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Tom Snyder: When Talk Wasn't Cheap

Tom Snyder by Jim Smeal/WireImage.com

I've been thinking a lot about Tom Snyder since his death from leukemia was made public, in part because my mind already had been preoccupied with the '70s, when this unforgettable talk-show icon was in his late-night NBC heyday.My own late-'70s time warp was prompted by a 30-year high-school reunion over the weekend in which I referenced That '70s Show more than once. (Did we really look like that? Dress like that? Have hair like that? Only our senior class pictures know the truth, and I'm not sharing.) During my high school and college years, Snyder was a blazing, sometimes hair-raisingly pioneering presence in what had been a late-night wasteland following Johnny Carson's legendary Tonight Show.Snyder's show, which aired from 1973 to 1982, was called Tomorrow, and to me, the title always underscored the fact that everything about it was a bit ahead of its time. The show's level of discourse, its idiosyncratic host with his brash intensity and eclectic range (historic interviews w... read more

Simpsons Writers Dish on Movie and New Season

The Simpsons Movie courtesy 20th Century Fox

After weekly letters from fans demanding full-frontal Simpson nudity, it's finally here. As The Simpsons Movie premiered in L.A. under a cloud of yellow confetti and a Duff Beer Blimp, writers Matt Selman, David Mirkin and Michael Price told TV Guide how anatomically accurate a naked Simpson really is. "They have three fingers, what else might they have three of?" Matt Selman jokes. "People have never known what Simpsonite genitalia looks like, and now they do," adds David Mirkin. "We finally lived our dream." The movie, which took four years and went through several scripts, is finally finished — but the show writers' work is far from over. There's still a new season of The Simpsons on the horizon. "We have a great episode that's set as a flashback to the '90s where Homer forms the first grunge band," says Michael Price. "We have a flashback fantasy where Bart is in the Sex Pistols and Nelson is Sid Vicious and Bart is Johnny Rotten. We have a big election-themed episode with ... read more

Simpsons Guests Include Colbert, Stewart, Frasier Trio

Stephen Colbert courtesy of Comedy Central

Some of the guest voices on tap for the 19th season of Fox's The Simpsons, premiering Sept. 23:• In the season-opener, Lionel Richie as himself and Stephen Colbert as Homer's life coach.• Steve Buscemi as a bank robber who forms a "connection" with hostage Marge (Sept. 30).• Jack Black as the owner of Coolsville, a new rival comic-books emporium in town (Oct. 7).• Later in the season, it's a Frasier reunion as Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce and John Mahoney voice Sideshow Bob, brother Cecil and their dad.Other voices en route to Springfield include Jon Stewart, Matt Dillon, Maya Rudolph, Dan Rather, Placido Domingo, Kurt Loder, Weird Al Yankovic, Beverly D’Angelo and Topher Grace. read more

Is NBC Eyeing Jon Stewart for a Late-night Gig?

Jon Stewart by Norman Jean Roy/Comedy Central

NBC Universal biggies Jeff Zucker and Marc Graboff recently had "exploratory" talks over dinner with Jon Stewart, Broadcasting & Cable reports, suggesting that the Daily Show frontman might somehow fit into the Peacock's late-night plan. Rather than pitch Stewart anything specific, a source tells B&C, Zucker and Graboff "just made their interest known in finding a way to do business together if Jon was ever available."Stewart's Comedy Central pact expires in 2008, not long before Conan O'Brien is scheduled to inherit The Tonight Show from Leno. There is some buzz, though, that with Leno still being immensely profitable, NBC might pay Conan to walk away, thus freeing up the 12:30 slot.POLL: Would NBC be wrong to pull The Tonight Show gig away from Conan? Vote here.POLL: Would you like to see Stewart host a late-night talker? Vote here.POLL: Should Leno retire as planned? Vote here. read more

New Sesame Street Features Ray, Fey, Spoof of Grey's

Sesame Street's Abby Cadabby by Rich Termine/PBS

Season 38 of Sesame Street, premiering Aug. 13, will feature a curriculum focusing on early literacy and language skills, PBS announced on Monday. The new batch will also feature Abby Cadabby in all 26 episodes (sounds like someone got a new agent), and kick off each episode with a "Word on the Street," which will be defined throughout the hour. There'll be occasional assists from the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Jon Stewart.Speaking of famous human faces, guests for the coming season include Tina Fey, Rachael Ray, James Blunt and several New York Jets. Pop-culture spoofs include "Meal or No Meal," "American I," "A's Anatomy" and "GNN" with Anderson Cooper and grouch coanchors Walter Cranky and Dan Rather-Not. OK, that last bit just made me giggle. read more

Tough-talker Henry Rollins Is Back, Keeping Things Israel

Henry Rollins

Talk shows have been around since the advent of television broadcasting, but there's never been one quite like The Henry Rollins Show. Provocative, confrontational and seemingly unable to pull his punches, Henry Rollins returns to the IFC this Friday, April 13 (at 11 pm/ET), to begin his second season, accompanied by guest Marilyn Manson. To mark the occasion, IFC is preceding the premiere at 9:30 with Henry Rollins: Uncut from Israel, a documentary chronicling the former rocker's trip to Tel Aviv for a spoken-word gig. Rollins recently gave TVGuide.com a piece of his mind. TVGuide.com: In Uncut from Israel, you say that Israel is "up against the real." Is that part read more

DVD Pick of the Week - April 17, 2007

I'm going out on a limb this week, and I'm choosing a DVD set I haven't seen for my "Pick of the Week" (minor mix-up at the PR firm) - Not Just The Best Of The Larry Sanders Show. Though this is a dreaded "best of" release (please, please continue with the series in seasons sets), there are tons of bonus materials on the release. Garry Shandling is joined by Peter Tolan for commentary on two episodes, with Todd Holland and Judd Apatow doing one episode a piece. There's a documentary about making the series, deleted and extended scenes, alternate takes, and interviews with Alec Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, David Duchovny, Tom Petty, Jerry Seinfeld, Sharon Stone, Jon Stewart, Carol Burnett, Penny Johnson, Wallace Langham, Scott Thompson, Janeane Garofalo, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Sarah Silverman, Jeremy Piven, Bob Odenkirk and Linda Doucett. Those special features join 23 episodes of the series on 4 discs. The only thing that would make this set better? Well, that would be the rest of the seas... read more

February 28, 2007: Hypnotized by Hoochie Magoo

Somewhere in the television universe George Costanza is still yelping about how he always wanted to be an architect. Well, Art Vandelay, meet Oswald Montecristo. For me to equate anything with Seinfeld should be taken as a sign of the highest respect. And no, Mr. Montecristo, I am not just kissing your butt.How amazing was that video? Just the fact that they used “Mr. Roboto” to seem cutting edge was evidence of how far off the mark they were, and the “Directed by Peter Jackson” at the end was the icing on the cake. How much you want to bet Louis added that part in? He strikes me as the only one of that bunch who would have seen Lord of the Rings.Oh, Louis “I am their bitch! They are physically superior to me!” Plunk, what a sad, sad intern you are. If you hate dogs (hi, Dad!) that scene was your worst nightmare. If you love dogs, that scene was possibly the greatest thing since Best in Show. Of course, Louis received two conflicting pieces of advice: ... read more

A Likable Host for a Long, Low-Key Oscars

The one thing I realized as Oscar night droned on and on for nearly four hours: If I ever had to choose someone to be stranded with for hours on end (say, like those poor Jet Blue passengers a few weeks ago), it would have to be Ellen DeGeneres.Keeping her cool, and her genuine aura of chipper goodwill, throughout three costume changes (in suits from red velvet to all-white to royal blue) and what seemed once again like an overindulgent excess of movie montages (we definitely could have done without Michael Mann’s fuzzy survey of cinematic American history), Ellen was welcome nearly every time she popped up. Offering a spec script to Martin Scorsese, directing Steven Spielberg on how to take her photo with Clint Eastwood, asking the megastars in the front row to lift their legs as she vacuumed the Kodak past midnight (ET), while informing us that Helen Mirren had just asked for a rum and coke (sounded pretty good to me at the time), Ellen did her darndest to deflate the bloat a... read more

Clinton, Jon Stewart in Puzzling New Film

Daily Show's Jon Stewart is a fan of puzzlemaster Will Shortz (inset).

What's an eight-letter word for a star-studded new documentary? Wordplay, going into wide release this Friday, offers a compelling look at Will Shortz, editor of the New York Times' venerable grid, and the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Along the way, such famous faces as former President Bill Clinton, Daily Show host Jon Stewart, filmmaker read more

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