Readers sound off on dumb TV shows and Mitt Romney’s dog

The reality of TV programming Brooklyn: I agree with Voicer Butch Dener. The popularity of reality TV shows is a reflection of a dumbed-down public. As “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm said, “Stupidity is certainly celebrated.” We have become a truth-denying, gadget-obsessed, social media-frenzied nation where more people vote for an American Idol than they do for a President of the United States. And that’s just how corporate America wants it. Bill Lambiase Tuckahoe, N.Y.: To Voicer Butch Dener: As widely reported in the media, HBO’s “Luck” was canceled as a result of three horses dying on the set, not because a “dumbed-down public didn’t get it.” Kiley Blackman Carlstadt, N.J.: Please explain why “CSI Miami” and “CSI New York” have been canceled. They take off good shows and put on these stupid reality shows which make no sense. How people subject themselves to ridicule is beyond me. Geri Sabia Canine queries Manhattan: With every primary Mitt Romney wins, I have to ask myself: Don’t any of these voters have a family pet whom they love and care for and know how he callously treated his dog? Or do they find nothing wrong with the way he subjected his dog to a terrifying 12-hour highway trip strapped to the roof of his car, which made the poor dog sick? We can learn a lot from the way a person treats his pet Max E. Forman What the future holds Bronx: The church always has the big picture and the future of the church in mind. It is trying to convince us, and doing it well, that only church-going men and women in committed relationships and marriages should bring children into this world. The real deal here is that no contraception now means more paying customers in the future. Dean Crasno Hooray for Kelly Freeport, L.I.: Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has been kicked in the butt from New York to New Jersey when it should be kissed by those who Continue Reading

TV shows go into overdrive on Snapchat

LOS ANGELES —Snapchat was once a place for teens to send photos and videos that would disappear within 10 seconds. Now it’s featuring TV shows like you’ve never seen before.Snapchat, the popular communications app whose parent Snap is set to go public in March with a $25 billion IPO, is ambitiously expanding beyond photos and videos that disappear within 10 seconds. The company is bankrolling the production of original "shows" for the platform, from the likes of Disney’s ABC, NBC-Universal and Turner networks, which includes TBS and Adult Swim.And like Snapchat, they are designed for short attention spans. The shows zip along at a fast pace, with lots of graphics, headlines and upbeat music—they go so quickly they almost make TV seem like slothful.It's yet one more way Snap is trying to keep its 150 million daily users engaged. Some 60% of Snapchat's users are aged 13-34, according to Comscore, a demographic that's highly sought by advertisers. Even before the advent of Snapchat shows and its Discover platform, users flocked to Snapchat after school and during the evenings to tell and watch their own Stories — annotated snippets of their day — creating a vibrant, though short-lived entertainment platform that rivaled prime-time television and more established social networks, Facebook and Twitter.Snap wants to give these users more to watch, in that same rough-and-ready style.The Snapchat Discover platform, which debuted in January 2015, is a way for users to watch short, flashy original content from publishers such as Cosmopolitan, People magazine and BuzzFeed.Now come the "shows." The new ABC Watch Party: the Bachelor series, which runs on Tuesdays, is two programs at once. It's produced in vertical video, like holding a phone upright, with clips from the previous night's episode of the dating reality series The Bachelor on the bottom of the screen. On top: a trio of fans on top Continue Reading

Elmore Leonard’s ‘Justified’ on FX is a model of how books should be turned into TV shows

“Justified” should be required watching for anyone who wants to adapt a cool series of books into a cool TV show. The FX series, based on Elmore Leonard’s Raylan Givens stories and starring Timothy Olyphant as Marshal Givens, launches its third season Tuesday night. It has the tough task of moving ahead without Margo Martindale’s award-winning Maggs Bennett character, who became such a memorable and crucial part of the story last year. It does so without missing a beat. Or a shot. Maggs took a fatal pull of her own apple “cider” at the end of last season, leaving quite the situation at and in her wake. The lucrative marijuana empire over which she presided, with the more than occasional indulgence of Raylan and his law enforcement colleagues, is now coveted by several factions in the local entrepreneurial community. This includes Maggs’ son Dickie (Jeremy Davies), who is just bright enough to think he's smarter than he really is. He also lacks Maggs’ management skills and her ability to think long-term. More dangerously, it includes Raylan’s long-time acquaintance Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), with whom he plays a deliciously crafted lifelong game of poker. Boyd is basically a bad guy, Raylan basically a good guy, but there’s just enough common turf and even respect between them that their relationship alone would make “Justified’ worth tuning in. The new season also brings in a third potential bidder for some of Maggs’ old turf, a black man named Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) who smokes a mean rib and demands every bit as much respect as the white folks in this still not entirely integrated part of Kentucky. Nor does the new season just revolve around drugs and gunfire. There’s romance, too, both for Boyd and for Raylan, whose squeeze Winona Hawkins (Natalie Zea) has become a major player and also is pregnant. It’s all set against a Continue Reading

Judge Judy ‘much better’ after being rushed to hospital from set of TV show for medical emergency

LOS ANGELES - Judge Judy got served a clean bill of health Wednesday afternoon after paramedics rushed her to the hospital in serious condition hours earlier. "She's feeling much better. She said all the tests were negative, and she's going home tomorrow," her spokesman Gary Rosen told the Daily News. "She will be back taping her TV show on April 12 as scheduled." The Brooklyn-born TV judge was working on the set of her hit show when a wave of nausea and "intestinal discomfort" caused her to halt production, Rosen said. "I'm just exhausted, and my body was telling me it needed a day to chill," the spitfire judge told in a cell phone call from her bed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "I was feeling funky this morning ... funky enough that I knew someone should give a gander over what I got," said the jurist, whose full name is Judith Sheindlin. "I'm exhausted. I'm just tired," Sheindlin, 68, said. "A lot of things just zoned together, including the bad news of the world." "At my age, I know my body," she told TMZ, adding that she'd had an MRI. "My body is fine." An ambulance responded to a 911 call for a "person down" at her studio on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood shortly after 9 a.m., a fire official told the Daily News. "She was rushed to a nearby hospital in serious condition," Capt. Jaime Moore of the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Her producer quickly shot down Internet rumors that the emergency trip stemmed from recent oral surgery and that she turned "incoherent" on the bench before the 911 call. "Absolutely not!" Executive Producer Timothy Regler told the Daily News when asked if she had trouble speaking. "That's ludicrous," he said of the alleged dental link. "She had her teeth cleaned yesterday." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Piece of work character on ‘Work of Art’ will likely draw viewers to Bravo’s new reality TV show

"Work of Art," Wednesday night at 11 on Bravo The idea that America's next great artist could be discovered through a reality TV show seems a bit sketchy, but it turns out that watching 14 aspiring artists paint pictures of each other is actually fun. Okay, maybe not fun like hearing your child say her first word, or getting that dream job in Paris, or finding a low-calorie cheesecake. But in its own modest way, fun. "Work of Art" gathers 14 artists from around the country, working in a variety of styles and media, and lines them up for the traditional reality show drill. Through a series of challenges, they are eliminated, one at a time, until the last standing artist gets $100,000 and his or her own show at the Brooklyn Museum. The first challenge involves pairing the artists off and having them create a portrait of each other. This gives a sense of their skill and, more importantly for television, gives viewers something on which they can immediately have an opinion. Most of us don't know a lot about art, and almost none of us would let that keep us from having an opinion. To further help the show, this collection of artists takes a wide variety of approaches to portraiture. There don't seem to be any John Singer Sargents in the bunch, but then, they only have about 13 hours to finish their work, which isn't a lot of time in the art biz. Bravo has been doing reality long enough to understand the importance of a snappy pace, and "Work of Art" delivers. Simon de Pury, an art auctioneer and mentor to the contestants, zips around the room a couple of times while the works are in progress, mostly maintaining a poker face and trying to keep his observations positive. When he gently suggests to one contestant that it's possible to "overdo" it, we get what he's saying. The finished works include enhanced photographs ("I'm pretty good with Photoshop!") and an abstract that looks like a wiring diagram for an iPhone. There's also a nude Continue Reading

Whoopi Goldberg slams Kate Gosselin over custody dispute; Kate goes on to film pilot for new TV show

Reality mom Kate Gosselin taped the pilot for a new TV show on Sunday—and got rave reviews from everyone in the studio, reports. "It went extremely well," a source said. "Everyone there loved it. And Kate did great. There's no question that she was a hit." The pilot is reportedly based on the popular Web site,, which covers everything from sex and family to celebrities and food. In the pilot, Gosselin is said to be part of an ensemble panel. Taped at studios in Chelsea in New York City, the show featured comfort food expert Paula Deen along with Rene Syler and Lee Woodruff. News of the taping is the latest in the ongoing Gosselin saga, which began several months ago when Kate and her husband Jon announced their split on the TLC reality series "Jon & Kate Plus 8." Since then, a slew of accusations have surfaced, several of which portray Jon as a bit of a womanizer. Most recently, In Touch magazine reported that Papa Gosselin had an affair with an ex-babysitter, Stephanie Santoro, news which apparently left Kate Gosselin unphased. Debuting a new hair style on ABC's "The View" last week, Gosselin said she was "not surprised" by the reports. In fact, it wasn't discussion of the allegedly philandering father that set off the ladies of the daytime talk show. Instead, regular co-host Whoopi Goldberg started a heated debate with Gosselin when she brought up a recent custody spat where police were called to the Gosselin home after Kate showed up during Jon's court-allotted time with the tots. "When you go in to a custody thing with someone you have your specific time and [they have] their specific time and you're not supposed to walk on [that]," Goldberg began. "And I'm sorry that's the law." Over interjections from co-host Sherri Shepherd and Gosselin herself, Goldberg shouted, "And you could have gone to jail!" As the other co-hosts quieted, Goldberg repeated herself, looking Continue Reading

Twitter plans reality TV show in next step toward total media domination

Twitter already owns the Internet, and now the red-hot social-networking site has set out to take over TV too., powered by more than 7 million users who post frequent "micro-blog" updates of 140 characters or fewer, has partnered with Reveille productions and Brillstein Entertainment Partners to develop a reality television show. A statement by the producers Monday described it as involving "ordinary people put on the trail of celebrities in a competitive format" - using Twitter as a guide. "Twitter is transforming the way people communicate, especially celebrities and their fans," Reveille managing director Howard Owens said. He said he expects the show to "unlock Twitter's potential on TV." Twitter, based in San Francisco, launched in 2006 but has grown exponentially in recent months with mainstream pop culture icons like Oprah Winfrey signing on. It will be interesting to watch Twitter take its first real stab at turning a profit, as up to now the company has relied on venture capitalists for funding. "The idea of putting a reality TV show out there with the Twitter aura around it sounds like a good idea,"  Syracuse University Professor Robert Thompson, who heads the school's Center for Television and Popular Culture, told the Daily News. "The very word 'Twitter' gets everybody vibrating about the future." Still, said Thompson, the details are "very, very vague" and there are numerous potential pitfalls, especially if Twitter TV follows the standard reality show format. "The very thing that makes Twitter so appealing - its immediacy - is something this TV show likely isn't going to capture," he said. Plus, the way things move on the Internet, Twitter could already be on its way out. "By the time this makes it on the air," said Thompson, "Twitter could be something we expect to appear on VH1's 'I Love the 2008s.'" Twitter's partners, though, do have some chops. Reveille has produced NBC's "The Office" and "The Biggest Loser," plus Continue Reading

Former DA Pirro gets TV show

Former District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, rebounding from her recent personal and political problems, is becoming a judge — on a new court-type TV show that plans to make use of her considerable "life experience." The CW network announced Monday that Pirro, who has television experience as a commentator on legal cases, will be the presiding jurist on "Judge Jeanine Pirro," weekday afternoons beginning Sept. 22. Pirro has "a powerful and dynamic television presence with a distinctive point of view, and depth of professional and life experience," said Hilary Estey McLoughlin, president of Telepictures Productions, which is making the show. Pirro did not immediately return messages. Pirro, 56, was once a rising star in New York's Republican Party. She was a popular Westchester County judge, a big winner in three consecutive runs for district attorney and once was chosen for People magazine's "most beautiful" issue. Analysts said she would have been a natural for higher office, except that her wealthy husband, Albert Pirro, seemed to have a knack for holding her back with his own problems, including a paternity suit and a federal tax-fraud conviction. Jeanine Pirro took the plunge in 2005, deciding to challenge Hillary Rodham Clinton and run for the U.S. Senate. But her campaign opened disastrously when a page of her announcement was misplaced and she was speechless for 32 seconds. Pirro eventually switched to the race for state attorney general, but was easily defeated by Democrat Andrew Cuomo. After she left office, her performance as district attorney was questioned. A convicted murderer, released due to new DNA evidence, claimed Pirro had turned a deaf ear to his claims of innocence, which she denied. And in another murder case, a federal judge found that Pirro's office had withheld evidence so important that the convicted killer deserved to be set free. Meanwhile, Pirro came under federal investigation because she allegedly spoke with former Continue Reading

TV show provides look into Colombian drug cartel

BOGOTA, Colombia — The highest-rated TV show in Colombia follows a rather grim plot line: Boy meets girl. Boy smuggles tons of cocaine. Longtime pals betray each other. Everyone ends up dead or in jail.Based on a former trafficker's tell-all book, the series provides an insider's look at the Norte del Valle cartel, one of the most feared drug organizations in Colombia today. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the cartel has exported more than 500 metric tons of cocaine to the United States at a profit of more than $10 billion."The Cartel of the Snitches" exposes a Colombian underworld in which decade-long friendships are sacrificed for a shipment of cocaine, corrupt police take orders from traffickers while other officers are outsmarted, and women plot with lovers to kill their husbands. Every episode sees at least one person killed.Criticism has been fierce. The national police chief, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, complained in the country's leading newspaper, El Tiempo, that it doesn't give the government enough credit for its drug war victories.But nearly half of Colombia's televisions are tuning into the series — the most expensive ever produced by a Colombian network, according to executive producer Cristina Palacios.The success is due in part to the fun of seeing popular actors portray underworld figures who escort surgically enhanced girlfriends to high-society destinations. But it also suggests a cultural shift in a nation where drug money has influenced all levels of society."The traffickers' culture has been adopted by people who are not traffickers but act like them — diplomats who run over people, politicians who threaten and get fired, traffic police who fine them, and police who break all the traffic laws because 'they are the authority'," said Eduardo Arias, cultural editor for Colombia's largest news magazine, Semana.Author-scriptwriter Andres Lopez — himself a former Norte del Valle trafficker — began Continue Reading


PASADENA, Calif. - There has been much gnashing of teeth over NBC's decision to launch two new series this fall - one a comedy and the other a drama - that both mine the behind-the-scenes machinations and general dysfunction of a "Saturday Night Live"-like TV show. But the producers of "30 Rock" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" say they're hardly worried. "They are the hour show and they have a '60' in it and we're the half-hour show and we have a '30' in it. So I think people will be able to clearly distinguish which is which," said Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of Tina Fey's "30 Rock. " The sitcom created, written and produced by Fey, is a single-camera comedy starring Fey as the head writer on the fictional sketch comedy series "The Girlie Show. " "SNL's" Tracey Morgan plays the off-kilter comedian (shades of Martin Lawrence during his very public meltdown) and Alec Baldwin co-stars as the blow-dried and humorless corporate muckety-muck brought in to oversee "The Girlie Show. " "I'm sure that ('30 Rock') is going to be great," said Aaron Sorkin, the creator of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. " "And I'm sure it's going to be different from our show. My intention is to take Tina's ideas, use twice as many words, and turn them into my show. " "Studio 60" starts Monday, Sept. 18, at 10 p. m. and "30 Rock" on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 8:30 p. m. "Studio 60" stars Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford as writing partners lured by a comely new executive (Amanda Peet) to save the network's foundering late-night comedy series after executive producer (Judd Hirsch) has an on-air Howard Beale "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" moment. Fans of "The West Wing" will recognize Sorkin's imprint: social commentary in the form of thinly veiled - or sometimes unveiled - lobs at the establishment, pop culture and reality TV. The pilot lampoons NBC's "Fear Factor" and "The Apprentice. " But Sorkin said that NBC won't Continue Reading