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

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THE OPENING CREDITS — Loads of links baby”¦

** I must say, it’s very cool to see Nick Warnock from the first season of “The Apprentice” make his first appearance on Inside Pulse and give some interesting opinions about some of the second season’s participants. Hell, even his predictions about who will lose and who will get eliminated are very ballsy. It’s definitely great to have a reality show veteran on board like this. Great job Nick!

** I definitely pissed some people off with the conclusion of my Top 25 TV Characters of the Last 25 Years list. Thanks to those who realized this was MY LIST and NOT a list that comprised of the 25 most INFLUENTIAL characters on television. That’s a completely different list that probably won’t have many of my current Top 25 on it.

** I’m still interested in hearing who else I missed. So PLEASE email me with some of YOUR favorite characters in television that I may have missed. I’m thinking about holding a supreme contest with your characters and mine to see who the readers like the best. I’m still working out the details though. Stay tuned!

** Another reason why Inside Pulse TV is really cool: The Survivor Pulse Pool! Have you signed up yet?

** Murtz reminds us of his connections with the “Survivor” crew and why Harrisburg, Pa sucks (just in case you needed a reason to think that”¦).

** Mark, I think you and I should do a tag team column about what’s “funny.” It’s a very interesting concept and I’m sure we could rap a great deal and come up with some great stuff. Email me!

** Cheri has predictions galore about loads of reality shows, some ending and some beginning. But did you know a Syracuse student is part of this season’s “Survivor” cast too? Does that mean you’re rooting for her?

** Bob Reiss writes a lot. God Bless him. This links to his Emmy picks. Make sure you link to his archive at the bottom of the page!

** Didey wonders aloud exactly how they pick reality show contestants. I don’t know exactly how they do it but the process begs to have a comedy routine written about it.

** I like the first few graphs from Sarah Quigley’s column:

Ooh, taste this milk. It’s sour.

Sound familiar? I have often been in a situation in which I encounter something so nasty that I can’t stop myself from sharing it with others. Or, as my hero Margaret Cho has pointed out, sometimes one may meet someone so physically repulsive that it’s impossible not to imagine oneself in a sexual situation with said individual.

These points very nicely illustrate my feelings about The Apprentice. I can’t think of a group of individuals I’d want to spend less time with, yet I have resolved not to miss a single show this season. Perhaps it’s because I have a penchant for watching greedy masochists make complete asses of themselves on national television. That would certainly explain my Survivor fixation.

Real good stuff Sarah”¦keep up the good work.

**Finally, I think it’s safe to say that Carlos and Patrick are excited for the beginning of the new season of “Survivor.” Enjoy yourselves, my brothers.

TV News

Who’s already won Emmys?

On Sunday, September 12, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded the 2003-2004 Creative Arts Primetime Emmys for programs and individual achievements at the 56th Annual Emmy Awards presentation in Los Angeles.

The following are the winners of the high profile awards of the evening:

** Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: William Shatner, “The Practice” — It really came down to Bob Newhart’s startlingly outstanding portrayal as an elderly patient going blind from a disease he acquired later on “ER” and Shatne’s depiction of the highly successful but (apparently) mildly mentally diseased lawyer, Denny Crane. I think many expected Newhart to win, but Shatner was in the spotlight for longer and more recently, so he may have been on the brain of the Academy voters. It’s certainly not an injustice at all.

** Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Sharon Stone, “The Practice” — Stone had noble competition from Betty White (also from “The Practice”) and Mare Winningham (“Law & Order: SVU), but she really nailed the potentially difficult role as a mentally diseased lawyer who thought she could talk to God.

** Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: John Turturro, “Monk” — Considering how great all the candidates were including: Anthony LaPaglia (“Frasier”), John Cleese (“Will & Grace”), Danny DeVito (“Friends”) and Fred Willard (“Everybody Loves Raymond”), it was a bit disappointing to see Turturro get it. However, this category was stacked, so many people were bound to be disappointed either way.

** Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Laura Linney, “Frasier” — This one is also somewhat disappointing considering how great Christina Applegate (“Friends”) and Cloris Leachman (“Malcolm in the Middle”) were on their respective shows. Those two really appeared to step outside of themselves for their roles were Linney simply played a mild mannered woman who wasn’t very funny.

In addition to these prizes, several others were given out and HBO’s dust bowl drama “Carnivale” made up for being passed over by the Academy otherwise by winning five statues in five categories including: title design, hairstyling, costumes, art direction and cinematography. Too bad the show won’t get more recognition on the big night”¦

By the way, stay tuned for Inside Pulse Television’s coverage of the Emmy’s. We’ll have a predictions roundtable up before the event, live coverage of the ceremony, and a wrap-up roundtable after the ceremony as well! YES!

Shannen Doherty, TV Goddess?

(slight “North Shore” spoilers in this article)

Zap2it.com’s Daniel Fienberg posted an interesting article this week in regards to Shannen Doherty’s pending trip to join the cast of the struggling Fox drama, “North Shore.” First, he gently implied that the only reason the show got picked up for a full season was due to the announcement that she would be joining the cast. Then, he suggested that she might do for “North Shore” what Heather Locklear did for another Fox drama, “Melrose Place.”

That’s going out on a limb just a bit, isn’t it?

After all, Heather Locklear single-handedly brought the mid-90s prime time soap opera back from the dead and it made it a watchable, even intriguing program that stayed on the air for seven seasons and more than 225 episodes. Do Fox executives and “North Shore” producers expect the same type of result with Shannen Doherty? Apparently, the answer to that question is “something like that.” No one is directly saying that Doherty is there to “save the day,” but no one is denying she’s famous and probably a much bigger draw than Brooke Burns and the guy who played Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore (Christopher McDonald who plays the father of Burns’s character).

Meanwhile, Doherty is doing her best imitation of a star player on a struggling football or baseball team paying tribute to all her new “teammates.” This is rich:

I don’t think they looked at it like me being a savior and I certainly don’t look at it that way,” she says. “My attitude is that I can’t do this by myself. I cannot single-handedly pump up the ratings for this show. I realize that some people think I may be able to, but I can’t. It takes a team.

The whole situation is just baffling really. I never pictured Shannen Doherty as someone who would have this much impact on a particular show, especially given her rocky past and reputation as being a little “difficult” to work with.

Nonetheless, here she is. She’ll be appearing on at least six episodes of the show, starting this coming Monday (September 20), as the nasty Alexandra Hudson and will reveal that she is the half-sister of Brooke Burns’ character.

Once she becomes part of the cast, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if it makes a difference to the ratings and the vibe of the show, which could certainly use”¦something different”¦Stay tuned for that one.

If you say you aren’t intrigued by Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, then you’re either normal or lying”¦

Bravo, the network home for “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Inside the Acto’s Studio” has given the go to produce ten one-hour episodes of a reality show titled “Being Bobby Brown.” The show will follow the formerly famous singer, now famous freakazoid, as he, his equally famous freak of a wife, Whitney Houston, and their family (it’s hard to believe they actually have offspring”¦) try to basically put their lives back together and get back to “normal.”

Personally, I am more than intrigued by this show and think it could do well if people tune in. Hell, people tuned in to watch Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne move into a new house, watch the History Channel and mumble aimlessly. That was funny, but often dreadfully boring. Now, cameras are going to be turned on to Whitney and Bobby for several months and God knows what they are going to do.

They’ve been in the media all over the place for close to a decade for various reasons. Bobby’s multiple brushes with the law, Whitney’s addictions that have gone dreadfully public even if she chooses not to acknowledge them publicly, and the two of them trying to rebuild their lives. As far as I’m concerned, the backstory makes for some intriguing television.

Consider this: When celebrities allow the cameras to follow them around, the audience seems to follow, as “The Osbournes” and “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica” were very successful programs for MTV. Hell, even the shows surrounding Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro’s wedding and Ashlee Simpson were moderately successful. Even though they are all celebrities and everyone loves celebrities, they are about half as interesting and Whitney and Bobby. If people like celebrities and drama put together, this will be the place to find it.

Does this show lack creativity and is it likely going to be reprehensible in nature? Yes and probably are the answers I would give. However, given this celebrity and gossip obsessed culture we live in now, it’s really a dream come true to see it come together in a new show like this. As a proponent of creativity in the television industry, I certainly don’t agree with ANOTHER reality show. However, from a television business standpoint, Bravo is simply taking advantage of what people (supposedly) like and tune in to watch. Now the network’s challenge is to get people to actually watch their network. MTV usually has more luck with that.

“Nip/Tuck” reels in the stars

In addition to locking up accomplished actress Famke Janssen for virtually the show’s entire second season and guest spots from Vanessa Redgrave, Aisha Tyler, Jill Clayburgh, and Rebecca Gayheart, “Nip/Tuck” has struck guest star gold in the form of Academy Award nominee Alec Baldwin and fashion queen Joan Rivers. The two stars will appear the second season finale, set to air Tuesday, October 5.

According to Zap2it.com, Baldwin will have a more prominent role in the finale ad he will play the role of Dr. Barrett Moore, the ex-husband of Janssen’s life-coach/incestuous pedophile character, Eva Moore. Meanwhile, Rivers will appear but it seems she won’t be involved in a major character storyline. She will play a woman who will go to Drs. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) for “an unusual plastic-surgery consultation.” God”¦I can only imagine what kind that’s going to be.

Baldwin and Rivers are among the many established actors that have pulled guest star duty for the FX drama about Miami plastic surgeons. Considering the types of parts these actors are taking, I wouldn’t be surprised if even more end up on the show next season. Tyler performed brilliantly as an African refugee seeking to have her genitalia restored after going through the ritualistic female circumcision.

Gayheart recently took a turn as a blind woman that had surgery to repair the look of her eyes in order to make them appear more normal. In the process, she woo-ed Dr. Troy and the two of them engaged in what appeared to be a very sensual sexual encounter that depended more on a soft, gentile touch rather than just plain hard f*cking.

Finally, Redgrave has appeared in several episodes playing Dr. McNamara’s mother-in-law. As a rich and successful psychiatrist, she has spent time attempting to get her daughter Julia (Joely Richardson) in a better state of mind and more motivated about life. The irony is that as she spends her life trying to mentally heel others, the relationship she has with her daughter has been a disastrous failure.

The bottom line is the roles for the guest stars are very well-written, interesting, and they allow the actors to enter a place they probably haven’t been before. If that continues to be the case, it won’t be too much longer before some real A-list actors line up to be part of the show. That’s certainly a good thing.

Is more Tom Arnold on television really a good thing?

ABC and Tom Arnold are going to team up (again) on a(nother) sitcom project. This one will actually be loosely based on the high profile life he lived with Roseanne before the two happy love birds got divorced. It’s a good thing he’s moving on with his life. According to Zap2it.com, he’ll play a single guy who often takes care of his single-mom neighbor’s three children.

The network has committed to the writing of a script. “That ’70s Show” and “Murphy Brown” vets Josh Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia will write the pilot and serve as executive producers with Arnold and Brad Grey. However, the network has not committed to the filming of a pilot or a place on the prime time schedule.

Actually, to be honest, I hope this is the last we hear about this particular project. Ever since working on “Roseanne” as an actor in a recurring role and a producer, the comedian has only enjoyed moderate success with his Fox Sports show, “The Best Damn Sports Show Period.” Other than that, he has only seen failure with such beauties as “The Jackie Thomas Show” and “The New Gong Show.” If there’s any wonder why people still link him to Roseanne, it probably should cease immediately. People would forget about that nonsense a lot quicker if he actually told some funny jokes without going into convulsions or actually producing an entertaining, funny show. Maybe this is time”¦.eh, maybe not”¦

Ratings baby”¦

The following are the Top 20 shows in the broadcast network primetime ratings for the week of 9/06/04 — 9/12/04 according to Nielsen Media Research.

Show Network Timeslot Rating # of viewers
(millions)

1. Joey NBC TH — 8:00 12.1 18.55

2. NFL Season
Opener
(Indianapolis
at New England)ABC TH — 9:07 11.4 16.88

3. 2004 NFL
Showcase ABC TH — 9:00 9.7 14.71

4. The
Apprentice 2 NBC TH — 8:38 9.3 14.04

5. CSI CBS TH — 9:00 9.1 13.31

6. Law & Order NBC W — 10:00 8.3 11.72

7. CSI: Miami
Special CBS M — 10:00 8.2 12.53

8. Medical
Investigation NBC TH — 10:00 8.0 11.78

9. FOX NFL Sunday
— Post game Fox SU — 7:38 7.7 11.83

10. Without
a Trace CBS TH — 10:01 7.5 10.77

11. Medical
Investigation NBC F — 10:00 7.4 10.80

12. Law & Order NBC W — 9:00 7.3 10.30

13. Cold Case CBS SU — 8:04 7.1 10.41

14. 60 Minutes
II CBS W — 8:00 7.0 9.89

15. 60 Minutes CBS SU — 7:04 6.9 9.93

16. Amazing
Race 5 CBS TU — 10:00 6.9 10.85

17. CBS Sunday
Movie
(A Painted
House) CBS SU — 9:04 6.9 9.99

18. Dateline
Friday NBC F — 8:00 6.9 10.35

19. Everybody
Loves
Raymond CBS M — 9:00 6.9 10.58

20. Law & Order:
SVU NBC T — 10:00 6.9 9.92

It’s interesting to see “Joey” dominate the ratings as much as it did. I don’t think anyone expected the show to secure almost two more million viewers than its closest competitor, the first game of the NFL season. It’s also interesting to see the ratings for “The Apprentice” be as low as they were for a highly anticipated season premiere. However, I’m sure that show will rebound nicely once the season progresses and doesn’t have prime time football to go up against.

Also, how about the debut of NBC’s “Medical Investigation?” That’s another new show the critics weren’t all that fond of and it ended up ranking in the Top 15 twice with its first two episodes.

A couple of other notes from the ratings:

** The WB’s highly anticipated new show “Jack & Bobby” finished a disappointing 76th (out of 144 shows in the listings) only garnering 4.7 million viewers for its debut.

** Fox’s “The Next Great Champ” continues to toil in obscurity finishing 69th and a little more than five million viewers.

** For those who want to measure the “Shannen Doherty Factor,” “North Shore” finished 79th with a paltry 4.15 million tuning into Hawaiian paradise. It can’t go anywhere, but up, right?

The rest of the news in 500 words or less”¦

** “Monk” has a new friend — According to “Variety” Traylor Howard (“Bram and Alice,” “Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place” and “Boston Common”) has been tapped to be Adrian Monk’s (Tony Shaloub) new assistant, Natalie. She isn’t a certified nurse like Sharona (Bitty Schram) was as she will be a former bartender. However, she will play a single mom”¦and she even looks a little like Bitty Schram. Don’t you think?

** Former child star in trouble with the law”¦.YAWN”¦. — According to TheSmokingGun.com, Tracy Gold, formerly of ABC’s “Growing Pains” and a boat load of made-for-TV movies, was arrested on suspicion of DUI in the early morning hours of September 3 after losing control of her vehicle and crashing her SUV. The accident actually caused her seven-year-old son to suffer a broken collarbone and a cut to the head. She ended up being charged with driving under the influence causing injury, which is a felony. She’s due in court October 19. Celebrity news bothers me simply because this wouldn’t have made news if Tracy Gold wasn’t involved.

**Do you like Jenna Elfman? — According to “The Hollywood Reporter” and Zap2it.com, the CBS sitcom vehicle designed for Jenna Elfman has been abandoned before the pilot was filmed. The reports say that Elfman and writer-producer Chuck Lorre disagreed on creative direction, so the whole thing was thrown out. Considering the two worked together before on “Dharma & Greg,” I’m surprised they gave up so soon. Here’s a question though: Do you find Jenna Elfman to be endearing or really annoying? To this day, I can’t decide.

**Get this name in your head — If you don’t know who Louis C.K. is, you better start paying attention because it appears HBO is VERY interested in working with him on a new show. And we all know how great they are in developing new shows”¦.

** Joan Rivers: The next generation? — Star Jones, one of co-hosts on ABC’s “The View” will be hosting E! Entertainment Television’s Emmy’s red carpet special, taking over for Joan and Melissa Rivers who will be doing the same thing for the TV Guide channel. Man”¦it’s really hard to not place a really mean joke here”¦

**Martha Stewart wants to go to jail — Who doesn’t? Seriously though, wake me when one of her fellow inmates kicks the crap out of her in the lunch line”¦That’s when I’ll be interested in this story again.

** What is “SNL” doing? — According to TVGuide.com, Ben Affleck is set to host the October 2 season premiere of “Saturday Night Live.” I thought “SNL” tried to get relevant people from news and popular culture to host the show, no? Who’s next? Steve Guttenberg?

THE CLOSING CREDITS: “7th Heaven”

I admit it. I watch the WB’s campy, Christian family drama, “7th Heaven” religiously (no pun intended). Of all the shows on Monday, if I could only record for one for later viewing, it would probably be this guilty pleasure.

Wait a minute”¦How can a Christian drama be a guilty pleasure?

Well, it comes down to the fact that the show isn’t exactly revolutionary television. It’s a family drama that tells interesting, fun and often relevant stories but in a manner that’s candy for the brain. The stories (and conflicts within the stories) are always laid out for the viewers clearly and succinctly and it’s always fun to see the various family members getting involved and going on assorted wild goose chases to resolve the conflicts that were established early.

Also, the characters are strangely compelling to watch. Thanks to the parental figures that raised the seven kids (a minister and his strict wife who was a homemaker), everyone in the family have these strangely high moral values that I don’t think anyone on the face of the Earth could actually uphold. However, people in the family always seem to experience some sort of relapse where someone tries to get away with something they wouldn’t be able to normally. It’s almost fascinating to see these characters with the high moral values do something dumb before realizing they did something wrong and either letting mommy and daddy clean up the mess or that member of the family in question doing it themselves. To some degree, that’s part of what makes me want to go back week after week.

For example, two storylines developing revolve around two of the Ministe’s kids, Simon (David Gallagher), who’s about 19 and Ruthie (Mackenzie Rosman), who’s about 14 or 15. Simon has begun experimenting with sex with his college girlfriend. However, he hasn’t told his parents that and they suspect the worst. So, that storyline involved Simon trying to have sex and his parents trying to find out if he is and whether or not they need to stop him. Will they drive him away? Will they grow closer with their son? Will there be a big blow out? I want to tune in next week to find out.

As for Ruthie, she’s just starting high school (pretty revolutionary considering she was about 5 when the show started) and it’s evident she’s upset about lots of different things. Her boyfriend moved away and evidently feels alone. She’s entering a new school where she doesn’t really know anyone and she started off the year terribly when she yanked down the pants of Martin, the boy currently staying with the Ministe’s family. It’s evident she’s going through a lot, but what’s going to happen next? Will she continue to be miserable? Will she ever be able to adjust to her new situation? Will she still be mad at Martin? I want to tune in next week to find out.

Many times, the show is too dopey and hokey for its own good. But if you can get past that and just pay attention to the characters, who can be gripping at times, you will see a show with some good enough storylines that carry over effectively from week to week. However, there is a reason why the show isn’t regularly nominated for any Emmys. Keep that in mind too”¦

Have a good weekend.

— Coogan