A funny thing about buzz: You never know where it's going to lead you. Sometimes into a dead end, other times into the Next Big Thing. (Hi, Heroes.)
Looking back over the wild zigs and zags taken by the winners and losers from this year's freshman TV class, it's hard not to notice how many sleepers became keepers and how few of the sure things lived up to their hype.
With the networks unveiling their new fall lineups this week, I found myself reflecting on the shows we'd labeled "buzzworthy" in our Fall Preview issue last September (Heroes wasn't among them). As always in TV land, you win some, you lose some. And some things you can't possibly see coming. Case in point: ABC's family saga Brothers & Sisters, which generated negative publicity during a turbulent gestation of recastings and rewrites. The final pilot was
Alec Baldwin on The View by Heidi Gutman/ABC
Second- and third-hand accounts, be gone. Alec Baldwin's pre-taped appearance on The View unspooled Friday, and here is what he said about:The message he left for his daughter: "There's nothing wrong with being frustrated or angry about something. I took it out on the wrong person because I'm unable, under the current dynamic, to address the other person," meaning ex-wife Kim Basinger.Why he was frustrated: After Basinger neglected on three occasions to cede custody of their daughter, Ireland, when she went to work on projects, "We pressed a contempt charge, because... we had no other outlet for enforcement. Finally they said, 'We will obey the order' [and] I was given my daughter. I had two blissful weeks.... The mother comes home and the phone gets turned off and I don't speak to the child again for 10 days."The "pig" word: "I've had a lot of people say to me that if all of us were to lose our custody rights because you said something inappropriate, we would have a parentless soci...
Dr. Phil McGraw by Scott Garfield/ABC
On Tuesday's Larry King Live, Dr. Phil explored the point of view of the child involved in a heated custody case such as the one Alec Baldwin is currently fighting with Kim Basinger — and ultimately offered his counseling services to the highly combatant exes. Now he's had that offer accepted — by at least one of them. Not long after the program aired, Baldwin (who likely had tuned in because his brother Stephen was also a guest) reached out to Dr. Phil, and engaged in a long first talk with the iconic psychologist, TV Guide has learned. According to Dr. Phil, Baldwin insisted that he recognized the inappropriate nature of his comments to his daughter, and using her as the misguided target for his frustrations. One of his fears is that people, including the court, would have the misconception that this characterizes his persona as a father.Baldwin also told Dr. Phil that he is "completely and totally committed to continuing his fight to have access to a full...
And here we are the first season finale of NBCs 30 Rock Before we get started I want to thank all of you who have frequented this blog and supported the show Because of such passion for quality comedy the TGS gang earned that early Season 2 pickup much to everyones reliefDue to a FauxVo glitch I missed the first few seconds of this episode but ultimately deduced that what Kenneth was narrating a Previously on 30 Rock sort of thing Cute All in all I didnt find this episode quite as manic as the previous few but thats probably because it had actual story to progress and threads to tie up Make no mistake I love the Jim-Pam kiss last May but every post-Cheers sitcom neednt taunt us with cliff-hangers Just make us laughWhat a one-two punch of guest stars this week Sean Hayes well we knew hed be spot-on as Kens cousin and he was I wasnt sure what to expect from the great Elaine Stritch in this sandbox but her take on the hypercritical mother figure wa
Question: I enjoy your column and generally find myself nodding along to your answers. But not regarding Lisa M.'s letter (and your agreement) about Jane Krakowski on 30 Rock: I have actually kind of missed her, just a teeny tiny bit. I'm not saying she necessarily needs to be in every single episode, and it's true that the character works much better in small doses. I do, however, think there needs to be a Jenna on the show as the traditionally feminine foil to Liz. One of the great layers in 30 Rock is how Liz is a dork who doesn't live up to the standards of femininity that Jenna has so obviously bought into: It's like she didn't get the "How to Be a Girl" handbook. (Like that scene where she's at a singles bar and Jenna tells her, "That guy wanted to buy you a drink," and Liz responds with, "I already have a drink. Do you think he'd buy me mozzarella sticks?") Liz needs to have a "girlie" girl around, and I think Krakowski is plenty funny in the role. As for "TGS," I kind of like ...
Two of my first Trivial Matt'rs blogs were dedicated to my early thoughts on the 2006-07 TV season, and at long last I have a few minutes here to revisit that "forecast" and see how I did. This is literally the first time I have looked back at those blogs, so here we go.Brothers & SistersI said: "Expectations were modest" given "foreboding backstage shuffles," but "by the end I was pulled in." Outcome: Lotsa critical acclaim and an early Season 2 pickup by ABC!The ClassI said: "The cast threatens to be unwieldy, but... I smell another [How I Met Your] Mother." Outcome: Some avid fans, some "decent" ratings, but no renewal yet. (Oh, and they shed one cast member.)RunawayI said: "The concept is nifty" and "good casting."Outcome: Far from a runaway hit, it was shelved after just a few airings.VanishedI said: "I need more answers, or at least hints of answers." Outcome: Fox's answer was, "Nope," and Vanished... quickly did just that.HeroesI said: "This show will be full of surprises...
Justin Chambers and Elizabeth Reaser by Ron Tom/ABC
How great did it feel to have Ugly Betty and Greys Anatomy back on with new episodes this week? Such a scrumptious double feature of feel-good TV. Im especially keen on Betty these days, this colorful and vibrantly funny new geek on the block. As others have said, its the perfect appetizer to the main course of Greys, with its usually irresistible blend of suds, scrubs and heartache.Best move both shows made this week: Ditching subplots that were going nowhere. On Betty, that meant saying goodbye to Ignacios case worker (who really wasnt), the crazily smitten Constance (Octavia Spencer). On Greys, that meant saying goodbye to the arrogant Dr. Marlow, played by a miscast Roger Rees, a fine actor who came off more like a creepy Dracula than an intimidating Dr. McBrilliant. Of all the misbegotten love matches weve been forced to consider on this show, asking us to believe Cristina ever had a thing for this ghoul was almost as ewww-inspiri...
Lost uncorks a shocker — or several — in May.
Finales! Guest stars! Crossover episodes! Mark your calendars now so you don't miss your favorite shows!
Monday, April 23On 24 (9 pm/ET, Fox), Jack goes rogue in a desperate attempt to save Audrey from the Chinese. Wait, isn't he already rogue?
Tuesday, April 24American Idol (8 pm/ET, Fox) lays witness to the rarely seen softer side of Simon Cowell in the two-part "Idol Gives Back" charity special. Part 2 airs tomorrow, 8 pm/ET. On ABC, boxer Oscar de la Hoya mixes it up with George Lopez (8:30 pm/ET).
Wednesday, April 25Sun's babydaddy is revealed on Lost (10 pm/ET, ABC).
Thursday, April 26The season's best new sitc
Question: Jane Krakowski has been absent for the past two 30 Rock episodes, and I think I speak for everyone when I say, "Hooray!" Her character does not work on that show. She's more conventional sitcom-ish, and this show is anything but conventional. Do you think Tina Fey and Co. have caught on to that and are phasing her out? I'd love to see a story line on the show in which they fire Jenna and do auditions for a new actress.
Answer: Wow, it's official: You guys are meaner than I am this week. I'm a fan of Jane Krakowski, both on TV and on stage (especially on stage), but I have to admit that on 30 Rock, she is neither well used nor particularly effective. In fact, I'd like to see an entire overhaul of the "TGS" aspect of 30 Rock in the second season. It doesn't look like the sort of show you'd ever want to watch, and it would be nice to think that Liz (Fey) is actually producing something worth rooting for. I haven't a clue if Jenna is on her way out, but given that we don't reall ...
What did I tell you Good stuff yesIf there was any doubt that NBCs 30 Rock had arrived that it was a keeper that this is a real show and not one of this seasons fly-by-night Saturday Night Live-spoof sitcoms we now find ourselves vested in these crazy neurotic andor ego-inflated people Will Liz lose out on love by forsaking Cleveland-smelling Cleveland Is Jack headed for a fall at the hands of Phoebe the hollow-boned faux Brit Can Tracy evade the Black Crusaders as powerfully staffed as they are with the likes of Gordon from Sesame StreetWill scientific advances ever allow Jenna her three-wayAs the first few scenes played I feared for a moment that Floyd was going to decide that like Liz was a jinx seeing as in fell swoops he lost his dream apartment and a promotion Well-played indeed Garkle But we didnt go there Instead we got a fanciful if all too accurate music-montage travelogue for Cleveland set to some made-for-30 Rock ditty Someone here recently g