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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2818

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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 11, 2013

Public Television, Check local listings

Another timely new edition: This weekend, Bill Moyers’ guests include economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who discusses President Barack Obama’s choice for Secretary of the Treasury – who wasn’t Krugman. But Krugman says he’s fine with that, saying he can still be called on to give advice, while “what the president needs right now is a hard-nosed negotiator. And rumor is that’s what he’s got.” Moyers & Company airs from Friday to Sunday on local public TV stations; to find it in your local area, click the [url=]BillMoyers.com[/url] website.

Cinemax, 7:45 p.m. ET

With Sherlock on PBS, and Elementary on CBS, there’s a big resurgence of interest in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed detective, one of the most iconic characters in all of literature. And we shouldn’t forget Robert Downey, Jr.’s modernistic take on Sherlock Holmes, presented here in this 2011 sequel, with Jude Law as Watson, Jared Harris from Mad Men as Professor Moriarty, and Rachel McAdams as a very vivacious Irene Adler.

Showtime, 8:00 p.m. ET

Meryl Streep earned Oscar Number Three, and her first in decades, by portraying British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in this 2011 film biography. Its framing device, a mixture of flashbacks and ghostly visitations, is a bit unusual, but Streep’s impersonation is ghostly, too: less acting than channeling. Jim Broadbent co-stars.

Fox, 9:00 p.m. ET

Next Friday, Fox presents two episodes of Fringe back-to-back – the final two episodes of the series. So if the second of those episodes is the series finale, and the first of those episodes is the penultimate Fringe episode, then what’s tonight’s installment called? It mght be called Altered States – because look at what Walter (John Noble) is doing.

Cinemax, 10:00 p.m. ET
This new series places killers among the Amish, sort of like Witness did – but also adds the wrinkle that the new small-town sheriff actually is a wily wanted fugitive. Banshee wants to be Justified, but its premise and its characters are equally unbelievable. Not just improbable. Unbelievable. Anthony Starr stars. Give Cinemax credit, though, for trying to mount another original series. For a full review, see Uncle Barky's Bytes.

Edited by dad1153 - 1/11/13 at 10:34pm
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TV Review
The Edges Are Still Sharp in Brooklyn
Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’ Returns to HBO
By Alessandra Sanley, The New York Times - Jan. 11, 2013

Back when networks reigned supreme, cable television was the place to go for sex and violence. Now it’s also a safe house for pessimism, an alternate universe where problems fester or deepen, friends let one another down, and love doesn’t conquer anything.

And that’s particularly hard for American comedy, which is addicted to redemption and happy endings, so much so that one of the better network sitcoms on ABC at the moment is actually called “Happy Endings.” (That title may suggest to some a salacious double entendre, but the episodes do close on a warm, cheery note.) There is clever writing on even some of the most anodyne sitcoms, but it’s still almost impossible to find a network series that doesn’t celebrate the sunny side of human weakness.

And that’s why “Girls,” which returns to HBO on Sunday (9 p.m. ET/PT), is such a phenomenon. For the seven readers who haven’t heard of it or its 26-year-old wunderkind creator, Lena Dunham, “Girls” is a dark and deadpan comedy about four young women in Brooklyn who don’t own cool apartments or have glamorous careers, eligible suitors, expensive clothes or even, sometimes, paying jobs. Ms. Dunham plays the heroine, Hannah, and she isn’t always likable. “Girls” may be the millennial generation’s rebuttal to “Sex and the City,” but the first season was at times as cruelly insightful and bleakly funny as “Louie” on FX or “Curb Your Enthusiasm” on HBO.

There is lots of good television, but comedies that are fresh and original as well as rigorously downbeat are harder to find — particularly when it comes to the depiction of women in their 20s. “Girls” drew so many accolades and so much media attention — Internet champions, television appearances, magazine covers and a multimillion-dollar book deal for Ms. Dunham — that it quickly started a backlash that was as disproportionate as all the initial fuss. So the measure of Season 2 lies in how well Ms. Dunham and her colleagues withstood all the pressure and stayed true to the original conceit.

The first episode is a little slow, but the next three are as irreverent, funny and hard edged as any in the first season. There are some adjustments for success, including cameo roles for celebrities like Rita Wilson. But the seditious, satirical spirit is intact.

Defiance too is evident between the lines. To her credit Ms. Dunham did not wilt under the impassioned blogger debate over her not-thin physique, which she flaunted by having Hannah flit around in ever more revealing displays of near-nakedness. Nudity doesn’t shock viewers, but imperfection does. This season, the F.C.C. may have to issue a special rating for fashion-obsessed audiences (TV-Not-a-Size-6), because Hannah is, if anything, even less inhibited about her body.

Last year some critics got traction with complaints that none of Ms. Dunham’s main characters were African-American — even though the cast is small, and mostly made up of insular, middle-class Oberlin alumni living in bohemian Brooklyn. Ms. Dunham dealt with the diversity dust-up by giving in — to a point. Her character returns to the screen with a sort-of boyfriend, Sandy (Donald Glover of “Community”), a good-humored, hip black law student who happens to be a Republican. Hannah can’t believe he actually likes her, but she also can’t believe he is actually a conservative.

As the HBO trailer reveals, it’s raining men, at least for Hannah. She is still entangled with her bad boyfriend, Adam, and also shares her apartment with an ex-boyfriend, Elijah (Andrew Rannells), who is now gay and her new best friend. They are smugly in sync, at times nauseatingly so, until they aren’t. Friendships are vital on “Girls,” but that doesn’t mean they are friendly.

Marnie (Allison Williams), Hannah’s beautiful, strait-laced best friend, moved out, and now finds herself unmoored without a roommate, a boyfriend or a job. Her anxiety hardens her looks, a toll that her mother, played by Ms. Wilson, is only too happy to point out. When Marnie barks back, her mother complains that Marnie doesn’t speak to her friends in that tone. “I talk to my friends way worse than this,” Marnie says.

Marnie’s fierce manner clashes with her all-American beauty and good breeding. But it’s her shocked response to the first intimations of failure that sets her apart the most. Many in her circle are unemployed, depressed or drifting, but she is stunned at her fate, and rightly so, because women like her are not supposed to be discounted and ignored. Her closest friends don’t provide much help or sympathy, assuring her that she could get a “pretty-person job.”

And the others in the foursome are just as complicated. Even Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), who talks in women’s magazine self-help prattle (at one point she thanks the “higher powers” for her gifts, which she describes to herself as a “keen mathematical mind and fairly fast-growing hair”), is endearing without stepping over the line into sitcom cuteness. Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is both knowing and hilariously self-deluded, a freeloading free spirit who is pathetic and admirable all at once.

Ms. Dunham has created a narrow world that looks very much like the one she lives in for real, but it is so sharply drawn that it has broad appeal.

Edited by dad1153 - 1/11/13 at 10:33pm
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TV Review
'Banshee' (Cinemax)
By Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

It’s always a welcome sign when creatively dormant — some even might say pointless or redundant — cable channels come to life. These days, most are finding their awakening via scripted material, which can be a real gift to viewers.

Credit Cinemax, the HBO sister channel best known by its nickname “Skin-emax,” for jumping into the scripted game with Strike Back, a surprisingly entertaining drama that recently finished a successful second season and will return in 2013. (Like all channels trying to launch, or relaunch, shows, there will be misses, and Hunted, another series with fine potential, just never caught on with viewers.)

Now on Jan. 11 comes Banshee, an hourlong show about a master thief-turned-con man and his post-prison attempt to steer clear of the gangsters he betrayed in the past.

Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler created the show and enlisted True Blood’s Alan Ball to help guide the project and Emmy-winning director Greg Yaitanes (House) to set the mood and feel. In doing that, they didn’t depart too much from what Cinemax is finding to be a good formula: action, violence, sex and intrigue all wrapped up in better-than-expected writing that puts more intelligence than cliches into the process.

Banshee certainly has the potential to bust out. It features New Zealander Antony Starr (the Australian TV series Rush) as Lucas Hood, who years ago worked with a secretive and vicious Ukrainian mobster named Rabbit (Chariots of Fire’s Ben Cross) before doing something he probably shouldn’t have, hence the constant threats on his life.

After serving a 15-year stint in prison, Hood’s first priority is to track down a fellow thief and the love of his life, who’s now living in Banshee, Pa. To track her, he goes to Job (Hoon Lee), a transvestite hair salon owner by day but also a dangerous criminal who’s a com- puter hacker and expert at identity switches.

But once Hood lands in Banshee, he realizes that his old flame is now Carrie Hopewell (Ivana Milicevic), a married mother of two using an assumed name and fitting in effort- lessly around the town. Of course, it’s always a bit of a stretch when thrillers and crime stories go in for the elaborate, and in Banshee that happens when Hood’s in a small bar and meets the new sheriff of Banshee, who starts his first day after coming out from the Pacific Northwest.

A couple of thug moves later, the new sheriff is dead, and that’s when Hood assumes his identity. As sheriff, the cover gives him a place to hide out from Rabbit and his assassins as well as an opportunity to butt heads with Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen), a former Amish member and current kingpin who runs every- thing in Banshee that can turn a profit. He’s untouchable and knows it — but he doesn’t know Hood and his own brand of danger.

Yes, it can often sound like a pulp setup bound to go sideways, but Banshee ends up being taut, entertaining and smart enough, and you won’t completely turn your brain off.

Starr is intriguing, and the tone set by Tropper and Schickler hooks you immediately. Yaitanes has infused the first hour with the kind of directing that makes it feel like a movie, with big flourishes and well-constructed smaller moments. The series is shot in and around North Carolina, but the more rural elements of Pennsylvania come through distinctly to give the series a sense of place.

The writers have assembled a number of interesting characters and dole out the back- stories slowly and with an assured hand. You get the sense after five episodes of Banshee that the series is going to get deeper and better. That’s a nice promise, evidence that Cinemax is fully in the scripted game.

The Bottom Line: Violence, sex and intrigue are all wrapped up in better-than-expected writing.
When/Where: 10 p.m. Fridays on Cinemax

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 11, 2012

Cinemax, 7:45 p.m. ET

With Sherlock on PBS, and Elementary on CBS, there’s a big resurgence of interest in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed detective, one of the most iconic characters in all of literature. And we shouldn’t forget Robert Downey, Jr.’s modernistic take on Sherlock Holmes, presented here in this 2011 sequel, with Jude Law as Watson, Jared Harris from Mad Men as Professor Moriarty, and Rachel McAdams as a very vivacious Irene Adler.


No mention of Noomi Rapace in Sherlock. frown.gif
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THURSDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
‘Bang’ does it again: More series highs
CBS sitcom averages record 6.3 in 18-49s and 19.78M viewers
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 11, 2013

“The Big Bang Theory” is blowing up.

The show set new series highs last night in adults 18-49 and 25-54 and total viewers for the second straight week.

“Bang” averaged a 6.3 in 18-49s in the 8 p.m. timeslot, according to Nielsen overnights, up 3 percent over last week.

It also drew 19.78 million total viewers for the “Star Trek”-themed episode and an 8.1 in 25-54s.

It marked the third time this season the super-hot show has set a new series high in viewers.

“Bang” wasn’t the only show to hit a series high on the night (though it’s the only one this year to do so in its sixth season).

ABC’s second-year drama “Scandal” came back just as hot as when it left, hitting a series high for the second time in three episodes.

“Scandal” averaged a 2.8 in 18-49s at 10 p.m., topping CBS’s “Elementary” (2.4) by its biggest margin yet, 17 percent. It also was up 17 percent over its most recent original on Dec. 13.

Elsewhere, NBC’s new comedy “1600 Penn” drew unremarkable results. The show, which aired a sneak preview last month, averaged a 1.6 at 9:30 behind “The Office” (2.2). That was down a tenth from the season-to-date average of previous timeslot occupant “Parks and Recreation.”

And ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” was up 7 percent from its most recent original episode to a 3.1, but it finished second in the 9 p.m. timeslot to “Person of Interest,” which drew a 3.3.

Paced by “Bang,” CBS was first for the night among 18-49s with a 3.6 average overnight rating and a 10 share. ABC was second at 2.4/7, Univision third at 1.7/5, NBC fourth at 1.5/4, Fox fifth at 0.9/3, CW sixth at 0.6/2 and Telemundo seventh at 0.5/2.

As a reminder, all ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback, which includes shows replayed before 3 a.m. the night before. Seven-day DVR data won’t be available for several weeks. Forty-six percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

CBS placed first at 8 p.m. with a 5.3 for “Bang” (6.3) and “Two and a Half Men” (4.2). Univision’s “Por Ella Soy Eva” was second with a 1.7, followed by NBC’s “30 Rock” (1.4) and a repeat of “Penn” (1.4) with a 1.4. ABC’s “Last Resort” and Fox’s “Mobbed” tied for fourth with a 1.2 apiece. The CW’s “Critics’ Choice Movie Awards” was sixth with a 0.6 and Telemundo’s “Rosa Diamante” placed seventh with a 0.5.

At 9 p.m. CBS stayed ahead with a 3.3 for “Person,” followed by “Grey’s” with the 3.1. NBC was third with a 1.9 for “Office” (2.2) and “Penn” (1.6), Univision fourth with a 1.8 for “Amores Verdaderos” and Fox fifth with a 0.7 for a repeat of “Glee.” Telemundo’s “La Patrona” and the CW’s conclusion of the awards show tied for sixth with a 0.6 apiece.

At 10 p.m. ABC moved to first with the 2.8 for “Scandal,” followed by “Elementary” second with the 2.4. Univision’s “Amor Bravio” placed third with a 1.5, NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams” was fourth with a 1.1, and Telemundo took fifth with a 0.5 for “Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal” (0.7) and “El Rostro de la Venganza” (0.5).

CBS took first among households for the evening with a 9.0/14. ABC was second with a 5.1/8, NBC was third with a 2.6/4, Univision fourth with a 2.0/3, Fox fifth with a 1.7/3, the CW sixth with a 1.4/2 and Telemundo seventh with a 0.8/1.


* * * *

Nielsen Notes (Late Night)
‘Jimmy Kimmel’ jumps again in 18-49s

ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” continued to draw strong numbers in its third night in its new timeslot, spiking to its best viewership this week.

“JKL” averaged 1.241 million adults 18-49 Thursday at 11:35 p.m., according to Nielsen, up 15 percent over Wednesday’s broadcast and topping NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (938,000) and CBS’s “The Late Show with David Letterman” (929,000).

The numbers may reflect ABC’s strength in the 10 p.m. hour on Thursdays. The network won the hour in 18-49s for the first time this week with a strong 2.8 rating for “Scandal,” while NBC had its worst outing of the week in that demo with a 1.1 for “Rock Center with Brian Williams.”

Kimmel also drew his second-best tally ever in total viewers on Thursday, 3.167 million. “JKL,” which previously aired at midnight, has broadcast two of its three most-watched episodes this week, the other coming on Tuesday (3.097 million).

Lead-out “Nightline” also won its slot in total viewers and 18-49s at 12:35 a.m. with 1.95 million total viewers and 751,000 18-49s, its best tallies this week.

NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” averaged 1.47 million total viewers and 572,000 18-49s, and CBS’s “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” drew 1.53 million and 510,000.

The two rival talk shows air for a half hour longer than “Nightline.”

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TV Notes
'Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs Favorites': New cast and intel revealed!
By Dalton Ross, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Jan. 11, 2013

Survivor will try to follow up its best season in years by reviving a concept from one of its best seasons ever when Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs Favorites premieres Feb. 13 on CBS. And the names of both the new fans and returning favorites can now be officially revealed. This marks the show’s second Fans vs Faves venture after Survivor: Micronesia, widely considered one of the program’s strongest offerings. And one of the Fans from that season, Erik Reichenbach (who was most famous for giving up his immunity necklace and then being voted off), will now be making the jump to the Favorites. He will be joined by another person who gave away immunity only to be voted out, Brandon Hantz (Survivor: South Pacific).

Also on the Favorites tribe will be John Cochran (South Pacific), Dawn Meehan (South Pacific), Phillip Sheppard (Redemption Island), Andrea Boehlke (Redemption Island), Francesca Hogi (Redemption Island), Corinne Kaplan (Gabon), Brenda Lowe (Nicaragua), and Malcolm Freberg, who began filming on the new season only two-and-a-half weeks after he came in fourth place on Survivor: Philippines. (The seasons were shot back-to-back in the Philippines in the spring of 2012.)

All of the returning players come from relatively recent seasons and will be playing for the second time. None come from the first 15 seasons of the show, and only Erik and Corinne did not appear in one of the previous five installments. (Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs Favorites marks the show’s 26th season.) According to host Jeff Probst, the emphasis on more recent returnees is no accident. “We realized that we had to make a decision,” Probst told EW.com. “Do we only bring back our oldest iconic stars, or do we begin to birth new stars. And when we sat down with the list and said, okay let’s look at the people that we haven’t brought back yet, we felt like we had a really good group. And it was a bit of a turning point for us to say, we’re now going to look at the next generation of Survivor all-stars.”

Of course, many of these all-stars are known more for their big gaffes in the game. In addition to Erik and Brandon handing away immunity, Cochran made a hotly-debated flip that led to his demise, and Francesca was the very first person voted off her season after she openly took on Boston Rob. In fact, after seeing whom he was playing against this time around, Cochran fretted about the company he was keeping. “I was looking around all the CBS stuff to see if I could find a logo for the season somewhere because I’m dying to know what this season is subtitled because it sure isn’t being called Greatest Survivor Players of All-Time,” Cochran told EW.com right before filming began in May 2012. “I’m afraid it’s going to be some sort of unflattering thing like Dunce Island where we have to wear dunce caps instead of buffs or something. Because there are a lot of people that made weird moves or poor moves like me.”

As for the 10 new players who will comprise the “Gota” tribe taking on the “Bikal” tribe of Favorites, they include Miss Missouri 2011, a firefighter/EMT, a female racecar driver, and former United States Marine Corps Sgt. Shamar Thomas, who gained a measure of Internet fame after a video posted of him berating New York City police officers for excessive force during an Occupy Wall Street demonstration. (The full list of 20 new and returning players is below.)

And while Survivor: Caramoan will not feature the 21 straight days of rain that fell on the contestants last season, Probst promises that “The weather is a problem. This is a difficult season. The Survivors get pummeled. And there are evacuations. There are things out of the norm that happen this season that will be very memorable. I was on the boat a lot, going back and forth between camps.”

Probst also teases that love will be in air this season. “There’s also some romance early on which continues to blow my mind! It knocks me over that people want the jungle love! As much as you can’t believe we still do a final three, I can’t believe romance happens in front of other people in a game like Survivor.” (He’s right — I do hate the final three format.)

A full list of the cast can be found below. Also, make sure to check out our photo gallery of the new cast. We also give our take on the returning players on the new InsideTV Podcast. And for more Survivor news and views all year long, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

The cast of Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs Favorites

Favorites/Bikal tribe

Andrea Boehlke
Previous Season: Survivor: Redemption Island – 13th castaway voted out/ 8th Jury Member
Age: 23
Current Residence: New York, N.Y.
Occupation: Entertainment Host and Writer

Brandon Hantz
Previous Season: Survivor: South Pacific – 15th castaway voted out/7th Jury Member
Age: 21
Current Residence: Katy, Texas
Occupation: Chemical Disposal

Brenda Lowe
Previous Season: Survivor: Nicaragua – 11th castaway voted out/3rd Jury Member
Age: 30
Current Residence: Miami, Fla.
Occupation: Paddleboard Co. Owner

Corinne Kaplan
Previous Season: Survivor: Gabon – 12th castaway voted out/4th Jury Member
Age: 33
Current Residence: Los Angeles
Occupation: Clinical Consultant

Dawn Meehan
Previous Season: Survivor: South Pacific – 11th castaway voted off/3rd Jury Member
Age: 42
Current Residence: South Jordan, Utah
Occupation: English Professor

Erik Reichenbach
Previous Season: Survivor: Micronesia – 13th castaway voted out/6th Jury Member
Age: 27
Current Residence: Santa Clarita, Calif.
Occupation: Comic Book Artist

Francesca Hogi
Previous Season: Survivor: Redemption Island – 1st castaway voted out
Age: 38
Current Residence: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Occupation: Attorney

John Cochran
Previous Season: Survivor: South Pacific – 13th castaway voted out/5th Jury Member
Age: 25
Current Residence: Washington, D.C.
Occupation: Harvard Law Student

Malcolm Freberg
Previous Season: Survivor: Philippines – 15th castaway voted off/8th Jury member
Age: 25
Current Residence: Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Occupation: Bartender

Phillip Sheppard
Previous Season: Survivor: Redemption Island – Made it to the final 3
Age: 54
Current Residence: Santa Monica, Calif.
Occupation: Chief Executive Officer of Enter Software Sales

Fans/Gota tribe

Alexandra “Allie” Pohevitz
Age: 25
Current Residence: Oceanside, N.Y.
Occupation: Bartender

Edward “Eddie” Fox
Age: 23
Current Residence: East Brunswick, N.J.
Occupation: Fireman/EMT

Hope Driskill
Age: 23
Current Residence: Jefferson City, Mo.
Occupation: Pre Law Student (Miss Missouri 2011)

Julia Landauer
Age: 21
Current Residence: Stanford, Calif.
Occupation: Racecar Driver

Laura Alexander
Age: 23
Current Residence: Washington, D.C.
Occupation: Administrative Officer

Matt Bischoff
Age: 38
Current Residence: Cincinnati, Ohio
Occupation: BMX Bike Sales

Michael Snow
Age: 44
Current Residence: New York, N.Y.
Occupation: Event Planner

Reynold Toepfer
Age: 30
Current Residence: San Francisco, Calif.
Occupation: Real Estate Sales

Shamar Thomas
Age: 27
Current Residence: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Occupation: Iraq War Veteran

Sherri Biethman
Age: 41
Current Residence: Boise, Idaho
Occupation: Fast Food Franchisee

Edited by dad1153 - 1/11/13 at 10:33pm
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'Banshee' Boss on Cinemax Thriller: 'There's Nothing Like It on Television Right Now'
By Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 11, 2013

Cinemax continues its foray into scripted with action thriller Banshee, debuting Jan. 11.

For executive producer Greg Yaitanes, it's a far cry from the protected hospital walls of House. "The thing that attracted me to Banshee, good or bad there’s nothing like it on television right now," Yaitanes, who described Banshee as a "pulp" drama, told The Hollywood Reporter. (In an early episode, ex-con Lucas Hood (Anthony Starr) engages in a steamy sex scene, before it flashes back to an earlier sexual escapade.)

The 10-episode drama was originally for sister channel HBO, but as executive producer Alan Ball tells it, it was kismet when it went to Cinemax. "At Cinemax, we went to our original pitch again: high-octane entertainment, violent and clever, yet complex. It also allows us to treat the sexuality in the show in a very frank and adult manner," he told THR.

The series follows Lucas Hood who leaves jail after 15 years and re-assimilates into the world by heading to Banshee, Penn., taking on the identity of the murdered town sheriff as he is hunted by gangsters he betrayed years ago. "Banshee ends up being taut, entertaining and smart enough, and you won’t completely turn your brain off," wrote THR's television critic Tim Goodman in his review.

Yaitanes chatted with THR about the perks of being on a subscriber-reliant network, the blurred ethical lines and expectations of additional season pickups.

The Hollywood Reporter: Banshee is a far cry from House. Can you speak to the nature of this show, which has far more sex and violence?
Greg Yaitanes:
[Laughs] The thing that attracted me to Banshee, good or bad there’s nothing like it on television right now. To explore these characters with a very pulp, sexual canvas was very attractive to me. We wanted to create a very satisfying and engaging 10 episodes for the audience. For me, to not have the network and not have commercial interruption and to not be bound by a format was very attractive. Banshee is an ebb and flow every week. Banshee being a 10-episode experience is a good amount of time to commit. Every episode is better than the one before it, which is something that me as a viewer I get excited by. I tried to make moves throughout the season that I’d personally want to watch for a show like this. As someone who is frequently unsatisfied with my TV watching, I really wanted to make something that I would want to engage in and enter into every week.

THR: You can certainly get away with more and show more on Cinemax. Was there still a line that couldn't be crossed?
Interestingly, the great thing about working with Cinemax was their willingness to take chances and to take it as far as we want to go. We don’t do anything for the sake of doing anything because we can. Being able to show sex, violence and not having commercials got us in a mode that was more cinematic but we’re not looking to exploit the format. The fact that we have more brushes to paint with is really what we’ve been excited about.

THR: How the main character integrates himself into the town of Banshee in the first episode is rather gruesome. Is that a sign of things to come in forthcoming episodes?
When people come and experience an episode of Banshee, they’re going to have a full journey every week and ultimately it’ll come to a pretty stunning conclusion. Episode one is very representative of the heightened drama. Everything’s there but again, nothing’s exploitive. Everything serves the story.

THR: And the consequences play into it.
The consequences are something that we deal with every week. You can’t just roll into a town and insert yourself into people’s lives and not affect that. Lucas is that rock that drops in the pond. As he infects the world around him, those consequences are going to come back. He does not get a free pass.

THR: How close does he get to having his true identity found out?
His true identity is always under threat of being exposed. The drive of season one is the love story between Lucas and old flame Carrie, but along the way there are people sniffing out who Lucas really is. It’s always going to be bristling under the surface.

THR: The ethical lines are blurred because here you have an ex-con serving as a town sheriff. How does Lucas deal with that moral gray area and does he begin to lean toward one side?
What’s interesting with Lucas is that he doesn’t know where that line is, he doesn’t know what the ethics are. You’re dealing with someone who’s pretending to do a job they don’t know how to do. He doesn’t really know what’s right and what’s wrong. He’s just following his impulsive gut instincts, which do not always serve him well. The world has moved on without for 15 years and he hasn’t realized that. This season is like the coming of age of Lucas Hood. We don’t just plateau Lucas from when we meet him across the season. He’s changing every week, he’s dealing with his situation and realizing there’s more to this life and to what he’s trying to do than he thought. He’ll come face to face with those consequences.

THR: Is this his way of assimilating back into the real world, however screwed up it may be?
Assimilating by pretending to be someone you’re not and forcing yourself into someone’s life who doesn’t necessarily want you but who also does want you. Everybody is going through something, everybody is caught in the middle of their secrets and their lies. It’s messy; it’s psychologically messy. There is no clean-cut right or wrong. Everybody can relate to that. Everybody can relate to being stuck in a situation where you don’t know what the best thing is because all outcomes are going to be challenging. Although we’re heightened, there’s a lot of things people can relate to in this.

THR: Even though it features extraordinary situations, at the core it’s a grounded drama, is what you're saying?
It’s phenomenally grounded. When we get into the later episodes in the season especially, for what Lucas and the rest of the characters are going through, everyone will viscerally feel what they’re going through.

THR: You’re also changing up the opening titles for each episode with different images. Why did you decide to do that?
When I was working in network television, the opening credits are often disregarded and sometimes sacrificed in order to tell a little more story. When we doing a packed episode of House, we had a five-second title card. When I got to Cinemax, to have 75 seconds of a title sequence that’s a lot of real estate, so why not use that time to tell a story? Not only do the titles change every week, they’re also telling these micro-stories of each character. If you start watching all of these title sequences, you’ll notice the photographs are incredibly relevant to what the characters are going through or have experienced in the past and there is a lot of psychological foreshadowing in the main title. We’re telling a story in every inch of the show. I didn’t want to leave anything left untapped. For that hour I have them I want to give the audience as much of a satisfying experience as I can possibly create for them.

THR: Hints to that particular episode or the character arc as a whole?
With the "Welcome to Banshee" site, we’ll actually go into the psychological meaning of the title sequences. If I love a show, I will go as deep as possible and I want to make sure that if people engage in Banshee, that there is something waiting for them everywhere. We wanted to fully embrace all the years of mythology; if this comes down to two people who are enjoying the show and geeking out over the title sequences, then I would be at my happiest [to know that] people are picking up on things that are evolving and that they care.

THR: Are the post-credits scenes just icing on the cake or previews for the next episode?
If you miss them, you don’t miss anything. If you stay for them, they’re all relevant to the episode they take place in. They give you just an extra bit of information. I want people feeling at the end of an episode, “Ohhh ****.”

THR: What can be expected of the lead-up to the season finale?
Everything happens [in episodes nine and 10]. Everything you want to have happen in the season, or wish for, or hope will get answered or dealt with, will happen. Everything. We have one edict: Go with every season as though it’s the last and make it the best possible experience. We don’t want to save anything. We have years of story we can tell, but we want every year to feel like you came there and got this amazing experience and I want people to say in the end, “What the **** are they going to do next year?”

THR: So you have a season two blueprint?
Definitely. In pickup, we have a great season two in the works. We’re hopeful that after the premiere we’ll announce the second season and if we do then we have great things planned. We have a lot of Banshee to tell.

THR: The ratings expectation for Cinemax is very different than that of network standards. Less pressure?
It’s very freeing to be working under a business model than a ratings model. Cinemax is a subscriber-based network and they know what they can make the show for and still be OK. That was our goal: being not only a show that was great but was fiscally responsible.

Banshee debuts 10 p.m. Friday on Cinemax.

Edited by dad1153 - 1/11/13 at 10:33pm
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TV Notes
Howie Mandel Gets Yet Another Reality Show
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Jan. 11, 2013

Ready to see even more Howie Mandel on the small screen?

Yeah, we didn't think so, but it's coming your way, thanks to TBS.

The cable network said Friday that it has greenlit a new series, tentatively titled "Deal With It," which will be executive-produced by Mandel.

The network doesn't say whether Mandel will appear on camera; if so, it will follow on the heels of three other Mandel-hosted series, "Deal or No Deal," "Take It All" and "Mobbed." (Not to mention "America's Got Talent.")

TBS has also given the go-ahead for a new show from reality TV kingpin Mark Burnett, which bears the working title, "Trust Me, I'm a Game Show Host."

"Deal With It," which has received a six-episode order, is a hidden-camera affair in which unsuspecting people are secretly dared to pull a prank on their companions with no time to prepare. Receiving their instructions through an earpiece, they are given the opportunity to prank their way to cash and prizes.

Mandel's Alevy Productions is producing, along with Roy Bank's Banca Studio and Keshet Broadcasting -- which created the format for the show -- in association with Lionsgate Television. In addition to Mandel, Mike Marks -- an executive producer on two of Mandel's other shows, "Take it All" and "Mobbed" -- is also executive-producing, along with Bank.

"Trust Me, I'm a Game Show Host," meanwhile, is billed as "a comedic game show" in which two hosts present a contestant with two different answers -- one correct, one incorrect -- to a single question, leaving the contestant to choose the right answer.

The show, which has received a 10-episode order, is being produced by One Three Media, Burnett's joint venture with Hearst Media, as well as London-based production company Monkey. Burnett will executive-produce, along with Monkey's Will MacDonald and David Granger.

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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Jimmy Kimmel Goes Modest – “We’ll Be Happy As No. 3″ In Late-Night
By The Deadline.com Team - Jan. 11, 2013

Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

Jimmy Kimmel today downplayed the high ratings his show has enjoyed in its new 11:35 PM time slot. “The first week doesn’t mean anything,” he said during a TCA session at the Jimmy Kimmel Live studio in Hollywood. “It would mean something if we did poorly.” Today’s panel came after Kimmel topped new time-slot rivals Jay Leno and David Letterman in the 18-49 demo last night, when the show set a new ratings high in its third night of head-to-head competition with The Tonight Show and Late Night. “It was just one night”, he told critics. Kimmel also said Letterman called to wish him well — the day before the show’s debut, which beat his longtime hero in the demo. “I’m not killing Dave”, Kimmel insisted. “We did not put a dent in his numbers. I don’t think it will hurt him.” Kimmel said he did not hear from Leno, whom he has been critical of in the press recently, telling Roling Stone in an interview that the NBC host was a “sellout” and “a master chef who opened a Burger King.” “I don’t know him,” Kimmel said today. “I’m a fan of his. I think he’s a very funny guy.”

Kimmel said he was “happy for 10 years” in his old slot and “it’s better to be a newcomer than an old timer.” He said that he ultimately expects to be “the No. 3 show in late-night” because The Tonight Show and Letterman have such long histories. “We’ll be very happy with No. 3.” He added that no one would ever take the late night crown from Johnny Carson.

Kimmel said that talks about his time slot move began when Ted Koppel left ABC because any late-night change tends to launch such discussions. But he added he never went to ABC and asked for the move. “I never asked them, never once,” Kimmel said. “I made it known that I felt I was ready to do it.” When was that? He joked; “Probably on the first night.”

Kimmel said the actual decision about the move was very fast and was made “at a strange time, right after the upfronts. There were a lot of people involved. There was no one reason.”

Kimmel laughed when asked whether he had been asked by ABC to make his show less edgy in the new time slot and be “more like Leno.” “No no no, not at all. It would be nice if they bought me some cars.”

Kimmel confirmed he would be doing an Oscar special this year but said he would not attend the Golden Globes because he isn’t into that kind of stuff and “I wasn’t invited.” He also said faux-rival Matt Damon would appear on the show January 24, joking that he did not really want to make the announcement because of his “unpleasant history” with the actor.

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TV Notes
A Low-Rated Show Gets a Second Shot
By Amy Chozick, New York Times - Jan. 9, 2013

In the second season of HBO’s “Enlightened” (Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT), Amy Jellicoe, a self-involved do-gooder played by Laura Dern, joins Twitter. “Follow me. Follow me,” Amy repeats in the languid voice-over of her internal dialogue.

HBO’s internal dialogue about the dark, half-hour series could be summed up similarly as: “Watch me. Watch me.”

In its first season, “Enlightened,”created by Mike White and Ms. Dern, won some critical acclaim. Ms. Dern received a Golden Globe award for best actress for her portrayal of a midlevel corporate executive who has a nervous breakdown after a messy office affair and returns from rehab spouting self-help platitudes.

But the show failed to gain an audience. By Nielsen’s figures, 210,000 viewers watched the Season 1 premiere. The audience sank to 190,000 viewers in its second episode, making it among the lowest-rated shows on HBO.

Since HBO relies on subscriptions rather than advertising dollars, it has typically valued critical acclaim and awards over nightly ratings. Still, there’s a distinct feeling at the channel that “Enlightened,” like its striving-for-attention protagonist, just hasn’t gotten the notice it deserves. “We feel very, very strongly about it,” said Sue Naegle, president of HBO Entertainment. She said crowd pleasers like “Game of Thrones” and “True Blood” allow the network to stick with a less popular, experimental series.

Recently, however, the supply of high-end cable series has exploded, creating more competition for HBO. The channel has rankled some fans by canceling shows with devoted but small followings like “Bored to Death” “Hung”and “In Treatment.” Last March, HBO canceled the expensive drama, “Luck,” after only a handful of episodes. But executives have stuck by Mr. White’s quixotic tale of workplace suffocation.

“Sometimes shows don’t get good numbers and it’s because the message is cloudy or they struggled creatively,” Ms. Naegle said. “But this one deserved another year, another chance.”

Rather than the poetic character vignettes of Season 1, the second season of “Enlightened” takes viewers on a serialized ride as Amy plots to take down Abaddonn Industries, the generically evil corporation that has demoted her to a basement job in a data processing department.

Part of the difficulty for “Enlightened” is that even among experimental cable shows, it’s a tough series to define. Billed as a comedy, the show has a polarizing protagonist and touches on dark, existential themes with lots of Mr. White’s brand of often hard-to-watch humor (the kind he displayed in the 2000 film “Chuck and Buck”) mixed in. Last year the series was nominated for best comedy at the Golden Globes alongside “Modern Family” and “New Girl.”

“HBO had us trot out in a panel of comedy show runners and I was thinking, ‘Why am I here? I feel like an impostor,’ ” Mr. White said. Ms. Dern said she thought of the show as “a half-hour study of an individual” and compared it to other projects she’s worked on with the filmmakers David Lynch, Alexander Payne and Robert Altman.

Mr. White, who stars in the series as Tyler, Amy’s obsequious computer-whiz colleague, said he was hopeful that the David and Goliath plot in the second season would draw more viewers. Amy teams up with an investigative reporter for The Los Angeles Times played by Dermot Mulroney to blow the whistle on Abaddonn for corrupt practices.

“I was watching ‘Homeland’ last year and people were nuts for that show and I was thinking, ‘She’s as annoying as Amy,’ ” Mr. White said, referring to the character played by Claire Danes. The difference, though, is “there’s so much plot” in “Homeland,” he said.

HBO agreed that a meatier plot might make the series appeal to a broader audience. “They weren’t so worried about her character being polarizing as the meditative quality of the show last season,” Mr. White said. “At the same time, when I turned in the scripts that were plotty and juicy, they said, ‘Don’t get away from the melancholy.’ ”

Ms. Dern and Mr. White are neighbors in Los Angeles and worked together on his 2007 movie “Year of the Dog.” After Ms. Dern read Mr. White’s script for “The Good Girl,” the 2002 movie staring Jennifer Aniston as a trapped Texas store clerk, she approached Mr. White with an idea for a television series. She wanted to explore the evolution of an overlooked woman who turns activist. “ ‘What if Lucy became Norma Rae?’ was my first thought,” Ms. Dern said.

Mr. White brought a darker influence. A writer on “Freaks and Geeks” and “Dawson’s Creek,” he had experienced a nervous breakdown while working on the 2004 Fox sitcom “Cracking Up.” He turned to yoga and Buddhist-inspired self-help techniques to get through it.

Amy Jellicoe was born out of that experience. After recovering from her breakdown, she attends a New Age holistic clinic in Hawaii. She then tries to impose her self-help mantras and plans for bringing world peace on reluctant colleagues and a downer mother played by Diane Ladd, Ms. Dern’s mother in real life.

Mr. White said of Amy: “This person is annoying and can’t read the room. It can be grating and they get their panties in a bunch and it’s like ‘just shut up.’ But those are the people who do rankle the system a little bit.”

If HBO gives “Enlightened” a third season, Mr. White said, he wants to explore the aftermath of Amy leaking incriminating information about Abaddonn Industries to The Los Angeles Times. Ms. Dern said she’d like to further explore Amy’s family.

Amy shares a ranch house in suburban Riverside, Calif., with her mother and has a well-meaning drug-addicted ex-husband played by Luke Wilson. But other than that, viewers don’t know much about her family or background.

In case the series doesn’t survive, Mr. White has made sure to end the second season on an optimistic note. His painfully shy character Tyler gets a love interest and Amy’s mission finds an audience. “I didn’t want to come down in a cynical place and she’s just a nut job,” he said.

The second season of “Enlightened” will have its premiere on Sunday after the Season 2 opener of the more talked-about “Girls,” whose Season 1 premiere drew 872,000 viewers. (HBO estimates that with on-demand, DVR and repeat viewing, “Girls” attracted more than four times that number.) The first season of “Enlightened” had a tough Monday-night time slot. Ms. Naegle said she believed fans of Lena Dunham’s 20-something Hannah would stick around to watch the 40-something Amy.

“If any of the fairy dust of ‘Girls’ sprinkles onto us, I’ll take it,” Mr. White said.

Ms. Dern said pairing “Girls” and “Enlightened” is almost like a public service announcement reminding viewers to get their lives together by their 30s.

“Someone in their early 20s trying to find themselves is so much fun and crazy,” Ms. Dern said. “But stay tuned until they’re in their 40s and it becomes a cautionary tale of who you don’t want to be.”

Edited by dad1153 - 1/11/13 at 10:32pm
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TV Notes
'Vampire Diaries' Spinoff 'The Originals' in the Works at CW
By Lesley Goldberg and Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 11, 2013

The Vampire Diaries may be getting its own spinoff.

Titled The Originals, the potential new CW series would be an offshoot revolving around the Original family led by Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and set up in a season-four Vampire Diaries episode. Executive producer Julie Plec, who will write the episode, is shepherding the spinoff, with Alloy Entertainment's Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo as executive producers.

In the Vampire Diaries episode slated to air April 25, Klaus returns to the supernatural melting pot that is the French Quarter of New Orleans, a town he helped build centuries ago, and is reunited with his diabolical former protege Marcel. The Secret Circle's Phoebe Tonkin, who joined Vampire Diaries this season in a pivotal recurring role, also will star.

The Originals, the first existing vampires in the world and first seen in season two, have become a major part of the Vampire Diaries, with Morgan proving to be a favorite.

For Plec, this marks her second project in development at The CW. The Vampire Diaries co-showrunner is developing a reboot of Tomorrow People with Arrow's Greg Berlanti, with whom she worked on Dawson's Creek. Plec also is prepping her first foray into writing for films, with young adult book adaptation Tiger's Curse set up at Paramount.

For the CW's part, the project would mark a notable companion piece to potentially pair with the Kevin Williamson vehicle. Last year, the network struggled with witchy drama The Secret Circle, which was axed after one season. This season, the network has slotted freshman Beauty and the Beast in the plum Thursday 9 p.m. slot, but it hasn't become a water-cooler series the way Vampire Diaries has for the network.

The spinoff, should it go to series, would become the latest Alloy entry at the network after Warner Bros. Television Group acquired the former Gossip Girl producer in June. The potential Vampire Diaries offshoot also is the latest back-door pilot this season; CBS is prepping a spinoff of NCIS: L.A.

Plec is repped by WME.

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Winter TCA Tour Notes
‘Scandal’ Creator Shonda Rhimes Says Season 2 Will “Ramp Up The Drama”
By The Deadline.com Team - Jan. 11, 2013

Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

Scandal creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes says producers of the ABC series to “ramp up the drama” for the second season. During a conversation on the series’ Hollywood set at the end of ABC’s portion of the TCA press tour, Rhimes held court on a sofa she shared with co-executive producers Betsy Beers and Judy Smith (the real-life White House “fixer” who inspired the lead character, Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope). Rhimes said the series needed to widen its scope because the new season will have 22 episodes instead of the short order of 7 that launched the series.

Rhimes said that for the second season the show initially received a 13-episode order and then got a back 9 order, so some story lines come to a logical conclusion within the 13 episodes. In the first season, “We expected to do 7 episodes” and then wondered “what the hell are we going to do next?” As with last season, Rhimes said the series will still have a “case of the week but then ramp up to the larger story we’re telling.”

Asked to speculate on the show’s breakout success, Rhimes said: “I don’t dare or bother to speculate. I’m just supposed to make the shows.” She added, however, that the success of Grey’s Anatomy gave producers “the capital” to take some risks with Scandal.

Rhimes said she doesn’t spend any time thinking about the fact that the show features a strong female lead of color. She added that she doesn’t think about it when writing any more than she thinks about being a strong female of color herself as she goes about her daily life. Asked whether she has broken any barriers in creating the series or the Olivia Pope character, Rhimes offered: “I have no idea. Ii would be nice to say no, but since you are asking the question, probably yes.”

Rhimes says she doesn’t care why people watch the show as long as they don’t describe it as a “guilty pleasure.” She said that phrase means “It’s crap but I can’t stop watching it.”

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TV Notes
Meredith Vieira to leave 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire'
By Lindsey Bahr, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Jan. 11, 2013

Meredith Vieira will not renew her contract to host ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

A spokesperson from ABC parent Disney confirmed that they have shot all of the shows for this season with Vieira, which will air through the end of May. During the summer, they will air repeats in preparation for a new season this coming fall. There are no reports yet on who the new host might be. Reuters first reported the news.

Vieira took over as host of the syndicated version of the popular game show in 2002, for which she won two Daytime Emmys as Outstanding Game Host. This was her eleventh season hosting Millionaire. She was also an executive producer on the program.

During Vieira’s eighth season, she appeared on the 10th Anniversary broadcast of the primetime show where she put Regis Philbin in the hot spot. Watch the clip below.

TV Guide reports that her departure is tied to her plan to launch her own YouTube channel. Vieira’s agent was unavailable for comment.

Edited by dad1153 - 1/11/13 at 10:31pm
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Critic's Notes
The Gloat-less TCAs: Why the Only Broadcaster Not Crying Is NBC
By Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Bastard Machine' Blog - Jan. 11, 2013

Almost every time there's a Television Critics Association press tour -- and that's twice a year, if you're counting -- NBC goes first. Not always, but it's more like some accidental tradition left over from the Warren Littlefield years, when NBC beat everybody's ass so hard they went first whether you liked it or not.

That didn't always work out so great in the Jeff Zucker years, of course. Sometimes it's better to have the critics all punched out by the time you come up and try to explain fourth place in a four-network race. But this year, being first not only meant that Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, could gloat about how well his network did, but also that he could be the first one to tell you how badly everybody else did, before they could get here and spin it.

Ah, that is some kind of sublime after you've been mocked for years. Like he was on Jay Leno, Greenblatt came out to the packed room of critics and television reporters and said: “What a difference a year makes, right? I think last year, I came out here and admitted right off the top that we’d had a bad fall. I think what I actually said was that we’d had a really ****** fall.”

“Well, I’m not saying that this year,” Greenblatt added. And he took his moment to gloat – which would turn out to be pretty much the last one at TCA. Here’s what going first while also being at the top allowed Greenblatt to say:

“But as you’re all, I’m sure, very well aware, season to date at NBC, we’re up 24 percent in 18-49. We’re up 19 percent in total viewers and up by double-digit percentages in all other key categories. As you also know, NBC is the only network among the four broadcast nets to be up in 18-49, total viewers or by any other key measure."

He took a breath. Somewhere else three of the other Big Four networks covered their ears.

"Through 14 weeks of the season in 18-49, CBS is down 13 percent, ABC is down 4 percent, and Fox is down 23 percent. You know, also in total viewers, the other three networks are down and we’re up, as I said. We all know that CBS still leads the networks in total viewers, but we’re now the clear number two, up from what was a distant number four a year ago this time. In the 18-49 demo, we’ve been number one or tied for number one for 12 of the season’s first 14 weeks, and I’m going to, prematurely probably, add this week to the roster given the strength of last night’s football game.”

And he was right. Naturally, that didn’t allow any other network president to come in here and do a song and dance. They have each taken different tactics.

Kevin Reilly, chairman of entertainment for Fox, opted for humor. “You may have noticed that we here at Fox kind of limped our way in out of 2012, so nobody’s happier than us to turn the page and get on to a fresh year, where I think there’s some better things to come.”

At one point, Reilly turned more philosophical about how hard it is to find an audience and laid bare the facts: “At Fox, we’re struggling right now because we didn’t put on a big hit.”

Later, Reilly joked with a reporter who had screwed up a question, reassuring her that everybody messes up. “We all do. Look at my fall.”

Everybody laughed. When you’re an entertainment president and you’re coming off a bad season, sometimes you’ve got to laugh to keep from crying. When Paul Lee, who holds that job for ABC, came before us on Thursday, he was more in the mood to go old-school magician on us, a tactic employed pretty much since entertainment presidents started walking out in front of the TCA and explaining their failures publicly.

Lee said the network had “a lot to shout about” but also “a lot to do.” Unfortunately, the shouting wasn’t so much yelling about ABC’s failures as it was spinning some vague numbers – the old magic of dazzling percentages that mean almost nothing. Ah, but in the “a lot to do” category, Lee said that would include trying -- and failing -- to find a hit.

“I think we were disappointed that there were no big breakout hits on broadcast on any of the networks, on ABC in particular,” he said.

On Saturday, CBS will have Nina Tassler come out and do some kind of variation on Lee and Reilly, where she is likely to gloss over the lack of a fall hit and favor total viewers and CBS’s history of being popular. She may also shout, “Look over there!” and run off the stage while we do.

On Sunday, the CW – the network of magical thinking and invisible money -- will have its executive session with president Mark Pedowitz, who will talk about rainbows and unicorns and how his network is only sometimes, but not always, beaten by the Spanish-language broadcasters.

The point is, people, it was not a good fall. Only NBC can gloat, and we’re only letting it gloat this much because NBC has been to hell and beyond for more than a decade, and it would seem cruel not to let it have some joy.

But again – fall: not good.

There are so many confounding, true, serious and important reasons why that is, and we’ll get to them in a separate column. But right now, the focus is on a lack of gloating. It’s the sound of silence from people used to touting their prosperity, even when it has to be spun six ways to Sunday. These days, network executives are finding it harder and harder to be upbeat.

What’s the sound of one hand clapping, then? Easy. It’s NBC.

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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SATURDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - 20/20 -- Pageant Confidential: The Road to Miss America (Special)
9PM - The 2013 Miss America Competition (120 min., LIVE)

8PM - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
(R - Feb. 22)
9PM - Criminal Minds
(R - Nov. 14)
10PM - 48 Hours

8PM - The Biggest Loser (120 min.)
(R - Jan. 6)
10PM - Deception
(R - Jan. 7)
* * * *
11:29PM - Saturday Night Live (Christina Applegate hosts; Passion Pit performs; 93 min.)
(R - Oct. 13)

8PM - NFL Football - NFC Divisional Playoff: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (LIVE)
* * * *
11PM - MasterChef
(R - Sep. 14)
Midnight - 30 Seconds to Fame SD
(R - May 29, 2003

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Austin City Limits: Rodrigo y Gabriela

8PM - Sábado Gigante (3 hrs.)

6PM - Movie: Bedtime Stories (2008)
9PM - Movie: Cradle 2 the Grave (2003)
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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 12, 2013

CBS, 4:30 p.m. ET

The Baltimore Ravens beat the Indianapolis Colts last week to improve their record to 11-6, but that still pales compared to the 13-3 Denver Broncos, who are coming to today’s playoff game with home-field advantage, a week off, and Peyton Manning as QB.

Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

The Green Bay Packers faced the San Francisco 49ers in the opening week of the season – and lost, even with home-field advantage. This time the Packers are the visiting team, but they’re coming off last week’s victory against the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers are now 12-5, the 49ers 11-4-1, but each time has a hot QB to watch. The 49ers have off-the-bench hot hand Colin Kaepernick, and the Packers, of course, have the super-impressive Aaron Rodgers, who has averaged a passer rating of nearly 105 in his past four games.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

TCM’s prime-time lineup tonight is a double feature devoted to sibling rivalry, and it’s serving up an entrée that’s as singular as rat on a silver platter. They say revenge is a dish best served cold – but in this 1962 grand guignol thriller (every bit as grand as it is guignol), Bette Davis plays a vengeful sibling her serves her invalid sister, played by Joan Crawford, a vermin that’s not only hot, but served in a covered silver dish. This movie really, really creeped me out when I saw it as a kid, at a drive-in movie – and hasn’t stopped since. Thanks, Dad. Really.

Starz, 9:00 p.m. ET

One of the most sexually suggestive and naughtily entertaining period British films since Tom Jones, this 2011 comedy is a romp based on truth: in the Victorian era, women were diagnosed with “female hysteria,” a catch-all diagnosis that is so widespread that, according to one eager doctor, “half the women in London are affected.” The prescribed treatment for this malady? Bringing the poor, unfortunate women to orgasm -- thanks to a doctor’s new invention, the vibrator. Stars include Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce and Rupert Everett and, as some of the women, Maggie Guyllenhaal and Felicity Jones.

TCM, 10:30 p.m. ET

The second part of tonight’s TCM “sibling rivalry” double feature, this 1951 movie classic features Southern sisters: Blanche, played by Vivien Leigh, and Stella, played by Kim Hunter. Between the two of them, of course, is Marlon Brando’s Stanley, whose performance here, as on Broadway, changed the style of acting for every generation since. Elia Kazan directed this brilliantly sexually charged film version of the Tennessee Williams play.

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TV Notes
Mike Tyson to Punch up 'Law & Order: SVU' With Guest Appearance
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Jan. 11, 2013

Mike Tyson is stepping into the ring with "Law & Order: SVU."

The former boxing champ will guest-star on the NBC procedural drama next month, a spokeswoman for the network told TheWrap on Friday.

Tyson will play Reggie Rhodes, a murderer on death row who was victimized by a difficult childhood.

Also read: Mike Tyson Taking One-Man Show on the Road

The episode is currently scheduled to air on Feb. 13, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Tyson has acted before, though he's primarily played himself, perhaps most notably in "The Hangover" series of movies. (He's also played onetime presidential candidate Herman Cain in a pair of short films.)

The role likely won't be particularly challenging for Tyson, as he's also spent time behind bars before, serving three years in prison for rape.

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TV Review
'The Carrie Diaries': Despite eye-rolling plot coincidences and melodramatic cliches, the CW's 'Sex and the City' prequel deserves a shot
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Jan. 11, 2013

The secret weapon of HBO’s cult hit “Sex and the City” was always the total lack of seriousness with which it took itself.

You’ll do just fine if you keep that in mind while watching “The Carrie Diaries,” the CW’s new prequel to the Carrie Bradshaw story we know.

Because otherwise, you may find yourself wondering exactly why you’re watching a show that careens repeatedly from eye-rolling plot coincidences to melodramatic clichés of teen romance to philosophical voiceovers that sound as if every “i” should be dotted with a heart.

AnnaSophia Robb captures the young Carrie, a 16-year-old girl whose body is trapped in Castleberry, Conn., in the fall of 1984, listening to Madonna on the radio and knowing in her soul that she belongs in New York.

Then one magic coincidental night she gets whisked off to the restaurant Indochine with a bunch of avant-garde Manhattan artists and she knows she was right.

“Maybe it was the realization I had just lost my innocence . . . to Manhattan,” she murmurs on the way back to Connecticut. “I only knew that after tonight I would never be the same.”

Like that? It gets better.

Wait til you see Carrie and the handsome Sebastian (Austin Butler), with his dangerous male-model bad-boy hair, do their Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey number in the pool.

“My first kiss,” Carrie voiceovers. “I wanted it to last forever.”

In a packed first episode, we learn Carrie’s mother died three months earlier and her dad (Matt Letscher, the dad we all want) still hasn’t touched her closet.

We see Carrie share embryonic sex drama with her girlfriends. Key phrase: “the hot dog and the keyhole.”

Heck, we even get an embedded promotional plug, for Century 21. Talk about making “Sex and the City” fans feel at home.

We’ve seen all the parts of this story before, and frankly, we’ve seen them told better. But we haven’t seen them told about Carrie Bradshaw before. If this show wants to take us on a tour through all the Mr. Littles, it deserves a shot.

Network / Air Date: The CW/Monday 8 p.m.
Rating: ★★★ (out of five)

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TV Notes
Angus T. Jones Returns To CBS’ '2.5 Men’, Gets Jaime Pressly As Love Interest
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jan. 11, 2013

He’s back! After a month-a-half hiatus, Two And A Half Men co-star Angus T. Jones is returning to the set of the CBS comedy next week to film his first episode following the release of his controversial religious testimonial, in which he slammed the racy series as “filth” and urged viewers to “stop watching it.”

In a sign that there are no hard feelings between 2.5 Men producers and Jones, whose character has been stuck Skype-ing from the Army for most of this season, he is getting a meaty storyline in his first episode back. Emmy winner Jaime Pressly has been cast as a new love interest for Jones’ Jake. She will be introduced in the episode, which starts production on Monday. In a guest starring and potentially recurring role, the My Name Is Earl alumna Pressly will play Jake’s “cougar” girlfriend from the sticks of SD.

In red carpet interviews at the People’s Choice Awards on Wednesday night, Men executive producer Chuck Lorre confirmed that Jones will be back at work on Monday and indicated that the controversy over the actor’s viral anti-Men rant has blown over and all has been forgiven. “He’s part of our show. He’s part of our family. We love him,” Lorre said. “He’s 19, man. Cut him some slack.” Lorre even supported Jones’ most explosive comment. “I can’t really disagree with him — the show’s kind of filthy,” Lorre quipped. “What he said wasn’t wrong… We hope it’s funny, as well.”

Pressly, Emmy winner for NBC’s My Name Is Earl, recently starred in the Fox comedy series I Hate My Teenage Daugter and reunited with Earl creator Greg Garcia with an arc on his latest series, Fox comedy Raising Hope. She is repped by CAA, Mosaic and attorney Dave Feldman.

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TV Sports
Beadle defends Musburger in BCS flap
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - Jan. 11, 2013

Having left ESPN, Michelle Beadle will co-host a new NBC Sports Network weekday talk show called The Crossover starting Jan. 28 which will incorporate various new-media tie-ins such as video screens that could flash viral videos.

In the meantime she has been able to catch a lot of football, including the BCS title game Monday on ESPN that included the uproar over Brent Musburger's comments about the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, Katherine Webb.

"It cracked me up," Beadle told USA TODAY Sports. "It's sort of like you go to a restaurant with your dad and he starts flirting with the waitress -- eesh, kind of embarassing.

"But she's a beauty pageant winner and she looked fabulous on the Today show. So I don't know how it could be offensive to call her 'beautiful' or why ESPN had to issue an apology."

For anybody upset, Beadle suggests, don't blame Musburger: "Those shots happen when it's a boring game. So blame Notre Dame."

As to her upcoming show, it sounds a bit like the old weekday talk show -- SportsNation -- that she co-hosted at ESPN.

"I'd be lying if I said we're re-inventing the wheel," Beadle said. "I came from a show trying to not take anything too seriously, which is easy for me. I don't know if we'll introduce anything mind-dropping. But we'll be there for people who don't want arguments or yelling."

Dave Briggs, until recently a host of weekend Fox News' Fox and Friends morning shows, will co-host The Crossover, which will be on weekdays at 6 p.m. ET.

"A lot of people are asking, 'What the heck are they thinking to get a guy from Fox News?' '' Briggs said.

But, he suggests that background will help bring up topics outside sports -- "nothing will be off-limits" -- and that NBC "wanted someone who isn't intimidated by Michelle. And I'm not."

Beadle says she has "no regrets at all" about leaving ESPN, except missing some co-workers. But, "I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss talking football during this juicy season. Like with Tim Tebow, the poor kid. He's so lovable. But no one talked about him."

Weekend TV plans for NFL: oaching football might sound almost easy compared to what CBS' Lance Barrow must worry about handling the offenses of both the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans on Sunday.

As CBS' lead NFL producer, Barrow will sit in a production truck next to director Mike Arnold as they decide how you'll watch the Texans-Pats divisional playoff game (4:30 p.m. ET).

"The hardest thing we have with this broadcast is both teams sometimes run no-huddle offenses, so you never know when they'll snap the ball," says Barrow, who'll also oversee oversee coverage of the Super Bowl on CBS. "You're trying to do replays, cut between cameras, but it's really difficult. And we don't miss snaps.They're trying to confuse the defense and nobody is telling us what they'll do."

Barrow says the job of producer "is always hard for me to describe. I oversee what we're doing. ... I'm the bus driver, maybe the pilot, getting you to your location."

The director could be considered the broadcast's cinematographer -- focused on the visuals. Rich Russo, director on the Fox lead production team who'll sit next to producer Richie Zyontz for Fox's Green Bay Packers-San Francisco 49ers game Saturday (8 p.m. ET), says the prep work is really getting to know the teams so he can get cameras shifted quickly to isolate "on players in situations where you know teams usually use, say, four receivers."

Both games will get coverage that will use more than 20 cameras, which is up from 15-18 on regular-season games. "But it's really just about being instinctive," says Russo. "I always preach patience. The best shot might be right in front of you. Just be patient, rather than cutting around to other shots."

Like, say, crowd shots. By now, Musburger comments about Webb when the ESPN cameras panned the stands have probably been translated in cyberspace in, say, 200 languages. Musburger presumably never would have had the chance to famously appraise the appearance of Webb if not for a crowd shot picked by the production truck.

So do Barrow or Russo go looking for fan shots of, well, certain types of fans? Neither wanted to comment specifically about Musburger. But, says Barrow, "If you're showing the field and hear all of the yelling and screaming, you also want to show who's doing all the yelling and screaming. It's all part of the game. And there's nothing better than showing players' families and friends. They're all in it together."

Russo says "you don't just show crowd shots for the sake of showing crowd shots." But sometimes, he says, you have to show fans at home the fans in the stands, like when a player is injured and you get "emotional crowd shots, with intensity, even praying."

Given the time slots and the brand-name teams involved, Texans-Pats and Packers-49ers are likely to be the weekend's top-rated games and draw more than 20% of U.S. households. Last season's top-rated divisional game -- New York Giants-Packers, which drew 25.3% of U.S. households -- topped everything else on TV last year, including the Summer Olympics and Academy Awards, except for the Super Bowl and NFC and AFC title games.

But it's not exactly like Barrow and Russo are rookies. Russo got his TV sports start in 1986 as a broadcast associate working with CBS' Pat Summerall and John Madden. Barrow, as a college student at Abilene Christian, got a gig as a runner for Summerall at a golf tournament in Texas in 1975 and went on to be Summerall's spotter -- sort of a second set of eyes for announcers -- for six years.

And besides, says Barrow, the NFL isn't as hard to work as his other main sport -- golf. Barrow, CBS' lead golf producer, says "golf is the hardest sport for TV. The playing field doesn't have boundaries, they don't stop playing when we go to commercial and you have to figure out how quickly players play and how long it takes to walk to the next tee."

But, says Barrow, "there's nothing like a big-time NFL playoff game."

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TV Notes
David Gregory Won't Face Charges for Holding Illegal Gun Clip on 'Meet the Press'
By Alexander C. Kaufman, TheWrap.com - Jan. 11, 2013

David Gregory won't face prosecution for airing an illegal gun magazine on "Meet the Press," the District of Columbia's attorney general said in an open le

The NBC News host was criticized after he held up a 30-round gun clip on his show Dec. 23 during an interview with National Rifle Association executive Wayne LaPierre following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition are illegal in Washington.

But Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan said prosecuting Gregory, who has no prior criminal record, would not be in the public interest.

"[The Office of the Attorney General] has made this determination, despite the clarity of the violation of this important law, because under all of the circumstances here a prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia nor serve the best interests of the people of the District to whom this office owes its trust," Levin wrote in the letter obtained by TheWrap.

Moreover, he said "temporary possession and short display of the magazine was to promote the First Amendment."

Lee Levine, the First Amendment attorney representing NBC, did not immediate respond to calls from TheWrap requesting comment.

The Metropolitan Police Department said NBC sought permission to use the gun clip on air, but the request was denied.

“NBC contacted MPD inquiring if they could utilize a high capacity magazine for their segment," the police said in emails posted online last month. "NBC was informed that possession of a high capacity magazines is not permissible and their request was denied. This matter is currently being investigated.”

Conservative media outlets and gun rights advocates pounced on Gregory after the broadcast. A White House petition calling for the "Meet the Press" host's arrest had more than 18,000 signatures by Friday afternoon.

"David Gregory is not above the law," the petition read, "he is a journalist, and must be held accountable to the same law as every other person."

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Critic's Notes
Hooray for the Golden Globes’ Odd Taste in TV
By Margaret Lyons, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Jan. 11, 2013

The Golden Globes are Sunday night (starting at 7:00 p.m. on NBC), and we're mostly excited to watch Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. (And to kibitz about the clothes.) But while the Globes mark some kind of rite in the movie awards season, TV is a different story. The TV side of the Golden Globes is hilarious and wild and bizarre, almost completely removed from any kind of compelling legitimacy. It's an enchanting distortion of general critical consensus. It's the oddly mistranslated slogan on a knockoff T-shirt; not wrong wrong, per se, but not right exactly. Given how self-serious entertainment awards can be (is acting brave? really?), the TV half of the Golden Globes is a delicious antidote. You know what, let's nominate Hayden Panettiere for more things. Who cares! The world is improbable!

We don't even have to go back to the Globes dark ages, though those were plenty strange. Even since the nineties, when modern awards culture started to take hold, the Globes have been a source of periodic surprise. In 1996, Party of Five won best drama — beating ER and NYPD Blue, both in their primes. Hey, everybody wants to live like they wanna live. (NYPD Blue took home the Emmy that year; ER won the next.) The X-Files won in 1995, 1997, and 1998. And what beat The Sopranos, Deadwood, Lost, and 24 in 2005? Nip/Tuck.

On the individual front, things are still full of the unexpected. Kelsey Grammer won best actor in a drama for Boss last year. Matt LeBlanc won for best actor in a comedy for Episodes. Anna Paquin won for True Blood in 2009. Jennifer Garner won for Alias in 2002. Keri Russell won for Felicity in 1999. Laura Linney won for The Big C in 2011. Again, it's not that these are bad choices or completely shockingly offensively wrong — but they are strange choices. They're not Emmy choices, or even really fan choices.

And it's all great because when the Emmys and the Globes overlap, it's boring. I'm practically rooting for The Newsroom to win this weekend, just for the upset factor. Modern Family doesn't need another award — but Smash sure does. They give out Golden Globes for absurdity, right?

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Critic's Notes
Sunday’s Cable Comedy Wars: HBO’s ‘Girls’ vs. Showtime’s 'Shameless', and Others
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 11, 2013

EDITOR'S NOTE: Showtime is offering a free preview this weekend, Jan. 11-13, which allows non-Showtime subscribers to catch Sunday night's lineup this week. Check the Showtime website to see if your cable provider is participating.

HBO and Showtime butt heads, intentionally and aggressively, Sunday night, launching new seasons of their respective comedies directly opposite one another — starting with HBO’s Girls.

It’s quite a TV battlefield. At 9 p.m. ET, HBO begins with Season 2 of Girls, the highly acclaimed, sometimes controversial twentysomethings comedy by and starring Lena Dunham (left), and follows that at 9:30 p.m. ET with Season 2 of Enlightened, the Mike White-written comedy that stars Laura Dern as a corporate drone with a newly awakened social conscience. Those shows are repeated in the 10 p.m. ET block — but during both showings, they’re opposed by new episodes of returning series on Showtime.

Over there, the 9 p.m. ET hour is filled by Season 3 of Shameless, the Americanized version of a popular British series. Showtime’s version stars William H. Macy as a scheming, unreliable patriarch of a family of young con artists.

At 10 p.m. ET, Don Cheadle and company return with Season 2 of House of Lies, about a team of oily, quick-witted corporate consultants. And at 10:30 ET, David Duchovny returns with Season 6 of Californication, a comedy about hedonism on parade.

That’s a lot of fresh comedy — and an awful lot of intentionally abrasive characters. Every major character, in every one of these shows, has more flaws than a Transformers movie plot line. But they’re entertaining — Girls most of all, but all of them have their moments, and their standout performances.

All of these series are showcase vehicles for their leads, all of whom deliver strongly — especially the unflinchingly brave Dunham and Macy, who appear to relish the least attractive and comfortable aspects of their characters. The first few shows of the season feature a dinner party on Girls that is rivaled in squeamy discomfort only by an early family-reunion scene on Shameless. The silences are crushing — and the words between those silences even more so.

But it’s not just the leading roles that propel these programs. In addition, supporting performers deliver performances riveting enough to demand attention and warrant praise: Allison Williams as Marnie on Girls, Mike White as Tyler on Enlightened, Emmy Rossum (far right) as Fiona on Shameless, Kristen Bell as Jeanie on House of Lies, and both Evan Handler as Charlie and Pamela Adlon as his ex-wife Marcy on Californication.

Time slots aren’t as meaningful as they used to be, so all these shows, like water, eventually will find their own levels. But the confidence of upstart Showtime to counter-program directly opposite powerhouse HBO says a lot — as does the hardly coincidental shared trait of these shows, spotlighting a central character who’s not always, and sometimes not at all, likeable.

I’m reviewing all these series, focusing on Girls, Friday on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, so tune in, or visit the Fresh Air website after 5 p.m. ET Friday, to catch it. Also check out Ed Bark's review of Girls in Uncle Barky's Bytes.

Then decide which of these Sunday shows is for you. But don’t forget: Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET also is the evening of PBS’s Downton Abbey and CBS’s The Good Wife — and, this week, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler co-hosting NBC’s live coverage of The Golden Globes Awards.

Thank the TV gods for DVR's.

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TV Review
‘Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs.,’ mostly misses
The disgraced baseball player appears to live a quite normal life
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 11, 2013

When faded celebrities sign on for a reality show about their wacky lives, viewers have mixed emotions. It would be uncharitable to hope that the subjects will humiliate themselves in a train-wreck show — which is the usual result — but if they turn out to be relatively stable and happy, what’s the fun in that?

The good news for Pete Rose, the disgraced former baseball star, is that his new TLC reality show, “Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs.,” portrays him as far more levelheaded and content than might be expected. That, as mentioned above, is bad news for viewers. Rose’s unusual but uneventful personal life offers only flashes of interest, which don’t justify watching the entire 30 minutes.

Premiering next Monday, Jan. 14, at 10 p.m., the series focuses on Rose’s life with his much younger fiancée, a former nude model named Kiana Kim, and her two children, Cassie and Ashton. He tells the cameras that he spends half of his time in Las Vegas, where he signs autographs, and half with Kiana and the kids in their home in Los Angeles.

In the first episode, Pete and Kiana have lunch with her parents, who appear to be first-generation Korean immigrants. Kiana says that her father doesn’t know that she has breast implants. Judging by their size, this seems unlikely.

At the lunch, Pete and Kiana discuss their plans for an engagement party, which Pete’s daughters and Kiana’s sister might not attend. Pete seems to have a cute, playful relationship with Kiana’s mother, who, according to Cassie, is his age.

The engagement party is neither a triumph nor a disaster.

In the second episode, Pete plays surrogate father to his future stepchildren. (We never hear anything about their biological father or fathers.) He takes Ashton, who prefers to spend his time playing videogames, to a baseball camp, and he chaperones a pool party for Cassie, who is about to enter high school.

In both cases, Pete’s efforts are both awkward and a little endearing. At the baseball camp, he subjects the boys to a long, confusing speech. But he manages to inspire Ashton to keep trying when he wants to give up.

At the pool party, he grills Cassie’s male schoolmates on their future ambitions. Both he and Kiana worry that she’s getting too friendly with some of them. Afterwards, he goes to Cassie’s room to talk to her about why she has to be careful around boys.

In the opening minutes of the premiere episode, Rose talks about his lifelong ineligibility to participate in major-league baseball, the result of his gambling on games while he was a manager of the Cincinnati Reds. He speaks of his hope that someday he’ll get a “second chance” and might be eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

People who know of Rose’s gambling and who see promos for the show featuring the voluptuous and glamorous Kiana will be surprised at how normal and grounded he seems. If “Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs.” is an attempt at an image makeover, it’s a good one.

Of course, for an image makeover to work, people have to see it. Curious fans may check in once and see that Rose is doing well, but they’re unlikely to give the show a second chance.

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That's disgusting, but par for the course for TLC. How far this channel has fallen from its start as The Learning Channel, just like NatGeo, History, A&E, Discovery and a lot of others.
post #84538 of 93716
Whats next? A reality show focused on a serial killer? eek.gif
post #84539 of 93716
Public hangings. Just for disagreeing with someone. And people will cheer. Seriously, they will.
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Originally Posted by Aliens View Post

Public hangings. Just for disagreeing with someone. And people will cheer. Seriously, they will.

Truth there! Just think about the onlookers of a some guy standing on the top edge of a building and they are all shouting "jump, jump....."
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