strike on

So they struck, now what? Well rumor has it negotiations are scheduled to begin again after Thanksgiving. It sounds as if there was an initial mandate that folks go back to work in good faith for negotiations to resume but since the writers don’t seem to be budging on that, the mandate may not be completely mandatory. It also looks as if negotiations with the late night crew to come back sans writers, and sans prewritten segments, are also underway, shooting for after the giving of thanks as well. I read that in the last strike in ’88 they also pulled a stoppage for a while then when Carson went back the rest followed.   

All in all the writers and those in support feel that the short term sacrifices of money and security are worth their stand but what about those folks who aren’t writers? The Desperate Housewives were booed for bringing pizzas to the strikers while finishing out the scripts in the can and Ellen was suffering a backlash (not quite as bad as the doggy adoption fiasco) for going on with the show, sans opening monologue with a shout out to the strikers. So for shows where the actors are under contract and/or preserving folk’s jobs and/or keeping a syndicated timeslot (daytime works a little different than nighttime talkers)… are they in the wrong?

And why is it that some folks seem to get grief while others don’t? I think it was Letterman who paid his entire staff’s salaries for a couple of weeks while off the air, but clearly that can’t happen across the board. And though The Office shut down immediately (for the most part the writers are the actors, and I believe Steve Carell, who is not actually a writer, called in with swollen balls) most of the rest of the management in dual roles like Lost is returning to finish production without doing any rewrites with the sentiment that they’d finish this stuff anyway they should at least be involved.  

As for the completed shows, my tivo is still filling up, and they are still introducing come midseason items that have a critical mass complete, but things will be winding down. TVGuide has a nice little strike watch going that let’s you know when you’re going to start your mandatory detox. Though apparently we could be seeing things like reshooting Green Acres as written which may soon be under way. Let’s just hope negotiations go well and give thanks that we’re entering the good season for movies since we won’t see the effects of the strike on that for quite some time.

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next week 11/19

Monday

  • The Bachelor (ABC, 10pm) Season Finale – Two weeks touting the bachelor, really? Anyhoo, you get this, he picks a gal and they break up doing promotional appearances… ‘After the Rose’ show airs on Tuesday at 10pm.
  • Weeds (SHO, 10pm) Season Finale – I’ve started making my list of cable shows to get on dvd if this pesky strike keeps up, I like ML Parker, and is this the one that one of those Olsens joined?

Tuesday

  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (ABC, 8pm) – I can taste the turkey and mashed taters already. Followed by ‘He’s a Bully Charlie Brown’ to round out the hour.

Wednesday

  • Pushing Daisies (ABC, 8pm) – Just when I wondered if this show could be any more delightful they get a guest spot from Paul Reubens (the artist formerly known as Pee Wee Herman).
  • Dirty Sexy Money (ABC, 10pm) – All may not go smoothly for the Darlings as a couple of meetings are arranged, Tripp and Simon Elder and Patrick’s wife and his transsexual mistress.

Thursday

  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade/National Dog Show (NBC, 9am/noon) – I don’t recall watching the parade in recent years but I assume it’s all floats and bands and whatnot, you know, a parade, but I do try to catch the dog show, though I always just root for the big fuzzy breeds I like best.
  • Ugly Betty/Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 8pm/10pm) – Buffy alum night as Faith/Eliza Dushku gets ugly and Oz/Seth Green pops by Grey’s for what I can only hope will be some funny.
  • October Road (ABC, 10pm) Season Premiere – Sappy, and in my opinion unwatchable (though I admittedly stopped watching), show where boy returns home after writing first novel, somewhat unflatteringly, about his small home town and its inhabitants and comes to wonder if his best gal, that he ditched, is raising his kid.

Friday

  • Numbers (CBS, 10pm) – Christopher Lloyd guests for the makings of a little Taxi reunion with he and Judd Hirsch, and I’m sure there’s some math.

Saturday

  • Battlestar Galactica: Razor (SciFi, 9pm) – A movie that explains some of the haps from the series that I hear great things about but have yet to start the dvds.

Sunday

  • The Simpsons (Fox, 8pm) – Sideshow Bob’s family nods to Friasier as Kelsey Grammer is joined by Frasier’s Niles/David Hyde Pierce and Martin/John Mahoney.
  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC, 7pm) 100th show – Ty and the gang help a family of ten by doing something extreme.
  • Action Sports (NBC, 11am – check your local listing) – Highlights of the season’s best competitions in the Dew Action Sports tour for skateboarding, fmx, and bmx.
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antm – down to 7

Ok so we’re finally narrowing down the field a bit. Let’s do a bit of catch up on what’s been going on in the weeks since last we spoke of ANTM…

First they all tried to work the power of movement while they learned to pose on a trampoline, but we all knew that was just a warm-up for the real challenge, posing with a figure skating partner. Lisa won the challenge and got to invite two pals to a Seventeen shoot, and as opposite as we can get, awkward Heather appeared painfully bad. But her posing in the roof top Gargoyle shoot kept her out of hot water while non-model-looking Janet and getting-worse-not-better Ambreal ended up in the bottom two with Ambreal making it to fight another week. Bye to annoying house mom Janet.

Then we focused on spokesmanship, or womanship as the case may be, and what a dud little Ebony was. Tyson Beckford came and gave the girls some tips on selling the sexy on your average kitchen item. Then they got their challenge which was making a psa for I am African. So they broke into three teams, and with creating their own material let’s just say it wasn’t the best psa I’ve ever seen, and though none of them will see the light of day, they picked a team and then randomly picked one of them, Heather, to go do a Mary J Blige shoot. The final shoot is speech free, so after they do their recycled material shots, dead-face Ambreal and snarly-face Ebony end up in the bottom two. Now when they decide to give Ambreal the boot, Ebony admits that she wants to go home. Tyra is pissed and not afraid to show it and gives Ambreal a serious reprieve.

Then the boring recap episode which for some reason I was thinking this came later in the season, whatever, I caught up on some tivo.

Then this last week Tyra did the lesson herself in ‘sexy movement for video’ with the gals. Now we all know when it comes to movement Heather isn’t great, but apparently Tyra thought that after a little coaching she was workin’ it when the gang tried to do some straight up sexy and some coy. They put their skills to the test in an Enrique Iglesias video where Lisa gets picked to be featured and then they throw a feature to Heather since she’s got such the goth look and they’re doing a kind of vampire thing. Now when I say featured I mean that they actually get to touch Enrique as he walks by them instead of just shooting him a sexy look. The big drama of this week was that apparently since Heather hadn’t really eaten anything she got hot and dehydrated and passed out. Will they never learn? They were showing lots of Chantal from the start, Tyra commented on Chantal not giving it all, and in the video they said she was stiff. And of course she with her ‘I’m not nervous cuz like I can dance and I can act…’ got taken down a notch and placed in the bottom two. But we’ve learned if they make it too obvious they may just live to make it another week and instead plus size/normal size Sarah was losing some weight and not comfortable enough with her body, so they sent her home. Though apparently none of the antm gals are featured in the real Enrique video they’ve posted their version on his site.

So who will get eliminated next? Still too soon to tell who will be America’s Next Top Model?

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back on track

So as I started writing about Heroes and how I’m not in love with all the new characters and all the creative choices so far, I read an article in Entertainment Weekly where Tim Kring, the creator himself, summarized most of my thoughts better than I could.

So check out the article/apology and tune in tonight where we’re promised some answers on what happened after the end of last season and maybe where we go next.

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20158840,00.html

My vote for new character killed off is definitely Maya, Sylar could snatch her power and her tortured brother could chase after him quashing the black tears of death, and maybe he could even get a better power. And I wouldn’t mind if Claire’s new boyfriend West got it…

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next week 11/12

Monday

  • Chuck (NBC, 8pm) – If you miss the quality days of the OC maybe Summer/Rachel Bilson can fill the void as she charms Chuck, tough to date with a fake girlfriend even if she is only your CIA contact.
  • The Bachelor (ABC, 10pm) – The women tell all, probably won’t muck it all up before he picks his bride in the finale.

Tuesday

  • Bones (Fox, 8pm) – Timecapsules and murder, I’m nostalgic to visit the class of ’87! woo hoo!
  • Reaper (CW, 9pm) – What’s Gladys the demon do when she’s not at the dmv? And is the devil doing something evil?

Wednesday

  • Project Runway (Bravo, 10pm) Season Premiere – Fifteen new folks compete to try to stich their way to success.
  • Private Practice (ABC, 9pm) – Looks like there’s some nookie gonna be going on, bets on the longevity of Addison and Pete vs. Violet and Cooper…

Thursday

  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 9pm) – Boring Jorja Fox leaves the team, who will Grissom inappropriately sleep with now?
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Fx, 10pm) Season Finale – I am amused by this group of serious misfits and their totally inappropriate behavior.

Friday

  • Women’s Murder Club (ABC, 9pm) – This is it’s regularly scheduled time but don’t miss it’s Thursday night showing (10pm) with Angie’s real life guy Jason Sehorn (and yes I should put this under Thursday but there’s really nothing of interest on Friday).

Saturday

  • MadTV (Fox, 11pm) – Former castmates return for the 300th episode but since I don’t ever watch this show I couldn’t tell you who’s who.

Sunday

  • American Music Awards (ABC, 8pm) – Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel there might be some life input into one of the many music awards shows.
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reality round up

So since I was talking reality television I felt like I wanted to rate the shows, but I have to admit if I’ve watched even one of these shows I don’t do it regularly (those I watch noted in bold)… so I’m doing it anyway but I’m not really standing behind these somewhat arbitrary grades.

  • Amazing Race (A) – See pairs of people interact and travel the world, and it is a race so winners win.
  • Survivor (A) – Groups of people living in some tough isolated conditions around the world, good mix of the strategic alliances and the wild card of the varied skill challenges. They vote each other off and try not to alienate folks too much since they pick their own winner.
  • Project Runway (A-) – (Bravo) Seeing these wannabe fashion makers trying to rise to the challenges at break neck speed, without breaking anyone else’s neck, is compelling and with Tim Gunn’s encouragement to ‘make it work’ I may not like all the results but they’re worth seeing. Heidi leads the panel of judge’s decisions.
  • ANTM (B+) – If you’ve read these at all you know I’m a fan of the crazies and their model skills, a good photo means a lot but in person presence, acting, walking and various other things keep it interesting. Tyra leads the panel of judges decisions.
  • Rock Star: INXS/Supernova/? (B+) – I had heard at one point that this was renewed with unknown talent. This show takes AI to the next level with actual songs and singers you might like, mixed with the combination of America and wild card band votes and a little behind the scenes action. I miss Marty Casey.
  • Biggest Loser (B) – Tough love as folks really change their lives, and even those voted off and working from home try to lose to win.
  • Dancing with the Stars (B) – A unique mix of ‘stars’ and their professional dancing partners compete. A mix of judge and America’s votes keeps narrowing down ‘til we find the winner.
  • American Idol (B) – If you don’t know about this show you’ve been living under a rock, it still maintains a rabid following season after season. Our panel narrows it down to finalists then it’s all about America’s pick.
  • Rock of Love (B/D) – (VH1) Ok this is so bad it’s good, I live in disdain of the Bachelor but make it a house full of skanks, psychos and strippers and I couldn’t look away. Brett Michaels adds a nice touch as a crazy rockstar who is surprisingly in touch with his feminine side.
  • Beauty and the Geek (B-) – The dumb beauties and the socially stunted smarties team up to overcome their limitations and on their way learn a little. Competitions rule.
  • Bachelor (B-) – As noted I can’t take this whole good-looking vapid women compete to fall in love with what is typically a good-looking but not super interesting guy. I would give this a worse grade but after getting addicted to Rock of Love I had to reconsider.
  • Extreme Makeover Home Edition (C+) – Total home remodel with varied themes and goals and always a touching story.
  • The Apprentice (C) – If it weren’t for annoying Donald Trump the competitions to determine business savvy are pretty interesting.
  • Kid Nation (C) – Kids in the wild west making it on their own. Rewards are given and competitions determine perks and duties, and they can opt out at any time.
  • Next Great American Band (C-) – I think I am the only person watching this band competition, I am amazed that there aren’t more talented groups included but I like the mix of originals and covers and like The Clark Brothers and Franklin Bridge (and Six Wire), not that I would buy any of their albums.
  • America’s Got Talent (D) – I don’t know that America does, but if you’re looking for random acts, this is where you find ’em.
  • Kitchen Nightmares (F) – Watching some mean chef yell at people just doesn’t do it.
  • Big Brother (F) – So they put a bunch of people in a house, and show it for like three nights a week, I don’t understand how this can be on like season 8.
  • Phenomenon (F) – Again, magicians…
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real life?

So as the strike takes off we might need to get a little more comfortable with reality shows. Now before you groan, some of them are pretty entertaining, you just have to be a little discerning about it and you have to know what you like. And you have to be forewarned that even the bad ones can suck you in. Here are some of my rules of thumb on how I pick ‘em.

There are basically two main criteria of reality show. Straight up competitions where we might get to know the folks onstage but they don’t have to suffer through living together, or if they do we don’t see it. Think American Idol and Dancing With the Stars. And there are the ones where we get to see the behind the scenes action, either competition prep and/or interaction with the other contestants. America’s Next Top Model and Survivor both have this angle.

Now unless you are interested in the category of competition, the first style of show doesn’t quite do it. A recently launched Phenomenon where contestants compete with their magic couldn’t make this clearer. That’s not to say that behind the scenes is enough to keep it interesting, Big Brother somehow shows people in a house voting against each other for two to three nights a week, really?

So other than category what makes it interesting? I like a mix of an challenge or skill and personal dynamics. I like it when there is the possibility for an upset, we want someone to win but when it’s not a sure thing it’s much more rewarding. Good perm cast doesn’t hurt, Dave Navarro surprisingly entertains on Rock Star and though I can’t stand the Simon, Paula, Randy & Ryan group they’ve got enough going on to make their own interest. Call me un-American but I like it when someone other than America is voting, or they do a combo. And I have to admit I like the crazies, it always amazes me how real people can act more bizarre than anyone would ever believe in a fictional character.

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next week 11/5

And don’t forget to triple check for daylight savings time change on any recording gizmos, officially taking place 2am Sun, Nov 4.

Monday

  • Prison Break (Fox, 8pm) – Two hours of a show I hate more now because I once loved it… I think Michael digs into this whole Sara was beheaded thing.
  • Rules of Engagement (CBS, 9:30) – Heather Locklear hangs with ex-flame David Spade, wonder if her new beaux Jack Wagner will be on next week.

Tuesday

  • Carpoolers (ABC, 8:30pm) – Rebecca Romijn tries to up the lackluster ratings of her man Jerry O’Connell.
  • The Unit (CBS, 9pm) – In a death defying secret military group someone eventually has to die, right?

Wednesday

  • CMA Awards (ABC, 8pm) – Some country people will sing, some country singers will get awards.
  • Eureka (Sci Fi, 8am) Marathon – Starts with the pilot of this wacky bunch of genius scientists and their sheriff and hits the highlights of the eps from season one and two.

Thursday

  • CSI/Without a Trace (CBS, 9 & 10pm) – In these crossover episodes Jack investigates the crime scene and Gil is dropping by to find a trace, or something.
  • Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader (Fox, 8pm) – Celebrity edition with Tony Hawk, who I like, I’m not sure how much school Tony had before rocketing to skateboard fame but he seems relatively bright.

Friday

  • Deal or No Deal (NBC, 8pm) – Kermit the Frog is kickin’ it, did I mention NBC was doing a whole green week, can’t beat the environment and Kermie.
  • Bear’s Everest Mission (Disc, 10pm) – Former British special forces Bear Grylls, from Man vs. Wild, goes paragliding on or over Everest, I don’t care if he’s not roughing it as much as they make it seem…

Saturday

  • Cops (Fox, 8pm) 700th episode – They show clips of some of the highlights… I don’t think I’ve ever watched an episode of this, unless you count the My Name is Earl spoofs, but we all know what it’s about.

Sunday

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO, 10pm) – The season finale of season six, apparently he gets cringe-worthy at a bat mitzvah.
  • King of the Hill (Fox, 8:30) – Does Hank’s crazy shinless father Cotton die? It could happen when he gets into it with a chef.

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the strike

So it hasn’t happened yet, but the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers failed to reach an agreement before the contract expired at midnight last night. Now I will have to say that my even discussing this feels like reporting on actual news, which I have no interest in doing, but as it could impact on my television viewing I figured it was worth a note. 

So what’s the big point of contention? New media of course. From what I’ve gleaned the writers feel like they settled for too little share of dvd and video releases and ended up getting screwed out of a big pot of cash. So they want to fix that and now that there’s potentially a new pot they want to make sure they’re a part of the mix. The studios are concerned that if they cut the writers in too much then they are limiting their ability to try out new ventures since at this point most of them aren’t really profitable.  

Of course the landscape of television is changing and old methods of distribution are waning as the new ones grow. I may be missing something but sharing a percentage of profits with those who create work seems common sensical, and if an area is profitable for no one then what’s the harm in sharing a percentage of that, and if it’s profitable for everyone… win win right? 

So since both sides seem to be digging in, what does it all mean to me, and to you? That depends. From what I’ve read it seems like late night shows will be the first to be impacted since those are the most real time. What you mean Jay Leno doesn’t improv the whole show? They’ll cut back their sketches and/or go to reruns. Regular shows have a bit of a stockpile so we should see some episodes for now until maybe the holidays when it goes into reruns anyhow.  

What ever will they do to fill the space? Lots of reruns of course. If they’re smart they’ll figure out a way to run cable series on sister networks because that should up the audience substantially. Oh and more reality tv, since apparently those ‘writers’ aren’t included in the union. As for me I’m updating my netflix queue.

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plenty to gossip about

As we gear up for a replay of the pilot on Gossip Girl, or go out drinking for Halloween knowing that television will be there when we return, some might wonder what’s been going on with our new favorite guilty pleasure. Wonder no more.

Well the gal pals remain in unstable waters. Blair had Chuck digging the dirt on Serena and when he spotted her heading into a rehab facility, visiting her brother, Blair decided to out Serena on college weekend. But of course when Serena’s brother Eric confronted her, it is of course he that checked in for his suicide attempt, it appeared that she felt bad. Their truce is always ready to be thwarted by Serena seeming to get it all. And Blair’s mother Eleanor added fuel to the fire screwing lame stiff Blair out of a gig modeling her new clothing line and trying to slap in delightful natural Serena. 

Blair is putting up with Dan (future romance anyone?) after he said some kind words following her modeling fiasco, so she’s fine with he and Serena giving it a go. They are so far surviving her shallow conniving circle of friends and his poor Brooklyn lifestyle, she loves that he’s so not like the rest of the guys in her world. His returning Brooklyn girlfriend almost threw another kink into things but so far, though he loved her a year ago and she wants to give it another go, his heart now belongs to Serena.

Speaking of hearts belonging to Serena… Blair’s boring boyfriend Nate gave us momentary hope that he’d spice things up with a gay encounter when he followed returning bad boy who turned his back on it all. Alas no, just lured into gambling and bailed out by Chuck. (We still don’t like Chuck.) Nate’s dad landed Blair’s mom’s IPO, though it should all fall apart once Blair gets news that Nate’s actually still in love with Serena. He foolishly told this to Serena’s back, which of course turned out to be Jenny. Fortunately Nate’s dad’s going to screw up enough things himself with his apparent coke addiction, and empty bank accounts, though right now he’s blaming his stash on his son. His dad would owe him for that.

Serena’s mother Lily is also popping up, working her relationship with Dan’s Dad Rufus. She returns a painting that she didn’t realize was his wife’s and then she sees him be a standup guy when son Eric is temporarily missing from rehab. They of course find the kid and mom finally decides to let him come home. Lily and Dan also share a kiss at Eleanor’s “Night in Tangiers” party, reigniting old flames? No it was only to make Lily’s old dude, Chuck’s dad Bart, jealous. Or was it?

And our youngest Brooklyn-ite Jenny is making some fantastic strides in social climbing. She is continuing to suck up to Blair, running errands in exchange for potential invitations. She did get herself invited to Blair’s annual overnight where she held her own to truth and to dare and didn’t even get sick on the martinis that Blair insisted she suck down. Now even I can’t be counted on to remain coherent with martinis in the mix. She didn’t get an invite to Blair’s masquerade ball but when she snuck in she even managed to pull one over on Chuck, leaving him in boxers locked on the roof. Unfortunately both Blair and Chuck know that it was Jenny who one upped them so she’ll have to dig herself out of that. Good thing learned that little tidbit about Nate which perhaps she can try to use to her advantage.

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