Stay Tuned
Reviews, previews and much more on "The Real Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS" and many more of your favorite shows. This is the place to talk about all of the things that make us "Stay Tuned"…

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I'm back!

I’ve been on vacation for the last several days, which is why you haven’t heard from me. But I’m back and I’ve got A LOT to catch up on.

So over the next few days, I’ll be putting up a lot of posts, so…

You know what to do. Stay tuned, of course.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"The One" is one bad "Idol" rip-off

Partially for lack of anything else to watch and partially out of curiosity, I watched ABC’s “The One: Making a Music Star.”

Oh my, where to start.

The first question is, is it an “American Idol” rip-off? Absolutely, (although that’s slightly insulting to “Idol” to even mention them in the same sentence) but just for fun, they’ve thrown in a “Big Brother” element. The eleven contestants live together at The One Academy where they have a trainer, a stylist and the mentoring of the “experts”: Mark Hudson, a producer/songwriter who co-wrote Aerosmith’s “Livin’ on the Edge;” Andre Harrell, the former head of Motown who mentored P Diddy; and Kara DioGuardi, a singer/songwriter who has worked with Christina Aguilera and is the lead singer of Platinum Weird with Dave Stewart (The Eurythmics). Every Tuesday, the contestants perform and America votes. Then on Wednesday, the bottom three vote getters perform again. The experts vote to save one, while the contestants decide between the final two.

The show got off to a horrid start with a group performance of “Feels Like the First Time” that for some of them sounded like it was the first time they’ve ever performed anywhere. It didn’t get much better. There were plenty of audio issues (The show is live.), the arrangements were bad, the band was cheesy and the singing was never quite right. Or course, you would never have known that from listening to the experts who seemed to be watching another show—although they did make critical comments of the performances that were totally awful (They would lose all credibility if they hadn’t.). Sometimes it’s hard to hear any of their comments, though, because they’re always talking over each other. And taking notes? I guess that’s because they’re actually teaching them and not just judging them. Which reminds me. They’re not judges—as we’re told after every single contestant. They’re “experts.”

And, of course, there’s a host, George Stroumboulopoulos (It’s not nearly as hard to pronounce as it is to spell.). The way he stands on stage with his legs spread apart and his pointing to the camera, he looks like he’s doing a “Body By Jake” infomercial rather than host this show. Plus, he has no chemistry with the experts. In order to keep the show moving (and to keep them from talking over each other), he is sometimes kind of rude. He is adequate, but he could spare a little personality.

The show tried to add a little controversy with one of the contestants, Michael Cole. First, he didn’t like the judges’ song choice for him, “Drift Away” and changed it to “Devil With a Blue Dress” (Clearly he didn’t like “Drift Away” because it would’ve forced him to actually sing.). Then, Andre had to lecture him about staying up all night drinking, which only added to his bad boy vibe that the girls love.

Then, we got a look at a possible romance brewing in the house between Nick and Aubrey, who has a boyfriend. After the clip was shown, Aubrey didn’t appear to be too pleased. Did she honestly think the show wouldn’t exploit that? Interestingly, Nick sang “Let’s Get It On” but he was so wrapped up in trying to play the guitar that he totally missed it.
So the next question is, is there actually any talent on this show? I didn’t really think so, until I heard the voice of Austin Carroll. It’s Austin’s flamboyant personality that has probably kept him from being discovered up until now (He is better with makeup than I could ever hope to be.); but his voice is amazing. He reminds you of Taylor Hicks with his old soul approach. If the show does something for his career then it will have been worth the airtime.

More than anything, “The One” confirms the place of “American Idol” at the top of the talent reality shows. As bad as some of the “Idol” finalists can be, “The One” shows us they could be a whole lot worse.

“The One” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m., with the results airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Hotel Viewing

I spent the past three days at a conference in Indianapolis. The hotel was really nice, but there was one problem…

How can a hotel’s cable TV system have two MTVs and no TBS?! The surprising lack of channels actually reminded me of my life before cable when I couldn’t experience the magic of TBS or Bravo. It was not a pretty picture.

Thankfully, the hotel did have TNT, so I could see the NASCAR race Sunday, but after Kyle Busch’s victory (BOO HISS!), my only choice was VH1’s “I Love the 70s Volume 2”—so I watched three straight hours. For some reason, I just love listening to all those B-listers talk about stupid stuff from the past. Michael Ian Black and Mo Rocca were in especially fine form during these episodes…

The hotel also had WGN, which was good, so I could catch two episodes of “24” from the fourth season. I also got to see an episode of “Entourage.” Since I don’t get HBO, I have to wait until the DVD to see what everyone’s talking about. I’m afraid I wasn’t impressed. Eric had to have a threesome, why? I mean other than the obvious reason of being able to show two naked girls kissing…

It was a little difficult to get through Monday night without my four straight episodes of “Friends,” but thankfully I had NBC’s repeat of “Project Runway” to make it easier. The lack of TBS did give me the chance to catch “Two and a Half Men” for the first time in forever (Hey, it’s not my fault that we live in a cruel world where we’re forced to choose between Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland!). Though the ending of the episode was a little strange, it was nice to see the show is still hilarious…

As I’ve said before, “How I Met Your Mother” is a terribly frustrating show, but I have to admit I enjoyed the twists and turns of Monday’s episode as Ted pursued a woman he met at a wedding. The connection between Marshall’s cake obsession and the girl was pretty clever…

NBC’s Brian Williams (and ABC’s Charles Gibson) is now anchoring from Israel. It makes me wonder, can anyone see Katie Couric doing that? Of course, I couldn’t see Ann Curry doing it either…

I saw a commercial on FOX Sports Net asking who the new anchor of FOX NFL Sunday will be. If you didn’t know, James Brown moved back to CBS. I have no idea what that means for Greg Gumbel. And no, I don’t know who the new host is either. My guess would be Chris Myers, but he might be too obvious…

Now, thankfully, I’m back home with all of my channels. Of course, now that Time Warner and Comcast have officially bought out Adelphia that could change. If they want to move some channels around the dial, fine. But if they even think about taking away my Bravo, I will be forced to go Jack Bauer on somebody…

Stay tuned…

Thursday, July 13, 2006

"Psych": I'm Predicting a Hit

As I’ve said before, sometimes I feel like the critics and I are watching different shows. But when a show gets such unanimous praise, it’s hard not to check it out.

Fortunately for me—and USA viewers—“Psych” is as good as advertised.

“Psych” stars James Roday as Shawn, a twenty-something slacker who has never managed to hold down a decent job. When Shawn was a boy, his dad honed his photographic memory and attention to detail to make him an excellent police detective (like his dad). But Shawn and his dad became estranged after his parents divorced and Shawn went his own path. However, the skills his dad taught him allow him to call in tips to the police because he solves the crimes before they do.

When Shawn comes to the station to pick up his reward money for his latest tip on a robbery, he’s arrested because the detective thinks he was the robber’s accomplice. Shawn can’t explain why he knows so much about the case, so to keep from spending the night in jail, he claims to be psychic. Detective Lassiter isn’t buying it, until Shawn tells intimate details of two officers’ lives (that he got from observing them) and deduces that Lassiter is sleeping with his partner. Shawn’s gift sparks the interest of Interim Police Chief Vick who asks Shawn to help out with a high profile kidnapping. To help him with his charade, Shawn enlists his pal, Gus (Dule Hill), a pharmaceutical salesman.

Shawn is able to track down the missing person (while falling for his sister), but when he leads the police to him it turns out to be a murder. And to help solve it, Shawn is forced to turn to the one person he’d rather avoid—his father, Henry (Corbin Bernsen). Of course, Shawn does solve the case through his “psychic” abilities and is so inspired by the work that he decides to open his own detective agency with Gus’s help called Psych. Plus, he comes to an understanding with his dad after Henry doesn’t rat him out to the chief.

Though the show is labeled a comedy, there’s just enough crime solving in it to please the procedural lovers. We follow the clues along with Shawn and his observations are highlighted for us so we can see what he’s seeing. But before the show can get too serious, Shawn breaks into one of his “psychic moments” and begins flailing around and “talking” to the dead.

Roday is totally charming and funny and as much as I dislike Dule Hill (thanks to his annoying performance on “Celebrity Poker Showdown”) he works well as the straight man to Roday’s comic antics. And Corbin Bernsen is perfect as the tough and disapproving dad (who you just know is going to get involved with the police chief).

You don’t have to be a pretend psychic to know this one’s going to be a hit.

“Psych” airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on USA. You can watch the pilot episode in streaming video at

Making It Work Once Again

To prepare for last night’s season premiere of “Project Runway,” I watched the first season over four days on DVD. You’d think that knowing who the winner was would ruin it for me; but it actually made me more interested as I wondered how it was going to happen.

And Wendy Pepper? I don’t even know where to begin with that chick. She was reality TV at its best and worst all rolled into one person which made for great TV.

After watching Jay’s victory on DVD, I watched Chloe’s victory (for at least the third time) re-run on Bravo. Then we got to see the casting process for season three in action with “Road to the Runway,” which also featured some updates on our favorite contestants. I love the fact that Austin is designing wedding dresses. But I noticed that Daniel didn’t mention Michael Kors telling him he didn’t have a job opening for him after Michael offered him one on the finale.

Then, finally, after ENDLESS promos, it was time to kick off season three. The first challenge was—as always—the innovation challenge. The designers had to create an outfit from materials found in their apartment (not including clothes). The designers had a little too much fun destroying their new homes by tearing apart mattresses, chandeliers, shower curtains and anything else they could get their hands on.

The fabulous Tim Gunn, who acts as the designers’ mentor, says that this is the best group yet. I think he means the kookiest. Among the notables so far is Vincent who gave up designing because he couldn’t take the pressure, but has now returned. From the looks of things last night, he’s still a little cracked. You just knew he was in no danger of being eliminated because he’s too interesting of a character—regardless of that ridiculous basket hat. There’s Malan, who unsuccessfully auditioned in season one, then made the show in season two, only to reject the show’s offer. I’m glad he wasn’t in season two, because he probably would’ve ruined it since it’s a strong possibility he could hurt this season if he’s not eliminated soon. I just know that British accent is a complete fake and I hope someone exposes it very soon. I’m rooting for Angela, not because of her name, but because she’s from Amesville, Ohio, which is just two hours from Huntington!

I have to say I was a little disappointed with the judges’ decisions. Though they kept Michael in, they didn’t even comment on his innovative use of coffee filters to make a dress. And their choice of Keith as the winner was terribly disappointing because he only used a bed sheet for his dress, which as Tim pointed out was already fabric. In fact, Tim encouraged him to use other materials which ironically, might have cost him the win (I hate it when Tim is wrong, which is very rare.). In my opinion, Robert’s dress was the best (Plus, he’s really cute and he designs for Barbie!).

In the end, it was only Jeffrey, the rock star clothing designer, and Stacey, who didn’t know how to use the sewing machine, left on the runway. The judges made the right final decision though and told Stacey she was out. Host Heidi Klum even mixed things up a little bit by telling Stacey she was out first (The first person she names is almost always in.).

The previews show us that one contestant violates the rules and is asked to go home. I’m really hoping it’s Malan.

“Project Runway” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Bravo. If you want to catch the premiere, NBC is scheduled to air it Monday night at 8.

Monday, July 10, 2006

"American Idol": Big News for Chris Fans!

Just read some great news for all of us Chris Daughtry fans.

Chris has signed with 19 Recordings Limited/RCA (Taylor and Katharine's label) and will release his first CD later this year. This is good news for those of us who were concerned (namely me) that his losing "Idol" would keep his CD out of our hands until way into next year. Obviously the people at 19 (who are the same people who run "Idol") didn't want to let him get away.

Chris is reportedly working with some big names and will also form "a permanent band," according to "Billboard." I'm not sure if the permanent band means his CD won't be a solo one or if the band will just be his touring one. I guess we'll have to stay tuned on that one.


The Return of Max and Pee-Wee

Tonight (Monday, July 10th), marks the return of two old favorites to television.

On the Sci-Fi network, it’s “Dark Angel,” the show that introduced us to Jessica Alba. She plays Max, a genetically engineered super-being that escaped from her makers and now blends in by working for a bicycle courier service in apocalyptic Seattle, which was decimated by an electromagnetic pulse. In her spare time, Max uses her abilities to become a thief. In the premiere, she robs the wrong person—the wheelchair-bound Logan (Michael Weatherly), who turns out to be a crusader against corruption. He convinces Max to team up with him to fight the bad guys—including those who are still chasing Max.

Alba is, of course, fantastic and serves as a bit of a precursor to Jennifer Garner’s Sidney Bristow by playing a tough cookie who takes no crap from anyone. Her chemistry with Weatherly (who can now be seen as DiNozzo on “NCIS”) helps drive the show and even got the two of them engaged at one time.

The first season was outstanding with one of the best season finales I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, the show, created by James Cameron of “Terminator” and “Titanic” fame, decided to get even more sci-fi in its second season which turned off viewers and FOX put the final nail in the coffin by moving the show to Fridays to make room for a new series. I remember being really angry at FOX for throwing off my Tuesday routine.

Sci-Fi will air four episodes of “Dark Angel” beginning tonight at 7.

The other show that returns tonight is one that I never watched, but I would be totally remiss not to mention—“Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.” That’s right, Pee-Wee’s back!

It’s hard to believe that this show featured the likes of Laurence Fishburne, Phil Hartman and S. Epatha Merkerson. Some consider it the greatest children’s show ever made; but now it will become part of the Adult Swim block on Cartoon Network beginning tonight at 11.

I guess you can TiVo it for the kids.

And by the way, the show that I was so mad about because it bumped “Dark Angel” to Fridays? It was a little show called “24.”

"Go" with Kelly Clarkson!

If you're a Kelly Clarkson fan, I strongly encourage you to visit and click on Go to hear the full-length version of "Go," that Kelly recorded for the Ford campaign. It's a great song! The website promises a video sometime today (July 10th) as well.

I hope this means we'll get to download this song soon!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Emmy Breakdown

To paraphrase Jack Nicholson in Batman, what kind of a world do we live in where a group of interns steals all of Jack Bauer’s press?

For the record, 24, NOT Grey’s Anatomy received the most nominations for an individual series, though you wouldn’t know it from most of the press reports about the nominations (The story that ran on the Herald-Dispatch website did get it right, however.). Of course, this means that as the show with the most nominations, 24 will probably win squat come awards night. That’s why it’s important it gets the attention now.

I’ve just finished watching Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood for some of the Emmy reaction and there are a lot of people in shock—and that includes me—but for the most part I’m fairly pleased with how things turned out.

Apparently, I’m the only one.

Critics everywhere are blasting the new system saying it didn’t improve things, citing all of the people who were shut out. And I guess I would be upset too if 24 had not done so well. It’s interesting how the show I thought would be hurt the most by the new system actually benefited the most.

Here’s a breakdown of the major nominees…

Outstanding Drama Series
Grey’s Anatomy
The Sopranos
The West Wing

The big exclusion here is of course, Lost. According to Emmy expert Tom O’Neill, Lost submitted confusing episodes filled with the show’s mythology that may have confused voters. The West Wing submitted the powerful Election Day (Part II), so it’s no wonder that it made the cut. As I said before, I think Wing is definitely the favorite for nostalgic reasons.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Krause, Six Feet Under
Denis Leary, Rescue Me
Christopher Meloni, Law & Order: SVU
Martin Sheen, The West Wing
Kiefer Sutherland, 24

The exclusion of James Gandolfini (The Sopranos) is big, but the omission of Hugh Laurie (House) is huge, because he was considered by many to be the favorite after winning the Golden Globe. I watched this category live on my computer and when I heard Christopher Meloni, I was sure that Kiefer didn’t get nominated. When I heard Martin Sheen, I was positive he didn’t get nominated; but then he snuck in there. I wonder if this is based more on Kiefer’s new found Hollywood clout than on his episode (He didn’t rank #68 on the Forbes Celebrity Power 100 list for nothing.). Sheen is a big surprise too considering he was barely in this season. I’m curious to see what episode he submitted. Meloni is a surprise, but a welcome one. He did have some powerful episodes and he obviously picked one of them.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Geena Davis, Commander In Chief
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order
Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under
Allison Janney, The West Wing

One story I read said it would take an act of God for Edie Falco to lose (The Sopranos) the Emmy. Who knew she wouldn’t even get nominated? Did she just pick the wrong episode or was it something else? I’m not surprised to see Allison Janney on the list since Emmy loves her, but like Martin Sheen, I think she probably had difficulty picking an episode. I would've liked Emmy to show some nostalgia love for Alias and nominated Jennifer Garner as well.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
William Shatner, Boston Legal
Oliver Platt, Huff
Michael Imperioli, The Sopranos
Gregory Itzin, 24
Alan Alda, The West Wing

Emmy did well here, although I thought there may still be a chance for Donald Sutherland to make the cut (He received a Lead Actor in a Movie or Miniseries nod instead.). Since Emmy was feeling nostalgic for Wing, I would’ve liked to have seen Bradley Whitford get a nod. And I’m afraid I may have been right about Locke’s lack of story hurting Terry O’Quinn’s (Lost) chances.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Candice Bergen, Boston Legal
Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy
Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy
Blythe Danner, Huff
Jean Smart, 24

Emmy did well here too, even without Mary Lynn Rajskub (24).

Outstanding Comedy Series
Arrested Development
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Office
Two and a Half Men

Once again a favorite in the category was excluded as Entourage didn’t make the cut. My Name is Earl was also thought to have a good shot. The surprise is Arrested Development. It’s not going to win, but at least it was recognized.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Kevin James, The King of Queens
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Steve Carell, The Office
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) and Jason Lee (My Name is Earl) are the biggest exclusions here with James being the biggest surprise. I was also hoping that Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) might make the cut as well.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Jame Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Stockard Channing, Out of Practice
Debra Messing, Will & Grace

Do I even have to say what the biggest exclusions here are? I’m sure we’ll hear all kinds of stories as to why the Desperate Housewives weren’t nominated, but I think it boils down to one simple thing—they just weren’t funny this year. And unfortunately they have a bad habit of picking the wrong episodes (Felicity Huffman was able to win last year because Marcia Cross submitted Felicity’s best episode as her own.) Golden Globe winner Mary Louise-Parker (Weeds) is also a major omission. And I don’t think I have to tell you what the biggest surprise is here. I guess since Emmy couldn’t reward Channing for The West Wing they decided to reward her for a show hardly anyone remembers. The other big story here is Emmy’s continued snub of Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), who many cite as the poster child for why the Emmy rules were changed.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Will Arnett, Arrested Development
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Bryan Cranston, Malcolm in the Middle
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace

Emmy did well in this category—especially with the choice of Will Arnett, who was my favorite from Arrested. However, they once again excluded John C. McGinley (Scrubs).

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Cheryl Hines, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Alfre Woodard, Desperate Housewives
Jaime Pressley, My Name Is Earl
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace

Emmy loves Alfre Woodard, but nominating her for a role I’m sure she’d rather forget?

By the way, one Lost cast member did receive an acting nomination: Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond) for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.

The Emmys are August 27th at 8 p.m. on NBC. I’ll have MUCH more before then so…

Stay tuned…

Is Katharine the next Clay or Bo?

Katharine McPhee was hoping to be the next Clay Aiken, but it looks like she could become the next Bo Bice.

Wednesday, the Idols Live tour kicked off in Manchester, New Hampshire without Katharine. She is reportedly under doctor’s orders to rest her voice due to severe bronchitis and laryngitis. You may recall that last year while on the tour Bo broke his foot and later missed several of the tour’s final shows because of his intestinal disorder. I certainly hope Katharine is not headed for the same bad luck.

As for Katharine’s chart luck, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” debuts this week at #12, while “My Destiny” debuts at #60. I think this is kind of a shame because—and you may want to brace yourself for this one—“My Destiny” is actually the better song. In fact, I think “Destiny” may be better than Taylor’s single “Do I Make You Proud,” but there’s little chance of anyone realizing that since it sounded SO bad on the finale. “Rainbow” is good, but David Foster’s (who you will remember from the Andrea Bocelli love songs episode of “Idol”) production takes some of the purity out of it by adding additional runs. The dramatic bridge also falls flat due to some misplaced musical accompaniment.

By the way, “Do I Make You Proud” falls to #14 this week probably due in large part to lack of radio airplay.

"Pepper Dennis": "She will be just fine..."

Sometimes it feels good to be wrong, and that was certainly the case with the series finale of “Pepper Dennis.”

I said we were going to get an over-the-top story and a whopper of a cliffhanger. Well, the story was over-the-top (especially the B story involving the Turkish statue), but the cliffhanger never came. Now, technically, the ending was a cliffhanger, but it was more of a “will they live happily ever after” than a “what happens next” cliffhanger.

After Pepper confessed to Charlie that he was her Prince Charming, while under the influence of anesthesia (She cracked a tooth.), Charlie got scared and left Pepper at the altar on live TV. Then, on his last night at WEIE, Charlie gave a heartwarming goodbye speech to his viewers that was really a goodbye to Pepper, explaining that he wasn’t good enough for her. But after hearing the speech, Kimmy convinced him to give the marriage another chance. Meanwhile, Cathy convinced Russell, the Homeland Security agent assigned to Charlie’s case, to do the same, while landing a new love in the process.

But it was Chick who ended up convincing Pepper. After failing to declare his love for her earlier (thanks to that cracked tooth), Chick found comfort in the arms of Blanca, WEIE’s weatherperson. Ready to move on, Chick convinced Pepper to hear Charlie out.

In a classic romantic scene (marred only slightly by Rebecca Romijn’s lack of dramatic acting chops), Pepper demanded a reason to give the wedding another try. Charlie’s response: “I love you,” which reduced Pepper (and me) to tears. The show ended with the two of them standing hand in hand, ready to get married at City Hall.

Clearly the writers did have time to prepare an ending. And even though it was a tad far-fetched, it gave us fans what we wanted.

As the theme song says, “she will be just fine,” but I will be sad without this spunky little show.

Let’s bring on the DVD!

"Rock Star: Supernova": Did It Crash and Burn?

I tried to watch “Rock Star: Supernova” last night, but after the first half-hour, I just couldn’t take anymore.

First of all, there was no introduction whatsoever. Last year, we saw the rockers moving into their new house, meeting INXS and selecting their songs, but last night, we jumped headfirst into the performances. I’m sure it’s a response to the bad ratings of the “reality episodes” last season; but I found it a little jolting.

Brooke Burke’s stilted cue card reading was painful enough, but watching Tommy Lee’s charm wasted by reducing him to 10 second soundbites was pretty hard to take as well (I admit it. I have “Tommy Lee Goes to College” on DVD.). Plus, it was hard for me to get into the singers’ performances when I knew nothing about the person singing.

And that’s the catch-22 of “Rock Star.” Because you don’t know their personal stories (at least for a while), you have to judge the contestants strictly on their performances, which keeps personality from playing a major factor (as it sometimes does with “Idol”). But without knowing the personal stories, it’s hard for viewers to care enough to vote.

I am intrigued by who the band might pick and I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t go with a woman just to be different. But I’ll just catch the Internet recaps, because I can’t sit through two nights a week of this—unless the guys find a way to spice things up.

You can let me know if that happens.

The Emmys: A "Housewife" Gets A Nod

The supporting nominations are in and one of the “Desperate Housewives” did get a nod, but it was the one none of us would have predicted—Alfre Woodward. Interesting how the character that helped keep the show out of the Best Comedy race gets recognized. Maybe it was a reward for playing such a lousy character.

As for the drama nominees, I am so thrilled for Gregory Itzin, I can’t even see straight. And he has a good shot at a win, if he can get past Alan Alda.

Here’s the list:

Supporting Actress, Drama:
Candice Bergen, “Boston Legal”
Sandra Oh, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Blythe Danner, “Huff”
Jean Smart, “24”

Supporting Actor, Drama:
William Shatner, “Boston Legal”
Oliver Platt, “Huff”
Michael Imperioli, “The Sopranos”
Gregory Itzin, “24”
Alan Alda, “The West Wing”

Supporting Actress, Comedy:
Cheryl Hines, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Alfre Woodward, “Desperate Housewives”
Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds”
Jaime Pressley, “My Name Is Earl”
Megan Mullally, “Will & Grace”

Supporting Actor, Comedy:
Will Arnett, “Arrested Development”
Jeremy Piven, “Entourage”
Bryan Cranston, “Malcolm in the Middle”
Jon Cryer, “Two and a Half Men”
Sean Hayes, “Will & Grace”

I’ll have a complete Emmy analysis later tonight.

Stay tuned…

The Emmys: Are You Kidding Me?

"Desperate Housewives" fans, you're going to want to sit down for this one. NONE of the "Housewives" were nominated in the Lead Actress in a Comedy category. That's right, I said NONE!

So who was?

Lead Actress, Comedy:
Stockard Channing ("Out of Practice")
Jane Kaczmarek ("Malcolm in the Middle")
Lisa Kudrow ("The Comeback")
Debra Messing ("Will & Grace")
Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("The New Adventures of Old Christine")

Lead Actor, Comedy:
Steve Carell, ("The Office")
Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm")
Kevin James ("King of Queens")
Tony Shalhoub ("Monk")
Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men")

I'll have much more on today's shocking events later, including a list of the supporting nominees.

Stay tuned...

The Emmys: The Shockers Just Keep On Coming!

So you thought "Lost" getting shut out of Best Drama was a shocker? How about "Desperate Housewives" getting shut out of Best Comedy?

Yep, it happened.

Comedy Series:
"Arrested Development"
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"Two and a Half Men"
"The Office"

I say, kudos to the Emmys for acknowledging the "Desperate" slump and for acknowledging the cancelled "Arrested Development."

More in just a few...

Emmy "Drama": YES!!!


Not only did Kiefer Sutherland get an Emmy nomination, but he has a good chance of winning, if he can avoid all of the spoilers!

Both the lead acting drama categories had SEVERAL surprises…

Lead Actress:
Frances Conroy, “Six Feet Under”
Geena Davis, “Commander In Chief”
Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order: SVU”
Allison Janney, “The West Wing”
Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”
Note that the overwhelming favorite, Edie Falco (“The Sopranos”), is missing, as well as last year’s winner, Patricia Arquette (“Medium”).

Lead Actor:
Peter Krause, “Six Feet Under”
Denis Leary, “Rescue Me”
Christopher Meloni, “Law & Order: SVU”
Martin Sheen, “The West Wing”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”
Note that the favorites, Hugh Laurie (“House”) and James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”) are missing, as well as two-time winner James Spader (“Boston Legal”).

Maybe this new system worked after all.

As far as the Drama series category goes, it also produced a big surprise as “Lost” was not nominated, but "24" did make the cut!

Drama Series:
“Grey’s Anatomy”
“The Sopranos”
“The West Wing”
Thankfully, “Six Feet Under” was excluded, but I think you can pretty much just hand the Emmy to “The West Wing.” Obviously, Emmy is feeling nostalgic this year.

I’ll have details on the comedy categories, coming up.

Stay tuned…

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"Rock Star: Supernova" Gets Set to Launch

I didn’t get into “Rock Star: INXS” last season. I think it had something to do with Mark Burnett’s cocky attitude about how he was going to get back at FOX for ripping off “The Contender” by ripping off “American Idol.” And I have to admit, I wasn’t too crazy about INXS using a reality show to find a new lead singer.

However, it was hard not to get choked up during the finale when Tim Farris and the rest of INXS thanked winner J.D. Fortune for making them a complete band again (The wounds from Michael Hutchence’s death were obviously still quite fresh.). And though J.D. completely turned me off after I saw him perform in the first episode, he turned out to be exactly what INXS was looking for—a young Michael Hutchence sound-alike. You can find plenty of evidence of that in INXS’ first two singles with J.D., “Pretty Vegas” and “Afterglow”—both excellent songs that hearken back to the band’s “Kick” glory days.

This year’s “Rock Star” will be something completely different. The contestants will be competing to front a totally new band, Supernova, made up of Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), Jason Newsted (Metallica) and Gilby Clarke (Guns ‘N Roses). The trio has already recorded songs without a singer so they will have an idea of what they’re looking for, but we will have no idea. And since we’re talking about guys from three of the wildest metal bands ever, it could get interesting.

But maybe the biggest difference is the prize for the winner. Last year, J.D. Fortune knew exactly what he was going to be a part of—an established band with an established repertoire of hits. But this year’s winner is guaranteed one album with one tour and then…who knows? Tommy Lee has said he is not leaving Motley Crue and plans to tour with them soon, so where will that leave the "Rock Star" winner?

I guess we’ll have to stay tuned…

“Rock Star: Supernova” premieres tonight (Wednesday) at 8 on CBS.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

TV on DVD Review: "Step By Step"

Warner Brothers is doing a cool thing for fans of its shows with its “Television Favorites” line. These single disc DVDs allow fans to get episodes of their favorite shows, while allowing Warner Brothers to test the waters for future set releases. “Welcome Back, Kotter,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Alice” and “Maverick” have all gotten a “Television Favorites” release.

The newest “Television Favorite” is “Step By Step,” which was part of ABC’s “TGIF” lineup in the 90s. “Step” starred Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers as the parents of a blended family, a la “The Brady Bunch.” It was a return to TV fame for Somers and for Duffy, it was something new after all of those years playing Bobby Ewing on “Dallas.” Their chemistry was fantastic and Duffy proved to be perfect for a family sitcom. Staci Keanan, fresh from her run on “My Two Dads” and Brandon Call of “Baywatch” and “Santa Barbara” were the oldest kids. Several supporting characters roamed in and out of the show during its seven (!) seasons including Carol’s mom and sister, Dana’s boyfriend and my personal favorite, Frank’s nephew Cody (Sasha Mitchell, who had been so terrible on “Dallas”).

These episodes are a good cross section of what the series was, but it’s obvious most of them were picked for their guest stars. “J.T.’s World” (Season 2) features a guest turn by Elizabeth Berkley during her “Saved By the Bell” heyday. “Christmas Story” (Season 3) gives a hilarious guest appearance by Don Knotts, as—what else?—a bumbling deputy. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” (Season 4) features a pre-“Everybody Loves Raymond” Doris Roberts as a hateful aunt. The DVD also includes the pilot episode, “Rules of the House” from season one and “Your Cheatin’ Heart” from season seven.

Some shows don’t stand the test of time, but this one does. It followed that same familiar formula of other Miller-Boyett Productions like “Full House” (The theme song is even performed by the same person.), but when you’ve got a good thing, why ruin it? In fact, it was when they started to ruin it, that the show lost its magic. By the time you get to the last episode on the DVD, everything’s changed. One of the kids is missing, Carol and Frank have a new little girl and Dana has a boyfriend who is apparently living in the house. To be honest, I had no idea the show was on for seven years; but I think once Sasha Mitchell was fired (due to some personal problems), I lost interest.

If you remember loving “Step By Step,” then I highly recommend you pick up this DVD. Then let’s hope that enough people buy it to make Warner Brothers release a season set.

After all, it’s better “the second time around.”

Are you in or out?

In my best and worst post, I named “Project Runway” as the best reality show, but I didn’t give much of an explanation why.

Now you can see for yourself as Bravo gives us a marathon of the second season Tuesday, July 4th, beginning at 9 a.m. And if I was going to be home Tuesday, no doubt I would watch most of it even though some of the episodes I have seen at least 10 times (and no, that is not an exaggeration).

So what’s the attraction? “Runway” is everything that’s good about reality TV. Yes, there are people creating characters for the sake of TV, but for the most part, the drama comes from the competition itself and though there does appear to be some manipulation by the judges, most of the show is actually real.

If you’ve never watched it, “Runway” is a competition to find the next great American designer. Each week, contestants are given a different design challenge and a limited amount of time and money to create it. Then, the designs are shown on the runway where the judges score them. The designer with the lowest score is eliminated as host Heidi Klum tells them, “You’re out” (as in out of style).

The time constraints and odd challenges (like using plants as material) actually bring you to the edge of your seat as you wait to see whether the designers will get finished and how the designs will look on the runway. And even the score gives the entire show an energy not seen in reality television.

If you’re unable to catch the marathon Tuesday, I encourage you to check out the newly released DVD which contains some great special features, including deleted scenes and an update on the top three designers.

By the way, the third season begins Wednesday, July 12th at 10 p.m. And I will definitely be in.

Reachin' Up There and Pullin' Those Belts Tight One More Time!

Saturday night, I got a little teary-eyed at the end of the Pepsi 400. Not because both of my favorite drivers were eliminated in the same lap, but because this was FOX’s last race of the year.

Let’s face it. FOX’s coverage is just better. The pre-race show is more entertaining and it provides much more information. The race commentary is also entertaining and informational without being annoying. And the entire presentation, complete with solid openings and bumpers is fresh and fun (as evidenced by Saturday’s “Entourage” parody).

Now, I know there are people out there who can’t stand Darrell Waltrip, but I am definitely not one of them. I think he and Larry McReynolds are a great team and do an excellent job of breaking down the technical information so people can understand it. And Mike Joy is the Joe Buck of NASCAR—smooth, genial, and knowledgeable, without being arrogant about it.

But beginning next week, NBC (and TNT) will take over the broadcasts. And while FOX’s crew oozes chemistry, the NBC/TNT crew has none. NBC improved that problem by putting Bill Weber in the booth (replacing Alan Bestwick), but it wasn’t enough. Wally Dallenbach tries the down-to-Earth approach, but Benny Parsons always belittles him with his “I know everything” attitude and Weber ends up playing referee (Bestwick tried to one-up Parsons, which just made things awkward.).

The good news is that this is NBC’s last year broadcasting NASCAR. Next year, ABC/ESPN (and TNT) will do the second half of the season. If you watched the Indy 500, you got a taste of what the ABC/ESPN coverage may be like and it’s not too bad. Rusty Wallace will do a great job once he’s in his element (Indy cars are not really his thing.). So, I’m REALLY hoping that they don’t feel the need to recruit Benny Parsons to join him; though Parson’s arrogance may work okay in a pre-race show. ABC would be better served to repeat the successful driver-crew chief combination of FOX (Why didn’t anyone else think of that before?).

The other good news is that there’s a good chance the FOX crew will do the handful of TNT races; and most importantly, FOX will no longer have to rotate coverage of the Daytona 500, kicking off the season for the next eight years.

Now in the interest of fairness, I will say FOX’s coverage is not perfect. The directors are often too slow to switch to accidents or passes for the lead (not cutting into the commercial break to show the Johnson-Labonte crash is a good example of that) and the pit stop coverage has been lackluster as of late. But even with the mistakes, FOX has set the standard for NASCAR coverage and we’ll just have to wait and see how ABC/ESPN measures up.

So even though this season is only half over, I’m already looking forward to February, when we can “reach up there and pull those belts tight” once again.

"Pepper Dennis": The Final Fireworks

Tuesday, (July 4th, no less), the WB will air the series finale of “Pepper Dennis.”

And it looks like those of us who have been with the show from the beginning will be rewarded with an over-the-top story and a whopper of a cliffhanger.

Thanks a lot, guys.

In my best and worst post, I named “Pepper” the best new comedy; but the last episode may have led the show astray. For the second week in a row, Charlie’s storyline was a tad cartoonish as he fought Les, the news director, over the whiteness of his teeth. Pepper didn’t fare much better as she worked to shut down a shady matchmaker, who then made Pepper feel guilty for “giving up on love.”

Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, the station’s lawyers discovered that Charlie’s work visa had not been filed (Charlie’s Canadian.) and he would have to be deported. So, of course, when Pepper returned to her apartment, Charlie was waiting; and before she could ask why he was there, he proposed.

The previews show Pepper in an actual wedding dress. But apparently Chick (who has been absent for the past two episodes) plans to try and stop the wedding by declaring his love for Pepper. As I said, I smell cliffhanger. Especially since I don’t think there’s any way that the writers could have known they were cancelled before they finished the season (Though I guess it’s possible, since the show was pretty much doomed from the start with its late premiere and the WB-UPN merger).

Now, there’s no doubt I would like to see Pepper and Charlie get together after a season apart, but I’m not sure this is what I had in mind. After so many smart, sassy episodes, I would hate to see the show go out on such an over-the-top story.

Then again, maybe if the show had been more over-the-top earlier, it would still be around. For some reason, nobody wants to watch smart and sassy anymore.

The series finale of “Pepper Dennis” airs Tuesday, July 4th at 9 p.m. and again Sunday, July 9th at 5 p.m. on the WB.