It's not often the gods of TV hand you almost exactly what you ask for.
So it's time to praise Comedy Central for trying something different in late night, handing Stephen Colbert's time slot to the guy who plays The Daily Show's "senior black correspondent," Larry Wilmore.
It's always unfortunate to see potential wasted onscreen, in acting, writing, or directing. It's worse to see it happen all at once with artists universally known as capable of much more. God's Pocket, the directorial feature debut of Mad Men's John Slattery and featuring one of Philip Seymour Hoffman's last performances, is a tonal mess, listless for two-thirds until violence erupts seemingly at random. It wants to be Fargo, a tale of crime in an insular community and its mounting complications; instead, it collapses into laughable dramatics that fall flat.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Neurosurgery is a stressful occupation. So is being a neurosurgical patient. With their superior eyes and hand skills, some neurosurgeons are turning to making art, and several are getting exposure at art exhibits throughout the country - including at this year's annual meeting of neurosurgeons. From member station KQED in San Francisco, April Dembosky sent us this audio postcard.
Phillip Jennings runs a travel agency with his wife Elizabeth. They've got two kids. They live in a quiet suburb of Washington, D.C. circa 1981. Like so many two-career couples, it can be a struggle to juggle career and family life.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE AMERICANS")
KERI RUSSELL: (As Elizabeth Jennings) If this goes bad, you need to be out of town somewhere with the kids. Get the kids to Canada. Contact the rezidentura there.
OK, film idea now - Park Avenue family waits for Nell, their college-aged daughter, to come home for Thanksgiving. They've got Obama bumper stickers on the fridge and literature on their bookshelves that proclaims their liberal convictions. They're eager to meet the boyfriend they're expecting Nell to bring home. All is in place when...
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "UNDER THE TABLE")
JACKIE VISCUSI: (As Nell) Mom, hi, Happy Thanksgiving. This is Laura, my girlfriend.
This '57 Chevy station wagon was once pristine, the epitome of American automotive glory: two-tone green, with sweeping fins and enough chrome to blind pedestrians. But by the time journalist Earl Swift came across it, those days were gone, and it was subsiding gently into a heap of rust and torn upholstery.
Rob Lowe and Peter Sagal are about the same age, and have led very similar lives: They've both made it huge in show business, been staples of the gossip magazines, are known far and wide for their strangely youthful good looks.
Back in the '80s Lowe was part of Hollywood's Brat Pack so we've invited him to answer three questions about some of the lesser known facts of bratwurst.
The White House released a report this week on the impacts of global warming. Many places are already feeling the effects. There's drought in the Southwest, rising sea levels in Miami, and now even fictional worlds are feeling the burn.
There have been novels about climate change since the 1960's, but to me the definitive example is a book that's not well known outside the field of science fiction: The Windup Girl, by the American novelist Paolo Bacigalupi, which won both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards in 2010.
The 1980s novel God's Pocket, by Pete Dexter, is a story of hapless drunks, construction workers and one washed-up newspaper columnist. The book takes its name from a fictional blue-collar neighborhood in Philadelphia.
For 30 years, Carl anchored the newscast for Morning Edition, and in 1998 he became Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me's official scorekeeper. His last show will air on May 17. Following that, Carl will become Scorekeeper Emeritus and will continue to record voice mail greetings for our winners. In honor of Carl's last show, Peter Sagal reflects on their years working together.
Presumably, the day I was born was the most important day of my life, but I don't remember that. I do remember the day I met Carl Kasell, though, so that tops my personal list.
In The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg invented Facebook. In Now You See Me, he mastered magic tricks. In Rio, his animated macaw learned to fly, and his Lex Luthor will soon be nemesis-ing the caped crusader in Batman Vs. Superman. But it's safe to say that none of those pictures asked half as much of Eisenberg as Richard Ayoade's The Double, which requires him, pretty literally, to meet himself coming and going.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, in one of his final film roles, stars as Mickey in "God's Pocket," the new movie directed by John Slattery. Slattery is famous for his role as Roger Sterling on TV's "Mad Men" and over the years has directed several episodes of that AMC series. He makes the transition to feature film directing with "God's Pocket" which he and Alex Metcalf adapted from the 1983 novel by Pete Dexter.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm TV critic David Bianculli. This weekend two very different TV productions attempt to do much the same thing - revisit old works of literature in the horror and suspense genre and adapt them with new approaches for a new generation. NBC's four hour miniseries version of Ira Levin's "Rosemary's Baby" barely justifies the attempt.
There is a strong crossover between your Daniel Radcliffe People and your Harry Potter People, for obvious reasons. Next to me at Broadway's Cort Theater on Thursday night, watching Radcliffe in Martin McDonagh's comedy The Cripple Of Inishmaan (a production that's Tony-nominated for Best Revival Of A Play) were three young women. Their first priority: finding out where to await him when the show was over, and strategically how to get a good spot.
Marketer Rory Sutherland says advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. He says perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider "real" value.