Archive for NBC

How Was Your Summer?

I’ll admit, this wasn’t the best summer for me. Right now, under the current regime, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to write about TV, or if I’ll get to keep the column I’ve had for more than 14 years.

Boo-hoo, right? I mean, how many people get to say they watched TV for a living for more than a decade?

So it’s time to put the big girl panties on, and what better way to get through a difficult summer than to find out that maybe your pals at “The Office” had an even worst time.

Check it out:

We can hardly wait for the fall season to start. And who knows? If Ryan can become the boss, maybe I can too…

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Coming soon: Heroes World Tour

Coming to a country near you soon: The cast of “Heroes.”

Starting on Sunday, “Heroes” tries its boldest exploit yet when a dozen cast members travel to eight countries around the world in eight days celebrating the launch of “Heroes” Season One DVD and HD DVD on Aug. 28 and hyping the second season premiere on Sept. 24.

“The message of ‘Heroes’ has always been about our world being a completely inter-connected place and this world tour is a celebration of that spirit,” says Pittsburg native and “Heroes” creator Tim Kring. “We’re all very excited to embark on this adventure next week and eager to hear from fans everywhere.”

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The tour has been split into three legs with four cast members traveling to each destination. Here you go:

-Munich (8/26-8/27
-Paris (8/28-8/29)
-London (8/30-9/2)
Cast Members: Jack Coleman (“H.R.G.”), Hayden Panettiere (“Claire”), Adrian Pasdar (“Nathan”), and Milo Ventimiglia (“Peter”) with executive producer Dennis Hammer

-Tokyo (8/26-8/28)
-Hong Kong (8/29-8/30)
-Singapore (8/31-9/2)
Cast members: Greg Grunberg (“Matt”), Ali Larter (“Niki), Masi Oka
(“Hiro”), and Sendhil Ramamurthy (“Mohinder”)

-New York City (8/27-8/29)
– Toronto (8/30-9/1)
Cast members: Noah Gray-Cabey (“Micah”), James Kyson Lee
(“Ando”), Zachary Quinto (“Sylar”), and Dania Ramirez (“Maya”) with co-executive producer/writer Jeph Loeb and acclaimed graphic novel artist Tim Sale (“Batman: The Long Halloween”)

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Pictured: (l-r) Tim Kring, Zachary Quinto, Greg Grunberg, Milo Ventimiglia, Sendhil Ramamurthy — NBC Photo: Chris Haston

One highlight of the North American leg will be the appearance of cast members Gray-Cabey, Lee, Quinto and Ramirez along with artist Sale and co-executive producer Loeb at the NBC Experience Store in New York City on August 28, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Fans can visit the store and participate in signings of the “Heroes” Season One DVD and HD DVDs and other show merchandise on the floor.

Later on Aug. 28, Loeb and Sale will also appear at Midtown Comics Times Square, a popular local comic book and collectibles store, at 4-6 p.m. for a special autograph session for fans.

The “Heroes” Season One DVD will be an elaborate seven-disc set loaded with bonus features, including 50 deleted scenes and the 73-minute never-aired version of the pilot episode.

The HD DVD offers a web-enabled Download Center that allows
users unique access to exclusive online content, as well as other
groundbreaking features such as the Heroes Abilities Test, The Helix Revealed, Character Connections and Picture-in-Picture Commentary.

Immediately following the autograph session, the stars will join with
The Conservation Fund in a ceremonial tree planting to highlight the carbon zero “Heroes World Tour.”

Next spring, the fund will plant 188 trees in a Texas wildlife refuge to offset the tour’s carbon footprint, including the emissions that will result from the air and auto travel, as well as hotel stays. As the trees grow, the new forest will safeguard the habitat for wildlife and trap more than 250 tons of carbon dioxide.

The green message of the “Heroes World Tour” will be an important aspect of the campaign. Special limited edition green t-shirts, featuring art by Tim Sale, have been created for the “Heroes World Tour” and 50 percent of the sales proceeds will be donated to The Conservation Fund.

Ten percent of all “Heroes” merchandise sold at the NBC Experience
Store on Aug. 28 will also be donated to The Conservation Fund.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, STAR TV is sponsoring a “Heroes: Save the World Party” in conjunction with the World Tour to honor local heroes tied into their local CoolChange Green initiative.

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Party Dress

“ER” star Linda Cardellini, who stars in the new CBS miniseries “Comanche Moon,’’ wowed the folks at the NBC party and the red carpet with her lacy teal dress, which she says she bought at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto.

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LINDA CARDELLINI – NBC Photo: Chris Haston

“My dad picked it out for me while we were shopping,’’ she says. “Isn’t it great? It’s a Betsey Johnson.’’

Linda’s gone back to her natural brunette and looks stunning.

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And the winner is…

Here’s what it’s like to present a Television Critics Association Award:

You go up on the stage where the Golden Globes are presented, looking out at an audience that includes “Sopranos’’ creator David Chase with Edie Falco and Lorraine Bracco, Alec Baldwin of “30 Rock,’’ Matt Dallas of “Kyle XY,’’ “Heroes’’ creator Tim Kring with Adrian Pasdar, Masi Oka, “The Office” producer Greg Daniels and castmembers and Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton of “Friday Night Lights.’’

And you pray you don’t black out.

Makes you understand yet again just how good these people in the room are at what they do.

Alec won the award for individual achievement in comedy and rocked the room. He told the story about how he tried to get a role on “The Sopranos.’’

In New York, he was going to a meeting with “a famous socialite’’ to raise some money for some foundation. But he went to the wrong place, and had to bolt down Park Avenue, he’s drenched in sweat. So he excuses himself to use the men’s room and takes his shirt off, and dries his shirt in the men’s room of the Four Season’s Restaurant.

And David Chase walks in and says, “Alec Baldwin?’’

He didn’t get a role on the show.

Of course, when Chase took the stage to accept the award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama, he says that in response to Alec, “When I walked into the (restroom), I thought `Holy (Shucks), that was Alec Baldwin the famous movie star. I didn’t even notice he didn’t have a shirt on.’’

When he came up again for the Heritage Award, Chase remarked that when you are in New Jersey, you can be sitting in a restaurant and have everything stop.

“It’s not that big of a deal,’’ he deadpans.

He then mentioned that he was awed by other nominees, which included “M*A*S*H,’ `Roots,’ `Mary Tyler Moore Show’ and “Sesame Street.’’

“But I thought we had a pretty good shot when I didn’t see any Muppets in the audience,’’ Chase says.

Then he said a TV critic told him it would be good to actually explain the ending of “The Sopranos.’’

“I wasn’t going to get into it, but when I was going to Stanford, at 23, I went to see the `Planet of the Apes’ with my wife,’’ Chase says. “At the end I said, `Wow. So they had a Statue of Liberty too.’ So that’s what you are up against.’’

For a better insight, check out the season one finale.

“The Office’’ producer Greg Daniels says he spent the whole day reading “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

“I’m on page 450, and it’s good,’’ Daniels says. “If we adapt it for American audiences, it could be really successful.’’

He then introduced the cast that showed up for the awards – and said how he would cast them as “Harry Potter’’ characters.

Brian Baumgartner as Hagrid; Mindy Kaling as Pavarti, or Luna; Angela Kinsey as Delores Umbridge; Kate Flannery as Aunt Petunia; Oscar Nunez as Viktor Krum; Leslie David Baker as Mr. Dursley and Creed Bratton as Lucius Malfoy.

“Is this too nerdy for everyone?,’’ Greg asked.

Not for this crowd.

2007 TCA Award recipients are as follows:









INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA: Michael C. Hall, “Dexter” (Showtime)

HERITAGE AWARD: “The Sopranos” (HBO)


Oh, and I’m now the newly elected secretary of the Television Critics Association. Go TCA.

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Masi Oka’s My Hero

When last we saw our “Heroes,’’ it looked as if the Petrelli brothers had been blasted out of a job, but Adrian Pasdar says he’s looking forward to the next season and, although Milo Ventimiglia wasn’t at the NBC party at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night due to another commitment, we were assured that the cast would be back.

Masi Oka, who stuck around through the entire party then for the little post-party bash at Trader Vic’s afterwards, says next season will offer up two timelines in which he portrays Hiro in both the present and 400 years ago in Japan.

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MASI OKA – NBC Photo Chris Haston

“We’ve been shooting a lot in Japan, and I learned how to ride a horse there and discovered it’s not that easy to do. I was sore for about two days after the first day of shooting,’’ Oka says. “I’ve been out of the country a lot because of it, so I haven’t been up to the Bay Area for a while.’’

In addition to his work on “Heroes,’’ he still works as a Research and Development Technical Director, writing programs that create special effects for Industrial Light & Magic in Marin.

“I haven’t been able to write any programs lately because of the show and (the movie) `Get Smart,’ ‘’ says Oka. “But I still want to. I enjoy doing that when I have any spare time.’’

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Ben Silverman’s Hot

You’ve gotta love the new NBC co-chairman, or whatever the hell title they are handing out these days.

Bottom line is that this is the guy who makes the decisions about what you’re going to be watching on the network. He talks about a mile a minute and, right now, likes talking to critics.

That could change.

But what we really like about him is that his ringtone is “This Is Why I’m Hot” and he still thinks it’s funny when David Spade takes shots at him.

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NBC Keeps the Lights On

“Studio 60” is gone. So is “Crossing Jordan.”

(Which I guess solves that plane crash question left at the season finale.)

But NBC decided to keep the lights on “Friday Night Lights” and actually put in on Friday night.
And we’ll be getting even more “Heroes” this coming season with no long absences.

There will be 24 new episodes of “Heroes,” with limited repeats and six new stand-alone episodes titled “Heroes: Origins,” featuring new heroes.

“Each will feature an entirely new cast. We saw certain characters last year, like the waitress in Texas, that people were really intrigued with,” says NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly. “The stories will be like those, budgeted like a standard episode.”

At the end of those six episodes, which will probably air next spring, viewers will be able to vote on which character they would like to see added to the cast.

Reilly also announced there will be 30 new episodes of “The Office,” including five one-hour episodes and 25 new episodes of “My Name is Earl.”
“Scrubs” will also be returning to the network for a seventh season, and Jerry Seinfeld comes back to NBC.

Seinfeld has produced “minisodes” spinning off of his “Bee Movie.” The times have not yet been announced.

The best news, however, is that NBC didn’t go into typical bottom-feeder network mode and begin juggling the schedule and adding far too many new programs.

Only four new dramas and one new reality program were announced on Monday for fall, with one drama and a comedy announced for midseason.

No surprise, with the popularity of “Heroes,” that three of the new dramas – “Bionic Woman,” “Journeyman” and “Chuck” – have a sci-fi spin.

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Chris Bowers as Will, Michelle Ryan as Jamie Sommers, Miguel Ferrer as Jonas, Will Yun Lee as Jae, Molly Price as Ruth — NBC Photo: Alan Zenuk

“Bionic Woman” stars Michelle Ryan (“EastEnders”) as Jaime Summers, who is technologically enhanced after a near-fatal car accident. Her co-stars include Miguel Ferrer, Mae Whitman, Molly Price, and former Bay Area resident Will Yun Lee. The show is produced by such sci fi veterans as David Eick
(“Battlestar Gallactica”), Glen Morgan (“The X-Files”) and Laeta
Kalogridis (“Birds of Prey”).

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Gretchen Egolf as Katie Vasser, Reed Diamond as Jack Vasser, Kevin McKidd as Dan Vasser, Moon Bloodgood as Livia Beale — NBC Photo: Mitchell Haaseth

“Journeyman” is a romantic mystery starring Kevin McKidd of “Rome” as a San Francisco journalist who travels through time and changes people’s lives. We’re thinking that he travels back to a time when people read more newspapers.

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Yvonne Strzechowski as Sarah, Zachary Levi as Chuck, Adam Baldwin as John Casey — NBC Photo: Chris Haston

“Chuck” comes from former “The O.C.” team of Josh Schwartz and McG, starring Zachary Levi (“Less Than Perfect”) as a computer geek who becomes a secret agent after vital data is dowloaded into his brain.

Also making the schedule are “Life” and, after football, “Lipstick

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Robin Weigert as Lt. Karen Davis, Sarah Shahi as Dani Reese, Damian Lewis as Charlie Crews, Adam Arkin as Ted Early, Melissa Sagemiller as Constance Griffiths — NBC Photo: Mitchell Haaseth

“Life” stars Damian Lewis (“Band of Brothers”) as a detective who was wrongly accused of a crime, served some time and is now back on the force. We’re excited to report that phenomenal actress Robin Weigert (“Deadwood”) co-stars.

Both “Life” and “Bionic Woman” will repeat on USA and Sci Fi,

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Lindsay Price as Victory, Brooke Shields as Wendy, Kim Raver as Nico — NBC Photo: Mitchell Haaset

“Lipstick Jungle” comes from the novel by Candace Bushnell (“Sex and the City”) about three high powered friends in the New York fashion business. Kim Raver, Brooke Shields and Lindsay Price co-star.

The lone new reality show on the schedule is “The Singing Bee,” which challenges contestants to accurately sing the lyrics to popular songs.

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Joel McHale as Roy, Richard Ayoade as Moss, Jessica St. Clair as Jen — NBC Photo: Mitchell Haaseth

Also on the horizon, but not on the schedule, is the sitcom “The IT Crowd,” about quirky techies, based on the British comedy and the reality show “World Moves,” from Randy Jackson (“American Idol”), centering on dance teams from around the world.

Despite fears that “Law & Order” might not return, it will be back for an 18th season, but potential presidential candidate Fred Thompson will be leaving the series.

Also returning is “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” will be airing on the network’s cable sibling USA, with an option for the episodes to air on NBC later.


New programs in CAPS (with the exception of “ER”)

8-9 p.m. “Deal or No Deal”
9-10 p.m. “Heroes”
10-11 p.m. “JOURNEYMAN”

8-9 p.m. “The Biggest Loser”
9-10 p.m. “CHUCK”
10-11 p.m. “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”

8-9 p.m. “Deal or No Deal”
9-10 p.m. “BIONIC WOMAN”
10-11 p.m. “LIFE”

8-8:30 p.m. “My Name Is Earl”
8:30-9 p.m. “30 Rock”
9-9:30 p.m. “The Office”
9:30-10 p.m. “Scrubs”
10-11 p.m. “ER”

8-9 p.m. “1 vs 100″/”THE SINGING BEE”
9-10 p.m. “Las Vegas”
10-11 p.m. “Friday Night Lights”

8-9 p.m. “Dateline NBC”
9-11 p.m. Drama Series Encores

SUNDAY (Fall 2007)
“Football Night in America”
“NBC Sunday Night Football”

SUNDAY (January 2008)
7-8 p.m. “Dateline NBC”
8-9 p.m. “Law & Order”
9-10 p.m. “Medium”
10-11 p.m. “LIPSTICK JUNGLE”

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“Lost” vs. “Heroes”

I’ll get this out of the way right now: I’m enjoying “Lost” again, but “Heroes” is still my fav.

And why, you might ask?

Because on Monday, “Heroes” managed to cover so much territory, yet it never bogged down and never seemed crowded. And by the end, questions were answered and more questions popped up.

First, we get chills knowing Malcolm McDowell, Mr. Clockwork Orange himself, is the mysterious Linderman. We also discover that Mama Petrelli not only knows about her cheerleader granddaughter, but may have engineered her escape.

We also learned that good Ali Larter can sometimes overpower bad Ali Larter.

And just how cool was it when Ando came to save the day for Hiro? Or when Mohinder confronted Sylar when we all thought he was fooled – only to have the tables turned on Mohinder?

But the juiciest part for “Felicity” fans was seeing delightful Ian Gomez as Linderman’s curator.
You go, Javier Clemente Quintata!

Next week, Sylar and Peter face off in a fierce battle.

Which leads us to tonight’s episode of “Lost” and what-have-we-learned.

We got a little bit of frolickin’ fun on the beach, with Sawyer getting shut down on the nicknames. Luckily, it will just be for a week.

But more importantly, we learned that The Others aren’t from the Dharma Initiative, that The Others were on the island before Dharma and that the “Lost” writers sometimes feel like they have to hit us over the head with certain images.

Like the kitty-cat.

Yep, we saw the long, lingering shot of the cat when Sayid approached the house. We saw it again when the cat scratched the hidden trap door, tipping off Sayid as to where another Other was hiding. And we saw it again on the lap of the woman Sayid tortured in his flashback.

So did we HAVE to show the puddy-tat one more time as Sayid left the blown-up island building?

We get it. Cat significant.

Oh, and there are horses and cows on the island. And eye-patch guy isn’t all that nice.

Still, a good show and one I’ll be watching until the end.

Oh, and I loved the whole nickname bit with Sawyer, but my favorite line was when he said to Nikki (Kiele Sanchez) “Who the hell are you?”

Who indeed.

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“Heroes” hints

That old saying about hindsight being 20/20 was never more accurate on Monday night when it was revealed that the cheerleader’s real daddy is none other than Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar).
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(Milo Ventimiglia, Adrian Pasdar)

Way back in July, I was chatting with Milo Ventimiglia about the relationship between his character and cheerleader Claire (Hayden Panettiere), who seemed quite smitten by Peter Petrelli.

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(Hayden Panettiere, Milo Ventimiglia)

Could it be that Claire and Peter hook up later?

“No, I think that would be illegal in several states,” Milo said, referring I thought to the age difference between the teen and the twentysomething Peter.

But maybe when she turns 18?

“I think he’s really more of a big brother or an uncle to her,” Milo said, spilling pearls before swine.

Oh, I get it now. Peter’s her uncle.

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Holidays with D.L. Hughley

Did I mention I’m on vacation for two weeks?

Yeah, it never really works out that way. My vacation was supposed to start on Dec. 19, but I came in to talk to Yul Kwon. And really, who wouldn’t want to talk to the charming Yul the day after his big “Survivor” win? It was a great chat and worth putting off the vay-cay for a day.

But while I was in the office that day, I got a call saying that comic D.L. Hughley – currently co-starring on NBC’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” – would be doing a New Year’s Eve show in the East Bay. Did I want to chat with him?

D.L. Hughley

Momentarily forgetting that I was off for the next two weeks, I agreed. We set up a time for 4 p.m. the Thursday before Christmas. Sure, I was picking up my son John that day from the airport and we had some catching up to do, since we hadn’t seen each other for a year. Still, I figured it was only a half-hour away.

D.L. never called. The publicist set up a new time for the day after Christmas. Maybe he would call some time between 3-4 p.m. But that day I took my son’s girlfriend Lindsay into San Fran for the day.

Here’s a hint: Don’t buy tickets for the cable car on a rainy day. Or any day in which you might not want to invest a lot of time being frustrated. After waiting in line for 45 minutes in the rain, the famous cable car only made it half-way to our destination at Fisherman’s Wharf. Everyone had to get off and either try to grab another cable car or walk the 10 blocks to the wharf. In the rain. The freakin’ pouring rain.

Needless to say, being soggy, tired and trying to conduct an interview while hanging out on Pier 39 with the sea lions barking wasn’t going to make for a great chat. Plus, we still weren’t confirmed for a time. Yep, we bagged it.

So, while I look forward to the New Year and getting at least a couple of days of rest in a dry environment, here’s the info in case you want to laugh in the New Year with D.L.:

For those who have waited until the last minute to decide what to do on New Year’s Eve, you can join Hughley at Tommy T’s at 5104 Hopyard Road in Pleasanton.
Hughley will perform at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Sunday at Tommy T’s, then have a special performance at 9 p.m. at the Pleasanton Hilton. All tickets include dancing at the Hilton until 1:30 a.m. Monday.
Tickets are $170 for the early show, $195 for the second show at the Hilton and $175 for the late show.
For tickets or more information, call Tommy T’s at 925-227-1800
Room packages at the Hilton are still available.

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