What show are you most excited about?
"American Shreb Shreb Nuna" on Fox. To compete with ABC's sitcom spinoff of Geico's ubiquitous cavemen commercials, Fox is sitcom-izing those notorious Canadian Viagra spots in which guys trade gibberish quips such as "Spanglecheff?" and "Minky Viagra noni noni boo-boo plats!" as proof of the "International Language of Viagra" (and as a wink-wink way of addressing government regulations that prevent detailed product claims in drug spots).
Upping the ante, Fox has cast "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul in the starring role. In the pilot, she says, "Shreb shreb nuna, ishy ta-ta Levitra booooosh!" -- which not only becomes her character's catchphrase but serves as indelible, TiVo-proof, intra-narrative product placement for Viagra competitor Levitra, which happens to be the lead sponsor of "American Shreb Shreb Nuna."
An added bonus: The phrase makes way more sense than anything Paula Abdul has ever uttered on "American Idol."
Any other shows piquing your interest?
"Dancing with the Heroes" on NBC seems promising. Same with ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Ugly Betty." And I'm definitely going to give the network's "Desperate House" -- a revamp of its slumping "Desperate Housewives," focusing on the antics of a crusty but brilliant investigative gynecologist -- a glance. As for daytime TV, I'm really delighted that YouTube sensation Nora, the piano-playing cat, is replacing Rosie O'Donnell on "The View."
Arbitron has shaken up the radio ratings game by finally rolling out its Portable People Meter system in Philadelphia. Some stations' ratings have shot up, while others are down. I'm guessing PPMs must be on the horizon for TV as a successor to the stationary People Meter; how do you think they would affect ratings?
As you know, PPMs capture specially embedded tones in radio broadcasts to allow Arbitron to figure out if Philly listeners -- who used to keep honor-system paper diaries but are now equipped with wearable, pager-sized sensor devices -- are actually listening to various stations. Arbitron has conducted trials in Houston, where TV broadcasts also include the embedded tones, allowing accurate tracking of TV viewing both in and out of homes.
I got a sneak peak at stats from those trials, and the results are surprising. For instance, the CW's "Smallville" generally airs in the empty bedrooms of suburban white girls who, for the most part, left for college in the summer of 2005. And apparently "According to Jim," the ABC Jim Belushi family comedy, was canceled years ago, but nobody told Belushi -- or ABC, which has unwittingly continued to broadcast the show on Tuesday nights, even though its four viewers (Belushi, his third wife and their two children) tend to watch "American Idol" instead.
One of last season's most anticipated shows, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," had an awesome pilot but quickly devolved into a pretentious, tiresome bore. Given how much the network hyped it, what are the repercussions of its failure?
The fate of "Studio 60" is still a huge hot-button issue at NBC. You can be sure NBC execs will hype no shows in their upfront presentation as strenuously as they hyped "60," opting instead for a more cautious, wait-and-see approach. It's worth noting that NBC chief Jeff Zucker has so far declined to apologize for the dramatic catastrophe, though he's gone on the record saying: "If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have green-lit 'Studio 60.' All the available intelligence at the time suggested Aaron Sorkin was a brilliant TV auteur, but of course it turns out he's a solipsistic schmuck." Because formal cancellation of the show would involve an admission of an error in judgment, Zucker is said to instead be considering "de-authorizing" its green light.