Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Time at Queen Latifah


Had a great time at The Queen Latifah Show today.  The audience I was a part of was very energetic and I met some truly lovely people as we waited in the ready room. We were given free bags of Sheila G's delicious Brownie Brittle and were asked to tweet and post on Facebook, which is a very smart marketing tool for the show.

I was thrilled to see my tweets immediately displayed in big, beautiful glory on the large monitors throughout the room.

Wish I could have been closer to the stage but there really isn't a bad seat in the house. 


This picture also doesn't do the gorgeous, modern set - designed by Lenny Kravits - justice. 

The show shoots out of order, which is a little unusual for a talk show, but it was a pretty organized production.  The first segment was actually being taped for a different show that will be airing in March.  Guess that worked better for the guest's schedule.  The guest in question?


Yep, my path crossed paths with Mr. Joe Mantegna - a.k.a SSA David Rossi on Criminal Minds - once again!

Then we watched a taping of a full show that featured conversations with Michelle Monaghan (HBO's True Detective) and Aaron Eckhart (I, Frankenstein).

As for Queen Latifah herself, she is stunning in person and is a very good host.  She seems to be having a great time in the gig.  After all, she won the People's Choice Award for Best New Talk Show and the talkfest has been renewed for a second season.

The Queen Latifah Show is a fun outing, so if you're in L.A. or coming here, get tickets and check it out for yourself!

The Queen Latifah Show airs Monday through Friday at 2 pm on CBS and reairs at 7 pm locally in Los Angeles on KCAL Channel 9.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BIG News - DOOL Without Sami?!?


Say it isn't so!  Alison Sweeney, who has portrayed Sami Brady for over 21 years, announced today on the Ellen Degeneres Show that this year will be her last on the long-running (and sole surviving) NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives.

Sweeney debuted on the soap when she was only 16.  I'd already been watching DOOL for a few years before that, so I've seen her entire tenure as Sami, who could be deliciously bad and honestly good depending on her storyline.  It'll be hard not to have the character on the show.  Somehow, I thought she'd be like All My Children's Susan Lucci, on for another decade at least (Lucci spent 41 years on AMC).  But Sweeney said she wants to spend more time with her two children, write more books, and, I imagine, continue her job as host of NBC's The Biggest Loser.  I personally don't know how she's done all that and more for so long, knowing how much work goes into being a major character on a soap (with often some 80 pages of script a day to learn).

For me, I truly hope they don't kill Sami off.  I'm sure Sweeney would like the opportunity to return to the show if it came about, as so many of her costars, including Deidra Hall, Melissa Reeves, Kristin Alfonso and Drake Hogestyn, have done.  I highly doubt they would recast the role.  It's Sweeney's and hers alone ... at least that's how it should be.  On the other hand, I can't think of a reason Sami would leave Salem, being that so much of her family, including her four children and one grandchild, are there, and she is very much ingrained in their lives.

However her exit is to be, the writers have quite a task ahead of them.  Here's hoping they do Sami - and Sweeney - justice in her departure.

Oh, did I mention Sweeney got to work with my man-crush Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) for three years?

Here's to your final year, Alison!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

SAG Awards - The After Party

Almost the next best thing to being there for fun!

I got to work the SAG after party last night in a beautiful tented gala staged behind the Shrine Auditorium.  It was a hell of a party with great food, music and lots of dancing.  Even though I was on duty, I was actually assigned an awesome position that allowed me the freedom to people - and star watch.  And because it was at a buffet station, it meant people would potentially come to me.

Now, the VIPs had servers that retrieved food on their behalf, so they pretty much stayed in the VIP area in the far end of the tent, so while I heard about guests that attended, including Oprah, Morgan Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch, I did not get to see them. 

What was cool, though, was that every star I did see works on television ... how perfect for the TV Tour Guide, right?


My best sightings were the ones that catered to my geek side.  There was the Whedon Three:  Clark Gregg - agent Coulson himself from ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (top); J. August Richards - Gunn from Angel and now from S.H.I.E.L.D (who I actually talked to a little); and Morena Baccarin - Inara from Firefly (and more recently Showtime's Homeland).

I saw Jonathan Banks - aka Mike from AMC's Breaking Bad and who is now on NBC's Community.

Mandy Patinkin from Homeland.

The stunning and very pregnant Kerry Washington from ABC's Scandal. (this dress looked amazing in person)

Will Arnett from CBS' The Millers. (first person I recognized).

Ron Perlman from FX's Sons of Anarchy.

Mindy Kaling from FOX's The Mindy Project.

And Johnny Galecki from CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

There was also a woman there that two years ago was working as a server for Wolfgang Puck, now was attending the Awards as an official guest.  Sounds like my kinda story!

Ultimately, even though I was on the worker side, I did get to enjoy the party pretty well.  And hopefully I absorbed some star power!

Friday, January 17, 2014

RIP - Professor and Mr. Kincaid

Hollywood has lost two classic TV actors:


Russell Johnson (born 1924) played The Professor (name was eventually revealed to be Roy Hinkley) for 13 seasons on the beloved comedy Gilligan's Island.  He had quite a successful television career, appearing on Black Saddle, The Twilight Zone, Lassie, Ironside and Gunsmoke.  He also appeared in many films, but he is most famously known as one of seven stranded castaways.

Dave Madden (born 1931) played Reuben Kincaid, the manager for family musical group The Partridges on the hit sitcom The Partridge Family for three seasons.  He later had a recurring role on Alice and appeared on other shows, including Bewitched, Happy Days, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

Rest in peace, gentlemen.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review - Killer Women


Welcome to my first review of the new year, TV Tourists!

ABC has premiered its new short-run (only eight episodes) series, Killer Women, starring Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Michael Trucco (also Battlestar Galactica) and Alex Fernandez (Devious Maids, Dallas).


Executive produced by Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) and created by Hannah Shakespeare, this high-octane, sexy new action series follows the exploits of Molly Parker (Helfer), the sole female member of the elite Texas Rangers, the notorious lawmen who patrol the violent Lonestar State frontier.

Committed to finding the truth and serving up some badass justice, Molly is surrounded by law enforcement colleagues who want nothing more than to see her fail, including Police Lieutenant Guillermo Salazar (Vic Trevino, General Hospital).  Fortunately, the Rangers, led by Company Commander Luis Zea (Fernandez), have her back.

Backing her up on the homefront are her brother Billy (Trucco) and his wife Nessa (Marta Milans). Not so much so is her soon-to-be-ex-husband Jake (Jeffrey Nordling, Body of Proof).  Luckily she's getting busy with sexy DEA Agent Dan Winston (Blucas), though the two really have very little chemistry in my opinion (and dude cannot pull off that facial hair).


Aside from the relationships, the real action of the series comes from the pursuit and capture of the criminal-of-the-week ... in this case, women.  As the previews have toted, "8 weeks, 8 killers, one tough Texas Ranger."  If there's one thing Helfer knows how to do on screen, it's kick ass.  She pulls off the tough-gal act well.  The Texas accent ... which tends to go in and out ... not so much.


The show certainly doesn't hold back, kicking off the pilot with a fast-paced murder - scorned woman in red stilettos blows away ex-lover's bride at the wedding (point of humor:  after the woman takes off in her car, multiple attendees at the church proceed to pull out a crapload of guns and shoot after her ... how Texan?).  But Molly sees that not is all as it appears to be, setting her up to be a standout at her job.  Always nice to see a show centering around a strong, intelligent, savvy woman.

Unfortunately I don't see anything particular new or outstanding here.  The real problem is, what starts out looking like a wild and crazy ride quickly turns into a rather heavy-handed drama.  I think the show would fare better to live up to what was hyped in all the previews ... more Tarantino, less Lifetime.  After all, KW is on the network that brings you juicy goodness like Revenge and Scandal.  This show needs to be heightened to that level.

It's interesting that Killer Women is going head-to-head with FX's Justified and that Helfer could be seen as the female equivalent to Timothy Olyphant's U.S. Marshal Raylen Givens.  I think Justified is a much richer show with characters that are meatier and more layered, but to be fair, that show has been on for years and this is the just pilot episode of KW.  But with only eight initial episodes, the show needed to make a bigger splash than I think it does.  I'm sure male viewers will appreciate how much Helfer's amazing physique is on display, though.

It's not like there's a big commitment here ... a well-enough, two-month ride.  But if you're hunkering for real Texas-based fun, may I recommend catching up onTNT's Dallas, which comes back Jan. 13.  That is a very twisted, tasty treat!  And, as previously mentioned, there's Justified, now airing.

BOTTOM LINE:  Not entirely roped in, but may stick around for the octet of eps.

Killer Women airs Tuesdays at 10 pm on ABC.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Olympics ...


The 2014 Winter Olympics are upon us ... and I have to say, I'm not a fan.  It's not that I don't get swept up in the emotion of the Opening and Closing ceremonies, and I truly love the wrap-up montages at the end (I'm a sucker for a good montage).

But man, do the Olympics screw up regular TV programming!!  Now, I don't watch NBC much at all, but because of the event, all the other networks go into hiding, tabling their new episodes for the three weeks the Olympics are in action.  And this is right on the heels of the big winter hiatuses we're finally coming out of.  That means maybe we get one or two new episodes before we have to wait until March at least.  Frustrating!

As for the Olympics coverage itself, it annoys me in that I pretty much have to record HOURS of coverage just to see bits and pieces of the events I want to see.  If you watch live, you're constantly cutting between 3-4 different events.  So if I want to watch women's figure skating, I may have to deal with segments of curling or downhill skiing.  Again, frustrating.  I know that's how it works, but trying to isolate just the few events I am interested in and watch them with any kind of flow is difficult at best.

But the Olympics is a time the whole world comes together, and I respect that.  And when you do catch a gold medal-winning moment, it's pretty awesome.  Like I said, the end montages are great - I cry every time.

In any case, enjoy new TV while you can, cause come February, another big wait is coming (except cable shows?  If so, whew!).  And if you love and wait eagerly for the Olympics, have at it!

Later, Tourists!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Happy New Year, TV Tourists!  Here's to fantastic programming and entertainment in 2014!