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September 16, 2008

Vacation recap: Silverman, '24,' 'SNL,' '90210'

Jeez, you go away for one week and all hell breaks loose. Fox’s "24" and "Dollhouse" cease production. Wall Street crumbles. McCain overthrows Obama in the polls. Clearly, RSS feeds don't wait for bloggers who spend their days melting into the South Pacific sand.   

Recapping the week:

>> Fox’s “24" shuts down. So does “Dollhouse.” The “Dollhouse” stoppage is understandable -- a new series with a tricky concept and all. But given the writers strike, “24” had more than enough time to get its act together for next season … meanwhile John McCain claims he’s just like Jack Bauer (well, except Bauer usually tortures his captives, not the other way around).

>> Ben Silverman says he’s not going anywhere. To some extent, the “Silverman is axed” chatter is cart before horse. The job of an entertainment president (which is what Silverman is, even if his business card carries a more lofty title) is to find one new hit a year. In Silverman's case, the fall season fruits of his labor have yet to drop. The most influential judges of his job performance are viewers, not insiders who dislike him. This is Hollywood. Nobody likes anybody anyway. Let’s revisit this in late November.

>> Ex-showrunner Diane Ruggiero on how meddlesome CBS drove her to quit “The Ex List:" "I'm not a f---ing transcriber," she says. "It's like someone comes to you with a little black dress and says, 'You can do anything you want with it, anything at all,' and you go, 'Oh, great,' and then they come back and say, 'But you need to wear this belt, and these shoes, and...' "

>> "TRL" executive producer assumes USA Today readers are as dim as his show's viewers, claims MTV canceled "TRL" because it’s a Top 10 countdown show that reached its 10th season. Since networks make business decisions based on verbal symmetry, don't you know.

>> ITV chair Michael Grade says aloud what most in Hollywood say privately, calls YouTube a "parasite" of TV content.

>> Writer asks why aren’t parent groups outraged about the oral-sex-in-a-parked-car gag in the premiere of “90210.” Um, because the scene was about as sexy as a cereal commercial and one third as comprehensible?

>> Everybody is giving thumbs down to the re-cast and painfully corporate-friendly “At the Movies” (a critics roundtable? Gag). Clearly, the show isn’t doing anything to prevent the ongoing rise of the local-movie-critic-death-knell that is rottentomatoes.com.

>> In the best publicity G4 has had in years, the network is sued for using the term “cougars.”

>> Salon’s Heather Havrilesky says  the CW’s rich-kid dramas are “perverse consumerist fable[s] for young people, built on the notion that money provides the only sure escape from tension, stress and impending challenges." Yeah, aren't they great?

>> Time’s list of the worst “Saturday Night Live” hosts (Michael Phelps, Steven Seagal, Andrew Dice Clay, etc.)

>> NBC figures out how to keep Katee Sackhoff in the family.

>> Farewell, David Foster Wallace. Couldn’t find a link online to his short story that reconstructed an actor's appearance on David Letterman1 to really justify an obit item in this TV blog, but here’s a link to “Consider the Lobster” instead (in which poor Gourmet magazine sent Wallace to cover a lobster festival and he turned in an achingly conflicted, epic-length examination on whether it is moral to eat animals).

1 Not Wallace's best work anyway. And it should be noted that some readers downright despised Wallace’s stylistic manner -- his stream-of-consciousness writing, his obsessive cataloging of every thought about his chosen subject, his disruptive use of footnotes. But the title piece in his collection “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” is the funniest essay I’ve ever read. David Sedaris can suck it.


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