TV Q&A: Nate Berkus, 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' and 'Bunheads'

Friday, 10 August 2012 11:18 AM Written by 

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TV Q&A with Rob Owen

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This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about Nate Berkus, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Bunheads.” As always, thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.

- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

Q: Has it been announced yet if and when “Curb Your Enthusiasm” will return for a new season. I was hoping in 2012, but that seems unlikely. Have you heard anything?

- Lee, Pittsburgh

Rob: New episodes won’t happen in 2012 and probably not in 2013, either, because “Curb” star Larry David is making a movie for HBO. What does that mean for the future of “Curb”? I asked that question at a press conference with HBO executives last month.

“Well, it means whatever Larry wants it to mean for future seasons of "Curb,’” said HBO programming president Richard Plepler. “And we always say, he has essentially carte blanche with us. Don't quote us on that because he'll take it. But he does, and when he wants to come back and do ‘Curb,’ we'd be thrilled. Right now, he wants to do the movie. So we are thrilled about that.”
And, yes, the movie will come first.

“Look, I think, after the last season of ‘Curb,’ Larry sat down and said, ‘What is it I want to do?’” said HBO co-president Michael Lombardo. “And it was this film that he wanted to do. But I don't think he's closed the door to another season of ‘Curb.’  I think he wants to do another season of ‘Curb’ if he has a great idea for another season of ‘Curb,’ and – “

“As he said to us, this is what he's feeling right now,” Plepler said, “and we said, ‘Fantastic.’”

Q: I've really been enjoying "Bunheads" and was wondering how it's doing so far in the ratings. It's kind of quirky, sweet and well-acted; definitely similar in setting and content to the old "Gilmore Girls."

- Debora, 51, North Hills

Rob: I’ve been enjoying “Bunheads” and wondering the same thing. I had hoped to ask executive producer Amy Sherman Palladino about the show’s fate at ABC’s press tour party last month but despite being on the party guest list, she did not show up.

So all I have to go on are the following talking points from an ABC Family publicist:

- “Bunheads” stands as ABC Family’s most-watched freshman series overall this summer, as well as its highest-rated new series with Women 18-49.

- Ranked among all ABC Family original series this summer in overall viewership, “Bunheads” trails only “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”

Parsing that, it appears “Bunheads” has better overall ratings than either “Baby Daddy” or “Beverly Hills Nannies,” two other new ABC Family series airing this summer. The question remains, how far behind “Pretty Little Liars” and “Secret Life” does “Bunheads” rank? And does the show’s audience profile skew significantly older than what ABC Family will tolerate?

Given the high-profile nature of the showrunner, the generally positive critical response and the fact that “Bunheads” doesn’t look like it costs much to produce, I’m cautiously optimistic that “Bunheads” will be renewed for a second season. But we won’t know until ABC Family makes an announcement; when they do, I’ll be sure to report it.


Q: In regards to “Hell’s Kitchen”: After a Google search I found that none of the previous winners are working at any of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants. Most have never worked there. How can they continue to say that the winner will be the head chef of a certain restaurant when that obviously is not the prize. Is it all in the fine print?

- Mike, 42, Pittsburgh
The top prize is not always working in a Ramsay restaurant, according to “Hell’s Kitchen” producers who offered this statement in response to Mike’s question: “Every season the prize is a position at an exciting U.S. or international restaurant, and announced at the beginning of each season. This year the winner will be working at Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.”

This isn’t something I’ve paid much attention to but others have and there are reports that the purported prize, in some seasons, does not actually exist, at least not in the language the show uses to describe it. The Foodie Gossip blog offers a rundown on winners for the first seven seasons. 

As far as how Fox can “get away with it,” my guess is it’s because no one really cares or expects reality from “reality TV” anymore.


Q: Why is it OK for a news reporter to appear on camera in an obvious Ralph Lauren Polo logo shirt (“NBC Nightly News, July 24) but anytime someone appears on a reality type show the logos are blurred beyond recognition. Is the news brought to us by Polo or is there a different set of standards and/or royalty liability for news and entertainment programming?

- David, Bridgeville
It’s a good question. I sent it to Erica Masonhall, whom NBC lists as the publicist for “NBC Nightly News,” twice over a two week period and received no response, so I’m left to speculate.

My guess is the news division does not allow paid product placement, so they let it go. Because reality shows do accept paid or trade product placement, they don’t want to give anything away for free. So they blur out the logos of companies they do not do business with.


Q: I just heard about the new show that is to follow Jimmy Kimmel. What is to happen to “The Nate Berkus Show.” It was bad enough they put him on in the middle of the night, now this?

- Sharon, Greenfield

Rob: Bad news, Berkus’ show was canceled several months ago. It will be gone entirely in a few weeks.

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