‘Bull’ on CBS — A Full Review



Audiences are only willing to accept an arrogant protagonist when it’s earned. We’ve seen it with Hugh Laurie’s character in house, with Benedict Cumberbatch’s stint as Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, etc. It can be done, but when done wrong, we’re got that smarmy guy in the bar that’s quest for cool stature leaves him drinking alone, putting off every person who dare take the stool beside him. Unfortunately, “Dr. Bull” won’t be buying us a drink anytime soon, because Michael Weatherly falls flat in this leading role.

Weatherly is not to blame for this high-concept catastrophe. It’s a product of a bloated creative process and way too much unnecessary money  used to impress its audience. As a lawyer, I was excited for Bull. Since the end of The Good Wife, I’ve ached for another law-related show, and the idea of analyzing the jury pool or investigating clues associated with a trial seemed original. Here; however, we’ve got a leading man who likely charges his clients extraordinary amounts of a money for detective work that leaves us feeling that we might have overpaid for ‘Bull.’ To be fair, it’s only the pilot, and pilots are traditionally a struggle and an ill representation of what’s to come. Here’s hoping that’s the case for this show. My advice? Cut back the money and invest in some smarter scenarios that prove ‘Bull’ is worth his hefty fee.

Steven Avery’s Attorney is Unsure of His Guilt

Netflix’s widely watched true crime series ‘Making a Murderer’ is supposed to raise serious questions about our judicial system, not Steven Avery’s guilt. Why? Because his guilt is the least relevant part of the series. If Avery can be convicted based on evidence obtained through a plethora of police infractions, including a coerced confession without an attorney present, then every innocent life is in jeopardy. We set guilty people free to protect the innocent, and there’s a reason for that. Allowing the state to build a case based on their own personal belief of a defendant’s guilt, means that even if they plant evidence, taint the jury, and force confessions, it’s completely cool as long as it’s all in the name of protecting the public, right? Well, tell that to your son, daughter, parent, or friend that’s wrongly convicted of a crime, because those same standards will apply. Avery’s attoreny made that very clear on CBS Morning, when he said “I’m not convinced of his guilt,” in refrerence to a question about Avery’s innocence, which clearly reiterates the standard of “Beyond a reasonable doubt.” Watch below.

‘Limitless’ Premieres: Promotes Drug Use?

limitlessCBS premiered ‘Limitless’ with a special appearance from Bradley Cooper, and although it’s a solid show, its message is concerning. Based on the film by the same name, ‘Limitless’ is about a man that discovers a drug named NZT, which unlocks pathways in his brain that basically give the formerly lazy lad some seriously productive superpowers. His previous life is transformed, and he’s now giving back to society, despite what’s basically become drug addiction.

After reading online reviews, I was shocked to discover that no one seems to share my sentiment. The show is a covert adderall advertisement. The protagonist pops a pill and conquers the world, and all side effects are second to its advantages. After all, when a drug is this good, shouldn’t you push through? Had his acquired superpower been gifted by anything other than a pill, I might not object. And although this didn’t irk me in the film, that’s likely because the movie ended with a pretty bow about the perils of drug use, rather than a procedural plot line in its favor. Also, if there’s no issue with performance enhancing drugs to obtain a desired result, why did we chastise Lance Armstrong? And if there were no side effects to narcotic-use, would we promote drugs? The show doesn’t work with a pill. He should have been zapped with a taser or something.

Good luck, CBS.

The Good Wife Grieves — Alicia Loses Will

the-good-wifeWhile I’m still personally peeved about Josh Charles stage left exit from The Good Wife, it certainly pivoted the show in a new direction, which can be a good thing. On tonight’s episode, the characters grieved for their colleague who was executed at the hands of his client. Alicia was especially mournful, which will likely create distance from her husband, whom she previously cheated on with Will. As for when the show will return to its plot-driven roots instead of this character-heavy excess, that has yet to be seen.

As an aside, if Josh Charles is reading this, let me just send a specific poke in his direction. A 22 episode season on a hit network show is any actor’s dream job. Each season has a summer hiatus, followed by a break nearly every three weeks so the writers can catch up. I cannot understand the choice to leave. And did I mention that most of those “long work days” are spent in the trailer while other actors shoot their scenes? It baffles me that he didn’t want to renegotiate this gravy train. And for the network executives that orchestrated this mess, I have another message. I realize you’re often desperate to sign the star you’re after. Let this be a lesson not to let aggressive agents bamboozle you into allowing a four year contract instead of the standard six. I’m angry with everyone involved.

Katie Couric Visits Howard Stern — Magic Ensues

Katie Couric’s awesome-factor went from luke-warm to red hot when she visited the Howard Stern show this week. Couric was presumably returning the favor after Stern’s one-hour sit-down on her own show. She talked openly about her husband and sister’s early death, her dating life, her CBS stint, and her potential return to The Today Show. Watch a clip below.

Dan Rather v. CBS — Why Continue the War?

Written By: Rik Sault

At age 80, Dan Rather may be trying to embody one of his many memorable quotes: “You can’t be a good reporter and not regularly be involved in some kind of controversy.”

Rather unceremoniously parted ways with CBS after an infamous 60 Minutes segment about George W. Bush going AWOL during his Vietnam-era stint as an Air National Guardsman. The September 2004 story was based on photocopies of memos criticizing young Bush’s performance, but the documents were widely debunked as fake. CBS commissioned an independent investigation of the debacle and Rather, among others, was faulted for failing to properly vet the documents. Rather left CBS in 2006, after 43 years with the network.

At first, Rather apologized for the incident, saying that CBS news could no longer vouch for the authenticity of the documents. But he eventually changed course, indicating that CBS was too quick to fold and proclaiming, “Nobody has ever proven that the documents were not what they purported to be.” On September 19, 2007, Rather sued CBS for $70 million, alleging breach of contract and fraud, but one of New York State’s Appellate Divisions dismissed the case in 2009.

Now, Rather is on tour promoting his new book, Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News. A large part of the book deals with his departure from CBS and his ongoing tirade against what he perceives as the corporatization and trivialization of American journalism. In the book he says that CBS chief Leslie Moonves has a “spine of Jell-O.” In Rather’s opinion, while Moonves is a great asset to the entertainment division at CBS, he has undermined the strong history of CBS news. He also describes Katie Couric, who anchored the CBS Evening News from 2006 to 2011, as “News Lite.” On a prior occasion, he opined that it was a mistake to try to bring the “Today show ethos” to the CBS Evening News, and to “dumb it down, tart it up in hopes of attracting a younger audience.”

When Dan Kurtz recently asked Rather to appear on his CNN show Reliable Sources, Kurtz received no response. Kurtz talked about Rather on his show anyway, and he asked the question that many of us our wondering, “Why is Dan Rather still pushing and defending this story, this discredited story?”

Some sources says he has spent more than $5 million on his crusade. As a sage friend of mine pointed out, if he would have just dropped it, people would have long forgotten about the Air National Guard incident. So why won’t Dan Rather take my friend’s advice and just drop it?

Could it be that he is simply carrying a chip on his shoulder after his fall from grace? Or maybe he was forced to endure years of corporate and political limitations on his journalistic freedom while working for CBS, and after he left his post he is now free to cry out.

Whether he is a zealous champion of real American journalism or a stubborn, 80-year-old Texan (or both!), his actions do seem to ensure that he will not soon be forgotten. While his ratings towards the end of his CBS career lagged behind those of NBC’s Tom Brokaw and ABC’s Peter Jennings, his dogged tenacity and borderline liberal conspiracy theories may ensure that his Wikipedia entry is more oft-viewed than either of them.

‘The Talk’ Panel Tells Howard Stern Why Leah Remini & Holly Robinson Peete Were Fired

Howard Stern is the only man who could get to the bottom of why Leah Remini and Holly Robinson Peete were fired from The Talk. Sara Gilbert, Julie Chen, and Sharon Osbourne appeared on Howard Stern’s radio show to promote The Talk, and Stern grilled them for an explanation. Though Stern implied that Chen was to blame because of her marriage to CBS honcho Les Moonves, Gilbert quickly came to her defense and explained that the studio and the network made the final decision, and Chen didn’t have a say. Stern then pressed Osbourne, who is always honest. She quickly said that the chemistry was clearly off with the prior panel, and she therefore had a feeling they’d get the boot. Stern also asked Chen to confirm whether she insisted on being present when hot-button subjects were discussed, and she admitted that because of her journalist background, she was the only one who knew how to avoid a lawsuit. So what have we learned from all of this? We learned that the television industry is very similar to high-school, so you better make nice with the popular girls, especially when one such popular girl is dating the captain of the football team.

CBS’ ‘Two Broke Girls’ Says “Shoe Her Down” — Jewish Dig?

I’ve recently discovered Whitney Cummings’ newly created show, ‘Two Broke Girls,’ and I liked it until episode three. In the episode, Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs visit Goodwill, and when Behrs suggests the price of the eight dollar shoes is too expensive, Dennings scolds her, saying, “I can’t believe you’re trying to shoe her down.” As a Jewish Dishmaster who has been the subject of offensive, bigoted jokes throughout my life — the reference was immediately clear. It’s a pun on “Jew her down.” I understand that Kat Dennings is actually Jewish in real life, but the line wasn’t written by her, and even if it was — it would still be bigoted. Not cool, guys. The Dishmaster demands an apology.

Leah Remini and Holly Robinson Peete Fired From ‘The Talk’?

When I first watched ‘The Talk,’ I knew almost immediately that the show would not survive with its panel of hosts. The women didn’t gel, and the only person that I thought had true talent was Julie Chen, who, similar to Barbara Walters’ role on ‘The View,’ is a real journalist (though there is only one Babs). So it’s no surprise that three of the original hosts have been given the axe. This includes: Leah Remini, Holly Robinson Peete, and Marissa Jaret Winokur. Leah Remini recently admitted to the firing (or “not having her option picked up” as it goes in Hollywood), which I appreciate. There’s no need to develop some elaborate excuse about not wanting to return (hear that Megan Fox?). Though I feel bad for them, this was a good decision on CBS’ part. First, Remini wasn’t funny. She’s an actress not a comedian. Unlike Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and Sherri Shepherd, Remini not only lacks the timing necessary to navigate those segments, but she also is the rare breed of annoying, which includes thinking you’re funny when you’re not (at least Julie Chen never attempted jokes). As for Holly Robinson Peete, she just wasn’t particularly interesting or funny. I hate to be harsh, but I’m glad CBS got their act together. There are rumors swirling that Kris Jenner might be the new co-host, which is actually a good idea. Despite my love/hate relationship with the Kardashians, they are relevant — like it or not.

Jennifer Hudson Stands up Oprah — Behind the Scenes Footage Revealed

The only show on Oprah’s new network, OWN, that is getting the proper attention, is the behind the scenes footage of Oprah’s CBS show. That makes sense, especially because Oprah works best as an on-air personality, instead of a development executive. I’m not quite sure what she’ll do with this new gem when she goes off the air, but I’m sure she’ll think of something similar. Because I love when celebrity-bad-behavior gets exposed, the Jennifer Hudson drama is my favorite clip so far. In a nutshell, Jennifer Hudson was scheduled to appear on Oprah, and after showing up for the sound check, she flew out that night to perform at a private party. Because of a blizzard, her return flight was delayed. Basically — She stood up the Queen. Oprah and her team were extremely pissed — and rightfully so. You don’t schedule an Oprah appearance and then book a private party just so you can make some extra money in between. It’s risky and unprofessional. Judging from the clips below, she learned her lesson. Click to watch.

Jennifer Hudson Stands up Oprah

Oprah Scolds Jennifer Hudson