Archives for TV Books

TV BOOK: ‘How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written’

The Archer season three finale is upon us this week (Thursday, 10PM, FX), when we find out the fate of Sterling Archer and company as they were fooled into helping Commander Drake (guest star Bryan Cranston) take over the International Space Station.

By the way, how cool have the guest stars been this season: Cranston, Michael Rooker, George Takei, Jack McBrayer? And the whole Archer/Pam hook-up has made this my favorite season yet.

But, since we are about to be Archer-less until the next batch of 13 new episodes premieres (a deal for a fourth season was announced last month), this sweet little HarperCollins paperback you see in the photo is the key to wiling away the time ’til the ISIS gang returns after the season finale.

As the title suggests, it’s Sterling Archer’s complete guide to how to be an awesome spy like he is (well, in his own estimation, anyway).

Sample quotes from How to Archer:

“I normally don’t carry a knife for two reasons. One: this may sound fussy, but I don’t care for the way they affect the fall of my suit jacket.”

“The point is, almost anything can be used as a weapon. And, as with many things in life, the only limit is your imagination: I once killed a guy with a gorgeous Raymor ashtray.” (FOOTNOTE: “Which I regret. Because the ashtray was a gift. From that same guy.”)

“I do not drive an Aston Martin DB5. Mainly because I don’t have a vagina.”

“First and foremost, before we continue I’d like to make one thing perfectly clear: A martini is made with gin. If your martini is made with vodka, it is not, in fact, a martini. And odds are that you have a vagina.”

“Hi. Look down. What do you see? I am hoping — against all hope — that you see a necktie. If you do not, please put this book down and get back to work: that drainage ditch isn’t going to dig itself. If you do see a necktie, but its color is lighter than — or, God forbid, the same as — the color of your shirt, please put this book down and get back to work: you’re probably late to a Mafia staff meeting.”

Bottom line: It’s a fun, laugh-out-loud must-read for Archer fans, as the spy guy complains about having to write exactly 30,000 words, despite the fact that his editors would not let him include a chapter about the awesomeness of cobras.

One small complaint: This book just begs for an audio version, read, of course, by Sterling Archer himself, a.k.a. H. Jon Benjamin. I mean, right?

WIN THIS! ‘American Idol: The Untold Story’ Book!

HOORAY! We have our winners:

June and Geraldine! Congrats, and thanks for entering. Your awesome prizes will be on their way to your mailbox shortly. Enjoy, and thanks again for checking us out at TV!

And everyone, stay tuned to … we’ve got lots more TV goodies coming your way!

It’s almost here, it’s almost here: the 10th season of American Idol (January 19, 8PM ET, Fox), the first Simon Cowell-less season, the first season with newbie judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez and the season many are calling the show’s last shot at rebounding from several seasons of lackluster talent.

And to mark a decade of Idol, journalist and author Richard Rushfield has penned American Idol: The Untold Story, a delicious book full of the kind of behind-the-scenes details that will delight any Idol devotee. I’m not saying I stayed up until 4AM reading the book once I picked it up, but, well, I did.

Scoop on each season of the show, as well as interviews with Simon Cowell, American Idol creator Simon Fuller and controversial season one co-host Brian Dunkleman are just part of the fun, as Rushfield, who covered the show for the Los Angeles Times, shares anecdotes and insight that could only come from someone who had rare backstage access and actually sat in the live show audience week after week.

Among the juicier topics Rushfield, also a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a Daily Beast columnist, dishes in the book:

– Details on the contestant who was season nine’s biggest diva (hint: it rhymes with Bristol Cowersox);
– The truth, finally, about exactly what happened with Dunkleman and his one-time co-host, Ryan Seacrest (including a tidbit that Dunkleman himself may not know until he reads the book!);
– How Taylor Hicks was a lot more calculating than his down-to-earth, good-time singer image might have suggested;
– And the real story behind the show’s many voting controversies, the battle of the Simons, Paula Abdul‘s shenanigans, the season six phenomenon that was Sanjaya Malakar, surprising info about how narrow a pool of choices the contestants sometimes have to work within for song selections and extensive interviews with Idols past, including Kimberley Locke, Ace Young, Megan Joy, Matt Giraud and Nikki McKibbin.

Check out my interview with Rushfield today at, and follow him on Twitter and at his AI blog, Idol Inferno, where he’ll continue to dish on the show throughout season 10.

And, because nothing goes with obsessive viewing of a new season of American Idol like a great read to help fuel your obsession, is giving away two copies of the book!

So, for a chance to win a copy of American Idol: The Untold Story:
– Leave a comment on this post, with the name of your all-time favorite American Idol contestant, and an e-mail address to reach you
– Deadline to enter is January 26 at 8PM ET (according to recorded comment time)
– The winner will be chosen by random, using’s Random Number Generator
– The winner will be announced on the evening of Jan. 26, as an update to this post

Good luck, Idol devotees!’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2010

If you’re still looking for a great Mother’s Day gift and you’re tired of giving the same old Godiva/flowers/random book/random DVD/gift card presents, here’s a quick guide to some great alternatives (several TV-related, of course), including crafty goodies, retro sweet treats, the best mother-daughter TV show ever and the funniest Jack Bauer and reality TV-lovin’ author alive …

Stencil a Cake?

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Sorta ... it's like electronic stenciling a cake. You may have seen the regular Cricut on those ubiquitous infomercials. It's the cool crafter's machine that cuts shapes, letters, borders, numbers and pretty much anything else you'd want to cut out, from paper, cardstock and pretty much any other material you can get the Cricut blades to cut through. Now, the company has launched a Cricut Cake, which cuts through gum paste (as well as modeling chocolate, soft candy, cookie dough, etc.) to create cool designs you can use to decorate cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other fancy treats. Cool, right? The Cricut Cake.

It’s Always Marcia, Marcia, Marcia …

Oh, Jan! One little joke about you and your TV sis having a lesbian affair and you’re reading to blow off the opportunity to reunite with the whole Brady Bunch on Oprah!

At least, that’s the story according to the New York Post, which claims that the Bunch – sans Eve “Jan Brady” Plumb – will reunite on an episode of Oprah in September. Why a no-show for Plumb? She’s allegedly ticked off that her TV sis, Maureen “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” McCormick, joked that the two had had a little fling back in the day when McCormick was promoting her autobio last year.

“All of us said yes except for one person, Eve Plumb, who used to be my best friend but now apparently wants to distance herself from the show and, most troubling, from me,” according to McCormick. “I have no idea why, unless she’s mad at the joke I made a few years ago that we’d had a lesbian love affair. I made the crack to be funny — and for shock value. I’m sorry if she took offense.”

Plumb’s rep denies his client turned down a chance to sit with her TV fam and The Big O, so here’s hoping all six Bradys will be on the couch come September.

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