Monday, September 28, 2009

This week in Television History: September 2009 PART IV

Listen to me TONIGHT on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE every other Monday at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio. The program will then be repeated Tuesday through Sunday at the same time (10pm ET, 7pm PT) on Shokus Radio for the next two weeks, and then will be posted on line at our archives page at TVConfidential.net.
As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.

September 23, 1961
Weekly TV movie program Saturday Night at the Movies debuts on NBC, starting with the 1953 film How to Marry a Millionaire. The program was the first major network initiative to broadcast recent movies on the air. Although movies from the 1930s and '40s had appeared on TV, the networks had resisted showing more recent films. Until the 1960s, a fierce rivalry existed between the television and movie industries, and neither wanted to promote the other. However, with the success of Saturday Night at the Movies, relatively recent films became a staple of TV programming.

September 24, 1936
Muppet creator Jim Henson is born in Greenville, Mississippi. Henson joined a puppet club in high school and used his skills to land a job at a local TV station between high school and college. His homemade puppets delighted audiences, and during his freshman year at the University of Maryland the TV station gave him his own five minute show, called Sam and Friends. The show ran twice a day, just before popular news show the Huntley-Brinkley Report and again before the Tonight Show with Steve Allen. Henson's program ran for eight years and won a local Emmy in 1958.
In 1955, Henson took an old green coat of his mother's, attached two halves of a ping-pong ball for eyes, and created a lizard-like character named Kermit, who later evolved into Kermit the Frog. Other familiar characters took shape on Sam and Friends, as Henson's Muppets multiplied. In 1957, Henson made the first of more than 300 TV commercials for Wilkins Coffee. In 1963 Rowlf the Dog became a regular on variety program The Jimmy Dean Show, which ran until 1966.

Henson showed an interest in filmmaking in the mid 1960s, making a short film called Timepiece in 1965, which was nominated for an Oscar. A few years later, he met Joan Ganz Cooney, a TV producer heading up a study of children and television at a seminar for educators in Boston. Ganz was formulating an idea for a kids' TV program she called The Preschool Educational Television Show, and she quickly persuaded Henson and his Muppets to join her. The show, with its new, snappier title, Sesame Street, was launched in 1969, and generations of children fell in love with Big Bird, Kermit the Frog, Ernie and Bert, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Cookie Monster, and many other Henson creations.
After seven years of children's television, Henson wanted to explore more sophisticated possibilities for his Muppets. He shopped around an idea for a variety show starring Kermit, but none of the networks were interested. Undeterred, Henson created The Muppet Show as a syndicated series, which became the world's most watched TV show, with 235 million viewers in more than 100 countries. The program ran from 1976 to 1981 and won three Emmys. Meanwhile, the Muppets launched a movie career in 1979 with The Muppet Movie, followed by The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984).
Other, less familiar Henson creatures appeared in The Dark Crystal (1982) and Labyrinth (1986) with David Bowie, as well as in two cable TV series, Fraggle Rock and The Ghost of Faffner Hall. His Saturday morning cartoon, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies, was launched in 1984 and won four Emmys. Henson died of pneumonia in 1990.


Barbara Jill Walters is born September 25, 1929. Walters was first known as a popular TV morning news anchor for over 10 years on NBC's Today, where she worked with Hugh Downs and later Frank McGee and Jim Hartz. Walters later spent 25 years as co-host of ABC's newsmagazine 20/20. She was the first female co-anchor of network evening news, working with Harry Reasoner on the ABC Evening News and was later a correspondent for ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson.


Bryant Charles Gumbel is born September 29, 1948. The television journalist, sportscaster, newscaster, television personality and sports anchor is best known for his 15 years as co-host of NBC's The Today Show. He is the younger brother of sportscaster Greg Gumbel. He began his television career in October 1972, when he was made a sportscaster for KNBC-TV Los Angeles.


To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Never Judge a Show by its Pilot: The Jay Leno Show


First impressions:
This is the most talked about new show amongst my circle friends and colleagues. Most of the conversations have nothing to do with the show itself but the show's overall impact on television. As I mentioned in my article Fall 2009, “Reality and talent competition shows are taking over and it is not because the scripted shows are bad... well not all of them are bad. It’s not because viewers aren't watching them. It is because they cost too much (Meaning reality and talent competition shows are cheaper to produce). Shows are being canceled for purely economic reasons. Perhaps that is why some shows would disappear then reappear with little fanfare. Then the network's bean counters can say, "Look, we put the show back on and nobody is watching it. CANCELED!"”
The success or failure of this show will have an impact on TV as we know it and for that reason it is going to be hard for me to be impartial when watching the show.

I saw the press conference that NBC held to announce Jay's new show (It's Official: Jay Leno to Get New Show on NBC). Jay opened with a few jokes to lighten the mood but also brought home three important points:
1, He had never planned to retire.
2, He does not have a feud with Conan O’Brian.
3, The new show will have some of The Tonight Show elements like a monologue, Jay Walking and Headlines.

Once the floor was opened for questions, many members of the entertainment press kept asking Jay the same three questions over and over again.
1, Why did you decide not to retire?
2, So are you getting along with Conan O'Brian?
3, What are you going to do on the new show?

Not only did Jay already answer these questions in his opening remarks, many entertainment reporters kept repeating the same questions, some actually brought their own cameras and spotlights to shoot themselves asking those already asked questions and Jay patiently answered those same questions over and over again. The entire endless loop of a press conference, with the repeated questions, was aired on NBC’s News Raw where Jay came off looking better than the network executives on stage with him and the entertainment press in front of him.

I realize that the members of the entertainment press will be asking the fluff questions that are usually no more complicated than "Who you wearing?", but once the fluff questions were asked:
a) They should not be asked again.
b) The reporters should have to go to different, more serious or dare I say a hardball questions.

No one asked about how Jay's show will have an impact on television, about all the thousands of industry jobs that would be lost if the show is successful or even if the show will have a negative impact on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. Jay is a big boy and has had to answer tougher questions from the press over the past thirty years (I'm Dying Up Here by William Knoedelseder).

Expectations:
Not to optimistic.
I don't see the show taking viewers away from returning shows in the same time slot like Castle, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Private Practice, The Mentalist, 20/20, and Numbers but may stand a better chance against new shows like The Forgotten, The Good Wife and Eastwick.

On the positive side, the show will air 48 weeks out of the year allowing Jay to take advantage of competing shows being on hiatus.

Normally I watch the pilot of a show then the following episode and do a comparison contrast. For this program I watched the first couple of weeks of shows and note my observations as simple bullet points.

· The show's opening looks like a 1980s stand up comedy show. I do like the use of old pictures of Jay in the opening and that got me thinking that many people miss the old Jay. The Jay Leno that used to be a favorite guest on Late Night with David Letterman. The "What's my Beef?" Jay. When Jay became Johnny Carson's permanent guest host he also became mainstream but there was always look he would give his fans as to say, "Can you believe NBC is letting me do this. I want to see the same Jay that I see driving classic cars on the streets of Burbank, not the former steward of The Tonight Show.

· Did the set come from IKEA? The floor plan might work but the decor does not say "Jay".

· The theme does not work for me either. Why couldn't he keep his theme from The Tonight Show? FYI: This is the only thing that should come over from the old show because it is Jay's theme. Each Tonight Show host had a signature theme song.

· The monologue is standard Jay.

· The comedy sketches tend to go on long past the punch line (Cheaters).

· You can only get a Hugh Grant moment with Hugh Grant, not Kanye West.

· The Headlines segment should follow the monologue.

· Jim Norton's Uninvited Guest segment shows more of the direction the show should take. Most of the humor lacks a point of view.

· Jay sets up the local news teasers and broadcasts in a very up beat way. I see the local anchors respond with an excited, "Thanks Jay". What if something bad happens between Jay's show being pre-taped and the local news live broadcast?

· The jokes about NBC being in 4th place are getting old. This note goes for everyone, not just Jay.

· The Ten@Ten segments are too bland most of the time. Barney Frank’s segment was good.

· The Green Car Challenge seems to be missing something.

· The Pee-Wee Herman segment seemed like filler. It seems too soon to need filler.

· Great White Moments in Black History is another segment that seems to live up to the shows promise. It is short, sweet, and to the point.

· JMZ (A spoof of TMZ) is very contrived. The first part looks like something one would see on a Nickelodeon show. The second part looked like a sophmoric attempt to make a statement about TMZ, but fell short. Jay’s Talent pool is smarter than that. Your audience is smart enough to know that the people in the Jaywalking segments are stupid.

· Nick Thune Changes your life is a great segment and hopefully these young comedians will get more airtime.

· Jay did a great job debating Rush Limbaugh. I want to see more of that Jay. Jay has a point of view but always likes to play the middle of the road. His show - His point of view.

· Internet Success and Failure is funny once a week but I think that the real fun is in the audience submitting the video the same way people send clippings for the Headlines segment.

· Don’t make the guest earn their plug.

· The idea that this new show is different, bold and groundbreaking should be reflected in the look of the shows opening, the set and Jay's wardrobe. To be fair, I know that there were test shows done prior to the first shows airing and perhaps some of my points were experimented with and did not go well with the audience.

On the subject of Jay Leno I seem to be the most pragmatic person I know. I also feel that Jay's career has been judged unfairly. Often in their criticism they omit huge chunks of information making Jay subject to a revisionist entertainment history. Over the past thirty years, Jay has been associated with many controversies. Strangely enough most of controversies are not associated with his jokes. Sometimes the guy can't win for trying. Jay started his career as a nonconformist. When he went mainstream, many fans felt he had sold out. I understand that when he had The Tonight Show he was the shows caretaker and had to fit the shows mold. Again, I say, "Just be Jay".

To quote Jay Leno in response to the Time magazine headline that you're "the future of television"? “Well, that is hilarious. That shows you the trouble we are in. I mean, if you read the article it's just telling you, I think, that television has to change. The advertising dollars are not there anymore. The numbers that get you to No. 1 now are numbers that would have gotten you canceled 20 years ago. I mean I never thought I'd see the day when prime-time shows would be in single digits in the ratings. I can remember when Nancy Kerrigan hosted 'Saturday Night Live' and only got a 14 rating and everybody went, "Oh, we thought it'd be higher than that." Well, 14, that would make you the biggest hit in the history of NBC these days. So, you know, it's a different model. It's a changing thing”,

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Jack

Jack Lalanne was born September 26, 1914 in San Francisco, CA and admittedly, during his childhood days was addicted to sugar and junk foods. At age 15, young Jack heard Paul Bragg speak on health and nutrition which had such a powerful influence, it motivated Jack to focus on his diet and exercise habits.
Jack was truly a pioneer, as he studied Henry Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body and concentrated on bodybuilding, chiropractic medicine, and weightlifting, something virtually unheard of in the 1930s.

In 1936 LaLanne opened his own health spa in Oakland, CA, and dedicated his life to encouraging people to better themselves through exercise and fitness. LaLanne designed the world's first leg extension machines, pulley machines using cables, and weight selectors, now a standard in the fitness industry. LaLanne also invented the widely used Smith Machine. Breaking the gender barrier, LaLanne was the first fitness expert to encourage women to lift weights, contrary to the popular belief of the time, which was that weights made women masculine and unattractive. By the 1980s there were more than 200 Jack LaLanne health clubs that were eventually sold to the Bally Company, which later became Bally Total Fitness.



The Jack LaLanne Show is the longest running health and fitness show in history, airing from 1951 to 1985. The show began as a local program on San Francisco’s ABC television station KGO-TV and was eventually syndicated on the ABC network throughout the U.S.A. and Canada, and worldwide on the Armed Forces Network. Critics said the show would be off the air in six weeks, but it lasted just a bit longer at 34 years.

In addition to the Jack LaLanne Show, Jack has published numerous books, created countless health and fitness videos, appeared in films, marketed health and exercise equipment and vitamin supplements, and even as a singer recorded songs with Connie Haines.

Jack LaLanne continues to work out every morning for two hours, spending 1 ½ hours in the weight room and ½ hour swimming. Jack LaLanne lives with his wife Elaine in Morro Bay, CA.


To Quote Jack LaLanne, "I do it as a therapy. I do it as something to keep me alive. We all need a little discipline. Exercise is my discipline".

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Friday, September 25, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: Protect Insurance Companies PSA

Here is another "Mental Sorbet" that we could use to momentarily forget about those things that leave a bad taste in our mouths.

Hollywood speaks out to help insurance companies



Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TV Confidential Archives: Sept. 7, 2009

Actor William Schallert (Get Smart, The Patty Duke Show)joins Ed and Frankie in the second hour to discuss his many roles in film and television, including his work with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, John Sturges and Don Siegel. In the first hour, Ed and Frankie welcome TV historian Andrew Lee Fielding, author of The Lucky Strike Papers. as they look back at the career of bandleader Kay Kyser.

Monday, September 21, 2009

This week in Television History: September 2009 PART III

Listen to me TONIGHT on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE every other Monday at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio. The program will then be repeated Tuesday through Sunday at the same time (10pm ET, 7pm PT) on Shokus Radio for the next two weeks, and then will be posted on line at our archives page at TVConfidential.net.

As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.

September 15, 1984
Bosom Buddies starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari debuted. An offbeat sitcom about two men disguising themselves as women, the show ran for four years and first brought Hanks to national attention.
Hanks studied acting in high school and played with a Shakespeare festival for three years. He appeared in a horror flick, He Knows You're Alone, in 1980, Splash in 1984, followed by a huge success with Big in 1988, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. His career took off again with Sleepless in Seattle (1993); he is now considered one of the top box office draws alive. He won the Best Actor Oscar twice, for Philadelphia in 1993 and Forrest Gump in 1994.
Peter Scolari later workedon Newhart and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show.


Edward James Begley, Jr. was born. The actor and environmentalist is perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Mark Craig's intern, Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the television series St. Elsewhere, for which he received six consecutive Emmy Award nominations.

He currently has a reality show about green living called Living With Ed on Planet Green with his wife, actress Rachelle Carson.
Peter Falk was born September 16, 1927. The actor is best known for his role as Lieutenant Columbo in the television series Columbo. He appeared in numerous films and television guest roles, and has been nominated for an Academy Award twice, and won the Emmy Award on five occasions and the Golden Globe award once. The Columbo character was originally played in a 1960 episode of the NBC anthology series The Chevy Mystery Show, where the detective was played by Bert Freed, and in a subsequent Broadway play by Thomas Mitchell. Falk first appeared as Columbo in Prescription: Murder , a 1968 TV movie, but the character was not the subject of a show of its own until 1971. Columbo aired regularly from 1971 to 1978 on NBC, and then more infrequently on ABC as TV movies beginning in 1989. The most recent episode was broadcast in 2003.

Despite his frazzled exterior, Columbo possesses a keen mind and invariably solves his cases by paying close attention to tiny inconsistencies in suspects' stories, hounding them until they confess; he merely puts on a good show of being dimwitted so that the criminals will be more at ease around him. Columbo's signature technique is to exit the scene of an interview, only to stop in the doorway to ask a suspect "just one more thing," which often brings to light the key inconsistency.
In May 2009, it was reported that Falk is suffering from dementia, and he no longer remembers his role in Columbo. In June 2009, a conservatorship was placed on him by a California court.

September 16, 1949

Warner. Bros. introduces the Road Runner in the cartoon short Fast and Furry-ous. Like the sounds of countless other Warner Bros. cartoon characters, the Road Runner's cheerful "beep, beep!" was provided by Mel Blanc.


September 17, 1950
Comedians Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis make their first appearance as hosts of a new TV variety show, The Colgate Comedy Hour.

Martin and Lewis first teamed up in 1946. Martin, born in Steubenville, Ohio, in 1917, had started a nightclub act after working as a prizefighter and a steelworker in the 1940s. Lewis, the son of performers, debuted in comedy acts with his parents at age five and was working steadily as a comic by 1946, when he met Martin. The pair performed an act in which screwball Lewis constantly interrupted straight man Martin's singing. They made their first appearance at a club in Atlantic City and were an instant hit, soon in demand for radio and movie performances. They made their first movie together, My Friend Irma, in 1949. The following year, they were chosen, along with Eddie Cantor and Fred Allen, to share the host position for The Colgate Comedy Hour. The show ran until 1955, a year before Martin and Lewis split up.
After the duo parted ways, Martin launched his own TV variety show, which ran from 1965 to 1974. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Martin teamed up with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop to perform in Las Vegas. The group quickly became known as the Rat Pack, a suave group of young, fast-living entertainers. The group made several movies together in the early 1960s, including Ocean's Eleven (1960), Sergeants Three (1962), and Robin and the Seven Hoods. Dean Martin died in 1995.

Jerry Lewis went on to sign one of the most lucrative film contracts of the day, a $10 million deal for 14 films with Paramount. Lewis' films, including Cinderfella (1960) and The Nutty Professor (1963), failed to attract much praise from American critics but made him a star in France, where he has long been considered a comic genius. After a long absence from film, he gave an acclaimed performance in the 1986 film The King of Comedy, co-starring Robert De Niro.

Cassandra Peterson is born
September 17, 1951. The actress s best known for her on-screen horror hostess character Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
She gained fame on Los Angeles television station KHJ wearing a black, gothic, cleavage-enhancing gown as host of Movie Macabre, a weekly horror movie presentation. Her wickedly vampish appearance was offset by her comical character, quirky/quick-witted personality, and valley girl-type speech.

Jonathan Southworth “John” Ritter was born September 17, 1948. Best known for playing Jack Tripper in the ABC sitcom Three's Company. Ritter was born and raised in Burbank, California, the son of Dorothy Fay (nĂ©e Southworth), an actress, and singing-cowboy/matinee-star Tex Ritter. He attended Hollywood High School, where he was Student Body President. He went on to the University of Southern California, where he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) fraternity, majored in psychology and minored in architecture.

On September 11, 2003, Ritter felt ill while rehearsing scenes for a season 2 episode of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. He was taken across the street to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, where he died later that day. The cause of his death was an aortic dissection caused by a previously undiagnosed congenital heart defect. His father had died of a heart attack almost thirty years earlier. Years later Ritter's wife testified in court that he had concerns for his own health because of the cause of his father's death. He was buried at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.
September 17, 1965
The Smothers Brothers Show, the first TV series featuring comedians Tom and Dick Smothers, debuts.
The sitcom featured elder brother Dick as a publishing executive pestered by the ghost of his brother, Tom. The show lasted only one season. However, the brothers were back in 1967 with their comedy variety show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which became the most popular show on television during its two-year run. CBS abruptly cancelled the show at the height of its popularity after a series of censorship disputes with the brothers.


June Foray born September 18, 1917.

The voice actress, best known as the voice of many popular animated characters (particularly Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Cindy Lou Who and Granny). Her long and prolific career has encompassed radio, theatrical shorts, feature films, television, record albums (particularly with Stan Freberg), video games, talking toys and other media. Foray was also one of the founding members of ASIFA-Hollywood, the society devoted to promoting and encouraging animation.

September 18, 1955
Ed Sullivan's popular talk show, originally called Toast of the Town, changes its name to The Ed Sullivan Show.
Sullivan was so closely identified with the show, which first aired in 1948, that most Americans already called the program "Ed Sullivan." Among the many celebrities who made their TV debut on the show were Bob Hope, Lena Horne, the Beatles, and Walt Disney. Elvis also made several high-profile appearances, in 1956 and 1957. CBS cancelled the program in 1971.

William James "Bill" Murray is born September 21, 1950. The Academy Award nominated comedian and actor gained national exposure on Saturday Night Live, and went on to star in films including Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Sunday, September 20, 2009

And the Emmys went to...



ACADEMY OF TELEVISION ARTS & SCIENCES
61ST PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
KRISTIN CHENOWETH as Olive Snook ABC
Pushing Daisies

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
MATT HUBBARD, Writer NBC
30 Rock
Reunion

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
JON CRYER as Alan Harper CBS
Two And A Half Men

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
TONI COLLETTE as Tara Gregson SHOWTIME
United States Of Tara

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
JEFFREY BLITZ, Director NBC
The Office
Stress Relief

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
ALEC BALDWIN as Jack Donaghy NBC
30 Rock

OUTSTANDING HOST FOR A REALITY OR REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM
JEFF PROBST, Host CBS
Survivor

OUTSTANDING REALITY – COMPETITION PROGRAM
THE AMAZING RACE CBS
Bertram van Munster, Executive Producer
Jerry Bruckheimer, Executive Producer
Jonathan Littman, Executive Producer
Hayma "Screech" Washington, Executive Producer
Elise Doganieri, Co-Executive Producer
Amy Nabseth Chacon, Co-Executive Producer
Mark Vertullo, Co-Executive Producer
Matt Schmidt, Supervising Producer
Jarratt Carson, Supervising Producer
Evan Weinstein, Supervising Producer
Giselle Parets, Senior Producer
Michael Norton, Senior Producer
Patrick Cariaga, Senior Producer
Phil Keoghan, Producer

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE
SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO as Sajida HBO
House Of Saddam

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR A MOVIE
KEN HOWARD as Phelan Beale HBO
Grey Gardens

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR A MOVIE
BRENDAN GLEESON as Winston Churchill HBO
Into The Storm

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A MINISERIES, MOVIE OR A DRAMATIC SPECIAL
ANDREW DAVIES, Writer PBS
Little Dorrit

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A MINISERIES, MOVIE OR A DRAMATIC SPECIAL
DEARBHLA WALSH, Director PBS
Little Dorrit
Part 1

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR A MOVIE
JESSICA LANGE as Big Edie HBO
Grey Gardens

OUTSTANDING MADE FOR TELEVISION MOVIE
GREY GARDENS HBO
Lucy Barzun Donnelly, Executive Producer
Rachael Horovitz, Executive Producer
Michael Sucsy, Executive Producer
David Coatsworth, Produced By

OUTSTANDING MINISERIES
LITTLE DORRIT PBS
Anne Pivcevic, Executive Producer
Rebecca Eaton, Executive Producer
Lisa Osborne, Producer

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY, MUSIC OR COMEDY SERIES
BRUCE GOWERS, Director FOX
American Idol
Show 833 (The Final Three)

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY, MUSIC OR COMEDY SERIES
STEVE BODOW, Head Writer COMEDY CENTRAL
JON STEWART, Writer
DAVID JAVERBAUM, Writer
JOSH LIEB, Writer
RORY ALBANESE, Writer
KEVIN BLEYER, Writer
JASON ROSS, Writer
TIM CARVELL, Writer
JOHN OLIVER, Writer
SAM MEANS, Writer
ROB KUTNER, Writer
J.R. HAVLAN, Writer
RICH BLOMQUIST, Writer
WYATT CENAC, Writer
ELLIOTT KALAN, Writer
RACHEL AXLER, Writer
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL MUSIC & LYRICS
WILLIAM ROSS, Original Music ABC
JOHN KIMBROUGH, Original Music
DAN HARMON, Original Lyrics
ROB SCHRAB, Original Lyrics
BEN SCHWARTZ, Original Lyrics
81st Annual Academy Awards
Song Title: Hugh Jackman Opening Number

OUTSTANDING VARIETY, MUSIC OR COMEDY SERIES
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART COMEDY CENTRAL
Jon Stewart, Executive Producer/Host
David Javerbaum, Executive Producer
Rory Albanese, Executive Producer
Josh Lieb, Executive Producer
Kahane Corn, Co-Executive Producer
Jennifer Flanz, Supervising Producer
Jim Margolis, Supervising Producer
Steve Bodow, Supervising Producer
Adam Lowitt, Supervising Producer
Jill Katz, Producer

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
MICHAEL EMERSON as Ben Linus ABC
Lost

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
CHERRY JONES as President Allison Taylor FOX
24

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
ROD HOLCOMB, Director NBC
ER
And In The End

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
KATER GORDON, Writer AMC
MATTHEW WEINER, Writer
Mad Men
Meditations In An Emergency

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
GLENN CLOSE as Patty Hewes FX NETWORKS
Damages

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
BRYAN CRANSTON as Walter White AMC
Breaking Bad

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
30 ROCK NBC
Lorne Michaels, Executive Producer
Tina Fey, Executive Producer
Marci Klein, Executive Producer
David Miner, Executive Producer
Robert Carlock, Executive Producer
John Riggi, Co-Executive Producer
Jack Burditt, Co-Executive Producer
Ron Weiner, Co-Executive Producer
Matt Hubbard, Supervising Producer
Jeff Richmond, Supervising Producer
Don Scardino, Producer
Jerry Kupfer, Producer

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
MAD MEN AMC
Matthew Weiner, Executive Producer
Scott Hornbacher, Co-Executive Producer
André Jacquemetton, Supervising Producer
Maria Jacquemetton, Supervising Producer
Lisa Albert, Supervising Producer

Saturday, September 19, 2009

TV CONFIDENTIAL, premiering Monday, Sept. 21

Your favorite TV theme songs will be the topic of discussion on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, premiering Monday, Sept. 21 at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio, with a rebroadcast Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 11pm ET, 8pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org. Our guest this week will be Jon Burlingame, music writer for Daily Variety and Film Score Monthly and author of TV's Biggest Hits: The Story of Television Themes from Dragnet to Friends. Jon's book is hands down the most comprehensive resource there is on the subject of TV themes, filled with behind-the-scenes stories of the many great composers responsible for our favorite television music. Get ready to test your TV M.Q. (Television Musical Quotient) when Jon joins us in the studio for our first hour.

If you want to be part of this week's program, if you have a favorite TV theme that you can never get tired of hearing, join us for our live broadcast, premiering Monday, Sept. 21 at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio. Phone number is (888) 746-5875 (or 888 SHOKUS-5). If you have questions or comments you'd like to send in advance, our email address is talk@tvconfidential.net.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: The Guiding Light - Lights Out

Here is another "Mental Sorbet" that we could use to momentarily forget about those things that leave a bad taste in our mouths.

Guiding Light (known as The Guiding Light prior to 1975) is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the longest-running soap opera and the longest running drama in television and radio history. It aired on radio from January 25, 1937 to June 29, 1956 and debuted on CBS Television on June 30, 1952. The final story airs on CBS on September 18, 2009. It is also the longest running broadcast program of any kind (72 years), across both radio and then television mediums, in history, being first broadcast five days after President Franklin D Roosevelt's second inauguration.

Morley Safer interviews the actors and writers behind broadcasting's longest running drama, "Guiding Light," as they celebrate the soap's incredible run and discuss its cancellation after 72 years.

Watch CBS Videos Online

The show's title refers to a lamp in the study of Reverend Dr. John Ruthledge, a major character when The Guiding Light debuted in 1937, that family and residents could see as a sign for them to find help when needed.

CBS announced on April 1, 2009 that the series was being canceled due to low ratings. Guiding Light will air it's final episode today. The show taped its final episode on August 11, 2009.

"Light Out".

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Poem by Henry Gibson


Flowers

(Flowers have always been the motivating force of my life)

They are not all flower children, All those that use the name.
A lot are just imposters, Playin' at the game.
Beware (beware), Beware (beware) Of artificial flowers, They may be nice to look at, But they're dead and can not grow.
Beware (beware), Beware (beware) Of artificial flowers.
They're plastic up on top, And they're wire down below.
The real flower children Are filled with love.
Phonies, they just scoff at love - Their hearts are made of wood.
Beware (beware), Beware (beware) Of artificial flowers, They may be nice to look at, But they're dead and can not grow.
Beware (beware), Beware (beware) Of artificial flowers.
They're plastic up on top, And they're wire down below.
True blue flower children Do not act strange or queer.
They know the world has got to change, And it must start right here.
Beware (beware), Beware (beware) Of artificial flowers, They may be nice to look at, But they're dead and can not grow.
Beware (beware), Beware (beware) Of artificial flowers.
They're plastic up on top, And they're wire down below.
Instead of flowers, donations may be made to the Screen Actors Guild Foundation and Friends of the Malibu Public Library.
Good Night Mr. Gibson
Stay Tuned
Tony Figueroa

Mary Travers

Singer-songwriter Mary Allin Travers is best known as a member of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, along with Peter Yarrow and Noel "Paul" Stookey. Peter, Paul and Mary was one of the most successful folk-singing groups of the 1960s. Almost unique among the folk musicians who emerged from the Greenwich Village scene in the early 1960s.

Travers was diagnosed with leukemia. Although a bone-marrow transplant was apparently successful in beating the disease, Travers died yesterday, at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, from complications arising from chemotherapy. She was 72 years old.
The group's first album, "Peter, Paul and Mary" came out in 1962 and immediately scored hits with their versions of If I Had a Hammer and Lemon Tree. The former won them Grammys for best folk recording and best performance by a vocal group.Their next album, Moving, included the hit tale of innocence lost, Puff (The Magic Dragon), which reached No. 2 on the charts and generated since-discounted reports that it was an ode to marijuana.The trio's third album, In the Wind, featured three songs by the 22-year-old Bob Dylan. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right and Blowin' in the Wind reached the top 10, bringing Dylan's material to a massive audience; the latter shipped 300,000 copies during one two-week period.

Good Night Mary

Stayed Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, September 14, 2009

This week in Television History: September 2009 PART II

Listen to me next week on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE every other Monday at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio. The program will then be repeated Tuesday through Sunday at the same time (10pm ET, 7pm PT) on Shokus Radio for the next two weeks, and then will be posted on line at our archives page at TVConfidential.net.
As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.

Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar was born. The comic actor and writer known best as the star of the 1950s television series Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour. Caesar began his television career when he made an appearance on Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theater. In early 1949, Sid and Max met with Pat Weaver, vice president of television at NBC (and father of Sigourney Weaver), which led to Caesar's appearance in his first series The Admiral Broadway Revue with Imogene Coca. The Friday show, simultaneously broadcast on NBC and the DuMont network (in order for the show to be carried on the only TV station then operating in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania- DuMont's WDTV- the sponsor had to agree to a simulcast) was an immediate success, but its sponsor, Admiral, an appliance company, could not keep up with the demand for its new television sets, so the show was cancelled after 26 weeks on account of its runaway success. According to Sid, an Admiral executive later told him the company had the choice of building a new factory, or continuing their sponsorship of the Revue for another season.






On February 23, 1950, Caesar appeared in the first episode of Your Show of Shows, a Saturday night 90-minute variety program produced by Max Liebman. The show launched Caesar into instant stardom and was a mix of scripted and improvised comedy, movie, and television satires, Caesar's inimitable double-talk monologues, top musical guests, and large production numbers. The impressive guest list included: Jackie Cooper, Robert Preston, Rex Harrison, Eddie Albert, Michael Redgrave, Basil Rathbone, Charlton Heston, Geraldine Page, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Pearl Bailey, Fred Allen, Benny Goodman, Lena Horne and many other big stars of the time. It was also responsible for bringing together one of the best comedy teams in television history: Sid, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, and Imogene Coca. Many prominent writers, denizens of the famed Writer's Room, also got their start creating the show's madcap sketches, including Lucille Kallen, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Michael Stewart, Mel Tolkin, and Larry Gelbart. Sid Caesar won his first Emmy in 1952. In 1951 and 1952, he was voted the United States' Best Comedian by Motion Picture Daily's TV poll. The show ended after 160 episodes on June 5, 1954. Just a few months later, Sid Caesar returned with Caesar's Hour, a one-hour sketch/variety show with Morris, Reiner, a young Bea Arthur, and much of the seasoned crew. Nanette Fabray replaced Imogene Coca who left to star in her own short-lived series. Ultimate creative and technical control was now totally in Caesar's hands. The show moved to the larger Century Theater, which allowed longer, more sophisticated productions and the weekly budget doubled to $125,000. The premier on September 27, 1954 featured Gina Lollobrigida.
Contemporary movies, foreign movies, theater, television shows and even opera all became targets of satire by the writing team, whose frenetic and competitive spirit produced some of the best comedy in television history. Often the publicity generated by the sketches boosted the box office of the original productions. Some notable sketches included: From Here to Obscurity (From Here to Eternity), Aggravation Boulevard (Sunset Boulevard), Hat Basterson (Bat Masterson), and No West For the Wicked (Stagecoach). Even silent movies were parodied, which showed off the impressive pantomime skills of the entire ensemble. They also performed some recurring sketches. The Hickenloopers were television's first bickering couple, predating The Honeymooners. As "The Professor", Caesar was the daffy expert who bluffed his way through his interviews with earnest roving reporter Carl Reiner. In its various incarnations, "The Professor" could be Gut von Fraidykat (mountain-climbing expert), Ludwig von Spacebrain (space expert), or Ludwig von Henpecked (marriage expert). Later, "The Professor" evolved into Mel Brooks' famous "The Two Thousand Year Old Man". The most prominent recurring sketch on the show was "The Commuters", featuring Caesar, Reiner and Morris involved with everyday working and suburban life situations.
Caesar's Hour was followed by Sid Caesar Invites You, briefly reuniting Caesar and Coca in 1958, and in 1963 with several As Caesar Sees It specials, which evolved into the 1963-'64 Sid Caesar Show, which alternated with Edie Adams in Here's Edie. Caesar also teamed up with Edie Adams in the Broadway show Little Me, a successful Neil Simon play, with choreography by Bob Fosse and music by Cy Coleman in which Sid played eight parts with 32 costume changes. Caesar and Edie Adams played a husband and wife drawn into a mad race to find buried money in the mega-movie-comedy It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

September 8, 1966
Star Trek premieres. Although Star Trek ran for only three years and never placed better than No. 52 in the ratings, Gene Roddenberry's series became a cult classic and spawned four television series and ten movies.
The first Star Trek spin-off was a Saturday morning cartoon, The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek, which ran from 1973 to 1975 (original cast members supplied the voices). The TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation first aired in 1987 and was set in the 24th century, starring the crew of the new, larger U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D, captained by Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart). This series became the highest-rated syndicated drama on television and ran until 1994.
Another spin-off, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, premiered in 1992, featuring a 24th-century crew that lived in a space station rather than a starship. Star Trek: Voyager, which debuted in 1995 and ran until 2001, was the first to feature a female captain, Kathryn Janeway (played by Kate Mulgrew). In this series, the crew of the U.S.S. Voyager is stranded more than 70,000 light years from Federation space and is trying to find its way home. The final spin-off to air on TV was Enterprise, which premiered in the United States on September 26, 2001. The final two episodes of that show aired in May 2005.

September 9, 1956



Elvis Presley sang "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog" on Ed Sullivan's immensely popular show Toast of the Town. Presley scandalized audiences with his suggestive hip gyrations, and Sullivan swore he would never book the singer on his show. However, Presley's tremendous popularity and success on other shows changed Sullivan's mind. Although Elvis had appeared on a few other programs already, his appearance on Ed Sullivan's show made him a household name.

September 10, 1993
The science fiction series The X-Files premiered. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson stared. Duchovny played FBI agent Fox Mulder and Anderson played Dana Scully, a skeptical doctor. A cult hit, the show attracted an enormous following of loyal viewers. An X-Files movie was released in 1998. David Duchovny left the show in the 2001 season and was replaced by Robert Patrick, who played agent John Doggett.

Stand-up comedian and friend of TV CONFIDENTIAL Tom Dreesen was born September 11, 1942 . Dreesen grew up in Harvey, Illinois, south of Chicago. His family was one of the few white families in a largely African American community. While working as an insurance salesman in 1968, he met Tim Reid through a local Jaycee chapter, and the two teamed up to form the first biracial stand-up comedy duo in the United States.
Though their material is now considered cutting-edge for its time, the pair struggled to make a living together and split up in the mid-1970s. However, each found individual success: while Reid landed a role on WKRP in Cincinnati, Dreesen became a regular on The Tonight Show and toured as Frank Sinatra's opening act. In 1989, Dreesen released a comedy album through Flying Fish Records called That White Boy's Crazy. The album was recorded in front of an all-black audience in Harvey, Illinois. Dreesen gives generously of his time helping struggling comics devoting a great deal of time to charities and benefits. He founded a "Day for Darlene", to benefit Multiple Sclerosis research. The occasion is named for his late sister who was afflicted with the disease. An ex GI, Tom performs on military bases all over the world and recently performed for our troops on bases throughout Iraq. On May 15, 2005 he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award for his humanitarian services to his country.In 2008, Dreesen, Reid, and former Chicago Sun-Times sportswriter Ron Rapoport collaborated on the book Tim & Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White . On July 13, 2009 Mr. Dreesen joined us in the second hour as TV Confidential launched its second season from its new broadcast home in the studios of Shokus Internet Radio.

September 12, 1963
Leave It to Beaver aired its last episode. The typical 1950s wholesome family comedy presented the lives of the Cleaver family from the perspective of young Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver (Jerry Mathers). The clan included parents June (Barbara Billingsley) and Ward (Hugh Beaumont), and older brother Wally (Tony Dow). The show enjoyed much popularity in reruns and a revival in the 1980s as The New Leave It to Beaver .


In a 1983 television special, Still the Beaver returned after a twenty year absence from prime-time. Hugh Beaumont's death in 1982 was integrated into the script as a tribute to fatherhood.

September 13, 1969
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! the first in a series of Scooby-Doo cartoons premiered on CBS.



The original series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, was created for Hanna-Barbera Productions by writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, CBS executive Fred Silverman, and character designer Iwao Takamoto. The show centers around four kids, whom were unofficially called "Mystery Inc." whose hobby was mystery solving. The basic premise remained unchanged through the many series of the franchise: criminal activities were covered up as faux supernatural events with red herrings and clues leading up to the eventual undoing. The meddlesome kids were Fred Jones is the stocky, straight-laced member; Daphne Blake, beautiful but danger-prone red-head; Velma Dinkley, the pudgy, bespectacled brains of the outfit; Norville "Shaggy" Rogers, the pencil-thin chow hound and the star of the show, the gangly, bow-legged Great Dane Scooby-Doo.
The original voice cast featured veteran voice actor Don Messick as Scooby-Doo, Top 40 radio DJ Casey Kasem as Shaggy, actor Frank Welker as Fred, actress Nicole Jaffe as Velma, and musician Indira Stefanianna Christopherson as Daphne.

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday Scooby

That's 280 in dog years.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! the first in a series of Scooby-Doo cartoons premiered on CBS.



The original series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, was created for Hanna-Barbera Productions by writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, CBS executive Fred Silverman, and character designer Iwao Takamoto. The show centers around four kids, whom were unofficially called "Mystery Inc." whose hobby was mystery solving. The basic premise remained unchanged through the many series of the franchise: criminal activities were covered up as faux supernatural events with red herrings and clues leading up to the eventual undoing. The meddlesome kids were Fred Jones is the stocky, straight-laced member; Daphne Blake, beautiful but danger-prone red-head; Velma Dinkley, the pudgy, bespectacled brains of the outfit; Norville "Shaggy" Rogers, the pencil-thin chow hound and the star of the show, the gangly, bow-legged Great Dane Scooby-Doo.
The original voice cast featured veteran voice actor Don Messick as Scooby-Doo, Top 40 radio DJ Casey Kasem as Shaggy, actor Frank Welker as Fred, actress Nicole Jaffe as Velma, and musician Indira Stefanianna Christopherson as Daphne.

"R-okay Raggy!" - Scooby"

Pizza, my favorite hobby" - Shaggy

"Like, zoinks!" - Shaggy

"Wow, funny faces" - Scooby"

Rats Roovy" - Scoobs

"I'm the cloaked cavalier!" - Shaggy

"yeah, yeah" - Scooby

"I don't like looking for clues anymore" - Velma

"That's all for me fans" - Shaggy

"How do you like that. Old Scooby has got him on the run!" - Fred

"What a ham" - Velma

"Rut-ro Shaggy" - Scooby"

Let's split up" - Fred

"Man, this is like dark in this tunnel" - Shaggy

"The girls and I will go this way, Shaggy, you and Scooby check out the basement." - Fred

"money, money, money" - a witch

"I would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling kids" - Bad Guys

"There she goes again, Danger prone Daphne" - Velma

"Gulp!" - Shaggy

"I'm hungry" - Scooby and Shaggy

"Jinkies!" - Velma

"Rooby rack?!" - Scooby Doo

"rut ro Shaggy" - Scooby

"Rooby Rooby roo!!!" - Scooby

"I lost my glasses again" - Velma

"Like, it's old pumpkin' puss" - Shaggy

"Ro-boy-o-boy-o-boy" - Scooby

"I've only got one Scooby snack left" - Velma

"Zoinks...we've landed on the tail of a whale" - Shaggy

"If we figure that out, we'll be halfway towards solving this mystery" - Fred

"I'm starved, is there a kitchen somewhere" - Shaggy

"Ree hee hee" - Scooby

"I feel like a side of beef" - Fred

"When it comes to checkin', we're chicken!" - Shaggy

"Shaggy, sometimes I think you'd rather eat pizza pie than solve a mystery." - Daphne

"What would a ghost from outerspace want with yesterday's newspaper?" - Fred


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa