Where to be and what to watch...
“Smart, fresh and a bit precocious”—there was a time when that might have described Barry Diller and Sumner Redstone. But, alas, it’s the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa’s description of The Links, a golf course that—along with the hotel’s eight swimming pools and seven tennis courts—will be of no interest whatsoever to Biltmore guests listening to Messrs. Diller and Redstone at Citigroup Smith Barney’s 15th annual media, entertainment and telecom conference in Phoenix. Other media celebrities making financial presentations to the money managers and analysts assembled for the three-day affair include DirecTV CEO Chase Carey and Disney President Bob Iger. Not that they’d care, but today’s weather forecast: temperatures near 70.
Meanwhile, at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa in you-know-where, Calif. (today’s forecast: 57 degrees and mostly sunny!), the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers hosts a three-day conference on emerging technologies. The slogan for the event has a peaceful, kinda haiku feel: “Like minds, divergent views, propelling us forward.” Almost makes us want to propel ourselves gently forward to the hotel spa for one of their “deeply hydrating pumpkin butter” foot massages. Oops, nix the butter! Tonight, it’s the fat-free Biggest Loser finale (NBC, 8 p.m. ET). Host Caroline Rhea does 90 minutes of live television—hey, just like they did it in the Golden Age!—as the three remaining competitors return after spending two months back in their regular lives. That meant going cold turkey without their trainers and being tempted by, uh, some cold turkey and lettuce and tomato on a hero, just dripping with mayo.
It turns out that the premiere tonight of Queer Eye for the Straight Girl (Bravo, 10 p.m. ET) was being hyped last night with a special episode. Missed it! Oh, we read the press release, all right, but got confused by the first line: “Good things come to those who don’t wait when Bravo airs a sneak peak at 'Queer Eye for the Straight Girl.’” Peak? Peek? Pique? It’s all the same to spellcheck.
At the Federal Communications Commission’s first meeting of 2005, bureau chiefs perform their ritual reports on the coming year. Media Bureau Chief Ken Ferree, basking in Chairman Michael Powell’s approval, is expected to formally recommend the switch to all-digital TV by 2009. We’d like to formally recommend that CBS stop touting Wickedly Perfect (8 p.m. ET), with host Joan Lunden, as a “competition to crown the country’s new authority on at-home living.” The reality show probably sounded like a great idea back when Martha Stewart was on trial and it looked like her company was going to tank. But guess what? Martha Stewart is the new Martha Stewart.
Welcome back, Bernie Mac! Recovered from the pneumonia that knocked him out of action this fall, the comedian returns tonight with The Bernie Mac Show (Fox, 8 p.m. ET). Funny, Fox execs also spent the autumn feeling terrible—and they won’t really be themselves again until next Tuesday, when American Idol premieres. Then they’ll feel just as refreshed as if they’d spent three days working their fingers to the bone at a resort spa. —Mark Lasswell
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