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

THE OPENING CREDITS: IP TV Staffers

** I think “The Biggest Loser” is terrible and needs to be stopped. Why do I think that? You should read and find out”¦

** Also, check out my “Pulse Thoughts” in my author profile. I only mention the Red Sox one other time in this column (if I’m not mistaken). So, if you care what I have to say about the best baseball team in the world, head on over”¦

** Hello Katie from “Road Rules.” My name is Steve Coogan and I find your picture and writing style intriguing. Please contact me if you would be interested in talking to me further.

Oh yeah, by the way, she’s CURRENTLY on the “Real World/Road Rules — Battle of the Sexes 2.” However, since she was actually on the show and it’s already been taped, she can comment AS IT HAPPENS! Bitchin’!

** Nick Warnock is as happy as I am that little Stacy has been banished from “The Apprentice.” And I’m happy Nick Warnock writes for IP TV!

** God Bless Cheri”¦ She has a lot more patience than me. She grades ALL 18 people that have hosted CBS’s “The Late Late Show” since that dope Kilborn left to “write more.” It’s a great read”¦.as usual”¦

** Bob Reiss has a lot of pet peeves and doesn’t mind telling the world about them”¦

** Ms. Falconi (a.k.a. Didey) does a great thing by not only writing about the popular “Desperate Housewives” but devoting some valuable column space to Showtime’s “Dead Like Me” too. We need more column space devoted to that show”¦

** Sorry Mr. Lawrence, but I’m going to have to disagree with you about VH-1. It’s certainly a heaping amount of fluff. That’s true. But this didn’t exactly happen over night. This was a conscious change of format that took place over a fairly gradual period of time. Besides, the network is the ultimate brain candy. I’m always interested in the foolishness and if I’m bored, I can always pass the time with “I Love the ‘80s Strikes Back.” I’ll never defend it as quality television but I won’t call it the worst either.

** I will send a welcome message to Matthew Romanada and his new “Everwood” updates. That’s a show I would like to watch more”¦

** The Sarah Quigley quote of the week:

Observations about “The Biggest Loser”

6. The show provides wonderfully realistic role models, such as the guy who lost 22 pounds in one week.

7. If a team loses, the old excuse of “blame it on the fat kid” no longer counts for much.

8. The personal trainers almost look like humans.

9. Will NBC do a follow-up series about a houseful of anorexics? Oh wait, that show already exists on UPN. It’s called America’s Next Top Model.

10. Hardcore exercise montage in slow motion with triumphant music does not a meaningful moment make.

11. In the end, the biggest loser is anyone who continues to watch this show, because it sucks.

I think this show hit close to home for me a lot more than it did for her”¦

TV NEWS

Sorry to cut it short folks, but a hideous combination of being sick, tired, and busy with school work and rooting hard for the Red Sox has left me under too tight of a deadline to babble as endlessly as I normally do. Here’s what I could come up with:

Just in case you’re living under a rock”¦Ashlee Simpson style

OK”¦if you’re reading this, you probably already know what happened to Jessica Simpson on last weekend’s “Saturday Night Live.” Let’s review though so we’re all up to speed:

Simpson’s band began playing a song and viewers were able to hear the backing vocals to a different song coming from the singer even though the microphone was at her waist. After several embarrassing seconds that included a feeble dancing attempt she later described as a “hoedown,” Simpson rushed off stage and the show cut to commercial soon after.

OK”¦now that we’re all caught up, let me ask you this”¦Did you know “60 Minutes” was there and caught the whole thing on tape too? They stumbled onto a good story, huh? The CBS news magazine show was there to do a piece about the long running late night NBC sketch show and walked into what was one of the biggest gaffes in popular culture in”¦a while anyway”¦

The story will feature some backstage footage and also some material from earlier in the week as the news magazine show was there to capture various rehearsals.

While the story won’t just be about Simpson’s appearance on the show, it will show some additional perspectives including what “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels had to say about what happened and some footage from an earlier Simpson rehearsal when her voice also faltered. Her MTV reality show also handled that issue, albeit very carefully and gingerly and in a way that looked “bad” for the show previews only to work out fine in the end. This didn’t exactly work out fine in the end. It actually came out quite poorly.

So, if you’re interested in CBS adding fuel to the fire to the “Ashlee Simpson Situation” you can check out “60 Minutes” this weekend.

But part of the reason I included this so high in this column is because I have to ask this. From a popular culture perspective, does this really hurt Ashlee Simpson in the end? Do anyone besides comedians/pop culture experts or analysts really care if she screwed up a live performance because of some background lyrics playing too early? I don’t know”¦After all, she didn’t really “pull a Milli Vanilli.” It’s not like she didn’t really sing the song she was going to perform that night. She just needed a little assistance that night, that’s all”¦

Will this really stop the teeny boppers from buying her next album? She did do something her formerly more famous sister, Jessica, didn’t do: Go #1 on the Billboard charts. That says something.

I don’t think her next album will tank, but if it does, I highly doubt it will get traced back to this little incident.

It is pretty funny though, isn’t it? That I’ll definitely grant the Ashlee haters out there”¦

NBC to go after 9/11

Just in case you were wondering, I guess three years is now the statute of limitations for a network to cash in on a national tragedy. That’s what NBC is doing as it plans to produce a miniseries about 9/11, specifically based on “The 9/11 Commission Report.” Although, according to a statement released by the network (and reproduced in part by Zap2it.com), it won’t be just trashing the U.S. government for not stopping the events from happening (or whatever), but the show will also:

“”¦showcase the many heroes — living and dead, recognized and unrecognized — who thwarted early efforts and saved untold lives despite the chaos and horror that ensued.”

Of course, this will add the human interest element and, at least in part, will cover up the fact that a major media company will attack the federal government in the form of a story being written and produced purely to attract high ratings and more money. Sure, it’s NBC’s right and they should definitely produce this kind of nonsense if they so choose.

I don’t know though”¦anyone who profits off of 9/11 kind of makes me a little uneasy. Documentaries and characters on shows affected by that tragic day are one thing (FX’s “Rescue Me”). But this? As entertainment? I’m just a bit leery”¦The network better know what it’s doing. This miniseries could do more harm than good”¦

Even more interesting, a report later in the week stated that ABC is quietly working on a similar project on 9/11, either a miniseries or a movie. However, the alphabet has chosen not to comment on the project they are working on. Sounds like they are taking the high road a bit more than the peacock.

Competing projects based on 9/11? This sounds eerily familiar to the various “Long Island Lolita” movies that the networks produced in the ‘90s. Good God, I hope I’m wrong.

“Scrubs” producer has a great idea”¦and the WB wants in”¦

“Scrubs” creator and producer Bill Lawrence is back at it again, coming up with a different kind of sitcom that will be on the WB”¦and actually looks funny. That’s not surprising for Lawrence, but how did the WB get this show?

Anyway, the sitcom is titled “Nobody’s Watching” and will be about two guys who win a reality show and get the opportunity to create a sitcom. However, what they don’t know is that the reality show hasn’t ended yet. The producers are actually letting the show go on as the two friends continue to work on their sitcom.

As Lawrence said in a Zap2it.com article:

“Nobody’s Watching” is a classic buddy sitcom masqueraded as a reality show parody. It was a product of us trying to do something new and the frustration in the writers’ room over the dominance of reality television.

Since reality show parodies are becoming almost as popular as the reality shows themselves, this type of show isn’t much of a surprise. However, this show appears smart and different instead of over-the-top and boorish (like “My Big Fat Obnoxious”¦whatever”¦). So, that is a step in the right direction for Lawrence and his producing team.

The report says that NBC had first crack at the sitcom and ultimately passed leaving it in the arms of the WB. The Frog hasn’t officially ordered a pilot yet, but it will likely will. Seeing as the pilot hasn’t even been ordered yet, it isn’t known when or if the show will get on the network’s prime time schedule.

But considering the network just canceled “Grounded for Life” and is always looking for a successful comedy to go with “Reba,” the show may end up on the air sooner than we think.

I’m interested”¦are you?

The rest of the news in 500 words or less”¦GO AHEAD! COUNT!

** Who loves you baby? Ving Rhames does! – The USA Network is so happy with the results of its new two-hour “Kojak” movie that the cable entity is sending the franchise straight to series. The network has ordered nine weeks of “Kojak,” which stars Ving Rhames in the role made famous by Telly Savalas.

** ALF’s been picked up! – TV Land is giving a puppet a six episode commitment”¦Well, kind of anyway. The network devoted to classic television has given a Gordon Shumway a six episode arc to prove himself and show he can be a viable talk show host just like Leno, Letterman, and Conan. Though, he’ll have to work on his monologues I think.

The show will debut in its regular spot on Friday, Nov. 5 at 11:00 p.m. with Merv Griffin and Joe Mantegna as the guests.

** An example of a statement that isn’t a surprise: – Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are coming back for Round 3 of “The Simple Life” on Fox.

People are either fascinated with Paris Hilton or they’re fascinated with making fun of her. Either way, people will tune in to see what the next season of this show will bring.

** An example of a statement that is a mild surprise: – The WB has let the producers of “Grounded for Life” know that they won’t be picking up any more episodes once the order of 13 currently in production runs out.

Donal Logue is a good comedian and “Grounded” is a fun, quirky little family comedy with a good cast (Megyn Price plays Logue’s wife and Kevin Fitzgerald Corrigan plays Logue’s freeloading brother).

Then again, the WB picked it up after last season despite only averaging 2.9 million viewers per airing. It’s down under 2.8 million now, so the network thought it was time to pull the plug.

**An example of a statement that is a complete surprise: – The World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals averaged about 25.4 million viewers over the course of the four game series.

I don’t know”¦I hear a lot about fans across the country being tired of the Red Sox and all this nonsense about not winning and other assorted nonsense. Yet, when it came time to watch them win the World Series, there the fans were, tuned in watching the Red Sox make history. Unbelievable”¦

THE CLOSNG CREDITS: An evening with Judge Hatchett

Judge Glenda Hatchett of the syndicated legal show “Judge Hatchett” visited Syracuse University on Thursday, Oct. 21 as part of a symposium on “Race and Television.” She spent about an hour-and-a-half talking to television professor Richard Dubin and answering questions from an audience of about 100-200 people. This is the reaction I wrote for Prof. Dubin after the event was over.

Judge Hatchett’s visit to the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications on Oct. 20 was fun, interesting and enlightening as well. There were two parts of the discussion that intrigued me the most.

First, I found the conversation between the moderator, Richard Dubin, and Judge Hatchett about their television watching habits as children. Both Dubin and Hatchett spoke fondly of their memories of watching “Amos ‘n’ Andy” saying how much they enjoyed the show. I found that even more interesting after I read the essay devoted to the show in Donald Bogle’s “Prime Time Blues: African Americans on Television.” He made it clear in his analysis that despite it being a funny show and one children could laugh at and possibly even relate to, it really was a problem for African-Americans at the time.

After all, this group of people was being represented on television for the first time for everyone to see and, sadly, the image being portrayed was just like the old one. As Bogle stated “The blatant toms, coons, and mammies that had already disappeared from movies (or were being less obviously presented) had resurfaced shockingly in this new medium” (p. 34).

So, while it was interesting to hear Dubin and Hatchett remember that show so fondly, it was also a little surprising that in retrospect, they didn’t acknowledge how the show really did feed those black stereotypes instead of helping them simply by being on. This isn’t a “bad” thing in the slightest. It’s just an observation I made.

The second part of the discussion that I found interesting and worth talking about was what the first respondent from the audience brought up: Judge Hatchett’s role as a legal figure running a court room on television. The respondent appeared somewhat concerned that Judge Hatchett has developed a television show that (potentially) simplifies the judicial system and in some cases avoids typical punishments in favor of something more television friendly. (The example was an instance when Judge Hatchett “sentenced” a young, troubled boy to hang out with Atlanta Falcons football star, Warrick Dunn, to learn a lesson).

I felt the respondent brought up a good point, but I also liked Judge Hatchett’s point as well. She talked about developing the show in the way that SHE wanted to do it and that she wasn’t going to do it if she couldn’t do it her way. She also talked about helping people. She went on to tell a couple of different stories about people that have come up to her and thanked her for telling a particular story that profoundly affected them or someone that they knew. It’s THOSE type of viewer interactions that keep her going and convince her that she’s doing the right thing with her syndicated court program.

Obviously, there are some aspects she can’t control, such as the fact that she only has a half-hour to tell the stories she wants to tell but she can’t help that the legal system takes more than a 15 minutes with a commercial break or two to process a case.
Nonetheless, in her view, the positives outweigh any potential negatives and considering the negativity often associated with television and its programming, it’s great to see someone actually stick up for the power of the medium instead of just seeing it as the “idiot box.” God, I hate that”¦

Have a good weekend”¦I will”¦IN BOSTON!

— Coogan