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Two Tivos To Paradise 10.19.12: The Walking Dead, S.H.I.E.L.D., Sons of Anarchy, Bob's Burgers, Robot Chicken, More
Posted by Al Norton on 10.19.2012

Hello friends. I really and truly wish I could bring you healthy news from the Norton household, using this cold open to talk about something other than how lousy I feel going on three weeks running, but alas I am unable to lie to you. Coughing is still the rule of order here, with Mrs. Tivo in the throes of it while we attempted to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday.

NBC revealed the first look at Mockingbird Lane during last Friday's Grimm…

Here's a trailer for Syfy's upcoming new series Defiance

No new giveaways this week but if you had clicked "Like" on the Al Norton's Two Tivos To Paradise page on Facebook prior to yesterday than you might have won yourself season one of The League on DVD as we did a one day instant giveaway. Aside from cool prizes, the TTTP FB page is the best way there is to keep up on all the latest TV news plus you can interact with your fellow TV fans in a respectful yet still quite passionate forum. And you can't the ever popular Question of the Day to have fun with!

You go talk to your news, talk to my news, talk to me.

Beware Of Pretty Faces That You Find, A Pretty Face Can Hide An Evil Mind
It was announced at NY Comic-Con this past weekend that Clark Gregg would reprise his role of Agent Phil Caulson in the upcoming ABC pilot Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed The Avengers, will co-write and direct the pilot, which is set in the same universe as the movie but will not feature any of the actual superheroes.

Obviously the events of the movie make this tricky but the easy way around that is the idea that this series will be set several years back, when S.H.I.E.L.D. was just getting started and there was no Avengers Initiative; that would allow them to not have Iron Man, Hulk, et al on screen but still drop plenty of references to what everyone knows the future holds.

Gregg is a pretty good actor who had a good track record before this role came along; he co-starred on The New Adventures of Old Christine for five seasons and had a memorable run on The West Wing. He also wrote and directed the independent movie Choke and scripted the screenplay for the Harrison Ford – Michelle Pfeiffer thriller What Lies Beneath.

A new TV series from Joss Whedon is cause for huge celebration among his sizable fan base, and a S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show is also a big deal; combine the two, especially coming off of the success of the movie, and we are looking at a pilot that will likely be the most watched series premiere of 2013.

The Gentleman's In The Lane, Spinning His Hat On His Cane
TNT gave a six episode first season order to L.A. Noir, the first post-Walking Dead TV project for Frank Darabont. An adaptation of the non-fiction book L.A. Noir: The Struggle For The Soul Of America's Most Seductive City by John Buntin, the story follows the 1940's & 50's battle between LAPD Chief William Parker and top crime boss Mickey Cohen. The cast includes Jon Bernthal, Neal McDonough, Ron Rifkin, Milo Ventamiglia, and Jeffrey DeMunn.

Obviously you can't tell anything about a show without seeing it first but on paper this seems like a surefire bet for a high quality series, with everyone involved being quite talented. Darabont was the showrunner for the first season of The Walking Dead before leaving early in production of the second season over differences with AMC executives and he is writing and directing this project as well. His resume includes The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile and actors who have worked with him line up to do so again, as evidenced by Bernthal and DeMunn, both Walking Dead alums, being present here. McDonough is a long time TTTP fave coming off of a great season of Justified. It had been reported that Thomas Jane would join the cast as mobster Cohen if it got picked up to series but there's no word yet if that's still the case.

I will go so far as to say that based on its pedigree, this has a shot at being the most watched pilot in TNT history. Can't wait for next year to get here!

Monday, At Sister Suzy's Ball, Tuesday, At The Old Dance Hall
The Live + 7 Day numbers from the first full week of the 2012-2013 season are in, with many shows improving their lot/solidifying their hit status. Here's a quick rundown…

Top 10 Biggest Demo Gains In Viewers
1) Modern Family
2) The Big Bang Theory
3) Grey's Anatomy
4) Revolution
5) The Voice (Monday)
6) Once Upon a Time
8) The Voice (Tuesday)
9) 2 Broke Girls
10) How I Met Your Mother

Top 10 Biggest Demo Gains in Percentage
1) Revolution (+68%)
2) Fringe (+64%)
3) Glee (+63%)
3) Private Practice (+63%)
5) Hawaii 5-0 (+61%)
6) New Girl (+54%)
7) 666 Park Avenue (+52%)
7) The Office (+52%)
9) New Normal (+50%)
9) Parenthood (+50%)
9) Up All Night (+50%)

Interesting that the biggest demo improvements in terms of straight viewers go with the shows that are for the most part very solid hits, where as the biggest % gains are broken down by other lines. Five of the 11 shows on the % list are 10pm dramas, which means there are clearly people don't want to stay up late watching TV. And how busy is Thursday at 9pm, with three of the four series airing on broadcast networks showing up on one of these two lists?

666 Park Avenue is the only show on either list that are in any danger of getting pulled from the lineup and my best guess is ABC will see these numbers and let them continue on. Not saying they're going to get more than 13 episodes but it's not likely to get pulled before 13, either.

What's also clear is that DVR viewing is here to stay and networks need to find ways to make money on it in order to keep the current model alive. What that means for viewers in the short term is even MORE of those annoying pop up promos on the bottom of the screen since those can't be fast forwarded through. It also means we're also likely to see more of the product placement that is running rampant in TV these days; I feel like half the shows I watch feature scenes that amount to car commercials.

It's Time To Play The Music, It's Time To Light The Lights
The Muppet Show 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…

The Big Bang Theory won the night in totals and demos…30 Rock matched the previous week while Up All Night dropped double digits…Last Resort was down 16%...The Beauty and the Beast premiere matched what The Secret Circle did in the same slot last year, not bad considering the former was up against the VP Debate…Numbers were down from the Palin – Biden VP debate four years ago, with NBC being the top broadcast network for the debate…

Shark Tank was the night's top demo performer for the second week in a row…With Made in Jersey pulled from the lineup both CSI: NY (now at 9pm) and Blue Bloods were up 17% in the demos…As usual, Blue Bloods won the night in total viewers…

TBS coverage of game one of the ALCS was the most watched of the 2012 MLB post season and was up 104% in total viewers from the network's coverage of game one of the NLCS last season…

Sunday Night Football easily won the night in totals and demos, up 13% from this week last year…Once Upon the Night had the top non-sports demos of the night…CBS' lineup was aided by a football overrun, with The Amazing Race and The Good Wife matching last week while The Mentalist was up 25% in the demos…TBS coverage of game 2 of the ALCS was up 67% from their coverage of game 2 of the NLCS last year…

The Voice won the night in demos while DWTS had the most viewers…Revolution once again dominated 10pm in the demos, up 13%., with the best numbers in that group of any scripted series on the night. It was also up 10% in total viewers…Castle hit a season high in total viewers and was the most watched scripted program of the night but it dropped 9% in the demos and tied Hawaii 5-0 for second in the hour…90210 was up a whopping 50% in the demos and 14% in total viewers but that increased lead-in didn't help Gossip Girl improve from the previous week…HIMYM had a strong demo showing at 8pm, with Partners up a bit at 8:30…

65.5 million watched the 2nd Presidential debate, with NBC being the top broadcast network for viewers and Fox News being the top cable outlet for coverage…Hart of Dixie was up in totals and demos...Mixed results for the Emily Owens M.D. premiere; it did improve on the total audience of its lead-in, which doesn't happen all that often, and it was up 40+% from the Ringer season/series finale last spring, but it was also down 50% from the Ringer season premiere last fall...DWTS was the night's most watched program...Ben and Kate was down 20%...

American Horror Story: Asylum opened big, with the 3.85 million viewers representing a higher total than any of the first season's episodes and a 20% increase from the series premiere. The show was also up 40% in the demos from season one's debut. Look for these already impressive numbers to grow in a dramatic way once Live + 24 and Live + 7 data is available…Arrow had a strong second week, matching the premiere's strong demos…Modern Family easily won the night in demos…Nashville and Chicago Fire were each down 20%, the latter a bigger issue since week one was weak to begin with…CSI won 10pm in totals and demos…SVU dropped down to tie a series demo low…

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…NBC has cancelled Animal Practice, replacing it with the new season of Whitney as of November 14th...Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the 2013 Golden Globe awards this January on NBC…USA renewed Suits for a 16 episode third season…Fox has picked up a 22 episode 4th season of Bob's Burgers…The CW will bring America's Next Top Model back for a 20th cycle this summer…Adult Swim has picked up a 7th season of Robot Chicken…NBC has decided to not move forward on Next Caller, Please, a sitcom where Dane Cook played a satellite radio shock jock. The show had been set for a six episode mid-season run. As an FYI, when I wrote this past summer about a sitcom pilot I watched that was so painfully bad I could barely get through the first segment without turning it off, I was talking about Next Caller…Beyonce is set to the entertainment for the Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show on CBS this February…BBC America has picked up a 13 episode second season of Copper...The cast for the new season of Celebrity Apprentice was announced, with this cycle being an "All Star Edition." The roster of competitors is Trace Adkins, Penn Jillette, Lil Jon, Gary Busey, Stephen Baldwin, Dennis Rodman, Dee Snyder, La Toya Jackson, Marilu Henner, Lisa Rinna, Omarosa, Claudia Jordan, Brande Roderick, and Brett Michaels. While Michaels is the only former winner competing, Arsenio Hall, Joan Rivers, John Rich, and Piers Morgan will serve as advisers to Donald Trump during the season…TTTP fave Donal Logue will appear as a US Marshall on the last three episodes of the current Sons of Anarchy season…Oprah will revive her Oprah's Favorite Things segment from her old talk show as a special on OWN in November, with a military spouse from each branch of the armed services being on the receiving end. The special will serve as a lead-in to the series premiere of the reality series Married to the Military: Alaska… Tyra Banks is co-creating and executive producing the comedy Fivehead for ABC, loosely based on her life as an awkward teenager before she became a supermodel…TTTP fave Mark Pellegrino, on a mission to guest star on every show on TV, will be able to check Person of Interest off his list later this year…Fox signed an 8 year extension with NASCAR, bringing their coverage of the sport through 2022…NBC Sports signed a four year deal with Formula One that starts in 2013…CMT has picked up a second season of the Steve Austin-hosted Redneck Island…Rachel Zoe is developing a sitcom for NBC based on her life…NBC developed an adaptation of Sarah Colonna's book Life as I Blow It last year and it didn't go anywhere but that's not stopping them from giving it another shot this pilot season. Colonna is seen regularly on Chelsea Lately and After Lately…CBS is developing Last Stop Savannah, a legal drama from Randy Brown, who wrote Trouble with the Curve…HBO brings back Girls and Enlightened for second seasons on January 13th…Christopher Lloyd will guest on Raising Hope…Bio launches The Haunting on Saturday 10/27, a new series where psychic-medium Kim Russo accompanies celebrities to the places where they had supernatural experiences in their lives, with each episode focused on a different star. Those taking part include Regis Philbin, Chazz Palminteri, Gina Gershon, Eric Mabius, Beverly Mitchell, Connie Stevens, Michael Rappaport, Fairuza Balk, and Kelly Carlson…Food Network's Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off is back on January 6th, with season two featuring Chilli, Gilbert Gottfried, Hines Ward, Johnny Weir, Kathy Najimy, Carnie Wilson, Dean McDermott, and Cornelia Guest doing culinary battle…ABC is developing the pilot Michael Bolton's Daughter is Ruining My Life, which the singer/songwriter has agreed to star in. Based on an idea from Alison Miller (currently starring in Go On, seen previously in Terra Nova and Kings) and written by Tami Sagher (30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother), the show is about a young female aspiring writer new to LA who takes over as social media director for Bolton, who has just had his party crazy daughter move back in with him…CBS has ordered a first season of Bake Off, and adaptation of the BBC 2 hit series The Great British Bake Off…Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars) is developing an adaptation of the British mini-series Metropolis for The CW…Ryan Hurst (Sons of Anarchy) has joined the cast of the TNT pilot King & Maxfield…Rhona Mitra landed the female lead alongside Eric Dane and Titus Welliver in TNT's The Last Ship…Hallmark is getting into the original series game, picking up a first season of Cedar Cove, a drama about a small town family court judge played by Andie MacDowell. The project was designed as a two hour movie that could serve as a backdoor pilot but the network liked what they saw enough to move forward before the movie aired. The current plan is two air that two hour pilot on 1/19, with new episodes following in the spring. The series is based on the novel by Debbie Macomber and has Carl Binder (Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman) on board as showrunner…

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…)
I did mention last week's Sons of Anarchy in last week's column but now that everyone who is going to watch has had the chance to do so I wanted to go a little more in-depth in my praise of not just Walton Goggins but the whole cast as well as the make-up/prosthetic team.

Actually, let's start off by thanking FX for not giving away what was easily a very hype-able event in Emmy nominee Goggins' guest starring as a transgender prostitute, making his entrance that much more memorable. Venus Van Damme joins a long list of interesting characters that Sons has introduced us to and one who was funny, smart, and quick on her feet. This was no stunt casting; Goggins threw himself into his role and there was not a trace of Body Crowder, Shane Vendrell, or really anyone I've seen on TV before.
The ease in which he inhabited the role was remarkable, a feat I cannot imagine very many other actors doing without going over the top.

Goggins clearly made the rest of the cast relaxed as well as I don't recall seeing the SAMCRO boys that relaxed – while clearly all still in character – as to smile, laugh, and then convince the stepson of the guy they were setting up that they too had all engaged in similar activities as he was about to enjoy. Huge props to Kim Coates for making us immediately believe in Tig's attraction to Venus.

A storyline like that could have easily fallen in the "comic relief" category, which means it might have been amusing but would have seemed out of place with the rest of the show but instead what we got was laugh-out-loud moments that totally fit in with the world the show has created. My fingers and toes are crossed that this not the last we've seen of Ms. Van Damme.

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…

I love Jimmy Fallon's Mitt Romney impression...Between the caffeinated waffles and the rejuvenating mouth spray, the Sharks were pretty damn feisty last Friday night! Loved Mr. Wonderful getting called out on his insistence that anything not proprietary is a bad investment; that philosophy has surely saved him some money but clearly has also cost him a few good opportunities as well…A HUGE bounce back week for Saturday Night Live after the Daniel Craig debacle; the VP debate sketch was a big winner, Tech Talk made me laugh out loud, and Weekend Update's Arianna Huffington and Jean K Jean bits were quite funny. Oh, and the Expendables/Taken mock trailer was quit good…The season premiere of The League contained what was easily the best "nine months pregnant woman in the act of self pleasure while thinking about her fantasy football team" scene in recent memory…Revolution had two stabbings in two weeks, although thankfully this latest one was a minor one, but it's symbolic of the type of repeat storytelling they need to avoid to have long term success. The casting on the show is fantastic – Kim Raver being the latest example – and the Lost style flashbacks are being used just right so far. At this point I am hard pressed to imagine a way in which someone could deny that Giancarlo Esposito is one of the finest actors on TV. I know he is nice if only because he's taken part in the column on several occasions but I mean it as the highest of praise when I say I have no idea what he's like as a person based on his work…For some reason me saying I am enjoying MTV's The InBetweeners always seems to draw in negative comments so please understand I am in no way trolling when I say I continue to enjoy the show. Watched two episodes this week while doing housework and laughed out loud a few times. Not saying it's good, just that I enjoy it, and that the main cast are a talented group of young actors…Was pleased to see $24 in 24 at least acknowledge the concept of drinks (the first few episodes Jeff got coffee with breakfast and seemingly never drank an ounce of fluid the rest of the day), especially since they did so by turning folks on to the free stuff available via brewery tours. Also enjoyed this week's outing in Boston, of course…The coaches being able to steal the Battle Round losers has certainly added a new dimension to The Voice to keep their from being a huge drop off in entertainment from the Blind Auditions. I also like they way they don't turn whether or not the coaches decide to steal someone into a moment of drama; these singers just lost and to make it seem like they are losing again would be cruel. Instead Carson just announces they are available and then it either happens or it doesn't. Much better than the way they do the Judges' Save on Idol…A fantastic episode of Homeland this past Sunday, with great work from the entire cast. If anything the tension is even higher than last season, and we're only three episodes in! Claire Danes in particular continues to astound; Carrie's "I was right all along" moment was a moving one…Every time Odeh Fehr guests on Covert Affairs I write something about how I am baffled that the networks aren't tripping over themselves to give this guy a series lead and I was just as impressed as always with his work this past Tuesday…Not sure if Emily Owens M.D. was trying to be a drama with comedic overtones or a comedy with healthy doses of drama but it didn't really succeed on either level. Yes, the lead actress clearly has the ability to carry a series but the network has surrounded her by so much generic material as to make it clear this is not going to be the show that makes her a star…My expectations for the season premiere of The Walking Dead were pretty damn high but wow, did the show ever meet them and then some. I was hooked again from the get go…The switch from 60 to 30 minutes did nothing to hurt the appeal of Comic Book Men, which made me laugh out loud (as always) and come away ridiculously impressed with their geek knowledge (as always)…

TV Pick Of The Week
Happy Endings had a place in my heart from the pilot, as would anything that makes me feel smart for keeping up with the rapid fire pop culture references. In the two seasons that have come since we've seen these characters deepen, showing much heart as well as a rather odd set of quirks, all the while never sacrificing even an iota of laughter. If I made a list of current shows I would watch to help me get out of a bad mood, Happy Endings would be on it very close to the top.

Don't miss the season premiere of Happy Endings, Tuesday at 9pm on ABC>

Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You

*Nikita is back and kicking ass tonight at 9pm on The CW...

*Boss wraps up its second (and final?) season tonight at 9pm on Starz.

*Cinemax's latest original series is Hunted, premiering tonight at 10pm...

*Comedy Central's annual Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs airs Sunday at 8pm.

*Season two of Syfy's Alphas comes to a close Monday at 8pm.

*The third and final 2012 Presidential Debate is Monday at 9pm. At this point I can't begin to imagine who could possibly still be undecided so I think folks will watch so they can immediately go on social media and talk about how their guy won.

*The VERY funny Don't Trust the B- In Apt 23 (ABC) is back for season two this Tuesday at 9:30pm.

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, Ben and Kate, 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, Fact or Faked, Falling Skies, Fairly Legal, Family Guy, Fast Food Mania, Flipping Out, 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 of Lies, How I Met Your Mother, Inside Comedy with David Steinberg, Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis, Iron Chef America, Justified, Key & Peele, Last Resort, 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, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Monster Man, Necessary Roughness, New Girl, The New Normal, 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, Revolution, 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, 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 a look at the last seven days in 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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