NBC bets on Dane Cook, Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler
NBC is throwing a spate of new comics against the wall, hoping that one becomes its next Jerry Seinfeld.
We’ve already watched “Whitney,” so we know it’s not Whitney Cummings. But three more well-known standups still have a crack at reviving "Must See TV" with new sitcoms. What are their odds out of the gate?
Projected air date: Fall 2012
Cook takes a lot of heat for allegedly stealing jokes, artificially building his fame via MySpace and simply not being that funny. (Hey, maybe you’re not into itchy butts and Kool-Aid Man nightmares.)
As well as being one of the most hated comics of the modern comedy era, however, he’s also one of the most popular, regularly selling out hockey arenas. And that means NBC is likely to give him the biggest budget, best writing room and free-est reign of all potential new Jerrys.
Also tipping the scales is that Cook has the best acting chops. Although the films “Dan in Real Life,’ “ My Best Friend's Girl,” “Employee of the Month” and “Good Luck Chuck” may have sucked, Cook didn’t suck in them.
And, as he’s shown us by appearing as himself on “Louie” to answer plagiarism allegations leveled by comic Louis C.K., Cook has a healthy sense of himself.
Odds: Very good
Projected air date: Fall 2012
Silverman plays a woman returning to the singles scene after a decade-long relationship. (Here’s a good guess: She won’t be promoting it on ex-beau Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show!)
Silverman enjoyed mild success in her Comedy Central sitcom, “The Sarah Silverman Program,” which ran from 2007 until its 2010 cancellation. But Silverman’s fame came from being the funniest female shock comic of all time, and the show didn’t capitalize on that energy, dwelling more on her weird and childlike side. (And she’s once again writing with Dan Sterling and Jon Schroeder, her partners on “The Sarah Silverman Program.”)
The good news, however, and this is really good news, is that Ron Howard is reportedly taking an active producer role behind the scenes, much as he did with the brilliant sitcom “Arrested Development.”
“Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea”
Projected air date: Midseason 2012
Oh, man. Handler is such a brilliant standup and interviewer, I hate writing this. But, after viewing the original pilot, NBC sent the script back to the drawing board and fired co-stars Natalie Morales, Angel Laketa and frequent “Chelsea Lately” panelist Jo Koy.
Well, Handler at least gets credit for not starring as herself. (If you’ve seen her attempt to act in her “Chelsea Lately” sketches, you’ll know why I inserted the words “attempt to.”) Laura Prepon (“That ‘70s Show”) plays a fictionalized Handler based on the comic’s 2008 autobiography -- although Handler does do a turn as her own aunt.
Odds: Not good
Sneaky Ashton Kutcher has the right idea
According to this Variety article, those decals promote Internet companies the actor has a real-life financial stake in. They include Foursquare, Flipboard, GroupMe and Hipmunk.
Wow, that’s a sneaky move. Here are some suggestions for products we think should be snuck into the TV shows we watch.
1. "Real Housewives of (Pick One)"
E-A-R Earplugs in the ears of all those poor husbands. Just thinking about the hell those shlubs must go through because they wanted steady sex when they were 25-years old, makes us want to send them several pair.
2. "Jersey Shore"
Although Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi thinks the cure for a hangover is to drink more, we know it's that combination of acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine known as Excedrin, a bottle of which should be displayed prominently in every morning scene as a public service announcement for the idiots who mimic everything this cast does.
3. "16 and Pregnant"
Little packages of Trojans placed around the subjects' living rooms by the production crew, while the subjects aren't looking.
4. "Toddlers & Tiaras"
Commercials for "To Catch a Predator" airing throughout the broadcasts. Enough said.
5. "Celebrity Rehab"
Multiple buckets of Los Pollos Hermanos chicken delivered to the next batch of celebrity patients by "Breaking Bad" actor Aaron Paul in character as Jesse Pinkman. Now that would blow more minds than blue meth.
The club members have to confront the reality of their new deal with the cartel
Meanwhile, back in not so Charming, Linc Potter seals his identity as the cleverest (and most slyly hilarious) federal agent around. Giving out false identities like birthday gifts, "Nick Stackhouse" from the zoning department briefly bonds with Gemma by commiserating on the evil of Charming Heights, and "Gabe Marcel" from the San Joaquin Sherriff's Department pays a visit to Otto in his solitary confinement box (no, seriously, it was a BOX) to fill him in that Bobby Elvis and Luann were doing the deed before she was killed. Ray McKinnon is so delightfully odd in this role, and it makes it all the more fun to wonder what he is going to do next. Maybe join the committee to save the gardens of Charming? Now that would be an alliance I would get behind.
- I love how direct Piney is with Gemma, making quick work of her veiled and direct threats. It isn't at all clear what kind of power he could wield over the rest of the members, but maybe he is just doing this as a last-ditch attempt at nobility before he kicks the bucket.
- We have our first extended glimpse of Roosevelt's wife Rita and her flower shop. No nonsense woman.
- Latest 411 on John Teller: He has set up a meeting in Belfast in order to dissolve the relationship with the IRA and stop selling guns, and he was killed before that meeting took place. Still don't know who killed him.
- Kurt Sutter addressed (slightly) my questions about the Juice story, so let's hope that is developed well. There still seems to be a lot of assumed knowledge here.
- Sorry to be so callous, but I am going to laugh so hard when Clay finally loses his grip and rolls off of his bike one day.
Talk show is drowning in saucy metaphors but could still be a recipe for success
Bing: More about "The Chew"
It's only Day 2 for ABC's new talk/cooking show, which assumed the "All My Children" time slot Monday, but if the food fest can maintain its premiere day numbers, ABC could have a surprise winner on its hands.
"The Chew" lured in 2.5 million viewers Monday, and 590,000 of those were in the coveted daytime group of women aged 18-49. That beats the 1997 launch of "The View" (1.9 million) and last year's "The Talk" premiere (2.2 million).
ABC's new venture also eked ahead of the show it replaced, "All My Children." "The Chew" topped the soap's 2010-2011 season averages in total viewers (2.5 million vs. 2.4 million) and women 18-49 (590,000/0.9 rating vs. 541,000/0.8 rating). It also beat recent September numbers.
What seems like a small lead over the canceled soap could factor into a big win, since the cooking show costs less to produce than "All My Children" did, but it's too soon to take that souffle out of the oven. Just because folks tuned in to check it out, doesn't mean they're going to come back.
The rest of premiere week includes today's visit from Whoopi Goldberg ("The View"), who gets a private tour of Mario Batali's Eataly, the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in the world; as well as visits from Joy Behar ("The View" and HLN's "The Joy Behar Show") and Paula Deen and a trip to the Orange County Fair with Daphne Oz.
Stay tuned. And if you caught the premiere, chime in and let us know what you thought of it.
"The Chew" airs weekdays on ABC.
Fake feud with 'Glee' star is superbad and unfunny
Hey, Jonah Hill,
I’m calling you out, buddy. Any time, any place.
If anyone seriously needs the Cliff Notes, the newly svelte "Superbad" star appeared on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” last week to promote his new movie, “Moneyball,” and to call out the actor who plays “Glee’s” teacher/occasional rapper.
“You better bring your s*** next time I see you!” he yelled while Fallon restrained him. Supposedly, the two were at a Hollywood party together where Hill overheard Morrison and “’Gossip Girl’ guy” Chace Crawford use “Jonah Hill” as the punch line of a joke.
Last night, Morrison responded, also via Fallon, gleefully accepting the challenge while defending the honor of the musical theater and complimenting “Moneyball.” Quoth Morrison: "This just got real, man."
Mr. Hill, your fans agreed to make you famous for your high body mass index and ironic sense of comedy (also for being Seth Rogen’s Mini-Me). Yet you have broken our contract. Not only do you not look funny anymore, but not a single one of us believes your fake feud is real, which is the problem. You chickened out and let us in on your joke. (And "chickened" wasn’t the word I meant.)
Mr. Hill, you need a fake talk-show feud lesson from dead comedian Andy Kaufman, who went for broke against wrestler Jerry Lawler on “Late Night with David Letterman” in 1982, the year before you were born. Not until 15 years after Kaufman’s death was their ruse revealed, and never before then was there the slightest wink or nudge to the audience.
Of course, your fake feud could have been funny in an ironic sense -- if there were another current feud in pop culture it could be perceived as lampooning. But there’s not. Your feud was engineered not to mock, but to stand on its own comedic brilliance.
And that’s why it will fall. You have made danger a stranger to it. No one will gasp when your feud comes to its predictable head on a future "Fallon." And the big corporations you work for will rejoice at all the plugs, publicity and profit you generate for them without ever exiting conditions deemed risk-free by their insurance companies.
Your big payoff can only be some lame cousin of the Emmy routine in which co-presenters/Jimmys Fallon and Kimmel ended up wrestling on stage because they couldn’t figure out a funny ending to their fake feud, either.
Speaking of Fallon, I realize this was probably all his lame idea to generate ratings. In going from a guy who makes fun of talk show hosts to a talk show host, Fallon has certainly dulled his own satire blade more than a touch. But it is still mostly your fault, Mr. Hill, for accepting, and so vigorously embracing, his lame idea.
OK, so maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you won’t wrestle to the floor but have a dance-off instead. Wow, how superbad of you.
Dude, you were already entering the mainstream on your own terms. (You are currently co-starring with Brad Pitt in a movie!) There was no need to adopt their terms. I was a big fan of yours, and you have let me down.
And that is why I’m calling you out. It’s you who’d better bring your s***. And I’m not faking.
MSN TV blogger
P.S. Matthew Morrison, if you are reading this, you are exonerated. You are an innocent bystander to dangerous comedy and obviously happy to participate in anything that’s not “Glee.”
TV gets a heady dose of prehistoric action on tonight's two-hour premiere of 'Terra Nova'
Everything goes terribly, horrifically wrong in a tremendous episode
"He got on a ride that was rough to get off of." – Hank
As the saying goes, if you want to hear God laugh, make a plan. Tonight, we saw the outcome of Gustavo Fring's meticulous, detailed and ultimately successful scheme to take down the entire cartel. Although there were certainly bumps along the way, as Jesse admiringly comments, he really did think of everything. Conversely, we also saw the disastrous fall-out from Walter White's non-plan, climaxing with one of the most amazing shots in "Breaking Bad" history.
It is frequently amusing how fans of the show complain about the episodes where "nothing happens." But hours like "Crawl Space" point up the ultimate absurdity of that idea. If Walter hadn't methodically and self-destructively chipped away at Jesse's bond with him, if Jesse hadn't been taken under Mike's wing for a slow and patient re-entry into the world of the living, if Hank hadn't been prodded by Walt into looking further into the murder of Gale, and if Ted hadn't backed Skyler into a corner by his stubborn refusal to pay his stupid taxes, we wouldn't be staring down that crawl space at a filthy, hysterical, panicked Walter White, surrounded by the emptied out garment bags and listening to Marie's desperate crying out to Skyler about the hit out on her husband. Out of options, out of time, out of solutions, this is the scariest place that most of the characters have been placed in up to now. How will they get out of it? And more importantly, what will be sacrificed to get them there?
- That tented mobile hospital was pretty cool, and just another reminder (as if we needed one) of the cool and stunning brilliance of Gus.
- So that was the explanation for Mike taking the necklace – as evidence for Tio that everyone he ever knew or cared about was dead.
- It is interesting to see Jesse is mature enough to defend Walt's life, but still wants to have nothing to do with him.
- "When did wrong suddenly become a problem for you?"
- Well, now I feel completely guilty for all those times I muttered to myself "Ted Beneke needs to GO." Also, secure your throw rugs, people.
- Oh forget it - "The lease is pretty ironclad". SHUT UP TED.
- Any guesses on what the insurance premiums for that Aztec are lately?
- Before the last minute of the show, I thought the extended long shot of that conversation in the desert, with the (lucky?) cloud formation casting huge shadows, would be the MVP shot of the night.
- "I don't want to talk about it to you or to anyone else. I'm done explaining myself."
Atlantic City is just as dangerous and intriguing as ever in the season premiere
It has only been a few months since the action of the season finale, but a lot of the relationships are on a very different footing already. Jimmy, Eli and the Commodore have made significant progress in their campaign to overthrow Nucky, mainly through using the Ku Klux Klan to terrorize Chalky and paralyze his liquor distribution. However allied they seem to be, there are still cracks in the brain trust. The old man and his biological son are already sidelining the chief of police, which will most likely backfire on them sooner or later; Eli has proven to be a short-sighted petulant blowhard no matter which "side" he is on at any given moment. And Jimmy is putting on a brave face, but it's clear he still has a deep connection to his surrogate father Nucky, although he is doing a good job of burying it pretty deep.
Margaret and Nucky are deep into a settled domestic pattern (although he does seem to be at least open to the possibility of some floozies on the side), and he is warming up to acting as a father figure to her children. Margaret is easily the most fascinating and identifiable character in this universe, and she is poised to become the power behind the throne in some way. Meanwhile, the newly-legal couple of Jimmy and Angela are still doing their delicate dance around speaking honestly to one another; complications include the meddling "I'm only here to help you by constantly reminding you of my extra-special closeness with the son I had when I was barely a teenager" machinations of Gillian, and the more benign and poignant specter of Richard Harrow yearning after Jimmy's family.
Finally, there is Van Alden, who is, in a shock to absolutely no one, still totally and completely cuckoo bananas. Whether calling up a last minute restaurant raid to "thrill" his uptight and long-suffering wife, or stealing that establishment's money to pay off the impregnated Lucy (who is…living with him, or staying at his house, or something equally disturbing), Michael Shannon plays him like a man whose violent outbursts are barely suppressed from each minute to the next. Last season, his insanity pushed the bounds of believability, but in this episode, it seemed to be contained to more realistic bounds.
"Boardwalk Empire" continues to look absolutely gorgeous, from the meticulous costuming to the carefully decorated interiors to the wintry lighting of the beachfront houses in Atlantic City's off-season. If last season was missing a certain passion or spark in the telling of its stories (both historical and fictional), this season seems poised to correct that shortcoming. As the Commodore says "You'll be judged by what you succeed at, not by what you attempt." Right now, I am willing to bet the attempts will be successful.
- Just a brief scene with Al Capone in Chicago, but it did introduce another real-life character in George Remus, whose life definitely has the potential to cause some interesting stuff to happen.
- Eli is just horrible, isn't he?
- "10,000 black folks that make this city hum." Michael K. Williams is so good as Chalky, and the glimpse of his upscale home life (elegant wife, talented and intelligent son) was totally satisfying.
- "Your father is a very duplicitous man."