News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
Jay Leno got into the Television Academy Hall of Fame on Tuesday, and when that sort of thing happens, they just don't send you a citation thanking you for "your many years of great service." Oh no: You have to actually go to a dinner and give a speech. You have to work for the thing. Leno gave his speech, and it was gracious and in parts interesting, even a bit reflective. There's a tempus fugit quality to this that indicates Jay really, truly has moved on, not just from "Tonight," but from television altogether. Check this out and wonder -- as I did -- whether this is Jay essentially saying he is done with TV forever.
Of additional interest, he directs some comments to Rupert Murdoch in the audience; Fox, of course, has been rumored as Jay's next stop. But that is probably not going to happen, nor is CNN, nor (I suspect) is anyplace else. (Why, you ask, is Murdoch even attending a rubber chicken dinner? Does he perhaps have his eye on Jay...?)
Naturally, talk show hosts who have spent their lives in front of the camera always reserve the right to change their minds. The tab shows gathered outside this speech the other night and pryed some additional news out of Jay -- that he's certainly going on "Late Show with David Letterman." I do in fact expect that to happen. But a regular TV gig again? Doubtful ... or maybe Jay just has to ask himself the chilling rhetorical question, "Do you really want to become Billy Crystal's character in "Mr. Saturday Night?' "
Tom Brokaw will be on "Late Show with David Letterman" Thursday, and there are two pieces of good news: 1) He looks great; 2) He says his prognosis (he has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma) is good.
Quotes and a clip:
“Well, I’m actually being treated for something called multiple myeloma and it’s been going on since August and it got out last week. As you know, I was keeping it as private as I possibly could, which I intend to continue doing. I’m very pleased with the progress and that’s about as far as I want to go. There are a lot of other people out there.” (Audience applause.) “I do want to say one thing. A lot of people are going through what I’m going through, and they don’t have the advantages I do. I’m so conscious of that every day because it involves the whole family and it’s tricky and it becomes a big strain. In our case, we’ve got the resources and access and I’ve got this fabulous family, and so I am much more aware of what other families are going through and I think we all have to be, as a matter of fact.”
With (most) everyone talking about the new guy at "Tonight," we almost — almost — neglected to make the salient and quite pleasing observation that "Late Show with David Letterman" had some standout moments Monday night too — including this one: The cast of "How I Met Your Mother" did the "Top Ten." Worth a look if you haven't seen already...By the way, the "mother" — Cristin Milioti — is missing and here's some interesting/useless information that you may also find salient and quite pleasing: Creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas used to work at "Late Show."
Meanwhile, interesting guests the rest of this week...but you'll likely wanna see tonight, if you are a "House of Cards" fan: Kate Mara is on to talk about...well, can we say what she will talk about? I guess not - maybe not everyone knows just yet what happened to Zoe... Also: US. Olympic gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg - Men’s Slopestyle snowboarding - tonight; Kaitlyn Farrington, the U.S. women’s halfpipe snowboarding gold medalist, tomorrow; U.S. Men’s Ski Slopestyle medal trio of Joss Christensen (gold), Gus Kenworthy (silver) and Nick Goepper (bronze) Thursday...
(Newsday app readers please head on over to Newsday.com/tvzone)
So maybe you've had a chance to see the new “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.“ Well...what did you think? Share thoughts if you like, but in the meantime here are some of mine — in no particular order, and because Tuesday's print story was not exactly a review, per se, allow me to use this space to offer a brief critical perspective. And away we go.
* U2 and the 70th floor: Let's begin with the breakout star of the first edition — U2's reasonably mind-blowing performance of "Invisible" without an apparent safety net — only air separating one of the world's most famous bands and concrete 872-feet below. This is a famous piece of real estate within a famous piece of real estate — that famous Depression-era photo, "Lunchtime Atop a Skyscraper" was shot here back in the early '30s when the building was nearing completion: Workers sitting on a steel beam high above the streets, eating lunch without helmets. Hard to say whether this confined space has even been used to such spectacular effect since, but Monday night ranks as one of the standout moments for certain, It occurred to me, maybe you, that this could be used again for the same purpose, but the risks seem considerable enough to suggest that this will be one of those one-time-only events...
* The reborn Studio 6B which Fallon vacated last year for this rebirth appeared much larger than the old "Late Night" space, but that may be one of those Trompe-l'œil's TV excels at: Shot from above, it appears vast, but the clues as to real size appeared at the end of the show when Jimmy was scaling the stairs. Maybe not so huge — in fact, only 50 new seats were added. NBC initially was of a mind to blow out a floor (probably up to the 7th) to really make the space huge, but cost (many millions, conservatively, and many millions more realistically) became prohibitive and Fallon didn't really want the larger space. He's said in interviews that he doesn't particularly like playing to balconies. What the designers did apparently do was blow out the floor space in front of a new proscenium instead — which gives the illusion of expanse — and added that gilded bandstand for the Roots. All in all the studio redesign appears to be a real winner for the show.
* Model of the New York skyline behind the host's desk? Sure you've seen that before, or something similar — "Late Show with David Letterman" in the early days had a skyline model behind Dave's desk, complete with a little working toy subway train (the butt of many good jokes...) The backdrop on Dave's set is still very New York-dramatic (a bridge span seen through a pair of big windows behind the host's desk and gives the impression of 3-D, but the old model of the toy city is gone.)
* The monologue was just seconds shy of 12 minutes — actually a combination of introductory comments, followed by jokes — and that's the length to expect going forward. But of note, you may have noticed this wasn't a pound-out-the-jokes style of monologue but one embedded with prepared bits — pictures of Olympics stars, for example, and their "most likely to become" predictions from high school, etc. Expect this to be standard operating procedure going forward — fewer jokes, more embedded sketch material, playing off the day's news. Fallon's not Leno — an industrial strength joke machine, and 12 minutes of joke after joke (after joke) would be a killing pace for someone like him, nor one that would play to his strengths anyway. This seems like a smart solution.
* Will Smith — Why the first interview? Why not! He's got deep ties, no doubt, to Universal and if he doesn't have a movie to sell today, he will tomorrow. He and Fallon do have a good rapport, and Smith seems to genuinely like the new host. This interview did point up one of Fallon's weaknesses however — a tendency to be obsequious, to be incurious... The Fallon interview as a matter of course tends to be light on information, heavy on banter. His questions are barely questions — more like prompts. In this regard, he is a massive departure from Johnny Carson — a superb interviewer, and even Jimmy Kimmel, an excellent one as well. Kimmel in fact has a journalist's eye and ear — he probes, and asks follow-ups, and if not fearless usually doesn't shy from asking hard questions. That's not Fallon — not remotely — but now that he's in the big seat, a degree of inquisitiveness is essential. After all, he's also competing with Jon Stewart — who is one of TV's best interviewers, comedy or news.
* Yeah, that was Lindsay Lohan you saw last night — along with a few dozen other camera-shy celebrities. That $100 bet sketch was a standout of the night — not quite a U2 score, but close enough. It maybe went on too long if anything before the perfect Colbert kicker arrived. But this points out one obvious thing here — Fallon is not working without a net. He has an excellent stable of writers back there behind the big blue curtain; his EP, Josh Leib, worked with Jon Stewart
Bottom line: Good strong start for Jimmy Fallon. Just about everything worked, and worked well, from the opening credits to the final ones. The energy and beauty of New York City was incorporated in a way that exceeded even my expectations — happily exceeded them. Meanwhile, The host: A bit nervous, understandably, he nonetheless reminded fans and people who have never heard of him why he's here. A talented performer who disarms his guests, he is a pure distillation of human likability and charm. Yeah, he needs to work on the interviews, and yeah — you, or at least I — would like just the slightest degree of comic-effect acerbity: That Jack Benny double-take to the camera, or that David Letterman hard edge, or that Jimmy Kimmel bite, or that Jon Stewart refusal to suffer any fool gladly... But Fallon is Fallon. If he goes with his strengths, which are considerable, he should do fine.
David Letterman spoke with two charter members of history's greatest band, and the full interview will air Sunday night on the CBS's absolutely-must-watch special, "The Beatles: The Night that Changed America - A Grammy Salute," from the Ed Sullivan Theater (8 p.m.).
Those wonderful and hard-working New York-based CBS public relations pros, Kim Izzo-Emmet, and Kate Fisher (oh, yes, and Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i on the west coast), have gone ahead and done all my work for me by transcribing some of the comments.
And those are here...followed by the clips
(Newsday app readers please head to Newsday.com/tvzone to watch...)
As Letterman, McCartney and Starr walked onto the stage of the theater where they made their historic first appearance, Starr recalled the excitement he felt then, which he is feeling again with the upcoming anniversary. “No, I was just so excited,” Starr said. “I mean, even coming back yesterday… I’ve been back a hundred times, I’ve done the show with you, but it’s like, oh, I’m getting involved in all the excitement of it all then. You know, it’s not like we go around saying, ‘Oh, that day.’ Now, I’m here, I’m looking out the window, I’m in the plaza and all the kids were down there. And now we’re back on the stage again…” Starr’s memory of the Ed Sullivan Theater was that it was “four times bigger than this,” and Letterman pointed out that “there was another balcony. There was a third level of about 150 more seats. So it wasn’t that many more, but enough to make a difference.” “
It’s like going back to your old school, isn’t it?” McCartney said. “Yeah, well, that’s right, yeah,” Letterman said. “It looks little now,” McCartney commented. “You thought it was huge…” Also during the interview, McCartney recounted a story to Letterman about the band’s 1965 “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance, their fourth and final live appearance on the broadcast, featuring his solo performance of the classic, “Yesterday.” “So, it was decided that I would do ‘Yesterday,’” McCartney said. “But I’d never worked without the band, so now I’m now going to be working solo on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ So I agreed to do it, so I’m standing there ready to go on, never having worked without the band, a little bit nervous, and there were curtains, and there’s a Teamster on the inside of the curtain so they won’t catch. So I’m standing there all prepared with my guitar ready to go on, and he says, ‘Are you nervous?’ I said, ‘No, not really,’ lying. He says, ‘You should be, there’s 73 million people watching!’”
David Letterman's "Late Show" marquee at West 54th Street and Broadway underwent a major renovation Thursday — for this is what the historic venue looked like exactly fifty years ago . . .
Here's what CBS is saying about this . . .
This retro look, which will feature the exact wording that was posted for “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9, 1964, will cover the current Late Show with David Letterman marquee through the weekend in conjunction with CBS’s upcoming Beatles tribute, The Beatles: The Night That Changes America — A Grammy Salute, (Special airs Sunday night, the anniversary.)
As you may have heard, there's a Super Bowl coming up -- No. 48, or ex-el-vee-triple "i" -- and while there will be football, there will also be commercials: Roughly 60 of them. That's is a big number and potentially represents, as it does every year, the bane of advertisers, notably "clutter." "Clutter" means too many ads, and when there are too many, viewers tend to forget all of them. And that is one reason why Super Bowl commercials tend to be some of the most memorable bits of video you see all year -- thirty second snippets that are designed to make you remember them, long after the game has ended.
With that thought in mind, let's take a tour of the 15 most memorable Super Bowls in history -- beginning with No. 15. The most memorable is No. 1, naturally. The fun thing about these lists is that they are purely subjective: Each of us will come up with a different list, of course. This is mine... And by the way, "best" reflects only that which is "most memorable." Obviously, some of these are aesthetic monstrosities -- ghastly bits of video that curdle the mind and corrupt the senses. But, darn-it, you can't forget 'em.
(App readers, watch the videos here: http://bit.ly/1aY6Axw. Unfortunately, this content is not available on mobile phones.)
15.) Britney Spears 2001: Hey, this could even go at number one; it's unforgettable, even if we want to forget...
14.) Doritos: Ann Richards and Mario Cuomo get crunchy. Once seen, never ever forgotten...
13.) Danica Patrick: There have been so many awful Go Daddy Danica Patrick ads that one hardly knows where to begin -- they all run together in a big unseemly mess in the brain. But this one, from 1999, is a good start:
12.) Betty White and Abe Vigoda, in 2010: Has there ever been a better Super Bowl commercial?
11.) Dave! Jay! Oprah! This one is great -- but I totally forget what the product being sold is. Who cares! It's the ad that counts:
10.) Xerox and the Monks... a most peculiar ad, from 1976, but once seen never forgotten...
9.) Bud Light: From Super Bowl XLII -- so many Bud Light commercials? Where to begin? What to choose? This one...
8.) Budweiser and its foals... So many Bud foals over the years -- but this one from last year sticks; maybe because it's from last year:
7.) Bridgestone's Killer Whale: Bridgestone's killer whale is one of my all-time favorites, and damned if I'm about to forget it...
6.) Michael Jordan, Larry Bird play "HORSE" for a Big Mac: Again, as memorable as they get, and as absurd as they get, too? Multimillionaires playing for a Big Mac? Of course, in the alternate-logic universe of the Super Ad, makes perfect...
5.) Monster.com created some of the most memorable of them all, including this one from 2009:
4.) John Madden and Miller Lite -- 1980: The Super Bowl, as a collective memory predicated largely on commercials as opposed to football, would be unimaginable without this one...
3.) Noxema creams Joe Namath, or Farrah Fawcett does: In 1973 there was an ad so ineffably awful that it would stay with us all forever... This one:
2.) Mean Joe Greene and Coca-Cola: Debates have raged over this ad -- a great one or an awful one? I've long ago settled on the "great" side of the equation here. This ad is largely perfect, as an emblem of everything Coke is or ever wanted to be, and coming as it did when the Steel Curtain really was made of steel, its timeliness was even better. Most of all, it's unforgettable:
1.) Apple: You knew this would be number one, didn't you? Chiat/Day's classic, which launched a brand and till this very day still resonates. Weirdly, otherworldly wonderful...
Which Super Bowl commercial do you think is the most memorable? Tell us in the comments below.
Hey! You may have heard Andy Samberg won a Golden Globe for best comedic actor at the recent Golden Globes while his show, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," won for best comedy. This was the biggest upset of the Golden Globes, and prompted a torrent of abusive tweets from the Newsday TV critic, decrying the win and insisting that the august body comprising those who do the voting for the Hollywood...Read more »
'Tis the season -- the November sweeps season, that is -- for shocking primetime twists, and there was no twist more shocking at least so far than the abrupt and final departure of Det. Joss Carter -- Taraji P. Henson -- from Tuesday's "Person of Interest." She spoke with David Letterman last night about the exit, which -- she says -- she sought, because she was unwilling to sign...Read more »