Saturday, October 2, 2004


Last month, a black bear was found in a Washington state campground, totally hammered on three dozen cans of beer. According to evidence, the bear tried a Busch Beer but apparently he decided to stick with the local brew instead for his lost weekend. Eventually the two year old ursine was caught and relocated - with Rainier beer as bait.

The opportunity was too tempting to pass up. Cole & Weber/Red Cell, the ad agency for Rainier beer, saw the incident as a great marketing gimmick. They held a contest to name the bear, and the winning submission was announced on the local TV show 'Rainier Vision'.

Ladies and gentlemen..... Hail, Brewtus!

Then Cole & Weber launched the first TV commercials for the Rainier brewery in 15 years. Using a guy in a bearsuit, the blipvert "dramatizes" the capture of Brewtus, in which Rainier beer played an integral part (of course).
Two more commercials will follow, continuing the adventures of Brewtus.

ECD Guy Seese of Cole & Weber/Red Cell attributed their campaign to "a little bit of luck, and a whole lot of being prepared".

Because they used a guy in a bear suit, I'd put the Rainier beer bear in the same league as the following "bears":

1] The bear chasing the campers in Geico's current commercial which spoofs those dopey Old Navy ads. ("Camping is fun!")

2] The two bears who steal away with Jerry Seinfeld's golf cart in a blipvert for American Express.

3] The Masturbating Bear on cousin Conan's 'Last Night'.

Bizarre behavior, crime, and aberrant sex..... Yeah, I'd say those bears were all boozin' bruins as well!

Sidebear - er, bar: There would be no connection to the Hamm's Beer Bear of 50s fame. He's residing in the Tooniverse.

Now, some readers out there (if any!) might think it's a colossal waste of time to go looking for the cosmic connections in such minutiae as a bunch of guys running around TV Land in bear costumes.

And they're right.

But I find such an obsessive hobby to have recuperative powers. It's soothing, relaxing, almost peaceful. (Like murder for hire in 'Three Days Of The Condor'.)

After all, if I have the Bear Must-See-TVs, the simple Bear Must-See-TVs, I can forget about my troubles and my strifes.

That is, until the meds kick in. Or I'm shot by a tranquilizer rifle and then tagged.....


"Don't waste your time trying to get inside my head. There's nothing there."
- Denny Crane
'Boston Legal"

Friday, October 1, 2004


I'm having that time of the month......

October always ends with a holiday of horror, so we figured to kick off the month with a salute to the supernatural - ghosts, monsters, aliens. And sometimes the monsters are unfortunately all-too-human.

As we continue our year-long salute to 'Star Trek', marking the 35th anniversary of the original series' cancellation. And of all the aliens and predators encountered by the crew of the starship Enterprise, none were more dangerous than....

Yes, those cuddly, cooing balls of fur were a menace to the galaxy. It is assumed that their home planet's environment was so hostile, their survival hinged on a remarkable evolutionary quirk - apparently they were born pregnant.

Possessing both genders in one body, tribbles seem to impregnate themselves as soon as they are fed. Left unchecked, tribbles would soon devestate a world with their numbers; devouring everything they could find.

Such a fate nearly befell the space station orbiting a contested planet desired by the Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire. But the voracious appetites of the tribbles actually saved the day, however - by consuming all the grain earmarked for planting on the planet's surface, the tribbles soon died of poisoning. (The Klingons had introduced an inert compound into the grain so that it couldn't grow.)

So, in a way, by their sacrifice the tribbles became heroes.

Captain Kirk encountered a tribble again a few years later, one that had been genetically engineered not to become pregnant as soon as it was fed. But instead, the tribble kept growing larger and larger the more it was consumed, and so was just as big a threat. (Literally!)

Finally, some of the staff on the Deep Space Nine station orbiting Bajor went back in Time to that first encounter with the tribbles. They worked behind the scenes to prevent a Klingon provocateur from tampering with established history.

(A few aspects of the timeline were altered, but an investigation by agents of the Temporal Bureau determined that no lasting harm took place.)

And so we salute these fecund furballs of the Final Frontier by inducting the tribbles into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame.

A gif image of a tribble has been created to forever illustrate their membership in the Hall. One day I'll have a web site up and running to celebrate all of the inductees in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. And representing that honor for the tribbles will be one "Joey Tribble-iani".

I make no apologies.

'Star Trek' (the original series)
'Star Trek' (the animated series)
'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'

In case anyone was interested in who the other 'Trek' inductees have been up to this point, here's the rundown of the year so far:

January - Captain James T. Kirk
February - Lt. Uhura
March - Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy
April - Commander Montgomery Scott
May - Yeoman Janice Rand
June - Zephraim Cochrane
Birthday Honors - The Cast Of The Original 'Star Trek':
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichole, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney
July - Ensign Pavel Chekov
August - Helmsman Hikaru Sulu
September - Gene Roddenberry

Every month I'll be posting the next inductee into the Crossover Hall of Fame, and we still have a few 'Trek' personnel to go!


Thursday, September 30, 2004


If there's one thing this televisiologist takes great delight in, it's finding like-minded souls on the web who celebrate the fantasy of Television as an alternate universe.

In my enthusiasm for the new ABC series 'Lost', I've been surfing about the internet in search of more information and pictures and opinions on the series. And in doing so I've found "Second Tour Of Finland", a website that celebrates the fictional rock band "Driveshaft" which had castaway Charlie as its bassist.

But rather hearing me ramble on, let me share a message from the folks who run STOF:

Hello once again from the Completely Crazy and Entirely Insane People Responsible for Second Tour of Finland, The Unofficial DriveSHAFT Website.

Jill and I have been overwhelmed with the positive responses we've received since we launched the site last week. Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to stop by and take a peek into the totally twisted workings of our imaginations.

And since we apparently don't know when to stop, we have created a Live Journal Community, so that fans everywhere can come together and chat about All Things DriveSHAFT. Looking for guitar tabs? Searching for a bootleg from their legendary gig at the Barrowlands? Interested in coordinating a fan meet at an upcoming concert? Need to know once and for all exactly WHAT Charlie is singing in "Everybody"? Wondering if Second Tour of Finland has been updated recently? Then this is the place for you.

driveshaftband. [] Come. Join. Drive. Shaft. Rock. On.

And speaking of updates to STOF, we've made several changes in the past week.

First and foremost is our new domain name. No, it's not It's the much more manageable And we've brought Zap on board, who has been touring with the band since the early days, to add a little behind-the-scenes flavor. We've also added some newly-discovered concert and album reviews. And as the weeks pass, we hope to receive more feedback and creative input with regard to The Search For Charlie.

Thanks again to everyone for your support, as well as the tremendous restraint it must have taken to not call the authorities when it became clear how far we'd actually gone.

Rock on,
ruidoso and jillybinks

I don't think they're far gone at all. I think they're as normal as I am.

Hey! Put down that phone!


Ask for it by name!


Here's a sampling of the things and events that helped to expand the TV Universe over the last week (or so):

The League of Themselves:
Sean Penn, Elvis Costello, Harry Dean Stanton, and Bobby Cooper are all members of Charlie's support group.

Sean Penn has reached the age where he could be lying in bed next to his wife (Robin Wright), and all he wants to do is eat his corn pops and go to sleep.

Elvis Costello has found plenty of inspiration in the support group. Many of his songs contain veiled references to what's happened to Sean and Charlie.

Harry Dean Stanton admitted that he doesn't always get out bed when he wakes up with a need to pee.

Bobby Cooper still has a thing for women who look like Tobey McGuire. But he saw 'Spiderman 2' and had no reactions.
[from 'Two And A Half Men']

Michael Jordan worked a basketball fantasy camp.
['My Wife And Kids']

After running away to San Francisco, Carmen Lopez fell in with rap star Chingy's posse. Chingy was ready to defend her against her father - that is, until he learned Carmen was only fifteen.

The appearance of Carrot Top in the same episode doesn't qualify as it was nothing more than a dream. ("Nightmare" is a better description.)
['The George Lopez Show']

Reverend Al Sharpton threatened to take his business away from the law firm unless William fired Maya.

The newest boy to join the swim team at Mary Lou Retton's kids camp gets the high-tech swimsuit, the super turbo fins and Mark Spitz as his personal trainer.
['Sprint PCS']

Joe Torre and Mel Stottlemyre fretted and clucked over an arm in a cast. Even though we're led to believe it belongs to that knucklehed Kevin Brown, it turns out to be George Steinbrenner's. (He hurt himself because he was signing too many checks.)
['Visa Check Card']

William "Refrigerator" Perry is now a falconer who teams up with an astronaut, a medieval faire jouster, and a cultist to get back into the fantasy football game.

Yundi Le, a concert pianist in China oversleeps and could be late for his concert. So he transforms into Lance Armstrong on a bike, speeding through the crowded streets of Beijing, until he reaches the concert site. Lance walks onto the stage, still sporting his white biking outfit and helmet. Sitting down at the piano, he becomes Yundi once again.

Crossovers Part One
To impress his kids, Larry the Lion claimed to know Donkey, co-star of the 'Shrek' movies. So when Donkey showed up for a visit to the Compound, Larry had to find a way to get him to appear at his kid's school.

The MGM Lion also came to visit the school, being an old friend of Blake the Tiger.
['Father Of The Pride', various commercial tie-ins to 'Shrek']

The plane that crashed on that not-so-deserted island was part of the Oceanic Airways fleet. These planes are nothing but bad luck - they were involved in disasters in two TV movies ('Nowhere To Land' and 'Code 11-14'), as well as in an episode of 'JAG'.

Oceanic Airways even crosses over to the movie universe, but its luck is not much better there. (Just check out 'Executive Decision'!)

The Musical Interlude
Not that it serves as a connection, but John Hiatt's song "Have A Little Faith In Me" figured prominently in two new series. It illuminated Kevin Hill's commitment to the new woman in his life: his ward Sarah, the daughter of his late cousin.

And nearly forty years from now, it will serve as the campaign theme song for Robert McAllister's presidential bid.
['Kevin Hill', 'Jack & Bobby']

Crossovers Part Two
Judge Amanda Anderlee presided over a murder trial in which she was threatened by a racist prison gang. This was the first of several appearances to set one of the building blocks for the mid-season entry 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury'. (Detective Lenny Briscoe is another.)
['Law & Order']

The Pillsbury Doughboy came to the rescue for a morose Russian family by bringing them fresh-baked cookies to make up for the horrible meal they had.

But then bad news struck: "Got milk?" Not these Russkies, and the commercial ended with the Doughboy in peril.
This commercial puts the Pillsbury Doughboy over the top for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. Not only has Poppin Fresh been a legendary icon for over a quarter of a century, but he also did ads for Sprint PCS and Burger King.
['California Milk Processor Board'/'Pillsbury']

The Soup Nazi barked at restaurant patrons as they stepped on a scale: "Nothing for you! Only salad!" and "Come back when you're thinner."
['Center for Consumer Freedom']

La Triviata
Charlie was a member of the heavy metal band Driveshaft.

Kevin Hill, working for the firm Dugan, Davis, and Kelley, successfully sued JLC Records for his client, a rapper named Brett.
['Kevin Hill']

Missing Link
Sean Reynolds is a major-league baseball player on trial for sexual assault in a New York court. Because of the jurisdiction, it's probably safe to say that he plays for a New York team. And it's doubtful that the Mets or the Yankees would want to have their teams associated with this fictional character.....

So why not assume he played for the New York Empires? Reynolds is probably not a character who'll be seen again, either in the courtroom or on the field, so it could always be said that the Empires traded him away because of the controversy.
['Kevin Hill', 'Clubhouse']

It looks like another plane may have crashed back in 1988 on the same island as the Oceanic Airways flight.

Possible shows that were airing on TV at that time which may have some kind of connection to that mystery would include:

1] 'MacGyver'
2] 'Mission : Impossible'
3} 'The Equalizer'
4] 'Murder, She Wrote'
5] 'Something Is Out There'

Any further speculation will be held back until we learn more about the automated distress call......

Miami crime scene investigator Tim Speedle was shot to death in the line of duty. But it may have been due to his own negligence - he failed to properly maintain his gun and it jammed on him when he needed it.
['CSI: Miami']

Real World Tie-ins
New York crime scene investigator Mac Taylor's wife, Claire, died at the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001.
['CSI: NY']

Lindsey Starr was found dead in an office building, with blood on her chest in the shape of a cross. It turned out that Starr was in a reserve unit stationed at Abu Ghraib prison, where she had participated in the abuse of prisoners.
['Law & Order']

Mark Spelman is a player on the New York Knicks who once dated Kevin Hill's first client at his new law firm, Grey & Associates.
['Kevin Hill']

Crash survivor Sayeed was a soldier in Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard during the Gulf War.

Back to the Future
There will be a "War Of The Americas" before 2038 (possibly before 2037 when Eugene Lorio begins his one term as President). President Lorio will have lost his son Walter in the conflict.
['Jack & Bobby']


Wednesday, September 29, 2004


The Speech Therapist who has my school as one of her charges, told me the other day about a pre-schooler that she was working with.

She showed him a picture of a duck and asked him what it was. The student responded that it was a duck.

She then asked him what the duck says and he responded Afflak.

bob turba
In the 1970s, McDonald's ran a commercial in which a family traveled cross-country: parents, kids, Grandpa. One of the kids complains that he's hungry and Dad says, no problem - there's a McDonald's just up ahead.

"McDonald's?" Grandpa grouses. "In Beatrice, Kansas?"

And sure enough, the Golden Arches appear over the rise like the McMansion on the Hill.

As soon as the commercial aired, the town elders of Beatrice, Kansas, protested. The commercial pronounced the name of the town as "Be-A-Triss", like the female name. But the townsfolk pronounced it "Be-A-Trice".

Sort of the Houston, Texas, / Houston Street difference.

But the commercial continued to play and after a while a strange thing happened - the young people of the town started pronouncing it as "Be-A-Triss" as well, even though they grew up knowing it as "Be-A-Trice".
When Vice President Richard Nixon debated Senator John Kennedy during the 1960 Presidential campaign, those who listened to the debate on the radio thought that Nixon had won. But those who watched it on TV thought that Kennedy had done better.

It's an old story; you know why. Nixon eschewed using make-up - he arrived on TV screens with a thick, five-o'clock shadow, and a sweaty upper lip; pale, pasty.....

The kiddies viewing at home must have figured him to be the host of a local horror movie show.

"Television seems to have great power over us."
Walter Cronkite

It certainly does! So it will be interesting to see what effect it will have in the upcoming debates between President Bush and Senator Kerry, and the one between Senator Edwards and Vice President Cheney.

Will the message get through to the people? Or will it be a triumph of televised style over substance? Team Bush has been practically adept at framing the image to take presedence over anything the President says.

But hopefully the debates will be a level playing field so that neither candidate can gain advantage through camera angles.

Then again, the TV audience has been inundated with almost four years of Bush-bashing visuals on TV that poke fun at his limited capacities:
1] the out-of-context clips on 'The Daily Show' and 'The Late Show'
2] Will Ferrell's impersonation on 'Saturday Night Live'
3] and of course, the dim-bulb Dubya in the sitcom 'That's My Bush!'

So the audience might be expecting Kerry to take a cake-walk over the President who will probably be tripping over his own tongue.

Team Bush has been working hard to lower expectations, just as they did when Bush debated Anne Richards for the governorship of Texas.

She ran rings around him oratorically, but as far as the viewer/voters cared, he proved he could stand erect and he didn't drool. So to them, he "won" the debate and he went on to the governor's office in Austin.

The same scenario could play out beginning Thursday. We'll just have to wait and see.

And hopefully, you'll listen to what they say as well.


Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Leno to Retire from 'Tonight Show' in 2009
Mon Sep 27, 2004 08:26 PM ET
By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jay Leno, America's leading late-night comedian as host of NBC's 'The Tonight Show,' will retire in 2009 and be replaced by Conan O'Brien, the offbeat comic whose own show airs an hour later, the network said on Monday.

Leno, 54, was to officially break the news to viewers on Monday's broadcast marking the 50th anniversary of 'The Tonight Show,' a television institution he inherited from Johnny Carson in 1992.

In a statement issued by NBC, Leno, said he had been planning to turn the program over to O'Brien since March, when Leno extended his own contract for another five years to 2009.

O'Brien, 41, hosts NBC's 'Late Night with Conan O'Brien,' which is aired at 12:30 a.m., following 'The Tonight Show.'

"In 2009, I'll be 59 years old and will have had this dream job for 17 years," Leno said. "When I signed my new contract, I felt that the timing was right to plan for my successor, and there is no one more qualified than Conan.

''Plus, I promised (my wife) Mavis I would take her out for dinner before I turned 60."

O'Brien signed a new contract on Monday that keeps him at 'Late Night' for five years and guarantees he will succeed Leno in 2009. No financial terms were disclosed, but media reports have valued Leno's contract at more than $20 million a year.

"'The Tonight Show' is one of the great franchises in television, and I am thrilled to get this opportunity," O'Brien said. "I am particularly grateful to Jay for all the generous support and kindness he has always shown me."

An NBC spokeswoman said no decision has been made about replacing O'Brien or whether 'The Tonight Show,' now filmed in Burbank, California, would move to New York, home of O'Brien's 'Late Night' show.


But the choice of the quirky, red-haired O'Brien, known for self-deprecating, ironic, humor and once a writer for Fox television's 'The Simpsons,' signaled a likely change in direction for 'The Tonight Show.'

Leno continued the basic format and style Carson was known for during nearly 30 years -- an opening monologue followed by interviews with celebrity guests and musical performances. He added flourishes of his own, such as the "Jay-Walking" bit in which a camera follows him onto the streets of Hollywood to show how little ordinary passersby know about current events, geography and history.

But critics see O'Brien's brand of humor as hewing closer to that of Leno's late-night TV rival David Letterman, who jumped to CBS in 1993 after Leno beat him out as Carson's successor.

"I think if you put Conan on at 11:30 right now, you'd have a lot of Leno viewers scratching their heads over the self-pleasuring bear and Triumph the Dog (a foul-mouthed dog puppet)," said Robert Thompson, a professor of pop culture at Syracuse University.

"But by 2009, most of the audience that doesn't get Conan probably is not going to be up until 11:30 anyway."

O'Brien's ascension to the "Tonight Show" throne also will add a new dimension to the late-night rivalry between NBC and CBS.

Letterman initially beat Leno in the ratings war. But following actor Hugh Grant's 'Tonight Show' appearance after his highly publicized 1995 encounter with a prostitute, NBC settled in as the consistently more watched network at 11:30.

In recent years, the late-night talk show circuit has become a favorite campaign stop for politicians. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously declared his candidacy on Leno's program last year.

O'Brien will become the fourth permanent host of 'The Tonight Show.' The program debuted in 1954 with Steve Allen, who was succeeded in 1957 by Jack Paar. Carson took over in 1962.


* Didn't you know? All O'Briens are related! We're the "Smiths" of Irish names!



TV's original Home Improvement icon Bob Vila tore down Mike Brady's talent as architect during this past weekend's 48-hour 'Brady Bunch' marathon on TV Land.

Vila leveled the TV architect's abode during the 35th anniversary special, saying the six kids were "squeezed into little windowless chambers'' and the Brady bathrooms had no toilets!

"Dad did a real stinky job of designing a house for his big family,'' slagged Vila, who made a 90-second cameo during the special. "Americans saw the house as an inspirational, beautiful house in Sherman Oaks, but if you looked at it closely, it was a mess.''

Other design flaws included a two-car garage that would be impossible to drive two cars into "unless it operated laterally,'' an Astroturf lawn, and a "huge staircase that led nowhere and took up too much space.''

Vila, who is celebrating his 25th anniversary on the air, said TV homes these days - especially those on HBO - are like another character in the show.

"The house on 'The Sopranos' is hysterical,'' said Bob, who stakes claim as host of TV's first reality TV show - 'This Old House.'* "It's so appropriately done and very well cast, as is the home in 'Six Feet Under.' It gives that perfect feeling of how dreadful it is living in that space around the funeral home.''

And 'Sex and the City' is the "Quintessential New York real estate,'' he said. "But Carrie must have a trust fund.''

[The information gathered was gathered with thanks to "Inside Track".]


* I have serious reservations about that claim.... What about the Loud Family, at the very least?

Monday, September 27, 2004


Here are a few news-blurts that will have an impact on the inner reality of the TV Universe.

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Nigel Aylott, a contestant on CBS Sports' 'Subaru Primal Quest,' was fatally injured Wednesday while competing in the adventure race's 2004 edition on Orcas Island, Wash.

During the trekking/orienteering segment of the 10-day, 400-mile race, Aylott, an Australian native, died after being struck by a 300-pound boulder. Two other contestants were injured.
'Gilmore Girls' will add some literary cachet with one of this fall's guest stars: Norman Mailer. The show gave Mailer, who plays himself, the chance to work with his son, actor Stephen Mailer.

In the episode, likely to be broadcast in a month or so, Stephen Mailer plays a reporter interviewing the acclaimed writer at the inn run by Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Sookie (Melissa McCarthy).
Lucasfilm confirmed officially that there will be a Star Wars television show in the future. They didn't comment on the setting (post-Episode III or post-Episode VI?) or the release schedule. But such a series would automatically be linked to 'Droids', 'Ewoks', 'The Clone Wars', and all of the appearances by R2-D2 and C-3PO in commercials and TV shows ('The Muppet Show', 'Sesame Street').

And much to George Lucas' chagrin, I'd wager, it will also be linked to the 1977 'Star Wars Holiday Special'!
'A Christmas Without Ornaments' will be the third project to feature Peter Falk's character of the angel Max ('A Town Without Christmas,' 'Finding John Christmas').

CBS' press materials describe the project as "a heartwarming story about two very different families who need the help of Max at Christmastime. This time, Max’s job may be at stake when a supervising angel comes to earth to discipline him for contacting the wrong family in need."

And with this film, Peter Falk is once again eligible for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame as yet another character - this time, as Max the Angel. (Just when I thought I would eventually run out of holiday themed characters for December's entries!)

Falk is somewhat eligible already for his role as Lt. Columbo. And during 2005, he will be inducted as the January "Classic TV" character. (In 2005, the theme is "What I Says, Goes" because I'll be celebrating the half-century mark. Characters who might otherwise not be eligible due to some technical glitch, but who are favorites of mine, will find their way into the Hall. And that includes yours truly!)
To promote Advertising Week In New York, Euro RSCG/N.Y. created a series of spots about an icon making the long trip to New York in search of fame and fortune.

Directed by Euro ECD Jeff Kling, "Icon Journey" features a rather unappealing icon -- a bloodshot eyeball carrying two rayguns -- and a documentary filmmaker who believes in him. Along the way, through almost a dozen spots, they encounter doubt, danger and -- yes -- even love.

Also, a gang of advertising icons -- including Ronald McDonald, Hootie the Owl, and Advertising Week chairman Ken Kaess -- opened the NASDAQ stock exchange in observation of Advertising Week. The NASDAQ promptly fell two points.
I was proven right about ABC's scheduling blunder with the premieres of 'Lost' and 'The Bachelor':

ABC's new drama 'Lost' premiered to a surprisingly strong 11.6/19, dominating the 8 p.m. hour. A prime-time 'Dr. Phil' special on CBS was second at 7.9/13, while NBC's 'Hawaii' took third. The season premiere of 'Smallville,' 3.5/6, put The WB in fourth. 'That '70s Show' and 'Quintuplets' averaged 3.3/6 for FOX. 'America's Next Top Model' opened its season on UPN with a 2.7/5.

The first of two hours of 'Law & Order,' 12.2/19, gave NBC the lead at 9 p.m. 'Dr. Phil' improved to 10.1/16 for CBS. ABC dropped to third with the return of 'The Bachelor,' 6.2/9. Two episodes of 'The Bernie Mac Show' moved FOX up to fourth. 'The Mountain' debuted to a 2.6/4 on The WB, while UPN's 'Veronica Mars' managed only a 1.8/3 in its premiere.

At 10 p.m., the premiere of 'CSI: NY' averaged 12.1/20 for CBS, beating NBC's second 'Law & Order,' 10.7/17. 'The Bachelor' came in at 5.8/10 for ABC.

It was just as I predicted! Nyah nyah neyah nyah to you, ABC!
Shaun the Sheep, the woolly star of the Wallace and Gromit short 'A Close Shave', is to get his own show on CBBC, the BBC's digital channel for children. The 40-part series, commissioned from Aardman Animations, begins production at the end of the year and will be transmitted on CBBC in 2006.

The show will follow the adventures of Shaun and the rest of his flock as they join in with his madcap schemes, including synchronised swimming in the sheep-dip and dressing up as a scarecrow.
[Story from BBC NEWS]

In the dream world that is Toobian, Shaun would eventually cross over with the cartoon series 'Sheep In The City'.
Finally, here's an editorial suggestion:

"As an actor on 'Crossing Jordan', I have a character who can goof around and make jokes," said Jerrry O'Connell while talking about his character of Detective Woody Hoyt.

"I hardly ever say a word that's written for me by the writers. I play a fun, young cop. It's so much more fun than 'CSI' would be. I'm not frowning upon it, it's just not what I wanna do. I gotta talk a little more than they do!"

O'Connell better watch it when trash-talking the show's writers. That is why Joey Tribbiani soon found his character of Dr. Drake Ramoray dead on 'Days Of Our Lives'!


Sunday, September 26, 2004


Even the venerable warhorse of a news magazine, '60 Minutes', is part of the TV Universe. For instance, Mike Wallace appeared as himself in the final episode of 'Murphy Brown'.

And since 1999, it has had a spin-off, known as '60 Minutes II'. (Although now it's being called '60 Minutes Wednesday' - at least since the latest troubles.)

Here's a report by Richard Huff of the New York Daily News on the in-fighting that's erupted between the two shows since the story broke:

A war of words has erupted within the halls of "60 Minutes" following Dan Rather's admission that CBS News aired a report on President Bush [and his service in the Texas Air National Guard] using questionable documents.

On one side of the battle is Steve Kroft, a veteran correspondent on the Sunday edition of "60 Minutes." On the other is Don Hewitt, founder of the pioneering newsmagazine.

Kroft argues it's unlikely the Sunday show would have made the mistake of using the documents that bolstered Rather's report - which aired on the Wednesday telecast, formerly known as "60 Minutes II."

So much so, Kroft and staffers on the Sunday telecast want it to be clear - they weren't the ones that were duped.

"We're all afraid of that, that's our biggest concern," Kroft told the Daily News. "We've held off from saying it, we've held off from making any comments as long as there was some hope the documents would prove to be real.

"Now, I think it's our responsibility to try to draw a distinction between the two broadcasts," Kroft said, admitting that the original show had been burned in the past and had learned from its mistakes.

"They've done a lot of great work over there ... particularly with the Abu Ghraib story, they didn't rush that story on the air. This one, for whatever reason, they did."

Kroft said he was surprised when "60 Minutes II" dropped the "II" in its name, but noted yesterday that in CBS' statements regarding the mistake, the show had become "60 Minutes Wednesday."

The second edition of "60 Minutes" was a contentious project from the start. Hewitt, the creator of "60 Minutes," fought against expanding the franchise but was overruled. The second show launched Jan. 13, 1999.

"I think they've acquitted themselves nicely," said Hewitt, who was forced out as executive producer last season. "When I objected to there being a second show, I didn't know how good it was going to be."

He scolded his old crew yesterday for sniping at their beleaguered colleagues.

"Now, when the other one is in trouble, they're piling on. It's unfair, uncalled for and not the way that grown men should act," Hewitt said.
Who knew spin-offs could provide that much excitement off-camera?


"Do not judge us yet; there is more to come."
- Walter Cronkite
'CBS At 50'


In the season premiere of 'Joan Of Arcadia', Helen Girardi had a clandestine meeting with a priest to discuss her intentions to rejoin the Church. (She had been facing a few obstacles in regards to making her Confirmation.) But no matter what she said, the priest only echoed her remarks.

"Will you stop repeating everything I say?" she demanded.

The priest apologized. "I'm hooked on repeats of 'The West Wing'!"

Had it been almost any other show, I would have considered this exchange to be a "Zonk": a pop culture reference, usually about TV, that threatens to destroy the integrity of the TV Universe.

For instance, when amnesia patient John Doe #6 ('St. Elsewhere') suddenly believed that he was Mary Richards of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', that would be considered a Zonk. Both shows should exist in the same universe.

(Even as a central hub for the TV Universe, 'St. Elsewhere' also provides most of my headaches with such discrepancies.)

My job is to "splain" away such Zonks, and in the case of the mention of 'The West Wing' on 'Joan Of Arcadia', that's relatively easy to do. The universe would not be disrupted because the two shows exist in different dimensions. For the Girardi family, 'The West Wing' would be a TV show.

As I've mentioned in the past, 'The West Wing' has to be removed from the regular TV Universe because the president is Josiah Bartlet. However, on Earth Prime-Time, it is George Dubya Bush who is the Commander-in-Chief. ('Whoopi!' and of course, 'That's My Bush!')

That doesn't mean Helen Girardi could never meet Jed Bartlet. It's just that his life in the main TV Universe followed a different path, away from the Oval Office.

Josiah Bartlet, perhaps influenced by the career choice of his future wife Abigail, studied medicine rather than economics. And when last we heard of him (mentioned but not seen) in the TV Universe, he was a surgeon at Boston General. (Again with the 'St. Elsewhere'!)

As for God appearing to Joan Girardi in the guise of the late, lamented Dolores Landingham of 'The West Wing' universe......

Well, He's God, isn't He? No matter what universe He's in, He can do whatever the hell He damn well pleases.

Oops. Sorry about that, Chief!