Archive for CBS

The Unit Cancelled – Bad CBS

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CBS won’t be re-upping with The Unit.

Was it a chain reaction after NBC opted out of Medium and CBS decided snag the psychic crime series, or was the military drama always doomed? We suspect the latter.

The Unit has been teetering on cancellations almost from the time it jumped out of the starting gate in March 2006. The Unit posted a respectable audience of 15 million before dropping each season to little more than 9 million viewers.

But despite some tawdry affairs depicted in the series, it’s never been a particularly sexy show for CBS. And CBS wants to have some flash, and to keep far away from its former image as the network drawing the most viewers over the age of 50.

The intense fan base has tried to keep the show on the air, but unlike the Chuck Subway campaign, where fans sparked the sandwich chain to actually sponsor the show, there were no big sponsors willing to go to bat for The Unit.

At a little under $3 million an episode, it’s one of the cheaper series to produce. But the networks are still trying to get the costs down on every show they pick up. The preferred method has been pay cuts or freezes. And that was something star Dennis Haysbert, who plays Jonas Blane on the series, wasn’t willing to do, according to an interview with him in the LA Times.

“There are a number of factors that go into whether I want it back or not,” Haysbert told the paper concerning both his salary and the creative direction of the show. “It’s been a great ride and, if I don’t work with these people again, I’ll certainly play golf with them.”

So in the words of Blane, “You, you and you…panic. The rest of you, come with me.” And we’ll give you five reasons why The Unit should have stayed on the air.

5. There are few scripted shows that parade a banner of nobility and love of country like The Unit. While it doesn’t shrink from controversy, it tells a story that isn’t being explored in a TV landscape that loves dark heroes. House may save your life, but you don’t want to invite him to the neighborhood barbecue. These are good ol’ boys serving their country, and darn proud to do it.

4. Ratings for the show weren’t horrible, but while the ratings were higher than other CBS shows that were picked up, the audience skewed towards older viewers. The median age was around 55, which might just as well spelled dead zone to advertisers. But we contend that this is exactly the group that probably has money to spend right now, and isn’t squirreling away every last cent for fear of getting booted from their jobs.

3. CBS has become the home of the procedurals. We’ve got ghost whispers – and soon another talkin’-to-dead-people crime fighter. We’ve got crime scene investigations in three different cities, and even a military crime team. And, as is the case with all the networks, you can’t swing a stethoscope without hitting a doctor show. Two of the new CBS series are doctor shows. But what is in short supply around the eye-land is a straight drama like The Unit.

2. Before Barak Obama, there was President David Palmer, the honorable man who served as our nation’s president. OK, it was just on 24, but Palmer set a tone. So when the actor, Dennis Haysbert, was recruited to head up the team at The Unit, you knew this was a man to be reckoned with. We could use a few more good men like Jonas on TV.

1. The Unit was written and produced by
Shawn Ryan
(The Shield) and created and written by respected Tony and Oscar-nominee David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-Plow, American Buffalo). Mamet’s got a distinctive dialogue style. So when you want to brush this off as just a conservative bent military show, save the dismissive attitude and remember that two of the best dramatic writers around, Ryan and Mamet, helmed The Unit. They served proudly. They never talked down to their audience, and while leaving the door open just in case of a last minute stay of execution, they gave a satisfying season ender to their fans.

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CBS’ Worst Week proves to be the Best

Things can’t get any worse than showing up at your girlfriend’s parent’s house in the middle of the night wearing a diaper made of trash bags and needing money to pay your cab fare.
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Sam (Kyle Bornheimer) in his trash bag diaper with girlfriend, Melanie Clayton (Erinn Hayes, left) and Mel’s conservative mother, Angela (Nancy Lenehan) on “Worst Week” airing at 9:30 p.m. Mondays on CBS. Photo: Chris Haston/NBC Universal. ©2008 CBS BROADCASTING INC,

Scratch that. It does get worse for Sam and only funnier for those watching his crazy antics in this almost flawless pilot. The only problem with this first episode is the fear that the producers can never quite come up with other episodes to compare with this first one out of the gate.

CBS has given this nimble comedy series a perfect spot on the schedule at 9:30 p.m. Monday right after the hilarious testosterone filled “Two and a Half Men.” The humor sensibilities of these two series should mesh perfectly for viewers.

From the time we first meet Sam (Kyle Bornheimer), the laughs come fast and furious. Don’t look for the typical sitcom style of joke after joke. The slapstick humor can melt anyone into a laughing puddle if you’re the kind of person who loves the kind of humor that makes you almost want to cover your eyes while the situation unfolds or thinks someone taking a tumble is the highest form of comedy.

And tumble he does. Sam takes more falls than a stuntman as he bumbles along in his quest.
Sam’s a magazine editor who has a pathological urge to please his beautiful girlfriend Melanie’s upper class parents. They, in turn, can barely acknowledge him as being any more than just a friend to their beloved Mel (Erinn Hayes). Kyle Bornheimer plays Sam with a sweetness that makes his horrific blunders just that much harder to watch.
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Survivor: Gabon – Jeff Probst talks, and we list

Back when Survivor spent its third season in Africa, host Jeff Probst said it was more like spending time in a zoo than being out in the wilderness.

“It’s a preserve and the animals are used to having people around all the time, so it wasn’t that big of a deal to them,” Probst says after his recent return from filming the latest version of Survivor in Gabon. “In Gabon, they told us in advance that this would be completely different. These animals were not used to seeing any body around and if you see an elephant, it’s a big deal because you just don’t know how they are going to react.”

Probst says that during one Survivor:Gabon interview, a giant elephant came within 50 yards of the film crew.

“It was thrilling and scary at the same time,” Probst says. “This elephant will stomp on you. There were moments in the filming when survivors interacted with the animals and it felt like being in a Spielberg movie.”

At one point, a 12-foot python slithered into the camp, and someone had the bright idea of using it as a prop for a promo shot with Probst. The crew tried to reassure Probst they could stop the snake from squeezing him to death if it tried. Heck, the worst thing would be Probst might get a nasty, but not fatal, bite.

“They put the snake around my neck and I was holding the head while it was moving and I kept reminding myself that this was not a quote trained L.A. snake, unquote, but one that just crawled out of the jungle,” Probst says. “I held him for about five minutes while I had flashbacks to another promo about three years ago doing the snake thing with (so-called) trained snake. It bit the trainer, a full on clamp on the wrist. (On our shoot) we got some great still shots of me with the snake, but I wasn’t going to tempt things for too long.”

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CBS website has this snake, but not the picture with snake and Jeff Probst for “SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN,” which begins its 17th installment at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 on CBS. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Last time Survivor” went to Africa, they called it the most boring cycle every.
OK, maybe that was just me. But with the dry plains instead of those subtropical and beach shots, the series had all the tension of watching paint dry. What more can you say about a series that includes rolling boulders as a challenge? And the contestants? Sleeping pills on steroids.

When the high points include some Virginia farmer named Big Tom Buchanan dong the chicken dance to “chicken in a bread basket picking out dough” or some blah, blah, blah, blah do-si-do stuff, you know you’re in trouble.

Did you miss those golden moments? We’re here to share a few more with you:
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Survivor: Gabon – Here’s the cast

Jeff Probst calls this return to Africa one of the wildest adventures of his life.

“This isn’t like the last African Survivor,” Jeff said in an interview after he returned from shooting the series last month. “These aren’t wild animals who are used to seeing people around. This is really out where it’s dangerous.”

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Jeff Probst, host of SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN, is pictured on the new tribal council set for the seventeenth installment of the Emmy Award-winning reality series, which premieres Thursday, Sept. 25 (8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Today, CBS released the cast of “Survivor: Gabon” as well as this Survivor clip.

The 18 castaways will compete on “Survivor: Gabon – Earth’s Last Eden” in a two-hour premiere at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 on CBS.

“In a strange coincidence to Earth’s Last Eden – good vs. evil emerges as a major theme this season. I think the audience will quickly identify with one group or the other,” host Jeff Probst teases in the press release. Will the group of deceitful castaways outlast those individuals who play from their heart or will the forces of evil prevail? Will temptations interfere with logical decision-making? More importantly, which side will come out on top?

This season, for the first time, the show will be shot in HD.

“Shooting in HD is like adding another character to the show,” Probst says in the press release. “The detail is so sharp you can’t help but feel as though you are experiencing the adventure yourself.”

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(Back Row-Standing) Michelle Chase, Charlie Herschel, Paloma Soto-Castillo, Corinne Kaplan, Crystal Cox, Dan Kay, Jessica Kiper, Ace Gordon, Jacquie Berg, Kelly Czarnecki, Marcus Lehman, Matty Whitmore and Bob Crowley, (Front Row-Kneeling) Gillian Larson, Susie Smith, Ken Hoang, Randy Baily and Danny Brown are the 18 castaways set to compete in SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN when the seventeenth installment of the Emmy Award-winning reality series premieres Thursday, Sept. 25 (8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Castaways competing on SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN (in alphabetical order) are:

RANDY BAILEY

49

Eagle Rock, Mo.

Wedding Videographer

JACQUE BERG

25

Santa Barbara, Calif.

Medical Sales

DANNY “GC” BROWN

26

Portland, Ore.

Maintenance Man

MICHELLE CHASE

24

Los Angeles

Music Production Assistant

CRYSTAL COX

29

Durham, N.C.

Former Olympic Gold Medalist

ROBERT “Bob” CROWLEY

58

Portland, Maine

Physics Teacher

KELLY CZARNECKI

22

Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Retail Sales

ACE GORDON

27

Naples, Fla.

Jewelry Sales

CHARLIE HERSCHEL

29

New York

Lawyer

KEN HOANG

22

Westminster, Calif.

Professional Gamer

CORRINE KAPLAN

29

Los Angeles

Pharmaceutical Sales

DAN KAY

32

Boston

Lawyer

JESSICA “Sugar” KIPER

29

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Pin-up Model

GILLIAN LARSON

61

Temecula, Calif.

Retired Nurse

MARCUS LEHMAN

28

Atlanta

Doctor

SUSIE SMITH

47

Charles City, Iowa

Hairdresser

CBS Television…4

PALOMA SOTO-CASTILLO

24

Downey, Calif.

Student

MATTY WHITMORE

29

Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Personal Trainer

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CBS Announces May Sweep plans

Don’t get me wrong. I have every faith in the writers of “CSI” and “Two and a Half Men,” but swapping writers for a May sweep stunt has me a little concerned.

Grissom (William Petersen) always had a little raunchy Charlie in him, but can Charlie and Alan really figure out a whodunit when they can’t even find their way through a stunted life? Should be interesting when we tun in on May 5 for “Two and a Half Men” to discover CSI investigating a murder at Charlie Harper’s Malibu home.

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A CSI team investigates a mysterious death at Charlie’s (Charlie Sheen) and Alan’s (Jon Cryer) house on “Two and a Half Men” at 9 p.m. May 5 on CBS. Conchata Ferrell stars as Berta. Photo: Greg Gayne/Warner Bros.

And on the May 10 episode of “CSI,” Grissom and the team solve the mysterious death of a diva sitcom star.

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Grissom (William Petersen, right) and David Phillips (David Berman, left) become involved in the world of Hollywood comedy when a diva sitcom star (Katey Sagal, on floor) meets an untimely demise with a rubber chicken while filming her show in Las Vegas, on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” at 9 p.m. May 8 on CBS. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

The following are CBS’s May sweep season highlights and finales. Read the rest of this entry »

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Moonlight’s Back- Mick’s Mortal

When last we saw the lovely Mick, he had become mortal and no longer feared the garlic.

Yep, our favorite (current) TV vamp can look at himself in the mirror and drink orange juice instead of a real Bloody Mary. But just how long will this last?

Oh, you know the answer. Really. You can’t have a vampire show with a used-to-be.

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What’s this? Mick hanging out in the sun and eating a picnic lunch?
Mick (Alex O’Loughlin) enjoys what time he has left as a human with Beth (Sophia Myles), on “Moonlight” at 9 p.m. Friday April 25 on CBS. Photo: Adam Taylor/CBS

The episode is campy and over-the-top, so what wasn’t to love about it? We even get a vampire smack-down going at the end. If you want some backstage info, check out this CBS video:

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Complete Nielsen Rankings: March 31-April 6, 2008

Yeah, no one is surprised to see “American Idol” dominating again. But who would have thought “CSI” would sneak into No. 3 ahead of “Dancing with the Stars”?

Where does your favorite show rank this week?

1 AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY 26120 9.1
2 AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY 24840 8.7
3 CSI 20580 7.2
4 DANCING WITH THE STARS 20560 7.2
5 DANCING W/STARS RESULTS 17280 6.0
6 CSI: MIAMI 15650 5.5
7 WITHOUT A TRACE 15200 5.3
8 TWO AND A HALF MEN 14500 5.1
9 CBS NCAA BSKBL CHAMP SA-2 14440 5.0
10 CSI: MIAMI – TUESDAY SP 14230 5.0
11 SURVIVOR: MICRONESIA 12870 4.5
12 CSI: NY 12850 4.5
13 CRIMINAL MINDS 12810 4.5
14 OLD CHRISTINE 12570 4.4
15 COLD CASE 11930 4.2
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Jericho Fans Go for Second Resurrection

Jonathan Whitesell, one of the “Jericho” faithful, sends this message board thread from the fan site JerichoNet2 about the next assault wave.

(I accidently went to Jericho Net instead of JerichoNet2. It creeped me out a bit when the home page comes up with my IP address, my operating system and informs me that “I can see you and you can’t hide” or “you can’t hide from my watchful eye…” Thanks for correcting me on that one, MikesMom.)

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The Unit – Shawn Ryan thinks Season 4 a Go

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Shawn Ryan, “The Unit”

“The Unit” executive producer Shawn Ryan has been slammed locking the final edit of “The Shield,” but took time to shot me an e-mail about “The Unit” coming back this fall.

As for “The Shield,” Shawn shares that it was “very satisfying to end it the way I wanted to, but a little sad that I’ll never be in the editing room again on ‘The Shield.’ ”

But for fans of “The Unit,” Shawn says “I’m glad that you have a number of fans clamoring for the show. Here’s the scoop: When the strike ended, we were hoping to get additional episodes for the spring, like most shows.”

Unfortunately, Shawn says, CBS didn’t need the episodes for April and May because the network had filled the schedule with new episodes of reality shows like “Big Brother” and “Survivor.” Shawn assures us that CBS loves the show and that ratings-wise it is a “solid base hit although not a home run against brutal competions in ‘House” and ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ ”

Shawn says he thinks the chances are good the “The Unit” will be picked up for the fall – but doesn’t expect CBS to give them a solid answer until closer to the May upfronts.

“We’ve always had to wait until the May upfronts to find out our fate (even after our first season when we were the top rated new show of the year!). I imagine it will be the same again this year,” Shawn says, adding that they don’t feel safe by any means.

David Mamet, Shawn and the other writers have broken out the big plot points for next season, he says, and “I think it’s pretty great and it shakes up the show in a really wonderful way. We’ll go in and pitch it to them soon. I’m very confident they’ll be excited about it creatively. Maybe they’ll be inspired and give us an early pickup after hearing it. More likely, we’ll be waiting until May to learn our fate.”

And that’s the scoop, straight from Shawn. He’s also one of the nicest guys around, and deserves to be treated better by CBS. But, what are you gonna do?

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Michael Chiklis and Shawn Ryan of “The Shield,” courtesy of ViewImages

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“Jericho” – God Bless Texas

After watching the series finale of “Jericho,” I felt a little bit like I’d just watched one of those quick catch-ups like the “Lost in 8:15″ or the “Battlestar Galactica” update.

You just knew that the producers crammed at least one season, possibly two, into that fortysomething minute episode. Hawkins finally got the bomb evidence to Texas, the pivot point in future history of this nation. Only Texas could change the balance of power, and get rid of the corrupt Cheyenne government.

Beck finally saw the light, and we could see some sparks flying between Beck and Heather (Sprague Grayden). We can only imagine how that could turn out.

We left on the verge of a massive civil war, but with Texas on the side of might and right.

It left me wanting more, yet satisfied in knowing where the series was headed.

Which I’m hoping is at least a couple of made-for-TV movies on the Sci Fi Channel.

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Jake (Skeet Ulrich, left) and Beck (Esai Morales, center) on the Feb. 19 episode of “Jericho” on CBS. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

And here’s a little Skeet for you, back when he was giddy over coming back because of the fan’s support:

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