‘HuffPost Live': Fall TV


After a few scheduling conflicts, I made my HuffPost Live debut today, to talk about fall TV and a trio of my recent Adweek stories. First I spoke about Fargo, which as I wrote this week is the best TV show you’ll see this fall.

I then talked about The Walking Dead, and why AMC should prepare to end that show, even though they probably won’t.

Finally, we talked about Tuesday’s news that Donald Trump is going to host Saturday Night Live on Nov. 7, and why he is spending so much time on a network that cut professional ties with him in June.

We covered a lot of ground, and I look forward to returning to HuffPost Live soon.

Is Fargo the Best TV Show of the Fall?

Should AMC End ‘The Walking Dead’?

Donald Trump to Host ‘Saturday Night Live’

What is TCA Press Tour? (Summer ’15 Edition)

TCA logo

Tonight marks the start of the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour. While some scheduling quirks this year are delaying my arrival until Sunday night, I’ll be covering it from afar this week (don’t worry; even though I’m missing the first week, I’ll still be there for almost two weeks). I put together a “What is TCA press tour?” primer before winter tour in January, but given that this will be my first TCA press tour as an Adweek employee, I wanted to update it for new followers to explain what press tour is, what I’ll be doing there for Adweek and why I—and almost everyone else who writes about TV—will be talking (and tweeting, using the #TCA15 hashtag) about it nonstop for the next three(!) weeks.

Twice a year, hundreds of TV critics and writers from all over the U.S. and Canada assemble at an L.A. hotel (the Beverly Hilton in summer; the Langham Huntington in winter) for press tour. Each day, a new network presents a variety of panels featuring talent and producers from their new (and sometimes returning) programs, as well as a panel with their top executives. There is also a “scrum” after each panel where smaller groups of reporters gather around certain panel members to ask additional questions, as well as one-on-one opportunities throughout the day and at receptions held during most evenings.

Between the news that breaks during the panels (and at least one panel per press tour goes completely off the rails; Girls, 2 Broke Girls, Stalker and Fresh Off the Boat are recent examples of this) and the interviews I land outside of the panels, each TCA press tour yields dozens of stories for me, both during the event itself and pieces I bank for the weeks and months to come. I’d estimate that my winter press tour reporting for Adweek generated at least 50 stories, including three cover stories, and influenced countless other pieces I’ve written since then, including Friday’s story about Showtime cancelling Happyish.

I first attended press tour, and became a TCA member, back when I was TV Editor at People. I covered the last few press tours for a variety of outlets—even though I covered winter tour primarily for Adweek as a freelancer, it also led to stories that ran in Quartz, The Daily Beast and Emmy Magazine—but now that I’m working for Adweek, I’ll be covering summer press tour for them exclusively.

It’s an exhausting, but essential, couple of weeks. Wish me luck!

CBSN: 67th Emmy Nominations

CBSN Emmy nods

I wasn’t expecting to go on-camera and talk about the 67th Emmy nominations today, but that’s what I ended up doing thanks to a last-minute call from CBSN, CBS News’ live streaming news channel. I did some pre-announcement predictions with anchor Meg Oliver, and then we watched the nominations live and I reacted to them in real time. I’d never done a segment like that before on-air, and this was a perfect opportunity to do that. Here’s the post-nomination portion of my appearance:

After wrapping this segment, I raced back to the Adweek office and wrote my Emmy reaction story for the website.

Poehler, Spacey among actors nominated for Emmy awards

‘MSNBC Live': The Best Summer TV of 2015

MSNBC Summer TV 1

I appeared on MSNBC Live today (while the segment was produced by the Melissa Harris-Perry team and was in that show’s usual timeslot, it wasn’t actually considered a Melissa Harris-Perry broadcast because of the holiday weekend), talking about the best summer TV shows that too many of you aren’t watching.

MSNBC Summer TV 3

I talked about four of the shows I’ve been writing about, and raving about, all summer: Amazon’s Catastrophe, Lifetime’s UnReal, Comedy Central’s Another Period and USA’s Mr. Robot.

MSNBC Summer TV 2

I think Catastrophe star Rob Delaney really liked what I had to say about his show!

MSNBC didn’t post the segment online, but I uploaded the clip here (I know the audio quality isn’t the best; my apologies).

Long story short: you should start watching all four of those shows, immediately!

‘Today’ Show: Trump Brand Taking Hits, While Trump the Candidate Gaining in Polls


So it turns out that in addition to making my NBC Nightly News debut last week, I also—surprise!—appeared for the first time on Today, during a Donald Trump piece the show did Friday morning. Katy Tur filed a new Trump story for the show, and used a different portion of the interview I’d done with her for that Nightly News story.


I was away for the holiday weekend, and it was a nice surprise to hear about the surprise appearance when I returned. (However, I should point out that I write for Adweek, not Ad Week.) Here’s the Today segment, in case you missed it (like I did). I pop up at the 1:26 mark:


Now I’m wondering which NBC program might use that interview next…

Trump brand taking hits, while Trump the candidate gaining in polls

NBC Nightly News: Macy’s Terminates Contract with Donald Trump


While I’ve been on MSNBC and CNBC several times, I’d never made a media appearance on NBC proper—until today. I was interviewed on NBC Nightly News tonight for a segment about the Donald Trump’s latest antics and the fallout from Macy’s, NBC and Univision severing ties with him.


I’d written about the controversy on Tuesday. Thanks to Katy Tur for sitting down with me! You can watch the segment here; I pop up at the 1:29 mark:

It looks like I’ll be back at 30 Rock on Sunday for another TV appearance; more on that later in the week!

Mike’s Fate and Other Season 3 Secrets from the ‘Graceland’ Set

Graceland - Season 3

As USA’s drama Graceland returns Thursday night (at 10 p.m. ET) for Season 3, the show’s fans have just one question: did Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit)—who had flatlined at the end of Season 2, after corrupt FBI agent Sid (Carmine Giovinazzo) cut off his air supply at the hospital—survive?

The answer seemed obvious to me—of course Mike wasn’t going to die, because a show that needs all the viewers it can muster would never jettison its most popular actor (Tveit has spawned hundreds of stories like this; the internet can’t get enough of him)—but when I recently visited the show’s Fort Lauderdale set, Tveit was nowhere to be found.

No, that doesn’t mean that he’s off the show. More likely, the network figured that the best way to keep his fate quiet was to keep him far away from reporters.

However, the rest of the cast—Daniel Sunjata (who plays FBI Special Agent Paul Briggs), Vanessa Ferlito (FBI Agent Charlie DeMarco), Brandon Jay McLaren (U.S. Customs Agent Dale Jakes), Serinda Swan (DEA Agent Paige Arkin) and Manny Montana (FBI Agent Johnny Tuturro), whose characters work undercover and live together in a Southern California beach house—were all on hand and ready to talk. Together, they shared seven big secrets about Season 3 of Graceland:

1) Yes, Mike is back.

Tveit’s on-set absence aside, there’s no doubt that he is still part of the cast, and is prominently featured in the Season 3 key art.

Graceland key art

While USA wants to keep the details of his fate under wraps until Thursday’s premiere, consider this: the show hasn’t suddenly taken a supernatural turn (so Mike isn’t a ghost), nor has it gone the Lost or Orange is the New Black route (i.e. heavy flashbacks). So, that leaves only one clear answer as to whether he survived.

Stil, Tveit’s costars insist they weren’t sure if he would ultimately be a part of Season 3 or not. “I personally didn’t know,” says Sunjata. “They certainly left it so ambiguous, even to us, that it was a big question mark hanging in the air, even to us. And then we finally found out the capacity in which — especially in the season premiere — that he would in some sense be back, that was a surprise too.”

2) This season is all about atonement.

As the one who tipped off Sid about Mike’s location in the Season 2 finale, Paige will have to answer for her actions this year. But she’s not the only: atonement is a key theme of Season 3. “Everyone in the house has atonement to do, has sins that they have to atone for, and karma, chickens that come home to roost – quite literally. There were some chickens in the last scene!” says Sunjata. “Everyone’s got some sins to atone for. Everybody’s trying to even the scales.”

But in doing so, they seem to be only making things worse: “There’s a lot of blood this season. There’s been some spillage of the sangre,” says Sunjata.

3) The infamous tape looms large this year.

Graceland - Season 3As part of the aforementioned atonement, Briggs is still haunted by the existence of a tape which recorded his killing FBI Agent Juan Badillo (in sort-of self-defense) back in in Season 1. “This has been a dangling plot thread from season one that fans have known was going to come back,” says Sunjata.

After two seasons of lurking in the background, it finally does. “First episode, the tape is back front and center, and it’s used as leverage in a big way,” says McLaren. “And that leverage is exercised for the entire season.”

4) The whole gang is finally back together.

While the events of Season 2 served to drive the six housemates apart (often literally), this year is about reestablishing the group. “They’re trying to bring the house back, because the fans love that. They like seeing us together,” says Ferlito.

“We do come back as a unit in Season 3,” says McLaren. “I think everyone realized after the events of Season 2 that we do need each other. If we’re all islands in the house, bad things typically happen. So there’s a concerted effort this season to try and come back together and be there for one another.”

While Jakes moved out of the house at one point last year, “everybody’s in the house” this season, says McLaren (providing another clue as to Mike’s fate). “We’re all working on a big thing.”

That “big thing” is this season’s major story arc, about the Armenian Mafia. “Briggs goes undercover and it has something to do with the Armenian Mob and ends up needing the help of his housemates in order to get certain things done,” says Sunjata.

5) Charlie is still pregnant—for now.

Graceland - Season 3Charlie discovered she was pregnant at the end of Season 2, and as of the first few episodes, she still is. “It hasn’t really hit her yet. It’s still very early on. She’s still in the house and still running around with crazy people,” says Ferlito. “She’s just out of control” as she tries to enact revenge on the money launderer who nearly killed her” and her unborn child.

Ferlito estimates that Charlie is about two and a half months pregnant. “ Everyday I’m like, “Am I losing the kid? What’s up? What’s going to happen?” she says. “I could make it through the whole season [without showing]. We could show up Season 4 with the baby—or not.”

6) Briggs and Charlie are on the outs.

While Briggs is the father of her baby, Charlie can’t forgive him for his Season 1 deceptions, which came to light last year. “Briggs and her, obviously they’re struggling. I don’t know if they can ever mend that, what happened between them. How can she ever trust him?” says Ferlito. “We’re not on good terms right now. I’m like, Jesus Christ, will I ever get to make out with Daniel Sunjata again? It’s just unfair!”

Ferlito hopes they patch things up, and not just so she can kiss Sunjata. “Charlie and Briggs, I think it’s real what they have,” she says. “I think Briggs and Charlie will always be in each other’s lives. It’s hard not to write that for us, because we really love each other in real life. We’re really good friends.”

7) Season 3 will go out with a bang.

While the season is just getting under way tonight, some of the actors are already anticipating what’s to come as the year wraps up.

“If Season 3 finishes the way they’re talking about it, it’s going to blow people’s minds,” says Montana. “Because when I heard, I was like, ‘How are we going to do that?’ But I loved it.”

“There’s stuff happening towards the end of the season that will forever change the dynamic of the house,” adds McLaren. “If what happens is meant to happen, Season 3 will be nuts!”

‘Squawk Alley': Here is the Next Must-See Series…


It’s been awhile since I had appeared on Squawk Alley—due to my availability and breaking news that bumped one scheduled appearance—but I returned Monday for my first segment as an Adweek staffer. I discussed my Adweek reviews of Amazon’s magnificent new sitcom Catastrophe and True Detective‘s less-than-magnificent second season. Here’s a clip from the segment:

The best part was finally doing a Squawk Alley appearance seated next to my Twitter pal Carl Quintanilla, the show’s regular anchor. Between my remote segments and his absences during my previous visits to the show’s New York Stock Exchange studio, our meeting up on-camera was long overdue!


Here is the next must-see series…

Pardon the Interruption

Hello all. I just wanted to take a minute to apologize for the temporary disruption to TV & Not TV, as I get settled in at Adweek. The new job has been all-consuming, and will continue to be that way through upfronts next week, so posting here will be sparse until then. But after that, I promise that we’ll get things back up to speed quickly, and I’ll post the dozens (yes, dozens) of stories I’ve written in these first few weeks on the job.

In the meantime, you can keep on top of everything I’ve been writing for Adweek by visiting here. Thanks for your patience, and I’ll be posting again here soon!