Where to Be and What to Watch
By Mark Lasswell -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/31/2004 7:00:00 PM
Monday, Nov. 1
Let us pause to consider the soap opera. Passion, fevered conversation, panic attacks, temporary amnesia, obsessive love, cruel indifference—that's just the lives of the network execs behind the soap operas. Daytime dramas cruise along year after year, pulling in revenue, causing no trouble and entertaining millions. Today, The Young and the Restless airs its 8,000th episode. Hats off to the citizens of Genoa City and their 31 years of tempestuous tenacity on CBS. Now get back to work—you're not a real giant in this biz until you've put a five-figure total up on the board.
Tuesday, Nov. 2
"Every four years, tens of dozens of Americans line up in front of antique, steam-powered voting booths to elect a new emperor. And every four years, Comedy Central heroically covers this mutant cross between a really boring circus, a national popularity contest and a post-apocalyptic Thunderdome." We liked this so much, we it lifted it from the Comedy Central Web-site announcement of The Daily Show's Election Night coverage (starts 8 p.m. ET). Of course, half the country is so uninterested in politics it can't even be bothered to vote, much less follow the election news. But when they go looking for TV entertainment tonight, even the non-political fare may seem weirdly tied to the 2004 campaign. Let your own political orientation be your guide to the significance of these listings: On ESPN, there's the reality show I'd Do Anything (10 p.m. ET); Showtime's Women channel is playing an homage to the reluctant Kerry supporter, What's Love Got To Do With It (9 p.m.), TCM presents Dark Victory at 8 p.m. (is this Ted Turner's gloomy prediction of a Bush win?), while AMC is going with The Godfather (we forget, does that refer to Dick Cheney or Karl Rove?). As for us, we're gung-ho for Election Night reporting, but when we can't take the electoral-vote dissections anymore, we might pop over to Boom for some Looney Tunes or the Science channel's Destination Mars (both at 10 p.m.). At the end of the night (assuming this election doesn't repeat the 2000 debacle), we'll be glued to NBC, monitoring exactly how weepy Tim Russert and Tom Brokaw get as the latter finishes his last Election Night vigil.
Wednesday, Nov. 3
With everyone else in Washington lying in bed suffering from post-traumatic election stress disorder, holding cold compresses on their foreheads and wondering how Antigua is this time of year, Women in Cable & Telecommunications has the place to itself for the organization's 20th annual benefit gala, at the Hilton Washington. WICT's Woman of the Year honoree: Judy McGrath, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks.
Bonus storyline to keep attendees alert during what tends to be a looong night: Monitoring co-host Samantha Bee, possibly cranky after doing yeowoman's duty last night as a Daily Show correspondent, to see if she avoids committing any firing offenses while talking about her boss. Jumbo media earnings reports are flying this week. Yesterday, DirecTV. Today, Time Warner and News Corp. Tomorrow it's Charter Communications, SInclair Broadcasting and Univision. It's the next Sinclair earnings report that folks on both sides of the Kerry-in-Vietnam doc controversy will be tracking closely.
Thursday, Nov. 4
That colossal wince you hear at 8 p.m. tonight will be NBC reacting to the premiere of Fox's The O.C. As if Joey wasn't already struggling to make friends with viewers and NBC's vaunted Thursday-night monolith wasn't looking tattier than ever, now comes the return of Fox's popular seaside soap. It'll likely score with teens—make that "do well in the ratings with teens"—as it did last season, but now The O.C.'s facing off with Survivor on CBS. NBC honcho Jeff Zucker must be wondering why he never gets a shot at an immunity challenge.
Friday, Nov. 5
Even more than usual, this weekend Nashville will be crawling with starry-eyed dreamers, hoping to make it big in front of a microphone. Aspiring radio jocks and TV types descend on the home of the Grand Ole Opry for the Fall 2004 National Student Media Convention, hosted by Collegiate Broadcasters, Inc. The four-day event (Nov. 4-7), with more than 100 events and sessions, takes place at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel and Nashville Convention Center (or "Rennaisance," as CBI has it. Hey, they're into electronic media, not print). Tonight on CBS's Late Show With David Letterman: actor Tom Hanks, musical guest Nelly. Do we smell a duet?
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