January 2, 2005


  1. . . . That's what the TV coverage of New Year's Eve was in Times Square by the networks. Unexciting. No big deal. So what?
  2. . . . Dick Clark was sorely missed on ABC. Regis Philbin did an okay job but was dull and uninteresting. It made you appreciate what Clark's talent can do with basically a boring event. Anderson Cooper on CNN put me to sleep. The others ... Who cared?
  3. SEXING THINGS UP. That's what they're doing on Without a Trace. Blonde Samantha Spade (Poppy Montgomery) who's a member of the FBI missing persons work force slept with fellow case worker Martin Fitzgerald (Eric Close) and a while back she had a fling with head guy Jack Malone (Anthony LaPaglia). It's a love triangle. Says Montgomery of her character to TV Guide, "She goes through men like underwear."
  4. NBC's promo for Meet the Press had an announcer saying that Colin Powell was heading to South Asia to inspect the tsunami damage but before he goes he "stops at Meet the Press first." Like that's the right thing to do for a busy man like him. Well, he also stopped by Face the Nation so I guess he wasn't in that much of a hurry.
  5. Discovery has The Next Wave: Science of Tsunamis slated for Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern.
  6. MATT LAUER GOT AMBER FREY. One of the girlfriends of Scott Peterson and a star witness in his trial. The interview's on a special edition of Dateline on Tuesday at 10 p.m., but with excerpts on Monday's Today show. And yes, she's got a book out, Witness: For the Prosecution of Scott Peterson. And her attorney, Gloria Allred, the woman who's like a buzzard and flies around everywhere, is said to be negotiating a movie deal. Man, these people move fast.
  7. The #1 Ringtone this week in Billboard magazine is Drop It Like It's Hot by Snoop Dogg Featuring Pharrell. So go download it.
  8. Jim Russ has been subbing for Lisa Baden, the traffic expert, on ABC7's Good Morning Washington but you don't get to see him. I guess they save that new camera just for her. He was reduced to being just a voice-over reporting the traffic conditions. Maybe it was a way to save money over the holidays. (The other local stations show their traffic cops all the time.)
  9. . . . The last time Baden was on she had a pair of antlers on top of her head.
  10. ABC's former overnight anchor David Muir has been doing a lot of reporting and often shows up on Good Morning America and now World News Tonight. He's coming up. And now they're calling him National Weather Correspondent.
  11. TSUNAMI. Four dead bodies in a small town in India were "picked clean by crows," reported the BBC's Nick Bryant on ABC's World News Tonight Sunday edition. Harsh words.
  12. THE AVIATOR. Okay movie but not great. Once again, a biopic. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Howard Hughes, the eccentric filmmaker and builder/inventor, and does a good job of it but it wasn't convincing to me mainly, I guess, because he had no physical resemblance to the quirky real life character. But a friend of mine pointed out that the movie-going public today doesn't really know who Hughes was and that it doesn't matter if Leo doesn't look like Howard. She's got a point.
  13. . . . Other than that, the movie's interesting to watch because it's got good cameos in it: Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner, rocker Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow (minor part), Alan Alda as a senator and others.
  14. IMPRESSIVE KNOWLEDGE. CNN meteorologist Orelon Sidney did an excellent job of really explaining tsunamis and actually used a Slinky to demonstrate how they move. She came off as an expert.
  15. Saturday Night wasn't Live again this week. What's new? But a routine I didn't catch the first time around was one about Star Jones and Al Reynolds. Kenan Thompson played Star and Finesse Mitchell played her then-fiance Al. They're in a bedroom and Al's reading Men's Health. In the skit, Star keeps getting all these phone calls about the wedding from Liza Minnelli (Maya Rudolph), Barbara Walters (Rachel Dratch) and Denzel. Liza's drinking a cocktail and is getting a little sloshed and Barbara calls to say she can't make the event because she's had a little accident. With her while she's talking with Star is Liam Neeson acting like Sean Connery in a bathrobe who coaches Walters to tell Star she'll be out of commission for 36 hours. He's just taken Cialis. And a man who says he's Denzel calls and, of course, Star thinks it's Denzel Washington but it turns out to be a long-lost relative that she doesn't have time for. And every time Star gets excited about the wedding she rushed to kiss Al, but he flutters nervously and shoos her off, saying the bride and groom aren't supposed to kiss before the wedding. It was pretty funny.
  16. Hanalie, dog in the neighborhood, returned from Lafayette, Calif., with owner Sally on Saturday. She flew coach in a soft carrier which was placed underneath the seat in front of Sally. But when a married couple sat down beside Sally they saw the dog through the webbing of the bag and insisted on having their seats changed. They didn't want to be near a dog. Hanalie didn't care and as a matter of fact, Sally said the dog didn't make a peep the whole flight.
  17. JUST ASKING. What's the seeming obsession with the amount of financial aid various countries and organizations are sending to the tsunami victims? The search for a headline? And then when it's given, it's always questioned by the reporter. Come on. Everybody will give what they figure they can give. Quit making an issue out of the amount.
  18. One of the morning shows last week featured fat-free hotdogs in a pigs in the blanket recipe.
  19. OLD NEWS BUT . . . Lloyd Grove, former Washington Post Reliable Source writer/ reporter and now New York Daily News's Lowdown gossip columnist, has given up writing about Paris Hilton. He cites ten reasons why and basically says that it's "an insult to the American sense of fairness: the idea that you get ahead by working hard, playing by the rules and acquiring a skill of some sort." Grove goes on to say that she's done no work and yet society keeps rewarding her with money and fame. In other words, he's sick of her. Are you?
  20. They say Kevin Bacon is good in The Woodsman. In the movie he plays a man just released from prison after serving 12 years for molesting young girls and it depicts his struggle with fitting back into society.
  21. FRIGHTENING. Home video that shows how the water had receded before the tsunami struck in Thailand. You see the ocean floor exposed as the water rushes out and then the oncoming waves approach with people screaming. The guy with the camera survived, said NBC's John Seigenthaler who was in Columbo, Sri Lanka, anchoring NBC Nightly News Sunday. ABC's Bob Woodruff anchored their World News Tonight from there also. Woodruff did the whole shebang from there; Seigenthaler was joined by Lester Holt stateside. I guess ABC thought the story was more important.
  22. People magazine says Martha Stewart's prison team took second place in a holiday decoration contest. They made folded paper cranes that hung from the ceiling. The competition made a Nativity scene and pictures of snow-covered hills, etc. People says each team was given glitter, ribbons, construction paper and glue. But what did they cut the construction paper with? Did they give them scissors and if they did, isn't that risky business in the hands of a prisoner?
  23. GONE NOW. Artie Shaw, famous clarinetist and orchestra/bandleader of the Swing Era, died last Thursday at the age of 94. His signature song was Begin the Beguine and the success of that hit record (1938) made him a rival to Big Band leaders Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. He was married eight times and two of his wives were the movie stars Lana Turner and Ava Gardner. Newsman David Brinkley was a big fan of Shaw's.
  24. FINDING NEVERLAND. Johnny Depp as J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. The film mixes the fantasy of Barrie's imagination with his real life and explains how he got the idea for the story which is staged as a play in London. Movie is very British; the kids in it are cute and Kate Winslet plays their mother; Radha Mitchell plays Depp's wife who looks like a young Jessica Lange and Dustin Hoffman plays a worrisome theater producer. I liked it.
  25. Is Craig Ferguson gonna be good on CBS's Late Late Show? Starts Monday, Jan. 3. He's the Scottish guy who was on The Drew Carey Show. He seems real comedian-ish and much different from Craig Kilborn. Wonder where that smug dude is now.
  26. PARDON ME FOR MY STUPIDITY. I didn't know Jesus had a brother. James, they say. I guess Mary had him the natural way.
  27. Mr. Highfalutin was shocked to find no Christmas lights on the outside of his apartment building when he came home the other night. A homeless person had taken the power line and hooked it up to a TV and was sitting out there watching it. And then the next day another one had it hooked up to a frying pan and was cooking something in it. Mr. HFL insists he does not live in a marginal area of town.
  28. Jerry Orbach, star of Law & Order for 12 years and former Broadway musical leading man, died last Tuesday, Dec. 28. I saw some video over the weekend of him singing Try to Remember from The Fantasticks and he was good. Only 69 years old. Prostate cancer.
  29. LESS GREEDY NOW. Blockbuster and AOL. They're being humbled by the competition. No more late fees for movie rentals and AOL's offering anti-virus software for free. They've both been knocked down a few notches.
  30. . . . On one of the commercials for Blockbuster, they say, "The End of Late Fees. The Start of More." What, more late fees? Unclear message.
  31. I want one of those Motorola Razor cell phones. Cingular's selling them. Super thin. But I don't want Cingular/AT&T service. Fix that for me.
  32. NBC did a year-ender piece on those who died in 2004. Under each person they placed their dates, say 1935 - 2004 for Jerry Orbach. Well, we know they all died in 2004, so why did they show the date again?
  33. UH . . . Again - The Lettermen, on Capitol Records. 1962.



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