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

Thank you’s to Johnny Carson, Marc Cherry, CBS and those responsible for releasing the Wonderfalls DVD set!!!

LOOK AT THIS”¦

** Well, look at this”¦Wonderfalls on DVD. If you buy this, then maybe what happened with Family Guy can happen here too. I think you know what to do”¦

** Because I know you’ve been clamoring for it”¦a Keri Russell update. Sorry though. There isn’t a Felicity Returns series in the works”¦

** Good lord”¦She does a skit for her talk show and now all of a sudden Oprah wants to act again? Ugh.

** This piqued my interest”¦Actually, I’m surprised more media didn’t dissect it this week”¦Seinfeld and Rock doing something for HBO?

** My job is easier when I see two stories put together in one, especially when it means I can limit the American Idol exposure in this column. The stories: How many people watched this week’s Tuesday episode and one of the morons doing so”¦

THE OPENING CREDITS: My IP TV colleagues do such a good job! I’m blushing!!

** No So-Called Television Column from me this week as I’m still finishing up the mother of all reviews of the new ESPN drama, Tilt with an unnamed fellow InsidePulse.com staffer but here’s last week’s Groove Tube Update again for your viewing pleasure. Lots of meaty stuff in there”¦

** Wow! Another contestant from Season 2 of The Apprentice joins the IP TV staff! This time: Season 2 runner up: Jen Massey!

** And look! Elizabeth (who I think is a sweetie pie, probably not in the board room though”¦) has her recap of the third season premiere of The Apprentice! Excellent!

** Old reliable, Nick Warnock, is back with his weekly reviews of The Apprentice. And thank God for it. We’re all better people when we have Nick in our lives.

** And now we get to add Chris Russo to the list of former contestants of The Apprentice to add their weekly commentaries. When we get more fabulous people to write for the site, everybody wins!

** Mark Polishuk has oodles of interesting television related content to talk about in his latest column. It’s almost like he’s trying to take my job or something”¦Should I be scared?

** In addition to getting her usual ABC fix, Ms. Didey chats about American Idol in her latest offering as well!

** Cheri does the only humane thing possible while being stuck inside while a blizzard pummels the northeast. She watches an Ashlee Simpson Show marathon and bases her column on what she learned. Me? I got sucked into VH-1’s I love the ‘90s: Part Deux. Maybe I should base part of my column on THAT! Hmmm”¦..

** Nothing real quotable from the great Sarah Quigley this week. But she does pump out columns on The Bachelorette and Survivor players with brains.

** And the winner for strangest column of the week goes to”¦”¦”¦..MIKE LAWRENCE! Fellow IP TV staffers, if you start writing columns that include references to your nonexistent love life and start reporting the news in haikus, then you too could win this coveted award”¦

** I forgot Mathan lives in Las Vegas. If I was there, I probably wouldn’t watch nearly as much television as he does. Actually”¦yes I would. I’d watch TV and gamble. No job, no school, just TV and gambling. Maybe if I was lucky, I could get a job writing about TV or gambling so my life could be complete as it was filled with just TV and gambling.

Oh yeah”¦Mathan. He does a fine job as usual and with all the TV he watches, he definitely fits right in with the IP TV crew.

** Any man who has the patience to recap Carnivale should be bestowed with heaping amounts of praise. So, Armand, I offer you heaping amounts of praise.

** In the “critics and the hardest of hardcore fans love these shows” department, my boy from the Movies Zone, Michaelangelo kicks some ass with his Alias recap and Romanada offers is life and soul for a 24 recap. Well done men.

TV NEWS

More Desperate Housewives talk than any sane man can take

** Creator Marc Cherry sits down with TV Guide and reveals SPOILERS!!! – In this week’s TV Guide (Jan. 23-29), Bruce Fretts wrote a good article looking deeper at the relationship between Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) and John (Jesse Metcalf) in addition to looking at the careers of the actors who play them. While the article was fun, the real meaty stuff came in the form of some various storyline spoilers within the article and a “breakout” box where show creator Marc Cherry revealed some more spoilers that, while vague, are also quite interesting for fans of the show. Remember, if you don’t want to know, then skip ahead. The non-spoilers start again when I mention the name John Madden.

* Gabrielle and John aren’t over (it appears”¦) – While the Jan. 23 episode to some degree implied that the model turned Desperate Housewife, Gabrielle, was done with John after calling him a “toy” and he got enraged enough to incite a loud door slam, Metcalfe and Longoria both offer nebulous statements about the likelihood the relationship is actually over. In regards to John’s proposal to Gabrielle, Longoria says “I’m very tempted at the opportunity he gives me. But as of right now, I don’t take it.” Right now? Hmmm”¦Then Metcalfe is quoted as saying: “It ain’t over till it’s over (hail Yogi Berra). And I don’t think anyone has said it’s over.” Looks the fireworks display isn’t quite over yet.

* “Tragic results” – Part 1 – Considering new recurring character, George the pharmacist (Roger Bart), is at least 33 percent psycho, this wasn’t a huge surprise to hear, but according to Cherry, the relationship between George and Bree (Marcia Cross) will have “tragic results.” Considering I don’t see Cross going anywhere, I assume that means George is gone in some way, but Cherry didn’t confirm that.

* The Mary Alice suicide storyline reemerges – Cherry says that Lynette (Felicity Huffman) discovers her sons stealing from the “little old lady across the street” and that will have “implications in terms of the mystery surrounding Mary Alice’s suicide.” So, if you’re worried about where that storyline went, just be patient”¦.

* Just because Mrs. Hube’s body was found doesn’t mean that story is over”¦ – Mrs. Hube’s sister (Harriet Sansom Harris) actually gets heavily involved in the investigation of her siste’s death. Whether that’s curtains for Paul (Mark Moses) is still a mystery, but at least know the storyline isn’t dead.

* “Tragic results” — Part 2 – That’s not the term Cherry uses, but the same phrase applies to the burgeoning relationship between Susan’s (Teri Hatcher) daughter Julie (Andrea Bowen) and Zach (Cody Kasch). In the Jan. 23 episode, Susan banned Zach from seeing Julie after he lost his temper during a confrontation. Naturally, Julie disobeys and Cherry says the two teens embark on a “very twisted Romeo-and-Juliet relationship.” My guess is that since Zach has a few screws loose, he ends up dead but since Julie is a secondary character, I wouldn’t be surprised if they kill her off either, despite the apparent solid head on her shoulders she has..

** You mean John Madden could have been in that skit? – The world was (for some reason) outraged when the opening promo of ABC’s Monday Night Football Nov. 15 broadcast featured Desperate Housewives‘ Nicollette Sheridan cooing Philadelphia Eagles star player Terrell Owens, eventually dropping the towel she was wearing (revealing her birthday suit) and convincing Owens that sex with her would be MUCH better than earning the millions of dollars he does by playing football.

Some thought it was too sexed up. Some people even disliked the racial aspects of it, (I’m talking to you Tony Dungy”¦) somehow comparing it to the Kobe Bryant rape trial ordeal simply because an African-American man was going to be intimate with a white woman. I wonder if African-American men everywhere worry about that when they’re at a bar trying to score a sexual companion for the night. (“I hope my dad doesn’t mind me taking home a white woman tonight”¦”)

Anyway, despite accusations that the skit was mean spirited and had racial overtones behind it, turns out people overreacted after all! Imagine that! Zap2it.com reported that at a Jan. 23 session at the Television Critics Association, Housewives creator Marc Cherry, who wrote the skit, meant the role that Owens played for large, huggable, grandfatherly Monday Night Football football analyst and former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden. However, due to a schedule conflict, Owens stepped in at the last second.

Cherry also stated that the towel slipping off Sheridan’s naked body was a late addition to the skit and added while it was being shot.

Definitely changes the way you look at this mess, huh?

Cherry understands he doesn’t want to alienate his fan base, but isn’t overly apologetic either, especially considering the other content that ends up on the air during that broadcast:

It didn’t really realize ‘Monday Night Football’ was just the family viewing experience. You know, I wouldn’t let my five-year-old watch beer commercials and big-breasted cheerleaders every Monday, but that’s just me. And so consequently, when this thing happened, we were just stunned and we felt bad about it.

Sheridan is pretty pissed about the whole fiasco too:

I think what I’d like to say is that the spot was designed to amuse and to entertain. [T]aking a pop culture incident such as that and it taking precedence over the major underlying problems of the world was absolutely absurd.

Can we put this “issue” to bed now? Please?

** Pam Anderson – apparently trying to raise her stock as an actress – The Internet is crazy sometimes (not this website though, InsidePulse.com rules). Reports starting circulating along the “information superhighway” around Jan. 10 that Anderson had been offered a part of Susan on the hit show, Desperate Housewives (the part that Teri Hatcher plays) but she turned it down because she didn’t want to dye her precious blonde hair brown.

In short, uh”¦that rumor is false. According to a Zap2it.com article, Housewives creator Marc Cherry was quoted as saying:

In reference to that other actress whom you’ve mentioned, let me be clear: No offer was tendered.

(After making that statement, he supposedly crossed his arms, pouted like a baby and vowed not to answer another question until all the reporters in attendance said they believed him”¦Well, not really, but the thought of it is humorous.)

Cherry DID confirm that his people had talks with Heather Locklear (most recently of the NBC flop L.A.X.) about joining the Housewives cast as one of the famous women on Wisteria Lane. But since there were disagreements about which role she should play, the process slowed and by the time internal debates were settled, she had already signed a development deal with NBC. I bet she regrets that one. Whoops.

And this concludes my dissertation on Desperate Housewives”¦

* * * * * *

The Week of Cancellations”¦well sort of anyway”¦

It’s not every week that two major networks each cancel two major series, but it happened this week as CBS and ABC both put two of their high profile weekly series on the shelf permanently or put them in the eventual position to fade away slowly. Let’s go through them”¦

** life as we know it – Probably the most frustrating cancellation of the bunch, ABC first programmed the gritty teen drama poorly then whined about it when it didn’t do well in the ratings, essentially blaming itself for a mistake it shouldn’t have made to begin with. According to TVGuide.com’s Michael Ausiello, at a press tour at the beginning of the week, ABC head Steve McPherson conceded that the show’s prospects looked bleak, although he stopped short of uttering the dreaded C-word. McPherson said:

We’re really frustrated. We feel like we’ve failed in terms of getting that show an audience. We really want to make sure we’ve exhausted every possibility before we officially say it’s gone. But it’s not looking good.

(McPherson couldn’t confirm whether life’s remaining unaired episodes would ever see the light of day.)

Again, it’s a shame that ABC screwed up with this one. They could have easily put it on just about any night of the week and it could have drawn significantly more than the 3-5 million pairs of eyes it was securing every week on Thursday nights (either against CSI or Survivor and the NBC lineup). Instead, they stubbornly kept it on Thursday nights allowing to constantly fail in the ratings. That’s too bad too because it had a similar premise to The O.C., it just had stories about real people living real lives, not those living in mansions in Orange County.

Will it ever be put in that My So-Called Life category in terms of teen dramas? No. Probably not. But the same way Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah created a gritty, watchable teen drama in Freaks and Geeks, they did it again with life as we know it. Too bad they were resigned to the same fate.

** Center of the Universe – Not much to say here”¦The John Goodman and Jean Smart led sitcom about a big, fat, gentle dude and life with his wife, kid, parents and brother constantly around had a star studded cast (Ed Asner, Olympia Dukasis and The Drew Carey Show‘s Diedrich Baker) but it was never funny and was doomed by the critics before it came on the air.

You know it’s bad when the network carrying your show (CBS) yanks it off in favor of King of Queens repeats and the eventual return of the powerhouse comedy, Yes, Dear.

** Complete Savages – OK, cancellation may be a strong word here, but ABC has pulled the Mel Gibson produced, Julie and Mike Scully created, Keith Carradine led Friday night sitcom off the air for February (sweeps month). Also, instead of ordering the full order of episodes (22) of the series, the network has cut the order to 19, an equally ominous sign for the future of the show.

Combine those two together and everyone involved in the sitcom about a single father taking care of his four sons. I bet Carradine wishes Deadwood wasn’t at least somewhat historically accurate, or maybe he wishes he played someone BESIDES Wild Bill Hickok”¦

** Wickedly Perfect – Again, cancellation is a strong word here, but CBS has cut its losses with the Joan Lunden hosted reality show, Wickedly Perfect as the network couldn’t even let it hang out and hold the Thursday, 8 p.m. timeslot until Survivor comes back Feb. 17. Instead, repeats of Without a Trace and CSI will occupy the slot for the next two weeks while Perfect gets shunned to the Saturday spot to die a slow death.

If CBS crowns the next “domestic god/goddess” and no one watches, has it really happened?

* * * * * *

** UPN talk (Smackdown and stuff) — If you’re a reader of InsidePulse.com, chances are you’re already seen the infamous Inside Bay Area article that pretty much drew the conclusion that UPN was no longer interested in broadcasting World Wrestling Entertainment’s Smackdown. According to the article, Viacom head honcho, Les Moonves offered the following statement about Smackdown and UPN in general:

It still makes us a decent amount of money. When you think about the powerhouses of CBS and NBC on Thursday night, it’s great counter-programming. (But) it doesn’t fit into the overall (programming) strategy.

Of course, most fans of this site are worried about where Smackdown is going to end up if UPN doesn’t want it, but let’s look at the article in a different way.

What does UPN plan on doing with its programming if Smackdown doesn’t quite meet up what the network is trying to do?

The Bay Area article stated:

That strategy includes getting more women to watch UPN by putting on series such as last fall’s Veronica Mars and Kevin Hill and the midseason replacement The Bad Girl’s Guide.

The network is also keeping African-American programming as a key part of its goals.

“There’s no question we’ve been very successful in African-American programming, and we will continue to do that,” Moonves said. “We want shows that appeal not only to African Americans, but to everyone.”

To that end, the other midseason replacement series will be Cuts, which is sort of a Barbershop comedy.

So, if that’s the case wouldn’t it be a matter of time before Smackdown ends up off of UPN? If Les Moonves and company want to go more in the direction of the softer, gentler Taye Diggs led Kevin Hill or the young, girl power high school set drama, Veronica Mars, then large, grown men in tights in the “squared circle” engaging in fisticuffs set up by soap operatic storyline telling really wouldn’t jive with attracting female viewers all that much.

Sure, attracting women isn’t the strategy exclusively. And of course, it shouldn’t be. But at the same time it makes sense to want more women to watch. Should a network constantly try to aim television programming at the 18-35 male when they really don’t watch that much television? Attracting women is safer and it attracts better advertising too.

The bottom line is even though Smackdown does provide good “counter programming” to the CBS and NBC juggernauts on Thursday nights, I could definitely see UPN and the Viacom family abandon WWE programming as a broadcast option in favor of more Kevin Hill type dramas.

As much as fans and ardent followers of WWE might hail Vince McMahon as the king and the guy with the grapefruit balls and the guy who might take his product away to spite the Viacom family or that UPN “needs” the WWE, both of those theories may get blown out of the water.

After all, Kevin Hill is quite the hot commodity.

* * * * * *

** Looks like Michael Ausiello was right! Alyson Hannigan is off that ABC Show! – In last week’s Groove Tube Update, I brought you the strange story of Alyson Hannigan’s apparently rapidly changing work schedule. First, it was announced she was going to have co-starring role on the Jennifer Love Hewitt/Ed O’Neill sitcom, In the Game.

Then, it was announced she would appear in at least one episode of the UPN drama Veronica Mars with the possibility of having a more recurring role. With that, TVGuide.com’s Michael Ausiello threw this little comment in when he reported that Hannigan was taking the role on Veronica Mars:

Anyone care to join us in saying, “Thank heavens Aly bailed on playing second banana to Jennifer Love Hewitt on ABC’s In the Game!?”

Looks like he was right and deserves credit for that one since I couldn’t find any record of the move until this week. Zap2it.com and multiple other media outlets picked up the story this week and said that Hannigan WAS leaving the show before even working for it.

Sara Gilbert (Roseanne and some recent ER appearances) will take Hannigan’s spot as Hewitt’s characte’s best friend, but it will be a “recurring part” instead of “co-starring” part. Apparently, that may be short lived for Gilbert too since she’s developing a comedy pilot for the WB. Either way, this mess is still developing.

* * * * * *

** Poor Paige Davis – Another story that seemed to get the front page treatment a lot this week is the news that Paige Davis, host of the famous TLC show, Trading Spaces has been replaced”¦

By no one.

In what appears to be a possible way to raise the show’s sagging ratings, the network has decided to revamp the show and go with a hostless format that puts more emphasis on the designers and homeowners and possibly even film episodes from two different geographic locations according to a statement released by the network.

Considering the new glut of fun and perky home improvement shows that Trading Spaces help popularize, it’s not an overwhelming surprise that the show is going to go in another direction, even if it means losing its highest profile personality. But if the ratings are dipping anyway, why not make the change?

There’s also some scuttlebutt the parting of the ways has to do with the Davis doing sort of a strip tease at a party recently and even the rumors that there’s a sex tape out there. However, neither the network, nor Davis made any sort comment hinting that her sex life is what got her let go from the show.

But it makes for a story though”¦

THE CLOSING CREDITS: What THEY said about Johnny Carson”¦

RIP – Johnny Carson – 1925 – 2005

Let’s be honest”¦Johnny Carson was one of the most influential forces in entertainment in the 20th Century. Not only did he entertain millions of people every night for 30 years on The Tonight Show, but he helped discover dozens of currently famous comedians and actors merely by letting them do stand-up sets on the show, something still practiced across the late night talk show landscape.

But Carson retired from his post in 1992, more than 12 ½ years ago. To put that into perspective, even as a senior member of the InsidePulse.com staff, I was only 15 at the time he retired. When I was 15, I was a sophomore in high school, trying to get good grades and earn some money for college and extra spending money for shit I really didn’t need with my after school/weekend job at my local CVS drug store. Since I had to be out of the house at 7:30 a.m. to get to school on time during the week and to get to work on time on the weekend, I rarely stayed up to catch my late local news, let alone The Tonight Show.

So, for me to write a diatribe about Johnny Carson’s impact on my life would be foolish. But Carson was an entertainment and pop culture icon and to minimize his power and influence would be equally foolish as well.

That means instead of me trying to explain all that Carson has done and is, I’ll let the celebrities closest to him pay tribute in the way they saw fit. It seems to make the most sense”¦

Enjoy”¦

(All quotes pulled from various Associated Press, Reuters and other news service articles”¦)

As you all know, this has been a tough 24 hours for those of us that are fans of Johnny Carson.
Johnny was the best, plain and simple. And the best way to sum it up is, I guess, you know you had to be there. If you were fortunate enough to be watching during Johnny’s 30-year run, consider yourself lucky, because you’re not going to see the likes of him ever again.

Jay Leno, current host of NBC’s The Tonight Show in his Monday, Jan. 24 monologue, the first show after Carson’s death.

* * *

No single individual has had as great an impact on television as Johnny. He was the gold standard.

Leno

* * *

As a performer, I never wanted to impress anyone more than Johnny Carson.

Leno

* * *

It’s a sad day for his family and his country All of us who came after are pretenders. We will not see the likes of him again. … He was the best, a star and a gentleman.

David Letterman, the man Carson wanted to replace him when he left his The Tonight Show post in 1992.

* * *

A night doesn’t go by that I don’t ask myself, ‘What would Johnny have done?’ He has been greatly missed since his retirement. Thank God for videotapes and DVDs. In this regard, he will always be around.

Letterman

* * *

Our 34 years of working together, plus the 12 years since then, created a friendship which was professional, family-like and one of respect and great admiration. When we ended our run on `The Tonight Show’ and my professional life continued, whenever a big career decision needed to be made, I always got the OK from `the boss.’

Ed McMahon, Carson’s former announcer/sidekick

* * *

He was a comedian first. He understood comedy. He brought out people who were different, fresh, newer such as Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Garry Shandling, Rodney Dangerfield.

Joan Rivers, another comedian Carson discovered over the years”¦

* * *

I think that Johnny, no matter how long he lived in Hollywood, and no matter how much money he made, he still had a piece of straw stuck in his ear.

Jerry Lewis, referring to Carson’s Midwestern upbringing

* * *

Being Johnny’s friend was an honor. To hear of his sudden death, a great shock. He was so much more than just the ‘King of Late Night,’ he was a real intellect with broad interests; thankfully, many of which he was able to enjoy in the last decade. It is a terrible loss to his friends. I am deeply saddened.

Chevy Chase

* * *

All of us who grew up on Johnny Carson had three decades in which to go to sleep with a smile on our faces. He loved to laugh, he loved to make you laugh, and he loved comedians and entertainers. His occasional touch of boyish naughtiness made America a sweet and kind place to be, and he without doubt enriched our nation.

Steve Martin

* * *

I liked him very much, as a comedian and as a person. I have only the most positive things to say about him. I found him to be a terrific guy.

Woody Allen

* * *

Laura and I are saddened by the death of Johnny Carson. Born in Iowa and raised in Nebraska, Johnny Carson was a steady and reassuring presence in homes across America for three decades. His wit and insight made Americans laugh and think and had a profound influence on American life and entertainment. He was a patriot who served in the United States Navy during World War II and always remembered his roots in the heartland of America. We send our prayers and condolences to the entire Carson family.

President George W. Bush

* * *

A fellow Iowan sending Johnny a letter a little too late”¦

Rick Shacklett, Des Moines Register

* * *

I think I left at the right time. You’ve got to know when to get the hell off the stage, and the timing was right for me.

Johnny Carson in a 2002 Esquire article

Considering how sick Carson was at the end, he’d probably feel the same way about his life as he did about his career as an entertainer.

But whether he liked and realized it or not, no one really ever wanted to have to say good bye to him. It’s hard to say good bye to someone who was as funny, wonderful, and influential as him.

— Coogan

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