Monday, October 25, 2010

'The View's Sheri Shepherd tapped to host 'The Newlywed Game'

Several years ago, a black stand-up comic I was watching did a bit about why you don't see black game show hosts.

The reason: We use too much profanity. The shows would have to be on cable.

"Spin the wheel, mother----er!" the comic cracked, pretending what it would be like if a person of color hosted "The Price Is Right" instead of Bob Barker.

Well, times have changed.

Steve Harvey is doing a terrific job hosting "Family Feud" without kissing all the female contestants all smarmy-like. He's maintained his street edge while hosting a game show that appeals to millions of white viewers. If an answer is stupid --like many of them are -- he'll roll his eyes and say so, just like he does on his syndicated radio show. The producers are letting Steve be Steve. After all, you don't buy a Lamborghini and keep it locked up in the garage.

Now the Game Show Network announced that Sheri Shepherd will be the new host for "The Newlywed Game," the show that made Bob Eubanks a household name and the word "whoopie" a funny euphemism for sex.

Shepherd is quickly becoming one of the hardest working black women in television. She's a co-host on "The View," she plays Tracy Morgan's lunatic wife on "30 Rock" and she recently starred in her own Lifetime sitcom.

Tapping Shepherd to host was smart. Like Harvey, she's funny and quick on her feet. The producers will probably let her go off script, which should make this age-old game show funnier than it's been in past years.

Considering her nasty break-up with her ex-husband, Shepherd will also probably have a few choice words on marriage for those wide-eyed newlyweds.

You know how they say things happen in threes, right?

If I were "The Price Is Right" host Drew Carey, I'd be looking over my shoulder. D. L. Hughley is always available, funny,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NBC gives full season orders to three shows

If you're keeping score at home on the new fall TV shows, you'd want to know that NBC has picked up full seasons for "The Event," "Law & Order: Los Angeles" and "Outsourced."

I'm still not sold on "The Event." Not sure yet if I want to emotionally invest all my time in another mythology-heavy series after doing that for six years for "Lost." Also, while I love Blair Underwood, he's too good-looking to be taken seriously as the nation's president.

OK, I know what you're thinking: Dennis Haysbert isn't exactly a troll and he played the president on "24." Yeah, but Haysbert had more gravitas than Underwood. And he had The Voice. You know, the voice that makes you want to buy insurance. And you know how everybody hates buying insurance.

As for "Law & Order: Los Angeles," any show with Terrence Howard in it is worth my time.

I keep forgetting about "Outsourced." Maybe that's because I'm still all about "30 Rock" and "The Office" Thursday nights.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why is Kim Kardashian a star?

Kim Kardashian is a genius.

No, she hasn't cured cancer. Or discovered how to teleport to Mars. Or found a way to get a live human on the phone when she calls AT&T about her cell bill.

Kim is a genius because she's figured out how to be a big star without having any talent. 

Let's face it: She can't sing. She can't act. And if you saw her cringe-inducing performance on "Dancing with the Stars," you know she can't dance.

At all.

But there's Kim, on E!. There's Kim on a gazillion magazine covers. And there she is again at just about every red carpet premiere Hollywood has thrown since, oh, I dunno, 2005.

Kim's back in the news now because she just posed naked for "W" magazine and had a lavish 30th birthday bash on Friday in Vegas and another one in New York on Saturday. Good Lord, how many parties will she have when she turns 40?

Kim, we all know, is no stranger to magazine covers, having already graced the covers of "Playboy" and "Harper's Bazaar." And I've lost count of all the tabloid covers. I stopped counting around 3,587.

I give Kim credit. She knows how to play to her strengths. She's gorgeous and has an ample backside that's larger than some Third World nations. Kim isn't trying to be someone she's not. Her fame is based on her looks. Nothing else.

Kim may be many things, but dumb isn't one of them. Along with her hottie sisters, Kim has managed to turn the Kardashian name into a brand -- and a very lucrative one at that. There are perfumes, books, face creams. Could her own cable station be far behind?

She's also figured out something else. If you wanna keep your name -- and ample backside -- in the news, you must have a stud boyfriend on your arm. Helps with the power couple image, ya know.

And Kim has had her share of celebrity boyfriends -- Ray J (the sex tape!), Reggie Bush, Nick Cannon (before Mariah, of course) -- who are almost as pretty as she is.

Who needs talent in Hollywood?

Kim Kardashian sure doesn't.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Was the Goldberg, Behar Exit Orchestrated on "The View?"

TV shows pull publicity stunts all the time. It's part of the ratings game. The more people buzzing, the more people watching.

While I have no inside knowledge of what went down on "The View" Thursday morning when Whoppi Goldberg and Joy Behar decided to storm off the set after Fox News blowhard Bill O'Reilly made some comments they didn't like about the controversial mosque that may be built near Ground Zero, it reeked of cheap "publicity stunt."

Reilly argued against the mosque's construction and declared that Muslims were to blame for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Behar and Golberg weren't having it. So they got up and left. Which is their constitutional right.

But the guest was Reilly, a big-mouthed commentator who isn't known for keeping his opinions to himself. Did Behar and Goldberg expect anything less?

Why leave?

Well, a stormy exit will get folks talking...and blogging. And talking -- and blogging -- some more.

And that's exactly what happened.

Reilly gabbed about the hissy fit on his show last night. Behar did the same thing on her show.

Ah, talk about a story with legs. At least for a day.

Barbara Walters, a co-host on "The View" and one of the show's executive producers, chastised her colleagues' decision to leave, saying it never should've happened.

OK, that's the press release response and it made Walters look good.

Again, I have no inside knowledge, but I wouldn't be surprised if Walters silently cheered the move -- or even helped orchestrate it.

Publicity stunt.

After all, all's fair in love -- and ratings.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Andy Richter to join Conan O'Brien's new TBS show

While Conan O'Brien may have been kicked to the curb by NBC, the carrot-topped talk show host landed on his feet quite nicely with a cushy deal at TBS.

His new talk show -- simply called "Conan" -- is scheduled to debut Nov. 8 at 11 p.m. TBS announced today that Andy Richter, O'Brien's long-time sidekick, will be joining him on the show.

No real surprise there. Maybe it's me, but I don't get the sense that the networks are kicking down Andy's door and flooding him with job offers.

Still, good sidekicks are hard to find and Richter has always been a good one. Like Ed McMahon on the old "Tonight Show," Richter knows it's his job to laugh at all the host's jokes and make him look good.

In a statement, Richter said he's "thrilled" to be working with O'Brien again, but more importantly, he's just happy to be getting out the house again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New 'SNL' cast member looks like a rising star

Two weeks ago, I had never heard of Jay Pharoah. And I bet you haven't, either.

Pharoah is one of the new featured cast members on "Saturday Night Live." The guy stands out for two reasons: he's new, he's black.

Two black male cast members on "SNL?"

That's quite a feat for a show not known for winning many TV diversity awards in its 35-year history.

So far, Pharoah has proven himself to be a skilled celebrity impressionist. Last week he nailed Will Smith on "Weekend Update." This week, he was brilliant as Denzel Washington working at a department store to research a movie role.

While Pharoah looked nothing like the debonair film star, that didn't matter. Pharoah got all of Washington's vocal inflections and facial tics just right.

If I were Fred Armisten, I'd be a little worried. You have to wonder if Pharoah has an Obama impression is his bag of tricks and if show creator Lorne Michaels would have the nerve to let his rising star dip into it.

It's way too soon to tell, but Pharoah could be the next Eddie Murphy. Hopefully we'll see more of him in the coming weeks. I'd like to see if Pharoah can be funny when he's not impersonating a celebrity.

Something tells me he can.