Friday, March 12, 2010

I Want My Gay TV

Tonight at 6 PM Eastern / 3 PM Pacific, tune in to Sirius XM's OutQ station, as Derek & Romaine's Derek Hartley presents I Want My Gay TV, a radio documentary tracking the history of gay depictions on the small screen.

Derek produced and hosts the two-hour special, which is both informative and full of juicy dish. And I was honored to be included among the show's interviewees, in such illustrious company with actors Christopher Sieber, Lucy Lawless, Calpernia Addams, Hal Sparks, Dan Butler, RuPaul, Bill Brochtrup, Wilson Cruz, Rosie O'Donnell, Reichen Lehmkuhl, Jack Coleman, Charlie David and Jai Rodriguez; writers Marc Cherry, Bruce Vilanch, Joe Keenan, Mart Crowley and Judy Wieder; comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer and activist Sean Sasser.

I Want My Gay TV airs as part of Derek & Romaine's usual time slot on Friday, March 12 from 6-8 PM, and will be followed by a live, one-hour panel discussion. On Sirius XM OutQ, Sirius 109, XM 98.

Mad Merch

I guess it was inevitable that a certain, rabidly popular series set in the world of advertising would soon be peddling wares of its own.

As Stuart Elliott wrote in The New York Times yesterday, Mattel will release this July a series of four Mad Men Barbie dolls, in the likenesses of the show's Don and Betty Draper (Jon Hamm and January Jones), Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks.) The dolls' appearance will coincide with the debut of the show's fourth season on AMC.

Available in specialty stores and on and, each limited-edition (7,000 to 10,000 available) doll will carry a suggested retail price of $74.95 (pretty steep in 1960s dollars!), and will come with authentic period wear, down to their hats, coats and undergarments.

Me, I'm waiting for my own Salvatore Romano doll. I want to pose him in the interesting positions he dares not admit he likes.

Facebook Has Spoken

Proving the power of grassroots fandom on the internet, Saturday Night Live has acquiesced to the nearly half million fans who joined a certain Facebook group (although Lorne Michaels tells the New York Times the booking isn't a result of that), and booked 88-year-old Betty White to become the oldest host in the show's 35-year history. (Previous record holder: Ruth Gordon, who hosted in January, 1977 at age 80.)

Of course, this is a show whose announcer, Don Pardo, is 92 and still going strong. And, as Pardo pointed out when I saw him in L.A. in January at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, the show still employs two wardrobe women even older than he, still working in their late 90s.

Betty has been a TV star since they plugged in the first cameras back in the late '40s, and went on to create iconic characters in The Mary Tyler Moore Show's Sue Ann Nivens and The Golden Girls' Rose Nylund. But this will be her first appearance on the NBC late-night comedy staple (although published reports state that Betty says she's turned down Lorne Michaels' offer to host 3 times in the past.)

So far, 2010 has been an amazing year in Betty's ever-growing career; there was her much-loved Super Bowl ad for Snickers, her lifetime achievement recognition at the SAG Awards, and now this. Of course, Betty, and The Golden Girls, remain as popular as ever among new generations of young viewers, as Sharyn Jackson proved this past weekend with her Golden Girls party at New York gay bar The Stonewall Inn, packed with young straight girls cheering at clips of the show.

It's perfect timing for SNL, catching Betty while she's hot, and in time for Mother's Day to boot. The appearance will also feature the return of some of our favorite funny ladies from the show's past, including Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Molly Shannon, Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey and Ana Gasteyer. And you can bet there'll be a Golden Girls sketch. My vote: Gasteyer as Dorothy, Dratch as Sophia, Poehler as Blanche, and the one and only Betty White reprising the beloved role of Rose.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bloomingdales Gets Smart

Check out the lush, oversized color catalog for Bloomingdales' men's sale, now through this coming week, with its tribute to my favorite TV comedy of all time, and its nattily attired hero, Maxwell Smart.

Is someone from Bloomingdales also moonlighting at TV Land? Or are they just eagerly awaiting the sequel to Steve Carell's 2008 big-screen version of Get Smart?

Either way, I'll be checking out the sale... and loving it!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Yes, Tina, there will be more 30 Rock (and The Office, and Community)

Last weekend at the annual awards ceremony for the Writers' Guild of America East, 30 Rock creator Tina Fey got all verklempt at the winners' podium, as she admitted that, in the shadow of ABC's cancellation of her Queens, NY neighbor Ugly Betty, her own show's "special moment may not last forever." (Check out the video below.)

Well fret no longer, Tina; after announcing a pickup for Parks & Recreation several weeks back, today NBC announced the renewals of its other three Thursday night sitcoms -- Community, The Office and 30 Rock -- for the 2010-11 season.

That's not to say that NBC's Thursday sitcom schedule isn't ratings-challenged; just last night, Community and Parks & Recreation scored typical third-place results in the 8 PM hour, and The Office managed a ratings high only because the one-hour special (replacing 30 Rock for the week) featured a landmark event, the birth of Pam and Jim's baby. Still, all four shows tend to score high in the advertiser-coveted age 18-34 demographic, meaning that NBC -- which certainly can't afford to be too choosy right now anyway -- luckily does have the patience to commit to these four high-quality comedies for at least another season. Here's the network's announcement, below:



Renewals Follow Previously Announced Green-light for “Parks and Recreation” on Thursdays

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - March 5, 2010 - NBC has renewed three more of its Thursday-night comedies - “30 Rock” (9:30-10 p.m. ET), “The Office” (9-9:30 p.m. ET) and the freshman series “Community” (8-8:30 p.m. ET) for the 2010-11 season. The returning programs join the previously announced “Parks and Recreation” (Thursdays, 8:30-9 p.m. ET) that also will return for next season.

The announcement was made by Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios.

“We are happy to give these early pickups to these critically acclaimed, incredibly funny comedies,” said Bromstad. “As a result, we look forward to continuing our rewarding partnership with the respective creative teams and talented show-runners for ’30 Rock,’ ‘The Office’ and ‘Community’ as they all consistently deliver quality shows.”

First-year comedy "Community" is averaging a 2.7 rating, 7 share in adults 18-49 and 5.9 million viewers overall so far this season, with "Community" originals winning the time period among adults 18-34 and men 18-34. Since moving to the Thursday 8-8:30 p.m. (ET) half-hour on October 8, "Community" has improved the time period by 24 percent versus NBC's adult 18-49 average earlier in the season.

Currently in its sixth season, "The Office" is network television's #1 primetime scripted series among adults 18-34 and is NBC's #1 scripted series in the key demographic of adults 18-49. "The Office" regularly finishes #2 in its highly competitive time period in adults 18-49 ahead of CBS's "CSI." The most recent "Office" telecast on March 4 outscored ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," marking the first time "The Office" has topped "Grey's" head-to-head in adults 18-49. For the season through 23 weeks, "The Office" is averaging a 4.9 rating, 12 share in adults 18-49 and 9.4 million viewers overall, representing gains versus last season of 4 percent in 18-49 and 3 percent in total viewers.

Currently in its fourth season, "30 Rock" is averaging a 3.4 rating, 8 share in adults 18-49 and 6.9 million viewers overall, with "30 Rock" originals winning the time period among men 18-34 and men 18-49 despite airing opposite the concluding half-hours of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and CBS's "CSI." "30 Rock" is the most upscale comedy on broadcast primetime television when ranked by its concentration of homes with $100,000-plus incomes in its adult 18-49 audience.

The Emmy Award-winning comedy series "30 Rock" is told through the comedic voice of Emmy and two-time Golden Globe winner Tina Fey ("Saturday Night Live”) as variety show producer Liz Lemon and features Emmy and three-time Golden Globe winner Alec Baldwin ("The Departed") as top network executive Jack Donaghy. Also starring are Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Scott Adsit, Jack McBrayer, Judah Friedlander and Keith Powell.

"30 Rock" is from Broadway Video & Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal Media Studios. The executive producers are Lorne Michaels ("Saturday Night Live"), Fey, Marci Klein ("Saturday Night Live"), David Miner ("Human Giant") and Robert Carlock ("Friends").

“The Office” is the Emmy Award-winning comedy series from Deedle-Dee Productions, Reveille and Universal Media Studios. The show offers a hilarious documentary-style look into the humorous and sometimes poignant foolishness that plagues the world of 9-to-5 and is based on the award-winning BBC hit. Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Steve Carell ("Get Smart," "Little Miss Sunshine") stars as pompous regional manager Michael Scott..

Also starring are Jenna Fischer ("Walk Hard"), John Krasinski ("Leatherheads"), Rainn Wilson ("The Rocker") and B.J. Novak ("Punk'd"). Other series stars are Ed Helms ("The Hangover"), Leslie David Baker ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Brian Baumgartner ("Arrested Development"), Kate Flannery ("The Heir Apparent"), Mindy Kaling ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin"), Angela Kinsey ("Tripping Forward"), Paul Lieberstein (writer, "King of the Hill"), Oscar Nuñez ("Halfway Home"), Phyllis Smith ("Arrested Development"), Creed Bratton (former member of The Grass Roots) and Craig Robinson ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"). "The Office" is executive-produced by Ben Silverman, Greg Daniels, who developed the series for American audiences, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Howard Klein and Paul Lieberstein.

From Dan Harmon ("The Sarah Silverman Program") and Emmy Award-winners Joe and Anthony Russo ("Arrested Development") comes "Community," a smart comedy series about a band of misfits who attend Greendale Community College. At the center of the group is Jeff Winger (Joel McHale, "The Soup"), a fast-talking lawyer whose degree has been revoked and forms a study group. Also starring are comedy legend Chevy Chase ("Chuck"), Gillian Jacobs ("The Book of Daniel"), Yvette Nicole Brown ("Rules of Engagement"), Danny Pudi ("Greek"), Alison Brie ("Mad Men"), Donald Glover ("30 Rock") and Ken Jeong ("The Hangover").

"Community" is a production of Krasnoff Foster Entertainment, Harmonious Claptrap, Russo Brothers production and Universal Media Studios in association with Sony Pictures Television. Russ Krasnoff ("The Soloist"), Dan Harmon, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Garrett Donovan ("Scrubs"), Neil Goldman ("Scrubs") and Gary Foster ("The Soloist") serve as executive producers.

"Parks and Recreation," starring Amy Poehler (NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”), is a production of Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios. Along with Greg Daniels (NBC’s “The Office”) and Michael Schur (“The Office”), Howard Klein and David Miner also serve as executive producers for the series.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

IT'S OFFICIAL: Smallville renewed for 10th season

A few weeks back, when the CW Network announced early renewals for five of its series and Smallville wasn't on that list, fans of the show continued to wonder -- as they had at this time last year -- whether this, the show's 9th season, might be its last.

But thanks no doubt in large part to the introduction of the Justice Society, the show's ratings are on the upswing, with the February 6 episode "Absolute Justice," introducing those characters (like Green Arrow and Hawkman, pictured) attracting the show's largest audience of the season at 2.8 million, and the largest CW Friday night results in over a year.


March 4, 2010 (Burbank, California) € The CW Network has announced that its hit series “Smallville” will return in the fall of 2010 for a momentous tenth season.

“Smallville,” a modern retelling of the Superman legend, stars Tom Welling as Clark Kent. The series moved to Friday nights this season, where it currently ranks as network television’s #1 show in its time period among men 18-34 and men 18-49. Additionally, “Smallville” has dramatically improved The CW’s ratings performance in its Friday 8:00-9:00p.m.time period by 67% among adults 18-34 (1.5/6), 200% in men 18-34 (1.8/7), 75% in adults 18-49 (1.4/5), 183% in men 18-49 (1.7/6) and 74% in total viewers (3.12million).

“Smallville” joins the five previously announced series – “The Vampire Diaries,” “Gossip Girl,” “90210,” “Supernatural” and “America’s Next Top Model” – which will all return for another season on The CW.

“Smallville” was developed for television by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (“Shanghai Noon,” “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”), based on the DC Comics characters. Kelly Souders & Brian Peterson serve as executive producers, along with James Marshall, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola. The series is produced by Tollin/Robbins Productions, Millar/Gough Ink and Warner Bros. Television. SUPERMAN was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Monday, March 1, 2010

How Ted Met Carrie Underwood

After the scourge to fans of scripted television that is the Olympics on NBC, tonight, CBS' sitcoms return with all-new episodes. For fans of Two and a Half Men, enjoy 'em while you've got 'em, because with Charlie Sheen away in rehab, the show has halted production, after completing only 18 of the 24 ordered episodes.

But in better news, tonight's episode of How I Met Your Mother -- entitled "Hooked" -- is as fun as ever, with guest star Carrie Underwood in a comic turn (and an even cuter "teacup pig," which I never knew existed, but now I want one.)

Back in January during the Television Critics' Convention in Pasadena, we critics had been shuttled over to Stage 22 on the Fox lot in Century City, where over breakfast, we were treated to a live "table read" of this episode, up close and personal. The teacup pig was not present -- he was actually scheduled to be born two days later, explained one of the show's executive producers, Carter Bays, and then brought in for filming the very next day -- but we did get to see Josh Radnor, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris read their lines aloud for the first time, and give them their comic spins.

Carrie Underwood wasn't present either -- her lines were read by the episode's writer Kourtney Kang -- but Neil's real-life boyfriend David Burtka was, as he was again appearing in the episode as Scooter, Lily's recurring, long-ago ex. And guest star Catherine Reitman, daughter of filmmaker Ivan, got lots of laughs in her role as Henrietta, a girl pining for Ted.

So many times, episodes change extensively between this first "table read," when writers and network executives gauge which jokes are working, and adjust what we finally see on the air. But tonight's episode seems, as far as I can remember, virtually identical to what we saw performed in person that day -- way to go, Kourtney! -- and may inspire you to go out and find a "pharma girl" of your very own.

(How I Met Your Mother airs at 8PM Eastern/7 Central tonight (Monday, 3/1) on CBS.)