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


Alright, I admit it. I talk more about Desperate Housewives this week. But it’s different material”¦I swear!


** Daniels will appreciate this”¦Did you see what milestone All My Children reached this week? 9,000? Whether you like soap operas or not, you HAVE to be impressed!

** This just goes to show you”¦People REALLY LOVE their CSI! It’s best not to mess with THAT!

** Well, it’s official. Now that Star Jones has finally gotten married, she will no longer have ANYTHING to talk about”¦

** This TBS reality series based on the old sitcom, Gilligan’s Island is getting weirder and weirder. Why are Rachel Hunter and Nicole Eggert involved again?

** How Big Bird and Kermit Saved the World: The headline is mocking in nature, but the Reuters story was actually interesting because it talks about a soon to be created documentary that will examine the cultural, political and social impacts of the various foreign versions of Sesame Street. The creators are currently getting ready to begin a yearlong shoot across several continents. A date hasn’t been set for its airing as of yet.

Well done”¦


** Back when I thought it needed the PR, I talked about Desperate Housewives and why it deserves the hype it’s been getting. Then Monday Night Football happened and my noble attempt fizzled”¦

** I wish Katie from Road Rules liked ME as much she likes her fellow reality show alumnus, Derrick. I may not be “a handsome man.” I may not “take pride in personal hygiene.” I may “live in a van down by the river.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate me! Or does it?

By the way, her latest column is fun and insightful. And yes, I remember playing M*A*S*H. Oddly, I ended up living in a shack and driving a Corvette more times than I expected”¦

** So”¦it appears Nick Warnock has it out for both Ivana AND Maria”¦Well, he’s right. Sandy and Jennifer are the true solid women still left.

** Survivor‘s Jake explains why “Sarge” never had a chance in “Estrogen City” and wishes him well in his future endeavors.

** Both Brian “The Cable Guy” McLoone and Sarah Quigley stray from their regular column topics this week in favor of reality shows. Brian complains about The Biggest Loser and Sarah wonders how Christine from $25 Million Dollar Hoax lives with herself.

** Here’s a relevant question that coincides with Cheri’s latest column: If two cable networks launch two separate competition reality shows and no one watches, do they make a sound?

** Mark Polishuk discusses Survivor strategy and what to expect when you call your friend and he/she is “watching TV.”

** L.A.X., Charmed and Las Vegas are on Ms. Didey’s agenda this week”¦

** Bob Reiss is on Amazing Race duty. Well, it’s better than The Rebel Billionaire duty anyway”¦

** In a separate column, Mr. Reiss is back doing some interesting work reviewing Category 6: Day of Destruction and talking about some of the other telepics, devoted to natural disasters. HOORAY!

** Carlos reviews the latest Saturday Night Live. That is all.

** Welcome to Romo’s World. In this magical place, you’ll see lots of Everwood and The O.C.. Simply delicious”¦

** My boy from the Movies Zone, Arturo Garcia, moves over to IP TV to review a book about Angel.


Another reason why Desperate Housewives and Lost are GREAT for television”¦

USA Today’s Gary Levin wrote an interesting article that appeared in Thursday’s paper. In the piece, he quotes two talent agents who say that thanks to the success of Desperate Housewives and Lost, the networks are opening up and looking for more different kinds of shows as opposed to relying on formulaic law and police shows (of which I don’t need to name the examples”¦).

United Talent Agency partner Jay Sures stated:

We’ve seen a real openness at the networks that we haven’t seen in years. People are willing to try new things: more single-camera shows, more shows with female appeal, more specialized programming. They realize they have to trust (writers’) visions.

Even more importantly, high up network executives that are decision makers are making those types of comments. For example, Levin’s article quotes ABC Entertainment Chief, Steve McPherson who said:

There are always influential beacons people throw out there. The nice thing is, it has pushed us to really go after inspired ideas, even if they’re challenging. Unlike ‘CSI,’ (which) you literally can do again, you’re not going to do ‘Housewives: Poughkeepsie.’


Well, supporters of creativity in the television industry should get up and dance a jig because it sounds like we don’t have to necessarily worry about a fourth CSI or a fifth Law & Order. Instead, you’ll see more shows like the ABC hits and wilder shows like USA’s The 4400 and FX’s Nip/Tuck.

Of course, the potential sudden shift comes at a time when ratings, advertising and, of course, money are the driving force to this, but beggars can’t be choosers really.

The bottom line is, without doing too much historical significance analysis since the shows are only two months old, this possible change could mirror the point Syracuse University’s Robert Thompson made in his great television book, From Hill Street Blues to ER: Television’s Second Golden Age when in the 1980s and early 1990s when the success of different types of shows like Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, Moonlighting, Northern Exposure and thirtysomething propelled the networks to take more chances on different kinds of shows.

It could be argued that the trend hit its pique and also its dramatic end with David Lync’s wacky mystery drama Twin Peaks, but the bottom line is by the mid-‘90s the trend ceased and the networks took fewer chances at that point.

So, could we be entering a THIRD “Golden Age” of television? Like I said, it’s hard to put these shows at this time into historical perspective right now, but the networks appear to be willing to take more chances on different kinds of shows with different kinds of story telling. And anything that allows television to become more creative and possibly reinvent itself as just an “idiot box” or “evil” is perfect by me”¦

ABC’s non-Desperate Housewives related news: schedules and pick-ups

If you thought Desperate Housewives was the only show on the alphabet, surprisingly, you’d be wrong.

** Alias finds a new home – I was hoping not to mention the show again, but here goes”¦Thanks to the success of Desperate Housewives, ABC encountered a new problem to deal with: what to do with two critically acclaimed shows that appear on Sundays at 9 p.m. Initially, it appeared Housewives would appear almost as a filler of the slot until Alias returned (repeat free) in January and to air repeat free until May sweeps.

Well, plans changed just a little bit. However, instead of forcing the popular new show to change its timeslot, the network is going to move Alias (a show that hasn’t aired in more than six months) to Wednesday nights following Lost, meaning the night will feature two hours straight of J.J. Abrams created shows.

It’s likely going to be a great move for Alias as it will leave behind a crowded Sunday night that it wasn’t able to grab hold of like Housewives did and it will have a very good lead in the popular Lost as well.

** What about The Bachelor/Bachelorette? – Not that people were really clamoring for it, but in case you were wondering, once Monday Night Football ends in January, ABC has some concrete plans of what to do with the night and The Bachelor franchise is involved.

Mondays will feature another episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. These episodes will feature some of those backstage secrets to how Ty Pennington and his crew were able to basically rebuild an entire house in one week’s time from the original episode aired the night before. It’s kind of like a spin-off, I guess”¦Or just another excuse to throw Ty on screen for the ladies some more”¦either way”¦

Then, a new season of The Bachelorette will be on at 9:00, featuring Jen Schefft, who was the “winner” of the third season of The Bachelor and remained with Andrew Firestone briefly before the relationship ended. She was also rumored to be involved with The Apprentice: Season 1 winner, Bill Rancic.

Finally, a new series called Supernanny will be on after The Bachelorette. That series will have a similar backdrop when compared to Fox’s Nanny 911 as it will feature some sort of bionic nanny to come in and help out stressed out parents every week. Sounds FASCINATING”¦

So, the reality that is a football game will be replaced by a series of reality shows likely prompting some terrible catch phrase like “All Realty Monday” or “The Night of the Unscripted.” Well”¦I guess that means more people will watch Everybody Loves Raymond instead”¦

** Love is on the air – The show and its premise has been floating around for more than six months and it appears Jennifer Love Hewitt’s still untitled sitcom is being picked up for six episodes that will air at some point after the mid-season mark of the season, though it has not been assigned a schedule home as of yet.

The show, created by Freaks and Geeks and life as we know it producers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, will star Hewitt as a former sports television producer who recently turned into an on-air personality. Married”¦with Children‘s Ed O’Neill will also star.

** Savages and Rodney get full seasons – Considering I thought they were already canceled, this is a surprise to me. First, ABC has picked up Rodney, which despite not being well-liked by critics or all that popular with the viewers is actually managing to secure an average of 9.28 million viewers per week on Tuesday nights and maintaining 90 percent of the audience tuning in for According to Jim. So, that pick up isn’t as surprising.

As for Complete Savages, a comedy created by two veterans from The Simpsons, Julie Thacker-Scully and Mike Scully, and executive produced by mega star, Mel Gibson, it hasn’t been able to pick up any steam on Friday nights averaging just under six million viewers per airing and not maintaining the overall audience from an already struggling 8 Simple Rules. Nonetheless, considering it is maintaining enough of the demographic 8 Simple Rules generally reaches, apparently, that is fine for ABC.

The folks at Comedy Central are going to be QUITE BUSY”¦

After her Fox sitcom was canceled quickly Wanda Sykes signed a deal with Comedy Central that gave her her own show. During the announcement process, Sykes compared the all comedy network to an old boyfriend that she could always go back to if she needed to be picked up.

Considering the network is going to be there to help Norm McDonald and Jamie Kennedy resurrect their careers, I wonder if they’re thinking the same thing”¦ reported that thanks to Comedy Central’s highest ratings in its history (because of shows like Chappelle’s Show, The Daily Show and new hit Drawn Together), the network now has money for additional development and is taking full of advantage that by developing (as of now, at least) a half-dozen new series for next year.

One show will be developed for McDonald and according to the vague description will be a “completely different” sketch show. He last appeared in his own series last year with the brief run of A Minute with Stan Hooper on Fox.

Another show will be developed for Kennedy and will have a similar premise to his canceled WB show The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, but will focus more on people’s reactions to uncomfortable situations. The description did not state whether he would play a part or wear wild costumes like he did on the WB show.

In addition, the article states that the network will produce two Daily Show type shows that will take on fluffy shows like Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood. Gone Hollywood will be hosted by Tough Crowd regular Greg Giraldo, while ex-“Daily Show” correspondent Brian Unger will host The Hollywood Show. Both series will use red-carpet footage and interview clips to poke fun at the business of celebrity.

Finally, the network will also take advantage of Dave Attell’s rising popularity thanks to his series Insomniac and develop a concert movie using some of his stand-up material and assorted backstage tomfoolery as the basis to the film.

I’m not sure about the McDonald and Kennedy shows, but if Comedy Central can create two more Daily Show type shows that provide witty, smart AND funny “analysis” (maybe satire is the better word), then that could be gold for the network. After all, how many times have you watched those fluffy entertainment news shows and wanted to punch Billy Bush and/or Pat O’Brien in the face? Now, with what will hopefully be biting satire, we can”¦figuratively speaking anyway.

Some more news, but the “500 words” gimmick is out the window this week”¦

** How does Carmen Electra continue to get work? – I know sex sells and all but the various guest spots for resident PG-13 vixen, Carmen Electra, has led her to signing a talent deal with Fox where they will develop a sitcom for her. The concept of the script will feature Electra playing a character that marries into a large Midwestern family.

Even better for her, if the show doesn’t get picked up by the network, Fox can place her in an existing show on the air. Why do I get the feeling that she’ll end up on North Shore as ANOTHER woman set on revenge in some way who’s supposed to improve the show’s ratings.

** Sorry Drew”¦ – In case you start wondering, no one actually killed Drew Carey; the WB just killed his sketch show Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show“¦quietly, possibly for good.

For some strange reason, the WB tried to program against CBS (Survivor and CSI), NBC (Must See TV), and even Fox (The O.C. now) and thought that sticking Carey’s show on the night would be a good idea. Well, after averaging only 2.7 million viewers per episode, it was yanked and placed on Friday nights at 9:30 after the network’s lone hit sitcom Reba. New episodes will continue to air for the time being but the network has put it on “hiatus” (i.e. “We likely aren’t bringing back the show”¦”).

** Fox sets the American Idol schedule – Are you ready? I KNOW you’re excited!

According to, the fun will begin Tuesday, Jan. 18 and Wednesday, Jan. 19. Fans of the audition process (arguably the best part of the show) will be treated to SIX episodes of it in three weeks. Over three consecutive Tuesdays (starting on Jan. 18 and extending to Jan. 25 and Feb. 1) and three consecutive Wednesdays (staring on Jan. 19 and extending to Jan. 26 and Feb. 2), American Idol will show the best and worst auditions from the chosen cities: Cleveland, St. Louis, Washington, DC, New Orleans, Orlando, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

From there, on Tuesday, Feb. 8 and Wednesday, Feb. 9 and then again on Tuesday, Feb. 15 and Wednesday, Feb.16, clips from the already completed semifinal phase of the competition will lead into the first part of the Round of 32, when viewers finally get the chance to vote for their favorites, more than a month after the season premiere.

Hey”¦go to the well until it runs dry”¦

** TLC works with UPN on a pointless reality show – According to the AP and, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas of TLC are looking for someone “crazy, sexy and cool” enough to team with them for a concert and recording session.

The two surviving members of TLC (Lisa Lopes died in a car accident in Central America in 2002) are teaming up with UPN to produce a reality series centered on reviving the ’90s “supergroup” that scored with hits such as “Waterfalls,” “Creep” and “No Scrubs,” and established itself as one of the bestselling female groups of all time. The show’s title will be R U the Girl with T-Boz & Chilli and will run for eight episodes either this coming mid-season or next summer.

The project is very similar to Mark Burnett’s and CBS’s rock reality show where INXS will search for a new lead singer to REPLACE Michael Hutchence who committed suicide in 1997.

However, the UPN show is pointless because the group won’t invite the winner to join the band on a permanent basis unlike INXS who will invite the winning singer on a world tour as the band’s lead vocalist. Instead, TLC will just invite her as an occasional performer. I guess, in the end, the show will be more like American Idol because she will be more likely to go on and experience solo success than anything involving the group.

THE CLOSING CREDITS: What happens when a towel hits a locker room floor”¦

Whether you’ve seen it or not, chances are you have a general idea of what happened somewhere between 9:00 and 9:03 p.m. EST on ABC’s Monday Night Football this week. In a cross promotional skit, the scene showed Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Terrell Owens trying to get ready for a football game and Nicollette Sheridan, the vixen that she is, appeared as her oversexed character from Desperate Housewives. In an attempt to seduce the star, she dropped the towel she was wearing (revealing the small of her back, the top of her chest and I think part of her legs), jumped into T.O.’s arms and convinced him that sex with her would be better than playing against division rival, the Dallas Cowboys.

Cut to Teri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman watching this unfold on TV and asking “Who would watch this stuff?” before turning to the camera and asking “Are you ready for some football?”

I thought it was funny, relatively harmless and a good way for ABC and the National Football League to cross promote their products”¦

Then again, I’m a 27-year-old pretty liberal guy from the northeastern part of the United States who wants to watch television professionally as a living. It’s obvious my opinion doesn’t count for shit since I like sex, television and “moral values” aren’t that “important” to me.

Since this was a front page story for several days this week and hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people were angered by what they saw on television, it’s definitely relevant to see who wins and loses in all this mess. Let’s look at some of the players:

** ABC – The alphabet received many complaints about what they saw in that segment Monday night. In fact, it prompted enough response, that the network released this statement on Tuesday:

We have heard from many of our viewers about last night’s ‘Monday Night Football’ opening segment, and we agree that the placement was inappropriate. We apologize.

OK”¦a few bad days of bad publicity, but you know what? ABC is a HUGE WINNER for their little stunt. Why? This is a whole lot of free publicity for Desperate Housewives, a show that’s already considered a MONSTER hit for the network and could single-handedly drag it from it’s near decade long doldrums. People may have complained about the skit, but when a show gets this much attention, the curiosity factor of Joe and Jane Average piques. First, it gets publicity simply because it’s popular. Then, it gets even more attention for this little stunt. At this point, it’s become such a huge force in popular culture so quickly, you’d probably be considered a “square” if you DON’T watch it or HAVEN’T heard of it or have NO interest in it.

And since Monday Night Football‘s ratings haven’t been that great in several years, partially due to bad game choices, partially due to 250 other channels to choose from, this realm of unpredictability helps that show too. Now there is some element of “Hmmm”¦I wonder what they’ll do next”¦” to the football broadcast and while it may make hardcore football fans and their families to tune in at eight past the hour for kick off instead right at the top of the hour, it may get others to tune in and that’s not a bad thing either.

So, ABC and everyone affiliated with Desperate Housewives and, to some degree, Monday Night Football wins here.

** The NFL – Maybe it’s because sports reporters, columnists, commentators, editors and producers need the material more than the television media, but either way, the sports media isn’t going to let the NFL forget about this little stunt. It’s Thursday afternoon as I write this and IT’S STILL being talked about by certain media people of all sorts of mediums. I bet that this will continue to make the rounds for the next three to four days as well since the NFL doesn’t play again until Sunday, 11/21, a full six days after the fireworks ABC aired.

They too released a statement and essentially blamed the whole “fiasco” on the network saying:

ABC’s opening was inappropriate and unsuitable for our ‘Monday Night Football’ audience. While ABC may have gained attention for one of its other shows, the NFL and its fans lost.

Well, the NFL certainly lost. But the fans? Only the ones that were offended by a semi-racy scene with a gorgeous woman implying nudity in it.

As for the NFL, they come off looking like a bunch of hypocritical buffoons with no sense of reality with their reaction to what happened.

First of all, I’m sure both ABC and the NFL were in cahoots over this. Owens and the Philadelphia Eagles wouldn’t have gone through with this if the NFL didn’t approve of the spot to begin with. And the NFL needs ABC/ESPN (and Disney in general) because they love the money that the networks fork over to air Sunday and Monday night games, something that NBC would want nothing to do with, so it’s not like they have any other option. So, why rock the boat? No reason until there’s public backlash. Only at THAT point would they distance themselves from the network claiming they weren’t expecting the final product to look like the way it did.

Second, it’s a bit strange for the NFL turn on the “high and mighty” button when nine out of every ten teams in the league showcase cheerleaders that dance around and show more skin and cleavage than Nicollette Sheridan did on ABC Monday night. Also, we can’t forget the various beer commercials that feature women that don’t exactly look like the “average woman” either. Selling sex and alcohol at 2:30 in the afternoon? Shouldn’t there be some law against that too? And those ridiculous erectile dysfunction commercials? Viagra? Cialis? Levitra? How is daddy supposed to explain to his nine-year-old kid that other daddies take those magic pills so he wants to bang mommy more often than when the full moon comes out? None of that seems to matter to the NFL though”¦.

Third, while the league works with the networks and advertisers to air these type of blatant commercials featuring oodles of T&A related content, they find it necessary to fine players like Joe Horn (the cell phone incident) and Owens (name about a half-dozen things he’s done to piss people off with) for excessive celebrations after scoring touchdowns. Sure, players send the wrong message when they celebrate like madmen and kids see that and try to mock it when they play football. But if we’re worried about “moral values” in this country (and the recent re-election of President Bush proves we are”¦), then the NFL needs to be more consistent in its messages, not tearing down a network when people complain.

** Tony Dungy – Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy reacted negatively to the Desperate Housewives saying (according to a story on

To me that’s the first thing I thought of as an African-American. “I think it’s stereotypical in looking at the players, and on the heels of the Kobe Bryant incident I think it’s very insensitive. I don’t think that they would have had (Dallas Cowboys Head Coach) Bill Parcells or (Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach) Andy Reid or one of the owners involved in that.

Is it Terrell Owens’ fault he is one of the best players in the game and also has one of the most marketable and interesting personalities in the league as well? The fact Owens is African-American is an “Oh, by the way”¦”statement more than anything else, not anything that makes this situation worth more scrutiny.

Would this scene have really been that much better if some of the more high profile white guys in the game like Vinny Testaverde or Drew Henson were in the scene instead?

Sorry”¦I’m just not buying the race argument”¦

**Terrell Owens – To show this story still has legs, consider that Terrell Owens made the following apology THURSDAY, three days after the skit originally aired (published by

I felt like it was clean, the organization felt like it was a clean skit and I think it just really got taken out of context with a lot of people and I apologize for that. Personally, I didn’t think it would have offended anyone and, if it did, I apologize.

Poor Terrell”¦With all the stuff he’s done to piss off people this year, he must feel that he has to apologize for any negative publicity the league receives, even if it’s a garbage Week 14 match up on Monday Night Football featuring two non-playoff teams like the Chiefs and Titans. Despite his reputation for being a knuckle head, he’s the LAST person that should be apologizing for what’s gone on here. Whether it’s the television network, the league, or the dopes that were actually offended by this so-called charade, they all need to apologize to the general public before Owens does.

Personally, I think this quote from Owens sums up the incident and the subsequent backlash:

I thought it was a fun skit and that was it.

He’s right”¦that was it”¦I’ve said too much as it is.

Have a good weekend.

— Coogan