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Monday, January 31, 2005

A&E Pinches The Sopranos

Looks like A&E has bought the rights to air reruns of HBO's The Sopranos, bumping off TNT from the bidding. Speculation is that they'll air santized versions during the day, and uncut verisons at night.

I know TBS has had some success with "clean" episodes of Sex and the City, but The Sopranos? It would be tough enough scrubbing out all the violence- how would they deal with renaming a major character? "Big Wussy?" "Big Kitty?" "Big Vagina?"

ABC Family Wants Out Of The '50's

ABC Family is looking to ditch the antiquated notion of "family" in order to make its channel more edgy. It's ordering some new shows that, in the words of ABC Family President Paul Lee, embrace the contemporary family with all its humor, passion and dysfunction."

Maybe they should have been bidding on The Sopranos. Bada-BING!

Spiked

Albie Hecht, chief of Spike TV ("The First Network for Men!") got axed over the weekend for attracting too many women.

What a coincidence! That's the same reason I got fired from my last gig!

Did You Get A Free Bowl Of Soup With That Job?

Obviously CNN staffers aren't all up on their current events: Page Six reports a booker from the network contacted Rodney Dangerfield's agent last week, seeking a comment from the comic legend on Johnny Carson's death. Rodney passed away late last year.

The booker may have been on to something: even dead, Rodney would make a funnier guest than Carrot Top.

Bye, Bye Briscoe

Dick Wolf has figured out how to send off Jerry Orbach's Lennie Briscoe in his new Law & Order: Trial By Jury spinoff, but he's keeping it a secret.

We hope the show is good... real good. Because out of the gate, the only thing exciting us about another Law & Order was Orbach's presence. Maybe Wolf can pull a Blake Edwards and build a story around old outtakes of Jerry, a la Trail of the Pink Panther. Any Briscoe is better than no Briscoe, I always say.

Black Gets His Crack

Agitated comic and Daily Show commentarian Lewis Black has signed a development deal to star in his own series.

Screw the sitcoms- maybe he could replace Paige Davis on Trading Spaces. Personally, I'd love to see Lewis with a nailgun.

Love/Hate: Alias

In case her name didn't give her away, our own Irina D. is quite an Alias fan. But the new season, which saw J.J. Abrams hit the reset button for the third time, has left her a little cold. So is there any affection left for Syd and Company? Let's find out in this week's Love/Hate.

Clearly, I truly love Alias. I named my dog Sydney, people- I really love it. And, overall, I'm loving this season- Sydney seems happy and more like herself again, Weiss and Nadia are super cute, and I love Jack when he's being scheming and underhanded. And, of course, no Lauren Reed and her Eyeliner of Evil.

But whither Sark? And why does Sloane seem so dull- last season, which was not my favorite (nor anyone else's it seems), he was all kinds of plotting and deceptive. So far this season, he hasn't seemed to do shit. I am aware that Lena Olin is never coming back, evereverever, but I still miss Irina. Most of all this season, I miss having a recurring baddie. The excellent Kelly MacDonald was terrific a couple of weeks ago, but- having turned into a Scottish popsicle- she won't be returning.

The episodes have been entertaining, by and large, but the lack of a continuous storyline is pissing me off. They're setting some good stuff up- the third Derevko sister particularly- but these in-and-out missions are not at the heart of what made Alias so fun for regular viewers.

Come on J.J., there's got to be a happy medium between attracting new viewers and satisfying your loyal fans. Or maybe this is the happy medium and I just haven't gotten used to it yet.

Check out Alias-esque "Ready For Debrief" T-shirts! Now at the TVGeekSpeak Store!

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Monday Tube

If you’re just not the 24 type (we won’t judge you!) there are other options tonight. On Animal Planet, ride along with a K-9 Unit on Part 1 of the week-long series Animal Cops: San Francisco . If you’re the history-lovin’ type, or just like to watch bearded guys smoke big, smelly cigars, check out American Experience: Fidel Castro on PBS. And for the truly desperate, there’s a double feature of crap cinema: the Gellarless Cruel Intentions 2 on FX, and Barb Wire, starring the mutilated Pamela Anderson Lee on Showtime.

Monday Trivia: S.H.O.W.S.

Which of the following was NOT a real show?

a) Acapulco H.E.A.T.
b) W.E.B.
c) Project U.F.O.
d) A.D.A.

Answer tomorrow.

The Geek Files: The Late, Late, Late Show

This week, Pusher is drudging up a few more repressed memories from her tube-tattered past. And once again, she drags her somewhat less geeky twin sister into the mix. And this column marks the first-ever TVGS mention of Silk Stalkings, which is long overdue. Enjoy this week's Geek Files.

Living the life of a TV Geek is strenuous work. It's long, hard hours in front of the TV. You gotta want it and you gotta want it bad.

When I was a kid my twin sister and I had a small black and white TV in our room. After scanning the TV Guide every week, I'd select the after-bedtime, late night movie or series that I just couldn't miss and make sure my alarm clock was set. The instant it went off, I'd jump from my top bunk, plug in my headphones and drag the TV as close to the bed as possible. Too many times I was perilously perched on the edge of the bunk bed, inches away from falling on top of the dresser or even on my sister. All because I had to see the 4am broadcast of the Late Late Movie Prince Valiant, starring a twenty-something Robert Wagner in a pageboy haircut; or the 2am rotational series Silk Stalkings or Adderly. (What ever happened to Winston Rekert? It's not easy to act like you're a spy for the Department of Miscellaneous Affairs but he pulled it off superbly.) Did I mention that this all had to be pulled of without waking my parents in the next room?

In case you were wondering, yes, I was supposed to wake up my sister to watch with me. But, did you ever get a phone call while you're taking a nap and don't recall a second of it when the caller mentions it the next day? Yeah, that happened every night:

3:45am: movie alarm goes off

Pusher: "Psst. Wake up. Bringing Up Baby is on Channel 9 now. Should I make it louder?"
PusherTwin: "Nah, I'm not gonna watch tonight."
Pusher: "OK."

7am: school alarm goes off

Pusher: "That was such a funny movie. Remind me to cross it off my Cary Grant list."
PusherTwin: "What!? I told you to wake me up!"

I just stopped trying. My life was strenuous enough.