Once Upon a Time – Preview of the New TV Series

I’ve been asked to preview and review the upcoming ABC series “Once Upon a Time” and thought it might be more fun to report reactions  from folks at the blog – please comment below.    I’m glad to see Robert Carlyle find a new gig after Stargate SGU was cancelled.   He’s a fine actor and even better suited to this “older times” theme than to SGU.

You can view the Once Upon A Time preview video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz9VFa7Z6Y0

I’m not sure how exclusive this is, but based on the tiny number of views so far I think YOU and I are among the first to see it!    Woo Hoo.



Here’s the Press Release from ABC:

Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Lost, Tron: Legacy) invite you to a bold new vision of the world where fairytales and the modern day are about to collide.

Anna Swan (Jennifer Morrison) knows how to take care of herself.  She’s a 28-year old bail bonds collector who’s been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby.  But when the son she gave up years ago finds her, everything will change.  Henry (Jared Gilmore) is 10 years old now and in desperate need of Anna’s help.  Henry believes that Anna actually comes from an alternate world… and is Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow White’s (Ginnifer Goodwin) missing daughter.  According to his book of fairytales, they sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen’s (Lana Parilla) curse, which trapped the fairytale world forever, frozen in time.  Of course Anna doesn’t believe a word, but when she brings Henry back to Storybrooke, she finds herself drawn to this unusual boy and his strange New England town.  Concerned for Henry, she decides to stay for a while, but she soon suspects that Storybrooke is more than it seems.  It’s a place where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close… where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don’t remember who they once were–including the Evil Queen who is now Henry’s foster mother.  The epic battle for the future of all worlds is beginning, but for good to win, Anna will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell.

Brace yourself for a modern fable with thrilling twists and hints of darkness.  Brimming with wonder, and filled with the magic of our most beloved fairytales, Once Upon A Time is a fitting follow up to Lost from two master storytellers.

Welcome to a world where fairytales are real.  Anna Swan is like any other 28 year old, until she discovers she’s a lost princess destined to save her world from darkness.  Experience the passion project of executive producers/creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Lost, Tron).  Once Upon A Time is a thrilling twist of our most beloved stories.

Robert Carlyle – Rumplestiltskin
Josh Dallas – Prince Charming/John Doe
James Dornan – Sheriff Graham
Jared Gilmore – Henry
Ginnifer Goodwin – Snow White/Sister Mary Margret Blanchard
Jennifer Morrison – Emma Swan
Lana Parilla – Evil Queen/Regina
Raphael Sbarge – Archie/Jiminy Cricket

Production Company – ABC Studios
Executive Producer – Edward Kitsis
Executive Producer – Adam Horowitz
Executive Producer – Steve Pearlman
Executive Producer/Director – Mark Mylod

American Idol Contestants

After the sad and surprising departure of Pia Toscano last night on American Idol, it’s time to review all the contestants that are left.   I’m a big fan and something of a pop musical genius  (just kidding : ), so I thought I’d rank all the American Idol Contestants based on the following items:

Singing Ability, Personality, Looks, Star Power, Likelihood of winning.    Feel free to chime in with comments if you do or don’t agree.   1 is low, 10 is high.   For likelihood I’ve ranked them 1 through 7


Idol Contestant | Singing Ability       |  Personality      | Looks      |  Star Power      |  Likelihood of winning

Haley Reinhart                9                           8                 9                   7                             2

James Durbin                   8                           9                 8                   9                              1

Casey Abrams                  9                           8                 6                   7                              4

Jacob Lusk                        8                           7                 6                    7                             7

Stefano Langone             8                           8                  7                   7                              5

Paul McDonald                6                           8                  9                    7                             8

Lauren Alaina                  9                           8                  8                    7                             3

Scotty McCreery             7                          6                  7                    7                             6


Of course the fact that I was a big Pia Toscano fan might indicate I’m not very good at this game.   I don’t think my favorite has *ever* won American Idol since Kelly Clarkson who I had picked very early on correctly at the first winner.   I was also close with second place Clay Aiken, who narrowly lost to Ruben Studdard in what remains my favorite American Idol season of all time, though not the most talent filled season which is absolutely this year.    No bad singers made it past the round of 24 and everybody left, with the possible exception IMHO of Paul, has tons of raw singing talent.

P.S.  Wow, my post Pia Toscano Leaves American Idol already has over a thousand views and 10 comments in under 24 hours.    Clearly, American Idol is an amazing traffic magnet for a blog, and since I’m a big fan I think it’s time to start writing a lot more about the show and the contestants because


Pia Toscano Leaves American Idol !

Pia Toscano was kicked off of American Idol tonight after the American viewing public displayed their musical ignorance yet again.   Now, I’m not saying that American Idol is art in high form, rather American Idol is art in …. popular form.   So I suppose it’s OK that Pia was a victim of what must have been her talent and good lucks, because she was one of the favorites for those of us who … know music… : )

OK, sure this is *partly* an SEO post hoping to see how JoeDuck can rank for searches for Pia Toscano and American Idol searches, but it’s also a reflection of my sadness at Pia’s departure from the show.    I’m a fan of the show and most of the family has been watching it for many years.   Pia’s departure is … a tragedy!

My working hypothesis is that there’s a bias in favor of the most appealing personalities and Pia did not come across as well as most of the others, so maybe that’s the reason Pia is no longer on American Idol.     Stay tuned for more reports…

Pia Toscano

Pia Toscano off of American Idol!

Top TV Salaries – WoW!

Here, from TV Guide, are salaries for many TV stars:

The top earners, by category:

Drama (per episode)

Hugh Laurie (House) $400,000+
Christopher Meloni & Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) $395,000 (each)
David Caruso (CSI: Miami) $375,000
Marg Helgenberger (CSI) $375,000
Mark Harmon (NCIS$375,000
Laurence Fishburne (CSI) $350,000
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) $350,000
Denis Leary (Rescue Me) $350,000
Gary Sinise (CSI: NY$275,000
Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) $250,000
David Boreanaz (Bones) $200,000
Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) $200,000
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife$175,000
Dana Delany (Body of Proof$150,000
Lauren Graham (Parenthood) $150,000
Jada Pinkett Smith (HawthoRNe) $150,000
Jimmy Smits (Outlaw) $150,000
LL Cool J (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Chris O’Donnell (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains) $125,000
Jason Lee (Memphis Beat) $125,000
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) $125,000
Tom Selleck (Blue Bloods) $125,000
Michael Weatherly (NCIS) $125,000
Matt Bomer (White Collar) $100,000
Nathan Fillion (Castle) $100,000
Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds) $100,000
Jon Hamm (Mad Men) $100,000
Cole Hauser (Chase) $100,000
Alex O’Loughlin (Hawaii Five-0) $100,000
Timothy Olyphant (Justified$100,000
Scott Caan (Hawaii Five-0) $80,000
Angie Harmon (Rizzoli & Isles) $75,000
Anna Paquin (True Blood) $75,000
Blair Underwood (The Event) $75,000
Zachary Levi (Chuck) $60,000
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries$40,000
Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) $40,000
Ashley Tisdale (Hellcats$30,000

Late Night/Talk Syndication (per year)

Oprah Winfrey $315 million
Judge Judy Sheindlin $45 million
David Letterman (The Late Show$28 million
Jay Leno (The Tonight Show$25 million
Conan O’Brien (The Conan O’Brien Show$10 million
Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show$8 million
Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live$6 million
Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately$3.5 million
George Lopez (Lopez Tonight$3.5 million

Reality (per year)

Ryan Seacrest
(American Idol$15 million
Joel McHale (The Soup$2 million
Piers Morgan (America’s Got Talent$2 million
Kate Gosselin (Kate Plus 8$250,000 per episode
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (Jersey Shore$30,000 per episode

Comedy (per episode)

Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men$1.25 million
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men$550,000
Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Eva Longoria Parker (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons$400,000
Julie Kavner (The Simpsons$400,000
Tina Fey (30 Rock$350,000
Jeremy Piven (Entourage$350,000
Steve Carell (The Office$297,000
Angus T. Jones (Two and a Half Men$250,000
David Duchovny (Californication$200,000
Kevin Dillon (Entourage$200,000
Adrian Grenier (Entourage$200,000
Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) $180,000
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie$175,000
William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says$150,000
David Spade (Rules of Engagement$150,000
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family$100,000
Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement$85,000
Betty White (Hot in Cleveland$75,000
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory$60,000
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory$60,000
Ty Burrell (Modern Family$50,000
Jane Lynch (Glee$50,000
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory$40,000
Matthew Morrison (Glee$30,000
Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place$30,000
Dylan and Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody$20,000 (each)
Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family$15,000

News (per year)

Matt Lauer (Today $16 million +
Katie Couric (CBS) $15 million
Brian Williams (NBC) $12.5 million
Diane Sawyer (ABC) $12 million
Meredith Vieira (Today$11 million
Bill O’Reilly (Fox News) $10 million
George Stephanopoulos (ABC) $8 million
Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) $7 million
Shepard Smith (Fox News) $7 million
Wolf Blitzer (CNN) $3 million
Christiane Amanpour (ABC) $2 million
Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC) $2 million
Eliot Spitzer (CNN) $500,000

Wikipedia has some old info from 2007 here but note that salaries change with every season and depend on a lot of factors such as producer status, syndication, etc.

HD TV Hookup Tips and links. Plasma TV, LCD TV, and LED TVs

Although many others could do a much better job offering these tips, I’m doing it out of the great sense of frustration I’ve had during the transition to High Definition broadcasting and the plethora of new TVs and video options.   Please add links via the comments if you have a good source of hookup information.

For the folks out there who are easily frustrated and don’t like setting things up  I’d encourage using your Cable folks or  “Geek squad” or other services to set up systems rather than working on them yourself, as the number of options has become so great it’s hard to “get it all right”.

HD TV Primer from “HowStuffWorks” | HD TV Primer from Wikipedia:

HD TV Hookup Help:

Generally you’ll want to follow the diagrams included with your cable box and/or TV set since individual items can vary.   Try to visualize the “ins and outs” as best you can, recognizing that there are basically either audio or video signals coming in and out of each component.   Sometimes these run on separate cables  (as in the old style AV jacks), sometimes they run on the same cable (as in HDMI).   You will generally only use a few of the total connection points available on a new device, so don’t get overwhelmed by the many options – most are simply different ways to skin the audio / video cat.

OLD Article with good summary of some issues

Why NON HD programs can have worse picture quality on your fancy new TV: http://forums.soundandvisionmag.com/showthread.php?75220-Non-HDTV-content-on-HDTV-worse-than-on-SDTV

I’m floored by how many people do not think this is an important and frustrating issue as we transition to “all HD all the time”.   In general terms your expensive new TV will give you INFERIOR picture for standard TV.    Eventually SD TV signals will go away but that’s not the case yet.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS:   Play with your TV Video display options via the TV setup screen to see if you can improve the standard picture.    For people with “mostly HD” channels this may not be important, but if you only get a handful of HD channels you may be frustrated with the new TV.

Hookup your OLD VCR to NEW TV:   http://www.ehow.com/how_5783352_attach-vcr-new-lcd-tv.html

In general you’ll want to consider getting new DVD player (and perhaps “surround sound” audio equipment with your new TV.    Even $150 will get you a decent HD disk player with a modest audio “surround sound” setup that offers a great movie experience.    However if you have a lot of old video tapes you may want a combination DVD  Video player.