News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
With Joy Behar leaving "The View" after 16 years this May -- AKA the biggest cast departure since Meredith Vieira ankled in 2006, unless you count Rosie O, which I certainly do -- it is now time to officially shake out the dust. Put some life into this kaffeeklatsch!
Of course I have suggestions who to replace her with. You'll have to decide how facetious they are, but there is gold in this list, mark my words. Also, you're going to need replacements sooner or later. After all, Barbara could get sick again (I'm wondering if she ever had the mumps as a child?) There are rumors -- by the way, there always are rumors; this is TV -- that one or another cast member may also be announcing shortly that they too must "finish that play they've been writing..." (I wonder what Joy's play is about, BTW?)
To the list:
Ann Curry: I start off with one of the softer possibilities. Ann needs work, wants out of NBC, needs a public forum to tell wonderfully gossipy-and just-short-of-liable stories about Matt Lauer...
Roseanne Barr: Come on, admit it. You thought of this too. She would make "The View" insanely, compulsively watchable; just keep that seven second delay handy, Bill.
Sarah Silverman: Would shred the polite veneer with a visceral, venal, voracious joie de vivre. Oh how Silverman would be the best get ever. Of course all of the other hosts would quit...
Tina Fey: Doesn't know how to write. Can't act. Bad at hosting awards shows. Out of work. Will never get a film starring role again. TV is done after that hugely disappointing run at "30 Rock." The poor woman must be good at something, right? That's where "The View" hosting gig comes in -- you don't have to be good at anything to do this!
Amy Poehler: [See Fey]
Andy Cohen: Knows how to keep squabbling squabblers in line.
Nicki Minaj: After she's fired from "American Idol" this season, naturally.
Lena Dunham: Need youth on this panel, and after all, she is the Voice of an Entire Generation Around the Globe; surely she has something to say about where to get the best latte in Boerum Hill.
LI's own, Kevin Connolly, has booked a fall TV pilot, according to Deadline. Details: It's mulit-camera (that is, studio audience); is titled "Friends with Better Lives," about six guys who thinks his other pal has a better gig/life than he does; and also co-stars James Van Der Beek. Meanwhile, Connolly is also booked to begin filming "Entourage" -- the movie -- this fall.
Why aren't people watching television? To put this more concisely, why are fewer and fewer people watching established hits ("American Idol"), established networks (NBC), and brand new shows ("Golden Boy") which get a lot of network promotional love, but not all that much audience love?
Why, why, why?
These are worrisome times in the field of network television...Read more »
Just a week after the death of '70s TV icon, Bonnie Franklin, this news: Valerie Harper has told People Magazine that she has "terminal brain cancer," and has three months to live.
In a few sparse quotes from the magazine's website, Harper, 73, says: "I don't think of dying, I think of being here now." Per the magazine, she has a condition called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis. Harper was of course Rhoda Morgenstern from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (later her own hugely popular "Rhoda") and was one of the most beloved characters in sitcom history.
She is also an accomplished stage actress, as fans well know, and earned a Tony nomination for her recent run in "Looped," about Tallulah Bankhead; there were indications by the way that all was not right with Harper, who had to pull out of the show before it went on national tour because of illness a couple of months ago. (A non-smoker, she had earlier suffered from lung cancer in 2009.)
Meanwhile, check out this interview on "Good Morning America" from a couple of months ago; she was on the promotional circuit for her new book, "I, Rhoda." Here she speaks about a sudden bout of illness that made her feel numb and that she was awaiting test results.
And just on time, the Justin Timberlake promotions for this week's "Saturday Night Live" host outing...
Jon Stewart is taking a break from "The Daily Show" — and not to lie on a beach. Comedy Central has announced that he'll take off the entire summer to direct a film.
His hiatus was earlier reported in The New York Times, which quoted Stewart as saying,
"I am a television person who is accustomed to having a thought at 10 a.m. and having it out there at 6:30 p.m....Read more »
And so comes the final scene for prime-time soap's pre-eminent star -- Larry Hagman's J.R. Ewing -- last seconds from last night's "Dallas." Next week is the funeral and presumably some more back story, so that closing shot last night be not necessarily be the very last scene we see of the great Hagman but it was certainly the end of J.R.
I'm dispensing here with the usual "spoiler alert:" Everyone knows that J.R. was expected to die last night, and apparently did. Again, you have to couch this a bit because the scene was cleverly set up, with footage assembled from taping last summer, long before Hagman's death just after Thanksgiving.
The funeral -- along with more back story -- arrives next week. We'll then know who shot J.R. (yes, he's been shot again!) and because two shots were fired, it's a fair assumption an assailant was involved.
J.R.'s last words? They were to his son, John Ross Ewing, played by Josh Henderson, via phone: "You shouldn't have to pay for my sins. Just remember -- I'm proud of you. You're my son, from tip to tail."
Here's a very good clip that sets up the scene, and some of the season-long conflict as well. Also - check out the second preview from next week...
World of WHO?! "World of Jenks..." That's who/what. It returns tonight on MTV (11) for a second season, and it's worth watching. Jenks - Andrew Jenks - is a 26-year-old New York filmmaker who essentially cohabitates with his subjects (which is to say, he lives with them.) And in so doing, he learns to understand who they are and what makes them tick. Good show. (We in the press - or at least I - tend to complain about MTV now and then; this show proves that the network knows how to do good too...) I sampled last season's memorable visit with Chad, the lad from upstate...He returns tonight. A preview...
"The Bible" - History Channel's big, sprawling , not-exactly-cheese-free miniseries based on (well) the Bible - was seen by 13.1 million viewers last night. Yes - Biblical numbers.
Also, "The Vikings" - the History Channel's other big weekend launch - did well too: 6.2 million.
Understandably, the series producers (and husband and wife) Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, couldn't help but kvell a little bit:
“Today, more people are discussing God's chosen people - Moses and Abraham -in one day than ever before. We’ve been working on this project for the past four years now, and are deeply honored to be given this once in a generation opportunity to breathe new visual life into the Bible’s profound stories. The Bible gives meaning and purpose to billions of people around the world. We believe the success of the series will spark the curiosity of billions more,” continued Roma and Mark.
Critics were tepid - heck, I was tepid - about "The Bible" but this isn't about critics or' even Mark or Roma, but those two very magic words - the Bible. It remains not only the bestselling book in America but bottomless source material for many hundreds, thousands, of miniseries, TV movies, and films over the last hundred years. This isn't the first big Biblical success, won't be the last. Four installments to go!
"Mad Men," returning April with a two-hour episode for the sixth season launch, wants you to check out this new promo...So...what are you wating for?