“All In the Family’s Three Levels of Brilliance”
MarketWatch: Media Report column, Nov. 10, 2012
“All In the Family” stands as the seminal television show of the 1970s because it works on three brilliant levels: as an uproarious comedy in the classic sitcom tradition, as a blistering social satire and as a first-rate character study.
The complete series, which aired on CBS from 1971 to 1979, has recently been released in a deluxe 28-disc DVD box set by Shout Factory, which licensed the show from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
(Sidebar: “The 10 Best ‘All In The Family’ Episodes”)
” ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ defines holiday TV”
MarketWatch: Media Report column, Nov. 20, 2012
“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” one of the best in the long-running series of “Peanuts” specials, returns to TV this week to remind us why these animated shows have been a part of American culture for the last 47 years.
While overshadowed by the two most popular and critically acclaimed “Peanuts” specials — “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” — the Thanksgiving special is also fondly remembered, with good reason.
The show will air Wednesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC, and will be repeated on Thanksgiving night at the same time. On both nights, it will be paired with “This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers,” the premiere episode of a 1988-89 “Peanuts” miniseries.
“The 5 Most Amazing World Series Ever”
MarketWatch, Oct. 28, 2012
The World Series. For decades it was America’s premier sporting event, and it remains a compelling coda to the longest regular season in professional sports. This year that season could come to an end Sunday night as the San Francisco Giants seek to sweep the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 of their Series.
We asked John Thorn, Major League Baseball’s official historian and senior creative consultant for Ken Burns’s acclaimed “Baseball” series, to name five outstanding World Series and explain what made them special.
(Sidebar: “TV’s 10 highest-rated World Series games”)
“Peter Falk’s 5 Best Columbo Episodes”
MarketWatch: Media Report column June 24, 2011
With the death of actor Peter Falk this week at the age of 83, it’s a good time to reflect on what the public came to see as his signature role, that of Lt. Columbo.
Interestingly, when “Columbo” series creators Richard Levinson and William Link were seeking an actor to play the role in the TV movie “Prescription: Murder” in 1967, they wanted either Lee J. Cobb or Bing Crosby. Only after those actors turned down the part, and Universal Studios producer Richard Irving suggested Falk, did Levinson and Link agree to hire the then-40-year-old actor.
“The fate of 10 top TV shows that lost lead actors”
MarketWatch: Media Report column, March 18, 2011
As Warner Bros. and CBS reportedly mull over the possibility of replacing Charlie Sheen with Rob Lowe on the long-running sitcom “Two and A Half Men,” it’s worth remembering that replacing the lead player on a hit show is a hit-or-miss proposition.
Of course, the main actor or actress departs from a show for any number of reasons — a contract dispute, a desire to make the leap to a movie career or an untimely death.
“The 10 Best Movies That Lost The Top Oscar”
MarketWatch: Media Report column, Feb. 25, 2011
Complexity. Ambiguity, moral or otherwise. Cynicism. Dark humor. Each of these qualities can make for fascinating expressions of art, and certainly that is true of the motion picture. Yet, in many cases, the Academy Award for Best Picture eludes such films, film historians say.
Of course, these aren’t the only deserving films that are denied that final moment of triumph on Oscar night. Comedies have seldom won, for instance. Whatever the reason, film fans can always think of several movies that should have taken home the biggest prize, and got aced out.
“The hunt for TV’s lost baseball treasures”
MarketWatch: Media Report column, Oct. 27, 2010
Even in the earliest days of televised baseball, the late Ernie Harwell understood that less could be more.
On Oct. 3, 1951, Harwell was working Game 3 of the National League playoff between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants for WPIX-TV in New York, a telecast that was seen nationwide on NBC. When Giants third baseman Bobby Thomson hit the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” to win the NL pennant, Harwell simply said, “It’s gone,” and sat silent for several moments while Giants fans at the Polo Grounds erupted.