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Lots Going On: New TVWW TV-to-Movie Contest, New Late-Night "Feud" with Fallon and Ferguson, and Lively New Comic Showcase on Showtime
June 10, 2010  | By David Bianculli

A-TEAM-10-Jn11.jpgThere's so much going on, I'm going to try and catch up in one big burst. Today's column will cover a) the latest TV WORTH WATCHING TV-to-Movie contest, asking for opening-week box-office guesses for The A-Team; b) the latest late-night "war," this time between Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson; and c) a delightful new talk show, The Green Room with Paul Provenza, premiering Thursday night at 10:30 ET on Showtime...


If you didn't win anything in our last contest, or even if you did, it's time to try, try again. What do you think will be the opening-weekend box-office gross for The A-Team, the new remake of the awful 1983 NBC action series?

The rules are the same as for previous TV-to-movie contests. Guesses must be posted by noon ET Friday (in this case, June 11), and the prize will go to the person who guesses closest without going over. (Warning: Last time, that meant the prize went to a cynical but savvy contestant who guessed $2 and $1, respectively, for Sex and the City 2 and MacGyver.)

The prizes this time? Let's look around on my floor and see. Okay, the winner can choose from among:

1) A cool Fox Fringe cube, complete with snazzy Fox packaging.

2) A cool Caprica disc and flash drive, from Syfy, in an uber-cool futuristic acrylic case.

3) A jump rope from Lifetime's Diet Tribe.

4) A set of giant playing cards from Alice, also from Syfy.

Enter once. Visit often.



Wednesday night in the late-night TV landscape, two networks conspired to do something requiring tricky timing and an unusual degree of cooperation. Because NBC's coverage of the Stanley Cup finals went into overtime, the plan was foiled on the East Coast - but West Coast viewers, especially channel-hoppers, were treated to something that may have been unprecedented.

On Tuesday's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS, the host -- who, since winning a Peabody, has taken to wearing a giant Mickey Mouse glove on occasion and waving to the camera -- followed an unscripted impulse and waved to rival NBC late-night host Jimmy Fallon, asking him to wave back.

The next day, producers for both shows collaborated on an impish followup, and timed the spots in their respective shows accordingly. Viewers on the West Coast, if they happened to be fervent flippers with their TV remotes, got the full effect.

First Fallon, on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, noted what Ferguson had done the night before, and sported his own Mickey Mouse glove while pretending to cry, threaten, and, eventually, wave back. Then, as soon as Fallon's bit was over, Ferguson, over at CBS, interrupted his opening monologue to note, with glee, that Fallon had just waved back at him.

Maybe it's only in a Disneyland world -- but hey, maybe we CAN all just get along...



Paul Provenza, the comedian who directed The Aristocrats, clearly knows how to make fellow comics comfortable, and to get them to talk naturally about some very funny stuff. So it shouldn't be surprising that his new Showtime series, The Green Room with Paul Provenza, is as hilarious as it is.

But hey, this is one funny series -- one that Showtime should get behind, big time, for a very long stretch.

It's the most entertaining, and illuminating, look into the comedy mind since Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg on TV Land -- but that series was one on one. In Green Room, Provenza plays host to four fellow comics, and the five of them, surrounded by audience members seated so close they share the same camera shots, just riff. Brilliantly.


The opener, televised Thursday night at 10:30 ET, features Eddie Izzard, Drew Carey, Larry Miller and Reginald Hunter. And if you're less familiar with Hunter than the others, that's the point of Provenza's booking strategy: Throw one talented relative unknown in with the comic celebrities, and watch them all swim in the deep end.

Each gets his turn to shine, and make you laugh out loud. Each takes turns being an appreciative audience, a riotous storyteller and a deady heckler. In episode two, Sandra Bernhard actually heckles herself, following her own personal story about abortion with a tossaway one-liner so brutal in its honesty, the others - including Roseanne Barr and Bob Saget -- sit there in appreciative, stunned silence. In episode three, Andy Dick makes the first joke about his court-mandated alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet, but by no means the last.

These unscripted conversations are funnier than most sitcoms, and tossed in among the show-biz stories are valuable insights about comedy -- all peppered with enough genuine punch lines to have you worn out at the end of each half hour. So far, Showtime and Provenza have made six.

Order a dozen more, for starters. The Green Room with Paul Provenza has the confident feel and smell of a franchise show.




Chris said:

I'm going to go with 27.3 million...in part because it's going up against the karate kid.

Good luck to everyone else who plays! :)

Comment posted on June 10, 2010 12:40 PM

Ken Rehfield said:

Since I won last time thanks to your largess of picking the runner-up and it was sooo much fun, I'll try again... it's a slow summer weekend so there might be an inordinate amount of interest in this kind of machismo action film with Liam Neeson in it so I'll guess a probably too high 33.5 million for the A-Team gross.

Comment posted on June 10, 2010 1:22 PM

Gregg B said:

Lowballing this time $10 Million. Rules should include no dollar bets. :)

Comment posted on June 10, 2010 1:59 PM

Kyle said:

I'll say 14.5 million.

Comment posted on June 10, 2010 2:01 PM

Sarah said:

I am going to go a little higher because The Karate Kid looks good but A-Team looks like a lot of fun and Bradley Cooper has really only failed once(that I can think of) in recent years. So I say 32.2 million.

Comment posted on June 10, 2010 2:23 PM

Carina said:

I'm going with 21 million.

Comment posted on June 10, 2010 2:46 PM

Neil said:

School's out this weekend here in California, and it's predicted to be a hot one. There will be a lot of kids looking to kill time in a cool place , and my guess is The A-Team pulls in $41.4 mill from them. And not a few Gen-X'ers who grew up with the TV show will want to see if the movie measures up.

Besides, I want that hot (uh, pardon me, cool) Caprica swag. DB can even send it with the floor schmutz still intact.

Comment posted on June 10, 2010 3:18 PM

Danny said:

31.5 million

Comment posted on June 10, 2010 5:41 PM

Curtis said:

I don't know, Dave The A-team, while really cheesy was (and is still sometimes in reruns) pretty funny and pure escape TV.

Was it any worse than McGyver? Were the plotlines really any more outrageous than Mission:Impossible? Was the acting any worse than, let's say, Knight Rider, Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic woman? Those guys played the scripts purely for laughs, I think. The movie might, just might, if played the same way, be OK.

I'm saying 32.5 mil just because it's post Memorial Day

Comment posted on June 10, 2010 6:33 PM

Angela Siegfried said:

I would love to watch this! Good comedy is hard to find. And I like that it's not a sitcom but a group of comedians and a host.
Figuring out what and who makes me laugh is important for me, 'cause I am truly the toughest in the bunch when it comes to actually laughing out loud.
I don't have Showtime so checked downloading an episode but it's not available as of yet. Hopefully it will be soon!

Comment posted on June 10, 2010 8:05 PM

Kate G said:

I will guess $32 million... I am not sure that any of these movies are going to make a lot of money. Personally, I am waiting for Toy Story 3 as the first two were among my sons' favorites and the new one looks to be as great as them...

Comment posted on June 10, 2010 8:40 PM

Gregg said:


Comment posted on June 10, 2010 10:16 PM

Tom said:


Comment posted on June 11, 2010 8:32 AM

Rich said:

I actually saw it last night at a Mid-Nite showing and I was surprised at how many people showed up. I was also surprised at how much better it was than I was expecting (I had low to medium expectations).

This movie was WAY more fun than I remember the TV series. Plus, an Awesome Cameo at the end by a TWW Fav.

I'm gonna go long and shoot for the fences $47 Million, I don't think it'll make that but I think it's just crazy enough for the "A Team" to pull off.

Comment posted on June 11, 2010 11:19 AM
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