LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - No, Jon Stewart did not punt or "soft glove" covering the Brian Williams story, as it was suggested he might on Salon, citing his friendly relationship with the NBC News anchor. But the Comedy Central host did widen the lens and, as some other voices have, refract the pile-on over Williams' inaccurate account back onto the media in general.
On Monday's show -- Stewart's first since Williams pulled himself off the air, while NBC investigates the misleading claims he made regarding his reporting from Iraq -- "The Daily Show" host labeled Williams' differing versions of what happened "Infotainment Confusion Syndrome," citing the conflicting roles Williams occupies as a celebrity, yukking it up with David Letterman, and a newsman.
Spinning yarns in those talk settings, Stewart noted, stimulates the brain's "applause center," which might explain why a news account would get inflated and distorted in a more entertaining, self-aggrandizing way.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Spoiler Warning: Do not read on unless you've seen "The Walking Dead" season five, episode nine, titled "What Happened and What's Going On."
"The Walking Dead's" midseason return was as beautiful as it was senseless; directed with surrealistic artistry by executive producer Greg Nicotero from a script by showrunner Scott Gimple. But while the fevered (and painfully foreboding) flashbacks and flashforwards gave the hour a hallucinatory quality, the poetic direction wasn't enough to obscure what has become the show's chief shortcoming -- a trigger-happy mentality that continues to erode "TWD's" dwindling shock factor.
In Variety's postmortem with Greg Nicotero, the EP justifies Tyreese's death as meaningful to the story: "We don't kill characters just to kill characters, it all plays into where the story is going. Tyreese's death and Beth's death being back-to-back like that, the important thing about it is it really affects our group. You'll see the result of it over the next several episodes -- the loss of these people."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - When Rosie O'Donnell made her triumphant return to "The View" in September, she promised a calmer version of the host who previously fled the program in 2007 after a single season.
But O'Donnell's unhappiness at "The View" led her to announce on Friday, via a story in the New York Post's Page Six section, that she was exiting the show after five months. ABC executives agreed to release her early from a 11-month contract, estimated to be worth $5 million.
In a brief interview with "Entertainment Tonight" over the weekend, O'Donnell attributed her departure to focusing on her family after divorcing with wife Michelle Rounds, whom she married in 2012, and whose first initial she tattooed on her wedding-ring finger. But insiders say that the end of her second marriage, which she candidly talked about with "The View's" staff, isn't the only reason she's leaving.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Brian Williams is inevitably going to be criticized by lots of couch-bound observers who have never reported from a war zone (including yours truly), but given the forces eager to pounce on any slip by the news organization he represents, he has committed perhaps the worst kind of self-inflicted wound.
The NBC anchor's faulty and seemingly self-aggrandizing "memory" about his stint reporting from Iraq in 2003 pushes enough hot buttons to create a perfect storm of bad publicity. And NBC News has once again looked tardy, at best, in formulating a PR strategy in response to bad news, as it was during transitions at "Today" and "Meet the Press."
Williams has benefited from coming across as a likable anchor - as comfortable throwing out one-liners on a talkshow as he is delivering the news. But he has stepped into the proverbial hornets' nest, for reasons both of his own making and beyond his control.
NBC10's Monique Braxton will appear on "Steve Harvey" tomorrow to help Harvey surprise a Philly woman with a date.
Braxton and Harvey bring Ben right to local woman Abby's door. Earlier, Abby had writen to Harvey in hopes that the host/author/comedian would help her with her love life; Harvey is the author of dating tome-turned-movie Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Braxton and Harvey send Abby over to Rouge (205 S. 18th St.) for a date.
Check out Braxton below, and see her on and Harvey at 2 p.m. on NBC10 tomorrow:
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - HBO has greenlight a pilot from "The Nightly Show" host Larry Wilmore and YouTube star Issa Rae, Variety has confirmed.
"Insecure," starring Rae, is a half-hour comedy about the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American.
The project was previously in development at HBO back in 2013, before Wilmore landed "The Nightly Show" gig with Comedy Central.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - A lot can change in 20 years. While fans eagerly await the HBO premiere of "Game of Thrones" season five on April 12, UK book retailer Waterstones has posted author George R. R. Martin's original outline for "A Song of Ice and Fire" -- the epic fantasy series of novels on which "GOT" is based -- on Twitter, courtesy of Harper Collins UK. The breakdown not only offers a look at what might have been, it may give us some hints about the characters that could make it through the novels (and hopefully, the TV adaptation) alive.
While there are plenty of differences between Martin's initial pitch and the books we know and love (especially his optimistic belief that the series could be completed as a trilogy), there are also a number of notable similarities in terms of the characters' trajectories. Here's what we've learned from Martin's 1993 outline:
(Spoiler warning for the "Game of Thrones" TV series and Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels.)
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Jimmy Fallon has long-vowed to reunite the cast of "Saved by the Bell" and on Wednesday's "Tonight Show" the NBC host finally delivered on his promise.
In the nostalgic sketch, stars of the 90s TV show appeared in character in as Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen), A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez) Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) and Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins).
Fallon, playing a younger version of himself, enrolled at Bayside High School in the 8 minute sketch, as "Saved by the Bell" cast members joined him to re-enact memorable moments from the series, including Jesse's "I'm so excited!" moment, Slater's ballet moves and the Zack Attack anthem "Friends Forever."