Television

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Events

NBC SOAP FANFEST COMES TO ORLANDO THIS NOVEMBER

Over two dozen of NBC Daytime’s hottest stars will make the cross-country trip to Universal Studios Florida Theme Park in Orlando, Florida this year for the 2nd annual “NBC Soap FanFest,” the weekend of November 3 and 4th.

"Last year, thousands of NBC soap fans from all over the country came and experienced the excitement and fun of the biggest and best NBC soap fan event of the year." Said NBC's Sheraton Kalouria, who adds that for the event this year: “We have many surprises in store and a great new venue at Orlando’s premiere entertainment park, Universal Studios Florida.”


Days Of Our Lives cast l-r: Deidre Hall, Kristian Alfonso, Peter Reckell, Melissa Reeves and Renee Jones -- NBC Photos

The event kicks-off with a classic Hollywood motorcade complete with celebrities, convertibles and confetti. Throughout the two-day event, fans attending will have the opportunity to secure the stars’ autographs at various locations throughout the park, ask questions during the Q&A sessions at the “Hercules and Xena Theatre” and possibly have a chance to act out a scene with a soap star. Fans will also be able to mix and mingle with all their favorite daytime stars at the official after-hours party at “The Groove,” the hippest nightclub at Universal Orlando’s City Walk (a 30-acre dining, shopping, club and live-entertainment venue near the on-site Loews hotel).


Days Of Our Lives cast l-r: Matt Cedeno, Alison Sweeney, Jay Kenneth Johnson, Jason Cook and Kirsten Storms -- NBC Photos

Days of our Lives is also celebrating a milestone on television as it completes its 35th Anniversary season! It first premiered as a half-hour drama in 1965 and expanded to an hour 10 years later. Today, it remains a consistent favorite among viewers of daytime television serials. In its 36 years, “Days of our Lives” has generated numerous Emmy Awards and nominations, as well as numerous “Soap Opera Digest” Awards and People’s Choice Awards. The show’s success derives from its consistent commitment to excellence in writing and storytelling - supported by a diverse ensemble of performers - and an uncanny knack for anticipating viewer interests. Set in the fictitious Midwestern town of Salem, the core families are the Hortons and Bradys, and the multi-layered storylines involve elements of romance, adventure, mystery, comedy and drama, dealing with subjects from demonic possessions and baby switches to exciting teen stories and classic love triangles. Original cast members Frances Reid and John Clarke continue to star as Alice and Mickey Horton.


Passions cast l-r: McKenzie Westmore, Galen Gering, Donn Swaby, Lindsay Korman and James Hyde -- NBC Photos

Those scheduled to appear include Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn, Kristian Alfonso, Peter Reckell, Melissa Reeves, Matthew Ashford, Renee Jones, Matt Cedeno, Alison Sweeney, Austin Peck, Jason Cook, Kirsten Storms, Kyle Lowder, Nadia Bjorlin, Jay Kenneth Johnson from Days of our Lives. They will be joined by McKenzie Westmore, Galen Gering, Travis Schuldt, Lindsay Korman, James Hyde, Dana Sparks, Justin Carroll, Ben Masters, Christopher Douglas, Eva Tamargo Lemus, Donn Swaby, Brook Kerr, Jesse Metcalfe, and Josh Ryan Evans from Passions.


Passions cast l-r: Brook Kerr, Dana Sparks, Travis Schuldt and Jesse Metcalfe, -- NBC Photos

Admission to “NBC Soap FanFest” will be included as part of either day’s admission to Universal Studios Florida.

Holiday Specials and Movies

Macy's Parade

Start to finish coverage, Thursday November 22 on NBC

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE Saturday, November 24 on NBC (8-11 p.m. ET)

Director Frank Capra's classic tale (starring Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell and Henry Travers) of a man who loses his faith and wishes he were never born only to be shown what life would have been like had not lived!

The first film made by 'civilians' Capra and Stewart after their discharge from service at the end of World War II (both were officers). For many years this film was considered in the public domain with many versions airing on television, however the rights to this film were finally shored up and now only one version is legal and this day, time and network will be the only screening for this film this year...

Pictured is Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed -- NBC Photo.

Reviews

The Naked Chef, starring Jamie Oliver, is one of the hip new cooking shows on the Food Network directed at the younger generation of chefs and home cooks. This English invasion of sorts features recipes for gourmet delights -- down to their bare essentials. Jamie is cute and cool, but best of all he is very down to earth when it comes to cooking. His style is hands on, throwing and mashing together ingredients in a seemingly haphazard way, and always ending up with a beautiful and delicious looking product. He helps take the intimidating aspect of perfection away from cooking, gives us new perspective, and makes us believe we can all be "naked chefs". This is a great show for those that love to cook but hate to measure! Seen on The Food Network, which is a part of basic cable in most areas.

-- K.C.

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AH, THOSE NEW SHOWS...

Things got off to a bang with NBC getting initial high marks with Crossing Jordan -- we profile Jill Hennessy, the star of this show, elsewhere -- and Scrubs breaking in the top 20 for the initial week, but all of them falling out of the top 20 by the second week. Only the returning shows from ABC, CBS and NBC are still in the top 20 list, but that doesn't mean things will change!

Of the new shows those you should really look at, in my humble opinion, are:

Philly from Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law), but only if you can accept an adult show with adult language. This show is pushing the envelope and blurring the lines between broadcast and cable television. This show is tame cable or biting broadcast, depending on how you chose to look at it. Philly's well written, wonderfully acted and gritty. It is a lot like The Practice with raunchy language! If you like The Practice, Hill Street Blues or 100 Centre Street you stand a chance of liking this show! Late Tuesday night, just before the news, on ABC stations. (Pictured at left is Philly star Kim Delaney.)

Citizen Baines is another well acted, well written, very entertaining and thought provoking show. It's about politics, literal and figurative. Baines is an ex-Senator who's actually cleaning up some real problems between government and the people, now that he's no longer "in the loop" and he's also cleaning up problems between himself and his three daughters. This show is a cross between Sex In The City (without all the sex talk)-- when the three daughters get together for lunch you can't help but think of Carrie and her gal pals. This aspect shows that the three sisters are close, but none of them truly close with their father. So it's also about the politics of experience, to quote R.D. Lang (the Psychiatrist, who is not to be confused with K. D. Lang the singer). So far this show looks very good. Saturday nights on CBS stations.

Thieves is a he said/she said comedy disguised as a one hour action adventure show. Cut from the Hart to Hart mold. A guy/gal team forced together by the government to steal for Uncle Sam. Yep, that's Robert Wagner's other show It Takes A Thief, only much better! Witty, wild and wonderful. This pair will keep you entertained with their non-stop batter! Friday nights on ABC.

Alias a pure action adventure theme with a very active female star: Jennifer Garner. She runs, fights, climbs and yes some of that work load is actually done by Garner! She will be in top shape by the end of this season, with all the running she does! She's a double agent working for the CIA turned mole from an evil agency called DS-6. Each week ends with a cliff-hanger. I love the actress. She is the hottest new thing since Jessica Alba. Patterned a lot after La Femme Nikita, in that she's a top professional, who throws the bad guys over her shoulders and hits the mark with every shot. Sunday night on ABC.

Shows worthy of at least a glance:

Enterprise I'm a Trekkie and sci-fi nut and everyone knows it by now, need I go on? The second episode wasn't quite as good as the pilot, but I've been watching "Next Generation" on TNN and the first year of Jean-Luc's show was not all that great, so Enterprise is doing better. Wednesday nights on UPN.

Smallville is about Clark (Superman) Kent as a teenager in his hometown, with one of the Dukes of Hazard boys as his aging daddy! Sort of Dawson's Creek with X-Ray vision! What Superman does between high school and homework! It has young Lex Luthor and young Lana Lang. The pilot was nifty! (Yeah, you heard me right: Nifty. That's almost as bad as 'neat' isn't it!). Tuesday nights on the WB.

Pasadena is a soap opera cut out of the Dallas mode, with China Beach star Dana Delaney playing almost a J.R. type character. Well, she's still a little tamer than J.R., but she's still out to take on life her way! It's about rich newspaper people in Pasadena (and I don't recall there being any rich people in Pasadena, obviously "Tocluca Lake" or "Bel Air" didn't make the network title 'A list' so they settled on this one? Oh, well...). The daughter and her gal pals are also very good in offering! I liked the second episode a lot. It's on Fox around the same time as Theives so I will be switching back and forth and see who wins!


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Scrubs has potential but it is up to the writers, producers and actors to make this show work with the audience. This show could be the next M*A*S*H, but if they don't get it right it could also be the next My Mother The Car. The surreal touches (which are kinds of like 'The Adventures of Doctor Walter Mitty' or for you who haven't seen that Danny Kaye classic on Turner Classic Movies, think of it like 'Doctor Ally McBeal' -- fantasy sequences with costumes and exaggerated action) are there for a reason, but they might throw most viewers to another show. Don't say I didn't warn anyone. If this show survives into next year it could end up on everyone's must watch list! NBC on Tuesday nights.

Crossing Jordan got off to a good start in the ratings. The best thing it has going for it is Jill Hennessy (see our profile on her in this section) and Miguel Ferrer, who are both charismatic, top-flight actors who can carry any script. This show is about investigative Medical Examiners with several cases going concurrently in a given episode. Late Mondays on NBC.

UC: Undercover a pure high action adventure show, a lot like Alias or the older SWAT with lots of shoot outs. Since the pilot they switched lead actors to Mummy franchise veteran Oded Fehr and beefed up the role played by Bruklin Harris (pictured at left -- NBC Photo) as the profiler-analyst-psychologist who details the mission elements to the field staff (a fusion of the eqivalent parts played by Operations and Madelyn in La Femme Nikita), including sending her out into the field headquarters. The production is top flight and the action sequences are excellent for television. If you like raw violence this show is like a Rambo movie! NBC late Sundays.

The Agency the inside, day to day workings of the CIA, with Ronny Cox who is can hold his own in any situation as the head of this agency. Runs a lot like the Harrison Ford movie Patriot Games. Late night CBS Thursdays, right after CSI which is a strong lead-in in the ratings.






The following shows have problems, but they may shape up:

Emeril started off with a horrible pilot, ok second episode, terrible third episode. The cast was rigid and stilted, but they are starting to thaw out. The real winner is the network lady (played by Tricia O'Kelley, pictured at right), who could end up with her own show! She is a delightful character. If she wasn't so cute you'd want to throw her out a window (she is the executive everyone wants to see gone from the company)! Her silent, mannequin 'yes' men are also well played. Other than her, there are no cute characters (like you'd find on shows such as News Radio or Just Shoot Me). Emeril, himself, is not yet letting his essence flow. Except for episode #2 which was a winner, the writing is just not working. Right now this show is in 69th place on par with Enterprise (except 69 is considered good for a UPN science fiction show but not a major network comedy). Of course, Cheers once placed 75 out of 75 on the ratings, but so far this show has no where near the appeal, writing or characters found in that classic! Unless the writing and acting improves this show will be gone by Christmas. But I'll keep checking on it! NBC Tuesdays.

The Education of Max Bickford thoughtfully written but with problems. As with Emeril the cast is generally stilted, except for the one and only Richard Dreyfuss who would be good reading ingredients off a candy bar label. The director/cinematographer is shooting the scenes like a B-movie on Showtime. One of those movies directed and written by the star, who is usually a third banana character actor. Know what I mean...? The writing is too one-dimensional. This show needs a production doctor, someone like Steven Bochco or David E. Kelley. A writer-producer who knows how to attack a problem from several aspects at the same time (such as Rob Thomas, who has written the better episodes) and make the sub-plots tie-in. This show is too superficial about the issues it tackles, but has potential, if they hire in a producer who can 'West Wing' or 'Ally McBeal' this show it can win Emmys! As it stands Dreyfuss will be available for features again real soon! Not doing well in the ratings at all...

Based on the second episode I saw I feel much better about the show. This time the writing (from Producer Rob Thomas) was much better attacking the problem from several angles. This time the issues were about integrity and sticking to principals. A girlie magazine was recuriting on the campus and one female student on the newspaper was organizaing a "shun-out" to disassociated from girls who tried out for it. There was multiple stories all leading to the same thesis about who you are, do you say what you mean and do you stand behind what you say. Each of the actors in the show took different resolutions of this issue. Also his daughter's band got tired of practising and wanted to play gigs, even though she didn't think they were ready. Except for the actual performace at the club (which was far too perfect) it still seems like one of the producers once had a band! Right down to the dirty, old, overstuffed chair with a bedsheet over it to hide holes!. This shows has promise, so long as they keep the writing up to the level of Rob Thomas -- I chaulk the last episode up to writing not of this level...

Sundays on CBS.

Both Emeril and Bickford are in trouble with their respective networks any may not survive the street date of this issue of our magazine!

-- E.R.D.

Mid-Season Replacement

Just incase one of the current comedy shows don't pan out with the viewers the networks always have shows standing in the wings ready to step in and pinch-hit!

Emmy Award-winning actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Seinfeld”) will return to NBC as the star of a new half-hour comedy tentatively titled “22 Minutes With Eleanor Riggs.” The network announced today it has ordered 12 episodes of the series, written and created by Brad Hall (NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” “Brooklyn Bridge”) and produced by Carsey- Werner- Mandabach and Radford Productions (The Bill Cosby Show), for midseason.

The comedy details the life of a Los Angeles club singer, Ellie Riggs (Louis-Dreyfus), a single woman living in L.A. whose life is examined weekly in a 22-minute snapshot. She confronts all manner of annoyances, including her much-too-pretty married older sister (Lauren Bowles, “Ghost World”), superintendent Ingvar (Peter Stormare, “Chocolat,” “Fargo”), and ex-boyfriend Edgar (Steve Carell, “The Daily Show”). Meanwhile, Ellie is trying to figure out just where she stands with her current “beau” (Darren Boyd, BBC’s “Smack The Pony”), a guitarist in her band. Don Lake (”Best In Show”) also stars as Ellie’s neighbor, Dr. Zimmerman.







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