Wednesday, May 7
Tonight, May 7, well-known television innovator ( Pop-Up Video ) and nut case Tad Low will host something he’s calling a Private Panty Portrait Party, which sounds like one of those voyeuristic hootenannies you used to read a lot about three or four years ago, when everyone under 35 was still drunk on dot-com money, reading Brill’s Content and devoting much horny after-work energy to postmodern, public sexual fulfillment.
Guests at Mr. Low’s PPPP bash will be plied with booze (beer, tequila) and asked to strip down to their skivvies in order to be photographed. Why photographed? Because-of course!-Mr. Low and his Tad-poles at Spin the Bottle productions are making a TV series for which they need a lot of pictures of people running around in their underwear (can’t they just use B-roll from a bunch of Benny Hill s?).
The photos will be used in a segment of 4-Play , a music video program Mr. Low is making for the digital cable channel Fuse (formerly Much Music). 4-Play ‘s gimmick is that the screen is divided into four blocks, with one block playing an actual music video, and the other blocks showing related, silly material. For example, for a recent video by Queens of the Stone Age-in which the real video depicts the band getting into a car crash with a deer- 4-Play ‘s other blocks will include someone making venison Wellington, as well as faces of celebrities who look like deer. (Mr. Low said this list includes Mary Tyler Moore, Chris Kattan, Michael Richards, Johnny Depp and Martha Plimpton. Johnny Depp ?)
Mr. Low’s underwear photos, then, will be used to accompany a recent Jimmy Eat World video in which the actual band plays at a high-school underwear party. The idea is to contrast the hired hardbodies in the real video against the squishy vérité ones you get when you send out a mass e-mail invite. Capiche ?
“Face inclusion is optional,” Mr. Low said.
Tonight on Much Music, Fuse or whatever it is, Behind the Music That Sucks . We’re fine with the idea behind this show, but the gratuitous “sucks” is just lame-ass, 13-year-old–ish shock-mongering. Whoever suggested it-10 push-ups in a thong, at Mr. Low’s soirée! [MM, 132, 9 p.m.]
Thursday, May 8
When we saw him a few months back, documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler could barely contain his excitement about his upcoming reality show, American Candidate , in which viewers would select a person they felt was well-positioned to mount an actual campaign for President of the United States. (Not you , John Kerry!)
Now American Candidate is on ice, after its network, FX, decided the video democracy program was going to be too expensive to produce. But Mr. Cutler’s still excited, and optimistic his show is going to get picked up by another network.
“We have reason to be extremely confident that continuing production on the show is a wise idea,” Mr. Cutler said.
So preproduction on American Candidate wages on. Though the show has moved the launch of its Web-based candidate search from this spring to September, Mr. Cutler said the program was “completely on schedule.”
Why not get Mr. Cutler’s other documentary subject, Roseanne, to fund the show herself? Mr. Cutler said his experience with the sometimes-combustible comedienne has been going “really, really well.” He’s been following her around for an ABC reality series that is scheduled to launch sometime in August, he said.
On FX’s big daddy Fox tonight, the Miss Dog Beauty Pageant . News Corp doesn’t have the moola for American Candidate , but they do have the moola for this. It’s co-hosted by that J. Peterman guy from Seinfeld . Roof ! [WNYW, 5, 8 p.m.]
Friday, May 9
Stephen Glass-the scandalized ex– New Republic ex- Wunderkind who hasn’t piped up publicly since he was given the heave-ho for making stuff up-will break his silence Sunday May 11 in an interview on 60 Minutes.
Mr. Glass recently sat for an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft. Other individuals interviewed for the piece include Charles Lane, Mr. Glass’s former editor at TNR -now at The Washington Post -and Leon Wieseltier, TNR’ s literary editor.
Mr. Glass, who’d written for other magazines besides TNR , was at the center of a mighty media hoo-hah in 1998 after he was busted for fabricating parts of many of his pieces. Canned from TNR by Mr. Lane, the then-25-year-old pretty much went underground, though along the way he did get a diploma from Georgetown Law.
Now there appears to be at Stephen Glass revival at hand. Mr. Glass’s story is the subject of a forthcoming film entitled Shattered Glass , in which the reporter is played by Hayden Christensen, the Star Wars: Attack of the Clones kid. Mr. Lane is played by Peter Sarsgaard; late TNR editor Michael Kelly is played by Hank Azaria. The film is scheduled for release in October.
And Mr. Glass has written a novel. It’s a fictionalized account-your joke here-of his own story.
Efforts to locate Mr. Glass yesterday were unsuccessful. A spokesperson for 60 Minutes said the show had no comment on this Sunday’s episode. Mr. Lane declined comment, and Mr. Wieseltier did not return calls.
One person who will be watching Sunday’s 60 Minutes with interest is Adam Penenberg, a journalist whose Forbes.com investigation of one of Mr. Glass’s stories ultimately led to the reporter’s ouster. Mr. Penenberg and his Forbes.com editor, Kambiz Foroohar, are also characters in Shattered Glass (Mr. Penenberg, now an accomplished book author himself, is played by Steve Zahn)
“I’d love to hear what he has to say,” Mr. Penenberg said. “I guess the question I have is, ‘Why should we believe anything he has to say?’”
On CBS tonight, Star Search . [WCBS, 2, 9 p.m.]
Saturday, May 10
We all know that Martin Scorsese’s a pretty good actor. He was swell in Quiz Show , and surely Mr. Scorsese deserved an Academy Award for acting like it was a breeze to collaborate with Harvey Weinstein on Gangs of New York.
He’s also really good in that new American Express commercial that’s running in recognition of the current Tribeca Film Festival. In the spot, Mr. Scorsese, a famous perfectionist, tears through a stack of snapshots at a drugstore, trying to find the ideal one from his nephew’s 5th birthday party. Unsatisfied, he phones his nephew and asks him how he’d like to “turn five again.”
It’s a snazzy commercial, but can you imagine directing Mr. Scorsese around? That assignment fell to 40-year-old, Jim Jenkins, an experienced commercial director.
“He asked me for my resume, which is kind of frightening” Mr. Jenkins said.
But Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Scorsese got along quite well, and Mr. Jenkins got the job. “He is very easy going,” Mr. Jenkins said.
Mr. Jenkins said the making of the commercial was equally blissful. The spot was made in one day; Mr. Scorsese was on set for about five hours, the director said. Some familiar faces from Mr. Scorsese’s past films were to be part of his crew, just to make sure the star was comfortable, but Mr. Jenkins said everything went smoothly.
Mr. Jenkins also said Mr. Scorsese, who’s known for being his own toughest critic, had fun playing with his perfectionist image. “He’s so humble,” Mr. Jenkins said. “He never speaks highly of himself or his work, he only credits other people. I think that sort of self-deprecating thing is not only what made him game for the spot, but what made the spot work overall.”
Since the commercial began airing, Mr. Jenkins said he’d heard that Mr. Scorsese was a fan of it. And Mr. Jenkins, who’d already directed plenty of celebrities, has received a lot of additional notice, including a big May 4 story in Advertising Age . Not a bad day’s work for someone who can still recall seeing his first Scorsese film, Taxi Driver.
“I have never shot anybody like him,” Mr. Jenkins said.
Tonight, Mr. Scorsese curls up at home and weeps uncontrollably to The Green Mile. [WABC, 7, 8 p.m.]
Sunday, May 11
Buffy the Vampire Slayer goes bye-bye on May 20. No fans are more cuckoo about their show than Buffy fans, of course, so to mark the occasion, we did a little email interview with Janine Mischor, who runs a Buffy fan web site called Slayer’s Empire (http://www.web-glitter.com/~tempting) and is currently residing in Germany:
When did you launch your site?
“Slayer’s Empire” went online on March 3rd 2000 after the site idea had been brewing in my mind for around one month.
Why’d you do it?
In the year 2000 my whole life consisted of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I practically lived for this show, so I thought, how many other like-minded Buffy obsessed freaks are out there in the world?
Why were Buffy fans so nuts about the show?
I think the show is down to earth and captures every day problems-not just teen problems. The show really gets to you and is so moving, because you can identify yourself with or relate to any of the characters. It also has a bright and open-minded female superhero, a lot of humor and tons of action and, of course, scary demons. There’s a bit of everything in it for anyone who watches it.
Do you think Buffy is Sarah Michelle Gellar’s finest work?
Yes, definitely, she showed us for seven years that she is an amazing and talented young inspiring actress. As for movies, her acting in Cruel Intentions was unbelievably good and wicked, but her other role choices just didn’t bring out her real potential.
What did you think of Scooby-Doo ?
I saw it in the cinema, of course, but, well, it definitely doesn’t count as one of my favorite movies. It’s fun to watch once or twice but then you kind of have seen enough. But if Sarah wants to take her career in that way, I mean, starring in comedies, then I really appreciate that and support her, of course.
Are you going to go out of business when Buffy goes off the air?
No way, the show helped me grow up and inspired me so much, I could never close this site, I want to show how much Buffy means to me. My first website ever was about Buffy- that’s how I got a weblife-so once you are addicted there’s no way you can get out of the Buffy verse.
Do true Buffy fans watch stuff like Friends ?
In fact I looove Friends . I love tons of TV shows but I only got interested in them because I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so here’s another good thing the show did for me.
What are you going to do the night of the final episode?
I won’t be able to view the episode since I’m still stuck in Germany, but I will probably light a few candles in my room, put my favorite Buffy episodes in my VCR and watch them and think of all those times when the show has been my inspiration and helped me overcome my teenage problems and my constant pain.
Thanks Janine! Tonight on the UPN, the lowbrow network goes suddenly highbrow with Coppola-mentary Apocalypse Now Redux . [WWOR, 9, 7 p.m.]
Monday, May 12
On NBC tonight, Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of “Three’s Company .” We’ll hold out for the authorized one. [WNBC, 4, 9 p.m.]
Tuesday, May 13
Watching Ellie . There she is-and there she goes! [WNBC, 4, 9:30 p.m.]