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September 2010

Broadcast TV

So much for that: Fox cancels 'Lone Star'

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Sep 30 2010


Fox has sent critical darling Lone Star to that last roundup in the sky, becoming the first casualty, but far from the last, of the jam-packed new fall season. The much-lauded drama, about a hunky Texas grifter leading a double life, sank in its second week, even though creator Kyle Killen went on a PR tear to try to rally viewers. (He said he'd mow your lawns and dance by the roadside, people! And you couldn't spare an hour of prime time?) After drawing a meager audience of 4.1 million in its premiere, which was considered disastrous for a heavily touted new series, it dropped 23 percent this Monday, pulling in only 3.2 million viewers. If this were a cable show, that would've been a respectable number. But alas, networks have higher goals and shorter attention spans.

  Perhaps the worst news was that Lone Star viewership fell from its first half-hour to its second, losing about 44 percent of its already small audience. In the crucial 18-49 demographic, its numbers dropped 23 percent from the debut. It may not have helped Lone Star that its lead-in, House, has slipped in the ratings this season. But other factors no doubt contributed, including the heavy-hitting competition and the criminal at its center (though he's trying to go straight). At any rate, it's history, and that's a damn shame.
  Fox has quickly moved to fill the slot with the Tim Roth drama Lie to Me. (Guess I'll be checking out The Event on NBC.) Lone Star has six episodes in the can. Where and when can we see them? That's an open question.

Broadcast TV, Rewatch

The Great 'X-Files' Rewatch: season 1, episode 6, 'Ghost in the Machine'

By Will Levith on Wed Sep 29 2010


Deep Throat (Jerry Hardin) makes his triumphant return! But unfortunately, this episode of the rewatch was dead on arrival the second time around.
  Unlike possibly any other area of media, digital/tech has made such great advances since season 1 of The X-Files in the early '90s that any show centered on the crazy, frightening power of computers might as well shrivel up and die in the corner. As I write this post on my laptop, I'm thinking of all the little gadgets on it that the X-Files creators would never have dreamed of. Back then, there was no Google search, no YouTube, no Skype, no iPad. No iPod! What would the creators have thought about those things—and how could they have known that digital was going to be so damned ahead of schedule. The second you buy a computer, it's already less powerful than the next one on the shelf.
  Sure, one could argue that Agent Dana Scully's "field reports" were the first use of an active weblog on television, but it's almost laughable how old the technology is. I remember the very first IBM my family had, the multiple floppy (then hard) disks, the dark blue screen and white letters. That's what we're dealing with here, folks, and I couldn't help but laugh.

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Broadcast TV

Creator of Fox's 'Lone Star' will do just about anything to save his show

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Sep 27 2010


I thought about expending some energy this week pleading for the life of Fox's Lone Star, a fine new drama about a two-timing anti-hero leading dual lives in Texas. Only one episode has aired, and it's already in danger of being yanked from the schedule because of its cellar-dweller ratings. But come to find out, the creator of the Fox show has done a much better job than I could of trying to rally eyeballs. He's offering gardening services and sensual massage, for crying out loud! In addition, though I don't know where he'll find the time, Kyle Killen says he'll do some guerrilla marketing on L.A.'s gridlocked roads. In crazy pants! Killen's plea, posted on his blog, shows that a) TV producers can grovel with the best of them, and b) the threat of cancellation, and of being the first new fall series to be axed, can inspire some great jabs at the competition. Killen, unfortunately, finds himself in the unenviable position of fighting an uphill battle, where broadcast networks are hair-trigger quick to ditch shows that don't perform immediately. Even though it's a compelling series, starring Jon Voight and newcomer James Wolk, viewers stayed away in droves. So, Killen's not kidding when he says he needs a "minor miracle" to stay on the air. I, for one, hope he gets it. Lone Star airs Monday night at 9/8c on Fox.

Broadcast TV, Cable

Once bitten, 'Sesame Street' isn't shy with its parody of HBO's 'True Blood'

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Sep 24 2010

The fangs were out for Katy Perry's video with Elmo, but Sesame Street should be just fine with this spoof of HBO's True Blood. The felt incarnation of vampire Bill Compton is amazingly more lifelike than the real thing! The pop-culture references are flying during the children's show's 41st year on the air—a year after the Muppets killed with their music-video version of "Bohemian Rhapsody." Up next on Sesame Street, we can expect Colin Farrell and his bowler hat and Oprah's voice to make an appearance. Check out the YouTube channel for more. Hat tip to The Live Feed for the True Mud clip.


'Mad Men' recaps: season 4, episodes 6-9

By Craig Russell on Thu Sep 23 2010


Waldorf Stories. Didn't love this one. Found Don's overzealous reaction to winning the Clio a real turnoff (and what about that kiss he planted on Joan?). Plus, Peggy shows how much she's matured during an all-night brainstorming session with the most annoying art director in New York. And Pete's not thrilled that Ken is being brought back into the fold. Best moments: flashbacks to how Roger and Don first met.
  The Suitcase. Probably because it's another prime example of how this drama can double as a history lesson, this was one of my favorite episodes. Using the classic Ali-Liston boxing match as a backdrop to Don's (best?) friend Anna's passing was genius. And raise your hand if you knew the fight took place in Lewiston, Maine. Even Peggy, whom I seem to love or hate, is always at her finest with Don. The two actors owned the hour.
  The Summer Man. The odd-even rule continues. Episode 8 proved to be a bit of a downer, although I certainly enjoyed watching Peggy fire Joey. It also reminded me how many jerks work at this ad agency. And who didn't see Don and Faye coming? I anticipate an extremely awkward moment with Don's much younger, sorta girlfriend sooner rather than later.
  The Beautiful Girls. The girls rule this hour, for better or worse. Was anyone else as moved as I was with Ms. Blankenship's passing? Wow, is Sally a handful or what? And I'm not quite sure how I feel about Roger and Joan's reconnection. While understandable, it also feels a bit forced.
  Only two episodes remain. What are your thoughts regarding season 4?

Previously: Mad Men recaps: season 4, episodes 1-5.

Broadcast TV

PBS just says no to Katy Perry's big boobs

By Will Levith on Thu Sep 23 2010

Famously voluptuous pop star Katy Perry, a current hit machine on the radio with songs like "California Gurls," has had her upcoming appearance on Sesame Street canceled. Why? Because of the low-cut dress she wore while singing a parody of her song "Hot N Cold" with Elmo—a segment (which was about playing "dress up") that confirmed, yet again, what everyone already knows: that Perry has big boobs.
  The video, which had been leaked, is now up on Perry's YouTube channel. I watched it. And while paying close attention to said boobs, I found nothing lewd or out of the ordinary about them. They heaved a bit, Shakespearian-style, at a few choice moments, but there was no nipple slip or other wardrobe malfunction show to speak of. The gold dress she wore held in everything that needed to be held in, and the parody of the song was decent—save for the "You're in, then you're out" lyric, which probably does have a sexual connotation. (Elmo seemed to have no problem singing it, though, as he went through a revolving door.)
  So, what's the big deal here?

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What's the proper fan/celebrity etiquette in the age of social media?

By Will Levith on Tue Sep 21 2010


I've lived in New York City since December 2003, and since then I've seen quite a few stars roaming around, trying not to be seen. (Local blogs like Gawker have made tales of such star sightings normal Web fodder.) I remember seeing Station Agent actor Peter Dinklage walking his dog on Broadway. I've seen a disheveled-looking Chris Noth (Sex and the City, Law & Order: Criminal Intent) walk by my office a few times. I saw Diddy walking through midtown with his entourage. Liv Tyler, one of the Olsen twins, John Malkovich, ex-Giant Michael Strahan. Seen 'em all. And countless others.
  Most recently, I was at lunch, and former Pittsburgh Steelers coach and current CBS football analyst Bill Cowher was sitting directly behind me. I wanted to go up and thank him for all the great Sundays and Monday nights he gave me over the years, but something stopped me. "What is proper fan/star interaction etiquette?" I asked myself.

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Stewart, Colbert to fight to death in D.C.

By Rebecca Cullers on Tue Sep 21 2010


In a completely intentional coincidence, Comedy Central's The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have scheduled dueling rallies in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 30. Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity will be going toe to toe on the National Mall with Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive. Before announcing the rallies, Stewart announced that he would be making an announcement, causing the rumor mill to speculate that Stewart may be retiring or even running for office. It also caused Colbert to make an announcement that if Stewart was going to make an announcement, he was going to make an even more important announcement. Now that they've both announced, we'll see how the faux rivalry pans out in October.


E! to present a plastic-surgery bridal show

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Sep 21 2010


Now, this really warms my heart: The E! cable channel is gathering a bunch of female accident, cancer and acid-throwing victims and getting them prepped for their Big Day, providing cosmetic surgery and prizes so they can have a dream wedding. Oh, wait, that's not the premise? It's actually a bunch of hair-pulling, back-stabbing bridezillas armed with "wish lists" of Botox, liposuction, nose jobs and breast enhancements who will square off against each other to become Stepford wives?

Our brother magazine The Hollywood Reporter broke this news, and unless it's a massive public punking, we will soon be subjected to a project dubbed Bridalplasty that will feature "celebrity surgeon" Terry Dubrow. You might remember him from Fox's short-lived and much vilified series The Swan, which sliced and diced a bunch of women (only women) on its way to reaching a new ethical low on prime-time TV. If it's possible, apparently it is, Bridalplasty goes a step further.

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Broadcast TV, Politics

Christine O'Donnell's TV talk-show past comes back to haunt her

By David Gianatasio on Mon Sep 20 2010


Last week on this blog, Will Levith reminded us that Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell, now running for the Delaware Senate, first rose to fame in the late 1990s on Bill Maher's ABC show Politically Incorrect. Now, Maher's stirred up a bubbling caldron of controversy by airing footage of O'Donnell admitting that she dabbled in witchcraft. Frankly, what Republic hasn't? On the show back in 1999, O'Donnell said: "One of my first dates [with] a witch was on a satanic altar, and then we had a little midnight picnic." Whoa, that Rush Limbaugh really knows how to treat the ladies! Now, O'Donnell has ridden off on her broomstick to hide, canceling two TV appearances after Maher released the clip. Maybe the next time we see her it'll be in an opponent's commercial, being doused by freedom water. Hey, that would be hot! Check out Maher's clip after the jump.

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  • Katy Bachman
  • Marc Berman
  • Michael Burgi
  • James Cooper (co-editor)
  • Anthony Crupi
  • Alan Frutkin
  • Will Levith
  • Lucia Moses
  • Tim Nudd (co-editor)
  • Craig Russell
  • Mike Shields