Thursday, January 18, 2007

Shades Of Grey

I stopped watching "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 9 p.m.) a few episodes after it started, but I have to say, I've been keeping up with the behind-the-camera soap opera that has been brewing.

The latest brouhaha happened during a press conference at The Golden Globes Monday night, in which star Isaiah Washington repeated an epithet against gays while denying he used the same word against co-star T.R. Knight. Knight has since gone on Ellen Degeneres' show, saying Washington is lying.

Katherine Heigl, who was up for Best Supporting Actress, immediately blasted Washington.

One wonders why there has been no punitive action against Washington through all this. He continues to alienate his castmates with his actions, which have been an embarrassment to the show. The initial incident caused a fistfight between Washington and co-star Patrick Dempsey, who came to Knight's defense.

Knight, who had kept his sexual preference private, was forced to come out of the closet earlier this year when he had no intention to, and in doing so may have had damage done to his career if producers in the future decide not to cast him in straight roles because of his homosexuality.

At the very least, Washington should have been suspended by "Grey's" producers or ABC, and many people are calling for him to be fired. Had the situation been reversed, and a cast member had used a racial slur against Washington, that cast member would have almost certainly been canned, and justifiably so. I fail to see the difference here.

NBC RENEWS SHOWS: Great news for fans of NBC programs. The network made it official this week, renewing "The Office," "Heroes," "My Name Is Earl," and "Law & Order: SVU" for next season. There are also strong indications that "Scrubs" may get another season.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Sometimes, the TV gods reward those who give praise at their altar, and you get nights like tonight.

If ever there was a night to keep the VCRs fired up, it's tonight, where everything is a Best Bet.

I would have been happy just with tonight's all-new "Smallville," (CW, 8 p.m.), where we finally get the much-anticipated Justice League debut, as Clark Kent hooks up with Green Arrow, Impulse, Cyborg and Aquaman to fight Lex Luthor. Plus, I get a new episode of "Supernatural" following. You can catch the first 12 minutes of "Smallville" right now at Yahoo!, which also will provide additional material. And, if you are a "Smallville" fan that uses Sprint phones, you can catch the animated "Oliver Queen Chronicles," which will eventually make its way to the CW Web site.

But no, the rewards go far beyond that. A new "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 8 p.m.), coming off its Golden Globe wins.

Not only do I get a whole new night of NBC sitcoms, I get the much-anticipated "Scrubs" musical episode tonight at 9 p.m.

But wait, there's still more. Stephen Colbert hosts Bill O'Reilly tonight on "The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.), an episode that airs after O'Reilly hosts Colbert on "The Factor" (FNC, 8 p.m.)

Even the re-runs are top-notch. You can catch the clever cult film "The Zero Effect" (WGN, 8 p.m.), a modern-day retelling of Sherlock Holmes written and directed by my buddy, Jake Kasdan. (OK, we only met the one time, but he's still a cool guy).

The VCRs will be working overtime tonight.


Zodin2008 said...

Fantastic post, Phillip.

I, like you, have also been keeping up with the "Grey's" behind the scenes soap opera and I feel exactly as you do.

The creator of this show is African American, Shonda Rhimes, and Isiah Washington is also African American and I think it's unfair that she would give him more leeway with his dispicable remarks because of it.

No Racist, Anti Semitic, Sexist or Homophobic comments should be tolerated like this no matter the color, gender or sexual orientation of the person saying these horrible things.

I think there is a double standard and I do think had TR Knight done this to Washington, Knight would have been suspended or fired and Jesse Jackson would be camping out on the set of "Grey's" calling for the show to be canceled and for all the DVD's to be burned---like Jackson did with Michael Richards, when he called for a boycott of "Seinfeld" DVD's even though Seinfeld, Alexander, Larry David et all did nothing wrong--only Richards did.

I think no matter who the celebrity is with the big mouth...Richards, Mel Gibson, Isiah Washington--these crimes are all equally guilty in my book and all three of these men of different backgrounds attacking different people, should all be punished and admonished in an equal way.

Only when this happens can we show that our society has really advanced, equally.

Onto a happier subject, Thursday night's TV schedule.

It's so ironic that there was literally NOTHING to watch last night thanks to "Death Star" on Fox, and now tonight, there's 7 shows (the same ones you listed) that I love to watch. Sometimes, Television schedules can be way too imbalanced.

ryan said...

I'm concerned for the health of my DVR tonight. I have recordings set for 8 (O'Reilly, Ugly Betty), 8:30 (Office, still Ugly Betty), 9 (Grey's, Scrubs), 9:30 (still Grey's), 10-11 (ER, which I gave up on a long time ago but my wife watches), and 11:30 (Colbert).

Yikes. What a night.

Phillip Ramati said...

I'd rather have the dilemma of having too many things to watch than too little.

I'll be passing on "The Factor" (hate to give O'Reilly the ratings) and just catch the pair of them on "Colbert."

What's bad for me is team trivia tonight, so I can't even tape everything. The VCRs will hit the CW lineup and the NBC comedies, followed by "Shark" at 10 p.m. I'll have to catch Ugly Betty on

And I'll have to catch "Zero Effect" at another time or on DVD (sorry, Jake.)

Phillip Ramati said...

Also, to comment on Zod's post, I don't think Shonda Rhimes is giving Washington a break because they're both black; I think it's because it would be extremely difficult to suddenly write him out of the show and try to tie up all of the storylines that he's involved in. Getting rid of a main character is never easy, particularly in a serialized show like "Grey's."

But her dilemma as a writer/producer shouldn't prevent her from dishing out some sort of punishment, especially since the rest of the cast seems so united against Washington. Plus, ABC can step in at any time and do something.

Zodin2008 said...


To be fair, neither of us really know how Rhimes personally feels about Washington, good or bad, but considering they are oth Affrican American and he's not been reprimended one time for saying that hateful epithet to his co-stars, then one could conclude some bias in.

Clearly, when a co-star is a 'problem' with the others, producers will step in and deal with them.

Though Michelle Rodriguez was never officially suspended from "Lost", her continual problematic behavior such as her multiple DUI's and being beligerent and obnoxious to her fellow castmembers, is obviously what caused producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindleof to write her out.

Phillip Ramati said...

I'm willing to give Rimes the benefit of the doubt in terms of whether or not she is showing bias, but the fact of the matter is, no matter what her motivations, she has handled the situation wrong.

She risks alienating the bulk of her cast and a portion of her viewership by not disciplining Washington. Again, there's no reason for ABC not to step in if she is unwilling or unable to do anything.

The Lost producers did a much better job of handling their dirty laundry by trying to protect Michelle Rodriguez's reputation even while getting rid of her. We will never know the extent of how her behind-the-scenes actions affected the writing of the show, but it's a safe bet that the writers hadn't initially wanted to kill her off when they first signed her up.