With the fall TV season beginning, I thought I'd take a moment to weigh in on some (if not all) of the new half-hour comedies barreling toward your screen. These aren't reviews -- those would be more in-depth and, honestly, would require more than the first episode to truly assess each show. Besides, there's always a chance that the shaky sitcoms will find their footing and even the bad ones could get total makeovers before cancellation (or will just become huge hits and stay on the air forever -- I mean, someone was watching "According to Jim" all those years). Of course, the reverse is also true, but let's hope this decidedly uninspiring fall slate is able to rise up.
Quick takes on 'Ben & Kate,' 'Go On,' 'The Mindy Project' and more
The Tony winners discuss the show as it makes its West Coast debut
"The Book of Mormon," having won nine Tony Awards in New York, is now spawning a national tour, making its official West Coast premiere at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles on Sept. 12. In previews, the show is as polished and fine-tuned as you might expect a Broadway show to be -- though even jaded Los Angeles audiences are likely to be at least a little surprised by exactly how many times they hear not only the F-bomb, but jokes about sex with babies, sex with frogs, genital mutilation and dysentery (complete with enthusiastic pantomimes of all of the above).
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The designers must team up to sell T-shirts on the streets
Well, after last week's lovey-dovey episode (No one goes home! Everyone hug!), it's back to business as usual at "Project Runway." That means some fighting, maybe some tears, a panic attack or three and, if we're lucky, some ugly-ass clothes. If the mood at Atlas at the beginning of the episode is any indication, we've reached the point in the competition where nerves are frayed and no one's getting enough sleep. The lucky designers are able to fuel themselves with rage and coffee. I'm pretty sure Elena's bloodstream is mostly rage with a little caffeine sprinkled in. I'm not sure about Christopher's caffeine intake, but he's definitely pissed off for his own reasons. He's just appalled they saved Gunnar last week. He wants him to go HOME. Really, he wants everyone to go home, as he's tired of all this competing nonsense and he's ready for Fashion Week.
Cowell calls 'The Voice' scheduling 'mean-spirited'
With the second season of "The X Factor" set to premiere over two nights (Wed. Sept. 12, 8:00 p.m. and Thurs. Sept. 13, 8:00 p.m.), fans may find themselves conflicted. Over on NBC, "The Voice" will be airing its third day of blind auditions on Wednesday -- and Simon Cowell isn't happy about it. "They don't want people to see this first episode," he said in a conference call with journalists and fellow judge Demi Lovato. "It's mean-spirited, and I hope and pray it backfires on them. I am pissed off about it." Cowell and Lovato promised that those who do choose "The X Factor" over the competition will be in for some fun thanks to a "quite mean" Britney Spears, lots of bickering and a backstage pass to the audition process. Cowell, of course, had some strong opinions about, well, just about everything.
It's all down to America's votes, and Christina Applegate returns to judge
We're down to the top six -- which means that after tonight, we'll have our final four. But what's significant about tonight is that the judges can no longer save any dancers, rendering their commentary pretty much useless, especially as it relates to who is going home that night. They can be sad and chagrined all they want, but it doesn't matter how good someone is anymore. At this point, I've pretty much accepted that Cyrus will probably be one of the two winners, which is completely understandable (he's nice and smiley and works really, really hard) but also disappointing (everyone else works really hard, too, and they've taken some dance lessons). But the good news is that, no matter what, we'll see lots of performances tonight. Whether they're good or not, well, you can be the judge. Literally.
The star talks about what's ahead for Ziva and Tony
"NCIS" returns for its tenth season in just a few weeks (Tues. Sept. 25, 8:00 p.m.), but the premiere promises to be worth the wait. In last season's finale, Dr. Ryan (Jamie Lee Curtis) went into hiding, Ducky (David McCallum) had an apparent heart attack, and a bomb tore apart NCIS headquarters. That explosive ending killed Jonathan Cole (Scott Wolf), while Ziva (Cote de Pablo) and Tony (Michael Weatherly) were trapped in an elevator. While I was only able to talk to de Pablo for a few minutes at the CBS TCA party, I (very quickly) asked her about what's ahead for Ziva and Tony, a pair who've sparked even from the acrimonious beginning of their relationship. Here's what the Chilean-born actress had to say. Very quickly.
The men feel confident as the women fall apart
This week promises lots of tears. That's all I got from the promo -- crying and panicking. I have no idea what challenge is going to drive our intrepid designers into hysterics, but I'm predicting something big and scary. Maybe designing a frumpy housecoat for Queen Elizabeth or flattering outfits for the stars of "Mike & Molly" or something. Actually, that last challenge would only bother Ven. Yes, I have not forgiven him for being such a jerk last week. May he choke on a carefully constructed fabric rose, and soon.
'Modern Family' star Jesse Tyler Ferguson returns to judge
We're down to the top eight (the finale is just three weeks away) and it's getting harder and harder to see some of these dancers go. But go they must. The good news? With the herd having been thinned, we get to see a little more about each dancer -- and a little more dancing, too. Best news? Superfan Jesse Tyler Ferguson of "Modern Family" is back at the judges' table, and he's both funny AND a good judge. Good times!
The show's first top 20 animator talks about his unique look
Cyrus Spencer, the 22-year-old animator/robotics dancer currently competing on "So You Think You Can Dance," has been a lightning rod for viewers this season. While some viewers have grumbled about his lack of dance skill, his adoring fan base continues to vote him through week after week. Tonight, fans will get a chance to speak (or not) for Cyrus again during the show's double-barreled competition/elimination episode starting at 8:00 p.m. on Fox. I had the chance to speak with Cyrus during the TCAs, and we hashed over why he doesn't read his own reviews, what he's hoping to convince the judges to say about him, and the good thing he wants to do once the show ends.