Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Dan Departs

Tonight is the night.

After 24 years, Dan Rather, often portrayed as the poster boy for biased network news reporting, steps down as CBS Evening News anchor this evening. He'll then frame his CBS career with a prime-time retrospective at 8pm ET.

Some call his exit strategy intensely emotional, while others categorize it as unseemly and bizarre.

Whether you agree with his politics or not, Rather always made headlines and kept things interesting, even as his newscast became increasingly unwatchable and irrelevant. The affiliates are certainly happy he's going, and perhaps Les Moonves can pull a Murdoch and revitalize the evening news format.

So, we'll see you, Dan. The Bob Schieffer era (temporarily, at least) begins tomorrow. Courage!

Finally, Everyone Digs A Fat Chick- Well, Almost Everyone

The premiere of Fat Actress, starring the rotund Kirstie Alley, drew over one million viewers- Showtime's most watched debut in five years.

Meanwhile, the National Eating Disorders Association is choking on the new quasi-reality series (subscrition may be required). They object to the jokes about anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, and call it dangerous.

Hey, fatheads: take a joke. Kirstie is the lard-ass poking fun at herself, and she's not too upset to cash the checks. If you don't like it, don't watch. Meanwhile, you're giving the show more free publicity (like it needs any more).

Contender A Middleweight

The new, ultra-expensive reality show The Contender took a few kidney punches in the ratings Monday night.

It finished behind the other three networks, with CSI: Miami throwing the Stallone-helmed competition it's hardest beating.

Still, NBC is hopeful because it attracted big numbers in the young, male demographic.

Malaysians Making A Lot Of Sense

"We cannot dismiss the role of television," Malaysian ministry Director-General Ahmad Sipon was quoted as saying. "It is important. Students should watch more television..."

Emmys Mull "Best New Show" Award in Planned Overhaul

The Emmy Awards are looking to shake things up a bit.

First there was talk of moving the writing, directing, supporting actor and actress in a movie/miniseries categories out of the prime-time show... and now they're thinking of bringing back a Best New Show Award.

Why not? So many good new shows fail, and the added exposure from the award could prove invaluable.

Viewers Love TV Poker; Compulsive Gambling Help Lines, Not So Much

A New Jersey lawmaker wants cable networks that feature gambling to donate money to treatment agencies to help compulsive gamblers deal with their problems.

Why stop there? Let's have Food Network donate to binge eating groups. Or the Tennis Channel set up a fund for Tennis Elbow research. Why not have E! open a charity to provide financial support for the other 25 letters of the alphabet? Or have Court TV set up a scholarship fund for in-cell education of serial killers?

Tonight's Tube

It's Weepy Wednesday, as Dan Rather steps down from the CBS Evening News, only to return an hour later to commemorate his career in a prime-time memoir. On NBC, American Dreams moves to its new, and potentially fatal, timeslot (8pm ET). And on Alias, half-sisters Syd and Nadia find their buddy-buddy relationship in big, big trouble.

TV on DVD: This Week's New Releases

21 Jump Street: Season Two
Andromeda: Season 4, Collection 5
Best Of Mister Ed, The: Volume 2
Columbo: The Complete Second Season
Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids: Volume 1
Felicity: Senior Year Collection
Friends: The Complete Ninth Season
Green Acres: Season 2
Mole, The: Season One
Popular: Season 2
Saved By The Bell: Season 2 - New Class
Sweet Valley High: Season 1
Tsunami: Wave Of Destruction - ABC News
Xena: Warrior Princess: Season #6

Tuesday Trivia Solved: Cheers, Part Two

How did Woody know Coach?

A) They were second cousins
B) They were pen pals
C) They met at bartending school
D) They met at Red Sox fantasy camp

Answer: B) They were pen pals.

Static From The Geek-In-Chief: Blind Development

Last night, ABC premiered Blind Justice, a drama about a gun-toting cop who just happens to be blind (See Tuesday's TVGeekSpeak Web Whiparound for reviews). Apparently, networks are so desperate for ideas that logical premises are no longer required.

So since the old rules of show development no longer apply, I'd like to propose a few ideas (it is pilot season, after all). Watch for them on a major network this fall!

On Deaf Ears: A hearing impaired, classically trained pianist takes a job teaching a rag-tag group of music protégés about life, while honing their natural talents.

Silent Argument: The heartwarming story of a fully mute debate team and their quest for a championship.

Leprous Ladies, LTD: Inside a high class, high priced escort service, where customers may get more than a good time.

Evil Legals: A group of failed law students falsify their bar results to open a firm specializing in defending low income, high-need clients. They never win, but their hearts are in the right place.

Pit Bulls For PETA: Animated series featuring vicious but socially conscious pit bulls who must balance their animal rights agenda with their need to tear apart every living thing in their path.

AC/DC NASCAR: An inside look at Dale Hartrider, the bisexual driver of NASCAR's first electric vehicle, and his struggle for acceptance, on and off the track.

Anchors: Behind the scenes at a local newscast, where actual reporting and investigating is stressed over house fires, weather, and panic-inducing sweeps stories

STD Swap: Two infected "playaz" taint each other with a hideously contagious social disease. Contestii must guess what they got to win valuable prizes.

The Tasteless Chef: Gourmet cooking with the world's only tongueless cook.

Nazi Moyle: A new reality show. Self explanatory. Watch the hijinx!

And finally…

Lost: A plane filled with only the most beautiful people on earth crash-lands on a mysterious island, where... hmm. Never mind.

Static From The Geek-In-Chief airs every Wednesday.

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