Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
Monthly archives: March 2007


Wednesday Night Substitute for New Content Chat
2007-03-28 20:06
by Jon Weisman

This week's Friday Night Lights stars: Adrianne Palicki and Jesse Plemons.

Lost was weird. Sort of redeemed itself by the end, but I spent a good chunk of it wondering whether Kiele Sanchez was supposed to appear as bad an actress as Nikki Hernandez.

Wednesday Night Lights: A Great Night Lost in TV Land
2007-03-21 23:18
by Jon Weisman

Great episode of Friday Night Lights, followed by the best Lost of the season, one that firmly relaunches the series into exciting territory.
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American Idol in Ten Minutes or Less
2007-03-20 22:23
by Jon Weisman

Western Homes usually handles the American Idol beat, but I do watch the show, and since I need to get back on the Screen Jam horse, I thought I'd offer my thoughts as quickly as possible.

Subjective rankings, from least favorite to most favorite:

Sanjaya Malakar: Oh, how I cringed when he chose a song from the Kinks. Without a doubt, though, this was his best performance, as he found a path that didn't require him to hit notes. Somehow, it all seem to fit, and I actually am curious to see he if he could pull it off again. But his work up to now has been so horrible, I don't want to risk it.

Chris Richardson: Bland. So, so bland.

Gina Glocksen: I've watched all year and she just does nothing like me. She shouts more than she sings; she strikes me as a wannabe rather than as an actuallyis. Many other people like her, and I keep trying to get on board, but it just ain't happening.

Phil Stacey: Placing him below Haley might reveal me as a heterosexual male. He sings better than Haley, but then again, I think he's sort of all over the place. He's not easy to listen to at all. Haley is weaker but less grating.

Blake Lewis: I thought his was tonight's most overrated performance. He's got his own style, but his voice is weak. He wears thin really quickly on me.

Haley Scarnato: She's among the weaker female singers on the show, but I'll still take her over some of the guys. Her outfit tonight was so skimpy that I got scared it might dissolve; I can't say that's going to hurt her.

Chris Sligh: Chris was one of my absolute favorites coming out of the auditions, but he is slipping. It's as if he's lost that twinkle. I think he could get it back, though not enough to make him a serious contender.

Stephanie Edwards: Same sort of feeling. I thought she was a solid No. 3 entering the final 12, but she seems to be retreating into herself.

Jordin Sparks: I've liked her more and more each week, and I thought she was fantastic tonight. Her personality is great, she can sing, and I now expect her to be a finalist. I only question her consistency, but I look forward to seeing her perform more than any other competitor.

Lak(K)isha Jones: The judges were rough on her tonight, considering her talent is still miles better than almost everyone else's. I do think she's in trouble, though, because on an emotional and physical level, she doesn't compel you to vote for her as much as everyone else. I think she could be this year's shocking early exit.

Melinda Dolittle: She's lovely. I actually would like to see her lose her shock at being praised, but there are worse things to possess. She can sing anything, filled with passion yet steady as a rock. Absolutely, it is her competition to lose.

Thursday Night Open Chat
2007-03-15 16:53
by Jon Weisman

2007-08 Casting Call
2007-03-14 21:50
by Jon Weisman

Today in Variety, I synthesized some of the casting notices for the 2007-08 pilot season to show where some of the faces of the 2006-07 season are migrating to:

The failure of ballyhooed ABC hostage drama "The Nine" to escape the 2006-07 television season unscathed left no stigma on its actors when it came time to cast pilots for the 2007-08 campaign.

Instead, along with several other TV performers buffeted by the fates this season, at least six of "The Nine" have already found sanctuary in upcoming projects.

  • Tim Daly will appear on the upcoming "Grey's Anatomy" episode that will serve as a pilot for a spinoff featuring "Grey's" actress Kate Walsh.

  • Kim Raver, who played a potential love interest for Daly's character, joined the cast of "Lipstick Jungle" at NBC.

  • Chi McBride, manager of the bank where "The Nine" was set, will now be "Pushing Daisies" for ABC.

  • Scott Wolf, who came to "The Nine" after a stint on "Everwood," moved on to ABC's untitled Gabe Sachs/Jeff Judah comedy pilot centered around co-workers at a law firm.

  • Jessica Collins, whose pregancy with Jeremy's child was left in limbo when "The Nine" vanished, settled in at CBS' "The Man."

  • Camile Guaty, whose character liasoned with Jeremy as well, moved on to Fox's "Supreme Courtships."

    Some of the above come to their new locations with refugees from other 2006-07 disappearing acts, such as "Day Break" lead Taye Diggs, who joins Daly on the "Grey's Anatomy" would-be spinoff and Melinda Clarke of "The O.C.," who will meet Collins on "The Man."

    In addition, a few of the most heavily promoted stars from other network shows last fall have already lined up prospects for 2007-08. Ted Danson is helping himself from ABC's "Help Me Help You" to FX's untitled legal drama starring Glenn Close. Jeffrey Tambor went from NBC's quickly canceled "20 Good Years" to CBS pilot "The Captain."

    Victor Garber, the face of Fox's "Justice," is plotting a return via ABC pilot "Eli Stone." And Lucy Punch, a relative unknown who nevertheless spent most of this season playing Holly on well-publicized ensemble comedy "The Class," finds new footing with "Two Families."

    Meanwhile, several familiar names are leaving or potentially leaving veteran shows for new starts: Jerry O'Connell of "Crossing Jordan" to ABC laffer "Carpoolers"; Nikki Cox of "Las Vegas" and Michael Rapaport of "The War at Home" to Fox's "The Stumps of Hollywood"; Joanna Garcia and Steve Howey of "Reba" to "The Captain" and "CBS' "The Beast," respectively; Harold Perrineau of "Lost" to CBS' "Demons" (though this does not resolve the fate of Perrineau's Michael on the ABC island drama); Robin Weigert of "Deadwood" to NBC's "Set for Life"; and Shane West of "ER" to "Supreme Courtships."

    And then there are those who parlayed noteworthy or even breakthrough guest work on successful shows into potential series-regular status on new shows. This group includes Paul Reubens ("30 Rock") and Jane Lynch ("Criminal Minds"/"Boston Legal"), who relocated to NBC comedy "Area 52"; Kate Burton (the recently deceased Ellis Grey of "Grey's Anatomy"), who landed on "Supreme Courtships"; and Rashida Jones ("The Office"), who will start over with "The Rules of Starting Over."

    Jayma Mays, who has guested as female characters named Charlie on both "Heroes" and "Ugly Betty," will have to get used to a new first name on "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office" for ABC; while Fox's "K-ville" and "The Apostles" each cast a "Heroes" colleague of Mays: Tawny Cypress (Simone) and Jessalyn Gilsig (Meredith).

    Even bigger 2006-07 guest stars that embraced the possibility of full-time series work include Lucy Liu (from "Ugly Betty" to ABC's "Cashmere Mafia"), Beau Bridges (from "My Name Is Earl" to Fox's "Two Families") and Lucy Lawless (from "Battlestar Galactica" to ABC's "Football Wives")

    Aside from Emmy-winning sitcom stars Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton -- the anchor team for Fox's "Action News" -- the most intriguing names in pilot casting thus far might be film actresses Marisa Tomei and Parker Posey, who were each cast in dramatically titled projects: "The Rich Inner Life of Penelope Cloud" (CBS) and "The Return of Jezebel James" (Fox).

    Casting news for the 2007-08 TV season can be tracked at Variety's Pilot Watch.

  • Yes, Rashida Jones has a backup plan ... you know, in case Karen doesn't land Jim.

    A Good Review
    2007-03-13 22:00
    by Jon Weisman

    "Knocked Up" is uproarious. Line for line, minute to minute, writer-director Judd Apatow's latest effort is more explosively funny, more frequently, than nearly any other major studio release in recent memory. Indeed, even more than the filmmaker's smash-hit sleeper "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," his new pic is bound to generate repeat business among ticketbuyers who'll want to savor certain scenes and situations again and again, if only to memorize punchlines worth sharing with buddies. Currently set for a June 1 release, this hugely commercial comedy likely will remain in megaplexes throughout the summer and, possibly, into the fall. ...

    - Joe Leydon, Variety

    Update: Here's the Variety review of The Godfather that ran 35 years ago today:

    With several million hardcover and paperback books acting as trailers, Paramount's film version of Mario Puzo's sprawling gangland novel, "The Godfather," has a large pre-sold audience. This will bolster the potential for the film which has an outstanding performance by Al Pacino and a strong characterization by Marlon Brando in the title role. It also has excellent production values, flashes of excitement, and a well-picked cast.

    But it is also overlong at about 175 minutes (played without intermission), and occasionally confusing. While never so placid as to be boring, it is never so gripping as to be superior screen drama. This should not mar Paramount's box-office expectations in any measure, though some filmgoers may be disappointed. ...

    Office Newpeats: The Latest Word
    2007-03-09 10:40
    by Jon Weisman

    Having found excess footage left off the final cuts of Thursday comedy "The Office" to be popular online, NBC has hit upon the idea of actually airing that footage … on television.

    For next week's broadcast, NBC is recutting material from two previous episodes of "The Office" with the aforementioned outtakes to create a hyprid new episode and repeat, summed up by NBC in an appropriately hybrid word: "newpeat."

    Though the repurposing of content previously broadcast on TV resembles what shows such as "Lost" do to bridge gaps between new episodes - not to mention that TV staple, the clip show – the seamless integration of unaired "Office" material provides NBC with something out of the ordinary to promote on a night the network premieres two other shows, "Andy Barker P.I." with Andy Richter and "Raines" with Jeff Goldblum.

    The "Office" remix will also no doubt feed the show's cult following, which has helped build the show's previously diminutive ratings through word of mouth.

    "Their loyalty must be rewarded somehow, and we don't have the budget for 10 million muffin baskets," executive producer Greg Daniels commented dryly for the press release.

    NBC also announced a mini-marathon of five "Office" episodes for March 29, surrounding another "Andy Barker" outing.

    2007-03-02 12:09
    by Jon Weisman

    My brother's role as supervising producer on the new Spider-Man animated series was announced Thursday. Here's Michael Schneider's Variety story.

    With "Spider-Man 3" hitting theaters this summer, Kids' WB hopes to capitalize on the anticipated blockbuster by picking up Sony's new animated "Spider-Man" skein.

    "The Amazing Spider-Man," from Sony Pictures TV's Culver Entertainment shingle, will launch sometime in early 2008 on the CW's Saturday morning Kids' WB block.

    The toon will focus on the start of the Spider-Man mythology, beginning with Peter Parker coping with his newfound powers as he enters his junior year of high school. Greg Weisman ("The Batman") will serve as supervising producer, while Victor Cook ("Hellboy: Blood and Iron") is producer/supervising director.

    "We'll have plenty of resonant material for the Spider-Man fan, while engaging the Spider-Man novice with the same thrills we experienced when we were first exposed to the character," Weisman said.