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Two Tivos To Paradise 10.26.12: Homeland, Arrow, Sons of Anarchy, Sunday Night Football, and more!
Posted by Al Norton on 10.26.2012

Hello friends. Finally, after weeks of coughing, sneezing, ear clogging, and cold-related grouchiness I am pleased to report that I am back at (roughly) 95% and can see 100% coming down the line. I know lots of folks getting sick this fall but what seemed to have happened was I had a cold and then just when I was almost over it I got another one from either Mrs. Tivo and/or the twins that was much worse. Really can't remember feeling as run down as I have for this extended a period of time but the good news is that's all in my rear view just in time to take the kids out trick-or-treating!

This week's giveaway is a biggie, season four – the season that won them the Best Drama Norty – of Sons of Anarchy on Blu-ray!! This contest requires a little more than usual…Go to the Al Norton's Two Tivos To Paradise page on Facebook, click like if you have not already, share the TTTP page on your own FB wall, inviting friends to click like and join the fun, and then post "TTTP-CRO" on our wall. Because of the added hoop to jump through we are opening it up to everyone, including folks who have won something in the last six months, although the US or Canadian mailing address stipulation is still in place. We're doing this on the honor system, of course, but I know I can trust all of you.

This SNL digital short was so good (not necessarily so funny but so damn good) that I wanted to give it some "top of the column" love…

Quick plug – you can find my interview with WWE superstar Dolph Ziggler running today over on the Wrestling part of the site.

Breaking Bad fans should enjoy this immensely, although be warned that there are some spoilers in here if you aren't fully caught up…

Speaking of great things I watched this week, there's this…

‘Cause baby tonight, the DJ got us falling in news again.

There's Something In Your Voice Makes My Heart Beat Fast, Hope This Feeling Lasts The Rest Of My Life
It was exactly 10 years ago today that Mrs. Tivo made me a very, very happy man by saying "I do" at a lovely ceremony in Newington, CT, followed by a great reception that featured a highly entertaining toast by my best man and brother Walter. To celebrate the anniversary TTTP style I've put together a list of the 10 shows that I most closely associate with my marriage…

Six Feet Under
No punch lines about the title. The first show we watched together from beginning to end.

Thank God that The WB used to rerun episodes from during the week on Sunday late afternoons or we never would have caught the pilot of this wonderful little show that helped Mrs. Tivo finally understand my Treat Williams obsession.

Friday Night Lights
Easily the show responsible for the most mutual tears from us, and I mean that as high praise.

Battlestar Galactica
I had no plans to watch the BSG mini-series at all but Mrs. Tivo was quite excited, which led to me sitting down next to her on the couch to watch a couple of minutes of what would turn out to be one of the best shows of the last 15 years.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel
I was so far from being interested in Buffy when we met but Mrs. Tivo is a big fan of vampires and I saw Once More with Feeling and was hooked. FX used to show two episodes of Buffy every weekday afternoon and we'd watch while we ate dinner so I was able to catch up over a summer. TNT's airing of Angel reruns brought us up to speed on that front as well.

The timing of the show has been perfect as almost on a weekly basis we press pause and have a conversation about what we will do when a similar situation occurs with the twins.

Modern Family
If Parenthood makes us have serious conversations about what we will do with our kids, Modern Family makes us laugh up a storm while we make mental notes of what not-to-do.

Another show where we missed the pilot but caught it when ABC reran it the following Saturday; in some ways this show is the perfect mix of us, the sci-fi/supernatural elements that she loves and the human drama of characters seeking redemption that I find so compelling.

Flipping Out
The first reality show we watched together from the beginning.

Criss Angel's Mindfreak
We stopped watching towards the end as the scale of the illusions got bigger and more ridiculous but there were times in the first two seasons where I thought we were going to break the rewind button on the remote as we tried to figure out how the frak he was doing those things.

I Shoulda Learned To Play The Guitar, I Shoulda Learned To Play Them Drums
Ad Age Magazine released the list of the Top Ten Most Expensive TV Show to Advertise On this week, with a major change at the top from last year…

1) Sunday Night Football ($545,142)
2) American Idol Wednesday ($340,825)
3) Modern Family ($330,908)
4) New Girl ($320,924)
5) American Idol Thursday ($296,092)
6) The Simpsons ($286,131)
7) Family Guy ($276,690)
8) The Big Bang Theory ($275,573)
9) 2 Broke Girls ($269,235)
10) Two and a Half Men ($247,261).

Last season SNF was still number one but its lead on Idol was a mere $10K whereas now it's far and away the top of the heap.

It's interesting because these shows aren't the most watched (notice there's no NCIS or NCIS: LA on this list) but it's also not just a list of the top demo programs either. Lots of research goes into these rates and, for instance, Fox knows that while plenty of shows get larger audiences than The Simpsons, there's a chunk of its audience that are not regular TV viewers other than the show, so its viewers are more valuable. The same is true for Family Guy's passionate fan base.

It's no accident that these shows are comedies or live broadcasts; the former's 30 minute length makes it easier for folks to work into their schedules to watch when there on and the fear of the latter's results being spoiled mean most viewers are sitting down to watch in real time, and both those scenarios dramatically reduce the ability/opportunity to fast forward through the commercials.

Life Is A Series Of Hellos And Goodbyes, I'm Afraid It's Time For Goodbye Again
The end of last week had a flurry of activity from ABC in terms of the network's plans for the rest of the 2011 – 2012 season. First they ordered two additional scripts each for new series Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue, then they ordered two more episodes of Grey's Anatomy, Modern Family, Shark Tank, and The Middle, bringing each series current season total to 24, and one more episode of Castle, making its total 23. It was also confirmed that the current 13 episode sixth season of Private Practice would be the show's last, with the series finale airing in February.

The Private Practice news was hardly a shock, what with series lead Kate Walsh announcing this past summer that she was done after the 13 episodes this year. While the cast is quite strong, continuing the show without Addison just made no sense. Also, ABC has a third season of Body of Evidence plus multiple new shows to find room for between now and May, including…


Red Widow

And Zero Hour

ABC wasn't the only network making big (and little) decisions about their lineup's this week. The CW picked up a full season of Arrow, ordering the back 9 episode to bring the first season order to 22. They also ordered three additional scripts for Beauty and the Beast and Emily Owens, M.D. Additionally on the script ordering front, NBC ordered 5 more for Guys with Kids.

Fox was also quite busy, picking up an additional two episodes of The Mindy Project, Raising Hope, and New Girl, bringing the total for each this season to 24. The network also ordered a third season of The X Factor for next fall. Later in the week they announced their winter premiere dates; American Idol will have a two night premiere, with two hours on Wed 1/16 and one hour on Thu 1/17. Touch takes over Fridays at 9pm on 2/1 (Fringe wraps up its series run in January) and the new Kevin Bacon serial killer drama The Following moves in to Mondays at 9pm as of 1/21.

CBS got in on the act as well, picking up the back 9 episodes for both Elementary and Vegas. And NBC couldn't be left out, ordering five more Chicago Fire scripts late in the day on Thursday.

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…

Two and a Half Men hit season highs in totals and demos...The Big Bang Theory won the night in totals and demos...Grey's Anatomy won 9pm in the demos...Up All Night was up 27%...Parks and Recreation was down 16% to tie a series low...Beauty and the Beast was down a huge 42% in the demos from last week's season premiere....Elementary was down but still easily won 10pm...

Shark Tank hit series highs in totals and demos, winning the night in the former for the sixth week in a row...Nikita had a disastrous season premiere, down 50% from last fall's debut and dropping to a series low in the demos...Grimm had the top demos for any scripted series on the night...Blue Bloods was the night's most watched show...

The Bruno Mars hosted episode of Saturday Night Live was the highest rated of the series in over 7 months…

Once Upon a Time was up 10% to win the night in scripted demos...666 Park Avenue had a good week, up 20% in the demos...60 Minutes enjoyed airing an hour later than usual (thanks to a football overrun) to the tune of a 75% demo increase...The Good Wife was up 12% airing at roughly 10pm while The Amazing Race dropped double digits at 9pm...Sunday Night Football won the night in totals and demos, up 43% from week 7 last year...Revenge was up 8% for the second week in a row...

Dancing with the Stars won the night in total viewers and was up 14% in the demos for its best performance in that measure since the season premiere…The Voice was down 12% but still easily won the night in demos…90210 was down 33% from last week's 50% gain while Gossip Girl held steady…28.7 million watched the debates on the broadcast networks, down 19% from debate # 2 in part because Fox aired game 7 of the NLCS (instead of the debate)…

Big night for Parenthood, topping Vegas and Private Practice in the demos for the first time this season...The Voice won the demos for the evening while NCIS was the most watched show (in related developments, the sun rose and set yesterday)...Ben and Kate was up double digits in the demos...Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B- In Apt 23 were both down quite a bit from their last season premieres...The three-way 9pm sitcom showdown was won by New Girl (demos) and Go On (total viewers)...NCIS: LA won 9pm in total viewers with 16.3 million, finishing a pretty close second to NCIS on the night in that measure...Sons of Anarchy was once again not only cable TV's top demo performer for the night but won 10pm in that measure for ALL of television…

Chicago Fire was up 30% in the demos but still finished third at 10pm, with CSI winning the hour in totals and demos and Nashville placing second in both...Modern Family won the night in totals and demos for an individual show but Fox's coverage of the World Series won the network the night overall...Supernatural was down 30%...SVU was up 13%...Arrow dropped 15% in the demos but was even in total viewers...

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…Showtime ordered a third season of Homeland…Zach Braff is writing and directing the Fox comedy pilot Garage Bar, about a group of friends adjusting to one of them becoming famous…The Daily Show's Jayson Jones will write and star in a Fox pilot about a confirmed bachelor who has to become guardian to his niece and nephew when his sister is called into active military duty. Steve Carrell and Chris & Paul Weitz are executive producing…Gregg Daniels (The Office) is working on an untitled comedy for NBC about a musician who takes a job as a middle school music teacher, with Craig Robinson attached to star…Ken Mok, executive producer of America's Next Top Model, is developing a fashion industry drama with Fox. Scarlatti is about a family run fashion empire trying to hold on to their success…Oscar winner Jane Fonda is attached to star in the ABC comedy pilot Now What, about a woman who moves in with her daughter after the daughter writes a very public blog post detailing why she hates her Mom. Abby Gewanter (Pushing Daisies) is writing the script and Scott Ellis (2 Broke Girls) would direct the pilot and executive produce…Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer and Janine Sherman Barrios, an executive producer on the show, are teaming up for CBS' Darkness Falls, where a psychologist from the FBI and a homicide specialist travel to a different small town each week to help solve a particularly twisted murder that is stumping local law enforcement…Breaking Bad's Betsy Brandt will play Ray Romano's Hank's ex-wife on Parenthood later this season…Liz Garcia and Josh Harto, who teamed up to create TNT's Memphis Beat, are working on The Big Easy for CBS, a supernatural themed drama about a musician who works as a paranormal investigator on the side. We told you a couple of weeks ago about Garcia and Harto's new restaurant drama Inferno for NBC, which has Gordon Ramsay on board as an executive producer…Rules of Engagement creator Tom Hertz has a new comedy at CBS about a couple who cohabitate very quickly and then have to deal with the getting to know each other – and each other's families – process after…ABC is working on a sitcom adaptation of the non-fiction book Dirty Girls: The Naked Truth about our Guilty Secrets…ABC Family released winter premiere/return dates, with Switched at Birth & Bunheads back on Monday January 7th followed by Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game on Tuesday the 8th… Boardwalk Empire writer Margaret Nagle has two new projects in development, an untitled drama with CBS based on Sense and Sensibility where three sisters who are all medical professionals have to deal with the return of their Father who abandoned them years ago and Paradise Falls with Fox, about a documentary filmmaker working for a reality show who goes to a small town to cover a particularly disturbing murder trial only to find there is a lot more than meets the eye going on. Falls is inspired by the Paradise Lost documentaries and Joe Berlinger, who directed them, is on board as an executive producer…

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 don't mean to say there aren't people who know a lot more about TV than I do because there clearly are but I watch way more than the average person and follow the industry pretty closely as well, which makes those times in which a series catches me off guard that much more impressive, as was the case with this past Sunday's episode of Homeland.

It's a huge testament to my faith in the writers of the show that my feeling of "WTF happens now?!?!" is one of excitement and anticipation as opposed to a genuine worry about the fate of the show. I mean, an ending like that usually comes in a season, or perhaps ever SERIES finale, not early in season two, several days before the show gets picked up for a third season.

The acting for the hour was, as usual, excellent, with particular praise for the scenes with Damian Lewis and Claire Danes, both of whom were playing characters feeling one way but trying to convince each other otherwise, each managing to communicate thoughts and emotions to the audience while maintaining a straight face.

I have already started putting together my 2012 Year's Best List and the contest for the top Drama Series spot is a three way race – Homeland, Sons of Anarchy, & Breaking Bad – that is too close to call right now but a couple more episodes like this one and it might become a very easy decision for me.

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…

One of my favorite recurring sketches on SNL these days…The Suburgatory season premiere was top notch, with all the laughs and warmth that make this one of the most underrated comedies on TV. The cat scene in the Shay's living room defies words. Week two was not as strong but still made me laugh…Strong night of comedy last Thursday, with 30 Rock, The League, and Parks and Recreation giving us the best episodes of their young seasons. On the other end of the spectrum was The Office, with the worst/least funny opening in series history followed by another waste of 20+ minutes. I am still watching just to see how it ends but more and more it's clear to me the series finale should have been Michael Scott getting on that plane…Three weeks in and I am fully sold on Nashville. The political storyline is a bit much but it serves its purpose, which is to be something on the show not directly related to music, a change of pace if you will…I am not a big fan of Grey's Anatomy having Christina be across the country involved in her own, self-contained storyline right now but if that's what it takes for us to get more William Daniels on our TV screens, I will live with it…There is no doubt that somewhere in MTV's Underemployed is a quality series waiting to get out, and the situations the characters found themselves in were stock but also believable for their age group, but the biggest issue is that none of those characters were in the slightest bit interesting or compelling. Please note that I didn't say likeable because that's not even close to a requirement in the current world of TV but the audience should at least come away with some interest in finding out what happens to these people next and instead I was left wondering where I could get maple bacon bars…I don't think I've ever seen anything like the quality comedy options available on Tuesdays between 8 and 10pm; my tivos are working overdrive to record Raising Hope, Ben and Kate, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Happy Endings, Don't Trust the B- in Apt 23, and The New Normal, and I know that Go On has its fans as well. Not saying people are going to love every single show but if you can't find something that makes you laugh on Tuesday nights then you may want to see a Doctor about the arthropod lodged in your rectum…The Happy Endings season premiere was fantastic; Sinbrad was one of the highlights of the comedy season to-date ("that girl is so whack her first name should be Knick Knack Patty") and there was no trace of "trying too hard" to keep up the charming pop culture encyclopedia that was seasons one and two…Don't Trust the B- opened strong as well, serving as a nice introduction to viewers who might not have caught any of seasons one…I know some where worried that New Girl might lose some of its quirky charm during its sophomore run but I think they've done a great job of making sure the show is just weird enough to avoid the total mainstream. I was greatly amused from start to finish this week…A mediocre Modern Family was saved by the visual of Cam and Lilly in their Mr. Roarke and Tattoo costumes…

TV Pick Of The Week
Let's just start at this base level; don't you want to see what a $10 million pilot looks like? NBC had very high hopes for their Munsters reboot, with a strong cast and some very talented folks on the creative side, and yet here we are, with the network airing the pilot tonight as a way to try to recoup something for their $10 million. Sure, there's the VERY slim chance that strong ratings will lead to the network reconsidering their decision and finding a place for the show on their fall of 2013 schedule but at this point it's much more likely that Mockingbird Lane will be remembered as a colossal waste of money, which makes me want to watch it even more.

Don't miss Mockingbird Lane, tonight at 8pm on NBC.

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

*OBAMA LIVE: An MTV Interview with the President airs today at 5pm, with questions submitted from viewers via the network's Facebook page.

*Stuck at home on a Friday night? No need to fret; TNT is running Gladiator at 8pm. If that's not your cup of tea then you might want to check out the criminally underrated remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, with Encore is showing at 9:30pm.

*TNT gets into the spirit of the holiday with a 24 hour Supernatural marathon starting Saturday at noon.

*The Mentalist hits 100 episodes this Sunday at 10pm with a look back at how Patrick Jane came to work with the CBI.

*The Shins – one of my favorite bands – plays Austin City Limits on Saturday (check your local PBS stations for specific times).

*The great Billy Dee Williams guest stars on NCIS (Tuesday, 8pm, CBS).

*Jay Leno guests on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on Tuesday night (technically Wednesday morning); if anyone can get a relaxed, honest interview out of Jay, it's going to be Craig.

*If it's Halloween week then It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown must be on; Wednesday at 8pm is the time to be gathered ‘round the TV set.

*The NBA regular season is here! TNT airs a doubleheader on Tuesday, with Celtics – Heat at 8pm followed by Mavericks – Lakers. On Thursday the network airs the first regular season game from the new home of the now Brooklyn Nets as they host the Knicks.

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, Arrow, Around the World in 80 Plate, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, Ben and Kate, The Big C, Boardwalk Empire, Being Human, Betty White's Off Their Rockers, Bones, Breaking Bad, Bunheads, Burn Notice, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Chicago Fire, 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, 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, Nashville, 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! I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween!

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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