By Mark Lasswell -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/30/2005 7:00:00 PM
Monday, Oct. 31
If it's Halloween, that means it's time to think about Christmas. NBC is on the job. The network “wants to explore the contemporary spirit of Christmas,” it says in an online request for applicants to appear on a show called Great American Christmas. We hope it is indeed great, but somehow the sample ideas sound ripe for holiday misery. “Are you,” the site asks, “the family whose Christmas lights are the envy of all the neighbors?” (Envy? Ho, ho, ho); “spending your first holiday away from your family?” (sure, Mom's weeping, but what a relief); “sick of the 'Scrooge' in your family who needs to learn to love the holiday?” (let's teach that jerk a lesson). If you have a better, more Yuletidie idea, go to nbc.com/Casting/ and FedEx an application to them now; tomorrow's the deadline.
Tuesday, Nov. 1
Nevermind Conan O'Brien's whining joking that nobody watches his show because it's on too late. And disregard fact that he'll finally get a sizable audience (deserved!) when he takes over The Tonight Show in—when was it, 2009? '10? '11? Somehow we doubt that when O'Brien becomes curator of the Allen-Paar-Carson-Leno Legacy, he'll be doing cool stuff like booking Neil Young as the musical guest for four nights in a row. (Late Night with Conan O'Brien, 12:35 a.m.—sob!—ET. Cue the TiVo.)
Wednesday, Nov. 2
With its baseball ratings albatross sweptaway, Fox unveils the one-hour season premiere of That '70s Show (8 p.m. ET). It's the comedy's eighth season, but with Topher Grace gone and Ashton Kutcher appearing in just a handful of episodes, it seems unlikely that the show will last longer than the decade it's depicting. But Laura Prepon & Co. are soldiering. Sorry, guys, but the comedy that's got our interest tonight is the “Funny Business” show at Carolines on Broadway in New York, featuring the humor stylings of financier Carl Icahn and other corporate big shots. It's part of the six-night New York Comedy Festival (charming slogan: “Putting the f-u in funny”). We can imagine Icahn's shtick: “You know what? The only thing cheaper than this suit is the price Time Warner got for selling Comedy Central. Seriously, folks, Time Warner's stock is so low it's on Prozac. Did I mention that I just flew in from L.A.? Boy, are my arms tired—where's TWA when you need it? Hello? Is this mike on?”
Thursday, Nov. 3
The morning after cranky Carl does stand-up, his arch nemesis sits down with Ken Auletta. Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons—who really should get out more—chats with the New Yorker journo in the latest installment of the Newhouse School in New York's breakfast-interview series. It's at the Bryant Park Grill at 8, but if you show up without an invitation, your time would be better spent taking a few laps around the park's new free ice rink.
Friday, Nov. 4
The N—Noggin's teen-targeting nighttime incarnation—launches the half-hour dramatic series South of Nowhere with a one-hour premiere (8:30 p.m. ET). “South of Nowhere will deal in honest, authentic and compelling ways with issues all families and adolescents confront…” says the flackogram. Personally, we're going to be confronting our guilt for mistakenly assigning a new title and employer to Dawn Ostroff in last week's column. Ms. Ostroff is President, UPN, and we are beet-red.
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