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''House''

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 31, 2006

This summer, I was one of many reporters interviewing a producer of ''House'' about what's coming this season. She apparently had a very good time toying with us, giving out dribs of information, or turning the interview around by asking what we wanted to see on the show.

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Reese and Ryan

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 30, 2006

TMZ.com is reporting that Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Philippe have separated. (Story here.) Have to wonder if their respective career arcs were a factor. Both good actors. But Witherspoon's got strong box office and an Oscar (although, as I said last week in a column, she was better in ''Election'' than in ''Walk the Line''). Philippe's latest, ''Flags of Our Fathers,'' is a very good movie -- directed by Clint Eastwood -- but so far proving a disappointment at the box office.

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More ''Wicker''

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 27, 2006

From today's e-mail:

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Catchup Night: ''Lost,'' ''Veronica,'' Bits

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 27, 2006

Before we get to anything else, here's the latest (and hysterically funny) check out what the ''Nobody's Watching'' gang has done with ''Lost'' in this video. Hysterically funny, and with a surprise guest.

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Another Movie Night

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 26, 2006

I may have to have the Cone of Silence attached permanently to my head where TV shows are concerned. I saw nothing in real time last night because I was at another movie screening, this one for ''Stranger Than Fiction,'' the Will Ferrell-Emma Thompson comedy.

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NBC Shuffle

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 25, 2006

From today's announcements:

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Long Tuesday

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 24, 2006

Watched ''Studio 60'' this morning, and my issues with this show are too many to go into now. Disappointment growing by the week. Wrote a HeldenFiles and Pop Quiz for tomorrow, and a mailbag column for Thursday. Came home and began watching the DVD of ''Mission: Impossible III'' for my DVD column, which -- like my mailbag -- is now going to include movies. Last night involved a trip to Cleveland to see ''Running With Scissors'' for a movie piece for Friday, which I have to write tomorrow. Annette Bening's great, the movie not. Then back home, where I finished watching ''M:I III'' and checked out some of the extras, which gets me to midnight. And, of course, during the day and night, I checked in here to read all of your comments, to post a little of my own. So the DVR is groaning from tonight's effort, and I am yawning. Good night to one and all.

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I Love This Ad!

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2006

Michael J. Fox has weighed into a political race in this spot. It's very powerful and makes its point both in what Fox says and in how he looks.

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Jessica and Nick News

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2006

The following is in People online:

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It's Never Too Early for Holiday Shopping ...

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2006

After I wrote about a new ''Daniel Boone'' DVD in a recent column, the following arrived in the e-mail:

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Jane Wyatt, ''Amazing Race,'' Odds and Ends

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2006

My new world order continues in the office and out. On the office side, I've begun two new things: ''The HeldenFiles,'' bits and pieces about personalities and pop culture, which will run Sunday, Wednesday and Friday; the first one appeared yesterday. Today saw the first ''Talking Points,'' a roundup of news and cultural items from the weekend, for Monday morning conversations at the office. Last Friday also saw the debut of ''Pop Quiz,'' a brief daily reader question-and-answer in addition to the weekly mailbag column.

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'"SNL's'' First Season on DVD

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 20, 2006

After dealing with years of patchwork ''best-ofs,'' this is really good news, notwithstanding the misspelling of Jane Curtin's name:

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Oh, THAT 8 p.m. Ban!

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 20, 2006

More about NBC's supposed plan to turn the 8 p.m. hour into a cheap reality zone, this with NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly quoted in Daily Variety:

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New Morning, New Name

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 20, 2006

Some of you may have noticed last night that the name on this blog as changed to ''The HeldenFiles Online.'' Although I wrote about things other than TV under the old ''Beacon TV'' name, the change aims to make clearer that the blog will range wide on cultural issues. (''Kuo Time,'' below, is one example.) It's also meant to make this a companion to the print version of ''The HeldenFiles,'' a column about people in the news that will start in the Beacon Journal on Sunday.

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''Grey's'' Blues

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 19, 2006

The bride and I had a double feature of ''Grey's Anatomy'' tonight, finally catching the episode from a week ago, followed by tonight's. Regular readers here know I've been pretty obsessive about the show. But right now I'm not feeling the love for it much.

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Kuo Time

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 19, 2006

For the last several days we've been hearing about David Kuo, once the director of faith-based initiatives for President Bush, who has described in some detail his disenchantment with the Bush administration.

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Great Line ...

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 19, 2006

From a press release about the Oct. 23 episode of ''Two and a Half Men'':

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Bad News for Reality-TV Haters

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 19, 2006

You may already have seen the reports that NBC Universal is slashing its budget, cutting jobs and reorganizing. But here's the scary part of the story, from today's Wall Street Journal

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Welcome to the Other Blog

By admin Published: October 19, 2006

If you stumble across this, it's a test of a new blog format that may succeed my current ''Beacon TV'' (soon to be renamed ''The HeldenFiles Online''). I'll see be posting to the previous blog for the time being, so don't change your bookmark. In fact, even though the name is changing, we'll keep the same URL so you don't have to re-bookmark. Or whatever the right word is for that.

But if you do find this, drop me an e-mail at rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com.

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''Lost,'' ''Veronica Mars'' And Such

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 19, 2006

Last night the bride and I went to the Students Against Multiple Sclerosis lip-synching fund-raiser over at the University of Akron. I hope someone gets YouTube a video of Brian Dominguez's splendid performance. But, once again, it meant a night of delayed viewing. We checked out the ''Dancing With the Stars'' results (which had no one bounced, since the show isn't about to give up a week of ratings just because Sara Evans's divorce). The morning brought ''Lost'' and, from even farther back, ''Veronica Mars.''

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Tuesday Night at the Movies

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 17, 2006

Went to a screening of ''Flags of Our Fathers'' tonight and I'll have plenty to say about it soon, virtually all of it favorable. But I was also reminded of why I have often been content to watch movies at home, swapping the lack of a larger screen for a little peace. Some people can be remarkable jerks.

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Don't Pay the Ransom, I've Escaped!

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 17, 2006

Bonus points for knowing the joke that goes with the punchline above. The last few days have been hectic as all get out. Last night, for example, I watched ''Studio 60'' sometime after 11 p.m. while finishing an envelope-stuffing project. I was done just in time to catch the wild end to that Bears-Cardinals game. Saturday night I was writing the thing that was stuffed, Sunday afternoon we were making copies and folding them, and that was just part of the non-job obligations of late.

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Chasing Al Franken

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 14, 2006

Sometimes you find a story, sometimes the story finds you.

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When In Doubt ... Lee Jordan!

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 13, 2006

With Stefani Schaefer's swift departure from Channel 5 (hastened so she can get to work on her new national show), Channel 5 has gone to one of its all-purpose players, Lee Jordan, to fill the gap. (Consumer advisory: Channel 5 has a news partnership with the Beacon Journal.) And why not, at least for the short term? She's a solid on-air presence. Anyway, here's the announcement:

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''Betty'' Picked Up

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 13, 2006

More news about shows getting full-season deals, this one from ABC:

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''Dancing'' Dropout (Updated)

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 13, 2006

I spent part of last night at a meeting, then some more watching ''Lost,'' which I'll post about later. So it wasn't until this morning that I caught up to the news that Sara Evans has dropped out of ''Dancing With the Stars'' after filing for divorce from her husband. You can find one of the stories about it here.  In addition, Extra sent out this e-mail today:

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''Are You Drunk Right Now?''

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 12, 2006

I have finally sat through the 10 minutes of Diane Sawyer's interview with Mel Gibson that ''Good Morning America'' aired today, with more to come tomorrow. (I fast-forwarded through the shamelessly promotional 2 1/2 minutes ''GMA'' devoted to the Gibson story during its first half-hour, to plug the actual interview in the second half-hour.)

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Mo' Skeet! Oh!

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 12, 2006

Good news for Skeet Ulrich and ''Jericho,'' from CBS:

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For ''Hootenanny'' Fans

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 12, 2006

In case you needed another reminder of how old I am, I remember watching ''Hootenanny'' during its 1963-64 run on ABC. But there are enough of you in my demographic to find this interesting news:

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Tucci, Too

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 12, 2006

When CBS yanked ''Smith,'' there was considerable speculation that ''3 LBS'' would be the replacement. Lo and behold ...

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''Medium'' Is Back

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 12, 2006

As late as this afternoon, NBC's consumer Web site said ''Medium'' would return after football. But with trouble spots in its drama schedule -- and with ''Medium'' fans very vocal -- the network is moving more quickly. Here is today's announcement:

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Roger Ebert Update

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 12, 2006

During my daily -- actually, several times daily -- check of Jim Romenesko's media site, I came across a link to a note from Roger Ebert in which he talks about his most recent medical crisis. Sounds pretty harrowing, but ultimately optimistic, with a good sentiment at the end.

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''Dancing'' Results

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 11, 2006

Right now ''Dancing'' is filling time with a really unfortunate dance to ''Boogie Wonderland.'' But the results thus far:

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''Extreme Makeover'' Bumps ''Grey's'' Reruns

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 11, 2006

I've heard from folks who were quite happy that ABC was replaying ''Grey's Anatomy'' on Fridays, not least because it meant they could watch ''CSI'' on Thursday and not have to hassle with recording ''Grey's.'' Unfortunately for those viewers, the reruns have proven to be the stopgap they looked like. ''Extreme Makeover'' returns on Oct. 20. Here's the official announcement:

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Tuesday, Wednesday, This and That

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 11, 2006

I've been hearing from fans of ''Smith'' (including one in a comment below) who don't understand why it was dropped. Short answer: Bad ratings. It wasn't because the show was about a criminal, since CBS knew that going in. And, given the people involved with the show, CBS probably looked for compelling evidence to keep it around. But the numbers didn't provide any. Sure, the similarly themed ''Sopranos'' worked for HBO, but HBO can get by with far fewer viewers than a broadcast network show requires -- if only because HBO viewers put cash directly in its pocket by subscribing to its programs.

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''Friday Night Lights'' Reminder

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 10, 2006

Last week less than 7.2 million people watched the premiere of ''Friday Night Lights,'' which ranks among the best new shows of the season. As I have said before, it was my favorite pilot for a new series. I know that the 8 p.m. hour (on the East Coast, at least) is a brutally competitive one for TV fans. The DVR will certainly be clicking in my house at that time. But even if you have to record something else for later viewing, give ''Friday Night Lights'' a chance. I have seen tonight's episode and it is still good, thoughtful, emotional -- a deft portrayal of a small town that goes far beyond its football trappings. These are not patient times at the networks, with all five -- ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and the new CW -- having already made changes in their fall plans. So let's not push NBC's patience by waiting awhile to watch ''Friday Night Lights.'' It deserves a look now.

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''Heroes'' Morning After

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 10, 2006

I had already seen last night's ''Heroes'' but paused again for the shot of the cheerleader on the slab, because it's such a great ''holy cow'' closer. Can't wait to see what they're going to do with her next -- especially since Matt Lanter, who plays the evil quarterback, is going to be around for more episodes, and I suspect some creepy payback awaits.

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The Fourth-Best ''Studio 60'' To Date

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 10, 2006

An especially big mess for ''Studio 60'' in what, if I'm counting correctly, is its fourth telecast -- hence the title of this post.

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Waiting on CW HD

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 9, 2006

In Northeast Ohio, you can find old episodes of ''Smallville'' in HD thanks to HDNet. But you can't see the current ones in that format yet.

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''Infernal Affairs/The Departed''

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 9, 2006

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I saw ''The Departed'' recently after watching its Hong Kong predecessor ''Infernal Affairs.'' And, in another step toward writing more about movies, I filed a piece for the Beacon Journal about the two, which you can find here.

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Long Weekend Over

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 9, 2006

The bride and I took a Friday through Sunday break, journeying down to Hocking Hills for some peace, quiet and rest. All three were obtained. Considerable sleep, a little walking and even some reading (Calvin Trillin's ''Feeding a Yen,'' which makes me pause often because Trillin's food writing makes me so hungry, Michael Freeman's ''ESPN: The Uncensored History.'') Especially impressive: That I managed to last more than 48 hours without going on the Internet.

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''Kitchen!''

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 6, 2006

Another good episode of ''The Office'' last night, especially in the detail it has given its characters and their relationships.

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Disappointments: ''Grey's Anatomy,'' ''Survivor''

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 5, 2006

On ''Grey's,'' I liked the whole dating competition between McDreamy and McVet, and Kate Walsh as Addison is world class. But who couldn't guess that the guy with the seizures was going to seize as soon as he held the baby? And shouldn't someone have looked at the foster kid's abdomen a lot sooner, given how many times she said she had been hit?

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Calvin Trillin and R.W. Apple Jr.

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 5, 2006

In two and three-week increments, have spent something like a year of my life on TV critics' press tours, which means I have spent a lot of time in hotels, and in their elevators. This may explain why I have had some interesting encounters in elevators -- chatting with Buck Owens (whom I did not recognize), and with Robert Pastorelli and some of the guys from ''Entourage.'' And it was while waiting for an elevator that I saw an acclaimed stage actor confronted by a group of teenage girls who recognized him but could not figure out what from; he finally copped to having been on ''Who's the Boss,'' and looked even more uncomfortable as they shrieked their recognition.

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A Couple of Reasons To Love The Smoking Gun

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 5, 2006

First, there's this link to a list of the requirements that the great Iggy Pop has for concerts. (Note, some adult content)

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Fox Shuffles the Deck

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 5, 2006

Fox has a weird enough schedule anyway, with a late-summer start, a hiatus for baseball, then an overhaul in January to make room for ''American Idol'' and ''24.'' So why not change things one more time, as it will after baseball? Here's the hype...

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Wednesday TV: ''Dancing,'' ''Lost''

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 4, 2006

''Dancing With the Stars'' shocker: Vivica A. Fox gets the boot while Stumbling Sara Evans not only survives but avoids the bottom two. (Monique Coleman was the other one in the two.) ..

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If Only Because Marilyn Is a Canton Guy...

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 4, 2006

Another item from the mail:

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''O.C.'' Update

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 4, 2006

From today's e-mail:

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More ''CI'' on DVD At Last

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 4, 2006

In 2003, the first season of ''Law & Order: Criminal Intent'' was released on DVD.  In 2004, the THIRD season was released on DVD, as part of a gimmicky release of what were then the most recently concluded seasons of all three ''Law & Order'' series. Now, finally, the second season will be released on DVD. Here's the announcement, with some comments following:

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CBS Flip-Flop

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 4, 2006

From today's e-mail:

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''Gilmore Girls'': A Slow Fade

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 3, 2006

All right, I liked Kirk turning himself into Luke, right down to the backward cap and the ''No Cell Phones'' sign. But that was about it as ''Gilmore Girls,'' in only its second episode of the season, felt run down.

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Give ''Girlfriends'' Its Billboard!

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 3, 2006

TV Tattle has a link today to a Los Angeles Times story where ''Girlfriends'' mastermind Mara Brock Akil complains about not getting enough respect from the new CW network. If you don't want to link to the story, here are the key paragraphs:

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More ''Little People. Big World''

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 3, 2006

We recently put a piece about ''Little People, Big World,'' on the cover of our weekly TV supplement. I'm also posting the text here, not least because what I wrote was largely inspired by all the ''LPBW'' comments posted here on the blog. So thank you for that. And here's the column:

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''Studio 60'' Again

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 3, 2006

Here's where I get a little crazed: Last night, it was about 11 p.m. when the bride and I got back from the screening of ''The Departed,'' and I just couldn't relax. Too much Diet Coke at the movie -- it was in one of those cups you could float a paper sailboat across -- and I was just wired from watching and thinking about the movie. So, after a feeble attempt at sleeping, I settled down with my recording of the third episode of ''Studio 60.''

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A Night Out

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 2, 2006

The bride and I went to a screening tonight of ''The Departed'' (hence my watching ''Infernal Affairs'' over the weekend). It's kind of a push which I liked better -- ''Infernal Affairs'' tells the story in a more efficient and balanced way, while ''The Departed'' lights up whenever Alec Baldwin or Mark Wahlberg takes over a scene -- and I'll get into that more later. The thing that struck me most immediately was what a TV hound I have become. I'm more comfortable watching from the couch, and the picture quality of my HD set and of most well-made DVDs is considerably better than what I saw on the big screen.

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Still Here (Really)

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 2, 2006

The weekend's TV included ''The Amazing Race'' (and it WAS amazing how the losing team was scammed by their ''guide''), Kent-Akron, Buckeyes, Browns, ''Everybody Hates Chris'' (still funny), ''The Game'' (not), and a DVD of ''Infernal Affairs,'' the Hong Kong-made adventure film that is the inspiration for Martin Scorsese's ''The Departed.'' Kept meaning to blog but did not get to it, since I was also working on some new job projects as well as maintaining a home life.

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