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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.

I hope you give ''30 Rock'' a chance tonight. I have seen two episodes, watching each more than once, and there's a lot of wit and dry humor, as well as a terrific performance by Alec Baldwin and a very good one by Tracy Morgan. (Tina Fey is a better writer than actress, but she's not bad at either.) The Jane Krawowski/Rachel Dratch switch is also an improvement. It's not as fall-down-funny as ''The Office,'' but in time it could be.

As for ''Twenty Good Years,'' you're on your own. As much as I like Akron's John Lithgow, the series pilot didn't make me want to come back for more.

Comments welcome on both shows.

Last night I fell asleep during ''Gilmore Girls.'' No obvious fault of the show. Nor, in spite of a shot from a co-worker, did it have to do with my being old. Just tired, and still running hard. In fact, the ''Gilmore Girls'' nap gave me enough energy that I could finish watching a screener of ''Before the Music Dies,'' a documentary being shown here on Saturday.

Yep, I am easing ever more into movies, as well as keeping a hand in TV. This morning I hit the office early before heading up to Cleveland for a preview screening of ''Shortbus.'' (More about it later.) It should have felt odd to sit in a darkened theater at 10 o'clock in the morning, but it didn't really. I've been watching TV shows at odd hours for years -- prime-time previews in the morning, recordings of daytime shows at night -- so I don't have much of a sense of time dislocation. I just have to remember to stay awake.

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