Sunday, July 02, 2006

Short Takes - July 2, 2006

I've been remiss in getting a lot of stuff posted including a new set of Short Takes. Mostly I've been watching the World Cup (did that referee on Saturday take a bribe from the Portuguese Mafia? - I don't know about some of those calls), doing stuff around the house and trying to stay cool without being forced to use the AC.

An interesting take on the PTC: In his Time Magazine blog, TV critic James Poniewozik makes an interesting point about Brent Bozell and the PTC's current outrage over the rape scene in a recent episode of Rescue Me (which I haven't seen so can't comment on). Poniewozik starts with the fact that the PTC's "righteous outrage" took nine days after the episode actually aired to be expressed. I've noticed the same thing on several occasions, notably when reviewing the time line presented for the CBS appeal of the fines related to the "Teen Orgy" episode of Without A Trace. Poniewozik then suggests that maybe this is because the PTC doesn't actually watch the shows they're complaining about but rather watches what becomes controversial in the press and then express their moral outrage. I think his conclusion on this is rather insightful:

If so, it tends to undercut the PTC's argument - that children and people of delicate morals need to be protected from raunchy content. Because it would seem the system actually works: shockingly, people who don't like risque TV aren't watching Rescue Me in the first place. Why? Because Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl notwithstanding, edgy TV pretty much advertises itself as such; Denis Leary does not promote Rescue Me by playing an acoustic guitar to children and puppets. And because people are not idiots. Not even PTC members.

Watch the Frog...say goodbye: With the coming of The CW, both UPN and The WB will be shutting down. While UPN has yet to announce plans for it's last day on Friday September 15, The WB has announced that their final day on September 17 will feature the pilots of what they consider to be four of their most important older series. The shows and times are Felicity(5-6 p.m.) Angel (6-7 p.m.), Buffy The Vampire Slayer (7-9 p.m.), and Dawson's Creek (9-10 p.m.). They will also air promos from their 11 season existence. Apparently the whole thing took a lot of difficult negotiations with the originating studios and the cable networks airing them. To get the rights the network has to include promos for both the show DVDs and the network(s) currently airing reruns. Sounds okay but it might be fun (or at least interesting) to see at least one show from The WB's first season like The Parent 'Hood. Or maybe not.

Exploding Star: Since I've never actually consciously watched The View I've never really gotten the Star Jones thing. I mean I've seen Barbara Walters of course ("What kind of twee would you be?"), Meredith Vierra both when she was a serious journalist and now that she was hosting Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Joy Behar's comedy act on occasion, and of course Elizabeth Hasselbeck when she was on Survivor (liked her better than Amber...then) but I didn't know anything about Star Jones or why she was on this show. I understand that she's a lawyer and all but beyond that I have absolutely no understanding of why she engenders such hatred from a variety of people. Apparently this hatred has extended to include the people on her show. It was expected that she would be dropped when Rosie O'Donnell was added to replace Meredith, and that happened. People were expecting an explosion between Star and Rosie (although again, I don't understand why - it would seem that the conservative Hasselbeck would be more likely to be confronted by O'Donnell) and believed that this was why Star was dropped. But Star was not about to go out quietly. After the announcement was made on the show, Jones fired back with some attacks on the producers of the show and Walters in particular, saying that she didn't jump, she was pushed. And she did it on every media outlet that would have her, including Larry King Live and The Today Show. But here's the thing that thoroughly and utterly mystified me - the heated reaction to her appearances by other people. Like this TV Squad post, or this one reacting to a repeat of the interview the next night. I can think of a lot of things that are vile - a network repeating an interview from the previous day is not one of them.

Casting news: David James Elliott will be joining the cast of Close To Home playing a new district attorney who used to be a Captain in the Navy. Sorry I made that last part up since the last series he was in ended with him being promoted to Captain in the Judge Advocate General's department of the US Navy. Elliott will be replacing John Carroll Lynch as Annabeth's boss on the show which will apparently be revamped to get rid of the show's central premise of crime in the suburbs. As part of this they killed off Christian Kane's character (Annabeth's husband) so I wouldn't be totally surprised if Elliott's character eventually develops a possible romantic interest for Jennifer Finigan's Annabeth. That is if he isn't married to a former Marine.

New rules - similar results?: I'm sure that if Bryce Zabel still reads this blog he'll deny this but it seems as though the new Emmy nomination process won't widen the field of nominees for the awards anywhere near as wide as was expected when the new procedure was adopted. In the new procedure the academy in its various branches votes for nominees, and the top ten or fifteen are then presented to a panel to select the five nominees who will be presented to the membership. According to this piece in the LA Times Gold Derby blog the ten drama series to make the second phase of the nomination process are: Big Love (HBO), Boston Legal (ABC), Grey's Anatomy(ABC), House (Fox), Lost (ABC), Rescue Me (FX), Six Feet Under (HBO), The Sopranos (HBO), 24 (Fox), The West Wing (NBC). The ten comedies are: Arrested Development (Fox), Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO), Desperate Housewives (ABC), Entourage (HBO), My Name Is Earl (NBC), The Office (NBC), Scrubs (NBC), Two and a Half Men (CBS), Will & Grace (NBC), Weeds (Showtime). Of the Drama nominees there's only one new show (Big Love), which is the only one that hasn't been nominated for an Emmy in some category - five of the series have been nominated for best drama. There are no nominations for series such as Battlestar Gallactica, The Closer, Everwood, Huff, Prison Break, Rome, or Veronica Mars in the Drama category. In the comedies the only new shows nominated were My Name Is Earl and Weeds while those two shows and those shows and The Office were the only shows on the list not to have previous Emmy nominations. Among the shows missing from the list: Everybody Hates Chris, Extras, Gilmore Girls, Monk, and New Adventures of Old Christine. So has the new procedure really succeeded in widening the nomination process or are people just writing down the names that they've heard before?

Better than advertizing on someone's belly: So there's this family in Peoria that thought they'd subsidize their summer vacation by selling ad space on their RV - those babies suck up a lot of fuel after all - so they put an ad on eBay. They got a response from CBS which thought that the RV would make a great mobile billboard and not only bought the ad space but hired the family of six to travel around the United States from Denver to Nashville and talk to people about The Amazing Race. According to George Schwitzer, president of CBS Marketing "I saw this posting on the web and immediately thought a traveling motor home would be the perfect vehicle to reach 'Amazing Race' viewers this summer. What better way to reach our core audience than by visiting them on the road and on their vacations at tourist sites across the country." As well as disseminating promotional material for the show at various locations and events, the family will interview people they meet in their travels including previous contestants on The Race and upload the interviews onto the CBS broadband channel Innertube.

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