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

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

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AP

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

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Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

It was a gift and the Bulls weren't going to look it in the mouth as Dwyane Wade was poised to finish off another one of his sterling defensive plays with a breakaway dunk with the game tied and Arron Afflalo and DeMarcus Cousins trailing.

Lightly touched by the small of his back by Cousins, Wade miscalculated his liftoff and missed the dunk but was bailed out by the refs for a foul with 14 seconds left.

Then, he bailed the Bulls out.

Wade had his fifth fourth-quarter defensive play, stripping Cousins on a steal on the ensuing possession with the Sacramento Kings having a chance to win, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk and finishing a 102-99 win Saturday night at the United Center.

It was a clock-turning performance for Wade on both ends of the floor, even if his missed dunk is a reminder that he is 35 years old. 

"I took off too far as I look at the instant replay," Wade said. "I should've took maybe one more dribble. Can't say I felt 35, I just took off too far (laughs). But hey, sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don't. I'm a person who hasn't gotten a lot all year so I'm not gonna apologize for nothing."

Stripping Cousins on his spin move was the finale, but he swatted an Arron Afflalo corner triple in the fourth, smothered Ty Lawson at the rim twice for blocked shots to end the third and tortured Lawson again in the fourth for another steal that led to him following up a Jimmy Butler missed layup with a follow and foul.

"Just a read," said Wade on stripping Cousins. "We knew he was gonna go to DeMarcus at that point. Once we forced him left, I knew he had to come back to the right hand. And being in the right place at the right time, the ball was right there for me."

Wade played like a desperate and motivated man, putting up 30 with six rebounds and four assists on the second night of a back-to-back is proof positive he took Friday's loss to Atlanta personally and used his play to back up those feelings.

He took to twitter to apologize for the poor effort against the Hawks, producing his best all-around performance as a Bull.

"We've been good in desperate moments," Wade said. "We haven't been good in non-desperate moments, when we win three in a row or playing a team that we should beat. But (in) the desperate moments I like us."

He scored 13 in the fourth, along with the last of his four blocked shots and all three of his steals took place in the final 12.

"I thought he was terrific," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He was aggressive all game long, taking the ball to the basket, getting to the line 15 times. He came up with two big plays."

Hoiberg threw out different lineups and rotations, playing Paul Zipser as a sixth man and having the second-round draft pick close the game. Zipser took advantage, hitting three triples and scoring 13 points.

"I thought it was night and day from last night," Hoiberg said. "Our energy was really good all night long. We got just enough stops to find a way to win."

Cousins dominated the game with 42 and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes, the only Kings player in double figures all night.

"He was pretty much unguardable for the majority of the game, Taj did a solid job on him," Hoiberg said. "When Robin was on him, they put him on the perimeter and let him shoot threes. He's a monster."

Back-to-back triples from Cousins gave him 40 and tied the game at 97, as a third one rimmed out with a little under two minutes left.

Cousins dominated the start of the third quarter, hitting midrange jumpers over Lopez and taunting the Bulls bench after hitting a jumper to put the Kings ahead, 70-63 midway through the third.

But the Bulls stayed close, with Hoiberg choosing to sit Rajon Rondo for the second half after playing him six minutes in the second quarter, using Wade as a point guard and going with Carter-Williams for defense, along with Zipser, who didn't look scared of the moment.

"I like the wrinkle coach put in there, putting him in early," Wade said. "He gave him an opportunity and he helped us big time."

Butler scored 23 with seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes, didn't have to play the hero for once and made fun of Wade's apology tweet.

"He was due for a big night," Butler said. "He can tweet again if he can come out again and give us 30 and some big steals and big dunks."

"I think that's what called of him, to score baskets and guard. It's kinda sneaky. You never really expect it until it happens."

It looked like the worst was over when the Bulls made a short run to end the third, surviving the onslaught from Cousins — and surviving their own experimenting with Zipser instead of going with Denzel Valentine, switching things up altogether.

But the tone was set by the leaders, who can only manufacture but so much urgency on a nightly basis.

"I like this team when we're desperate," Wade said. "A desperate team, we're not bad."