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ABC Makes Rosie Official

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 28, 2006

Here's the official word. Walters's announcement probably would have been more dramatic if the news hadn't been spread already ...

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''Idol'': Advice For the Top 5

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 28, 2006

With ''Idol'' beginning its stretch run -- and with five capable singers still in the competition -- I've been thinking about ways to make the show, and the singers, better. The show has had some good performances lately, but it's been short on goosebump-making. How to get that back? Here are a few comments.

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NBC Puts More Pieces Together

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 28, 2006

The networks officially announce their fall schedules in May, but there are always announcements before the announcements. Yesterday, NBC renewed all three shows bearing the ''Law & Order'' name. Today it added ''Medium,'' ''Crossing Jordan'' and ''Las Vegas'' to the pickup list.

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''Survivor'': Super Play

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 27, 2006

We don't always get to see all the elaborate maneuvers leading into Tribal Council, with schemes edited out so that we might be surprised by the outcome. But tonight we got to see Cirie lay out a scheme that involved telling two different lies to three different players -- and came off the way it should have.

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Thursday Morning: ''Idol'' Theme, ''Amazing Race,'' ''Veronica Mars

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 27, 2006

Fox has announced the musical themes for next week's ''American Idol.'' '' Next week, the remaining contestants will each perform two songs,'' says the network, ''one from the year when they were born, and any Top-10 Billboard charts from this week.''

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''American Idol'': American Justice (With Podcast)

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 26, 2006

Tonight's podcast is available through:

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Tony Snow's Head

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 26, 2006

(Those of you looking for last night's ''American Idol'' post, see below.)

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Funny/Not Funny

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 25, 2006

After watching television most of my life, I like to think that it's hard to shock me. But every now and then that kid who was watching TV in the '50s gets an eyeful or an earful of something that shocks. The ''anal'' joke on ''How I Met Your Mother'' on Monday night was one of those. And considering that it was in a show that airs at 8:30 p.m. (7:30 in some parts of the country), I was even more stunned.

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The Shadow of Las Vegas

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 24, 2006

I've been going through a period where Las Vegas keeps popping up on my video screen. Not just commercials for the place, or for the TV show ''Las Vegas.'' I sat down Friday with a review disc of a new Kathy Griffin special, and there she was, talking about Celine Dion in Vegas. Channel hopping one night, I landed on ''Midnight Run,'' the Robert deNiro-Charles Grodin picture. Climactic scene is in Las Vegas. The ''What About Brian'' premiere a week ago, set partly in Las Vegas. And, since my TV mailbag column began running in Las Vegas, notes have arrived regularly from there.

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''Sopranos'' and Other Tidbits (With Some More ''Veronica'')

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 24, 2006

I laughed -- very hard -- at ''The Sopranos'' on Sunday night. Wasn't alone, either, since this was a night in our regular ''Sopranos'' gatherings with co-workers, so the laughter was not mine alone. The Ben Kingsley stuff was funny enough. Mugging Lauren Bacall -- one of those things where you think, oh, no, they wouldn't DARE, and then they did. I know at some point, probably even next week, that the show is going to get back to serious business. Still, as I've said before, the makers of the show know that every episode counts these days; they're obviously determined to leave people with the sense that this was a great show, one that could do anything, including comedy -- and last night was gut-busting.

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'"Amazing Race,'' ''American Idol''

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 19, 2006

Here's the link to the latest podcast:

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''Idol'' Standard Time

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 18, 2006

''Less Than Perfect,'' ''Celebrity Cooking Showdown''

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 18, 2006

Big night for viewing and recording -- ''Idol,'' ''Gilmore,'' ''Veronica,'' ''House,'' ''The Unit,'' VH1's telecast of ''Love Monkey'' ... but not ''Less Than Perfect,'' which returns to the ABC lineup.

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After the Bunny Hopped...

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 17, 2006

I did not expect to go this long between posts, but the days filled themselves up -- chasing down a cat to take to the vet, putting a fence back up around a flower bed, Easter morning at church, grocery shopping, giving the grill its spring inaugural. Today at work I was hip-deep in a non-TV project, now finished.

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The Greatest ''Lost'' of All

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 13, 2006

I won't pretend that last night's ''Lost'' -- called ''S.O.S.'' -- was great in terms of advancing the overall narrative of the show, although there was some of that. Liked Jack and Kate in the net. Remain curious about the way the captive Other has played with Locke's head. And Michael's back, apparently setting up a lot of things for the rest of the season.

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'"Amazing Race''

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 13, 2006

The show is really mowing people down this season, with yet another week that did not include a non-elimination leg.

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Notes on TV (and Life)

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 13, 2006

Caught up on some viewing this morning and will be posting later about, IMHO, the greatest ''Lost'' episode ever, as well as ''The Amazing Race.''

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'"American Idol'' Results (With Podcast Info)

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 12, 2006

Here's the link to the post-show podcast with Amy Carlson Gustafson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

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''American Idol'' With Podcast Info

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 25, 2006

Here's the link to tonight's podcast:

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A Little Bit of Drama

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 11, 2006

In spite of the ambition in yesterday's post, the day got away from me. I had a story about SportsTime Ohio that ended up consuming part of the day and evening; it was after 8 p.m. before I had the information I needed to write. And while I was working on that, I was trying to track the two local contestants on ''Deal or No Deal'' to get something about them in today's paper. Since I was on the phone during the end of one player's journey, I ended up e-mailing an NBC publicist for the results, then wrote a brief item about it.

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Happy Monday...

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 10, 2006

I've been meaning to post for a couple of days but things kept filling the time -- yard work (the lawn mower has made its first run of the season!), cleaning a shed, helping the bride clean the house, wrestling with the rusted bolts on a toilet, grocery shopping, church and other things I can't remember. Oh, yeah, sleep.

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''The West Wing'': The Long Goodbye

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 7, 2006

I have reservations about Sunday's episode of ''The West Wing.'' I'm not saying you should not watch it, because I would have even if I did not receive an advance copy. While I see the numbers saying that the ''West Wing'' audience is a fraction of what it was, there's still something -- maybe sheer stubbornness -- that will keep me watching to the end of the series.

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Q&A With Olivia and Adam

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 7, 2006

If you've been following the ''Marriage Madness'' competition on ''Mike & Mike in the Morning,'' you know about Olivia and Adam, the top seeds in the competition for a wedding at ESPN HQ in Bristol, Conn. They were also my local connection to the competition, so I was watching the final announcement Thursday morning -- only to see that they did not win.

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The Mayor Speaks

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 6, 2006

On Thursday, I wrote a story about the latest developments in the attempt to save the Akron-Canton newscast currently airing on Time Warner Cable. The newscast loses money, and if it doesn't find more revenue sources, it will probably be gone at the end of April. As a result, people, including Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, have been trying to find a way to keep the telecast going. Those efforts included a meeting of community leaders.

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''Survivor''

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 20, 2006

Well, Bruce's stomach pain took him out of the game (although Probst's mention of whether Bruce could return for the jury was a nifty little tease. If he didn't return, you'd have a even-numbered jury. What would the show come up with to settle a tie vote?) And I was puzzled about why Cirie was so worried about alienating Shane; if her sharing of reward brought her votes from Aras and Danielle, she was in as good a position as Cirie-Shane-Aras, and if she flipped one more vote, she had a majority for the final four without Shane.

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Another Domino: Meredith Vieira

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 6, 2006

NBC made its hiring of a new ''Today'' co-anchor official today, going with Meredith Vieira. That feels like a very low-risk move by the network. Vieira has news credentials but also has an established personality, mainly through her appearances on ''The View.''

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''Lost''

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 6, 2006

This morning, I've been collecting theories about ''Lost'' from co-workers to go with my own, and there are some good ones. Starting with the obvious: That ''Lost'' has pulled a ''St. Elsewhere'' and really is all Hurley's imagination. Then the twist, which I sort of like, that it's all Libby's mental-asylum fantasy. I'd like to think the show is smarter than either of those, and that Hurley-and-Libby-in-the-asylum is just another of the show's many character overlaps. And my co-workers came up with other good spins: That Libby was in the institution doing research as a therapist, or -- even better -- that Libby was a Dharma plant, looking for candidates for the ''Lost'' project, and discovered Hurley.

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''Amazing Race'': No Revenge For Nerds

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 5, 2006

Before tonight's telecast, I was thinking that we were about due for a non-elimination round. Too bad that it wasn't, since Dave and Lori -- the sweet nerds -- finished last, and now are gone. At the top of the heap: Eric and Jeremy again, followed by B.J. and Tyler, showing once again that those two teams have a better overall handle on the game than the other contenders.

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NFL, NBC and ''Flexible Scheduling''

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 5, 2006

If you're looking for my (still expanding) notes about Katie Couric, they're in the ''Katie, Katie, Katie'' post below.

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Katie, Katie, Katie

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 5, 2006

In case you missed it, here's the transcript of Katie Couric's farewell announcement on ''Today'' this morning: Katie's news.

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'"American Idol'': Paula Booed! ''DH'' Reference! (With Podcast Info)

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 4, 2006

Best stuff on ''Idol'' tonight had nothing to do with the singing. There was Paula mildly criticizing Paris -- and getting booed. Simon, used to boos even before he has said anything, could not contain his amusement.

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''Grey's Anatomy'': That Was Better

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 2, 2006

After my crankiness about ''West Wing,'' after waiting through an Indians-White Sox rain delay (still going at this writing), ''Grey's Anatomy'' was a nice way to wrap up the evening. (''Sopranos,'' ''Big Love'' and ''Huff'' fans, please realize that I had already seen each show's episode airing tonight, so there weren't on my viewing lineup. You can read what I thought of ''Huff'' in a post below.)

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''West Wing'': The Big Cheat

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 2, 2006

Tonight's ''West Wing'' was supposed to be about election day, and about Leo dying. (We knew that from the show's promos.) I had wondered if there would be a storyline where Leo died before all the polls were closed, and the Santos campaign had to decide whether to keep his death secret until the West Coast closed. I don't know how it would have worked dramatically, but it probably would have been better than what we got tonight.

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Sharon Stone, ''Huff' and Stuff

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 2, 2006

Judging from the reviews of ''Basic Instinct 2'' and the numbers recorded for it at www.boxofficemojo.com, this is not going to be a good weekend on the big screen for Sharon Stone. Too bad. The woman can act, and she is on view to far better effect on ''Huff,'' the drama beginning its second season on Showtime at 10 tonight.

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