News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
"Nightly News" last night said Brian Williams was "on assignment" -- and some assignment, indeed: He has scored the first American media interview with Edward Snowden, who is essentially under protective custody in Russia.
NBC just confirmed this massive scoop and offered more details -- a full hour interview will air at 10 next Wednesday.
Williams' in-person conversation with Snowden was conducted over the course of several hours and was shrouded in secrecy due to Snowden's life in exile since leaking classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs a year ago. Williams also jointly interviewed Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has reported stories based on the documents in media outlets around the world, about how they came to work together and the global debate sparked by their revelations.
Snowden released a vast trove of NSA "metadata" -- some of which revealed the NSA collection of phone and Internet traffic of U.S. citizens and the tapping into of personal phone communications of foreign leaders.
Fox News' Gregg Jarrett -- who took a leave of absence from the network earlier this month -- was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Wednesday. The Star-Trib reported this first, while others have since confirmed. He obstructed a police officer at the terminal bar, and has been arraigned . . . Also: TV Newser picked up this statement from Fox:
"We were made aware late...Read more »
HBO's "The Normal Heart" arrives Sunday, and for the network - and director Ryan Murphy - this is a considerable undertaking not without risk, for these times are - in some regards - more polarized than '85, when the Joseph Papp production opened at the Public Theater. (The role of Ned Weeks - essentially the play's author Larry Kramer - was originated by "Midnight Express'" Brad Davis - Billy...Read more »
Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" - his finest series since "Seinfeld" - returns June 19 with: Robert Klein, George Wallace, Sarah Jessica Parker, Aziz Ansari, Jon Stewart.. Sounds all good, and coffee's on Jerry. On Crackle...
The 18th season of "Dancing with the Stars" ended last night, and what a shocker: The Olympic ice dancing gold medalist won.
Who saw that coming? I mean, really?
Of course I'm disappointed, but this is not about me, is it? No, it's about Amy Purdy being robbed. She'll get over it -- after all, who's got the room in their closet for a glitter-ball trophy that big anyway?
But the winners, Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy, were certainly extraordinary. No doubt they were this season's best, but that doesn't make this larceny any easier.
Speaking of extraordinary, how about that appearance by Iggy Azalea last night? I could hear millions of conversations all over America ... "Mabel, what's an Iggy ... Mabel, what's she saying ... Mabel, turn off the sound, I'm confused ..."
In "DWTS'" almost comical ongoing efforts to build a young audience, Iggy got the call. Hey, why not: She's got a big hit. Certainly the most interesting part of this finale, and of many finales ... To the clips!
"Mad Men's" first half of the seventh season (got that?) ends on Sunday, and in celebration, or mourning, of the impending event, "Men" creator Matthew Weiner was on "The Colbert Report" on Tuesday night.
As expected, the segment was more about Stephen than "Men," but Weiner did offer a few closing thoughts on the series so far, while the host has an unusual suggestion of how to end the entire series. But you have to watch to the end of the clip.
Memorial Day approaches and TV approaches the day in its own way, too. But one particularly worthy effort in fact began last week - "Coming Back with Wes Moore," a PBS three-parter that returns Tuesday night (WNET/13, 8).
There's much to admire about this film, but Moore's specific take on veterans returning from the battlefield and re-assimilating is as good as any place to start: His approach...Read more »
Every season I predict the winner of "Dancing with the Stars" on the morning of the finals -- that's right, I've got a life and I'm living it large -- but almost invariably manage to get it wrong. I'm proud of that record, a testament to the fact that I really don't have a clue what I'm talking about when I talk "DWTS," but also to the cleverness of producer Conrad Green and protean "DWTS" who and which still manage to find ways to pull off little surprises after all these seasons.
Of course there's no surprise to the three we find in the finalists' circle, with possibly the exception of Candace Cameron Bure. Of course this was all going to come down to Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Derek Hough and Amy Purdy. That was the plan all along and it succeeded well.
It's easy to dismiss this final as all glitter-ball showmanship -- an ending crafted long before it ever even got to this point. But I actually do think this is a special end, and that the winner will indeed be someone who defied the odds -- to use that old tired line -- and did it in a way that created a sense of wonder in those who witnessed and a sense of real joy, too. Maybe you can really do what you set out to do, even when that would seem, on the face of it, impossible. Maybe those odds can be defied, and the fates overruled, and . . . darn it, maybe that glitter ball trophy really does mean something after all.
Of course the winner has to be Amy Purdy. The winner must be Amy Purdy. The winner will be Amy Purdy.
This wasn't easy for her and it could not have been easy -- even with the always superlative multiple champion Hough by her side most of the season. (And if somehow you are not aware, she lost both lower legs to bacterial meningitis as a young girl, and dances on prosthetic legs.) But she did it all with unfailing grace and a seeming belief in the goal -- that winning is in fact not quite everything but the process in getting there certainly is.
Good for her and for Hough -- they have briefly restored my faith in a show that gets wheezier and geezier by the season. But every so often it does find a real champion worth crowning. This one, for example. Here's the freestyle again from last night.
The last season of "True Blood" begins June 22, which should give us just enough time to digest -- bad choice of word, but for now will do -- all the juicy (another wrong word) trailers that HBO will be feeding (how many wrong words can I stuff in a "True Blood" post?) fans between now and then. This one bites off a lot without sucking any vitality out of what to expect.
Just take a look; this one arrived Friday:
And now this from the local TV news scene: Art McFarland, the longest tenured reporter at WABC/7's "Eyewitness News," is leaving the station May 30. It's all good, he says: Retirement and other opportunities beckon.
McFarland, 65, is certainly one of the best-known reporters on New York TV -- a long and steady presence at Channel 7, where the words "long and steady" have not always applied...Read more »