The Morning Show, Prime Time & Late Night Mess at NBC, Struggling to Find, Well Just About Anything of Value in Programming

March 24th, 2013 No comments

NBC is a mess.

Philly’s Comcast cable company that took over the company, jettisoned Jeff Zucker to daytime and now to CNN, has just about seen its investment in the Peacock network go bye-bye.  The life that was NBC in the heydays of The Cosby Show and Friends is seeking any level of life and future existence.

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Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer on NBC’s ‘Today Show’

NBC as a network is pretty much on life support.  And just about every area of the network is in dire need or repair.

Let’s take the Today Show, the former morning leader when Katie Couric and Matt Lauer were paired together and ABC along with CBS were just specks on the rating board.  Over the years the Today Show has just floundered.  Losing Katie Couric left a huge gap in the quality of Today as Meredith Vieira was steady but couldn’t do the tough interviews becoming fully intimidated by guests.  Ann Curry simply was tough to watch and cared too much in a phony way with her interview techniques.  And Savannah Guthrie is still finding her groove in the anchor chair with no comfort level in sight.

That’s the morning show.  Now getting kicked around by Good Morning America which is now the leader in morning programming.

Brian Williams from NBC Nightly News along with Brad Pitt

Brian Williams from NBC Nightly News along with Brad Pitt

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams is still the leader in the evening news program.  The only light that shines on this network.  But even Brian Williams can’t do it all.  He’s extremely solid but Rock Center, the news-magazine program still seeks to find its footing in prime time.  Leading of course to the mess in prime time.

What a mess.

'LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT' with Mariska Hargitay and Danny Pino

‘LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT’ with Mariska Hargitay and Danny Pino

It’s easy to see just by looking at this week’s future recordings on my DVR how much of a mess.  The only shows constantly being recorded from NBC are Whitney and Law & Order:Special Victims Unit.  Chicago Code gets repeats on Saturday when they air that night and Grimm showed significant foundation when it first aired but Grimm surely is no The Walking Dead.  Though the show has a cult following, it’s dead on a Friday night.

WHITNEY -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Whitney Cummings as Whitney Cummings -- Photo by: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

WHITNEY — Season: 1 — Pictured: Whitney Cummings as Whitney Cummings — Photo by: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Then take the late night Jay Leno cluster you know what.  Jay Leno has pretty much written his own exit interview by taking the full network’s ratings rank by tearing up NBC during his monologue on the Tonight Show.  The network has made it clear that Jay Leno’s days are numbered and probably will dump him in the fall to bring in new talent to that program.  The only person cheering is Conan O’Brien who has nothing to really jump for joy about as he’s stuck on cable with no audience yet he can’t be any more happier with Jay Leno’s demise.

Jay Leno

Jay Leno

But that’s no joy for NBC.  The Tonight Show has been in limbo and deteriorating since Johnny Carson retired and cannot gain footing during a time when the current host had been moved to 10PM, failed in that time period, moved back to late night and taking verbal pot shots at the disaster known as NBC.

What’s happening at NBC is not totally unexpected.  The network has been on a steady decline for years now with terrible content in prime time that just seems to come and go.  It’s become a network of followers rather than a network of creators.  The Jay Leno experiment at 10PM showed that the network’s creativity has diminished to really crappy reality content and really bad comedies.

NBC has become the stale television network with no fresh content in sight.

Bret Michaels on NBC's 'America's Got Talent'

Bret Michaels on NBC’s ‘America’s Got Talent’

What’s the problem?  Well the Today Show is a clear example of stale.  Same old talking heads that are nothing more than the same old talking heads.  It’s clear that the production team  behind the Today Show play it safe.  Using the same talking heads today that they been using for five years.  The network is attempting to show more diversity in the people that they use as experts on the Today Show but it may be a bit too late.  But as a network that used to be the leader to do the same thing today as they did yesterday is a normal reaction to how programming is chosen at NBC.

Do the same old same old.  And let’s see if that can fix this mess that is NBC.

Can this be fixed?  Only time will tell.  And change will be in the offing if NBC is to gain back any significant balance and be the network it was when The Cosby Show and Friends made NBC the top ranked television network in broadcasting.  It will be a long time coming though.  In the new world order of digital, cable and mobile it is no longer easy to change new world order habits.  Which may keep NBC lagging in the ratings for a very long time.

Rick Thomas


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It’s a Blast from the Past, Old School Disco Guy Surfs the Web, Noel’s ’87 Hit ‘Silent Morning’ (YouTube Video)

March 5th, 2013 No comments

I remember Silent Morning.  A guy by the name of Noel did that song I used to play as a DJ back in the day.  “Some listen to remember, some listen to forget,” as Harvey Holiday and Jerry Blavat used to say when I listened to radio back in my days in Philadelphia.

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These were the good old days.  The days of disco radio.  Yes it failed miserably because sales people who worked for those radio stations could sell their mothers a Mother’s Day gift if they tried.  They were afraid of the word “disco” but many of us lived the life of going to clubs like Second Story, The Library and Club Elan on a regular basis night after night just to party, meet and pick up girls but of most importance listen to singers like Noel perform songs like Silent Morning which was a disco classic.

Noel Pagan in 1987

Noel Pagan in 1987

Again just surfing the web, I found this great video on YouTube.  Noel had not seen his two grown daughters in over seven years for whatever reason.  We’ll let Maury Povich handle that part of this story but this is one of those videos that first brings back great music of the old school days but also brings back the Jersey shore because this took place in Atlantic City where my parents were born and I’ve lost a lot of money at the Wheel of Fortune slot machines.

If you’re a disco fan, you will love this video.  Great find for me and great viewing.  Just watch.  It’s once again….classic.

Rick Thomas


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Mitt Romney Says “Hello It’s Me” to the People at FOX News Channel

February 25th, 2013 No comments

Well whoopee!  Mitt Romney is ready to chat with the 47% of the people who voted for him and he is doing it on FOX News Channel.

And you know what?

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

I just put this on record on my DVR because I really want to see what this loser has to say as I’m completely and 100% surprised that he is actually offering himself up for an interview and with his wife.

Go figure!

Yes Chris Wallace snagged the first interview with the Republican challenger that got his ass kicked by Barack Obama in the last general election.  Republicans are still asking themselves the question “how did we lose twice to this black man” and let’s hope this Sunday’s interview on FOX News Channel answers that question.

Or really, I guess, who the hell really cares.

Rick Thomas


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From Movies to Music, to ‘Argo’ and Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, a Jam Packed Oscars Event (Lots of YouTube Videos)

February 25th, 2013 No comments

So they came and left.  Los Angeles is recovering this morning from last night’s Oscars event.  I fortunately got out of town like I always do when Hollywood is a mess during this event.  An Italian dinner, a walk in the hills of Agoura way, way outside of the glitz and glamour of the Oscars but with the flat screen showing some of the content.

The Oscars went very well last night.  Take away some of the Seth McFarlane whatever he did and it was a really good show.  Check out some of the video content we found online.

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David Gregory In Big at ‘Meet The Press’ While Soledad O’Brien? Out at CNN

February 24th, 2013 No comments

One news name gets a big extension of his contract, Jeff Zucker is continuing his implosion of on air talent over at CNN.

Yes David Gregory, after four years of taking over for Tim Russert on NBC’s perennial Sunday morning show Meet The Press, was given his full props by the network with a long term extension that will keep him hosting the program for a long time.  And with new CNN boss Jeff Zucker purging on air talent from just about every competitive network this really is a smart move for NBC.

David Gregory host of NBC's 'Meet the Press'

David Gregory host of NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’

David Gregory never passed a mirror without looking at himself for a few minutes but has done a great job hosting Meet The Press.  Originally I thought he was weak and afraid to take a solid stand against any of his guests but after four year David Gregory seems to have found his stride in the moderator chair for Meet The Press.

In what’s been described as a “long term commitment” to David Gregory, NBC locks in the news hound as the 10th host of the long running show on the air since 1947.

Now let’s head on over to CNN.

Soledad O’Brien

Soledad O’Brien

“I will not miss getting up that early,” says Soledad O’Brien of her release from Starting Point, the early morning show over at CNN.  Soledad O’Brien becomes another casualty of the news war changes at hand over at CNN.  The network which has lost any consistent audience impact unless it’s election related is going through a massive restructuring at the hands of former NBC top exec Jeff Zucker.  Who uses the philosophy that if it’s broke in half like CNN well you’d better come in and blow up the place.

Bang!!!

Soledad O’Brien will continue to do specials for CNN but expect that she will move on when her full contract with CNN expires.

Rick Thomas

rick@RealTVCritics.com


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Minnie Driver Heads to NBC’s Adaptation of ‘About a Boy’ (Watch Minnie’s YouTube Video)

February 17th, 2013 No comments
Minnie Driver

Minnie Driver

Minnie Driver is headed to television.  Yes television.  The Oscar nominated actress for one of my favorite movies of all time Good Will Hunting will now co-star in the television version of About a Boy on NBC’s television network.

Minnie Driver will play Fiona, the mother of a young boy named Marcus in the TV project and is a woman just getting out oa a divorce looking to find her new way in life.  She and Marcus move to San Francisco in that quest to take her life to the next level.

Rick Thomas

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro

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Country Music’s Sad Ending, Mindy McCready Ends Life at 37 Years of Age (YouTube Video)

February 17th, 2013 No comments

What a mess.

What a true mess.

What a sad day for country music fans.  After a terrible life, after a country music career that was short and sweet, Mindy McCready’s horrible trek through 37 years of life on this earth have come to an end.  Country music singer Mindy McCready died of a self inflicted gunshot wound, committing suicide and ending one of the entertainment world’s most tragic lives imaginable.

Country Music Singer Mindy McCready

Country Music Singer Mindy McCready

Her husband, David Wilson, committed the same act last month and Mindy McCready was under significant scrutiny after being suspected of killing him after a turbulent relationship with her music producer husband.  Mindy McCready leaves behind two children one who is only 10 months old.

Her issues with addiction to drugs is no secret to any of her fans who followed Mindy McCready.  Right after the death of her husband Mindy McCready appeared on NBC’s Today Show to talk about her life and her innocence in the death of her husband.

Seems the pressure of every day life really got to Mindy McCready.  A life, once again, lost and gone too soon.

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NBC’s Brian Williams Says John Kerry “the first white man to hold the job of Secretary of State” in 16 Years During ‘Nightly News’

February 4th, 2013 No comments

What have we come to?

What the hell is going on in America?

Have we reached such a level in network news, in our growing minority base of women, Latinos, African Americans and everybody else that Brian Williams of NBC’s  Nightly News had to say it.  The last two Secretary of State leaders were women.  The incredible Hilary Clinton who just left the job will go down in history as one of the most respected Secretary of State persons ever.

Brian Williams and Brad PItt

Brian Williams and Brad PItt

Let’s be fair.  Condoleeza Rice was fantastic.  She was huge.  One of the best as well.  She will run for President one day, maybe take on Hilary Clinton which would be one hell of a battle.  But despite my liberalism I kinda like Condi.  She’s simply awesome.

Prior to that there was the best of the best, Colin Powell as Secretary of State.  He ticks off a lot of conservatives, is a true moderate Republican that you can actually like and was great in the position.

But John Kerry is a white dude.  The first white dude in 16 years that has held the position of Secretary of State.  And NBC’s Brian Williams, host of Nightly News made a big deal about it during tonight’s broadcast.

America.

What a place.

Rick Thomas


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Paul Harvey’s ‘God Made a Farmer’ Ram Trucks Commercial in SuperBowl Simply Amazing (YouTube Video)

February 3rd, 2013 No comments

Wow!  Hearing Paul Harvey again from an old school radio guy almost brought tears to the eyes.  The Ram Trucks God Made a Farmer commercial in the SuperBowl was special for me.  Being a radio guy for all my life, since I was 17 years old and when AM radio was King and Paul Harvey was the King of All Media, well this commercial does it.

Well done Ram Trucks, well done.

Rick Thomas

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Oprah Voices Jeep, USO SuperBowl Commercial Making It Most Memorable So Far (YouTube Video)

February 3rd, 2013 No comments

You gotta love any commercial that talks about bringing our soldiers home.  Jeep hits the mark by getting the venerable Oprah Winfrey to voice their commercial in this year’s SuperBowl.

Great creative!

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