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Here's, briefly, who I am: I've been with Newsday since 1989, and have written about virtually every show, personality, development, controversy, and network over those years. Most of this has been sheer joy. Some of it has been sheer torture. And all of it, for better or worse, adds up to one thing: I know a lot more about the wonderful business of television entertainment than even I care to admit.
For those obsessed "Mad Men" fans who wondered whether Don Draper, Peggy Olson, Joan Holloway, Roger Sterling and Company would ever fade from the scene, to become part of our cherished TV memories, the moment has arrived. "Mad Men" has slipped into history.
The show held its wrap party during the weekend in Los Angeles, and -- old show biz maxim -- that which has been wrapped cannot be unwrapped, except for the TV movie or perhaps special limited-run series. (Another old show business maxim: Money always talks.)
But "Mad Men" is over and it is inconceivable that it could ever again continue in any fashion, even though "Breaking Bad" has reinterred part of its soul for "Better Call Saul." Now consider this: All those stars and producers who congregated Saturday at The Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles know something you and I don't know -- how it all ends.
What a perfect place for a burial. The old Roosevelt is one of those grand, beautiful, dowdy, heavily rouged LA landmarks -- the Norma Desmond of hotels. (Some might also imagine it evokes the "Barton Fink" Hotel Earle, but that was shot in the lobby of a classic silent era theater on Western Boulevard, so no relation.)
The Roosevelt is also haunted or reputed to be, and of course Don saw a ghost in the closing seconds of the midseason finale. (Actually, not exactly a "ghost," but we've already discussed this at length.)
Also: This was the Roosevelt hotel where the first Academy Awards were held. Maybe "MM" held the wrap here to confer good karma onto Jon Hamm, who will most certainly be honored with another Emmy nomination for best actor next week and most certainly deserves to finally win.
Or maybe this is just practical: A large part of the seventh season after all has been West Coast-based, and maybe the West Coast is where it will all end up.
The Manhattan-based Roosevelt, or just The Roosevelt, like its West Coast counterpart, is of the same vintage. Both were built in the middle of the Jazz Age, honoring a president who at that moment must have seemed the epitome of American ambition and energy. It also happens to figure prominently in "Mad Men" history, as this was the place Don repaired after Betty kicked him out of the house in one of the early seasons.
The Roosevelt of the 1960s -- and like the LA one, has since been refurbished -- was a perfect place for a disgraced ad man looking to hang his hat for a night or two -- a seen-better-times dinosaur that did in fact look like the Hotel Earle, and a quick overnight stop if one missed the last train out of Grand Central, or one's wife had just kicked one out of the house.
The wrap party in LA was sponsored by Johnnie Walker. Why booze? Why need you ask with regards to "Mad Men?" Plus, Christina Hendricks was JW's prominent spokeswoman star not too long ago.
(Brooks Brothers was also a sponsor, and as fans know, BB -- just across Madison Avenue from The Roosevelt -- supplied Don's classic suits over the years, and even began a "Mad Men" line. )
I'm going on at length here only for reasons of sentimentality. It's over. Maybe you too feel the slightest sense of loss.
The last half of the seventh season arrives sometime next year. I'll hold my own private wrap party then, maybe at The Roosevelt.
"The View," a daytime TV pillar and until last month headed by a TV legend, has come undone: ABC and its production partners on the franchise late Thursday fired Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy, leaving just Whoopi Goldberg, who joined the show in 2007, as the only current castmember.
"The View will be moving in an exciting new direction next season and ABC has made decisions to evolve...Read more »
Gary Oldman tried to diffuse the controversy generated by comments made to Playboy by apologizing Wednesday night on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" -- a long cri de coeur that disavowed a whole range of observations (about Mel Gibson, "political correctness" and Jews) which were quite obviously idiotic and bizarrely out of sync with anything anyone in the world is apparently talking about these days. "Especially to younger fans I should be an example and an inspiration and I'm an [expletive] and I should know better."
Kimmel instantly punctures the moment, however: "I'm so surprised you call your fans 'Team Oldman.' " (What's especailly peculiar about this clip is that it concludes with a billboard from "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" -- a commercial! So, in the end, everything really is just about ticket sales.)
Here's a good Washington Post blog that lays out the oddity of this whole Oldman controversy.
Diane Sawyer, one of the driving forces in network news of the last quarter-century and only the second solo female anchor for an evening news broadcast, will step down from ABC's "World News" in September, ABC announced Wednesday morning.
She will be replaced by David Muir, "World News" anchor for the weekend telecasts.
Here's the statement from ABC News chief James Goldston:
"At...Read more »
The great method actor Eli Wallach died yesterday at the age of 98. His was a career that spanned stage, screen and TV - although mostly the first two. His TV roles began in the early '50s, but he had the good sense perhaps of staying away from establishing himself in a regular role - say, in a western that would have kept him away from his first love and where he achieved his major suiccess, as...Read more »