Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Chappelle, Comedy Summit

Comic Dave Chappelle has finally met with executives at Comedy Central to discuss the future of Chappelle's Show.

Spokespeople for Comedy Central and Chappelle declined to comment on what was discussed or when production would resume.

Chappelle had two unannounced performances at a comedy club in Los Angeles last week. He has said he left for South Africa because he was unhappy with the direction of his show, which had been scheduled to start a third season on May 31, and denied reports of drug or mental problems.

Static From the Geek In Chief: Still Can't Curb My Enthusiasm for Seinfeld

After blazing through the first three seasons of Seinfeld on DVD earlier this year, I couldn't wait for the much-lauded fourth season to be released. And this new 4 disc set doesn't disappoint: you can feel the show hit its stride and take off. And the special features included (inside looks at many episodes with cast commentary, deleted scenes, "Notes About Nothing" which give running factoids about the episode) are above average DVD extras- they actually are worth watching.

A motto among Seinfeld's creators was always "No hugs, no lessons," keeping the show's saccharine quality to an absolute minimum. But whether society has become more crass since the show first aired- or since numerous shows with similar attitudes have come since- it doesn't seem as off-putting today.

In fact, it's interesting to now re-watch this series after some distance- as well as after enjoying four seasons of the Seinfeld-on-crack Curb Your Enthusiasm. Curb's protagonist, Larry David, is so unlikeable, so crass, so... repugnant, he makes Seinfeld's irksome foursome seem almost sweet.

As unlikeable as Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine were, I could never see them following in David's footsteps by hacking up a lodged pubic hair, slipping Benadryl into a Christian Scientist's brownie, or faking being molested for the benefit of an incest group. Sure, the show was based on many of David's foibles, but needed taming for network television.

The masturbation contest (where the actual word is never used), groundbreaking and controversial at the time, now seems quaint by comparison. Even the vague awkwardness of the characters is eclipsed by newer comedies, especially BBC's The Office.

Of course, without Seinfeld, there'd never have been a Curb. Which makes me wonder... ten years from now, where will the line in TV comedy be drawn? I don't know, but one things for sure: I'll be watching David and company pole vault right over it.

The Geek In Chief writes Static every Wednesday while pitching a pants tent.

Costas to Sub for King

Bob Costas will become the regular substitute for Larry King, CNN has announced.

The veteran sportscaster, currently host of HBO's Costas Now, will sit in for the oft-married old codger about 20 times a year.

King, 71, is still CNN's most popular personality, even thought his May average of 970,000 viewers represented his worst month in four years. He regularly gets his wrinkled ass kicked by Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes.

Networks Singing and Dancing Their Way To High Ratings

In what could be called the Idol effect, performance reality is popping some summer numbers on the nets.

Last week, ABC's Dancing with the Stars snared 13.5 million viewers, the biggest audience for a summer reality debut since Survivor took off in 2000.

NBC's Hit Me Baby One More Time was the week's top program among young adults, ranking 17th in total viewers with 8.9 million pairs of eyeballs.

And there's more to come: CBS is banking on INXS Rock Star in July to hit a few high notes, while Fox polishes up the Capezios for So You Think You Can Dance.

New Clown McLudicrous

McDonald's is giving its clown an overhaul in a pathetic attempt to seem health-conscious.

The company, looking to combat criticism that it contributes to obesity, says Ronald McDonald is no longer a fast food pusher, but an "ambassador of fun, fitness and children's well-being."

In his latest ad, Ronald coaxes kids out of the house and into kicking around a soccer ball, juggling vegetables and playing basketball with NBA star Yao Ming. This, presumably, will help train kids to run faster to McDonald's to buy a Mighty Kids meal.

Simpsons Movie on Drawing Board

The Simpsons are headed for the big screen, says one of its stars.

Nancy Cartwright, better known as the voice of Bart Simpson, told the BBC the cast has done a table read for the as-yet-untitled movie. A finished product is not expected to be completed for two years.

MSNBC and CNN Have a Situation

The title of Wolf Blitzer's new CNN show, The Situation Room, was announced Monday. Decent name, right? Maybe- if MSNBC hadn't just announced that the name of ex-CNNer Tucker Carlson's new show would be The Situation.

Coincidence? Ignorance? Corporate backstabbing?

The real situation will be figuring out how anyone can stay tuned to these two dullards for longer than 5 minutes.

CNN Head Wishes He Gave Less Love to the Gloved One

The president of newly news-heavy CNN says the network has given too much play to Michael Jackson's child-molestation trial.

CNN chief Jon Klein admits the network "should have just covered the beginning and the end." That said, they're still prepared to go wall to wall for the verdict.

Nielsen Network Top 20

1. "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 14.2 million viewers.
2. "Dancing with the Stars," ABC, 13.5 million viewers.
3. "CSI: Miami," CBS, 13.1 million viewers.
4. "Without a Trace," CBS, 12.6 million viewers.
5. "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 12.1 million viewers.
6. "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 11.2 million viewers.
7. "48 Hours Mystery" (Tuesday), CBS, 10.7 million viewers.
8. "NCIS," CBS, 10.4 million viewers.
9. "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.3 million viewers.
10. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," NBC, 10.1 million viewers.
11. "CSI: NY," CBS, 10 million viewers.
12. "NCIS," CBS, 9.3 million viewers.
13. "Miss Universe Pageant," NBC, 9.2 million viewers.
14. "Crossing Jordan," NBC, 9.1 million viewers.
15. "Cold Case" (Thursday), CBS, 9.1 million viewers.
16. "Law & Order," NBC, 9 million viewers.
17. "Hit Me Baby One More Time," NBC, 8.9 million viewers.
18. "Eagles Farewell Tour," NBC, 8.4 million viewers.
19. "House," Fox, 8.1 million viewers.
20. "20/20," ABC, 8.1 million viewers.

Basic Cable Top 15

1. NBA Playoffs: Miami vs. Detroit (Tuesday, 8:20 p.m.), TNT, 4.1, 4.46 million homes.
2. NBA Playoffs: Detroit vs. Miami (Thursday, 8:22 p.m.), TNT, 3.9, 4.32 million homes.
3. Auto Racing: Nextel Cup (Sunday, 1:44 p.m.), FX, 3.9, 4.24 million homes.
4. NBA Playoffs: San Antonio vs. Phoenix (Wednesday, 9 p.m.), ESPN, 3.8, 4.14 million homes.
5. "The 4400" (Sunday, 9 p.m.), USA, 3.3, 3.6 million homes.
6. NBA Playoffs: Miami vs. Detroit (Saturday, 8:05 p.m.), TNT, 3.2, 3.52 million homes.
7. "WWE Raw Zone" (Monday, 10 p.m.), Spike, 3.1, 3.38 million homes.
8. "Law & Order" (Monday, 9 p.m.), TNT, 3.1, 3.35 million homes.
9. "Law & Order" (Monday, 10 p.m.), TNT, 3.0, 3.25 million homes.
10. Movie: "Spider-Man" (Sunday, 8 p.m.), TBS, 3.0, 3.25 million homes.
11. "Law & Order" (Monday, 8 p.m.), TNT, 2.9, 3.2 million homes.
12. "WWE Raw" (Monday, 9 p.m.), Spike, 2.7, 2.93 million homes.
13. "SpongeBob SquarePants" (Sunday, 9:30 a.m.), Nickelodeon, 2.7, 2.91 million homes.
14. "Fairly Odd Parents" (Sunday, 10 a.m.), Nickelodeon, 2.6, 2.84 million homes.
15. "Fairly Odd Parents" (Sunday, 10:30 a.m.), Nickelodeon, 2.6, 2.8 million homes.

Tonight's Tube

Now sit right back and you'll hear a tale... a tale of a crappy reality show, that is. Tonight on TBS, the second season premiere of The Real Gilligan's Island battles Fox's more-interesting looking FBI drama The Inside.

Having said that, Maryann looks friggin' hott.