• Thoroughly Modern 'Family': First Look At Next Week's All-Digital Episode
    The makers of next week's all-digital episode of "Modern Family" should be proud of what they have achieved -- turning an idea that might have opened the show to criticism into a superlative episode that breaks new ground in sitcom storytelling. If it hadn't worked, the criticism would have been that the show had agreed much too readily to undertake a stunt that would amount to little more than crass gimmickry. Instead, the episode remains true to this acclaimed series' mission to portray a typical, extended contemporary American family both accurately and satirically.
  • New 'Odd Couple' Vs. The Old One: Should We Go There Or Not?
    If you've asked yourself why CBS is remaking a series as well-remembered as "The Odd Couple," then here's an answer. The old one is really old, and it's not likely that it is as "well-remembered" today by vast numbers of younger viewers as older ones, despite its long afterlife in rerun syndication. Call it the TV Generation Gap.
  • Grownups In 'The Slap' Deserved A Slap In The Face Too
    It wasn't the bratty kid who should have been slapped in "The Slap" -- it was the grownups. "What a horrible group of people," I wrote, in one of the few notes I took while watching the premiere episode of this eight-part, "limited" series on NBC last Thursday. The "slap" in the title refers to an open-palmed blow delivered by one of the grownups in the show to the face of a small, incorrigible son of two other grownups.
  • Air Talent Gone Wild: Crazy Week in TV Finally Ends
    Jon Stewart said he's leaving, Rosie said good-bye, and Brian Williams said nothing. And that was the week that was. It was more TV news crammed into a seven-day period than we'd seen in a long time. The final act came on Thursday with Rosie O'Donnell's farewell from "The View." This goodbye took all of 46 seconds for Rosie to deliver on Thursday's show. Coming after months of reports of strife and tumult behind the scenes at "The View" -- almost all of it blamed on Rosie herself -- her farewell address was anticlimactic, to say the least.
  • Late-Night TV Will Survive And Thrive After Stewart Leaves
    While I usually try to shy away from prognostications, I don't mind going out on a limb here to predict that the Colbert-Fallon-Kimmel era in late-night TV is likely to freshen up the entire time period, making it more exciting than it has been in years. I also predict that the Colbert "Late Show" has the potential to unseat Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show" as late-night's highest-rated show, seizing the top spot in late-night TV for CBS. Colbert is that good -- smart, creative, extremely talented, and supported by some of the most acclaimed writers and producers in TV comedy. And ...
  • Williams, Stewart Stories Are Not Linked, But It's Fun To Connect Them Anyway
    The "ha ha" columns linking the Williams and Stewart stories are not inappropriate. The approach is so obvious that you may wonder if Stewart recognized the irony and timed last night's announcement to take advantage of it. If that's the case, Stewart was correct to assume that journalism loves nothing more than two front-page stories that can be connected and exploited in one slug. The Williams and Stewart stories are not connected in any way, except that both involve television and create challenges for their networks that are not dissimilar -- namely, who to replace them with.
  • New Sitcom Is A Piece Of [Insert First Word From Show's Title Here]
    It's highly doubtful that this new sitcom called "Schitt's Creek" will persuade anyone to hop on Pop. It's highly likely, however, that you've never heard of this new network called Pop -- the name of the cable channel formerly known as TV Guide Network. This epic rebranding took place on Jan. 14, ending the lengthy run of TVGN -- which for most or all of its history was one of the most mystifying channels on cable. Most of us remember it for its scrolling TV listings, and how they would fill the lower half of our TV screens -- and ...
  • As 'The View' Turns: The Soap Opera Saga Of Rosie O'Donnell
    The news broke on Friday: This week (starting today, Feb. 9) will be Rosie O's last on "The View," ending her second go-round on the show. This one started last September and lasted a little less than six months. Her previous stint lasted only one season -- although that experience was so infamous that you may have thought she had been on the show a lot longer. In an interview with "People" magazine that was posted online over the weekend, O'Donnell said she is quitting the show because her doctor recently became concerned with the stress she is under, and ...
  • Trust Issues: Brian Williams' Iraq Tall Tale Puts Network News On Trial
    Oh no, who will I trust now? That's a lament you're hearing from people who are upset over the revelation that Brian Williams lied about coming under rocket-propelled grenade fire while riding in a U.S. military helicopter on a visit to Iraq in 2003. Here's the strategy I would advise for Brian Williams: Deliver the news, don't talk about yourself, and cancel all plans to appear on anyone else's show.
  • Fallon's Trip To L.A. Marks One Year Since Leno Left
    To the amazement of some skeptical naysayers, Fallon and his handlers -- led presumably by NBC late-night poobah Lorne Michaels -- have done everything right in Fallon's inaugural year. A single day doesn't seem to go by in which a Fallon comedy bit isn't at least a minor sensation on YouTube and social media the next day. This week's Fallon successes from L.A. have included one of his "Lip Sync Battle" segments, a duet with Neil Young in which the two sang "Old Man"; and a high-spirited reunion of the "Saved By the Bell" cast.
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