News of the Week: New TV vs. Old, Yanny vs. Laurel, and Tigers vs. Teenagers

Everything Old Is New Again

If you read about the new TV shows this week, or you just awoke from a coma, you might be a little bit confused. Magnum, P.I. and Murphy Brown are on the schedule, joining Roseanne, MacGyver, and Will and Grace What year is it again?

This was the week for the annual network “upfronts,” that time of year when the TV networks trot out the stars of their new and returning shows for advertisers and tell us which of our favorite shows have been canceled. I won’t go into detail for each network; you can go elsewhere and read summaries and see trailers for the new stuff for ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, The CW, and all the other networks at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. I would like to talk about a few things that stood out.

Last Man Standing is coming back! It’s a solid, funny show, and it was really great to see Fox pick it up after ABC canceled it after six seasons. As I mentioned above, Magnum P.I. and Murphy Brown are both coming back to CBS. Murphy Brown will have the same cast as Murphy hosts a morning news show and goes up against her grown son Avery, who hosts a morning show on a conservative news channel (I wonder where they got that idea …). Magnum will have a whole new cast, with Jay Hernandez as the title character and Perdita Weeks as a female (!) Higgins. It’s still set in Hawaii though, and there will be a couple of Dobermans.

Is it weird that the thing that bothers me most about this new version — besides the fact they shouldn’t have done it in the first place — is that there’s no comma in the title? Believe it or not, they did that on purpose because commas aren’t search engine friendly. No, I’m serious.

If you liked Lost, you might like Manifest, NBC’s new show about a plane that vanishes and then reappears and lands like nothing happened; five years have gone by to the rest of the world, but not to the passengers. Alec Baldwin is going to have a weekly talk show on ABC; CBS has a show titled God Friended Me about a man whose life is turned upside down when he gets friended by God on Facebook (yes); Epix (a network you might not know exists) has a prequel to Batman titled Pennyworth, focusing on Alfred the butler; and ABC has a new romantic spy show that I swear is titled Whiskey Cavalier.

(Please note that 75 percent of these new shows will be gone by the fall of 2019.)

Sorry if you were a fan of Designated Survivor, Kevin Can Wait, or Lucifer, as they’ve all been canceled, along with a bunch of other shows, though Netflix might pick up Designated Survivor. NBC picked up the canceled Brooklyn Nine-Nine from Fox.

No word yet from NBC regarding Timeless. Singer Kelly Clarkson and SNL’s Leslie Jones are leading the charge for it to be renewed.

Do You Hear What I Hear?


Oh no, there’s another “The Dress.”

If you don’t remember the controversy that engulfed the web a few years ago, a picture of a dress had people taking sides. Some people saw the dress as being black and blue, and others saw it as being gold and white. I know it seems impossible that there could be that much of a difference of opinion (after all, black and blue look nothing like white and gold), but it almost caused another civil war. For the record, the dress was indeed black and blue, which is exactly how normal people (like me) saw it.

Now we have an audio version of that controversy. Listen to this clip. Is the voice saying “Yanny,” or is the voice saying “Laurel”?

Here’s the weird thing about this: I listened to it and clearly heard “Yanny.” It wasn’t even close. I was all set to be smug about it and write here that it was “Yanny” and that anyone who heard differently should have a hearing exam. But then I listened to it later, and it changed to “Laurel”! It’s now clearly Laurel for me. I have no idea how or why it changed (I listened to the same clip on the same computer). Unless it has something to do with the pitch or frequency, and my ears got used to it? I’m not even sure if that makes scientific sense, which probably explains why I don’t teach at MIT.

Let me know in the comments below what you hear. And listen to it twice, a few hours apart, and see if it changes.

Tiger at the Prom


I don’t remember anything weird happening at my senior prom, unless you count seeing all of my 18-year-old friends wearing tuxes and lavish dresses when I usually saw them in jeans and casual shirts. Maybe prom has changed in the last 35 years, because now they include wildlife.

A high school in Miami made the controversial decision to have a caged tiger at their jungle-themed prom. The event was held at the Miami International Airport, and the tiger wasn’t alone. There was also a fox, a lemur, and a couple of macaws.

A sister of one of the school’s students posted her displeasure on Facebook. The principal has since apologized (to the parents and students — no word on whether he apologized to the animals).

Goodbye Jerks?


I’m not sure how they can possibly do this, but Twitter is going to crack down on jerks. Through very scientific and precise (cough, cough) behavioral signals, filtering, and algorithms, the social media site is going to try to weed out the negative tweets so they don’t show up as much on your timeline. Oh, I’m sure this won’t be a controversial move at all.

If you’ve ever been on Twitter, you’ve seen that not only are there a lot of jerks, jerkiness seems to be sort of a prerequisite for the site. Using Twitter is like the age-old question about drinking too much: Does it change you into a worse person or does it just make the real you come out?

Read This

PBS has a fun show starting on May 22 called The Great American Read. Host Meredith Vieira will take us through the history of the 100 best-loved books chosen by the public. They’ve set up a web site where you can find out information about each book and take a quiz on how many of the books you’ve read. It should be noted that the list shouldn’t be called 100 “books” because they’re all novels. There’s no nonfiction listed. Maybe that can be the sequel.

It should also be noted that The Da Vinci Code and Fifty Shades of Grey shouldn’t be on the list.

RIP Tom Wolfe, Margot Kidder, Art Shay, Robert N. Hall, Larry Parry, and Kristin Harmon

Tom Wolfe’s classic novels and essay collections include The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full, and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. He came up with the terms radical chic and the me decade and had an enormous influence on a generation of writers. He died this week at the age of 88.

Before he wrote those classic works, he wrote for the Post. In the June 19, 1965, issue, he wrote an essay against the trend of sinning titled “Down with Sin!

Margot Kidder was probably best known for her role as reporter Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve in the Superman films. She also appeared in The Amityville Horror, Black Christmas, and Sisters, as well as TV shows like Nichols and Boston Common. She died Sunday at the age of 69.

Art Shay was an acclaimed photographer famous for many iconic pictures of people like Muhammad Ali, President John F. Kennedy, Marlon Brando, Senator Joseph McCarthy, and Elizabeth Taylor. He died April 28 at the age of 96.

You know that laser bar code reader that almost every supermarket checkout uses? You have inventor Robert N. Hall to thank for that. He actually passed away two years ago at the age of 96, but for some reason, news of his death is only getting out nationally now.

Larry Parry was one of the last survivors of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He died last Saturday at the age of 97.

Kristin Harmon was an actress and the ex-wife of singer and actor Ricky Nelson. She appeared with him on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. She was the sister of NCIS star Mark Harmon and mother of actress Tracy Nelson. She died in April at the age of 72.

Quote of the Week

“Our bigly-ist hit of the year is Roseanne. Roseanne is the number-one show, as you’ve heard repeatedly, in total viewers and the demo. So everyone who says Hollywood is out of new ideas, we’re not. It’s just that one of our new ideas was to Google, ‘What were our old ideas?’”

—Jimmy Kimmel, hosting ABC’s upfront

This Week in History

Florence Nightingale Born (May 12, 1820)

We always think of Nightingale as a nurse, but she was also a social reformer and writer.

Here’s a gallery of Post covers featuring nurses. I don’t think nurses would light a patient’s cigarette these days.

Sinatra Dies, Seinfeld Ends (May 14, 1998)

I remember saying to someone 20 years ago that now the 20th century can officially end. Both Frank Sinatra and the TV show Seinfeld  went away on the same day. The less we think about that misguided Seinfeld finale the better, but this day would be a great one to honor Ol’ Blue Eyes by playing his music.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Sunday Morning (May 16, 1959)

Sunday Morning
May 16, 1959

There are actually a few Post covers that show men trying to hide so they don’t have to go to Sunday-morning church services. This one is from Norman Rockwell.

It’s National Gazpacho Aficionado Month

I’ve never had cold soup, and it’s not something I’ve ever been in a hurry to try. Cold soup to me just means “hot soup that you left on the table too long.” But the warmer weather is here, and if you’re the type of person who loves soup and you miss it during the summer months, maybe you can try a bowl of something of a cooler temperature. Here are four you might like, including Gazpacho Grande and a Cool Cucumber Soup.

Also, I’m pretty sure Gazpacho Aficionado was the name of a character in one of the James Bond movies.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Royal Wedding (May 19)

Hey, did you hear there’s a big wedding in England on Saturday? The media hasn’t been covering it that much, so you may not have heard.

To get you in the mood for all things British, CBS Sunday Morning shows you how to do a proper afternoon tea and lists some of the differences between British English and American English. And Post Archive Director Jeff Nilsson shows us the many articles we’ve published about the royal family over the years.