News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
Over the past few weeks, this curious and rather sad side drama enveloped ongoing coverage of the JFK assassination anniversary: Would Dan Rather be airbrushed out of CBS News' coverage of that tragic long-ago day altogether? In fact, he was not: He appeared on Saturday's quite-good "48 Hours" special edition, "As It Happened."
Rather had a major role that day 50...Read more »
To anyone who thought John Oliver's substitute host gig on "The Daily Show" felt less like a stand-in for Jon Stewart and more like the beginning of a beautiful new career opportunity, then congratulations. ... You were right! HBO has hired Oliver to do his own weekly show, starting next year.
Surprised? I was, a bit, plus slightly disappointed. I figured this future show would be on Comedy Central, but with Stewart at 11 and "The Colbert Report" at 11:30, real estate was starting to get a little tight there. Plus, Oliver's HBO series is now probably going to be more along the lines of Bill Maher's "Real Time" -- once a week, Fridays at 10 -- and I guess the instant assumption would be that Oliver's will be paired with Maher's too ... except that it won't. HBO says this show will go Sundays.
The disappointment? Only that Oliver established that he could easily handle the daily grind, and could have continued to handle it at CC. A weekly show isn't on "top" of the news as much as below it -- more reflective, slightly removed. Maher has certainly found a comfort zone as a once-a-week fixture, but "Real Time" has hardly the impact of a "TDS" or "Colbert Report."
“We weren’t otherwise searching for another weekly talk show, but when we saw John Oliver handling host duties on ‘The Daily Show,’ we knew that his singular perspective and distinct voice belonged on HBO,” said HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo. “We are extremely excited that John has agreed to make HBO his home.”
Oliver: “I’m incredibly excited to be joining HBO, especially as I presume this means I get free HBO now. I want to thank Comedy Central, and everyone at ‘The Daily Show’ for the best seven-and-a-half years of my life. But most of all, I’d like to thank Jon Stewart. He taught me everything I know. In fact, if I fail in the future, it’s entirely his fault.”
Where this goes -- or ends -- who knows, but CBS News has finally confirmed that it's launched an investigation in the who, what and whys of the Lara Logan-reported Oct. 27 "60 Minutes" story that resulted in one of the most significant retractions in this classic's 45-year history.
Per a spokesman, via statement, issued Wednesday:
"The moment we confirmed there was an issue in our story we began a journalistic review that is ongoing."
As you may be aware, CBS had to retract the portion of the Oct. 27 story featuring an "exclusive" interview with one "Morgan Jones" who said he had arrived at the U.S. embassy compound in Benghazi, in the middle of the Sept. 11, 2012, firefight that left four U.S. envoys dead. He said the attack was led by Al Qaeda, and his comments appeared in direct opposition to the Obama administration's -- thus fanning the flames of the ongoing "cover-up" conspriracy theories that have swirled in its wake.
But Jones -- real name Dylan Davies -- fabricated the account, and CBS retracted Sunday night. (The report put "60" squarely in the midst of an ongoing battle between left and right, with right initially citing Davies' account as proof of cover-up; plus there was also the implication that if Davies could fight his way into the compound, where was the significant U.S. response?
Andy Cohen has now officially entered that aery and lucrative realm occupied by so few other (Ryan Seacrest comes to mind.). Calling it "the first deal of this kind for Bravo," the network has handed Mr. "Watch What Happens Live" a two-year contract extension and a development deal for the company he just launched.
Perhaps most significantly, Cohen will step down as the network's long-running executive in charge of programming and development. In that role, Cohen has had one of the more unique executive mandates — to host a popular talk show and launch numerous series, many of which (most notably the "Real Housewives" franchise) transitioned Bravo into one of NBCUniversal's most successful networks.
Lara Spotts, currently vice president of development, will take over Cohen's role.
Here's his statement: “In my 23 years as a television producer, my time at Bravo has been the most rewarding and this next phase of my career is the perfect marriage of everything I love doing — producing and broadcasting,” said Cohen. 'Watch What Happens Live' is the show I have dreamt about hosting all my life — it's the exact extension of my love for pop culture and fun. I'm thrilled to launch my production company Most Talkative and to continue my role as EP of the ‘Housewives’ — I couldn’t imagine leaving behind women that have become a part of my daily life.”
Bravo's deal with its biggest star is of the "first look" variety, meaning it can pass on something — unlikely — which would then free him up to take it elsewhere.
But as far as viewer/fans are concerned, there shouldn't be much change — Cohen will continue to referee his popular late night fracas.
"Saturday Night Live" + Lady Gaga = promos. Right now... (She's host and musical guest this weekend; Newsday app readers please view at Newsday.com/tvzone):
Say, whatever happened to "Princesses: Long Island," the Bravo series that managed to infuriate an entire community (Freeport) and a not-inconsiderable number of Jewish Long Islanders (including Steve Israel) yet still did brisk business for the network and even built a fanbase?
In a word: Nothing. I've learned that four months after the first season's August wrap, Bravo has...Read more »
I like reasons on this blog, I like lists of reasons, and — despite the general carping that seems to have soured the once-loved now-loathed "Homeland" in various corners of the TV-watching cognoscenti world — I still very much like "Homeland."
In fact, I like it better this season than all of the inferior second season, and here, to combine all my "likes," are...Read more »
An interesting twist at "The Voice:" The show is deploying something called "the instant save," which will give viewers the chance, via Twitter, to pull an ejected singer from the brink. Starts tomorrow. Here's an explanatory clip...
...Read more »
Now Angela Lansbury has weighed in on the misguided decision to remake "Murder, She Wrote" and her blunt assessment is as follows: A mistake, or at least a mistake to call the show 'Murder, She Wrote."
Here's what she has told The Associated Press:
“I think it’s a mistake to call it 'Murder, She Wrote,' because 'Murder, She Wrote' will always be about Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place. “[They] also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person,” she continues. ”So I’m sorry that they have to use the title 'Murder, She Wrote,' even though they have access to it and it’s their right.”
She praises Octavia Spencer, who will star in the NBC remake, calling her “absolutely wonderful, a lovely actress . . . So I wish her well, but I wish it wasn’t in 'Murder, She Wrote.'”
If you missed the big breakfast show space news this morning... "Today" and NBC have signed an exclusive deal with Richard Branson to air his first commercial sub-orbital space flight - probably next August.
Cue the corny jokes! Like: "Gravity" will not on on the in-flight movie menu; or "hope Matt Lauer has shaved by then..."
From the...Read more »