Category: TV

X2, Pop King and More

  • “X2: X-Men United” held on to the top box-office spot for the second weekend in a row. It took in $40 million for a total of $147+ million!
  • “The King of Pop,” Michael Jackson has sued Universal Music Group for royalties for the re-release of songs he made in the 1970s.
  • CBS loves Ray Ramano, the star of “Everybody Loves Raymond” to the tune of about $1.8 million an episode next season.
  • Boxing’s return to network television has generated competitive ratings and led to talks for more weekly fights. Now that IS good news!
  • The finale of “Survivor: The Amazon” saw 21-year-old Jenna take the crown and the $1 million prize. Man, I was hoping Rob or Matt would win!
  • Whoopi Goldberg, James Caan, Rob Lowe and Alicia Silverstone will have tv shows on NBC in the fall.

Cruise, Ming and OZ

 

  • NBA star Yao Ming took center stage at a telethon Sunday, which raised more than $300,000 to help researchers seeking a cure for SARS. The Houston Rockets center said this was his way of giving back to his homeland. If only more celebrities felt this way!

 

  • Was it a break-in or a break-out? Speaking of Prison… I rented season one of OZ. I’ve heard great things about the HBO series… and ya gotta love a good prison story.

Four Things to Look Forward To:

  • Paramount is going to release a new film version of “The Honeymooners,” based on the classic Jackie Gleason television series. Cedric the Entertainer is set to take over the role once held by Gleason. This movie may be funny… and it does have potential but nothing will ever replace the original series!
  • The “Indiana Jones” trilogy will be released on DVD for the first time on Nov. 4th! It will be a four disk set with behind-the-scenes documentaries, cast and crew interviews and other special features.
  • Jackie Chan is hard at work on “Around the World in 80 Days.” The film is based on the classic Jules Verne novel and should be out sometime in 2004.
  • Elton John and Bernie Taupin are collaborating for a Broadway show based on Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, tentatively titled “The Vampire Lestat,” and aimed for a 2005 theatrical run. This could be interesting!

It’s All About Timing…

  • Grease’ is still the word at Paramount where reports say that plans for “Grease 3” are well underway. The idea is to set the sequel in the late-’70s, feature plenty of disco music and bring back John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Didi Conn, who played Frenchie, is serving as an executive producer. I was never a fan of either of the “Grease” movies, but there’s no denying that it has a very strong, very loyal following. The time might be right for this one.
  • David Hyde Pierce, who plays Niles Crane, on “Frasier” believes next season will be the last. You know, “Frasier” used to be on my “must see tv” list, but the last couple of seasons I haven’t even tuned in. Seems to me the show “jumped the shark” when Niles married Daphne. It’s time has passed.
  • A lone protester stood outside a sold-out Dixie Chicks concert during the band’s first concert since a member criticized President Bush over the war with Iraq. Seems the protestor’s timing was off.
  • William Bennett [Republican Party activist, former Cabinet secretary, former US Drug Czar and Book of Virtues author] said in a statement today that he was giving up the high-stakes gambling that has cost him millions over the past decade. The timing is right on this one, but Mr. Bennett’s timing was obviously off on his bets.

“X2” – George Wyle – Jennifer Garner – Stephen King and James Brown!

  • “X2: X-Men United” opened with a projected $85.85 million debut . This would make it the fourth highest opening ever and almost a sure thing to spawn an “X-Men 3.”
    With the popularity of some of the individual characters, such as Wolverine and Nightcrawler, it might be interesting to see them spring off into their own films separate from the other “X-Men.”
    What do you think about that idea?

  • George Wyle, who wrote the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island” has died at the age of 87. I was going to say that even if that was the only song that he ever wrote that attained any level of popularity, he had accomplished more than most. The I discovered that he also wrote the Christmas classic “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and more than 400 other songs. Although most people probably don’t know his name, I’ll be they can sing the theme to “Gilligan’s Island”! Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Wyle’s family and friends.

  • “Alias” star Jennifer Garner will replace Gwyneth Paltrow in “Happy Endings,” which is set to shoot this summer in Los Angeles. Lisa Kudrow will co-star in the comedy.It’s really amazing how popular Jennifer Garner has gotten. Seems she’s everywhere these days. Not that I’m complaining! ; )

  • Two new Stephen King stories have been discovered. “The 43rd Dream” and “Code Name: Mousetrap,” are believed to be among the earliest published works of best seller Stephen King. Believe it or not, they appeared in his high school newspaper… copies have been selling on e-Bay for several hundred dollars.

  • James Brown celebrated his 70th birthday Saturday! Ya gotta love it. “The Godfather of Soul” is still touring, has recently lost weight and… uh, he feels good! Ugh!

Who’s “Lucky”?


There’s a new show premiering on Tuesday at 10PM on FX. It’s called “Lucky” and looks like it might be a winner.

Michael “Lucky” Linkletter is a professional poker gambler. He’s cool, supremely smart, but tragically flawed. He’s a compulsive gambler with a conscience. He’s been on top and also bottomed out. He wants to quit gambling but living in Vegas and with a debt to the mob…

I’ll be watching on Tuesday… and if I’m “Lucky” the show will be a winner.

“The Shield”

I was ready to write a ZONE piece about Andrew Vachss, or a cool series of sketchbooks that I found on the web, but then I read this article.

If you’re a ZONE regular then you know that I’m a huge fan of The Shield. I was intrigued by the ads for the premiere and it’s ending hooked me. The writing and acting is first rate. ALL of the characters come off as real people. The Shield racked up numerous positive reviews and awards during it’s first season. The question was could they do it again?

As the second season comes to a close, I find myself enjoying The Shield more than ever. In case you haven’t checked it out, FX is going to run a Shield marathon of all of this season’s episodes.

That’s it until tomorrow, when I’ll probably tell you about Andrew Vachss or this cool series of sketchbooks.

Fred Rogers – RIP

“Won’t you be my neighbor?”

FRED ROGERS, aka Mr. Rogers, died today at the age of 74 from stomach cancer. ROGERS was best known for his children’s show, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” He first went on the air in 1954 and entertained and educated millions of children over the years. From all I’ve read, FRED ROGERS was truly a kind and gentle soul.

Our prayers go out to his friends and family.

I’d have been proud to have been his neighbor.

Sammy’s Pleasant Nightmares!

Everybody loves Sammy Terry. Well, everybody that knows him.

If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, then you probably remember that I wrote about Sammy Terry not a year ago. [Here’s the link if you want to catch up.]

Sammy hosted Nightmare Theater  on Friday nights at 11:00pm. Sammy would rise from a coffin, introduce himself and after a brief monologue about many things [including the movie we were about to see, would invite us to watch – if we dared!

So there we’d be, huddled in the dark, with our popcorn waiting for the monster of the week to appear and scare us! Sammy would return before the movie after commercial breaks with more of his dry humor… and then again, at the end of the movie, Sammy would make his final appearance. Before returning to his coffin, he would always wish us “Pleasant Nightmares!” followed by maniacal laugh.

What’s really cool is that Jerrald Hawkins has created a fan site and movie club dedicated to Sammy Terry. Jerrald has remastered old tapes of Sammy presenting movies. On the last Friday of each month, club members start their tapes at 11PM. Not only are members watching the movies “together” but at the same time they’re also able to take part in a live chat via Jerrald‘s site!

What could make this even better? Well, the tapes are professionally produced. They come in plastic cases with labels giving details of the movie, pictures of SAMMY and his logo… plus Jerrald sends them to members for the cost of the mailing! If this sounds like something you’d like then check out Jerrald’s site!

Even if you’ve never heard of SAMMY TERRY, you’re gonna love him because…… Everybody loves Sammy Terry! [“Until next time… Pleasant Nightmares!]

Alias Worth the Effort

I’m adding another show to my “Must See TV” list. It’s not a new show, and it’s one that I’ve regularly watched since it’s premiere. It’s called Alias  and is on ABC Sunday nights at 9PM. You’re probably wondering why I’m just now adding “Alias” since I watch it every week. Good question.

The reason is, Alias  is not an easy show to get into. It’s about a young woman who is a double agent for the CIA against an organization known as the Agency which has ties throughout the world and does really bad stuff [not quite world domination stuff but bad none the less]. The agent’s father is also a double agent working toward the same goal… her mother was a double agent for the Russians but now may [or may not ] be working with the CIA. Her fiance was murdered when she told him about her connections but she now is getting involved with…

Did I loose you in there? Probably so… and therein lies the problem. The show is GREAT for fans who’ve been following from the start. The plot twists and character development have really worked. The action and production values are on par with most movies… but even given all that… for those unfortunate souls who’ve just tuned in for the first time, it probably was very confusing.

Well that’s all about to change. The next few weeks will be a great jumping on point for anyone who wants to give the show a try. In addition to the regular cast [JENNIFER GARNER, VICTOR GARBER, LENA OLIN, RON RIFKIN, MICHAEL VARTAN] there will be guest stars such as RUTGAR HAUER, ETHAN HAWKE, and CHRISTIAN SLATER. So give it a shot. Who knows, maybe it’ll make your “Must See TV” list.

The Shield Wins Two

I was really happy with the two wins yesterday. No, not the Bucs and the Raiders [although I was pulling for both of them]. I’m talking about “The Shield” winning a Golden Globe for Best Dramatic Series and for MICHAEL CHIKLIS picking up one for Best Dramatic Actor.

“The Shield” has been in my “Must See TV” category since it’s premiere. I usually tell people that it’s one of the two best shows going, but with yesterday’s win, I’ll drop the two.

Michael Jackson’s Face

MICHAEL JACKSON‘s face has made the news again. Or at least it will when it is the subject of a special edition of NBCs “Dateline” set to air at 10 p.m. EST Feb. 17th. When I first heard about this, it struck me as funny that a “news” program would seriously cover such a silly subject… but I have to admit I was kind of intrigued.

No one can dispute that MICHAEL JACKSON is an extremely talented individual. But it would also be hard to argue that he’s not getting more and more bizarre as the years go by. Thinking about the changes that have occurred in his behavior and his face, one could almost argue that as his actions get stranger his nose gets smaller. After MJ holding his baby over a fourth floor balcony, I might just have to tune to see if he still has one.

Richard Crenna – RIP

RICHARD CRENNA, the Emmy award-winning actor has died. He was 76.

Mr. CRENNA, whose credits included all three “Rambo” films, “Body Heat,” the classic suspense film “Wait Until Dark,” as well as many other roles, died of pancreatic cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

RICHARD CRENNA is survived by wife and three adult children. A public service is to be held Jan. 25.

Sometimes Wrong is Right?

There’s been a lot of talk about “Joe Millionaire” the reality show on Fox. It scored high ratings with tons of people tuning in to see twenty single women competing for the attention of a bachelor that they are led to believe is a millionaire. The catch is that he isn’t. He’s a normal guy who brings down about $20,000 a year.

First of all, why anyone would care a bit about women fighting to “win” the attention of any guy is beyond me. I guess I’m alone in that respect though. There have been a bunch of shows just like it… “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire”...”The Bachelor” “The Bachelorette”… and now this… and I’m sure others to come.

What gets me is that if a guy was trying to pass himself off as a millionaire in order to get women, we’d call him a jerk. Yet a network does it and scores a ratings hit.

The Shield Scores

The second season of  The Shield  premieres January 7th at 10PM. If you’ve missed some episodes along the way then I’d suggest that you check out “The Shield” Marathon starting tonight. FX will run back to back episodes each night at 10PM January 1st – 6th. This will lead right into the new season. “The Shield” is widely considered to be one of the best shows on tv. And rightly so.

MICHAEL CHIKLIS [the lead actor] earned basic cable’s first ever Primetime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. CHIKLIS also captured the Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama.
“The Shield” picked up Emmy nominations for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for creator SHAWN RYAN, and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for CLARK JOHNSON, both basic cable firsts. The series also received Television Critics Association Award nominations in the categories of New Program of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Drama and Program of the Year.

Even without all the awards, I’d still recommend it as a “don’t miss” show. Check out what I wrote way back on
April 14, 2002! [Oh, and for you STALLONE fans reading this, CARL WEATHERS is set to appear in episodes later this season.]