Matt Roush


Question: Where is NBC's ...

Question:
Where is NBC's Boomtown on the ratings list? I hear it's doing worse than ABC's The Practice. What can Boomtown do to find an audience, especially since it's the best new series on TV? — Jack

Matt:
Boomtown is struggling against the much more established Practice, but that shouldn't be a huge surprise. Boomtown is different and will take time to catch on. The Practice is what people are used to, and we shouldn't forget it wasn't a huge hit in its first seasons, either. All Boomtown needs is to keep telling good stories and for NBC not to lose patience. And while it's losing quite a bit of its Law &#038 Order: Criminal Intent lead-in, Boomtown is far from a disaster. Plus it has media buzz, which won't hurt.

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Question: What happened to ...

Question:
What happened to Ron Livingston on The Practice? I believe he appeared as an ADA for only one season. Was his departure ever addressed on the show? Or were we supposed to forget we ever saw him? — Laura

Matt:
He's probably happier mooning over Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City these days, anyway. The talented Band of Brothers actor barely appeared even when he was a so-called "regular" on The Practice last season. Very strange. But to my knowledge, his lack of presence hasn't been addressed. You were maybe expecting consistency from this show?

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Question: Fox's 24 is one of ...

Question:
Fox's 24 is one of my top 3 favorite shows (along with the 2 CSI's). I love everything about it, much like your 24 reasons from last season. What I am wondering is since the season premiere is going to be commercial-free, is it going to be a full hour, or is it just going to be forty minutes with no commercials (like the DVD)? Also, are the other episodes going to be commercial-free, too? Or is this just a one-shot deal? — Matt

Matt:
The October 29 premiere is a full hour without commercials, but don't get used to it. Those pesky ad breaks will be back the following week.

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Question: As a 15-year-old ...

Question:
As a 15-year-old girl missing my right arm, I was truly offended and hurt by the comment Pratt (Mekhi Phifer) made on ER's premiere. He said, "I could never date a girl missing parts." My only question is, do the writers think before they put crap like that on air? I know there really are ignorant people out there, but it wasn't something I wanted to hear on my favorite show. — Sarah

Matt:
I think all of us were meant to be offended by Pratt's statement, although I'm sorry it had such a hurtful impact for you. Pratt's character is going through a pretty obvious, and terribly cliched, learning curve in which his boorish attitudes and impulsiveness keep backfiring on him. We may be meant to pity him, but certainly not to empathize with his more outrageous statements.

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Question: What's your take on ...

Question:
What's your take on The Sopranos this season? I must say that my friends and I — all hard-core fans since the first season — are hugely disappointed in the first batch this year. Nothing seems to happen! And the Columbus Day episode was so dull I actually fell asleep. Your thoughts, please. — R. Davis

Matt:
Strangely enough, I'm enjoying it. I had problems with some aspects of the Columbus Day episode — thematically, it was a bit obvious and heavy-handed — but generally, I think the show is operating at its own pace just as it always has done. This is not an action series but a rich drama steeped in character. It seems to me that at least every other episode has a pretty powerful payoff (in particular, "The Weight" episode in which the fat joke about Johnny Sack's wife nearly led to two hits). If the show appears to move a little slow, I find it a refreshing change from so much of the rest of TV, which lacks thoughtful substance altogether. I say be patient. I bet once ... read more

Question: I am a huge CSI ...

Question:
I am a huge CSI fan. I was wondering if you have heard anything about if the show is going to put Grissom (William Petersen) and Sara (Jorja Fox) together? You can see that they're attracted to each other! Do you think that Grissom and Sara should date despite their age difference? — Karen

Matt:
I think dating would be a huge mistake for CSI, but not because I'm an ageist or anything. This isn't (thankfully) NYPD Blue, where the entire office seems to be pairing off with each other. Keeping the attraction muted, as subtext, allows us to be fascinated by the possibilities. Both characters are pretty well defined as somewhat anti-social loners who occasionally pine for a fuller life. If they began a romantic relationship, I think it would diminish our interest in their interactions almost immediately. Best just to be left wondering.

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Question: I understand CBS's ...

Question:
I understand CBS's The Amazing Race is being beaten by ABC's The Bachelor. Wouldn't it be wise for CBS to move it to an earlier time slot and not compete with another reality show? — K.

Matt:
Even though CBS occupied the time period first, you're probably right. Two competing shows of the same type often tend to cannibalize the other. Both are aimed at the younger demographic and it seems (sad to say) many more people would rather watch the tasteless Bachelor than the genuinely stimulating and entertaining Race. But CBS has struggled for a long time on Wednesdays, and even with this unfortunate situation, Race is probably performing better for the network than anything else would. The loser here is the "reality" fan who would like to watch both.

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Question: With all the TV ...

Question:
With all the TV watching you do, Matt, do you have a life? — M.H.

Matt:
Thanks for your concern. But yes, I do. And while at certain times of the year TV does threaten to take over my life (the start of a new season, sweeps months), most of the time it's manageable. You don't really think I watch every episode of every show, do you? On a personal note, my idea of a vacation? Reading a book.

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Question: Why do you doubt ...

Question:
Why do you doubt Becker on Sundays? I personally feel that the show is much better with Nancy Travis. Terry Farrell played her role very well, but her character was too perfect, too boring! Ted Danson even said that he felt the change was much better and that after the change in Cheers, the show got even better ratings. So why do you doubt Becker will do well on Sundays? Do you personally not like Nancy Travis? — Jennifer

Matt:
I'm OK with Travis; I was especially fond of the first season of her own CBS sitcom, Almost Perfect, in the mid-'90s. I just wasn't convinced that fans would accept the change, but given the surprisingly promising ratings for Becker so far on Sundays, I think I was wrong. There was much industry skepticism that viewers would follow the show away from Mondays, where it was thought Becker was riding Raymond's coattails. Turns out Becker has a pretty loyal following of its own.

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Question: Will ABC re-air ...

Question:
Will ABC re-air Push, Nevada later? — Mike

Matt:
I wouldn't count on it. The final episode airs this week (October 24), and ABC would have taken it off sooner if it could have ended the game more quickly. The show was pretty much DOA the moment it moved to Thursdays. But maybe Ben Affleck's LivePlanet company will release it on DVD someday. (I'm not a video columnist, so don't ask me when.)

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