Tuesday, February 15, 2005

NASCAR: It's Not Just For Trailer Trash Anymore

Driving aimlessly in a circle has hit the big time.

Thanks to the sport's continued growth, NASCAR is gearing up for a big-time rights increase as its contracts with Fox and NBC/TNT begin to run out.

30-second ads are currently pulling in an astounding $375,000 each! That's Desperate Housewives and CSI territory, folks. Just imaginge how many Larry The Cable Guy videos and cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon that'd buy!

How Much Do Advertisers Love Raymond?

It will cost advertisers around $1.3 million for a single, 30-second ad in the show's finale in May.

That's a lot o' love.

Barbara Walters Announces Recipients of Her Annual Pre-Oscar Ass-Licking

It's time once again to watch an extremely soft-focussed Barbara Walters stroke the egos of some of Hollywood's biggest stars. On tap this year: Jamie Foxx, Will Ferrell, and Teri Hatcher.

The special airs immediately before the Academy Awards, opposite fellow View loudmouth Star Jones' red carpet coverage. Geez- there's a choice for you! I'll take the voluntary colonoscopy instead.

Comments From Host Don't Rock Academy Bigshot

Gil Cates, the producer of the Oscars, said Monday he was not concerned by inflammatory comments made by comedian-turned host Chris Rock.

Rock has been stirring controversy in recent interviews by calling the awards "idiotic" and a "fashion show." He also was quoted as saying "What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one."

Are people really surprised that Chris Rock would make controversial statements? Isn't that the point of hiring him? Who did they think they were signing up to host? Nothing like a little publicity to goose ratings, though...

Here's hoping CR turns the Oscar telecast on its ear. It can use a little shakeup.

Grim Reality for Contender Contestant

Middleweight Najai "Nitro" Turpin, 22, a contestant for the new boxing reality show The Contender, has committed suicide by shooting himself in the head just weeks before the show's March 7 premiere.

It is not believed his motive was related to the show.

Except for a planned live championship, set to take place in May, all the bouts in the "The Contender" have already been completed. Executive producer Mark Burnett says Turpin's death will be mentioned at some point, probably in an onscreen message at the end of an episode.

If It Bleeds, It Leads

A new study shows that local newscasts largely ignore local politics.

Surprising, since those scintillating races for alderman can be so cut-throat and competitive.

Medium Observation

Patricia Arquette has man-hands.

Just needed to be said.

24 in 99: 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Hey JoeVideo- TELL ME WHERE THE BOY IS! IN EXACTLY 99 WORDS! How perfect- it's time for this week's 24 in 99!

Curtis and Erin plot to cover up Marianne's CTU hiring. With their only suspect dead, Jack and Tony track his cellphone calls, which leads them to TerrorMom's hotel, where she's arrested. San Gabriel Island is in Nuclear Meltdown, close to Edgar's mom, who can't be evacuated... poor Edgar. Behrooz meets his uncle at the hospital, to get medicine for Dina's gun-wound, but he's taken hostage by his dad and his uncle is killed by Navi. Jack takes Dina to get Behrooz... a shootout between Navi and Jack occurs.... Navi escapes with Behrooz to the basement... there's no way out...

For daily TV Headlines, features, and trivia, tune in to your inner geek at!

Tonight's Tube

Tuesday: What's your pleasure: Groundbreaking? Starz has Kill Bill Volume 2. Educational? PBS' NOVA shows us how specialists are Saving Our National Treasures. Mind Numbing? Encore's got sappy chick crap While You Were Sleeping. TV wrecking? Dr. Phil fills the bill with his romance special on CBS.

TV on DVD: This Week's New Releases

Here are this week's new TV-related DVD releases:

Angel: Season Five
Ballykissangel: Complete Series 3
Good Times: The Complete Fourth Season
Greatest American Hero: Season 1
Little House On The Prairie: Season Seven
Taxicab Confessions: New York New York
Unsolved Mysteries: Legends

✪ TVGS recommendation

Tuesday Trivia: History of Cable, Part 2

Which cable network is the youngest?

B) Showtime
D) Disney Channel

Answer tomorrow.

Monday Trivia Solved: History of Cable, Part 1

Which cable network is the oldest?

A) Nickelodeon
C) A&E

Answer: Nickelodeon (1979). The others: MTV (1981), A&E (1984), USA (1980)

Geek/CounterGeek: Survivor

Since I refuse, on principle, to watch reality dreck like Survivor, I guess I should refrain from editorializing in my intro this week. So I'll keep it simple and just subtly introduce Vito's weekly Geek/CounterGeek.

All Hail The Return of Survivor

Survivor returns this Thursday and I can't wait. It may not be the granddaddy of reality TV (Even The Real World doesn't hold that distinction, - see the PBS series An American Family from 1973, or the British TV documentary Up series that started in 1964 and continues today) but it was the first modern smash hit of the genre that started the current reality craze.

Survivor is still the best of the bunch. Executive Producer Mark Burnett always manages to throw a wrench into the works of the show. Just when you think you know where things are going, everything changes. The reason I like Survivor over, say, The Amazing Race, is the bulk of the show is spent on the survivors interacting in their camps.

Sure the challenges are exciting, but what goes on before and after them is fascinating. Suddenly power shifts and the cocky mastermind is on the chopping block. How far are people willing to go, or not go, for a million bucks?

CounterGeek: Survivor... Wake Me When It's Over

I've watched every season of Survivor since Richard Hatch first bared his flabby ass. That first season was exciting because nobody, especially the survivors themselves, knew what was coming. With the exception of Hatch, I don't think anybody back then really knew how to play the game. Every season since has been a disappointment.

Sure, there were some interesting characters and cool twists, but it's basically the same Survivor, different Island. If the casting goes wrong, an entire season can become a total bore. Even within seasons that could be considered good, there might be several consecutive weeks when everything goes according to plan, which is totally lame for the viewers.

Current promos promise a shock that completely changes the game from the beginning- we'll see. The truth is, there will never be anyone as fascinating to watch as Richard Hatch that first season. He invented the strategy of the game and everyone since are just imitators.

Do you agree? Post your comments below!

Vito's Geek/CounterGeek appears every Tuesday.

For daily TV Headlines, features, and trivia, tune in to your inner geek at!