Archive for Susan Young

Desperate Housewives Fantasy League

According to my “DH” producer pal, who should be downing egg nog and taking advantage of the mistletoe, Mary Alice says in the teaser that “one of the women will lose a husband, and they all will lose a friend.”

We already know, or think we know, that the husband refers to the obviously dead Victor. Could the friend be Ida? I’m not so sure I’d call her a friend to the Wisteria women. Let’s try someone more imaginative. I don’t want to lose Tom, but he would certainly fall into both those categories.

And thanks blog reader Rene for commenting on the sad demise of a main character: The ugly, noisy fountain.

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Could Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira) fill the bill as the “husband and friend” on “Desperate Housewives”? We already know the fate of Victor (John Slattery), who was no friend to anyone on Wisteria Lane. (photo Danny Feld/ABC)

Talk among yourselves while I check on those Christmas cookies.

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Jimmy Kimmel’s Back

Well, you knew it had to happen. First Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien announce they’re coming back Jan. 2 whether or not the WGA strike is over, and now Jimmy Kimmel has followed suit.

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Jimmy Kimmel with Nicole Richie on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”

New episodes of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” pick up at 12:05 a.m. on Jan. 2, but not without Kimmel issuing an under-pressure press release:

“Though it makes me sick to do so without my writers, there are more than a hundred people whose financial well-being depends on our show. It is time to go back to work. I support my colleagues and friends in the WGA completely and hope this ends both fairly and soon.”

Kimmel has, without fanfare, been paying staffers out of his own pocket during the strike to cushion the blow. Even though Leno, O’Brien and Kimmel have given in to the networks about coming back – and we do think they have an honest concern about the financial well-being of the staffers – when the strong lines start breaking down, it could result in a much longer strike.

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Leno and O’Brien back beginning Jan. 2

NBC announced today that after two months of repeats, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” will be back on Jan. 2 – but without any guild writers providing Leno or O’Brien with monologues.

Of course, since Leno’s a former stand-up comic and O’Brien once wrote for “The Simpsons,” they may be able to come up with something on their own. We’re still waiting to hear if David Letterman’s company World Wide Pants has struck an independent deal with the Writers Guild. If so, he and Craig Ferguson (whose show is owned by WWP) would be returning to the air with their teams entact.

The late night shows suspended production due to the strike by the Writers Guild of America on November 5 and have aired repeats since.

“During the 1988 writers strike, Johnny Carson reluctantly returned to ‘The Tonight Show’ without his writers after two months,” says Rick Ludwin, executive VP of NBC’s Late Night & Primetime series. “Both Jay and Conan have supported their writers during the first two months of this WGA strike and will continue to support them. However, there are hundreds of people who will be able to return to work as a result of Jay’s and Conan’s decision.”

Thanks to Nikki Finke for posting the WGA rules on her site. Nikki’s the go-to person when you want the latest on the WGA strike front.

NOTICE TO ALL WGA MEMBERS WRITING FOR COMEDY/VARIETY SHOWS
The Council of the Writers Guild of America, East, Inc. and the Board of Directors of Writers Guild of America, West, Inc. (collectively the “Guild”), have adopted Strike Rules which will go into effect if the Guild calls a strike. The Strike Rules, among other provisions, prohibit Guild members from performing any writing services during a strike for any and all struck companies. This prohibition includes all writing by any Guild member that would be performed on-air by that member (including monologues, characters, and featured appearances) if any portion of that written material is customarily written by striking writers.

Rick Ludwin, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” executive producer Debbie Vickers and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” executive producer Jeff Ross participated in a conference call this morning to discuss the return.

There’s still some question as to what the shows will look like when they do come back if the strike is still on.

“We sort of made this decision (to go back on the air) recently and all our conversations have been on when (should we come back) and now we go to what is the show (going to be),” says Vickers.

Ross says it’s “unclear as to what we can can’t do. Obviously, shows may look a little different and we will fill time with things we haven’t done before.”

So will Conan and Jay even be allowed to write?

Vickers: “We’ll respect the guild.”
Ross: “Johnny (Carson) and Dave (Letterman) did monologues (during the 1988 strike). They were allowed to write and prepare their own material.”

But looking at the Guild guidelines, that might not be possible this time around. So what we’ll get instead would be a lot of chit-chat between the host and guests – if indeed they can get actors to cross the picket lines.

Yet we’d welcome one thing. A chance for talk show hosts to actually talk to their guests.

Ludwin says that Letterman’s ability as the studio head to negotiate independently of the group negotiations that have broken down between the guild and producers put them at a disadvantage.

“It’s not a level playing field,” Ludwin says, since the NBC shows won’t have a writing staff backing them up.

The trio says they expect both Leno and O’Brien to take advantage of their positions by taking shots at the networks.

While NBC opted not to make either Leno or O’Brien available for the call, we did get these lovely statements:

STATEMENT FROM JAY LENO

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Jay Leno explains why he’s coming back to his late-night show without his writers

“This has been a very difficult six weeks for everybody affected by the writers strike. I was, like most people, hoping for a quick resolution when this began. I remained positive during the talks and while they were still at the table discussing a solution “The Tonight Show” remained dark in support of our writing staff. Now that the talks have broken down and there are no further negotiations scheduled I feel it’s my responsibility to get my 100 non-writing staff, which were laid off, back to work. We fully support our writers and I think they
understand my decision.”

Conan O’Brien Statement

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Conan sounds conflicted about coming back to his late-late-night show

“For the past seven weeks of the writers’ strike, I have been and continue to be an ardent supporter of the WGA and their cause. My career in television started as a WGA member and my subsequent career as
a performer has only been possible because of the creativity and integrity of my writing staff. Since the strike began, I have stayed off the air in support of the striking writers while, at the same time, doing everything I could to take care of the 80 non-writing staff members on Late Night.
Unfortunately, now with the New Year upon us, I am left with a difficult decision. Either go back to work and keep my staff employed or stay dark and allow 80 people, many of whom have worked for me for
fourteen years, to lose their jobs. If my show were entirely scripted I would have no choice. But the truth is that shows like mine are hybrids, with both written and non-written content. An unwritten version of Late Night, though not desirable, is possible – and no one has to be fired.
So, it is only after a great deal of thought that I have decided to go back on the air on January 2nd. I will make clear, on the program, my support for the writers and I’ll do the best version of Late Night I can under the circumstances. Of course, my show will not be as good. In fact, in moments it may very well be terrible. My sincerest hope is that all of my writers are back soon, working under a contract that provides them everything they deserve.”

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And the Survivor winner is…

Whoa, not so quick. First, our snappy recap of “Survivor:China” finale.

Amanda won the reward challenge, but of course on Survivor it’s never that easy. She had to choose either one, or two, other people to share pizza, beer and brownies with her. If she chose no one, she would have appeared to be fair with all of her alliance. But she also would have come across as selfish.

She kept the Courtney warning in mind: “An angry Todd is a bad Todd.” Best to keep him satisfied, so she chose the schemer – who wouldn’t have a chance to smack talk her while she was eating without the other three.

And she wisely decided not to choose between Denise or Courtney, because to take one would have tipped her hand.

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Denise Martin, Todd Herzog, Courtney Yates and Amanda Kimmel during the Reward Challenge “Great Wall” & Reward of Pizza, Beer, Cola, Brownies during tonight’s finale episode of “Survivor: China” Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

As Courtney says, “Todd’s a slippery little sucker.” Todd’s been able to weasel his way into more food by getting chosen to go on rewards won by others because no one wants him hanging around camp plotting against him.

He’s played a good game. But now he’s scared about Court, Denise and Amanda going all “girl power” on him. Game on.

After the traditional walk down memory lane, where the torches were lit and firecrackers popped to celebrate the fallen Survivors, it was time to move on to tribal council. It didn’t look good for Todd. Would he once again slip-slide out of getting the boot?

Todd was the first out of the immunity challenge. Each had to stack china on a small platform while holding firm with one hand. Second out was waitress Courtney. Denise desperately tried to strike a deal with Amanda: She would drop out if Amanda promised not to vote her out.

Amanda said no deal. Perhaps Denise knew she was faltering, or maybe her deal-making made her lose concentration. In any case, Denise dropped her dishes and Amanda was guaranteed a top three spot and a chance to plead her case in front of the jury.

It looked like Denise might just pull out a top-three finish as she worked Amanda, and Amanda in turn tried to work Courtney, all against Todd. In the end, we knew Courtney would never turn on snark-buddy Todd. There seemed to be a small chance Amanda would force a tie between Todd and Denise, but it was not to be.

We think Denise shot herself in the foot by saying because she had two children that might influence a jury. And she put Amanda on the spot by saying that Amanda told her she had Denise’s back. But it was Todd’s little oh-she-burned-you look that made Amanda look like a jerk.

In the end, a three to one vote shoved Denise into the jury box and out of the running for a top-three slot.

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Denise only gets into the final four, out of the three. She returned home only to lose her job as the lunch lady and now works as a janitor. Mark Burnett decided on the live show to give her $50,000 to help get her life back on track.

Going into the final confrontation with the jury, I felt that Todd played it best, with Courtney coming in a surprising second. I almost thought I might want to vote for her since she was the snotty kid who at least played the most honest game of the three.

But in the end, it was the guy who studied the game, and watched it since he was a 14-year-old in Utah. Todd, you deserved it. You just need to get that snark in check.

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Todd wins “Survivor: China”Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Do you agree with Jeff Probst that the biggest blunder was James not playing the Immunity Idol? Or was it Denice not going with Erik and Peih-Gee?

And for qodrn, who thought I got laid off and that I spend too much time talking “Survivor”, I’m still working for the paper, just working online instead of in print. And just think, with the end of Survivor tonight you’ll get a reprieve just in time for American Idol.

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More Comments on KTVU-Channel 2’s Mark Curtis

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Mark Curtis

From Alice Becerra:

I too am very disappointed that Mark Curtis is gone. I missed him and was wondering what was up – first thought he was ill. I watched KTVU faithfully every morning at 5:30 and enjoyed Mark and Pam but not now. The new gentleman is just well how should I put it “blaugh” I don’t like his voice, just doesn’t fit with Pam – oh well so much for my opinion. Thank you for the update on Mark Curtis he will be really missed – best wishes to him and his family.

From John Fitzgerald of Santa Rosa:

Was sorry to learn Mark would not be on channel 2 any longer. I have watched the morning news every day (today is Dec. 14) with Dave Clark and it is just not the same. It is about 8:30 am and in my home office and have changed over to KRON 4 my new channel of choice. Best of luck to Mark and his family.

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Alex Trebek no longer in jeopardy

“Jeopardy” host Alex Trebec was released from Cedars-Sinai Hospital today following a minor heart attack. He’s home in Studio City recuperating, but like the trouper he is, issued this statement for his fans:

“I’m truly overwhelmed by the great show of support and compassion expressed in the past few days to me, my family and my coworkers. Even though I know Jeopardy! is a very popular program, I was still surprised at the number of people who took time from their schedules to call or send a note of encouragement. I thank you all so very much. I’m on the mend, and will be spending Christmas at home with my family. I will be back in the studio on January 14 to tape our Teen Tournament, which is always one of my favorite competitions. Meanwhile, I hope you will continue to watch and enjoy the program. The shows were taped before my heart attack, so what you are seeing is original, not rerun material. Happy Holidays to all of you. Alex”

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Alex Trebek

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“Lost” now found on Thursday – ABC’s new schedule

The producers said they didn’t want to do it. But ABC has opted to plunge ahead and show the first eight episodes completed of “Lost” beginning at 9 p.m. Thursday on Jan. 31. The deal was “Lost” would run for 16 episodes straight, but only eight were produced before the writers strike.

“It will feel a little like reading half a Harry Potter novel, then having to put it down,” executive producer Carlton Cuse told TV Guide. “There is a mini-cliff-hanger at the end of Episode 8, but it’s like the end of an exciting book chapter, it’s not the end of the novel.”

Fans of “Lost” eagerly await the new season after an ending that showed Jack and Kate back at home without the rest of the “Lost” band.

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FRANCES O`CONNOR, JULIAN OVENDEN, LUCY LIU, BONNIE SOMERVILLE, MIRANDA OTTO, PETER HERMANN
“Cashmere Mafia’’ stars Lucy Liu, Frances O’Connor, Miranda Otto and Bonnie Somerville as four gal pals fighting the glass ceiling in the Big City. The series comes from “Sex and the City’’ producer Darren Star.

At least two new scripted series, the disappointing “Cashmere Mafia” which tries too hard to be “Sex & the City” and the promising “Eli Stone” have also been added to the winter line-up. Trying to plump out the bill are two reality programs: “Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann” and “Oprah’s Big Give.”

“Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann” premieres with a special two-hour episode on Monday, January 7, followed by 90-minute episodes through January. “Notes from the Underbelly” and “October Road” will continue to air at 9:30 and 10:00 p.m., respectively. “Samantha Who?” will return with original episodes in February at 9:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Bachelor” start new seasons on Monday, March 17.

“Just for Laughs” returns Tuesday, January 1, at 8:30 p.m., following the Rose Bowl, and will air back-to-back episodes Tuesday nights (8:00 and 8:30 p.m.), beginning January 8. “According to Jim” will also return January 1, with two episodes at 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. The series will regularly air at 9:00 p.m., followed by “Carpoolers” (9:30 p.m.) as of January 8. “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show” will return at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25. “Boston Legal” will continue airing Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m.

“Wife Swap” will premiere at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 2, and “Supernanny” returns with special back-to-back episodes at 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. that same night. The new drama series “Cashmere Mafia” premieres in its regular timeslot at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 9, following a special premiere on Thursday, January 3. Beginning February 27, “MEN IN TREES” will air Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m.

On Thursday nights in January, “Ugly Betty” will continue to air at 8:00 p.m., followed by “Grey’s Anatomy” at 9:00 p.m. and “Big Shots” at 10:00 p.m. “Lost” will premiere on January 31 at 9:00 p.m., followed by the premiere of “Eli Stone” at 10:00 p.m.

On Sunday nights, “Oprah’s Big Give” will premiere on Sunday, March 2 at 9:00 p.m.

ABC’s midseason primetime schedule is as follows:

MONDAY (JAN)

8 p.m. “Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann”
9:30 p.m. “Notes from the Underbelly”
10 p.m. “October Road”

MONDAY (FEB)

8 p.m. “Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann”
9 p.m. “Samantha Who?”
9:30 p.m. “Notes from the Underbelly”
10 p.m. “October Road”

MONDAY (MAR)

8 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”
9:30 p.m. “Samantha Who?”
10 p.m. “The Bachelor”

TUESDAY
8 p.m. “Just for Laughs”
8 p.m. “Just for Laughs”
9 p.m. “According to Jim”
9 p.m. “Carpoolers”
10 p.m. “Boston Legal”

TUESDAY (MAR)
8 p.m. “Just for Laughs”
8 p.m. “Just for Laughs”
9 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”
10 p.m. “Boston Legal”

WEDNESDAY
8 p.m. “Wife Swap”
9 p.m. “Supernanny”
10 p.m. “Cashmere Mafia” (“MEN IN TREES” beginning Feb 27)

THURSDAY (JAN)
8 p.m. “Ugly Betty”
9 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”
10 p.m. “Big Shots” (after special premiere of “Cashmere Mafia” on Jan 3)

THURSDAY (FEB)
8 p.m. “Ugly Betty”
9 p.m. “Lost”
10 p.m. “Eli Stone”

FRIDAY
8 p.m. Drama encores
9 p.m. Drama encores
10 p.m. “20/20”

SUNDAY (MAR)
7 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8 p.m. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”
9 p.m. “Oprah’s Big Give”
10 p.m. “Desperate Housewives”

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