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Talking "Lost"

By admin Published: January 31, 2008

A few notes after the jump, based on tonight's episode, and I welcome your comments. ...

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Thursday Notebook

By admin Published: January 31, 2008

Let me explain this illustration, after the jump ...

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"American Idol" Flashback: Robbie Carrico

By admin Published: January 30, 2008

If you're wondering about rocker Robbie Carrico's boy-band past (mentioned but not detailed on tonight's "Idol"), maybe this pic from a fan site will ring a bell. More after the jump. ....

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My "Lost" Rave

By admin Published: January 30, 2008

In case you missed it in the print Beacon Journal or on Ohio.com, it's here. I would have liked to say more, but neither do I want to get in the spoiler game. Still, it was a really good start for the season, and I am sure we will have plenty to talk about once the episodes air.

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Oscar Watch: "American Gangster"

By admin Published: January 30, 2008

Overview: Two nominations, for best supporting actress (Ruby Dee) and art direction. Notes, with possible plot spoilers, after the jump ...

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Tuesday TV: Christmas in January

By admin Published: January 29, 2008

I've been trying to muster some deep thought about the "American Idol" auditions in Omaha, but it wasn't a very interesting telecast -- and sent relatively few people to Hollywood. But the blahs from that were made up for by "House," even if it was a Christmas episode airing off-season (since Fox obviously hoarded some episodes for later use if the strike dragged on -- as it has). ...

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More "Celebrity Apprentice"

By admin Published: January 29, 2008

It's been a bit of a crazy day. More about that another time. For now, though, this item from NBC:

NBC will present the exciting conclusion of the premiere season of "The Celebrity Apprentice" with a live season finale originating from New York City on Thursday, March 27th at 9-10 PM ET. As the outrageous season reaches its climactic and surprise conclusion, where one celebrity will be named the first celebrity apprentice, NBC and Donald Trump will bring the show back to 'The Big Apple' for a second season with another all-star celebrity lineup of candidates. The announcement was made today by Craig Plestis, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, Development and Specials, NBC Entertainment.

The second season of "The Celebrity Apprentice" will premiere in January of 2009.

In making the announcement, Plestis said, "This revved up installment of "The Apprentice" has been a game changer for the series. As the rest of this season unfolds, you just keep watching, these episodes have been more thrilling than any season before. There were times when I was screaming at the TV set, literally, and the live finale will leave you on the edge of your seat. He added. "We are blown away by the casts drive, energy, and passion to not only play the game but also to raise a lot of money and awareness for important causes. There's no other show like it to prove your business brain and we are already getting calls from high-profile celebrities who want to challenge themselves in Season
2."

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More "Judge Judy"

By admin Published: January 28, 2008

Official announcement today:

Judge Judy Sheindlin has signed a new multiyear deal with CBS Television Distribution to continue headlining her top-rated court show as JUDGE JUDY has been renewed through 2012, it was announced today by John Nogawski, President and COO of CTD.

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"In Treatment"

By admin Published: January 28, 2008

"In Treatment," the seductive new drama premiering tonight on HBO, is a big challenge for viewers and TV critics -- or at least for viewers and critics who don't have the daytime drama habit. Like me. ...

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"Guiding Light" Gets a Makeover

By admin Published: January 28, 2008

I don't write much about daytime dramas, but this is a pretty big change in the way the long-running soap is made. Detailed announcement from Procter & Gamble, after the jump. ...

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Oscar Watch: "Michael Clayton"

By admin Published: January 28, 2008

Overview: Seven nominations -- best picture, director (Tony Gilroy), actor (George Clooney), supporting actor (Tom Wilkinson), supporting actress (Tilda Swinton), original screenplay (Gilroy), music score (James Newton Howard). Discussion, including plot spoilers, after the jump.

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Coming Soon: Oscar Watch

By admin Published: January 27, 2008

Regular blog readers have seen my notes on some of the Oscar nominees, including "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood." But there were quite a few nominees I have not seen yet. So my plan over the coming weeks is to see them and post notes, especially about whether they strike me as the best in their nominated categories. Last night, for example, I watched "Michael Clayton" and I expect to have comments here soon, possibly as early as tonight. I have set aside my DVDs of nominees, and plan some trips back to theaters as well. If time permits, I will revisit movies I have already seen. Anything in particular you folks are curious about?

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"Friday Night Lights"

By admin Published: January 25, 2008

I took an early peek at tonight's episode thanks to an advance (but very rough) copy sent out by NBC. Some comments after the jump ...

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Son of Podcast: "American Idol," Audition Week Two

By jim Published: January 25, 2008

Malcolm X Abram and I talk "Idol." Stay tuned, and hear Malcolm sing!

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"Idol" Stalker-Singer Banned from Super Bowl?

By admin Published: January 25, 2008

That's the claim of his publicist. And if that is the case, it shows that being funny doesn't work nearly as well if you're being creepy at the same time. Full release after the jump ...

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Bochco, Gosselaar Together Again

By admin Published: January 24, 2008

This from TNT today:

TNT has given the greenlight to RAISING THE BAR (working title), the latest series from the mastermind of legal dramas, Emmy®-winner Steven Bochco. The series, which stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar (NYPD Blue), Gloria Reuben (ER) and Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle), follows the lives and cases of young lawyers who have been friends since law school, but who now work on opposing sides. TNT has ordered 10 episodes of RAISING THE BAR, which was created by Bochco and lawyer/writer David Feige (Indefensible). It comes to TNT from ABC Studios and Bochco Media, with Bochco serving as executive producer. Bochco and Feige wrote the story for the pilot episode, and Feige wrote the script. The pilot was directed by Jesse Bochco (The Closer). The series is slated to premiere later this year.

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More Wednesday Viewing: "Law & Order," "Moment of Truth"

By admin Published: January 24, 2008

"Law & Order" impresario Dick Wolf has more than once argued that, in a full television season, about one third of the episodes of a given show will be really good, one third really bad and the other third in between. I'd put last night's "L&O" among the best of the season to date, and one of the best I have seen in recent years. ...

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Googling With "Idol"

By admin Published: January 23, 2008

The professionals creeping into "American Idol" have turned the auditions into a good time to Google. As I mentioned in the "Wednesday Notebook" post below, reporters found plenty about a contestant on Tuesday's San Diego telecast. And tonight, from South Carolina, there was news to be had in a search for London Weidberg. ...

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Wednesday Notebook

By admin Published: January 23, 2008

If you did not see my Oscar notes in today's Beacon Journal, they're here. "American Idol's" latest controversy, Fred Thompson (and another Fred, MacMurray) and Lois Nettleton, after the jump. ...

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More "Lost" Cross-Promotion, More "Jericho" Repeats

By admin Published: January 23, 2008

This came from ABC today:

Now fans can discover elements from the hit series “Lost” in Marvel Comics. ABC marketing has strategically placed images and references from the show in various comic books, including Uncanny X-Men, Incredible Hercules, Thunderbolts and Wolverine Origins on sale now. Examples of “Lost” references include a “Lost” poster, the number 6, and the slogan “Find Yourself” in the latest editions of numerous Marvel comics throughout the month. Expect more “Lost” placements to pop up in comic books on stands January 23 and January 30.

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"American Idol" San Diego Auditions

By admin Published: January 22, 2008

Considering the renewed emphasis on personalities and contestants' stories, I have to think that the people in San Diego were a bit dull. Thirty-one were selected for the Hollywood round, but the footage on tonight's telecast didn't make for all that interesting an hour. (And last week's two audition cities, Philadelphia and Dallas, got two hours apiece.)

I know, they also have to get in the freak shows, but even those were ho-hum. And, aside from the single dad early in the telecast, there wasn't much in the way of tugs at the heart. And while some singers were OK, an hour after watching I cannot remember anyone who really knocked me out. So either "Idol" is holding back some really good stuff for Hollywood and beyond, or San Diego consisted of a good number of competent but unmemorable singers.

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Heath Ledger, R.I.P.

By admin Published: January 22, 2008

No kidding. Brief news with no details about cause of death here. The New York Post is calling it an apparent drug overdose, that "his apartment was strewn with sleeping pills and it was unclear if it was an intentional or accidental death." The New York Daily News also notes the presence of pills.

Channel 8 is running an eerie interview with David Moss where Ledger says that, because of his daughter's birth, "I feel good about dying now because I feel like I'm alive in her, you know. But at the same hand you don't want to die because you want to be around for the rest of her life."

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Oscar, Oscar, Oscar

By admin Published: January 22, 2008

You can find the nominees list here. I've just begun looking and may post some more thoughts later. On the local side, good times for Cleveland's own Hal Holbrook, nominated for "Into the Wild," and for Cleveland's Ruby Dee, nominated for "American Gangster."
Paul Thomas Anderson, son of Cleveland legend Ernie "Ghoulardi" Anderson, is also looking at a good night since "There Will Be Blood" is up for a bunch of major awards.

I wrote a long column on Oscars odds & ends for tomorrow's Beacon Journal, and thought it was going to be posted today over at Ohio.com. Haven't seen it yet but will add a link here once it's up.

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Back To It

By admin Published: January 22, 2008

My hiatus from the blog (and from work generally) extended into Monday. While there were some chores and a bit of TV screening, most of the day was devoted to recharging the batteries. ...

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"Amazing Race" Finale and Other Notes

By admin Published: January 20, 2008

I've got a lot of things mentally backlogged for posting -- "Friday Night Lights," three new episodes of "Jericho," Suzanne Pleshette's passing. Just haven't had a lot of energy for writing. Will get to it tonight or maybe tomorrow. For now, a few words about "Amazing Race" after the jump ...

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But Can You Buy Them With Schrutebucks?

By admin Published: January 18, 2008

A very special Dwight Schrute bobblehead is up for grabs. Detailed announcement after the jump ...

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Bobby Fischer

By admin Published: January 18, 2008

Bobby Fischer, the chess champion and twisted soul, is dead.

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Podcast!

By jim Published: January 17, 2008

I know, it's a scary picture. I yam what I yam.

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"Idol" Dallas

By admin Published: January 17, 2008

Notes after the jump ...

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Brad Renfro, R.I.P.

By admin Published: January 16, 2008

When you think about what Brad Renfro might have been, don't just remember "The Client," where he worked with Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones and more than held his own ...

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A Kinder "American Idol"?

By admin Published: January 15, 2008

Notes after the jump ...

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It's "Idol" Tuesday

By admin Published: January 15, 2008

It's time for the seventh season. Malcolm X Abram and I recently collected some thoughts about the show, which you can find here.

The season begins with four weeks of auditions.(You can find a schedule here.), followed by the Hollywood round on Feb. 12-13.

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More "Gladiators"

By admin Published: January 14, 2008

This from NBC today (and it ties in nicely with the previous post re CBS, network plans and the strike).

NBC has picked up a second season of the hit competition series "American Gladiators" (Mondays, 8-9 p.m. ET) it was announced today by Craig Plestis, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, Development and Specials, NBC Entertainment.

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The Continuing Vision of the Strike-Bound TV World

By admin Published: January 14, 2008

An announcement today from CBS:

CBS has ordered three new alternative/reality series for broadcast later this year — the biweekly celebrity talent contest SECRET TALENTS OF THE STARS, the hidden camera game show GAME SHOW IN MY HEAD and the search for AMERICA'S TOP DOG. The series were announced by Ghen Maynard, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming & Entertainment Content for New Media, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group.

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The Most Important Awards Show Ever

By admin Published: January 14, 2008

Well, the Golden Globes have come and gone, almost in a blink, and it tells us something very important about awards shows ...

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"Amazing Race": Down to Three

By admin Published: January 13, 2008

Notes, results and some "Tai" food, after the jump. ...

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Please End The Strike! Part 2.5: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"

By admin Published: January 11, 2008

Wasn't the best "CSI." Loaded with stunt casting -- Jewel, Ty Murray, Shooter Jennings -- and odd, comedic casting -- Nicole Sullivan, Julie "Earth Girls Are Easy" Brown. Seemed less reliant on science and more on suspects talking than a lot of shows, although some of the talk was fun. (I now know infinitely more about what's done to bulls than I ever asked for.)

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The Nutty Idea of the Day

By admin Published: January 11, 2008

I believe that there is no idea so bizarre that someone won't put my money behind it. Witness the item from "Extra!" after the jump ...

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More "Midnight Train"

By admin Published: January 11, 2008

Well, I have now watched the "30 Rock" version three or four times, and it's making me laugh even harder every time I see it. But, just so we don't forget Miss Gladys Knight, here's a performance of "Midnight Train" with the Pips from YouTube:

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Please End the Strike! Part 2: "Grey's Anatomy"

By admin Published: January 10, 2008

One of the advantages of shows going into summer reruns, or even long hiatuses, is that it is easy to remember the things you like about a show while either forgetting or forgiving the worst flaws and the irritating little tics.

Which brings me to "Grey's Anatomy" tonight. ...

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Please End the Strike! Part 1: "30 Rock"

By admin Published: January 10, 2008

This is a rare night with lots of new episodes of scripted shows, and I have the DVRs running at full blast. Unfortunately, since this is a Thursday, I am also trying to work my way through some DVDs for my DVD column. Still, I managed to catch a chunk of "30 Rock," including the hilarious "Midnight Train to Georgia" sequence. Genius. BRING THE WRITERS BACK! NEGOTIATE! LISTEN TO TOM HANKS!

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Another Blast at Dr. Phil

By admin Published: January 9, 2008

A Spears family rep chewed him up on "Today" today. Here's the network's brief:

In a live exclusive interview, the Spears family spokesperson, Lou Taylor, talked to Meredith Vieira about Dr. Phil's hospital visit with Britney Spears and his actions and statement thereafter. Taylor said, "This is just another example of trust really being betrayed, and being inappropriate." Taylor also said the Spears family was never going to appear on Dr. Phil's television show. She said that the family felt Dr. Phil acted "self-serving" and that he "compromised" their relationship with Britney. Taylor, who serves as the business manager for Britney Spears' father, mother, and younger sister, Jamie Lynn, talked to Vieira live this morning on NBC News' "Today."

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Fresh "Chuck"

By admin Published: January 9, 2008

From NBC today:

NBC will broadcast two original episodes of "Chuck" (8-9 p.m. ET Mondays) on Thursday, January 24, 8-9 p.m. ET and again at 10-11 p.m. ET -- sandwiched around an original episode of "The Celebrity Apprentice" from 9-10 p.m. ET. From executive producer, Josh Schwartz ("The O.C.") and executive producer-director McG ("Charlie's Angels," "We Are Marshall"), "Chuck" is an action-comedy series starring Zachary Levi ("Less Than Perfect") as a computer geek who is catapulted into a new career as the government's most vital secret agent.

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Is It Time for a Steve Allen Revival?

By admin Published: January 9, 2008

I know, he's dead. But I'm thinking about what his philosophy of television might bring to the writer-struck medium right now, especially for the late-night talk-show hosts who are Allen's heirs.

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More "Dirt" Coming

By admin Published: January 8, 2008

Official release from FX:

The second season of Dirt, starring Courteney Cox, will premiere on FX
Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 10 PM ET/PT.

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Stewart, Colbert Back in Action

By admin Published: January 8, 2008

I was a little late getting to the return of "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" because I was lingering over the OSU-LSU game, anticipating an Ohio State comeback that never came. (How do you squander a 10-0 lead? Penalties, penalties, penalties.) But I did have the recorder going and was checking out the fake news once it was clear that the sporting news would be bad. And so some notes, after the jump ...

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Golden Globes Wave The White Flag

By admin Published: January 7, 2008

Because it appeared unlikely that any stars would cross the picket line for a Golden Globes awards ceremony, the ceremony per se has been dropped in favor of a news conference and maybe some companion programming.

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Dr. Phil Drops Britney Show

By admin Published: January 7, 2008

Amid mounting criticism (and the diminishing possiblity of getting Spears family members on the air), Dr. Phil has dropped his plan to devote his show to the Brit situation. The statement on his Web site goes like this:

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Leno, Kimmel Form Support Group for Strike-Breaking Talk Show Hosts

By admin Published: January 7, 2008

OK, that's not exactly what was discussed over the weekend and made official today. Here's how NBC put it:

Has television's vaunted "Late Night War" softened? On Thursday, January 10, NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (Monday-Friday, 11:35 p.m. - 12:37 a.m. ET) will welcome rival late-night host Jimmy Kimmel to the famed couch in Burbank. In return -- on the same night -- Leno will make a trip across town to take a seat on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (Monday - Friday, 12:05 a.m. - 1:05 a.m. ET on ABC) during its taping in Hollywood.

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"Dexter" Goes Broadcast

By admin Published: January 7, 2008

As has been hinted, CBS will replay edited versions of Showtime's "Dexter," starting Feb. 17.

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"Amazing Race": Plane In Vain

By admin Published: January 6, 2008

Tonight's notes and results after the jump.



It looked bad for likable TK and Rachel, who made a terrible flight connection, landing in Osaka hours after the other three teams. They were lucky that it was a non-elimination leg. But, as Phil pointed out at the end of the show, they're three hours behind the other teams and will face the "speed bump" -- the extra task for a team that has finished last on a non-elimination.

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Caught in "The Wire"

By admin Published: January 6, 2008

The great HBO show is back tonight. I have seen seven of the 10 episodes that will wrap up the series, and it is unbelievably good. More, some of it spoilerish, after the jump ...

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"Friday Night Lights" Returns

By admin Published: January 4, 2008


This, I fear, is where Landry and Tyra have gone.

Notes on tonight's and next week's telecast after the jump. Some spoilers ...

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New "Survivor" Cast

By admin Published: January 4, 2008

CBS leaked it to Entertainment Weekly ahead of time but after the jump you can find the official announcement today.

One member of my house will be happy that James from "Survivor: China" will be back, but I'm dreading the spectacle of Jonny Fairplay (not to mention actor Jonathan) again...

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Friday Grin

By admin Published: January 4, 2008

A reader asked me about this video, and it seemed like a good thing to share, going into the weekend. ...

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"Celebrity Apprentice" and a Night of Normal Viewing

By admin Published: January 4, 2008

Both us being weary, the bride and I spent last night watching TV like regular folks -- right down to watching early-evening reruns of "Two and a Half Men" instead of a DVD or a preview disc of some new show.

All right, we fudged a little, watching a bit of the fabulous recent "Man From UNCLE" box. What a time capsule. But beyond that we found ourselves channel-flipping in search of some modest entertainment that would not make us feel guilty for dozing off.

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A Parting at "Brothers & Sisters"

By admin Published: January 3, 2008

Photo from BroadwayWorld.com

Series creator Jon Robin Baitz (pictured) has been ousted from the show, and has written a long, two-part essay about his departure for the Huffington Post. Here's a notable bit from the second part:

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Sneak Peek at "Sarah Connor Chronicles"

By admin Published: January 3, 2008

About a week ago I posted my thoughts about "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," based on the first two episodes. If you don't want to wait for its premiere to tell me how wrong I am, Fox is offering an online preview. Here's the announcement:

In anticipation of the two-night premiere of TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES Sunday, Jan. 13 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) and Monday, Jan. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), FOX will offer fans a one-time-only preview of the pilot episode of the new Warner Bros. Television series exclusively on Yahoo! (http://tv.yahoo.com).

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Late Night Returns: Jimmy Kimmel

By admin Published: January 3, 2008

Continuing our tour of the late-night hosts, I watch my recording of last night's show ...

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Late Night Returns: The Story So Far

By admin Published: January 3, 2008

I have long posts below about Leno and Letterman. Will get to the other shows later. One brief thought, also mentioned in the Letterman post: Leno's show looked a lot like Leno usually does, as if it had a writing staff. And Letterman felt more like the show of someone doing without his writers -- there were some really aimless pieces -- and ticked off about it -- lots of pro-writers material.

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Late Night Returns: David Letterman

By admin Published: January 3, 2008

OK, I know this is a little weird. I just watched Leno in real time and am now watching Dave. So consider the context of what follows. ... (One semi-rude joke included)

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Late Night Returns: Jay Leno

By admin Published: January 2, 2008

My plan is to get through a couple of the late shows -- I'm DVR'ing everything -- tonight and the rest tomorrow. It's late, you know. Will be filing as I watch. So, the local news just ended with an anchor's promise that even though Leno doesn't have writers, he's funny on his own. ...

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Conan O'Brien Speaks

By admin Published: January 2, 2008


Conan and beard. Photo from the New York Observer.

After the jump is a transcript from NBC of comments Conan made about the writers strike at the taping of tonight's telecast. (Some adult content.)

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And On We Go: "Blade Runner," "National Treasure," "The Wire," Another Fox Schedule

By admin Published: January 2, 2008

Fox has made another scheduling announcement. At this point, I am so confused by their changes -- which includes an invasion of Thursdays by "American Idol" -- that I'm just going to add the raw feed after the jump.

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