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TV NEWS
Wow. Ratings are up 89% for Mad Men this season and the show attracts the most high earners.

Did Bravo sabotage Project Runway?

Back to the nineties - now they're bringing back Melrose Place? The CW is looking to slot this show next fall if 90210 stays strong.

The Ex List got added to the axe list but The Cleaner will return for season 2.

From last night's Tonight Show, David Gregory talks about Sarah Palin’s wardrobe expenditures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 - 9:24am
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SAD PASSING
TV BlogKevin Butler writes: Television has suffered another loss. E. Roger Muir, the executive producer of some of TV's most popular children's programs and game shows died, this past Thursday, October 23, 2008. He was 89 and had been ill for many years.

A former photographer, Muir joined NBC TV following the second world war and became a director and producer for Puppet Playhouse Presents in December, 1947. Despite the stories you may have heard about the show's history, Puppet Playhouse was not meant to be a series according to my interview with Mr. Muir back in the 1980's. The show was going to be part of a mini-series of kids TV specials aired once a week on Saturday evenings during the 1947 Christmas holidays.

The show became a weekly series after Bob Smith said to his viewers at the end of the program, "See You next week, kids." Hence the network execs at NBC felt obligated to broadcast the show a few more times before they moved the program to a Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening schedule in 1948. Eventually, the show would be seen Monday thru Friday evenings and the series title would change to Howdy Doody.

Muir oversaw the series' production and helped develop it's growth; he also created and produced two more kid's TV shows, The Gumby Show (which was hosted by Bobby Nicholson as "Scotty McKee" and later by Pinky Lee and the Paul Ashley Puppets) and The Ruff & Reddy Show with Jimmy Blaine as the show's host/ performer with the Rufus Rose / Bobby Nicholson Puppets in 1957.

When Howdy Doody went off the air in the fall of 1960 Muir left NBC and, with Nicholson, formed an independent production company. They created the series The Funny Manns as a vehicle for comic character actor Cliff Norton and they also created and produced game shows like The Newlywed Game, Pay Cards, The Generation Gap, and Super Pay Cards.

Muir would produce the combination Saturday morning preview and Howdy Doody tribute Howdy Doody & Friends in September, 1972. "Buffalo Bob" Smith and "Clarabelle the Clown" (Lew Anderson) co-hosted the show along with an actress who played a new character called "Clever Clara." The show also featured an appearance from one of the Ritts Puppets' The Abominable Snowman. In 1976, Muir also produced The New Howdy Doody Show but the series was not a success due to the fact that stations thought of the program as a kid's comedy show and aired it at uneven hours.

Muir And Nicholson also created and produced the children's anthology show Once Upon A Classic hosted by Bill Bixby. Muir would serve as executive producer for Howdy Doody's 40th Anniversary TV Tribute in December, 1987 and would also be interviewed for the Television Academy's "Living Archives" project in 1999.

Roger Muir retired from television producing in the 1990's when he and his wife Bobbie moved from their home in Pelham, New York to New Hampshire where they would live for the remainder of their lives.

Roger Muir had been working on a book and a documentary about the history of Howdy Doody, hopefully they will still come to pass.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 - 9:48am
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TUESDAY FRACKUPS

From the mail: My name is Jennifer Becker and I am a Battlestar Galactica fan ('nuff said). Like myself, there are a large group of fans who are getting frustrated with the lack of promos and just general new BSG information. The 4.5 promo has been shown at Comic Con, Dragon Con, and at the Jules Verne Festival just this past Saturday. Amazingly not one fan has managed to record the trailer at any of these events. As you know, BSG is returning in two short months (thank the Gods), yet there has been no official or teaser trailer released to the public since June 19th (during the airing of the 4.10 finale). Also, no official word or release date has been made about the webisodes that are meant to bridge a few gaps between Revelations and Sometimes A Great Notion. I know that as one fan I am not able to change the entire marketing strategy of NBC/Universal and the Sci-fi Channel, but I can, with other fans take my plight to those in the entertainment journalism industry who might be able to find out more information than myself.

Any help or suggestions you could offer to this issue would be much appreciated. Thank you for your time and I look forward to talking with you soon.

So Say We All.

Hopefully Universal will get back to me with an answer to that.

Law & Order returns on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on November 5th following Life (which used to be on Fridays) whileLipstick Jungle moves to Friday from Wednesday.

I'm sure you've heard stories about political yard signs being stolen or vandalized. One couple got sick of having their signs disappearing in broad daylight so they got out - no, not a gun - the video camera. In the digital age the Tube is mightier than the sword. Sure enough, they caught the sign thief red handed - it was a candidate stealing his opponent's signs. Epic frackup!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 - 9:18am
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ROMPER STOMPER BOMPER BOO
Sorry about the no Blog weekend, I had a deadline and some grueling site maintenance to do. Check out these beautiful color pictures from this former Romper Room student:

Romper Room in Arkansas

Karlisa Burleson writes: "I was on Romper Room with Miss Nancy- I believe I was around 4 or 5 years old, so that would make it 1970 or 1971 in Arkansas. I’ve attached a couple of old photos from that time, I am in the navy blue jumper with white shirt and pigtails. My name is Karlisa “Lisa” McKenney-Burleson.

"I can remember one time, Miss Nancy had the class walk around in cardboard cars, and mine happened to be on backwards that day and a big loud voice-over guy came on shouting, 'Karlisa, you have you car on backwards- Karlisa you have your car on backwards.' I don’t believe I ever heard him, but I think my Mother had a good chuckle from the sidelines. Also, because of the Romper Room show, I was asked to be on a shoe commercial for Buster Brown shoes, I believe was the brand, and I had to crack open an egg.

Romper Room in Arkansas

"Anyway, I just found these pics and decided to google Miss Nancy and came across your website and thought I’d share my Romper Room story. I also went to Miss Nancy’s house for some reason and she had 2 huge Afghan Hound dogs in her entryway- I just remember standing in the entry way looking at her giant dogs in amazement."

Monday, October 27, 2008 - 7:39am
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MORE ON SHARI & LAMB CHOP
Shari Lewis Christmas on DVDSusan Walker writes: "Oh, Billy. When I was small I just adored Shari Lewis, Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse... watched on our little Emerson TV with the 13-inch screen. Now I'm going to have to buy the Christmas DVD for my grandchildren - and my oldest daughter as well, who used to watch Shari in the '80s and still loves Lamb Chop. And the kid's 23.

"About a year and a half ago, I was in a store called Hot Topic, accompanied by my two younger girls. Ever been in one of those places? Hot Topic caters to the Emo/Goth kids. Lots of clothes and shoes bearing skull and crossbones, lots of black (though I DID find a few Family Guy t-shirts in there). But then they'll surprise you. I was in the back of the store and found - lo and behold - Lamb Chop puppets!

"Hot Topic was the scene of probably my greatest embarrassment. On this same trip my cell phone kept ringing and it was starting to irritate the you-know-what out of me. The last time it rang, I was in the back of the store and it was my oldest child. Reception was bad, so I told her I'd go out front into the mall and call her back. (Why I didn't just turn the freaking thing off, I don't know.) Now, bear in mind that Hot Topic's frontage was plexiglas, without any displays. The doorway was merely an arch. I was bopping my irritated self through the store and headed for what I thought was the door. You guessed it. I slammed right into the plexiglas, leaving a nice nose print. The salesgirls' mouths dropped open and then they turned around very quickly so that I wouldn't see them break into hysterics (though they WERE nice enough to see if I was all right and to reassure me that I wasn't the first person to do that)."

Yeah, that Shari Lewis DVD is wonderful, I just got chills thinking about it. Isn't that weird? It's really remarkable how talented the lady was, as was her co-star Tony Award nominee Ronald Radd.

Like I stated in the review, I didn't expect to like it because how could something I watched as a pre-schooler possibly entertain me today? Boy, was I wrong. You're not likely to find another gem like this, something you'll genuinely enjoy watching with the kiddies. If they'll watch black and white television. I wonder if it would seem odd to a five year old who never watched anything on TV that wasn't in color?

In the mid-1990s I was watching something on PBS with my 5 year old niece. She pointed to the screen during one of the breaks and said, "That's Lamb Chop." I was like, "Wha-?" Sure enough, there was a picture of the puppet, turned out she regularly watched Shari's show on PBS. I thought that was really a trip; with 40 years between us we both grew up watching the same lady and her characters on TV.

By the way, Shari's daughter is now carrying on the tradition so Lamb Chop and friends will live on for future generations, I'm guessing.

Friday, October 24, 2008 - 9:49am
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