The Power Rankings! Go on Hiatus, Celebrity Podcasting, Q&As And More

'Breaking Bad' was going to dominate anyway, and you know it

The Power Rankings! are taking a hiatus starting this week and will return a little before the start of the fall season -- plenty of time to hammer home the point that Breaking Bad was going to kick everybody's ass anyway. Even in the strongest of fields, I put Breaking Bad as one of the two best series currently on television (Mad Men being the other).

So it would take an enormous collapse in quality for Season 4 of Breaking Bad to tumble down the ranks. That said, it was a great run at the end for Treme and Men Of A Certain Age and there were some epic battles earlier in The Power Ranking! run, plus a very sustained bit of dominance from Game of Thrones. In the downtime, I'll be watching all my faves, particularly Wilfred, Louie and Falling Skies, for pleasure, just like Buddha intended.

Part of the need to let The Power Rankings! go sit by the pool with a margarita was my need to catch up on fall screeners (hell, I might have to watch Chelsea Handler's show about six times given all the tinkering). But yes, there's a need to get on those because The Death March With Cocktails (aka the Television Critics Association summer press tour) is just around the corner and I'll be decamping to the Beverly Hilton from July 25 to Aug. 9, listening to series creators and network execs spin these upcoming series and maybe explain some of the fiery implosions from the past season. After all, it's right there in my bio -- mostly what I do is failure analysis.

Thanks to The Hollywood Reporter's newfound love of Cover It Live software, I'll be live-blogging my ass off at the Death March With Cocktails from session to session. You won't need to refresh the screen. All the snark, hope and impending bitterness will just unfold in front of you. And, like years before, there will drunken blogging and tweeting. Always a bonus.

Speaking of Cover It Live, I'll soon begin launching a live weekly Q&A chat right here on The Bastard Machine. Just as soon as I learn how to weed out questions like, "When is 'The Riches' coming back?" I'll try to give everyone on both coasts enough warning so they can join in.

Also, thanks to the continued prodding (and helpfulness) of Macworld editor Jason Snell (the guy who came up with the coding for The Power Rankings!, so - respect), I'm figuring out how to create podcasts on the go (or even by the pool, who knows). Of course, podcasting is not new to me -- I started the TV Talk Machine podcast at the San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 21, 2007. Yes, 2007. That particular podcast was made up of, well, lots of completely random bits of stupidity that eventually captured a worldwide audience (we could never figure it out either, but we had people downloading it from all over the world and we were even featured on BBC Radio as an example of how newspapers were branching out -- bwahahahahaha). Anyway, some months we'd have up to 50,000 downloads (mostly when I interviewed people I liked in the TV industry, such as Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, or Mitch Hurwitz and Will Arnett, or podfather Ricky Gervais or the sprawling, insanely fun riff that Eddie Izzard went on). Under the same umbrella, I did the aforementioned "completely random bits of stupidity podcast" with a recurring cast of characters, including -- like the drummers for Spinal Tap -- a collection of producers who had bad things happen to them. That created a cult following with our own TV Talk Machine Facebook Page (now at 718 insanely troubled followers despite not having a podcast in, well, a really long time) and people who would cart what we'd call a Flat Bastard sign -- see yellow image above -- around the world with them, take a picture and send it in. We had people take pictures with it on almost every continent, at their wedding and even in the hospital, seconds after giving birth. So, yeah, I know about podcasting.

But what I'm hoping to do at The Hollywood Reporter is continue the interviews with people I like in the industry, post them on the site and create an aural history of interesting people. (Walton Goggins from Justified said he'd do one ages ago and Rob McElhenny from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia agreed to even further back; plus the first perrson who every agreed to the idea -- Ken Burns -- is in. And I have, on some old napkin or in blood somewhere, agreements from Jason Bateman and Keith Olbermann to do the same. David Cross did not sign a napkin, but I'm hoping to get him to talk about The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret, philosophy and fantasy baseball. So, if I ever figure out how to do it on the fly (as opposed to the podcasting studio I had at the San Francisco Chronicle), you'll find it here. And I've committed to do the celebrity-free, information-free time-waster of a podcast for the TVTM Facebook Page as well.

All of this is probably no more than an elaborate excuse not to do The Power Rankings! this week and no doubt I've over-promised for the future, but hey -- now you're updated.

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