SO MUCH television, so little time:
Well, now we know how NBC's "30 Rock" is going to deal with the sale of the network it regularly parodies.
And it's, er, Comcast-ic.
Or, perhaps, Kabletown-istic, since Kabletown's the moniker that the writers - including Upper Darby's Tina Fey, the show's star and creator - have apparently decided to apply to the Philadelphia-based behemoth that's in the process of acquiring 51 percent of her network.
"My parents have Kabletown down in Pennsylvania. It's a fine and generous company," Fey's Liz Lemon told her distraught boss, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) last week after he revealed that the fictional Sheinhardt Wig Co. was selling NBC to a cable company based in Philadelphia.
Judging by the tenor of Jack's initial reaction to the deal, Philadelphia should expect to take at least as many shots as NBC's new owners. Already he's likened the acquisition of a New York-based company by a Philly one to "Vietnam defeating the United States in a ground war."
Maybe Kabletown, too, can occupy a building that resembles an enormous flash drive?
There's no word yet on how residents of Kabletown, W.V., feel about the name, which, for all I know, might be spelled Kable Town, or KableTown.
Oh, and for those who don't spend their days watching CNBC, that really was former General Electric Co. chairman Jack Welch playing himself in Thursday's episode, which also featured a cameo by "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams (who, let's face it, pops up so often in non-news contexts that it's no longer much of a surprise to see him).
_ One more reason to watch "Damages" (10 tonight, FX): The return this week of Ted Danson as first-season villain Arthur Frobisher.
Can. Not. Wait.
_ I've been reminding myself that this is always the point in "American Idol" season when I'm a little bored with the whole thing - and it doesn't help when it's on three nights in a row, as it has been for the past couple of weeks.
I've already exceeded my Ryan Seacrest quota for the month.
But while I've yet to see that "moment" that Simon Cowell keeps talking about (when he's not using his other favorite word, "relevant"), I'm not yet blaming the contestants for my boredom.
Because more than ever this year, it's the judges who don't seem to have much to say.
And there's at least one too many of them saying it.
With the absence this year of Paula Abdul, it's clearer than ever that aimless babbling wasn't something she took with her when she left. Stepping into the breach? Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson and occasionally Ellen DeGeneres, for whom, I'll admit, I had higher hopes.
Kara, in particular, seems to be contributing little to the show but a Paula Abdul-like tendency to be inappropriate: If I never see another clip of her first encounter with now-finalist Casey James, it will be too soon.
And it's way too early in the season for crying jags.
As "Idol" producers continue their search for a replacement for the acerbic Simon - I envision stadiums somewhere packed with middle-aged men in tight T-shirts rehearsing English accents - maybe they should also be looking at the rest of the judging panel.
And reconsidering the power of three.
_ Even I, though, realize the uselessness of trying to suggest change of any sort to "Idol," which remains the nation's most-watched show, even when we're only watching so we can complain to each other about it the next day.
Someone (and it looks as if it'll have to be me) should tell that to an outfit called HCD Research in Flemington, N.J., which regularly sends out press releases heralding the results of pop culture-related polling it's done.
Lately, as part of what it's calling an "Idol Democracy study," it's been arguing that "American Idol's" been voting off the "wrong" contestants, based on the company's sampling of 6,727 "Idol" viewers whose choices disagreed with the millions who may have texted or touch-toned their fingers to the bone as they tried to keep one not very interesting contestant or another from having to go home.
It's Season 9, people! Get a grip.
This isn't a one-person, one-vote democracy. It never has been. No, this, as Ryan is so fond of reminding us, is "American Idol."
Love it or leave it. *
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