Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 3215 - AVS Forum
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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Aug. 27, 2014

WELCOME TO SWEEDEN
NBC, 9:00 p.m.
SEASON FINALE:
NBC has ordered a second season of this charming summer series, so tonight’s doubleheader constitutes a season finale, not a series finale. That’s good news. Here’s more good news: Tonight's installments include an episode in which series star Greg Poehler, as an accountant who had moved to Sweden to follow his heart, has to return to New York to help out a particularly demanding client – Amy Poehler. Also guest starring: Parts and Recreation co-star Aubrey Plaza.

PROJECT RUNWAY
Lifetime, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s design challenge is a wedding gown design – but what really makes it challenging is that they’re custom designing a gown for a very bold and outrageous client: burlesque queen Dita Von Teese.

GARFUNKEL AND OATES
IFC, 10:00 p.m. ET

In tonight’s new show, Garfunkel and Oates, a.k.a. (but less known as) Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, are on the road touring when they realize an upcoming show will be their live performance number 1000 together. They’re in the mood to celebrate – but the venue that particular evening is particularly hostile, even before they take the stage.

THE HONORABLE WOMAN
Sundance, 10:00 p.m.

As this series moves forward, we learn the most about its characters by moving backwards – by watching, and gleaning key facts from, the occasional flashbacks. It’s an approach that Lost used to great advantage, and this series does it as well – as in tonight’s new episode, which reveals even more about Nessa (Maggie Gyllenhaal) while she and Atika were held hostage.

7 DEADLY SINS
Showtime, 11:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s episode focuses on Wrath – and includes information about a woman who, after being cheated on by her husband, started a website where others in that same position could, by identifying them on a website, publicly shame the women who had had affairs with their husbands.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
Cable Overnights: ‘Chelsea’ goes out with a bang
By Media Life Magazine Staff - Aug. 27, 2013

“Chelsea Lately” went out on a higher note.

The E! late-night talk show, which ended its seven-year run Tuesday, saw big gains in its final episode.

The program averaged 1.003 million total viewers from 11 p.m. to midnight, according to Nielsen overnights, up 46 percent over its season average of 687,000 viewers.

It also grew among adults 18-49, shooting up 37 percent to 498,000.

Meanwhile, TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles” finished as Tuesday’s top show on cable in total viewers with 5.163 million.

And the season finale of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” posted its second-best viewership of the season among total viewers (2.3 million) and 18-49s (1.3 million), as well as becoming the No. 2 most-tweeted-about scripted episode of the summer on any network, behind only the “PLL” premiere.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/cab...sea-goes-bang/

* * * *

Nielsen Notes/TV Sports
Little League World Series hits a home run

The Little League World Series run by the team from Chicago ended in a loss to South Korea, but it did help ABC pick up strong viewership numbers along the way.

The network’s coverage of the U.S. championship game on Saturday between Chicago and Las Vegas average 5.19 million total viewers, according to Nielsen, making it the most-watched U.S. title game since 2002.

It was also up 65 percent from last year’s game, which was played between Chula Vista, California, and Westport, Connecticut.

Saturday’s game was also the highest-rated since 2002 with a 3.4 household rating, up 62 percent year-to-year.

Chicago won the U.S. title 7-5 over Las Vegas, but came up short in the championship game with an 8-4 loss to South Korea.

Undoubtedly the LLWS was helped by the presence of female phenom Mo’ne Davis, whose record-setting performance helped spark big ratings increases early in the tournament. She likely brought in viewers who liked what they saw and kept watching the other teams into the weekend.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/lit...hits-home-run/
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TV Notes
‘Cops’ Bryce Dion Killed By Friendly Fire In Omaha While Filming Response To Wendy’s Robbery
By Lisa De Moraes, Deadline.com - Aug. 27, 2013

Bryce Dion, a longtime crew member of reality TV series Cops, has died after being shot while filming for the show Tuesday night. It happened during a standoff between police and a robbery suspect at a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant in Omaha, NE.

“We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragedy, and our main concern is helping his family in any way we can,” said this morning in a statement. “Bryce Dion was a long-term member of the Cops team and a very talented and dedicated person. We mourn his passing. An investigation is ongoing and we are cooperating with local authorities.” Spike TV, the current network home of the long-running show, referred emails to Langley Prods.

PREVIOUS, 9:30 AM: NBC’s Omaha affiliate WOWT reported this morning, “Gunfire on Dodge Street Tuesday night left a robbery suspect dead, and law enforcement sources tell WOWT 6 News Wednesday morning the Cops television show crew member critically wounded has died.”

The crew for the long-running series was with police who responded to the armed robbery call around 9:20 PM local time, The Omaha World-Herald reported, adding that the show crew had been filming in the city for much of the summer. The paper described the restaurant’s windows as being riddled with bullet holes from the gunfire.

According to various press reports, Omaha Deputy Police Chief Dave Baker said the robbery suspect held a clerk at gunpoint and demanded cash before walking outside to find police waiting. Shots were fired, and the robbery suspect was wounded, as was the crew member. Both were taken to the Nebraska Medical Center, where the suspect was pronounced dead Tuesday night.

Cops debuted in March 1989, and ran for more than two decades on Fox. Camera crews followed police, federal agents, etc., without narration. Spike TV picked up the show after its Fox run; on its website, Spike describes the series as “the seminal reality ride-along show that forever changed the TV landscape,” and “provides unprecedented access into the daily lives and work of police officers, constables, and sheriff’s deputies from around the country.”

UPDATE, with Omaha police chief news conference: “This was a friendly-fire situation. It was an officer’s round that struck Mr. Dion,” Omaha Police Air Soft GunChief Todd Schmaderer said at a news conference that just wrapped, discussing the shooting death of Cops crew member Bryce Dion last night during police response to a robbery at a Wendy’s restaurant.

Cortez Washington, the robbery suspect, fired the first two shots and while his weapon was discovered to be an Airsoft pistol that does not fire bullets, Schmaderer said the shots produced a muzzle flash and sounded like actual gunshots to the police officers.

“Like I said earlier, his gun was an Airsoft gun and looked and sounded like it was real,” Schmaderer said. Schmaderer said the three officers who had entered the restaurant fired at Washington who ran out of the restaurant’s east door; Dion was in the east doorway and was hit. Dion was wearing a ballistic vest, but the bullet “came in under his left arm and slipped in between the vest, where there is an open area.”

Local media have reported 30 shots were fired by officers responding to the scene. Schmaderer declined to confirm that because, he said, “it is the subject of a grand jury investigation.” But he added the reporters “inference” is that the number of shots fired by the three police officers who went into the restaurant was excessive, “and I don’t believe it was.” He vehemently denied suggestions the hail of bullets suggests the police were showing off for the Cops camera.

“Any criticism is unmerited. The grand jury will see this video, and I’m confident they will come to same conclusion,” he said of the footage the Cops crew had shot at the scene, which he said has been turned over to authorities for the investigation. The three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, Schmaderer said, adding that a grand jury has been convened with regard to the shooting.Bryce Dion

The police chief had asked Cops to come to town to follow his officers this summer. In June, local media reported he hoped the TV show’s taping of his force in action would improve relations with the community. When asked about that today, he replied, “We had some rough times, and we had an issue that occurred about a year and a half ago.” He said he’d asked the reality series to spend the summer with his force “to put a period on the past and show how professional and adept we are.”

John and Morgan Langley attended the news conference — they’d just flown to town and came directly to the news conference.

“Bryce been with us seven years, and he really is one of our best,” John Langley said during the news conference. Dion, who had recently been promoted to sound supervisor, “was a very talented guy and he did something he loved and was passionate about. We’ve been very fortunate over the years that we’ve never had an incident like this. Unfortunately this happened and we’re dealing with it and it’s a very sad day for us.” Dion, from Lawrence, Massachusetts, lived in Santa Monica; he worked for Langley Productions on the series Jail, Undercover Stings and seven seasons of Cops.

http://deadline.com/2014/08/cops-spi...obbery-825551/
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Analysis
Future of Broadcast TV Under Scrutiny: ‘Everyone Should Be Reevaluating’
By Sharon Waxman, TheWrap.com - Aug. 27, 2013

The future of broadcast television is everywhere on the minds of television and media executives across the industry.

Even Emmy host Seth Meyers opened the awards show on Monday with a well-aimed shot at the elephant in the room, skewering a certain absurdity to broadcast television holding an awards ceremony and “giving all the awards to cable shows and Netflix.”

As it turned out, the television academy gave broadcast TV enough statues to save face in a world where AMC's “Breaking Bad” gets the most love and Netflix's “Orange is the New Black” has all the sexy media mojo.

But despite the umpteenth Emmy for ABC's “Modern Family,” network television is most definitively under the microscope as a business. Compared to movie studios, television divisions still produce significant revenue, but that's only because they have cable networks to lean on.

The conclusion emerging is that over the long-term network television is challenged – declining ratings, viewers’ ability to zap away commercials, Netflix fees on the decline and retransmission fees propping this up for who knows how long?

“Everyone in the TV business should be reevaluating how important the broadcast business is,” media analyst Rich Greenfield told me this week in a post-Emmys discussion. “Everyone sees that behavior is changing. Either you should be exiting the TV business, or driving reverse retrans fees dramatically higher – taking dollars from the TV stations.”

Over at Disney, insiders tell me that the performance of ABC is driving conversations around selling the network or parts of it. Ben Sherwood, new co-chairman and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, can only hope this is not imminent since he has just moved his family across the country to try and turn things in an upward direction.

But the numbers are clear: ABC is contributing less and less to Disney's bottom line (see chart), down to 12 percent this year from 15 percent a few years ago.

Greenfield sees the move of Monday Night Football to ESPN off ABC in 2006 as a bellwether.

“In no way is ABC core to Disney,” said Greenfield. “Bob Iger has no love for the TV stations. You could keep the network and sell the stations, or sell them both.”

Meanwhile at Comcast and its NBCU division, top executives are also rethinking the network television business models, another insider told me.

NBC is performing better than a few years ago, but the trends are not favorable overall. USA makes far more money off of “Law and Order” reruns than NBC is able to make off of it on first-run programming. Netflix, which a couple of years ago was spending hundreds of millions a year on programming, is continually cutting back on content buying as it ramps up its own development. The ability to skip advertising is a long-term threat that has not yet completed its erosion of Madison Avenue dollars.

That's not to say Comcast is thinking of selling NBCU, but that they are thinking hard about what future revenue trends look like.

Premium cable is a killer in terms of programming. Because of standards and practices, “broadcast TV is really constrained in terms of what it can do in terms of a creative standpoint,” says Greenfield, making it increasingly difficult to compete for viewers. (See Emmys chart.)

The limitations are clear at the Fox network, which is struggling to find its programming voice and were partly reflected in the decision to combine the network with the television production studio earlier this year under Dana Walden and Gary Newman.

Greenfield is one who does not believe that you need a network to be a global media brand anymore.

“Retrans can mask some of the troubles, but the ratings trends are not fixable,” he said. “So for Disney, taking advantage of a frothy market for TV stations – it'd be a great time to sell the business.”

http://www.thewrap.com/future-of-bro...-reevaluating/
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TV Notes
Diane Sawyer surprises in early farewell to evening news
By Maria Puente, USA Today - Aug. 27, 2013

We knew she was going; we didn’t think it would be today.

Tonight was Diane Sawyer’s last night on ABC’s World News, a day earlier than expected. Cool to the end, she did not get weepy.

Dressed in a color-block dress of startling yellow over black, she took viewers behind the scenes to meet her teams in New York, across the country and around the world.

“Thanks, guys, for every single night,” she said.

In her “personal note of thanks,” at the broadcast conclusion, she said she was “deeply privileged” to have been in the anchor chair for five years, to feel as if she and viewers were in “a conversation together” every night. She’s not going far — “down the hall and up the stairs” — and she’s not slowing down, she promised.

In a shoutout to her husband, director Mike Nichols, and “the four grandchildren and their perfect parent,” “look for me to be home earlier for dinner again.”

Afterwards, Garth Brooks sent her a tableful of vases stuffed with flowers, according to a tweet by ABC reporter Gio Benitez.

Gio Benitez ✔ @Gio Benitez
Follow
Garth Brooks surprises @Diane Sawyer by sending her beautiful flowers after her final @abc WorldNews broadcast.
7:35 PM - 27 Aug 2014


Sawyer broke the news of her departure herself on Twitter.

Diane Sawyer ✔ @Diane Sawyer
Follow
See you tonight for my last night anchoring @abc WorldNews – great adventures ahead !


The network also confirmed the news.

ABC World News ✔ @abc WorldNews
Follow
Tonight is @Diane Sawyer's last night anchoring @abc WorldNews. We are so excited to see her adventures ahead at @abc .
1:03 PM - 27 Aug 2014


Sawyer and ABC announced in June she was stepping down from the nightly news anchor desk to focus on prime-time specials on big issues and big interviews.

David Muir will take her place on Sept. 2. He’s the fourth anchor for top-rated World News since Peter Jennings’ death in 2005. “I can’t wait to see you” on the job, she told Muir, who had a report on the broadcast tonight.

Sawyer was the second female solo anchor of an evening newscast, following Katie Couric at CBS, who left that post last year.

Now all the anchors on the broadcast networks’ evening newscasts are male. Again. Muir at ABC, Brian Williams at NBC and Scott Pelley at CBS.

http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/20...arly-farewell/
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
THURSDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - The Quest (120 min.)
10PM - World's Wildest Commercials
* * * *
11:35AM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Aaron Paul; Ed Sheeran performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - Two and a Half Men
(R - Jan. 2)
8:31PM - The Millers
(R - Apr. 10)
9:01PM - Big Brother (LIVE)
10PM - Elementary
(R - May 8)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Mike Myers; comic Bonnie McFarlane; John Fullbright performs)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (David Duchovny; Gloria Estefan performs)
(R - Jul. 24)

NBC:
8PM - Hollywood Game Night
(R - May 15)
9:01PM - Welcome to Sweeden
9:30PM - Welcome to Sweeden (Season Finale)
10PM - America's Got Talent: Countdown
(R - Aug. 27)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Halle Berry; Chris Colfer; Florida Georgia Line performs)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Clive Owen; Sarah Paulson; Chase Rice performs)
(R - Aug. 6)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Diego Luna; Deap Vally performs)
(R - Apr. 3)

FOX:
8PM - Sleepy Hollow
(R - Nov. 25)
9PM - Bones
(R - Mar. 24)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The 'This Old House' Hour (R - Mar. 20)
9PM - Great Performances: Rejoice With Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot
10PM - Antiques Roadshow: Junk in the Trunk 2
(R - Nov. 5, 2012)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Mi Corazón Es Tuyo
9PM - Hasta El Fin del Mundo
10PM - La Malquerida

THE CW:
8PM - The Vampire Diaries
(R - Apr. 17)
9PM - The Originals
(R - Apr. 15)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Reina de Corazones
9PM - En Otra Piel
10PM - El Señor de los Cielos

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comic and author Todd Glass)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Photographer and street artist, JR)
12:01AM - At Midnight (Drew Carey; Brendon Walsh; Blaine Capatch)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz; Matt Walsh; "Weird Al'' Yankovic performs)
(R - Jul. 17)
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TV Notes
FX Orders Clown Comedy Series Starring Zach Galifianakis
By Whitney Friedlander, Variety.com - Aug. 27, 2013

No joke: FX has ordered the comedy series “Baskets,” which is co-created and exec produced by Zach Galifianakis, Louis C.K. and Jonathan Krisel and stars Galifianakis as a man who leaves his job in the corporate world to pursue his dreams of becoming a respected clown.

Production on the 10-episode half-hour laugher will begin next year with the series scheduled to launch in 2016.

The pilot episode of “Baskets” was co-written by Galifianakis, C.K., and Krisel, who also directed the pilot. Blair Breard, Dave Becky, Marc Gurvitz, and Andrea Pett-Joseph are also exec producers.

“Zach Galifianakis, Louis C.K. and Jonathan Krisel have created an absolutely brilliant show,” said Eric Schrier, who, with Nick Grad, is president of original programming for FX Networks and FX Productions. “To say Zach’s portrayal of the lead character Chip Baskets is hilarious/unique/riveting/fascinating would be an understatement. We can’t wait for the world to meet him.”

“Baskets” is the first production under FX Productions’ overall deal with C.K. and his production company Pig Newton. On Monday, C.K. received the Emmy Award for comedy writing for his eponymous FX comedy. A week prior, Galifianakis was part of the team that received an Emmy Award in the short-format live-action entertainment category at the Creative Arts ceremony for his interview with President Obama for his web series “Between Two Ferns.” Krisel is an Emmy-nominated writer and director for “Portlandia.”

Galifianakis is represented by Brillstein Entertainment Partners, CAA and attorney Jared Levine. C.K. is represented by 3 Arts Entertainment. Jonathan Krisel is represented by CAA, Mosaic, and attorney Alex Kohner of Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman.

“Baskets” is the fifth comedy series ordered by FX Networks this year along with “The Tracy Morgan Project” (FXX), “The Comedians” (FX), “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” (FX), and the Krisel-directed “Man Seeking Woman” (FXX), taking the FX Networks comedy roster to 11 series across FX and FXX.

http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/zach...el-1201292179/
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Tech/Business Notes
Time Warner Cable Internet outage fuels opposition to merger
By Meg James, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Aug. 27, 2013

Time Warner Cable's nationwide outage early Wednesday -- which left millions of homes across the country without Internet service -- is fueling opposition to the company's proposed merger with Comcast Corp.

Overnight maintenance on the backbone of Time Warner Cable's Internet network prompted the outage, which hit customers in California, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

The company said the problem occurred at 1:30 a.m. Pacific time during routine network maintenance.

"An issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services," Time Warner Cable said in a statement. By 3 a.m. Pacific time, much of the problem had been resolved.

"Services should be restored for all customers; our apologies for the interruption," Time Warner Cable said on Twitter at about 7:50 a.m. Pacific time. "If you're still having issues, please let us know."

Metropolitan Los Angeles was affected in the outage, Time Warner Cable confirmed. The company routinely does its maintenance overnight to minimize any potential problems for consumers.

The outage came at an awkward time for the company and Comcast Corp., which is seeking federal approval of its $45-billion takeover of Time Warner Cable.

Opponents have urged the Federal Communications Commission to block the deal, saying Comcast already is too big and that both companies suffer from chronic complaints about lousy customer service.

"This is just another challenge that Time Warner and Comcast face in overcoming a customer environment that is fraught with frustration and misery," Steve Beck, founder of the management consulting firm CG42, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

"People are questioning whether this merger will be good for consumers," Beck said.

A customer survey earlier this summer by Beck's firm found that Comcast and Time Warner Cable had the highest levels of "brand vulnerability," due to customer service complaints. The group found higher levels of frustration for cable companies than even customers of banks and financial institutions reported in 2011 in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Beck said.

"Service interruptions happen -- the world is an imperfect place," Beck said. "But it really comes down to how these companies handle the problem and resolve their customer's complaints."

Earlier this week, Time Warner Cable agreed to pay a $1.1 million fine to the FCC for failing to promptly report service outages to the government. As part of the resolution, Time Warner Cable agreed to a three-year compliance program.

On Wednesday morning, the DownDetector site showed the hot spots in regions of the country, including New York, Ohio and North Carolina, that had experienced the outage.

People took to social media to vent.

"This perfectly captures the horribleness of Time Warner Cable," a Rochester, N.Y., man wrote on Facebook on Wednesday morning.

Both Time Warner Cable and Comcast routinely rank at the bottom of customer service rankings. Comcast declined Wednesday to comment on Time Warner Cable's Internet service outage.

Consumer activists and some media companies, including Dish Network, Netflix and the WeatherNation TV channel, have asked the FCC to prevent the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Some have argued that Internet service increasingly is critical to people's everyday lives, and that the government should more closely regulate the industry.

In a letter Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti encouraged the FCC to take a close look at the issue of customer service during its review of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.

"There is a real risk that this transaction will lead to worse customer service," Garcetti wrote. "Some commenters have suggested that the commission should demand improvements in consumer ratings as a condition of the merger."

The mayor added it would likely be difficult to enforce such a provision. However, any approval of Comcast's takeover should "come with a requirement that the company provide adequate services to consumers," Garcetti said.

Monday was the deadline for individuals and groups to lodge comments about the merger with the FCC.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...827-story.html
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Critic's Notes
What Do I Watch After Friday Night Lights? Your Pressing TV Questions, Answered
By Margaret Lyons, Vulture.com - Aug. 27, 2013

Welcome back to Stay Tuned, Vulture's TV advice column. Each Wednesday, Margaret Lyons will answer your questions about what to watch, when to watch it, whom to watch it with, and how to feel about the whole thing. To submit your own questions, you can email staytuned@nymag.com, leave a comment, or tweet @marge incharge with the hashtag #staytuned.

I loved Friday Night Lights. LOVED. Tammi and Coach Taylor taught me about loving relationships, Tim Riggins made me swoon, and while each show had dramatic tension, it never felt like a soap opera. What other shows can I watch that would give me similar viewing pleasure? —Joy

What wouldn't I give to have a good answer to this question? Unfortunately, there aren't other shows like Friday Night Lights. That's why everyone who loves that show keeps telling other people about it! It's a really good show, and there's nothing else that's quite like it. Sorry, Joy.

The best I can do is tell you to watch Parenthood, which shares executive producer Jason Katims and several cast members with FNL. It's much bougier than FNL, and I find a much higher percentage of the characters to be annoying, but I also love it and treasure it deeply. It has the same relaxed-dialogue style and teens-want-to-be-themselves ideas, some solid marriages, and a tsunami of poignance on, oh, three-quarters of the episodes. Bring tissues.

I recently canceled cable, and I miss having my cache of Chopped and Golden Girls in my DVR for those times when I just need mindless, happy TV to unwind me from my day. I have a Roku with Amazon Prime, Netflix, and HBO Go, and usually watch serials and heavy dramas on those, but I'm not always in the mood for TV to be such an event. What's light and easy (but not Housewives-level trashy) that I can stream to fill that void? —Sharyn

When I was in high school, my friend Dan's family had a pet chinchilla named Paco. Paco was really cute, what with his dust baths and all, but he'd get really lonely when his humans weren't around, so Dan's family took to leaving the TV on for him. "Just to keep Paco company," they'd say. I like to think of these go-to fill-the-void shows as quieting our inner anxious chinchillas, and nothing keeps my personal Paco company more than Cheers. Except maybe Frasier. There are like 900 episodes of each of those shows, too, so it'll be a real long time before you run out. When you do, you still have Wings.

Mythbusters might scratch the Chopped itch, given that it also includes demonstrations of expertise in a framework of unpredictable outcomes. (Plus both shows constantly restate the premise of every episode.) Mind of a Chef is a documentary series that's more involved and substantial than Chopped, but it's not heavy-duty or upsetting in any way. The French Chef is on Amazon Prime, too. A treat and a half! In a slightly different vein, I also love My Cat From Hell. It has this satisfying problem-solving mission that I find very rewarding, plus cats.

How do I convince someone to watch Six Feet Under when they refuse to let die the notion that it is "too dated"? This is a fellow writer/producer/director and best friend of mine who has exceptional TV and pop-culture taste (except when it comes to this). I think it's in the top three dramas ever, but she won't even try it. —Brandi

I don't know how one can call something dated without having seen it, either, so maybe your friend is just terrible? We've covered this in Stay Tuned before, but seriously, guys: Watch the shows your friends recommend to you! More charitably, though, is it possible your friend has a crummy history with grief and she's not interested in exploring that emotion through television? If so, she is not terrible, she's just not good at coming up with deflecting excuses. If she thinks grief stories will be triggering for her, go ahead and drop this subject.

But suppose she really does think the show is dated. I … have not heard that criticism of Six Feet Under ever before. It has cell phones and vigorous intercourse and all the markers of modern television and everything. In fact, four other people wrote in questions this week about how much they love the show and how often they still watch it. (I'm saving those for another column. Fear not, friends.) I specifically went back and rewatched the pilot just to make extra sure, and it didn't seem dated at all. It seemed different and refreshing, and all I could think was how badly I wished more pilots were this good. Does she think The Sopranos is dated, too? Maybe it's just that Six Feet Under seems slightly out of sync with other "second golden age of television" shows because it's not about an antihero, it's not primarily about men, and it's comparatively less violent than, say, The Shield. That to me is an argument in favor of watching it, but I'm biased because I really love SFU.

Let's even grant the premise that it is dated, which I do not actually grant, but I like to win arguments, so here we go: Just because it's dated doesn't mean you won't like it. I rewatched Ally McBeal not too long ago, and, uh, call that show medjool, cause holy ****, is it ever dated. (Is sexual harassment even real???? Uh, yes.) But I still enjoyed it! There were still things that made me happy, still parts of myself I recognized in the characters, still identifiable human behavior that's not always present in contemporary television.

Anyway, you're right, and your friend is wrong. SFU forever.

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