Archive for the ‘Dick Clark’ Category

Best 2012 recap you’ll ever read: MY year in TV

December 24, 2012


NEW YORK, Dec. 24, 2012 — Let other critics waste their time on year-end lists of the Top 10 this and the Top 10 that.

My long experience in this business tells me readers aren’t interested in any of that.  What they really want to know is: How was my year in TV?

My year amounted to just shy of 600 stories.

Dennis Farina and Dustin Hoffman in HBO's "Luck" (Photo: HBO)

Dennis Farina and Dustin Hoffman in HBO’s “Luck” (Photo: HBO)

My favorite: The story of the HBO horse-racing drama “Luck,” and how it was cancelled due to the deaths of three horses.  I’ve been covering the TV business as a journalist for the better part of 29 years, and this one was a first — a TV show ceasing production due to animals being injured so grievously that they had to be put down.  It was a shame — for the horses, certainly, and also for anyone who, like me, happened to like the show.  Alas.

Odd as that story was, another one was even odder, and also sad: The attempted suicide of character actor Daniel Von Bargen, who’s been in a lot of movies and TV shows but was best known for playing George Costanza’s boss, Mr. Kruger, in the final season of “Seinfeld.”  There have been no updates on his health since the incident last February, and I hope he’s doing better.

The TV phenomenon of the year was Honey Boo Boo.

Warwick Davis in "Life's Too Short" (Photo: HBO)

Warwick Davis in “Life’s Too Short” (Photo: HBO)

My favorite scripted show of the year was “Life’s Too Short,” the reality-style comedy series about a dwarf.  Produced for HBO by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, this show had dwarf actor Warwick Davis suffering humiliation and embarrassment everywhere he went.  It was just savage.

The year’s most memorable TV event was Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk over Niagara Falls on a Friday night last June.  ABC aired it and everybody watched.

My favorite non-scripted show (though it may have been scripted just a little bit) was “American Colony: Meet the Hutterites,” seen last summer on National Geographic Channel.  Though the Hutterites are not Amish, they were part of the whole “Amish” trend this year in “reality” TV shows.  “Meet the Hutterites” was by far the best of them, though, and I won’t soon forget plucky Claudia, her brother Quentin, their mother Bertha and all the rest of them.

I watched a lot of late-night TV this year, recapped “Saturday Night Live” after practically every show and endured, along with everyone else, the presidential campaign.  The nightly dissection of the battle on the news channels every night was a tough slog.  By contrast, the four debates this past fall — three presidential and one vice presidential — were among the year’s TV highlights.

I also watched too many violent TV shows — “Boardwalk Empire,” “Sons of Anarchy,” Dexter” and heaven knows what else.  It’s all a bit much, isn’t it?  The real world is violent enough.

I would like to thank the following personalities for illuminating interviews: Ray Romano, Chuck Lorre, Jonathan and Drew Scott (the HGTV twins), Mark Feuerstein, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Danny McBride, and Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” (great guy).  I loved encountering about two-thirds of the “Celebrity Apprentice” participants last winter at 30 Rock.  Shout-outs to Lisa Lampanelli, Dee Snider, Clay Aiken, Paul Teutel Sr. and Victoria Gotti for a great afternoon.

I met Aaron Sorkin for the first time this year too, and he was a great interview.  I also came face-to-face with Wilson Phillips and all three of them were a pleasure to talk to, though their reality series on TV Guide Channel was short-lived.

You get the opportunity to meet a great many interesting people in this business — and two of the most interesting personalities I ever encountered were among the TV personalities who died this year.  I loved meeting Sherman Hemsley back in ’96, and years before that, Dick Clark, who posed for a picture with me back in ’83 when I was very young and very green, and he treated me like I was the most important person in the world.  This was a guy who knew how to be a celebrity.

"The TV Guys," WOR, New York, summer 2002. Bert's the one seated and holding a pair of headphones up to his ear (Photo: personal collection)

“The TV Guys,” WOR, New York, summer 2002. Bert’s the one holding a pair of headphones up to his ear (Photo: personal collection)

We lost Bert Gould this year, my co-host on the radio show we threw together in the summer of 2002 on WOR in New York.

For 13 glorious weeks, we were “The TV Guys,” two self-styled experts on the TV business who talked about television, interviewed a couple of celebrities (Larry David and Michael Chiklis, most notably) and took viewer phone calls.

Short-lived as the show was, it was a highlight of my professional life and in no small way I have Bert to thank for it.

Without his brashness and enthusiasm, this idea for a radio show about television — an idea he concocted while we were talking randomly about TV on a bus to midtown one weekday morning — would have gone nowhere.  As it was, it went somewhere, if only for a short time.  Thanks, Bert.

As 2012 comes to a close, I ask myself the same question I ask every year at this time: A year from now, will I be doing this again?  Really?  Surely, there is something more to life than television …

Contact Adam Buckman:


Dick Clark’s a hero; his critics are zeroes

January 4, 2010

How can you complain about Dick Clark (right)? His appearances on his “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” special on ABC are nothing less than heroic.


NEW YORK, Jan. 4, 2010 — I really can’t believe I am reading complaints from some critics about Dick Clark’s appearance on his annual “Rockin’ Eve” New Year’s special on ABC.

One critic I read actually advised Dick to “hang it up,” indicating that it’s become just too darned awkward or even depressing to watch the aged TV personality — who turned 80 on Nov. 30 —  because Dick has become immobilized from the stroke he suffered in 2004.  Another critic actually complained that Dick’s slurred speech makes it too difficult to understand him, rendering him — Dick Clark, the consummate broadcaster who happens to be  beloved by everyone but these critics — somehow unfit to appear on TV and usher in the New Year.

And at some point in last week’s New Year’s countdown, Dick apparently fumbled ever so slightly on the backward recitation of the seconds ticking down to the new year and the usual anonymous peanut gallery on the Internet wasted no time posting the video in order to jeer at this barely noticeable “screwup.”

It really is an indication of how nasty we’ve become when a beloved national institution such as Dick Clark is harassed mercilessly for having the nerve to appear on television after having a stroke.

Hello?  The man had a stroke, for heaven’s sake.  It should go without saying, but apparently needs to be said in this thoughtless, mean-spirited era in which we live, that this 80-year-old stroke victim’s willingness to rigorously rehabilitate  himself and then agree to put himself out there in public in front of millions of TV viewers represents an act of heroism for which he should be cheered, not jeered.

It just so happens that millions of people have strokes and then struggle in the aftermath to continue leading productive lives.  Dick Clark is a hero to these people, and should be a hero to anybody else, stroke victim or otherwise, who possesses the common sense (not to mention decency) to recognize a demonstration of true courage when they see it.

It also just so happens that Dick Clark is one of the finest people you will ever meet in the TV business.  To suggest that in choosing to appear in public, seated in a chair because he cannot stand or walk and slurring his speech, Dick Clark just can’t bear to abdicate the limelight is just ridiculous and, knowing Dick, just plain wrong too.

May Dick Clark ring in the New Year for the next 20 years.

Contact Adam Buckman:

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