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"Lindsay" -- which yours truly called "utterly absorbing," an opinion clearly in the minority and possibly an overstatement when viewed in the cold light of dawn -- was seen by only 693,000 viewers. That seems like a small number in TV terms because it is.
OWN did see the sliver lining, of course: "This marks OWN’s highest rating in the Sunday 10 p.m. hour in 27 weeks among women 25-54."
And in fairness to, ummm, myself, I did indeed think "Lindsay" was absorbing if only because it tried to humanize her, which doesn't exactly happen every time you see her on screen. This coulda been a disaster. It was not. Have at me if you disagree... Comment below!
Sure, skepticism is warranted. Sure, derision, too. Sure, you've been down this road before, manipulated by some network to watch because it's all part of the TV game ... or the sordid part of the game, anyway.
But here's a contrarian thought: What if Lindsay Lohan's OWN special isn't half-bad? What if...?
Sight unseen -- and none of us have seen anything except for that commercial that was released Tuesday -- I've come up with a competing theory. Here's the column in Friday's paper:
"Lindsay," OWN, Sunday, 10 p.m.
What it's about: This eight-part "docuseries" by filmmaker Amy Rice -- a staffwriter for HBO's "The Newsroom" and director of 2009's well-regarded fly-on-the-wall doc, "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama" -- followed Lindsay Lohan around New York after her release from rehab last summer. In the opener, she moves back to New York "to work on her sobriety and to rebuild her career." Reports say the shooting of this was tumultuous. OWN provided no review copy.
My say: "I know" -- says the subject of this series which OWN declined to preview for the press except in a two-minute sizzle reel -- "that this is my last shot at doing what I love to do."
And where have we heard the subject of this series say that before? Just before her last "SNL" appearance to Matt Lauer? Or was it on "GMA," before the "Liz and Dick" debacle? Last shots, in fact, are what Lohan specializes in because an enabling media industry -- motivated by the primal twin urges of greed and self-interest -- continue to serve them up to her.
As a result, us gawkers and other assorted rubberneckers tend to approach any Lohan project these days with a (healthy) brace of skepticism.
But there's reason to approach this particular project another way -- with a measure of cautious hope. That reason is Amy Rice, a thoughtful and obviously intelligent filmmaker who probably has no interest in putting a torpedo in the side of her career just as it's getting underway.
Sure, there is such a thing as take-the-money-and-run. There's also something called professional pride. My hope -- maybe yours, and if Lohan has any measure of self-respect, her's too -- is that pride trumps personal profit here.
Believe it or not, there is something compelling to be done on Lohan: A uniquely American story (or tragedy)? A cautionary tale? A portrait of addiction, or narcissism, or the toll Hollywood takes on the fragile, or the toll the paps take on celebrity? Take your pick, and there is much to pick from.
Rice got unlimited access. We'll all find out together whether she used this access wisely.
Lindsay Lohan: "There's nothing left in having a drink for me . . ."
Oprah Winfrey: "You need to cut the [expletive] . . ."
And there you have the bookends -- telling ones -- of a two-minute sizzle reel OWN released late Tuesday of its new eight-part series, "Lindsay," which premieres Sunday night at 10. (OWN has declined to offer review copies for reasons unknown.)
The tease features an intermittently calm Lohan with a frazzled Lohan: "People have this image of me that it is chaos. I don't want all of the negative [expletive] that's going on, and the stress that might show through on camera . . ."
Then, of course, there's chaos: Lohan tells off dad Michael ("You weren't good for me for a long time in my life") and she gets locked out of her Manhattan apartment. (Reasons also unclear.)
Cut to the director of the series, Amy Rice, who looks balefully into the camera. "So we were supposed to start shooting at 12:30, and Lindsay was locked out of her apartment . . ."
The reel ends with an assistant to Winfrey saying Lohan wants to back out of the taping. Then, it's Oprah's turn to stare balefully into the camera: "This is exactly what everybody said was gonna happen . . ."
And so it goes. Are these 120 seconds representative of an eight-hour docuseries, filmed after Lohan was released from rehab last summer? We'll all have to find out together, which is exactly what OWN and Oprah have planned.
Bottom line: If you can judge a series by the promo - and of course you can't - this one does look intriguing. Warning: Oprah drops an expletive at the end of the preview that may be offensive to some viewers.
[Meanwhile, for those readers just cynical enough to think this whole thing is a play, or ploy, to get Lindsay more employment, congratuations! You may be right. This just in from CBS: "Actress Lindsay Lohan is set to guest star on 2 BROKE GIRLS, Monday, April 14 (8:00-8:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. She will play Claire Guinness, a soon-to-be-bride who asks Max and Caroline to make her wedding cake. As Max and Caroline get to know her, it quickly becomes clear that Claire has trouble making decisions. "]
(App readers, watch here: http://bit.ly/1gR05wD. Unfortunately, this content is unavailable on mobile phones.)
OWN's "Lindsay" is coming -- and sooner than you think: March 9, Sunday, 10 p.m. But it is beginning to look as though OWN plans on keeping the media in a fenced off area, so to speak, on this one: No "preview" screeners, no clips and maybe even no interviews (with Amy Rice, the director here; Linds doesn't "do" interviews.... except with Oprah who paid hard cash for this interview/docuseries package.)...Read more »
"Portlandia," IFC's very funny/odd/eccentric/loopy/Portlandcentric comedy starring Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, is back. The fourth season arrives Thursday night at 10, but there's no reason to wait for everything until then because... we have a longish clip from the new season, titled "The Celery Incident." It stars Steve Buscemi as a celery man with a problem.
The video is too explicit for our site, but, be warned, and watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRQ-HnSIY2s
As you may be aware, Showtime is airing "Billy Joel: A Matter of Trust: the Bridge to Russia" in a couple of weeks (Jan. 31, at 9), to be exact. This one comes courtesy of Jim Brown, a particularly fine documentary producer who has done films on Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Hank Williams, and who won some Emmys in the process and will now focus on this important chapter in Joel's history - his '87 tour to the Soviet Union.
As promised, those clips. (Second one is the trailer. App users, head to newsday.com/tvzone)
Lindsay Lohan's "docu-series" will arrive on OWN on March 9, the network announced Thursday.
OWN also screened a "sneak peek" of the series, entitled "Lindsay," to reporters attending the semi-annual TV press tour in California that indicated there may have been friction between Lohan and OWN honcho Oprah Winfrey. At one point, Winfrey is told Lohan is "not following the rules," according to a Deadline.com report by Lisa De Moraes. "This is exactly what everybody said was going to happen and I believed differently," Winfrey says. "She doesn't understand. This is her life -- you think you have forever."
Later, Winfrey tells Lohan, "My truth is I really do want you to win . . . but if that isn't what you want I'm OK with that. I will tell these guys to pack up and leave today." (Lohan then backed down.)
According to the De Moraes report, Lohan tells the camera: "There's nothing left in having a drink for me. There's no party I haven't gone to, nobody I haven't hung out with, no situation I haven't been exposed to."
The sneak peek also included a scene of Lohan getting locked out of her apartment and one in which the actress' sober coach says "um . . . you know" when asked if Lohan has remained sober.
The series, part of a multimillion deal sealed last summer that included an interview with Winfrey (already aired), was shot in August after Lohan's release from a Malibu rehab facility.
Lohan did not appear at the junket to promote the series.
No one needs to be reminded what happened exactly one year ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School; certainly no one in Newtown, Conn., where no memorials are planned Saturday, and no TV cameras are welcome. As the snow piles up — 7 to 12 inches expected to cover this town of nearly 30,000 by Sunday morning — TV news will have no familiar easy hooks for anniversary stories; no ceremonies, no reflections,...Read more »
"Masters of Sex" -- the Showtime freshman based on Newsday reporter Tom Maier's biography of William Masters and Virginia Johnson -- scored a nomination for best drama in the just-announced Golden Globes. In addition, Michael Sheen earned a nod for the best actor in a drama category.
Meanwhile, on the downside, what happened to HBO Thursday morning? A not great day for TV's king...Read more »