The good, bad and the ugly on TV:
They won't be there for you
For die-hard Friends fans, the recent revelation that the show will end following its 2001-02 season came as bad news.
For some, however, myself included, it's the right call to put the show out of its creative misery.
The indications were there last season: glitzy guest stars getting more camera time than regulars, fantastical storylines, and 16 people stranded in Australia dominating the Must See timeslot. Not to mention that each cast member was beginning to ask for such massive salaries that it made all six of them intensely unlikable.
A couple of the Friends really need not worry. Jennifer Aniston's officially a pop-culture icon, and David Schwimmer's performance in HBO's upcoming miniseries Band of Brothers is a wonderful piece of weasel acting. They'll be fine. They'll all be fine. Stone-cold wealthy.
Robert Iler: millionaire?
The Sopranos' Robert Iler reportedly bragged to police officers following his July 4 arrest for theft and marijuana possession, saying, "Don't you worry about me. I'm a millionaire."
That may be true, but isn't young Robert forgetting that he works on a show where main characters die all the time? He may have some cash, but can he hold onto it if the show's producers decide he's a liability?
Perhaps he should have a little discussion with actor Vincent Pastore (who played "Big Pussy" on the series, before getting whacked). One minute, he's a star. The next, he's sitting next to the Olsen twins as the "Secret Square."
Wise up, Robert.
Mister Rogers: retiring legend
In an age when little Pokemon creatures teach kids how to gamble, it's nice to see a children's program that utilizes TV as a brilliant learning tool.
That's what PBS' Mister Rogers Neighborhood did for 34 years, but as of Friday, Sept. 29, the show ends production as its star, 73-year-old Fred Rogers, retires. And he deserves a break.
But there'll be no more puppet shows that don't involve a Ninja Turtle in some way. No more visits by a mailman who doesn't hate your very guts.
Yep, we're now left with good old-fashioned capitalism for kids on the tube. More trading cards, more Gameboys. Get ready for Christmas.
From the "beating a dead horse department": CBS announced Wednesday that a handful of the cast members from both installments of Survivor will visit the Big Brother II house on Sept. 5. From the first Survivor, Gervase Peterson and Susan Hawk will drop by the house, and from Survivor: The Australian Outback, Alicia Callaway and Jeff Varner will pop in. The castaways will go head-to-head against the remaining houseguests in a competition of survival skills.
Has CBS lost its originality? Rehashing old castaways on new shows--castaways who didn't even win anything? Well, you can't really blame CBS. Maybe this move will finally push Big Brother II up in the ratings?
ABC: Nielsen king
Sensationalism. It's a beautiful thing--if you're a TV network.
ABC usually tops the weekly Nielsen rankings with Millionaire. We hardly flinch when we see it. But last week, it was the news magazine show PrimeTime Thursday that rose to No. 1, thanks to that little ferret from California, Gary Condit.
Yes, the interview he sat through with Connie Chung was drivel, but it scored big in the ratings. While Condit's situation is a story of grotesque proportions, it nonetheless drew the biggest audience in primetime. If only ABC could score a live confession with Robert Blake--then ABC execs could rest easy for weeks on end. Just make sure it airs during November sweeps.
President Clinton attended what would be his final holiday party as the nation's chief Sunday, Reuters reports.
The president attended the 19th annual “Christmas in Washington” concert at the National Building Museum with first lady and senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton and their daughter Chelsea Clinton.
``This is our last one here,” Clinton said. “Also, it's the first Christmas of the new millennium,'' he added. ''Tonight I am grateful that we can celebrate an America blessed with unprecedented peace and prosperity.''
Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar hosted the event, which featured performances by Brian McKnight, Marc Anthony, Chuck Berry and Jessica Simpson. The event will air Sunday on cable’s TNT.
PRESIDENT GERVASE: For someone still milking his sudden fame stemming from CBS' “Survivor,” the cow hasn’t run dry just yet for Gervase Peterson. The Associated Press reports that Peterson will take on the role of president of the United States on “There Goes the Nation,” a new cybershow on UrbanEntertainment.com.
Peterson will spoof himself with a “Survivor”-type character whose fame takes him all the way to the White House. The show will run Dec. 18 on the Internet. Peterson has already had guest roles on ``The Hughleys,'' ``Nash Bridges'' and MTV's ``Say What? Karaoke.''
HANNA-BARBERA COMPOSER DIES: Composer Hoyt Curtin, the man behind the music for hit cartoons such as “The Jetsons,” “The Flintstones” and “Scooby-Doo,” has died. He was 78.
AP reports that the composer died Dec. 3 after a lengthy, undisclosed illness. He started his career in 1957 writing advertising jingles before moving on to music director for Hanna-Barbera, where he wrote the theme songs for “Huckleberry Hound,” “Yogi Bear” and “Johnny Quest.”
Curtin is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and three grandchildren.
SAN FRANCISCO GOES HOLLYWOOD: For a city that loves to hate Hollywood, San Franciscans quickly snatched up tickets to Sam Shepard's new play featuring a cast of A-list Tinseltown actors. Sean Penn
“The Late Henry Moss,” featuring Sean Penn, Nick Nolte and Woody Harrelson, opens at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre this week with every ticket for its six-week run sold, Reuters reports.
The play covers familiar Shepard territory: brawling brothers, drunken rage and all-American angst.
Shepard is probably best-known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning work “Buried Child.” Although the buzz at the premiere was energetic as people filled the theater, critics weren’t catching the vibe, describing the play as “uneven,” moving from a “static first act to a final wrenching one.” Ouch!
Time to get those PTA and office betting pools fired up again. As was made plenty clear to a "Survivor"-whipped TV nation last night, Gervase (Peterson), the island's resident slacker and 30-year-old basketball coach from Philadelphia, became exile No. 10 on the dog-eat-dog show.
Peterson's banishment puts an end to a prevailing rumor plaguing the CBS castaway-reality series. You know, the one about Gervase being the $1 million jackpot winner.
It started a few weeks ago, with an alleged leak posted by a hacker on the anti-"Survivor" Web site, the onomatopoeic www.survivorsucks.com. The cyberspace cowboy said he had hacked into the official CBS "Survivor" site and discovered the million-dollar scoop.
CBS officials denied it, but the rumor prevailed, right up until the Tribal Council's ballots were counted at the end of Wednesday night's broadcast.
Even prominent TV pundits bought into the myth. Michael Starr, a New York Post columnist, wrote a column predicting that Gervase would be the last survivor and win the booty. The column appeared on the Post's Web site this week and was supposed to run in the newspaper this morning.
But, according to a report on Inside.com today, Starr had to rewrite his column last night, at the last minute, switching his prediction to Rudy. His misguided column also has disappeared from the Post's Web site.
How are fans reacting, now that the "Survivor" theory has been debunked?
"So much for www.survivorsucks.com. I almost wonder if that Web site was set up by the network to deceive us," one netizen writes today, the chat room alt.smouldering.dog.zone.
So, what has Survivorsucks.com got to say for itself? Where did the rumor come from in the first place, and what about the furor it caused?
We tried unsuccessfully to get a response from the site's webmasters. But someone posted the following reaction to Gervase's shocking exit, without so much as a mention of the hacker who supposedly submitted the "scoop" way back when.
"Well thank God it's over. If we had to watch Gervase's lazy ass for one more week, we were going throw our television out the window."
Not a bad idea at all, if you ask us.