News of the Week: Summer Olympics, Stephen Colbert, and Sackings on Sesame Street

Keep Your Mouth Shut

There are many things I simply refuse to care about — who Taylor Swift is dating, the latest Snapchat features, the fact that I can get a great price on English muffins if I buy nine packages of them are on sale at the supermarket. And I guess I’d have to add to that list the Olympics. Sorry! I just can’t get into them, and even if I did, the coverage is all over the place and often hard to follow. I’m afraid the only reason I would watch them this year is to see which swimmers, sailors, and windsurfers get sick from the water because they didn’t keep their mouths closed.

But hey, if you like the Olympics, I can keep my mouth shut. The opening ceremonies are tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Over the next two weeks you’ll be able to watch events on other NBC stations as well, including USA, CNBC, Bravo, and NBC Sports Network.

Stephen Colbert Cant Be Stephen Colbert Anymore

Here’s my problem with The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: I don’t think Colbert knows how to host the show.

This is what I mean. I still think he’s having a problem separating himself from the “Stephen Colbert” persona he had for so many years on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. You can hear it in his cadence and tone and delivery and see it in his body language and arched eyebrow. He’s still doing that ironic character even as he sits there as the real Colbert. He does a lot of political humor at his desk, and you really can’t differentiate the real Colbert from the old “Colbert.”

A new executive producer took over a few months ago, and it looks like they want to make it more Colbert Report-ish. But I don’t know if that’s what an 11:35 p.m. CBS show should be. If they want to do The Colbert Report, they should just jump in and do it 100 percent. I don’t think that’s a good idea, but at least it’s an idea. Either that or do a regular talk show. I never had a problem figuring out the “real” David Letterman or Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel or Seth Meyers, and I’d really like to see Colbert give us the real Colbert.

When he left Comedy Central, I even suggested he stop using the fake name Colbert (with a silent “t”) and go back to his real name, Colbert (with a hard “t”), to really get away from the old character, but I guess that’s never going to happen.

This week lawyers told Colbert and CBS that he could no longer use the “Stephen Colbert” character or certain bits he used to use on Comedy Central because they’re the intellectual property of that network. Colbert had brought back the character while doing live episodes during the Republican and Democratic conventions.

I think that Stephen Colbert not being able to be “Stephen Colbert” any longer is a great thing, even if Colbert doesn’t know that. But Colbert has already gotten around the legal maneuver with a fancy maneuver of his own. He’s now portraying “Stephen Colbert’s” identical cousin “Stephen Colbert” (They’re cousins! Identical cousins!), and instead of the regular segment “The Word,” he’ll be doing “The Werd.”

I still think it’s a mistake. I don’t want The Late Show to become The Colbert Report, even if I did like The Colbert Report.

Jon Stewarts New HBO Show

There’s news about “Colbert’s” former Comedy Central cohort, too. At the Television Critics Association tour, HBO announced what exactly Jon Stewart’s new show will be about. Not surprisingly, it’s about the news, but this one will be animated.

The new show doesn’t have a title, but it will be a parody of cable news. The HBO show will probably be seen weekly, and Stewart is also producing additional video for the show that can only be seen on the show’s website. The plan is to have it out before Election Day this November. It must be killing Stewart not to have been able to comment on this election on a regular basis.

As far as we know, attorneys will allow Stewart to use his own name on the new show.

You Might as Well Jump (Jump!)

I watched this live on Fox last weekend. At first I thought it was going to be one of those TV specials that was one hour of build-up that leads up to three minutes of nothing, but this lived up to the hype. Skydiver Luke Aikins jumping out of an airplane and landing in a net. It’s just crazy:

Guinness confirms that Aikins set a new world record for the highest skydive without a parachute: 25,000 feet.


Alas, not all live stunts went as smoothly this week. This happened on NBC’s Americas Got Talent. Don’t worry, he’s okay:

RIP Gloria DeHaven and David Huddleston

The actress and singer starred in several musicals and dramas, including Thousands Cheer, Three Little Words, Summer Stock, Two Girls and a Sailor, Summer Holiday, and Step Lively. She actually made her screen debut in Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times. She later had regular roles on Nakia and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and appeared on Touched by an Angel, The Love Boat, Ryans Hope, Falcon Crest, Police Story, Mannix, Gunsmoke, three episodes of Murder, She Wrote, and many other shows.

DeHaven died on Saturday in Las Vegas after suffering a stroke three months ago. She was 91.

David Huddleston passed away this week, too. He was the man who played The Big Lebowski, but he was in many other movies, including Blazing Saddles, Santa Claus: The Movie, Capricorn One, and Rio Lobo, as well as a ton of TV shows like The West Wing, Magnum, P.I., Bewitched, The Waltons, Bonanza, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Rockford Files, Gilmore Girls, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. And that’s just a partial list.

Huddleston died Tuesday of heart and kidney disease in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was 85.

Can You Tell Me How to Get, How to Get to the Unemployment Office?

I learned so much from Sesame Street, which is probably why I eat too many cookies and live in a garbage can. We found out this week that three veteran members of the show, Bob McGrath, Emilio Delgado, and Roscoe Orman, have been let go. McGrath has been on the show since it debuted in 1969. Now there’s only one original member left, Loretta Long.

But wait! Yesterday, word came that maybe the three stars won’t be leaving the show after all. In a statement posted on Facebook, Sesame Workshop CEO Jeff Dunn said this:

Of course, it’s still not clear if the three will be seen as much as they used to be, but it’s good to see that the show intends to keep them on in some way.

National Root Beer Float Day

Tomorrow is National Root Beer Float Day. I love root beer but haven’t had a root beer float since I was a kid and I’d get one while picking up the latest Superman comics. Here’s a recipe from Rachael Ray. The ingredients are pretty simple: just root beer and vanilla ice cream. You can also try some of the variations, which use grape soda, lemon-lime soda, and ginger ale.

If you’re not a fan of beer in the root variety, you can wait a day and celebrate International Beer Day, which is Sunday.

Upcoming Events and Anniversaries

Nagasaki bombed (August 9, 1945)

This was the second atomic bomb dropped by the U.S. on Japan. The first came three days earlier at Hiroshima.

President Nixon resigns (August 9, 1974)

Here’s an interesting letter from Nixon that The Saturday Evening Post published in the fall of 1972, where he says how happy he is that there is a full record — even tape! — of his administration.

Son of Sam arrested (August 10, 1977)

Here’s Time on how the New York serial killer was caught.

Riots begin in Watts area of L.A. (August 11, 1965)

The week-long series of arson and looting incidents started when a black motorist was arrested for drunk driving.

Cecil B. DeMille born (August 12, 1881)

Here’s a site devoted to the massive set that the director built for his 1923 silent film, The Ten Commandments. The set was buried after filming but unearthed in 1983.