The contemporary texture of American TV: As nubby, grainy and ticklish as one of Don Draper’s Tweed suits, yet more delicious, quite possibly, even than what’s under it…? (Reoowwrr reowrr reworr!) Some say today’s television programming is as succulent as a bag of marinated Bullion and about as valuable as one of its shiny metallic bars, but this writer is beginning to think it might have surpassed any and all turn of the century gold rushes and pulsed right past to platinum in the realm of programming. Pertaining to prime time Network shows from the likes of The Big Bang Theory to The Good Wife to the latest cable break outs and benefiters, such as Mad Men and Ray Donovan, then further afield to some much lesser known programs up-and-coming from a source you might not yet have anticipated, The Hollywood Museum had it all as it opened its latest exhibit in honor of the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Above and beyond the displays encompassing the likes of Joan Harris’ dress from Mad Men, Jeffrey Tambor’s rainbow clad costume from Transparent, up to and including an entire wall dedicated to Dancing with the Stars, (and quite possibly even some dancers themselves) the conversation catapulted, then centered around the decentralization of the medium in question and all its exciting shifts in paradigm, production and properties!
“The 50s was the golden age of television and this is the second golden age of television,” declared television script writer and former Valley Girl incarnate Lee Purcell. “[This season, there are currently] 400 scripted shows!”
“And that’s not counting the ‘reality’ shows,” I inquired. “Which are only slightly different (wink, wink, nod, nod).”
“Well yeah but it’s like a fake difference,” Purcell countered. “I’ve written reality shows so I know they’re different… But there are 400 scripted–and I’m using air quotes for people who can’t see me—shows, comedy and drama. And there are 22 new shows debuting this fall: Scripted. Of course they all won’t make it because things come and go, ebb and flow… They get canceled, they premiere, [etc…] But when I first started doing TV there were three channels, and there were 50 casting directors–and now there are over 350 casting directors and I don’t even know how many channels!”
“And the Internet–if you throw the internet,” I mused.
“Oh yeah, the Internet,” Purcell continued. “Go on Amazon–right? I just finished watching a whole series on Amazon Hand of God …[amazing].”
“My husband said the other night ‘I couldn’t keep track of what was on TV when we had three channels’,” Alison Arngrim, TV’s Original Little House Prairie Bad Girl—and three channel show performer–exclaimed. “That’s what’s awesome now is that you’re not just beholden to a few networks. So if you have a creative idea, and they say ‘You can’t put that on television,’ you can go up the street to Amazon or whoever… Transparent and [other such shows] you couldn’t put that on television ten years ago.”
“Amazon, Netflix. Yes, there are so many different venues now! ‘You don’t want it, I know someone who will,’” echoed The Haves and Have Nots Jerome Ro Brooks.
“Yeah, I was watching TV the other morning on the news. Three of the people they were interviewing were YouTube stars!” added Arngrim.
And of course, even stars love other stars’ shows!
“In regards to shows that are being nominated, I love How to Get Away with Murder,” Jerome Ro Brooks opined. “That was one of my favorite shows [this year] and I have others [but] don’t know if they’re nominated or not like Empire. That’s a great show. I love The Big Bang Theory.”
“I get so addicted to Big Bang Theory,” concurred Arngrim. “I’m still holding out that Sheldon will get married…
“I don’t think he will though,” countered Brooks.
“He had the ring! They were totally gonna do it!” Anrgrim could only exclaim.
“There are a lot of [other] great shows,” added Brooks. “There’s True Blood, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe; that was awesome. I forget the girl’s name. She played a great role and did an awesome job (Kelli Garner). There’s just a lot of great things on television right now…with all 400 channels… Orange is the New Black…”
I love Modern Family,” declared a plucky Judy Tenuta. “And I love Masters of Sex… I like Scandal… And I’m trying to think of what else…I love uh… (going into her pitch perfect British accent) ’Oh hello, I’m Sharon Osborne–oh my daughter. I wish she would stop wearing that purple hair… Oh I’m on The Talk. I’m on The Talk darling!”
“Well this is my favorite show,” announced Lee Purcell sitting prettily under the Ray Donovan display. “which is why we posed in front of this show. [My]…good friend… Jon Voight…is on this show, so this is my absolute favorite… Every episode is a major surprise. So I am crazy about Ray Donovan. I’m also all about Game of Thrones.
Actress, singer, producer, journalist Kat Kramer confided, “We’re definitely rooting for Lily Tomlin and Kevin Spacey–House of Cards [along with] William H. Macy ‘cause those are our friends.
“A little bit of American Horror Story, a little bit of Mad Men, Ray Donovan” opined The Bay Star and Director Kristos Andrews—who is paradoxically much too busy with his own show to watch too much. “But we really didn’t get much into it because ironically enough we can’t do our own market research because we don’t have the time.”
Having launched the Indie Soap five years hence, as an answer to the de-airing of a number of existing Soaps via change the in format of Daytime TV, both he and enterprising creator Gregori J. Martin could be seen wielding Emmy Statuettes at the 2015 Creative Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding New Approaches in Drama Series. The Bay to this day can be watched via online streaming only and is a wild success according to both fans, critics and Daytime Emmy panels alike!
In keeping with up and coming new approaches to modern day television, I caught up further with actress, singer, producer, journalist and goddaughter of Katherine Hepburn Kat Kramer who expounded upon a most intriguing-sounding independent newish show of her own:
“It’s called Child of the 70s. It’s already in its third season and it’s all online. Beginning at the fourth season, we’re going to be on other channels internationally… I’m on season 3. I’m one of the stars and we’re just now shooting season 4 which I’m also on, and it’s an LGBT based campy, very, very funny [show], probably like the campiest show out there! [It’s a] web series about an actor [in present day] who grew up in the 70s who idolizes 70s icons. He gets a job on a soap opera and he worships this really Divaish actress played by Ann Walker. I play Frances Rye who’s a bitchy Diva soap star…and she plays multiple characters in season 3. And in season 4 I’m going to be playing more characters but I don’t want to…give away too much. But Susan Olsen’s a regular on it, Bruce Villanch and Ann Walker and I’m also an associate producer so I got them to [cast] Ted Lange! … Donna Pescow’s been on it, Carol Ita White who’s a regular from Laverne & Shirley… Joyce DeWitt was on it but she’s doing another project, so she might still [do more] or hopefully the season after. But season 4 we’re pulling out all the stops! … There are a lot of icons who’ve been on it…. But I can’t announce all the names yet ‘cause they haven’t been revealed.”
But definitely folks, stay tuned!!!
As far as favorite moments from the Emmy’s proper, those would encompass the Daytime Emmys and Sleepers therein: The Bay creator, writer and director Gregori J. Martin and Director and Actor Kristos Andrews.
Gregori’s favorite Emmy moment this year, “To see the 42nd annual Daytime Emmys back on TV!”
As for Kristos, “My favorite moment was getting the chance to present the first and apparently only three way tie that’ll ever happen in the history of the Emmys!” The Daytime Emmys that is referring to a three way tie for best guest appearance on a Soap Opera between three classic TV Icons, Donna Mills, Fred Willard and Ray Wise!
The Emmy Display is currently on display in all its glory at the Hollywood Museum!
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