Thursday, June 25, 2009

Let's get REX on the air!

This afternoon, I watched Rex, a new comedy pilot created by Guy Shalem, whose work I loved in Lifetime's Lovespring International.

Check out this show -- it's HILARIOUS, with Simon Rex playing a version of himself, an actor in need of a career boost. The show has brilliant cameos from Lance Bass, Jaime Pressly, and believe it or not, Paris Hilton -- who's deadpan funny! (Who knew?)

I believe that Rex is a pilot for Showtime, which is still considering it. The show is building a Facebook fan base -- and that will be a really interesting precedent. We've all heard of a few examples of popular outcry saving a nearly-cancelled show -- but if Rex gets its pickup, this could be the first time that popular reaction gets a show on the air in the first place. Technology may be making it harder in some ways for the TV networks, but here's a great example of technology possibly democratizing the process as well.

To watch the show, click on the following link, which will bring you to Rex's Facebook fan page. From there, click on the info tab to get the viewing password, and then return to the Wall page, where the vimeo link is on the left-hand side.

RIP Farrah Fawcett, 1947-2009

I was so sad to hear that this morning, after a years-long battle with cancer, Farrah Fawcett passed away at the age of 62.

I'm of the age where for me, Charlie's Angels was must-see viewing, and Farrah -- then Farrah Fawcett-Majors -- was the crush of every boy in school. I watched the show. I bought the trading cards. I wasn't happy until I got a pack with the Farrah sticker in it, which I quickly affixed to my first wallet. (I was too young for the famous pinup poster, by the way -- but I knew plenty of people who had it on their walls.)

As an adult, I loved discovering campier clips of Farrah -- like in her first major role, in the 1970 so-bad-it's-fascinating film, Myra Breckenridge. Go on youtube, and you can find Farrah's Ultra-Brite commercial from the early '70s, or her guest spot on The Partridge Family. And then, of course, I also learned to respect Farrah as an actress, in her more heavy-duty roles in films like The Burning Bed and Extremities.

I'm going to avoid obvious tribute puns about us heaven gaining an angel. Instead, I offer up this clip, the season 1 credits from Charlie's Angels. I'll forever remember Farrah flipping that fabulous hair. Here's to you, Angels!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Better Off Ted returns TONIGHT!

For some reason, when ABC launched Better Off Ted at midseason this year, they planned only for some of its first season episodes to air, and inexplicably held back another 6 installments, which they would stockpile in case the show was granted a second season.

Luckily for fans of this smart, hilarious and critically hailed show, Better Off Ted will be returning for season 2, sometime in the late fall.

The even better news is, though, that ABC isn't going to make us wait that long. Starting tonight, the network is airing those 6 originally held-back episodes. Which means a rare chance for us to see some smart, original comedy during the dog days of summer -- normally the time of year when the only original episodes we get to see of anything on a broadcast network are burned off episodes of already-cancelled shows (see: Pushing Daisies et al.)

In tonight's episode, Linda (Andrea Anders) wonders whether a boss can be a friend when Veronica (Portia de Rossi) starts sharing way too much about her personal life. Meanwhile, Ted (Jay Harrington) horns in on Phil (Jonathan Slavin) and Lem's (Malcolm Barrett) Medieval Fight Club.

Tune in tonight at ABC at 9:30 Eastern/Pacific -- and be ready to laugh out loud!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Meet Vanessa Williams June 30 in NYC

A few years back, I had the opportunity to sit down with actress Virginia Madsen for an interview both about her life and career, and about her use and advocacy of the cosmetic products BOTOX and JUVEDERM. (The article appeared in the now-defunct Quick & Simple; click here to read.)

I've never been too big a fan of any cosmetic "procedure," because I feel the results often look unnatural and downright scary. But I have to say, in personal, the then 46-year-old Madsen was luminous -- and very natural. She still had some natural lines in her face, and so any improvements she had made to her appearance were subtle, leaving her looking younger than her true age, but yet believably so. As she explained how the products can be responsibly and carefully used, solely under a doctor's care and not in any kind of shady "spa" setting, I was convinced.

Now, the company behind the products, Allergan, has announced a new promotional effort with its newest spokeswoman, Ugly Betty's almost supernaturally beautiful Vanessa Williams. And what's great about this one -- and why I'm sharing it here -- is that this campaign has a charitable component. Check out the events below, and how you can support a great charity, Dress For Success, which helps disadvantage women dress to improve their careers.

  • New York: On June 30th in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall (entrance at 42nd and Park Avenue) 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Vanessa Williams is hosting a celebrity “Rack Relay Race” and clothing drive. Join Vanessa in the race by registering to race on or by dropping off nearly new professional clothing donations (click “Get Involved”). For the Express Success Rack Relay Race, teams of four will “dress” mannequins for success and race to the finish line. The winning team will win lunch with Vanessa Williams in NYC and a $100 gift certificate from DSW. Also, the first 100 people to pre-register online and participate int he "Rack Relay Race” will receive a certificate for a physician consultation and, if appropriate, a complimentary BOTOX® Cosmetic treatment from a licensed and trained aesthetic-specialty physician.

  • San Francisco, Dallas and Miami: Local educational events are planned featuring Vanessa Williams, Dress for Success CEO Joi Gordon and an aesthetic-specialty physician. At the events consumers will be able to support Dress for Success by donating nearly new professional attire as a cost of entry, while learning about fast and simple tips for working women, including treatment with BOTOX® Cosmetic. Register on to receive an invitation to the local event.
  • On a national level: Allergan is donating $2 to Dress for Success on behalf of each of the first 25,000 people who visit and register on (click “Get Involved”). Everyone who pledges support on the Web site will be entered to win a trip for two to NYC to have lunch with Vanessa Williams.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Morons Strike Back

Video from last night's small protest outside The Late Show with David Letterman. These right wingers would be hilarious if their ignorance weren't also so terrifying. Good thing most of them are old, and will die soon. On to the next generation!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Big Bang Theory photo shoot video

Check out this short video Kunal Nayyar made of himself and his co-stars at the photo shoot at New York's Pierre Hotel for the September cover of CBS Watch.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Come laugh your [blank] off!

If you're a fan of Match Game -- well, you must be OLD, like me! Either that, our you spend too much of what might be otherwise productive time watching reruns on GSN.

Either way, come out and see Ben Lerman's amazing stage production of the game show classic, live on stage at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York on Sunday, June 28. With panelists like Judy Gold, Michael Musto, Becky Donahue and my own favorite, Frank DeCaro, you'll laugh your [blank] off!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dressing Up the Big Bang

As Michael Ausiello reported yesterday in his blog at, last week, we at CBS' Watch magazine staged an incredible photo shoot starring the cast of the red-hot sitcom The Big Bang Theory at New York's Pierre hotel.

Check out this sneak peek at some decidedly non-geek chic. Catch the accompanying story (once I write it!) in the September issue of Watch, available as a free subscription here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nurse Jackie: Vital Signs Positive

Nurse Jackie on Showtime

On Tuesday night here in New York City, Showtime rolled out its newest comedy series, Nurse Jackie.  Edie Falco, in her first regular series role since her career-making portrayal of mob wife Carmela Soprano, stars as Queens native Jackie Peyton, a married mother of two who pops pain pills to soothe her back and shtups her coworker doctor (played by her recurring Sopranos co-star Paul Schulze, aka Father Phil Intintola), all to get her through the rough days at Manhattan's All Saints Hospital.

Okay, so Jackie may have her flaws.  And it's quite possible -- and I already heard from one nurse who called in to The Frank DeCaro Show on Sirius OutQ yesterday -- that there may be some in the medical profession who balk at this portrayal, and at some of the unorthodox and yes, even illegal, things we see Jackie do.  But the heart of the show -- and some of its darkest, most hilarious moments -- comes from Jackie's machinations to make The System work, to save lives even if it means completely breaking the rules.   (And by the way -- the show does employ several actual RNs as consultants, to keep things real.)

Produced by a highly pedigreed team that includes creators Linda Wallem (Cybill, That '70s Show) and Liz Brixius, Sex and the City alum John Melfi and a rotating group of highly esteemed directors like Falco's Sopranos costar Steve Buscemi,  Nurse Jackie had a lot going for it right from the start.  No wonder Showtime was able to lure Falco right back to TV.  As the actress told me a few weeks ago, in an interview for an upcoming piece in the July/August issue of CBS Watch Magazine, she spent her post-Carmela time reading scripts in all different genres -- plays, screenplays, TV scripts.  "As far as something that I was going to be interested in doing, and be challenged by, the options were few," she explained.  "I've gotten very picking, because the writing was so good on Sopranos that it's hard to compare... Nurse Jackie was the first thing that really grabbed me."  And it's a testament to Falco's immense talent that, moments into Nurse Jackie's pilot episode, you forget that such a looming pop cultural icon like Carmela Soprano ever existed.

Nurse Jackie grabbed me, too, in its first two episodes which Showtime screened on Tuesday night.  The network, its CEO Matt Blank noted in a funny introduction at the Directors Guild Theater, is already the socially responsible home to a pot-dealing suburban mom on Weeds, a serial-killer forensics expert on Dexter, and now a pill-popping nurse.  In the crowd, I spotted Buscemi and Schulze as well as Jackie co-stars Eve Best, Peter Facinelli, Anna Deavere Smith, Haaz Sleiman, Dominic Fumusa and Merritt Wever and guest stars Eli Wallach and Swoosie Kurtz, Falco's former Sopranos costar Aida Turturro, Bobby Cannavale, Julianna Margulies, LL Cool J, Donna Karan, Caroline Rhea, Richard Kind, Daphne Rubin-Vega, BD Wong, CBS News' Bob Simon, and later, at the jam-packed after party at the Parker Meridien hotel, Andrea Martin and Tovah Feldshuh, who stopped by after their respective Broadway shows.

Check out Nurse Jackie starting this Monday, June 8 at 10:30 PM Eastern/Pacific.