Mistresses are fun ... on TV, anyway

A funny thing happens to something when it goes across the Atlantic and across the continent. It turns sunnier, cheerier; even deep personal turmoil seems kind of fun.

At least, that's what happened to "Mistresses" when it leaped from London to Los Angeles. The American version debuts Monday (June 3) on ABC; here's the story I sent to papers:


Leaping out of a 100-channel universe,
some ABC titles seize attention.

Can a dancing Dick find out-of-comfort joy?

In its first 15 seasons, "Dancing With the Stars" has been won by seven athletes, three singers and two actors, plus a TV personality, reality star Melissa Rycroft and soldier-turned-actor J.R. Martinez.

So far, however, it's never been won by a comedian-turned-actor. Andy Dick -- wonderfully talented and consistently offbeat -- tries to be the first. Here's the story I sent to papers:


In this do-over, retake world, “Dancing
With the Stars” is different.

Oscar night: More music, more edge

The Academy Award show is Sunday (Feb. 24), promising more music and more comic edge. I'm sending a batch of stories to papers; here's the first one:


As soon as its producers were chosen,
one thing was clear: This year's Academy Award show will re-discover

Alongside that, however, came a
surprise: The show's comedy attitude is changing, too.

Somehow, ABC has become the Nashville network

When it comes to sheer program quality, I put ABC and its program director, Paul Lee, at the top. Now Lee -- an Oxford man, no less -- presides over a busy stretch of country-music shows. Here's the story I sent to papers:


A funny thing has happened to ABC. At
times, it transforms into the country-music channel.

When Emmys have Jimmys, we can expect fun

The Emmy awards are at their best when someone who really savors TV -- Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Neil Patrick Harris -- is in charge. Now it's Kimmel's turn, at 8 p.m. today (Sunday, Sept. 23). Here's the story I sent to papers:


This is Emmy week, a time to savor
what's good on TV. That means a Jimmy should host.

Two years ago, it was Jimmy Fallon, a
big TV fan. On Sunday, it's Jimmy Kimmel, with similar tastes.

ABC goes epic for the fall

Earlier, I sent an overview of ABC's fall schedule. (See previous blog.) Since then, the network has had its "upfront" presentation to advertisers -- and has left me quite optimistic. Here's the new version I sent to papers:


TV viewers tend to shrug when a new
network programming chief arrives.

ABC takes bold chances with Satan and the planet Zabvron

This is the week when networks set their fall line-ups. My previous blogs had the stories I sent to papers about NBC and Fox; here's ABC -- easily the most daring network this time. I'll have more after the network makes its presentation to advertisers, late this afternoon.


This fall, ABC will take some bold
chances with its most precious time slots.

"Desperate Housewives" starts its final lap

"Desperate Housewives" has done wonders for ABC and for TV viewers, bringing fresh style to a tired landscape. Today, it confirmed that this is its final season; here's the story I sent to papers:


For “Desperate Housewives,” the
farewell phase is beginning.

“The only thing harder than creating
a hit series is knowing when to end it,” Marc Cherry said.

Katie did it -- jumped to ABC

Katie Couric's decision finally became official today: She'll start working immediately for ABC, which will syndicate her talk show in the fall of 2012. Along the way, key questions were answered:

1) Which network? NBC -- which is already comfortably No. 1 in news -- wasn't in the running. CNN was for a while, in a deal that would have Warner Brothers syndicate the show. Still, it was down mostly to CBS and ABC.

Some speculated that Couric had mixed feelings about CBS News and would be glad to jump. They may have been right.

ABC: Praise, then cancel, then praise anew

Sometimes you can't help being a tad skeptical, even when TV networks are showing their best stuff.

This afternoon, ABC was showing bits of its new shows to advertisers and station executives. Much of it looked fast and flashy, and still ...

The brief clip for "Pan Am" included this statement: "People have underestimated me all my life. And they've been wrong."

(Hint: "Underestimated" already establishes that they've been wrong. If they'd been right, it would have been "correctly estimated.")