Two words: “The View.” Once again, this mid-morning talk show managed to make headlines everywhere with a show that was all about its own tangled history.
To us, the show this past Wednesday was so momentous that it earns our top spot on the Top Five this week.
1) “The View,” in all its glory: You had to admire the powers-that-be at “The View” this week — which of course includes wily Barbara Walters — for engineering another show guaranteed to earn it tons of attention, if not ratings. Give them credit for inviting back Star Jones, one of several former “View” panelists who left acrimoniously over the years. For some shows and their producers and personalities, bringing back someone like Star, whose departure made headlines for weeks back in 2006, would just be too uncomfortable to consider. But for Walters and her team at “The View,” discomfort (or drama or fireworks) is the whole point. As they well know, it’s what gets people talking — and watching.
2) Look who turned up on “NCIS”: Those Activia commercials with Jamie Lee Curtis air so often these days that it’s easy to forget she’s an actor, first and foremost. That’s why it was so nice to see her on this past week’s episode of “NCIS” guest-starring as a hard-nosed psych-ops doc who butted heads with Gibbs (Mark Harmon). We have to hand it to Jamie: If you’re planning to say yes only sparingly to acting roles, then you can’t go wrong saying yes to TV’s highest-rated show. Jamie’s episode was watched by 19.29 million people Tuesday on CBS.
3) When reality intrudes on a reality show: Joan Rivers’ reality show — “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best” with her daughter Melissa — has emerged as appointment viewing every Tuesday night in our household (it’s on at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. — 8 and 9c — on WE). We love it because of Joan’s neverending commentary — hilarious, pointed, profane, just vintage Rivers.
But this week’s episode had less to do with comedy and more to do with a real-life cataclysm in Melissa’s life when she found out her live-in boyfriend, Jason — a virtual cast member on this show — has been cheating on her and she had to throw him out of the house. And before you accuse the show of making up some storyline for the sake of creating drama on the show, that’s not the case — this story was real, and when it happened, it was widely covered in the tabloids. The whole thing made for arresting viewing.
4) The history of a beloved late-night institution: We love it when an opportunity presents itself for us to learn something about a long-running comedy bit that we cherish — in this case, David Letterman’s “Top Ten” lists. So when we saw this bit Wednesday night on Letterman’s “Late Show” titled “The Story of the Top Ten List,” we were all set to hear how this revered bit was originally created and how they keep it fresh night after night and year after year. Well, of course we learned nothing at all from this thing because it was all in fun, but we laughed our heads off anyway.
5) A couple of things about Conan: We’re referring to both the show named “Conan” and the man who hosts it, Conan O’Brien. Nobody asked us our opinion, but we freely offer it here anyway: We were very happy to hear the news this week that TBS is sticking with “Conan” (the show and the guy) for at least two more years.
The cable channel made the announcement that it was picking up Conan’s option, which must have come as a relief to him. That’s because the show has struggled in the ratings as TBS continues to try and gain a stronger foothold in late-night — a time period that’s increasingly crowded these days.
In fact, TBS retreated a bit when it canceled George Lopez’s show, “Lopez Tonight,” so it hasn’t been unreasonable to question the channel’s commitment to late-night. With this news about “Conan,” though, TBS signaled that it’s staying put.
One reason: Ratings are reportedly up recently due at least in part to the “Conan” show’s new lead-in — repeats of “The Big Bang Theory,” which are doing well on TBS (and also on CBS, where first-run episodes of the show have overtaken “Two and a Half Men” this season to become TV’s number-one comedy).
The point is: Plain and simple, we’re rooting for Conan to stay on TV and, hopefully, move up in the late-night rankings once again.