Friday, June 28, 2013

Your Mental Sorbet: Jon Stewart with Bassem Youssef in Egypt لقاء باسم يوسف مع جون ستيوارت

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

While Jon Stewart is in the Middle East to direct the film "Rosewater," he visited his Egyptian counterpart Bassem Youssef on Al Bernameg (The Program
The 20-minute clip of his appearance above is in both Arabic and English, with the bulk of Stewart's interview in English.

Youssef has previously been a guest on The Daily Show twice, most recently in April of this year to discuss his arrest for allegedly insulting Islam and Egypt's President Morsi on his program.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Thursday, June 27, 2013

TV CONFIDENTIAL Archives: Week of June 19-25, 2013

Show No. 189 with guests Channing Chase and Peggy King
Original Airdate: Week of June 19-25, 2013
First hour: Ed welcomes singer, actress and radio talk show host Peggy King (Off the Cuff). Peggy began her career in radio as a vocalist during the Big Band era before moving into television, including appearances on The Jack Benny Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Today Show, The Tonight Show, and The Hallmark Hall of Fame, plus starring roles in “The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill” (a famous episode of Maverick) and Zero Hour (the 1957 cult classic that served as the inspiration for Airplane!), and a regular stint on The George Gobel Show.  

Second hour: Ed welcomes stage and film actress Channing Chase, aka Dorothy “Dot” Campbell on AMC’s Mad Men. Also in this hour: Tony Figueroa and Donna Allen with an expanded edition of This Week of TV History that includes a look at the life and career of comedian George Carlin.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bob Hope, Tony Soprano and The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Next on TVC

Comedy writer Bob Mills and pop culture journalist Jennifer Armstrong will join us on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing June 26-July 2 at the following times and venues:

WROM Radio
Detroit, MI
Wednesday 6/26
8pm ET, 5pm PT
2am ET, 11pm PT
Sunday 6/30
8pm ET, 5pm PT
2am ET, 11pm PT
Click on the Listen Live button at

Indiana Talks
Marion, IN
Wednesday 6/26
11pm ET, 8pm PT
with replays at various times throughout the week
Click on the player at
or use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in Indiana Talks

Share-a-Vision Radio
San Francisco Bay Area
Friday 6/28
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT
Click on the Listen Live button at
or use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in KSAV

Talktainment Radio
Columbus, OH
Thursday 6/27
2am ET, 11pm PT
Friday 6/28
3am ET, Midnight PT
Noon ET, 9am PT
Click on the Listen Live button at

KKYT 93.7 FM The Coyote
Ridgecrest, CA
Sunday 6/30
9pm PT
Monday 7/1
Midnight ET
Click on the Listen Live button at
or use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in KKYT

KHMB Radio 1710 AM
Half Moon Bay, CA
Sunday 6/30
9pm PT
Monday 7/1
Midnight ET
Click on the Listen Live button at
or use the Live365 app on your smartphone and type in KHMB

The Radio Slot Network
San Francisco, CA
Monday 7/1
9pm ET, 6pm PT
with replays at various times throughout the week
Click on the Talk Slot button at

Passionate World Radio
Ann Arbor, MI
Tuesday 7/2
9:30pm ET, 6:30pm PT
with replays at various times throughout the week at
Click on the Listen Now button at

Bob Mills spent more than two decades as a comedy writer in network television, first as a staff writer with the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts in 1976, before beginning a 15-year stint as a staff writer for Bob Hope throughout the ’80s and early 1990s. Bob’s book, The Laugh Makers, not only provides great insight into Bob Hope, the comic and the person, but also takes you behind the series of the final decade of the network TV variety show, while also paying tribute to the “gag men” and “gag women” who made it happen.

Bob Hope was age 75 when Bob started writing for him — and yet, in many respects, the legendary comedian was just beginning to hit his stride as a performer. We’ll talk about that, and more, when Bob Mills joins us in our second hour.
Former Entertainment Weekly staff writer Jennifer Armstrong will join Tony Figueroa and Donna Allen in our first hour for a roundtable discussion on the career of Emmy Award-winning actor James Gandolfini and the impact of The Sopranos on network and cable television. We’ll also continue our look at The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its influence on TV today. Jennifer’s books include Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted and All the Brilliant Minds Who Made....

For our listeners in Southern California, Jennifer Armstrong will be appearing at Book Soup, along with Mary Tyler Moore Show writer Treva Silverman, on Tuesday, July 9, beginning at 7pm. Jennifer will also appear at the Pop Hop Bookshop in Los Angeles on Thursday, July 11, also beginning at 7pm.

TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
Wed and Sun 8pm ET, 5pm PT on WROM Radio
Wed 11pm ET, 8pm PT on
Fri 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio,
Fri Noon ET, 9am PT on Talktainment Radio
Sun 9pm PT, Mon Midnight ET on KKYT 93.7 FM The Coyote (Ridgecrest, Calif.)
Sun 9pm PT, Mon Midnight ET on KHMB Radio 1710 AM (Half Moon Bay, Calif.)
Mon 9pm ET, 6pm PT on The Radio Slot Network
Tue 9:30pm ET, 6:30pm PT on Passionate World Radio
Tape us now, listen to us later, using
Also available as a podcast via iTunes, FeedBurner
and now on your mobile phone via
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Monday, June 24, 2013

This Week in Television History: June 2013 PART IV

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:
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.

June 25, 1993
Last night of Late Night with David Letterman. On this day in 1993, Late Night with David Letterman airs its last episode. Offbeat comic Letterman, passed over by NBC for the host seat on The Tonight Show after Johnny Carson's retirement, left the network to launch a rival show on CBS.
David Letterman was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1947. From an early age, he aspired to host his own talk show. He became a stand-up comic and a wacky weatherman on a local TV station. After years on the stand-up comedy circuit, he made his first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1978 and served as the program's guest host 50 times. In 1980, Letterman had a short-lived morning variety show, The David Letterman Show, which won two Emmys.
He launched his popular late-night TV show in 1982. His offbeat humor and goofy stunts spoofed traditional talk shows. Antics like wearing a Velcro suit and throwing himself at a wall or tossing eggs into a giant electric fan, Letterman gained a large following, especially among college students. Regular features included his "Top Ten List," "Stupid Pet Tricks," and tours of the neighborhood. He also frequently wandered with his camera into other NBC shows in progress. Over more than 11 years, the show won five Emmys and 35 nominations.
When Carson announced his retirement in 1992, Letterman and rival comic Jay Leno engaged in a heated battle for the coveted host slot. When Letterman was passed over, he left NBC for CBS, where his new program, Late Show, outperformed Leno's show almost every week in its first year. However, Leno pulled ahead the following year and maintained a strong lead. Letterman underwent emergency heart surgery in 2000 and was off the show for five weeks. In recent years, Leno's lead over Letterman in viewership has slimmed.

June 27, 1968 
Elvis Presley tapes his famous TV "comeback special"

There was quite a bit more than just 12 years and a few extra pounds separating the Elvis Presley of 1968 from the Elvis that set the world on fire in 1956. With a nearly decade-long string of forgettable movies and inconsistent recordings behind him, Elvis had drifted so far from his glorious, youthful incarnation that he'd turned himself into a historical artifact without any help from the Beatles, Bob Dylan or the Stones. And then something amazing happened: A television special for NBC that Elvis' manager Colonel Tom Parker envisioned as an Andy Williams-like sequence of Christmas carol performances instead became a thrilling turning point in Elvis's legendary career. Elvis began taping his legendary "Comeback Special" on this day in 1968.

Much of the credit for the Comeback Special goes to the young director NBC turned to on the project. Only 26 years old but with a strong background in televised music, Steve Binder had the skills and creativity to put together a more interesting program than the one originally planned, but he'd also had the youthful confidence to tell Elvis that a successful show was an absolute necessity if he wanted to regain his relevance. "Basically, I told him I thought his career was in the toilet," Binder recalled in an interview almost four decades later. From the beginning, Elvis embraced almost every suggestion Binder made, including what would turn out to be the best one, which came after Binder watched Elvis jamming with his friends and fellow musicians in his dressing room one night after rehearsals. "Wait a minute, this is history," Binder recalls thinking. "I want to film this." Binder sold Elvis on the idea that would become the most memorable segment of the show: an informal, "unplugged" session before a live audience.
Elvis went to Hawaii with his wife, Priscilla, and their infant daughter, Lisa Marie, in the weeks leading up to the taping, and when he returned, he was tanned, rested and thinner than he'd been at any time since leaving the Army. "He was totally keyed up now, on edge in a way he had rarely been since abandoning live performing a decade before," writes Peter Guralnick in Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, the second volume of his Elvis biography. "His professionalism continued to be noted by the entire crew...but there was something else now, too. For the first time in a long time he didn't bother to hide the fact that he really cared."
When Elvis took to the stage on this night in 1968 to record the "jam session" portion of the Comeback Special, he did so only after Binder talked him out of a last-minute case of stage fright. After a nervous start, Elvis Presley gave the legendary performance that would reinvigorate his flagging career.

June 29, 1978
Bob Crane was found bludgeoned to death.
On the afternoon of June 29 Crane's co-star Victoria Ann Berry found his body in his apartment after he failed to show up for a lunch meeting. Crane had been bludgeoned to death with a weapon that was never found, though investigators believed it to be a camera tripod. An electrical cord had been tied around his neck. 

Crane's funeral was held on July 5 at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Westwood. An estimated 200 family members and friends attended, including Patty Duke, John Astin, and Carroll O'Connor. Pallbearers included Hogan's Heroes producer Edward Feldman, co-stars Larry Hovis and Robert Clary, and Crane's eldest son, Robert. Crane was interred in Oakwood Memorial Park in Chatsworth, California.
More than 20 years after his death, Crane's widow, Sigrid Valdis, had his remains exhumed and transported approximately 25 miles southeast to Westwood Village Memorial Park in Westwood. After her death from lung cancer in 2007, Valdis was buried next to him.
According to an episode of A&E's Cold Case Files, police officers who arrived at the scene of the crime noted that Carpenter called the apartment several times and did not seem surprised that the police were there, which raised suspicions. The car Carpenter had rented the previous day was impounded. In it, several blood smears were found that matched Crane's blood type. DNA testing was not available at that time. Due to insufficient evidence, Maricopa County Attorney Charles F. Hyder declined to file charges.
In 1990 the Maricopa County Attorney re-opened Crane's murder case; investigators reexamined and retested the evidence found in June 1978. Although DNA testing of the blood found in Carpenter's rental car was inconclusive, Detective Jim Raines discovered an evidence photograph of the car's interior that appeared to show a piece of brain tissue. The blood and tissue samples themselves, which had been found in Carpenter's car the day after Crane's murder, had been lost; but an Arizona judge ruled that the new evidence was admissible.  In June 1992 Carpenter was arrested and charged with Crane's murder.
At Carpenter's 1994 trial Crane's son Robert testified that in the weeks before his father's death, Crane had repeatedly expressed a desire to sever his friendship with Carpenter. Carpenter had become, "a hanger-on," he said, and "a nuisance to the point of being obnoxious". The night before his death, Crane reportedly called Carpenter and ended their friendship. 
Defense attorneys attacked the prosecution's case as circumstantial and inconclusive. They denied the claim that Carpenter and Crane were on bad terms just before the slaying, and they labeled the determination that a camera tripod was the murder weapon as sheer speculation, based on Carpenter's occupation. They also disputed the claim that the rediscovered photo showed brain tissue, noting that authorities did not have the tissue itself. The defense pointed out that Crane had been videotaped and photographed in compromising sexual positions with numerous women, implying that a jealous person or someone fearing blackmail might have been the killer.
Carpenter was found not guilty. He maintained his innocence until his death on September 4, 1998. Crane's murder remains officially unsolved.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa