MSN TV Blog - TV Buzz

Jimmy Fallon's opening skit stole the show, but George went home a winner

By Sona Charaipotra Aug 30, 2010 1:03PM
If you missed the Emmys last night, you didn't miss much. "Breaking Bad" and "Modern Family" were the big winners, along with Betty White -- no surprise there -- and Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer," Neil Patrick Harris for his "Glee" guest spot and, in perhaps the only surprise win of the night, Archie Punjabi for her supporting turn on "The Good Wife." (Brown girls represent!)
(Find complete coverage here.)

We didn't even get our Conan O'Brien moment of glory -- instead, Jon Stewart took the best variety show host trophy for the eighth year in a row.

And "Glee," nominated for some 19 awards, had to make do with two trophies -- one for creator Ryan Murphy, and one for the show's stand-out, Jane Lynch.

But if there was one thing that made the show worth watching, it was the opening skit, which featured Lynch and several other "Glee" clubbers, along with Tina Fey, Betty White, Jon Hamm, Kate Gosselin -- yes, Kate Gosselin -- and a host of other biggies. And herewith, we share, for those of you who failed to DVR the show:

And the other major moment of the night: George Clooney sandwiched between "Modern Family" stars Eric Stonestreet -- who won for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy -- and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
There you have it, you're all set. Now you know everything you need to know about this year's Emmys.


The multi-tasking actress wants you to tune into her nutty Adult Swim comedy

By Sona Charaipotra Aug 29, 2010 9:21PM
Lake Bell in
Lake Bell is one busy lady. The native New Yorker, whom you'll remember from her acerbic turn as Cameron Diaz's best bud in "What Happens In Vegas," is rocking not one but two TV hits at the moment: HBO's New York homage, "How To Make It In America," and the Adult Swim favorite, "Childrens Hospital," on the Cartoon Network.

Luckily, she's uber-passionate about her work, so she doesn't mind the insane schedule. Plus, she happens to be ever-slightly obsessed with "Childrens Hospital."

"The thing is, it started out as just a bunch of us friends -- friends of Rob Corddry, the show's creator -- who got together to work on this for fun," says Bell. "We met up in this old, abandoned hospital and just winged it, there was a lot of improvisation involved. And it was just everyone being silly. But then it turned into something."

Photo courtesy Adult Swim/Cartoon NetworkThe show, a riff on medical dramas like "ER" and "Grey's Anatomy," focuses more on problems of the heart and less on heart problems, per se.  "I play a doctor, but she's not very concerned about patient care or any of all that," says Bell, who plays Dr. Cat Black on the show. "She's more interested in her relationship with Ken Marino's character, and there's some talk that she might be pregnant this year. The title, "Childrens Hospital," makes it sound so serious, but the only thing these doctors are interested in is who's having sex with whom. And everybody’s having sex with everybody in front of pre-pubescent children. It's awesome."

The bummer -- she's not on the whole season because she's got some scheduling conflicts with "How To Make In America," which is also going into its second season. "You're not supposed to be able to do two shows at once," says Bell. "I guess it's a good problem to have. But we've worked it out so that next season, I'll be able to do both."

"America" has earned a loyal audience -- and it's no wonder. "It's set in New York, and it's really got that New York vibe to it, but it's totally relatable no matter who you are or where you are. Given the current economy and how things are going these days, we've all got that struggle to make it. Today's America is all about the hustle, no matter who or where you are."

Bell can certainly relate. "I'm working on my first short film right now, and it's kicking my ass," says the master multi-tasker. "It's going to be a sort of calling card. You don't realize how much work goes into it all. But I'm a writer and I'm also interested in directing, so I need to get my hands dirty with it. I'm in pre-production on it now, so let's see how it goes."

In the meantime, she's absorbing it all up on the set. "Being there is just the best, I'm just soaking it all, like a sponge," says Bell. "You get to see it all happen, how it all comes together. There's no better way to learn."

Catch Bell and "Childrens Hospital" on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, starting at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday nights.

How does the Late Show talker stack up against these classic Emmy hosts?

By Sona Charaipotra Aug 27, 2010 4:58PM

Photo courtesy NBCJimmy Fallon hosts the Emmys this weekend. And boy does he have his work cut out for him.  Because everyone knows no one really watches these Hollywood awards shows anymore. We just peruse the fabulous frocks and fill up on the behind-the-scenes gossip on the day after.

Fallon is nothing if not confident. In fact, "I'll be much much better than Neil Patrick Harris -- the reviews are already in!" the Late Night host said earlier this week. "No, Neil's a super-talented guy. I'm going to try to break his leg before the show starts so he doesn't try to come on and outshine me."

Nobody likes a big head, Fallon. But yeah, there are some awards show hosts who make it worth tuning in. Let's see how you stack up against these old school Emmy hosts with the most.

Ellen DeGeneres: The daytime talk show host just exudes good will, which comes in handy when you're hosting Hollywood's biggest and brightest boldfaced names. And Ellen rocked it so hard, they asked her back -- three times! The first, in 2001, was shortly after 9/11, and Ellen's good-natured presense lent an upbeat note to the show. Plus, when all else fails, the tow-headed talker can entertain millions just by working her signature dance moves.

Conan O'Brien: Are you with Coco? O'Brien brought his signature self-deprecating humor to the stage while looming large over the audience as host of the 2002 and 2006 shows. His visciously funny spoofs of shows like Lost, The Office and South Park made the show worth checking out -- or at least it made for fun YouTubing the next day. Plus, while he's not a natural dancer like Neil Patrick Harris or Ellen, he was still very willing to give it a go, all for a laugh. What more can you ask for from a host.

Neil Patrick Harris: A classic song-and-dance man, Harris was riding high on his success as womanizer Barney on TV's How I Met Your Mother, his stellar turn as a badass version of himself in Harold & Kumar, and of course, a bunch of hosting gigs, including the TV Land Awards and the Tonys. So last year's Emmy hosting gig was just the capper on a fabulous career renaissance for the former teen star (Doogie Howzer, M.D.), who has already earned to Emmy Awards this year, including one for his fabulous turn as Matt Morrison's rival on Glee. And by all accounts, he did a fabulous job as host of the 2009 shindig with his dapper dance moves, smooth crooning and timely jokes. Even renowned TV host Jon Stewart had to give him kudos. "You're doing a wonderful job," he said to Harris on air last year. "These shows usually suck."

Yup, like we said, Jimmy's got his work cut out for him!


In which Gordon Ramsay actually gets his ass kicked -- by India

By Sona Charaipotra Aug 26, 2010 4:49PM
Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape, Photo Courtesy BBC AmericaGordon Ramsay gets down and dirty on BBC America's "Great Escape."

If you've had enough of top chef Gordon Ramsay bullying lesser beings in the kitchen -- on "Hell's Kitchen" or his amateur chef counterpart, "Master Chef" -- then you're in for a treat.

Tucked away on BBC America's Thursday evening line-up is this kickass new show called "Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape," in which the cantankerous Brit backpacks through India, pausing in various locales -- the posh, world-renowned Taj Hotel in Mumbai, a street food stall in Mumbai, the wilds of Assam -- to learn how to cook something himself. And in the process, he gets his ass kicked, much in the way he often treats those chefs under his tutelage.

This is truly fascinating stuff, because for the first time in TV history, well-meaning meanie Ramsay gets bullied himself, playing second fiddle to master chefs in India. One especially memorable moment: Ramsay stops in the winding old streets of Lucknow to cook for a wedding feast, learning from the apparently eighty-something Nawabi bawarchi who shows him how make goat biryani -- by roasting two whole goats, heads and all, in a pit on the ground, stuffing them with chickens, quails and other various smaller creatures.

Another journey takes him into the heart of Mumbai's Dharavi -- the same slum which inspired "Slumdog Millionaire" -- to learn how to cook a humble-but-delicious sambar made for decades by the same one-dish chef. It's amusing to see the slum-dwelling chef great Ramsay with such reverence -- more because he's a white dude with a camera and some cash, rather than because he's a famous TV chef -- and then boss him around awkwardly, after clearly being instructed to do so by the production crew.

These are culinary experiences you couldn't have anywhere but in India, and thus, Ramsay relishes every moment. It's fun to see him really get down and dirty, which is exactly what he wanted from this trip, to reconnect with food, its history and the role it plays in everyday life for real people. That's what sets Ramsay's journey apart from, say, an Anthony Bourdain adventure. It's also fascinating to really see Ramsay's culinary prowess at work -- he's able to explore regional tastes and textures, and distill them so that he can whip up his own concoctions that represent the region he's exploring. This trip is definitely worth taking.

Catch a mini-marathon of "Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape" starting tomorrow at 11 a.m. EST on BBC America.


Ed is on a roll and wins both challenges

By MSN TV Aug 26, 2010 3:50PM

By Sora Young
Special to MSN TV

The chefs are starting to crack. With just six of them remaining at the start of this week's episode of "Top Chef," Angelo is muttering mantras to himself about winning, Ed is spotted wearing Tiffany's bright yellow maxi-dress and Amanda is taking cooking advice from Angelo. Amanda, didn't you learn anything from Tamesha's downfall? While giving Amanda advice on her tuna tartare, Angelo naturally neglects to tell her ways to prevent her tuna from oxidizing and she served gray tuna to guest judge and French chef extraordinaire Eric Ripert. You can't recover from that kind of humiliation. But I will miss her. Amanda must be far more irritating in person and a worse chef than she appears because all the chefs don't like her. She grew on me. She pokes fun at herself ("I'm like having my own personal pity party in my head,") she is honest about her fellow competitors ("Ed looks like he's about to die,") and she generally made for better television than uptight, bossy Kelly, who is bo-ring. But that's what the judges left us with. Thanks a lot, Tom Colicchio.


Photos: Meet the chef'testants | Video: Full episodes and clips of "Top Chef"

 Back to the show. Host Padma Lakshmi started off by confusing the hell out of the chefs when she suddenly started to rattle off food idioms including "Top Dog," "Top Banana" and the "Big Cheese." A-ha! The chefs are to cook based on an idiom! And their dish will become a frozen dinner! The idioms challenge seemed new and semi-clever at first until some of the chefs decided to go super safe with their dishes. Mac and cheese, Amanda? I don't care if you add bacon and jalapenos, even I can make that. Kelly turned "Sour Grapes" into a chicken breast with a grape sauce while Kevin went a little wilder with "Bring Home the Bacon," making bacon three ways including bacon foam. But Ed, who made himself crazy making potato gnocchi by hand, wins the challenge with gnocchi with wild mushrooms.

Things get more creative in the Elimination challenge, when the chefs are asked to create high-end ballpark food to be served at the Washington D.C. Nationals stadium. The chefs are supposed to work as a team, but there's not much teamwork, other than Kelly claiming crab for crab cakes even after Amanda already says she wants to use crab. Kelly appears to be a better cook generally than Amanda, but I don't really care, I still like blaming her for Amanda's ouster. Although even Ed was also a hater about Amanda. "She's annoying. She's a slob. She has no technique. I think she's just been lucky the whole time she's been here." This coming from the man Angelo dubbed the "Tasmanian Devil." Chefs are such drama.


The chefs all pick different proteins for their ballpark cuisine and then they're off to Whole Foods, where Angelo, as usual, headed straight for the Asian aisle, and muttered something to himself about oyster sauce. Since she can't have crab, Amanda has decided to do tuna tartare, a daring choice considering it's a ballpark. Then again ballparks also have sushi these days, so it didn't seem like the worst choice ever, despite snotty commentary from Kevin.

 There was some pure panic in the kitchen from Ed, who scrambled to finish up his risotto balls, and also the meat-grinder advice from Angelo for Amanda's tuna tartare. There also was a bit of a tiff between Kevin and Angelo about who was going to take orders in the ballpark, but I couldn't even really follow the fight, and I'd rather talk about food. The fans all wanted to eat Tiffany's Italian meatball sandwich and Kelly's crab BLT, but the chefs shunted Kelly's dish aside, instead favoring Ed's shrimp and corn risotto poppers, which guest judge Rick Moonen called "almost molten" inside. They also loved Tiffany's messy, but delicious Italian dish topped with onions, basil pesto, marinara and fresh mozzarella. But Ed's tidier dish won out, lauded for its crisp exterior and spicy aioli.

The other four chefs were all on the bottom. The judges were critical of Angelo's pork dish, served on a hot dog bun that became heavy and saturated with the sauce, but I really thought Kevin was headed home for his lame chicken satay with potato strings. The judges seemed to despise the double dose of sauce - romesco and aioli - and the presentation, with the shoestring potatoes piled atop an offensively long satay skewer. Ripert could not get over that skewer. But the skewer was not nearly as bad as the gray tuna. When Ripert says he is "offended by the color of the product," you have definitely pushed it too far.


The would-be first daughter puts on her 'Dancing' shoes

By Sona Charaipotra Aug 26, 2010 3:34PM
Bristol Palin on             Palin guested on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" as a teen mom.

Just when you thought Levi Johnston would land on TV before his baby mama, Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol, she beats him to the punch.

According to E! News, Bristol Palin, 19, is the next name being bandied about as part of the new line-up on "Dancing With the Stars" this fall. Others who may make the cut include David Hasselhoff, Brandy Norwood, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, and "The Hills" Audrina Patridge.

It sort of makes sense, when you think about it. After all, her mama's got a reality show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," and her baby dadddy Johnston's been shopping his own, "Loving Levi: The Road To the Mayor's Office." And Bristol and Levi, before their split, had plans to shop their own show together.

This would be Bristol Palin's second TV venture -- she appeared, somewhat aptly, on the ABC Family show "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" last month, playing a teen mom pal of the main character. But after that somewhat stilted gig, Palin denied plans to pursue another TV gig. "Not acting," she told Us Magazine at the time. "I like doing speaking engagements and stuff like that. Right now I'm just focused on raising Tripp."

Guess raising a baby requires some cold hard cash -- and cashing in on your boldfaced name is one way to get it.

Barbara Walters is betting on it...

By Sona Charaipotra Aug 25, 2010 1:48PM
             Last Month, "The View" welcomed President Obama for a chat.

CBS ain't got nothin' on Barbara.

While Les Moonves' and his wife, Julie Chen, gear up for a mommy-centric version of "The View," Barbara Walters and the original chat fest's creator, Bill Geddie, are aiming at a broader audience with a unisex take, according to a report in the Daily News today.

According to the source cited, the new show would aim for the late afternoon hole left by Oprah next year, and be shot in Los Angeles, rather in New York, where Barbara shoots "The View." And it would aim to bring male voices in on the discussions of the day, considering that newsmakers like President Obama now make requisite stops at the likes of "The View" and "Oprah."

Looks like daytime TV is about to get a healthy infusion of competition, despite the gaping hole Oprah's departure was set to leave. Besides the mommy version of "The View," Rosie O'Donnell has also announced plans for a new talker, which she'll host on Oprah's OWN network.

Walters and Geddie already have a wish-list of possible hosts, according to the source, including Bryant Gumbel (as Barbara), BET News anchor Jacque Reid (Sherri Shepherd), FOX News host E.D. Hill (Elisabeth Hasselbeck) and comedian Alec Mapa -- he played flamboyant fashion TV host Suzuki St. Pierre on "Ugly Betty." 

No word yet on who would fill the fifth chair, but may we make a few suggestions?

In the Whoopi role, why not bring back a throwback movie or TV star -- David Hasselhoff? Ted Danson? Or perhaps a younger voice, to add a bit of omph and controversy, like America Ferrera, who seems to have a clear schedule at the moment. Then again, James Franco's always open to taking on a new and interesting role, right?

Who would you like to see on a unisex version of "The View"?

'Dancing With the Stars' will be serving up mostly "reality stars," it seems

By Sona Charaipotra Aug 24, 2010 4:03PM
Got your dancing shoes on? Mike Sorrentino sure does.

Who? You know, "Jersey Shore" guido The Situation. The one who'll be out-earning most of this year with a cool $5 million to his name, thanks to endorsements, a book deal and other gigs. One of those might possibly be a turn on floor on "Dancing With the Stars" this fall, although ABC will not announce its line-up until Aug. 30, during an episode of "Bachelor Pad." (And yes, that means you get to see his mug -- and abs -- right here on the TV Buzz Blog two days in a row!)

The L.A. Times and OK! magazine are reporting that Sorrentino is amongst the cast this fall, despite having two left feet on the dance floor, according to his "Jersey Shore" castmates. (They say that Sonny has the best moves, apparently.) That's right. Now even my mother-in-law will know who Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino is.

Others who may make the cut? There are plenty of reality stars this time 'round. "The Hills" resident brunette Audrina Patridge, singer Brandy, who's got her own reality show with her kid brother, Ray-J, and "Bachelorette" Ali Fedotowsky and her made-for-TV boyfriend Roberto Martinez. Also reportedly on tap are former football hero Kurt Warner (of the Arizona Cardinals) and soccer star Landon Donovan.

But the hard sell is The Situation, who, per my previous report, is really striking while the iron is hot, given the popularity of the inane but well-watched "Jersey Shore." Some would-be reality stars -- like Spencer Pratt or even Palin family baby daddy Levi Johnston -- would be smart to study up on what he's serving. Or better yet, hire Sorrentino's manager, Mike Petolino of Gotham Entertainment, who's clearly the brains behind the operation.