors. She was honest about her feelings and broke through the show's fairy-tale patina. Of course, she was also roundly criticized for doing so -- and a new academic study reportedly blames the criticism on viewers' longing for that fairy tale. You can find a story about the study here.

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''Rock Star'' Wednesday

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 16, 2006

Well, we finally got to hear a Supernova song, called ''Leave the Lights On,'' and I get why Tommy Lee invoked T.Rex when describing the band's sound to me. Liked the tune, too.  Dilana got to sing it, and fit in seamlessly with the band. In fact, while the show was careful to bill the performance as ''Supernova Featuring Dilana'' -- to make clear the lead singer isn't finally set -- she was so good, the guys better be ready for a day when the billing is more like ''Dilana and Supernova.''

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''Rock Star'' Tuesday: A ''Who Needs Supernova?'' Night

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 16, 2006

Maybe it was the trip to Vegas. Maybe it's being down to eight contestants. Tuesday's ''stripped down, acoustic'' version of ''Rock Star'' felt less like a battle to front Supernova than a demonstration that the singers are going to have careers in music even if it doesn't involve singing with Gilby, Tommy and Jason.

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More ''Rescue Me'': Now That You've Seen It...

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 16, 2006

(and if you haven't, then stop here.)

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Technical Difficulties/Tuesday Night Viewing (Updated)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 15, 2006

As indicated by the wildly varying type size below, I've been having some trouble getting things to post properly -- especially when I'm trying to paste releases here. And either I accidentally deleted or Typepad ate an earlier version of this post. So please bear with me.

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For Those of You Who Ask (Often) about ''MI-5''

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 15, 2006

d a

This from A&E today:

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Tom Walter

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 15, 2006

My former TV critic colleague, Tom Walter, has died. You can read his obit here.  Tom and I were were friends, if not close ones. The last time we talked was around the time he retired. He was facing a long, terrible road of illness at that point but was still cheerful and upbeat.

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... And Singing ...

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 15, 2006

From Fox this morning. (The bold type in the announcement is Fox's, not mine):

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Come Dancing...

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 14, 2006

You may already have seen the list of new ''Dancing With the Stars'' contestants. I include it here for the details -- and amusement value -- of ABC's descriptions of the ''stars.'' Can a player, for example, be a Super Bowl champion? Why no ''Veronica Mars'' hook for Harry Hamlin?

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''Entourage'' (Updated)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 14, 2006

Nice episode last night. (I actually watched it this morning. Last night's video relaxation -- after a day of chores -- was ''Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,'' which started well and became less and less entertaining as it went along. But at least we actually managed to finish our latest stack of Netflix picks without needing two months to do it.) I like Martin Landau anyway, and he was fun as aging producer Bob Ryan. And what at first looked like a change-of-pace episode ended up taking us back to a lot of things: that Turtle is still small-time, that Vince is still a big celebrity, and that this is still about the arc of a career.

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Friday/Saturday

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 12, 2006

Haven't watched much TV since last evening. Today has been errand-running day, although a good one, since the family was running together. Last night, while younger son worked, the bride and I went to the Indians game -- a relief after what felt like a too-long work week.

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Does ''Closer'' Brenda Need a Foil?

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 11, 2006

I finally caught up with Monday's episode of ''The Closer'' and for the most part liked it, at least until it got to that cliched justice-in-the-parking-deck moment. I felt as if the show wanted things both ways -- to show that the system sometimes lets bad guys get away, but also to satisfy the audience that the bad guy was punished. But I've seen that kind of payoff before, and I would have preferred if the show just let Brenda Lee Johnson -- Kyra Sedgwick's wonderful character -- be frustrated for a change.

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Mike Douglas

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 11, 2006

Word has come that Mike Douglas, the daytime talk-show host and former Clevelander, is dead. (UPDATE: You can find my piece about Douglas for today's Beacon Journal here.) He was 81.

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New Who

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 10, 2006

I'm an old-school ''Doctor Who'' fan (as should have been obvious when I brought up its TV longevity recently) but I liked the recent BBC revival -- and so was pleased by the following announcement. The official return date, by the way, is Sept. 29, with the show airing on Fridays in tandem with ''Battlestar Galactica'' once that returns in October.

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Local Schedule Note

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 9, 2006

Since WKYC (Channel 3) has the Browns' preseason game Thursday night, the station is sliding NBC's shows to late-late Thursday night, or early Friday morning if you prefer, like this:

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The Thursday Night War Gets More Interesting...

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 9, 2006

This from ABC today:

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''Rescue Me'' Tonight

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 8, 2006

Possibly the best episode of the show this season. Maybe one of its best ever, and Andrea Roth -- who plays Janet -- has one of those scenes that should be in her highlight reel for the rest of her career. In addition to moving around a lot of characters and advancing loads of stories, the episode went back to the show's roots in 9/11, then pushed forward to the present, and to the way 9/11 is one of many crutches Tommy uses to justify his failings.

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''Rock Star'' Tuesday (Updated Through Show)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 8, 2006

My girl Dilana earned major points tonight, thanks to the other singers' fear of a Tommy/Patrice situation. Last week, you'll recall, Patrice ended up in the bottom three when she sang along to Tommy Lee's drumming, with a widespread view that she was overshadowed by the drummer -- a perception fueled by very Tommy-friendly lighting and editing.

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''Lloyd! Lloyd! The Tabs Have Stopped Calling!''

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 8, 2006

... Or so I think Kristy Swanson must have whined not too long ago when the heat over her affair with ''Skating With Semi-Celebrities'' partner Lloyd Eisler died down. Because the duo has pushed itself back in the news with the announcement that Swanson is pregnant. (One report is here.)

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More TV Math: ''Prison Break''

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 7, 2006

The first season of ''Prison Break'' comes out on DVD tomorrow, and the second season starts on Aug. 21. Maybe somewhere in there is an explanation of when the show is supposed to take place.

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''Entourage,'' Testing Target Demo

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 6, 2006

I'm backed up several weeks on ''Deadwood'' so the cone of silence is in place on that one. But I have managed to keep pace with ''Entourage,'' including tonight's episode. And I'm really curious about where the show is going to wind up at the end of this season.

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Out in the World

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 6, 2006

I meant to file those ''Superhero'' notes yesterday but there were other things to do; I have added them today.

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''Who Wants To Be a Superhero?'' (Expanded/Updated)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 4, 2006

After two telecasts, Sci Fi seems to smell a hit, as this revised schedule for Aug. 10 and 17 indicates:

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XY-See More

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 4, 2006

From ABC Family today:

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If I Were the King of TV Sports (A Modest, Semi-Serious Proposal)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 4, 2006

As has been mentioned, well, just about everywhere, the Cavaliers are working out a deal with FSN Ohio that would give the cable service almost all of the Cavaliers' games by 2007-08. I can already hear the complaints from people who expect to have some sports on local broadcast -- much the way Indians fans howled when the team moved to FSN (and later to SportsTime Ohio, known to many viewers as ''Where is that thing?'').

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Peter Jennings Still Influences The News

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 4, 2006

This from ABC today...

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Good Grief, More Sports (Including a Bit on Michael Reghi)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 3, 2006

Another announcement today:

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The Browns Make Their TV Move

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 3, 2006

Good Taste Abounds

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 3, 2006

Last night was not a good one for sleeping for a variety of reasons, including another astounding collapse by the Indians and the way that HeadOn commercial keeps echoing my head. (Last night, I finally looked up what it was for -- understanding at last that it's a headache remedy when I kept thinking it was some kind of zit treatment.) Anyway, I mention this just to explain that you may not find the following e-release as twisted and re-readable as I did. Here 'tis:

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''Rock Star'' Results

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 23, 2006

I still haven't watched last night's show, so an extended recap/rumination will have to wait. (Come on, wasn't that ''Sesame Street'' dialogue a good alternative?) But I did check out tonight's results -- Patrice, Magni and Toby in the bottom three and ........... Patrice finally bid one and all adieu.

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CBS Premiere Dates

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 2, 2006

Hello, ''Stargate'' fans. There are two posts below about the longevity issue, as well as lots of comments from readers.

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''Rock Star'': Back to Watching

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 1, 2006

Because of work commitments, I haven't seen an installment of ''Rock Star'' for a couple of weeks. So it was a pleasure tonight to get back to the show, although I was doing some work again and saw it somewhat piecemeal on first airing before sitting down at the DVR to review what I had missed.

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''Rescue Me''

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 1, 2006

I got an early-evening jump on ''Rescue Me'' tonight, watching my preview disc, but I'll try to stay away from spoilers here for the time being. (The one big plot turn won't surprise you much anyway.) But the show is driving me crazy. I still have this basic admiration for it, and tonight's episode was pretty good as a self-contained piece -- funny and edgy, and reminding us how many different characters there are to watch and care about. On the other hand, I don't think it has come close to dealing with the consequences of what I still consider the rape -- and I don't accept the claim some of you have made that there was moral equivalency in what Sheila did to Tommy. To do so would be to overlook both the violence of Tommy's original act and Janet's reaction. And I still can't do that.

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''Stargate'' Followup

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 1, 2006

A Sci Fi publicist has answered my question re ''Stargate'' and ''Doctor Who.'' I may be doing more research on this, but here's the answer for the record:

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Woe For WOIO

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 1, 2006

Channel 19 had better hope that ''Jericho,'' ''Shark,'' ''Smith'' and other new CBS shows are hits. Because right now the company -- and its corporate companion, Channel 43 -- are getting another kind of hit.

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DVD: Playboy Fare, Bruce Campbell, JAG

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 1, 2006

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been catching up on DVDs, including some packages that would make apt double features.

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