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"…

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Friendly Warning for Time Warner Customers...

I just wanted to give Time Warner Cable customers out there a friendly warning about what may happen to them tomorrow.

Viacom has told Time Warner that unless an agreement is reached for a fee increase it will pull all of its networks tomorrow. Those networks include Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and BET.


Time Warner has asked for an extension, but has so far been turned down, according to

Experts say that Viacom has some leverage because of Nickelodeon’s ratings, but that in today’s economy an increase will be tough to get.

If the networks are pulled, Viacom plans to run ads on other networks featuring Spongebob Squarepants and blaming Time Warner for the situation.

Stay Tuned…

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Best and Worst of 2008

So now the time has come for me to recap the year with my Best and Worst of 2008…

But just like John Madden used to do with his All-Madden Team, all of the winners (and losers) had to be from shows that I actually watched—with some noted exceptions.

Here we go…

Best Drama: “NCIS”
To me, there were few bigger TV stories this fall than the rise of this show in its sixth season. But it just proves that good writing and a great cast will get you everywhere.

Worst Drama: “Heroes”
I almost felt like it was wrong for me to pick on “Heroes” since I only saw one episode in 2008. But as badly as this show has spiraled out of control, I couldn’t not mention it.

Best Comedy: “The Big Bang Theory”
If you’re not watching this show, you’re really missing out. Yes, the humor is geeky, but it’s hilarious. And Jim Parsons (Sheldon) is a comic genius.

Worst Comedy: “Kath & Kim”
I don’t even have the words to describe this comedy starring Molly Shannon and Selma Blair.

Best Reality Show: “Flipping Out”
Reality shows are only good if they’re real; and this one was as real as it gets as Jeff’s hidden camera sting to catch a lazy employee led to the dissolution of a marriage.

Worst Reality Show: “The Moment of Truth”
Do I really even need to explain this one?

Best Reality-Competition Show: “Top Chef”
Unlike “Project Runway,” “Top Chef” was able to pull off two good cycles in the same year. Granted, “Top Chef: New York” isn’t over yet, but it’s off to a good start. However, it will be hard to top “Top Chef: Chicago” and my guy Blais.

Worst Reality Competition Show: “Celebracadabra”
Remember when C. Thomas Howell was a promising young actor with his entire career in front of him? A career that didn’t include competing in (and winning) this ridiculous reality show? From the moment I heard the words “Go forth and magish,” I wanted to cry…

Best New Show: “Leverage”
It only took almost the entire year, but finally the best new show arrived in the form of this Robin Hood meets “The A-Team” drama.

Worst New Show: “Kath & Kim”
I know I’ve already mentioned this one, but it’s that bad.

Best Cancelled Show: “Back To You”
Although I felt at the time that FOX was making a mistake, I didn’t realize how big a mistake until I watched the DVD of the entire season. This was a funny show that FOX could seriously use now.
Runner-Up: “Women’s Murder Club”

Best Guilty Pleasure: “The Two Coreys”
When you talk guilty pleasures, they don’t get much guiltier than this one. Yet somehow I got completely sucked in. There was just something so raw about it that just kept me watching.

Best Show I’m Not Watching: “The Mentalist”
There’s no reason for me not to watch this show, except that I just don’t feel like sitting down and watching it.

Best Actor: Kiefer Sutherland (“24: Redemption”)
I’m just glad “24: Redemption” aired this year so I could get this in.
Runner-Up: Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”)

Best Actress: Natalie Zea (“Dirty Sexy Money”)
The writers completely destroyed her character, but not her ability to play her.

Best Use of a Guest Star(s): Harry Anderson, Markie Post and Charles Robinson, “30 Rock”
Jennifer Aniston got all the hype for this episode, but it was these three “Night Court” veterans that made the episode as Kenneth the Page finally got what he wanted—the wedding of Harry (Anderson) and Christine (Post).

Worst Use of a Guest Star: Emilio Estevez, “Two and a Half Men”
Finally, after all these years, we got the reunion of Charlie Sheen and his brother Estevez; but for what? Estevez’s character died within moments of being introduced and his only major scene featured a few one-liners about the afterlife. It was a total waste of a golden opportunity.

Best Story: Ted and Stella’s Courtship, “How I Met Your Mother”
Britney Spears got all the headlines but Sarah Chalke (Stella) was the best guest star on “HIMYM” this year. And Ted and Stella’s first date, which was filmed as one continuous scene in real time, was genius. I’m just sorry she wasn’t the mother

Worst Story: Tripp-Wren-Nick Love Triangle
I don’t know what was worse—the fact that Tripp was old enough to be Wren’s father, the fact that Tripp was married or the fact that Tripp thought of Nick as his own son. But any of the three made this story absolutely disgusting. And Donald Sutherland’s strange accented portrayal of Tripp didn’t help.

Worst Story I’m Not Watching: Izzie and Denny’s Love Story, “Grey’s Anatomy”
It’s bad enough that Creator/Head Writer Shonda Rhimes has brought Denny’s ghost back as many times as she has. But Izzie having sex with Denny’s ghost? What the heck?! Of course all would be forgiven if this were just Rhimes’ way of getting back at Katherine Heigl for badmouthing the writers in her famous Emmy non-submission statement.

Best Moment: David Cook Wins “American Idol”
Let’s face it. Season seven of “Idol” was a bit of a disappointment. But when Ryan Seacrest announced David Cook as the winner, it was a beautiful, touching moment—exactly what TV is all about.
Runner-Up: Hurley declares, “I’m one of the Oceanic Six!” on “Lost "

Best Football Broadcast Team: Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson I always loved Danielson with Brent Musberger on ABC, but Lundquist and Danielson, the CBS college football team, are even better. They take shots at people, at network promos and each other and they are genuinely funny doing it.
Runner-Up: Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN on ABC College Football)

Worst Football Broadcast Team: Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornhiser (“Monday Night Football”)
You want to see and hear what tension looks and sounds like? Watch “Monday Night Football.” Kornhiser is not a football expert and Jaworski never lets him forget it as Jaws clearly resents Kornhiser’s presence. Jaws talks down to him, he snaps at him and basically does everything but calls him a total idiot. Of course, it’s possible he did that too and I just missed it.

Biggest Story of the Year: NBC Retaining Jay Leno
This story wasn’t only big because it meant that Jay wasn’t going to another network. It was also big because it meant the end of primetime TV as we know it. By giving Jay a nightly show at 10 p.m., NBC is basically throwing in the towel on trying to program anything for that time—which means five hours less of programming a week. Oh how the mighty have fallen…
Runner-Up: The Rise of “NCIS”

Worst Network Move: ABC’s Decision to Hold Its Three New Dramas Until This Season
ABC decided to hold the second halves of their three new strike-shortened dramas—“Pushing Daisies,” “Private Practice” and “Dirty Sexy Money”—until this season. And the results have been disastrous. Both “Daisies” and “Money” have been cancelled and “Practice”—which would be cancelled if it weren’t a “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off—is moving timeslots. Yes, all three have continuing stories, but all three were just starting to gain momentum—especially the Emmy-nominated “Daisies.” Not to mention that “DSM” returned as a shell of its former self.

Biggest Disappointment: “Project Runway” Season 5
This was supposed to be Bravo’s beautiful swan song. But instead it only left a bad taste in our mouths as there were no interesting personalities, the talent was suspect, the challenges were just blah product placements and Kenley—one of the most annoying reality show contestants ever—inexplicably made it all the way to the finale.
Runner-Up: “Dirty Sexy Money” Season Two

Biggest Heartbreak: Tim Russert’s Death
One of these days I’ll make it through a Tim Russert tribute without crying. But that probably won’t be anytime soon.

So what do you think? Feel free to debate my choices and add some of your own by posting a comment or e-mailing me at
While you mull over your choices, I wish you all a Happy New Year!
Photo Credits: Art Streiber/CBS, NBC, Sonja Flemming/CBS, Mitchell Haaseth/NBC, Bravo, Patrick Wymore/FOX, Bravo, VH1, TNT, Fox Home Entertainment, Andrew Eccles/A&E, Randy Tepper/CBS, Kelsey McNeal/FOX, Randee St. Nicholas/ABC, Greg Gayne/Warner Bros., Eric McCandless/FOX, Scott Garfield/ABC, Michael Becker/FOX, Craig Blankenhorn/CBS Sports, ESPN, Bravo

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pick of the Week: Some Fun Party Companions

Before I tell you about this week’s Pick, let me first congratulate Chad Pennington and the Miami Dolphins on their big win Sunday.

Talk about your sweet revenge…

Now to this week’s Pick…

For some, New Year’s Eve means going out and living it up. But for others, it means staying at home and watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV.

And although “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” is more traditional, allow me to make another suggestion…

My Pick of the Week is “CNN New Year’s Eve with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin.”

If you saw this show last year or you watch “My Life on the D-List,” you know how adorable Cooper and Griffin are together.

Plus, you never know what Kathy’s going to do on live TV…

“CNN New Year’s Eve with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin” airs Wednesday, December 31st at 11 p.m. on CNN…
Photo Credit: Bravo

Friday, December 26, 2008

Important Change to Sunday's Big Game

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas.

I’m guessing that yours wasn’t as filled with “Top Chef” reruns as mine was (You gotta love Bravo!)…

I wanted to interrupt my Christmas vacation to remind everyone that the big Dolphins-Jets showdown that I blogged about earlier this week is now at 4:15 p.m., which means that it will be shown locally.

Kudos to CBS and the NFL for recognizing a huge game when they see it.

I now return to my Christmas vacation. I’ll be back next week…

Go Dolphins!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I’m going to be away from the blog for a few days, so I wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays…

But, I wanted to leave you a little present. So for those of you who aren’t familiar, allow me to introduce you to the holiday known as Christmukkah, courtesy of “The O.C.”…

I'm getting nostalgic already...

You can watch this entire episode here.

My Top 10 of 2008

‘Tis the season for TV writers to compile their Best and Worst of the Year Lists for all to read and debate.

I’ll have my Best and Worst for you next week.

So to tide you over, I’m giving you my Top 10 of 2008, the 10 shows I thought were the best I saw all year.

Feel free to tell me whether I’m right or wrong…

First, here are the shows that almost made the list in no particular order:

“Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style”
“Shatner’s Raw Nerve”
“Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List”

And now to the big winners…
#10 “How I Met Your Mother”
Yes, I know the jokes can sometimes go on for too long. And yes, sometimes I know they make Barney a tad cartoonish. And yes, I wanted Stella to be the mother to. But darn it all if this show doesn’t just keep getting better by the week. And then there’s the guy I’m starting to think I would watch read the phonebook—the MEGA talented Neil Patrick Harris…

#9 “NCIS”
To call this the little show that could would be the understatement of the year. Its last new episode racked up a series record 19 million viewers—an unheard of surge for a show in its sixth season. Let’s face it. People are looking for something worth watching and they’ve found it in this procedural that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It just proves that good writing and a great cast will get you places. Now let’s see what it can do to “American Idol”…

#8 “Football Night In America”
I know what you’re going to say. You can’t put a football pre-game show on your Top 10 list. But if I were making a list of my favorite shows, “FNIA” would be right near the top. Why else would I tape it and watch it the next day when I already know what happened? Plus, HUGE bonus points to the producers for sending Tiki Barber and Jerome Bettis out to game sites during the last part of the season. Not only did they manage to contribute meaningful interviews to the show, their absence from the studio allowed a real camaraderie to form between Bob Costas, Cris Collinsworth, Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann. And you know anytime my guy Cris gets to talk more, I’m happy…

#7 “Lost”
I never meant to become a Lostie. Really I didn’t. But then something happened to me last season. I got all caught up in the identity of the Oceanic Six. I started visiting websites to look at screen caps from episodes. I religiously read Doc Jensen’s recaps at and got all caught up in his theories. And now, I’m eagerly awaiting the season premiere next month. Stupid
producers and their great idea to set an end date for the show…

#6 “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover”
I’ve never been a fan of “Shear Genius,” so I didn’t expect to like this one. But Tabatha Coffey was awesome as she put clueless salon owners and hairstylists in their place. But probably the biggest highlight of the season for me was when she made two young women whose dad had bought the salon for them put a For Sale sign in the window. The thought of having to sell the business devastated them so much that they got their act together and started being more in charge…

#5 “Project Runway” (Season 4)
The fact that this season was so good just makes season five all the more painful. Granted, there weren’t any real villains this season but with such great talent, villains weren’t necessary. There was plenty of humor, though, thanks to adorable oddball Chris March. But the real star of the season was winner Christian Siriano. Although he talked a very big game, it was obvious that was all for show and he really was just a loveable guy with extraordinary talent…

#4 “Boston Legal” (Season 5)
I had pretty much given up on “BL” after the whole Craig Bierko disaster. Not to mention Denny sleeping with the dwarf who could have been his daughter. But since this was the last season, I had to give it another chance; and I couldn’t be happier that I did. These final 13 episodes were a beautiful way to end the series. And that Thanksgiving episode was a true holiday classic that will not be soon forgotten…

#3 “Flipping Out”
What’s the key to a good reality show? Reality. And I don’t know that I’ve ever seen more reality than on the second season of this show. When Jeff Lewis installed a nanny cam in his office to catch his House Manager Chris not doing his job, he got way more than he bargained for when his dismissal of Chris led to Chris leaving his wife, Jenni, Jeff’s assistant. But the show was able to balance the intense drama with Jeff’s wonderfully wacky sense of humor and his hilarious relationship with his housekeeper Zoila. Next season, Jeff will be helping plan his brother’s wedding and you just know that’s going to be awesome…

#2 “Top Chef”
I didn’t think that “Top Chef: Miami” could possibly be beat. But then along came “Top Chef: Chicago” to prove me wrong and introduce me to one of my favorite reality contestants of all time (Richard Blais, if you’ve forgotten). And now, “Top Chef: New York” is off to a great start—even if the contestants aren’t…

And my number one show of 2008?...

#1 “The Big Bang Theory”
I was going back and forth between this one and “Top Chef” for weeks, but after that hilarious Christmas episode when Sheldon freaks out over Penny’s gift to him (She got Leonard Nimoy to sign a napkin for him.), I had no choice. This is the absolute funniest show on television—hands down. And yes, the humor is sometimes a little geeky, but then I’m a big geek. Case in point, one of my very favorite TV lines of the whole season was when Sheldon responded to Leonard watching the TV show “Clone Wars” before watching the movie “Clone Wars”: “I prefer to let George Lucas disappoint me in the order he intended.” I’m sorry, but that’s funny. And Jim Parsons (Sheldon) is a comic genius…

So what about you guys? What shows would make your top 10? Feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment or sending an e-mail to

Photo Credits: Sonja Flemming/CBS, Art Streiber/CBS, NBC Sports, Art Streiber & Bob D'Amico/ABC, Mitch Haaseth/Bravo, Bravo, Craig Sjodin/ABC, Kelsey McNeal/Bravo, Bravo, Cliff Lipson/CBS

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Top Chef The Game" Review: Fun Even If You Don't Know What You're Doing

One of the funny things about me being such a fan of “Top Chef” is that I know absolutely nothing about cooking.

Oh, I can follow a simple recipe; but I don’t know a seviche from a salad.

In fact, many times I’m forced to go to the glossary in the back of my “Top Chef” cookbook to find out what they’re even making.

So it’s no surprise that I would not be very good at “Top Chef: The Game.”
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun trying…

In this game, you guide your chef through quickfire and elimination challenges making dishes to score points for technique, but also to please the judges, Padma and Tom. But don’t panic, you don’t have to be a master chef. However, it does help to know what flavors work together—which I obviously don’t, since I was told to pack my knives more than once. Once I figured out the hints, though, I started doing much better and even made a four star dish that pleased Tom.

Just don’t ask me what was in it because I don’t have a clue…

Because this is “Top Chef,” you have to race against the clock, which is not always easy, but it does make things more interesting. And there are even other chefs who like to trash talk. But they can’t possibly ruin your fun, because there’s just too much to be had…

And don’t look now, but I might actually learn a little something about cooking while I’m having fun.

Wouldn’t that be something?

If you're a fan of the show, you must have this game. It's lots of fun...even if you don't know what you're doing...

“Top Chef: The Game” (SRP $19.95) is for the Win XP/Vista/ Mac OS X platforms and is available in stores and online now from Brighter Minds Media, which happens to be based in Columbus, Ohio…
Photo Credit: Brighter Minds Media

Sunday's Big Game: As Juicy As It Gets

“This is the only way fate would have it, right? I just don't think it would happen any other way. There wouldn't be any other scenario. This is how sports works.”

That’s how Chad Pennington himself describes the situation he now finds himself in. And it is as juicy as it gets…

Now you guys know I try not to dwell too much on sports in this blog since I know not everyone’s a fan. But what’s happening to Chad and his Dolphins is just too huge to ignore.

You’ll recall what happened to Chad during the offseason. The New York Jets got all caught up in Brett Favre mania and no longer had use for Chad. So he was waived by the Jets and picked up by the Dolphins.

Now, fast forward to week 16 of the NFL season. The Dolphins are 10-5 with Chad as their starting quarterback (which earns Chad a nice little bonus, by the way) and are in control of their own playoff destiny. There’s just one team that stands in their way…

You guessed it. The New York Jets.

If the Dolphins win Sunday, they’re in the playoffs. If they lose, they could still make it, but they’d need a lot of help.

The Jets meanwhile can only make the playoffs if they beat the Dolphins AND if New England loses or if they beat the Dolphins AND New England wins AND Baltimore loses (which as hot as they are, probably isn’t going to happen).

Does it get any bigger than that?

According to WOWK’s website, they haven’t made a decision about which game they are going to carry Sunday. And even though I’ll be out of town and won’t be able to see it, I implore them to carry the Dolphins-Jets game.

I know the Steelers are playing the Browns, but the Browns are playing their pathetic third string quarterback and the Steelers have already clinched the number two seed so Steelers fans can just get over themselves.

This is Chad’s shot at sweet revenge. And I think all of us would love to see him get it…

The Miami Dolphins take on the New York Jets Sunday, December 28th at 1 p.m. on CBS…

Sunday, December 21, 2008

DVD/CD Review: Band From TV

If you “Desperate Housewives” fans thought James Denton (Mike) looked completely natural playing in a band when Blue Odyssey made its debut on the show, that’s because he was.

You see, in real life, Denton is a member of Band From TV…

For the past few years, the band has been performing at various venues to benefit some wonderful causes. And now they’ve released a DVD/CD to benefit those causes even more.

“Hoggin’ All the Covers” features the original members of the band: Denton, Hugh Laurie (“House”), Bob Guiney (“The Bachelor”), Bonnie Somerville (“Cashmere Mafia”), and founder Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”) [The band has since been joined by Jesse Spencer (“House”) and Teri Hatcher (“Desperate Housewives”).]. They’re backed by a group of professional musicians and backup singers.

But if you think this is just a group of celebrities that think they have talent when they really don’t, you’d be wrong because the band has some serious musical chops. Grunberg is a phenomenal drummer and he has a pretty good voice too. Guiney has got a good pop voice and Somerville could out-Janis Joplin Janis Joplin. Denton has got a great country twang, not to mention a pretty solid Elvis impersonation. And Laurie is an extremely gifted keyboardist with a pretty good voice himself.

The DVD/CD features a live performance as the band rips through an eclectic group of classic covers like “Piece of My Heart,” “You Really Got Me” and “Viva Las Vegas.” Music Director Chris Kelley does a great job with the arrangements including putting “Pink Cadillac" over “The Theme From Peter Gunn” (which sounds really cool).

But in all honesty, Band From TV isn’t about sounding good (although they do). It’s about having fun. And as the DVD shows, they have a lot of it.

And the fact that all that fun is for charity just makes it that much better…

Proceeds from the DVD/CD will benefit the favorite charities of the band members: the Epilepsy Foundation (Grunberg), Save the Children (Laurie), Donate Life (Denton), The Art of Elysium (Guiney) and the Child Abuse Prevention Program (Somerville).

And not only will you get to see the concert on the DVD, but you’ll also get hilarious interviews with the five celebrities and the professionals that back them up. And there’s an interview with Greg Grunberg about his charity and how the band got together. Plus don’t miss the backstage time lapse feature to hear the fab five doing a great rendition of “Man of Constant Sorrows” (which they don’t do during the concert).

During this season of giving, we always see people doing good for others. It’s nice to see people who do it all year long—and enjoy doing it as much as these people do...

“Hoggin’ All the Covers” is available exclusively at You can purchase it here.

Photo Credit:

Pick of the Week: Going With My Heart

It’s Christmas week, which means lots of holiday movies and specials, so I wasn’t really sure what to go with here.

But in the end, I had to go with my heart…

My Pick of the Week is the “Flipping Out” Holiday Marathon…

This is your chance to see one of the year’s best reality shows beginning with the second season’s second episode and ending with the hilarious reunion show.

And it’s also a chance to whet your appetite for next season, which I hope is coming very soon…

Unfortunately, though, the marathon’s airing during the day, so you’ll need to set your VCRs/DVRs. I know I’ll be setting both of mine…

The “Flipping Out” marathon airs Tuesday, December 23rd from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Bravo…

Photo Credit: Bravo

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Last Minute Help for the Holidays #3: Plug It In and Play

The Plug It In and Play Games from JAKKS Pacific are a great alternative for anyone not wanting to purchase an expensive game system. They just plug directly into the TV…

And there are some great TV-inspired choices this year…

There’s “Deal Or No Deal”…

This adorable apple-shaped “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”…

The always popular “Wheel of Fortune”…

And, of course, “Disney’s High School Musical”…

All of these games (Ages 6+ SRP $19.99) are available in stores and online now…

Last Minute Help for the Holidays #2: "Hannah Montana" and "Camp Rock"

There are SO many “Hannah Montana” toys it’s hard to keep track…

So I thought I’d spotlight just a few for the last-minute shopper…

There are tons of “Hannah Montana” dolls out this year (I like the ones that showcase certain moments from the show.), but the most special is “Holiday Pop Star Hannah Montana.” Hannah comes dressed in a cute holiday outfit and sings “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The doll (SRP $34.99), which is suitable for both collecting and playing, is for ages 6+…

Your favorite “Hannah Montana” fan can also perform with “Hannah” instruments like keyboards and guitars. I know someone who is getting the “Hannah Montana Rockin’ Electric Guitar” (Ages 3+, SRP $19.99) under her tree this year…

But the Taj Mahal for “Hannah Montana” fans has to be the “Hannah Montana Malibu Beach House.” Each area of the house (Ages 6+, SRP $159.99) is an authentic replica of that area from the TV show…

But if the Jonas Brothers are more your tween’s thing, don’t despair. There are some great toy choices for them as well from the “Camp Rock” line…

I wasn’t a fan of “Camp Rock,” but I have to admit these “Camp Rock Singing Dolls” are pretty cute. You can buy them separately or as the “Final Jam!” set. Solo Mitchie sings “Who Will It Be?” and solo Shane plays “Play My Music.” The set allows children to recreate the movie’s finale with Mitchie singing “This Is Me” and Shane singing “Gotta Find You.” The dolls are for kids ages 6+ (SRP $21.99/$34.99 for set). Non-singing dolls are also available (SRP $12.99/$24.99 for set).

Your children can learn to perform the “Camp Rock” songs themselves with the “Camp Rock Guitar Video Game.” The game (Ages 6+ SRP $69.99) plugs into the TV without any additional software…

All of these products are available in stores and online now…

Photos Credit: JAKKS/Play Along Toys

Last Minute Help for the Holidays #1: "Merv Griffin's Crosswords"

For many people, crossword puzzles are a great way to pass the time, while engaging the mind.

But crosswords have always been more of an individual pastime—until now as Parker Brothers has made crossword puzzles a game for the whole family.
Based on the TV game show, “Merv Griffin’s Crosswords,” the “Crosswords” board game allows players or teams to earn points by answering the clues to a crossword puzzle. The person/team with the most points wins.

There are different ways to play, including players serving as “spoilers” to knock others out of earning points.

But the heart of the game is the crossword puzzle. And who doesn’t enjoy a good one of those?

“Merv Griffin’s Crosswords” board game (SRP $17.99) is for 2-6 players ages 12+. It’s available in stores and online now…
Photo Credit: Hasbro

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Return of An Old Friend

It felt like the return of an old friend…

As the hour progressed, I actually started talking to the TV. I gasped, I laughed, I cheered. At one point I felt positively giddy.

And then it dawned on me. I was reacting this way to “Dirty Sexy Money.” The show that has been beyond dreadful all season long.

And then something else hit me. My favorite show from last season had finally gotten itself back together just in time for the last episode we’ll see in who knows how long (if we ever see the rest of them).

It made me a little sad…Okay, a lot sad…

So what happened with the show? I couldn’t even begin to tell you. It’s like some temporary writers came in after the strike and screwed everything up for seven weeks and then left so the regular ones could get back to work. As I told you earlier, the last two weeks have shown a major improvement. But last night’s was classic “DSM”—dirty, sexy fun!

I was a little worried when the episode chose to pick up from last week’s cliffhanger with a news documentary that picked up a month later and briefly grazed over what happened. But it actually worked. It allowed one story to get resolved and the others to move forward.

Karen (Natalie Zea) returned to her old self. Simon (Blair Underwood) continued his mustache twirling ways (and I mean that as a compliment). Lisa (Zoe McLellan) got limited air time and the time she got didn’t consist of needless whining. Jeremy and Nola (Seth Gabel and Lucy Liu) actually made sense as a couple. Brian (Glenn Fitzgerald) once again struggled with being happy—which is always worth watching. And Donald Sutherland finally remembered how to act again.

But the best part was a super twist that I should have seen coming, but didn’t. The show introduced the possibility that Nick and Brian’s dad, Dutch, is alive.

And as usual, it was Brian who put it all into wonderful perspective with one of the best lines I’ve heard all year. As Brian and Nick sat in Brian’s church contemplating the possibility, Brian said, “Hey Nick, this whole freakin’ building is dedicated to the idea that everyone thought some guy was dead and then he wasn’t. I’m just saying it wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened.”

Like I said, I should have seen it coming. But with all of the horrible crap the show has been producing this season, I think it’s easy to see why I didn’t.

Now, we wait to see when or if ABC will schedule the three remaining episodes so we can see if Dutch is indeed alive.

And considering my luck with ABC shows, I’m not going to hold my breath…

As happy as we are to see old friends return, it’s even tougher when we have to say goodbye, isn’t it?

You can see the episode for yourself at…

Photos Credit: Vivian Zink/ABC

Chuck Todd Gets His Due

I said last week that I hoped NBC News had big plans for Chuck Todd.

It appears that they do…

Today, NBC News announced that Todd will be the Chief White House Correspondent.

Todd will also stay in his post as NBC News Political Director and he has been named a Contributing Editor to “Meet the Press.” As such he will make frequent appearances on the show.

Sounds a little like a compromise to me, but I’m happy…

Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood

Shout! Factory Fulfills Our “Dreams”

“Surf dudes with attitudes…Kind of groovin’…laid back moon…”

Does that spark any memories for anyone?

For those of us who lived on TNBC during the 90s, we recognize that as the opening phrase of the theme song to “California Dreams,” NBC’s Saturday morning show about a teenage rock band.

And if that sparked some happy memories, this will have you screaming…

The wonderful folks at Shout! Factory (the people who brought you the fantastic “Sports Night: 10th Anniversary Edition”) are bringing “California Dreams” to DVD…

According to, the first two seasons of the show will hit stores March 29th…

And that’s not all the great people at Shout! Factory have planned for us next year. They’re also giving us “Mr. Belvedere,” “Blossom” and “My Two Dads.”

I would love it if they’d finish out the TNBC collection by eventually giving us “City Guys” and “Hang Time” as well…

To whet your appetite, here’s the only song I remember from “Dreams” (besides the theme), “Castles on Quicksand.” Believe it or not, I still find myself singing it from time to time…

Alan Rosenberg Is Ticking Me Off

I have always been a fan of Alan Rosenberg.

He is in one of my favorite TV-movies of all time—“The Temptations.”

But sadly, I don’t think I will be able to watch his part in that movie the same way ever again.

Because, let’s face it. Alan Rosenberg, the president of SAG, is ticking me off…

Now, I know I need to tread lightly here because I don’t want to offend any union members out there, but I just can’t see how an Actors’ Strike could possibly be beneficial at this time.

As I said before, I strongly believe that everyone should get what they are entitled to and if actors aren’t getting a big enough piece of the new media (Internet, downloads, etc.) pie then they should get more.

But why is the deal that was good enough for the writers and the directors not good enough for the actors? Can someone explain that one to me?

Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman have begun a petition that asks for the strike authorization vote scheduled for next month to be called off, the deal from the studios be accepted and the guild rally its forces to get a better deal in 2011. The petition has now been supported by big names like George Clooney and Robert Redford.

The pro-strike actors, which include Martin Sheen and Eric Bogosian, argue that new media concerns cannot wait until 2011 and must be dealt with now. Rosenberg himself argues that the guild cannot allow the economy to force the actors to accept a bad deal.

But how can you not consider the economy? All TV and movie studios are cutting jobs and cutting back on productions. Both TV and movies are just now recovering from the Writers’ Strike. Another strike in this economy could be absolutely crippling.

In fact, I believe that an actors’ strike could kill network television as we know it…

So why is Rosenberg pushing so hard for a strike vote? If he doesn’t get the 75% he needs, then SAG will just have to accept the deal anyway, so what’s the point of all of this?

What do you guys think?

SAG Award Nominations: The Show Must Go On

While they continue to hash out this whole strike thing, the show must go on. So SAG announced its nominees for the SAG Awards this morning,

And I have to say that I’m pretty darn happy about the TV nominees…

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

TOM WILKINSON / Benjamin Franklin - "JOHN ADAMS" (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

LAURA DERN / Katherine Harris - "RECOUNT" (HBO)
SHIRLEY MacLAINE / Coco Chanel - "COCO CHANEL" (Lifetime)
PHYLICIA RASHAD / Lena Younger - "A RAISIN IN THE SUN" (Lifetime)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

MICHAEL C. HALL / Dexter Morgan - "DEXTER" (Showtime)
JON HAMM / Don Draper - "MAD MEN" (AMC)
HUGH LAURIE / Gregory House - "HOUSE" (FOX)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

KYRA SEDGWICK / Dep. Chief Brenda Johnson - "THE CLOSER" (TNT)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy - "30 ROCK" (NBC)
TONY SHALHOUB / Adrian Monk - "MONK" (USA)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

TINA FEY / Liz Lemon - "30 ROCK" (NBC)
MARY-LOUISE PARKER / Nancy Botwin - "WEEDS" (Showtime)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

DEXTER (Showtime)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

WEEDS (Showtime)

I am a little disappointed, however, that the SAGs do not give an award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a TV Movie or Miniseries. I don’t think there’s any doubt that “24: Redemption” would have gotten a nod in that category…

I also think it’s a little wrong that because there are no supporting categories in the TV awards that James Spader and William Shatner are forced to compete with each other. Personally, I’m happy with either one of them winning. And you know I definitely want “Boston Legal” to win for ensemble, although it probably doesn’t stand a chance—unless the actors want to give their peers on the show the love its network did not…

And because the SAGs love Kiefer, I think he has a great shot at winning—especially since the movie had such an important political message. I think Paul Giamatti is his strongest competition…

The SAG awards air Sunday, January 25th at 8 p.m. on both TBS and TNT…

Photo Credits: Craig Sjodin/ABC & Ron Tom/ABC