'Where's the remote?' My wife appeared, clutching the precious device in her left hand. 'May I please have it?' 'If you're expecting me to sit or roll over like the dog, may I remind you that my knees are killing me,' I replied
'Girls' -- HBO's much-talked-about comedy -- debuted its second season. I should qualify that 'much-talked-about' description, since 'Girls' is really only a major discussion point among young liberal urbanites around the country
Donald Trump is now calling out Bill Maher to give up the money he promised (so Trump can donate it to charity). Maher has been mum on the issue, and now Trump is calling foul and threatening to sue
Amid contradicting reports that say Kourtney Kardashian has recently gotten engaged to Scott Disick, the reality stars are mum on the issue, making the whole matter a mystery
The closing ceremony of the London Olympics has made NBC a big ratings winner, with 31 million viewers watching nationally as curtains go down
'Modern Family' lead Sofia Vergara has been named this year's highest paid television actress by Forbes magazine
The 64th Emmy Awards is set after nominations were announced, along with other details on the telecast
While the likes of Comcast and Time Warner Cable have every right to profit from their investments and services, they shouldn't abuse their dominant market share to remake our Internet in their image
There's a lot of talk around the Web about Lena Dunham's new HBO show, 'Girls,' and its lack of diversity
'Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.' is another of the Harvard professor's wonderful television series for PBS. This is 'must-see TV' and a more than worthy sequel to three previous projects Gates has hosted
Miami head coach Joe Philbin confirmed that the Dolphins will replace the New York Jets as the stars of HBO's reality football show 'Hard Knocks'
The irrelevance and incompetence of the American vice president is enjoying a rerun. In the new HBO comedy series, Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, the well-meaning airhead of a fictional administration
Fox News started as an idea hatched by Rupert Murdoch, who hired GOP campaign strategist Roger Ailes to run the new channel. Ailes set out to build from scratch a network that resembled a newspaper: news and opinion. And the formula hasn't changed
In a new study that calls into question the credibility of the news business, public belief that the media is inaccurate, biased, and influenced by powerful people has reached historic highs, according to the Pew Research Center
Twitter is an interesting medium, if only because it allows TV execs -- often behind the thinnest veneer of anonymity -- to express publicly what they traditionally say in private. So it's been amusing in recent weeks to see sniping from broadcast honchos about critically acclaimed cable shows
NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt pledged to put the network on the road to a comeback at its upfront presentation recently at Manhattan's Hilton Hotel. Though 'Celebrity Apprentice' star Donald Trump arguably upstaged the whole event by declaring he wouldn't seek the presidency, the message from the Peacock is that it wants to fly again
Charlie Sheen, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, Simon Cowell, Katie Couric, Oprah Winfrey, Laura Schlessinger and Scott Pelley might sound like an unlikely dinner party, other than sharing a high tax bracket. If pressed, though, they might find something else in common -- namely, what it's like to miss your last job
May 25 will be a bittersweet day across America. On that day, after a quarter century of unparalleled excellence and out-of-this-world success, Oprah is closing down 'The Oprah Winfrey Show,' TV's top-rated talk show year after year after year
Fifty years ago, then Federal Communications Chairman Newton Minow famously skewered the nation's daily television programming as 'a vast wasteland.' Today it is still largely a wasteland, in my view, because that's mostly what people want. But every so often a smart visionary comes along
If TV has a window reserved for sentimentality, it's traditionally been May, the sweeps month associated with series finales and cliffhangers. Yet while last year was a veritable feast of fond farewells -- as networks and fans bid goodbye to long-running hits 'Lost,' '24' and 'Law & Order' -- this year, May is not-so-lusty
In an increasingly competitive media landscape, there's one sure way of attracting eyeballs: controversy. Namby-pamby shows aren't going to draw fickle viewers. And thoughtful analysis of issues and situations tends to bring in an elite -- and reduced -- audience. On TV, especially, one must be bold. Salacious. Crass. Shameless. This may explain MTV's latest foray into the youth market
On Disney Channel's Shake It Up, Bella Thorne and Zendaya Coleman play BFFs CeCe and Rocky -- and they love to dance! Here, the girls dish on how they learned to get down with the choreography, and their real-life off-camera friendships with the crew. Plus, Zendaya spills Bella's secret obsession!
As a one-time member of the TV Academy's Board of Governors, 'Rescue Me' exec producer Peter Tolan made a case for tossing out the org's Emmy voting process. Tolan's idea: Get the nation's TV critics to choose Emmy winners
In this era of celebrity journalism, when television news stars often out-glitter the politicians and other public figures they cover, Mike Wallace won his niche not on the strength of his opinions nor any aura of erudition
Does TV bore you? Well, try these programs. They'll stimulate your mind, body and, in most cases, your funny bone
Modern Family bagged the most awards in the 63rd primetime Emmy awards. The comedy series swept the awards ceremony,winning five awards including best comedy series, which it bagged for the second consecutive year. British drama series Downtown Abbey came in second with four awards, including best miniseries
In the name of fiscal responsibility and recognition of our changing times, here's a serious thought: Let's transform the 2012 Republican presidential primary into a reality TV show. While that might sound flippant, it's really a pragmatic suggestion
Diane Farr has taken a break from humor for this column, wanting to weigh in on Charlie Sheen from her vantage point as a TV actress and Hollywood insider
HBO has attempted a mighty feat with its five-part miniseries Mildred Pierce starring Kate Winslet, based on James M. Cain's best-selling 1941 novel. First of all, there is the vivid memory of the 1945 black-and-white screen version, starring Joan Crawford as the ambitious, long-suffering Mildred and co-starring Ann Blyth as Veda, the vicious, ungrateful daughter from Hell
Feisty money talker Lou Dobbs is back, just not the way we expected when he abruptly quit CNN amid rumors he was going to run for the Senate or even the presidency. As he prepares to debut on Fox Business Network, he tells us, 'That is not something I wanted to do.' Though, he 'fessed, running for office was 'very tempting.'
Killing a sitcom character might sound like a bummer, but producer Norman Lear thinks viewers are relatively forgiving in such situations. 'If they have any other characters that the audience is interested in, and the writing is up to it, it'll sustain.' It would be possible to create a new character, Lear said, to deliver the news Sheen's alter ego, Charlie Harper, won't be back
It's been painful watching actor Charlie Sheen implode. Painful, embarrassing, disturbing and -- OK, I'll admit this -- entertaining in a horror-movie way. What will he say next? Can his behavior get any more erratic?
At a time in her life when many of her contemporaries are trading in their press passes for a ticket to retirement's easy street, NBC's ageless whirlwind, Andrea Mitchell, is stepping it up
Oprah Winfrey represents a billion-dollar industry unto herself, which invites the question: What exactly is her product? The daytime titan -- about to embark on a new adventure with the long-awaited launch of the Oprah Winfrey Network -- has dabbled in many fields. Yet her signature power is derived from a singular source, stemming from her ability to create a lucrative commodity
From edgy reality shows such as 'Married on MySpace' to next-generation comedies like 'Fred and Smosh,' the Internet seems to be offering something for everyone except, thankfully, the audience of 'The View.' So if you're not ready to sit through another Kardashian spinoff on the tube, log on and check out these gems on your desktop
Television for women is a strange term for starters, since the vast majority of primetime TV aims squarely at them. Nevertheless, traditional formats, personalities and niche channels geared to women find themselves at a perplexing crossroads
The major networks just hosted another upfront week, and once again there was an uninvited guest. That would be reality TV, arguably primetime's dominant genre, ratings-wise, conspicuous by its absence.
Presidents come and go. And so do most reporters assigned to them. But one constant in the White House press room for exactly 25 years has been the voice of CBS reporter Peter Maer.
For years, Chuck Lorre has chafed at what he sees as a lack of recognition and respect for his top-rated CBS comedy, 'Two and a Half Men.' As they say, be careful what you wish for. 'Men' has yet to receive that elusive Emmy, but thanks to star Charlie Sheen, it is now -- in its eighth season, improbably -- a media darling
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest could be a possible successor to Matt Lauer on NBC's 'Today' show if Lauer steps down next year
Debby Ryan, 17, prepares to bid adieu to her castmates of "The Suite Life on Deck" as the series premieres its Disney Channel original movie The Suite Life Movie in March -- before the popular show sails off into the sunset forever this summer. The talented Texan dishes on the making of the TV flick and closing the chapter on her star-making role
With the recent airing of 'Two and a Half Men' marking the last original episode in the can, there's growing acrimony between Charlie Sheen's camp and CBS and Warner Bros. TV over when production will resume
Charlie Sheen and Ben Roethlisberger might seem an unlikely pair. Yet the 'Two and a Half Men' star and Super Bowl quarterback both demonstrate an old truth: Bad behavior is seldom enough to keep proven winners sidelined long.
The numbers are in. More than 111 million households watched the Super Bowl. That makes this year's Super Bowl the single-most-watched television broadcast of all time. Yes, even more than the premiere of 'Jersey Shore' season two. It's hard to believe, but completely true
The fight over 24-hour cable news' negative impact on journalism is hardly new, but recent rounds have been fierce -- with past and present industry heavyweights trading blows.
Anderson Cooper's decision to enter the competitive syndicated talk show fray could have a far-reaching impact on the daytime TV landscape.
There's a wave of '80s talent back on television this fall. It's just that many of them are playing themselves, rather depressingly, in reality TV shows.
Branding has become a favorite buzzword in creative circles. Even TV programs and performers are 'brands' now to be carefully managed to avoid striking discordant notes. However, for all the meticulous planning programmers do, history indicates more often than not that networks stumble into success
With 'Jersey Shore' snookin' through the summer and 'Real Housewives' sprouting up in the U.S. capitol, it's easy to despair about the future of unscripted TV (in this context, 'reality' hardly applies). Yet there is another front in the unscripted wars, a second tier of more enlightened -- and enlightening -- reality.
As a documentarian, Spike Lee employs a kitchen-sink approach (as in throwing in everything but) that could be seen in some of his early films. He frames his story with the New Orleans Saints' uplifting Super Bowl victory in February, then closes it by devoting most of the last hour to the devastation wrought by BP
Television has historically operated by its own peculiar calendar: The seasonal September kickoff timed to new car models, 'very special' sweeps stunts, and a summer siesta in May. But now, courtesy primarily of cable networks and their yawning demand for programming, we have a new wrinkle: the tragedy re-visitation calendar
It's a hit of the television season -- again. What with Hollywood turning out one silly movie after another, the little screen is reasserting itself as the place to go for, if not serious drama, than the kind that rivets the viewer's attention between commercials. Much as 'The Sopranos' did a few seasons back. What keeps people tuning into 'Mad Men'?
Grab your fedora hats and kitten heels, people: The new season of 'Mad Men' is about to begin. Add a Tom Collins or a scotch neat to get in the mood. The AMC drama about life in the early 1960s is starting its fourth season
It is already one of the most embarrassing video clips in sports history, and it has nothing to do with dropped passes or missed dunks. It is footage of New York Jets defensive back Antonio Cromartie, a 26-year-old man, trying to list the names of his children. Cromartie, in the HBO reality series 'Hard Knocks,' sits on the field, counting his kids on his fingers
You might not know that Camp Rock 2 co-star Demi Lovato and other cast members are joining the Jonas Brothers for a concert tour, which starts in the United States before kicking off the world tour in Mexico in October. The Jo Bros were anxious to chat with us about their new movie and tour, and we were all ears
We still don't know what happened the night 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot, but if a certain TV show had its way, 2 million people might have witnessed the whole thing. That's the audience for a hot episode of 'The First 48,' a reality show on A&E that follows cops during the 48 hours after a murder is committed.
As fate would have it, 'Lost' is one of three long-running hits that say goodbye over the next few days, the others being '24' and 'Law and Order.' And while each can rightfully be lionized in various ways it detracts from them not at all to say that their accomplishments are almost without exception at least as notable for their impact on the commerce of TV as its art
A compelling case exists that for many newspapers to survive, they'll require nonprofit status -- and possibly public funding. A related question is where TV and radio journalism might fit into that equation.
TiVo was the first to popularize the convenience of recording TV to digital files. TiVo is still around, and in its first decade it slowly added features. But now TiVo is facing a growing list of competitors that have spurred a golden age of innovation. Today's recorders are more powerful, easier to use, and rapidly adding new capabilities
It's no secret that most kids watch too much television. For years, psychologists and pediatricians have sounded alarms that excessive television time contributes to an array of modern childhood problems -- from obesity to a failure to develop new interests. The good news is: If you start early, you can raise kids with a balanced and appropriate TV diet. Here's how
Fox News is in a class by itself. In its epidemic inaccuracy, its ongoing disregard for basic journalistic standards of fairness, its demagogic appeals and its blatantly ideological promotions it is, indeed, unique -- a news source in name only. That's not just an opinion: a 2003 study found Fox viewers more likely to be misinformed than those who get their news elsewhere.
The rise of reality contestants has occurred gradually, even within a genre only a decade old in its current guise. At first reality players seemed like highly disposable commodities -- people who could be counted on to flame brightly if the show featuring them caught on before returning to their lives, perhaps a little richer and with a story to tell the grandkids. Only now, because of the unquenchable demand for programming and recognizable 'talent,' ...
Thinking about Dan Rather always brings to mind an observation about the entertainment business by the agent Pat Faulstich, who was fond of saying that the best job you'll ever have is the one that precedes the one you always wanted. For Rather, his career apex might actually have come when he was a hard-charging network correspondent ...
Now that he's back as an 'American Idol' exec producer, Nigel Lythgoe has an idea -- or 20 -- about how to reboot the franchise. First up: Lythgoe told Daily Variety on Wednesday that he'd like to find a way to bring former 'Idol' judge Paula Abdul back into the fold. Such a coup might be tough to pull off
'WE THINK you're a little drunk, ma'am.' 'So, what are you -- the sobriety police?' That's how it went between Chris Meloni and Ann-Margret in the opening scene of the 'Law & Order: SVU' episode that has garnered an Emmy nomination for the famous flame-haired actress/singer/dancer. This is not Ann-Margret's first Emmy nomination, of course. She has been up for the award six times
Ellen DeGeneres won't be returning to 'American Idol' next season. But Jennifer Lopez may soon be joining the 'Idol' judges' table. As first reported by Variety, DeGeneres' exit comes as Fox and producers FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment plot a massive 'Idol' overhaul
It's official: After 25 years as a staple of CNN's primetime, Larry King is hanging up his suspenders. His exit, which has been expected for some time, puts speculation on his replacement -- already a hot topic in news circles -- into overdrive
C-SPAN, the little cable company that could when it started 31 years ago by airing boring House and Senate floor action, has become the influential public affairs channel that did.
The trend in TV news is a push to accomplish more with fewer people, capitalizing on new technologies to replace body and head count. Indeed, the latest round of cuts in television will likely hasten a scenario where reporters don't so much report as invest the minimum amount of resources necessary to produce precisely the story they were dispatched to bring back.
Is reality TV finally living up to its name? Most of what we are served up under that rubric is actually the furthest thing from reality. Enter 'Undercover Boss,' the new CBS reality show in which corporate CEOs don disguises and spend a few days experiencing what it's like to be a low-level worker at their companies.
Miranda Cosgrove isn't getting much of a vacation this year, but she's not complaining. The 16-year-old actress is busy filming a slew of new 'iCarly' episodes, but that hasn't stopped her from partaking in some of her favorite pastimes
'Survivor' helped establish the modern template for reality TV in the U.S., so it's appropriate the CBS show -- with its 10th anniversary wrinkle, 'Heroes vs. Villains' -- would contribute to the genre's creative 'jump the shark' phase. As reality TV becomes a mature category, it's being victimized by a chronic industry condition -- namely, sequelitis.
We studied the hundreds of HDTV flat-panel television sets that plastered walls at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and have distilled a quick guide to today's key options
David Lee -- part of the creative trio that launched 'Wings' and 'Frasier' -- left television in 2004 finding a nifty second act in his first love, the theater. Lee agreed to discuss TV's current comedy landscape, which has seemingly taken several welcome turns.
Seventy years ago, the NFL and NBC tried something that would change football, and television, forever. On October 22, 1939, the Brooklyn Dodgers hosted the Philadelphia Eagles at Ebbets Field. The contest marked the first time pro football was broadcast on television.
NFL Monday Night Football kicks off its 40th season on September 14 with an "AFL 50th Anniversary" doubleheader on ESPN and a new face in the broadcast booth!
Sci Fi is developing a new take on "Alien Nation," the 1988 feature that previously spawned a spinoff series on Fox. "Alien Nation" centers on the partnership between a veteran cop and his alien detective partner, set against the larger tale of alien "newcomers" who move to Earth and attempt to assimilate into society.
Mindful that man (and woman) cannot live on 'Wipeout' and 'America's Got Talent' alone, the networks have taken steps to provide a more varied lineup when the weather heats up. But even that has felt mostly like half-measures, with a heavy reliance on Canadian imports and programs produced on the cheap
Television has a strange relationship with weight loss. America's battle with the bulge is too readily relatable to resist, making the struggles of folks who sweat merely donning their workout garb ideal for unscripted fare. Here's how television networks have crafted heart-tugging stories around the pursuit of weight loss. Biggest Loser sets the standard, but has plenty of company
Call this The Year of Living Conservatively. The television networks appear to collectively think a recession isn't time to reinvent the wheel, resulting in a pretty steady diet of meat and potatoes. And while they bring their own spin to new procedurals, ABC and NBC have seemingly concluded that those older people dozing in front of the set watching CBS can't all be wrong.
From the moment the 'Lost' finale ended, the Internet was ablaze with commentary, analysis, ranting and raving about the merits of the epic series closer
Oh, what Betty White can teach us all. Listen up. The self-effacing funny woman who wowed a record 12 million viewers on 'Saturday Night Live' is less a throwback to the past than a portent of the future.
In its recent dispute with Time Warner Cable, Fox, on its website Keepfoxon.com, accused the cable operator of waging a campaign that 'masquerades as a grass-roots effort to enlist viewer participation.' News Corp. certainly should recognize the tactic, having all but invented it
Culturally, this has been the decade of the reality show. And what do we have to show for it? Not much more than the contestants themselves.
The media world spins so fast, it's easy to forget how dramatically the landscape has changed during the 00's decade. So before putting the '00s behind us, let's review some key statistics and recap the dramatic changes in television and entertainment.
'People don't realize how many hands are involved even before Rachael, Guy or Melissa touch the food,' explains Rob Bleifer, executive chef of the Food Network Kitchen. The names he mentions will be familiar to fans of the network -- they are stars Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri and Melissa d'Arabian.
When members of the Obama administration announced that they did not consider Fox a real news network, they were actually bringing attention to what has become the sad reality of real news gathering in this country: It's disappearing faster than contestants on Survivor
Back in 1949, a little girl in California fell down a well. As diggers tried to save her, a huge crowd gathered. The rescue attempt, which took several days, was broadcast nationwide on radio -- and followed anxiously on a new medium called television. Since that moment, kids and danger have been an irresistible lure for broadcasters
Throughout the course of the Discovery Channel show "Dirty Jobs", Mike Rowe, 47, has parachuted into incredibly dirty jobs, including coal miner, shrimper, and even skull cleaner, paying tribute to the value and integrity of manual laborers as he sloshes around in knee-high nastiness right beside them. A recent interview with Mike Rowe about Dirty Jobs ...
Finding a spot is the big challenge right now for first-season reality TV programs. After all, there are only so many hours in the day to watch television, and viewers tend to be loyal to their favorite show, even if it's a little long in the tooth.
Determined to find hits, cable TV networks keep breaking out of narrowly defined brands. In stark contrast to this, there's the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN for short), a channel so committed to its brand -- the daytime host's "Live your best life" mantra -- that the specific nature of its programs remains something of an afterthought as the venture readies for next year's debut.
After having its maiden run shortened by the writer's strike, 'Breaking Bad' recently capped a breathtaking second season that delved deeper into the show's world of moral ambiguity and unintended consequences," writes Variety's pundit Brian Lowry.