Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 14, 2007; 1:00 PM

Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes was online Friday, Sept. 14 at 1 p.m. ET to measure which Emmy nominee ("The Sopranos"? Helen Mirren? "American Idol"?) has the most at stake Sunday night -- when, by the way, she'll be doing a live discuss-o-cast.

The transcript follows.

Read the latest TV column: Whoopi on 'The View,' Day Two: She Doesn't Condone Michael Vick's Dogfighting (Post, Sept. 6)

More TV Columns| de Moraes on TV blog| On TV Live Online transcripts.

De Moraes has written "The TV Column" for The Post since 1998. She served as the TV editor for the entertainment industry trade publication the "Hollywood Reporter" for almost a decade.


Atlanta: On "The Kid Nation," will the Kids be drinking bleach in every episode, or just one or two episodes during sweeps? And if it's just one episode, can I program my TiVo to just record that episode?

Lisa de Moraes: Hi. Sadly, I suspect we will never see the footage of the kids sipping the bleach, and I also suspect the footage has "vanished" from the "vaults" or wherever it is producers of reality shows digitally store outtake footage of children drinking bleach...


Austin, Texas: It's no secret that seemingly every critic is outraged and appalled at "Friday Night Lights" being so passed over for the Emmys. Even with the network and critical support, do you think that "Lights" can make it through another season without the ratings?

Lisa de Moraes: See, this is why I'm not a TV critic. I am so not outraged that "Friday Night Lights" was "passed over" for an Emmy. The guy who oversees the whole ball of wax at NBC -- Jeff Zucker -- is first and foremost about making money for the company. If this show can make them money with these small ratings (It's a pretty cheap show to produce and NBC's TV production house, NBC Universal Media Studio, is one of the production partners, so they'll get some of the backend, so to speak -- you know, DVD and international sales -- although does anybody in Europe want to watch a show about a sport nobody plays there, and am I rambling?) yes, it will survive. If not, no it won't. NBC is not a nonprofit (it only seems that way these days), it's a business. Also, the guy who now runs NBC Entertainment, Ben Silverman, is not the guy who developed "FNL" so he's not as emotionally invested in trying to make it work as was Kevin Reilly, who was head of NBC Entertainment at the time and now runs Fox's Entertainment division.


Laurel, Md.: Lisa, I've seen one -- maybe-- one new show I want to watch for the new fall season (Fox's "K-Ville") and that's it! I really want to watch "Cane" on CBS because it looks so promising but ... it's on CBS, and I don't watch shows on CBS. Am I being to fickle, or are there going to be some really promising shows on this fall?

Lisa de Moraes: Oh yes. Watch "Life" because it stars Damian Lewis and he's terrific. Watch "Pushing Daisies" because it gushes gorgeous flowers and somehow manages to make death very lovely and sweet and funny, and the two aunts in the show are not to be missed. Watch "Big Bang Theory" to see how two separate series can be smushed together into one: in one show, two extremely talented actors deliver terrific performances of a great script; in the other, one supremely untalented but blonde and buxom chick who played the hot daughter in "8 Simple Rules" works off the same script while chewing scenery, prancing, batting her eyelashes and flipping her hair. I could go on and on. It's going to be a wonderful season.


She Already Called Me Pookie: "Big Brother" question: It seems to me that Allison Grodner and her minions had their fingers on the roulette wheel all season, silently skewing competition results in favor of the Donatos -- which of course paid off last night. What proof do we have that the America's Player votes were the actual results of the public vote, rather than whatever result the producers wanted? Is there some sort of verification system?

Lisa de Moraes: I am blissfully ignorant of what the heck you are talking about, Pookster. I took a much needed rest cure last week, in the wilds of Denver, communing with nature and eating fish to get in shape for Sunday's Emmys and the start of the new TV season ... anyone else want to take a crack at this?


FYI...: Ben Silverman will replace "Friday Night Lights" as soon as he can find an English show about rugby he can import and make an American version of starring Rena Sofer.

Lisa de Moraes: Yes, what FYI said, absolutely...


Arlington, Va.: Which of the new shows do you expect to watch so we won't have to?

Lisa de Moraes: We have been talking about that for a few weeks now here at Washington Post Team TV. It's a tough season to call, so I'm going wait and see how the dust settles at the end of Premiere Week and take it from there ... I'm hoping it's something that's either really really good, or really, really bad -- can anyone say "Cavemen"?


Washington: Hi Lisa: Holland Taylor or Vanessa Williams, your take as to who will walk home with Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy? My vote is Williams for numerous reasons, including that she's in an hour-long show, versus Taylor's half-hour work.

Lisa de Moraes: Ah, you raise a good point, little grasshopper. In the Emmys, when one actress -- we'll call her Thespian A -- submits her performance in a one-hour episode to Emmy voters, and another actress -- Thespian B -- submits her performance in a half-hour episode, Thespian A most often will win. Which brings us nicely around to the subject of my Emmy walk-up story in this Sunday's paper in which I detail for you the very fun "Size Matters" game you can play while watching Sunday's Emmy telecast. Be sure to read it! I intend to play during my live Emmy chat during the trophy show, and hope you'll join me...


Am I the only "Meerkat Manor" fan?: Last week was the most gut-wrenching episode, and I have nobody to discuss it with.

Lisa de Moraes: No TV last week -- I TiVoed it. Who dies?


Washington: Do you do anything special to get ready for premiere week? Buy an extra-large bottle of eyedrops, do some channel-surfing exercises to strengthen your remote-controlling thumb? Or maybe you rely on energy bars to keep you going.

Lisa de Moraes: I took last week off to commune with nature and eat fish ... I'm rarin' to go...


Silver Spring, Md.: Did you catch Letterman on Oprah? He spent the whole interview with part of his eyeglasses fogged up. It was bizarre.

Lisa de Moraes: Why were his glasses steaming up? Or am I going to have nightmares if you tell me?


Washington: Hi Pookie. I think PETA blew the Whoopi Goldberg "View" segment way out of proportion. Goldberg is right, this is a problem ingrained deep within our society. Yes, Vick is an adult and has to exercise responsibility, but he was raised in a culture that runs over dogs crossing streets and doesn't bat an eye. Seldom does a day go by in our area when a dead animal is not laid in the middle of a highway. Are we attacking Vick because he is famous and -- dare we say it -- black? Dogfighting still is a practiced sport in a lot of areas in our country. (And I am a white guy!)

Lisa de Moraes: I think PETA's response was understandable and appropriate. I went back and rewatched Whoopi's comments several times and she did not -- as she said the next day -- make it extremely clear she was not excusing his behavior. That said, Whoopi is known to be an animal lover and I think she simply was trying to find something new to say about a pretty old subject. That said, all she was doing was rehashing the same old argument used to excuse Vick on a cable sports program days earlier. Jon Stewart savaged that discussion on "The Daily Show" -- he was brilliant, as usual. And, in conclusion, I'm not seeing how tragically hitting an animal while driving (assuming it's an accident) is the same as hanging a dog that loses, but survives, a dogfight you have staged on your property...


Falls Church, Va.: Do not spoil "Meerkat Manor" for me. I have all the episodes in my DVR -- I'm going to watch them in a row.

Lisa de Moraes: Sorry, but we don't muzzle people in this chat for the sake of DVRers. If we did, we'd have nothing to discuss. Heck, some people DVR and entire season and watch at the end. What are we supposed to do -- not discuss any program until its season has wrapped?


Silver Spring, Md.: So, is Edie Falco a lock for an Emmy win on Sunday, or could Sally Field or Kyra Sedgwick snatch it from her cold, dead hands?

Lisa de Moraes: Ah, getting back to my "Size Matters" game -- Edie Falco submitted an episode of "The Sopranos" in which she appeared for under 14 minutes, while another contender in the category of Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Kyra Sedgwick, submitted an episode of "The Closer" in which she's on screen a whopping 42 minutes...


Who dies? : Two of the pups from the main group -- one taken by a hawk, and one left to die in the desert. Plus, Flower and Zaphod are separated from the main group.

Lisa de Moraes: Aaarrrrgggghhhhhh!


Boston: Okay, Pookie, this is very important. I just started law school, which means TV time will be extremely limited. I already must watch "House," "Grey's Anatomy," "Dancing With the Stars" and "Ugly Betty." "American Idol" may have to fall off the radar. If I can squeeze just one new show into my DVR list, what should it be?

Lisa de Moraes: Because three of your shows are on ABC, and the fourth one should have been on ABC ("House" is so not a Fox series) I'm going to suggest "Pushing Daisies," because it has that ABC sensibility. And it's the most gorgeous show visually this season, or any season in ages, for that matter. That said, it seems kinda niche-y,if you know what I mean. But if you like "Ugly Betty" you may like "Pushing Daisies" -- it has that same fairy tale kind of look and sensibility ... I'm over thinking this.


Lexington, Ky.: Didn't Oprah film in New York when she had Letterman on the show? Maybe he came straight from the meat locker that is the Ed Sullivan Theater. By the way, did you see Martha Stewart on Letterman's show last night? What's the deal there? He kept leaning on her and someone loaded the zucchini she was trying to cook with what looked like lotion.

Lisa de Moraes: Geesh -- why does all the good stuff happen on TV when I'm taking my rest cure!


He was raised in a culture that runs over dogs crossing streets and doesn't bat an eye: No, he wasn't. I know where he's from and it wasn't like that. It was poverty-stricken, but not sadistic. Poor people were taught to care for animals too.

Lisa de Moraes: The town he was from is spitting distance from PETA headquarters, an exec from that organization pointed out when I spoke to them a couple weeks ago, before leaving for Rest Cure...


Re: "Meerkat Manor": It's okay -- I hear they're working on a new spin-off where Flower and Zaphod move to Hollywood and get jobs.

Lisa de Moraes: Gosh, I hope so. In the interest of full disclosure, I have a hard time watching this show and all animal shows because it tears me up when something bad happens to one of them. I'm a total wimp...


Alexandria, Va.: Are you excited about "Private Practice"? After all, it comes with the Taye Diggs stamp of approval. He'd never do anything substandard, would he?

Lisa de Moraes: Hey -- he's Taye Diggs -- just ask him. I want this one to work -- mostly because "Grey's Anatomy" was getting way too precious by the end of last season, and because Tim Daly just gets hotter as he gets older (and if anyone had told me 10 years ago I'd be writing that about the star of "Wings," I'd have asked them what they were smoking) -- but last year's "Private Practice" "backdoor pilot" sure did seem slapdash. I'm hoping they've spent the summer reflecting (yeah, right) and have fixed the problems -- Taye Diggs, incidentally, not being one of them.


Silver Spring, Md.:"Saving Grace" -- is it me or do they all mumble? It is just so hard to get through an episode, and I so wanted to like her. And please, Holly Hunter needs to leave her shirt on.

Lisa de Moraes: Holly Hunter stripped? My eyes!


Alexandria, Va.: Hello, Pookie! Did you watch President Bush last night? I don't know who picks out his clothes (perhaps his Mommy, Barbara, comes from Texas and lays them out for him) but the suit he had on was vibrating! Plus there were shadows from the lighting. It gave him a glow that was truly spooky. Also, did you catch when Gen. Petraeus came before the House of Representatives and his microphone didn't work for, like, 10 minutes? Details, people, details! Okay -- no more "inside the Beltway" stuff, but this is The Washington Post!

Lisa de Moraes: Are you trying to tell me President Bush had a -- wait for it -- wardrobe malfunction? Hahahahaha! ... Maybe I ate too much fish on my rest cure...


Potomac Springs, Md.: When is the two-part premiere of "She's The Sheriff?" I can't find it in my TV Guide.

Lisa de Moraes: Good morning, Mr. Van Winkle! It was 20 years ago. Suzanne Somers was brilliant -- shoulda won an Emmy...


"Dexter": "Dexter" returns Sept. 30! I'm not a Showtime mole, just an excited fan. It has been way too long between seasons.

Lisa de Moraes: Great show -- too bad it's not on HBO, in which case lots more people would be watching it and Michael C. Hall would have an Emmy nomination...


Washington: Do you think Audra McDonald ever will get to sing on "Private Practice" -- and will it help you get over the loss of Mandy Patinkin?

Lisa de Moraes: Sorry, but Audra McDonald is no Mandy Patinkin -- too sane...


Washington: I saw the "Bionic Woman" pilot, and now I'm having an argument with a friend: is the bionic woman's sister supposed to be deaf?

Lisa de Moraes: Recast and no longer deaf. Did you see the original pilot?


"Wings": I always liked the other brother in "Wings" -- what's he up to these days?

Lisa de Moraes: Steven Weber was the network head in "Studio 60" on NBC -- and who knew he could act? He was the best thing on that series.


Conyers, Ga.: What's your take on Janeane Garofalo showing up on FOX's "24"? Seems like a real mismatch. Is she desperate for work, or making a statement? I love Cherry Jones as the president, by the way.

Lisa de Moraes: This one's easy: "24" had a very bad season last season, creatively, and the ratings reflected it. The producers are looking for ways to gin up buzz/controversy/whatever to goose the ratings. It's pretty cynical if you ask me -- oh wait, you did -- and I think they might better focus on improving the quality of the writing this season...


Washington: So what's your take on "Gossip Girls"? The next "OC"?

Lisa de Moraes: I hope so; the pilot is deliciously craptastic. The Evil Preppy Lad in the pilot episode is maybe the best TV villain since the old "Batman" series...


Dogfighting still is a practiced sport in a lot of areas in our country.: Wife-beating and child abuse are practiced in many areas of our country. Doesn't make it okay.

Lisa de Moraes: Another point...


"Meerkat Manor" and wimpiness: I always cry during the episodes, and I always say I'm never watching again! And then I watch again because I can't stop. Flower and Zaphod actually are being interviewed for the next "Big Brother."

Lisa de Moraes: No, they have way too much integrity for "Big Brother." Heck, dust mites have too much integrity for "Big Brother."


Nashville, Tenn.: Wasn't Kathy Griffin supposed to have gotten plastic surgery or something? If so, it didn't help. More of a lateral move, if anything.

Lisa de Moraes: If she did, isn't it about her third round?


Herndon, Va.: I just read your article on "Kid Nation," and I simply must comment that it was remarkable to me how free it was of knee-jerk rhetoric! It was very informative and unbiased. So ... what are you doing at The Post? Fair and unbiased ain't their gig! While not a subscriber, I likely will seek out your columns for more of the same! Thank you! It was refreshing!

washingtonpost.com: 'Kid Nation' Borders Open To a Flood Of Bad Publicity (Post, Aug. 25)

Lisa de Moraes: I object strongly to your comment about The Post. On the other hand you threw me a compliment, so naturally, I posted your comment...


Previews On Demand: I saw the pilot of "Journeyman" on On Demand video from my cable provider ... interesting show. I noticed a couple of guys from "The West Wing" are the creators ... I hope it doesn't tank before the season is over...

Lisa de Moraes: Wow -- you didn't need to order it On Demand, all you needed to do was fly United. I took two plane trips in one week -- from Los Angeles to rest cure and then from rest cure to the District -- and I got to see it twice! I still don't understand what the heck is going on in the pilot episode, but it's a fun ride and everyone on it is very very pretty, so I'm hooked.

I'm out of time. See you Sunday for the Emmys...


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