Well, that was one sure way to get a response about Austin Stories, printing a flagrant rumor. No response from MTV, of course, and AS producer George Sledge phoned to say that as far as he knew, the MTV comedy series was "point[ed] in [the renewal] direction but not official." The rumored move to L.A. I reported was complete news to him, and he seems doubtful that will occur. (But you never know about these things, do you? Vancouver, B.C. passes for all parts of the U.S. on The X-Files.)
I do look forward to seeing more Austin Stories. The series started out unremarkably but really did gain the hoped-for momentum. For Austinites, the fun of "Oh, I've eaten there!" and "Hey, s/he plays in 8 1/2 Souvenirs/the Hormones" wore off pretty quickly as actual storylines emerged and the relationship between the characters developed. (Brad Pope dressing in Goth clothing and make-up is my favorite so far, though the lust-ridden Laura House looked soooo cute in heat last week. And Richard Edson and Howard Kremercould be brothers.)
Of course, the notion of watching a TV program that resembles my workplace is a little disconcerting. "We're not the Chronicle," they say with the kind of disgust usually reserved for MTV publicists. God, we hope not, we say. But here are a few comparisons that question that party line:
AW: Alternative weekly in Austin, Texas
AC: Alternative weekly in Austin, Texas
AW: Office on Guadalupe at 16th
AC: Original offices on 16th at Guadalupe
AW: Laura House is adorably chubby, uses a Mac PowerBook covered in stickers, and has a poster of John Cale in her office.
AC: "TV Eye" columnist is adorably chubby, uses a Mac covered in stickers, and has a poster of John Cale in her office.
AW: Episode stars Tim Stegall.
AC: Paper prints Tim Stegall.
AW: Staffers sleep together.
AC: No comment
AW: Uptight editor
AC: No comment
AW: Christmas lights in office year-round
AC: Christmas lights in office year-round
AW: Neurotic bespectacled editor is bereft after death of pet cat.
AC: Neurotic bespectacled music columnist is bereft after death of pet rat.
AW: At work, Laura House calls in sick to avoid gossip leak.
AC: At Ritz, gossip Lieck avoids Laura House.
AW: "Those creepy Weekly people."
AC: How can they talk that way about XLent?
The pom-poms don't usually come out for TNT made-for-TV films, and I'm not gonna shake them very hard for Two for Texas except to note that founding Chronicle co-publisher Joe Dishner was the unit production manager for the film (I tried to preview the film but, well... I couldn't match its testosterone charge.) Two for Texas premieres on TNT this Sunday (1/18, 7pm) and is billed as a "rousing, epic frontier adventure set in 1836, during the time of Sam Houston and the battle of the Alamo"; it stars Kris Kristofferson, Tom Skerritt, Scott Bairstow, and Peter Coyote (what? no Sam Elliot?). The good news is that it is based on a novel by James Lee Burke. The bad news is that you won't be able to avoid it for the next few months as it gets repeated.
Sifting through the general news in television shows, The X-Files has most definitely been renewed for another two years by FOX, and the rumors of its location move from Canada to L.A. seem to be in order. Star David Duchovny wants to be closer to where wife Tea Leoni films Naked Truth (I can't believe her lame-o comedy is still floundering after what, three makeovers and two haircolors? Hey, NBC! Put it out of its misery and get the woman a good show, if you really believe in her!)... Although no doubt reeling from the final negotiations to keep ER feathering their line-up, NBC decided to dump Jenny, perhaps realizing that filling airtime with air is just not profitable. West Coast NBC president Don Ohlmeyer, whose sphincter must have really been tight as he stepped to the mike, chirped, "We value this partnership and look forward to an additional three years of riveting dramatic television from John Wells, Michael Crichton, and everyone involved with ER as the show continues to anchor our prime-time schedule Thursday nights." Even more relieved was NBC Entertainment president Warren Littlefield, who sighed, "I am thrilled to have these negotiations behind us." The actual price wasn't revealed at presstime but word is that it was staggering, roughly $13 million per episode. That's a lot of damn smackeroos, even for a show as good as ER ... And in major cartoons news, Woody Woodpecker will be returning to the small screen after a 21-year absence. The manic sixtysomething creation of Walter Lantz will appear on FOX's Saturday morning lineup next season. Can Gandy Goose be far behind?
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