News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
In the category of Shooting Dead Fish in a Barrel, Jon Stewart utterly demolished CNN on last night's "The Daily Show." No surpirse - CNN had one of the worst afternoons in its long history, reporting a "scoop" that a suspect had been arrested in the Boston Marathon bombing case when, in fact, there was no arrest, as various authorities stated, even as CNN was saying there was.
If you watched CNN, it was indeed ugly - John King reporting that this was as solid as it gets, until it all slowly unravelled. King and CNN later tried to cover up the gaff, by slowing removing screen supers, and then talking about how it was attempting to correlate all that was known...until it all fell apart, utterly.
But Stewart - unfairly in my opinion - doesn't mention that Fox News Channel - which didn't even bother to cover President Obama's emotional Rose Garden speech following the collapse of his proposed gun bill in the Senate - also reported in no uncertain terms that an arrest had been made. Fox held to line until it no longer could, but the Twittersphere completely ignored its gaff, instead focusing its fury on CNN. AP had also reported an arrest.
Too bad - there was plenty of blame to go around, while NBC News' Pete Williams and CBS News got it right....
Ratings for the morning shows - "Today," "Good Morning America America" and "CBS This Morning" come out a little later, and they are expected to indicate the same new story: That "GMA" and "CBSTM" have added viewers from a year ago, while "Today" has not.
Law in morning TV: If you don't add viewers, your anchor team in in trouble, and that has been the case with "Today" for months now. But how much trouble? Brian Stelter, the New York Times media reporter whose book on morning TV ("Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV;" Grand Central Pub.) is out shortly and will be excerpted in this Sunday's Times, indicates - strongly - that Matt Lauer will complete his contract at the show, or, in his words, "Lauer has said he signed again to stop “Today” from sliding. Even though that hasn’t happened, his job still seems safe. High-ranking sources within the company suggest that the only way Lauer would leave before his deal ends is if he wanted to. Few at NBC have the stomach for a repeat of last year" - referring to the Ann Curry transition debacle..
Then there's this: The excerpt indicates that the Anderson Cooper talks are not entirely dead, and that in a brief meet with Pat Fili-Krushel (the executive with in overall charge of the news division, which remains without a president) he had "discussed a role for him on “Today” — not this year, but perhaps in 2014. According to one person with direct knowledge, one option called for Cooper to overlap with Lauer for 12 months, allowing for an orderly transition."
"Breaking Bad," one of the great shows in TV history -- which is to say also one of my favorite shows in TV history -- is returning for its final run and (I am SO much enjoying keeping you in suspense) while there's little doubt this will be one of the programming events of the decade (Okay, now I'm even beginning to annoy myself)...
...August 11. That's the day. Mark the calender. "Breaking Bad" will return to wrap its run on August 11, 2013. Eight episodes will air. And we will learn about the fate of Walter White.
But here, arguably, is even more interesting news: AMC will also launch a show called "Talking Bad," obviously patterned after the successful "Talking Dead." Details:
AMC announces that it will air a special weekly, half-hour live after show to accompany the conclusion of its Emmy® Award-winning series, “Breaking Bad.” “Talking Bad” will analyze and dissect every detail of “Breaking Bad’s” final eight episodes beginning Sunday, August 11. “Talking Bad” will air at 11pm ET/PT, and will be produced by Michael Davies’ Embassy Row with Sony Pictures Television serving as the studio partner.
Yes, there is a lot of interest in this new series from Bravo called "Princesses: Long Island" -- that already threatens, by the way, to trot out every Long Island/Gold Coast/Jewish stereotype known to humankind . . . But let's withhold judgment! For the moment anyway. Here are the bios of the ladies, from Bravo:
Amanda Bertoncini At only 27 years old, Amanda works hard for her tiara...Read more »
Shut up, Internet. Shut up shutupshutupshuuuuutUP!!!: The "Friends" reunion is not happening.
This rumor, this tired, hackneyed drivel of a rumor, pops up reliably every few months, like an Elvis sighting. It's almost turned into the beginning of a bad joke... "Did you hear the one about the 'Friends' reunion?'" Ha ha. Shut up.
It popped up again yesterday, leading Marta Kauffman -- she and David Crane were show-runners so she should know -- to tell E! that this will never happen. Someone with way too much time on their hands actually put together a poster proclaiming a reunion, it went viral -- just like the flu -- and gullible people the world over actually believed it.
I'm going to tell you why this will never happen, in Buzzfeed-like fashion, citing six reasons:
1.) Jennifer Aniston has a life. Reunions are death.
2.) All of the core actors have lives -- which is to say day jobs producing, creating, acting or directing. They'd need a reunion like another hole in the face.
3.) Reunions are death. Oh, I already mentioned that.
4.) Everyone associated with "Friends," including the grips and lighting techs, are vastly wealthy. Actors do reunions only when they are having trouble paying the mortgage on the Malibu Beach house.
5.) Reunions are death... oh wait, deja vu all over again. Let me elaborate. Reunions remind fans -- and actors alike -- that the cruel march of time has walked all over their beautiful faces. These actors are getting older, and hopefully with age comes wisdom -- that reunions simply remind fans that their beloved Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler and Ross have reached middle age, and that they are no longer cute.
6.) Warner Bros. has tried to get a reunion going and so has NBC -- but they've been laughed out of the room. The only reunion you'll ever see is on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and Larry's already done "Seinfeld," and brilliantly by the way.
It's not often you hear Jon Stewart say to anyone that he or she has "inspired my belief in humanity" but he was moved to offer such a tribute last night to Boston...Stewart was off Monday night and returned to "The Daily Show" Tuesday. Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert, also back last night, had a tribute too. The clips...
In a strange addendum to the Boston Marathon bombing that could only happen in the age of the Internet -- and the age of "Family Guy" -- the series' creator Seth MacFarlane has gone on Twitter to express outrage at a viral clip which appears to show Peter Griffin setting off bombs at the race.
“The edited Family Guy clip currently circulating is abhorrent,” MacFarlane tweeted a little while ago. “The event was a crime and a tragedy, and my thoughts are with the victims.”
I'm not going to post here . It's stupid and tasteless, and while I'm certainly not averse to taking the low road now and then on this blog -- for gawdsakes, this is a blog about TV after all -- that is a road too low. You can easily find it.
But here's the thing: The March 17 episode did include a scene in which Peter drove over a bunch of racers (par for the course, so to speak, with "Family Guy"). That was mashed up with another clip showing Peter apparently setting off a pair of bombs via cell phone.
[Meanwhile, this update via "EW:" "The episode, 'Turban Cowboy,' was removed from Fox.com and Hulu and the network does not plan to air it again, a Fox source confirmed."]
A profile of a brilliant and acclaimed photojournalist, Tim Hetherington arrives this Thursday on HBO: "Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Times of Tim Hetherington. Airs at 8 p.m.
Timing here is perhaps notable and entirely unintentional: Hetherington, who died April 20, 2011, in a rocket attack in Misurata, Libya, where he and a group of reporters were covering...Read more »
And another figure from the golden age is gone: Frank Bank, 71, died over the weekend. Wires did not provide immediate details of cause of death, but Bank had lived in California. In a statement released to the Hollywood Reporter, Jerry Mathers — the Beav — had this to say:
"Lumpy was the ultimate bully, but Frank was a very, very kind and gentle person and a very good actor to play it so well. "The show was about all the people you knew growing up and throughout your life, and Frank brought that perspective to the show."
Lump wasn't the best-known or best-loved character from "Leave it to Beaver" — and he wasn't supposed to be — but he was vital member of the constellation of characters that surrounded Wally and Beaver, and in the process made those two more human in a more sitcom kind of way.
Gerard Jones, who wrote a terrific book a few years ago on the history of classic sitcoms — with the equally terrific title "Honey, I'm Home" — offered this excellent appraisal of Bank's Lumpy, who at first was the neighborhood bully before he morphed into a more dimensional character (insecure, under his father's thumb, not his own manboy, and so forth ...)
The kids were convincing: Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow played Beaver and Wally with an engaging lack of self-consciousness and preciosity. Their friends, whose main function was to lead them into innocent trouble, were weirder — and yet more believable — menagerie than sitcom had attempted: Oily wise guy Eddie Haskell; thickheaded, think-skinned Lumpy Rutherford; fat selfish Larry Mondello; belligerent, jealous rat-finking Judy Hensler ... "Lumpy was the ultimate bully, but Frank was a very, very kind and gentle person and a very good actor to play it so well," Mathers said. "The show was about all the people you knew growing up and throughout your life, and Frank brought that perspective to the show."
Apologies for this late post on Sunday's interesting "Mad Men," titled "The Collaborators," but like you, I have had a lot else to reflect on than the latest Don Draper bed-hopping episode.
But in light of the tragedy in Boston, it's almost -- in an unexpected way -- bizarre that an episode, which revolved around a Winston Churchill quote, would air the night before.
Churchill:...Read more »