Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Radio Recap, August 20, 2008

It's time for a RADIO RECAP
"Must Hear TV" on "The Frank DeCaro Show" on Sirius OutQ 109
Wednesdays, 1-2 PM

In news from today's "Must-Hear TV" report...

  • NBC continues to brag about their ratings for the Olympics. In the first 10 days of the games, 196 million people have tuned in -- more than 11 million more viewers than Athens at that point in 2004.

  • These Beijing games have provided NBC with what they're calling "the most dominant primetime week in PeopleMeter history." That is, since Nielsen began measuring ratings via an electronic set-top device, around 21 years ago.

    The other fun bit of trivia the network has released is that these Olympic games have provided for NBC's top Saturday night telecast since... well, that part's confusing. Originally, they said since a February 24, 1990 telecast of Empty Nest (and that night's episode wasn't even particularly special.) Now, the latest press release says it was that night's Golden Girls which was the previous ratings champ. So which one is correct? Golden Girls was definitely always the more popular show of the two, but Empty Nest had a later time slot, and thus greater ratings potential. The controversy rages...

  • It's official: replacing William Petersen on CSI this fall will be... Laurence Fishburne. After Petersen announced this summer that, after 8 seasons, he would be leaving the show, the race to replace the lead actor on one of TV's top shows was on. Petersen's character Gil Grissom will be phased out slowly over the beginning of this upcoming season, and Fishburne will debut in episode 9. As has been reported, he'll be playing an academic type who identifies a DNA marker for a propensity for violence, and soon discovers that marker in his own genetic makeup. The idea is so new with CSI's head writers Carol Mendelsohn and Naren Shankar that they don't even have a name for him yet. On the conference call for critics in which I participated yesterday, one guy suggested they call him "Professor Morpheus." Fishburne, who seemed to have a good sense of humor about himself and even brought up his role as Cowboy Curtis on CBS' long-ago PeeWee's Playhouse, laughed.

  • And in other casting news, Fishburne's Tuskegee Airmen costar Courtney B. Vance has a new primetime gig as well. It had already been announced that Vance's real life wife, the fabulous Angela Bassett, would be joining the cast of ER as a regular for its 15th and supposedly final season. Now, Vance is set to appear as well as Bassett's TV hubby, too. No word on how many episodes he'll do or when they'll air -- only that he has a "multi-episode story arc" as new character Russell Banfield.

  • More 90210 news -- or make that, no more news. That's because the CW has decided not to preview the show for critics before its September 2 debut. (9/02 -- get it?! Too bad it's not 2010!)

    Now normally, such secrecy is not a good sign, showing that a network is nervous about potential bad reviews. But here's what CW and Paramount had to say on Monday in a joint press release:
    The CW and our studio partner CBS Paramount Network Television have made the strategic marketing decision not to screen "90210" for any media in advance of its premiere. We're not hiding anything . . . simply keeping a lid on 90210 until 9.02, riding the curiosity and anticipation into premiere night, and letting all our constituents see it at the same time.
    So what does this really mean for potential patrons of the Peach Pit? You'll just have to tune in a week from Tuesday and find out.

  • And if you're starved for entertainment during these lean, last days of summer, remember that VH1 is debuting three new series tomorrow, August 21. First up at 9 PM is The Fabulous Life, which as the network press release says, "is spotlighting the hottest trends and names out there." At 10 PM is Glam God with Vivica A. Fox. It's a reality show search for the next great celebrity stylist, with sought-after stylist Philip Bloch and US weekly's Melanie Bromley joining Vivica on the judges' panel. But only Ms. Fox gets her name in the title -- SNAP!

    Finally, at 11 PM, it's The Cho Show, which Margaret has described, including during her visit with Frank on the air recently, as a hybrid "reality sitcom." I guess that means that while the situations may be contrived for television, the dialogue and reactions are real. As Frank pointed out, maybe if the cameras hadn't been rolling, it might not have been that imperative for Margaret to get an anal bleaching.

    But just in case you can't wait until tomorrow night for The Cho Show, VH1's sister channel Logo has uploaded the show's premiere episode to its web site here.

And you callers asked...

  • Brian in Toledo: You sure are a big fan of the British shows! I've heard about the new, rather explicit teen drama Skins on BBC America, but haven't seen it yet. It premiered this past Sunday, August 17 at 9 PM -- and apparently had to be cleaned up and bleeped for American TV. You can get more show info from Skins' official site.

  • Trucker Sharon: Thanks for your questions! Grey's Anatomy begins season 5 with a 2-hour premiere on Thursday, September 25 at 9 PM Eastern. Seasons 1-3 are already on DVD, and Season 4 will be released on Tuesday, 9/9. Here's the "Starter Kit" ABC has put together to get you up to speed on Grey's storylines.

    And as for In Plain Sight, USA network announced back in July at the Television Critics' Convention that Mary McCormack and the rest of the feds will be back for a second season of 16 episodes sometime in 2009. Production starts in October in Albuquerque, where the show is set.

    • Well that's it for me -- my theme music is playing me out. Tune in next Wednesday for the next installment of...

      "Must Hear TV!"

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