The seeming stroke of luck that left CBS' post-apocalyptic drama Jericho in a position to flex its muscles, returning for a second season against competition of lame reruns backfired badly Tuesday night. The show drew just 7.2 million viewers, getting beaten by reruns of ABC's Boston Legal and NBC's Law & Order: SVU. The audience was also far smaller than the 11.7 million viewers Jericho drew in its 2006 debut, suggesting that the eyeballs that left the show when it went on a three-month Christmas break last season aren't coming back.
David Shuster is still suspended from working at MSNBC or mothership NBC News for remarking that Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by her mother Hillary on the campaign trail. "NBC News takes these matters seriously, and offers our sincere regrets to the Clintons for the remarks," a network spokesman said last week as Shuster was booted from the air.
Oddly, though, MSNBC's top host Keith Olbermann used the same expression five months ago referring to President Bush and Gen. David Petraeus -- and he was neither suspended nor required to make an on-air apology, as Shuster was. Is that because there's one rule for reporters and another for $4 million a year hosts? Or is there one rule for the Clintons, and another for U.S. soldiers?
With the writers' strike on the verge of settlement, the TV networks are ready to start thinking about next season. ABC has apparently thought the hardest, announcing today that nine shows have been renewed for next season: Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Dirty Sexy Money, Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Samantha Who? and Ugly Betty.
Conspicuously absent from the list: Cavemen, Carpoolers, Notes From The Underbelly, Cashmere Mafia, Women's Murder Club, and Men In Trees. A couple of those will probably be renewed, if for other reason than the strike has drastically curtailed the number of pilots that will be available from which networks can choose for their fall schedules. But they all face long odds.
For the second time in two weeks, an MSNBC host will offer a public apology to the Clinton family. This time it's David Shuster, who will take to the air at 6 p.m. today for metaphorically comparing Chelsea Clinton to a hooker and her mother Hillary to a pimp.
Shuster, while filling as a guest host for Tucker Carlson on MSNBC's 6 p.m. talk show Tucker, noted that Chelsea Clinton has become an important cog in her mother's campaign machine, regularly speaking as well as lobbying unelected superdelegates whose votes are up for grabs at the Democratic convention, but refuses to do interviews. (Chelsea even turned down a pint-sized reporter from Scholastic News a few weeks back.) Said Shuster: "Doesn't it seem as if Chelsea is sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"
Clinton's campaign went postal, threatening to pull out of a Feb. 26 debate staged by MSNBC, and Shuster agreed to apologize. Last month Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC's Hardball show, did the same after Clinton backers accused him of a pattern of sexist remarks about Clinton, particularly a claim that most of her support among voters was due to sympathy over her husband's shenanigans with Monica Lewinsky.
UPDATE: Shuster's televised apology might be the last you see of him for awhile on ether NBC or MSNBC. He's been indefinitely suspended for the "pimped out" remark.
If you watch NBC's new version of the 1980s supercar show Knight Rider on Feb. 17, the voice of Kitt the car may seem familiar -- it's Val Kilmer. Kilmer has just replaced former Arrested Development star Will Arnett, whose voice had to be erased after somebody realized he narrates General Motors ads. Kitt, unfortunately, is a Ford Mustang.
In case you were wondering, Kitt was voiced in the 1980s show by actor William Daniels, later a regular on St. Elsewhere and Boy Meets World.
When it came to projecting winners during Super Tuesday election-night coverage, Fox News was usually first, and CNN usually last -- sometimes, way last. Fox News beat CNN by nearly an hour in calling winners in the Democratic primaries in both Missouri and Massachusetts. Take a look at these projection times:
Missouri for Barack Obama: Fox 12:32 a.m.; MSNBC 12:40; CNN 1:23.New Jersey for Hillary Clinton: Fox 9:10 p.m.; MSNBC 9:20; CNN 9:49.
Massachusetts for Clinton: Fox 8:52 p.m.; MSNBC 9; CNN 9:46. Missouri for John McCain: Fox 11:52 p.m.; MSNBC 12:16 a.m.; CNN 12:27.
Massachusetts for Clinton: Fox 8:52 p.m.; MSNBC 9; CNN 9:46.
Missouri for John McCain: Fox 11:52 p.m.; MSNBC 12:16 a.m.; CNN 12:27.
California for McCain: Fox 12:13 a.m.; MSNBC 12:14; CNN 12:25
New York for McCain: MSNBC 9:10 p.m.; Fox 9:18; CNN 9:20.
Massachusetts for Mitt Romney: Fox 9:01 p.m.; MSNBC 9:02; CNN 9:09.
Massachusetts for Mitt Romney: Fox 9:01 p.m.; MSNBC 9:02; CNN 9:09.
California for Clinton: MSNBC 12:12 a.m.; Fox 12:13; CNN 12:14.
On the other hand, some calls didn't take long at all, for anybody. When the polls closed in New York at 9 p.m., all three cable news channels within seconds named Clinton the winner of the Democratic primary.
Being the fastest in making projections sometimes comes at the expense of accuracy, but none of the networks blew any calls Tuesday night. The same cannot be said for their print brethren. Both big wire services, AP and Reuters, mistakenly proclaimed Clinton the winner in Missouri shortly after 11 p.m.
The Writers Guild has informed its members that it is close to nailing down a contract agreement with studios. "We anticipate that we will be able to present the terms of that agreement to you in the next few days,'' the Guild said in a letter to its members. "In order to have a full discussion with you of the terms and how they were reached, and in order to get your input before making recommendations or decisions, we have scheduled membership meetings for current-active members only for this Saturday, February 9, in New York and Los Angeles." Of course, any agreement would have to be ratified by the Guild's members, and there are a lot of hotheads among them.
By now everybody knows that Sunday's Super Bowl XLII had the biggest audience in television history. Somewhat less heralded has been the performance of Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl IV, in which a bunch of little dogs culled from Washington D.C. pounds ran around the screen for three hours. At any given moment, it had 1.1 million viewers, and more than 8 million viewers tuned in altogether, also a new record.
It's been more than 60 years since Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Ernie Pyle was killed in an ambush on an island just off the Japanese stronghold of Iwo Jima. Now photos of his body have surfaced.
Star Jones, hailed as a savior when she was signed by TruTV (back then, it was called Court TV) last year, has been unceremoniously dumped by the cable network. The former View co-host's TruTV show was canceled Thursday and airs its last episode today.