Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Party Down" Will Party No More on Starz

The Hollywood Reporter has just posted a report that the Starz Network will not be going forward with a third batch of the offbeat comedy Party Down. Read the article here:

Previous reports have indicated that some of the cast members have committed to other projects -- Adam Scott is going to NBC's Parks and Recreation -- and undoubtedly that's part of the reason behind the no-go, in addition to the only so-so numbers.

When the show was good, it was very, very good. Even when it was not a top segment, it still had a sardonic glint and a wonderful ensemble cast. We're sorry to hear this news.

HuluPlus for $9.99 a Month? With Ads? Would You Sign Up?

Be sure to read this article on Yahoo from AP about online video service Hulu's announcement yesterday about their plans to go ahead with a premium service. Even more interesting than the news itself are the comments left by readers. Be sure to finish the article and read some of them -- I'd say it sounds mostly negative at this point. Nobody seems too thrilled at the prospect of paying $10 a month and still having to watch ads in the programs. I think they're right.

First off, Hulu is running some 60 second ads. 60 seconds? That's like forever in TV time. Yikes. They shouldn't be running anything longer than a :15. A minute-long ad is completely unbearable. All they are doing is encouraging multi-tasking; you have to do something else while that horrible commercial is running. Bad, bad, bad.

But read the article. Maybe you think Hulu is being smart with this new move. I think they're being greedy.

Media Biz Bloggers Account of "Rescue Me" Party

We think you'll like this fascinating post by Linda Moss all about her time at the 6th Season Premiere party for Rescue Me. Not only is it full of gossip, there's some terrific info about the genesis of the series.

FX's 'Rescue Me' Was Once Headed To USA Network, And Denis Leary's 'Tight Little Irish Ass' - Linda Moss - MediaBizBloggers - Liinda Moss - - Jack Myers

Sounds like a delicious time, in more ways than one!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Louis C.K. Has a New Show on FX Tonight!

If the brilliance of Denis Leary isn't enough for you tonight -- and even if it is -- stay tuned on FX following Rescue Me tonight for the premiere of actor/comedian/writer Louis C.K.'s new half-hour series, called simply and perfectly Louie. This could be the ideal chaser to Rescue Me and its dark comic delights; Louis C.K. plays (or really is, probably) a smart guy, not bitter exactly but certainly cynical and skeptical of the feel-good excesses of modern life. He's also no kid, so the aging process is up for grabs as material, something that will especially appeal to viewers in the same saggy state of affairs.

He plays Louie, a stand-up comedian and a divorced father of two little girls. Sounds typical, but Louis C.K. is anything but, and though we've heard that the first episode isn't as strong as subsequent segments, we think this show should be on your must-watch list. If you love New York you'll be extra-pleased, as the show is filmed on location in Louie C.K.'s favorite city.

Louie being helmed and starring Louis C.K., the language promises to be explicit and for adults-only, so don't be alarmed. The series is on FX, so expect the unexpected for basic cable. If Louie goes beyond where Rescue Me ventures, content-wise, that's a very profane place and I can't wait. Showtime's TrueBlood may have twisty-headed vicious vampire revenge sex (in this past Sunday's episode), but what I'm looking forward to is some salty and sardonic dialogue from one of the most entertaining and enlightening comic minds on the scene today. There's a bit of savagery in Louis C.K., but we like that. He's also a terrific actor and an appealing personality, and we're rooting for this series to cut through the more mundane stuff out there.

FX has a good website for Louie. A long visit there is highly recommended for behind-the scenes info and other content, including an informative, interactive and highly-detailed look at Louie's New York.

We're not the only folks who like Louis C.K.; for more positive words about the premiere of FX's Louie check out these sites: had a good review by Heather Havrilesky, has a good selection of clips and info, The Wall Street Journal online also featured an interesting Q & A with him.

Congrats to Louis C.K. for the premiere of Louie tonight, and kudos to FX for bringing it to us!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Still Waiting to be Rescued by Tommy Gavin

Season six of Rescue Me, the dark FDNY saga, begins tomorrow night (June 29th) on fX at 10PM. The new season picks up after last year's cliff hanger close, with Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) about to join the ghosts that have plagued his life since this series began. He's been shot in his local saloon and now the white light approaches.

Here on the Flaming Nose, we've had many discussions about who rules the roost among TV's bad boys. Contenders have included Dr. House on Fox, Dexter the serial killer on Showtime and Walter White, the meth dealing Science teacher from Albuquerque (AMC). I have always hypothesized that Tommy Gavin is the most compelling sociopath in the group, mostly because his type is so common. It's unlikely that we'll ever run across a Dexter or Walter
White in real life. That kind of true duplicity (friendly family man by day, killer by night) is mercifully rare outside of television. Tommy G., on the other hand, is an archetype that walks among us. He cheats (on everyone...his family, his friends, his co-workers), he drinks to excess,
he has extreme difficulty forming any kind of emotional attachment to fellow human beings. From time to time his job calls him to run into flaming buildings to save complete strangers. He's heroic, yet anhedonic. He cares enough to risk his life for strangers, yet is incapable of showing the slightest warmth to family and lovers. He would probably be completely unpalatable, were it not for his pitch black and pitch perfect, charming NY Irish wit. While we ponder Tommy's emotional pathology, we are also laughing our asses off over his latest banter with the boys in the firehouse.

Looking forward to how Mr. Gavin will resolve his continued substance abuse this season, and we are especially eager to welcome back the excellent ensemble cast. John Scurti (Lou Shea) has long been our favorite, and he'll face his own life defining battles in the sixth season of Rescue Me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Is Hollywood Excess Still Relevant in a Recession?

The Entourage boys are back for a 7th season this Sunday. Tune in to HBO at 10:30pm eastern to see if their excessive but hilarious shenanigans will translate well during a time of double digit unemployment and a never ending ecological disaster in the gulf.

I, for one, miss the simplicity of the basic Entourage episode. They have trouble with girls. They have trouble with their careers. Ari (the uber agent) says "Hug it out Bitch" or yells really loud at his subordinates. And sometimes a bemused real Hollywood celebrity guest stars to lend a sort of zeitgeist authenticity to it all. It's like a Frankie and Annette movie....Beach Blanket Bingo on the streets of Beverly Hills.

All of the promos for this new season have been strangely subdued. There are no sneak peeks for upcoming celebrity guest stars. No cliff hangers to resolve. Last season Vinnie's career hung by a thread until Scorsese hired him as the lead in one of his pictures.

No matter what direction they take, there is one compelling reason to watch Entourage. Kevin Dillon (brother of Matt) plays Johnny Drama, the funniest loser on TV since Don Knotts in The Andy Griffith show. He is off the charts hilarious. Oh and I always keep my fingers crossed that executive producer Mark Wahlberg (xxxxoooo!) will make a guest appearance. Entourage is, after all, based on his colorful show biz life.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to Actress Mariette Hartley!

Anybody who knows me or has worked with me probably is aware how much I like actress Mariette Hartley. I always have, and I always will. I've got original Star Trek to thank for my interest in her, after her wonderful appearance as Zarabeth in the third season episode "All Our Yesterdays" where she fell for an ice-age trapped Spock. Who wouldn't, I ask? You'll enjoy this video of Mariette's appearance 2 years ago at her first Trek convention, talking about her episode:

Ms. Hartley celebrates her 70th birthday today as a veteran and survivor of Hollywood's changing tastes -- always classy, always elegant, always intelligent and always so watchable. More a television face than a big-screen personality, though she's done her share of exciting movie parts, including her debut in MGM's stunning Sam Peckinpah-directed western classic from 1961, Ride the High Country. She's a freckle-faced red-headed tomboy in the film, ably holding up her end against acting stalwarts Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott in what is now considered a masterpiece of the genre.

Mariette appeared in a lot of Western TV shows, too, when they were a mainstay of the tube. Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Virginian, Death Valley Days, Daniel Boone, Cimarron Strip and other popular skeins all featured Hartley guests roles, as did almost every other important or lesser-known series since the early 1960s. Some of her more memorable roles, besides that romantic Star Trek, are her haunting Twilight Zone episode "The Long Morrow" where she falls for an astronaut (Robert Lansing) who's about to take off for a decades-long spaceflight; her emotionally-overwrought doctor in a season of TV's smash primetime soap Peyton Place; her fine TV movie work such as in M.A.D.D.: Mothers Against Drunk Driving; the lesbian love story My Two Loves opposite the late Lynn Redgrave; the great episode of M*A*S*H where she's a liberated Swedish doctor who catches Hawkeye's roving eye, and so many more, including her double-naveled alien warrioress in the TVM Genesis II.

Anywhere I've worked in Programming I always tried to feature Mariette Hartley performances on her birthday, but these days I just have to content myself with writing about her. She's one of the faces that television fans have grown up with and loved for decades. Just yesterday I came across one of her very early TV roles, from a live Chicago drama program, where she played a harrowing Joan of Arc, back in 1961. Unbelievable! Such talent! (Search in the archives at the Museum of Broadcast Communications here.)

I almost forgot to mention her history-making Polaroid commercials with James Garner that really put her on the map in a big way, back in the late 1970s. This was the heyday of Mariette's public fame, and also about the time she won an Emmy for playing the bride of The Incredible Hulk. She also had a short-lived stint as the most of CBS' The Morning Show, and she was everywhere, her quick wit and everywoman quality -- every liberated woman, at least -- was in high demand.

TV isn't the same anymore; bigger ensemble casts gradually cut down on the guest stars on series episodes, but Mariette has always continued working and also writing and performing onstage. Her 1988 autobiography Breaking the Silence was an incredibly honest (and often very funny) account of Mariette's sometimes troubled life and family history. She's become an outspoken advocate for people with Bipolar Disorder, and also works tirelessly for understanding for those touched by suicide.

Mariette Hartley will always be my favorite actress, and I don't think I could have picked a more worthy subject for my adoration. What a gal!

Happy Birthday, Mariette!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Classic TV Fathers We (Still) Love

As we wind down 2010's Father's Day, we've been thinking about television fatherhood. Though a while back we declared Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie and Andy Taylor from The Andy Griffiths Show our favorite television dads, we've always had a soft spot for some of the other father characters from the 1950s and 1960s. We grew up watching these, if not in primetime, then certainly in afternoon reruns on our local independent stations. Frequently funny, sometimes even a little crazy, these dads had some super qualifications and appeal. We knew it was all make-believe, but that didn't stop these guys from getting to us!

In no particular order, but with much affection...

Ozzie Nelson as himself from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Cool, slyly hilarious, so completely relaxed, the original "no visible means of support" father (bandleader? office guy? who knew?), Ozzie Nelson was extremely personable and seemed like a lot of fun, in a Perry Como-kind of lazy, let-me-take-a-nap kind of way. Much funnier than he is generally given credit for, and that's unfortunate. Up with Ozzie!

Frank Faylen as Herbert Gillis in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Like so many TV fathers, Herbert was frequently exasperated by his dreamy son Dobie's girl troubles and Dobie's beatnik buddy Maynard, but he was also inspired, hep, nutty, hard-working, and realistically cynical. No sugar coating here! Credit creator and writer Max Schulman for making Herbert Gillis so unique in the annals of bland male father characters!

Robert Young as Jim Anderson in Father Knows Best. This was one of those sitcoms which wasn't particularly funny and in fact was often fraught with domestic issues. Jim Anderson was the serious kind of father, definitely employed, pretty square, but thoughtful and understanding. Good thing, because his family, consisting of smart and ambitious older daughter Betty, rambunctious teenage boy Bud, and sensitive youngest girl Kathy, seemed to have identity crises, school issues and performance anxiety incidents occuring on a regular basis. Much suburban angst was in evidence in the Anderson household, but Jim made it all better by the end of the half-hour, thank goodness!

William Bendix as Chester Riley on The Life of Riley. Closer to Herbert Gillis than Jim Anderson, Riley was a harried, blue-collar aircraft plant worker, and often perplexed by his family obligations in the form of a son and a daughter. He was a nice guy, definitely a comedy father, making The Life of Riley one of the genuinely funniest of the fatherhood series, and William Bendix one of the best and unfortunately slightly less well-known of the TV dads.

Hugh Beaumont as Ward Cleaver in Leave It To Beaver. Possibly my favorite of this bunch, Ward was a working dad, a quite modern and progressive parent, blessed with a keen wit and not unaware of the absurdities of raising kids in post-war America. He'd often mention how he was trying to parent differently from his own father, who in a different time had not spared the rod and certainly wouldn't have discussed disciplinary ethics with his kids before meting out punishment. Ward Cleaver liked his wife and wasn't afraid to show it, and also seemed to like his two boys, Wally and Theodore aka Beaver. He was a terrific father figure and funny as heck, too. Oo La La! (A quote from the wonderful episode "June's Birthday" where Beaver gives his mother a gaudy blouse with French pictures on it.)

William Schallert as Martin Lane in The Patty Duke Show. I've been watching this show lately and have been so impressed by Schallert's calm, decent, educated, and appreciative portrayal of the man who had to put up with his daughter Patty's schemes. The Patty Duke Show is very urban -- Martin Lane is the editor of a big NYC newspaper -- and Schallert brings a keen intelligence to the role, perfectly in tune with what you'd expect an editor to exhibit. No harried suburbanite or line worker, Martin Lane is upper middle class without being a snob, and authoritative without being a bully. Incidentally, the nearly 90-year old Schallert is still busy acting and we love him for that! What a treasure! Love that Poppo!

Buddy Ebsen as Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies. Jed, the lucky mountain man who discovered oil, remained the same unaffected and kind person even after he moved to Beverly Hills -- quite a feat, then or today. He was an understanding father to his animal-loving voluptuous daughter Ellie May, who also retained her sweetness amid the money-grubbing snobs of the Hills. He was the patriarch of a very nutty bunch, including his cantankerous mother-in-law and goofy nephew, but never lost his humanity or center. Whee Doggies!

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vampire Eric's Ass the Hit of "TrueBlood" Season 3 Premiere!

No doubt about it, the stunning -- as in stunningly delectable -- appearance of vampire Eric's bare rear end was the unanimous highlight of the "Bad Blood" Season 3 opener of HBO's fanged wondershow TrueBlood on Sunday night. Truly an event that brought together both the breathless female TB fan contingent and the show's equally enthusiastic gay male followers, the unveiling of actor Andrew Skarsgard's beauteous behind, as Sookie interrupted him mid-coitus with an entrapped and clearly enraptured human female, was a moment to savor. We're going to walk on the wild side for a moment and bring you a link to gossip queen Perez Hilton's UnratedPerez site for photos of the blessed event. Enjoy, and we know you will, and be aware that naked tush awaits you, so don't say we didn't warn you if you don't like that sort of thing. Click here for the shots.

Was that the only thing of interest? Of course not. Why don't you take a look at this recap for a visual refresher?

Did we like the episode? We did. We've read lots about how producer Alan Ball is assuring this season will be a wild ride, and we don't doubt it. Werewolves are now in the TrueBlood picture, and notwithstanding the huge theatrical flop of Benicio Del Toro as The Wolfman a few months ago, let's hope that this storyline is going to be a plus for the series. I'm not quite convinced, even though they use real wolves in the filming and so we get a little nature documentary-action bonus along with our vampire adventures. And for more dog-family doings, if you like Sam Merlotte, the shape-changing owner of Merlotte's, you'll like this season, as he goes in search of his real family from whom he's been estranged.

Here's a preview of the next episode of TrueBlood, premiering this coming Sunday on HBO:

We're also pleased to report that ratings for last Sunday's opener were good news for HBO, with the numbers double digits up from last season's average. The timing couldn't be better for TrueBlood to prosper this season, and The Flaming Nose will be there for every moment of the fun and excitement. See you there this Sunday at 9pm on HBO!

"Dexter" vs. "TrueBlood" -- The AdAge Perspective

Media insiders and industry aficionados who are fans of two of our favorite TV series, HBO's TrueBlood and Showtime's Dexter, will definitely want to take a look at the fascinating comparison, in an AdAge online article by Nat Ives, of the programs' media strategies. Published back in May, but more timely now with TB's Season 3 preem this past Sunday, the article features industry vet Antony Young , CEO of Optimedia International, as he looks at the various components of their respective plans and rates them according to the effectiveness of their promotional elements.

The article is entitled Dexter vs. TrueBlood: The Battle of Two Killer Media Plans, and you can find it right here.

Though around here we tend to believe above all "the play's the thing", we don't deny that these days it also helps to get the word out in a manner that can cut through the marketing dross out there.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland" Sitcom Premieres Tonight!

The Flaming Nose is plenty excited about TV Land's new filmed-live-in-front-of-a-studio-audience sitcom Hot in Cleveland, premiering tonight (Wednesday, June 16th) at 10pm. Why this anticipation? Good provenance -- actor and sometime producer Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) is exec producing, writers with Frasier and Ellen experience are on aboard -- and a good cast of female comedy veterans, including Betty White, the very deserving darling of the moment. If you're at all an aficionado of television comedy, you should be heartened by the rest of the starring ladies, too: Valerie Bertinelli ('70s smash One Day at a Time), Jane Leeves (Frasier), and Wendie Malick (Just Shoot Me! and early cable sitcom Dream On).

Granted, the premise may be more silly than sublime -- a trio of slightly over-the-hill L.A. beauties are stranded in Cleveland, Ohio and find themselves enjoying the reception they get from the local lads -- but the time feels right for silly and I'm going with this one. Betty White is the acerbic-tongued housekeeper they meet up with; stand back and let the quips begin. I've got to give big support to this quartet of pros, all nicely matured, who look terrific and really know how to sling a comedy line.

The producers are proud of the fact that the show is filmed live, with no added canned laughter, and let's hope the writing is sharp enough to keep those audience members entertained as much as we hope we'll be. This is TV Land's first original sitcom, a big step after the net's long and successful history as part of Nick at Nite back in the mid-80s, and as its own entity ten years later. TV Land used to be just that -- a wonderful place for classic TV lovers -- but in an eternal and probably unwinnable quest to skew younger the channel spurned its roots and has turned lately to reality shows and defiantly post-boomer content. Perhaps Hot in Cleveland will both fulfill their advertiser dreams for original content and at the same time reach out to viewers who've felt abandoned by what used to be such a fun channel. Count me as one of the latter.

Hot in Cleveland premieres tonight Wednesday, June 16th at 10pm on TV Land. Visit their HiC website for behind-the-scene videos, and become a fan of the show on Facebook, too.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Breaking Bad Season Finale Breaks New Ground Again!

Breaking Bad's third season ended spectacularly this past Sunday night, the second year in a row that AMC closed its magnificent nihilistic drama in a twisted, angst ridden knot. So many cliff hangers, and nail biters, my hands are practically bleeding. I might as well get the spoiler alert out of the way, because there is no way to discuss this last episode adequately without giving away essential plot elements. Avert your eyes readers, if you still have BB's "Full Measure" finale waiting in a DVR queue somewhere.

The picture above is a great visual summary for everything I love about Breaking Bad. Four men pose in a 21st century stand-off. The beautifully framed, desolate New Mexico landscape looks apocalyptic. Way in the distance, the frozen Sandia mountains stand sentry over miles of icy scrub. Not a bad metaphor for a show built around the the creation of those mesmerizing blue ice crystals otherwise known as Meth. Also, entirely appropriate that Meth rhymes with death. It's a cold business, and absolutely nothing warm and fuzzy is going to come out of this program. Ever. Producer Vince Gilligan has remained absolutely true to his vision through three seasons.

The season finale was really a two part arc, which has the enigmatic Walter White officially crossing the line from mild mannered high school chemistry teacher into bad. Very bad. But we don't care, because he only murdered a couple of street thugs and he did it to save Jesse, his hapless cohort in crime.

Walter's hit and run causes a sequence of very unfortunate events. He has crossed Gus, the soft spoken fried chicken franchise proprietor, who is likely the most evil drug kingpin in the entire series. Gus sends his henchman Mike (a fascinating ex-cop who kills without mercy, is kind to his adorable daughter and looks like a boiled potato) to fetch Walter and terminate him. Gus means to set up the former ultra-nerd meth lab assistant Gale to replace Walter AND Jesse and both of our main characters seem doomed. The end of the "Full Disclosure" has Walter's life hanging by a thread and Gale staring down the barrel of a gun held by a trembling Jesse. We hear a shot fired. And now have 6 months to ponder if Jesse has lost his soul. I'm guessing no way. He is the heart of the series, and while not the sharpest tool in the shed, is surely the most likable. If anyone is redeemed, let it be Jesse.

There is an awesome scene with the nerdy Gale in this final episode where he is singing a weird fast Spanish song in a high falsetto while watering his potted plants. Very surreal and David Lynch-like. I would like to feature the video here but unfortunately ALL videos for this episode of AMC's Breaking Bad have been removed from YouTube. Your loss AMC, we have at least 50 people a day reading The Flaming Nose!

Farewell to another extraordinary season of the most riveting drama on television. Thankfully, we have Mad Men (AMC) coming around to fill the gaping hole.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Sea Hunt" -- Scariest TV Theme Song Ever?

I've been watching the old ZIV syndicated series Sea Hunt, starring the stalwart Lloyd Bridges as diver and all-around good guy Mike Nelson, overnights on the local This-TV outlet out of Tampa, Florida. I've always thought the Sea Hunt theme was full of foreboding and hardly made scuba diving seem like a frivolous activity. David Rose's ominous musical intro sounded more like horrible death by drowning was just around the next big underwater outcropping, where some giant manta ray lurked, waiting to charge you. (Which actually happened in an episode I watched the other morning...)

Scary? You bet! Exciting? Undoubtedly, as it clearly didn't scare everybody away from diving and definitely fostered an appreciation for the underwater world in many viewers.

Sea Hunt was exec-produced by Ivan Tors (pictured right), a Hungarian animal trainer-turned writer/producer whose adventurous output included other fascinating projects like the completely terrifying 1954 robot sci-fi movie Gog, the Flipper series and movies, Gentle Ben, and one of personal favorites, the Africa-set Daktari starring the dashing khaki-clad Marshall Thompson as a jungle vet.

Sea Hunt's distribution outlet was ZIV, a syndication outfit founded by the man of the same name. I'm sure many babyboomers fondly remember watching several of ZIV's signature series, including SH, no-nonsense Broderick Crawford in Highway Patrol and the earnest Science Fiction Theatre (also from the aforementioned Ivan Tors). Check out ZIV's Wikipedia entry for a full list of the company's output. Ziv was quite the TV powerhouse back in the day, and there's no denying the appeal of the lower-budget but compelling productions which were a staple on stations building up their daytime and afternoon line-ups.

We watched these shows instead of cartoons, which were not available 24/7 like they are today. Did watching shows like these create a hunger and appreciation for more adult drama when we watched TV? I think so, for many of us. We transitioned from ZIV-level shows to great 1960s primetime series such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E. or The Wild Wild West, shows with tremendous younger viewer appeal. (I'm not exactly sure what kind of appetite constant cartoons creates in today's kid audiences, but I have my suspicions.)

Sea Hunt episodes are also available on Hulu, and check out this terrific article on the show from TV Party.

Lloyd Bridges in Sea it out and revel in its dramatic theme song!

Robert Wussler, TV Pioneer, Dies at 73

A passing not to be ignored by anyone who has watched TV over the past 40 years or so is that of Robert Wussler, the brilliant televisionary who was a major force both as an executive and a producer over his distinguished career. Mr. Wussler died last week on June 5th, at the age of 73. Although so far CNN has shockingly managed not to cover his death on their own news website -- and remember that Wussler co-founded that network with Ted Turner in 1980 -- other news outlets have noted his importance to the broadcast and cable industry.

In order to understand his contributions to the industry, we suggest reading his obituary here from The Hollywood Reporter, here from Westport Now (Wussler's Connecticut home), and here from TV News Check. We also highly recommend taking at look at the half-hour interview here with Mr. Wussler from March 1980, in which Mr. Wussler sounds, thirty years later, like a man with a crystal ball and a direct line to the future of the TV industry. We also think you'd like to take a look at a few pictures from GettyImages of Mr. Wussler in his producer days at CBS, where he honchoed many of the important science and space coverage during the 1960s. Thrilling and so important.

A brilliant man, gone too soon. Our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Friday, June 11, 2010

"TrueBlood" Season Three Coming This Sunday to HBO!

We're longtime fans of HBO's vampire meller TrueBlood, and with the third season starting up in just a few days, it's high time you started getting excited, too! With the rest of the kiddies going batty for Twilight, we advise getting your own vampire on and joining the fun of TrueBlood.

We've been bringing the HBO promo posters for the series to you over the past weeks, and here's #11, entitled "Life Goes On", featuring vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyers) posing with the members of his Civil War brigade. Nice concept, but I think they really could have done a little better job integrating his head onto the nameless (and now faceless) real soldier in the original photo, don't you? It should look more authentic...just sayin'. (If you want a look at the full-size downloadable version, click here.)

Here's the final teaser poster, #12, titled "How Can 400 Billion Blood Suckers Be Wrong?" -- what can you say about a mosquito?

If you've so far managed to avoid falling for the series, we suggest taking a look at this informational and very entertaining teaser from HBO, called "TrueBlood in 4:52". Narrated by Nelsan Ellis, who wonderfully plays Lafayette in the series, this short piece will get you up-to-date with the goings-on in the beleagured Louisiana town where all the TB action is. If you already are a fan, it'll whip you into a veritable frenzy of anticipation for Sunday's return. This is a good time to put in a big shout-out to the consistently excellent cast of TB. To learn more about this huge rep company and to see some of the new faces in this season, click here.

True Blood in 4:52

The Season 3 premiere of TrueBlood on HBO starts at a special time this coming Sunday. Be sure to tune-in at 8:45pm for 15 minutes of pre-show activities before the official showtime at 9pm! The Flaming Nose will be there!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


One City, One Goal - Sudden Death = Stanley Cup

Wednesday, June 9, 2010, will live long in the hearts and minds of Chicagoans for it was one of those "Thrill of Victory" moments that you experience (well, as a fan) very rarely in life. The 1985 Chicago Bears team brought the city a long awaited Super Bowl victory, the Chicago Bulls won a series of NBA Final championships in the 1990's; and my beloved Chicago White Sox took the World Series in 2005. Now this. The Stanley Cup comes back to Chicago.

I grew up watching ABC's Wide World of Sports and still vividly recall their open. The open featured ski jumper, Vinko Bogataj taking a death defying fall that inspired the line "the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat." They'd play that 1970 ski jump over and over and over again. Poor guy. By the way, he survived that fall. The front end of the quote was what many Chicago Blackhawk fans are feeling today. Sports is a feeling. We have the simple joy of knowing that our team won. Willy Wonka's one nasty moment (although, it was all an act) came when he said, "you get nothing, you lose" and for a brief period of time you are thinking that's going to be the fate of our team and then the positive and optimistic fan wakes up and says, "Hawks win, Hawks win!"

Last night's victory in the city of brotherly love (too bad it didn't happen on home ice, but you just want them to win, so you get over home ice in one one-hundredth of a second) was glorious. The Blackhawks did excruciating things to win Lord Stanley's Cup, but even after securing scars that will never completely heal, teeth that will never come back and damage that they will only encounter in some of their later years the Hawks played superbly, but so did the Philadelphia Flyers. I respect this sport. The players have to go backwards, forwards, sideways at 30 miles per hour. The puck is flying at 150 miles per hour. The players crash up against glass, fall on hard ice, have ice shot up to their faces, sticks are breaking their noses. They carry heavy loads of uniform and equipment. It's a physical game and they have to manage perfect hand/eye coordination while watching for everyone else's hand/eye coordination. It's a legitimate team sport.

It took two generations to get the Cup back to Chicago. (a generation is technically 25 years). Even though the Blackhawks are one of the original six NHL teams they had not managed a Stanley Cup Final victory since 1961. That's 49 years ago. John F. Kennedy was President and still alive. U. S. Troops had yet to take off for the jungles of Vietnam. The Beatles were still playing dumps in Hamburg. No one in the Western World knew what a jihad was. Ronald Reagan was still an actor. Not a soul had a PC or Mac. There were no iPods, iPads or cell phones. Oil spills didn't cause world ending style ecological breakdowns. ..., but the iconic Bobby Hull was the "golden jet" of the then winning Blackhawks!

Literally just a few years ago there were on average some 9,000 fans watching the Hawks in their stadium. They almost didn't have a television contract. They came close to not having a radio contract. How do you get fans to watch your sport if you can't see or hear them? You don't. Bring in a genius front office that knows how to pick players and then bring in a downright brilliant Marketing team (rarely use the word brilliant, but it applies here) and you can have a victory that is monumental.

I grew up in a family that loved sports, particularly loved the Bears, the Blackhawks and mostly the White Sox. When you have a dad who loves the games and then you have brothers that almost one-up the dad in their love for the games you kind of go along for the ride. "Here Come The Hawks" was written back in 1968 and I still love it. I've downloaded it and of course, it still sounds great even though it is basically a Lawrence Welk construct of a song. Dick Marx (the Richard Marx's father) arranged, produced and conducted that piece of music and it is more than nostalgia. The Blackhawks are mighty!

Theologically, I know this holds no merit, but there is a part of me that would like to think that my dad and my eldest brother know what happened last night and maybe they are breaking some bread with some one-time literal Blackhawks! My dad loved Native American culture (he could pretty much name any tribe and all of their chiefs), so the odds are if this were a scriptural reality of heaven he'd be looking to celebrate with some real Blackhawks! I digress.

Jonathan Toews (the youngest captain in the NHL) is an admirable 22 year old. His emotional maturity through this season has been mind-boggling. If you want the average 22 year old you won't find him playing in the NHL (well, maybe Patrick Kane). These guys don't just play. They sacrifice. Literally sacrifice - teeth, skin and a stress-free life.

3:55am on Thursday, June 10, the Chicago Blackhawks landed at O'Hare International Airport. The Chicago Fire Department met them with a salute that featured an archway of water. Thank God, it's lovely out or they would have had to skate off of the plane (water turning to ice). Of course, these guys would have done it. They're like mountain men and some of them looked like mountain men throughout the playoffs (don't shave as a mantra - you have to love this sport).

Duncan Keith lost his teeth, but this year he gained a Gold Medal (playing for Canada) and a Stanley Cup victory. I understand he is also gaining a wife in a few months. I love this guy, in spite of the fact that I'm old enough to be his mother!

Tomorrow morning there will be the celebratory and obligatory ticker tape parade throughout the streets of the beautiful city of Chicago! Mayor Daley will be there enjoying the victory lap with our new heroes.

I must admit, my emotional ties to the Chicago White Sox World Series victory (in 2005) is still the single most fantastic moment (outside of all personal experiences) in life, but this Stanley cup win is pretty darn cool!

At least for a brief period of time it is one city, one goal. It was all about that one goal. A goal that no one really saw except Kane and the Christian Bale look-a-like, Patrick Sharp. Didn't matter, Kane took a shot and got that one game winning goal. Last night he pointed out that "this is something I dreamed of as a little boy - to have the winning goal in a Stanley Cup Final." Good for him. Good for us.

Sudden death (who knew sudden death would be so fabulous) does indeed equal victory. In this case, sudden death equals the Stanley Cup. Once the parade ends we will get back to doing other things, but for a few days we will all fall under the spell of the thrill of victory. It's a victory that Vinko Bogataj didn't know back on a snowy day in 1970. Oh, and that happened some nine years after the last Stanley Cup win! Go Hawks, the mighty Blackhawks!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Lotta Love for Betty White

After losing Rue McClanahan last week, The Flaming Nose firmly believes the continued vibrant presence of her The Golden Girls co-star Betty White is a gift that we should savor to its fullest extent.

The 88-year-old Betty is on a roll these days. In a great recent interview from Advertising Age, she tells how her Super Bowl spot kicked her career back into high gear, culminating in her recent ratings-grabbing and completely hilarious hosting of Saturday Night Live. Read the article here.

You might also like to check out this gallery of Betty White photos from NY Daily; it's very entertaining and you'll be reminded what a glorious show biz trooper she is!

Here's a preview for her Super Bowl ad, but the best quality version of the commercial itself is on the Snickers site here.

And here's one of her great skits from SNL -- "CSI: Sarasota" (where I now live!).

(And may I ask why NBC claims to put "full shows" of SNL online, but they only run about 46:00 and leave out musical numbers and even more heinously many of the skits? That's ridiculous!).

All Hail Betty White!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Two More "TrueBlood" Posters from HBO!

Once again we've missed a week -- we're playing catch-up -- in bringing you the promo posters for the newest season of HBO's terrific vampire melodrama TrueBlood, coming on June 13th.

Here's Poster #9: "Night Cap"

Here's Poster #10 "Me & Little Sister Sally"

From what we read this season is going to big into werewolves and shapeshifters, so if shaggy canines are your thing you really need to start watching the show!

Visit HBO's TrueBlood site to download these in HUGE versions suitable for anything!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, CNN!

Thirty years is a fairly long time, and that's exactly how long CNN's been around. The news network started by Ted Turner celebrates its 30th birthday today, and though times are a little tougher these days -- the net is no longer ne plus ultra in TV news, ratings-wise at least -- it still packs a comprehensive punch and is virtually synonymous with 24-hour coverage.

Many of my former Turner colleagues did time at CNN and from all accounts it was an exciting place to work, no doubt attracting the best, the brightest, the toughest and the most willing to work at wages at that time below the industry standard. It's paid off, and for those of us who can't bear the politically-motivated shrillness of Fox or the good but inconsistent (no weekend news?) coverage of MSNBC, CNN is still the one.

I recommend taking a look at this feature from the CNN website: Defining Moments from CNN's 30 Years. No doubt you'll remember many of these, as I did.

Congratulations, CNN! You were an idea who time had come, and thank goodness Ted Turner was around to make it happen.