Two daytime divas are taking on the night
The press was expecting Rosie O'Donnell at the OWN panel on Friday, July 29, 2011, but for many, Oprah Winfrey's appearance was a surprise. The OWN CEO came out to assure the press she's not off relaxing on some gorgeous beach, introduce her new show and then let O'Donnell do her thing.
Bing: More about Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey's first ever visit to the TCA back in January 2011 was monumental. With "The Oprah Winfrey Show" going off the air and a new network under her wing, she was practically buzzing. This summer, however, she wasn't even announced. Instead, the CEO showed up prove she's owning her OWN network.
"I'm here, in the office, at home listening to budget meetings," Winfrey said. "My focus now is on getting to know and understand our viewers in such a way that we offer them an opportunity to have better lives."
Winfrey also came out to introduce her new show, "Own Your Life (the Oprah class)." Instead of throwing 25 years of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" online, Winfrey is turning them into a learning tool. The show will be familiar footage "repackaged and re-hosted by myself," and will have an online companion class with coursework.
When Winfrey turned the stage over to OWN panelist Rosie O'Donnell, who was on-hand to talk "The Rosie Show," it was one love-fest of a pass off, with both women raving about each other. O'Donnell even said getting picked by Winfrey was, "almost like being knighted."
The magical union almost didn't happen, however. O'Donnell initially decided to come out of retirement when she realized "Crap, I might live," unlike her mother who died young. She started paying attention to the offers, and then Winfrey announced the end of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
With Winfrey leaving daytime, the offers started pouring in, but O'Donnell was set on getting into bed with OWN. Of course, OWN still doesn't equal dollar signs, so O'Donnell's agent set her up somewhere else. Just as she was preparing to sign on the dotted line, however, the daytime divas connected and "The Rosie Show" found it's home in Winfrey's old studios.
As "The Rosie Show" has come together, however, the ladies started looking at leaving daytime behind. "The Rosie Show" is now set to air weekdays at 7 p.m. ET/PT, followed by Winfrey's "OWN Your Life" at 8 p.m.
O'Donnell's new talker promises celeb guests, but not the same ones you see promoting their newest project on every other show, magazine and website. Instead, she'll invite newsmakers and people she admires, like Russell Brand and "epic, gorgeous fantastic" Adele. Those interviews will be couched by fun guest segments with the guest.
"We'll have the first comedy segment, that last comedy kitschy game segment and one celeb or a celeb and an author," O'Donnell previewed. "It's going to be changeable and free flowing. A talk/variety/reality show."
You can also expect giveaways, but only things she loves -- and you might just get a song and dance to go with your new Schick Intuition razor. There will also be game gifts, with the rule there being, "The gift needs to be congruent to the event."
Speaking of events, when asked about her penchant for causing controversy, O'Donnell displayed her usual sense of humor. (The truth is she had the audience laughing the entire time she was on stage.)
"We're going to have a controversy segment -- no we're not!" she teased. "We're not going to look for controversy," but "The Rosie Show" will cover newsy issues. If "The Rosie Show" were already on air now, for example, she would have loved to explore why America and the media is so fascinated with the Casey Anthony trial. "Why focus on this one child when there are so many in trouble?" she asked.
When O'Donnell thanked the press for not bringing up Donald Trump and Barbara Walters, it served as a reminder that she's not likely to avoid stepping on toes. The controversy is sure to follow her. This time, however, she has Winfrey keeping her in line. It seems she's going to try to be a bit more profession, so she can make her new boss proud. She even got pedicure before the TCA panel.
"We both have an insatiable curiosity for human existence… but I'm still nervous when she calls," O'Donnell admitted. "'Get your shit together, O'Donnell, it's Winfrey!'"
Here are the nine major plotlines you need to know about to get by at the water cooler
Having found out that Eric has been hiding out at Sookie's, Bill goes storming in -- and finds Eric and Sookie going at it. Which really pisses him off. So he arrests Eric, keeping him in a cell on his property and banning Sookie. Later, he talks to vampire leader Nan Flanigan and requests permission to sentence Eric to the True Death. Ouch. Later, under the full moon, he tells Eric this. "I don't expect you to show me any mercy," Eric says. "The vampire I used to be is a stranger to me. I have nothing to say in his defense." But he asks that Bill release Pam -- and tell Sookie something. "Tell her I was born the night she found me. And because of her, I went to my True Death knowing what it means to love. Tell her thank you." Then he says something else: "She still cares for you. I saw it last night. I hope you will find your way back to each other."
Arlene and Terry are sleeping peacefully when they smell smoke -- and the house pretty much explodes. Wheres's Mikey, the baby? Safe and sound outside the house, apparently leaving the others to die, playing with that ugly old doll that Hoyt and Jessica gifted them with. But Arlene's take is: "The ghost of my serial killer ex-fiance just tried to kill us in our sleep. Only the baby can see that the wicked doll brings with it a ghost -- and it's not long-dead baby daddy and Bon Temps serial killer Renee.
Sam calls his kid brother Tommy to ask him to open the bar -- and to reassure him that things will be okay. Tommy, frustrated, accidentally shifts into Sam -- he doesn't know, though, that the ability to shift into another human is a result of killing one of his own family. So he goes into work and fires Sookie when she asks for the day off, saying it's an emergency. Then he gets an earful from Mrs. Fortenberry about how good-for-nothing Tommy is. Later, Tommy benefits from Sam's hook-up with fellow Luna -- then he kicks her out right (quite rudely, really) before he turns back into Tommy. When Sam finds him, hours later, he's out cold.
Lafayette and Jesus have traveled down deep into Mexico to find Jesus's grandfather. Grandpa, of course, lectures the kid on his lack of pride -- then demands a sacrifice before he'll help. So he and Lafayette go and wait for the sacrifice "to come to us." And a rattle snake apparently volunteers itself. They bring it to Jesus's grandfather, who tells them the Mayans believed the snake was a gateway to the spirit realm. He tells them Marnie wants to be possessed, then turns the snake on Jesus, commanding Lafayette to protect him. Lafayette is possessed by a local spirit, Tio Luca, who just that. And the whole time, Lafayette has no clue.
Tara's dead asleep at Lafayette's when her New Orleans lady love Naomi shows up, wanting to hear the truth. Tara tells her that she wanted to forget it all -- and the woman Naomi knew was "everything I wish I was." So then, of course, they go at it. Later, they go to "Merlotte's Bar and Grill, serving up craziness seven days a week." Jessica's their server, but suddenly bares her fangs and runs. Later, Tara's girlfriend tells her that she prefers the real her. But Tara's decided to stay in Bon Temps. Then Pam finds them -- and she's still pissed about that whole face-corpse thing.
Sookie shows up at Jason's, looking for her brother -- and finds him handcuffed to the bed. "I think I'm turning into a were-panther," he tells her, mopey. Sookie asks: "If you turn into a panther, won't the handcuffs just fall off?" But Jason's serious. "The second I start sprouting fun, I want you to shoot me right in the head." Sookie, always the optimist, says "at least you won't be alone. I barely know any regular humans anymore. I'll be there to help you, any way I can, other than shooting you in the head." She goes to get him a beer, and he disappears. Jessica, who sensed his fear, found him to save him. She calms him down, telling him to focus on something that makes him feel happy and safe -- so he focuses on her boobs. Then he doesn't turn, and he's disappointed. Jessica tells him she wouldn't go back to be human if she could. "It's exciting." And Jason tells her that he just wants to feel special. "Look at you," Jess tells him. "How can you not think you're special?" But this is his best bud's girl. It ain't gonna happen. Right?
Witch leader Marnie, still stuck in a cell at Bill's, asks her long-departed bad witch buddy, whom she's been channeling, to help her, to gain her vengeance on the vampires through her. She recalls a scene where the witch, Antonia, managed to lure all the God-fearing, priest-posing vampires who tortured the witches in past to the fire. Then Antonia takes full possession of Marnie -- which can only mean bad news for Bill and the gang. She lures one of Bill's sheriffs, Father Louis, one of the old culprits, down to the cell. That's the end of him.
Alcide gets another visit from the Shreveport pack master, as girlfriend Debbie has decided to join. Packmaster du jour gives him the hard sell: "This pack needs a wolf like you, Alcide. I really hope you'll reconsider joining." Sookie's till looking for Jason, but instead runs into Debbie -- and Alcide, on their way to the meeting. Alcide tells Sook that there's no way to turn a human into a were -- it's hereditary.
In the end, Bill, evil vampire leader though he may be, apparently hasn't lost all his humanity. Or maybe the full moon just makes people do crazy things?
Walter and Skyler achieve a goal, while Jesse and Marie spiral downward
"You are in big trouble." – Marie Schraeder
Escaping from reality is always tempting, and sometimes necessary. But what happens when your escape tactics become completely self-destructive? The title "Open House" applied to the coping strategies of two different characters, with very different problems.
First, it was revealed that Marie had gone back to her old kleptomaniac ways. However, they are now carried out at various open houses across New Mexico where she spins elaborate alternate identities for herself, complete with fake names, jobs and children. Betsy Brandt did a superlative job conveying the desperate bravado that goes along with compulsive lying, clinging to her made-up outrage until the bitter end; she responds to the news that the latest homeowners are not pressing charges with a tight, brittle "Good. Then I won't either." It is made even more poignant by Hank acknowledging her feelings ("It's been hard on her"), but only when she is out of earshot. Marie may be scared off of stealing her little tchotchkes for a while, but the cold war between her and her husband shows no signs of thawing.
Jesse is also receding even deeper away from the dark realities of his existence, which granted is even bleaker than Marie's. Director David Slade ("30 Days of Night") and actor Aaron Paul made the most of the scenes set in the nightmarish hellscape that is Jesse's home, crawling with brawling, tweaking addicts who turn into feral animals as he showers them with the money that means nothing to him. Jesse's increasingly nihilistic outlook makes him even more the opposite of the cautious and paranoid Walter White, and it seems that Gus thinks so too, as evidenced by Tyrus keeping a close watch from outside Jesse's house.
The one small positive development was courtesy of the newly re-energized Skyler White - if you can call cheating, lying and moving towards becoming the world's best money launderer "positive". One of the more interesting aspects is discovering the strange ways that Skyler and Walter might actually work well together as a team, with Skyler's diligent research paying off spectacularly in the scene with the fake inspector at the car wash. Her discipline and stubbornness are mirrored in Walter, and watching them form a new type of partnership (and marriage) promises to be fascinating.
- The reminders of Gale keep lingering; tonight we saw Walt smiling wistfully as he poured his morning coffee out of the fancy machine that Gale created.
- Really can't decide which of Marie's stories was my favorite, although I'm inclined to go with the hand model/NASA wife with the brother in the Peace Corps.
- "He wrestled you in submission with his eyebrows." Saul Goodman, ladies and gentlemen.
- My favorite shot: the frowning realtor lurking darkly in the background while Marie was spinning her latest tale.
- Walter's tossed off "Do you know how much I make in a day?" was a chilling reminder of how banal this can all begin to seem when you are in the middle of it every day.
- One question: If Skyler is so hyper-concerned about keeping up the appearance that they are broke, when does she start to get worried that the IRS will come sniffing around because they are paying Hank's medical bills? Forget one bottle of champagne; that is a million red flags at once.
- "All we have to do is think of a non-violent, unsuspicious way to buy the car wash that protects the innocent and doesn’t cost us $20 million."
Louis C.K. expresses his deepest feelings with typically disastrous results
"Louie", among many strange and brilliant things, is a twisted, black-hearted love letter to New York City. Not in an idealized way, but as seen through the clear eyes of a mature and realistic acolyte, who accepts all the sublime, ridiculous and disgusting elements of the place. Certainly, this is the feeling of the surreal and wordless opening sequence, particularly in the juxtaposition of the incredibly elegant musician and the repulsive half-naked derelict on the subway platform. Louie may be annoyed, but he takes it all in stride. And the train ride on the 2 that follows is a thing of beauty; capturing the myriad faces and voices of his fellow riders and fantasizing about earning their affection (and possible sexual attention) by an imagined chivalrous act before snapping back to full color reality. It was a really gorgeous and strangely lyrical piece of short film-making.
He continued that oddly poetic tone with his touching and heartfelt declaration of love to his caustic sidekick Pamela Adlon. The fact that we all know this is not going to end well didn't really take away from the real emotion of the scene, and Adlon did a fantastic job conveying her gradual softening towards her buddy. And, true to form, she may have had a moment of weakness later on ("For a second, and not any more, and never again, and ew. And goodbye.") but Louie always will blow it. And he will live to see another day in a city full of joy and pain.
- It's always a good idea to pick a restaurant that's "Frenchy and cool looking".
- Louie and Pamela's discussion about her past sexual proclivities was…frank. ("Must have been global warming or something.")
- When Louie said that having non-reciprocated love for Pamela was better than any "requited thing I ever had", I completely believed him. Incredibly sad or incredibly lovely?
- "Let's just keep walking around very awkwardly."
Hugh Hefner invites the press over to promote 'TV for 2'
The TCA press tour kicked off its first day of cable days on Wednesday, July 27 with panels from The Weather Channel, ESPN, Hallmark, History, Lifetime and GMC and a Univision cocktail hour. Then, it was time to party with Hef --That's right, MSN TV got into the infamous Playboy Mansion!
Truth be told, Hugh Hefner was hiding out in the manse and didn't come out to meet the press as we toured the "The Girls Next Door" grounds, sipped cocktails and dined on sushi, steak and rock shrimp pasta. With hip hop music pumping through the speakers, MSN TV got to chat up a few bunnies and check out Hefner's collection of birds and monkeys.
One of the most interesting things we learned about the mansion is that in recent years, it's gotten "conservative." Apparently, long gone are the days when Playboy bunnies jumped on trampolines or attended Hef's skating parties topless. The story goes that there was no edict from Hef. The shift apparently just happened, though the timing does seem to coincide with the premiere of "Girls Next Door." Our guide, who admitted she's the most conservative of the bunnies, prefers it that way. We somehow doubt Hef and the guests do.
It was an appropriate tale, in light of the fact that Playboy hosted the party to promote their "TV For 2" programming, which hopes to lure women into watching sexy TV with their other halves with shows like "Sextreme Makeover," which give real couples tools and tips to spice up their sex life; "Celebrity Sex Tales," which features real celebs sharing their "real" stories; "Brooklyn Kinda Love," which comes from the crew behind "Taxi Cab Confessions" and follows the adventures of four real couples; "Swing," which follows real couples as they take on the swinging lifestyle; and "Stash," which features Rachel Perry poking fun at ridiculous porn moments.
Women did tune in for "The Girls Next Door," so it's not an impossible feat.
James Franco, Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman and Jimmy Fallon among the stars set to stop by
It's finale week on "The View" August 1-5, and daytime is in for a bonanza of guests. Lady Gaga and Katie Couric are both set to co-host. James Franco, Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman and Jimmy Fallon are among the stars stopping by for a visit and Gaga, Alison Krauss & Union Station and '80s icons Debbie Gibson and Tiffany will perform.
Bing: More about Lady Gaga
Little Monsters everywhere will want to tune in Monday, when Lady Gaga is set to co-host "The View," taking her first seat at the "Hot Topics" table with the ladies. She'll weigh in on two segments and perform her hit, "You and I." Dana Delaney (“Body of Proof”) and Danielle Steel will also stop by Monday.
On Tuesday, "The View" goes totally '80s with a live performance from Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, who will sing three songs.
Wednesday is Katie Couric's day. Like Gaga, she'll co-host and get in on the "Hot Topic" debate, but no, she won't be singing. Couric signed onto the ABC news team a few months back and has her own daytime talker in the works. Guests that morning will include Jimmy Fallon (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”) and Vera Farmiga (“Higher Ground”).
Thursday, Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman will stop by to talk up their movie "The Change-Up." There will also be a “V-Mail: Ask ‘The View’ Lawyers" segment.
For Friday's finale, the ladies have invited James Franco, Freida Pinto (Latika, “Slum Dog Millionaire”) and Andy Serkis (Gollum, “Lord of the Rings” trilogy) to talk up their film “Rise of the Planet of the Apes." Musical guests Alison Krauss & Union Station will perform and in honor of the season's end, there will also be a “Best Moments of Season 14" video montage.
"The View" airs weekdays on ABC.
Watch out, Jason! Franco is coming for you again
With Jason (Steve Burton) and Sam (Kelly Monaco) hearing wedding bells on "General Hospital," it's no surprise the maniacal and obsessed artist Franco is planning a return. This time, however, James Franco's character Robert "Franco" Frank comes armed with "his most evil plan yet," and it could take some time to unfold.
The lovebirds should definitely be concerned about the serial killer's return, but they're not the only ones. Franco's machinations will again involve Port Charles locals like Maxie (Kirsten Storms), Carly (Laura Wright) and maybe even baby Josslyn -- and this visit is no cameo. Franco has signed on for an extended stay in Port Charles and will first show up September 20.
The hard working actor has tons on his plate, as always, but in the past, he's managed to shoot his "General Hospital" scenes over marathon days.
Bing: More on James Franco
This is Franco's fourth visit to "General Hospital" since he surprised everyone by joining the daytime drama in 2009. The last time Franco stopped in, it was for a quick two-day hit to coincide with his Academy Award hosting duties. Here's a clip from that visit:"General Hospital" airs weekdays on ABC.
On set at 'Rizzoli and Isles,' CBS Tweeting love and a chat with Anderson Cooper
Bing: More about the TCA press tour
First up was Paramount Studios to visit with "Rizzoli and Isles" cast members Angie Harmon (Rizzoli), Sasha Alexander (Isles), Lorraine Bracco (Angela), Lee Thompson Young (Frost), Bruce McGill (Detective Korsak) and Jordan Bridges (Frank Jr.). Much like the show itself, this set seems to maintain a serious balance between work and goofy good fun.
Bing: More about "Rizzoli and Isles"
Harmon and Young kept us laughing, but teased that episode six will be no laughing matter. The homicide detectives will face a case involving one of their own, which means the girls are likely to take a break from the flirty fun they often get into. After Harmon and Young did a bit of schtick with their telephones, it was time to move on. Alexander and Bracco invited us into their swank pad to sample Bracco's cookies, while we talked about the cute men on set, Mama Angela's divorce on the show and life after "NCIS" and "Sopranos."
We could leave without sliding onto a morgue table or stopping by the local watering hole, where we found Bridge and McGill holding up the bar with executive producer and showrunner Janet Tamaro. Unfortunately, they weren't serving drinks, but there was some good dish -- and did we mention the Bracco's cookies?
With sugar coursing through our veins, it was time to hit CBS Radford Studios to talk about Twitter and social media with @PauleyP (Pauley Perrette, "NCIS"), @llcoolj (Todd "LL Cool J" Smith, "NCIS: LA"), @JeffProbst ("Survivor") and @GoodWifeWriters (Meredith and Corinne, "The Good Wife"). After the tweet-stars shared their experiences in the Twittersphere and made each other laugh, LL Cool J theorized that the way things are going with social networking these days, soon "privacy will be the new fame."
Then, it was time for a Fatburger lunch-- yum! -- followed by some "real" work back at the office, but the day wasn't over yet. It was back out on the road to hit the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where the actual TCA tour takes place this summer.
Anderson Cooper played hooky from his gig at CNN to come talk "Anderson" and no surprise, he was completely engaging. That said, MSN TV didn't get a lot of fresh insight on his daytime talker, which premieres August 12, 2011.
You can get an idea of what he has in mind from the promo posted on the TV Buzz Blog yesterday, but Cooper hasn't shot any episodes yet, so much is still up in the air -- will it shoot live? Will he have a sidekick? Who will his first guest be? MSN TV will be talking to him once he has a few episodes in the can for the specifics.
In the meantime, Cooper promises the new daytime gig won't affect his evening responsibilities. "I manage my time very well,” he said. “It’s all very doable. It’s a lot of work, but I like work hard... plus it’s TV, so it’s not like it’s real work.”