Monday, February 28, 2005

Web Whiparound: How'd Rock Do? Not So Hot, Says The Media...

The verdicts are coming in- and it's already clear that Chris Rock's first Academy Awards telecast may have also been his last.

His spotty, somewhat tame performance has garnered mostly negative reviews, somewhat reminiscent of David Letterman's only hosting gig a few years back.

It's a shame, because it probably means viewers will be subjected to another return of the wildly overrated Billy Crystal next year. Blech.

Related links:
N.Y. Daily News: "A rocky night for Chris"
A.P.: "Rock scores big"
Philadelphia Inquirer: Rock is "Simply bad"
USA Today: "Loud, snide and dismissive- ranks with the worst hosts ever"
N.Y. Post: "Chris doesn't Rock"
Boston Herald: "Well-behaved Rock solid as host"
Chicago Tribune: Rock "almost painful"
LA Times: "Rock wasn't the best choice"
KC Star: Rock "A letdown"
Boston Globe: Rock "Run of the mill, predictable"

Who should host next year's Oscars? Vote now in our Idiot Box poll- in the right hand column!

...But Ratings Say Otherwise

The critics may be frowining upon Chris Rock's performance last night, but ABC and The Academy are smiling. The show got its best overnight ratings since 2000.

Maybe he will be back after all.

NBC Orders Up Behind The Camera: Diff'rent Strokes

Diff'rent Strokes, the popular '80s comedy, will get the "Behind the Camera" movie treatment from NBC.

This will mark the first of the series spotlighting an NBC show. Of course, it also aired on ABC for its final season (how many out there remembered that? The author of the Post article didn't), so maybe that left a bad taste in the Peacock's mouth.

True "Bye!"s: Tom Arnold Out at Best Damned Sports Show, Period

Nation overcome with grief.

How will we go on?

Local Newscasts Cleaning Up Their Acts For Sweeps

"Can the stress of the quarterly sweeps period... kill you? Before you produce your next report, watch ours!"

Many of those very producers have been breathing a sigh of relief these days. Thanks to the adoption of people meters, which allows local stations to more easily monitor audiences on a year-round basis, ridiculous sweeps stories may become a thing of the past. Some stations have already dropped them completely.

My favorite from this sweeps period was from WCBS here in New York: "Irate over iPod!!!" Old story (the device's battery woes) but great marketing.

Related link: WCBS-TV: Shame On You: The Apple iPod.

"Is my son, a sexual predator, also a ratings machine?"

Redneck TV shrink Dr. Phil had his highest overnight rating ever last Thursday with a show featuring a 19-year-old sexual predator.

Look for Harpo Productions to sign the sicko up for his own daily talk show. Think of the early news ratings lead-in!

Final Briscoe

"They got him!"

Those are the last on-screen words of the late, great Jerry Orbach. His second, and final, episode of the new Law & Order: Trial By Jury will air Friday night.

CBS should expect record low numbers for Numb3rs that night.

NBC News: Tom Who?

NBC has to be happy with their new anchor, as Brian Williams has held off ABC's Peter Jennings in the evening news race for 11 straight weeks- his entire tenure as Tom Brokaw's replacement. However, his lead is slowly shrinking, and can still eventually prove to be a horserace- a two way horserace, that is. Nobody is expecting Bob Schieffer to light the world on fire.

Today's Tubeservations

It's all about the Oscars today: Chris Rock didn't light my world on fire, but he had his moments- Catwoman 2 and McFlurry gags are always funny. I kind of liked the various camera angles, presenting from the audience, the balconies, etc (Is this new or did they do it last year?) Sean Penn was his usual arrogant self- dude, the Jude Law thing was a joke, you humorless jackass. Also, Clint seemed to get older with every word of his acceptance speech. But the high point of the night: buttcrack on Hillary Swank! Did somebody show her that dress from behind? And ABC embarassed itself by subjecting its huge audience to promos for the hideously implausible Blind Justice. All in all, a mediocre night... as expected.

Tonight's Tube

I laid eyes on Jen Schefft in person this week, and there must be something seriously wrong with this sizzlin' hott broad to make her look for a love connection on TV. Anyway, for the masochistic reality lovers out there, you can enjoy 3 hours of season-ending hijinx on The Bachelorette. Or, as an alternative, watch two hours of ball eating, bug snorting reality show rejects on Fear Factor. And on Medium, clairvoyance may be catching: Allison's daughter is seeing dead people.

The Geek Files: A True Geek Is Never On Vacation

A true TV Geek never takes a break from the idiot box- even when taking some time off. To demonstrate, here's Pusher with this week's quasi-international edition of The Geek Files.

I know I talk about TV a lot. I have a good excuse: it's my job. But it's been brought to my attention that even when I go on vacation I can't stop talking about my beloved tube.

A couple of years ago I went to London for the first time. This trip happened to coincide with Gillian Anderson's West End debut in "What the Night Is For." Of course, I went to see it. As an X-Phile in the area, I was obligated. My traveling companion in London reminded me today of a little story I told her while sightseeing at Tower Bridge. It happens that, in a flashback episode of Hart to Hart, viewers finally found out how Jonathan and Jennifer first met. It was in London and, naturally, they hated each other. That doesn't matter though. The point is that at the end of the episode Jonathan proposed to Jennifer by having signs with the words "Will" "you" "marry" "me?" hang over the side of Tower Bridge! Where else would that story be relevant than standing at the foot of Tower Bridge?!

Then there was the time I went to San Francisco. My friend had been there several times and was showing me the town. One moment sticks in his memory - it was when I spent my first cable car ride recounting an entire episode of Remington Steele in which Steele fabricated a missing persons case to get Laura to go on a romantic weekend trip to San Francisco. Remember when they're about to kiss but someone shoots at them and they have to jump behind the garbage cans and Steele is both pissed and scared because they actually stumbled into a real murder case? Good times.

In Las Vegas it was CSI: and Vega$ stories; in Toronto, Adderly. D.C. brought out the Scarecrow and Mrs. King and The West Wing references. And don't even get me started on visiting my sister after she moved just outside of Boston. As a huge Spenser: For Hire fan, this was the mother-lode.

Where does it end? Well, for me it was Iceland. Not one show popped to mind when I was there. OK, for comparison purposes I may have mentioned Northern Exposure... but that shouldn't count, should it?

Pusher's The Geek Files airs every Monday.

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