Friday April 11, 2014

Tons of reaction to yesterday's announcement that Stephen Colbert will be succeeding David Letterman.  Here are some of the highlights:

David Letterman said: “Stephen has always been a real friend to me. I’m very excited for him, and I’m flattered that CBS chose him. I also happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses."

On the fallout across other networks, the New York Times said "[t]he selection of Mr. Colbert will very likely push several rows of dominoes into action in late night. Comedy Central will need a host for its 11:30 show. Chris Hardwick, who is hosting a new late night show on the channel, At Midnight, will surely be among those mentioned as a possibility to move up a half-hour.

"And CBS will face questions about its own host-in-waiting, Craig Ferguson. If Mr. Ferguson decides to leave, having been passed over for the leading late-night job at CBS, the network will be seeking another host for its 12:35 a.m. show."

“Comedy Central is proud that the incredibly talented Stephen Colbert has been part of our family for nearly two decades,” the network said in a statement. “We look forward to the next eight months of the ground-breaking ‘Colbert Report’ and wish Stephen the very best."

Thoughts from Newsday: "Reasons for this quick announcement -- Letterman only announced that he was ending his 32 years in late night just a week ago -- are obvious. Colbert's deal with Comedy Central -- where he will remain the next eight months -- was nearly over, and both he and CBS had made their mutual interest known. Moreover, this ends speculation -- will Tina Fey replace Dave? Neil Patrick Harris? -- all of which tends to be distracting, especially when unfounded.

"CBS's upfront announcement to advertisers also falls next month- - and this question  would certainly have come.

"But here's the key reason: These transitions take time -- time for the hosts to get used to the idea, time for viewers and fans. Colbert's transition is  somewhat tricky: After all, he must morph out of, to a certain degree anyway, his current persona. He must assemble a staff -- although undoubtedly he will bring his crew from Comedy Central."

From Variety: "Anyone fretting about Colbert’s ability to hold down an hour or step out of the self-absorbed conservative talkshow host persona he’s affected on The Colbert Report clearly hasn’t been paying attention to the obvious, which is Colbert’s gift for improvising in that character is virtually unmatched. (Sacha Baron Cohen would be a close cousin, but it’s a different vibe.)

"Those talents should serve him extraordinarily well in creating the show at the desk – the area where Letterman (and before that Johnny Carson) traditionally outshone Leno, and a skill all hosts must rely upon on those nights when the writing simply isn’t there.

"By landing Colbert, CBS has almost instantly established its new franchise as the likely critical darling and prestige player in latenight. And while those might sound like intangible qualities, the respect of the community was certainly helpful in continuing to book top guests and stay in the thick of the conversation even when Letterman was the clear No. 2 in the ratings."

A few more for good measure:

The Los Angeles Times: "It seems in every way a sensible move. Colbert, who has been performing monologues and conducting interviews on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report since 2005, is not even changing time slots. CBS gets a proven performer and notably one whose cultural impact is, compared to the competition, out of proportion to the size of his audience; the "Report" averages just over a million viewers, less than half of Letterman's crowd and something like a fifth of what Jimmy Fallon brings to The Tonight Show."

Jon Stewart's take: "I think Stephen [Colbert] is very different from Jimmy Fallon, is very different from Jimmy Kimmel. But you can’t deny that a performer coming from a different perspective, whether it [is] a different identity, would bring things, not in equal proportion, but would give shading to things that you don’t currently get. But obviously that’s not the sole deciding metric. It’s sort of like when people say, ‘Are we ready for a black president?’ And you say, ‘Well, Barack Obama — yes. Mr. T? Probably not as much.’ That being said, though, there are interesting dynamics you can bring in with more diverse voices.”

Here's what Craig Ferguson said: "“First of all, before we begin tonight, may I congratulate the lovely Stephen Colbert on getting The Late Show.  Isn’t that lovely? Congratulations Stephen! A fine addition to the  cavalcade of stars.”

From Vanity Fair: "[T]he more you actually think about it, the choice seems stranger and stranger. The most glaring issue with the hire is that Stephen Colbert has, for the most part, been playing a character for the last 10 or so years. Sure, the line between 'Stephen Colbert' and Stephen Colbert is often blurry, but much of what’s made the guy famous and successful has been full-blown parody. An argument could be made that during The Colbert Report’s interview segments, which probably pertain the most to this new gig, Colbert is more himself, and has proven a nimble and likable interviewer. But it’s still in the context of the 'Colbert' character, and, in a broader sense, of the late-night Comedy Central political-humor lineup.  Outside of that context, Stephen Colbert looks more like an actor than he does a joke-telling stand-up guy.

Rush Limbaugh's take: "No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservative values. Now it’s just wide out in the open.  What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny, and a redefinition of what is comedy, and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format.  It’s the media planting a flag. Media’s last stand.  But it’s a declaration. There is no unity in this hire. They’ve hired a partisan, so-called comedian, to run a comedy show."  Ouch.

A handful of other reactions on Twitter.

In other news . . . The Challenge launched season 25 last night with great aplomb despite a somewhat wonky format change.  I think I'll adjust to the "free agents" format, but it seems like shaky backbone to an otherwise perfect show and will take a little getting used to.  I think a few more veterans would have made this a better cast.  Feels very front loaded with seasons like Portland and St. Thomas.  Timing filming to coincide with wrapping of San Francisco would have been great as well as Corey, Jenny, et al would have fit in well.  Oh who am I kidding, this show continues to deliver and will continue to deliver until MTV foolishly decides to stop producing it.

Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet did the Nerdist podcast a couple of weeks back.  I just listened to it and HIGHLY recommend it.  Here's the link.  At a minimum, listen to the bit they do about being radio DJs.

How has Mixology not been canceled yet?

Same goes for American Dream Builders, unless the Monday showings continue to deliver.  Last Sunday's episode garnered a whopping 0.65!

Here's WE's new slate of winners:

Charlie Sheen’s Bad Influence
Before they can become newlyweds, couples need to try their hand at “Charlie Sheen’s Bad Influence.” America’s favorite bad boy puts engaged couples to the ultimate test by challenging how well they think they know their intended. The pilot is currently in production in Los Angeles.

Match Made in Heaven (8×60; debuts in 2015)
When looking for a wife, who better to turn to than the perfect matchmaker: the person with the power to marry you? One wealthy bachelor will put his faith in a dynamic preacher to help him find “the one.” With 22 diverse bachelorettes all vying for his heart, the preacher tests the girls to uncover their true intentions as he guides the bachelor to see the light, pick the right girl, and find his Match Made in Heaven.

Mystery Millionaire (6×60; premieres May 30 at 10 pm)

When you’re wealthy, the world is your playground. Luxury cars, fine restaurants, and five-star travel are commonplace. But how good is the “good life” if you don’t have someone to share it with? WE tv’s “Mystery Millionaire” is a social dating experiment like no other where wealthy bachelors (and bachelorettes) who’ve been unlucky in love go undercover as average singles in search of their soul mates. When the million-dollar lie is finally revealed, no two singles respond the same. Can they move past it into relationship bliss or will deceit tear them apart?

David Tutera’s CELEBrations (8×60; premieres August 1 at 9 pm)

Called the “Best Celebrity Wedding Planner” by Life & Style magazine, David Tutera is the king of celebrity events. Initially launched as My Fair Wedding with David Tutera, WE tv retooled the show last season to focus on more than just weddings, attracting more viewers to the series than ever before. In the show’s next iteration, David Tutera’s CELEBrations, David’s jaw-dropping work for his Hollywood clients takes center stage. From weddings to birthday parties and everything in between, David and his dedicated event team will plan rapper Lil Kim’s baby shower, an over-the-top wedding for former “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member, Taylor Armstrong, and a birthday party for WWE Diva turned pop star, Amy Weber’s five-year-old twins.

I did not watch the Suits finale last night, but here is a post-mortem in the event you did.

Don't forget that Mad Men returns on Sunday night.  Here's a list of a whopping 58 things to remember from last season's finale.  It's a great primer.

Jeff Zucker took to the stage to announce new CNN documentaries and original series meant to keep viewers tuned in to the news net even when there are no big stories breaking. Starting this summer, the 9:00 PM hour once reserved for talk will be given over to specials like Dr. Sanjay Gutpa's Weed and Anderson Cooper's The Survivor Diaries, and series boasting familiar faces. Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) hosts Somebody's Gotta Do It, Lisa Ling (Our America with Lisa Ling) takes viewers to far corners of America and John Walsh (America's Most Wanted) headlines criminal investigation show The Hunt with John Walsh. "There are just too many outlets with not enough big gets for a pure talk show to thrive any longer, " said Zucker. "And just because CNN has always done a talk show at 9, it doesn't mean that's what we should be doing there going forward." 10p will house a live hour of the day's biggest stories with rotating hosts, called CNN Tonight. 

Zucker's biggest news was the unveiling of CNNx, giving viewers control over the news stories they watch. "The Internet has come crashing into your television," said SVP and GM CNN digital KC Estenson. "This product bolsters our relationships with TV partners, opens incredible new opportunities for advertisers and delivers consumers a truly innovative experience."