The Weekly Pulse: Mr. Coogan's Groove Tube Update

I can’t believe Inside Pulse TV has already been open a week! It feels more like two!

By the way, please email me. I love feedback and will include it in my columns…

The Opening Credits: Oodles of links

** Murtz welcomes us to the TV Pulse and tells us what’s coming up the pike. It’s kind of like a motivational speech!

** I stand behind my list of
The Top 25 TV Characters of the last 25 years no matter what you have to say about it. You should read it before you yell at me though.

** ‘Survivor: Africa’s’ Jesse Camacho makes her Inside Pulse debut, albeit it’s a remarkably brief one. At least there’s a link to her Web site.

** Ben Morse of The Comics Nexus secures a major coup for Inside Pulse by getting his hands on advance copy of the WB’s new series ‘Jack & Bobby’ and reviewing it. He and his girlfriend Megan seem to think the same thing as the other critics: They like it.

** Hey Cheri! Did you know your Time Warner Cable DVR can record two programs at the same time? It has to be one of the channels you’re recording when you do that, but it’s great if you are leaving the house for any reason! I love the DVR too. It will be even better when Time Warner develops a box that holds more than 35 hours of programming.

** Speaking of the DVR, it sounds like Sarah Quigley explains that she is a gossip whore and that’s why she’ll be a good ‘Survivor’ columnist. I believe her.

** Bob Reiss has a lot to say about a lot of stuff.

** Don’t forget about the immortal Scott Keith who will be a contributor to Inside Pulse TV. Glad to have you aboard man!

** Carlos, Dan, and Patrick talk about the upcoming season of ‘Survivor.’ And they do it a lot.

** It’s pretty obvious Murrey was one of the million-plus people to buy a ‘Family Guy: Season 1’ DVD as he brings his talents to ‘Inside Pulse.’ Atta boy.

TV NEWS

Just what we need… another cop show…

Fresh off last week’s announcement that Ray Liotta would be guest starring in a November sweeps episode of NBC’s ‘ER,’ this week’s announcement is that NBC has ordered a pilot for a police drama entitled ‘Criminal Behavior’ starring the former Goodfellas actor. As of now, the peacock has only ordered a pilot and has not any additional episodes. That means the network hasn’t added the show anywhere in its schedule. I’m hoping they come to their senses and not bother.

According to a detailed article on Zap2it.com, the show will revolve around a special unit of a police department designed specifically to track at-large criminals before they commit additional crimes. The idea was conceived by Jordan Davis, the wife of feature film producer John Davis (Alien Vs. Predator), and the pilot will be written by Shane Salerno (“UC: Undercover”).

Are you kidding me? No… really… is this a joke of some kind? Haven’t the creator, writer, or anyone in the creative department at NBC ever seen one of the 600 episodes of the ‘Law & Order’ franchise in the last decade or so? The original ‘Law & Order’ and ‘Criminal Intent’ really do focus more on the story of one crime and one criminal (or gang of criminals). This relates specifically to ‘Law & Order: SVU’ where at least 25 percent of the series’ episodes focus on catching serial sexually violent criminals where they either rape, mutilate, kill (or some combination of the three) multiple victims before the ‘SVU’ detectives actually ‘catch their man.’ The bottom line is shows with law enforcement agents trying to ‘prevent crime’ aren’t exactly groundbreaking, unique television.

While reading the Zap2it.com article, I did see the following, giving me some hope about the possibilities of the series:

The show will follow the lead character at work and into his turbulent personal life, which is why Salerno is happy to have Liotta as the show’s star.

Ah ha… now we’re getting somewhere. If this show, at least in part, becomes a vehicle for Liotta to develop a character with some deep personal issues or problems that people might want to tune in for every week (vaguely similar to what Vic Mackey deals with on ‘The Shield’), then maybe it can escape from being just another formulaic cop show with people solving assorted crimes. I know everyone will be rooting for that.

Another model show? Well, at least Carmen Electra is involved.

If I told you the title of a new show was going to be ‘Manhunt,’ what would you think the show would be about? I assumed it would be some kind of warped dating show, but I was wrong. It’s ‘America’s Next Top Model’ … but for boys. Unfortunately, the Tyra Banks created UPN show has established the trend and people liked it enough to tune in. So, of course, it has to spawn similar creations since originality is, sadly, generally not the television industry’s strong point.

The show will appear on Bravo and actually debut Wednesday, October 13. Also, it will be hosted by everyone’s favorite nasty Barbie doll, Carmen Electra. As one might expect, the show will be similar to other elimination reality shows, where a large group of contestants will start out (in this case 15) and after a series of ‘fashion industry’ challenges, one or more contestant(s) will get eliminated. The winner will receive a one-year contract with IMG, a top international modeling agency. Hooray!

I’m not exactly sure why people were so interested in ‘America’s Next Top Model’ and therefore would be interested in a show like this. I just don’t find the life of a model all that interesting. In fact, besides the traveling to exotic location, I find it quite depressing. If I my professional field of choice caused me to avoid all contact with fried food at Applebee’s or T.G.I.Fridays, I’d have to considerably rethink that. Seriously though, was it the fact that all the women on the Tyra Banks show were remarkably caddy and would do anything to win? Or was the audience actually interested in what life as model was like? Could someone explain this to me?

More ‘Celebrity Poker’ so soon? Nice!

After the last bloated season of ‘Bravo’s ‘Celebrity Poker Showdown’ where 50 various celebrities came together for two separate tournaments and loads of money being given to assorted charities, I figured I would have to wait a while before I got to see it again. Well, it looks like I was wrong as the new episode will debut October 10, on its new night: Sunday.

According to Zap2it.com, the opening game will feature “Friends” star Matthew Perry ‘ in his second appearance on the show ‘ Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: SVU” and ‘OZ’), Stephen Root (‘NewsRadio’ and Office Space), comic Sarah Silverman and Michael Vartan (‘Alias’).

In addition the Web site’s article said the new tournament will also feature Chevy Chase, former NBA rebounding machine Dennis Rodman, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” stars Cheryl Hines and Jeff Garlin, Macaulay Culkin (Is he old enough?), Angela Bassett, pro skater Tony Hawk and Kathy Griffin, who’s trying to maintain her status as a ‘celebrity.’

I think I’m in the minority, but I enjoy ‘Celebrity Poker Showdown’ more than any of the Poker shows I watch on ESPN and the Travel Channel. I feel that way for four reasons:

1. I like the lack of intensity in these games. Yes, I said that right. I get crazy enough watching the Red Sox and Patriots play and trying to follow along with the myriad of television and film dramas, I don’t need an activity that I partake in with friends and for fun to seem like life or death. The games on the Bravo show are generally breezy in nature and even the most intense moments contain some degree of laughter and enjoyment rather than the feeling like if that guy doesn’t win, he can’t send his kid to college.

2. I’ll be honest with you… I think ESPN’s coverage of ‘The World Series of Poker’ is horrible. That’s because I can’t follow it. I can follow the individual game fine, but I have no idea if I’m ever watching the ‘final table’ or some sort of semi-final table. I’m not sure if the network ever clarifies what part of the tournament viewers are actually watching. When all the repeats across the two main networks are factored in, it’s a waste of time unless you just want to watch a few guys play for a while.

3. Norman Chad seems like a nice enough fellow, but he isn’t very funny and doesn’t add much to the commentary, especially when everyone playing definitely knows more than he does. Meanwhile, ‘Celebrity Poker’ has Phil Gordon, who’s dry but is remarkably effective. More importantly, it’s obvious he knows what he’s talking about. Then there’s Dave Foley who makes funny enough jokes to make his presence acceptable.

4. When else could you possibly see Macaulay Culkin, Dennis Rodman, and Chevy Chase in the same room together?

Well… we finally found Cheri Oteri. But with J.J. Abrams?

It appears J.J. Abrams, creator of ABC’s slick crime drama, ‘Alias’ and the highly anticipated ‘Lost’ appears ready to make his first foray into a full-fledged situation comedy with the highly respected, and largely missing, ‘Saturday Night Live’ alum, Cheri Oteri.

The premise of the show hasn’t been made public as of this moment, but the two key aspects of this story are Abrams abandoning the interestingly quirky dramas he’s become known for in favor of a sitcom and that he’s doing it with Cheri Oteri, who basically dropped of the Earth after leaving ‘SNL’ in 2000.

Abrams is on a roll right now, so he has a little freedom to enter into a different kind of project and not have it hurt that much. Hell, if this doesn’t work out, he can still ‘fall back’ on directing Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 3. He’s got that going for him, which is nice.

Oteri, on the other hand, could use a hit to revive her largely struggling career. Since leaving ‘Saturday Night Live’ and working with the Wayans Brothers on Scary Movie, she’s only done a couple of unsuccessful independent movies and has worked on at least one failed pilot. It’s hard to imagine that she and Will Ferrell used to be the recurring cheerleader characters together on ‘SNL.’ Ferrell has gone on to be a solid A-List comedic actor who has several high profile movies coming up in the next two years and Oteri has largely fallen out of the public eye. She’s definitely a great comedian and deserves just as much success as her former cheering partner has seen.

Why is this news?

Good God I hate it when this type of stuff makes news in the various television circles. TheSmokingGun.com, everyone’s favorite Web site tracking down wacky legal stories involving celebrities and regular people too has discovered that a member of the new ‘The Real World: Philadelphia’ has a record.

According to the site (and its various news stories posted across the Internet), Landon Lueck, 25, of Madison, WI, was arrested in the fall of 2002 (yes, close to three years ago) for ‘harassment of a police animal.’ The story goes that Lueck was at a football game featuring his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin when he got kicked out for being drunk and belligerent. He got arrested when he tried to plead his case and pushed a horse several times that an officer of the law was riding on.

What am I supposed to do with this information? Am I supposed to be outraged that a ‘former criminal’ is on ‘The Real World?’ Normally, this type of information makes the rounds when it pertains to a juicy crime committed or a real high profile personality. However, ‘The Real World: Philadelphia’ has been on once and I know next to nothing about poor Landon Lueck, certainly not enough to give a s*** about some dopey drunken incident from the fall of 2002. The only thing I learned: Landon was kind of perceived as a jock before and this helps that image, because jocks are the ones most likely to pick an unnecessary fight with a horse. Great. Thanks.

The drama that is Ken Jennings

‘ I won’t say anything about it since it’s a supreme spoiler. However, if you’re interested, both Murtz and
I posted news stories about it.

The rest of the news… in 500 words or less…

** ‘Scrubs’ gets more guest stars ‘ They’ve already got Heather Graham for an eight episode guest arc and have had loads of other high profile stars make appearances. Now, they’ve secured Emmy winner, Julianna Margulies of ‘ER’ fame for a two episode appearance. She will play a ‘malpractice lawyer who catches J.D.’s (Zach Braff) eye.’ They’ve also signed Tom Cavanagh (‘Ed’) to come back as J.D.’s brother and deliver the news to J.D. that their father died. Their father was played by John Ritter before he passed away.

** ‘Nip/Tuck’ taken out of jail ‘ Here’s another story that made news and I’m not sure why. The Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution has banned future airings of the racy drama about plastic surgeons in Miami because it’s… well… too racy and the prisoners were getting riled up. Here’s a question: Why do the prisoners in Oregon even have cable to begin with?

** ‘Happy Days’ is coming back! For one night anyway … ‘ According to Zap2it.com, ABC will be holding a 30th Anniversary reunion show It’s set for later this season and will bring together nearly all of the core cast from the long-running show, including Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Anson Williams, Don Most and Erin Moran. Gavin O’Herlihy and Randolph Roberts, who played Richie’s (Howard) older brother Chuck during the show’s first two seasons, will also be on hand, as will series creator Garry Marshall.

Going even further, the article stated Scott “Chachi” Baio, Ted “Roger Phillips” McGinley, Penny “Laverne” Marshall, Cindy “Shirley” Williams, Pat “Arnold” Morita and others who played recurring or regular roles during “Happy Days'” 11-year run will also appear on the special. All I can say is ‘WOW!’ This could be the biggest reunion special in years! And, surprisingly, I’m not being sarcastic!

** Lois Lane goes to ‘Smallville’… well kind of… ‘ Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in the Superman series of movies in the late 1970s and 80s will guest star on the WB drama, ‘Smallville’ which is based on Superman’s life as a young man. According to various sources, Kidder will play Bridgette Crosby, sort of an envoy to Dr. Swann, a nice little twist, since Swann has been played by Kidder’s big screen love interest, Christopher Reeve. It’s so nice when show producers wink at the audience like that.

** I think Stan Lee has been taking his Viagara… ‘ First, it was ‘Stripperella’ starring the voice of Pam Anderson. Now, the 81-year-old famous comic book creator will be working with Hugh Hefner and Playboy to bring the crime fighting cartoon ‘Hef’s Superbunnies.’ The show will find Hefner battling crime with the help of a team of specially trained, ridiculously hot women. I’m dumbfounded.

** OUCH! (both literally and figuratively… ) ‘ Fox is smarting from their debut of ‘The Next Great Champ’ which only attracted 5.2 million people in its debut. And in case they needed another rabbit punch thrown their way: it didn’t even beat a repeat of ABC’s ‘According to Jim.’ UGH!

Closing Credits: ‘The Real World: What’s next?’

A funny thing happened while I was reading the television industry news across the various news sources about six months ago. Everyone seemed willing to report that MTV and Bunim/Murray Productions were having problems establishing the 15th season of ‘The Real World’ in Philadelphia since the city’s construction unions wanted to be involved in rebuilding the building they chose to live in. However, I never saw any news that the conflicts were resolved and the network went ahead with their season in the ‘City of Brotherly Love.’ Well, at the time of the controversy, I put on my thinking cap and came up with possible destinations and the odds they may end up somewhere else since there was speculation that those responsible were scouting a backup location. Here’s the original list I developed with some notable additions as well:

1. Dallas/Austin’ 2:1 – I put this area up top primarily because Bunim/Murray has already established contact with people in the area. Also, I’d love to see the show adapt some ‘southern flavor.’ Maybe the cast could run a BBQ joint?

2. Toronto ‘ 3:1 – It’s a beautiful city, especially during the summer, there is a lot to do, and it’s a bustling area for various industries. Besides, I bet MTV will love the Canadian exchange rate there.

3. Atlanta ‘ 5:1 – The weather is nice all-year-round, there is a lot of industry there, the southern culture is very much present and CNN is based down there. I am sure the cast members could do SOMETHING at the network. Maybe get Lou Dobbs a cup of coffee (black)?

4. Baltimore/Washington D.C. ‘ 6:1 ‘ Some might perceive the Baltimore docks and our nation’s capital to be boring, but it’s really a beautiful area with a lot going on and would be a great situation for MTV and ‘The Real World.’ Plus, there is a smokin’ bar scene there. And maybe they can intern on Capitol Hill?

5. Denver ‘ 8:1 – This would be a good city at any time of the year. It’s nice in Colorado in the spring and summer and the crew could work at a ski resort during the winter. Then they could whine about how cold it is there.

6. Orlando ‘ 10:1 – It’s a nice, fun city drawn to tourists of all ages and I’m sure a group of twenty-somethings could get themselves in enough trouble with the people down there. I’d like to see them work at Disney World, then watch several of them get caught having sex in the ‘happiest ladies room in the world.’

7. Tampa ‘ 12:1 – So, I’m watching the preview episode of the ‘The Real World: Philadelphia’ and the past cast members made reference to the crazy girls from Tampa. If that’s the case, what are MTV and Bunim/Murray Productions waiting for? This gets pushed down the list a bit because I feel like the best things about Tampa are Busch Gardens and the beach a hop, skip, and a jump away.

8. Vancouver ‘ 15:1 – See my description for Toronto. Except, this is lower on the list because MTV produced that ridiculous spoof movie based on ‘The Real World: Vancouver.’

9. Phoenix ‘ 20:1 – I think it would be funny to see the cast members bitching about the heat the whole five months they are there.

10. Nashville ‘ 25:1 – Maybe MTV could bring a little country flavor to its most famous reality show? Well… ..maybe not…

11. Sydney ‘ 40:1 – It’s bound to happen at some point since Australia is beautiful and has an interesting culture. It seems like a logistical nightmare to me though.

12. Tokyo ‘ 50:1 – Speaking of logistical nightmares, I feel like if MTV moved a camera crew and ‘seven strangers’ into a Tokyo apartment, the city would collapse on itself due to overpopulation. Then again, do you think MTV could even get the space there? Anyway, this place intrigues me primarily because Japanese people are about as, if not more, nutty about popular culture than us wacky Americans that watch MTV and VH-1 all day. I’d love to see some young Americans live life over there for five months.

13. Detroit ‘ 100:1 – Are there any redeeming qualities about Detroit? Anyone want to answer that? Will the cast members work for the Ford Motor Company or for one of the professional sports teams?

14. Salt Lake City ‘ 150:1 – I hear its nice there, but… uh… kind of… boring too. But there’s always the added bonus of possibly seeing some polygamy, so it HAS to make the list somewhere, right?

15. Jamaica ‘ 200:1 – ‘The Real World’ already gets enough flack for not resembling ‘real’ life since the cast members live in a lavish house and have decent, fun jobs handed to them. Shipping them to an exotic location won’t exactly help that designation too much…

Have a good weekend…

— Coogan