Ellen Gray: Around the channels, from 'Swingtown' to Disney
SO MUCH TV, so little time: _ The Parents Television Council, unable to persuade more than 8.5 million people last week to skip the premiere of CBS' "Swingtown" - which it contends "drives a stake through the institution of marriage and family" - is at it again.
SO MUCH TV, so little time:
_ The Parents Television Council, unable to persuade more than 8.5 million people last week to skip the premiere of CBS' "Swingtown" - which it contends "drives a stake through the institution of marriage and family" - is at it again.
Now it's asking CBS affiliates to pre-empt the show (10 tonight, Channel 3), using the argument that "Swingtown," which deals, among other things, with wife-swapping in the '70s, violates "community standards."
Problem? Last week's premiere ranked 14th for the week among total viewers of all shows that aired in prime time. Not exactly a sign of a deeply offended community.
Maybe next time, the PTC should just invoke the ultimate argument of parents everywhere:
"Because we said so."
_ Do the CW's "Gossip Girl" delusions continue?
Though show runner Josh Schwartz is already denying it to E! Online, the Hollywood Reporter says that the latest idea from the producers of the much-hyped, little-watched series is to spin it off, possibly sending Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen) off to boarding school.
Forget that the CW's already chosen some of the new shows in its fall lineup with an eye toward compatibility with one of its lower-rated series: In what universe does it make sense of spin off a show that averaged fewer than 2.2 million viewers in one time slot and fewer than 1.7 million in another?
No word on whether the CW's actually interested in a spin-off, but someone somewhere has to be wondering how low a network's ratings have to go before it spins itself right off the air.
_ Freed at last from the need to follow (and live-blog) every single second of Fox's "American Idol," I find myself with time to check out all sorts of TV I don't usually see.
This isn't necessarily a good thing.
The other night, surfing took me to TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8," a show about a young couple with eight children - one set of twins and one set of (gulp) sextuplets.
Don't know what I was expecting, but after watching an episode in which Jon Gosselin got a free hair transplant in Los Angeles - he and Kate reportedly live in central Pennsylvania - I wasn't exactly feeling the love.
Maybe it was the way Kate Gosselin was badgering her fairly adorable husband about his thinning hair.
Maybe it was the fact that they left all eight kids for three days with a friend who had four of her own - and that the majority of the 12 kids in the house were sick.
And, yes, maybe I shouldn't be judging someone else's family on the basis of one lousy episode - but that's exactly what so much "reality" TV demands.
From now on, I'm tempted to stick with shows about people like Tori Spelling - whose latest, "Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood," launches Tuesday on Oxygen - because for some reason I don't feel as guilty about judging Spelling, who's sadly been a punchline for decades now.
On Monday, meanwhile, TLC's offering up a little context on the Gosselins, with a "How They Got There" episode at 9 that thankfully isn't all about Jon's hair.
_ CBS' "Ghost Whisperer" doesn't claim to be a comedy, but it seems willing to employ comics to play opposite Jennifer Love Hewitt's way-too-serious psychic.
First it was Jay Mohr, who's leaving the show this fall to pursue sitcom stardom in CBS' upcoming "Project Gary."
Now Upper Darby's Jamie Kennedy has signed on to play, of all things, a graduate student in psychology, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Kennedy's played it straight before - though "Ghost of Christmas Past" on "Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Spectacular" is probably not what led him to "Ghost Whisperer" - but we'll know he's an actor at last if he can make it through even a single episode without being caught staring at Hewitt's oft-displayed cleavage.
_ "High School Musical," the Disney Channel Movie That Ate the World, can't go on forever (though that doesn't mean it won't try).
Disney must know that, because though "HSM3" will reportedly be in theaters this fall, there's what looks like a new franchise brewing in the Jonas Brothers musical "Camp Rock," set to air on ABC's "The Wonderful World of Disney" June 21, the night after its Disney Channel debut.
Meanwhile, MTV, which apparently isn't above getting caught up in the bubblegum craze, has announced its own teen musical, "American Mall," from the producers of - wait for it - "High School Musical."
That's set for Aug. 11, with the DVD and soundtrack going on sale Aug. 12.
Might as well surrender now. *
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