Today's News: Our Take


Garry Shandling can breathe a sigh of relief. Sunday night's Emmy telecast, in which the comic served as host, attracted 21.6 million viewers making it the most watched Emmys in 14 years. Shandling received enthusiastic reviews for his performance during the three hour broadcast, which saw NBC's The West Wing and Will & Grace win big. ABC estimates that 46 million people watched at least some portion of the show. read more

Question: I heard a rumor. Is ...

Question: I heard a rumor. Is CBS planning to rebroadcast the first Survivor series starting in September? I was told that they were. Others tell me that the first series will be televised on another channel starting this fall. Which can I believe? I have become a fan even though I only saw the last few episodes and would like to see it aired in its entirety. Thanks. — Shawn

Televisionary: Believe the former and ignore the latter. The network does indeed plan to rebroadcast the entire Survivor run from September 15 through the 29th (with no episode on Sundays).

The plan is to try to steal some of NBC's Olympics thunder and it will serve as an interesting test case for the blockbuster reality show. Yes, it generated incredible ratings, but how strong will it play a second time?

I see it going either way, frankly. Maybe knowing that Richard won will take the fun out of it for many people. But perhaps those who missed the show the first time aro read more

Question: We're having a very ...

Question: We're having a very heated argument. In The Highwayman did the cab of the truck turn into a helicopter, or did he carry the helicopter in the back of the truck? — Alex Bertran

Televisionary: Now, now — I can understand the heat, Alex, but let's not let it come to fisticuffs, OK?

In the short-lived series, which ran on NBC from March to May of 1988, the Highwayman's high-tech rig boasted a cab that could change into a helicopter in times of need. (Nifty, huh?) Any slob could simply strap a chopper to a truck and declare himself cool, no?

Produced by Knight Rider man Glen A. Larson, the show also featured Aussie Energizer pitchman Jacko ("Oy!") as the take-no-prisoners, scrappy sidekick to the tough-and-buff Highwayman (Sam Jones).

read more


Halle Berry, who picked up an Emmy Award Sunday night for her star turn in HBO's Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, is in talks to appear opposite John Travolta in the Warner Bros. thriller, Swordfish. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Berry would receive $2.5 million for her work — her biggest paycheck to date. Swordfish would reunite the actress with her X-Men co-star Hugh Jackman, who also stars in the film. — Michael Ausiello read more

Question: After canceling the ...

Question: After canceling the show La Femme Nikita earlier this year and now changing their minds and bringing it back, what makes USA choose to only do eight shows and not a full 22?

Televisionary: Simply put? Because they can.

						 						The TV biz is a very complicated world and shows are ordered, scheduled and canceled for all sorts of reasons, nearly all of which come down to — you guessed it — money. USA (and every other network in the business) looks at how much it's spending for a show and how much it's making back by selling commercial time during that slot.

That's the first consideration and it's why so many shows are canceled despite a fairly loyal following among audience members and the press. It doesn't matter to CBS, for example, that the critics and an enthusiastic fan base liked Now and Again. On a per-episode basis, the show cost too much to p read more


Don Hewitt, executive producer of CBS's stalwart 60 Minutes, is writing his autobiography which will include details of the infamous tobacco scandal that led to the film The Insider. The tome — titled Tell Me a Story — is due next spring. "I wanted to write a book that would be totally honest," Hewitt told the New York Daily News, "a book with no bull." read more

Question: A co-worker says ...

Question: A co-worker says The X-Files is nothing but a rip-off of The Night Stalker and the X-Files producers get mad if anyone brings it up because they're afraid they'll be sued. Sounds like so much blather to me. Anything to it? Thanks, man. — Dave Mellon

Televisionary: So, as an expert on blathering — well, one who fills an entire column with it on a weekly basis, anyway — I oughta know, huh? Why, I take that as a compliment, Dave.

In this case, the truth is indeed out there. See, X-Files creator Chris Carter has never made any secret that he was a big fan of Kolchak: the Night Stalker, which followed rumpled, Chicago-based Independent News Service reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) as he tracked down (and often disposed of) various malevolent things that go bump in the night. (In fact, in a nod to Kolchak, McGavin has appeared on The X-Files as X-Files father Arthur Dales.) The read more

West Wing Soars at Emmys

It was a landslide victory the likes of which Emmy has never seen before.

NBCs acclaimed White House drama, The West Wing, parlayed its 18 Emmy nominations into nine trophies at the 52nd Annual Prime-Time Emmy Awards, broadcast live on ABC last night. It was the biggest single-year haul of any show in history, besting previous record-holders Hill Street Blues and ER, which tied with eight wins apiece.

"To sum it up, this is really a very good date night for us," commented Thomas Schlamme, who won for directing the West Wing pilot. The show also won for supporting actress Allison Janney, supporting actor Richard Schiff and writing.

On the comedy side, NBCs gay farce Will & Grace was the big winner, taking home top comedy honors as well as wins for its scene-stealing sidekicks, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally. In accepting the award, show co-creator Max Mutchnick clutched the Emmy and exclai read more

Joan & Melissa: The Mouths That Bored

Melissa Rivers is expecting a child, a fact that Joan — her mother and fellow co-host — announced in her trademark squawk at the onset of E! Entertainment Television's Emmy Award Pre-Show. Alas, if you were expecting big stars as you tuned into the sartorial survey, it may have seemed like a nine-month wait as well.

In fact, it wasn't until the middle of the program's lazy first hour that E!'s mother-daughter team dug their claws into a flesh-and-blood Emmy nominee, Everybody Loves Raymond's Peter Boyle. Prior to that big catch, viewers had to bide their time with Shelley Morrison (who plays Will & Grace fourth banana Rosario), Rudy Boesch from Survivor (whose wife all but acknowledged that his 15 minutes were winding down), and some guy named Curtis, a Big Brother contestant who won his admission on the house-based reality series.

But then Emma Thompson showed up, followed read more

2000 Emmys a Laughing Matter

Although the 52nd annual Emmy Awards telecast started off with a predictable (but raunchily funny) Survivor spoof, the ceremony itself was shocking: It didn't feel like 13 weeks on Pulau Tiga (and, in fact, ran over by just two minutes).

A lot of the credit should go to host Garry Shandling, who relied heavily, and very successfully, upon the insecure, sexually ambiguous Hollywood-insider persona that he perfected on his HBO sitcom The Larry Sanders Show. Whether furthering his flirtation with David Duchovny (playing himself as an overly familiar bathroom attendant in one of a series of "behind-the-scenes" skits) or going off-script and inviting the trophy girl to introduce the next presenter, the funnyman seemed utterly in his element, more like he was presiding wittily over a gathering of business associates for whom he has only grudging respect than anchoring a stuffy black-tie event.

Case in point: Paying Ray Romano a read more

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