TV Rants & Raves for Aug. 23: Connie & Condit

The good, bad and the ugly on the tube:


Connie vs. Condit

We were worried about fluff. We cringed at the thought of Connie Chung pussy-footing around Gary Condit. We tuned in Thursday to watch the circus begin.

We were relieved.

Chung held her own against the California congressman, asking point-blank questions that tore away at Condit and his frightening hair. It’s a shame that Condit didn’t answer a damn thing–reminding us several times that he’s “not perfect” and that he “makes mistakes.” What mistakes? Well, he couldn’t tell us that. He couldn’t be truthful out of respect for the Levy family–the parents of the girl he’d been “close” with.

Chung looked ready to wring Condit‘s neck right there on national TV, but she kept her cool and politely left … empty-handed. But not to worry: PrimeTime Thursday should garner enough ratings to make ABC execs quite happy. Isn’t that the point?


Livin’ L.A. vida loca

So the Latin Grammys are moving to La La Land. Sure, Miami’s the big loser in the deal, but L.A. isn’t the true winner. Who is?


This controversy will intrigue viewing audiences—people who may not have been planning to watch the show. The move also allows for diva Jennifer Lopez to attend the festivities (she hadn’t planned on flying to Miami for the event, but reportedly plans on attending the L.A. soiree). A little controversy mixed in with some extra T&A: CBS execs couldn’t have planned it better.


Bill O’Reilly: Manson fan?

Marilyn Manson on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor. You can just see the carnage. Bill O’Reilly ripping Manson‘s very tattoos off. Ugly.

But that wasn’t the case on Monday night.

Instead, Manson—defending his recent lewd conduct on stage—argued eloquently with TV’s toughest interviewer. When grilled about his sexually charged performances, Manson calmly reminded O’Reilly that a guy named Elvis once sat through such accusations, and O’Reilly was soon won over. Toward the end of the interview, O’Reilly humbly called Manson “a well-spoken guy.” Perhaps Manson should run for public office? He’s already cleared one of the media’s toughest hurdles—an accomplishment most politicians never even attempt.


HBO hits hard

HBO Sports’ newest series, Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Baltimore Ravens, has proven to be an utterly fascinating–and unflinching–look at pre-season NFL conditioning. The most recent episode, which dealt heavily with the overbearing heat and exhaustion on the field, may have seemed a bit insensitive to some (considering the rash of heat-related deaths on the gridiron this summer), but ultimately, it made you understand why these men push themselves so hard.

The camera catches everything: men desperate for honor, validation, respect and —and yes—money. Head coach Brian Billick sometimes comes off as a tyrant, but that’s why he makes the big bucks. However, a camera in Billick’s room reveals he’s not as fierce as he appears, catching little glimpses of anxiety, compassion and concern.


CBS: going ga-ga

It was announced on Wednesday that CBS’ newest spokesperson will be—are you sitting down?—a seven-month-old baby who can talk like an adult. The “spokesbaby,” named Baby Bob, will promote the network’s programming this fall throughout the day and night, before he receives his own mid-season sitcom, aptly named Baby Bob, starring Joely Fisher and Jonathan Silverman.

This would be an innovative concept if Fox’s Family Guy and Pepsi’s The Joy of Pepsi ad campaign hadn’t already numbed us to the idea. Pretty unoriginal these days. But the kid is damn cute.