October 19th, 2009
12:28 PM ET

Your pop culture cheat sheet

Here's what's happening in the world of entertainment today:

  • Roman Polanski has been moved from jail for medical treatment, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Polanski was arrested in Switzerland on charges related to allegedly having sex with an underage girl in 1977. Polanski pleaded guilty at the time.
ugly betty
  • If you've watched any ABC lately, you know that they have big plans for the upcoming remake of the 1980s sci-fi miniseries/series "V." The Hollywood Reporter says that they are bringing new meaning to the term "going all out" by sending skywriters all over the country to place "V" in the sky over 26 U.S. landmarks on Friday.
  • Professional dog trainer and reality show star Cesar Millan will be portrayed by Wilmer Valderrama in an upcoming comedy series, Variety reports. "The Dog Whisperer" star has inspired the show, and it's yet to be seen how closely the show will reflect real life and if Valderrama's character will have the same name.
  • "Ugly Betty's" move to Friday nights does not appear to be a successful one, as Variety reports a "quiet" start for it in the ratings, saying it was "down sharply" from what it was bringing in on Thursday nights. Meanwhile, despite a strong start, "Project Runway" is flat on Lifetime compared to the ratings it was getting on Bravo, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
October 19th, 2009
11:38 AM ET

'Find The Good' - ready for prime time?

If you don't like the trend in prime-time programming this week, don't blame your friendly neighborhood "Find The Good" blogger.  Of course, if you do like it, I'll take the credit.  I'll explain.

Remember when NBC did a "Green Week," throwing environmental messages into a bunch of its prime-time shows?  Well, get ready for "iParticipate," the brainchild of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, which bills itself as Hollywood's leading charity organization.  As part of the initiative, the EIF has gotten all four major broadcast networks and other channels to "shine a spotlight on the power of service."

Yep, volunteerism storylines will be bustin' out all over this week, as more than 60 shows, from "30 Rock" to "CSI: Miami" to "So You Think You Can Dance," are "infused with inspirational volunteer messages," as the EIF puts it.  It's a follow-up to the EIF's very successful Stand Up To Cancer campaign, which has raised more than $100 million.

Now, obviously the goal is laudable, and your local "Find The Good" guy would hardly criticize such a well-meaning effort.  But it seems to me the success or failure of the initiative will depend in large part on how well the shows integrate the sermons.  For something like "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," it's a natural fit, but scripted comedies and dramas could be tougher.  If viewers are irritated instead of impressed or moved, I don't think they're likely to take the volunteerism message to heart.

So what do you think?  Is it appropriate to put well-intentioned, non-partisan messages into entertainment programming?  Should a show be criticized if it doesn't want to join such an effort?  And, most importantly, I'd like to hear this week what you think about how it went.  Which shows pulled it off, and which ones flopped?

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Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.