Short Ends: Brooke Shields Takes No Guff From Cruise

mark · 05/31/05 07:00PM

· At the KROQ Weenie Roast, comedian Brody Stevens catches Pat O'Brien—listening to music and putting on a sweater!
· If you bonged your way through this television season's final episodes, SMRT-TV's got your short-term memory's back with their handy chart of cliffhangers. Hold on, someone died on Desperate Housewives? That must've been awesome.
· Brooke Shields to Tom Cruise: I don't come down to your job and slap the e-meter out of your mouth, so why you gotta hate? Also: Someone we've never heard of uses her "female intuition" to surmise that some "very damaging information" about Cruise might be surfacing soon.
· ABC expects to sell over $2 billion in upfront ads; NBC's Jeff Zucker will reveal tomorrow that he traded 30 seconds of commercial time during Joey for a handjob that was like "pulling weeds."

We're Really Going To Miss The Upfronts, Part II

mark · 05/20/05 04:13PM

There's a hole in our heart where the upfronts used to be, but we know that come Fall, the pain will start to fade as the shows we've been teased with all week finally hit the schedule. Following up on our earlier post about the Fox upfront, a reader offers a defense of Peter Liguori and a preview of one of the network's more promising offerings:

We're Really Going To Miss The Upfronts

mark · 05/20/05 02:34PM

Yes, the upfronts are over, the network schedules all announced, the advertisers' spilled seeds finally wiped away from the hungry mouths of the television executives eager to service them. By the time Fox got around to doing their little dance yesterday afternoon, it seems that everyone was burned out from the nonstop whore-and-pony show and ready to go home. An operative reports on the Fox presentation:

Les Moonves Vs. The Lord Our God: Vegas Odds Have Moonves At 5:2

mark · 05/19/05 04:20PM

Now Les Moonves has really done it. His hubris has called down from above the hysterical Drudge headline, a Biblical punishment far worse than any piddling plague of locusts or death of a first born son that an aggrieved Creator might visit upon his perfectly-coiffed head. Moonves just throws back that pretty head and cackles, secure in the knowledge that not even Yahweh would choose Joan of Arcadia over Jennifer Love Hewitt's demographically-desirable rack, or deign to deliver adults 18-49 unto fallen Nielsen angel Jeff Zucker.

The Upfronts: Fox Tries To Class Up The Joint A Little

mark · 05/19/05 12:38PM

Their offical upfront presentation is yet to come, but Fox president Peter Liguori has met with the press and released his network's Fall slate. And as expected, the network has finally abandoned all pretenses about its success in the key demographic and finally shifted to an all- American Idol format launching at the conclusion of the World Series. In addition, Liguori has given Paula Abdul the green light to engage in sexual relationships with any of the AI hopefuls, just as long as all acts of pill-addled congress occur in front of fellow tribunal members Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell.

The Upfronts: Moonves Slaps Down Zucker, Again

mark · 05/18/05 03:29PM

Each year at upfronts time, Les Moonves likes to invite the press over for an informal chat over bagels, during which he's known to take out his penis, slap it down among the lox and cream cheese, then swing the sloppy member around the room without concern for who it hits in the face. The NYT's Virignia Heffernan notes who got a faceful of junk in her "Upfronts Journal" (which, like the LAT's "Web Notebook," should not be mistaken for a blog):

The Upfronts: The WB Likes It Doogie-Style

mark · 05/17/05 02:54PM

Unless you're a fifteen-year-old girl, you might be completely unaware of the existence of a network called "The WB." This network [Ed.note—Run this one by fact-checking to make sure that's a valid term for their cute organization.] announced its Fall schedule today at the upfronts, presumably to a room full of people turned away from the ABC presentation by a fire marshal. The only development of interest is the pick-up of Just Legal a series created when a Hello Kitty calculator was reprogrammed to generate a show concept from a random combination of the following elements: Teenage boys, Doogie Howser, Jerry Bruckheimer, lawyers, and Don Johnson. We're too tired to explain the actual premise, but feel free to recombine these elements at your leisure to form an entirely new show with the same chance of survival past November as The WB's version.

The Humbled Jeff Zucker: Stinking Up The Joint

mark · 05/17/05 10:20AM

By now we all know how it went down: At last year's upfronts, NBC golden boy Jeff Zucker was so confident about his network's prospects for the Fall season that he stood on a stack of Bibles, swore that their already high ratings would increase, and taunted the Lord himself to strike him down if Joey didn't deliver post-Friends salvation to his advertisers. Then God, who always has quite a sense of humor about such matters, obliged Zucker with a well-placed thunderbolt to the top of the executive's distinguished bald head.

NBC Looks To Crawl Out Of Last Place

mark · 05/16/05 12:26PM

Since burning down their studios, snuffing all of their executives, and replacing all 24 hours of their daily programming space with a salad shooter infomercial to start over after a disastrous, last-place season was deemed "wildly impractical" by fading NBC golden boy Jeff Zucker, the network instead decided to trot out a revamped Fall schedule for potential advertisers to kick off the upfronts in New York. NBC is launching six new shows in the fall: one comedy (My Name is Earl, with Jason Lee as a crook who wins the lottery), three dramas (including E-Ring, in which NBC attempts to suck at Jerry Bruckheimer's hitmaking teat to keep up with CBS), and two reality shows (one has Amy Grant crossing the country and granting Three Wishes—get it?—to make it seem like NBC loves poor people as much as ABC's Extreme Makeover). Gone are The Contender, American Dreams, Third Watch, and Law & Order: Trial by Jury, while Scrubs and Fear Factor are temporarily shelved until some of the new shows flop and demand immediate replacement with a known quantity.

SnE!ak PrE!view: E!'s Summer Schedule LE!aked

mark · 05/13/05 04:06PM

A deeply evil reader just slipped us E!'s summer schedule (and we're pretty sure it's not an E! staffer looking for free publicity), and rather than bore you with the entire thing (suffice it to say that unpaid talking heads endlessly rehashing pop culture/celebrity news in a list format figures prominently), we'll strip it down to the "highlights."

'The Office': We Don't Know What To Think

mark · 03/24/05 02:55PM

Like a woman in a bar who licks her lips, orders you a drink, and then kicks you in the junk, the NYT is sending some mixed signals about tonight's premiere of the American version of The Office on NBC:

Death Of A Dream: No Return To Paradise

mark · 03/10/05 04:31PM

Yesterday, we briefly noted a report that Paradise Hotel, the beloved reality show in which "contestants" were locked away in a luxury resort with nothing to do but drown themselves in margaritas, screw, and tear out their hair at the capriciously-shifting rules concocted by sadistic producers, might be returning to Fox this summer with its original cast. Unfortunately, an operative has informed us that the show will not be back, a decision reached deep within Fox's evil reality TV incubator yesterday. We are profoundly sad that the television landscape will continue to languish in its postlapsarian state. Excuse us while we wander in the desert of reality programming, scurrying to find some berries with which to cover our genitals— we've just realized they're shamefully exposed.

The Contender Beaten About The Head

mark · 03/09/05 12:36PM

NBC's Apprentice of boxing, The Contender, finally debuted Monday night, and producer Mark Burnett probably wishes he'd gone with his first idea: having Donald Trump put on some shorts that go up to his waist so that henchwoman Carolyn could pummel him for an hour every week. You can almost feel the spit-spray as the mouthguard flying out of this flack's maw as he's forced to defend the show's weak debut ratings:

Fat Actress: The Morning After

mark · 03/08/05 10:54AM

After all of the attention we paid to the slow-motion trainwreck that was the months-long publicity onlsaught for Fat Actress, we thought it was only fair that we actually watch it one time. So we checked it out over the free Yahoo feed (did you think we have Showtime? When we want to watch attractive lesbians make out, there's this thing called the internet) and stared, mouth agape, as Kirstie Alley rolled around on the floor of her bathroom and emitted what must have been a high-pitched distress call to the Lifetime Network, a siren begging to be placed in a basic cable movie about the dangers of overeating.

Time: Why Are The Gays So Good At TV Writing?

mark · 03/07/05 03:42PM

This week's Time magazine tackles the burning question bedeviling out-of-work breeder scribes all over town: "Hey, why are the gays so good at creating TV shows?" If you're currently toiling on one of the hit shows that is "most provocatively defining straight relationships," take a look around, for your showrunner is probably a Gay. Desperate Housewives? Gay. Nip/Tuck? Gay. Six Feet Under? Gay. And there's no relief if you're working on a show with gay themes, either: Will & Grace? 50 percent gay. The L Word? Lesbian! ABC's Stephen McPherson, whose network has been saved by Marc Cherry's [Ed.note—Yup, him too] Housewives, tries to dispel the theory that being gay grants you television-writing superpowers, but eventually succumbs to the barrel of the Velvet Mob revolver being pressed to the back of his head:

Fat Actress: Thanks For Puking On Our Shoes

mark · 03/07/05 11:22AM

In case you've forgotten, today is "Fat Monday," Showtime's day-long Roman orgy celebrating the premiere of Fat Actress. If you're a subscriber, you can probably flip on the channel right now and see someone eating a pastrami sandwich. Or, if you can hold out until tonight, you can wait for Kirstie Alley to puke (figuratively, we think—maybe those new DVR cable boxes are projectile-vomiting enabled? ) all over your shoes. Writes the LAT's Paul Brownfield: