Puppy Bowl, 'Idol' auditions, 'Human Target,' more -- The TV Column Live

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Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post staff writer
Friday, February 5, 2010; 1:00 PM

Columnist Lisa de Moraes was online Friday, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. ET to take your questions about the drama, comedy and heartbreak of the world of television -- both onscreen and behind-the-scenes.

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Idol auditions: Idol audition = boring this year. But what's that new show I've seen commercials for during Idol that has Richard Schiff in it? I loved him on the West Wing. Is this new show any good?

Lisa de Moraes: Hi. "Past Life" is the name of the show. And if you are a big believer in reincarnation, you might be able to stomach the past-life chick lead of this show. Otherwise, do not watch it in the vicinity of sharp objects, lest you resort to sticking them in your eyes after about 10 minutes of this show.

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Glenarden, Md.: So I noticed previews for the show The Forgotten last night. I thought that show was canceled. Are they trying to relaunch and hope people forgot about it the first time around?

Lisa de Moraes: Nope.Not cancelled. Nobody gives up on a Jerry Bruckheimer show that fast -- can't afford to. It comes back with new episodes on Tuesday after "Lost" -- that's a pretty plush timeslot

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Austin TX: Devine Ms M,

Please look into your crystal ball and tell me what has happened to "30 Rock"! It isn't funny this season and has actually become painful to watch. Has it run it course? Should it go away while we still think of it fondly, instead of hanging around and making us feel sorry for it?

Lisa de Moraes: I've been DRV-ing it lately so I'm not caught up. Very sorry to hear it's slid this season. I'm always a big fan of putting a show down while it's still good -- a la "Seinfeld." What in particular is wrong with the past few episodes? I need to steel myself as I ready to spend the SnowMG! weekend plowing through all my DVR-d series episodes.... On the bright side, "30 Rock" still has a big fan in Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash)who, while grilling NBC suits at one yesterday's hearings on the proposed NBC Universal/Comcast merger, announced "We're hear to talk about control of America's most precious asset and that,of course, it Tina Fey."

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"Keen Eddie": I'm totally with you now about Mark Valley. He is so awesome! I didn't really like him on Boston Legal, but his character on "Human Target" is great.

Lisa de Moraes: Please try not to think about his having ever appeared in "Boston Legal." It was near career killing. "Human Target" is pretty good, but what was up with the chick cast in the lead guest role in the pilot? Maybe the most annoying chick in peril I have ever been subjected to in a long career covering TV...

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More Conan: What's up with the NBC development deal? And to me, at least, Conan sounded sincere when thanking NBC on his last show. What do you think?

Lisa de Moraes: I think he decided to clothe himself in the veneer of taking the high road. I did have a bit of trouble swallowing his Jerry Maguire-ish "We live in a cynical world" schtick, but otherwise it played nicely....and in re the development deal, I'm assuming that was one of the things they negotiated in his exit package. I assume you're talking about the pilot NBC is developing with Conan's Conaco production company about a Supreme Court judge who "quits" the Supreme Court to start his own legal practice. Yeah, right. That would happen.

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Las Vegas NV: You have been unfair, and wrong! I'm the one who asked about "My Boys" last week. I'm a TV viewer, not a TBS publicist. I enjoy the shows "My Boys" and "Modern Family."

In the past, I asked about the future of "My Boys" regularly. Once you had an answer for me--that it was renewed--I stopped asking. The next time I asked about it was last week because I wondered when it would start airing again. I also wanted to compliment the show "Modern Family" and see if you were a fan of that show.

Frankly, I haven't been reading the weekly chats until this past week. After the abuse I got, I might as well stop reading it again. Maybe someone else was asking the question recently, but I wasn't. Good grief!!!

Lisa de Moraes: Hello, Las Vegas! I promise to take your every question about "My Boys" -- or any other show you want to know about -- forever, to atone for my flack crack

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DC: Pookie: I am not an unwed mother, nor was I raised in a trailer park. Can I still audition for "American Idol?"

Lisa de Moraes: I'm guessing you would have had a very tough time this season, if what we've seen so far this season resembles "reality" -- hahahahaha! oh, sorry.

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Ashland, OR: First of all, Pookie, you're the second-most brilliant woman (besides my wife) on the planet. Now about "Modern Family"--- it's the only sitcom that we can watch with our teenage daughters, and we all love it. PLEASE reassure us that the show and the cast will be sticking around for a while--- we're still emotionally wrecked from the incredible "Freaks and Geeks" being cancelled 10 years ago, and we don't need any additional heartache.

Lisa de Moraes: Thrilled to be following only your wife in brilliance. Thank you. And you can rest easy on "Modern Family." While we should not underestimate ABC's capacity for killing one of its own shows through mismanagment and bad scheduling (see "Ugly Betty"), the network is happy with the numbers and it appears to be hanging on, despite airing in the unenviable timeslot directly opposite "American Idol."

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How do you DRV???: must be new technology...

Lisa de Moraes: lol... dyslexic typing... that's my story and I'm sticking to it...

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chick in peril in "Human Target": I didn't think she was so bad. I liked the hot FBI chick better in last week's episode. That was some dress.

Lisa de Moraes: There was something terrifying about that train-making chick's mouth. And her eyes....

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Nosy Parker: Are you supporting the movement for Betty White For Guest Host on "Saturday Night Live"? Wouldn't she be great in a "cougar" sketch, reprising Sue Ann Niven?

Lisa de Moraes: I would support it only if I could be a fly on the wall all week to watch the Lorne Michaels meltdown at the prospect of the demographic numbers he was going to do with White guest hosting...

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Maybe the most annoying chick in peril I have ever been subjected to in a long career covering TV: More than Jack Bauer's daughter?

washingtonpost.com: Who is joining the cast of "The Forgotten." It's the circle of life...

Lisa de Moraes: It's a very close call, but yes. She was even more annoying than spawn, because she instill in me, in one single episode, the same kind of loathing it took many episodes for Spawn to gin up...

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Falls Church nit picker: Lisa I have a very important question. How have we been watching the E-trade baby now for 2 years and he is not getting older? I have come up with various theories - but I want the truth!

Lisa de Moraes: I'm guessing it's because all the shooting was done in a short period of time and the mouth, and his scenes with other adorable babies, are being manipulated to make new ads. I'm guessing there are unending combinations of things they can come up with. At least I hope so because, honestly, it never gets old. I can watch the same ad over and over and laugh every time. But then, I'm a big fan of "One Man and His Dog" so I'm clearly easily mesmerized...

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DC: Here's the vital question of the week: what counter-programming is on Sunday? I'm a woman who is going to be home alone Sunday, and who will vaguely watch the Superbowl. But I just can't commit to watching a solid 10+ hours of football commentary and game. Aside from Puppybowl, what can I flip back to? Any good woman-marathons to counteract the testosterone?

And in our little fantasy TV Column world, if you were to counter-program the game, what would you do? What would be the best picture-in-picture combo for the game? Extra point for you if you don't fall back to the When Harry Met Sally, Pride and Predjudice, My Best Friend's Wedding cliche!

Lisa de Moraes: Chick counter programming:
E!: "Sleepless in Seattle" (sorry, but people need to know)
TBS: "Titanic" -- gak!
Oxygen: "America's Next Top Model" reruns..zzzzzz
Lifetime: women-in-peril flicks "Widow on the Hill" and "Identity Theft: THe Michelle Brown Story."
Plus, two cake marathons, on "TLC and Food Network.

And can I fall back on the "Guys and Dolls" cliche? I vote for a movie-musical marathon opposite the Super Bowl...

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Washington, DC: Are there any really good, new-ish shows I should start watching on Hulu with the DC Snowpocalyse weekend?

Lisa de Moraes: Try CW's new "Life Unexpected" -- unless you're a guy in which case never mind...

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Piscataway, NJ: After last week's mediocre hosting gig by Jon Hamm and the early disaster that was January Jones, can we please put a moratorium on Mad Men cast members on Saturday Night Live? I'm starting to think that the glacial pace of the critically adored cable show might be more of a reflection on limited skills of the pretty, pretty cast than the result of the writers and director(s) trying to "set a mood"....

washingtonpost.com: You didn't even like "Hamm and Buble"?

Lisa de Moraes: You are SO preaching to the choir on that one. I think your theory is very sound.

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"Human Target" pilot again: What annoyed me about that episode is that they managed to leave the cell phone behind AND (of course) the intercom hadn't been hooked up yet, leaving Keen Eddie and chick in peril trapped in a train car with no way of...zzzzz.

Lisa de Moraes: You are overthinking this show. It's like "24" -- best not to bring too many brain cells to the party..

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Chick in peril: Wasn't she on Battlestar Galactica?

Lisa de Moraes: what wasn't she on? She's really been around.

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Torchwood: Happy Friday, Pookie. Thanks to the magic/crack that is Netflix, I recently discovered the BBC show Torchwood. I'm now an obsessive, dippy fan of the show. I read FOX is developing an American spin-off. Have you heard anything about this? (Please PLEASE tell me the ill-fated "V" wasn't it.) Also, do you think there's room for another Alien-Investigation show next to Fringe, et al.?

Lisa de Moraes: No, "V" was not the spinoff. "V" is on ABC and was a re-development of an old miniseries. "Torchwood" is, as you said, being developed by Fox. I think there is always room for an alien investigation show. They may not all get huge followings but the people who watch will be rabid and will buy all the "stuff"...and these days, ancillary market "stuff" is a very big deal in a show's business model. Look at what foot-long buys did for "Chuck"...

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Blizzard prep: Pookie, what are you doing to prepare for the great DC Blizzard of 2010?

washingtonpost.com: It's going to snow? Are you sure?

Lisa de Moraes: I stocked up on essential supplies. In order:

"Guys and Dolls" DVD
"Nothing Sacred" DVD
"The More the Merrier" DVD
"Miracle of Morgan Creek" DVD
"Indiscreet" DVD

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E-Trade: It's a different baby, Shankapotamous. No joke -- Ad Age had an article about it a few weeks ago.

washingtonpost.com: Why This $3 Million Baby Is Back on the Super Bowl - Advertising Age

Lisa de Moraes: Or, it could be a different baby. Frankly, I can't tell one from the other -- all babies look alike to me. This did not endear me to my sisters when they were having them..

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Ugly Betty: I am super duper sad that Ugly Betty has been canceled. I wonder if they could have righted the ship only by having Vanessa Williams pretend to be a drag queen every single episode.

Good heavens that woman is A-Mazing.

Lisa de Moraes: They could have righted the ship had they not put it in Death By Timeslot hours on their schedule, and dumping Betty's family, because nobody cared...

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Super Bowl: Any super bowl commercials you looking forward to see? I saw that ad on the gay dating site that was rejected by CBS.

washingtonpost.com: Man Crunch

Lisa de Moraes: Yes, it's the most successful ad to not get on the Super Bowl in teh past few years... Being a journalist I'm of course looking forward to seeing the controvesial ad that was funded by the anti-women's-choice group from Colorado...and the Budweiser horse ads always choke me up. There, I said it....

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Re: Torchwood: That show is worth watching just for the male lead. He's like Tom Cruise without the crazy.

Lisa de Moraes: Even without the crazy, Tom Cruise does nothing for me...

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Washington, D.C.: I recommend watching the Washington Capitals. They have games Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. For an authentic experience, open a window and your living space will have the chill of an ice arena!

Lisa de Moraes: Another excellent viewing option. Thanks!

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Washington, D.C.: Lisa, what ever happened to "Obsessed" on A&e? It seems to have been completely replaced by "Hoarders," but I liked "Obsessed" so much better.... the hoarders are all the same, and I liked the "professional help" better on the other one. Is this ever coming back? It wasn't on very long.

Lisa de Moraes: I don't know, but "Hoarders" is scary successful for the network.

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Arlington Gay: Oh, Pookie, I've lost some respect for you. The movie version of "Guys & Dolls" is one of the worst adaptations of a Broadway musical in all of recorded history. You can do so much better.

Lisa de Moraes: Two words: Marlon Brando... you are not going to get me to back down on this. Plus, it's my little tribute to my former Santa Monica neighbor, Jean Simmons, who died just the other day.

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Vienna: Lisa, what's your over/under on the Puppy Bowl? I'm thinking of laying money down.

washingtonpost.com: First dog to pee?

Lisa de Moraes: Put all your money on the chihuahua/pug mix named Jake. He's irresistble...I'll get my brilliant -- though apparently weather challenged since he chickened out and is working from home today -- producer Paul to post Jake's picture. He's got a winning profile -- Jake that is, not Paul. Pauls' profile is pretty good, though.

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Rocklin, CA: Is there any other reason why the producers of "Idol" would want Howard Stern to replace Simon Cowell (which they apparently do) other than for the verbal fireworks between him and the other judges? I fear he would being those exchanges to a whole new level of viciousness.

Lisa de Moraes: Just because Page 6 says so does not make it true. Sounds like a contract being negotiated in the press to me. He would be a very bad fit..

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Summerfield, NC: I love Nothing Sacred - great DVD. Another suggestion would be The Thin Man, but you must also lounge around the house in your best lingerie drinking sophisticated drinks while you watch! (I love Myrna Loy's wardrobe in all of these movies!)

Lisa de Moraes: The most accurate depiction of the newspaper business in film.....

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Atlanta, GA: Is "The Marriage Ref" proof that God hates me, or is it proof that God hates America? How far does the reach of God's hate go?

Lisa de Moraes: I'm willing to give it a chance, and I think you too should keep an open mind, because it's Jerry Seinfeld, though, yes, there is "Bee Movie" to consider. Let's also give it a shot because, inept as NBC suits have shown themselves to be over the past several years, we still like to have NBC at least in the game in primetime and if something doesn't click on that network soon -- besides "Biggest Loser" -- it will be too late for a comeback...

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"Better off Ted": Hi, Pookie! I went to set the DVR Tuesday night, but instead of "Ted" there was something called "Lost" on. Have you heard anything about this "Lost"? Does it have any kind of following? And wouldn't "Ted" be great next to "My Boys"? When is that coming back?

Lisa de Moraes: "Lost" has a shrinking following, but rabid and I fear for their mental health once the show is gone. A moment of silence please while we pray for "Lost" fans....

(crickets)

And you are not going to get me to nick "My Boys" because I swore at the top of this chat not to poke fun at "My Boys" fans ever again and I am a woman who keeps her word...

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Arlington Gay: OK, for Simmons I'll allow it. This time.

Lisa de Moraes: thanks!

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Snowbound viewing: Mystery Science Theater 3000 is my go-to. Netflix has many episodes available for streaming online.

Lisa de Moraes: Brilliant choice!

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It's a different baby, Shankapotamous: No, I just read the article and it does not say it's a different baby. I'm going with Lisa's theory.

Lisa de Moraes: You mean I'm actually right? I'm going to win one? This is fantastic!

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baby ad: "It was on the cart path, frank! Read the rules, shankapotomus!"

makes my wife and me laugh every time.

all seriousness (?) isn't simon way more snarky than usual? And yes, the lines of single trailer trash moms is rather long this year.

Lisa de Moraes: Simon was clearly plotting his exit all during the auditions phase of "Idol" this year. You can watch him clocking out mentally -- it's like watching the petals of a rose blossom unfold in time lapse photography on National Geographic Channel...

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snowy va: Pookie,

Have you seen Lauren Graham's new show "Parenthood"? Is it new and different or is it just 'Gilmore Girls 2.0'?

Lisa de Moraes: No it's not "Gilmore Girls 2.0" because it also stars Peter Krause and Craig T. Nelson who wouldn't be caught dead on "Gilmore Girls"...That said, she's kinda doing the same character because that's Graham's schtick. But the director has managed to get her to tone it down a lot, so she's not so annoying like she became toward the end of "GG's" run...

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Snowy Falls Church: Pookie - how is Chuck doing in the ratings? Any chance the show will benefit from the latest kerfuffle at NBC?

Lisa de Moraes: This past Monday, "Chuck" clocked nearly 7 million viewers which is cause for celebration at NBC these days...

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washingtonpost.com:

Jake

Lisa de Moraes: Here is Jake. Honestly, how can you NOT plunk down your life savings on Jake?

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Austin, TX: "The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek" is out on DVD now? Wow, thanks! I've been wanting a copy of that ever since I read Joe Bob Brigg's essay about it in "Profoundly Erotic".

Lisa de Moraes: Yes, it's available. it's wonderful...

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Re: Jean Simmons: I loved it when Jean Simmons spit blood on stage.

Lisa de Moraes: okay, very funny -- not. We're talking about the "other" Jean Simmons. The non creepy, non boot-polish-black-haired Jean Simmons.

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What is the "ancillary stuff"? : I watch tv a lot, but I have no idea what you mean. . . is it like "V" themed lunch boxes?

Lisa de Moraes: Yes. V lunch boxes, and DVD boxed set sales, and all the money you might cough up to be able to watch it on your phone or whatever, and series tunes you might download, and so on and so forth...

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Oakland, CA: Pookie -- who is replacing the late, great Harry Kalas as the voice of the Puppy Bowl?

Lisa de Moraes: Voice of the Puppy Bowl, according to Animal Planet: Jeff Bordner is an Emmy Award Winning Voice Talent, professional broadcaster, actor and live performer/Master of Ceremonies.

We'll give him a chance, right? He's got big shoes to fill..

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NYC, NY: On "Lost," has no one noticed the Jack's hair has been re-styled over the years to be exactly like Christian's? From a kind of furry, short do with a very low hairline, to a longer,swept-back look. I have raised this point in the podcast Q&A to no avail. Please opine.

In addition, why does no one else in the Lost universe care that Claire's mother was last seen in a vegatative state in Australia with Christian recommending to pull the plug, and now she is a pretty, different lady altogether, very unvegatative and in possession of baby Aaron? I think this is significant, no? Damon & Carlton refuse to even aknowledge my repeated queries.

washingtonpost.com: Carole Littleton

Lisa de Moraes: I'm sure there are all kinds of theories among "Lost" fans as to why this has happened -- none of which will include the use of the words "lazy" and "writing."

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Survey?: Pookie, what no reader survey this week? I'm verklemt.

Lisa de Moraes: We could not agree on a poll question this week...Frankly, I'm having trouble remember what happened this week we might have polled. The Idol clip job on Wednesday used up all my available brain cells. I'm out of time. Be careful out there driving in the snow. Bye..

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