Placido Domingo: The first 70 years

In the midst of this week's commercial-network commotion, PBS drops in a Placido Domingo special on Friday. This varies a lot from market to market -- it airs Friday on Cincinnati, but not in Lansing -- so I'll put the story here. Check your local listings:


From his earliest moments, Placido
Domingo had music flowing into his ears.

Keeley Hawes: One of the best; not one of the best-known

Not all gifted actresses, it seems, get equal amounts of attention. I'm quite sure I've seen more about Sandra Bullock and Anjelina Jolie than I have about Keeley Hawes.

Still, let's be clear about this: Hawes -- who stars in the "Upstairs Downstairs" PBS miniseries that begins Sunday (April 10) -- is one of the best actresses around. Here's a story I sent to papers:


PBS has an endless appetite for people
who play upper-class English folks.

More good news: "Nova," "Justified," cable excess

The world seems to have an unlimited amount of television and a too-limited amount of really good television. So let's celebrate three bursts of good news -- two relating to shows tonight (Wednesday):

1) "Justified" has been renewed for a third season. This show (10 p.m. Wednesdays on FX) crackles with great characters and sharp dialog. Tonight's hour is a pretty good one, as two strong women -- a coal executive and a crime matriarch -- battle over mining rights.

Classical music gets its savior (again)

The sharp observor may have detected that I don't write nearly enough about classical music. This could be attributed to some combination of ignorance and circumstance.

Here's an exception: On Wednesday, PBS gives prime time over to a zestful young conductor, still not quite 30.

This is the story I sent to papers. If you're reading this in the Lansing, Mich., area, keep in mind that the Tavis Smiley hour will be pushed to WKAR World (23.4), because of a Gov. Granholm interview:


OK, here are TV's 10 best

The best thing about 10-best lists is that they let us fume, fret and argue -- to ourselves, to anyone nearby or to whoever created the offending list.

With that in mind, here's the story I just sent to papers, with my picks for the 10 best shows of 2010. Fell free to commence griping, by posting a comment here or simply upsetting your neighbors:



Amid the cascade of 10-best lists,
there's an annual trend:

Join the "Circus" on TV

This is the week when two terrific mini-series begin peaking inside colorful show-business worlds. "Moguls & Movie Stars" is from 8-9 p.m. for seven Mondays on Turner Classic Movies; "Circus" is from 9-11 p.m. for three Wednesdays on most PBS stations.

I found the "Circus" people especially interesting to talk to. Here's the story I sent to papers; if you're reading this after the first episode aired, check www.pbs.org:


The good old (and bad old) days of newspaper power

As newspapers struggle for their place in a multi-media world, it's fun to look back at the days when they had it all.

That's the focus of "Inventing L.A.," a terrific documentary that most PBS stations air tonight (Monday). It tells about the generations in which the Los Angeles Times used its power badly -- and about recent decades, when it used it wonderfully. Here's a story I wrote for papers: