Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Talk Shows (1-10 of 225)

Jimmy Kimmel, week one: Here's how his place in talk-show history is already taking shape

As we arrive at the end of the first week of Jimmy Kimmel’s new time period, it may seem a tad premature to start affixing a position to Kimmel in the constellation of 11:30 p.m. late-night stars. But already, trends in the viewership of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The Late Show with David Letterman, as well as the personalities of their hosts, suggest a few interesting things. READ FULL STORY

'Meet The Press': Obama says Republicans 'can't say 'Yes' to good offers,' comments on 'Lincoln' movie, Benghazi 'was a huge problem,' and David Gregory left his bullets home this week: VIDEO

Interviewed on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday morning, President Obama told host David Gregory that he thinks the “fiscal cliff” will be avoided in “the next 48 hours”; he also addressed questions about gun control and the attack in Benghazi. Perhaps because he was interviewing the President in the White House, David Gregory refrained from waving around a gun magazine to illustrate any point.

Obama referred to some of his policy opponents in Congress as “folks can’t say ‘yes’ to good offers.” Gregory responded, “What is it about you, Mr. President, that is so hard to say ‘yes’ to?”

Obama’s response was basically a verbal shrug: “The way [the Republicans] are behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected. That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme.” READ FULL STORY

David Letterman hurricane show review: Audience-free, all wet, yet all funny

Former weatherman David Letterman did an audience-free show on Monday night. He and band leader Paul Shaffer stood outside of The Ed Sullivan Theater in yellow rain slickers at the start of the hour, patting their pockets for the key to the locked door. Once inside, he was prepared with wet humor: “I haven’t seen people soaked this badly since the Facebook IPO.” “Across the street at FlashDancers, the strippers are lashed to the pole.” The silence from 500 empty seats, with an occasional interpolation from band leader Paul Shaffer (he pegged the Facebook joke as dubious “tech humor”), rim shots and wiry guitar riffs from the band, and the occasional cough or sneeze from an off-camera staffer — you know, it really worked. It was a damn funny Late Show. READ FULL STORY

Gore Vidal, TV star: From William Buckley to Ali G

Gore Vidal, who died on Tuesday at age 86, almost always stirred things up when he appeared on television. Coming on the scene around the same time Marshall McLuhan had dubbed TV the “cool medium,” Vidal heated up the screen with his forthright, usually liberal, often radical, opinions on politics and culture. READ FULL STORY

'Johnny Carson: King of Late Night' airing tonight: Overrated royalty? A review

Tonight’s edition of PBS American Masters, titled Johnny Carson: King of Late Night, offers a well-edited description of why Johnny Carson is held in such high esteem as late night’s most influential host, even as it carefully avoids any hard questions about Carson’s talent or originality. READ FULL STORY

David Letterman to Howard Stern re: 'America's Got Talent': 'You're gonna make people cry.' 'Lord knows I can do it.'

On Wednesday night’s Late Show With David Letterman, the host celebrated his 30 years in late night with typical asperity, noting that at this point, what’s keeping him going is “Lipitor and vodka.” The greatest talk-show host ever — the sum of what came before him, the invention of his own body of work, the influence he has bequeathed to every host who’s come after him — nodded to his past with a Top Ten recited by longtime staffers heaping abuse upon their employer. READ FULL STORY

Mitt Romney is a serial killer, Stephen Colbert super PAC TV ad asserts

Stephen Colbert’s super PAC has released an ad asserting that Mitt Romney “is a serial killer.” The ad, narrated by John Lithgow (himself a former serial killer on Dexter), concludes: “Stop Mitt the Ripper before he kills again.” READ FULL STORY

Stephen Colbert is preparing to enter the South Carolina primary: 'I'm doing it!': VIDEO

The “major announcement” that Stephen Colbert promised this week has come to pass. He formally transferred his super PAC to Jon Stewart during Thursday night’s Colbert Report. In so doing, Colbert is able to enter the Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, his home state. (A campaigning politician is legally prohibited from simultaneously running a super PAC.) A graphic appeared onscreen screaming, “I’m doing it!” READ FULL STORY

Completing 2011's TV Top 20: Ken Tucker's Nos. 11-20 shows, including 'Community,' 'Parenthood,' 'Game of Thrones'...

Here, as I do every year, I follow up my TV Top 10 with my picks for numbers 11 through 20. Some of you have said these are consolation prizes, but that’s not so. There’s so much good television, that for a few years, I was stuffing my Top 10 with entries that allowed for multiple shows (“Best Thursday-night sitcoms,” for instance, to let me to sneak three shows into one number) until that started to become unwieldy and ridiculous. (Besides, as a part-time music critic, I like the “Top 20” phrase, with its roots in old pop-music radio.) I had no problem this year coming up with a clean-cut Top 10; what follows are shows that grazed the list, missed it for reasons I’ll occasionally articulate below, and yet are nonetheless full of value.

11. Community So full of pop-culture allusions, it’s the one sitcom steeped in irony that isn’t smug about its own smarts. The series tried to dig a bit deeper emotionally this season, to warm some of the characters and perhaps increase its audience-outreach without betraying itself. Me, I could do with less Chang, more Britta, and a Jeff who doesn’t sometimes seem a charmingly quizzical bystander.

12. Parenthood This was the season that’s come the closest to juggling its big cast most deftly, providing nearly every character with a strong plotline. If it’s inevitable that Lauren Graham’s Sarah and Dax Shepard’s Crosby – the show’s most bumptious personalities – dominated the latter half of the season, I was glad to see strong showcases for Peter Krause, Monica Potter, and Bonnie Bedelia.

13. Prohibition Ken Burns and booze proved to be a smooth yet exciting combination. The year’s best TV documentary extended beyond the history of Prohibition to chronicle the era of women’s sufferage and the rise of gangsterism as well.

14. Modern Family The nation’s most popular sitcom had some growing pains this season: In an admirable attempt to try to widen and deepen its characters, it bumped into some sentimental moments that didn’t quite work emotionally. But that’s just a sign that MF is not becoming complacent, and its ensemble cast is a match for that of any drama on TV. READ FULL STORY

David Letterman's annual Christmas show: Once again, Darlene Love brought down the house, and Jay Thomas brought down the Christmas tree

This is always a wonderful time of the year for The Late Show with David Letterman. It’s when Letterman invites old friends onto the show, a period when friendship and honest sentiment occasionally nudge aside the movie stars plugging their holiday releases. READ FULL STORY

Latest Videos in TV

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP