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Showing posts from November, 2006

Peacock Tidies Midseason Schedule: "Friday" Shifts, "Studio 60" to Stay Put

It was with a bit of relief as NBC finally released its mid-season schedule... about two weeks later than promised by topper Kevin Reilly. No word on what led to the prolonged period between the intended announcement and, er, yesterday, but some rather unexpected results did manage to turn up. Let's take a look: MONDAY: NBC has kept its entire Monday night lineup intact, including the struggling Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip , which will remain at 10 pm. Many insiders had thought that the Peacock would try shifting the sinking Studio 60 in another slot, but it's staying tight for the moment, following a full season pick-up for the series, albeit at a reduced license fee. Look for a midseason drama (see below) to take over here in a few months' time. TUESDAY: Newsmagazine Dateline NBC will take over the 8 pm timeslot vacated by struggling freshman drama Friday Night Lights . Hmmm, anyone seeing shades of Reilly's announcement a little while back about programming cheap

O.R. Mishap: CBS Cuts "3 Lbs."

The diagnosis is not good for 3 Lbs . After just three (yes, count 'em, three!) airing, CBS has yanked medical drama 3 Lbs. off the schedule, effective immediately. The drama, which starred Stanley Tucci, Mark Feuerstein (his series kiss of death continues!), and Indira Varma, was unceremoniously canned by CBS, which rushed the midseason medical drama onto the air. 3 Lbs replaced the crime drama Smith (which CBS also cancelled after three airings) on Tuesdays at 10 pm. Like Smith, 3 Lbs. didn't deliver the audience CBS was craving, averaging a rather unhealthy 8 million viewers. Additionally, the series' ratings were 16% below Smith . Call it a case of schadenfreude , but I can't help but smile when a cancelled cult audience series' replacement show winds up doing worse than the series it replaced. Ha-bloody-ha. In other scheduling news, ABC will air five episodes of newsmagazine Primetime on Wednesdays at 10 pm, subbing in for freshman drama The Nine , which i

Campus Cleanup: Veronica Unmasks the Serial Rapist on "Veronica Mars"

Wow. Personally, I'm just blown away. From that killer opening scene (no pun intended) to the heart-breaking last few minutes of last night's episode ("Spit & Eggs") of Veronica Mars , I tossed and turned all night, unable to get it out of my head. I must have watched the promo for last night's episode about 100 times while counting down the hours to the latest installment of Veronica and I never imagined that Rob Thomas, who wrote and directed last night's ep, would use that scene of Veronica fleeing an unseen assailant... as the opening scene itself before flashing back two days earlier. It certainly set the mood for the entire episode and had me on the edge of my seat. How many of you out there were right about the identity of the Hearst College rapist? I was suspicious of creepy RA Moe at first, what with his handing out of cups of tea to women in distress and the fact that he had a massive set of keys to everybody's room , but those thoughts were

Casting Couch: Nia Long Briefed on "Boston Legal" and Chris Gorham Suits Up on "Ugly Betty"

Looks like Ugly Betty might just be getting a long-term love interest. For now, anyway. ABC has announced that Christopher Gorham ( Popular, Jake 2.0 ) has joined the cast of dramedy Ugly Betty in a recurring role, after appearing as a guest star on two episodes of the hit freshman series. Gorham will play nerdy accountant Henry, who has a thing for our Guadalajara poncho-wearing protagonist. Should the character gel with the storyline (and, one suspects, the audience), there is a possibility that Gorham could join the cast full-time as a regular next season. Meanwhile, ABC has also announced another cast addition, as Nia Long ( Big Momma's House ) is set to appear in three episodes of legal drama Boston Legal as Vanessa Walker, an ambitious new associate at Crane Pool & Schmidt, who arrives in Boston looking for some help from Alan Shore (James Spader.) While Long is only contracted for three episodes, like Gorham, there is the possibility she could be upped to a series regu

Easter Egg Hunt: The Clues Begin to Add Up on "Veronica Mars"

Whew. So it's been a rather long time since last week's episode of Veronica Mars aired... well, at least for the rest of the country. For those of us in the Los Angeles area , we finally got to see "Lord of the Pi's" on Saturday night. And while the wait was worth it (there are very few series I can say that about), I'm at least glad that it was last week's episode that was pre-empted by KTLA and not what looks to be a real mind-blower of an episode tonight. More on that later. First up, I'm heart-broken about what appears to be a full-blown chasm developing between young lovers Veronica and Logan. I understand Veronica's need to solve the serial rapist case but I also get why Logan is freaking out. For the first time in his life, he's actually in love and he doesn't want anything to happen to Veronica. Personally, I can't believe that Veronica never told Keith that the rapist actually got close enough to her to start shaving her head

"It's So Morocco!": Teams Travel and Unravel in the North African Country on "The Amazing Race"

Ohmigod. I can't believe I am actually going to say this, but I'm now rooting for the Beauty Queens to win this thing. There, I've said it. I know I've been on record since the start of this edition of The Amazing Race with my dislike of the Blondes, but they've far and away proven themselves to be the team to beat, even when they're dead in last place. And while I knew, based on the odds, that this would be a non-elimination leg, I nonetheless was on the edge of my seat to see whether Dustin and Kandice would be sent packing... or marked for elimination. And every iota of my very being was hoping that they wouldn't be out just yet, if only because all of the remaining teams seem to hate and fear them quite so passionately. (Guys, don't get pissed at them for taking off at the airport and trying to ditch you... and then follow them blindly.) I've even begun to view their somewhat serpentine actions with a blend of admiration and respect; these woman

George-Michael Bluth, Meet Innertube

I guess there's no need to cue that melancholy Charlie Brown music. CBS' Innertube has signed a deal with Arrested Development 's Michael Cera (George-Michael, we miss ye!) to create and produce an original short-form series for the broadband service. First up for Cera is The Good Life , which he will write, produce and star in. Innertube has ordered at least eight installments of the scripted series and has retained an option for further episodes; it's the first scripted series at Innertube to be ordered with a talent deal in place. In The Good Life , Cera will star with Clark Duke as would-be television producers who are so enamoured of the project they're shopping that they're totally blind to the fact that the project is going nowhere fast. Hmmm, a self-referential project filled to the brim with self-absorbed, oblivious characters. I could almost pretend it's Arrested Development we're talking about, but I don't want to depress myself this earl

ABC's "The Nine" Taken Hostage During Sweeps

I guess fans of The Nine are going to have to wait for quite some time to find out what exactly happened in that bank. ABC has announced that it has pulled struggling freshman series The Nine from its schedule, effective immediately. The news comes as the networks complete November sweeps and The Nine has taken an even further ratings hit since Lost disappeared off of ABC's fall schedule a few weeks back. Despite airing promos for this week's installment of The Nine after Wednesday's episode, ABC has opted to replace the hostage drama with 20/20 this week. Next week, the timeslot will be filled with a new Wednesday edition of Primetime . According to ABC, The Nine will return later in the season (ostensibly to burn off the remainder of its original 13-episode order), but seeing is believing as the network said the same thing about fellow frosher Six Degrees . In the meantime, the few fans of The Nine better hope that the producers tied up any loose ends in those 13

"Break An Egg": No More Salad Days for Carlos on "Top Chef"

Whew. You'd think after gorging myself after not one, but two, full Thanksgiving dinners, I wouldn't have room for the latest installment of Top Chef, but alas, there's no rest for the not-so- food-weary. I'm honestly surprised that Bravo would air an all-new episode of Top Chef (albeit a Thanksgiving-themed one) the night before Thanksgiving holidays, especially as this coming week's episode appears to be a repeat. But the minds of Bravo's programming execs are and always will remain a mystery to me, so let's leave it at that. This week's episode was a rare bird, in the fact that the Quickfire Challenge was just so... bizarre and unlikely, made even more so by the fact that the judge was none other than Head Judge Tom Colicchio and the fact that five contestants (Sam, Cliff, Ilan, Mia, and Frank) won the challenge. The chefs' assignment: create a dish in under fifteen minutes made primarily from canned goods and ingredients from the Top Chef pantry

Strike a Pose: The Top Contenders on "Top Model"

Confession time: I've become hopelessly addicted to this season (or cycle as they like to call it) of America's Next Top Model . I mean, seriously, seriously addicted, as in a run home from work to watch it sort of addiction. Call it a model dependency problem. Fortunately, the only side effect of this dirty little habit is the tendency to argue over which girl will win (and maybe a tendency to sometimes get the twins confused). I thought that Bravo's Project Runway would have sated my need for a fashion fix, but it turns out that watching girls try to become top models (or, well, top print models, anyway) is much more fun than I had ever imagined. So who are my favorites? That's easy. Personally, I'm hoping this competition comes down to a final showdown between Melrose and Caridee, but don't count out one of the twins making it to the final two either... anything can happen in this competition, especially after last week's episode, which had reward winner

Sci Fi Blasts "Battlestar" to a New Night

The crew of the Galactica is headed to a new destination: Sunday nights. Sci Fi has announced that it is relocating the third season of critically acclaimed drama Battlestar Galactica to Sunday evenings at 10 pm, beginning January 21st, coinciding with the second half of Battlestar Galactica 's third season and the launch of Sci Fi's newest drama, The Dresden Files . The latter series stars Paul Blackthorne ( 24 ) as Harry Dresden, a wizard turned private investigator. It's the first time that Sci Fi has tried launching a night of original programming on Sundays, which traditionally have been a mix of low-budget movies and acquired programs. But the success of this past summer's Eureka , which aired on Tuesdays evening, showed the network that it could launch a night of originals on another night than Friday. Not that Sundays are going to be a cake walk, either. Battlestar Galactica , which lost about .2 million viewers from last season, will now have to go head-to-hea

My Second Take on "5 Takes: USA"

As we're now several episodes into this season's 5 Takes on the Travel Channel , I thought it would be a perfect time to take a second look at the travel-on-a-budget reality series, which this time around has taken five diverse travel journalists from the Pacific Rim and thrust them on a cross-country tour of the United States. While I've been enjoying this season of 5 Takes , I can't help but compare it a little to last season's 5 Takes: Pacific Rim . It's been interesting to see one's own country through the eyes of someone else from another culture, but there's just something missing this season and I can't help but sit through the episodes wondering what's not there this time around. It's certainly not the travel journalists themselves, who are still an absolute joy to watch. No, it's not them at all, but there's just something... off about the entire enterprise this time around. Part of that problem is the editing this time arou

Televisionary PSA: LA-based Fans of "Veronica Mars," Beware

Sometimes it seems like The-Powers-That-Be are against you, especially if you're a fan of Veronica Mars . Just a few days after learning that the CW had picked up additional episodes of mystery/drama Veronica Mars (even if it had been for a back seven, rather than nine), I learned (via a tipoff from Televisionary reader Travis) that Los Angeles' CW affiliate, KTLA, would be preempting this week's episode of Veronica Mars to instead air the Clippers vs. Lakers game. No mention of the switcheroo has appeared on-air so far and Los Angeles-based fans who anxiously watched the previews for this week's episode of Veronica Mars are sadly out of luck. KTLA is shunting this week's episode to Saturday night at 9 pm. (The same goes for Gilmore Girls as well, which is being booted this week to Saturday at 8 pm.) Which means we'll have to wait to see how Veronica reacts to her attack by the Hearst College serial rapist and the rather tongue-in-cheek kidnapping of guest s

"Freakin' Chernobyl": Teams Head to the Ukraine on "The Amazing Race"

So it seems like producers of The Amazing Race should have had that pit stop at the bottom of Olympic Stadium tower in Helsinki last week, after all. Pushing the teams for another whole leg before allowing them to check in could have shaken some things up, but in the end, the teams ended up more or less staying in the same exact order they did as they rappelled down the tower. Crazy, huh? The teams left Helsinki for the Ukraine, armed only with a clue that told them to go to the capital city of the country home to the infamous Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, or as the Blondies called it, "where the atomic bomb went off" (another shining example of what's wrong with the American educational system!); teams seemed to think that it was in Russia and I was REALLY hoping that at least one team would do something rash and foolish, like board a plane to Moscow before realizing their error. No such luck. All the teams managed to learn from the somewhat helpful counter agent that (be

CW Orders Seven Additional Episodes of "Veronica Mars"

Looks like we'll be sticking around in Neptune a little longer. The CW has just given an additional seven episode order to mystery/drama/best-show-you're-not-watching Veronica Mars , bumping the third season installments from a measly 13 to a nearly full-season order of 20 episodes. Personally, I want all the Veronica I can get and so was praying (not even silently) for a full back nine pickup, but I'm happy that the season (or, hell, series) won't be ending in a few weeks' time. Still, I can't help but wonder what we're going to miss out on in those two episodes that have been stolen, like profits from a Neptune High school carnival, from us. But, perspective, people: it means that Veronica will at least still be solving crimes in 2007. And that, in and of itself, is cause for celebration.

Integration Celebration: The Branches Merge on "The Office"

I don't know about you but one of the highlights of my week is catching up with the gang at Dunder-Mifflin on Thursday nights. While there have been a few noticeable duds this season (ahem, "The Coup" and "Initiation"), I'll take my Scranton-based laughs over any other comedy on television right now. So I rushed home last night for NBC's revamped Thursday night single-cam comedy lineup, this week presented in super-sized episodes. The Office is undeniably the jewel in NBC's comedy crown and I've been waiting all season for last night's episode ("The Merger") to see how the Scrantonites would react to intruders from Stamford in their midst. Oh, yeah, and for a reunion between Jim and Pam. But I really wanted to see a showdown between Office sycophants Dwight and the even-more nauseatingly sycophantic Andy (Ed Helms) and newbie writer Brent Forrester (who I must applaud for writing this, his first episode of The Office, with such e