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Tuesday September 12, 2000

Bill Brioux chat transcript

Bill Brioux can be e-mailed here

Toronto Sun TV Critic Bill Brioux took time out from watching TV and rewinding video tapes to talk to JAM! TV about the fall season, 'Survivor' and anything else about the world on television:

Sarah: Will there be a Canadian "Survivor" in the future? Any hints on how to apply?

Bill Brioux: There will be a Canadian Survivor, according to executive producer Mark Burnett. He told me last July that he'd love to do a show here. He's had great luck with Eco-Challenge, which is produced with Discovery Canada. However, Burnett will have to wait till things settle down at CBS. They'll come first when the next few Survivor's are ordered.

GA: Bill, how did it feel to be on the WWTBAM set last week, knowing you could have been one of the 10 with some better luck? I hope the ON contestants did not bomb out because I know it will make me crazy watching it this week, knowing I would have done better.

Bill Brioux: It was a huge pain in the ass. It's very frustrating to be in such a great city and not have five minutes to walk around and see the sights. However, I thought the Canadian contestants did very well under the circumstances and most seemed to have a pretty good time.

Stu: Why does FOX start X-Files so late into the season (in Nov)?

Bill Brioux: Because they can. The fans are so rabid that they'll wait. Plus Chris Carter likes to take a little extra time to get it right (although he didn't take enough time last season). Look for the new guy Robert Patrick to start in the very first episode, with Duchovny slated for just six appearances.

PAUL: Hey Bill..I read your stuff all the time. What do you think about all of these reality shows?

Bill Brioux: What reality! Like Millionaire producer Michael Davies says, no wonder Big Brother is flopping. It's a reality show set in Los Angeles. There is no reality in Los Angeles!

ALAIN: Why is Candid Camera still on TV!!!!???? I hate Suzanne Somers. Bring back TV'S BLOOPERS AND PRACTICAL JOKES!

Bill Brioux: What, you don't love her on the Shopping Network! Suzanne Somers is a goddess. Get with it!

Erik: Do you think Oliver Platt's new show, "Deadline" will survive?

Bill Brioux: Hard to tell. Producer Dick Wolf failed to provide the press with any screeners of the pilot. That's because he didn't have to shoot a pilot--the network bought this show sight unseen. Platt's a great actor, though and the rest of the cast, including Cheers' Bebe Neiuwirth, are all top notch. One warning--shows set in a newspaper never work, except for Ed Asner's old chestnut Lou Grant.

PELE MONTOYA: HEY. how long do you think the Simpsons will be on the air? Doh! - thanks

Bill Brioux: Hey, Pele--the Simpsons will be on the air as long as there is a God in heaven. Producer Matt Groening has created a cast so vast (over 60 regular characters) that they'll never run out of things to do in Springfield.

JOEL: How may episodes does a sitcom do a season?

Bill Brioux: Well, Joel, the nets usually order 13 upfront, with a back nine if the show clicks, bring it up to 22 per season. This year's crop will be lucky to air twice.

Samantha: Will Matthew Broderick be making any appearances on "Sex and the City" this year? And...do you think the writing on the show has gone downhill recently?

Bill Brioux: You can often see Broderick peering into wife Sarah Jessica Parker's apartment on the show now. He's the guy yelling whenever any of the hot stars try to make a grab for his wife's ass. Has it gone downhill? In my mind, yes. I've seen the next four episodes and aside from a storyline involving Kyle Maclaughlin and the chick from Melrose Place, the stories just aren't as exciting as last year. Then again, once you have an episode dealing with "Golden Showers," where do you go from there?

Michelle Lee: If you had to pick one of the shows you ABSOLUTELY hate in the 90s, which would it be? Also, just 'cause it is back in reruns/syndication, did you ever watch ALF?

Bill Brioux: I took a critics pledge back in the mid '80s to never watch ALF. The worst show from the '90s--wow, hard to narrow that one down. I'd have to say The National with Peter Mansbridge.

Adain Walsh: Who should have hosted the Emmys?

Bill Brioux: Garry Shandling was brilliant at the Emmy press conference last July, so I guess I was expecting more from him the other night. I thought the opening Survivor sketch was pretty lame given the talent involved. However, I also thought Shandling got better as the night wore on and he slid into some very Larry Sanders like backstage skits. Who else could host? Certainly not the Wayan brothers who stunk up the MTV awards. Maybe Chris Rock.

BIG_CLEM: Bill: I was just wondering, how many shows can networks afford to lose in the fall season (the ones they can) without really losing money and losing out on ratings?

Bill Brioux: Know this: 80 percent of the fall shows fail every year. It's always been that way. Where a network gets in trouble is when 100 percent of their shows fail. That's what happened to Fox last fall (remember Ryan Caulfield? Action?) Global here took it on the chin since they buy so many Fox shows. This season looks a little brighter for Fox. They have Dark Angel, a rocking sci-fi drama starring Jessica Alba and produced by James Cameron.

Late Night Junkie: Bill: Who is your favorite TV talk show host? I like Conan O'Brien lots! Is David Letterman too old to be doing it anymore?

Bill Brioux: I'm still pretty loyal to Dave, but he seems to be losing it lately. What's with announcer Allan Calter? Has he lost his mind??? Conan O'Brien is the best show to see live if you're ever in New York. The band rocks throughout the commercials and O'Brien does the wildest warm up you've ever seen. You'll never spend a better hour in New York.

Tony: Hi, Bill: What, if anything, have you heard about the season opener of The West Wing? Will anyone die?

Bill Brioux: I did talk to producer Aaron Sorking and some of the stars of the West Wing on their L.A. press tour this summer. All were tight-lipped about the season opener, but Rob Lowe said the first two episodes are the best scripts he's ever read. Sorkin did say that none of the big stars die. However, Moria Kelly will not be back next season. P.S.--I thought that Muldavia ending stunk, but Sorkin insists he had it in mind all along and that the first two episodes back will neatly pull everything together again. Wait and see.

A. Sian: So, what's Claire Bickley REALLY like?

Bill Brioux: Clair has the sharp wit of Susan from Survivor, the pins of Geena Davis and the saucy sense of humor of Uncle Bobby in his prime. An A-1 babe all the way.

Marty: Bill. What are the most promising new shows in the upcoming fall season?

Bill Brioux: It's a short list. I liked Ed, a new drama from the Letterman producers starring Thomas Cavanaugh, the guy who used to do those Labatts ads ("It's...a beer"). It's a bit like Northern Exposure, with a cast of eccentrics following Ed into the bowling alley/lawyer business. Can't do it justice here but check it out. Bette Midler's new sitcom is way over the top but she's a star and it will survive. Dark Angel should grab the 18-34 year olds. Parts of Welcome To New York, with Christine Baranski, was funny. Titans, the new prime time soap from Aaron Spelling, was hysterical--just Leslie Neilsen away from being the funniest show on TV. Unfortunately, it's a drama. Everything else stinks, except a live action version of The Tick, slated for mid-season on Fox.

Mike B.: What is your favorite show from the 90s?

Bill Brioux: Favorite show of the '90s is my favorite show of the '60s--The Dick Van Dyke Show. I thread them up on 16mm for my kids. That Buddy and Sally--there's was a secret love.

Moderator: Bill Brioux has just informed us that he is taking off to go hang out with the cast of 'Malcolm In The Middle'...his closing comments?

Bill Brioux: Man, wish I was hanging with the kids from Malcolm. Remember what Garry Shandling said: "I'm so out of touch, I thought Malcolm in the Middle was an episode of Oz."

Moderator: ...thanks to all who submitted questions. Hopefully Bill will return to chat about the November TV sweeps.

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