Down, boys: The dog on ‘Lost’ is safe

[31 July 2008]

By Rick Kushman

McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

I’ve got great news, and I know you’re with me on this. The dog lives. No harm will come to the dog.

There’s the official word out of Comic-Con - the recently concluded San Diego fan fest for comics, sci-fi and, now, everything any Hollywood studio or network wants to market - about Vincent, the guileless golden retriever on ABC’s “Lost.”

During a recent panel in front of a couple of thousand fans, producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse said the one thing, frankly, I needed to hear.

They didn’t give up much in the way of details on anything else involving “Lost,” except to say the show is complicated and things will happen. But according to news reports, Lindelof told the crowd, “It’s safe to say Vincent will make it to the end of the show.”

OK, I’m in. I’m hanging until the end, and I’m completely fine with whatever happens to the rest of the gang. I’m just saying, if you introduce a dog character on a show with monsters and gunfire and whatever the heck’s happening out there, you’d better take care of him.


In case you hadn’t noticed, the 10 p.m. Sunday slot has become one of the most competitive, highest-quality hours on TV, thank you basic cable.

Never mind whatever repeats or crime-of-the-week magazine shows the broadcast nets are running; on cable, there’s USA’s zingy “In Plain Sight,” Lifetime’s heartfelt “Army Wives” and AMC’s layered, atmospheric and all-around terrific “Mad Men.”

That’s three very different styles and three shows as good as most anything on broadcast TV, just in case you’re keeping score.

By the way, “Mad Men” premiered its second season last Sunday with 1.9 million viewers for little AMC, a 113 percent increase from Season 1’s average. And for viewers who watched for the first time, a lot more happened in that hour than it may have seemed. Hang in for another episode or two, and you’ll see what all the fuss is about.


Speaking of Sundays at 10 p.m., “The Next Food Network Star” concluded last week with the only logical winner: Aaron McCargo Jr., one of the few contestants who actually looked like he could cook. Plus, he seems like someone OK to hang out with.

Fans of the show will get a chance to hang with Aaron right off, because his prize - a new Food Network series - starts right up this Sunday afternoon (Aug. 3 at 1:30). So, yes, the contest show was shot a few months back, and, you bet, good ol’ Aaron’s gotten more TV training since then.

The new series is called “Big Daddy’s House,” and Aaron will be cooking food inspired by his sons and putting them to work in his kitchen.


See, this is what happens when they start taking themselves seriously.

You’ve probably heard that the Emmy Awards on Sept. 21 will be hosted by the five people nominated for Emmys in the new category of reality-show host.

That means the TV industry’s most important night will be handled by Tom Bergeron of “Dancing With the Stars,” Ryan Seacrest of “American Idol,” Howie Mandel of “Deal or No Deal,” Jeff Probst of “Survivor” and, bear with me, Heidi Klum of “Project Runway.”

Apparently Emmy show producer Ken Ehrlich doesn’t get that most of those people are on reality shows and don’t do much of anything, or that Heidi Klum is, you know, Heidi Klum (and I can’t wait to hear her opening monologue).

“It just seemed like a perfect way to stay current with the state of television today,” Ehrlich told the Associated Press.

Fill in your own joke on the state of TV. This makes my head hurt.

There is a positive to this. We’ll get to watch when four of these people get voted down. And here’s hoping they have to pack and leave immediately.


Finally, reports from the Hollywood trades say CBS is developing a remake of the classic mid-1970s series “The Streets of San Francisco.”

They’re still in the script-writing stage and not even close to casting, but it’s a pretty safe bet they won’t get stars the caliber of Karl Malden and Michael Douglas.

For purists, the good news is they’re planning to keep the character names Mike Stone and Steve Keller, shoot it in San Francisco and have the same sort of generational tension. In this case, probably, Stone will be nagging Keller to stop texting friends when they’re at a crime scene.

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