Thursday, September 04, 2008

Still A Letterman Fan

David Letterman sometimes comes off as acerbic on his "Late Show," but I've always been struck by his graciousness.

Some examples:

-The way he celebrated his medical team after his heart surgery.

-His standing up for Ted Koppel and "Nightline," even though the show appeared on a rival network during the same timeslot.

-His loyalty to sportscaster Marv Albert, a longtime Letterman friend who was involved in a humiliating sexual harrassment case several years ago. While other comics took plenty of shots at Albert, Letterman never did once and later had Albert on as a guest.

-His post 9/11 show celebrating New York's cops and firefighters is still one of the great moments in TV.

-Inviting Conan O'Brien on shortly before he took over "Late Night," and appearing as one of Conan's early guests.

I bring this up because in the newest issue of "Rolling Stone," Letterman has taken the NBC brass to task for their treatment of "Tonight Show" host and longtime rival Jay Leno.

In the interview, Letterman said: "Unless I’m misunderstanding something, I don’t know why, after the job Jay has done for them, why they would relinquish that. ... I guess empathy is the right word. It’s hard to know what he felt about it. I have to believe he was not happy about it."

Letterman said he would love to have Leno as a guest after his stint on "The Tonight Show" is over.

Letterman also had kind words for Conan, who will be taking over "The Tonight Show" for Leno and be Letterman's new competition.

"It will be weird to see Conan at 11:30, don’t you think?" he said in the interview. "Which is not to say he can’t succeed, but, no, I don’t know what the competition will be like. I hope we’re able to do OK."

Letterman was less clear about his own future about whether he will continue to do "The Late Show" after his contract is up in 2010.

"The way I feel now, I would like to go beyond 2010, not much beyond, but you know, enough to go beyond. You always like to be able to excuse yourself on your own terms," Letterman said. "If the network is happy with that, great. If they wanna make a change in 2010, you know, I’m fine with that, too."

Here's one fan hoping he sticks around a while longer.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Wow, you TV viewers really, really liked the next generation of "90210," didn't you? It became the highest-rated series debut ever for The CW, and set records for several key demographic groups. Of course, if the same numbers were on, say, ABC, we wouldn't be writing about this, but CW is so happy that it will repeat the two-hour pilot tonight at 8 p.m.

Giving equal time to both conventions, tonight marks Republican presidential hopeful John McCain's keynote speech at the convention tonight. Coverage of the convention begins at 8 p.m. on PBS and on cable, but you can catch his speech on any of the networks when their coverage picks up at 10 p.m.

The NFL kicks off tonight with a matchup of the Super Bowl champion New York Giants hosting the Washington Redskins (7 p.m., NBC) On the college side, you have the classic SEC matchup of Vanderbilt and South Carolina (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.)


zodin2008 said...

I have never been a fan of Letterman's humor, but I saw what he said about Jay Leno and my opinion of Dave went WAY up. Good for him.

Wow, congrats to the new 90210. The interesting thing here is it's such spectacular news for the CW, this maybe the show that actually saves the netlet. There have been growing rumors that if 90210 didn't succeed, the netlet may go away in a year or two, which scares me for one of the 4-5 best shows on Television, "Supernatural".

I did watch 90210 as someone who was a fan of the 90's show, and well, the writing was actually decent. I think the influence of Rob Thomas is there. They've managed to have good, snappy, quippy, "Veronica Mars" style dialogue that Rob is known for, while capturing the spirit of the original series and capitalizing on that brand name.

I mainly watched to see some of the originals who showed up and it was just 3 of them: Kelly, Brenda and Nat. You can see easily how Kelly will fit into this new world (as the school guidance counselor), but at least in episode 1, the Brenda part of it felt forced and someone needs to fix Shannen Doherty's teeth.

As for the new kids, some of the characters were more interesting than others, overall, a decent group of young actors with potential. The part that disturbs me is that the three main female characters were all boney skinny. Admittedly, I am not hip and don't watch "Gossip Girl", "The Hills" or any of these reality series, but seeing these 18 year old (ish) young women be so boney skinny, was extremely disturbing and is going to create even more body image issues for many young women out there.

And let me pivot on that note to something that's maybe more aspirational to young women...the thought that they could one day achieve one of the two highest offices in the land, and the story of the night last night was the Vice President acceptance speech from Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin. You don't have to agree with her or Hillary Clinton's politics, to see that these two women, although diametrically opposite on a number of social issues, can show millions of young women that they can dare to dream now to be a leader of the nation one day.

For a women who's never made a speech of this magnitude, she was amazing last night - as was Obama in 2004, the last time a young, no name politician made an instant, rock star-like name for themselves.

I did finally see the season premier of "The Shield", and I am shocked to say it's just as fantastic as it ever was. It's bittersweet to know that this is the last year of Vic Mackey.

Phillip Ramati said...

I'm wondering how much influence Rob Thomas will have on the new show, especially since ABC has picked up Cupid, which I think would be a higher priority for him.

CW so hyped the premiere that I expected a good number, but it will be interesting to see how much of the audience carries over.

Somehow, I'm guessing much of the crowd that tuned in isn't the same audience that are watching the political conventions.

Jonathan said...

I watched the 90210 premiere with my wife; she was a big fan of the original. Not being a fan of the original myself, although I saw quite a few episodes, the new version was kind of blah for me. But it's not terrible, so it went above my expectations.

There were some nice little bits thrown throughout that showed some potential; I found the student's father being a porn producer fairly amusing. If my wife keeps watching, I'm sure I will as well, but it's not something I would go out of my way for; of course I'm not the intended audience either, so take this for what it's worth.

I will point out that I have never seen such dead-on casting for a mother/daughter scenario as I did on this show. Lori Loughlin and the actress who plays her daughter look just alike; it's uncanny. There is even a little Rob Estes in her for good measure. This must have been why she was casted because I have a hard time believing it was for her acting.

Anonymous said...

Wow Zodin. Did you write all that just so you could use the term "netlet?" What a tool.

zodin2008 said...

Which is exactly why this is such great news for the CW. Yes, over the next few weeks more shows will roll out, but if 90210 can have interesting enough story arcs, they're going to be the new flagship show.

But there's a reverberation to this news on these boffo ratings.

I will guarantee you that part of the reason so many of the old school 9-0 castmembers like Luke Perry, Jason Priestley, Ian Ziering and gasp -maybe even Tori Spelling, backed away from appearing, was because they were concerned this new venture would be a giant failure and it would be embarrassing to their already struggling careers to go back to the show that made them famous and fail with it.

I will bet you anything a few more of these former 9-0 stars "suddenly" become available. None of these people have stellar careers going and if this show is HOT, these actors will beg for the publicity again. Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty were smart - they got on board early and look like the ultimate team players on a winning team.

The one actor of the "original" cast who still won't bother returning is Brian Austin Green (David) unless they pay him a fortune. Now that "Terminator" was renewed by FOX and is being given every chance to succeed in year 2, Green is probably relieved that he won't feel forced to go back.

(and Jason Priestley had already committed to directing so my guess is it won't be impossible to convince him to act again).

Phillip Ramati said...

Well, the ratings have to be able to sustain themselves. A lot of people no doubt checked in for the curiosity factor after thanks to all the CW's promotion.

Whether they liked it enough to stick with it, especially when the other networks roll out their new shows, is another matter.