Monday, March 30, 2009

Search Engine Somethingamization

People end up at the Hollywood Temp Diaries for any number of reasons -- they want the UTA job list and...errr...ok, maybe that's the only thing that draws them it? Or is it?

Like Anthony Pellicano, I sleuthed around (in my case using the perfectly legal Google Analytics) and came up with some interesting answers. The advantage to this information is it helps me improve site content and also improve access through the convoluted science that is Search Engine Optimization.

The majority of the search terms are for things like "Temp agencies in Hollywood" or "How to roll calls," information I have answers to on my site. But every once in a while, I'll get a search for something quite out of the ordinary. Below are some of the queries and what I believe are answers to their questions.

Do you get paid in an agency mail room? -- This is actually a two-part answer. "YES," you get paid to work in an agency mail room if you consider it in an Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations kinda way. That is there is a financial transaction in exchange for goods or services. The other part of the answer is "NO," which answers your real question, "Do you get paid enough work in an agency mail room to afford a life above the poverty line?" [FYI: The invisible hand paying you $11/hr belongs to Kevin Huvane, who is also spending a whole bunch more for the 5-Diamond resort for a company retreat you're not going on.]

California EDD not answering my calls -- The irony of an economic down turn is the only place that's short staffed is the unemployment office. When you call on Monday, the recording tells you to call back Wednesday because the lines won't be as busy. So you call Wednesday, and the recording tells you to call Wednesday because the lines aren't as busy. Then you wonder what sort of M.C. Escher drawing on a Moebius strip world you've entered. The correct way to deal with this is issue is learn Mandarin and call in on that line. Of course by the time you learn Mandarin, the recession will be over.

What lie to tell your boss to go on vacation? -- This one's a little tricky but just follow me. Tell your boss you really are "going on vacation." Your boss, certain you're lying because he knows no assistant in Hollywood can afford a vacation, will think you actually have a job interview. Fearing his life will turn to shambles without you, he'll give you a $10,000 raise to keep you from "quitting." This pay raise will actually allow you to take a REAL vacation rather than the one you planned (laying on the couch, drinking cheap beer and playing Grand Theft Auto 4). The truth will set you free.

Why are temps so slutty? -- An excellent question with a simple answer. Temps are slutty because it's very difficult to interest anyone in a meaningful, loving relationship once they find out you're only periodically employed. Money can't buy you love, but absence of money won't get you squat, so you might as well give it away.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

TOLDJA -- Marketing 101

If you'd like to see first hand someone use the term "amusing skirmish," visit LA Observed. And as a bonus chuckle, read the part where DHD is only worth somewhere south of $400,000. Nikki, if you amortize $400,000 over the 3 years you've been doing this site, that's an unimpressive $133,000 per year. Heck, I have friends who make more than that, and they do it without the vitriol. (Sharon Waxman does a full-on analysis of the value of DHD if you get into things like CPMs and other acronyms.)

Now to prove that I have a warm, cuddly side, let's take a moment to celebrate the closest thing I have to offspring -- Dog X. He turns 7 today. He told me his wish is to have everyone tell their friends about the Hollywood Temp Diaries. And how could you say "No" to a face like this.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Non-Violating Non-Disclosure Agreement Gossip

My three favorite words since I moved to Hollywood are "Non-Disclosure Agreement." (or perhaps it's two words). I've probably signed 20 of them since moving here and haven't told anyone anything.

As a former cog in the securities industry, we were required to sign NDAs because they discourage insider trading. So unless you enjoy being a Prison Bitch, it's probably a bad idea to violate your NDA. In the entertainment industry, this is a much sillier exercise because the information Temps have access to is more apt to end up in the National Enquirer than the Wall Street Journal.

During my Hollywood tenure, I've witnessed a lot of interesting things. So I thought I'd share some of them. I think I'm staying true to my NDA, but if I'm not, screw it. These are interesting morsels of gossip.
Which series regular on a network show left somewhere north of $150,000 per season on the table because of bad agenting by a certain Century City-based firm?
Talk amongst yourselves. If you have any non-NDA violating info, send them my way at

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What kind of assistant are you?

"What kind of [insert noun here] are You?" surveys are all the rage on Facebook these days. These tests are comparable to the one you took in 4th grade where everyone wanted to be a veterinarian. That was until they realized being a vet involved popping anal ducts on a 185 lb Mastiff with the scoots.

But I figured I might as well join this bandwagon. It might increase site traffic. So I've devised a simple test to help you determine what kind of assistant you are. You can use this as a career guide or simply tell your therapist when he asks why you're crying again.

Take the test and follow the instructions. It's that easy...

Where do you prefer get your boss coffee from?
1 - McDonald's
2 - Starbucks
3 - That fancy Italian cafe across the street
4 - Reheating yesterday's leftover swill, passing it off as new and telling your boss that really bitter coffee is all the rage in Vancouver.

Jammed photocopiers make you...
1 - Happy, because you have a built in excuse to not go back to your desk.
2 - Stupid, because you double majored in Film and Econ and you can't figure out how to fix the fucking thing.
3 - Angry, because you end up getting toner all over your clothes.
4 - Strange aroused, because...errr...

I'd do anything for my boss including...
1 - Pick up his dry cleaning.
2 - Turn on his computer every morning and print out every email, even the Spam.
3 - Ask for a refund from his coke dealer because "it just wasn't that good."
4 - Bang his wife (she's hot and she's flirts with me every time she calls. I guess technically that's not doing something for him, but whatever.)

I realized I'd been an assistant too long the moment...
1 - I got excited that my employer has an electric hole puncher
2 - I was glad the stock market crash had no effect on my 401k because I don't make enough to contribute to it in the first place.
3 - I love every second of every minute of every day of my job.
4 - When I started answering my home phone "[Insert your boss's name here] Office"

If I could do anything in Hollywood, I'd...
1 - Produce, whatever that means
2 - Write, because it's cheaper than therapy
3 - Be just one level above my boss so i could make his/her life miserable
4 - Get a boob/nose/lip job so I can finally get an agent. My years of classical training don't seem to be cutting it.

The most entertaining show on TV is...
1 - Gossip Girl
2 - It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
3 - Anything that my boss booked a client on
4 - Anything on BBC - America (before Ben Silverman acquires the rights and subsequently fucks it up.)

The character on Entourage I identify most with is...
1 - Eric, because I'm in a little over my head but I try really hard.
2 - Lloyd, because my boss constantly yells at me.
3 - Ari Gold, because I'm a soulless Hollywood prick.
4 - Vince, because I'm philosophical about life and smoke a bunch of weed.

The joy I derive from answering phones from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. is comparable to...
1 - Getting my diploma from USC Film school
2 - Having my temperature taken...down there.
3 - Sneaking my way past the bouncers and into Hyde, back when it was popular.
4 - Having my life goals explained to me by online quizzes.

So for every time you answered #1, you have 1 point. For every #2, you have two points. And so on. Add the numbers up and see where you fit in with the scale below...

0-8 - You're a newbie and still an idealist. This will change but for now take any gig that pays.

9-16 - You're a realist and should only work for small production companies that make "important/critically acclaimed films." [Note: These companies often fail.]

- You have the soul of one of the Dark Lords of the Sith. Hello Deathstar (CAA).

- You're still fairly normal and don't start every conversation with the sentence "So what gig are you at these days?" Move out of town quickly.

- You can't add properly. Try again.

Monday, March 23, 2009

TOLDJA -- Temp X apologizes to Nikki Finke

So after last week's posting about Nikki Finke being asleep at the switch, she got a little cheesed off at me. And who can blame her. I was insensitive. She was "out of pocket" (her words) and thus unable to do what her advertisers pay her for -- break news. I, on the other hand, am a Temp and have all the time in the world to collect gossip while rolling calls at $16/hr.

As you'll see above, Darling Nikki sent me an email that she asked me not to re-print. After checking with a friend and former AP bureau chief about your request (which has no legal basis, FYI), I decided to honor your desires anyway. But I felt you deserved an explanation for my behavior. Please consider this an apology.

1) [Nikki Finke's comment redacted]

Temp X responds: I'm so confused that you don't like my marketing. I'm just following the example set by the guru of self promotion -- You. I thought I was supposed to point out the inadequacies (real or imagined) of other publications in a Biggie vs. Tupac trash-talking but without the shooting exercise. All I did was I did was read your interview with Patrick Phillips.

Perhaps I'll start rapping instead.

2) [Nikki Finke's comment redacted]

Temp X responds: Wait. I'm confused (again!). I thought I did exactly what I was supposed to with scoops. I mean I follow the same two-step process you employ:
  1. Scoop a publication with vaster resources than your own.
  2. Tell everyone "Toldja" and snarkily congratulate those publications when they write the same story days later. Kinda like you did with the Variety (DHD, 6/17/08) and the New York Times (DHD, 3/10/09).
Back to the drawing board on this one.

3) [Nikki Finke's comment redacted]

Temp X responds: You're right. I shouldn't have posted the names of people who were rumored to getting laid off from Endeavor. It's unfair to name names as it can only cause undue anxiety. I'll follow your lead and only post the names of people who might be getting laid off from William Morris (DHD 2/25/09). Of course when they become part of Endeavor, what will I do?

4) [Nikki Finke's comment redacted]

Temp X responds: Again. You're right!! Verifying information is the cornerstone of journalistic integrity. That's why I'm still so impressed that you went undercover like Jason Patric in the movie Rush before writing that Ben Silverman was too drugged up to remember to be at a reception with GE brass and Barack Obama. (DHD, 1/19/09)

Just don't get caught up in the drug culture. It might spoil your reporting.

Friday, March 20, 2009

TOLDJA -- I Scooped Nikki Finke not ONCE but TWICE

Good job Ms. Finke!! You've proved once again that a Temp with no contacts in the industry, no formal journalistic (well, not since high school) training and making a paltry $16/hour can run a bullshit entertainment blog better than you. I embarrassed you last week with your non-coverage of the SAG protest. Your 48 hour self-imposed embargo from December on the SAG Town Meeting and now this...

Endeavor/William Morris merger news & lay-offs: Temp Diaries had this story at 5:37 p.m. You posted it on your site at 6:35 p.m. Beat you by an hour.

CAA-U Internal Memo: Temp Diaries posted this story at 3:42 p.m. You posted your (and may I say not nearly as clever) version of the story at 10:38 p.m. Beat you by 7 hours.

During that time I made about $60, sat in traffic for an hour on Wilshire, had a bowl of cereal, took Dog X for a dump, watched the boring part of the UCLA/VCU basketball game (Larry Sanders is a game changer. If he hadn't had early foul trouble, UCLA would have lost.) and took a nap on the couch.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Industry Gossip...

Word on the street is Endeavor just fired Scott Melrose, Daisy Wu and Kevin Volchok. Also hearing that WMA / END merger will take place next week. Not sure if any of this is true, but if it is, I just scooped Nikki Finke and that site she has.

If I'm wrong, I'll go back to writing snarky haikus.

When the cats are away...

...they stick their assistants with a shitty schedule of mind-numbingly dull activities that your average 4th grader could do with no training. But that's CAA for you. They go on a corporate retreat to a 5-Diamond hotel while you're at the office learning about "time management."

...and the execs are staying at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, which looks like this...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Four More Years? Four More Years?

It seems like just yesterday I was on vacation, sipping a Dos Equis, swaying on a hammock (item #21) between two palm trees overlooking the Pacific evaluating my life. I was in a career that offered no joy and I seemingly couldn't escape. All I ever really wanted to do was write and get paid for it. It was at that liquor-fueled moment that I decided to attempt just that.

Upon my return (hopped up on adrenaline and pain medication for a pulled back muscle) I went back to my scandal-plagued employer, and told them I quit. A few weeks later I loaded up a U-Haul and drove 381 miles to my new apartment in Hollywood (technically, I'm 2 blocks away from Hollywood, but who's counting).

That hammock-and-beer-based decision came four years ago this week. While the transition hasn't been a smooth ride by any stretch, I'm glad to attempt something I care about. And with that, I'd like to thank each of the people I temped for during my four years here. I can't remember everyone, but I sure can remember a lot. So here's the list. Thank you...
  1. Steve
  2. Marc
  3. Jill
  4. Jeff
  5. Neal
  6. Kevin
  7. Birdie
  8. Heather
  9. Jim
  10. Rowena
  11. Doug
  12. Chris
  13. David
  14. Harriett
  15. Alan
  16. David
  17. Peter
  18. Clancy
  19. Tramm
  20. Heather
  21. Stephanie
  22. Crystal
  23. Neil
  24. Tracey
  25. Max
  26. Tom
  27. Deborah
  28. Matthew
  29. Alisa
  30. Brooke
  31. Nina
  32. Sam
  33. Michael
  34. Peter
  35. Chris
  36. Erika
  37. Maira
  38. Cathleen
  39. Charlie
  40. Nellie
  41. Madeline
  42. Meg
  43. Michael
  44. Anson
  45. Jack
  46. Barbara
  47. Susan
  48. Alan
  49. Araceli
  50. Mark
  51. Steve
  52. Bob
  53. Rafael
  54. Lillah
  55. Gayla
Plus the dude at the ad agency, the gig that wasn't, Edmonds Entertainment, MTV Films, accounts receivable at WHV and probably a bunch of other people I forgot. You've financed (albeit poorly) the last four years of my life. And if any of you ever want to buy any of my scripts, represent me or just hire me, let's talk. You know how to reach me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A NEW feature -- Strange or Fiction?

With hundreds of TV channels and thousands of programs on every day, there's bound to be some really dumb episodes that cross the airwaves. Those are the shows you watch and think to yourself "Someone actually wrote this crap?" Sadly, the answer is YES, and they make a heck of a lot to do this.

This new game courtesy of your friends at The Hollywood Temp Diaries will allow you to guess whether the summary listed is Strange (but was an actual episode) or Fiction (meaning I made it up).

Eleventh Hour
Jerry Bruckheimer Productions

"Hood, Rachel and Felix are in New York during Fashion Week because of a series of murders in the fashion industry. Questioning the killers, Hood learns that these previously non-violent people felt incredible sexual desire and attraction for someone close by which incites them to pursue them at all costs, killing either the object of their desire or someone they perceived as getting in their way. Hood quickly rules out environmental toxins because the affected group is limited. His investigation leads him to a pheromones inserted to a new perfume released to a select group of 100 and he must track down all the recipients as well as stop the bitter perfumer’s lab tech who believes he isn't getting his fair share of the company's profits."

STRANGE -- 81%
FICTION -- 18%

And the correct answer is....STRANGE. I think I was a little too obvious on this one. But good job anyway to those who got it right.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hollywood Dictionary: Volume 7

As it's Pilot Season (a term discussed in Hollywood Dictionary: Volume 4), it seemed like a good time to go over terms that you - the lowly assistant - might encounter frequently in the coming months. Learn it. Know it. Live it.

Meets -- In a town of people with every dietary restriction known and unknown, you might think "Meets" is some sort of Vegan equivalent of "Meats." But it's not. It's a term used to explain a TV or movie ideas to simpleminded Hollywood executive who can't understand a concept that isn't based on another concept. Most often heard in pitches like "It's Titanic meets World War 2" (Pearl Harbor), "Think Star Trek meets the Bible" (Battlefield Earth) or "Visualize Aladdin meets...errr...Shaquille O'Neal" (Kazaam).

Above the Line -- A term used to refer to actors/producers/directors as in the sentence, "If you're not working with Above the Line talent, you might as well work for a temp agency." The origin of the term is a nod to the Maginot Line, the line of concrete fortifications that the French conceived to keep out the Italians and the Germans after World War I. Much like the snooty French, snooty actors/producers/directors refuse to be on the same side of the line as those they deem lesser than them. The irony, of course, is the Germans engineered and the Italians built these fortifications. Or so I'm told.

Below the Line -- A term used to refer to people who work on sets as electricians/set designers/editors/anyone IATSE, as in the sentence, "CAA would never represent anyone Below the Line. That's for Paradigm to deal with." Below the Line people are never thanked in Emmy acceptance speeches.

Book a Pilot -- Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger rumored $2.5 million deal recounting US Air's Flight 1549 is a Pilot Book. Booking a Pilot, on the other hand, is when your client secures a role on a show that won't make it to air because NBC sees greater profit margins in shows like The Great American Road Trip.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nikki Finke is sleeping on the job again...

It's already 1:20 p.m. and she hasn't covered the rally outside WB? Tsk tsk.

There is a Rally at Warner Bros. Studios, Hollywood Way Gate, Wednesday, March 11, 2009 from 11am - 2pm.

That's the Entrance where the water tower is located.
Parking on side streets. Watch the parking signs.

By mid 2006, Warner Bros had cleared "....300-plus television series, and about 14,000 to 15,000 episodes of programming" for Internet streaming, VOD and other internet use. (Robert Ellsberg for the Huffington Post, June 5, 2008).

Who knows how many more have been cleared since 2006.

Warner Bros. CEO, Barry Meyer, CBS Leslie Moonves, Disney ABC TV Anne Sweeney, AMPTP's Nicholas Counter, "called for the end of ... residuals". (Michael Cieply for the New York Times, July 11, 2007).

We must fight for our residuals and resulting pension and health benefits. Vote NO on the Contract.

In solidarity,

Scott Wilson
Henry Kingi

Please attend. Your SAG residuals are on the line. I will see you there.

Peter Kwong

Former National Board of Directors SAG
Former National and Local Board of Directors AFTRA

Almost as impressive as her 48-hour cooling off period between the announcement of the SAG authorization vote (as posted below) I got via email and her coverage of it.

UPDATE: Nikki is letting us know that Mickey Rourke will be in Iron Man 2, something that was a foregone conclusion two months ago. But nary a word about SAG.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dr. Temp X is in -- 5 cents please

Before moving to Hollywood, Temp X had a career in corporate America. I dealt with crazy clients, bosses who were embarrassingly unfamiliar with their own product and a dreadful 30-mile commute to Office Park Hell. This actually has nothing to do with today's topic. I just need to say that sometimes to remind myself I'm not a complete moron.

One thing my parents never pressured me to do was become a doctor. (I don't know why as I'm Jewish and have terrible handwriting.) But for today, let's pretend I am. In the nearly four years I've been in Hollywood, I've either witnessed or experienced every type of psychiatric condition. Or better put, I have the same business providing medical health advice as does the unlicensed Dr. Phil. So let's get to it.

Following is a list of conditions common among people in Hollywood as well as treatments tailored to the level of severity. Hope this helps.

Characterized by the fear that your parents are going to ask you, "When are you going to give up on that Hollywood nonsense?"

Minor: Use caller ID to screen out such phone calls.
Moderate: Play Grand Theft Auto 4. Beating up animated characters with a tire iron can be cathartic.
Severe: Your boss has Lorazepam and Grey Goose in his desk. Combine and consume.


Characterized by wondering why you wasted four years at Yale Drama School and two years getting an MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop so you can make lunch reservations for your boss.

: Take a day off from work, wistfully gaze at your diplomas and then peruse your college photo albums. Ahh...those were the days...before you got fat and your hair started to fall out.
Moderate: Skip a credit card payment. Nothing is a worse reminder of your professional futility than realizing your Visa bill exceeds your monthly income.
Severe: Win the lottery.

Characterized by the inability to come up with a new script idea even though you spent much of the day at Starbucks eavesdropping on conversations.

Minor: Put on a cashmere sweater and relax with a liqueur, spirit or cordial and a crossword puzzle. Use 33 Across as the basis for your next script.
Moderate: Read one of your old scripts and realize how easy it will be to improve on that sorry excuse for writing. You didn't even have a B-story much less a C-story.
Severe: Travel to South America, watch TV there, steal their best idea and pass it off as your own. [Bonus points if you sell it to NBC]

Characterized by the fear of going out and performing in front of a group of people - may include vomiting, diarrhea or saying "Oh Fuck!" repeatedly.

Minor: Drink a beer and imagine everyone is naked.
Moderate: Drink two beers and imagine everyone is naked.
Severe: Drink three beers, imagine everyone is naked and are wielding pitchforks and like an angry mob will kill you if you don't go out there already. Sheesh. It's just a performance of Our Town in a church basement. Get over it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Stupid Interview Question -- Rehab Edition

It's no secret that many Hollywood celebrities have problems with drugs and alcohol. Heck, the biggest disappointment to many stars during the WGA strike was the cancellation of the notoriously liquor-bathed event called the Golden Globes.

But it's not just Paris and Lindsay (and Mel Gibson, Heather Locklear, Mischa Barton, Mickey get the point.) who have problems with the sauce, but it's apparently Hollywood executives as well. How else can you explain today's Stupid Interview Question?

"You wake up one morning and an elephant is sitting on your front step. What do you do?"

The answer is simple. You immediately call 866-871-3149, which just happens to be the phone number for the famed Promises rehab clinic in Malibu. You are clearly having a withdrawal hallucination known as a Pink Elephant*. Promises website offers you the opportunity to enjoy...
...a garden, swimming pools, Jacuzzis, a tennis court, and numerous meditation areas for quiet reflection. Sun streams through the beautifully decorated residences, bringing a feeling of warmth and healing comfort to the private rooms and common areas. With the mountains and ocean in your backyard, there are countless opportunities for outdoor, experiential activities including rock climbing and hiking.
Wow! I've gone on vacations that haven't been that nice. The only other explanation for this question could be your boss represents Michael Jackson, and the pets from the Neverland zoo are on the loose. In this case, call 562-728-4882. That's L.A. County Animal Care and Control.

* Yes, I'm aware that some use "Pink Elephant" to describe drunken hallucinations rather than withdrawal hallucinations.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Random Thoughts and Questions a.k.a. Larry King Friday

In the last two weeks, I've worked a total of one day. So it's hard for me to really offer the Temp Diaries in its truest sense. I have no bosses to make fun of. Nor can I chronicle conversations about making rezzies, doing drinks or other inanities that pervade Hollywood. So I spend a lot of time in my own thoughts...well...that and playing video games.

This is the best I can come up with. Clearly I need a job. But I'm in good company as the national unemployment rate hit a 25-year high.

--Is it better to have worked and lost than to have never worked at all?

--How does Sherri Shepherd, a person who thinks the world might be flat, get a second TV show?!

--If all newspapers follow the lead of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and are only available on line, what will we read on the toilet?

--Who's more clueless, SAG leadership or NBC management?

--Is breakfast the most important meal of the day no matter when you eat it?

--Who paid for the construction, upkeep and utilities at the Superfriends' Hall of Justice?

--Do dogs have aspirations?

--Manny Ramirez just signed a new contract with the LA Dodgers that will pay $25 million for the 2009 season. This means he'll make more by noon today ($34,246.57) than I made all last year ($20,711.88).

--If you had a chance to kick one of the following in the groin, who would it be: Dick Cheney, George W. Bush or Ann Coulter?

--Who would said kick hurt the most?

--If a double negative is a positive, why isn't a double positive a negative?

--Is it scummy or just shameless for the former head of a major studio's Writers Program to take the list of rejected candidates and invite them to pay $295 for a Writers workshop he runs?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The End of Knight Rider and other musings about how smart I am

At long last we've reached the final Knight Rider. When the show launched last Fall, I predicted it would last four episodes before getting the hook. I'm sure many of you remember the "Knight Rider Cancellation Countdown." Well, I was wrong.

Young Ben Silverman and his gang of Merry Morons at NBC knew something we didn't when they ordered a full 22 episodes of the talking car show. Of course, they later changed their minds and trimmed it to 17, presumably because they were looking at the ratings report upside down. But still, it made it 13 episodes longer than I thought.

But this made me wonder. How smart am I at predicting a show's chance for success? So I went back to my guesses after last year's Upfronts (Part 1, Part 2) and checked my progress. If I was giving me a grade, I'd say a good solid A-.

But enough about me. What do you think of me?


LIFE ON MARS (ABC) -- A REMAKE of a BBC series about some cop who travels back in time to the 1970s.
PREDICTED FATE: Will last longer (but not by much) than Journeyman, last season's show about some time traveling guy.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: Canceled after 17 episodes, or 4 episodes longer than Journeyman.

ELEVENTH HOUR (CBS) -- It's something about science, crime and government agencies. Sounds like Numb3rs if you ask me. Surprise, it's another Jerry Bruckheimer show on CBS.
Expect success and spin offs - Eleventh Hour: Miami and Eleventh Hour: New York.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: A Top-20 show. As for the spin-offs, CBS has to finish the NCIS spawn first.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS (ABC) -- Ashton Kutcher is at it again. He's come up with a game show that already exists, given it a new name and sold it to ABC.
3 episodes. No one watching ABC cares about Ashton Kutcher. Marketing 101: Know your audience.

SCRUBS (ABC) -- The only reason ABC picked it up is because they also produce it and know they've got guaranteed money from syndicating it.
I'll let you guess.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: They dragged it out, picked up some syndication dollars. Now Zach Braff wants out. Series will likely die after this season.


GARY UN-MARRIED (CBS) -- In the same mold of the "Fat Guy and Hot Wife" shows that have saturated TV over the last 10 years, except this guy is divorced and his ex-wife is (former Abercrombie and Fitch model) Jamie King.
: 6 seasons plus syndication.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: Jay Mohr got fatter and balder than I remember. Probably a result of CBS placing his show opposite American Idol. In spite of that, the show has pulled decent ratings and will likely get renewed.

LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) -- Temp X doesn't care because he never stays up past 9:30 p.m. except when Lost is on.
PREDICTED FATE: Craig Ferguson's ratings will double. The rest of America will sleep. But that won't stop NBC.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: Debuted on Monday and by Tuesday, he was already using killer material in his monologue, "It's brutal out there, the Dow is 30 below zero." Zing?!

CLASS DISMISSED (Fox) -- A REMAKE of an Australian animated series Sit Down, Shut Up. Really funny pilot script from the guy who did Arrested Development.
PREDICTED FATE: Critically Acclaimed.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: Launch delayed until April. But TV critics are already blowing smoke up Hurwitz ass.


BEVERLY HILLS 90210 (CW) -- Yep. The most famous ZIP code in America is back.
Because of email, ZIP codes are not really necessary any more. The same can be said for this show.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: I'm clearly out of touch with the "vapid teen" demographic. 90210 got an early renewal and they're also doing a remake of the spin-off Melrose Place.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hollywood Dictionary -- Volume 6

I had a great idea for today's posting. I was gonna stay up and do a blog-along with the debut of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, but I already had a stomach ache and didn't feel like complicating matters. Had I done it, it probably would have read something like this...
12:30 a.m. It's show time. Jimmy Fallon is zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
But rather than bore you with a critique of another bad Ben Silverman decision (redundancy, I know), I'll just do a few more entries into the Hollywood Dictionary. Use these terms in conversation and confuse your friends.

DBNR -- Not to be confused with MGMT (a music group), ATGC (genetic sequencing), ESPN (the sports cable network), TARP (the bailout package for the banks) or DBNRRC (Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center), this means Dictated But Not Read. You'll typically put this at the end of a memo that's so needless as to make you wonder why you wrote it and why your boss is sending it. Think of it this way, if it was actually important, wouldn't your boss look at it?

Hip Pocket Client -- This is basically the "booty call" of clients -- all payoff with no effort. It's someone your boss doesn't help get work and doesn't pay any attention to, but if the person gets a gig on their own, your boss will gladly take the 10 percent fee. You'll recognize a hip pocket because he/she is good looking enough to merit consideration, but can't act his/her way out of a paper bag. They may also have done a lot of acting back home -- in Azerbaijan.

CB -- C.W. McCall had a #1 hit in 1975 with the song "Convoy". It's really an awful song that probably inspired such other crap as "Pac-Man Fever", "General Hospi-Tale" and anything from Miley Cyrus. The one semi-positive influence it had was it started the CB craze that lasted until the movie Convoy came out in 1978. But in Hollywood, CB simply means "Call Back." So next time you IM your boss that his least favorite client is on the phone, and he responds "CB," you can just reply "10-4 good buddy." C.W. McCall would be so proud.

Put a Pin in It -- Often used in when scheduling meetings (and for later bailing out of meeting).
Can she do a 3 o'clock meeting with David Lander?
I'm not sure. But put a pin in it.
It offers all the certainty of having something penciled in. Or better put, your boss is waiting for anything better to do and will ask you to cancel the meeting at the last minute because of a "scheduling conflict" (read - mani/pedi).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Stupid Interview Question -- Metamucil Edition

I have a number of shortcomings. I'm a slow reader, I'm terrible with names and I only know one joke. It goes something like this...
While on a bird watching expedition in a Brazilian rain forest, a man spots the elusive Foo bird. He's excited as can be and quickly takes out his camera. But before he can snap a photo...SPLAT!!! The bird drops a turd, landing right on the man's shoulder. Instinctively (and certainly grossed out), he wipes it off and immediately dies.

The moral of this story is, ''If the Foo shits, wear it!'
I know this is a joke. You know this is a joke. Even Dog X knows this is a joke. But your average Hollywood executive, well, that's another story. These are the same people who couldn't wait to bring you Viva Laughlin, For the Love of Ray J [For extra fun: Check out the explanation for each contestant's nickname] and The Spirit. So it's somewhere between certain and definite this exec is very cautious when bird poop ends up on their shoulder.

How else can you explain the Stupid Interview Question I received from one of my loyal fans...

"If a bird shits on your head, is it a good thing or a bad thing?"

The only other plausible explanation is the exec plans to bring the Tweety the cockatiel to work. And rather than waste newspaper to clean up after the squab, it'll just relieve itself on the assistant's noggin. Recycled newspapers bring in as much as a penny per pound.

If you were the victim of a dumb interview question, please send them along to I promise your identity will be protected.