There's not much that Fox, sitting so pretty, and coming-from-behind NBC have in common. But as each network demonstrated in their noisy Upfront presentations on Monday, music is key to their future.
NBC has The Voice and the midseason musical drama Smash. Fox has Glee (which opened the Upfront with a Warblers number and a diatribe by Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester), American Idol (which closed the show with a medley sung by this season's also-rans, accompanied by So You Think You Can Dance veterans) and the upcoming fall "tentpole" The X Factor, which will take over Idol's Wednesday and Thursday berths. This newest network singing competition was the centerpiece of Fox's event, with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and the rest of The X Factor talent taking the stage — with Randy Jackson tagging along until Simon shooed him off, and Paula Abdul cooing "I love you, Simon," when prompted to speak.
The Peacock has finally found its voice. But as a critical new season of rebuilding beckons, they've got to be careful not to wear it out.
That was the takeaway from NBC's cautiously optimistic kickoff to Network Upfront Week on Monday, as new NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt announced, "Today is the start to the road to recovery," while warning the turnaround could take years. Unspoken was the acknowledgement that it could hardly get worse. While not everything on the new season's slate looks like a winner, NBC is once again showing signs of life. And by midseason, when the new shows look to be much stronger, the buzz is likely to get much louder.
James Frey, Oprah Winfrey
As a worshipful fan wearing a red cape and tiara brandishes a large sign that says farewell, oprah, the queen of talk, the object of her devotion is across the street on her Chicago set chanting in triumph, "Twenty-five years, twenty-five years, twenty-five years!"
It's eight episodes prior to the finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show and all 315 audience members are supercharged, knowing it's their last chance to attend a taping. During ad breaks, Winfrey — her casual jeans and tee offset by a gold-spangled cardigan and shoes — grabs every opportunity to remind them of the extraordinary number of years the show that changed daytime TV has been on the air...
Kym Johnson and Hines Ward
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba wasn't the only one in tears Monday night after watching football great Hines Ward and Kym Johnson conquer the Argentine tango on Dancing With the Stars. Many in the audience were crying, too. Just before the dance, they had witnessed Friday's rehearsal footage and the dance trick that went horribly wrong, sending Johnson to the hospital...
It all came down to the wire, yet CBS, Warner Bros. TV and creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre pulled it off: Two and a Half Men will be back in the fall, and with a new star: sitcom veteran Ashton Kutcher.
Kutcher is set to take the Carnegie Hall stage on May 18 as CBS presents its post-Charlie Sheen plan to advertisers. It's a major coup for the show, as CBS wasn't about to announce the return of Two and a Half Men without a plan firmly in place.
Spotted: Viewers laughing our blogs off at last night's Gossip Girl season ender.
True story. From Eric's "I'm still gay," to the fawning Constance girls, to Georgina's "I haven't been this bored since I believed in Jesus," to Serena's "I'd ask how you are, but I don't really care," the episode (written by series exec producer Joshua Safran) was packed with zingers as sharp as the costumes were insane. Really, does anyone dress better for a night out than these people?...
Today news anchor Ann Curry's passport has been given a workout in recent years as she's traveled the world to report on the genocide in Darfur, the earthquakes in Japan and Haiti (where, with a Tweet, she helped get clearance for the landing of a plane carrying medical assistance) and, most recently, Pakistan during the days that followed the killing of Osama bin Laden. On June 9, the intrepid Curry will settle in behind the big desk of NBC's top-rated morning show, where she'll succeed Meredith Vieira as Matt Lauer's coanchor. We talked with her about her upcoming new role.
TV Guide Magazine: What are you looking forward to most in your new job?
Curry: I concentrate so hard on the news of the world and constantly looking for illumination ...
Can we just end it now?
Last night, Desperate Housewives closed up its seventh season with a two-hour endurance challenge that was as stretched out as it was a stretch. Oooh, "someone is gonna die." Really? What a shock. It's not like that doesn't ...