Monday, January 17, 2005

CBS Courtin' Couric?

The search to replace Dan Rather is in full swing. Several reports today (quoting Time magazine) say CBS has officially approached Katie Couric about stepping in when her NBC deal is up (in 16 months).

They'd appoint an interim anchor while they're waiting for Katie to clear her schedule (and her contract). ABC's Ted Koppel and CNN's Anderson Cooper have also emerged as possibilities. What does seem clear is that CBS is leaning towards trusting an outsider with the task of putting some shine back on the Tiffany network's former jewel.

Would her morning success translate to the evening news? Would Jeff Zucker back up the money truck to keep her (she already makes $13 million a year)? Could moribund CBS staffers possibly stand all that perkiness?

ESPN's Tilt More Like A Slight Lean

ESPN's new poker tour-de-force Tilt split the pot in its debut, drawing decent but unspectacular numbers Thursday. The Michael Madsen-led drama averaged 2 million total viewers, 600,000 less than for ESPN's last scripted drama debut, Playmakers, in August of 2003.

As ESPN execs pore over the numbers, theories abound: maybe the low ratings are due to the tough competition in the Thursday 9pm timeslot. Maybe it was the show's lower rated lead in. Or maybe it's the fact that the show was kinda lame?

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24 Producers Cave To Political Correctness

"Tell me where the apology is!"

24 is buckling a bit to address concerns over how Muslims are depicted in the Keifer Sutherland-led thriller. A current plotline features a Muslim-American family perpetrating a terrorist plot from a sleeper cell.

The show is providing a PSA to affiliates which depicts the American Muslim community in a positive light, and producers have also gone back and removed a few references that they felt were 'stereotypical.'

The upcoming scene where Jack Bauer dons a turban and poses as a gas station attendant, however, may still be on the table.

News Roundup

That 70's Show has been renewed for an inexplicable eighth season. No word on how involved Ashton Kutcher will be. Topher Grace has insisted he's outta there... Fundraising totals aren't yet available for NBC's Tsunami benefit, but one tally is: the number of expletives that reached air (one by John Mayer). Will the FCC overreact? Stay tuned... The New York Post reports The Osbornes are selling their home. With the kids gone, they say it's "way too big" for them now. I'm sure they'll trade down into a one-bedroom studio...

Golden Globe Winners

Award shows are like cockroaches: if you see one, you can be sure there are hundreds more around. Which is why, as a rule, I skip 'em. So if you're like me, and missed last night's Golden Globes, you'd probably be as encouraged as I was by the list of winners: a list that's way more convincing than that of The People's Choice awards.

Here are the top Golden Globe TV winners:

Best TV Series - Drama: Nip/Tuck, FX
Best Actress in a Drama: Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order:, SVU, NBC
Best Actor in a Drama: Ian McShane, Deadwood, HBO
Best Comedy or Musical Series: Desperate Housewives, ABC
Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical: Teri Hatcher, Desperate Housewives, ABC
Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical: Jason Bateman, Arrested Development, Fox
Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made For Television: The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, HBO
Best Actress In A TV Mini-Series Or Motion vie: Glenn Close, The Lion in Winter
Best Actor In A TV Mini-Series Or Movie: Geoffrey Rush, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, HBO
Best Supporting Actress In A TV Series, Mini-Series Or Movie: Anjelica Huston, Iron Jawed Angels
Best Supporting Actor In A TV Series, Mini-Series Or Movie: William Shatner, Boston Legal

Tonight's Tube

Monday: 24 settles into its regular time slot tonight at 9pm. If you want to watch something educational, part one of Ken Burns' Unforgivable Blackness drops on PBS.

Do yourself a favor and skip Medium... as promised, I sampled it last week, and found it on the mediocre side. Plus, doesn't Patricia Arquette's mouthful of seriously bad teeth bother anyone besides me? I'll also be taking the zero on the season premiere of The Osbournes (that's still on the air?) and the debut of Supernanny. Man, people looooove crappy TV.

Love/Hate: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Whoooo are you? Ooo ooo... ooo ooooo? She's Irina D, and for this week's Love/Hate, she takes TV's top procedural, CSI: to task. But, really... it's done out of love.

There are about 9 episodes of CSI on my TiVo right now; I've seen most of them, but I will happily watch them again. I can fall asleep soundly with gruesome, maggot-infested corpses on my screen, because Grissom is on the case. I love CSI. However, I love CSI because it is a well-acted, well-written procedural, not because I give a shit about their love lives.

Look, Bruckheimer (well, your writers, really)- either you're writing the characters' personal lives or you're not. You can't allude to a relationship and then not bring it up again for two whole years. Sorry, guys. You also can't hint at sexual tension between Catherine and Warrick and then have them behave as if nothing happened for the entire rest of the season.

It just doesn't work. Not all of us are crazed 'shippers. What you end up with are fans who scratch their heads throughout an episode, all, "didn't they almost make out? What's going on?"

Here's another thing-- can we give it a rest with the violent rape flashbacks? I'm not sure when it became okay to portray scenes of sexual violence as opposed to scenes of actual consensual sex, but that doesn't mean you have to show them. That goes for your friends at Without a Trace and your shitty spin-offs too.

Despite all this, I'll probably watch six times this week. Oh, except for that one where the cheerleader gets high on PCP and eats the other cheerleader because, seriously dude, that was gross.

99 Word Law Review: Boston Legal, Sunday 1/16/05

Dawn Summers is back to analyze last night's Boston Legal. Did it meet the burden of proof? She tells us- in just 99 words.

Answer: Peaches, corn, television lawyers. Question: What are canned on a regular basis? Farewell, Sally, we hardly knew ye. After missing a key count on a lawsuit, Schmidt unceremoniously canned the bubbly brunette. Corporate lawyers are at-will employees, completely at the mercy of the senior partnership. Of course, considering Sally slept with two senior lawyers at the firm, in real life, she probably would have been given a few months to find another job, if only for appearances sake. However, a spanking new "Is this because I'm a lesbian?" t-shirt would have definitely been worth another week or two.

Dawn Summers' 99 word Law Review appears whenever she damned well feels like writing it.

Monday Trivia: Network Knowledge, Part One

Which show never aired on NBC?

A) The Naked Truth
B) Taxi
D) The Golden Palace

Answer tomorrow.

The Geek Files: BBTSHG

For some of us, being a TV Geek is a sad, lonely existence. But not for Pusher. Nope- for her, Geekin' has always been a family affair. Now, she's ready to share a few childhood memories that prove that maybe the V-chip is a good idea. Here's this week's Geek Files.

Every TV Geek should have a twin who also possesses the TV Geek gene. Then we all would have fond memories of playing the "Bunk Bed Theme Song Humming Game." Since I seem to be the only person (besides PusherTwin) who has such a memory, let me explain. BBTSHG is only played during certain hours of the day - after primetime programming has ended and before one of the two players actually falls asleep. The game went a little something like this:

PusherTwin in the bottom bunk: "Pusher, you awake?"
Pusher in the top bunk: "Yeah."
PusherTwin: "OK - what about this one? Hmm Hmm Hmmmmmmm, Hm Hm Hm Hm Hm Hmmmmmmmmm."
Pusher: "Dallas."
PusherTwin: "Isn't it funny that we don't even watch the shows that we know the theme songs too?"
Pusher: "Yeah, let's not tell too many people about that, huh. What about Hmmmm Hmmm Hmmm Hmmmm Hm Hm Hm, Hm Hm Hm Hm Hm?"
PusherTwin: "That's the second part of Punky Brewster."

Don't get me wrong. They weren't all as easy as Dallas and Punky Brewster. Try humming Matt Houston, Vega$ or Lime Street. This is the big leagues, kid! The best was when I'd hum a song and think PusherTwin was just taking her time deciphering it when in reality she had fallen asleep.

No one can keep up with me.