• Child's Play: Fallon Is Winning Late-Night Wars With Kiddie Games
    Not only is Fallon firmly in first place in the late-night ratings wars, but the games he plays with his guests play well in the coveted "after-market" of late-night TV shows -- the Internet. With strong ratings and YouTube views, it's no wonder that Fallon is encouraged to continue engaging in these childish games with his guests -- who, incidentally, are aiding and abetting him by agreeing to participate in the first place. Perhaps they and their handlers feel their willingness to put themselves in situations in which they look foolish will enhance their images, particularly among the younger viewers …
  • Project Nunway: Introducing The Newest Trend In Habit-Forming TV
    I hereby declare myself the first to recognize the arrival of a new programming trend. In a word: Nuns. The first and most solid evidence that TV has identified the world of nuns as a new realm ripe for programming picking was the announcement I received this week from Lifetime Television about a nun reality show.
  • CBS Finds Formula For Producing Hits That Confound Critics
    In the absence of football, CBS will reconstitute its Thursday lineup starting this week. "The McCarthys" will likely make itself right at home -- not because it's anything special but because it isn't, which is precisely what the CBS formula for churning out hit shows is all about.
  • The Live, Televised Tightrope Walk That Almost No One Is Talking About
    The TV industry's zeal for live events will be put to the test this Sunday on the Discovery Channel when Nik Wallenda attempts to walk a tightrope strung between tall buildings in the windiest city in America. Millions are expected to tune in to see if Wallenda, the 35-year-old self-proclaimed King of the Tightrope, makes it across or -- let's be honest -- goes splat. The show -- titled "Skyscraper Live with Nik Wallenda" -- will be Wallenda's third high-profile tightrope walk to be seen live on TV.
  • Canceled Before Its Time: There Goes Honey Boo Boo
    At least we now know the limits of what's tolerable on reality TV now that TLC has canceled "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" after it came to light that Mama June was consorting with a convicted child molester. It was a very unusual cancellation -- the entire new season had apparently been filmed and was ready to go. The statement raises (but does not answer) the question of how canceling the show supports the "health and welfare" of Alana and her siblings or demonstrates TLC's commitment "to the children's ongoing comfort and well-being."
  • Liberal Viewers Prove Elusive For Left-Leaning MSNBC
    As a TV columnist and long-time writer on the subject of both television and radio, I have made this observation: Right-leaning people tend to flock to right-leaning television and radio personalities in much greater numbers than liberals flock to their own like-minded hosts. And that means MSNBC might be facing an obstacle that is possibly insurmountable. This observation is the linchpin -- the "secret sauce," if you will -- for the success of a slew of right-leaning media entities, the best examples being Fox News Channel and Rush Limbaugh.
  • NBC's New 'Constantine': The Devil Made 'Em Do It
    What possessed NBC to make this new series about an exorcist? A couple of things: The series, titled "Constantine," is adapted from a comic book series called "Hellblazer," which an NBC press release ballyhoos as "wildly popular." Comic-book adaptations make for popular movies and sometimes TV shows. NBC also must have believed that "Constantine" -- in which a modern-day exorcist named John Constantine is locked in a battle with the spawn of Satan -- would make for an attractive or logical companion to "Grimm," the other series NBC airs on Friday nights that is a modern-day take on the old …
  • A Performance To Cherish As Lisa Kudrow Makes 'Comeback'
    I said it nine years ago and I'm saying it again today: In her HBO series "The Comeback," Lisa Kudrow gives one of the finest performances in the history of television. In the "mockumentary"-style series that had its first and only season nine years ago, Kudrow played an aging, former sitcom star who was turning to reality TV in order to restart her stalled career. "The Comeback" is making one of the most unusual (if not unprecedented) returns in the annals of TV, coming back for a second season after being out of production for nearly a decade.
  • Ebola News Coverage Reaches Saturation Point
    You know a story is reaching its saturation point when the coverage of the story becomes the story. That has been the case lately with the Ebola story. The quality and quantity of the coverage of this disease is being discussed all over the place -- adding to the quantity of coverage, but not necessarily enhancing the quality of it. Let's break it down. At the center of this story is a word -- "ebola" -- that almost everyone has heard of by now, but almost no one fully understands.
  • Stewart, O'Reilly 'Debate' On Race: Two Showmen Putting On An Act
    Suddenly, the future of race relations in the United States is in the hands of Bill O'Reilly and Jon Stewart, even though their "debate" on the subject last week was a big, phony act. Until they began their now-infamous "argument" about "white privilege" on last Wednesday's "Daily Show," I was unaware that this particular topic was top of mind with anyone recently. But apparently, it was on Stewart's mind, as he seemed intent on examining the debate question: Is there such a thing as "white privilege" in the U.S.?
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