Kathy Bates

TV WASTELAND --- Today in TV Land starts the so-called UpFronts where the major networks preview their new shows for the Fall … mostly for their potential advertisers. So far in headline breaking news: NBC has passed on the new show from Don Johnson (Mann's World) and also on the new imagining of Wonder Woman from producer David E. Kelly. Also the network, whose up first in the previews, has green lighted new shows like The Playboy Club and Smash (Stephen Spielberg) … about the staging of a Broadway musical; wonder where they got that idea from? They've also renewed Harry's Law (Kathy Bates); Chuck for one more, final season and canceled the L.A. version of Law & Order known as LOLA; which I'm sure has producer Dick Wolf pulling out his hair … somewhere. Also, they given the thumbs up to news shows Prime Suspect (with Maria Bello) and Whitney. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is the net's decision not to bring their almost-signature show 30 Rock back until the fall perhaps owing to Tina Fey's current pregnancy. Also, everyone's favorite boss Donald Trump has got to announce his intentions today … Presidential or not. I am betting he will not. CBS is next up and they've already canceled one of our big favorites The Defenders, with Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell. We really liked this show and even though it grew in ratings and writing … I guess it wasn't enough. The net also canceled $#*! My Dad Says and Mad Love, which we never even saw … joining Chaos which was shuttered after only a few airings and Forest Whitaker's Suspect Behavior is still seemingly on the ropes. No question about it: TV these days is a firestorm.



SUPER SHANNON --- You've got to hand it to WPLJ's Scott Shannon, who, with on-air partner Todd Pettengill, scored a coup last Friday morning when they interviewed on-air New York Post-theater critic Michael Riedel about the Spider Man.2 preview that had just occurred the night before. For those in the know, Riedel almost was the one responsible for the axing of original-director Julie Taylor, with his near daily reportage, most negative, about the show. Uber-producer Michael Cohl apparently welcomed him in his opening remarks and Riedel's comments were just as hard hitting as ever. He said that the show, though somewhat improved was now just rather serviceable and rather than being just a mess, was now more of a linear narrative; in that the basic story of Spider Man was adequately told. It certainly wasn't a rave, but rather an indication that it's now more of a basic story .. nothing special, but, then was it ever? To tell you the truth, I think people were going to see if there was going to be an accident, rather than a deeply moving epic. It's certainly gotten people in the theater, but at what cost? Let's face it, save for one-song, by Bono and The Edge ... the music was far below par. As I've been saying, Marvel-comic mega-guru Stan Lee still has yet to be heard from on it. Now, as a comic-geek from way back ... that's weird. Stay tuned. Congrats Scott and Todd ... simply the best!


Paula Abdul With Simon Cowell

SIMON & PAULA --- So, Paula Abdul is re-teaming with Simon Cowell on his new show X Factor. I greeted this news with a big yawn … how about you? To this writer, that show, along with American Idol, The Sing Off … and, yes, even the new Voice, is Star Search (1983-1995) all over again. Sure, it's great to see Simon and Paula cat-fighting; J Lo's latest fashions; and Steven Tyler ...well, being Steven Tyler … but, at the end of the day, being on these shows will turn out to be a liability. Wait … you'll see it happen. Anyone remember the few stars from Star Search who actually made it? Would you believe Linda Eder; Sam Harris; or, David Slater? Exactly!


John Walsh

AMERICA'S MOST WANTED CANNED -- America's Most Wanted, the longest-running program in the history of Fox, has been canceled. After 23 years, the network has canned the series, yet will keep a presence on the network via 4 quarterly two-hour specials. The cablenet said that “Economically, it didn't make sense; for business reasons we want to have a place for repeats.” Repeats? More opportunities to watch the shows you didn't in the first place. Host John Walsh is in talks with other divisions at News Corp., the home of Fox, regarding continuing it. To date, they have been responsible for 1,151 fugitives being apprehended. Walsh is a good guy ... he deserves a slot to continue it.


Katie Couric

COURIC GONE TOO --- This Thursday, the 19th, is Katie Couric's last day on the CBS Evening News. I've always liked her, but she definitely inflames like few others. A polarizing figure for sure. I met her at an event several years back and had the chance to talk to her for awhile ... couldn't have been nicer. Her interview with Palin sent her forever into the footnotes of history. She deserves, and will get, nothing but the best!


Ashton Kutcher

KUTCHER SCORES --- And what can you say about Ashton Kutcher replacing Charlie Sheen on Two And A Half Men? He was always reliable on his TV show That 70's Show, but each of his subsequent movies found it difficult to get an audience. Sure, he's aggressive and from what I hear a great addition to any project; but, as a leading man he didn't quite click. Turns out that the producers had earlier spoken to actor Hugh Grant about coming on board, but it didn't materialize. In this writer's opinion, would have been a tremendous and inspired choice. Hey, he and Sheen clearly share an interest in hookers! Sorry, had to say it. I must admit however, that whenever I've watched Kutcher, he's been pretty darn good ... and, those damn camera commercials are pretty infectious too! Sure I'll give it a watch. That first episode will probably be one of the biggest ever. Stay tuned!


MICKY FOREVER --- From the Liverpool Daily Post's review of The Monkees opening show last week: Wearing a raking black trilby, Micky Dolenz still had rock 'n roll running through him like letters through a stick of rock!

Photos By: Sara De Boer/RD/Kirkland/Orchon/ Eckstein/Walter McBride/Retna