TV Zone

News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.

Alec Baldwin finally apologizes for homophobic rant

Alec Baldwin, left, and his wife Hilaria attend

(Credit: Charles Eckert)

Alec Baldwin -- who spewed a few graphic homophobic tweets at a British newspaper reporter who said his wife had tweeted during James Gandolfini's funeral Thursday -- has apologized to GLAAD (the nation's one truly effective watchdog for homophobia in the media).

  The statement:

"My ill-advised attack on George Stark of the Daily Mail had absolutely nothing to do with issues...

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Binge-watching is the new black ... or is it?

Bolstered by its exclusive hit series ?House of

(Credit: AP)

Wow: Everywhere you turn these days there's another story on binge-watching or binge-viewing; hell, I'm even working on one myself. But you know it's really hit the mainstream when "Today Show" gets into the act, which happened just this morning. Kate Snow put together this piece that portrays this as an explosive trend . . . but count me as just one little skeptic in the churning ocean of hype.

It certainly is taking place, and it certainly has grown, but I defy anyone to give real numbers on its incidence (Nielsen can't -- yet). They do exist, at Netflix, but good old gimlet-eyed Netflix isn't giving those numbers out. The major cable networks, like Comcast and Cablevision (owner of Newsday) have a pretty good idea, too, based on DVR usage. They're not in a sharing mood either. [By the way, a highly reputable source tells me cable VOD - video on demand - data does NOT indicate a huge increase or really much of an increase at all in "binge-watching;" who is this source? Ah - tease alert! - you will have to read my story in Newsday to find out...] 

In fact, Netflix is more secretive than IBM or the NSA -- they know a great deal about what's going on, but they refuse to divulge it. There are good reasons for that. Once you give out a number, people will use it as a benchmark, and it's very easy to distort the meaning of numbers. But speculation and hype also tend to fill the void - and in the process add a little rocket booster fuel to Netflix's already stratospheric stock price.

 Everyone is making this huge assumption that the entire nation has turned into zombies, as they watch hour after hour after hour after hour (after hour) of "Battlestar Galactica" or "House of Cards" or whatever.

Again, show me the numbers!

By the way, "Orange is the New Black" -- coming out mid-July on Netflix -- just picked up a second season, even though Netflix hasn't got a clue yet whether millions of its 30-million-plus U.S. subscribers  will gorge on this in one sitting. I'm sure it'll do well. I just have doubts as to how many bingers are really out there.

Kate's piece:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

'Jon Stewart phones home'

This opening of "The Daily Show" was expected - when Jon Stewart Skyped home to "The Daily Show" last night. JS even gave John Oliver a quick review: "You're doing a phenomenal job..."

'Siberia,' NBC's new 'reality' series, may not be real

Is "Siberia" a real reality show, or something

(Credit: NBC)

Ah, what do have we here? A new reality series? On NBC? Monday, at 10? Yes, "Siberia" is coming, and let's play a little game, if of course, you have the time. You decide whether this is a real reality series or something altogether different.

No cheating! No Googling, or Binging, or whatever the heck we do when we need instant answers and gratification. Just watch the opening, or the whole thing, and remember: NBC is in the midst of its own horror reality game, trying to get viewers and divert at least some attention from the red-hot "Under the Dome" on CBS (and good luck with that).

The call has gone out to "Siberia" to do so. (My review Monday, will reveal whether "Siberia" is real or that altogether-something-different show. Of course, I suspect you already know the answer, but this is still a clever move by the network. We'll see if it works.

QVC to 'take a pause' with Paula Deen

Celebrity chef Paula Deen on the Food Network.

(Credit: AP, 2006)

In what really only be described as the wimpy-wimpy-wimpiest Paula Deen termination letter in recent hours — and there have been quite the spate of them — QVC pretty much outdid everyone by saying that it would "take a pause" with Deen and the various assorted products she hawks on the network.

Here's a portion of the letter from QVC chief Mike George, which seeks to appease both the pro-Deen crowd and the anti-Deen crowd but, in the process, may simply prove that  — to paraphrase Ricky Nelson — you can't appease everyone:

And in any strong relationship, when troubles arise, the first step is to talk. We have talked with Paula and her team extensively over the last several days, and together we have considered what is best for our customers, for Paula, and for QVC. For now, we have decided to take a pause. Paula won’t be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts and we will phase out her product assortment on our online sales channels over the next few months. We all think it’s important, at this moment, for Paula to concentrate on responding to the allegations against her and on her path forward. Some of you may wonder whether this is a “forever” decision — whether we are simply ending our association with Paula. We don’t think that’s how relationships work. People deserve second chances. And we always strive to do the right thing.

Essentially this appears to mean that QVC has fired Deen, but reserves the right to rehire her when the heat dies down . . . I think.

'Today' finally tops 'GMA' (thanks, Paula!)

Celebrity chef Paula Deen appears on NBC News'

(Credit: AP )

It's either a fluky blip in a long losing streak, or a rubbernecking moment, or maybe even the beginning of the end of the drought . . . Or maybe it was just Paula Deen: But "Today Show" finally beat "Good Morning America" in a single day since last fall, when "Today's" Sandy coverage topped "GMA's"

The figure for Wednesday was: 4.798 million to "GMA's" 4.630 million.

A couple of companies may have severed their ties to Pajula Deen and a network, too, but you can be assured "Today" won't be severing its ties anytime soon. (Matt to Paula: "Y'all come back now, y'hear!") 

Showtime's 'Ray Donovan' is a minor disappointment: Review

Liev Schreiber, right, is "L.A.'s best professional fixer"

(Credit: Showtime)

Hey! Liev Schreiber! Jon Voight! Peter Jacobson! Elliott Gould! Ann Biderman -- who wrote and created and is one heck of a smart writer! What's not to like about Showtime's new "Ray Donovan," opening at a TV set near you this Sunday night at 10?

Turns out, "Ray Donovan."

My review:

'Ray Donovan' review: Liev Schreiber stars

THE SHOW "Ray Donovan"


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David Chase on James Gandolfini, Tony Soprano

News broke exactly one week ago that TV - and the movies - had lost a transcendent talent, James Gandolfini, who had died of a heart attack at age 52. His funeral is in New  York tomorrow, but meanwhile, here are some outtakes from a good interview that ran in the Guardian this morning. David Chase, who created "The Sopranos" (and lives in France) is interviewed by writer  Nosheen...

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Paula Deen, emotional on 'Today' show, denies using racist words

Celebrity chef Paula Deen in Manhattan. (Jan. 17,

(Credit: AP)

Teary, passionate, remorseful, defiant, former Food Network star Paula Deen gave the performance of her life Wednesday morning during a "Today" interview that had originally been scheduled Friday but was abruptly canceled when she claimed exhaustion.

She denied making racial epithets -- the ones that lead to her ouster from the Food Network -- but conceded that she had used them...

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Newt Gingrich joins CNN revival of 'Crossfire'

Newt Gingrich had an affair with Senate staffer

(Credit: Getty Images)

As expected, CNN will revive "Crossfire" this fall; not quite as expected: Newt Gingrich will be one of the co-hosts.

The network announced this morning that it would relaunch the revival with a four-person format, with Gingrich and MSNBC contributor S.E. Cupp as his co-rightie; and Stephanie Cutter, a political consultant, with Van Jones, a founder of Rebuild the Dream, as her co-leftie.


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