Ghost Whisperer

VIBE – Weeknights from Monday 20 February, 5.40pm

Go right back to the beginning of the supernatural drama. Emmy nominated actress Jennifer Love Hewitt (The Client List) stars as Melinda Gordon, a woman who possesses the power to communicate with dead spirits who have unresolved issues on Earth. Melinda accepts her unique “abilities” as a blessing and occasional curse, as she navigates between the dead and the living in her sometimes chilling, heart-rending and often amusing attempts to act as an intermediary between the ghosts and those they haunt.

VIBE – Thursdays from 7 July, 10.30pm

”I might be just like you, except that from the time I was a little girl I knew that I could talk to the dead.”

Melinda Gordon (Jennifer Love Hewitt) has a gift – she can communicate with earthbound spirits or ghosts, who cling to the living because they have unfinished business in our world preventing them from “crossing over” or going into the light. Melinda navigates between the dead and the living with her sometimes chilling, sometimes heart-rending and sometimes amusing actions as an intermediary between the ghosts and those they haunt. This season, Melinda searches her family history for answers as she gets closer and closer to learning the secret of her gift, her childhood, her father and the town she lives in.

What is wrong with the network TV programmers these days? Are they all just a bunch of morons with a lack of imagination to dare try anything new? I’m talking about how they seem hell-bent on putting the same-type shows on against one another and think that is somehow clever competitive programming. There’s nothing clever about it, it’s idiotic and a frustration to viewers.

There are ample examples of what I mean.

At 5pm on Saturdays, both TV1 and TV3 both show the ONLY fishing shows currently on schedule at exactly the same time.

7:30pm that same night and both TV1 and TV3 have renovation shows.

Tuesdays at 7:30pm, not just two, but THREE networks – TV2, TV3, and Prime all have cooking shows on at the same time.

Does it not occur to the stations that they are actually shrinking the potential audience by appealing to the same interests in these time slots? Doesn’t it occur to some of them to swap it up a bit and mix things around so there’s more variety, thereby actually increasing the overall number of viewers all round?

There was another annoying clash a couple of years ago – when Ghost Whisperer was up against Medium – the same type of supernatural show. One station changed the night and would you believe the other changed theirs to the same night and so the clash continued. No imagination see.

In the second half of the 1970s, the golden era of television in NZ, the rule was “competitive but complementary” programming – no clash of same genre allowed – and it worked really well. Did no one learn from this?

The final insult, or ultimate utter stupidity of pointless programming, which is what finally prompted me to write this, is the memorial servce this afternoon, Granted it’s a sad event for the country but could you tell me what the point was of THREE networks all broadcasting exactly the same live feed of the event? TVNZ had some sort of sole right of camera access; therefore the feed was identical on TV1, TV3 and Prime. It’s not like the other stations could show the service from a different camera angle at least. Oh no. So what was the point of the other channels feeling under some sort of obligation of simulcasting the same thing? What was the point? Did it never occur to them that not everyone wanted to watch it? Perhaps there were some that found it too sad, or that it wasn’t something worth wallowing in. My point is, TV3 and Prime should have stuck to their regular programming. They weren’t going to get any more viewers by doing what they did since just about everyone who wanted to watch the memorial would have been tuned to TV1. There was absolutely no point in them simulcasting the TVNZ signal. What a waste of broadcasting air and yet one more example of moronic program decision making.

10:30pm Monday, November 29 on TV2

Things get sketchy for Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and Eli (Jamie Kennedy) when they encounter a spooked comic book artist in tonight’s episode of Ghost Whisperer.

For lead actress, Love Hewitt, the prospect of ageing on screen, as she has this season, and in real life is daunting. “I’m not aging anymore. I’m not aging past 35. That’s it. I’m 35 [on the show] and that’s it. I’m only 30 in life, but 35!” she exclaims.

However, Hewitt reconsiders the ageing process at the thought of some raunchier scripts. “Unless Melinda gets to be like a cougar or something,” she says. “Then that would be fun.”

This season the characters have aged five years and the prospect of the show moving forward another five years next season, and seeing Melinda transformed into a cougar, amuses Hewitt’s co-star David Conrad. “Then it’d be like Cougar Whisperer. That’s a crossover with Desperate Housewives,” he laughs.

Similarly, Hewitt is ambivalent about the idea of adding any more children to their on-screen family. She says, “I think we’re pretty good right now with the one boy, it’s a busy household.”

As for having children in her real life, Hewitt admits she feels differently. “It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do, is to be a mum. I know more than ever now that I’d like to do that.”

For Hewitt, her love of children and having been a former child actor, has helped her to relate to her young co-star Connor Gibbs who plays her son, Aiden, on the show. “I know what it’s like to look up and everybody is so much bigger than you and you’re working and you’re like, I just want to be at McDonald’s. So I know what that’s like, you know.”

On this week’s episode of Ghost Whisperer, when comic book artist Damon Weaver begins drawing his own run-ins with ghosts before they happen, it is up to Melinda and professor of anthropology Avery Grant (Margaret Cho) to discover the secrets behind his art.

Photo: David Conrad (Jim Clancy) and Jennifer Love Hewitt (Melinda Gordon).

9:30pm Monday, October 11 on TV2

Jim Clancy (David Conrad) had been through a lot as the husband of a ghost whisperer. But in this series of TV2’s popular drama Ghost Whisperer, he has had to get used to being the father of a son who can talk to ghosts too.

Conrad says that there are many pluses to having Connor Gibbs (who plays Melinda and Jim’s five-year-old son Aiden) on set. “There’s a little boy running around the house. It’s great. It’s kind of an easy, cheap way to sort of experience fatherhood, and he’s really strange and wonderful.”

But the dynamics of his character’s relationship with Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) have definitely changed. “I think probably what most husbands do is just accept that you’ve lost a good portion of your wife to that child. But, you know, that’s just the roll of the dice. That’s the way it goes.”

Conrad’s character is now a fully qualified doctor, so he’s working long hours and dealing with plenty of drama at work. Plus, he’s got a few more chores on the home front: “I mean, organising lunches, putting him to bed, having less and less sleep, you know. The focus is definitely on Aiden, especially as he’s not a normal child. He has a particular gift that in some ways is reaching into corners that Melinda’s doesn’t even.”

Jim is now the only member of the family who can’t see spirits and while he’s gotten used to Melinda getting herself into scary situations, he’s a bit more troubled when it comes to his young son. “He probably worries about the welfare of his child in a way maybe that he doesn’t understand,” says Conrad. “I think Melinda understands better. I think he came to grips with like the risks she’s going to put herself through. But when suddenly he’s at risk, you know, he starts to probably get nervous.

On this week’s episode of Ghost Whisperer, when the ghost of a high school boy accuses a Grandview cop of murdering him, Melinda is convinced that his death wasn’t a mere skateboarding accident.

9:30pm Monday, August 30 on TV2

A hospital haunting proves to be a creepy case for Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt), in tonight’s Ghost Whisperer.

When Melinda investigates some ghostly appearances at a hospital morgue, she begins to have visions of a surgery. Slowly, she pieces together the story of a dead surgeon, who is reliving an operation that went fatally wrong. Can she break the cycle?

Elsewhere, Delia (Camryn Manheim) goes on a date with Roger (David Barry Gray), but an angry altercation brings out his unpleasant side.

VIBE – Thursdays from 26 August, 10.30pm

Jennifer Love Hewitt returns to Vibe as spiritual medium and modern day heroine Melinda Gordon.

As Melinda continues to navigate life among the dead, and the living, her husband grows worried about the emotional toll this work is taking on his wife as they embark on a new life together. For her part, Melinda accepts her unique abilities as a blessing and sometime curse, but always helps her clients, alive or dead, find emotional closure.

Season 2 picks up from last season’s cliff-hanger, and sees the introduction of three new characters: Dr. Rick Payne (Jay Mohr, Pay It Forward), a sarcastic professor of the occult; Delia Banks (Camryn Manheim, The Practice), a single mother, and Melinda’s new friend, who helps run her antique shop; plus Delia’s son Ned (Tyler Patrick Jones, Yours, Mine and Ours).

Jennifer is re-united with her Party of Five co-star, Lacy Chabert, in the second episode, and other notable guest stars this season include former boy band hottie, JC Chasez (‘N Sync), Roma Maffia (Nip/Tuck), and Debi Mazar (Entourage).

9:30pm Monday, August 9 on TV2

Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) gives birth to a baby boy who has inherited her gift for seeing spirits, on the new season premiere of Ghost Whisperer.

In the episode also directed by Love Hewitt, Melinda finds out her son, Aiden, also has supernatural powers, however with one important difference which will have far-reaching consequences.

Camryn Manheim who plays Melinda’s friend Delia Banks says, “You thought Melinda Gordon had powers, wait until you meet her son.”

Of the new season Manheim explains: “Also we’re going to find out what Melinda is really capable of. What her son is really capable of. What powers he has that are different from hers.

“And I think we’re going to really get to the bottom of all of the evil spirits and shadows. This year’s script is more complex and thrilling, I think fans are going to really enjoy it.”

After the birth of Melinda’s son, Ghost Whisperer jumps five years into the future where Aiden’s abilities are revealed.

Love Hewitt says Melinda and her husband Jim (David Conrad) are coming to terms with the extent of their son’s gift after the five year jump.

“They are really very concentrated on the extraordinary kid that they have, that is Melinda’s biggest obsession – who this kid is and how to protect him because he is far more gifted than she is, which she wasn’t necessarily counting on.

“I think she thought they would probably have a similar kind of gift and he is so different from her that it’s really thrown her. Meanwhile, Jim is concentrated on keeping the peace and calming everybody down, to figure it out and try to keep the kid as normal as possible.”

If you have missed an episode, full episodes of Ghost Whisperer will be available free online 12 hours after the show has aired on TV2. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.

Photo: Connor Gibbs (Aiden Lucas), David Conrad (Jim Clancy) and Jennifer Love Hewitt (Melinda Gordon).

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A recent poll has also found that Flashforward is the ‘most missed’ axed show. The Zap2It poll saw the drama take over 46% of the vote with Ghost Whisperer and Law & Order making up the top three.