Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I have some questions about Charlotte Ross’ 1.4 Million-Dollar buttocks.

Last Saturday I came home and turned my computer looking for South Carolina primary updates and found an article titled 'NYPD' Buttocks May Cost $1.4 Million. My curiosity peaked I clicked on the link and saw a picture of the actress Charlotte Ross who starred in NYPD Blue from 1998-2004. I read, "The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a $1.4 million fine against 52 ABC Television Network stations over a 2003 broadcast of cop drama NYPD Blue". But wait. That episode aired about five years ago.

Sometime around late February or early March of 2003 my wife and I were at a party and the subject of Charlotte Ross’ nude scene on NYPD Blue came up in conversation. I mentioned that we had missed the episode, as did several others at the party. The lady of the house was so impressed with Charlotte Ross in that now infamous scene that she had her husband pop the episode in the VCR so we could all watch.

The consensus of the women in the room was that it was great to see a woman with a real body on TV. Words like "Brave" and "Bold" were used to describe Charlotte Ross’ choice to do that scene. Not wanting to sound like total pigs, the guys in the room discussed the camera work and the editing. The Man of the house paused the scene (approximately 34 seconds on the YouTube video) and pointed out that the boy’s head was perfectly positioned so we could not see Charlotte Ross’ nipples. When the scene is paused it is obvious that this was a composite shot and the boy was filmed separately and added in later. Personally I thought the scene had the innocence of the label on a bottle of Coppertone.

Why is this scene just now being addresseed now by the FCC? Other controversial issues like the profanity (The F-word is used 21 times) used in ABC's, broadcast of Saving Private Ryan on Veterans Day in 2004. Or earlier that year when Janet Jackson had her "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl halftime show. Both issues took much less time to resolve. If you are keeping score at home:

Janet Jackson’s breast: $550,000.

Charlotte Ross’ buttocks: $1.4 million.
($27.500 x 52 ABC central & Mountain Time zone stations)

The F-word 21 times: Priceless.
(The FCC later cleared the film, nothing that "Contextual considerations are critical in making indecency determinations.")

In my research I can’t find an answer to my timing question. I just seem to have more questions. I also could not find any logical or even a reasonable reason as to why the FCC would want to go after a show that has been off the air for almost three years. Talk about beating a dead horse. Most importantly why does the FCC in their order refer to the buttock as a sex organ when it is not an organ, but a muscle. The FCC report described Charlotte Ross’ naked buttocks as titillating. That assessment seems subjective since butts may vary. If Charlotte Ross’ naked buttocks is titillating, then is not the mind is also a sex organ? If someone gives you a "come hither" look or "bedroom eyes" then are not eyeballs sex organs? I can go on with more examples but why go down that road?

Logically I think that the FCC is pandering to social conservatives and their watch dog groups. Many would complain about the subject matter in the scene even if there were no nudity in it at all. These same groups just insured that ABC will make their 1.4 million dollars back from increased DVD sales thanks to all the press this story is getting. Does this make the FCC the true... buttock here? Finally, is the FCC is insisting that the buttock is a sex organ because of what they plan to do to ABC.

I’d love to quote Sgt. Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) here but instead I’ll keep it clean and quote William Shatner on SNL, "GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show!"

In Solidarity

Tony Figueroa

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Daily Show and Colbert Writers - Mock Debate in DC

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Suzanne Pleshette 1937 - 2008

I just heard on the morning news that veteran actress Suzanne Pleshette has died of cancer. She may be best known as Emily Hartley in the sitcom The Bob Newhart Show. The role of Emily brought in two Emmy nominations. Ms. Pleshette got two other Emmy nominations after guest starring as Julie Lawler in the drama series Dr. Kildare and a Golden Globe nomination for the title role in the TV drama Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean . Pleshette was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. In August 2006, she underwent chemotherapy at the Los Angeles’ Cedar-Sinai Medical Center. Click here to access Suzanne Pleshette's Archive of American Television interview.
To quote Ms. Pleshette in a 1999 interview on that being an actress was more important than being a star, "I'm an actress, and that's why I'm still here. Anybody who has the illusion that you can have a career as long as I have and be a star is kidding themselves."
Good Night Ms. Pleshette
In Solidarity
Tony Figueroa

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Allan Melvin 1922-2008

To us children of television Allan Melvin was best known for playing Sam the Butcher on The The Brady Bunch , Barney Hefner All in the Family and later Archie Bunker's Place and the voice of Magilla Gorilla. Mr. Melvin died of cancer Thursday at his home in the Brentwood, he was 84.

Melein's favorate role was as Cpl. Henshaw on the The Phil Silvers Show.The above video is from a stage production of Phil Silver's classic sitcom.

Good Night Mr. Melvin

In Solidarity

Tony Figueroa

Sunday, January 13, 2008

65th Golden Globe Award Winners

I, like I'm sure most of you, watched Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and looked up the 65th Golden Globe Award Winners online later.

Congratulations to the winners.

Hollywood Foreign Press Association 2008 Golden Globe Awards for the year ended December 31, 2007 HFPA - Nominations and Winners

In Solidarity

Tony Figueroa


Cornucopia, An Hour of Storytelling and Other Delights for adults, features live music by String Planet with Novi & Larry, and terrific stories from D'Lo, Amy Stiller, Lupe Fernandez, Leo Baggerly, Tony & Donna Figueroa, and your host Ellen Switkes. Sunday Jan. 13, 2008 at 3:30 pm. Actors Workout Studio, 4735 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood 91602. Tickets are $8. Reservations encouraged 818.506.3903. Not for kids . - Cornucopia

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Back Home.

Over Christmas, New Years and Three Kings Day we had a wonderful time visiting my family in Florida and my wife Donna's family in Ohio, but my thoughts were never far from home. Every day I would read the trades on my PDA thanks to places with free WiFi. I corresponded with friends back home who were keeping me up to date on strike news and I even fired off E-mails to couple of media organizations and one to a Republican presidential candidate who, although is seeking union endorsement, decided to cross a picket line.

Looking back it was amazing to see how many of our conversions, over dinner or drinks, with friends and family were about the strike. This totally disproves the notion that Middle America does not care about striking writers and not once did I hear writers being refereed to as "Spoiled Millionaires". It was obvious that the neither the local papers or the local TV & radio news provided sufficient coverage on the story. They were surprised to learn that we in Los Angeles had the same problem (I wrote to David Hiller, Claudiae Eller and Richard Verrier at the Los Angeles Times about their lack of fair and balanced coverage of the strike in thier article titled Writers union feeling the heat). Donna and I would to the best of our ability explain the situation about residuals for DVDs and new media. I also directed people to web sites like United Hollywood and Nikki Fink's Deadline Hollywood Daily.

The bulk of the strike talk involved the late night talk shows or the lack of late night talk show monologues. By this time it was announced that the network talk shows would be returning on January 2nd but David Letterman's company Worldwide Pants had not yet finalized their deal with the WGA. The monologues were sorely missed especially since we going full speed into Election 08 news coverage. We discussed what the hosts can and can not do. I basically stated that unless you have an interim agreement, you can't do struck work. Deadline Hollywood Daily: WGA Reminds Returning Jay And Conan: No Monologues. Then on January 2nd we watched the return of the network talk shows. I enjoyed seeing everyone back but was surprised to see Jay doing a monologue. Jay is an honorable man. He has supported the WGA in this strike and he supported SAG during the 2000 commercial strike but when it comes to writing his own monologues I want to ask him what he asked Hugh Grant, " What the hell were you thinking?"

In Solidarity

In Solidarity

Tony Figueroa

Monday, January 07, 2008

Your moment of Zen

In Solidarity

Tony Figueroa

THIS JUST IN: NBC And Hollywood Foreign Press Cancel Televised Golden Globes

Every time I try to write about what is going on in the world of Television the stories keep updating.

This story broke when I was listening to today's edition of United Hollywood Live.

The story is from Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily Blog.

UPDATE: NBC And Hollywood Foreign Press Cancel Televised Golden Globes Hoopla; Big Show Scrapped In Favor Of Stripped Down News Telecast (Keep refreshing for latest news)...

The Hollywood writers strike can now claim its first awards show casualty. I'm hearing from my sources that NBC will not be broadcasting a big Golden Globes show as planned for January 13th. Nor will a much ballyhooed unbroadcasted event be held, either. Instead, a stripped down announcements telecast will be aired by NBC News. It will consist of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association handing out Golden Globes to the winners, who will then pick up the awards and pass through a press room for photos and interviews. "It'll now be a news event where the actors can still get all glammed up," a source told I've not yet received any official confirmation of any of this. But insiders tell me that NBC Universal topper Jeff Zucker and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association which bestows the Golden Globes made the decision together to scale everything back.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008

Dear Readers,

I have been spending Christmas and New Years with Family in Florida and Ohio (Two Red States).

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions. In the fourth grade I resolved that I would not get into anymore fights, but after having to read my resolution in front of the whole class my classmates made sure that I was in a fight everyday till Valentines Day. This year seems different. As always they’re the standard things I say every year.

I resolve to do more reading. I read a lot as it is but this year I have a great desire to read more of the classics and more plays.

I resolve to take a greater interest in current events outside the entertainment industry especially since 2008 is an election year. I am already a news junkie but there never seem to be enough news or is it that there never seems to be enough news of substance.

It would be ridiculous of me to say that I resolve to watch less television. If I wind up watching less TV it is not because of any self discipline on my part, it is only because of the writers strike.

I resolve to do more blogging and podcasting. Last month Donna and I launched our new story telling podcast Take Out Stories. This Month Donna will launch her new style blog and podcast Shop Doc. As for the Child of Television Blog and Podcast it will still reflect my love of television. COTV’s perspective has been greatly influenced be the writers strike because I in good conscience can’t be critical of the creative talents while they are on the picket line and because the mainstream media is not giving the strike the coverage it deserves.

I resolve to spend more time on the picket line because as a Screen Actors Guild member their fight is our fight.

To quote Dave Garroway, “Peace”

In Solidarity

Tony Figueroa