Where to be and what to watch...
By Mark Lasswell -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/31/2005 8:00:00 PM
Monday, Aug. 1
Palm Pilot and BlackBerry ticklers merrily tickle away in Democrats' pockets this morning with the reminder that Al Gore's new TV channel is launching. Not that Current will be a partisan platform—the former VP was quite clear on that score when addressing television critics in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. In fact, Gore himself isn't so big on the whole political thing anymore: “I consider myself a recovering politician. I'm on step nine,” Gore said. Wait a minute. Step nine? That's the one about making amends to people you've injured in the past, isn't it? Listen, Al, NBC's already got that angle covered with My Name Is Earl.
Tuesday, Aug. 2
Current: Day Two. The reviews start rolling in. Will the channel succeed in redressing the problem that, as Gore said this spring, “young adults have a powerful voice, but you can't hear that voice on television—yet”? It's about time for a revolution in an industry where nobody under 40 can get a job and where programmers and advertisers are always chasing the elusive 64-79 demo. Even Nickelodeon skews old! Why, check out Nick at Nite's Hi-Jinks (premiere, 9:30 p.m. ET), a hidden-camera show with parents pranking their kids. Grownups, laughing at children. So sad. (Advisory: Even if your child likes Gilbert Gottfried from his Hi-Jinks appearance on Sept. 6, do not under any circumstances buy the kid a DVD of The Aristocrats for Christmas.) Also tonight: a two-hour ABC special, CMA Music Festival: Country Music's Biggest Party (9 ET), taped at the industry's annual fan-friendly Nashville, Tenn. gathering. Performers include Gretchen Wilson, Alan Jackson and, bless her heart, Dolly Parton.
Wednesday, August 3
It's Kathy Griffin night on Bravo: a comedy-performance special, Kathy Griffin Is … Not Nicole Kidman (9 ET) precedes the debut of her six-episode, one-hour unscripted series, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (10 ET). In the latter, the plastic-surgery-dabblin', anti-Lasik-surgery-campaignin', celebrity-lampoonin' comic lets cameras follow her around as she tends to her showbiz career. Kinda like Valerie Cherish in HBO's The Comeback, except, uh, Griffin told the critics' tour in July that she thinks Lisa Kudrow based the character on her. Given how brittle and pathetic Valerie is in Kudrow's b-r-i-l-l-i-a-n-t performance, maybe that's not something to brag on.
Thursday, Aug. 4
Just in time for the first hint of back-to-school, summer's-winding- down anxiety: BBC America's Teachers (premiere, 10 p.m. ET), a series about British molders-of-young-minds who “are as irresponsible and desperate to be cool as their students,” as the flackogram says. “Smoking in the toilets and drinking comes first ... marking homework and preparing lessons comes later!” Not to be pedantic, but doesn't that have a verb-subject agreement problem?
Friday, Aug. 5
With X Games 11 (9 p.m. ET), ESPN, er, “EXPN,” reaches out to young'uns who couldn't care less about Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter. Somehow, we don't think there will be any X Games fans out in their driveways—they don't have driveways—in the wee hours tonight, tailgating in anticipation of ESPN2's 4 a.m. telecast of the first NFL preseason game of the year. Why four-ay-em? The Atlanta Falcons are playing the Indianapolis Colts—in Japan.
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