• How'd I Like 'Peter Pan'? Sorry, But I Have A Life
    In the months leading up to last night's "Peter Pan Live!" telecast, I was puzzled by NBC's expectation that people would tune in, and stay tuned in, in sufficient numbers for this telecast to make financial sense. Despite the modern technology that no doubt contributed to the wizardry of its production, for me, this live musical just seemed corny and old-fashioned -- like a relic of some distant TV past that couldn't possibly work today.
  • Discovery's 'Eaten Alive' Anaconda Special Is Hard To Swallow
    A snake maven named Paul Rosolie is now the latest in a long line of naturalists who have decided that the best way to call attention to the plight of endangered species is to disturb their peace. In Rosolie's case, the species in question is the giant green anaconda, which lives deep in the Amazonian jungle and is considered to be the largest, strongest predatory serpent on Earth. So for the snake's own good, Rosolie supposedly allowed himself to be "swallowed" by one of these gape-mouthed creatures for a TV special airing this weekend called "Eaten Alive."
  • When Fictional TV Characters Die, Fans Shed Real Tears
    Spoiler alert: Beth Greene was not a real person. But plenty of people are mourning her death as if she was -- a testament to the kind of connection people are making to fictional characters on TV these days. Beth was a young woman seen on "The Walking Dead" who was shot to death by a policewoman last Sunday on the show. Ever since her demise, a national wave of mourning has set in on social media.
  • In Bravo's 'Divorce,' Comedy And Drama Can't Be Reconciled
    About three-quarters into the premiere episode of "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce," a dramatic confrontation between estranged spouses represents the first honest moment in this show. Unfortunately, such moments are far and few between. The rest of this dreary, crude new series -- premiering Dec. 2 on Bravo -- consists of a string of cliches about the lifestyles of wealthy L.A. women. Bravo intends to venture into new territory with this series, which is being billed as its first-ever "scripted series" -- although most of us have long suspected that "Real Housewives" and a host of other so-called "reality" series are ...
  • Al Sharpton's Activism Presents A Dilemma For MSNBC
    The Rev. Al Sharpton enjoys a distinction unique among national TV personalities: Not only is he a talk-show host on one of our major cable news channels, but he is also a firebrand civil-rights activist who at the moment has placed himself at the center of the Michael Brown case. This position leads to accusations that Sharpton -- who hosts a show called "Politics Nation" on MSNBC -- is using his high profile to incite rioting and looting or, at the very least, to cheer on and encourage the violence.
  • Tube Of Plenty: Time To Count Our TV Blessings And Give Thanks
    And now, with another Thanksgiving holiday upon us, let us give thanks to all that TV gives us all year long. Thank you, TLC, for airing a binge-worthy marathon last Sunday of your timely reality series about immigration, "90 Day Fiance" ..
  • 'Good TV'? Not Exactly, But Ferguson Riots Were Riveting
    The story was tailor made for television. Even President Obama thought so. "There is inevitably going to be some negative reaction," the President said in his televised remarks following the announcement Monday evening that Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the shooting death of Michael Brown. "And it will make for good TV," Obama acknowledged, referring apparently (if not awkwardly) to the images of unrest that were already coming out of Ferguson. Here was the President issuing a plea for calm, while at the very same time, the scene in Ferguson was anything but.
  • David Letterman Still Making Midnight Special, But Not For Long
    The past, present and future of late-night TV were all on view on Friday night's Letterman show. From out of the past -- seemingly -- came a musical performance that was as close to the sublime as television ever gets. It was an opera star -- Jessye Norman -- singing "Midnight Special," a plaintive, bluesy folk song thought to be about 100 years old. David Letterman won't be saying his final farewells until well into 2015, but he is about to enter his final holiday season as the host of "Late Show."
  • Broadcast Networks Opt Out Of The Presidential Speech Business
    When the broadcast networks chose not to air President Obama's immigration speech, they were just acknowledging what everybody else already knows: Speeches like this are available to watch in a thousand other places, so why should a broadcast network feel obligated to preempt its entertainment shows for such a thing? While the broadcast networks greet the White House's request for airtime with yawns, for the news channels, a presidential speech like this one coming right at the onset of their prime-time talk shows is like winning the lottery.
  • PBS Salutes Leno In Tribute That Should Have Aired On NBC
    While watching a preview DVD of this Sunday's tribute to Jay Leno on PBS, I wondered: Why isn't this show on NBC? The special, airing Sunday, Nov. 23, plays like a show that any broadcast network should have been eager to air. I realize PBS apparently has the rights to his annual Mark Twain Prize show. And it takes nothing away from PBS to say that it seems ironic that one of the biggest stars of the last two decades on network TV would be saluted on public television.
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