Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: In the News (41-50 of 518)

Best of 2011: I count down my TV Top 10 -- VIDEO

I usually fret and agonize over assembling a TV Top 10 list. I worry over valuing a novel new series over a more established yet still-excellent show. I sometimes try to smoosh shows together under a theme to smuggle more than 10 onto the list. But this year, putting together the list was a pure, unconflicted pleasure. READ FULL STORY

Why hiring Howard Stern for 'America's Got Talent' is the best decision NBC has made in years

NBC has finally done something right: In hiring Howard Stern to be a judge on America’s Got Talent, the network succeeds on a number of levels. Let’s count ‘em:

1. People like me will start watching America’s Got Talent. I, like millions of Americans, have no use for a talent show that tells me we have talent in this country. Who cares about its endless parade of cute tykes and silly dancers and, as Stern put it on his radio show, “Frank Sinatra impersonators”? But with Stern as a judge, I and many others will give this show another shot, because he’s bound to add a lot of sharp humor and, I’m wagering, a great deal of acute critical observation along with his trademark sarcasm.  READ FULL STORY

Fox News Republican debate review: Throwing red meat to the candidates, they bit, with a dash of zany

Two factors dovetailed to make Thursday night’s Republican debate lively, occasionally cut-throat television: It was the final set-to before the Iowa caucuses and thus the candidates’ last chance to reach a wide audience, and it was hosted and broadcast by the Fox News Channel, which knew how to dangle the red meat in front of the seven participants.  READ FULL STORY

Golden Globes TV nominations: Why are the choices so smart, yet so frustrating?

The TV nominations for the Golden Globes were such a predictable mishmash of well-deserved semi-surprises, the usual suspects, and dismaying disappointments that, like the SAG nominations yesterday and the Emmy nominations perennially, it makes me wonder two things: Why do I — and you; we — get so het up about awards, and is America ever going to reward John Noble? READ FULL STORY

Iowa Republican debate review: Behold a new creature, 'Newt Romney'!

ABC News hosted the latest Republican debate on Saturday night (the candidates seem to like trying to get on the air just before Saturday Night Live airs, thwarting SNL writers from making up-to-the-minute jabs). The two hours saw the front-runners-of-this-milisecond, Mitt Romney and Newt Gringrich, engage in a few head-to-head confrontations. Gingrich uttered the sound-bite of the night when he defended himself against the charge of being a career politician by sneering at Romney, “The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.” Romney, as he does frequently when confronted with an ad lib, looked flustered in response. READ FULL STORY

Last night's Republican debate: The candidates settle in to the caricatures that the media have assigned them

If there was one overriding theme of last night’s Republican debate on CNN, it wasn’t so much the stated theme — national security — as it was the underlying one: These candidates are now, for the most part, conforming to the images the news media has imposed upon them.

Newt Gingrich? He’s officially on the rise… this week. His poll numbers are up, and last night, his command of rhetoric was assured. His takeaway line — that military budget cuts were reasonable because “If it takes 15 to 20 years to build a weapons system when Apple changes technology every nine months, there’s something profoundly wrong with the system” — went over well with the audience. His sniffy condescension act plays as superior intelligence in the right setting, and this was the right setting for him.  READ FULL STORY

Mitt Romney's new campaign ad: Beware that hazy Obama!

Mitt Romney released a campaign ad today that begins with some intentionally grainy, hazy images of Barack Obama on the campaign trail, followed by crisp, clear images of Romney accusing him of failing to meet his pledges. As an alternative, Romney proposes a “smaller, simpler, smarter approach to government.”

It begins with “getting rid of Obamacare” because it’s “killing jobs”:

Romney contends we have a “moral responsibility not to spend more than we take in.” (This is political magic: attach the word “moral” to any theory or phrase and — voila! — you have God on your side.) With its ominous framing of Obama footage combined with its moralistic message, Romney is pushing buttons for a constituency that he’s having a tricky time appealing to thus far: The no-tax, no-spend wing of the Republican party, some of whose citizens actually believe that “Obamacare” is “killing jobs.” (That there’s no proof that the health care bill Obama oversaw is anywhere near to being so active in the life of economy yet that it’s somehow depriving people of jobs is just, you know, campaign rhetoric.) READ FULL STORY

Regis Philbin exited 'Live' old: A review of a final show and a career, plus an anecdote

The mayor of New York gave him the key to the city. Tony Danza, sitting in the audience, shouted, “We love you, Regis!” He finally told “the honeymoon story” you didn’t know you wanted to hear. The studio was filled not with citizen-fans but with family, celebs, and the great orange face of Donald Trump. It was the final new Live for old Regis.

The last, heavily scripted Live hour was loaded with pre-taped segments (“Regis Reflects” moments?) that contained nary a second of what made Regis Regis: spontaneity. Well, not entirely: “A little long but okay,” was Regis’ abrupt dismissal of that awful “You Make Me Smile” montage. As Disney mogul Bob Iger was introduced to deliver some verbiage, Regis muttered craftily, “Oh, he’s still here?” The best non-Regis moment came from Kelly Ripa’s speech to him, so genuinely emotional she had to read it from notes she held in her shaking hand; it was touching. Not so touching? The ad immediately afterward touting “the first Live with Kelly show on Monday!” The machine must roll on… READ FULL STORY

'Community' and 'Prime Suspect' tonight: A video review of support, and a plea

Both Community and Prime Suspect are on tonight with new episodes. You know why I’m pairing them, right? Because come January, NBC is putting Community “on hiatus” to make way for the return of 30 Rock. Community is said to return at “an unspecified date” but NBC has “halted production” on Prime Suspect, which means it is effectively canceled. Community has been especially good in recent weeks, and, if it helps NBC and those of you who don’t watch it to say this, very accessible and audience-friendly while retaining its densely layered comic appeal. READ FULL STORY

NBC is a big mess; NBC is on the verge of big success: A critic's take

Given the announcement of its midseason schedule, we can say two things: NBC is in big trouble, and NBC is paving a path to success.

NBC is in big trouble generally because its new fall shows have either been watched with a minimum of enthusiasm or by virtually no one. More specifically, NBC is in big trouble, public-relations-wise, because it will yank Community from its Thursday-night 8 p.m. slot to make way for the return of 30 Rock as of Jan. 12. And Community fans are, I can tell you from experience, some of the most passionate and social-networky fans in the uni-Twitter-verse. READ FULL STORY

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