There's something for everybody on satellite radio. Literally. At midnight tonight, Sirius Satellite Radio debuts Client 9 Radio, a channel devoted entirely to the Eliot Spitzer call-girl scandal. It's on channel 126, in case you want to change your pre-set buttons.
The CW, which hasn't had a lot of luck introducing original dramas, is pondering a well-known retread. The network has a rather late-breaking spinoff of Beverly Hills, 90210 -- which left the air eight years ago -- in development. Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas is reportedly writing the new show.
It's getting harder and harder to tell TV and the Internet apart. Now TiVo says its newest Series 3 units will allow viewers to log on to their YouTube accounts and watch the videos on their television sets. The service will be available later this year.
When it came to getting informed comment Tuesday on New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's involvement in a sex scandal, CNN got a real expert -- with more experience in the field than he let on. Billing him only as "a former U.S. attorney," without any reference to how he achieved his former-ness, the network interviewed Miami's Kendall Coffey, who had to resign the job in 1996 after biting a dancer during the process of running up a $900 bill at a strip club.
Neither Coffey nor CNN anchor Tony Harris mentioned the incident at the strip club as they talked about Spitzer's encounter with a prostitute in a Washington D.C. hotel last month.
But Coffey's observations on the case certainly had some ironic overtones for anybody who remembers his own brush with a lithe young blond stripper known as Tiffany in a private "champagne room'' at the old Lipstik club on South Dixie Highway.
He warned that it was Spritzer's alleged attempts to cover up a transaction with the prostitute that would probably lead to the biggest legal problems. "This wasn't a cash transaction where he reached into his pocket and paid some somebody for something that would have been illegal anyway," Coffey said. "Apparently there was a byzantine maze of transfers, some of which may have been concealed. There may have even been attempts to use a certain amount of cash to avoid reporting requirements."
That was precisely Coffey's undoing in 1996. Ejected from the club after his failed attempt to kiss the stripper ended with him biting her instead, he used a credit card to pay the $900 bill. Later he sent his father to the bar to buy the credit-card slip back at a premium price of $1,200, which tipped the irate stripper and her even-more-irate husband off that they'd been dealing with someone anxious to conceal his identity. Their complaints eventually attracted an investigators from the office of the U.S. Justice Department's inspector general, and Coffey was soon toast.
One other thing Coffey said on CNN that Spitzer might want to heed: "This is not survivable."
Tucker, Tucker Carlson's early-evening show on MSNBC, has been canceled, Carlson's previous shows on PBS and CNN (where he co-hosted Crossfire with James Carville) had buzz, if not necessarily a lot of viewers; Tucker had neither. It will be replaced by a new show of political coverage hosted by NBC White House reporter David Gregory.
Looking for an old-fashioned TV Easter? Well, Charlton Heston will part the Red Sea as usual in The Ten Commandments on ABC on March 22. But this year there's another option: Classic Media has just released a DVD of the 1971 TV special Here Comes Peter Cottontail, which used to be another ABC Easter perennial. Produced by the same animators who did Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, it's also got the voices of Vincent Price, Danny Kaye and Casey Kasem.
Shelley Ross, much-ballyhooed when she was named senior executive producer of CBS' The Early Show six months ago, was unceremoniously dumped Thursday. Ross, a 1974 grad of the University of Miami, was supposed to lift the early newscast out of its ratings doldrums (it languishes instead as a distant third to NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America). But instead of adding viewers, she mostly subtracted staffers: Reportedly, more than 20 have quit since she took over. Her interim replacement is Rick Kaplan, who also produces Katie Couric's evening newscast. Seems unlikely he'll be able to do both for long.
The Parents Television Council was appalled to learn that a mildly bowdlerized version of Showtime's friendly-serial-killer drama Dexter was headed for broadcast prime time. I wonder what will happen when the PTC learns Dexter is being turned into a video game? Showtime and video-game company Marc Ecko Entertainment have announced that a Dexter game is in production. They promise to "guarantee its faithfulness to the spirit of the groundbreaking show." So apparently players will get to strip their victims, tie them to a surgical table, hack them up with power tools, and dump the parts into Biscayne Bay.
The CW, billing it as a cost-cutting consolidation, fired its top comedy-development executives and Monday and folded their division into the drama-development department. By itself that might just be the dénouement of one of Hollywood's endless turf wars. But at the same time, The CW also announced a list of early renewals of its series for next season. They included a second season of Gossip Girl, an a fourth of Supernatural, a sixth of One Tree Hill, an eighth of Smallville and yet another round of America's Top Model. Only one comedy was on the list -- a fourth season of Everybody Hates Chris.
Nothing was officially canceled, so there's still a chance that sitcoms The Game, Aliens and Reaper might make it back. (The network's other sitcom, Girlfriends, was canceled right after the writers' strike ended.) But it looks like The CW is casting its lot with dramas and reality shows.
Some critics may not have liked it, but Oprah's Big Give was a huge success Sunday night, drawing 15.6 million viewers -- probably the biggest single audience outside of American Idol or the Super Bowl since original programming began disappearing from television about a month into the Hollywood writers' strike. It will be interesting to see if the audience comes back for a second episode next week.