On the eleventh day of Christmas (plus a few hours), my true love (Television) gave to me....eleven Odds and Ends.
This is basically stuff that doesn't fit into any other category. Well there are a couple that could have been stuffed into lists that I did before but hey, this is my blog and I'll put stuff where I want them so there!
- Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant: Okay, she's 16 and her mom thinks it's okay if she's living with a 19 year-old guy, and America's national shrink, Dr. Phil thinks that Lynn Spears – who is not only the mother of Jamie-Lynn but also of celebrity train-wreck Britney Spears – is "a great and dedicated mother," who has "her feet squarely and solidly on the ground." But that's not the amazing part of the reaction to Jamie Lynn's pregnancy. The moralists immediately declared her to be an unfit role model for teenage girls and demanding (as these groups do) that her TV show, Zoey 101 be removed from the air. Of course they don't know – or more likely don't care – that the planned final season of the show had already been shot before Spears got pregnant. So there'll be no scenes of a pregnant Zoey (or whatever the character's name is) to corrupt the minds of teenage girls in the USA. For that they'll have to go to school and see the girls in their classes who got pregnant, probably because they haven't had any sex education at school or at home.
- Reality-competition show contestant deaths: Two of them. Rachel Brown, who was a contestant on the second season of Hell's Kitchen was found dead in her home in May 2007, killed by a gunshot wound. The circumstances were under investigation at the time, but as far as I can tell there's been no further determination. She left behind a girlfriend and two cats. Second, Cheryl Kosewicz, the fourth person voted off in the truly awful Pirate Master died on July 27, 2007 – a few days after the show had been cancelled by CBS with the remaining episodes being streamed on the networks InnerTube online service – an apparent suicide. Kosewicz, a 35 year old deputy District Attorney from Sparks, Nevada killed herself two months after her 26 year-old boyfriend. According a post that Kosewicz made on fellow contestant Nessa memir's MySpace webpage about a month before her death, "Truthfully, I've lost the strong Cheryl and I'm just floating around lost. And this frik'n show doesn't help because it was such a contention between Ryan and I and plus its not getting good reviews."
- Sanjaya and Terry Fator: You couldn't get two more different performers. People were stunned and amazed at Sanjaya Malakar's continued presence on American Idol which became a fandom phenomenon for no apparent reason other than he was so bad (I can't comment – I have better things to do than watch American Idol – like just about anything). Or maybe it was the hair. It certainly wasn't any ability as a singer. Meanwhile ventriloquist Terry Fator stunned audiences and the judges on America's Got Talent with his performances which were an amazing mix of ventriloquism, vocal impressions, and actual vocal chops as a singer. In fact about the only person who didn't seem to get the fact that Terry Fator is an amazing performer is comedian Bill Maher who stated in the New Rules segment of his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher on August 24th, "New Rule: If your winner is a ventriloquist, then "America Hasn't Got Talent." Besides, if there's one thing Americans have had enough of, it's the guy who puts words in the dummy's mouth. [photo of Bush and Rove shown] Oh, we kid President Bush. It's all with love." After watching his diatribe on medicine on David Letterman's show the other night, I'm beginning to wonder if Maher (who I liked on his show Politically Incorrect) may be proof that "America Hasn't Got Talent." Or maybe it's just the hair (which has looked like it had enough product to start its own beauty salon).
- Don't Hassle the Hoff: Unless of course you're his daughter. A highly controversial video emerged in May showing Hasselhoff in a drunken stupor trying to eat a hamburger. It was shot by his eldestdaughter in an effort to get him to stop drinking by showing him how he looked when he drank. At the time, Hasselhoff was involved in a custody battle for his two teenage daughters. His visitation rights were suspended. However, some six weeks after the video appeared on YouTube, Hasselhoff won "primary physical custody and full legal custody" of his daughters.
- Hugh Laurie didn't host the Emmy's: Ryan Seacrest, who is about the least important person on American Idol was the host of the 2007 Emmys and he performed just about as well as he does on American Idol. The more interesting thing is that Hugh Laurie, the star of the Fox series House was seriously considered for the hosting job by FOX (which broadcast the Emmys in 2007). Laurie is a multi-talented performer who is not only a dramatic actor but also a comedian and an extremely talented musician. Reportedly FOX executives eventually chose Seacrest because they "felt Seacrest would draw a larger TV audience and because viewers might be confused seeing Laurie in an unfamiliar role." Or even his (real) British accent. And knowing the sort of people that FOX executives believe their audience to be – given some of the shows they put on and many of the shows they take off almost as soon as they debut – they might have been right. But the rest of us lost something special.
- Musical Executives: Kevin Reilly was manoeuvred out his job as President of Network Entertainment at NBC (or as it's known by people outside of NBC, "dying for Jeff Zucker's sins") a few weeks after the 2007 Upfronts. It was also about three months after he signed a new three year contract with NBC. His sin was apparently releasing what some described as a "lacklustre" list of new series for the 2007-08 season. Part of the reason for that may have been the fact that he "could do only half the number of pilots of the other Big Four broadcast networks for the 2007-08 season." Reilly, who had been a champion for such series as Friday Night Lights, Heroes, The Office, My Name Is Earl, and 30 Rock, was replaced by former agent and independent producer Ben Silverman whose shows include Ugly Betty, The Office, and such reality shows as Biggest Loser, Nashville Star, Parental Control, Date My Mom, Blow Out, 30 Days and House of Boateng. About a month after being effectively fired at NBC, Kevin Reilly was named President of Network Entertainment at FOX.
- Most overexposed celebrity: Britney Spears of course. She exposed her scalp, she exposed her hoo-ha, and although this happened just a few days ago (in 2008), she exposed her weak grasp on sanity (or something) when she was involved in a confrontation with police that led to her being taken to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in hysterics. It's a sad situation when Kevin Federline is considered a more suitable parent to have custody of a one and a two year-old. Other candidates included Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Anna Nicole Smith's corpse, and O.J. Simpson. And whose fault is this really? Not the celebrities really but the fans who want to know every detail of their lives and the news editors who pander to those fans.
- Dumb network practice: Well one of many anyway – the mid-season hiatus. The practice of shooting only 22 episodes of most series, combined with the probably excessive emphasis on the three major sweeps periods in November, February and May, and the observation on the part of networks that some shows "don't repeat well" has led in recent years to the practice of taking shows off the air for extended periods of time rather than show them in repeats. The theory is that rather than letting the ratings drop (and possibly not recover) for an extended period of time the show would be taken off the air and something else would run its time slot. I think it can safely be called a disaster. It nearly killed Lost which aired a mere six episodes before the series went on an extended planned hiatus – the six episodes were in theory meant to stand alone – while ABC aired 13 episodes of Day Break starring Taye Diggs, which was meant to run until March 2, 2007. There was a minor problem in that ratings for the show tanked and it was pulled in mid December 2006. However Lost still didn't return immediately, it was kept off the air untilthe beginning of February. The practice did kill Jericho (but see the next item) which was replaced by CBS with the first eleven episodes being shown before the end of November and the final eleven starting in mid-February. In the meantime viewers were supposed to watch a reality show called Armed And Famous about a group of "celebrities" who trained as cops. Meanwhile NBC's game show Deal Or No Deal was running new episodes while FOX was rerunning episodes of Bones. People didn't watch Armed And Famous, and when Jericho returned, people didn't watch it. The audience for Jericho dropped by 25% between the first and second half seasons. Obviously the mid-season hiatus won't be a problem in 2008 – the strike has meant that most shows have run all the episodes they have while others will start in the new year and run their complete run uninterrupted, but the question for a lot of people is whether the networks have learned anything from the experience. I doubt it.
- Nuts to you CBS: That was the response of Jericho fans to the announcement that the series would only run one season. They sent over twenty tons of nuts to CBS as well as flooding the network with letters and emails. The nuts were a reference to the last line in the final episode in which Jake Greene, leading the outnumbered and outgunned defenders of Jericho, Kansas against the forces of a larger town responded to a demand to surrender with General McAuliffe's response to the German demand to surrender Bastogne: "Nuts." Commenting on the situation, CBS president Les Moonves said, "You have to tip your hat to their ability to get attention and make some noise." The campaign had a positive result. CBS first announced that they would "provide closure" for fans (something they wouldn't do for most cancelled series) and later announced an eight episode "mini" season to air as a mid-season replacement with the possibility for more episodes if ratings justified it. The campaign also spawned imitators. Fans of Veronica Mars were encouraged to send Mars Bars and/or marshmallows to The CW before June 15, 2007 to get the network to bring the series back as a mid-season replacement. It didn't work despite the fact that 1400 pounds of Mars Bars (which have been discontinued in the US), Almond Snickers Bars, and Marshmallows were sent to the network. United Hollywood is encouraging fans to send pencils to the six major Hollywood moguls – Les Moonves (CBS), Jeffrey Immelt (NBC/Universal), Rupert Murdoch (FOX), Jeffrey L Bewkes (Time-Warner), Robert Iger (Disney), Sumner Redstone (Viacom) – to pressure them to settle the Writers Strike. At present just over 650,000 pencils have been sent to "The Moguls" and just look at the effect it's had.
- Dumb decision department: Okay I'm reaching for content here (it's late and I'm a day behind), but I think that CBS should get some sort of award for dumb decisions related to the way they handled the hour after 60 Minutes and The Amazing Race. Now I'm biased because I am a huge
Amazing Race fan who only regrets being a Canadian when I see that the show is looking for new contestants. The show has won the Emmy for Outstanding Reality Competition Series since the category was created, and it finally seemed to find a stable time slot last year in the hour following 60 Minutes. So what happens to the show in the 2007-08 season? Why CBS not only replaced the show with Viva Laughlin but also announced that only one series of The Amazing Race would be run this year and that would have fewer episodes than previous seasons. Karma – being a bitch – rewarded CBS with the cancellation of Viva Laughlin after two episodes (only one of them in the time slot), the Writers Strike, and the show has finished in the Nielsen top ten in two of the past four weeks (and one of those weeks the show wasn't on the air because of the Survivor finale). Another season has officially been ordered though there is no indication of when it will air.
- Blog comment that angered me most: Now I really am reaching, but this comment still gets me angry. It's also Amazing Race related. In response to the article I posted on the Racers in the current season of The Amazing Race which featured Kate and Pat, a lesbian couple who are also members of the Episcopal clergy, I got this "lovely" comment from "John 3:16: "Homosexuals posing as and claiming to be God's people?!... Leave it to the pawns at CBS to promote a lifestyle that is offensive and straight from the gates of hell." Except from obvious commercial spam I don't censor comments but I was sure tempted to that time.