Mr. Coogan's So-Called Television Column

Sometimes putting 1,500 words about one show or subject can be difficult. So, this week I’ll take a vacation from that and search my brain and see what kind of random thoughts about the television industry I can track down in my black hole of a brain”¦

** I’m actually surprised “The Casino” did so poorly in the ratings on Fox. Everybody loves Vegas and everyone loves Mark Burnett. What happened?

** A question I was wondering: Will the ratings of the Red Sox/Yankees American League Championship series be less than, greater than, or about equal to those of last year? Is there more “juice” to this series because of last yea’s series and the whole “A-ROD fiasco?” Is there less “juice” because they’ve played 45 times in the last 17 months? Or is it great anyway?

** I know HBO has some outstanding original programming. But don’t forget about Showtime either. They’re stacked!

** I have to admit it. Every time I see the Guns N’ Roses “November Rain” video, I start thinking about the “Beverly Hills, 90210″ storyline where Dylan’s wife ended up getting murdered right after the two got married. Do you think the “90210” writers “borrowed” the idea? Let the conspiracy theories begin”¦

** I got a chance to see Don Imus on MSNBC in the morning within the last couple of days. Is it me or is he being held together with sticks, rocks, and packing tape?

** Speaking of Imus, I often watch his radio show on MSNBC, “Mike & the Mad Dog” on the YES network, and “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on ESPN News on a regular basis. I never thought people talking on the radio would be such intriguing television. Yet, I watch (or at least listen) for hours at a time”¦

** Here’s an idea for a show: A crazy, young, swingin’ bachelor shares a California apartment with a beautiful, busty, brainless, blonde and a sensible, intelligent yet wacky brunette. The stories revolve each of the characters and their social agendas. OK, so it’s short description of “Three’s Company.” But, if you think about it, it’s kind of similar to “Friends” in that many of the stories revolved around the love lives of the young, attractive main characters. People like seeing young, attractive people on television and stories revolving around their boyfriends and girlfriends. An updated version could work, right? But would you include Mr. and Mrs. Roper?

** A commercial that makes me laugh out loud: Anything that combines two guys with no rhythm dirty dancing with themselves to a Salt & Pepa song. I’ll never get a Nextel phone, but I’ll always remember that commercial.

** I’ve counted more than 20 people that have not only appeared on HBO’s “OZ,” but appeared on at least one episode of one of the Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order” franchise shows. The most prominent: Christopher Meloni (Chris Keller on “OZ” and Det. Elliot Stabler on “Law & Order: SVU;” B.D. Wong (Father Ray Mukada on “OZ” and Dr. George Huang on “Law & Order: SVU;”) Kathryn Erbe (Shirley Bellinger on “OZ” and Det. Alexandra Eames on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”). Then there’s Kirk Acevedo (Miguel Alvarez on “OZ”) who will be one of the stars on the newest “Law & Order” show “Trial by Jury” which is set to debut early next year. Pay attention”¦It’s plain wacky with a long back story behind it.

** I can’t believe I just sat through an episode of the WB’s “7th Heaven” that was combination after school special/infomercial about the importance of voting. Even P. Diddy wouldn’t want anything to do with that. Good God.

** If I never see Howie Schwab and that RIDICULOUS sports trivia show “Stump the Schwab” on ESPN again, I’d be more than OK with that. Hell, I’ll lobby never to see it again if I have to.

** I admit it. I am absolutely enamored with MTV’s “Real World/Road Rules Challenge.” Not only is it surreal to see all these people from all of these seasons of the two shows together in one place at one time, but the competitions are fairly intriguing and the drama is 10 times as wonderfully caddy as anything these people experienced while on their respective shows. The second “Battle of the Sexes” starts again Oct. 11. Dig it.

** A sign I’m getting older: I watch “Gilmore Girls” and would MUCH RATHER hop into bed with the mom (Lauren Graham) than the daughter (Alexis Bledel). Wow.

** As I told my dear friend Mark U. a few weeks ago in response to ESPN’s “Dream Job” move out of a primo timeslot in prime time on Sunday:

“If you’re going to compromise the field of sports journalism with this competition, you could at least do it in prime time!”

** Why do we all get sucked in when our favorite movies are on basic cable? They’re always “edited for content” which means no violence, sex, or bad language. Yet, in the last several weeks, I got sucked into AMC’s airing of “Carlito’s Way” and, even worse, Bravo’s airing of “Pulp Fiction.” And I own both on DVD too”¦What was I THINKING?

** I still can’t believe Chyler Leigh (“Not Another Teen Movie”) was once the punk girl on “That ‘80s Show.”

** Did you know that ABC’s new hit series “Lost” actually isn’t the first series with that name? Even more interesting, Conan O’Brien was involved in the 2001 edition. Check it out”¦

** Sorry Scott Keith, but I hate Howard. He’s annoying and adds very little to the show. Drea de Matteo on the other hand”¦she adds quite a bit”¦in several different areas. Hey now!

** I don’t understand why shows that are topical in nature and revolve around current events take extended vacations from production. Take “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO for example. I’m not sure if I should blame the network for only ordering a certain number of episodes or Maher himself for needing an extended vacation of some kind, but I don’t understand why that show went off the air during the summer only to return for “another season” several months later. Once the show came back, Maher dived right back into current events again. But did no news take place in the previous several months? It just seems ridiculous to me that a show that comments about the news isn’t commenting about the news as it happens. That’s when it becomes obvious that a show like “Real Time” is merely unimportant entertainment as opposed to relevant news criticism show that’s actually entertaining. Hey HBO — order the show for a full year!

** What happened to MTV’s “Loveline?” We need more insecure teens and twenty-somethings telling a national audience (and the “sensitive” Adam Carolla) about their various love and sex problems!

** Sorry, but I don’t think anyone should be referred to as a shorter version of their last name, like McG. Imagine if I wanted all public references to me to be “Coogs” instead of “Steve Coogan.” Wouldn’t you think that was just a smidge obnoxious?

** Here’s an idea for a show: “Law & Order: All-Stars.” Take the casts of each show and see which one actually solves a crime made up by a staff of writers and law enforcement experts first. Then take the lawyers for each show and see which one(s) can get the stiffest sentence for a criminal that’s committed some sort of felony. Sounds like gold, doesn’t it? And the more “Law & Order” shows there are, the more intriguing this show becomes”¦

** Remember when the prime time game show made a brief resurgence to popularity?
I’m still not sure what the rules were to “Greed” but I remember Chuck Woolery hosted.

** I wonder aloud how the ratings for Seth McFarlane’s “American Dad” will be once it debuts on Fox early next year. Do you think people will be turned off by the gold fish with the German accent?

** I still think about “Herman’s Head” often. Part of me wishes it would come back.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have “The Critic” on DVD from Netflix waiting for me.

Have a great week”¦

— Coogan