Archive for Fox

“24” Gets New Prez

Can America accept a woman president?

No, we’re not talking Hillary here. We’re talking about the new president for “24’s” seventh season.

Tony-award winner Cherry Jones (“The Heiress,” “Doubt”) serves as President Allison Taylor when the series comes back for “Day 7” in January.

Of course, “24” isn’t breaking any new ground here. ABC already had Geena Davis on the short-lived “Commander-in-Chief.” Cherry’s character won’t even be the first for Fox.

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Fox 2007-2008

OK, so that isn’t the flashiest headline, but that’s what the network gets for being the last one to present its fall schedule in what has turned into a very long week.

The only 2006-2007 series that made the final cut was the boring Brad Garrett show “’ Til Death.” Go figure. Hey, as long as Fox still has “Bones,” “House,” “American Idol” and “The Simpsons,” I’ll still be watching.

In the fall, the network will be bringing out two new dramas – “K-Ville” and “New Amsterdam” – one new comedy, “Back to You” and three reality shows – Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares,” American Idol producers do “The Search for the Next Great American Band” and check out the country music hopefuls on “Nashville.”

After the holidays, the schedule gets juggled and we’ll see two new dramas, “Canterbury’s Law” and “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and a new comedy, “The Return of Jezebel James.”

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K-VILLE
Pictured L-R: Maximiliano Hernandez, John Carroll Lynch, Anthony Anderson, Cole Hauser, Blake Shields and Tawny Cypress. CR: Rebecca Brenneman/FOX

Two years after Katrina, cops Marlin (Anthony Anderson) a brash veteran and his new partner Trevor (Cole Hauser), a former soldier who served in Afghanistan before joing the department, are committed rebuilding the city.

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NEW AMSTERDAM
Nicolaj Coster Waldau

Director Lasse Hallstrom (“My Life as a Dog”) comes to TV for the first time as the producer of this drama about an immortal (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) whoworks as a New York homicide detective while trying to find the true love which will break his curse and allow him to age gracefully.

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BACK TO YOU

In the 1990s, Chuck (Kelsey Grammer) and Kelly (Patricia Heaton) were the beloved news anchors. Then Chuck took a better job, leaving Kelly in the dust. But after a fall from grace, Chuck’s back in Pittsburgh toiling away with Kelly once again.

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CANTERBURY’S LAW
Pictured L-R: Jocko Sims, Linus Roache, Julianna Margulies, Trieste Dunn and Ben Shenkman. ©2007 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: FOX/KC Bailey

Denis Leary is one of the producers behind this drama starring Julianna Margulies and Linus Roache as lawyers who try to get on with their lives after their young son’s disappearance. The two move to Rhode Island to try to patch up their troubled relationship.

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THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
Pictured L-R: Thomas Dekker, Lena Heady, Richard T. Jones and Summer Glau. ©2007 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Joe Viles/FOX

Just when you thought you knew everything you ever wanted about “The Terminator” character, here’s a series to tell you even more. Lena Headey stars, with Thomas Dekker as her 15-year-old son John as they try to stay one step ahead of those sent back from the future to destroy them.

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THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES

Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose star as estranged sisters who are trying to patch things up. The show comes from “Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, so we’re willing to give it a try.

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THE RULES FOR STARTING OVER
Pictured clockwise from L: Johnny Sneed, Craig Bierko, Shaun Majumder and Rashida Jones. Cr: Michael Desmond/FOX

From the Farrelly brothers comes this comedy about a group of newly single friends learning the painful lessons of starting over in their 30s. Craig Bierko, Rashida Jones, Johnny Sneed and Shaun Majumder star.
Fox 2007-2008 Primetime Schedule:
Fall/Spring

Monday

8 p.m. “Prison Break”
9 p.m. “K-VILLE”/“24”

Tuesday
8 p.m. “NEW AMSTERDAM”/“American Idol”
9 p.m. “House”

Wednesday

8 p.m. “BACK TO YOU”
8:30 p.m. “ ‘Til Death”/“THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES”
9 p.m. “Bones”/“American Idol”

Thursday

8 p.m. “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”
9 p.m. “KITCHEN NIGHTMARES”/“CANTERBURY’S LAW”

Friday

8 p.m. “THE SEARCH FOR THE NEXT GREAT AMERICA”/“Bones”
9 p.m. “NASHVILLE”/“NEW AMSTERDAM”

Saturday
8 p.m. “Cops”
9 p.m. “America’s Most Wanted”

Sunday

8 p.m. “The Simpsons”
8:30 p.m. “King of the Hill”
9 p.m. “Family Guy”/“THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES”
9:30 p.m. “American Dad”

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Melinda, You’re Still Our No. 1

In the end, Melinda Doolittle’s superior singing abilities were no match for Jordin Sparks’ adorability factor or Blake Lewis’ showmanship in the “American Idol” competition.

Doolittle consistently came through on the vocals, but never quite captured the hearts of “American Idol” voters the way Sparks and Lewis did. Sparks’ vocals kept getting better and better each week, but what keeps her in the game _ and makes her the favorite to win the whole thing _ is that she simply looks and acts like a young teen idol.

From the beginning, the women kept outshining their male counterparts in the competition until Lewis started bringing on his A game. While Doolittle depended on her pipes to get her through, Lewis kept putting his own spin on each song. Last night, he really pull out all beats for a stellar night. He stole the show with “This Love” and brought it home with “When I Get You Alone.”

Simon Cowell chided Sparks for choosing the old tune “I Who Have Nothing,” but it was Doolittle who came off looking old fashioned with the pop tune-turned-ad “I’m A Woman” and wearing a dated pants suit.

Doolittle should be quickly snatched up by a record label, so we won’t shed any tears for her. And we look forward to the Lewis-Sparks showdown next week.

American Idol is down to two contestants? Will it be the very sweet Jordin Sparks or beat-boxer Blake Lewis? I give my take, along with Mercury News news reporter Sandra Gonzales and Contra Costa Times TV critic Chuck Barney.

We discuss Melinda Doolittle leaving the show, the judges, the fans, and give their own predictions for the winner. Mercury News music writer Marian Liu moderates.
Here is the link:
http://www.mercextra.com/listen/index.php?id=355

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And then there were three…

All the smart money is on Jordin Sparks for the win in this season of “American Idol.”

Until May 22, it’s all just counting down to the inevitable.

Tonight, to no one’s surprise, Blake Lewis and LaKisha Jones were the last two standing in the eliminations. With Blake the lone boy left in the competition, it was obvious that LaKisha would get the boot tonight.

LaKisha looked worried from the start of the program _ a concern that played out in the end when it was announced that she was eliminated from the competition.

LaKisha started out the season strong, but kept dipping along the way while Jordin just keeps gaining ground.

Most of LaKisha’s problems were of her own doing.

She has consistantly chosen bad songs and each week can’t seem to stop from screaming out the lyrics.

Things started to crumble early on in the competition when guest singer Lulu couldn’t convince LaKisha that “Diamonds are Forever” was a bad way to go.

It just went down hill from there.

We suspect Blake is next on the chopping block, with a showdown between the always polished Melinda Doolittle and young Jordin, who just seems more like an “American Idol” kind of girl.

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And then there were four…

It’s not good to tempt fate.

On Tuesday, Phil Stacey opened the competition with a decent rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory, ” which proved to be his swan song. (“I’m goin’ down in a blaze of glor-reeee …”).

Even with a strong performance on Tuesday, Stacey has been hanging on my his fingernails throughout the competition. Stacey came back strong during the last two programs, including a nice country performance, but it wasn’t enough to get past the flashier performances.

Stacey got the boot first, followed by Chris Richardson, who wobbled badly through his Bon Jovi tune “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

Things looked bad for the Justin Timberlake wannabe when he couldn’t even remember the words to the song during his practice session with Jon Bon Jovi. Bovi Jovi told him to “find the blue note” in the song. Turned out it just found the brown note.

Blake Lewis, who was in the bottom three, did a fantastic job on doing the Bon Jovi hit “You Give Love a Bad Name” Blake beat-box style. Jon thought he was making a mistake fooling around with a beloved song.

Simon proclaimed after the performance that “half the audience will hate it, and half will love it” and that Lewis’ risk would pay off by saving him from having the ax fall on him this week.

Once again, Simon was right. Blake took a chance and it paid off big time for him.

And after picking bad song after bad song, LaKisha Jones FINALLY chose wisely and belted out “This Ain’t a Love Song.”

Now it’s down to the best of the bunch, with Melinda Doolittle leading the pack. It’s not going to be easy for any of them to catch up to the amazing Melinda, who has been beating the others soundly week after week. She outright spanked the Bon Jovi song “Have a Nice Day.” No wonder Jon wants her to join the band.

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Sanjaya says Bye

Sanjaya says he’s looking into getting a bodyguard.

Can he really be that popular? Or that deluded?

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SANJAYA AND LAKISHA IN BOTTOM 2

The kid came across as a naive young man who says he got his GED as a sophomore and thinks of his time on “American Idol” as his “junior and senior year in high school.”

“It was my mom’s idea for me to get my GED,” Sanjaya says in a teleconference with journalists today. “ I got into a little bit of trouble in school and didn’t do my homework. It was a horrible habit that I had. I just wanted to move on and focus on my music.”

And he says that he thinks that Howard Stern and Web sites like votefortheworst had little impact on him.

“I don’t think (they) had enough people voting for me to make a dent in anything,” Sanjaya says. “The reason why I’m here is solely because of the support from my fans.”

So why did he get the boot this week?

“Honestly, I’m not a country singer and I didn’t have enough really strong performances for people to forgive me,” Sanjaya says. “LaKisha had enough strong performances to get her through. So that’s what got me this week.”

Sanjaya, whose father is a construction worker, says he still wants to go to college at the Berklee School of Music some day, but right now he feels is the time to focus on his career and “ `American Idol’ was a great way to do that.”

The 17-year-old says the only time he felt he was in over his head was during Hollywood week.

“That was completely intense. I had my sister there and she really supported me,” Sanjaya says. “I just wanted to get past that.”

He says it was surreal for him to become a cultural phenomenon. And he still isn’t sure what to make of it.

“You just don’t have the slightest idea of the capacity of this show and the impact of this show,” he says. “Once in a while, you get inklings.”

“I had no idea,” he says. “It seems kind of unnatural. I’m just a guy from Federal Way. It’s crazy.”

He says he liked the skit “Saturday Night Live” did on him, and believes you have to be able to laugh at yourself.

Which brings us, of course, to Simon Cowell.

“I think he had gotten to a point where I hadn’t fulfilled the potential (he thought I had in the beginning) and didn’t think I belonged there, which is OK,” Sanjaya says.

Sanjaya says he’s looking forward to being part of the season finale and to go on tour. After that, he’ll be looking at opportunities in acting, modeling and perhaps even Broadway.

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Sanjaya’s Going, Going, Gone

Well, we won’t have Sanjaya to kick around any more.

Sorry, little cowboy. Time to pack up the pony and hit the trail.

Despite the efforts of Howard Stern, www.votefortheworst.com and little girls all over the planet, Sanjaya finally got the boot. We blame it on the headband. And the fact that he cheated by singing a non-country song on country night.

Oh, and also because, as Simon the eye-roller mentioned on Tuesday, Sanjaya sounded like some of the rejects from the auditions blooper reels.

We can imagine Simon’s doing the happy Snoopy dance right about now.

Sanjaya warbled out a horrendous version of Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About” while barely containing his frizzed-out hair in a tall red bandana.

When the votes were read on Wednesday night, the bottom three included Sanjaya, Blake Lewis and LaKisha Jones. Although both Lewis and Jones have proven themselves to be good singers, it’s time for both to kick up their games.

Lewis looked a little geeky _ and non-country _ in a blue argyle sweater singing the Tim McGraw barely-country ballad “When the Stars Go Blue” and LaKisha test drove former “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood’s hit “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

Each week, LaKisha has ignored the advice of the guest vocal coaches and, as a result, she’s been making some poor song choices. I hate to say it, LaKisha, but I have a little bit of Mandisa deja vu going on right now. I think it’s getting close, and you won’t make it into the top two.

My picks right now are Jordin Sparks, who might just win this whole thing because of her youth and spunk combined with great talent, and power singer Melinda Doolittle who can do no wrong.

A notable change in the cellar-dwellers: For the first time in weeks, Phil Stacey didn’t make it into the bottom three. Phil’s been doing a good job these last couple of weeks and it finally paid off for him.

It now comes down to week to week as to who might be kicked off the show next. If LaKisha doesn’t start paying attention, she could be next.

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What’s up with Simon?

Did Simon Crowell really roll his eyes when Chris Richardson offered a heartfelt comment about the tragedy at Virginia Tech?

Simon’s telling anyone who will listen that he was horrified to see himself on TV having that reaction.

TMZ reported this morning that Simon says “I couldn’t hear what Chris had said. I was talking to Paula. My reaction (rolling his eyes) was to what he had said previously, that singing nasally is a form of singing.”

Do we believe Simon?

Actually, he probably wasn’t paying attention to what Chris was saying, because Simon’s notorious rude when it comes to the post comments comments by the contestants.

He’s had his say and then he tends to jabber with the other judges while Ryan Seacrest talks to the singers.

But that hasty little comment Simon made later in the program was absolutely damage control. He offered up his own sympathies to the families which sounded rushed and, to use terms Simon has used on the contestants, I just didn’t feel it.

click here for video of Simon’s eye-roll and his own condolence to the Virginia Tech families.

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Haley Goes

Not to be rude, as our pal Simon would say, but Haley Scarnato has overstayed her “American Idol” visit by at least a few weeks. Her ouster tonight was a long time coming.

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HALEY’S LAST SONG – THANK YOU VOTERS

Haley’s performance last night was enough to make dogs howl and children cry. She cavorted on stage like she was trying to win a third-rate talent contest. And once again showing that if the title was for Best American Legs, she’d certainly be in the running.

Also in the bottom tier with Haley was Chris Richardson and Phil Stacey. We like Phil pretty well, but as the field narrows he’s going to find himself squeezed out of the competition.

He’s certainly the next one off the good ship Idol next week. After Phil, we’re betting it will be Chris.

Which brings us to the final five.

And we’re betting that group will be Sanjaya, Blake, Jordin, LaKisha and Melinda.

Let’s hope the Sanjaya insanity stops there, and won’t affect the best singers in the bunch. Although we have to admit we’re a little interested in seeing Sanjaya go country next week with Martina McBride

While were in the business of ranking, how about those coaches each week? Jennifer Lopez was sweet and tried her best to inspire the “Idols.” She obviously does watch the show and cares a lot about the singers.

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JENNIFER SHOWS HOW TO DO IT LATIN STYLE

But we still have to put Gwen Stefani up as one of the best coaches so far, followed closely by Lulu. Tony Bennett looked like he’d rather be anywhere else. Peter Noone was nice enough, but didn’t offer much in the way of good advice. And dear diva Diana Ross simply seemed to be more wrapped up in herself than in genuinely helping the “Idols.”

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Next American (Songwriting) Idol

Hey, where would those singers be without the people who write the songs?

Now, “American Idol” producer Simon Fuller is asking for potential hit makers to join the American Idol Songwriter competition, giving Idol fans their first chance to write the next American Idol’s hit single.

Additional details and online submissions, which open today, can be found at www.americanidol.com

Fuller and his 19 Entertainment A&R staff will select the initial Top 20 songs from all the entries. Beginning May 2, fans will then be able to go online, listen to and vote for their favorite songs.

The song chosen by the nation will then be performed live in front of millions of viewers on the season’s finale.

But that is only the beginning.

The song will be recorded and released by this year’s American Idol. The winning songwriter will receive a music publishing deal with 19 Entertainment; a cash advance on royalties; and the thrill of watching their song belted out by “American Idol” finalists on the show’s final episodes.

Key Dates for American Idol Songwriter Competition

April 4 – Launch contestant submission phase on

April 17 – Submission phase ends

May 2 – Online voting commences

May 8 – Online voting closes

May 22 – The songwriting winner announced on American Idol finale

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