Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Best TV of 2012

2012 is coming to an end, which means it's time for the annual Best TV of the Year lists.

I will begin my list explaining what shows you will find on most other critic's lists, but not mine.

Girls (HBO)

I watched the first three. I don't get the hype. And don't tell me it's because I'm too old and can't appreciate what's going on here. I don't buy that. If you say it's because I have two teenage daughters, that I might buy.

Louie (FX)

I'm starting to come around a bit on Louie. I blew through Season One on Netflix, and liked Travel Day/South, Heckler/Cop Movie, Bully and God a lot. Didn't love the other nine. I will give Season Two a go now.

American Horror Story (FX)

I just haven't watched it. Seems weird for the sake of being weird. I'll get there.


The Newsroom (HBO)

Almost cracked my top ten. I love Sorkin, and can ignore his sexism for the most part. Olivia Munn was  a find, and Jeff Daniels performance is Emmy worthy. Don't know what happened to Sam Waterston...hope he's okay.

Life's Too Short (HBO)

Inconsistent, but Warwick Davis makes me laugh, and the scene with Liam Neeson was the funniest thing on television this year.

Veep (HBO)

Julia and crew are close, but not there yet. Can't wait for Season Two.

Modern Family (ABC)

Still makes me laugh, and I always find it touching. It's good, and can be great at times, but needs to get back to its Season One brilliance. I don't like the new Lilly. 

The Good Wife (CBS)

That Kalinda storyline is awful and this show has slipped, but it's still solid television (especially for a network program).


11. Sons of Anarchy (FX)

One day, I will sit down with Kurt Sutter and break down this show. Great plot twists, lots of deaths and action, and plenty of struggle in Charming. Kurt makes you care about a motorcycle club - a lot.  He turned my top ten list into a top eleven.

10.  Dexter (SHOWTIME)

Honestly, I'd never thought this show would ever be in my Top Ten again.  The Lithgow season will never be topped, but they pulled off the Deb/Dex story and made me care about murder in Miami once again. The supporting players were used well this season, and Yvonne Strahovski looks fantastic (in some scenes).

9.  Justified (FX)

Not sure why this show stays under everyone's radar. Olyphant leads the excellent acting ensemble. Goggins is a pleasure to watch. And this edgy drama continues to produce every season.

8.  Homeland (SHOWTIME)

Big drop for last season's Emmy winner. The plots are becoming more 24-like, but the acting of Danes, Lewis and Patinkin keep it in the top ten...for now.

7.  Downton Abbey (PBS)

British drama at its best. I put this on for my wife to watch. She fell asleep, and I got caught up in it. Can't wait for Season Three.

6.  Parks & Recreation (NBC)

The only comedy in my top ten, and the only network show to make it as well. NBC doesn't realize what a gem they have here. Consistently funny. It will get cancelled.

5.  Mad Men (AMC)

Solid season for Don Draper and crew. A little too much Zou Bisou Bisou and not enough Roger Sterling for me. 

4.  The Walking Dead (AMC)

Easily its best season - great character development and zombie kills. Carl gets most improved character of the year award. Andrea gets the reverse.

3.  Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Really hit its stride at the end of the season. Thank you, Bobby Cannavale. Less and less Margaret means a better and better show. Buscemi is fantastic. And thank you, Terence Winter, for providing ANSWERS. 

2.  Game of Thrones (HBO)

I'm all in on this epic. Season Two took us deeper into King's Landing and beyond the wall. I've read the books so I know what's coming in Season Three. You ain't seen NOTHIN' yet.

1.  Breaking Bad (AMC)

A clinic on TV drama. I know it was only 8 episodes, but every character (especially Mike) was on top of his or her game. I've never watched a show so tensely. Can't wait for Hank to get out of that bathroom.

P.S. If you're looking for Sherlock here, I thought it aired in 2011. Otherwise, it would be in my top three, easily.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Priority Viewing

"How do you watch all that TV?"

I've been asked that question for most of my life, and my answer has always been the same - "Priorities."

When I was a little kid, I would transcribe the TV Guide that came to my house each week and align network programming grids. My dad introduced me to the genius of The Honeymooners and SCTV, while my mom preferred The Twilight Zone and Mary Tyler Moore. TV was in my blood. I dreamed about getting one of those giant satellite dishes, but the line needed to be drawn somewhere.

As I grew older, syndication and cable programming created more opportunities to watch, but the major innovation was the VCR.  I could record programs, and made stacks of tapes of my favorite series. This made a huge difference in my viewing habits (and probably the size of my rear end) from all the couch time. 

In college, I joked with my housemates about when our favorite shows started to go downhill, and "jump the shark" was born. There was plenty of time to watch in college, and when I met my soon to be wife, she knew what she was getting into if she stuck with me long term.

As the years passed, technology aided my viewing habits with TiVo and the East and West coast feeds of DirecTV. Now I was able to record twice the programming, or catch an early prime time show at 11 or midnight on the West coast feed.  Working on the Jump The Shark every night alerted me to TV trends and what was worth watching that particular evening.

I didn't miss any family moments or events as my kids grew up. I was there for the birthday parties, saw all the recitals, traveled to Disney, coached teams, you name it...and I was happy to be there for those special times. Watching TV also became part of our family routine, and being able to record stuff allowed for lots of flexibility. 

These days I have Cablevision and DirecTV on the TV's in my house, all with recordable boxes. My main TV has an external hard drive for additional storage, a must with HD programming.

Sports is really the only thing I watch live anymore. On Sunday nights I record six to eight programs, and then I'll watch them throughout the week.  On Monday to Wednesday, I usually watch and record TV from around 730pm to 10pm. Thursdays and Fridays I can stay up a little later and get some extra viewing in. I catch up on the weekends, and then it all starts over again.

I'm also aided by the networks sending me pilots and other episodes. Plus with On Demand, instant viewing on Netflix, and DVD box sets galore, it's much easier to catch up on practically any show these days. Let's face it, you don't even need a TV to watch with the advances iViewing has made.

I've been married for 21 years and my daughters are now in their teens, but I still get my TV in.  I learned to appreciate clever children's programming like Arthur and Yo Gabba Gabba and tolerated torture like Barney when my kids were little.  Now we watch Modern Family together. I watched thirtysomething to appease my girlfriend in college, and now I'm watching Mad Men or The Good Wife with my good wife. 

Another question I used to get asked was "How are you going to make a living sitting around watching all that TV?" Thankfully, I was able to figure that out too.

It's all about priorities.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Spoiler Rules To Live By

On today's GeekTime, we all had a long (and geeky) conversation about spoilers and the rules that should apply. Many listeners thought we were joking around.

I wasn't.

I take my spoilers very seriously. There are two types - spoiling with excitement (SPE) and spoiling with intent (SPI)

When it's SPE, you just can't help yourself. This is forgivable since it's a byproduct of television viewing exuberance.  SPI, however, is just plain obnoxious. The classic "I know something you don't know" maneuver.

I've been guilty of doing both in the past, so I wanted to lay down my spoiler rules to make sure we're all on the same page.


Rule - 5 days

Whether it's The Walking Dead or Modern Family, Homeland or Sons of Anarchy, when an episode is over I am ready to talk about it.

However, I respect that most people don't watch TV as often and as frequently as I do. A five-day grace period provides plenty of time for viewers to catch up.


Rule - 48 hours

A poisonous plant. A flash forward. A bullet in the head. Season finales are potential game changers. EVERYONE wants to talk about a season finale as soon as it's over regardless of how good or bad it was.

Two days is enough time for your pals to catch up on the program. This is important TV. Prioritize, people.


Rule - 24 hours

A snow globe. A cut to black. A jail cell.  However a show comes to an end, it's too tempting to hold back any conversation about it. You just can't help yourself. One day gives enough time for anyone to catch up without the episode being spoiled. You're avoiding newspapers and the internet all day anyway. After that...all bets are off.


Rule - None

If a series has completed its live episode run, there's no such thing as a spoiler. C'mon, you've had ample time to watch The Wire or Battlestar Galactica. Shame on you for not catching it the first time around.

I'm not saying you should SPI here, but if you do, it's guilt free. It's all in the game.


On Jon Hein's TV Show, we really do try hard not to spoil stuff.  In "The Week That Was", we consciously pull clips that don't ruin the end of a given episode. And it's awfully tempting to do so.

But let's face it, JHTV is a weekly show that discusses...TV! If you're listening to the show, and I'm thankful that you do, you might occasionally hear some spoilers from the past week's programming.  But it's all me.

If we all follow these spoiler rules, the world of television will be a better place. 

Now let me tell you how Breaking Bad is going to end.  This Heisenberg guy...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Emmy Picks

Tonight the world of television celebrates its excellence with a typically average TV program. I have faith in Jimmy Kimmel since he's a TV geek, but I'm always amazed how an awards show that celebrates TV can be so boring.

I will probably be switching over to Ravens/Patriots, so I will log my predictions of what will win, and what should win, tonight's Emmys.

"Boardwalk Empire" (HBO)
"Breaking Bad" (AMC)
"Downton Abbey" (PBS)
"Game of Thrones" (HBO)
"Homeland" (Showtime)
"Mad Men" (AMC)

SHOULD WIN: Breaking Bad 
WILL WIN: Downton Abbey 

All worthy nominees. I honestly wouldn't be upset if there was a six-way tie. My ballot, BASED ON THIS PAST SEASON, would be: 1. Breaking Bad 2. Homeland 3. Game of Thrones 4. Mad Men 5. Downton Abbey 6. Boardwalk Empire

Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in "Boardwalk Empire"
Bryan Cranston as Walter White in "Breaking Bad" 
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan in "Dexter"
Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham in "Downton Abbey"
Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in "Homeland"
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in "Mad Men"

SHOULD WIN: Bryan Cranston
WILL WIN: Bryan Cranston

Just like the dramas, they're all deserving. But Cranston is simply the best as Walter White. My ballot: 1. Cranston 2. Lewis 3. Hamm 4. Buscemi 5. Hall 6 Bonneville

Glenn Close as Patty Hewes in "Damages" 
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in "Downton Abbey"
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick in "The Good Wife"
Kathy Bates as Harriet Korn in "Harry's Law"
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in "Homeland"
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in "Mad Men"

SHOULD WIN: Claire Danes
WILL WIN: Claire Danes

Claire is a lock. My ballot would be: 1. Danes 2. Moss 3. Dockery 4. Close 5. Margulies 6. Bates

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in "Breaking Bad" 
Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo 'Gus' Fring in "Breaking Bad" 
Brendan Coyle as John Bates in "Downton Abbey"
Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in "Downton Abbey"
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in "Game of Thrones"
Jared Harris as Lane Pryce "Mad Men"

SHOULD WIN: Peter Dinklage
WILL WIN: Peter Dinklage

Easily the best category of the night. All fantastic performances, but no one defeats The Imp. My ballot: 1. Dinklage 2. Esposito 3. Paul 4. Harris 5. Coyle 6. Carter

Anna Gunn as Skyler White in "Breaking Bad"
Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham in "Downton Abbey"
Joanne Froggatt as Anna in "Downton Abbey"
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma in "The Good Wife"
Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart in "The Good Wife"
Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway Harris in "Mad Men"

SHOULD WIN: Archie Panjabi
WILL WIN: Maggie Smith

If my vote was based on the current season of Breaking Bad, I'd give it to Anna Gunn. Maggie Smith is the heartfelt, and somewhat deserving choice. Panjabi is masterful as Kalinda. My ballot: 1. Panjabi 2. Smith 3. Gunn 4. Baranski 5. Hendricks 6. Froggatt

"The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO)
"Girls" (HBO)
"Modern Family" (ABC)
"30 Rock" (NBC)
"Veep" (HBO)

SHOULD WIN: Parks & Recreation
WILL WIN: Modern Family

I don't think anyone on the Emmy voting academy watched a comedy last season. No Parks & Rec? No Louie? 30 ROCK?!!! Terrible job. My ballot: 1. Big Bang 2. Curb 3. Modern Family 4. Veep 5. 30 Rock 6. Girls

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper in "The Big Bang Theory" 
Larry David as Himself in "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan in "House of Lies"
Louis C.K. as Louie in "Louie"
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy in "30 Rock" 
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper in "Two and a Half Men"

SHOULD WIN: Jim Parsons
WILL WIN: Jim Parsons

I can't choose Larry David or Louis CK for the same reason I'd never vote for Jerry Seinfeld playing Seinfeld. I know they're acting, but it's not as impressive as the others. My ballot: 1. Parsons 2. Baldwin 3. David 4. CK 5. Cheadle 6. Cryer

Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath in "Girls"
Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn in "Mike & Molly"
Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day in "New Girl"
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton in "Nurse Jackie"
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in "Parks and Recreation"
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon in "30 Rock"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer in "Veep"

SHOULD WIN: Amy Poehler
WILL WIN: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Did we really need seven nominees? Did someone feel bad leaving Tina Fey off the list? Poehler had the best season of any of these ladies...including Lena Dunham. My ballot: 1. Poehler 2. Louis-Dreyfus 3. Falco 4. Deschanel 5. Dunham 6. McCarthy 7. Fey

Ed O'Neill as Jay Pritchett in "Modern Family"
Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett in "Modern Family"
Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy in "Modern Family"
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker in "Modern Family" 
Max Greenfield as Schmidt in "New Girl"
Bill Hader as various characters in "Saturday Night Live"

WILL WIN: Eric Stonestreet

Congrats to Bill Hader and Max Greenfield for cracking the code. I thought this was Modern Family's weakest season and now I'm taking Ty Burrell for granted, but Ed O'Neill had the best performance of the bunch. My ballot: 1. O'Neill 2. Burrell 3. Stonestreet 4. Ferguson 5. Hader 6. Greenfield

Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler in "The Big Bang Theory"
Kathryn Joosten as Karen McCluskey in "Desperate Housewives"
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy in "Modern Family"
Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in "Modern Family"
Merritt Wever as Zoey Barkow in "Nurse Jackie"
Kristen Wiig as various characters in "Saturday Night Live"

SHOULD WIN: Mayim Bialik
WILL WIN: Sofia Vergara

This is a bizarre category. Half the actresses aren't really supporting, and Kristen Wiig is in a league of her own. I think Mayim shines on a show where it's very easy to get lost. My ballot: 1. Bialik 2. Bowen 3. Wiig 4. Joosten 5. Vergara 6. Wever

"American Horror Story" (FX)
"Game Change" (HBO)
"Hatfields & McCoys" (History)
"Hemingway & Gellhorn" (HBO)
"Luther" (BBC America)
"Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia" (PBS)

SHOULD WIN: Sherlock
WILL WIN: Hatfields & McCoys

This category is ridiculous. American Horror Story isn't a drama?!!! I love Luther and Sherlock, but those are series of their own. My ballot: 1. Sherlock 2. Luther 3. Hatfields 4. Game Change 5. Hemingway 6. Horror

I hit most of the major categories here. Good luck to all the nominees, and most of all to Jimmy Kimmel, for trying to make the upcoming three hours breeze by.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fast Food Mania Tech and Breakfast - Behind The Scenes

Our Fast Food Mania Tech and Breakfast episodes were a lot of fun to make. I criss crossed the country from Richland, Washington to Winston Salem, North Carolina for Tech, and from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to White Plains, New York for Breakfast. 

Here are some photos I took along the way...

Lamb Weston

I flew from Nashville (that's another story) to Salt Lake City, and then hopped on a small plane to Richland, Washington which is on the eastern side of the state.  Lamb Weston provides fries for a ton of fast food places, including the classic waffle fry.

It was really hot at the factory. You can see me growing by the minute. Note how professional our DP Rob is holding that light reflector. All business.

They tell me the potatoes in Washington are better than the ones in Idaho, and I believe them but honestly can't tell the difference. I wanted to see the water knife that cuts the potatoes in action, but we couldn't get access to that area. 

This dissected potato was very cool. I tried to take it home. No dice.
After we finished at Lamb Weston, we drove across the state to Seattle. It's a really beautiful drive with breathtaking natural scenery, until you see the alien windmills.

These windmills are enormously tall. And they're everywhere. You've been warned.
Once we got to Seattle, a bunch of you tweeted that I had to try Dick's. So we headed to the location next to UW and gave it a shot.

Love the classic sign. Burgers, fries and shake lived up the expectations.
If we were covering regional chains, Dick's would have made the cut. Hopefully, we'll have another season to visit again.

Krispy Kreme

I enjoyed all the places we visited for Fast Food Mania, but Krispy Kreme might have been my favorite. After a long flight, I walked in to the North Carolina location greeted by this.

These were all fresh. Time to crank up the insulin pump.
I love Krispy Kreme donuts, but Krispy Kreme donuts fresh off the line are insanely tasty. I'm glad I had to host, because that kept me away from eating all of the product (and left more for the crew). I learned how to fill donuts with creme/jelly as well. 

It takes five inserts to burst the donuts. I tried...and succeeded. Didn't make the cut.
The best part about KK is seeing the donuts made right before your eyes. And that waterfall of glaze...I get hungry just thinking about it. Ranks up there with the telephone in terms of brilliant inventions.

If this was a flume ride and I was a donut, I'd never get off.
If you learned one thing from our Tech episode, it should be what to do if you ever see this illuminated in a KK window.

Make the U-turn. It's worth it every time.

There are more Sonic locations in Oklahoma City than any other fast food restaurant (including McD's), so we had to go there for our show. I love that a car hop not only still exists, but is thriving these days.

My standard casual hosting outfit in a standard Sonic kitchen.  Get ready, GQ.
One of the amazing things I learned about Sonic is that people will buy the ice by the truckload. That's right, just the ice. I don't know what's in it, but I had a soda sitting there for hours on a sunny day and the ice never melted. It's great for coolers in that Oklahoma heat.

Look at all the combos you can create, and then glance down at that ice.
I mentioned that I played hockey, so our director decided to put me on a pair of skates and car hop. I did okay, until I had to carry a tray with food on it. Much respect to the skating Sonic staff.

Loved that the skates were black and gold. Hated that they were quads - I'm better on blades. Really, I am.

The mall we shot at for Cinnabon is in White Plains, New York, which didn't require a plane ride. We actually taped the segment on an afternoon after I worked on Howard's show in the morning. The people at Cinnabon were really great and extremely patient.

You get hungry once you smell the inside of a Cinnabon store, and playing with the goo and frosting was a wonderful experience.

The ultimate challenge was when they decided to let me bake my own cinnamon rolls. I am not a chef. I don't pretend to be. I'm much better on the other end after the cooking is done.

My baking incompetence is captured in this photograph.
I struggled through the preparation of the rolls and made some mistakes, but then a funny thing happened. When my Cinnabons emerged from the oven, I couldn't believe what I saw.  I wouldn't say they were perfect, but pretty darn close to that. 

My best selling creation. Maybe I should host a baking show.
Cinnabon even put them up front in the store to sell, and they were all gone within a couple of minutes. 
Thank you, Cinnabon, for sticking with me!

The Grand Finale

Next Wednesday will be the grand finale of Fast Food Mania with our last two episodes - Extra Special Service and Extreme Locations. I don't want to give too much away, but Chipotle, Valentine's Day, Dairy Queen and the Pentagon will all be involved.

Thanks for watching, and please let folks know we're on Destination America on Wednesday nights at 10 & 1030 pm. If the ratings go up, we can return for a second season and hit some more great fast food places.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Originals and Extreme Menu Items - Behind the Scenes

Hope you enjoyed last night's Fast Food Mania episodes "Originals" and "Extreme Menu Items". I'm waiting on the ratings, and my fingers are crossed.

Here are some behind the scenes photos I know you've been clamoring for...

Dunkin' Donuts

The original location of Dunkin' Donuts is in Quincy, Massachusetts. I did my research and pronounced Quincy (QUIN-ZEE) the right way. Loved sitting at the original counter and sampling the product.

Rob, our DP, and Meghan, our director, are fascinated by my dissection of a Dunkin' Donut. We spent a lot of time traveling and shooting together, and you'll never find two more talented people anywhere. Maybe in Seattle.
Truth be told, my favorite donut is the traditional glazed, but at Dunkin' Donuts, those vanilla creme donuts are just too good to pass up.

I am emphatic about the right way to eat a vanilla creme Dunkin' Donut.
We did a shot of me eating the vanilla creme donut with the creme facing in so it doesn't squirt out, but that didn't make the final cut.

KFC Test Kitchen

The test kitchen is tucked away somewhere outside Louisville, Kentucky, right near where they keep the Colonel's original recipe.

I definitely had a Wonka moment walking through this door.

I couldn't get the recipe, but I was able to check out the chicken and how the create all those KFC products. The hardest part about making a Double Down was resisting eating "the buns" which are two original recipe filets.

Holly was very patient with me, as was Rob who had to shoot me creating my very own Double Down.
And yes, this is the outfit that's on all the Fast Food Mania merch (posters, ads, etc.). I call it my KFC outfit, and it's hanging in my closet.

Diva moment sipping my Diet Coke inside the KFC test kitchen.

Elevation Burger 

We journeyed to Tyson's Corner, Virginia to find Elevation Burger, which has the ten patty Vertigo Burger on the menu. We didn't get to cover a lot of regional up-and-comers this season, but I'm glad I got to sample what Elevation has to offer.

Our director Meghan stands in awe of the cast-iron infrared Super Griddle. I have to get one of these at home.
The super griddle is an impressive piece of equipment. I love how you know exactly how long the burger will take to cook and can watch it in progress if you so desire. The shakes at Elevation are excellent as well.

Meghan tells Cord, our contact at Elevation Burger, and I exactly what to do behind the Super Griddle as Rob films over her shoulder. When Meghan speaks, you listen. Or you'll have to do it again anyway.
If we get a second season of Fast Food Mania, I want to focus on the national chains we didn't get to, and more of the regional chains that when you travel to a town - that's the place you MUST go to.

That's all for now. Let me know what you thought of this week's shows, and I'll see you next Wednesday at 10pm with two brand new Fast Food Mania episodes on Destination America.

Friday, July 6, 2012

New Eps, July 4th, Final VO, Hitting The Road

Things continue to be insanely busy on the Fast Food Mania front.


New episodes of Fast Food Mania return this Wednesday, July 11 at 10 & 1030pm on Destination America.  Every week, we will be showing two brand new episodes back to back for a full hour of fast food bliss. This week's 10pm episode is "Originals", where we hit the original locations of Nathan's, A&W, and Dunkin' Donuts. It's one of my favorite eps of the series.

We follow up at 1030 with Extreme Menu Items featuring KFC's Double Down, Hardee's Monster Thickburger, and Elevation Burger's Vertigo Burger. 

Come hungry!


On July 4, I brought my oldest daughter Rachel to Coney Island and hosted the Great Apple Pie Dive for Destination America. This event was the appetizer to the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest (no, I didn't participate), and it was a lot of fun being there.

I got to hang out with all the contestants, including our eventually winner Brandi Ritter, Coney Island Polar Bear Club swimmer Julia Gloubach, Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, Miss New York Mallory Hagan, and New York Mets legend Mookie Wilson.  Talking baseball one on one with Mookie was a highlight for me.

The apple pie was 15 feet wide and topped off with whipped cream, nuts, caramel, and of course, vanilla ice cream. All the contestants dove in with everything they had, and it was a fun competition that came down to the very end.

After we finished up, I got to watch the female and male Hot Dog Eating Contest firsthand. Those folks aren't eating...they're devouring. Of course I had my two hot dogs and fries to capture the spirit of the day.

I spent the rest of the day out on the boardwalk interviewing people for Destination America talking about what makes this country great. A day like this July 4th ended up being a perfect example.


Yesterday, I recorded the voiceovers for the final two episodes of season one of Fast Food Mania. It was a bittersweet day as I'm thrilled with how the series has turned out, but saddened by the fact that the work has come to an end.

I had such a great time making this show, and I'm glad that people are enjoying it. Hopefully enough of you will tune in live Wednesdays at 10pm Eastern to get us a second season. There are plenty more fast food places to explore!


I've been traveling a lot lately putting together a different series I'm hosting for another network. Can't talk about it yet, but I think you'll like what you see and hear.

Thanks, as always, for your support. Please tune in to Destination America live on Wednesday nights at 10 so I can get back on the road in search of fine Fast Food.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Movin' On Up

Fast Food Mania is on the move.

Destination America has decided to anchor Wednesday nights with our new episodes at 10pm effective July 11th.

In addition, each week will feature new back to back Fast Food Mania episodes for a full hour of fast food pleasure.

Two marathons of our first four episodes have been scheduled to fill you up through June.

* Sunday, June 24 at noon Eastern

* Saturday, June 30 at 10am Eastern

We're skipping July 4th since everyone will be out eating and celebrating anyway, and returning with a splash on July 11th with my favorite episode of the series so far, "Originals".

Thanks again for tuning in and supporting Fast Food Mania. Gotta get back to my research. Check out the marathons, and then I'll see you Wednesday nights.


P.S.  I'm going to be busy on July 4 anyway. Heading to Coney Island to host a big Destination America event involving Apple Pie, which goes great with hot dogs (I won't forget my red fry fork).

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tonight's The Night - Early FAQ

I will be tweeting LIVE during the premiere of Fast Food Mania at 10pm Eastern on Destination America tonight!

We will be showing two episodes to kick off the series in style.

Feel free to tweet me any Fast Food Mania questions at @jonmhein. I'll try to provide some behind the scenes insight to tonight's episodes.

Here's a quick FAQ for some questions that I've already received:

Q. Did you eat everything plain on the show?
A. Actually, no. I decided if I was going to host the show, I would need to broaden my horizons and try food with stuff on it. You'll see me eating condiments galore, but watch carefully to see what I really enjoy. Yes, I still prefer stuff plain.

Q. What channel is Destination America on my TV?
A. The best way to find out what channel Fast Food Mania is on is to use the CHANNEL FINDER on top of the Destination America home page. They've got 'em broken down by zip code and system.

Q. Is the show on in Canada?
A. Honestly, I have no idea. I hope Destination America is on Canadian cable systems, but I'm not sure it it is.

Q. What does Howard think of the show?
A. Howard was very happy for me when I told him I was hosting the show. As for what he thinks of the final product, I'm going to find out on the air at the same time you do.

Q. How do you celebrate fast food with obesity at an all-time high?
A. This show focuses on fast food nostalgia and Americana, but of course we tackle the meals. No one is telling you to eat fast food every day, but when you do eat it, do it right and enjoy yourself.

Q. Are you worried about your health?
A. Of course I am, but this show isn't made up of crazy food challenges and constantly asking "how much can Jon eat?". I routinely monitor my blood sugar, and I'm very aware of how different fast food places alter my levels. Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you can't make a stop at DQ.

Q. How much weight have you lost since you started taping the show?
A. Uh, none. But I haven't gained all that much. Probably 5 pounds or so.

Q. Are we going to see you in sports team t-shirts?
A. Nope. I had makeup and wardrobe, and deferred to their expertise.

Q. What was your favorite stop?
A. I had a good time almost everywhere we stopped, but the original KFC in Corbin, Kentucky holds a special place in my heart. I've always been a fan of the Colonel, and to stand in the kitchen where he came up with those original 11 herbs and spices was pretty cool.

That's all for now. See you tonight at 10 for the big premiere!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Coming this Sunday

I can't believe it's here already.

Sunday night, at 10pm Eastern on Destination America, Fast Food Mania will make its debut.  To find out if you get the channel, head to Destination America's web site and use their Channel Finder.

I will DVR the Game of Thrones season finale (which, of course, is running ten minutes over until 10:10) and Mad Men so I can watch Fast Food Mania live and tweet along with you.

Our first two episodes are "Cult Favorites" and "Beyond the Bun". "Cult Favorites" includes trips to White Castle, Domino's and Chick-Fil-A, while "Beyond the Bun" has visits to Kentucky Fried Chicken, Whataburger, and Taco Bell. We had a lot of fun making these eps.

Our first season is comprised of ten episodes, so if you don't see your Fast Food favorite - don't worry. There's plenty more to come.

The two newspapers I grew up reading gave me some nice coverage this week - The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Newsday. And here's a behind the scenes look at our Nathan's taping from Business Insider.

Destination America has also posted a bunch of Fast Food Mania videos on its You Tube page.  There are a lot of fun extras, including my audition tape at Shake Shack.

The Fast Food Mania hype is in full swing, and I really hope you guys enjoy the show. I had such a good time taping it and learned a lot about the food I love.

Tweet me at @jonmhein and let me know what you think as you watch on Sunday night. I'd love to hear your feedback.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fast Food Mania update

I've been spending my weekends and Sirius vacation time traveling across the country to some of my favorite spots for Fast Food Mania.

We've visited the original KFC in Corbin, Kentucky

Explored Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, California

Camped out at a Chick-Fil-A grand opening in Duncan, South Carolina

Skated at Sonic in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Spotted the HOT sign at Krispy Kreme in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Gone inside the Pentagon to see the busiest Subway in the country

And visited so many more places that I get hungry just thinking about them.

We've got a few more trips left before Fast Food Mania premieres on Destination America on June 3rd, and I'll be chronicling my travels and sharing all that I've learned over the past few months as the shows hit the air.

And believe me, I've learned plenty.

P.S.  Planet Green will become Destination America on Memorial Day. For more info and to see what channel it is on your TV, visit the Destination America web site.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fast Food Mania

Yes, it's true, I will be hosting a new TV show called Fast Food Mania on Destination America (formerly Planet Green). The show will premiere on Sunday, June 3 at 10pm and air weekly for 10 episodes.

The big announcement came on Wednesday via this article in USA Today.  

I've been out on the road at fast food places all over the country putting together a show I'm hoping you'll find to be entertaining. I'm certainly having a good time out there.

Since the announcement, there have been a ton of questions about the series and who and what exactly is involved.  So I drew up a quick FAQ right here.

Q.  What's the name of the series?
A.  Fast Food Mania

Q.  What date does it premiere?
A.  Sunday, June 3rd at 10pm Eastern

Q.  When will the show be on?
A.  Sunday nights at 10pm Eastern

Q.  What channel?
A.  Destination America (formerly Planet Green)

Q.  Do I get that channel?
A.  If you had Planet Green, you've got Destination America. It airs in 59 million homes.

Q.  Are you leaving the Stern show?
A.  God, no. Howard is my day job and first priority. I work on Fast Food Mania during vacation weeks and weekends.

Q.  What this show your idea?
A.  Nope. My agent sent me out on a cold audition and I got the part.

Q.  Why did you cut out Jason Kaplan?
A.  I didn't.  I auditioned. Jason didn't. I asked the producers about involving Jason once they decided to go with me, but they wanted just one host for this show. I would love to have Jason be a part of this and have told him so. 

Q.  Isn't this just a rip off of The Fast Food Show you and Jason host on SiriusXM?
A.  Not at all. First, that's a radio show with callers. Fast Food Mania is me visiting the most unique fast food places all over the country. The subject matter is the same, but the spin is different.

Q.  Will you stop doing The Fast Food Show with Jason?
A.  Absolutely not. We will be hosting our next show soon.

Q.  Is it awkward between you and Jason?
A.  Jason is jealous, but totally happy for me. I'd feel the same way if the circumstances were reversed.

Q.  Who chooses your wardrobe.
A.  Not me. That becomes evident immediately.

Q.  Is that your real hair?
A.  Most of it. I had a little help.

Q.  Will you be going to (FILL IN FAST FOOD PLACE HERE)?
A.  We are hitting the big chains and some popular local favorites. Thankfully, there's plenty to see.

Q.  Are you only covering plain fast food?
A.  No. I am trying to be more flexible as I visit these fast food places. I still prefer plain, but I'm willing to give everything a try.

If you have any other questions, tweet me at @jonmhein and I will answer and add them to this FAQ (if they are frequently asked).

In the meantime, I will tweet updates as I travel around this great land covering all the fast food places I can find. I hope you enjoy the show.