CW Network Really Starts Tonight
Don't believe the hype. Despite an avalanche of stories last week talking up last week's debut of America's Next Top Model as the debut of the spankin' new CW network, tonight is where the rubber really meets the televised road.
That's because this week (and Sunday) the bastard child of the WB and UPN rolls out most of its shows -- including the two new ones -- giving you regular joes the first look at this Frankenstein monster which hopes to build a profitable network out of the heartrending girlie vibe of the WB and the knuckleheaded male-skewing focus of UPN.
Tonight, the Halloween theme continues with the Show Which Would Not Die -- 7th Heaven. Programming geniuses that they are, the suits at the CW realized viewers needed some familiar series to hook viewers in their first year, so they resurrected this family drama -- which was always, surprisingly, one of the WB's most-watched shows. Critics didn't see a preview tape -- the suits only sent out early copies of Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Everybody Hates Chris and the new shows, perhaps telegraphing the shows they're worried about -- but I hear Jessica Biel is AWOL for a while and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen make an appearance. Really.
Runaway, the new show, also debuts tonight. Back when New Kids on the Block and Marky Mark were big, who knew Mark Wahlberg would be the movie star and his older brother Donnie would be stuck in intriguing but short lived network TV shows like this one? The elder Wahlberg is a lawyer frmed for murder who goes on the run with his family -- kinda like 7th Heaven-meets-The Fugitive. Former 24 star Leslie Hope adds a little hot mom sensuality as Wahlberg's wife. Of course, the kids could give a shit that their dad's on the hook for murder -- they're pissed off that they keep changing schools and can't play football. Which is, for those of us stuck raising teenagers, the most realistic part of this whole show.
It will be interesting to see strong local affiliates such as WTOG-Ch. 44 rebrand themselves as CW stations. WTOG was one of the top UPN affiliates back in the day; can they notch similar numbers with the Gilmore Girls and 7th Heaven instead of Star Trek and Eve? Bet on it.
WTTA-Ch. 38 will have the bigger challenge -- the only reason people watched the channel at all was to see WB shows like Gilmore Girls and 7th Heaven. Now, stuck with the dreck that is the English-language telenovelas, I expect them to start seeing ratings equivalent to the Home Shopping Network and those late-night informercials.
Speaking of hype, NBC also bows its X-Men-lite drama, Heroes, tonight. But, like the sci-fi drama Surface before it, this show takes too long to get to the good stuff -- its characters' powers -- and advances the plot too slowly. Expect big-time disapointment, as the series' slow pace begins to register with viewers (though i hear a superpowered serial killer is on the way to juice the situation just a bit).
Nancy Grace Has No Shame
It allows them to keep pursuing money, fame or power by doing things that people with actual scruples and mores could never bring themselves to do.
Which brings us to CNN Headline News' Nancy Grace.
The Associated Press has an interesting story about how Grace has continued to ride the disappearance of Leesburg 4-year-old Trenton Duckett to higher ratings, despite badgering his mother on air about the child's disappearance less than 24 hours before she killed herself.
As I feared, news that the police always considered Melinda Duckett a suspect has only emboldened Grace to keep banging away on the story, running advertisements for her show featuring the boy's picture while pressing the notion that her highly speculative coverage has been proven right.
But I keep wondering what might have happened if Grace hadn't stuck her nose in what was going on. Is it possible that Melinda might still be alive to answer questions from the police? Is it possible they might have a better idea of what has happened to Trenton? At what point does a TV star desperate for ratings juice consider the impact her cross examinations might have on the case itself?
I'm tempted to repeat the old line used on Joe McCarthy: "At long last, have you no shame?" Unfortunately, when it comes to Nancy Grace's antics -- and her CNN bosses' refusal to rein her in -- we already know the answer to that question.
Bill Blows His Top
What amuses and disappoints me most is all the folks -- especially Wallace -- who are acting as if Clinton's anger is surprising. Clinton, who has always had a chip on his shoulder about how the media treated him during the Whiwater/Travelgate/Paula Jones/Lewinsky scandals, was already P.O.'ed about the way ABC's Path to 9/11 tried rewriting the history of that incident.
So, whether or not you agree with his politics, acting like it's a surprise that the guy got upset at the suggestion that 3,000 Americans might have died because he wasn't doing his job, seems disingenuous, to say the least.
It also plays into an obvious GOP/Conservative spin on this issue: The hysterical left losing its cool. And while we all wallow in the backbiting about events which happened five years ago, the details of Clinton's actual initiative have been lost in the media noise.
The saddest thing about all this posturing on both sides is how obvious it all is. It's been five years -- can't we talk about what's happening now, instead of wasting so much time arguing about what happened then?
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