Zach Braff and Sarah Chalke, Scrubs
Question: I want to know your thoughts on NBC's mid-season moves. While Fox seemed to play into NBC's hand by not moving American Idol (and moving less-than-stellar comedies to the Thursday 9 pm/ET slot), NBC seems to have given us a mixed result. While I like that they're trying to rebuild the Thursday-night comedy block, it is obvious that they still don't respect what they have with Scrubs, particularly because they will probably be pairing it with Joey. While there aren't any real strengths in the NBC schedule, is this really a make-or-break time for both Joey and, as a result, Scrubs? Along the same vein, does this move really serve as a vote of confidence for The Office and Four Kings?
Answer: For a night-by-night breakdown of the mid-season shuffle, check out my recent Dispatch analyzing the various network moves in one of the most chaotic Januarys I can remember. This question presumes that NBC will pair Scrubs with Joey after the Olympics, but that hasn't been determined, and
Now that the dust has settled a bit on all the 2006 mid-season changes that will be kicking in as soon as the holidays are over, here's my night-by-night scorecard of the imminent battles we'll be covering a month or so from now.
The big news is the return of 24 on Fox, with a four-hour blast January 15-16, followed by all-new episodes through the rest of the season. For the first two months, Skating with Celebrities (a rip-off of Dancing with the Stars) will be 24's lead-in. But come mid-March, Prison Break will return. What a one-two punch that promises to be!
CBS will coast along by capping off its popular comedies with
Fox's announcement of its mid-season slate — namely, the fact that American Idol will not be moving its results show to Thursdays — has rivals scrambling to counterprogram. ABC, for example, may now air Season 2 of Dancing with the Stars on Thursdays, reports Variety, while NBC could be extra-tempted to... oh, never mind, just read the Breaking News item now at the top of this column!
Zach Braff and Sarah Chalke in Scrubs
NBC has announced its mid-season game plan, and it goes a little something like this: Effective Jan. 2, My Name Is Earl and The Office, as speculated, move from Tuesday to Thursdays-at-9, where they will follow a pairing of Will & Grace and the new sitcom Four Kings (starring Seth Green, Shane McRae, Josh Cooke and Todd Grinnell). Filling the Tuesday void are back-to-back airings of new Scrubs episodes, which will have Fear Factor as its lead-in. Succeeding The Apprentice: Martha Stewart on Wednesdays at 9 is The Biggest Loser: Special Edition, a series of standalone and themed spec
Question: My husband says that Karen of Will & Grace appeared in a Seinfeld episode as one of George's girlfriends. I don't think so. Can you verify this? Thanks.
Answer: Get ready to change that line of thinking then, Lili. Hubby's right on this one.
Megan Mullally, who picked up an Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy in 2000 for her work as Karen Walker, snotty socialite and assistant to Grace (Debra Messing) on the hit comedy, did indeed lend her talent to the Seinfeld crew in a Season 4 episode. As hubby says, she played Betsy, one of George Costanza's (Jason Alexander) brief love interests (if the word "love" ever applied to him) in the episode "The Implant."
If you recall, the main story was that Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) dumped a girlfriend (Teri Hatcher
Bobby Cannavale, who scored an Emmy for his role as Will's boyfriend on Will & Grace, has inked a deal to headline his own New York-based sitcom for NBC. Not unlike most of the sitcoms on the air today, the project is still searching for a concept.
Veronica MarsI know Clarence Weidman isn't technically bad, but I still wouldn't want to run into him in a dark alley. But actually I wouldn't want to run into Keith Mars in a dark alley either, if I had done anything to his daughter. He's so the dad of the year in Neptune... not that the sadly still-not-sheriff has much competition. Parental units are rapidly disappearing or becoming a thing of the past in this town. Veronica's mom skipped town, Logan's mom allegedly killed herself and his dad's in the slammer, Duncan's parents are hiding out away from the whole Lilly scandal, and now Dick and the Beav's dad has taken off to parts unknown. And while the Beav was thrown for a loop by his step mom's philandering with Logan, Dick had a totally different outlook. "Dude, my step mom? Better you
Another bitch is about to get welcomed to The O.C. As reported exclusively in today's Ask Ausiello, The Comeback's Willa Holland has been tapped to play Marissa's MIA younger sis, Kaitlin. She'll surface in early '06 and, according to Fox, "wreak havoc, turn heads and introduce a darker, edgier element" to the show. Also in today's AA: Major Gilmore Girls spoilage, breaking casting news on House and Will & Grace and another clue about the big Las Vegas death.
I'm beginning to wonder if NBC is going to torture us all season with live episodes of shows that are pretty much on life support, creating prime-time stunts in hopes of compelling us to watch (although it rarely works out that way).
First came the underwhelming live season opener of Will & Grace, with its tittering and mugging. Now we have The West Wing showing that it can stage a fake debate that looks and sounds pretty much like the real thing, only with a bit more animation as old-school Senator Vinick (Alan Alda) demanded the "stupid rules" be dropped in favor of "a debate Lincoln would have been proud of."
(Which brought to mind, after sitting through the long and tedious hour that followed, the old joke: "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the show?")
There was no assassination, or really even any
The West Wing
When I first heard about this debate, I was a little skeptical. Between the parade of guest stars and the announcement of a live stunt, I thought this thing had a whiff of Will & Grace desperation stink. And while it didn't reach the level of President Bartlet's debate drubbing of Rob Ritchie a few seasons back, it was still pretty darn exciting to watch Bobby Simone and Hawkeye Pierce get it on without a net.
First off, did we need Ellen DeGeneres playing host? I dig Ellen as much as the next guy (or girl), but she doesn't exactly ooze executive-branch gravitas. I was also kinda surprised they started with a backstage segment. I guess director Alex Graves really wanted to try his hand at a live West Wing walk-and-talk.
Wasn't Alan Alda's long opening pause great? For a minute, I thought he had lost it like Admiral James Stockdale in the 1992 VP debate. Vinick's gambit to dump the debate rules turned o