Bulls

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

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Kris Dunn did it: You can’t play that position without an edge, without some form of “basketball killer” in you. Kris Dunn showed at the very least, he has that in his DNA in his best game as a Bull with a career-high 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Leave it to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to point out a forgotten stat: one turnover in 26 minutes.

“That’s the biggest thing I’m proud of,” Dunn said. “Everyone knows I’ve had a lot of careless turnovers in the season. It’s one thing I’ll take credit for.”

Dunn scored 13 with six assists in the fourth quarter alone as the Bulls outscored the Hornets 40-28 for the comeback victory. More than anything, it was his competitive spirit and aggressiveness that stood out. Kemba Walker stood across the way and gave Dunn—and the Bulls—every bit of 47 points.

“He tested my conditioning, for sure,” Dunn admitted. “He’s a great player. He’s been in the league for so long. It was good to go out there and compete with him.”

It could’ve went a different way had Walker not been bothered by Lauri Markkanen’s challenge at the rim, blowing a layup that would’ve given the Hornets the lead back with seconds remaining but he missed it and the narrative changed at least for a night.

And when teams are talking about learning experiences, it’s good to have them in a win every now and again. Markkanen’s challenge at the rim followed by his closing free throws right after, along with a quietly effective 16 points and seven rebounds, proved huge on this night.

Dunn finally having a confidence booster was imperative.

Dunn scored but it wasn’t an easy 20 or a smooth 20. It was an attacking 20, a necessary 20. He did hit some elbow jumpers, especially in the fourth as the defense laid off him.

But his biggest basket was a slithering drive to the rim for a layup with 2:24 left, because he attacked and was under control.

“That’s huge growth for Kris,” Hoiberg said. “He made the right play darn near every time he had the ball in his hands. Rose up with confidence, knocked down huge shots. Defensively got them going, got steals.”

What a relief: Nobody wanted to say it, but it bore out on the floor, the sheer desperation the Bulls played with.

Coming in with a five-game losing streak and headed out west to for four games in the next week, they were staring in the face of a possible double-digit losing streak to end November.

Confidence was sparse after three bad losses, and it’s a dangerous time for a team that will struggle to win games all season.

The United Center crowd got into it, particularly late when the Bulls began climbing back into contention to start the fourth quarter. The fans wanted this win too, even with the eyes being on a larger prize coming in mid-2018.

The relief was written all over Hoiberg’s usually-stress ridden face and he even cracked a couple jokes that weren’t aimed in his direction, as self-deprecation is normally his escape of choice.

“It is important but I asked the guys: is it hard to play with that type of effort? When you play with that type of energy and effort and swagger, it’s fun,” Hoiberg said. “When you play low energy and hang your head, it’s a drag. It’s hard to play at this level with that mentality.”

Starting change: Justin Holiday returned after his quick leave with his wife delivering a baby girl recently and his game-high 27 points showed he missed the Bulls as much as they missed his shooting, hitting four triples and going 10 for 15 from the field.

“Guys were serious about getting their jobs done,” Holiday said. “It was a lot of energy, a lot of energy, competitiveness. That’s how we have to play every night for our team to do well.”

Denzel Valentine, although he didn’t want to say it, wants to be a starter. Hoiberg chose Quincy Pondexter over him recently and then made the change Friday to insert Valentine for more scoring.

Valentine scored 18 with six assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes of run—and with those two starting as scoring options, the Bulls surpassed that seven-point first-quarter mark really early and scored 26 overall.

He hit a big triple in the fourth with 2:49 left to give the Bulls a 110-109 lead on a set play the Bulls actually executed between Valentine, Dunn as a setup man and Robin Lopez as a screen to pop Valentine open.

If he continues to hit 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip, especially with the way the Bulls have struggled to start games, he’ll have the right to feel he belongs in the first five.

“It’s definitely more confidence,” Valentine said. “You feel you’re an NBA starter, you get to go in and feel it out for a second and bring some energy to start the game.”

He didn’t mince words about starting, with a little honesty saying, “I think it’s huge being a starter.”

When asked if he felt validated by his performance and the result being a high-scoring win, it was just as telling.

“I think I deserve…I think I deserved a starting role,” Valentine said. “At the same time it’s different combinations, different people that need to be on the floor at certain times, so if he feels like I don’t need to start, I won’t start. But I feel very comfortable starting as well.”

Hack-a-Dwight: It could be Hack-a-Dwight, hack-a-Drummond, hack-a-Wilt or Shaq or Charles Shackleford.

The Bulls went to it and Howard went two of four from the line but it took a little rhythm from the Hornets and probably slowed Kemba Walker down just enough before he got cooking in the last 90 seconds and almost pulled a win out of his keister.

But…

I hate it. Get it out of the game completely.