Readers of this weekly Top Five may have noticed that we skew sometimes toward the old school — by which we mean TV appearances during the past week by some of our older, if not venerable, entertainment personalities.
The reason for this: We happen to have a soft spot for veteran talent, especially those few who always come prepared and then deliver the goods. For us (and, we suspect, not for everyone), Joan Rivers is one of these — which is why, all things considered, she earns the top spot on our Top Five this week.
1) Jimmy Fallon busts a gut: Joan Rivers entertained us aplenty when we were at home watching her guest appearance this week on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” But it was clear that Jimmy was enjoying it even more. As the guy sitting about two feet away and attempting to “interview” her, he bore the brunt of her full-bore comedy and she murdered him. He was just in pain laughing at her quips, which consisted of set-ups in which you thought she was going to tell an actual true story about an encounter with a real-life celebrity, but then the payoff was some absurd situation you couldn’t predict. She was at the top of her game.
2) Regis and Kathie Lee — together again: The chemistry was still there as Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford were reunited as morning-show co-hosts this past week on the fourth hour of NBC’s “Today” (about a day before the show was roiled when news broke that Ann Curry was likely getting the boot). Regis filled in for Hoda Kotb, and he and Kathie Lee demonstrated once again why they reigned supreme for 15 years — a run that ended when she departed “Live” 12 years ago.
3) Here “Today,” gone tomorrow: Poor Ann Curry — the news got out that the “Today” powers-that-be aren’t happy with her, and they’re apparently blaming her for the show’s decline in the ratings this year (we happen to think they’re wrong, but we’ll let that go for now). So the news got out that they’re negotiating her exit (and lining up a replacement) and yet, Curry soldiered on anyway, turning up as usual to co-host the show with Matt Lauer. In the process, however, she interviewed Steve Carell the other day about his new doomsday movie, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” and the words “Here today, gone tomorrow,” appeared on screen during the segment, supposedly in reference to the movie.
Unfortunately, the words appeared under Curry at one point, which had us wondering if some support personnel at “Today” were not being very supportive of Ann.
4) The world according to Sorkin: Few people were busier on the celebrity circuit this week than Aaron Sorkin, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “The Social Network” and Emmy-winning creator of “The West Wing” who was everywhere this week promoting his new HBO drama series about TV news, “The Newsroom.” This guy did so many interviews to promote this show that we even got in on it — interviewing him for this story (in case you missed it). He was all over television too this week, seen in — among other places — “Charlie Rose” and the “Today” show.
5) Speaking of “Charlie Rose”: And speaking of celebrities who seemed to be everywhere this week — Alec Baldwin turned up on David Letterman’s “Late Show” and also on “Charlie Rose” on PBS to promote his new movie, “To Rome, With Love,” directed by Woody Allen. But on both shows, Alec was queried about his latest public dust-up — this time with a news photographer who claimed Baldwin roughed him up outside of a courthouse in lower Manhattan. On “Charlie Rose,” Baldwin explained (or tried to explain) his side of the story, in depth.