“Men” and other Broadcast News
September 19, 2011

For the last several months, September 19, 2011 (tonight, as I write this), has become a marquee date on the television calendar. Not because The Big Bang Theory (the funniest show on TV) makes its debut in syndication and you can see the pilot episode, but because Two and a Half Men returns to CBS, with Ashton Kutcher replacing Charlie Sheen. After Sheen's off-the-set problems ultimately got him fired, I thought CBS should cancel the popular show. But, money is money, and the show must go on I guess, even though the series seems to really be about Sheen's personal life.

When Kutcher was named to replace Sheen, I thought I'd watch one episode just to see what they decided to do with the characters. After that, I would give up watching unless tonight's show was super-hilarious. With all the latest hype, I thought I would be pleasantly surprised, but it turns out, not so much.

Kutcher plays a suicidal internet billionaire named Walden Schmidt, who is on the path to not only take over Charlie Harper's house, but also his life. Lots of cameos in this episode, and they stuck a “to be continued” tag at the end, so maybe I'll give it another week. Seems like a better final episode to the series than an opener.

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Another “must see” if you were a “Men” fan, is the Charlie Sheen roast on Comedy Central. The network said that show was going to be on opposite the CBS premiere, but they lied. It's on at 10pm, and then replayed twice overnight.

I'll probably tape that and watch NBC's Playboy Club to see what the Mormons are complaining about. KSL-TV, the network affiliate in Salt Lake City and owned by the LDS church, has refused to air the program, citing the content. This isn't a big surprise, though. They don't carry Saturday Night Live either.

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Who knew, but the Emmy Awards were on last night (Sunday). I didn't even know that until yesterday afternoon when I saw a promo for the Red Carpet show on a cable network. I guess that's what happens when you put the show on Fox. Glee's Jane Lynch hosted, and did a decent job. Many of her jokes were about her own sexuality, but one of her best lines was that Betty White was the reason they started the show at 5pm.

The biggest surprise of the night came early, when Sheen presented for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Before he read the list of nominees, Sheen wished the new season of Two and a Half Men well, saying in a sincere but somewhat nervous tone, “From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season. We spent eight wonderful years together, and I know you will continue to make great television.” The Best Actor award went to Big Bang's Jim Parsons. Parsons, whose show is also produced by Men's Chuck Lorre, began his speech by looking in Sheen's direction and saying, “This is so odd for so many reasons.”

ABC's Modern Family would have swept the comedy awards except all six adults in the show were nominated for supporting roles. Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen were the winners. In other categories, AMC's Mad Men won Outstanding Drama Series for the fourth straight year, and Jon Stewart's The Daily Show picked up its ninth straight Emmy for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series.

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From “Oh My” to “Oh, No!” We may have heard our last from Dick Enberg, unless you live in San Diego. During the telecast of the women's final of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships last Sunday (September 11), CBS aired, without any preview or fanfare, a tribute to Enberg, with several current and former players like Serena Williams, Pete Sampras, and Andre Agassi wishing Enberg well. After the piece, Enberg said very little, other than the men's final was coming up on Monday. The 76 year-old Enberg quit doing football and NCAA basketball on CBS in 2010 when he became the television broadcaster for the San Diego Padres. Enberg continued to do tennis on ESPN, but it looks like that has come to end as well. After his 28th Wimbledon in June, Enberg was quoted by USA Today-- “At my age, the foot gets bigger that can kick you in the ass and you're out the door. I'd rather close it gently myself."

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ESPN has announced that it has agreed to a deal with the NFL to keep Monday Night Football on the network through the 2021 season. The estimated cost is about 1.9 billion dollars a year. Other terms of the deal include additional NFL programming, including a third hour of its Sunday pregame show NFL Countdown. NFL Live also expands from 30 to 60 minutes, and a new weekday show called NFL32 (I'm guessing because there are 32 teams in the league, otherwise they are really going to need a lot of old footage) made its debut last week. It's also highly speculated that the new agreement requires ESPN to lead with NFL news on Sports Center 365 days a year, and if there is nothing going on, the Worldwide Leader can make something up.

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Having lived in Salt Lake City for 4˝ years, it is a shame that the BYU-Utah football game is being played in September this year instead of at the end of the season. I know the schools aren't in the same conference anymore, but there should still be a window in late November or early December for the classic matchup.

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Happy Birthday to my late father. Dad would have been 80 last Saturday. I miss you.

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