Friday, April 5, 2013

News bits: Jay and Jimmy, the Bluths and that celebrity game show

The Big News this week, obviously, is that Jimmy Fallon will take over for Jay Leno as host of "The Tonight Show" in spring 2014. As part of the handoff, the show will move back to New York.

I don't have a lot to add to all the talk swirling around the transition, partly because it had already been widely reported before this week's announcement, partly because we've seen it all before in the Conan debacle of a few years ago, and partly because I watch neither Leno nor Fallon and frankly don't care that much.

But I can see where Leno's longtime followers -- he's been host of "Tonight" for 22 years, all told -- might feel some sadness. These are folks who watch Leno by actually turning on the TV at 11:35 p.m., as opposed to checking out short, funny and talked-about video clips the next day, as I sometimes do with Fallon -- and as, I suspect, many of Fallon's fans do, since video shorts are part of his shtick. Though it will be interesting to see if Leno's crowd will stick around for the young and hip Fallon, maybe the bigger question on their minds is whether they've seen the last of their favorite big-chinned comic. Several critics who say they have a handle on how Leno thinks suspect he'll find some way to stay in the spotlight.

Read on for some other news of the week:

-- The fourth season of "Arrested Development" will drop on Netflix on May 26 with 15 episodes, one episode extra than previously advertised. As Time's James Poniewozik noted, the date is significant because A) It's a Sunday, as opposed to a Friday, which is when "House of Cards" was released and when people are typically out and about and away from their TV screens; and B) It's on Memorial Day Weekend, positioning the release as something akin to a summer blockbuster. So while some people may be out doing things that would land them in a "Girls With Low Self-Esteem" video, fans will get two glorious days to put on their favorite cut-offs, make some corn ballers and binge.

-- I may have been too hasty last week in rejecting an NBC show from Sean Hayes that features A-list celebrities playing games with regular folks in a cocktail party atmosphere. Why? Well, because this week that list of A-listers started to come together, and apparently I'm a celebrity whore. There's no way I could resist Amy Poehler, Jason Bateman, Kristen Chenoweth, Matthew Perry, Kristin Bell, Dax Shephard, Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, Kal Penn, Martin Short, Molly Shannon and others. The show, to be hosted by Jane Lynch, has an eight-episode order. (Information from Deadline.com)

-- Two things from HBO: First, Christopher Abbott, who played Charlie on "Girls," won't be returning for the show's third season. Some reports cited creative differences with creator Lena Dunham; others said he was too busy doing other things. Either way, good riddance. Nothing against Abbott: It's that Charlie's on/off relationship with Marnie -- who spurned him, then pined for him, then got him after he went from being a slacker to a millionaire in a matter of two episodes -- had become tedious. (As did the show as a whole, but that's a topic for another day.)

And on the HBO movie front: Steve Carell and James Gandolfini are going to pair up as feuding dinosaur-bone hunters in the 1800s, which is pretty dorktastic. The movie is called "Bone Wars."

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