Wednesday, June 09, 2021


In no particular order of importance…

It was announced yesterday that HACKS has been picked up for a second season by HBO Max.  I guess my review really did the trick.  You're welcome.

Sure glad I’m not competing in the Olympics this year (I just missed out).  NBC will be televising 500 hours of what could be the last major super spreader.  

I ate indoors at a restaurant for the first time in 16 months this week.  I was going to eat outside but it was cold and rainy.  I always say I’m very diligent about my own safety unless it inconveniences me.  

But I’m still not ready for stadiums.   I already risked my life once going to a stadium — that was when the Raiders played at the LA Coliseum.  

Mayim Bialik is my current pick for new JEOPARDY host.  I don't care how she dresses. Ken Jennings & Buzzy Cohen are tied for second.   Mayim has a great voice, poise, kept the game moving, and really looked like she was having fun.   

Bill Whittaker from CBS looked like a guy who won a school raffle to host JEOPARDY.  

Ironically, Anderson Cooper was the smoothest, most polished guest host, but his ratings were the worst.  Ken Jennings still has the highest (non Tournament of Champions).

THE CHASE is a half-hour game show stretched to an hour.  

Apple announced a new operating system.  Every time they do that I cringe.  When I update things suddenly programs and apps that used to work fine now don't.  Stop "improving!" 

What will get people back into movie theaters?  IN THE HEIGHTS.  It’s supposed to be great and in a recent Fandango poll of over 1300 moviegoers, 96% said that would be the first movie they’d go to see in a theater.   Surprisingly, PETER RABBIT 2 did not score as high.  

Another reminder:  I no longer post comments by "Anonymous" or "Unknown" readers.

I still contend that last year's baseball season was a joke.  Teams played 60 games against weird divisions.  Take the standings this year at 60 games and compare them with the final standings later this fall.  How many teams that qualified at 60 games won't by season's end?  And how many teams that didn't by game 60 ultimately will by game 162?  How much of an advantage did the Dodgers have playing all their postseason games in Texas last year versus Tampa Bay that spent time in San Diego?  Everything about the 2020 MLB season deserves a big asterisk. 

TV sitcoms will be funnier this year, if for no other reason than writers will be together in one room again and not on Zoom.  Zoom is the ice bucket challenge of comedy.  

Please get vaccinated.  Or move to Mississippi. 


Dave H said...

Trumpers will not watch if Anderson Cooper is hosting. That might have something to do with the ratings dip. Middle America would not like Anderson.

kitano0 said...

I agree. I like everything about Mayim. They should just give her the job already. However my second choice is Anderson Cooper. He was as smooth as silk, with a sly wit at the ready. But, as many commenters have noted, the know-nothing Trumpers won't watch him.

Headacher said...

Dave H, PLEASE do not associate Middle America with Trumpers. I'm in Illinois and the majority of voters here went with Biden. Even besides that, there are in fact Biden supporters in every state in the Union. Just as there are (unfortunately) Trump supporters, ALSO in every state including on the west and east coasts.

As for Anderson Cooper hosting? He was terrific. I don't think he'd want to give up his night job. He would have to start doing the Ryan Seacrest bit and fly back and forth across the country although perhaps not as frequently. I still want Jeff Goldblum to take a shot at it!

CarolMR said...

A lot more people than just Trumpers did not watch Anderson Cooper. Have you seen CNN's embarrassing ratings?

Sue T. said...

Does anyone else think that JEOPARDY rulings have become increasingly pedantic in the last few weeks? For example, the game-deciding segment where contestants were ruled incorrect for writing "lunch break" instead of "coffee break" in the Final Jeopardy category of labor union negotiations?

Jeffrey Graebner said...

I agree that Mayim Bialik is doing an excellent job on Jeopardy. One thing I've noticed is that she seems genuinely interested in the questions, chuckling a bit when the answers are kind of unexpected or occasionally adding relevant comments. This was one of the reasons why Alex Trebek was so good at the job and it has been missing with some of the other hosts. In particular, too many of the news/sports personalities have seemed like they were just reading off the cards without really paying much attention to what they were reading.

iamr4man said...

Every time Apple “upgrades” its iOS my devices have less battery life.

Mike Schryver said...

It seems to me that every network game show created in the last 20 years is a half hour game stretched to an hour. MILLIONAIRE, DEAL OR NO DEAL, etc. The revivals of older games are usually pretty snappy because the originals were snappy.

And Mayim Bialik is easily my choice, too, assuming she wants the job.

I didn't find the "coffee break" ruling pedantic becuase it was about the phrase that Time magazine (I think) said was being written into union contracts. The answer is whatever was in the Time article.
But JEOPARDY! is normally pretty pedantic, and I find nothing wrong with that.

Roger Owen Green said...

Buzzy has been the best. And, as I may have noted, I hated Ken's voice as host.

Mayim was very good. But she made a rookie mistake in her 1st week. A contestant with $400 hit the Daily Double. She should have noted that the player could have wagered the highest amount on the board, which was $1000.

And in general, all of the non-J folks (excluding Buzzy, Ken, and Mike) don't play up the consequences of the wager. "You could take the lead" or "You can get back in the game" And in a runaway game, she (and almost everyone else) belabors the amount rather than the win. They should, as Alex would, say, "You're the J champion with $12,345 dollars" rather than You have $12,345. You're the J champ."

In other words, be more like Alex, which, of course, is unfair.

Sue T. said their rulings have been pedantic, and it's true. But there have been some loosey-goosey rulings involving pronunciations that should have rendered a couple of questions as incorrect.

KLAC Guy said...

My rankings- Mayim Bialistock, Buzzy Cohen, Anderson Cooper, Ken Jennings. Buzzy was a real surprise, as he doesn’t have the history in front of the camera that the others (except Ken) have. I think that Mayim has a rapport with the contestants that the others didn’t have. Her non scripted comments are appropriate and very natural. Buzzy’s biggest weakness is that he didn’t seem at ease with the contestants.

Jim said...

Pandemic Baseball to me was akin to WWII-Era Baseball. All it lacked was a one-armed CF’er. Asterisk indeed.

Elizabeth Montgomery or Natalie Wood? We’re talking marriage material and both pre-love you for carefree selecting.

Michael said...

I have not seen Mayim Bialik host, but the feedback from my 83-year old mother is she comes across as a "smug know-it-all". She prefers Ken or Buzzy.

Tommy Raiko said...

"What will get people back into movie theaters? IN THE HEIGHTS. It’s supposed to be great and in a recent Fandango poll of over 1300 moviegoers, 96% said that would be the first movie they’d go to see in a theater."

Quiet Place Part 2 was a theaters-only release over Memorial Day weekend, and seems to have done respectably in term of getting folks back to theaters...

Brian said...

I like Mayim too, but I'd still put Ken Jennings first as my choice. Thanks for reminding people to get vaccinated.

ventucky said...

Last years MLB was a lifesaver for me. Isolated at home in a new state. Lifelong Padre fan. Watched every game, enjoyed every minute of it. Certainly better than nothing. Who cares about it's historical significance. It was a welcome diversion, even though almost all games started at 10:10 Eastern!

Buttermilk Sky said...

I love Mayim Bialik, but I liked Buzzy, too. He's nerdy, which works on JEOPARDY!, and he had a good rhythm. The others took a beat after each response, as if they had to check the answer. That said, I'm afraid someone will decide they're both too "ethnic" for Middle America. (Do you think a lot of Trumpers watch JEOPARDY? We're talking about people who live-streamed themselves committing felonies last January.)

I am fed up with Windows and the constant "improvements." Sorry to hear Apple is no better.

Dave Creek said...

Here's the first eight minutes of IN THE HEIGHTS, which looks like a winner!

Ted. said...

I would vote for Buzzy -- of all the guest hosts, he was best at keeping the game moving without getting in the way. Ken, meanwhile, tried too hard to be enthusiastic about each right and wrong answer, essentially making the show more about him than the contestants. (Unfortunately, I'm guessing the show's decision-makers may see that as "personality" and view it as a plus.)

I also thought Mayim Bialik did a great job, which made me wonder: Where was this smart, breezy, enjoyable persona when she was making her unfortunate sitcom, "Call Me Kat"? She apparently decided that her character on the show had to sound slightly depressed and lonely all the time, and delivered every line with a sad catch in her voice. Since the show is being revamped for its second season, I hope she'll find a way to impart some of her real-life charm into the role.

Sue T. said...

I'm curious, what was Mayim Bialik's character persona in BLOSSOM, the NBC sitcom she starred in 25 or 30 years ago? Was her title character a girl schlub or was she one of those insufferably glib kids that were the rage in sitcoms back then?

Mike Bloodworth said...

Like I said on Saturday, Cheech Marin should be given the opportunity to guest host. And I'd still love to see Larry the Cable Guy host. Even if it's just for one night.
I think the guest host that the "Trumpers" would hate the most would be Rosie O'Donnell. Although, you don't have to be a Trump supporter to hate her.

Strange about APPLE. Since at least among the people I know the iPhone is the preferred choice of anti-Trumppers.

Why not attend a game at Dodger Stadium? If you have been fully vaccinated you should be safe. Fauci and the Biden administration say so. Unless they're lying to us. But that can't be because only Republicans lie. Right?


Bradley said...

I am surprised how much I've enjoyed Mayim. She seems a natural fit. Everyone else was trying so hard, but she is like a comfortable shoe. I hope she gets the job. I am surprised you, and many here, enjoyed Buzzy. I thought he was by far the worst of the bunch. Mayim, however, seems to have found her place. She's really warm and funny and smart and perfect. I did not expect that!

Andrew said...

I vote for Dr. Oz as Jeopardy host, just for the sheer enjoyment of watching him blurt out each answer's follow up information as if he knew what he was talking about. Comedy gold.

My actual preference for host is Ken Jennings. He seems tailor made for the role. But Mayim is a close second.

DBA said...

I can't remember who hosted Jeopardy right before Anderson Cooper, but I remember I couldn't stand it, so I stopped watching, intended to start up once we got to someone else and just....didn't. But I'm back now for Mayim and hell yeah she's great.

Keni said...

What will get me back in a theater? Next week a Fathom Events showing of "My Fair Lady"! Not going to miss that on a big screen.

Mary S. said...

My top pick is Buzzy with Mayim a close second. I think they’ve both done great and will only improve with practice.

Mike Doran said...

Who among us really believes that "Trumpers" would even watch Jeopardy! in the first place?
No matter who was the host?
The last thing that followers of Dolt 45 care about is answering questions correctly.
(Or answering questions at all, comes to that ...)

Bob B. said...

Honestly, on an intellectual show like Jeopardy do you really want it hosted by a guy named "Buzzy"? Who would be the new announcer, Skippy?

Roger Owen Green said...

Here is the guest host schedule.
Next up, Savannah Guthrie from TODAY, followed by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, LeVar Burton, and David Faber. Note that after Gupta, everyone's getting just one week, not two.

JessyS said...

Personally, I would have stuck with Ken Jennings if I was the executive producer of Jeopardy. The reason is because Ken is a familiar face and it would enable for ratings to stay consistent. Then I would have had Ken and a few others audition for the hosting slot. My pick would be a person in their 20s.

@Mike Schryver, I would have to say that the game shows created within the last 20 years lend them well to an hour format. The best choice would be either Millionaire or Deal or No Deal. The latter could suit Alex Trebek's tastes because he lives for the moments you usually see on that show.

Tom Galloway said...

Keep in mind that the guest hosts so far have a whopping one day to fix any problems. Maybe two. The J! taping schedule us five shows in one day, so a guest hosts gets one day for practice, one day to take the first week, and one day to tape the second week.

With the exception of Cooper, the common weak point us the interviews. It's almost always "I understand you X" "That was a great story". Alex would interact, and usually end with an appropriate quip or comment.

Craig Gustafson said...

I've been a consistent Ken Jennings for Host guy, but man... Mayim Bialik nails it. They both have the smarts, but she has stage presence and he doesn't.

From Jim: "Elizabeth Montgomery or Natalie Wood? We’re talking marriage material and both pre-love you for carefree selecting."
I'm waiting for time travel to become a thing, then going back to the early 70s -- Karen Carpenter on one side, Marilyn McCoo on the other. Voices in the dark.
Because of course I'm in the same league as either or both. (A sarcasm emoji would be so handy right now.)

WB Jax said...

Friday Question; Recently watched "Straight Time" on television and noticed that the jewelry robbery scene contained no background music, which I found refreshing as the scene was dramatic enough without it. Why do you suppose there is so much background music in today's films and television dramas? Can you see a return to the more minimalist "less can be more" approach (ala Bochco's shows)?

Ere I Saw Elba said...

I'm going to say Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik, maybe they can alternate or tag-team.

Bill Kelliher said...

Ken, we still have yet to see these guest host: Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, LeVar Burton, David Faber and Joe Buck.

There are some fan sites out there that have extremely good track records of having accurate inside information and they've reported that the permanent host will be LeVar Burton. It's believed that's because they believe he'll bring an audience of millennials, Gen-X'ers and Gen-Yer's who remember him from Reading Rainbow that Jeopardy! hasn't done well with.

Having said that, I remember the rotation of guest announcers that filled in for Dave Niehaus but in the end an unknown was picked who had never been one of the guest announcers. Jeopardy! may similarly want a youngster who can fill the position for another 37 years like Alex Trebek did. That would push a lot of the guest hosts out of the running and that includes LeVar Burton who's 64 right now. Johnny Gilbert may be 92 (or 96 depending upon your source) but I can't picture LeVar Burton hosting at 101!

Jahn Ghalt said...

I WONDERED how you liked that cute, smart, science-girl - apparently just as much as I did

(is she still married??)

I don't find low ratings for Anderson Cooper to be ironic (or even unexpected). I suspect that a big subset of devotees includes the well read (better read than me), PBS/NPR/BBC consumers (like me), and those on the right side of the trivia-monster distibution (those who would have a chance to 'get in').

A cable news guy holds no particular attraction for that bunch - and I'll bet it's large enough to scuttle his chances

(OH! Last Place! Really??)

Does Apple NOT support "legacy" applications? Though I was an "early" Apple user (systems 6 and 7 - before 1993) I found the first Win 95 operating system and apps to work fine - well enough at work and at home - enough so that I had no reason to pay a premium for Apple (it sure helped that I was PAID to learn WinDoze).

I hesitate to suggest that a $300 WinDoze 10 laptop might not be all bad - at least for "basic" stuff - not related to writing plays (or cartooning???)

Jahn Ghalt said...

No argument from me about the 60 game 2020 "season". Were it up to me, they would have played the whole year - without fans in the stands (I suppose).

Looks like MLB and the PA have agreed to screw up the postseaon going forward. 5/15 teams in each league made the regular season meaningful and slightly better in that respect than the NFL.

As soon as the 2022 season the (5)/league will expand to (7):

2021 will "revert" to 5 in each league.

Ken Opined:

How many teams that qualified at 60 games won't by season's end? And how many teams that didn't by game 60 ultimately will by game 162?

Took a shot at this - I arbitrarily used June 1st as a proxy for "60 games". Here's how Jun 1 standings compared to the final in the AL:

(easy enough to check on the no-fee version of baseball reference):

(change 2019 to year-in-question - no button clicks required - change AL to NL, etc.)

2019 AL - (5) teams in and it wasn't close - the top 8 teams at 01JUN were still top 8 at the end (6 teams within .020 of .500 - 2 at season end). TEX was 5th at 01JUN and missed the wild-card.

2018 AL - (5) teams in. SEA was 5th and declining, Angels 6th - both missed the wild-card.

2017 AL - top 5 made the playoffs

2016 AL - SEA and KCR tied at 3/4 - both missed - TOR/CLE - 7/8 got in.

2015 AL - this was the most "mixed up". TOR was 13th at 01JUN and lost in the ACLS. NYY/TEX were 6/7 and got in. MIN/DET/LAA - 2/4/5 - all missed the wild card.

2014AL - Roller Coaster for KCR - 13th at 01JUN - Won the Series. BAL was 7th at 01JUN - lost the ACLS. TOR/NYY/TEX - 2/5/6 - all missed the wild card

2013 AL - TEX/NYY - 1/4 - missed out. TBRCLE - 7/8 - got in.

stephanie said...

Mayim Bialik would make a great permanent host...she is warm, has a good voice, and is quick. with some of the guest hosts, there would be a 3-5 second delay before they would say the answer was correct. no delay with her. she does look like her clothes are wearing her, but that can be fixed. maybe something a little more casual.

Chuck Cavender said...

Mayim has exceeded my expectations, and I'm a fan already. But in an effort to expand the audience, I've repeatedly suggested two younger faces for auditions. First, Tony Reali of ESPN, already experienced as a studio host. Second, Aisha Tyler, also experienced. Several weeks were wasted trying out non-starters, and LeVar Burton should have been on far sooner.

Brandon in Virginia said...

I thought Mayim did great as a guest host and would be great permanently. Her Ph.D. adds even more credibility. I think the only thing that might hurt is Call Me Kat getting renewed. IIRC Mike Richards wants someone who will commit to the job full-time with no other projects. Still waiting to see what LeVar Burton can do.

The Chase is a fun show, but I have no interest in the "Chasers Lounge". It adds nothing to the show IMO. Having a rotating chaser is fine, but if I wanna see a bunch of dudebros mocking their friend, I'll watch Impractical Jokers or Jackass.