Monday, November 28, 2005

TV 2005 - Part I

Now that Thanksgiving and TV sweeps are over, the networks are hitting the snooze bar until the New Year; therefore there is no time like the present to look back on the year on the tube.

And to think it started with such promise. Sort of. We watched Regis count down on ABC as a fill in for Dick Clark while Ryan Seacrest brought in the New Year on Fox. This year they’re flipping networks as Seacrest is cohosting with Dick Clark. However, Clark apparently has not made a public appearance since his stroke late last year, and here’s hoping that the stroke was not so bad to keep him off this New Years Eve!

The TV schedule changes on a regular basis and most shows don’t last more than a few years. Yet soap operas go on forever. Last Friday marked the 40th anniversary of Days of Our Lives, a show my mother never ever missed as part of the trifecta that included The Doctors and Another World. The inscription on her stone actually has the phrase “enriched our lives”… I chickened out of my original idea to use the term enriched all the “days of our lives“. Anyway, the show ran a flashback episode on Friday showing old grainy highlights from past episodes. I decided to watch it just for the heck of it, but I really don’t know who the characters are although some of the actors look familiar from when I was a kid…(Was that Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes stranded in a car during a storm? Maybe they‘ll find a young slave boy named Annakin and take him with them to Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma Horton‘s house). Oddly enough many friends I grew up with have also celebrated 40th birthdays this year, yet now those friends are older than me. It’s amazing how much younger you can be when you fib about your age.

Amazingly as the year ends I only added 2 shows to my must see list, and one of them stunk and is long gone. It also marked the end of TV Guide as a local magazine, which is absolutely tragic when it comes to my weekly reading and TV planning habits.

I didn’t jump on The Family Guy bandwagon till this past summer and now I simply cannot miss it between its airing on Fox, Cartoon Network and TBS. The show is just brilliant and right now I think it’s funnier than The Simpsons, but I doubt it will run as long. Nonetheless the irrelevant flashbacks and obscure cross references to stuff from my youth tend to be absolutely hysterical.

The other new show ran for maybe 12 episodes - Committed. The show was awful but featured main characters named Marnie and Nate. How can you go wrong with that? It did. The supporting cast was pretty good though, especially Darius McCrary who played Nate’s co-worker. Back in the 90s he played the older brother on “Family Matters” and now years later, I’m sure he was sticking pins in his Steve Urkel voodoo doll with comments such as “Hey shmuck, which one of us is working NOW? What happened to your great career, you scene-stealing spotlight-hogging Urkel?”.

For Part 1 I will offer some thoughts about the programming on the only 2 cable networks I regularly watch…. except for the lousy movies on Starz and Encore (since we’re too cheap to pay for HBO), and the Law and Order reruns. I also watch sports on ESPN, MSG, YES and Fox Sports. But I watch for the event, not for the network. I don’t think we get Outdoor Network which shows the NHL, although don’t you find it strange that hockey would be on an Outdoor Network?

GSN - I only watch it for 2 shows - Match Game (of course), and Password (Plus or Super). The rest of the channel is just not my thing although I see on that they will add an hour of MG reruns at 11pm and call it “That 70s hour”. (Oh no, Match Game vs. The Family Guy? Houston, we have a problem!) Maybe the Peter Marshall Hollywood Squares can be added to that equation too? On a related note, the same site says CBS is thinking of adding a new show called “Game Show Marathon” where celebrities play one of the many game shows in the Fremantle collection (which I believes includes the Goodson-Todman library). The same show runs in England.

CNN - The only news network that I watch; except occasionally Rita Cosby on MSNBC and once in a blue moon Geraldo on Fox. I’m surprised I don’t watch Hannity and Colmes since I used to be a big fan of Alan Colmes when he was on NY radio. As for CNN, there were 2 landmark events for me; the end of Aaron Brown (who I thought would replace Peter Jennings on ABC) and the revelation that Daryn Kagan who I used to think was very pretty is actually the girlfriend of Rush Limbaugh! I first heard about this in 2005 even though the story actually broke in The Washington Post’s Reliable Source column over Labor Day weekend 2004, but I was busy getting married that weekend, so thankfully I was spared the gory details. I’ve read that CNN had thought about giving her a higher profile gig on the network, but were concerned about the fallout. Can you imagine…What is Daryn thinking? Isn’t this absolutely horrible? I just can’t look at her anymore since she’s been with that Bush loving right wing painkiller popper.

And then, I find it amazing how Aaron Brown’s CNN career started off so well and he was such a rising star while Anderson Cooper was off hosting The Mole! Then, Anderson (whose mom is Gloria Vanderbilt) suddenly became a big star at CNN; and after his Katrina coverage basically bounced Brown out.

And you gotta feel for Brian Williams. He waited and waited for Tom Brokaw to retire and finally assumed the mantle as “EVENING NEWS ANCHORMAN’ joining the big shots Dan and Peter. Well, Dan retired and Peter died, and you know what? Neither network seems to be too concerned with replacing them. Apparently having the big name do the news at 6:30 ain’t such a big deal in the general scheme of things after all….

To be continued… and stay tuned for my comments on Star Wars II


Anonymous said...

Stay tuned, indeed! This Thursday night after a little bit of the ol' humpty-dumpty, turn on CNN for a major breaking news story... - The Amazing Pumperdamus

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow's winning numbers:

14, 46, 32, 75, 11, 94

The Amazing Pumpstradamus

Nate said...

Ok Pumpstradamus... (I love getting heckled by the psychics!).... Why don't you tell me who is going to win Sunday's Giants-Cowboys game??

Anonymous said...

Um... Pittsburgh?

alberich said...

Regarding TV news -- someone posted a comment on some liberal oriented blog to the effect of -- what is the world coming to when the two most reliable sources of TV news are a comedian doing an explicitly fake news show (Jon Stewart) and a sportscaster (Olberman).

BTW, is the latter one of the tribe?

Nate said...

I don't believe Olbermann is as a matter of fact... he just started cohosting a daily hour with Dan Patrick on Patrick's espn radio show...

By the way, I have your chair just in case you were looking for it...(Now what other blog has a person admitting he has a poster's chair?)