Do you feel as though you've been on a very strict entertainment diet for several months?
Has your stomach been growling because you long to devour a meaty television show? Have you been salivating on your keyboard thinking about a spicy movie? Have you been going home at night and banging your head against the wall just to pass the time before nodding off to sleep?
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, help is on the way. You will be starved no more. It's time to dig in. Your stomach has made enough noise. The salivating has dehydrated you and the industry is finally ready to serve up some tasty viewing victuals.
And don't think you're just gonna nibble. No, sir — it's time to gorge.
There are so many TV, movie and musical treats that will be fed to us over the next few months, we should be satiated for awhile. As a matter of fact, we'll be so full from the next two months, we'll probably have to get bigger pants, or at least unbutton them to let our waistlines expand while we watch and listen.
Make Way for the Greatest Hits Parade
In the coming weeks, we will be bombarded with "specials" on television, "Oscar contenders" in the movies and virtually every musician putting forth a holiday or greatest hits collection.
Now don't be fooled into thinking that the network honchos are doing us a favor. They're doing it now because it's sweeps. It's a ratings war. The movie studios know holidays mean time on our hands. Music industry folks think? "What says happy holidays like an overpriced box set?" It's all a big business plan.
Nonetheless, let's eat!
We'll start with the appetizers:
CBS: The Tiffany Network will ripen our taste buds with a fancy little starter — the 53rd Primetime Emmy Awards. (There's nothing worse than when the appetizers go cold, but if you're hungry enough, you'll eat.) Other enjoyable edibles come in the way of a 50th anniversary celebration of I Love Lucy and a commemorative look at The Carol Burnett Show. Of course, for those who love crackers and cheese, there's a music special by 'N Sync and a two-hour version of Michael Jackson's concerts from Madison Square Garden, when he reunited with the Jackson Five. Of course, some people don't like cheese because after a while it stinks …
NBC: NBC is serving the turkey or, more appropriately, the peacock. They'll carve out a couple of Friends episodes, including one guest-starring Sean Penn, and a special new episode on Thanksgiving night. Another tempting treat in store: Jennifer Lopez in her first TV concert special. Things a little dry? Need gravy? Try dousing your plate with the Star Trek alumni version of The Weakest Link and a special 200th episode of Frasier.
ABC: On ABC (see I made it third because I don't want to show bias), you can skip the cranberry sauce and sample blueberry compote with the season premiere of NYPD Blue. There's plenty of stuffing to go around with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in its various forms. There's the recipe with nuts, where Regis hosts another show with comedians as contestants. There's also a Millionaire armed forces edition. On the menu at Spin City, there's a guest roster that includes Denise Richards, Queen Latifah and Farrah Fawcett, all in one episode. And, for the first time ever, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show will air on network television.
Should you care for a little something to wet your whistle while you dine, may we suggest Fox. The network will premiere all its shows in November, including the highly anticipated 24 starring Keifer Sutherland. There's also The Tick, The Bernie Mac Show and Temptation Island 2.
On to dessert: Let's go to the movies.
For those who just love sweets in general, you can try Monsters, Inc. (OK, this time Disney gets first mention). If you like something different, quirky, kind of mincemeat-ish, there's The Tannenbaums, which stars Gwyneth Paltrow, her paramour Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller and Mr. Road Rage himself, Gene Hackman. For those who choose their desserts according to what looks delicious, then Ocean's Eleven is a given with a cast that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon. Not a chocolate lover? Not a problem. Try Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz. And if you still have room, or if you simply want the perfect piece of pumpkin pie, then you will revel in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
C'mon, you can eat a little more. How about a snack?
On the music front, you can have a little Destiny's Child's 8 Days of Christmas, Boyz II Men's Legacy: The Greatest Hits Collection, or Michael Jackson's Invincible.
Try an antacid, like Eric Clapton's Reptile, the all-star tribute What's Going On, Faithfully by Faith Evans, John Mellencamp's Cuttin' Heads, Natalie Merchant's Motherland, or the Kiss box set.
To quote Monty Python from The Meaning of Life: "If I eat another thing, I'm gonna bust."
Enjoy the meal, and make sure you fill up. Because once January comes, it's back to dieting.
Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.