Ellen Gray: Fox's 'Glee' used to pump Tony Awards show on CBS
SO MUCH television, so little time: * I'm not about to throw a pity party for CBS, but it can't have been easy for the network, which hosts the Tony Awards but doesn't program "Glee," to see the Fox series and a couple of its stars used to try to keep viewers from fleeing Sunday's broadcast.
SO MUCH television, so little time:
* I'm not about to throw a pity party for CBS, but it can't have been easy for the network, which hosts the Tony Awards but doesn't program "Glee," to see the Fox series and a couple of its stars used to try to keep viewers from fleeing Sunday's broadcast.
Up against Game 5 of the NBA finals and the season premiere of HBO's "True Blood," the Tonys, hosted this year by former "Will & Grace" star Sean Hayes, who's starring on Broadway in "Promises, Promises," averaged about 7 million viewers, according to the preliminary Nielsens. That's down 6 percent from last year, but up nearly three-quarters of a million people from two years ago, reports the Associated Press.
Tony voters certainly did their part - by the end of the evening, the parade of winners better known for their work on screen than on stage made it nearly indistinguishable from any number of West Coast congratfests - but as the evening wore on, it was clear the show's producers were more interested in hyping a performance by "Glee's" Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele than in most of the nominated shows.
(Except, perhaps, for Green Day's "American Idiot.")
When it finally came, what we got were two separate performances, and Michele's, a reprise of "Don't Rain on My Parade" that "Glee" fans would recognize from the show's fall finale (and maybe even from "Funny Girl"), demonstrated the danger of mixing up the character and the actress.
For teenager Rachel Berry, who's like those girls on "American Idol" who are too young to know they're better off not trying to out-Whitney Whitney or out-Barbra Barbra, singing Streisand on "Glee" was a perfect match between character and singer.
For the 23-year-old Michele, who plays Rachel but who in real life has already starred on Broadway, it felt (to me, at least) more insistent than transcendent.
If not like an actual audition for the role of Fanny Brice in the "Funny Girl" revival that's reportedly in the works for 2012.
* All's well that ends well?
Maura Tierney, who dropped out of NBC's "Parenthood" last year while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer and was replaced by Lauren Graham, has joined the cast of a new ABC show, "The Whole Truth," where she'll play an assistant district attorney in New York who somehow manages to square off weekly with a defense attorney played by Rob Morrow who's an old friend of hers from law school.
Speaking of whole truth, ABC's official announcement yesterday left out the part about the part having originally gone to Joely Richardson ("Nip/Tuck"). Richardson's scenes were still part of the clips shown to advertisers in New York last month, days after reports surfaced that she was leaving the series to spend more time with her family.
* For those who've been made restless by HBO's "Treme," the David Simon series set in New Orleans whose first season draws to a close next Sunday, John Goodman's character, an English professor, had a few words this week.
And for once, I can use them in the newspaper.
Ostensibly, Creighton Burnette was talking about "The Awakening," an 1899 novel by Kate Chopin that's set in New Orleans, when he exhorted his students to take their time with the book and to focus on the language.
But he continued, warning them, "Don't think in terms of a beginning and an end. Because unlike some plot-driven entertainments, there is no closure in real life. Not really."
That Burnette, who's reported to have been based in part on a real-life professor and blogger named Ashley Morris, seemed at the same time to be in search of just such a conclusion is, what, one of the sad ironies of "Treme"?
I'm really not sure.
Knowing that some of you may not yet have gotten to the episode - available under On Demand - I don't want to be too specific about its final few minutes, which disappointed me in a way that the meandering "Treme" generally hasn't so far.
And if you're one of the people who's been complaining that nothing ever seems to happen on the show, maybe you should be careful what you ask for.
* The season finale of AMC's "Breaking Bad" might have left us hanging, but at least it's not forever.
The series, which stars Bryan Cranston as a chemistry teacher-turned-meth producer, has been renewed for a fourth season, AMC announced yesterday.
* Upper Darby's Tina Fey, who's written about by more magazines every year than most of us get around to reading, is one of the 25 "most influential people in television," according to TV Guide, whose "2010 Power List" also includes former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Palin's sharing the honors not just with her comic look-alike but with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Apple's Steve Jobs, "CSI" producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Fox News president Roger Ailes.
As they say on "Saturday Night Live" - really? *
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