All the tube news that’s fit to surf …
- Guiding Light is a lame duck, and now a CBS honcho says As the World Turns may be next on the network’s daytime hit list.
- Gotta love that Joan Rivers, whose new show How’d You Get So Rich?, premieres on TV Land tomorrow, still doesn’t censor herself. And I agree with her; Chelsea Handler is not funny.
- Who’s the Boss and Charmed star Alyssa Milano is headed back to TV in the ABC midseason series Romantically Challenged. The comedy stars Milano as a woman who has to compete with her boyfriend’s best friend for his attention.
- Turns out Screech, a.k.a. Dustin Diamond, didn’t decide to bail on People magazine’s Saved by the Bell cover shoot; he was banned.
- One of the many signs that the reality TV genre needs some freshening up: E!’s latest reality show is a fake reality show called Reality Hell.
- Another sign: No one is watching The T.O. Show on VH1. Okay, correction: The number of people watching The T.O. Show is roughly the same number of people watching a 5AM airing of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Nick at Nite.
- Emmy Awards producer Don Mischer ‘fessed up that the annual TV award show is in danger of becoming irrelevant, as viewers are turned off by the fact that the shows most of them watch aren’t generally represented among Emmy winners. Good thing they have fan fave Neil Patrick Harris hosting this year.
- Bethenny Frankel confirms she’s returning for the next season of Real Housewives of New York City. Meanwhile, the Real Housewives franchise’s Atlanta season two premiere was the highest-rated in the show’s history.
- Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath says Real Housewives of Orange County star Vicki Gunvalson inspired him to write a song called “She’s Got the (Woo-Hoo!).”.
- And tonight in primetime:
- Tom Green and J. Peterman (John O’Hurley) are dinner guests on Hell’s Kitchen (8PM ET, Fox)
- Kat joins shop class on 10 Things I Hate About You (8PM, ABC Family)
- A green record label is among the topics discussed on the third season premiere of Big Ideas for a Small Planet (8PM, Sundance)
- It’s the season finale of The Superstars on ABC (8PM)
- Ruby has car problems on Ruby and the Rockits (8:30PM, ABC Family)
- The Power of Veto competition unfolds on Big Brother (9PM, CBS)
- Luke takes one of his bachelorettes to Vegas on More to Love (9PM, Fox)
- Chuck sister Sarah Lancaster guest stars on Hawthorne (9PM, TNT)
- Former NBA-er Brandon Williams gets a garage makeover on Man Caves (9PM, DIY Network)
- Shark Week continues on the Discovery Channel with Sharkbite Summer (9PM)
- Stargate: Atlantis‘ Joe Flanigan guests on Warehouse 13 (9PM, SyFy)
- Jessie and PC have (another) fight on NYC Prep (9PM, Bravo)
- Paris chooses her new sidekick on the season finale of Paris Hilton’s My BFF (10PM, MTV)
- New Saving Grace on TNT (10PM)
- William tries to help a surgeon who insists he performs better under the influence on The Cleaner (10PM, A&E)
- Work comes between Maria and Ariel on Miami Social (10PM, Bravo)
- Maura Tierney begins a guest stint as Tommy’s new fling on Rescue Me (10PM, FX)
- Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood ends season four (10PM, Oxygen) with Stella’s birthday party and the hope that Granny Spelling will show up
- Oxygen also has the just-after-primetime premiere of Addicted to Beauty (11PM), which follows the shenanigans of an L.A. spa
All the tube news that’s fit to surf …
- Will you tune in for the return of Jon & Kate Plus 8 tonight on TLC (9PM ET). TLC execs claim the Gosselins’ new situation makes them more relatable, but I’d argue that it just makes them more douchebag-able.
- I’m sure I wasn’t the only Guiding Light fan hoping for a last-minute reprieve for the long-running daytime soap, but Light‘s cancelation is officially official now that a replacement show has been lined up. Wayne Brady will host a revival of Let’s Make a Deal that will air in GL‘s place. The soap, which debuted on CBS on June 30, 1952, will air its series finale on Sept. 18.
- There’s still no deal for Paula Abdul, but Kara DioGuardi is definitely returning to the American Idol judges table next season. Meh.
- Futurama will return with new episodes in 2010, and with the original voice talent cast intact.
- PBS has announced a new Sesame Street primetime special, Families Stand Together: Feeling Secure in Tough Times, which will help families with young kids explain and deal with current economic woes. Elmo hosts (with Al Roker, Deborah Roberts and his Muppet pals), and the show is paired with another PBS special, Your Life, Your Money, hosted by Scrubs’ Donald Faison, and aimed at young people. The specials debut on PBS on Sept. 9 (8-10PM).
- More news from Sesame Street: The show’s upcoming 40th season will include a Mad Men spoof. Minus the smoking, drinking, cursing, bed-hopping and, in the case of Freddy Rumsen, pants-wetting, presumably.
- The Emmys snubbed Battlestar Galactica and True Blood, but the Television Critics Association honored the shows last weekend, naming them Program of the Year and Best New Program, respectively.
- The Sunday New York Times featured a story on how badly some reality TV contestants are treated, which was surprising at first, and makes you wonder why they would subject themselves to being locked in hotel rooms and having all manner of communication with the outside world cut off. But then you remember: They’re willing to bare incredibly personal details about their lives on TV – and, according to many of them, they’re often plied with copious amounts of hooch – so maybe not being able to text and Twitter for a few weeks doesn’t seem like such a big deal?
- Another victim of the economy: Marie Osmond‘s comeback talk show.
- On the other hand, Tom Arnold‘s TV comeback is right on track, as the ex-Mr. Roseanne will write and possibly star in a new NBC sitcom, and has a recurring role on the new season of Sons of Anarchy.
- And tonight in primetime:
- The families head for the Grand Canyon on Great American Road Trip (8PM ET, NBC)
- George ‘fesses up to Anne about something on The Secret Life of an American Teenager (8PM, ABC Family)
- ABC has a Sugarland concert at 8PM
- Jon & Kate Plus 8 returns, post-separation, on TLC (9PM)
- Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon‘s daughter Sosie guest stars as Brenda’s niece on The Closer (9PM, TNT)
- A TV crew sparks rivalry among the girls on Make It or Break It (9PM, ABC Family)
- Old-school nookie is the focus of the series premiere of Sex in the Ancient World (9PM, History Channel)
- Real and Chance try to find skank love again on the Real Chance of Love 2 premiere (VH1, 9PM)
- Shark Week continues with Deadly Waters (9PM, Discovery), a look at the five most dangerous, shark-infested bodies of water
- It’s the season premiere of Guy Fieri‘s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on Food Network (10PM)
- Kathy works to make her upcoming autobio super spicy on Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (10PM, Bravo)
- Celia and Dean come up with marketing plans for their new biz on Weeds (10PM, Showtime)
- More Dating in the Dark at 10PM on ABC
- Drama ensues when the musicians move into their new home on Making His Band (10PM, MTV)
- Tony recalls the best street food he’s eaten from around the world on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (10PM, Travel Channel)
- TLC premieres its new cake-baking competition series, Ultimate Cake Off (10PM)
- Terrell meets with his estranged dad on The T.O. Show (10PM, VH1)
- And Jackie’s drug use begins to catch up with her physically and with her decision-making at work on Nurse Jackie (10:30PM, Showtime)
You know how people say their job is killing them? Apparently it’s literally true in my case, according to the very clever publicists at the Discovery Channel.
To promote Discovery’s annual Shark Week programming, which kicks off Sunday night at 9PMET, the network sent out some very personalized, very creepy, but very cool boxes of swag to TV critics and bloggers.
When I opened the big brown box from Discovery, beneath a slew of straw was a rusty, frosted old jar that contained a boat key on a floatation round; a chomped on, bloody swimsuit; and an official-looking newspaper clipping of an obituary – MY obituary! – which reads:
“Notable author and veteran entertainment and pop culture writer Kimberly Potts was killed Monday, July 13th, of a violent attack while scuba diving on vacation in the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. Potts’ enviable writing career was spawned in 1995, freelancing for such reputable web publications as AOL TV, TV Guide, Movies.com, People.com, MSN TV Filter, Teenmag.com, Metromix.com, iVillage.com, Teenmag.com. Playboy.com, The Detroit Free Press and The Cincinnati Enquirer. She maintained a freelance writing career up until her untimely death, while also managing to author five books and launching the popular television news site, TVScreener.com. Funeral arrangements are scheduled for Wednesday July 15th in New York, NY.”
Like I said, creepy, but cool, and definitely gets my award for the best network promo of the year so far.
Shark Week 2009′s premiere programming, by the way, is a must-see: A two-hour drama called Blood in the Water (Aug. 2, 9PM ET), the true story of the 1916 New Jersey shore shark attacks that inspired the movie Jaws. Five people were attacked in 12 days on the Jersey shore, which set off a panic because it was the first time people had heard about multiple shark attacks in the same area in such a short time period.
Dun dun. Dun dun. Dun dun dun dun, dun dun dun dun!
More to Love
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Stars: Former college football player Luke Conley and 20 full-figured women
The Big Idea: No pun intended there, trust me, especially since more troubling than anything I saw on the More to Love premiere is the plethora of pre-show reviews and critics musings I read that didn’t miss a single opportunity to crack a joke about weight.
The show is essentially The Bachelor, with both a bachelor and a group of bachelorettes who are plus-sized.
To Watch or Not to Watch (Again): Yep, I’m in, for at least one more episode. Okay, honestly, I’m probably hooked for the whole season. Why? Because the good outweighs the bad. And I do mean that figuratively and literally, as the previews hint that there is going to be cattiness from some of the women, but a lot of the kind of romance and feel-good moments we see on the other reality dating shows, too.
But the More to Love premiere wasn’t perfect, with one particularly galling aspect.
- Along with the name, age and hometown of the bachelorettes, their height and weight is also displayed on screen. Really, is this necessary? We know they’re plus-sized – it’s the premise of the show. Does it matter who weighs more or less than the others (again, that’s something that’s evident). They don’t show the height or weight or bra sizes of the women on The Bachelor (and I doubt those size 2 contestants would want their stats flashed on screen, either). Nor do they list names, ages, hometowns and details of whatever emotional baggage they’re carrying. I feel certain that we will never see this contestant on The Bachelor: Kerry, 23, Chicago, Has Been Cheated on So Many Times That She May Stab You in Your Sleep If You’re Too Nice to the Waitress at Dinner. Again, everyone, male and female, on both sides of the dating game, has issues, and we don’t need to know the exact digits for these voluptuous women to know that their weight factors in to their dating lives.
- He giveth the ring, then he taketh the ring away – All 20 women were given diamond rings to wear, as a “promise ring” that Luke would take the time to get to know their inner beauty, as well as their outer beauty. Okay, good. But then, before the equivalent of More to Love‘s rose ceremony, the women had to give the rings back, and wait to see if they’d get one again if Luke chose them to stick around. It was an unnecessarily cruel stunt, especially since the women seemed so joyful to get the rings, and since a couple of them had mentioned their fear of being asked out by men who were only playing a prank on them. I know, I know, the intentions weren’t the same, but still … just unnecessarily mean. The Bachelors and Bachelorettes don’t have to give the roses back at any point of the competition. And yes, obviously diamond rings are pricier than roses – well, maybe not at 5PM on Valentine’s Day – which means the whole ring thing might not have been the best rose substitute to begin with.
- Just like on The Bachelor, the More to Love women were ridiculously excited about Luke before they’d even gotten to know the most basic info about him. It always amazes me on these shows that the women automatically put themselves in the position of, as George Costanza would say, not having any hand. Why put all the decisions in the dudes’ hands? Why does it never occur to these women that the bachelors may not necessarily be all that? Exhibit #1: The cheesy Alex Michel. Exhibit #2: The cheesy Jason Mesnick. I could go on …
- Host Emme. The graceful, positive, famous plus-size supermodel’s participation in the show was actually one of the reasons I didn’t totally write it off when I first heard the concept. But from her matronly hair and outfit to, more importantly, her wooden interactions with Luke and the women, Emme only made me have a whole new level of appreciation for how effortless The Bachelor host Chris Harrison makes his job look.
Okay, so that’s quite a lot of things to not like. But there’s also the good, and it’s what’s really important: The show is giving these women, and bachelor Luke, a sincere opportunity to make a love match. And this is key, because many of the bachelorettes told heartbreaking stories about their past experiences – boyfriends who were embarrassed by their weight, never having a date or boyfriend and fearing they might never find anyone who would take the time to get to know them and what they have to offer.
The naysayers – and just from some Twitter posts I saw during the broadcast, I can say that there are some nasty naysayers – will see every aspect of the show as negative, right down to those who will say (as several Twitterers did) that More to Love is helping to promote the obesity epidemic, diabetes and high blood pressure and cholesterol in America.
I guess I missed that part of the show …
What I did see, and what I think makes the series worth watching (or, at least, as worthy of our viewing time as any other reality dating competition), is that More to Love is a positive attempt by Conley and the women to find love. They’re putting themselves, and some very personal aspects of their lives, out there, all for the chance to find love.
Sure, some of their stories are sad, and some of their attitudes about their likeliness of finding love are sad. But they’ve taken a leap and decided to go for it anyway. The message of the show, however clumsily executed it may be sometimes, is that these people deserve romance and love and companionship as much as anybody who wears a smaller suit or dress size.
How can you not root for them to succeed?
TV Screener Tidbit: The preview of coming attractions for the season suggests Conley does propose to one of the women in the season finale.
More to Love airs Tuesdays, 9PM ET on Fox
As if a new season of Project Runway (FINALLY!) weren’t enough, Lifetime has announced a two-hour Project Runway: All-Star Challenge special that will air on Aug. 20 (8PM ET), right before the season six premiere (and Lifetime debut) of Project Runway.
The All-Star edition will feature eight former Runway contestants competing against each other for “bragging rights” and, more importantly, a $100,000 prize. It’ll be a quick competition, obviously, with just two hours, but it should be fun to see the fan favorite designers in one showcase. And those all-stars are:
Daniel Vosovic, Season two
Santino Rice, Season two
Jeffrey Sebelia, Season three
Uli Herzner, Season three
Mychael Knight, Season three
Chris March, Season four
Sweet P, Season four
Korto Momolu, Season five
The Project Runway season premiere follows at 10PM, and that’s followed by Lifetime’s new companion series, Models of the Runway (11PM), which goes backstage with the models who show off the fancy frocks created by the Project Runway contestants. Those models are trying to advance their own careers and win cash and a photo spread in Marie Claire.
So, which show are you looking forward to most? The All-Stars? The weekly return of Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia on Project Runway season six? Or the new Models of the Runway series?
Charlie Sheen, Russell Brand and Louis C.K. are getting most of the attention, but I’m most excited that one of the best new shows of last TV season — Wilfred – returns for its second season on FX tonight (10PM ET). Season one of the series ended with a cliffhanger — had Ryan (Elijah Wood) [...]
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