The Light from the TV Shows: 10 Highlights from ESPN’s ‘Olbermann’ Panel

When it comes to sports, I have a longstanding history of being the least-knowledgeable member of the Bullz-Eye staff by far – I’ve lost track of how many editorial meetings have found me drifting into silence as the topic of conversation shifted into talk of this team’s record or that player’s performance – so I hope you can appreciate just how much of a pop culture figure Keith Olbermann has become if I’m dedicating my TV column to his return to ESPN. By all rights, I really shouldn’t care.

Like, at all.

There’s something about Olbermann, though, that I’ve always found entertaining, no matter what he’s talking about or whether I fundamentally agree with it. As such, when it was announced that he’d be attending the summer TCA tour to hype his return to ESPN, I actually wanted to be there and hear what he had to say. Unsurprisingly, he kept the crowd of TV critics happy by providing quick quips and well-considered answers to their questions, enough that I was able to put together a list of 10 highlights from his panel.

OlbermannTCATour

1. “For all of you who had (August 26) in your pool as to when I would return to do ESPN, congratulations. Any span over, like, 40 years, you could have picked that date. You got it right. So very well done.”

2. ” I’m not intending to talk about politics, certainly not in the partisan sense and not in the sense that I did in the last ten years of work that I’ve done, for the simple reason that it’s a sports show. And there will be occasions in which, as I said in the news conference we had last week, if Barack Obama runs onto the field during the all star game, we will have to talk about the ramifications of that during the game and perhaps for his political future. But it will not be the intent to say, you know, ‘The Chicago White Sox moved to Vancouver, Canada, today; but, first, let’s talk about what Speaker Boehner said.’ I’ve done and enjoy and own the work that I did in politics and news, but that’s not what this is. I wanted to go back into sports, and I wanted to repair some transportation means with my former employer, and I got to do both.”

Read the rest of this entry »

  

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Gordon Ramsay (“Hell’s Kitchen”)

Given the number of restaurants in his empire (as it were), Gordon Ramsay would be a very busy man even if he didn’t have a TV series. As it happens, however, he actually has four of them: “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Kitchen Nightmares,” “Masterchef,” and, most recently, “Hotel Hell.” With less than a 10-minute window available for a chat after his appearance at the Television Critics Association press tour last month, Chef Ramsay and I didn’t have a chance to get terribly in-depth about any topic for Bullz-Eye, but I was able to get a little bit of insight into how he transitioned from the soccer field to the kitchen, how he handles himself behind the camera, and how long his “Hell’s Kitchen” winners tend to stick around his restaurants.

Bullz-Eye: The first thing I must tell you is that I have a seven-year-old daughter who says she’s pretty sure that she can cook scallops better than some of your contestants on this go-round of “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Gordon Ramsay: So has my daughter. [Laughs.] I have three daughters – 10, 11, and 13 – and Megan, the oldest, said, “Daddy, I can cook scallops better than any of your sous-chefs on ‘Hell’s Kitchen.’” So it gets a little bit embarrassing. But, you know, it’s not the one portion, it’s cooking for an entire restaurant that gets them, because it’s down to the timing. No one can prepare you better for that service than experience. You can’t just walk into it. You’ve got to be prepped big-time. So I suppose the big frustration at home, with everyone saying, “I can do better than that,” is because they’re looking at one portion. Yet the most important thing is cooking the scallops perfectly across the entire night.

BE: To start at the very beginning, I understand you were actually on your way to a career in football – by which I mean soccer, of course – at one point.

GR: Yeah, wow, a long time ago now. Yeah, you’re right, but, I mean, what do you do? Do you sit there and get bitter and think ‘it could’ve been’ or ‘it may have been’ or ‘what happens if,’ or do you get on with it? So I picked myself up. Mom and Dad were going through a real shitty divorce at the time, so it was sort of getting out of one big negativity spot and following your second dream. I think everybody deserves a second chance in life, and nobody’s perfect, so with head down…

Read the rest of this entry »

  

The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Iliza Shlesinger (“Excused”)

A hallmark of attending the Television Critics Association press tour and the various panels and events surrounding it is that you really never know who you’re going to end up chatting with. On one evening this time around, I went to the Paley Center and found myself chatting with Joe Regalbuto (known to most for “Murphy Brown”, though I’ll always remember him best as Rex Smith’s scientific sidekick on “Streethawk”) and “Waltons” creator Earl Hamner, Jr., then had a chance to say “hello” to one of my past interview subjects for both Bullz-Eye and the Onion AV Club, Ed Asner. But that was a special Warner Brothers event celebrating the history of the studio’s TV series, so I wasn’t entirely blindsided by their appearances there…unlike the gorgeous blonde in a traffic-stopping dress who strolled into the CBS all-star event even though, I felt quite certain, she wasn’t actually on a CBS show.

I mean, you wouldn’t forget someone who looks like this, would you?


And I was right, as it turns out.

Well, sort of, anyway: Iliza Shlesinger isn’t on CBS, per se, but she hosts the syndicated dating show “Excused, “which – provided it appears in your market – appears in on your TV screen courtesy of CBS Television Distribution. Funnily enough, I’d worked with her publicist on several past projects, which is why the publicist came up to me and asked, “Would you like to talk to Iliza?” Like I’d turn down an offer like that…

(Plus, as I told Ms. Shlesinger a few minutes later, I also immediately thought, “Hey, I’ve actually watched that show, so I won’t have to sit there bluffing my way through the next several minutes!”)

Read the rest of this entry »

  

The Light from the TV Shows: Great Quotes from the January 2012 TCA Press Tour

Now that I’m back from the January 2012 TCA Press Tour, I’m very, very tired…and, trust me, if you knew how much work I’d done during the course of the tour – January 3 – 15 – then you’d understand why I’m so very, very tired. I tried to attend as many of the panel coverage of the next six months of television as I possibly, but given that I was bouncing between one-on-one interviews throughout the day and trying to round up a few more every night, I’m not going to pretend that I was able to attend them all. I attended enough of them, however, that it doesn’t take a great deal of effort to produce a collection of my favorites quotes of the tour. That’s not to say this is all of them, mostly because some of the panels (like, say, “Archer”) were very much of the you-had-to-be-there variety, but it’s enough to give you an idea just how entertaining the last two weeks have been.

Tiring as hell, but definitely entertaining.

“When (Johnny Carson and I) talked, after 12 years of writing him, in 2002 he finally actually called me, and I thought it was a joke when on the PA it said “Peter, Johnny Carson on 601.” And he said, “Peter, it’s Johnny Carson. I want to tell you, you write a damn fine letter, but I’m not going to participate in anything on my life because, you know what? I don’t give a shit.” He said, “One day something may get done, and you know what? You’re probably the guy to do it. But it will never happen while I’m alive. I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do. I’ve said anything I want to say. There is nothing more.”director Peter Jones on trying to secure an interview with Johnny Carson for the long-gestating “American Masters: Johnny Carson”

To be honest, it’s one of two minutes in a 90 minute episode, and it’s pre the 9 o’clock BBC watershed. There is nothing that you see. It’s very suggestive. It’s very clever camerawork, and it’s just a character device. It’s not about nudity being displayed in ‘Sherlock.’ She’s a dominatrix. Nudity is nothing to her, but it was no mean feat for me to shoot it being naked for eight hours in just a pair of Louboutin shoes. (It) was a challenge…and one I’ve never met before.”Laura Pulver on her nude scene in “Sherlock II”

One of the things that is amazing is to look back at a song that is so inevitable, like ‘Over The Rainbow.’ That’s like a folk tune. We all know it so well. And I discovered that (songwriter) Yip Harburg was having trouble coming up with an idea for the words that proceeded ‘rainbow.’ ‘Somewhere beyond the rainbow.’ ‘Somewhere near to the rainbow.’ It just didn’t feel right. And then he came up with ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ because, as a lyricist, he realized that the ‘o’ sound sang well, and it was a pleasing for a singer. And, technically, it worked right, and it gave him the right setting for the word ‘rainbow.’ ‘Somewhere over the rainbow.’ And then I discovered that, the end of that song, they were having trouble with it.

“Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen, Arlen being the composer and Harburg being a lyricist, they were having trouble with the last line of the song. And they were working at Ira Gershwin’s house, and they couldn’t come up with the idea to end the whole thing. They’d gone through the whole song, and they couldn’t come up with the end. And they were working for hours at Ira Gershwin’s house, and he was tired, and he wanted to go to bed. So he said, ‘What about ‘Birds fly over the rainbow. So why can’t I?’ And they said, ‘Hey!’ And he gave him the idea, the whole end of it, and then he came up with this: ‘If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why, oh, why can’t I?’ And when Mr. Gershwin was alive, I said, ‘Ira, why did you meddle in somebody else’s songwriting?’ He said, ‘Because it was late and I wanted to get to bed.’”Michael Feinstein on “American Songbook II”

“I had great Italian American family that were in the grocery business. And it was during the Depression, and we were all very, very poor. The whole country, the majority of the country was really, really poor, a lot worse than it is today. And so my father died when I was ten and my brother and sister and I would entertain my family because my family all my uncles and nephews and aunts and relatives they all would come over on a Sunday and make a circle around my brother, sister, and I. And they were so knocked out with trying to make my mom feel good because she had to work on a penny a dress to raise three children, and the whole family felt so much for her, but they wanted to show her how much they loved her children. And they treated me and my brother and my sister with so much love, and they I remember at a very early age, they said to me, ‘Look at the way he makes us feel good, you know, and he’s so happy, and he’s always doing something to make us feel good, and look at the way he paints flowers and all that.’ I remember very clearly saying, ‘This is who I am. My family is telling me that I sing and I paint,’ and they created a tremendous gift in my life to continue that, and each year it’s become stronger and stronger. I will never retire, and, you know, if my voice goes, I’m still going to paint. I just want to keep improving as I go on, and it’s just taught me what a beautiful life it is to be possessed with. It’s not that I want to do it. I have to do it. And it will always be that way. I will never retire.”Tony Bennett on the secret to his longevity

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Bullz-Eye Parties It Up at the Playboy Mansion

Previous Previous
playboy-mansion1
Previous   Previous

(Photo of the Bunnies courtesy of Marylou Coyle)

As a writer / editor with Bullz-Eye.com, I’ve seen and done some pretty amazing things, from traveling to Ireland solely for the purposes of sipping whiskey to watching Snoop Dogg blow up an armored car in the name of Mafia Wars, but even as jaded as I perhaps ought to be by this point in my career, I immediately turned into a 13-year-old boy again when I got the word that one of the first parties of this summer’s Television Critics Association press tour was going to be taking place at…the Playboy Mansion.

Given all the amount of hype it’s been receiving, it would be reasonable for you to presume that this was an event being thrown in conjunction with NBC’s new drama, “The Playboy Club,” which premieres this fall. In fact, the party came about through Playboy’s own network, Playboy TV, which made their TCA tour debut back in January, courting couples to watch their new programming. But while there’s little question that this evening’s goings-on resulted in plenty of journalists writing about their experiences – I’m living proof! – it must be said that, even though there were several TV screens running trailers for Playboy TV programs on a loop, the function ultimately did more to promote the Playboy brand name as a whole than the actual network. I did walk out of the event with screeners for a couple of Playboy TV's new shows, however, so you can expect a write-up on those at some point in the future.

For now, though, here's the big thing I'm here to write about: I went to the Playboy Mansion.

Was it everything that 13-year-old me had imagined it to be? Read on and find out...

(more...)

  

Related Posts