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Arsenio Hall is a late-night TV host. Can I repeat that? Arsenio Hall is a late night TV host. There...at least I'm absolved. But not the New York Times or NBC News. Last night, Arsenio went after -- good-naturedly, but with definite bite -- the fact that both NBC and the Times completely ignored him in their outtakes on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Not a mention. Not a word. Not a...well, not an anything.
[And this late breaking omission news: Brian Williams corrected NBC's Arsenio omission on Wednesday's 'Nightly News" by noting that once New Hampshire was dropped from the US map in a report; oh,and that "Philadelpia" was misspelled. And for the record, Pete Holmes was ignored too in NBC's earlier Fallon story, as Williams noted.]
Hall says he doesn't even care if anyone uses a photo -- or "use Laurence Fishburne's photo..." instead. (Great line; I guess we all know that story, right?) But just mention him, at the very least.
(Did I already mention? Arsenio Hall is a late-night host and you can see him every night, weeknights anyway, on WPIX/11... )
Meanwhile, he says he doesn't want to be "the angry black man," and instead has someone else do the anger for him...
Watch this clip. Arsenio definitely has a point, by the way. That point is, he's right.
(Newsday app viewers please go to Newsday.com/tvzone to see Arsenio not get angry.)
The sophomore season of Showtime's "Ray Donovan" continues to stock up on quality actors - Wendell Pierce, most recently of "Treme" and "The Michael J. Fox Show" (and of course, "The Wire") - is on-board in what the network is calling a recurring "guest" role.
Per Showtime: Pierce will play Mr. Keith, a down on his luck parole officer who gets a payoff from Ray (Emmy and Golden Globe® Award nominee Liev Schreiber). Hank Azaria will be in the second season too.
The second edition of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" is now officially history -- and the third will be history at this time tomorrow, but that's another post -- and as part of this historic occasion: Jerry Seinfeld.
There were two Jerrys last night -- the stand-up Jerry and the sit-down Jerry. Here are both clips for those who may have missed them (app readers, go to newsday.com/tvzone,...Read more »
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.
It's here, and he's here too — Jimmy Fallon, "The Tonight Show," and television history, for after not quite half a century, this great television franchise has returned to its birthplace. My story in tomorrow's Newsday. Bottom line: Good start.
After a nearly a 42-year absence, the prodigal "Tonight Show" returned home Monday night, with a new host, Jimmy Fallon, and one emphatic nod (or...Read more »
"House of Cards," one of the pleasures of small screen (assuming you have a small screen) returns Friday in all its binging glory. Here's my review, and a quick piece of viewer guidance, assuming you're either behind on this or need a refresher: Go to your Netflix account, log in, and watch episode 11, when Peter Russo is killed, and watch the finale. Of course, best to watch all 13 episodes of...Read more »
Tom Brokaw, the veteran network TV newsman and former anchor of "NBC Nightly News," has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, according to a statement released late Tuesday by the network and Brokaw.
Brokaw, who was scheduled to be in Sochi covering the Winter Olympics as a correspondent, also released a statement saying, in part, "With the exceptional support of my family, medical team and friends, I am very optimistic about the future and look forward to continuing my life, my work and adventures still to come."
According to NBC's statement, Brokaw had learned that he had cancer in August, at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. The statement added, "his doctors are optimistic about the outcome of the treatment he is receiving, and Brokaw said he remains 'the luckiest guy I know.' "
Brokaw, 74, was named co-anchor of "NBC Nightly News" in 1982, with Roger Mudd, and became solo anchor a year later. Under Brokaw, "Nightly" would become television's most-watched evening newscast, during a long-running battle with Peter Jennings' "ABC World News Tonight." He closed his run on Dec. 1, 2004. Brokaw has remained a prominent figure on NBC, including replacing Tim Russert for a few months on "Meet the Press" following Russert's death in 2008.
Amy Lynn, an NBC News spokeswoman, said Brokaw, who is not in Sochi, has "two pieces that will air within our coverage."
During Tuesday night's "Nightly News," anchor Brian Williams said Brokaw -- an avid outdoorsman and world traveler -- had told him he plans to "join [Bruce] Springsteen's Australian summer tour just to give the boss a bump of added publicity."
Nathan Fielder, the CEO of parody company, Dumb Starbucks, was on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Tuesday night, offering Jimmy -- what else? -- a cold cup of coffee.
Fielder, the host (which isn't exactly the right term but will do in a pinch) of Comedy Central's "Nathan for You," got quite a bit of publicity after owning up to being the operator behind the Dumb Starbucks cafe that opened mysteriously in Los Angeles.
The real Starbucks was not amused. Fielder insisted his new establishment was protected by something called "parody law" -- don't rush to your law books; there is no such thing -- and Starbucks disagreed. Of interest to NYers -- he has plans, or did have plans, to open a location in Brooklyn (and who knows, Syosset?)
Fielder's show -- if you have not seen -- is very funny, in fact: He offers the world's worst advice to entrepreneurs, who deploy it -- at their own risk.
Newsday app readers please go to Newsday.com/TVzone to watch this native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, try to snooker a guy from Brooklyn.
"How I Met Your Father," the spinoff of you-know-what, has its mother: Greta Gerwig, who will also write and produce (sort of the same thing). CBS announced late Tuesday. (Emily Spivey, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas of "HIMYM" are the show-runners.)
To call this is a "unique" and "interesting" cast announcement diminishes the impact of both words -- maybe put "highly" in front of them and that helps. Gerwig is barely known to the greater world at large (the CBS audience) -- but is a highly esteemed "indie prod" actress whose roots go back to "mumblecore" and Joe Swanberg's breakout film that launched that movement back in '07 ("Hannah Takes the Stairs," with mumblecore master, Mark Duplass, another indie prod star.) Since then, she's been in a handful of films -- "To Rome with Love," and "Lola Versus," and most recently "Frances Ha" -- that all further established her as a fine actress in a small pond. Now...CBS. What does this mean for a spinoff of a show that's passionately beloved by a relatively small and devoted audience? Probably all good because this audience wasn't looking for a big commercial name anyway, and Gerwig's has plenty of pop already.
She was also a voice in Adult Swim's "China, IL" and has a couple of TV credits to her name, but of more significant note, she was going to do a series for HBO based on the novel "The Corrections" (with her companion Noah Baumbach), but HBO ultimately passed.
Some clips: Gerwig on "Late Show with David Letterman," recently, and a clip with her and Baumbach at the New Yorker festival.
(Newsday app readers, watch here: http://bit.ly/NCdv7x. Unfortunately, this content is unavailable on mobile phones.)