Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall TV Preview: CBS

Well, it's the last week before Labor Day. This can only mean one thing, the Fall TV season will soon be upon us. Each day this week, The Hollywood Temp Diaries will focus on one network and evaluate the prospects for their new shows.

Last year I did similar, but not as extensive, exercise and accurately predicted the outcome in 7 of the 9 shows I reviewed. I have read the scripts for none of these shows. I've seen none of the screeners. I'm completely uninformed -- just like your typical network executive.

Today -- CBS

SUMMARY: Boy meets Jenna Elfman. Boy impregnates Jenna Elfman. Boy gets stuck on a TV show with Jenna Elfman.
ANALYSIS: Offers a lot of similarities to The Big Bang Theory -- four weirdos and a ditsy blond who can't understand what they're talking about. Or it's Knocked Up, the TV show. You pick.
PREDICTION: Will benefit from what I call the "Veronica's Closet effect," whereby a crappy show does ok only because it's sandwiched in between two popular shows. In this case, it's surrounded by How I Met Your Mother and 2 1/2 Men. 13 episodes should be just about enough.

SUMMARY: The title says everything. Same show. New location.
ANALYSIS: I don't watch NCIS. I don't know anyone who does. But it does pretty well in the ratings. This cast is certainly more unique than the NCIS. In fact, it sounds like the opening line for a joke, "Chris O'Donnell, Linda Hunt and LL Cool J walk into a bar..."
PREDICTION: Did you know that CSI: Miami is entering its eighth season? And that's with...gag...David Caruso. Imagine what CBS can do with a spin off starring people who can act! This show will stick around for a few years, or at least until LL quits and is replaced by Ludacris.

SUMMARY: Chris Noth cheats on Julianna Margulies. Something happens and she decides to go back to being a defense attorney.
ANALYSIS: The more I read the description on the Wikipedia page, the less I understood what this show is about. I view that as a bad sign.
PREDICTION: Since leaving ER and turning down a 3 year/$27 million contract in 2000, Ms. Margulies career has been in the toilet. The Coriolis Effect continues here as this show won't make it past mid-season no matter which hemisphere you're watching it in. Oh and Chris Noth dyes his hair. There. I said it.

SUMMARY: A drama following the lives of organ transplant doctors in Pittsburgh. FYI - That's the first time in recorded history that sentence has ever been said.
ANALYSIS: A use of the Steel City that ranks on the excitement scale somewhere between Striking Distance and The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh.
PREDICTION: Bland medical drama. Bland cast. Bland everything. Someone's getting the hook as an early Christmas present.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Remake Fever is in the air. Which recently announced rehash makes you want to vomit slightly more? [POLL RESULTS]

"Heathers" the TV series -- 13%

"Wizard of Oz" with Dakota Fanning -- 63%

"Batman Returns" with Megan Fox as Catwoman -- 24%

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Money well spent?

I know I've touched on this issue before, but it baffles me enough to give it my full attention today. Why does a Hollywood Executive who is nearly half-way around the world need a Temp for a few hours if the normal assistant has to leave early?

I got a 'C' in macro-economics in college. So it's clear I'm a little daft. But you'd think in today's tough financial times HR would respond to the Temp request with, "Geez [Executive Name Redacted], I know your normal assistant isn't feeling well, but since you're...well...7,000 miles away and 10 time zones ahead, could you save us a couple bucks and live without one for the next few hours?"

But no. What a Hollywood Executive wants, a Hollywood Executive gets. And this executive wanted me, Temp X, to sit there and...well...this is what I did:

  • Read Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. Saw that they're making Heathers into a TV show and felt a trickle of bile work its way into my throat.
  • Read Us Weekly and some other celebrity gossip magazine. Saw that Octo-mom and Kate (of Jon and Kate plus 8) are having a spat. Wondered where my life went wrong such that I have the time or inclination to read about this.
  • Saw that Nikki Finke had a mild screw-up but decided to leave the old bird alone. (You owe me!)
  • Considered applying for work in my former career. Then I read the job description and began to lose consciousness.
  • Had a cup of decaf just for the sugar rush.
  • Translated my own handwritten scribble into a script I'm working on.
  • Found a pastry that wasn't too old to eat.
  • Ate the pastry.
  • Looked for interesting office supplies to steal. It was all crap. Stole some anyway.
  • Cleaned out my email inbox. Started planning my trip to Nigeria to recoup my €30 million.
  • Watched part of the Dodgers game. Began to lose consciousness.
  • Ate a couple of mini-candy bars just for the sugar rush.
  • Went to the john a couple times. That wasted at least 15 minutes.
  • Answered the phone each of the seven times it rang. Each call was for the assistant.
  • Made a couple photocopies for an insurance claim I need to file.
  • Listened to six hours of hair metal on iTunes Big R radio.
I sure hope I was worth it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Free Fun at the "Josh and Josh Show"

California's Unemployment Rate is at a post-WWII high of 11.9% and climbing. If you aren't out of a job yet, you will be soon. Or worse, you have to work for Ara Keshishian. No matter what your situation is, you could probably use a little inexpensive fun. I've got some for you. And it's better than cheap, it's free.

Each Thursday* Bar Lubitsch (7702 Santa Monica Blvd.) offers up the "Josh and Josh Show." This comedy review attracts an impressive roster including Thomas Lennon (Lieutenant Jim Dangle from Reno 911), Demetri Martin (Taking Woodstock), The Sklar Brothers and loads of funny writers from Conan, Family Guy, Sarah Silverman and more.

There's no cover, no drink minimum and no pressure. Just show up, have a drink if you want/need. Watch some comedy, laugh and, if you're up to it, stay for dancing afterward.

The line up for this week is:
  • JOSH RENCHER ('09 Westside Stand-Up Fest & NY Comedy Contest)
  • DAN BIALEK (The Robot Ninja Werewolf Deluxe Podcast)
  • JOSH WEINSTEIN (Bones, Back on Topps)
  • BRIAN KILEY (The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien)
  • ROB DELANEY (SyFy's Outer Space Astronauts)
Heck, it's better than watching re-runs of Grey's Anatomy or new episodes of Big Brother. And how could you say "No" to the adorable Jewish couple (pictured with their dog Clarence) who host the show?

*Check their Facebook page or call Bar Lubitsch at (323) 654-1234 for the schedule.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another $10 down the drain

I just renewed the site's web address, for another year. That means I've now spent more then $50 on this site.
$20 -- Website name (2 @ $10 per year)
$30 -- Beer Pong Team Sponsorship
$5 -- Use of Zeum Claymation Studio
$0.99 -- Music for Temp Diaries cartoon [Expected release: Fall 2009]
So in exchange for another year of this drivel, I only ask that you tell every single person you know or have ever met about this site. Bonus points is that person happens to be an Kevin Huvane or Les Moonves.

I've got a lot planned for the site including a series of cartoons, the second annual Il Festival di d'Arte Cinematografica di Assurdita' and the inaugural Brown List. Of course I'll always have your favorites like the Hollywood Dictionary, So You're New To Hollywood and Celebs: They're Just Like Us Only Better Looking and Dumber. So come back often.

Thanks for reading.

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny

Paris Hilton will soon have a five-episode arc on the network program you didn't know existed -- Supernatural. [Hint: It's on Thursday when you're watching 30 Rock or CSI.] The CW show's Executive Producer Sera Gamble told the Chicago Tribune Ms. Hilton will play:

"a demonic creature that takes the form of...Paris Hilton."


Monday, August 24, 2009

Un Café Andalou

The only things scarier that Ari Emanuel is Ari Emanuel's Espresso Macchiato (w/three shots). Can Temp X save himself or will he be destroyed like so many others before him?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Temp X -- Unmasked?

A U.S. Federal judge ruled Tuesday that Google must release the name of an anonymous blogger who ran a site called "Skanks in NYC." Turns out the person this blogger focused on -- a former model named Liskula Cohen -- wasn't pleased that she was listed as the Biggest Skank in the Big Apple. So she sued Google (the host of the blog) to release the blogger's ID -- and WON! Sometime real soon, this blogger will have to unmask himself/herself.

This news makes anonymous blogger-types like yours truly a pinch nervous. I have no job. I have no job prospects. I live with a beagle who makes no money. And now, some bored exec at NBC will probably sue me for shitting all over their company for the last year and a half. What luck?! The only notoriety I'll get is being named "Defendant." That was not the point of my blog.

This got me thinking, maybe it's time I end this charade. Heck, if I'm ultimately gonna get sued, why not reveal my secret identity now and skip the formalities.

My name is
Nikki Hilton...or is it Perez Finke. Either one works.

Is it me, or does the combination of these two people look not unlike Andy Rooney?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny

A prequel to King Kong is maneuvering it's way from the bowels of idiocy to the toilet of the multiplex. What could possibly happen in this movie that would be of any interest? Seriously. Can we just stop the nonsense already?

"Film-makers plan return to Skull Island for King Kong origins story"
The Guardian

Nothing from Nothing

It's been pretty difficult to find work in recent weeks. Since August 1, I've worked a total of three days. (California unemployment rate -- 11.6%) This doesn't lend itself to running a website that's about all the nonsense I see in the Hollywood workplace. But what can I do?

I guess I'll have to write about other stuff that's going on and you'll have to read it:

  • I refiled for unemployment. I can now make a paltry sum without even getting out of bed -- which I did at 11 a.m. yesterday.
  • I started writing a new script. This is a big deal because for the last year, I've only written this blog and a couple treatments as they are much easier to complete.
  • I went for an ill-fated bike ride "up" Nichols Canyon. Why ill-fated? Because I made it about 200 yards up the hill before feeling winded and nauseous. Which brings me to my next point...
  • I started up my exercise routine and began eating non-processed foods again. [Note: The Spaghettios on Sunday night were a one-time slip-up.] Green, leafy veggies and blueberry/raspberry smoothies deliver my 5-a-day. Plus they're cheap.
  • I started reading the book Donnie Brasco. For those of you who didn't know, it was a book before it became a movie. I loved the movie. I like the book (it needs an editor). Of course getting a guy to like a story about the mob is like shooting fish in a barrel.
  • I did almost all my laundry, made my bed, did the dishes and a bunch of other housework that normally I'd ignore for months at a time. Lucky for me I never have house guests who would notice.
  • I watched Airplane! on three separate occasions. The thing that strikes me about that movie is how well they use sight gags while offering dialog that's quite dull. Comedy isn't done like that any more. And that's a shame.

  • I tipped off Countdown with Keith Olbermann on a news item I think they're gonna use. If it happens, I'll let you know. It has nothing to do with Hollywood.
  • I watched Hell's Kitchen and, as much as I don't like reality shows, I like that show. The people who cast it did a great job this season. More Tennille! She crazy and can't cook. But damn does she make for great TV!
  • I was impressed with James Brown's interview with Michael Vick. I thought he might throw softball questions, but he pressed on Vick a lot. I still would have preferred Mike Wallace or Steve Croft, but that's just because they enjoy busting people's balls.
  • I took Dog X to the dog park and this time he didn't roll in poop. It's the small victories.
Wow. After reading this, Temp work can't come soon enough. I live a really dull life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny

Well, the trick on this one is I'm not sure who the real idiots are: the execs at A&E for even considering this project, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter for his letter of support or the parents of Northeast High students for not protesting the irreparable damage Mr. Danza will cause to their children's diction and understanding of Machiavelli's The Prince.

Philly Schools Considering Tony Danza Reality Show "Teach"

Copyright Infringement Theatre

Courtesy of

Monday, August 17, 2009

Burbank, California

All the great cities have songs written about them -- "Sweet Home Chicago," "New York, New York" and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." And now, I offer my ode to the middle child of the San Fernando Valley...Burbank.

Hit the play button above and sing along...

On a jammed Valley freeway,
Brown smog in the air.
A faint smell of burnt toner,
Maybe I should be scared.

Up ahead in the distance,
I saw the rainbow Peacock.
Headache started, I was late for work.
It's 10 past 9 o'clock.

HR stood at the reception;
That pissed off Southern Belle
And when I finally made it there,
She said, "It's your private version of Hell."

Then she game me my time card
and she showed me the way
Down the hallway to the copy room,
And then I heard her say...

Welcome to Burbank, California
Now you know your place.
Don't let me see your face.

If you want real work in Burbank, California,
I don't wanna hear.
Now get outta here.

Her mind is certainly twisted,
She leased a Mercedes-Benz
Asked if she can afford her car,
She'll say, "It all depends."

Now the copier gets jammed,
And I'm starting to sweat.
Did I break it on purpose?
Somehow I forget.

So I called up my temp pimp,
"I'm miserable here."
He said, "When you get home from work today,
please go have a beer."

And still those voices are ringing inside my head,
If I had to hear them all over again, I think I'd rather be dead...

Looking for work in Burbank, California.
None at ABC.
None at WB.

Temping for scraps in Burbank, California.
What a nice surprise.
Left over chili fries!

Mirrors on the ceiling,
Pints of Courvoisier
The guard said, "Who let your Temp ass in here?
This is for Michael Bay."

And in my boss's office,
They're all flipped out on coke.
Won't learn this at NYU.
Is this just a sick joke?

Last thing I remember,
I was driving toward the 5
I had to find the passage back
To the place I felt alive.
"Turn 'round," said my Garmin,
It is programmed to deceive.
"You can flee Burbank any time you like,
But you can never leave!"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny

I take one day off and the Hollywood Reporter announces this...
ABC has the hots for "St. Elmo's Fire," a contemporary take on the 1985 film that was one of the defining movies of the Brat Pack genre.
This whole remake orgy has to end before a network creates the equivalent of William Shatner singing "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds."

Can you smell what Nikki cooking?

Say what you will about WWE and pro wrestling in general, but it's a ratings draw. USA Network's WWE Raw has routinely been in the top 10 cable shows for years. Over the past 10 weeks, the show has averaged 5.53 million viewers. This is pretty damn good for a fake sport. But that won't stop Darling Nikki from calling it "a horror." Or perhaps she's still bitter from when she got duped?

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Like so many clothing-averse starlets -- Vanessa Hudgens, Paris Hilton, Rihanna and Ashley Greene -- Yenta X has a bit of a scandal-filled past. Before it gets leaked to Egotastic or TMZ, I figured I'd post the salacious photo here on the Hollywood Temp Diaries.

The truth is Yenta X was young, impressionable and (like most people in Hollywood) needed the work. She now regrets this decision and told me, "I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be 'artistic' and now, seeing the photograph, I feel so embarrassed...That said, if it boosts consumer awareness of my site or my upcoming fragrance line Yentalicious ($19.95/gallon at Macy's and Office Depot), well I suppose I'll take the bad with the good."

Here you go Harvey Levin. Enjoy it. And tell Max "Fabio Jr." Hodges to call me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Celebs: They're just like us -- only better looking and dumber

"If the fat people just gave the skinny people more food, we could all just eat... We could solve obesity and hunger at the same time."

Ashton Kutcher (8/10/09)

The Dog Days of Television

The "Dog Days of Summer" are upon us. The insufferable heat makes it impossible to go outside and the crap on TV makes you not want to stay inside. Chances are you'll flip on the air conditioner and the TV will win. So here's what you have to look forward to on the tube tonight...

[Note: The summaries are copied verbatim from]

Who Wants to Be A Millionaire -- 8 pm (ABC) -- Lauren Conrad competes for charity; Cokie Roberts is the expert lifeline.
[Temp X says: Which is more likely -- Lauren Conrad uses all her lifelines on the first question or that Cokie Roberts has no idea who Lauren Conrad is?]

Wipeout -- 9 pm (ABC) -- Sweeper Wall, Blue Ball Run and Dodge Ball Beam Walk are some of the obstacles faced by the contestants, which include a deputy sheriff, a male nurse and an Irishman.
[Temp X says: What has this world come to? They let the Irish on TV now?]

TV's 50 Funniest Phrases -- 8 pm (NBC) -- Conclusion. Television's wittiest catchphrases are listed in a countdown program featuring clips and interviews with the stars who delivered the memorable expressions.
[Temp X says: In order for this to be the "Conclusion," there must have been a "Cliffhanger" last week. Since I didn't watch it, I can only assume this week will start off something like this, "When we last left off, Gary Coleman was in the middle of our 25th most popular TV catch phrase, 'Whatchoo talkin' 'bout...' And now, for the dramatic conclusion of TV's 50 Funniest Phrases."]

Live from Lincoln Center -- 8 pm (PBS) -- Violinist Joshua Bell and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra perform Mozart's Adagio for Violin and Orchestra in E major and Rondo for Violin and Orchestra in C major, as well as Haydn's "London" Symphony and Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture and Violin Concerto in E minor. Alan Alda hosts.
[Temp X says: Only mostly Mozart? The truth is every time I read this description, I fall asleep. FYI - Alan Alda decreases my interest level.]

Worlds Funniest Moments -- 8 pm (MNT) -- Outrageous videos found on the Internet are featured.
[Temp X says: The Best of YouTube on TV as hosted by Arsenio Hall. Who would have thought the big winner of the late 1980s power couple of Arsenio & Paula Abdul would be Paula?]

America's Funniest Home Videos -- 9 pm (ABC Family) -- Part 1 of the two-part 300th episode includes funniest moments for previous hosts Bob Saget, Daisy Fuentes and John Fugelsang; “Greatest Groin Hits”; “Brides on Fire”; “Trees Crushing Cars.”
[Temp X says: 300 episodes! 300 fucking episodes! A show featuring "Greatest Groin Hits" can go on for 300 episodes while Arrested Development gets canceled in season 3? I need to move.]

Most Shocking -- 8pm (TruTV) -- A bull tramples a nude partyer (sic); prostitutes rumble in the streets; and college students go streaking.
[Temp X says: Sounds like you average weeknight at the Florida State University fraternity quad.]

Major League Baseball -- 8 pm (WGN America) -- Phillies vs. Cubs
[Temp X says: Cubs find yet another way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.]

Maybe I don't want to work in TV after all?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Non-NDA Violating Gossip

Do you remember your first day of kindergarten? I know I do. They made every student wear a bright orange badge listing our name, home address and phone number. The theory was if a student got lost, some benevolent soul would shove us in a mail box and the USPS would deliver us home (postage due). But the real comfort for parents and kids alike was knowing an authority figure was there if/when an emergency arose.

In Hollywood, the first few days of any production merit the same precautions, because if something can go wrong, it will. Just ask the people who were shooting Evan Almighty when the horses got loose. But apparently not everyone subscribes to this theory...

Which head of a newly-formed and well-financed production company went on vacation the day they started shooting their first-ever film?

Or perhaps it's just tough love.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny

Former marketing exec says: "If you're gonna rip off an ad campaign, at least do it from a show that didn't get canceled after less than two seasons."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More from the "Melrose Place" ad campaign

Since I last posted my thoughts on the new Melrose Place and its ad campaign, more bad news has befallen the most famous street in Hollywood.

Hopefully none of the show's story lines involve owning a boutique clothing store. Otherwise they might have a bit of a problem mirroring reality.

8407 Melrose Place

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny

According to Variety, CW President Dawn Ostroff said she's planning on bringing back other remakes on her "network" for next season to add to a roster that already includes 90210 and Melrose Place.

"There are other shows we're looking at, but we can't talk about it yet," she said. "Remakes bring a built-in brand equity."

She did say she's not gonna bring back any old show.

"We're not going to be doing the The Dukes of Hazzard," she said.

That still leaves the door open for Enos: 2009!!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Nowhere...

So I don't have any work this week. It's actually kind of a funny story...

A friend of mine is a VP in the marketing department of a major studio. A few weeks ago, her assistant quit, so she hired a Temp (me) to fill in until they found someone permanent (perhaps me). The pay was good. The work was easy. And I knew the boss. Nothing wrong with guaranteed income for the foreseeable future.

But this is Hollywood. The town that logic skipped.

Last Friday, I received a communiqué from my pimp -- my gig ended that day and I was being replaced with a different Temp. Normally this wouldn't faze me. Temps live a transient life and things change on a moment's notice. But this was different. I'm friends with the boss and she'd mentioned nothing to me about any transition. Quite the contrary as I'd become more and more involved her work.

Confused, I went into my boss's/friend's office to relay what I'd been told.

"Huh?" she asked. "What are you talking about?"

I explained it again and hoped for a different response.

"Huh?" she asked again. Clearly this was news to her too.

Well, as it turns out, her boss (someone I'd never met and who didn't even work in building) decided to do someone a favor and give that person a gig. The hiccup in the plan is he neglected to tell either of the two main players -- my boss or me -- about this.

You know how the story ends. I'm outta work and you're reading about it. To add insult to injury, I'd just turned down another gig through my other pimp. By the time my new free-agent status was confirmed, that position was taken.

I guess it's not that funny of a story after all.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You too can be an 'X'

In my never-ending quest to provide you slightly-better-than-average entertainment, I've finally set up an anonymous tip section. I know Hollywooders like yourselves have great stories or amusing factoids you'd like to share but don't because you fear being fingered as the source. As someone who goes by the names Temp X, Yenta X and Che Equis, I totally get it. But fear no more.

As you'll see in the left hand column, there's a section called "Have I got news..." Directly below that is a comment box where you can type in your dirt/ideas/anecdotes and hit "Submit." That's all. No emails. No paper trail. No nothing. I get the info and you go back to wondering why you're 26-years old and fighting with a Xerox machine.

You can send along anything you want, but if you're looking for some ideas, here are some things I'd love to have:
  • Stupid interview questions
  • Non-NDA violating gossip
  • Amusing tales from the trenches
  • Story ideas
I can't guarantee I'll post everything you send. And I will edit what you send me because I don't want to get sued. But I can assure you, I'll look at every submission. I've got nothing but time and a fair amount of boredom.

Thanks for continuing to read The Hollywood Temp Diaries. Tell your friends.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hollywood Dictionary: Volume 13

And now, more from the Hollywood Dictionary...

Summer Hours -- At first glance, "Summer Hours" kinda sounds like the name of a porn star with the unique ability to [CENSORED] for extended periods of time. But it's not. It's just when companies allow their employees (including the assistants) the chance to leave work at 1 p.m. on select Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Naturally, the execs take off at 12:30 p.m. while their assistants view it as a small victory if they can cut out before 5 p.m. and are able to avoid Hollywood Bowl traffic.

Bible -- Hollywood is filled with a bunch of heathens. Heck, you can witness each of the seven deadly sins within moments of arriving in the lobby at CAA. And then there are those shows that blaspheme our creator like Hell's Kitchen and The Big Bang Theory. So it's ironic that the term that TV executives use the term "Bible" for a manual that explains in great detail a show's characters and the direction of the series. As the show progresses, the Bible also serves as an archive of everything the characters do and what storylines have been used so future staffers can quickly get up to speed. Looks like someone needs to get their ass to church.