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Just wondering

Did it bug anyone else that on numerous TV programs ranging from Bob Newhart's set-in-Chicago show to "Frasier," the titles "psychiatrist" and "psychologist" were often used interchangeably?


“Ed Sullivan Show” on this day in 1966

Lou Rawls, Corbett Monica, circus elephants and Topo Gigio, among others.

Back to the future


There isn't a fan club or an association of devotees.

At least not that I know about.

But for some longtime TV watchers, there are few program themes quite so beguiling as old sci-fi stories that depict life in the future — a future that, for us in 2011, was actually quite a few years ago.

Consider a terrific 1963 episode of "TheTwilight Zone" called "On Thursday We Leave for Home."

It's about a weary contingent of settlers from Earth who tried to establish a colony on a planet in a solar system with two suns.

So when did they journey to this distant world? Answer: In the far-in-the-future year of 1991.

Of course, TV has no monoply on this. Didn't one of the "Terminator" movies forecast a specific date for the end of the world that in real life has come and gone?

And, of course, there is Orwell's "1984."

The amusement value is part of the appeal of this dynamic. But perhaps there is more to it.

Any sci-fi fan can tell you that the future can be a scary place.

So any time we actually pass one of those imaginary milestones, it is further evidence that sometimes hope trumps fear.

And despite everything, we endure.

This date in “Jetsons” history

On October 7, 1962, an episode called "Jetson's Nite Out" aired for the first time.

According to various online guides, the story features George telling Jane he has to work late and can't attend a PTA meeting with her. His real plans involve going to a robot football game with Mr. Spacely.


This date in “West Wing” history


On Oct. 6, 1999, a first season episode called "A Proportional Response" aired. It featured an angry President Bartlet trying to decide how to retaliate for the downing of a U.S. jet in the Mideast. Also, Charlie Young is hired to be the president's personal assistant.

This date in “Mad Men” history


"The Inheritance" aired on Oct. 5, 2008. As imdb.com put it, "Don and Betty try to keep up appearances as they go to Betty's parents after her dad has a stroke."

It's a terrific series, stylish and smart. But no one ever called it feel-good TV.  

Up in the air


I saw a former colleague Friday afternoon on my way home from work.

I suggested that she ask her dad, a long-retired Pan Am pilot, to watch the new show "Pan Am" and file a report on his impressions.

Obviously inspired by the success of "Mad Men," it focuses on stewardesses in the '60s.

My friend said she would pass along the message. But I'm not really expecting to hear from her dad, whom I've met and like. Something tells me his gag reflex will force him to bail.

It's on ABC tonight at 10. 

If civilization could survive ‘Baywatch’…

Feel free to complete that sentence.


A local ‘Wipeout’ woman

Joelle Magner, a media buyer with Medio Advertising in Spokane, will be a contestant Tuesday on ABC’s “Wipeout” a game show featuring an obstacle course.

Magner was talked into auditioning back in February by her husband and children. She flew down for an on-camera audition and was picked over thousands of other contestants. Her episode was taped on May 18.

She’s not allowed to say how she did, but she volunteered that it was “truly a cool experience,” of the kind that made her feel like she had “been run over by a train the next morning.”

“If someone enjoys swimming in the mud and getting knocked out over and over and over, this is the show for them!” she said.

Watch for her on Tuesday, 8 p.m. on ABC.

The perfect equation

It has been quite a few years since "The Wonder Years" went off the air.

Oh, you can still see it in reruns on obscure cable channels or on DVD. If you want, that is. Frankly, aspects of the show have not aged all that well. The sometimes treacly narration, the predictable mood song at the end…it can be a tad cloying.

But I suppose it wasn't easy to be genuinely poignant week after week.

That said, certain episodes were unqualified home runs. I'd put what I call the Mr. Collins trilogy in that category. And it's kind of sad to think there are recently minted algebra teachers out there who probably never saw the three episodes where Kevin forges a special relationship with a teacher who seems at first to be a cold fish but isn't.






A “Survivor” audition call at Northern Quest

Let me start this off by stipulating that I would rather be in Dante's 14th circle of Hell than be a contestant on "Survivor" (and Dante only had nine). 

But here's an opportunity for the rest of you: A "Survivor" audition call, July 8 at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino.

Here's a link to the application and eligibility info.

‘Thunderballs’ issues a mullet-casting call

The Spike TV sitcom pilot, “Thunderballs,” will start filming in Spokane next week and the casting call speaks volumes about the show.

For one thing, they are seeking someone to play the “Olympia Beer Bikini Girl.”

The show is about a group of 30-something guys on a bowling team and, like every show on Spike, it is aimed at the male market.

Or should we say, the dude market.

Here are a few of the fictional bowling teams being cast locally through Big Fish NW Talent:

The Mullets (plus a Mullet Mom and Mullet Baby).

The Super Vixens.


The Blue Ballers (a team of cops).

The Sunset Towers Assisted Living Slingers (an elderly team).

The Gutter Gals.

North by Northwest will be filming the pilot into the middle of May. If the pilot gets picked up, expect to see plenty more of the Super Vixens and the Gutter Gals.

Oh, one more thing. The child cast as the Mullet Baby must have a real mullet. No wigs.

‘Deadliest Catch’ captains, live on stage at INB

I sure wasn't expecting this show at the INB Performing Arts Center:  "A Night with Captain Sig and the Hillstrand Brothers From 'Deadliest Catch.'"

These three crab boat captains will "swap stories" and show video at this event at the INB on July 24, 7 p.m.

Yes, you might call it Captains Courageous on Tour.

Sig Hansen, Andy Hillstrand and Jonathan Hillstrand  will "take the audience through some of the roughest situations" they've endured.

Tickets are $20, $30, $40 and $75 on sale April 15 at 10 a.m. through TicketsWest outlets (800) 325-SEAT or online.

‘Biggest Loser’ appearance at Spokane Club

Ali Vincent, who won "The Biggest Loser," will be delivering her inspirational story at the Spokane Club on March 10, 6 p.m.

She lost 122 pounds to become the first female winner of "The Biggest Loser." She'll talk about the power of setting goals — and maybe a little bit about  healthy, balanced eating.

Tickets to this event are $25, available by calling the Spokane Club at (509) 838-8511. Seating is limited.

‘Grizzly Adams’ creator dies

Charles E. Sellier Jr., 67, the producer and creator of "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams" and dozens of other TV shows and films, died Monday at his home in North Idaho.

"Chuck" Sellier had a lengthy  TV-film resume including such popular films as "In Search of Noah's Ark," "Chariots of the Gods," "In Search of the Historic Jesus" and "The Bermuda Triangle." All of those are listed among the top 50-grossing independent films. Recently, he and his  locally based production company, Grizzly Adams Productions, had produced dozens of religious-oriented films and TV shows, including "Ancient Secrets of the Bible" for CBS and "Miraculous Messages" and "The Case for Christ's Resurrection."

He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the children's show, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" in 1980. He was also the author of a number of books based on his films and TV specials.

The family requests that Sellier be remembered through donations to his passion, the ABC Foodbank, which serves Athol, Bayview and Careywood, Idaho.

WCC TV schedule released

Much of this has already been published, but the WCC released its complete television schedule today. More here.

Minnick Not On GOP TV Target List

Idaho freshman Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick appears to have lucked out — so far — avoiding a TV campaign by the National Republican Congressional Committee. Politico reported Tuesday that the NRCC has reserved $22 million in TV time in 40 districts, 39 held by Democrats. Most of the Democrats are freshmen like Minnick, who are considered vulnerable by the NRCC, the campaign arm of the Republican House Caucus. NRCC leaders backed Vaughn Ward in the Idaho GOP primary, but Ward lost to state Rep. Raul Labrador by 9 percentage points. The NRCC has since added GOP nominee Labrador to its “Young Gun” program, but Minnick had a 17-1 cash-on-hand advantage over Labrador as of June 30/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Why do you think Minnick isn’t on the TV campaign list of the National Republican Congressional Committee?

The Mark Few shows

Gonzaga and IMG College, the school’s multi-media rights holder, have announced expanded offerings on TV, including the Mark Few Show, and radio, including the Mark Few Show.

Details here

Zags, WCC television schedule released

Gonzaga will be well represented on ESPN’s family of networks via the WCC schedule as well as several other non-conference showdowns. More here.

Shock to be on SWX, the Peak

Spokane announced its TV/radio lineup for the 2009 season. The Shock will be on KHQ’s SWX and on FM-105.7 (The Peak). More here.

Today’s fun video: Hillary on TV…

Although you’ll have to watch about 30 seconds before hearing words you might recognize.

Because it’s a TV show in Indonesia.

For teen-agers.

But they don’t do such a bad job with the interview, if the backdrop doesn’t drive you crazy.

Edwards: Bring Back Regular Programs

When are the TV stations going to resume their regular programming?  Enough is enough.  We are doubly punished, first by the storm, then by the long-boring coverage of the storm, repeating the same stories, with the same pictures… and it’s been 24 hours! Hey, TV stations, we’re ready to go back to hearing the national news.  We get it.  There’s a lot of snow out there?/Gary Edwards.

Question: Are you tired of the coverage of the snowstorm by the Spokane TV stations and would like to see more regular programs, like Gary? Or do you think the coverage is appropriate, given the nature of the storm?

TV dinner, Zags

I figured I was in trouble when I tried to drive, what, five miles to my office in Coeur d’Alene earlier this afternoon. I got stuck at the base of the hill (less than a quarter-mile from my house) and again 50 yards from the front door to the office. The return trip was worse. At one light, I counted 11 Trucks/SUV and my Camry. I’ve never had much trouble getting up the hill, but I crawled up it this time with a great deal of uncertainty that I would actually make it.

So, I’ll be watching GU-Texas Southern on TV tonight with John Blanchette kindly pinch-hitting — he’s got a four-wheel rig from the company garage — at the MAC. And then tomorrow morning, I’ll try to return the favor, weather permitting, as we hopefully catch a morning flight to Seattle for the UConn game. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’ll post a halftime update. And we’ll try to get John’s game story posted as well later tonight.

Meanwhile, 50 players are on the early Naismith Trophy watch list. Gonzaga is represented by Jeremy Pargo and Josh Heytvelt. UConn has three on the list. More here.