Channel Surfing – May 8

All the tube news that’s fit to surf …

– Did you get your Simpsons stamps yesterday?

– Good idea: Guitar Hero may become a TV series. That’s definitely one way to potentially get a younger demo back to the tube.

Tough Love will be back for another season on VH1.

Mel Gibson, Lyle Lovett, Sarah McLachlan, Prince, Billy Crystal and Dwight Yoakam are among Jay Leno‘s guests for his final week as host of The Tonight Show. He’ll announce his very last guest during a press conference on May 14.

– Can’t wait for next week’s Real Housewives of NYC reunion, where there will be verbal smackdowns aplenty.

– OK, maybe there is a reason to watch the fifth season debut of Jon & Kate Plus 8 on May 25: Reportedly, the duo will address those rampant infidelity stories during the premiere.

– Will Kiefer Sutherland‘s alleged headbutting incident mean more jail time, and a possible delay in production on the next season of 24, for the star? I’m waiting to hear his side of things.

– ABC has launched a new Music Lounge, where you can hear tunes that are featured in the network’s shows, like Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty and Scrubs. Here’s hoping all the networks jump on that idea – I don’t even know how many songs I’ve bought on iTunes after hearing them in an episode of Scrubs.

Aisha Tyler is the latest D-lister to sign on to host a talk show pilot.

Britain’s Got Talent and Internet sensation Susan Boyle will appear on Monday’s Oprah, with Simon Cowell.

– Major Charles Winchester, a.k.a. M*A*S*H star David Ogden Stiers, has outed himself.

– And, despite recent hints that she may be, NPH says Stella (Sarah Chalke) isn’t the mother of Ted’s children on How I Met Your Mother.

50 Things I Love About TV – 41-50

41. Psych
How cool is Psych? So cool that among its many very diverse pop culture references has been Al B. Sure!, The Peanuts Christmas pageant dance, Drew Lachey and The Mentalist, a show that, as any Psych devotee will point out, came after our beloved Psych.

42. Best Week EverBest Pop Culture Wrap-Up Show Ever. Almost makes me forget how much I miss the Greg Kinnear and John “Skunk Boy” Henson days of Talk Soup.

43. The Sopranos reruns on A&E
The show’s still so good and so layered that you’ll find new things you didn’t catch the first time around, and I find I’m not missing the naughtier words at all.

44. Desperate Housewives
Was good, sucked there for a season or two, then bounced back. Despite the skepticism about the jumping-five-years-ahead storyline this season, I think it works, and has managed to freshen up a show that could have jumped into jumping the shark territory quite easily.

45. Boob tube to big screen adaptations
There’s the good (The Fugitive, The Adaams Family, The Brady Bunch Movie, Starsky & Hutch and most definitely the new Star Trek flick), the bad (Wild Wild West, Bewitched, The Dukes of Hazzard, Lost in Space and Scooby-Doo) and the what the hell were they thinking (The Honeymooners), but I always get excited about a TV show being made into a movie (or vice versa) and the possibilities of how some of my faves might be reimagined.

46. VH1’s Top 20 Countdown
Relying on VH1 videos to find new music? Yep, and I don’t care if that’s unhip. The fact is, I don’t remember the last time I saw a video on MTV, and though I often hear new tunes I like during The Hills or The City or The Real World (already admitted I’m still watching it), VH1’s weekend countdown of the top 20 videos is one of the best places to not only hear, but see new bands. It’s how I first discovered the pop/rock goodness of John Mayer‘s debut CD (after he had the bad luck to release the album on September 11, 2001), and I’d argue that American Idol “loser” Chris Daughtry owes a goodly portion of the success of his debut CD to his videos’ constant presence on the VH1 countdown.

47. Pat Kiernan on NY1
Those of you outside the NYC area may be unaware of the soothing morning goodness of hearing the delightfully smooth-voiced Kiernan tell you what’s in the newspapers every day, but if every city had Kiernan reading what’s In the Papers for them, it would amount to a better start to their day. Those outside NYC may also remember him as host of VH1’s World Series of Pop Culture, and you can also catch him on Twitter.

48. Malcolm in the Middle
Loving the FX repeats, especially of the later seasons, which I’d stopped watching when the show originally aired. But in the latter years, it’s all about Reese and Dewey and Hal (the comedic genius that is Bryan Cranston), as, apparently, the writers figured out what most viewers knew all along – Malcolm was a dud. The rest of the family rocked.

49. Breaking Bad
Bryan Cranston, comedic genius (see above). Turns out he’s a damn fine dramatic actor, too.

50. Saturday Night Live
Yep, still watching it, every episode, every season, even when it’s not the must-see show during an election year. Love the Target Lady, love Kenan Thompson, love Andy Samberg‘s digital shorts, love the Justin Timberlake appearances. Most of all, love the history of the show … one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do as a TV writer was attending a live show (last season’s Jonah Hill-hosted ep). I was sitting there the whole time thinking about how I used to sneak out of bed to watch Eddie Murphy performing on that very stage. Back when Eddie Murphy was a comedic genius. Sigh.

50 Things I Love About TV – 31-40

31. Tina Fey
Funniest female on TV. I say ever, and yes, that means funnier than Lucy.

32. Special guest stars
Some people hate them, and some shows (Will & Grace, for instance) rely on them far too often. On the other hand … Alan Alda as Jack Donaghy’s dad on 30 Rock? Scott Bakula as Chuck’s dad on Chuck? Sammy Davis Jr. planting a kiss on Archie Bunker on All in the Family? Pretty much every episode of The Simpsons? A well-cast guest star can be a treat. On the other hand, sometimes they are just weird.

33. Ethan Suplee
Jason Lee and Emmy winner Jaime Pressly get all the props, but I’m still watching My Name Is Earl solely for Suplee, whose portrayal of Earl’s dimwitted brother (who occasionally pops up with a pithy observation) is sometimes over-the-top hilarious and sometimes just really sweet. I interviewed Suplee earlier in the show’s run, and he said part of the inspiration for his performance of the child-like Randy comes from simply observing his stepchildren. Really sweet indeed.

34. Jim and Pam
As with most TV couples, the road to coupledom was the best part for this Office duo, but I love how Pam has become more confident now that she’s the future Mrs. Halpert.

35. Kenneth the Page
He’s just a sweet small-town boy who loves TV, played by Jack McBrayer, a sweet, and hilarious, small-town guy who loves TV. And another of my fave interviews.

36. Reno 911!
The show that always goes there, “there” being an increasingly weirder, less politically correct and hilarious place. That’s a good thing, as is Lt. Jim Dangle’s (Thomas Lennon) short-shorts uniform, a piece of TV wardrobe that’s every bit as cool as Fonzie’s jacket, Chandler Bing’s sweater vests and June Cleaver’s pearls.

37. The Office
This season has been the show’s weakest … not as many of those watercooler moments as in seasons past. But it can still surprise with a great Michael moment, a clever prank on Dwight or some Creed weirdness. And big ups to Ed Helms, whose Andy was at first super annoying, but who has emerged – especially after his pitiful engagement to frosty Angela – to be a lovable geek.

38. Ace of Cakes
There is just something soothing about watching people make fantastic cakes, even during those Food Network Challenges when the bakers are so obviously stressed out. Maybe that’s the main appeal of the Charm City Cakes crew, from Duff (and his trademark laugh) and super-organized office manager Mary Alice to Jeff, the talented baker/designer who may be the most laidback person in the history of TV.

39. Lifetime movies
There are few things in a girl’s life better than a weekend marathon of made-for-TV movies starring Tori Spelling, Kellie Martin, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Judith Light, Meredith Baxter or anyone from the cast of Charmed. All-time best Lifetime movie title, by the way: Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?

40. The Wire
Dukie, McNulty (McNutty, as my friend Jeff calls him), Omar and his Honey Nut Cheerios … despite where he was headed when last we saw him in the series finale, I’d like to believe that Dukie ends up graduating from high school and landing a computer job. Heartbreaking show, but so worth it. The Wire: The Complete Series DVD box set is a must own, or at least, a must to Netflix.

Justin Timberlake Returns to ‘SNL’

Justin Timberlake, in just two stints as Saturday Night Live host (and several more quick surprise guest appearances), has established himself as one of the show’s all-time best celeb performers, so his return as penultimate host of the 34th season this Saturday night (NBC, 11:30PM ET) makes for must-see (and TiVo)-TV viewing. Need proof? Check out this “Weekend Update” video clip, in which the fantastically talented J.T. hosts the whole show in two minutes:

Meanwhile, Timberlake paired with his “Dick in a Box” pal Andy Samberg to film a series of promos for this week’s episode, which also features Ciara – Timberlake’s “Love Sex Magic” collaborator – as musical guest:

Here’s hoping we might see another “Omeletteville” skit this weekend, or, with a Jimmy Fallon pop-in, another edition of “The Barry Gibb Talk Show.”

What are your favorite moments from Timberlake’s visits to Saturday Night Live?

Channel Surfing – May 7

All the tube news that’s fit to surf …

– I still can’t believe that Adam Lambert‘s sexuality is such an issue … like being gay in the entertainment industry is such a new phenomenon? Or being gay on American Idol for that matter. Whatever. Adam lands a solo cover on the new Entertainment Weekly, even before he wins the show, as “the most exciting American Idol contestant in years.” Can’t argue with that.

– It’s not Project Runway, but the Runway-ish The Fashion Show, which debuts tonight on Bravo (10PM ET), does have the fabulous Isaac Mizrahi.

Grey’s Anatomy airs its 100th episode tonight (ABC, 9PM), and it’s supposed to include a McDreamy/Meredith wedding. Supposed to being the key part of that sentence.

– Even if the Mer/Der wedding does go down, will it be one of the best tube weddings ever? Maybe one of the worst? I countdown a few of each at Hollywood.com today.

– Are you more or less likely to watch the new season of Jon & Kate Plus 8 on May 25, given the whole affair brouhaha?

– Tomorrow’s Good Morning America will feature Diane Sawyer’s interview with Connie Culp, the woman whose face transplant made headlines this week.

Chuck executive producer McG weighs in optimistically to Sci Fi Wire about the show’s chances for a third season on NBC. It’s tough to remember the last time an on-the-bubble series generated as much support and good will as Chuck has, so here’s hoping again that it returns next season.

Seth Green and his Robot Chicken cohorts are bringing another show to Adult Swim.

– Only The Big O could incite riots by trying to give away some damn chicken.

– Is it just me, or do most of the contestants on the new season of The Bachelorette look alike?

– And Simon Cowell reportedly earns $36 million a season for American Idol, while co-judge Paula Abdul nets “just” $2 million. Sounds right to me.

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