Adam Bryant


Rescue Me: Has This Season Saved the Show?

Denis Leary, Rescue Me

There's something different about Rescue Me this season that we can't quite put a finger on.

Maybe it's the complete creative rejuvenation of the show after a long, 18-month hiatus. Maybe it's the addition of the shockingly grotesque, wheelchair-bound Dwight, played brilliantly against type by guest star Michael J. Fox. Maybe it's that the show returned its focus to 9/11 and its lasting effects on the firefighters. Or maybe it's just because Season 4's look at a sober Tommy Gavin was a bit of a stinker.

If you ask Rescue Me's creators, they'll agree with most of all of that.

"We work in a vacuum," star and co-creator Denis Leary says. "It's impossible to tell what the audience or critics will think. Last season, we investigated places that we had to go, specifically with Tommy being sober. But it's not until it's out there that you get the reaction where people go, 'Y'know, it's really dark.'"

But dark isn't the word co-creator, writer and director Peter Tolan would use to describe Season 4. His word? Letdown. "The fourth season had its pleasures, but it was certainly not up to snuff, in my opinion, with what we had done in the previous years," he says. "We just sort of lost focus, the stories weren't as solid, and the storytelling, I thought, was a little weak. And many people noticed it. Because of that, I said to the guys that when we come back, we have to come back firing on all cylinders — we have to come back at 150 miles per hour and not stop."

And that's what they've done. This season ... read more

Fox Sets Fall Premiere Dates for House, Glee and Others

Hugh Laurie, Cat Deeley, Matthew Morrison

Fox has announced the fall premiere dates for its new and returning shows, and the network is looking to kick the whole thing off with a little song and <i>Dance</i>/

Leading the prime-time pack in September will be a combo So You Think You Can Dance's first-ever fall debut and the "premiere" of the musical comedy Glee, airing Wednesday, Sept. 16. Viewers got their first sample of Glee last month, following American Idol's final performance show.

Fox is also playing to its strengths by giving the sixth season of House a two-hour launch, on Sept. 21.

See how the full schedule shakes out after the jump. read more

Digital Transition Prompts Record Number of FCC Help Line Calls

Digital TV Transition

Friday's complete switch from analog broadcasting to digital prompted more than 300,000 phone calls to the Federal Communications Commission's digital transition help line.

A record 317,450 calls were placed on Friday, bringing the total number of calls between June 8 and June 12 to around 700,000, according to the FCC. The agency reports that nearly 30 percent of the calls were related to questions about analog-to digital converter boxes. Most of those calls were resolved by consumers "re-scanning" for channels that had changed frequency when going digital. Another 20 percent of the calls dealt with reception issues.

In anticipation for the spike in calls, the FCC ... read more

FCC Adds Help Line Staff to Field Digital TV Transition Calls

Digital TV Transition

To help viewers with Friday's complete transition to digital TV, the Federal Communications Commission has beefed up the staff for its DTV help line.

The FCC and Nielsen estimate that 2.8 million — or 2.5 percent of — U.S. homes who receive analog over-the-air broadcast signals are still unprepared to receive a digital signal. So, the agency has brought on 4,000 staffers to assist viewers who to lose their TV signals.

"Today's historic transition to digital TV is an important step forward in U.S. broadcasting, offering consumers access to more free over-the-air programming as well as higher quality pictures and sound," acting FCC Chairman Michael J. Copps said in a statement. "At the same time, I recognize the great challenge that today's switch presents for many consumers. Even though the overwhelming majority of households are DTV-ready, we are fully committed to helping those who have yet to join the digital television age both today and in the days to come."

Although the FCC expects ... read more

Digital TV Transition Is Here; Surveys Say 2 Million Homes Still Unprepared

Digital TV Transition

The digital TV D-day is upon us, and more than 2 million U.S. homes are still at risk of having their televisions go fuzzy when the switch is flipped, according to surveys by the National Association of Broadcasters.

On Friday, June 12, over-the-air broadcasters will cease transmitting an analog signal. The NAB sponsored a survey of 948 homes still using antennae to receive over-the-air analog signals in early June, according to The Associated Press. The survey found that 1 in 8 homes had yet to install a digital-ready TV or a digital converter box, which ... read more

Mel Gibson's Divorce Details to Be Kept Confidential

Mel Gibson

The details of Mel Gibson's divorce —fiscal and otherwise — will not be for public consumption.

A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge has granted Robyn Gibson's request to keep the details of her divorce from husband Mel Gibson confidential, according to E! Online.

The order, which was granted on June 5, protects witness reports, depositions and tax returns and other financial documents from being released. The ruling also forces both parties to keep mum about the settlement publicly.

The couple has ... read more

Mad Men Returns with Extra-Long Episodes

Jon Hamm

Viewers will get even more Mad Men when Don Draper & Co resume business at Sterling Cooper this summer. Or, at least they won't get any less.

AMC said Wednesday that new episodes of the Emmy-winning drama — which are (finally!) set to begin airing on Sunday, Aug.16 at 10 pm — will run a few minutes into the 11 o'clock hour. However, the additional minutes are actually to accommodate extra advertising — and ensure that not a moment of drama is lost.

The news that two extra minutes of advertising would be added caused panic among fans afraid of giving up a few scenes of their favorite show. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner assured fans in an online chat hosted by the Los Angeles Times last week that he ... read more

Harry Potter to Hit IMAX Two Weeks Late

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter fans looking to take in their favorite wizard's latest adventure on the huge IMAX screen will have to wait two weeks longer than everyone else.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens July 14, but the flick won't hit most IMAX screens until July 29, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Only two theaters — one each in New York and Los Angeles — will carry the super-sized version on opening day.

The delay is... read more

Howard Stern Rips Jay Leno on Late Show

Howard Stern and David Letterman

Howard Stern must be thrilled that CBS is looking to re-up Late Show host David Letterman's contract through 2012.

The Sirius Radio shock jock stopped by The Late Show Monday, and during his time in the chair, he praised Letterman while taking shots at Dave's new late-night rival and the prime time-bound Jay Leno.

"We've got to beat this Conan," Stern said. "How are you feeling that Jay left late-night television, and now we've got a new guy to compete with?"

Stern, who gave credit to Letterman for putting the radio host on the map, continued to rail on Leno, even to the point that Letterman became visibly uncomfortable. In particular, Stern called out Leno's ... read more

Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection — Blu-ray Review

Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture Collection (Blu-ray)

If you're anything like us, the recent theatrical release/franchise reboot of Star Trek probably made you a tad nostalgic for the original Kirk, Spock and the rest of the USS Enterprise. As luck would have it, Paramount is boldly releasing this mega collection of the six original films featuring Captain and Kirk & Co. on Blu-ray for the first time.

read more

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