5 Questions with...Sun-Times' Paige Wiser

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5 Questions with...Sun-Times' Paige Wiser

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guesta standout journalist who actually gets paid to watch TV for a livingshes a veteran staff member of the Chicago Sun-Times who now provides the latest entertainment news and on-going critiques for the wonderful world of televisionshes also a working mom with two small children who would just love to get a break from watching Dora the Explorer for the ten millionth timehere are 5 Questions withPAIGE WISER!

BIO: Paige Wiser is the resident TV critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. She has worked at the Sun-Times since 1994, in a variety of capacities. Over the years, she has written columns devoted to late-night cable movies ("Camera Obscura"), celebrity biographies ("BioFeedback"), and fringe entertainment ("Contrary to Popular Opinion"). She also penned a popular Sunday column, entitled Planet Paige, that looked at the quirkier side of the news.

Paige earned her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Notre Dame, and her master's in journalism from Northwestern University. She grew up in the northwest suburbs, dabbled in an urban lifestyle for a few storied years, and then packed up her all-black wardrobe for the inevitable move back to the suburbs.

Her husband, Jim Wiser, is the producer of "The Greg Jarrett Show" on WGN Radio AM 720. A busy mom with two kids, Paige usually does most of her writing at 4 a.m.

1) CSNChicago.com: Paige, as you are well awareas the world is well aware, our citys very own Oprah Winfrey just began her farewell TV season this week. In your opinion, when she finally does sign off for the last time, at least in this chapter, of her unprecedented television career next spring, how much of a void does she truly leave behind in the TV entertainment industry and do you think her departure will have a positive or negative effect on other existingfuture daytime talk shows?

Wiser: Personally, I think Ill be all right. I never had an Oprah phase, and right around the time she was touting the magic of The Secret, I began to feel like her influence could be dangerous. Thank God she uses her powers for good. If I may quote Breakfast at Tiffanys and I do, way too often Shes a phony, but shes a real phony. You know why? Because she honestly believes all this phony junk that she believes.

Shell definitely leave a void, and I think itll be fun to see who will fill it. Nobody saw Oprah coming, and now that our supreme tastemaker is onto greener pastures, Im hoping some visionary will reinvent daytime. There was a time when you could depend on reruns of Murder, She Wrote and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer to get you through the day, but lately, it doesnt seem like it could get any worse.

2) CSNChicago.com: With the fall TV season about to get underway, what season-ending cliff hangers from the end of last season are you most looking forward to seeing be resolved in the next few weeks?

Wiser: The art of the cliff hanger! I try to end each day with one.

The Big Bang Theory: Jim Parsons nabbed a well-deserved Emmy, and now his character seems to have met his match in Mayim Bialik, who will be back this season. Yes, Blossom! I also would have accepted Winnie from The Wonder Years, as shes so talented in math in real life.

Gossip Girl: I happen to be insanely attracted to Chuck (Ed Westwick), who was shot in the last episode. He could only improve with a mysterious scar. And Blair and Serena took off for Paris, so Im really just hoping for some dressing-room montages. I am a woman of simple pleasures.

The Office: Michael (Steve Carell) was on the verge of true love by asking for his sweetie Holly (Amy Ryan) to be transferred back. Dorks in love! Did you notice that Holly had a picture of Ed Grimley as her computer desktop?

Glee: Its not a perfect show, but its interesting to see how its evolving. I dont think anybody can bear the wait for the Britney Spears episode. And in real life, Puck (Mark Salling) and Santana (Naya Rivera) have already hooked up and broken up, so Ill be watching for some tension there. Plus - John Stamos as a dentist!

FlashForward: Well, it was canceled. But I would have been looking forward to it.

3) CSNChicago.com: With the onslaught of many new TV shows premiering this fall, tell us your five favorites so far that youre fairly certain will be a big hit with viewers this season.

Wiser: I make no claims about predicting hits the viewing audience has surprised me time and again (see: Two and a Half Men). But these are my five favorites:

Hawaii Five-0

Its folly to remake any show in any form (I guess puppetry would be funny), but I loved this. I love Scott Caan in anything; I think hes the arbiter of cool. And we get to hear Alex OLoughlin (basically a poor mans Keanu Reeves) say to him, Book em, Danno!

Raising Hope

Its Malcolm in the Middle, its Raising Arizona, its Martha Plimpton and malapropisms (philostrophical). Its Cloris Leachman wandering around in her bra. A financially (and somewhat mentally) challenged family tries to raise a baby without killing it.

Undercovers

Weve seen a lot of CIA actioners, enough that its a shocker that the agency can still function. We know all their secrets! But Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe are hot as a married spy team who have to report to a very gruff Gerald McRaney.

Hellcats

The Bring It On movie series is one of my weaknesses, so Im beside myself that I can expect cheer drama on a WEEKLY BASIS. Ashley Tisdale is underrated (by adults, at least), and well get to see the sweater monkeys make the case that theyre a serious sport.

The Defenders

Didnt want to like it. Didnt want to see Jim Belushi with another hot wife, didnt want to see Jerry OConnell in a bad suit. But theyre hysterical together as a legal team based on a pair of real Vegas lawyers.

4) CSNChicago.com: What would you consider to be the biggest mega pre-hyped shows in TV history that absolutely bombed with viewers?

Wiser: You have to know how heartbroken I was about Melrose Place being remade. The show had a very special place in my heart, and introduced communal viewing to an entire generation. I wanted the magic back. And it was just . . . the same set, really. But Katie Cassidy is a find. Id also be remiss in not mentioning Cop Rock. And The Ropers, maybe?

5) CSNChicago.com: Finally, lets shift to sports for this one. Who do you consider to be the greatest television game announcer in Chicago sports history?

Wiser: I do not have the section of the brain that responds to sports. At all. So I asked my husband, so who says, Before the days of Pat Foley, Blackhawks play-by-play announcer Lloyd Petit was the best. Len Kasper and Bob Brenly are very good, too.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you would like to plug Paige? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it

Wiser: Oh gosh, not really. I have a 6-year-old and a 5-year-old who have caught WAY too many scenes from Dexter, Rescue Me and True Blood. I will say that being a TV critic, you actually see less TV than youd like to; there are so many advance DVDs to review that its hard to keep up with, say, Big Brother minutiae. Also, the job is really not good for the metabolism.

Wiser LINKS:

Chicago Sun-TimesPaige Wiser columns

Chicago Sun-TimesThe TV Paige blog

Paige Wiser on Facebook

Paige Wiser on Twitter

Nikola Mirotic and why the Bulls traded their second-round pick

Nikola Mirotic and why the Bulls traded their second-round pick

The Bulls entered rebuild mode on Thursday night after they dealt Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. They acquired a pair of guards in Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 pick which they used to select Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen.

But the Bulls opted not to continue adding youth to their roster when they sold their second-round pick, No. 38 overall, to the Golden State Warriors. That pick was Oregon power forward Jordan Bell, who many considered a late first-round prospect.

The move was perplexing for a team that hours earlier had traded away its franchise player to start a youth movement. But VP John Paxson said after the draft that the decision to move the pick was based on team depth, hinting at a significant move the Bulls will make in free agency.

"We had some wings on our board that we had targeted that were the only way we were going to keep that (No. 38) pick, and they went before us. And drafting Lauri (Markkanen), and the fact that we have, Niko’s a restricted free agent we intend to bring back, Bobby Portis, we didn’t want to add another big and that’s really all that was left on our board."

Both Paxson and general manager Gar Forman have said since the season ended that Mirotic, who will become a restricted free agent on July 1, is part of their future plans. The Bulls will be able to match any contract that another team offers Mirotic, and they intend to keep the 26-year-old in Chicago. After Butler's departure, Mirotic is now the longest tenured member of the Bulls. He's been with the team for three seasons.

The wings Paxson may have been referring to include Miami's Devon Reed (32nd overall to Phoenix), Kansas State's Wesley Iwundu (33rd overall to Orlando) or SMU's Semi Ojeleye (Boston, 37th overall). Point guards Juwan Evans (Oklahoma State) and Sterling Brown (SMU) were still on the board and potential options, but the Bulls were set on looking for wing help after receiving point guard Kris Dunn and shooting guard Zach LaVine in the Butler trade.

The Bulls frontcourt depth looks filled, as Cristiano Felicio is expected to return behind Brook Lopez. Mirotic, Portis, Markkanen and Joffrey Lauvergne should make up the power forward depth chart. Opting against using the 38th pick, which Golden State bought for a whopping $3.5 million, also leaves the Bulls with room to add a 13th player in the fall.

"It keeps us at 12 roster spots and gives us real flexibility for our roster," Paxson said. "So we didn’t just want to use up a roster spot on a player that we probably wouldn’t have kept."

How White Sox players managed the 'chaos' of Thursday's record-setting rain delay

How White Sox players managed the 'chaos' of Thursday's record-setting rain delay

MINNEAPOLIS -- Some guys played cards. The soccer ball got kicked around in spite of the close quarters in the visiting clubhouse. There was dancing. A magic trick or two was attempted. A few players even tried to get in a nap.

White Sox players found myriad ways to keep themselves occupied during Thursday’s draining 4-hour, 50-minute rain delay -- the longest in Minnesota Twins history.

Yet despite not knowing what time the game may start, White Sox players found a way to overcome the uncertainty and stay engaged. Similar to May 26 when the first game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers was cancelled, the White Sox figured out how to go from zero to 60 in mere seconds. Though there’s no exact formula for success, the White Sox seem to have figured out a way to endure the elements and get out quickly. On early Thursday evening, the White Sox overcame the rain and misery to jump ahead of the Minnesota Twins en route to a 9-0 victory at Target Field.

“We keep it real loose whether,” veteran third baseman Todd Frazier said. “We have a good time. We enjoy each other’s company. Win lose or draw, tomorrow’s a new day. Today we kept working hard and we knew we had a game to play and eventually we were going to play it. We turned it on at the right moment.”

Jose Quintana saw so much of his iPad that eventually he had to turn it off out of sheer boredom. Thursday’s starting pitcher was almost able to complete two feature-length movies during the rain delay. Quintana, who excelled with nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 scoreless innings, watched ‘Fast and Furious 7’ and ‘Get Out’ on his iPad during the delay.

While he liked the action movie, Quintana wasn’t as fond of the latter, though he admits he’s not a big fan of horror movies.

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“I think it was bad because too much time in front of the iPad,” Quintana said. “It made me bored.

“I just tried to stay relaxed, focused on the game. … Tried to come back and work a little bit. It’s a little hard, but we don’t have control so stay focused on the game.”

Whereas the White Sox determined when they played last month at home -- they cancelled Game 1 of a doubleheader at 1 p.m. and pushed the second game back to 8 p.m. because of rain -- this time was in the Twins’ hands. The forecast called for rain all afternoon before things cleared up around 5 p.m.

While the White Sox were in limbo as to when they would play, they had a pretty good idea that eventually they would.

“It’s miserable,” Frazier said. “You try and find some things to do, play cards, hang out with the guys. If you had a set time it would help. But we came out banging in that first inning. It’s huge.”

White Sox manager Rick Renteria is impressed with how his team has handled both long days. The White Sox also defeated the Tigers 8-2 on May 26th. While Renteria and his coaching staff spent a lot of his time preparing for their upcoming home series against the Oakland A’s, he’s pleased with how his players managed themselves through the uncertainty.  

“They’re the ones who are dealing with the chaos,” Renteria said. “They’re the ones who play the game and who have to have their minds to be ready to go out and perform. They’ve been able to respond well. It’s part of who they are, their character, and hopefully it’s something they continue to be able to do and build on.”