... And will there be a Couric-Lauer reunion?
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
There have been unending cycles of speculation since the Katie Couric and then the Meredith Vieira exit rumors started circulating, but some of the facts have come together. Couric is leaving the CBS Evening News this month, Vieira is leaving "Today" in June and Matt Lauer isn't going anywhere.
Bing: More about 'Today' show
There's been a lot of buzz about the daytime talk show scene over the past month, and we're not talking about ABC's new shows, "The Chew" and "The Revolution," bumping "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" out off the schedule. We're talking "Today" show drama!
It started with buzz that former "Today" host Katie Couric is vacating her CBS Evening News anchor seat. That's now confirmed with Scott Pelley tapped to take her seat. Couric is leaving on May 19. The former daytime fave is hoping to return to daytime with her own syndicated show, while maintaining some sort of network news connection.
While Couric has no plan to return to "Today," there were interesting murmurs about a reunion with her former "Today" co-host, Matt Lauer, along with rumors that Lauer's current co-host Meredith Vieira was leaving.
Vieira is in fact leaving. "It's a difficult day for me," Vieira said. "After months of personal reflection and private conversations between my family and my friends, I've decided to leave 'Today' in June."
Vieira may show up on "Today" and other NBC news sets after her exit, but will pass the co-host baton to Ann Curry, with Natalie Morales replacing Curry as newsreader.
But what about the Couric/Lauer reunion rumors? Almost immediately after Couric made her announcement, rumblings started about Lauer's contract, which was said to be up in 2012.
Even Couric admitted she wouldn't mind working with him. "Matt and I have undeniable chemistry in the most platonic sense of the word," Couric told "People" in April. "We are like an old, married couple. We finish each other's sentences. He is very committed to the 'Today' show. But who knows? ... You never know what the future may bring. We may work together. It's hard to say right now. "
It turns out, Lauer is in fact committed to his show, or at least his network. He confirmed he is not teaming up with Couric. "We certainly spoke about the possibility, but we've talked about a lot of possibilities over the years," Lauer said. "It turned into just talk. And that's where we left it. It's not going to happen."
"I have a long-term deal with NBC News," Lauer added during a press conference. "I'm going to be here for a while. You're going to get sick of me."
MSN TV’s new weekly roundup of which stars are visiting which talk shows!
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
Here's the lowdown on which shows to tune in to hang out with Chandra Wilson, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Nelly, Randy Jackson, James Woods, Hilary Swank, Robin Tunney, Ed Asner and Chaz Bono the week of May 16-20 -- as well as where to catch performances from Matthew Morrison, Daniel Radcliffe and Christina Perri. Guests subject to change.
Monday, May 16
"The Oprah Winfrey Show:" James Frey -- After the "A Million Little Pieces" Controversy - Part 1.
"Good Morning America:" Royal biographer Andrew Morton ("William and Katherine: Their Lives, Their Wedding"), Cheryl Burke ("Dancing with the Stars"), George Stephanopoulos wheels and deals with History Channel's "Pawn Stars."
"The Talk:" Chaz Bono ("Becoming Chaz"), animal expert Jack Hanna.
"The View:" Randy Jackson ("American Idol"), financial expert Suze Orman (author, "The Money Class").
"Today:" Cee Lo Green ("The Voice") Barbara Corcoran, Shae Gallante, Ed Asner ("Too Big To Fail"), "The Real Housewives of New Jersey."
Tuesday, May 17
"The Oprah Winfrey Show:" James Frey - After the "A Million Little Pieces" Controversy - Part 2.
"Good Morning America:" Behind the scenes of Oprah's final show, Donny Osmond ("Dancing with the Stars"), Bianna Golodryga wrestles an alligator with A&E's "Billy the Exterminator", Matthew Morrison ("Glee") performs.
"The Talk:" Actor/author Paul Reiser, Megyn Price ("Rules of Engagement"), Dr. Ian Smith.
"The View:" Jim Belushi (Broadway's "Born Yesterday"), Royal biographer Andrew Morton ("William and Katherine: Their Lives, Their Wedding").
"Today:" Christina Aguilera ("The Voice"), Mario Batali, the latest contestant eliminated from "American Idol," "The Biggest Loser" update, Suze Orman, Sara Haines, Jane Pauley, Christina Perri performs.
Wednesday, May 18
"The Oprah Winfrew Show:" Surprise Guest?
"Good Morning America:" Lara Spencer makes VH1's "Mob Wives" an offer they can't refuse, two-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Shannon Miller, the latest couple eliminated from "Dancing with the Stars."
"The Talk:" Shania Twain, Cameron Mathison ("All my Children"), author Barbara Rose Brooker ("The Viagra Diaries").
"The View:" Celebrity guest co-host Tyra Banks, James Woods ("Too Big to Fail"), musical guest Jessie J, chefs Cat Cora, Ming Tsai and Marcus Samuelsson go gluten free.
"Today:" Frankie Valli (National Institutes of Health), Martha Stewart, Sam Zien, The winner of "America's Got Talent" performs, Nelly.
Thursday, May 19
"The Oprah Winfrey Show:" Oprah's Most Memorable Guests: The Ultimate Reunion.
"Good Morning America:" Melissa Rycroft, Josh Elliott tackles the "Wipeout" obstacle course.
"The Talk:" Robin Tunney ("The Mentalist"), Chef Fabio Viviani, Dr. Raj.
"The View:" Chandra Wilson ("Grey's Anatomy"), childhood star Jonathan Lipnicki, U.S. pole dancing champion Natasha Wang.
"Today:" "Celebrity Apprentice" finalists, Bob Dotson, 9-11am: InStyle's best 2011 beauty buys, Nirmala Narine, Hilary Swank.
Friday, May 20
"The Oprah Winfrey Show:" Oprah's All-Time Favorite Guest Revealed! John Travolta? Tom Cruise? One of the Oprah Crew, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil or BFF Gayle King? Tune in to find out!
"Good Morning America:" Dan Harris babysits the Duggar children ("19 and Counting"), "Sesame Street" new financial literacy campaign, chef Emeril Lagasse.
"The Talk:" Tom Selleck ("Blue Bloods"/ "Jesse Stone"), Mary Hart ("Entertainment Tonight"), Jill Herzig ("Redbook Magazine").
"The View:" Performance by Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette from their Tony nominated musical, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
"Today:" Stay tuned -- someone exciting is sure to be added to the schedule!
Check out next week's listing to find out what Oprah has in store for her final week and who else is coming to daytime.
There are more revelations, but not much progress on solving the murder
Tonight, we learned a lot more about some of the more opaque actions of a few of the main characters, particularly Holder. Although there were no big surprises, there was enough advancement to make this episode seem like it was moving at high speed compared to last week's.
The cops: The mysterious man with envelopes of cash turns out to be Holder's sponsor, who is cashing his paychecks and giving him an allowance. Being only six months clean of narcotics certainly explained some of Holder's twitchy and anti-social behavior, but it doesn't make it any easier to take his blunt interrogation tactics or his disrespectful attitude. However, the final scene between he and Linden showed a détente of some kind; now that they have better evidence (which the boss perversely won't let them use) and Bennett's conversations with Muhammad about "passports" on a wiretap, hopefully there will be some momentum on the case.
Speaking of Bennett, it is to the show's credit that they continue to keep us as in the dark as the investigators; clearly, there is a lot going on (involving more than just Rosie Larsen) and finding out in bits and pieces has kept my interest piqued.
The family: For the first time, it felt the writers were really reaching to cover any new ground. Mitch is still barely engaging with others, Stan is coping by taking over all the day-to-day responsibilities. It did feel cruel of him to start packing up Rosie's room after only a week, but the Larsen family scenes didn't really tell us anything new or advance the story that much. Still, the two child actors playing the young sons continue to be astonishing; their total concentration on the videogame while arguing about whether their Dad was mad was simultaneously amusing and touching.
The campaign: In contrast, the energy of this storyline finally picked up and gave us a look at a new and fairly ruthless Darren Richmond. Taking the anger at his wife's killer and pouring that into an attack on the personal peccadilloes of his opponent's personal life seemed to wake up him for the first time since the series started. As Jamie bluntly pointed out, the issue is winning. If Richmond doesn't have what it takes to do that, he won't have what it takes to run the city. Of course, if he does win, will he be any better in the end than fat cat Adams? We shall see.
- It was great to see some actual frustration from Linden over the various obstructions in her professional and personal life, and Mireille Enos played the small things very well, like her eye-rolling phone conversation with (I assume) her fiancé's sister.
- Hey FBI agent: it's pretty simple to say "Come with me so I can keep an eye on you" instead of "Wait here all alone by the truck full of evidence that you so desperately want to look into."
- Adams' secret girlfriend looks awfully young.
A road trip and a hard-fought victory bring the East Dillon Lions closer together
"Success is not a goal. It's a byproduct." – Eric Taylor
"Friday Night Lights" has had its share of big moments; the locker room speeches that give you chills and the football victories that make you yell out loud. It has also had many emotional punches to the gut, like Matt Saracen digging his father's grave or Tami Taylor's tearful sex-ed talk with her daughter. But sometimes, the quieter scenes can be just as affecting in a more subtle fashion, and "Kingdom" has plenty of those kinds of moments.
For once, the focus was almost completely on one important game - the road trip to Kingdom and hardscrabble victory over the same team that the Lions forfeited to last year. By separating Coach Taylor and the team from Dillon for one episode, the writers were able to tell a more rambling story that touched on everything from Vince's recent adventure at TMU to Buddy Jr.'s hazing right of passage as the team's newest member. There will most likely be more important consequences later on; who knows how long Vince and his father can keep their promise to Coach and not be seduced by the temptations of the college recruitment machine? Is Luke heading for a rude awakening of some kind in the midst of all of this? Is Hastings a charming smart-aleck or did his little "are you a virgin?" conversation with young Garrity portend some sort of bad (or good) influence in the future?
In the meantime, we got to see the easy camaraderie amongst the boys in that extended scene on their hotel patios, talking trash and fooling around, and smiled along with Buddy Jr. as he held the girl's lipstick the next day. We got to watch all the coaches unwinding with poker and beer, resulting in a bit of a drunk dial from Coach Taylor ("So…what are ya'll wearing?"). We got to bond even more with a football team with heart and guts, a team that is discovering their own strengths with every win and every loss. Like the man said, we're not there yet, but slowly and surely, we are getting there.
- On a more sour note, the Julie storyline cannot be over soon enough. If the whole point was just to get her home, I'm going to be very disappointed, although I can't imagine that an adjunct professor basically assaulting an undergraduate (on campus and in front of witnesses, no less) will not have bad consequences.
- Bacon frying up in the office! East Dillon's not so bad.
- How nice of Eric to let Stan do that whistle thing he loves to do.
- "Pork and pig are two different things."
- Words to live by: "Stay away from dumb, gentlemen."
- I pretty much adore Drunk Luke and want him to come back again.
- The branding scene was somehow both outlandish and completely believable.
- "Coach, this is my team. I ride with my team."
A superb double feature hits several comedic and emotional high points
One of the most wonderful things about the utterly wonderful world of "Parks and Recreation" is that even when everyone is acting like goofballs, their basic motivations are pretty realistic. Each of us has tried to help a friend and somehow overstepped, or debated about whether to escalate a friendship to a romantic level, or been too invested in being right instead of being supportive of a partner. All of these moments were played honestly, so that the poignant payoffs felt completely earned. It is only when those moments are combined with Snake Juice-induced role-playing, a fake game show called "Know Ya Boo", and Ron Swanson handing out land mines to precocious fourth-graders that the situations become comedic.
Leslie experienced a turning point with her best friend and her potential boyfriend, and each relationship came out stronger in the end, although only one was sealed with a kiss. In a slyly subversive twist, excess alcohol played an important role in each crisis; first when Leslie and Ann clear the air in an incoherent ("no offense") argument about Ann's potential job in the city government and then when Leslie is emboldened by red wine to make out with Ben "on his face" (although Chris kills that plan by crashing their dinner). In the town of Pawnee, nice girls do get what they want, by asking for forgiveness, and taking responsibility for their actions.
Each of the back-to-back episodes was bursting at the seams with comedy ringers, (Jean-Ralphio's pathetic non-rhyming rap, the return of "The Douche") and laugh-out-loud moments like Ron dancing up a storm in April's pillbox hat, or Chris going to town on air banjo. It's really refreshing to see a show with a true generosity of spirit; comedy writing with no mean-spiritedness is fairly rare on network television. OK, maybe April, but she is just grouchy about having to talk. You know, to people. About things.
Thankfully, this season didn't end on that cliff-hanger of the kiss, and we will get to see at least some fallout from their decision to go for it, despite the department rules, and also perhaps from Tom's decision to sell his shares in his beloved Snakehole Lounge. It is certainly a tall order to keep topping yourself every week, but even in advance of next week's hour-long season finale, it seems more and more likely that they will do just that.
- "My only official recommendations are U.S. Army-issued mustache trimmers, Morton's salt, and the C.R. Laurence Fein two-inch axe-style scraper oscillating knife blade."
- "Were you on the show where we had the stripper do math?"
- Some of Tom's business ideas: white fur earmuffs from men and inventing a phone that smells good
- I have seriously watched that montage of the drunken talking heads at least a dozen times. And April with the gigantic pillows tied to her head the next morning was icing on the cake.
- "First you take the cow to the killing floor…"
- "That was the most sexual tension I have ever seen in a conversation about documents."
- Neutral Milk Hotel, huh? That's a bold statement Mr. Schur.
- "It's never too early to learn that the government is a greedy piglet that suckles on a taxpayer's teat until they have sore chapped nipples. I’m going to need a different metaphor to give this nine-year-old."
- "I'm allergic to fingers."
- Perd's Hapley's hair!
- "Welcome to the super awesome bonus lightening round."
Despite a big climactic shootout, season two ends on a reflective note
It seems our old friends at Greendale Community College may have peaked one episode too early. Last week's show was loads of fun, full of clever references, great action set-pieces and funny jokes that supported the Sergio Leone western spoof but also sprang directly from each character's personality. Tonight's, on the other hand, was a more direct copy of last year's high point "Modern Warfare", albeit with a specific and focused parody of one beloved classic – "Star Wars."
Taking this episode on its own, it was an enjoyable and high-energy ending, nicely balancing the genuine investment everyone had in actually winning the contest (Magnitude jumping on the "grenade", all of the "inspirational" speeches from Troy and Jeff) with constant reminders that this was, after all, paintball (in particular, Jeff's nonchalant exit from the game - "Well, I'm out. We lost"). Abed channeling Han Solo was another chance for Danny Pudi to show off his considerable acting chops, not to mention get to make out with Annie. And by having newly acknowledged study group pariah Pierce be the one who wins the game for Greendale seemed to pave the way for an emotional group-hug in the final scene.
Instead, we got Pierce explaining (sort of) his obnoxious behavior for the past year, and dumping the study group just as they agreed to let him stick around. I have no illusions that Chevy Chase is going to be leaving the show; most likely Pierce will be on the periphery of the main cast for a while before working his way back in. But Dan Harmon and the creative team of "Community" have constantly surprised us during a sometimes uneven, frequently frustrating but always ambitious and often hilarious second season. In my opinion, the inspired highs of "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" and "Paradigms of Human Memory" are worth the missteps along the way. See you all here next season. Cool. Cool cool cool.
- "How could any Dean be so mean?"
- "Damn it, Shirley! Forget your newborn child and think about the people that need you."
- "What are we, The Little Rascals?" "I was."
- "Now we have the tactical advantage of knowing that Jeff Winger wants to be a ballerina, and that his Achilles heel is….wieners."
- "Operation Troy's Awesome Plan is living up to its name."
- "Some of us won't make it, but there is a place where we will see each other again. And that place is Denny's."
- "Commence Operation Troy's Awesome Leadership is Never in Doubt"
- I missed you, Quendra with a Q-U.
- Denny's IS for winners.
- "I've seen this behavior before in cats. My cats."
- Yes, that was Dan Byrd and Busy Phillips hanging around the crowd. Community + Cougar Town 4-eveh!!!!!111!!!
As a werewolf-bitten Damon goes a bit mad, Stefan and the gang race for a cure
Travis nurses a broken heart and Ellie clashes with Andy's family in a muted episode
Of course, any show that has that warmhearted advice from Grandpa take place on a golf cart that is towing a grown man in roller blades is never going to take itself all that seriously. And I laughed out loud several times at Ellie's ever-more creative ways to insult Laurie "Jellybean" Keller, her "human stress ball". Although this wasn't the most gut-busting episode, it's always nice to make room for some real emotion in-between the mangled Spanish and roller hockey pratfalls.
- "Long intro."
- "Thank you, I have lost weight."
- Now we have Laurie doing an imitation of Bobby. Maybe someday there will be an episode of everyone doing everyone else.
- "What? No!" "Yes." "Stay." "Can't." "Ham." "Cheese."
- "On the other hand, you never know. Things change. People die."
- "The boy needs to forget his troubles by looking at some honks."
- "It's like looking at a sandal full of bratwurst."
- "I'm just an old man eating fries."
- "Maybe to feel more Spanish, you should take off your shirt."