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Monday, February 20, 2006

Scheduling nightmares

September 1, 2004

Trouble is brewing at the Biller household. My better half is a Survivor addict. I prefer The O.C.

While this never presented a problem before, the geniuses in charge of TV scheduling decided to put these two ratings winners head to head this season. To further complicate matters, the new Friends spin-off Joey is on at the same time, as is the new WB show I wanted to check out, The Mountain.

So, even with two televisions, a satellite, and the poor man’s TiVo - the VCR- it’s not humanly possible to catch everything. Don’t worry. I’ll try. As your TV gal, I wouldn’t want to shortchange you. But you’ll have to forgive me if I miss a show here and there.

This isn’t the first time I’ve run into scheduling nightmares. For some reason, year after year networks program their best and most popular shows against one another. Why they think this is a good idea, I’ll never understand.

It seems if the ratings juggernaut of Survivor dominated the 8 p.m. Thursday timeslot, that other networks would schedule shows in a different time slot that has little else to offer. That way, instead of just a small slice of the ratings pie, they could get the whole thing. It seems logical. Yet, they don’t do it.

Perhaps the network honchos know something I don’t, which would explain why they’re rich and powerful, and I just write critiques of their products. Whatever their rationale, the end result stinks.

Viewers will have plenty of hard choices to make this season. Especially problematic are Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Promising new shows Clubhouse and Veronica Mars are up against Father of the Pride, Scrubs, According to Jim, and One Tree Hill.

Sundays will force viewers to choose, too. New shows Desperate Housewives and Jack & Bobby will be battling it out at 9 p.m. At 8 p.m., Charmed, American Dreams, Arrested Development, and Cold Case will force viewers to decide if they prefer witches, retro music, offbeat humor, or crime mysteries.

As for Thursdays at 8 p.m., it’s dueling remotes at the Biller household. I’ll keep you posted on who wins and who gets voted off the island.

MTV Video Music Awards: Nothing makes you feel old like watching the MTV Video Music Awards. What I saw of Sunday’s show proved one thing to me: I’m not as cool as I think I am. Sure, I enjoy Usher and OutKast as much as the next. How could I not love a song that urges me to “shake it like a Polaroid picture?” But as for the rest, it was painful. Back in the day of ’80s-hair bands, power ballads, and Madonna rolling around on stage in a white wedding dress, I scoffed at my parents’ disapproving eye. I remember saying they just didn’t understand my music. Apparently, I have officially crossed over into adulthood and joined them in their prudish musical tastes. I used to know all the words. Now, I can’t even tell what the hip hoppers are saying and don’t care to find out. One bright spot was the incredibly gifted Alicia Keys. She has a voice like velvet. It’s a massage for the ears.

Welcome Back: Ed is coming to Scrubs. Actor Thomas Cavanagh is reprising his role as J.D.’s older brother this season. As if I needed another reason to watch my favorite sitcom. Actress Julianna Margulies, formerly Carol of ER is also scheduled to appear as a malpractice lawyer, according to TV Guide Online. Now, if they could just get pediatrician Doug Ross on staff, i.e. George Clooney, my evil plan would be complete.

Hail to the Chiefs?: It’s a presidential election year, and we all know what that means. Martin Sheen is about to be ousted from The West Wing. The two contenders to replace him in the fictitious race to the oval office are Jimmy Smits, of NYPD Blue fame and TV icon Alan Alda, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Both enigmatic actors join the cast this season and could be just the fresh blood the show needs. I kind of hope Smits loses. Instead of president, I’d love to see him as a romantic interest for C.J. Then, finally, she’d get to date a man taller than she is.

Originally published 9/1/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


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