It was a critical hit and a ratings winner, so ESPN has canceled its football drama "Playmakers." The show had vexed ESPN since it debuted in August, when the NFL complained the program dwelled too much on fictive players' drug abuse, extramarital sex, homophobia--the stuff you read about in the sports pages but which somehow looks worse on TV.
MARIA SHRIVERA journalist, a Kennedy and wife of a movie star turned governor, Maria Shriver knows both sides of the camera. Last week, after leaving NBC News to avoid conflicts with her new role as California's First Lady, she practiced being an interviewee with NEWSWEEK's Karen Breslau.What do you wish you'd known before you woke up one morning as First Lady?
Isn't it time that someone arrested a TV executive or two on charges of grand larceny? Half the shows on television are either ripped off from another country ("Survivor," "Trading Spaces"), spun off from the original (coming soon: "Law & Order 4" and "C.S.I. 3") or are imitations of other shows ("The Apprentice" and every new sitcom on ABC).
When Bobb'e Thompson enters the room, you can practically hear the bling-bling. Designer sweat suit, gold dog tag and chains, giant titanium watch--the man does dress for success. "I like jewels, shiny and icy," says Thompson. "When I get to be 13, I'd like to go shopping in the Beverly Hills mall every two weeks." The man, did we say?
Just when you thought no one even watched TV movies anymore, along comes "The Reagans," and people are dying just to read the script. The CBS miniseries doesn't air until Nov. 16, but leaked copies of the screenplay and a six-minute highlight tape have already stirred up a controversy about how the movie depicts the president and his wife, Nancy. "The Reagans" sprawls from the moment they meet on a Hollywood set through his presidency and his developing Alzheimer's.
The clingy dress, the Chanel belt, the denim mini-skirt--if they were cruising the clubs, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie would be stunning. However, the Beverly Hills bombshells just relocated to Altus, Ark. (population: 817), so the reaction is closer to stunned. "Well, their clothing is a little different than what most girls wear around here," says grandma Curly Leding.
For someone who survived Linda Tripp, Ken Starr and Barbara Walters, Monica Lewinsky is still charmingly skittish about interviews. She's got two PR minders monitoring our conversation, and she pauses and sighs more than Al Gore in a debate. "I really treasure my privacy," she says. "I'm trying to recognize that I'm a public person and draw the boundaries of what I'm allowed to keep private." Fair enough.
You've heard of the Atkins diet and the Weight Watchers diet. Here, for the first time, is the Antonio Banderas diet. It starts every morning with fried eggs and bacon, cooked by Banderas himself. "I have to do the right amount of oil," he says. "That greasy thing allows you to start singing in the morning." Grease is a food group in the Banderas diet, what with his April 10 Broadway debut in the musical "Nine." He eats potato chips--preferably Ruffles--by the bagful.
What do you call it when someone turns on the lights but you still can't see? That's a pretty fair description of television's coverage of the war in Iraq.For all the talk about unprecedented battlefield access, amazing new broadcast technology and 24/7 coverage on numerous channels, TV's first few days of Operation Iraqi Freedom were largely a muddle.
If you're 4-foot-11 and talk like a kewpie doll on helium, people don't always take you seriously. For instance, the last time Kristin Chenoweth ordered flowers for a friend. "She never got them," she chirps. "I called to find out what happened, and they told me, 'It says here that a child was using your credit card'." Yet Chenoweth, 33, has a supersize talent.
When a TV network hails something as "epic," it's really saying, We dare you to watch the whole thing. OK, we admit it: we only watched half of "Taken," which is more than most people will manage. "Taken" is a 20-hour miniseries--that's twice as long as "The Tenth Kingdom"!--and even if its executive producer is Steven Spielberg, that's still a lot of time to spend with a show about people hunting for little green men.
How do you attract audiences to an off-off-Broadway play about the death penalty? Packing the cast with celebrities works pretty well. Since "The Exonerated" opened last month with Richard Dreyfuss, Jill Clayburgh and Sara Gilbert, it has become one of the hottest tickets in New York, even though its artfully woven testimonials of people freed from death row is hardly your light evening out.
When it comes time to hand out the Emmy Awards, USA's "Murder in Greenwich" won't even be nominated. It's the kind of TV movie where the dead person narrates her own story, where the actors are way prettier than their real-life counterparts, where the famously bald star wears a terrible toupee.