Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nielsen Ratings For February 16 - 22

The Nielsen Rating's Top 20 TV Shows for February 16 - 22. The first number is the ranking, the second number is the season average, then the show name and network. The last number represents the number of viewers in millions. An 'x' indicates non-series special programming. An asterisk * indicates a tie.

1. X Academy Awards ABC 36.3
2. 2 American Idol (Tues) Fox 25.4
3. 1 American Idol (Wed) Fox 24.8
4. X Oscars Red Carpet ABC 24.4
5. 8 The Mentalist CBS 18.2
6. 6 NCIS CBS 18.1
7. 4 CSI CBS 16.9
8. 13 Grey's Anatomy ABC 15.6
9. 11 Criminal Minds CBS 14.5
10. 20 House Fox 14.2
11. 14 Survivor: Tocantins CBS 13.6
12. 12 Two and a Half Men CBS 13.3
13. 28 The Bachelor ABC 12.5
14. 17 CSI: NY CBS 12.3
15. 18 Without a Trace CBS 12.1
16. X Barbara Walters ABC 11.5
17. 25 Lost ABC 11.4
18. 20 24 Fox 11.2
* 23 Eleventh Hour CBS 11.2
* 44 Private Practice ABC 11.2

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hugh Jackman & The 2009 Academy Awards

I made it through 2 hours of last night's Academy Awards. The year previous I only lasted a half hour, tops. Last year was the lowest rated Academy Awards show in a long time. Apparently this brought about some re-vamping. Which apparently I found more watchable.

I never was onboard the Billy Crystal bandwagon. I didn't think Jon Stewart did very well. Whoopie Goldberg also didn't cause a big whoop out of me. Of course none of these were nearly the disaster known as David Letterman.

But, last night, I thought Hugh Jackman was the best host of the Oscar Show in a long long time. Now, reading some reviews this morning of last night's show, there were complaints of too much filler between what we were all wanting to see, that being Academy Awards being given out.

Well, I guess I am in a minority. I really didn't care who won any of the Oscars. I'd not seen any of the movies. Even if I had I've never quite seen why it matters who wins one of these awards or not.

What I like is the spectacle of the show. And I think last night delivered. From the opening Musical Song and Dance number, which ended with Hugh Jackman getting a standing ovation, to the salute to Musicals which came later and was like an over the top classic old Hollywood Busby Berkeley routine. With Beyonce. And others.

I liked the multi-media clips, like the way they showed a screenplay being written to illustrate each of those up for an award for writing.

Despite what I've read others thought, I liked how they brought out 5 former winners to announce this year's winner in the various acting categories.

I didn't realize, til reading it described this morning, what it was that seemed so different. I knew the show seemed more closed in, with everyone seeming closer to the stage. What I did not realize was they were going for an intimate nightclub-like setting for the show. I think they succeeded.

When Jennifer Anniston came on stage, so close to her ex, Brad Pitt, I was wanting her to make a "Friends" like snarky remark in Brad or Angelina's direction. That would have been amusing.

I DVRed the Academy Awards. I'll watch the rest of it. I'm sure I'll enjoy what happens between the boring parts when they give out those awards I don't care about.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nielsen Ratings For February 9 - 15

The Nielsen Rating's Top 20 TV Shows for February 9 - 15. The first number is the ranking, the second number is the season average, then the show name and network. The last number represents the number of viewers in millions. An 'x' indicates non-series special programming. An asterisk * indicates a tie.

1. American Idol (Tues) Fox 24.9
2. American Idol (Wed) Fox 24.8
3. The Mentalist CBS 19.7
4. NCIS CBS 18.0
5. CSI CBS 17.9
6. Grey's Anatomy ABC 15.2
7. Two and a Half Men CBS 15.0
8. Without a Trace CBS 14.3
9. Private Practice ABC 14.1
10. Desperate Housewives ABC 14.0
11. CSI: Miami CBS 13.8
12. Survivor: Tocantins CBS 13.6
13. 60 Minutes CBS 13.1
14. Big Bang Theory CBS 12.7
15. Criminal Minds CBS 12.5
16. CSI: NY CBS 11.9
17. The Bachelor ABC 11.6
18. Dateline (special) NBC 11.3
19. 20/20 ABC 11.0
20. Cold Case CBS 10.9
* Eleventh Hour CBS 10.9

Top Chef Finale: New Orleans Part I

That's the Top Chef Final Four, I mean Five, in New Orleans, in front of Judges' Table after the Elimination Challenge in which they cooked for a large Mardis Gras type crowd under the watchful eye of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.

Now, you're wondering, if you haven't watched last night's new episode, how it was that the Final Four increased to 5.


At the Quickfire, Padma threw a twist. Out walked Leah, Jamie and Jeff. In their chef garb. The Final Four of Stephan, Fabio, Hosea and Carla, got to watch as the 3 who had already packed their knives and left, competed in the Quickfire.

The winner of the Quickfire got back in the game. With the added pressure of having to win the next Elimination Challenge, which would then send 2 of the formerly Final 4 packing their knives.

The Quickfire Challenge involved making something tasty with Mudbugs, also known as Crawfish. Nasty little pieces of Southern Seafood. Emeril liked Jeff's the best. And so he was back in it.

For the Elimination Challenge the 5 Finalists had to make a couple Creole type dishes and a cocktail.

Carla chose to make oyster stew. And an alcohol free cocktail. In New Orleans. At Mardis Gras. Risky move. All seemed lost for Carla as she found only oysters in the shell, that needed shucking, with Carla only shucking her first oyster the week before.

Stephan was more cocky than usual. Taking smoking breaks. How do so many chefs happen to be smokers, I always wonder?

Fabio seemed a bit lost with the Creole concept, but he was confident he was going to be Top Chef and be able to help his sick mother. I love a good sob story. But I already liked Fabio, he didn't need the sob story.

Hosea always seems lost to me. But then he manages to pull off a surprise.

And then there was Jeff. He had to win or be sent packing his knives and leaving again. Plus he had the added incentive of the winner of the Elimination Challenge getting a new car. Which Fabio said he desperately needed, due to the fact that he was currently driving a piece of, well, junk. Fabio said it more colorfully in that Italian way of his.

Everyone seemed to like all the Chef's food. Very little quibbles. With Carla, Jeff and Hosea seeming to get the most positive feedback.

At Judges' Table it quickly became clear that Carla and Jeff were the favorites, with Stephan and Fabio the least favorite. It was real close between Carla and Jeff, but Emeril picked Carla. I like Carla. I was good with either Carla or Jeff winning either that Elimination Challenge or Top Chef.

Then they sent Hosea to safety, guaranteed spot in the Final 3, with Team Euro being the Bottom 2. I was sure Stephan was going to be sent packing, due to his cockiness getting on the judges' nerves and the judges having issues with some of what Stephan cooked. But then they also had issues with Fabio, particularly his sickeningly sweet cocktail.

So, Padma told Fabio to pack his knives and leave. They should have kept Fabio around for the entertainment value. Then again, Stephan is also entertaining, just in a more perverse way.

Carla for the win!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Real Housewives of New York City: Episode 1

I don't know what it is that hooks me with these housewives, unlike the OC version, which just does not hook me. I like those Real Housewives of New York City.

It started off with good drama due to Jill speaking ill of Simon (who they all now seem to refer to as the gay husband of Alex). Jill had told New York Post gossip columnist, Cindy Adams, that Simon was a drunk. Among other things.

Jill was mad at Simon over something he had said about her. A whole lot of brouhaha ensued.

Ramona wants nothing to do with Simon and Alex. I forget if it was Ramona or one of the others, who said they are constantly being told that Simon and Alex are creepy. Well, yes, of course they are, that's what makes them funny.

Ironically, while Ramona was using Jill's ill chosen words as a teaching moment with her daughter, tell her daughter never to commit to print saying bad things about someone. Ramona said this while she was saying bad things that were committed to audio. For the listening pleasure of Simon and Alex. Who, now seem to be uniformly referred to as Silex. I thought that was funny.

Bethenny continues to be reality tv show gold with her endless supply of one-liners. Bethenny seems to have lost a boyfriend and a lot of weight. We saw her in a bikini in, I guess it was, Jill's pool. Jill did not look quite as good as Bethenny in a swimming suit. I like Jill.

The Countess showed up, returning from Switzerland. I guess they felt they needed a new housewife, so the Countess went out for drinks with teetotaller, Kelly, who had a cappacino while the Countess swilled champagne. Kelly seems to be an over the hill former model who apparently operates in the upper echelon of New York City fabulosity, according to Bethenny.

The previews of the upcoming episodes look highly entertaining. I'm in. The DVR is set to record the series. Not that that is necessary with Bravo TV with their endless repeats.

Here is the blurb from the New York Post that got Silex all mad at Jill...

[Jill] also is feuding with "that other one" [former model Alex McCord], whose husband Simon semi-snottily remarked how very obviously Long Islandish or Brooklynish or not classyish certain of these sweet ladies are.

"I do not speak to those two. First of all, he drinks too much. And is very insulting. And they are not invited to my July Fourth party in the Hamptons, which is very big and which is my fifth annual and which everybody wants to come to. She and I will keep doing the show, of course, but I will have nothing to do with her otherwise."

Alex is a former model? That is ridiculous. Or is Cindy Adams referring to the controversial totally naked photos of Alex that "ewwwwwwed" up the Internet and grossed out Ramona so much she won't have anything to do with Silex?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ABC's The Bachelor Shocking Finale???

I had not watched much of the latest version of ABC's The Bachelor. I find The Bachelor and its sister show, The Bachelorette very bad train wreck reality tv.

I watched a lot of the previous season, which had the annoying bachelorette, Deanna Pappas, who had been dumped by the previous bachelor, dump this guy named Jason Mesnik and run off into the sunset with a snowboarder named Jesse.

This left Jason heartbroken. He'd fallen in love with Deanna. Why, I had no clue. But, then Jason became the new bachelor and now I guess the reason Jason so easily supposedly fell in love with Deanna is because, apparently, Jason falls in love easily and often. Currently with multiple women at the same time.

I fast forwarded through Monday's episode. That's the one where Jason takes the final three that he's fallen in love with on a so-called Fantasy Date, during which he gives each of the ones he has fallen in love with an invitation to spend the night with him in the Fantasy Suite where they can pretend they are already married.

I agree with what I read on Survivor Sucks. It seemed like soft porn. I did not like Jason when I saw him on The Bachelorette. Supposedly there are some who thought he was such a nice guy. To me he seemed boring and sort of dumb.

Apparrently that is what led his first wife, Hillary, to get a divorce in 2007. They got married in 2003. I haven't read an explanation as to how Mesnik got custody of the kid, Ty. Ty is an only child and seems to already be exhibiting some Only Child Syndrome symptoms.

So, on Monday, Jason sent a nice Canadian girl, Jillian, home from New Zealand, where he'd had his way with her in a hot tub. She did not take it well, being sent home I mean, I don't know what she thought of the hot tub. I think she's better off getting rejected. Jason no longer has a job, he quit it to be on TV. I read he now shares a townhouse in Kirkland with his brother. That Sleepless in Seattle houseboat that was shown to be his home, was not his. He does not live there.

As far as I know, the producers of this ABC train wreck always promise the most dramatic Rose Ceremony, or final episode ever. From the start of this particular mating attempt, each week the viewers are teased with the reappearance of Deanna Pappas. This had led to the highest ratings in years for this once in danger of being cancelled show. Likely somewhat due to viewers each week tuning in thinking this is the week that Deanna Pappas shows up.

And now, ABC has let it be known that an additional hour has been added on a followup night to the finale, due to that most shocking ever thing I just mentioned. Last night's episode ended with that annoying Chris Harrison person saying that due to the shocking nature of the most shocking ending ever it would be filmed in the most intimate way possible. Huh? I have no idea what that means.

The best rumor of what happens is that Jason knocked up one of the girls during their night in the Fantasy Suite. Not knowing this, he chooses the other girl, be it Molly or Mellisa. When he dumps the pregnant one, that is when she informs Jason that Ty will soon have a step-sibling.

That's Jason's first wife, Hilary, she being the one that quickly grew bored with him when she realized she'd married a doofus, in the picture at the top. Hilary is in a video of a Seattle band named Out From Underneath. She is the only female in the video. You can watch it below. Washingtonions will recognize a lot of Seattle landmarks.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Amazing Race's First Episode: Luke & Margie #1

I don't recollect watching the first episode of a new The Amazing Race and quickly having a favorite who I want to win. But this time I do. Luke and his mom, Margie Adams.

Luke and Margie got to the first Pit Stop first, where Phil let them know they were Team #1 by using sign language. If you watched you already know, if you didn't I'll tell you, Luke is the first deaf person to be on The Amazing Race.

Luke's mom talks to him with sign language. The other teams think this may give them an advantage. It sure did not seem as if Luke's "handicap" was much of a handicap for him.

After the teams arrived at the Los Alamitos training base, via Marine helicopters, they got their first clue, telling them to travel to Locarno, Switzerland. There was a little airport drama at LAX with the teams having to choose between 2 flights, one going to Zurich, arriving earlier with a longer train ride to Locarno, the other landing in Milan with a shorter train ride to Locarno.

The Swiss scenery made me want to go to Switzerland. The couple who eventually ended up getting eliminated, Preston and Jennifer, turned out to be this Amazing Race's first bickering couple. Bickering never works out well on The Amazing Race. The pair became befuddled looking for the train station, getting on a later train than anyone else.

The next bickerers were Steve and Linda. Steve nagged Linda about being too slow, putting them in last place.

The first Roadblock of the race was a doozy. A 70 story bungee jump off the second highest dam in the world. The jumpers were pretty nervous and scared, for the most part. The first to jump was Victor of the Victor/Tammy brother/sister team.

After bungee jumping the next clue told the racers to travel by train to the town of Interlaken and find Kleine Rugen Wiese. When they found Kleine Rugen Wiese the racers learned they had to haul 200 pounds of cheese in the form of 50 pound rounds, down a steep hill. Sounded easy enough, but it turned out to be difficult. And amusing. Particularly to the group of Swiss natives laughing at the struggling teams.

Luke and Margie and Victor and Tammy finished delivering their cheese and got the clue directing them to the Pitstop in the town of Stechelberg, where they had to find the last postal stop. Margie heard the yodelers before Victor and Tammy did, which had Luke and Margie first on the mat, with Phil speaking in sign language.

Great first episode.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Amazing Race: Season 14 Starts Sunday February 15

On Thursday I was caught by surprise with Survivor already back on the air. Seems like it was just yesterday that Bob won the million on Survivor: Gabon. It was Bob who won, wasn't it?

And now this morning I learn that tomorrow at 8pm Eastern, 7pm Central a new The Amazing Race starts up. I'm starting to have TV overload. I don't know if I could manage it without than newfangled miracle worker known as a DVR. I'm amazed that this is now the 14th running of The Amazing Race. It is so popular in other countries and consistently wins Emmy Awards, that I guess CBS thinks it's a good idea to keep The Amazing Race running.

Way back in 2004 a former friend of mine and I decided to try out for The Amazing Race. But first she had to get in shape and lose a lot of weight. Now, 5 years later, The Amazing Race is still running strong, while my former friend has doubled, maybe tripled in size. I need a new racing partner. I'm taking applications.

Looking at the racers it would appear that once again we have no alpha male pairs of the sort that too often dominated earlier races. There are 2 male pairing, one a dad and son, the other pair may have been alpha males in their prime, but this pair of brother are in the half century old zone.

I do not remember, in past Amazing Races, knowing where the Pit Stops were and what countries would be raced through, prior to the race starting.

But, according to the CBS Amazing Race website, the race starts in Los Angeles, goes to Stechelberg, Switzerland, then Salzburg, Austria, Bran, Romania, Novosibirsk, Russian, south to Jaipur, India (ugh, India), then to Phuket, Thailand (didn't that place get wiped out by the Tsunami?), north to Bangkok, Thailand (been there, done that), further north to Gublin, China, followed by 2 Pit Stops in Beijing, before making a mad dash back to the good ol' United States of America for a finish on Maui in Hawaii.

Of all the countries in this new race, I don't recollect The Amazing Race running to Romania before. The other countries I believe we have been to. I think they always throw India into the mix, due to India reliably providing a good dose of extreme culture shock that can be both disgusting and highly entertaining. Let's hope this time it leans toward the entertaining side of the scale more than the disgusting.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Survivor 18: Tocantins---The Brazilian Highlands First Episode

Usually it takes me a few episodes before I get hooked on a new Survivor. Last night's first episode pretty much hooked me from the start.

Usually it takes a few episodes before there is any sort of plot line where I can make any sense out of who or why a boot from the tribe might happen.

Last night started with a long truck ride to the Brazilian Highlands, which seems to be a different type of scenic zone than we have seen on Survivor before. It reminded me of Monument Valley in Utah, but with greenery and rivers.

The Tocantins must be near the equator, what with the temperature above 120. I have been above 120 before, in non-humid Death Valley. I can not imagine being above 120 in a humid zone. Did I hear Probst right? That they are above 9000 feet elevation? How can that be. They'd all be so out of breath.

Before the twist, I did not like the bit where each tribe made an instant judgment and voted to boot one of their people right then and there, where the truck ride ended. One tribe booted "Old Lady" Sandy. The other booted, "Sick and on Anti-biotics" Sierra. Only they weren't really booted. Instead they got to take a copter ride to their new camp, while the others trekked carrying heavy loads.

Sandy got to her camp to discover she could find a hidden immunity idol. Or build a camp. She chose to hunt for immunity. While Sierra seemed to make the wise choice and built a shelter. Sierra's tribe had a rough time finding camp, arriving after dark, grateful to find shelter. Sandy's tribe arrived in daylight and wondered what the hell she'd done all day.

Sandy was inept looking for the idol. Somehow this well-seasoned, self-described "Crazy Lady" had no idea what go "15 paces" means. She just kept randomly digging to no avail.

It was a foregone conclusion that she would get the boot. But then she did real good at the Immunity Challenge, which raised some doubts as to the wisdom of booting her. They lost the challenge and then one named Carolina quickly revealed her annoying nature which led some to think that it might behoove them to get rid of her now, before she really gets on their nerves.

Apparently Carolina was even more annoying than what we saw, because she pretty much unanimously got the boot, for the first blindside of the season.

There are some interesting characters in addition to Sandy. There is Benjamin, a bit full of himself, who seems like he has the potential to annoy. Young, longtime fan, Spencer, who seems destined to fail. I like Sierra. I also like JT, the rancher. There is a self-described free-spirited Mormon named Tyson who, in what I think is a Survivor first, went sans clothing in the first episode, to the amusement of Sierra and others. Usually it's a ways in before skinny dipping occurs.

At those temperatures I don't know why they don't go naked and in the water all day long. I think that's what I'd do. Of course, without a doubt, I'd be the first booted out of my tribe, both for being lazy, spending all day naked in the water, and being overall annoying, and being totally inept at those confusing challenges.

Next week looks fun. Some sort of brutal basketball game in a drenching downpour.