News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
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 »
Following the death yesterday of Nelson Mandela, the networks are just now setting a weekend of tributes and retrospectives. First up, CBS News will air “Nelson Mandela: Father of a Nation,” a one-hour "48 HOURS PRESENTS." And ABC just announced a Robin Roberts/David Muir-anchored special tonight at 10, titled "Nelson Mandela: A Man Who Changed the World."
Meanwhile,...Read more »
Not to cause any trouble - because of course I'd never do that - but who else was intrigued by Robin Roberts' off-handed comment to Sam Champion on this morning's "GMA" that his impending departure "sets an example for all of us?"
Meaningless, probably, and Robin Roberts certainly isn't going anywhere. She is the franchise though Champion's exit will and has...Read more »
NBCUniversal Monday handed the keys to one of its shiniest new cars -- the Weather Channel -- over to Sam Champion, who becomes voice, face and hair of that network starting early next year. He leaves "Good Morning America" -- and ABC, his home of the past 25 years Wednesday, which seems awfully fast for someone who's been a "beloved" member of this particular family since 2006.
So who might be next?
Lara Spencer? Josh Elliott? Or . . . Robin. Ah, yes, even Robin Roberts: She's beloved by "Good Morning America" viewers, although they'd better get ready to do their loving on some other network if ABC doesn't offer enough of that green stuff that binds TV families, especially morning ones, together.
ABC nonetheless said Champion's departure was amicable. In other words, not at all like the Ann Curry "Today" debacle. But that pesky "now who?" question was still unavoidable. TV Newser, the closely read TV journalism website, said Roberts was "close" to a new "GMA" deal, but offered no such assurances about Elliott or Spencer -- the chatty irrepressible youngsters of this "GMA" family. Could NBC be in their future as well?
Champion -- a superlative TV happy talker who can make even an impending nor'easter seem like a cheerful turn of events -- will be replaced by "GMA" weekend meteorologist Ginger Zee. A profile in the Chicago Tribune once noted that "she's Ginger because her father, who moved here from the Netherlands and didn't speak English, loved 'Gilligan's Island.' Though she's more of a Mary Ann."
Her three-hour tour is about to begin. The weather forecast calls for rough seas.
Katie Couric, one of the more celebrated broadcasters of the past 20 years, will forsake broadcast news in 2014 when she joins Yahoo as "global anchor." But because her syndicated show is expected to end next year as well maybe it's time now to consider this possibility: Is broadcasting about to forsake Couric?
Her five-year run on "CBS Evening News," which ended in 2011, was considered a disappointment. Her ongoing role at ABC News has largely been invisible. Her talk show -- better than anyone has ever given it credit for, which can actually be a liability in daytime -- has also been a washout, ratings-wise.
If this was baseball, that would add up to three strikes. This isn't baseball even though the outcome could turn out to be the same: Three strikes. Adios.
Then, there's the other way of looking at this. Couric is deepening her ties with one of the Internet's most important destinations, under vigorous new leadership. Chief executive Marissa Mayer, a web pioneer and recent arrival from Google, wants to revive this still-potent brand with fresh talent and energy. At the very least, the future here looks interesting.
The future of broadcasting looks interesting, too, with broad viewership declines, and franchise programs and legacy networks fighting for every warm body. Those bodies are harder to find because they have their noses buried in the mobile devices where they'll soon be able to see a new "global anchor" for Yahoo.
"Joining Yahoo," said Couric in a statement, "offers a tremendous opportunity to reach people all around the world in the way that they're using and consuming media today."
What else would you expect her to say? Except . . . she's right.
Details are spare, and arrival date unknown, but History Channel has indeed confirmed a report that "Roots" -- the ground-breaking ABC miniseries seen by zillions -- will get a makeover. (Calling LeVar Burton! Where are you? There's a remake out there that needs you...)
"Deadline" had this first, about an hour ago, which had this line in its scoop:
“We would like to revive that cultural icon for a new audience,” said History EVP and GM Dirk Hoogstra.
History Channel has corfirmed, saying only that "we are in development."
"Roots," for those too young to remember, was one of those groundbreaking moments -- actually many moments -- in the history of television, when uber-miniseries producer, David Wolper, consigned Alex Haley's best seller to a 12-hour film that literally seemed to dominate every single conversation in the United States over the week and change it aired. One hundred million watched the finale. A sequel, also successful, arrived a couple years later, but by then "Roots" had already turned the cast into major stars- - Burton, Louis Gossett Jr., Cicely Tyson, and many others. (Even O.J. Simpson had a role.)
History says it secured the rights from Wolper's estate.
Ah, "Toy Story of Terror!" has finally arrived but... this annoying question remains: What exactly is a "Toy Story of Terror!" (airing Wednesday night at 8 on WABC/7).
To be brief: It's 22 minutes of Pixar-packed special effects, famous voices, and a condensation of one great movie franchise into an original, one-time-only Halloween special that is sure to be seen by many millions, if only because this will be rebroadcast on a half a dozen Disney-owned networks from now until the end of time.
But what's truly intriguing — besides the fact that this is Pixar's first-ever TV show much as "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is Disney-owned Marvel's first-ever TV series (not counting the many Marvel character-based series and movies licensed to other producers) — is that this could be the first of other holiday themed "Toy Story" specials.
Not that ABC has confirmed as much but logic would dictate that where there is one, another is sure to follow. And "Terror!" does look terrific. That is to be expected, as Pixar — run by a genius, John Lasseter — is not about to devalue a brand as beloved as "Toy Story."
Take a look at this short trailer (the gang, or some of the gang, go to a motel, and then, one by one, disappear... It's OK for little children; don't worry). The voices are familiar and well they should be: Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz, Joan Cusack as Jessie, Carl Weathers as Combat Carl/Combat Carl Jr., Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, Wallace Shawn as Rex and Kristen Schaal as Trixie.
(Mobile/app readers watch here: http://bit.ly/16asygi)
"Scandal" -- possibly, probably, almost certainly TV's most insane show -- returns Thursday night with more hanging questions than the 2000 election had hanging chads (I know -- a ridiculous stretch of a metaphor, but we are talking "Scandal" here. "Ridiculous" is not only welcome but mandatory.).
But . . . fun show. Never dull. Kerry Washington is...Read more »
Of all the cameos on regularly scheduled network TV series so far this season -- and honestly, there haven't been that many because those are normally held for November sweeps -- Samuel L. Jackson's reprisal of Nick Fury on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." has to be by far the biggest. (Colonel Nicholas Joseph "Nick" Fury -- Jackson -- top spy at S.H.I.E.L.D." who has appeared in an "Iron Man," or two, "Thor," and of course, "The Avengers.)
Here's what you missed:
We have arrived, friends, at the final Emmys 2013 pick/guesses -- the last entry in my weeklong series telling you who should win (but alas probably won't).
Good thing about this year's nominees? Not a piker in the bunch. They are all outstanding, and so if any of the following wins, no one should be surprised. With that, to our nominees ...
COMEDY SERIES: "The Big Bang Theory," CBS; "Girls," HBO; "Louie," FX; "Modern Family," ABC; "30 Rock," NBC; "Veep," HBO
Who will win: The past six years have been dominated by just two comedies, but even dominance eventually cracks, and for "Modern Family," this could well be that year. The winner is "The Big Bang Theory."
Who should win: "Louie," without question. But dark comedies -- and "Louie" is hardly always comic -- don't fare well here. Couple of "Girls" episodes merit a win, too, but like, "Louie" -- also produced in NYC, where there are fewer Academy voters -- this is a tough sale.
DRAMA SERIES: "Breaking Bad," AMC; "Downton Abbey," PBS; "Homeland," Showtime; "Game of Thrones," HBO; "House of Cards," Netflix; "Mad Men," AMC.
Who will win: "Homeland" had a so-so sophomore season, but voters hate to disawow their judgment, especially after crowning this with such gusto after its freshman season. Could be guilt over snubbing "Bad" for so long, but I fully believe it will prevail at the 66th Emmys, if not Sunday night. That's why the edge goes to ... "Homeland."
Who should win: "Game of Thrones." "Thrones" had a remarkable season (another one), but fantasy fiction is a tough sell to voters. I wouldn't mind seeing that long-overdue nod to "Bad," either -- and what a nice achievement to be awarded on the night your penultimate episode airs.