What we read while scoring on Hope Solo…
Anyone who picks up Bill Carter’s new book about last January’s late night TV debacle—The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy—looking for a villain is destined to be disappointed. This is not for lack of effort. The book is impressively comprehensive about NBC’s decision to move Jay Leno from The Tonight Show to primetime and back again and the disaster that followed. Carter gives detailed histories of and various perspectives on all the major players involved—Leno, Conan, Jeff Zucker, David Letterman, Jeff Gaspin, etc.—but in the end nobody comes off as an evil monster responsible for the train wreck. Instead, we get a fascinating example of how a bunch of people all acting with the best intentions can lead to the worst possible outcome.
“If they’d come in and shot everybody—I mean, it would have been people murdered. But at least it would have been a two-day story. I mean, yes, NBC could not have handled it worse, from 2004 onward.” —Jay Leno Continue reading »
What we read on our 48-hour sabbatical from MSNBC…
What we read while waiting for the first Chilean miner book…
As I noted one year ago today, I get more excited than most people by the start of a new television season. While Louie, Mad Men, and Pretty Little Liars have done a decent job of satisfying my TV-fix over the summer, I’m ready for a full slate of new shows. Of course, some of these will disappoint: My list from 2009 included such letdowns as FlashForward, Bored to Death, and the most recent seasons of How I Met Your Mother and The Hills. At the same time, though, shows I hadn’t expected to like, like Modern Family and Parks and Recreation, made up for it with great seasons. So even though this list will probably look equally stupid a year from now, here are the 10 things I’m most excited about this fall on TV:
10. The Event Premieres Monday September 20 on NBC
Now, I know this show is probably not going to be good. It seems like a show constructed around a marketing premise (“What is the event?”) and cribbing from the likes of 24 and Lost. Basically, it’s this year’s FlashForward. As with all of these shows, there is a very low probability of success—but if it does turn out to be good, it could possibly fill the void left by the end of Lost last May.* Continue reading »
FlashForward ended its run with more Emmy nominations and wins than The Wire. That should pretty much destroy any semblance of credibility the Emmys ever had. But other than the Golden Globes (which didn’t do so great themselves this year), there really isn’t another awards show that is taken seriously for television, so we have to deal with Emmys and all of its mistakes.
And while this year certainly had its fair share of mistakes, it was generally better than expected: Continue reading »
What we read while being snookered by Fox News…
Conan O’Brien makes his return to television (kind of) tonight: He will be interviewed by Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. This will be his first appearance on TV since he was booted from The Tonight Show in January. Back then, if you recall, I lamented what I referred to as “The Conan Travesty.” Now, though, he is going to TBS, and all is right with the world.
Meanwhile, Jay Leno is getting outdone by President Obama. Speaking of Obama, in honor of his commencement address at Michigan yesterday, here’s Conan’s speech to Harvard from 2000: Continue reading »