Archive for October, 2007

Amazing Race Reveals Teams

Who cares about singing gamblers when you can watch “The Amazing Race”?

Not me. Move over, Elvis. “AR” is in the building now.

The 11 teams will travel approximately 30,000 miles, covering five countries never before visited on the Race, including Ireland, Lithuania and Croatia. The five-time Emmy Award-winning reality adventure series premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4 on CBS.

Following are the 11 teams, listed in no particular order:

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Teammates Ronald (left) and Christina Hsu (right)

Occupation: VP of Sales
Age: 58
Hometown: Tacoma, Wash.

Occupation: Policy Analyst
Age: 26
Hometown: Washington, D.C. via Tacoma, Wash.


This father/daughter team is certain they can win the Race by relying on their intellect. Christina’s main goal on the Race is to have her father, a self-proclaimed workaholic, stop and smell the roses for once in his life.

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Teammates Kynt Cothron (left) and Vyxsin Fiala (right),

Occupation: Waiter/Hair Salon Receptionist
Age: 31
Hometown: Louisville, Ky.

Occupation: Waiter/Hair Salon Receptionist
Age: 29
Hometown: Louisville, Ky.

Relationship: DATING GOTHS

Representing the “Goth” community in Louisville has embedded a strong sense of “us against the world” mentality in these two Racers. Therefore, don’t look for them to fall apart when the chips are down — a trait that will undoubtedly be tested on the Race.
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Lorena Segura (left) and Jason Widener (right)
Occupation: Bartender
Age: 27
Hometown: Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Occupation: Wedding Videographer/Actor
Age: 33
Hometown: Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Relationship: DATING

This couple met at a bar over three years ago, quickly started dating, and have been trying to figure out if they really belong together even since. Lorena is from Puerto Rico and Jason hails from Arkansas … and the cultural differences between them has often caused friction in their relationship. Both are running the Race to see if they have what it takes to withstand the pressures of traveling around the world in under 30 days.

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Azaria (left) and Hendekea (right) Azene,

Occupation: Facilities Engineer
Age: 27

Hometown: New Orleans

Occupation: Aerospace Engineer
Age: 23
Hometown: Torrance, Calif.

Relationship: BROTHER/SISTER

This brother sister team has all the intelligence, wits and skills to win the Race. Although their personality differences could be the X factor. She describes him as confrontational and emotional, while he describes her as irrational. Both are worried that the big brother/little sister power struggle will rear its ugly head on the Race.

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Kate Lewis (left) and Pat Hendrickson (right)

Occupation: Episcopal Clergy
Age: 49
Hometown: Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Occupation: Ordained Deacon
Age: 65
Hometown: Thousand Oaks, Calif.


These lesbian Episcopal ministers dated for seven years before tying the knot three years ago. Kate and Pat are ready for the adventure of lifetime – but don’t let the collars fool you – they can play dirty too.

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Shana Wall (left) and Jennifer McCall (right)
Occupation: Actress
Age: 32
Hometown: Los Angeles

Occupation: Legal Assistant
Age: 32
Hometown: Los Angeles

Relationship: FRIENDS

Don’t let their good looks fool you — this all-female team is ready to do whatever it takes to bring home the $1 million prize. Shana and Jennifer met six years ago and have been friends ever since. These women are both very competitive and eager to become the first all-female team to win the Race.

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Teammates Nicolas Fulks (left) and Donald Jerousek (right),

Occupation: Retired

Age: 68
Hometown: Elkhorn, Wis.

Occupation: Pilot
Age: 23
Hometown: Originally from Chicago


Nicolas started his aviation career at the age of 17 at the University of Illinois and currently works as an airline pilot based out of San Juan. He describes himself as reliable, competitive and goofy. He describes his teammate as rough around the edges and not too accepting of people who go against his advice.

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Jennifer Parker (back) and Nathan Hagstrom (front)

Occupation: Student
Age: 23
Hometown: Huntington Beach, Calif.

Occupation: Volleyball coach
Age: 24
Hometown: Fountain Valley, Calif.

Relationship: DATING

This athletic couple first met in college while living together with other friends. Both admit they couldn’t stand each other at first, but soon grew closer and started dating. Each will tell you that they are soul mates, yet they drive each other crazy.

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TK Erwin (standing) and Rachel Rosales

Occupation: Florist/Store Owner
Age: 23
Hometown: Huntington Beach, Calif.

Occupation: Substitute Teacher
Age: 22
Hometown: Huntington Beach, Calif.

Relationship: NEWLY DATING

This eccentric couple has only been dating for close to a year. Their mothers were friends while they were growing up in Huntington Beach, Calif., yet TK and Rachel had never really spent time together until recently. They always seem to be laughing and they’re eager to put their carefree relationship to the test while dealing with the rigors of the Race.

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Teammates Marianna (left) and Julia (right) Ruiz,
Occupation: Art Gallery Manager
Age: 25
Hometown: Miami, now residing in Los Angeles

Occupation: Office Production Assistant
Age: 26
Hometown: Miami, now residing in Los Angeles

Relationship: SISTERS

These feisty sisters describe themselves as best friends and worst enemies, but they’re convinced they’ll make for an unbeatable team. Julia serves as the problem solver while Marianna is the athlete. Both are super competitive.

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Teammates Ari Bonias (front) and Staella Gianakakos (back)

Occupation: Waiter
Age: 21
Hometown: Long Beach, Calif.

Occupation: Restaurant Manager
Age: 23
Hometown: Fountain Valley, Calif.

Relationship: BEST FRIENDS

These fun-loving friends are all about having a good time. They hope their laid back approach to the Race will result in the $1 million prize. Ari is not afraid to speak his mind, while Staella is prepared to flirt her way to the front of the pack.

Pick your teams and place your bets.

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“Scrubs” Zach Braff and Bill Lawrence talk final season

“Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence admits he might go through some online withdrawals after his series ends this season.

“I think that I have the potential to be one of those desperate people that was involved in a TV show once that still trying to get people to talk about it years after it’s over,” Bill says during a conference call last week. “Yeah, hey, did you guys remember that episode of Scrubs when…. No. You know what? I’m desperately hoping that I, you know, get to do something again that people are hopefully interest in. “

Bill says he’s had a constant phobia about doing more TV because he’s gotten so lucky twice, once with “Spin City” with Michael J. Fox and then again with “Scrubs.”

“Having such a positive experience again are so slim because there’s so many intangible things that are out of your control,” Bill says. “I’ll probably just continue to be, you know, some desperate guy that surfs the internet under a fake name to see if anybody is talking about stuff that he used to be involved in. And then, you know – I’ll be the guy that types, that Bill Lawrence was a really funny writer. And when someone says, who are you, I’ll immediately exit the internet.”

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Zach Braff as J.D. and Donald Faison as Turk

But for right now, Bill’s just concerned about getting on with the final season of “Scrubs,” which returns at 9:30 p.m. Thursday on NBC.

Bill says he always promised Neil Flynn, who plays The Janitor, that by the end of the show he’d have a name and a girlfriend. On Thursday’s episode, we get a peek at the girlfriend.

“He’s the one character that hasn’t ever had a romantic interest,” Bill says.

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J.D. and The Janitor

In fact, The Janitor began as a figment of J.D.’s imagination.

“I always thought this show was going to last for one season, so `Fight Club’ just happened,” Bill explains. “Then the second year, Neil Flynn’s like, ‘I’d like to talk to some of the other actors.’ All right, whatever.”

Bill says he made a slight miscalculation when he killed off popular character Laverne, the opinionated Christian nurse last season.

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Aloma Wright as Nurse Laverne

“I would never take work away from an actress that we consider part of the family. We thought last year would be the last season. So when I killed Laverne, it was because we basically said ‘hey, what’s a good, dramatic arc for the end of the year since we’re kind’ve ending up the show,’ ” Bill says.

But then he discovered the studios were giving him one more season.

“So I promised her that she would come back. I don’t want people to get mad at me,” Bill says. “She returns as a nurse name Shirley. She looks slightly different but she still looks like the same actress. But the only thing we’re doing is that only Zach’s character thinks the two of them look alike.”

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Zach Braff and Tom Cavanagh

Also coming back to the show this season areTom Cavanagh, Elizabeth Banks and Scott Foley.

“People that our nerdy fans will care about, you know, are little kind of secondary characters named like Hooch and Dr. Zeltzer. And, you know, all these people that we think have made kind of an imprint on people in the past,” Bill says. “We’re trying to get everybody their last hurrah.”

Zach Braff says he has campaigned every season to have David Cross come on as his “Arrested Development” character Tobias Funke.

Which isn’t going to happen.

This season will, however, have a big musical episode, a fairytale based on “The Princess Bride” and directed by Zach.

“You know, every year we choose one episode to spend a whole lot of money on and try to be our showcase thing,” Bill says. “Zach’s the village idiot and Sarah’s the princess. And, you know, the Janitor is a giant. And Todd is the Fairy Todd Something. So, you know, I think that he will be continue to be ambisexual and never really sure what he is, you know. But will (The Todd) ever find love? I think in Todd’s head he’s very happy – that he has found it.”

What about J.D. and Elliot? Will they end up together?

“If you go on to our fan sites there’s a lot of people that want them together and then there’s a lot of people that say that’s not what this show is about. And so they don’t want them together,” Bill says. “And what I think – I think the answer is right in the middle, which is we pride ourselves – this show was never a will they or won’t they show, you know? It was not Ross and Rachel or, you know, Moonlighting – you know, are these characters ever going to end up?
And I think that if we were to end this series on, you know, Zach going to the airport to keep Rachel – or to keep Elliot, you know, from flying away… everybody would feel cheated, you know, because that’s not, you know, what this show has been about. It’s been about all the relationships. That being said, you know, Zach and Sarah as actor and actress, have made people invested in this.
So I am going to resolve it, but I’m not going to make that the end of the series. I think that it’ll happen before people expect it to happen. I think I put a lot of clues what I’m going to do along the way.”

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Dancing around the issue is Sarah Chalke and Zach Braff as Elliot and J.D.

Zach says if he had to pick acting or directing, he’d pick directing.

“I enjoy acting a lot and I love – there’s nothing that makes me happier in life than making people laugh. But I really like the – I find that directing asks so much more of me because you get to – you have to be a little bit of a writer, a little bit of a photographer, a little bit of a, you know, a set designer,” Zach says. “And I just love working with lots of creative people. So when you direct something, you hire all these really creative people and artists, and actors. And then you’re sort of the conductor to that orchestra. And I really, really love doing that more than anything.

Zach says after he came back from selling his independent film “Garden State” at Sundance, Bill made sure he wasn’t taking himself too seriously.

“(It was) the highlight of my life and Bill wanted to make sure that I hadn’t gotten too cocky. So the first scene back was me in full clown make-up getting sprayed with seltzer bottles by the Janitor,” Zach says. “That’s when I knew I was a success.”

So it’s about time in the conference call when The Question comes up.

What’s on your iPod now, Zach?

“Well I’m obsessed with a guy named William Fitzsimmons, who is kind of breaking out. A woman named Ingrid Michaelson, who is kind of breaking out because she has a song on an Old Navy commercial, but she’s a friend of mine and she’s really great,” Zach says. “And another guy I’m listening to is a guy named Jay Clifford who used to be the lead singer of the band called Jump Little Children and now he has his own solo album. ”

Back to the real questions, like Bill paying back the fans. Like putting out the number for Turk’s phone, which they still answer occasionally.

“There’s a weird thing going on right now in which the show has become very big overseas and, you know, one time a group of Europeans came here and they were taking pictures of the set. And I let them on the set, you know, just to wander around and see the actors,” Bill says. “And somehow online they got it around that hey, if you’re visiting America from a foreign country, the Scrubs set will take you around and let you meet all the famous people.
So there’s odd packs of Europeans asking me weird questions about the show here on a daily basis.”

Bill loves it when someone asks questions like, when did Ted lose his hair?
(He started losing it in eighth grade.)

But as much as he loves everything to do with “Scrubs,” don’t expect a reunion show down the road.

“We’ll do a reunions in real life, you know, because we actually enjoy each other’s time and seeing each other and hanging around,” Bill says. “But I don’t have the need to get everybody back on television again.”

Zach says this series has changed his life.

“It’s like winning the lottery in more ways obviously financially, but I mean – what I mean is like getting to be on a television show for seven years where you really respect what you’re doing and you respect who work with and you’re laughing a lot,” Zach says. “I’m going to dinner on Friday night with Donald and Sarah. I mean we all hang out. We’re all really close. I think that when it’s over, it’s really going to hit us hard.”

So, I’ve got to ask since both his mom and brother live in the SF Bay area if he’ll be coming up here soon for any special projects.

Zach: “If you invite me for dinner, I’ll be there.”

Me: “Really?”

Zach: “I am not averse to accepting a free meal from a stranger.”

You’re on, Zach.

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“The Bachelor: Walnut Creek”

Our own sweet Sheena has made it into the final four.

Which means next week we get a chance to see how bachelor Brad fared in Walnut Creek with Sheena’s parents. From the previews, it looks like Sheena’s mom is quite a beauty, and a bit more outspoken than her kinda shy daughter.

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We honestly think it’s between DeAnna and Sheena for the final rose, with Bettina the b-dog getting unmasked by Brad next week. We could have told you about the B weeks ago, Brad. Jenni’s sweet, but we don’t see any sparks flying.

But first, we must talk Hillary and her monumental breakdown at the end of tonight’s show. Didn’t she catch a single vibe Brad was giving out during the four-girl pool party? He obviously looked at her like she was just a pal, and she read all the wrong signals.

Call the wahmbulance. Come on, girl. You’re a nurse. Get it together. Show of hands of anyone who would want her by your bedside after this little meltdown.

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HILLARY and BRAD (Photo Craig Sjodin/ABC)

But back to our Sheena. The previews to this episode just loved showing her doing the banana peel slide down the stairs, but actually it wasn’t that bad. She did look fabulous in her diamond earrings Brad gave her. We got all Pretty Woman with that scene. Then when they danced outside with the orchestra playing, I mean gosh golly gee whiz, it doesn’t get any more romantic than that, does it?

I just wish he would stop saying how much his twin brother was smitten with Sheena. It’s almost like he’s trying to talk himself into liking her.

Hey, maybe if things don’t work out with Brad, Sheena can test drive the other twin.

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“Heroes: Fight or Flight”

Seeing Kristen Bell on “Heroes” tonight was electrifying.

OK, that was cheap thrill, but discovering K-Bell’s special power allows her to shoot bolts of electricity through her hands was, as she said in an interview last week, pretty cool.

Her character’s got some problems distinguishing right from wrong. Here’s a primer: helping people is good, frying them is bad. She just had to cook the truth out of Peter’s pal. And it was all for nothing, because “daddy” called her home before she could seal the deal with Peter.

So who do you think “daddy” is? It couldn’t be HRG. Or could it?

At least we won’t have to listen to those obnoxiously bad Irish accents any more now that Peter’s on his way to Montreal to find out more about his past.

Talk about Daddy Dearest. Welcome to your worst nightmare: That your papa is a real boogeyman out to trap you in your own mind.

Luckily, Matt Parkman inherited his old man’s mind power, but not his Satan-worthy evil twist. Makes Sylar look like just a nasty bully in comparison. Parkman’s pops tried trapping his own son in a field of nightmares, but Parkman was able to wake up _ and roust Nathan as well.

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Greg Grunberg as Matt Parkman

So if Parkman can make Nathan snap out of it, why can’t he rescue little Molly from her nocturnal prison? Guess we’ll have to wait until next week.

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Viva Laughlin Canceled

Viva Laugh-able has been whisked off the CBS schedule after crapping out in the ratings.

The horrible songfest was widely panned by critics (I blame low blood sugar for actually writing that the tunes were catchy). In it’s place will be five-time Emmy winning reality series “The Amazing Race,” which returns Nov. 4 for its fourth edition.

“The Amazing Race 12” spans 50,000 miles including first time visits to Ireland, Lithuania and Croatia. We need a little break away from everything that’s going on these days, and “Amazing Race” always delivers.

And yes, there is a Sunday before the “Amazing Race” begins. Don’t fear. CBS is sticking in a repeat of “CSI” that night.

We don’t think anyone will be shedding any tears for “Viva Laughlin.”

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“Everybody Hates Chris” loves Pittsburg

CW held a “Free to Be Famous” contest and the winner is:

Bridget Hardeway, from the burg, Pittsburg, CA that is. Local CW station CW-44 winner Bridget gets a walk on role on CW’s “Everybody Hates Chris.” Her original interview tape made judges want to come back for more.

She aced her final audition. Last Wednesday, she taped her episode and got to visit with producer Ali LeRoi, one of the funniest and nicest guys in the business.

Bridget’s episode was directed by “Seinfeld” alum Jason Alexander, who guest starred last season as Chris’ principal.

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Chris (Tyler James Williams) and Principal Edwards (Jason Alexander) spend “Snow Day” together.

No word on when the episode will run right now, but we’ll let you know.

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KTVU-Channel 2’s Dennis Richmond

KTVU-Channel 2 viewers have been anxiously pondering where in the world is anchor Dennis Richmond.

After having surgery to fix some pain Dennis was having in his neck, he’s on the mend and ready to take back the anchor seat. I’m sure if it was up to Dennis, he would have been back the day after surgery.

Dennis is scheduled to be back on the air Wednesday, Oct. 24.

He had been doing better after is surgery about two weeks ago, and was waiting for his doctor to give him the green light to come back on the air.

Needless to say, Richmond’s been chomping at the bit to get back into the anchor chair.

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“CSI:NY” Gets a Second Life

Get ready to either be thrilled, or totally ticked, by this week’s episode of “CSI: NY.”

Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) enters the computer-based virtual world of “Second Life,” where the team tracks down a killer in both the real and cyber world. For those who haven’t experienced this, Second Life provides a gateway into fantasy lives on the computer where alter-egos known as an avatars interact.

Your virtual counterpart is generally much better looking than your reality.

In the course of the episode, Mac discovers a woman has been murdered and the suspect probably has something to do with her Second Life. So Mac gets schooled before crashing into cyberland to track down the killer. The narrative device gives viewers unfamiliar with this world a primer on how it all works.

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Down the rabbit hole he goes, and drags the viewers with him. But if you are expecting a pay-off at the end of the episode, you’ll be disappointed. The show ends with a cliff-hanger that is supposed to entice you into the Second Life world to try to suss out the answer for yourself.

“CSI” creator Anthony E. Zuiker says “CSI”’s virtual world opens for business that night. Viewers will be instructed to go on the internet, log on to the site and create their own avatar. Zuiker’s avatar, which he says will be “much handsomer, much thinner” than he really is, will be waiting to greet you.

We think people might not want to be forced into taking that journey just to find out whodunit.

“Television, ma’am, is changing,” Zuiker said during a conference call last week. “(We) take chances on other platforms. The quest was to write a great episode in the First Life and then a deeper experience that would have a life span beyond that.”

Zuiker says the victim _ meaning in the show and not the luckless viewer who doesn’t want to become an avatar _ was like Paris Hilton in her virtual life. So the crack CSI team suits up like an avatar to go into their world. Now you can be part of that crack team.

“Once you enter, there are three different levels of game play,” Zuiker says. “This continues through Feb. 6 when the episode concludes (on TV), but we’ll continue (the world after the murder is resolved.)”

Zuiker thinks that people will embrace this new CSI Second Life world. The levels include beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Beginners can be hand-held through the experience with a few games. In intermediate, you can try to solve a “Murder by Zuiker” where you can look at evidence and try to match Zuiker’s interpretation of how the murder went down. If you can find the hidden clue, you can then get a Second Life URL known as a SLURL.

This, of course, is about the time my mind started checking out.

The gist of the top level is that you get to join the Murder of the Month club, go to the lab, talk to suspects and be a virtual CSI, which is a dramatic interpretation of a real CSI. So I guess it’s kind of three-degrees of separation CSI.

”You can be whomever you want, whatever you want in this world,” Zuiker says. “The future of television is community. The days of being entertained by one device has changed.”

This is bad news for people who just like the tube so they can veg at the end of a long day.

Here’s a CBS/ YouTube peek at the episode:

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CBS Gets More Big Bang Theory

Maybe it’s the threat of a writer’s strike, which could be happening as early as Nov. 1, but the networks seem to be giving their stamp of approval early this season.

ABC previously announced a full season pick-up of “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off “Private Practice,” which has consistantly hit the No. 1 ratings spot for new fall shows.

CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” is the first new fall comedy to get a full season pick-up order. The network also gave their solid drama “The Unit” a full season order as well.

And dashing off into a tangent, “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence said yesterday that “The Unit” co-star Scott Foley may be back on board for the comedy’s final season if his schedule allows.

“Bang” is kind of growing on me. Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons as Leonard and Sheldon make the perfect odd and odder couple with their geeky, Cal Tech personalities. Of course, you have to have the dumb blonde, played by Kaley Cuoco. Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar round out the cast as Sheldon and Leonard’s two best nerd herd pals.

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Leonard (Johnny Galecki, pictured second from left), Sheldon (Jim Parsons, pictured far right), Wolowitz (Simon Helberg, pictured second from right) and Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar, pictured far left) undertake a challenging and dangerous experiment, attending the Halloween party being thrown by their hot neighbor, Penny (Kaley Cuoco, not pictured) on The Oct. 29 episode. Photo: Ron Batzdorff/Warner Bros.

As part of the CBS Monday night comedy block, “The Big Bang Theory” from Chuck Lorre, who is also responsible for “Two and a Half Men” that airs afterwards, has been averaging 8.97 million viewers.

“The Unit” is averaging 11.44 million viewers. Tuesday’s episode posted the best ratings – 3.1/08 in adults 18-49 and 4.2/09 in adults 25-54 – since February.

“The Unit” stars Dennis Haysbert, Scott Foley, Robert Patrick, Regina Taylor, Max Martini, Michael Irby, Demore Barnes, Abby Brummell and Audrey Marie Anderson. David Mamet, Shawn Ryan and Vahan Moosekian are executive producers.

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How much did you hate Viva Laughlin?

If Elvis wasn’t dead, this would have killed him.

That was the general sentiment of most critics about CBS’ foray into musical drama. In between the catchy tunes, there’s a family in crisis, a murder to solve and lots of bizarre characters in this brave venture into musical television centering on Ripley Holden (Lloyd Owen), who has made his fortune with convenience stores. Now he’s tossing the dice and putting his bucks on a dream to own the biggest and best casino/hotel in Laughlin, Nev.

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On SueTube this week, theater critic Chad Jones predicted a very short life span for this series.

For me, it was kind of TV to fold laundry by. You know, savor the spunky songs like “Viva Las Vegas,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “One Way or Another” and “Let It Ride.” I can glance up and see the musical numbers, hum along with the tunes and sort of pay attention to a not-too-taxing story line.

That wasn’t good enough for most critics, however. But what did you think?

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