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Two Tivos To Paradise 08.31.12: The Norty Award Winners, including Breaking Bad, Community, Sons of Anarchy, The Daily Show, and more!
Posted by Al Norton on 08.31.2012

Hello friends. I hope everyone has had a wonderful end of their summers and is ready for some r & r over the long weekend. I appreciate all of your patience while we were away; my day job is in real estate and August is a busy month as roughly 90% of all residential leases in Greater Boston are on a 9/1 – 8/31 lease cycle. I also got to use a lot of the extra time that not writing freed up to help Mrs. Tivo plan the twins 4th birthday party, which happened last weekend and was a glorious success. Any time you can combine friends and family, good food, little kids playing, and a piñata, you are guaranteed a great afternoon.

While this is the first regular TTTP column in five weeks, we did have a couple of interviews that ran on the site this month; use the links at the bottom to pull up my chats with Gina Torres (Suits), Meghan Markle (Suits), and Joe Bastianich (MasterChef).

The TTTP Facebook page came in handy this month as it allowed me to keep everyone up to date on breaking TV news plus exchange thoughts on what folks were watching. We also gave away DVD's of Modern Family, Louie, and Glee. If you haven't gone on FB and clicked like on the Al Norton's Two Tivos To Paradise page, what are you waiting for?!?!?

Here's a look at the upcoming season of Dexter

And now a look at the much anticipated second season of Homeland

And finally, a quick trailer to whet your appetite for Revenge

Guess who's news, news again?

How About A Round Of Applause, A Standing Ovation
It's time for the SIXTH annual Norty Awards, the Two Tivos To Paradise version of the Emmys.
We announced the nominees in early July and now, after much further deliberations, we have our winners. This we have a record number of honorees stopping by to accept their awards, so let's not waste any more time and get right to it…

Max Greenfield, New Girl (ABC)
Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Ed O'Neill, Modern Family (ABC)
Adam Pally, Happy Endings (ABC)
Danny Pudi, Community (NBC)
James Van Der Beek, Don't Trust The B In Apt 23 (ABC)

Previous Winners: 2011: Ed O'Neill, Modern Family; 2010: Danny Pudi, Community; 2009: Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother; 2008: Chi McBride, Pushing Daisies; 2007: Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother

Winner: Max Greenfield, New Girl

This was both a difficult choice - tons of high quality supporting turns this year, both by the six nominees as well as at least a dozen others who did nomination-quality work this year - and an easy one. No one made me laugh as much as Greenfield's Schmidt this past TV season and he did so while also showing us his heart. That combination is tough to pull off without sacrificing one for the other but that didn't happen here and Greenfield has earned himself a Norty for his work.

Kristen Bell, House of Lies (Showtime)
Julie Bowen, Modern Family (ABC)
Cheryl Hines, Suburgatory (ABC)
Busy Phillips, Cougar Town (ABC)
Naya Rivera, Glee (Fox)
Casey Wilson, Happy Endings (ABC)

Previous Winners: 2011: Jane Lynch, Glee; 2010: Jane Lynch, Glee; 2009: Kristen Wiig, SNL; 2008: Amy Pietz, Aliens In America; 2007: Ashley Jensen, Extras

Winner: Cheryl Hines, Suburgatory

Hines, who is almost unrecognizable from her work on Curb Your Enthusiasm, has created in Dallas a caricature who also seems very human. And yes, very, very funny. She's also sweet, sexy, and a wonderfully charming mix of confident in ways she shouldn't be and insecure in the places she should be confident. Hines has managed to make Dallas both familiar and unique and for that she gets herself a Norty Award.

Here to accept her Norty Award, Cheryl Hines…

Omigosh you guys! Thank you so much for this. Yakult and I popped some champagne when we heard the news. Turns out dogs can really throw it back. $700 later, I drove us home from the nightclub and we laughed and spooned and basked in the glory of this award. It was a perfect night. Thanks!!!!

Robert Carlyle, Once Upon a Time (ABC)
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Paul Johansson, One Tree Hill (The CW)
Neal McDonough, Justified (FX)
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad (AMC)
John Slattery, Mad Men (AMC)

Previous Winners: 2011: Walton Goggins; 2010: Michael Emerson, Lost; 2009: Ryan Hurst, Sons of Anarchy; 2008: Michael Emerson, Lost; 2007: James Callis, Battlestar Galactica

Winner: Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad

Sometimes quality actors go long periods of time doing good but underappreciated work until the right role comes along that makes folks finally stand up and take notice and that's what happened when Giancarlo Esposito met Gus Fring, taking what easily could have been a stock Big Bad in another person's hands and instead raising the bar on quiet cool. Esposito never tried to get the audience to like Fring, instead recognizing the character was compelling enough on his own to not need any empathy from the viewers to hold their interest. His final scene on Breaking Bad was one for the ages and for that plus all the other episodes of season four, Esposito gets himself a Norty Award.

Here to accept his Norty Award, Giancarlo Esposito…

Norty knows best! Online and on time! A keen eye, a sharp tongue, a discerning ear full of wisdom! I am honored to be voted the best supporting actor of 2012 for my work as Gus Fring on Breaking Bad! I am thrilled and over the moon!

Morena Baccarin, Homeland (Showtime)
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men (AMC)
Megan Hilty, Smash (NBC)
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Maggie Siff, Sons of Anarchy (FX)
Kadee Strickland, Private Practice (ABC)

Previous Winners: 2011: Margo Martindale, Justified; 2010: Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men, 2009: Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy; 2008: Diana-Maria Riva, Side Order of Life; 2007: Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights

Winner: KaDee Strickland, Private Practice

While the 2010-2011 season was Stickland's breakout season, it was her work this past year that really stood out; ironically Charlotte getting less of the spotlight brought more attention to the incredible supporting work Strickland was doing. This is not to say she didn't have her share of meaty scenes, including a number of tear jerking moments in a storyline that you would have had to have been made of stone to not be moved by, and it was the way she found the little moments that the audience could relate to that made viewers by into the larger parts of the story. Charlotte is Private Practice's most fully realized character and for that Strickland gets her first Norty Award.

Here to accept her Norty Award, KaDee Strickland…

Thank you, Al, for supporting my work on "Private Practice". It is a joy to go to work & live in Charlotte's shoes. I'm so grateful to be honored as your Best Supporting Actress.

H Jon Benjamin, Archer (FX)
Don Cheadle, House of Lies (Showtime)
Louis CK, Louie (FX)
Joel McHale, Community (NBC)
James Roday, PSYCH (USA)
David Walton, Bent (NBC)

Previous Winners: Steve Carell: The Office; Zachary Levi, Chuck; 2009: Steve Carell, The Office; 2008: Josh Radnor, How I Met Your Mother, 2007: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Winner: Joel McHale, Community

I've always known Joel was genuinely funny that he could deliver a scripted line in a quality manner but his work on this past season of Community showed a depth and complexity that even I was surprised by. Sitcom characters showing growth is always a dangerous thing since it frequently takes away what made them funny in the first place but what happened in the case of Jeff Winger was that those changes led to new and at times even funnier material to work with. At this point I'm not sure what it is Joel can't do, and for that he gets his first acting Norty Award.

Here to accept his Norty Award, Joel McHale…

Thank you Alan for this award. Although I have no idea who you are or what your website is for, I guess I'm honored. I can't wait to see how Hollywood's elite treat me now, now that I have this award. Which reminds me, what's the award called? I only ask because I'm too busy to scroll down through the email chain to find out. Which leads me to my next question: who gave you my email? Anyway, I look forward to the rest of my life. Your award will have no impact on it unless there's a monetary prize attached but as we both know there's a better chance of me growing wings and flying to Saturn.

Zooey Deschanel, New Girl (Fox)
Lena Dunham, Girls (HBO)
Tina Fey, 30 Rock (NBC)
Lea Michelle, Glee (Fox)
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope (Fox)
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Previous Winners: 2011: Laura Linney, The Big C; 2010: Courtney Cox, Cougar Town; 2009: Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?; 2008: Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?; 2007: Laura Kightlinger, The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman

Winner: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation.

I admit that I while I enjoyed Amy Poehler's work on SNL, I would never have guessed she was capable of the work she did last season on Parks and Recreation. I wouldn't even have guessed it after the first season of P & R was in the books, but then Leslies made the leap from obsessive caricature to passionate (ok, still obsessed) real person, and it was the introduction of Ben into Leslie's life that showed us she could do romantic comedy as well. There's no actress on TV who can handle as many different styles of comedy as well as Poehler and for that we give her a Norty Award.

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Jason Isaacs, Awake (NBC)
Damian Lewis, Homeland (Showtime)
Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)
Gabriel Macht, Suits (USA)
Timothy Olyphant, Justified (FX)

Previous Winners: 2011: Jon Hamm, Mad Men; 2010: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; 2009: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; 2008: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; 2007: Denis Leary, Rescue Me

Winner: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

At this point giving Bryan Cranston another Norty Award doesn't seem like enough. Perhaps we should change the name of the Best Actor in a Drama Series to the Bryan Cranston Norty Award as that might put his remarkable work in the proper context. I can state without hesitation that I've never seen an actor perform on as high a level for as extended a period of time as Cranston's first four seasons of Breaking Bad (and so far there's been no let up in season five). Cranston gets a Norty Award may be a cliché but it's a well earned one.

Here to accept his Norty Award, Bryan Cranston…

I have never been more proud than I am to accept the prestigious Norty award... Except for the birth of my child. And the day I proposed to my wife. Oh, and my first Emmy nomination... And that day I saved a woman's life by - oh, look at me carrying on. Suffice it to say - I'm proud. I just... I just can't remember why. What was I talking about? Oh, yes the Norty Awards!

When Al Norton himself e-mailed me the news of my victory. Two things became very apparent; One, that you must think the blue crystal meth is real, and two, it's time to change my personal e-mail address.

In closing I want to tell you how pleased I am to be the recipient of this award... I WANT to but I just can't find the directions on how to smile. I guess I've been playing Walter White too long. Please send the check to my off-shore account in the Cayman Islands care of Bain Financial. Thanks

Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Julianna Marguiles, The Good Wife (CBS)
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men (AMC)
Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy (FX)
Emily Van Camp, Revenge (ABC)

Previous Winners:2011: Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men; 2010: Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy; 2009: Jill Scott, The # 1 Ladies Detective Agency; 2008: Mary McDonnell, Battlestar Galactica; 2007: Minnie Driver, The Riches

Winner: Claire Danes, Homeland

Claire Danes' comeback is one of the more improbable in recent memory because she had simply vanished off the pop culture radar screen for some time. Along comes Temple Grandin and a truck load of trophies later she starts to get some better scripts coming her way. Thank God she and her people were smart enough to realize just what kind of potential there was in Carrie; from the first hour she became one of the more interesting characters not just on the show but on TV. The audience bought her as smart, as a bad ass when she needed to be, as passionate about her work, and as someone who was at times totally out of control, all because she did such an amazing job selling. I always mean it as high praise when I say that I can't figure out what's going to happen next and that's true every time Danes is on the screen, and that's why she wins a Norty Award.

American Masters (PBS)
Antiques Road Show (PBS)
Comic Book Men (AMC)
Crave (Food)
Deadliest Catch (Discovery)
Jamie's American Road Trip (BBC America)

Winner: Crave

Crave did everything you could ask from a non-fiction series; it entertained, it informed, and it made the audience very, very hungry. I don't remember the last time a host's passion for the subject matter came through as clearly, as unforced, and as compellingly as it did with Troy Johnson and Crave, which means it more than earned a Norty Award.

Here to accept the Norty Award for Crave is the host and creator, Troy Johnson…

Getting this award from Al in the Best Reality category is a mind-blowing honor. Especially since I lost touch with reality years ago.

Chopped: All Stars (Food)
Food Network Star (Food)
The Glee Project (Oxygen)
Iron Chef America (Food)
Shark Tank (ABC)
So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)

Previous Winner: 2011: Top Chef: All Stars

Winner: The Glee Project

This was perhaps the easiest award to decide in that no other winner had as much distance between them and the rest of the pack. The Glee Project was fresh, original, honest, and gave away as unique and tangible a prize as you will find in the genre, and all of that is an easy recipe for a Norty Award.

Here to accept the Norty Award on behalf of The Glee Project is host Robert Ulrich…

Thank you so much for this wonderful honor. The Glee Project is a very special show to me and all involved, and I love the fact that others appreciate it as much as we all do. Thank you again!

The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (CBS)
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
The Soup (E!)
Tosh.0 (Comedy Central)

Previous Winner: 2011: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Winner: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Not sure there is a show that gave me as much pure enjoyment at The Daily Show did last year. Yes, of course it helps that I share much of the same political philosophy of the show but even when I disagree I can't help but be impressed with how they stay committed to their mindset of pointing out when any person or entity does something that's hypocritical and/or imputes their integrity, and always manages to make it funny. This is the second Norty Award for The Daily Show and I am hard pressed to imagine a scenario where they don't win a third (and a fourth, and a fifth…).

Archer, FX
Community, NBC
Louie, FX
Modern Family, ABC
New Girl
Parks and Recreation, NBC

Previous Winners: 2011: Community; 2010: Glee; 2009: Chuck; 2008: The Office; 2007: The Office

Winner: Louie

People frequently use art as an adjective instead of a noun – meaning they use it as praise instead of simply labeling it as product and then attaching a quality evaluation later – but in the case of season two of Louie, both are accurate. While certain episodes/moments stand out – the entire hour of Duckling, Louie telling Pamela he is in love with her, his next door neighbor explaining how people look out for each other, Louie's conversation with Dane Cook…I could go on and on – the fact of the matter is the entire 13 episode run was one of the more complete deliveries of a single artistic vision in recent television history, and if that doesn't get you a Norty Award, nothing will.

Awake (NBC)
Breaking Bad (AMC)
Homeland (Showtime)
Mad Men (AMC)
Parenthood (NBC)
Sons of Anarchy (FX)

Previous Winners: 2011: Mad Men; 2010: Friday Night Lights; 2009: Mad Men; 2008: Battlestar Galactica, 2007: Battlestar Galactica

Winner: Sons of Anarchy

Let's run through the checklist of what it takes to win the Best Drama Series Norty Award…Storytelling that works on a short term (each episode), mid-term (the current season), and long term (the series) level…A core set of characters who are going through interesting and emotionally compelling situations that find the audience thinking about what they would do if it were them, even if the scenario couldn't be more removed from their actual lives…A set of supporting characters who stand out as individuals and help to convey the stories and themes of the show without distracting the audience or stopping the show in its tracks…A talented cast who can bring the intensity like no other…A creator and showrunner who has a distinct vision for the series and makes sure to reward long term fans with call backs and emotional payoffs…Yes, that sounds like Sons of Anarchy to me, and that's why it gets a Norty Award.

Here to accept the Norty Award on behalf of Sons of Anarchy is series creator and showrunner Kurt Sutter…

Fuck you, Emmys, I got me a Norty. It's gonna go up on the shelf with all the other shit that doesn't mean anything. Thanks Al, I love you cunts.

And there we have it, the 2012 Norty Awards. I couldn't begin to tell you how many hours went into the research needed to choose winners but let me tell you, I loved every minute of it. Also, I want to thank all of you who stop by here every Friday because without you being here in such large numbers, none of the folks who accepted their awards above would return my emails/calls. My power comes through you and I am forever grateful.

Use the comments section below to share who your votes would have gone to!

You Wanna Piece Of My Heart, You Better Start From The Start
As with any long weekend, cable networks have scheduled tons of marathon programming for you to enjoy the next three days. What follows are some of the highlights…

The Hills (MTV), 6am, 17 episodes
Be Good Johnny Weir (IFC), 6:30am, full first season
Doctor Who (BBC America), 7am, 14 episodes leading into season premiere at 9pm
Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane (Style), 7am, 11 episodes
America's Next Top Model (Oxygen), 8am, 10 episodes
Swamp People (History), 8am, 12 episodes
Disappeared (OWN), 10am, 11 episodes
Fast Food Mania (Destination America), 10am, full first season
The Game (BET), 10am, 22 episodes
Tanked (APL), 10am, 9 episodes
The Soul Man (TVLand), 1pm, 11 episodes
The Hills (MTV), 4:19pm, 52 episodes
My Fair Wedding (WE), 5pm, 8 episodes
Hatfields & McCoys (A&E), 6pm, full mini-series
Family Feud (GSN), 8pm, 8 episodes
Lizard Lick Towing (TruTV), 8pm, 14 episodes
Pawn Stars (History), 8pm, 16 episodes

Real Housewives of New Jersey (Bravo), 6am, 17 episodes
Sex and the City (Style), 6 am, 42 episodes
How I Met Your Mother (FX), 7am, 14 episodes
Sunday Best (BET), 9:30am, 8 episodes
Law & Order: SVU (USA), 10am, 13 episodes
Longmire (A&E), 11am, 7 episodes
The Andy Griffith Show (TVLand), 11:30am, 10 episodes
Arrested Development (IFC), Noon, 5 episodes
Doomsday Preppers (NGC), Noon, 10 episodes
Snapped (Oxygen), Noon, 10 episodes
South Beach Tow (TruTV), 2pm, 8 episodes
Storage Hunters (TruTV), 6pm, 10 episodes
Storage Wars (A&E), 6pm, 20 episodes
Snooki & JWoww (MTV), 11pm, 11 episodes

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Chiller), Midnight, 30 episodes
Long Island Medium (TLC), 6am, 14 episodes
NCIS (USA), 6am, 14 episodes
Martin (TVOne), 7am, 28 episodes
Real Housewives of New York (Bravo), 7:30am, 12 episodes
MASH (TVLand), 8am, 14 episodes + two hour reunion special rerun
The Parkers (BET), 8am, 14 episodes
Pawn Stars (History), 8am, 26 episodes
Storage Wars (A&E), 8am, 26 episodes
Top Gear (BBC America), 8am, 19 episodes
All Worked Up (TruTV), 9am, 12 episodes
Border Wars (NGC), 9am, 13 episodes
Call of the Wildman (APL), 9am, 41 episodes
Gossip Girl (Style), 9am, 18 episodes
Chopped (Food), 10am, 8 episodes
RuPaul's Drag Race (Logo), 10am, 12 episodes
Rizzoli & Isles (TNT), 11am, 9 episodes
Reba (), Noon, 16 episodes
Two and a Half Men (FX), Noon, 24 episodes
Unique Eats (Cooking), Noon, 15 episodes
Keeping Up with the Kardashians (E!), 1pm, 9 episodes
Ridiculousness (MTV), 1pm, 14 episodes
Diners, Drive-In's, & Dives (Food), 6pm, 20 episodes
Golden Girls (WE), 8pm, 10 episodes

Sunny Day, Sweepin' The Clouds Away, On My Way To Where The Air Is Sweet
The Sesame Street video of the week…

But You Were Up To Your Old Tricks In Chapters Four Five And Six
All you need to know about the Nielsen's for the past 21 days…

Suits mid-season finale was watched by 4.5 million viewers and was the top cable program of the night in the 18-49 & 25-54 demos. The hour was up 12% in total viewers from last week to hit a season high and it was up 29% from last fall's season finale. The show was also up from last week (and last fall's finale) in just about every measurable demo group. Burn Notice, which aired at 9pm as Suits' lead-in, drew 5 million total viewers, also a season high, and was up in the demos from both last week and that same episode last summer…

The CW launching the new season of America's Next Top Model early and on a new night both paid off and didn't; the show matched the previous cycle's premiere numbers overall (up a smidge in total viewers and down' a hair in demos), which is the good news considering it was a Friday night in late August. The bad news is that the premiere it matched was a series low, down 45% from the previous cycle.

NBC's Sunday Night Football exhibition matchup easily won the night in totals and demos…Big Brother was up 4% from last Sunday…Breaking Bad hit a series high with 3 million viewers, up 6% from last Sunday along with a 15% increase in the demos…

Hotel Hell is clearly a hit, with strong premiere numbers and then growth from those in weeks two and three…Hell's Kitchen was up double digits in totals and demos…Stars Earn Stripes is clearly not a hit, with decent premiere numbers and drops since then, including a 25% loss in the demos this week…Grimm was down 6% but still won 10pm against all reruns…

More folks watched the Republican National Convention on NBC than they did ABC or CBS, with the former up 8% from four years ago and the latter down two down 38% and 25% respectively...MasterChef was the night's top demo performer, up 17% from last week to hit a season high...America's Got Talent was down 4% but still won the night in total viewers and the 8pm hour in demos...

The gap between NBC and CBS & ABC for total audience during the 10:00 hour when all three networks were covering the Republican National Convention was even larger than the previous night, with NBC getting more than 50% more viewers than either of the other two…Big Brother was up 10% in the demos and hit a Wednesday season high in total viewers…America's Got Talent pulled in just over 9 million viewers, tops for the night…So You Think You Can Dance was up 7% in the demos…

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…Here's a rundown of some of the bigger news items from the time we were away…Jimmy Kimmel Live will move from midnight to 11:35pm starting in January, marking the first time the show has gone head-to-head with The Tonight Show and The Late Show…NBC picked up a 22 episode first season of a new comedy marking Emmy winner Michael J Fox's return to series TV. Fox, who has Parkinson's, will play a husband and father who has a similar illness. The network landed this project in a multi-offer situation, which is why it went to the extreme of picking up a full season before a pilot was even filmed…FX has made it official and picked up an additional 90 episodes of Anger Management. The show will resume production at the end of next month with Martin Sheen joining the cast as a regular…MTV announced the upcoming 6th season of Jersey Shore would be the show's last…The Farm, NBC's planned Dwight-centric spinoff of The Office that they are looking at for a 2013 launch, is putting together a pretty solid cast; Majandra Delfino (Roswell, Men of a Certain Age) will play Dwight's sister, Thomas Middleditch (best known for his work on CollegeHumor.com) will play his brother, Matt Jones (Jesse's friend Badger on Breaking Bad) is cousin Zeke, and veteran character actor Tom Bower (recurring as Pop Pop on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia currently) just signed on to play Dwight's Uncle… Bob's Burgers fans should be happy to know there is plenty of new content coming their way; Fox renewed the show for a 13 episode third season way back in January, plus it has 13 un-aired episodes from season two waiting to go, and now they've ordered an additional six scripts be written for the upcoming season, meaning were looking at no less than 32 new episodes before all is said and done…Netflix has confirmed that the new season of Arrested Development will premiere in the spring of 2013. While David Cross recently told Rolling Stone the season would end up being closer to 13 episodes than the originally announced 10, all the network will say is that the season will be "at least 10 episodes." Also not confirmed is if the original plan of releasing the full season at the same time is still in place…CBS is in talks with David E Kelley about a new comedy that would be Robin Williams first series regular gig since Mork & Mindy made him a star in the 70's. Williams would play a top level advertising executive who gets partnered up with his firm's hot shot new hire, his daughter...Robert Sean Leonard's first post-House TV gig will be a 5 episode run on Falling Skies next summer. Also signing on for a five episode run is Emmy & Golden Globe nominee Gloria Reuben...ABC renewed Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition for a third season…Spike TV is planning Eddie Murphy: One Night Only for November, a special celebrating the 30 year anniversaries of both his stand up special Delirious and his breakout movie 48 Hours. The special will feature testimonials from many of his former co-stars, film clips, original short films & sketch comedy, and an appearance by Murphy himself. The special will tape in LA on November 3rd and air on 11/16…Speaking of Eddie Murphy, Shawn Ryan (The Shield, Lie to Me, Last Resort) and Murphy are in full pitch mode on a TV version of Beverly Hills Cop. ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC took meetings on the series, which would focus on Axel Foley's son, a Detroit cop who moves to LA to get out from under his Dad's shadow. Murphy would executive produce and make recurring guest appearances and Ryan would write the pilot and executive produce as well…TTTP fave Morgan Spurlock has signed to host and executive produce Inside Man, a new series set to premiere on CNN in the spring of 2013. Earlier today the network said, "Inside Man will carry the distinctive stamp of its host while taking viewers on colorful and informative journeys into fascinating corners of American society." It's possible this show will air as a block of weekend programming with Anthony Bourdain's new show for the network, which is turning to reality programming to boost record low ratings…Spike TV is bringing back The Joe Schmo Show, where they trick someone into thinking they are on an extreme reality show. This version is Joe Schmo: The Full Bounty and the participant thinks he is competing to be named America's Next Great Bounty Hunter. Actors will play all the roles on the show, including Lorenzo Lamas as himself. The 10 episode season will run in 2013. The first season of the series ran in 2003 and its finale was watched by 3.4 million viewers, making it one of the highest rated programs in Spike TV history…Pulitzer Prize winning writer David Mamet has signed to pen the script for a Have Gun Will Travel reboot and will direct the pilot if the project gets that far. No word yet on if Paladin - the lead character, who was hired be various folks to keep the peace and did so, sometimes with words, sometimes with force - will be living in the modern world or if the series will continue to be an old-school Western…Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) has been cast as Norma Louise Bates – aka Norman's mother - in A&E's upcoming Bates Motel series that serves as a Psycho prequel, from Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood)…Lisa Joy (Burn Notice, Pushing Daisies) is writing and executive producing an adaptation of her graphic novel Headache, about a teenage girl who discovers she's Athena, the God of wisdom and war, for Fox…Abby Elliott, fresh off of her multi-season run on SNL, will guest on (at least) 3 episodes of How I Met Your Mother this fall…Salary negotiations for the cast of Modern Family have been a story all summer and now Deadline.com is telling us the kids have new deals, too; Rico Rodriguez, Nolan Gould, Ariel Winter, and Sarah Hyland will all be making in the ballpark of $70K per episode, a jump of almost 300%. Modern Family is the number one show on TV and will look to make it two Best Comedy Series awards in a row at the Emmys next month… ESPN and Major League Baseball have agreed to an 8 year, 5.6 billion dollar contract extension, which averages out to be more than double per year what the network is paying now. The new deal will include one wildcard playoff game and more flexibility in picking games featuring the most popular teams. The other network TV packages, currently held by Fox and TBS, are sill up for grabs, with NBC joining the Fox and TBS in the bidding… ABC has picked up a sixth cycle of Wipeout and also announced that Jill Wagner will return as co-host for the new season…

Turns Out Not Where But Who You're With That Really Matters
(The Best of What's Around aka The Best Thing I've Watched In The Last 7 Days…)
My love for Suits was strong after season one but truly nothing compared to what it is now after we're halfway through the second season, where characters have been given more room to breathe and as such the show has become more complex.

Yes, Suits is a legal procedural, with every episode having a "case of the week", although in season two these cases have been almost secondary to the political maneuvering going on at the law firm, with those storylines supporting the themes of the show instead of demonstrating them. The show is about the law but the overall theme of this season has been loyalty, as in how it is earned, demonstrated, and lost.

As I wrote on the TTTP Facebook page last week (shameless self promotion, I know), in terms of confidence and swagger, I'll out Gabriel Macht's Harvey Specter up against Jon Hamm's Don Draper, Hugh Laurie's Greg House, and Denis Leary's Tommy Gavin and feel good about my odds. Yes, there has been a lot of telling about Harvey's greatness but also plenty of showing, and they are taking their time in revealing to the audience what makes him tick, which is a good thing. Him talking about his Dad while high last week was a great example of the little glimpses we get (and that entire scene was amazing).

The entire cast of Suits is strong but no one has stood out as much as Rick Hoffman. Hell, no one has stood out as much on all of TV as Rick Hoffman, who has turned Louis Litt into an interesting and at times unpredictable character who commands your attention. Yes, the audience laughs at him frequently, and his insecurities are wonderfully played out, but Louis can hold his own and the scene during the mock trial with Louis and Harvey in the bathroom was top notch. I don't think it's a stretch to call him the show's must human portrayal.

The vote to get rid of Daniel certainly did come on fast in the mid-season finale but I get why it did; at that point there was really nowhere else to go with the power struggle so you get rid of Daniel for now, knowing you are likely to bring him back as opposing counsel in a big case down the line.

What I loved about the episode is now the law firm aspect of the show is almost a clean slate for the second half, with plenty of room to go wherever they want, while there are also now many personal relationship stories to be followed up, including Donna and Harvey, Mike and Rachel, and also how Louis will interact with the rest of the partners of the firm going forward as he is an equal now.

Suits is not only my favorite show on right now but I think it's earned a place on my year end list of the best dramas on TV as well.

People Say I'm Crazy Doing What I'm Doing. Well, They Give Me All Kinds Of Warnings To Save Me From Ruin
What's flashed before my eyes the last seven days…Very much enjoyed the first two episodes of MTV's The Inbetweeners. Sure, some of the humor was obvious/sophomoric but the cast is good and a lot of the dialogue was sharp. It's a comedy and I laughed out loud quite a bit, and what more can you ask for?...This past Sunday's Leverage was one of the TV high points of the summer as well as one of the better episodes in series history, mixing some great 70's fashion (clothing and hair) with humor as well as some genuinely touching moments…I was willing to watch the first hour of GSN's new Beat the Chefs until I got to the halfway point - they do two challenges each episode - and they told me they wouldn't reveal the winner of the first half battle until the end. The lack of confidence in your product – you think people may tune out halfway through once they see who won the first round? – makes me hit the "delete" button fast…Longmire finished up its first season with a run of incredibly strong episodes that will most likely earn it a place on my year end list of the Best of 2012. Some shows have an amazing pilot and then never live up to that standard again but in this case the pilot was decent and the show never stopped getting better. I love the pacing of the show; on a different, and lesser, series we would have had the election in season one instead of letting things simmer the way they do so well at Longmire. Also strength was the cast, most of whom got moments to shine as the season went on. The casting of Charles S Dutton was fantastic as he is equally as intense as Robert Taylor but in a totally different way, so there two scenes together crackled…I know this season of Burn Notice is supposed to have much more emotional pull with the loss of one of a recurring character who was close with the team but I have found it to be just more of the same standard formula. I like the show and the cast but can't think of another long running series most in need of a dramatic change of pace. Maybe they should move the show, maybe put Michael in charge of something with the government so he finds out what it's like to deal with the new, younger version of himself. Hell, maybe Fiona should get pregnant, I just want something different from Michael Weston and company…The Cooking Channel special The Best Thing on Sliced Bread, hosted by Official Friend of TTTP Troy Johnson, was a quick moving and hunger inducing hour and one that clearly could be turned into a series. A 10 episode first season would give us the best sandwiches in each state and then they could start over again for season two…3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay became one of my favorite reality shows within its first couple of episodes, one that focuses on helping folks achieve their dreams instead of helping people whose dreams are about to die like most of the genre (Restaurant Impossible, Hotel Hell, Kitchen Nightmares). It may seem like a small difference but it just seems more positive overall because of it and Bobby Flay has never come across more passionate and knowledgeable about the business…Jeffery Ross' new Comedy Central series The Burn is a funny half hour that is smart enough to move things along at a brisk pace and keep the jokes coming fast and furious. Considering the world doesn't seem to lack for people and things in need of heavy satire, I think The Burn could have a decent shelf life…This season of Louie hasn't matched the overall brilliance of last season but it's still been quite good and a show that has to be paid attention to while watching since you really have no idea where he is going to go with things, and I mean that as the highest of praise. Also earning the highest of praise is Chloe Sevigny, who was great last week in a role that it was hard to imagine anyone else playing…NY Med was a worthy successor to Boston Med, an entertaining and insightful look at both Doctors and patients. I hope ABC gives executive producer Terrance Wrong the green light on another series as I don't like the two year wait in between them…Three weeks in and I am pretty sold on Major Crimes. It's not as good as The Closer, and I would have preferred a new show called Provenza, but it's better than having these characters disappear off my screen entirely. Plus G.W. Bailey is getting a little more room to shine, and that's always a good thing…I'll give credit to ABC Family; after roughly a half dozen new series in a row that I had no interest in, Bunheads and Baby Daddy earned Season Pass status this summer. The former gives us Amy Sherman Palladino's trademark dialogue plus a cast that can deliver it (the season finale contained two truly wonderful moments, the Boo-Carl dance and the Dead Poets Society homage) and the latter is just funny. Not smart, ground breaking funny at all but it's a lot better than I would have thought going in and would totally fit in well – and stood out - in ABC's Friday night sitcom lineup of the 90's…Season two of Showtime's The Franchise has been excellent, with seemingly unfettered access to every inch of the Marlins clubhouse and front office making for compelling television. I still think Ozzie Guillen is a self centered ass but I can now see why players and his bosses love him as much as they do as he is never hesitant to step up and take responsibility when things aren't going well…I was shocked this month when I saw the Iron Chefs lose on two Iron Chef America episodes. What's great about the competition on the show is that it's about someone winning, not so much someone losing; no one ever wins because the other chef did terribly, they win because the other chef did very well but they just did a little better…Not sure there has ever been a reality show contestant like MasterChef's Christine, one who has such an obvious and, on paper, insurmountable challenge to face in the competition and then is so good at what they are doing that you end up thinking all about her product (in this case, her amazing food) and not about her circumstances. I don't know if she will win but I know for certain she is a winner…

TV Pick Of The Week
I am not sure there has ever been a show like Breaking Bad before, one that so fully chronicled the moral decay of a single person in such brilliantly excruciating detail, taking a character the audience initially felt empathy for based on his medical condition and put themselves in his shoes (what would you do to guarantee your family would be ok when you were gone?) and then spinning things around, so the focus became less about the extreme situations Walter White found himself in and more about how those situations change a person, how they look at the world and how it moves the lines of right and wrong.

I am certain there has never been a show that kept an intensity level like the last 2+ seasons of Breaking Bad, and it's a testament to the writing, acting, and directing that such a locomotive of darkness could be so damn entertaining. Sunday night brings the first half of the final season to an end; after this we have to wait until next summer to get the last 8 hours of Walter White's descent.

Don't miss the mid-final season finale of Breaking Bad, Sunday at 10pm on AMC.

Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You
Other noteworthy viewing options from the next seven days…

*Tennis' US Open has begun, with coverage at noon and again at 7pm on ESPN2 today. Saturday finds the matches on CBS at 12:30pm, followed by an 11am start time on Sunday.

*College football season is upon us, with lots of options for Kickoff Saturday Notre Dame – Navy at 9am on CBS, Ohio – Penn State at noon on ESPN, Bowling Green – Florida at 3:30pm on ESPN, Colorado State – Colorado at 4pm on FX, Clemson – Auburn at 7pm on ESPN, Hawaii – USC at 7:30pm on Fox, Michigan – Alabama at 8pm on ABC, and Arkansas State – Oregon at 10:30pm on ESPN.

*ABC Family has a wonderful family movie doubleheader on Saturday night with Toy Story at 8pm followed by The Goonies at 10.

*Yet another series where someone scours the country to find the best food? Yup, and this new one from Travel is called Burger Land, where each episode (the first two air Sunday at 7 & 7:30pm) looks at the best meat patty a given state has to offer.

*The first season of Hotel Hell wraps up with a two hour episode Monday at 8pm on Fox.

*A&E's star studded four hour mini-series remake of Coma premieres Monday at 9pm, with the conclusion airing Tuesday at 9pm...

*NCIS star Michael Weatherly guests on TNT's Major Crimes Monday at 9pm.

*Michael Strahan will be officially introduced as Kelly Ripa's co-host on Tuesday morning's episode of Live! with Kelly (and Michael)

*Sullivan & Son (TBS) wraps up its first season Thursday at 10pm.

*Season six of Flipping Out premieres Tuesday at 9pm on Bravo.

*The new season of the NFL begins Wednesday night with the Giants-Cowboys matchup on Wednesday at 8:30pm, with a big pregame celebration starting at 7:30pm.

*The mid-season premiere of Syfy's Ghost Hunters airs Wednesday at 9pm preceded by an all-day marathon of episodes.

*Kevin Hart hosts The MTV Music Awards Thursday at 8pm.

*The third season of ABC's Rookie Blue, one of the more surprising hits in recent memory, wraps up Thursday at 9pm.

Two Tivos To Paradise
3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, 30 Rock, After the Catch, American Idol, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Antiques Roadshow, Archer, Around the World in 80 Plate, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, The Big C, Boardwalk Empire, Being Human, Bent, Betty White's Off Their Rockers, Bones, Breaking Bad, Bunheads, Burn Notice, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Chopped, Comic Book Men, Community, Cougar Town, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Deadliest Catch, Destination Truth, Don't Trust the B- in Apt 23, Eureka, Fact or Faked, Falling Skies, Fairly Legal, Family Guy, Fast Food Mania, Flipping Out, Food Feuds, Food Network Challenge, Food Network Star, The Franchise, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters Academy, Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Lab, Glee, Gossip Girl, Great Food Truck Race, Grey's Anatomy, Happy Endings, Haunted Highways, Haunted Treasure, Hawaii 5-0, Hell on Wheels, Hollywood Treasure, House, House of Lies, How I Met Your Mother, Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis, Iron Chef America, Justified, Key & Peele, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, Longmire, Lost Girl, Louie, Mad Men, Major Crimes, Men at Work, The Middle, Mike and Molly, Modern Family, Monster Man, Necessary Roughness, New Girl, Next Iron Chef, The Office, Outside the Lines, Parks & Recreation, Private Practice, Project Accessory, Project Runway, PSYCH, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook Off, Raising Hope, Real Time With Bill Maher, Restaurant Impossible, Revenge, Royal Pains, Rules Of Engagement, Saturday Night Live, Shark Wranglers, Shear Genius, So You Think You Can Dance?, Sons of Anarchy, The Soup, Suits, Suburgatory, Supernatural, Texas Multi Mammas, Top Chef, Top Chef Just Desserts, Top Chef: Masters, Top Design, Tosh.0, True Blood, Up All Night, The Vampire Diaries, The Voice, The Walking Dead, Warehouse 13, Wilfred, Worst Cooks In America,
People Love You When They Know You're Leaving Soon
Here ends another Two Tivos To Paradise.

We'll be back next week with our list of the 10 Best Shows of the Summer along with all the latest TV headlines. Sources for this week's column include Daily Variety, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, and Hollywood Reporter (plus the web sites for those publications) as well as Aintit.cool.com, TVline.com & Deadline.com.


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