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Two Tivos To Paradise 03.22.13: The Voice, Revolution, Jimmy Fallon, Sam Raimi
Posted by Al Norton on 03.22.2013

Hello friends. You've got to love Mother Nature, giving us one last snow storm during the week that contained the first day of spring. I didn't let the (hopefully) final round of shoveling of the season get me down because my fantasy baseball auction is this Sunday. this will be my 23 year in this 10 team, AL only league and draft day is one of my favorites of the year; there is nothing like the mix of pizza, trash talking, and overtly homoerotic banter while sitting in a room with 12 or so other guys (some teams have co-owners) for seven or so hours. Good times!

If you are here reading this column it means you must on some level enjoy television and since that's the case I can't urge you enough to head over to the Al Norton's Two Tivos To Paradise page on Facebook; you'll get all the news as it breaks plus a ton of fun interactive stuff so you can weigh in on the shows you love (and hate). It's a thoughtful, respectful community but that doesn't mean we don't have fun, too! Check it out!!!

Our first look at Family Tree, Christopher Guest's highly anticipated new HBO comedy series…

In case you missed them when they ran on the site earlier in the week, use the links below to find my interviews with Jamie Bamber (Monday Mornings), Alan Tudyk (Suburgatory), and Jeremy Sisto (Suburgatory).

Another Game of Thrones trailer to get all you diehards riled up for next Sunday…

Speaking of diehards getting excited, here's a peak at next weekend's return of Doctor Who (both the BBC and BBC America trailers)…

Now I work down at the carwash, where all it ever does is news.

For Here You Are And What Was Just A World Is A Star
The NY Times reported on Wednesday that not only would Jimmy Fallon take over as host of The Tonight Show when current host Jay Leno's contract expires in the summer of 2014 but that the show would return to its New York City routes, returning to the Big Apple for the first time since 1972 when Johnny Carson and the show moved to LA. Fallon's current show Late Night shoots in the same studio Carson did so that history would mean no new construction for the network, making the move that much more appealing. While this story about Leno being out when his contract was up broke a few weeks back, relations between he and the network became somewhat frayed the last two weeks when NBC Entertainment President Bob Greenblatt sent him an email complaining about some jokes Leno had made in his monologues about NBC's poor showing in February sweeps. Leno followed the receipt of this email by making multiple additional jokes, each one getting more and more publicity.

The story got even more interesting when it was reported that NBC may not wait until Leno's contract is up to make the switch and is considering using the huge audience expected for the Winter Olympics in February of 2014 to launch the new version of The Tonight Show. The side effect benefit of this is that Leno would have to wait until September to start a new job, which would mean Fallon could start without the potential of going head-to-head with whatever new show Jay might front if he chooses to stay in the late night talk game.

David Letterman's contract with CBS is up the summer of 2014 as well and I expect them to counter punch by moving the show to LA with whomever the new host is (Craig Ferguson? Jon Stewart? Neil Patrick Harris?) as I simply can't imagine them giving all the top level California guests to Jimmy Kimmel Live without somewhat of a fight.

None of this is even close to official but NBC would love to make the announcement at the May upfronts, which would also allow them to charge more in advertising rates for The Tonight Show as it would be billed as "Jay's final season", plus the publicity would likely lead to an increase in Fallon's audience as well. The other spot to be filled would be the then vacant Late Night gig; Howard Stern has been rumored (funny how his name is linked to seemingly EVERY opening in the industry – he has good leakers!) and that would certainly be a big name but I wonder if they will use that slot they way they have over the years, to give a younger, rising star a shot (see Letterman, O'Brien, Fallon).

I am a pretty big fan of Late Night; while Ferguson does what is far and away the best monologue on late night, Fallon's show is superior to all the competition once he sits down at the desk, with great running comedy pieces, fantastic interactions with Steve Higgins (the show's secret weapon) and The Roots, and Fallon is certainly the most gifted comedic performer of all the current hosts. Throw in that his show skews younger than the current Tonight Show audience and you've got a pretty solid recipe for success.

Won't You Take Me Back To School, I Need To Learn The Golden Rule
This is a pretty huge week for NBC, with the season premiere of their top show The Voice as well as the mid-season premiere of their biggest scripted ratings getting, Revolution. The network took a huge risk when they pulled the top rated and much buzzed about drama for 3+ months, and in the interim they've had several new shows premiere to lackluster at best numbers (1600 Penn, Do No Harm, Deception), all hurt by the lack of a show like Revolution to hype them during.

This is a big cycle for The Voice as well as it's the first with new coaches; Shakira and Usher have replaced Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera for this go-round (the latter two are expected back for the fall) and it will be interested to see if the departures and/or arrivals have any impact on the ratings.

The last five or so years have seen more than a couple of new shows with momentum come crashing down to earth after being pulled for long stretches so if Revolution comes back with a big number it will certainly be defying the odds. NBC is going with a bigger summer lineup than usual, with several new scripted dramas along with perennial favorite America's Got Talent, and having The Voice and Revolution to introduce viewers to these new programs come May will be a huge boost. The network is already using the post-Voice close on Tuesdays to launch their new relationship reality show Ready for Love, a show who's chances for success in that slot are dramatically higher than they would have been in its original home, Sundays at 10pm following All Star Celebrity Apprentice.

Like A Coin In Your Mint, I Am Dented And I'm Spent With High Treason
For the past few months we've told you about new programming the big five networks have in development but now we've entered the next stage, with pilots being ordered for the 2013-2014 season…FYI - Any show listed below has been given said order…

Sam Rami, currently enjoying huge box office success with Oz the Great and Powerful, will direct the Fox Rake; an adaptation of an Australian series, Rake stars Greg Kinnear as a brilliant but caustic lawyer…Boomerang - starring Anthony LaPaglia and Felicity Huffman as a married couple who work as government assassins - was already on my list of projects to watch, what with the two leads plus the show being executive produced by John Wells (Southland, ER, The West Wing) and written by Davey Homes (Shameless, Awake, The Chicago Code, Pushing Daisies), and now comes word that Jeff Ross (yes, that Jeff Ross, as in the host of The Burn with Jeff Ross) and S. Epatha Merkerson will guest in the pilot in roles that could become recurring if the show gets picked up..

The lead in Backstrom - a brilliant, overweight, self-destructive police detective - was one of the last big roles left in the current pilot season but now comes word that Rainn Wilson will make the drama his first post-Office gig. The show is from Hart Hanson (Bones), based on a Swedish book series, and the pilot cast also includes Dennis Haysbert, Kristoffer Polaha (Ringer, Life Unexpected), Camryn Manheim (The Practice, Ghost Whisperer), Thomas Decker (The Secret Circle, The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and Page Kennedy (Weeds, Blue Mountain State). Wilson was one of the more in-demand actors this pilot season, turning down multiple offers including one that had a guaranteed six episode pick up from NBC. Typically a CBS pilot about a FBI criminal psychologist who specializes in profiling/catching sociopaths would not be my type of show but when said project, titled History of Violence, comes from Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa, and Alex Cary, who all work together as writers and executive producers on Homeland, my interest is piqued. Skeet Ulrich getting the lead draws me in even more, and now Deadline.com tells us that Golden Globe winner Amber Tamblyn has signed on as the female lead, a FBI agent Ulrich's character partners with. The series is based on the non-fiction book by real life FBI criminal psychologist Adrian Raine…I was already on board Super Clyde, a comedy pilot from Greg Garcia (Raising Hope, My Name is Earl) where Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter films) plays a fast food worker who decides to become a superhero, with Tyler Labine (Animal Practice, Reaper) as his older brother, but now with word that Stephen Fry will play the Alfred to Clyde's Batman (so to speak), I am ready to give it a season pass...

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
Ratings Notes From The Last Seven Days…

Community was down 33% to a new series demo low...The Big Bang Theory was down double digits in totals and demos but still easily won the night in both...Other shows hitting new series demo lows were Grey's Anatomy, Two and a Half Men, and American Idol...Elementary won 10pm but its interesting to note it didn't show any demo increase despite Scandal being a rerun...Parks and Recreation, 1600 Penn, and Person of Interest all had slight demo increases...

5.9 million people watched The Wizards: Alex vs. Alex on Disney last night, a solid number that helped lead out Gravity Falls hit a series high in total viewers (4.9 million)… Blue Bloods always wins the night in total viewers but with Shark Tank a rerun it also won in the demos, up 22% in that measure ...Touch and Malibu Country both dropped to series demo lows...Nikita was up 25% (starting to look good for a renewal) and Cult was up 50% from last week...Fashion Star last week's series lows...Even though Shark Tank was a rerun it still put up the second best demos of the night...

Another strong Sunday night for The History Channel; part three of The Bible was up from part two, with the 10.9 million viewers topping everything else on TV for the night (including a victory over the 10.8 million for The Walking Dead, although Dead did dominate in the demos), and Vikings was up in total viewers with 4.8 and enjoyed a 12% demo increase as well as a 16% gain in the channel's target 25-54 demo…Almost everything was down for the night, including Family Guy, which dropped 15 % in the demos but was still tops for the evening on the broadcast networks...Once Upon a Time dropped to a new series demo low...,B>Celebrity Apprentice was up 8% in total viewers...The Good Wife matched last week in totals and demos, a solid sign with most other shows dropping...Revenge lost 7% of its total audience while Red Widow dropped 18%...

Between the 10pm premiere and the replay that followed 4.6 million viewers watched Bates Motel last night. The demos for the first airing were the highest ever for a new original series in the network's history…DWTS won the night in totals and demos, up 14% from the fall premiere...Castle hit a season high in total viewers but was down a smidge in the demos but still winning 10pm in both...The Biggest Loser finale was up 30% from last week and 18% from last season's finale...The Following was down 11% in the demos but was the night's top drama performer in that measure...Big drops for the CBS comedy block, with HIMYM down 18%, 2 Broke Girls down 18% to a series low, and Mike & Molly down 11%...The Deception finale enjoyed modest gains in totals and demos...

Splash had a huge opening; not only was it ABC's best reality show debut in 2+ years, it was all of TV's best reality show debut since The X Factor premiered in September of 2011...Thanks to a DWTS recap special as a lead-in, Body of Proof was up 25% in the demos...NCIS won the night in total and demos...Golden Boy won 10pm in totals and demos, up in both measures, and is looking more and more like a show that could come back in the fall...All of NBC's programming was down for the night in both totals and demos...

Criminal Minds was up double digits in totals and demos, the night's top scripted before in both measures...American Idol won the night overall in totals and demos...CSI won 10 pm in totals and demos, up 20+% in the latter...Chicago Fire was down 15% with its first new episode in several weeks...Arrow returned to slightly down demos while Supernatural matched its last new performance...

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…ABC is working on a Once Upon a Time spinoff that would run in the summer, bridging the gap between seasons. OUAT creators Eddy Kitis and Adam Horowitz have signed on and Zack Estrin (The River, Tru Calling, The Good Guys, Prison Break, Charmed) and current OUAT producer Jane Espensen (Battlestar Galactica, Buffy, Gilmore Girls) are thisclose to coming on board. Deadline.com tells us the plan seems to be to set the show in the world of Wonderland (but not focused on the Mad Hatter as was discussed), with shorter, self contained runs similar to FX's American Horror Story. The series would occupy the post-curse world but, like OUAT, would include flashbacks, so there would be room for characters to crossover. While the project is currently being written as a four scene presentation (as opposed to a full pilot), production could begin as soon as next month, when OUAT finishes up for the year, meaning it could be on the air THIS summer…CBS has signed Ted Danson to a new contract and at the same time renewed CSI For the 2013-2014. Danson's contract extension was actually for two years, with the dollars being reported at over $200K per episode. Elisabeth Shue and the rest of Danson's costars will return as well for what will be the show's 14th season…TV Land has picked up a 24 episode fifth season of Hot in Cleveland; the end of season five will put the comedy at 104 episodes, one of the fastest cable series ever to reach the 100 benchmark (it premiered in June of 2010). This total comes in handy as the show will begin running in syndication next fall…Smash (Outstanding Drama Series) and The Amazing Race (Outstanding Reality Series) were winners at last Saturday's 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City... FX revealed that the upcoming third season of American Horror Story would have the subtitle Coven, meaning it's likely about witches. Kathy Bates and returning star Jessica Lange headline the season…Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson have been cast as the leads in Steven Bochco's TNT pilot Murder in the First, playing two SFPC homicide detectives tracking one case throughout a season…Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas tells The Hollywood Reporter that he and the cast plan on attending Comic Con this summer and that he hopes to have some footage of the movie to screen at that time. He also said they are doing a behind-the-scenes making of documentary of the project. Funds continue to come in to the Kickstarter campaign and he is adjusting his script as they do; the more money they get, the more elaborate some of the scenes can be and the more different places they can film…The Wendy Williams Show is capitalizing on strong February sweeps numbers (up in some local markets by as much as 47% and overall up 35% in their target demo of women 25 - 54) by extending the show's run by two months; instead of going into reruns at the end of May they will continue to produce new episodes through the end of July…Fox will air Rihanna 777 on May 7th, a one hour documentary about the pop superstar's concert tour at the end of 2012, including performances of her biggest hits and behind-the-scenes footage…ABC announced their season finale dates today - The Neighbors, 3/27; Suburgatory, 4/17 (one hour); Wife Swap, 5/2; Red Widow - 5/5; Splash - 5/7; Once Upon a Time & Revenge (two hours) - 5/12; Castle, 5/13; Grey's Anatomy & Scandal, 5/16; Shark Tank, 5/17; AFHV 5/19; DWTS 5/21; The Middle, Modern Family, & Nashville, 5/22; Body of Proof, 5/28…NBC has picked up the first season of Crossing Lines, an international crime drama from Criminal Minds executive producer Ed Bernero that stars Donald Sutherland and TTTP fave William Fichtner. The show will air this summer and follows criminal investigators who work with the International Criminal Court to track and capture criminals all over the world. As opposed to the typical US model for show production, where a network picks up a show and then they make the episodes, this project was put together by a production company and is being sold to different networks in different countries…BET Networks has acquired the rerun rights to a package of 90's comedies, including The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Family Matters, Martin, The Jamie Foxx Show, and The Wayans Bros., all of which will air on BET as well as Centric. Part of the deal also allows Nick at Night to keep running Full House and MTV2 to keep airing Living Single

Turns Out Not Where But Who You're With That Really Matters
AKA The Best Thing I've Watched In The Last Seven Days…
I have praised Showtime's Inside Comedy quite a bit on these pages, all well deserved, and this week's episode was a prime example of why having David Steinberg host and executive produce the series was absolutely the best decision they could have made; usually when Will Ferrell does talk show appearances it's either a) him doing some sort of crazy character/extreme personality or b) him being low key and mellow and the hosts trying to egg him on to do a crazy character/extreme personality. On Monday's episode Steinberg simply talked with him and it was such a wonderful change of pace to see Ferrell being himself, talking about his comedy instead of being his comedy. While his career has misses as well as hits, the man is incredibly talented and it was a joy to see him discussing his craft.

The other half of the episode wasn't too shabby either in that Betty White is a national treasure who is amazingly sharp despite her advancing age. Her story about her SNL gig and how it came to be was great.

Any fans of comedy's long and storied history should have season passed Inside Comedy long ago!

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…

It's only March but even if he never appears on my TV screen for the rest of 2013 I am fairly certain Justin Timberlake has locked up a spot on my TV Entertainers of the Year list…I must admit the Finn – Will boy bands battle on Glee last week was pretty darn entertaining, as was Finn's tough guy reveal at the end…Abed's Changnesia documentary was easily Community's most Community episode of the season, and fans of the show will know exactly what I mean by that…Justified continues to rock my world on a week in, week out basis. If it's not the best cast show on TV I am not sure what is, and Jim Beaver damn sure better get an Emmy nomination…One of the reasons I like The Jeselnik Offensive as much as I do is that everyone seems to be having such a good time; the host is clearly having a blast and in the panel segments the guests seem to be genuinely laughing. When people say the show is a lot like The Burn they are right but it's not because of the no-holds-barred approach to comedy shared by both series, it's because the folks on screen are enjoying making each other laugh…How I Met Your Mother brilliant poked fun of Downton Abbey fans this week in an episode that also stood out any time the action took place at Barney's condo. Not a particularly meaningful episode in the grand scheme of the show but I laughed heartily…While the last five minutes of New Girl were the most noteworthy of the episode, the scene at the hardware store was the single funniest thing I saw this week. Fast hardening caulk, indeed…I know that I have seen a lot of TV in my life so I am constantly trying to think one step ahead but the reveal at the end of this week's Once Upon a Time was pretty obvious, perhaps because of what a great job they did casting the younger version of the character in terms of who he grew up to be…Caught up on the last five episodes of Arrow in the last two weeks and it's a testament to the casting of the show that I find myself wanting to see more of the Villains of the Week; James Callis was GREAT (why oh why aren't casting directors falling over themselves to give him work) and while I do enjoy having David Anders on my screen, he really didn't get anything to do…

TV Pick Of The Week
Clearly WAY more people are going to be watching The Voice and Dancing with the Stars on Monday night but in terms of importance, of eye opening relevance to the world we live in, 180 Days in America is far and away the better choice. With all the bashing of reality/non-fiction TV that (rightfully) goes on, the instances where the genre is transformed in ways that help it reach its true potential should be celebrated more than celebrities who put on swimming trunks and fall into pools.

Don't miss 180 Days in America: A Year Inside an American High School, this Monday and Tuesday at 9pm on PBS.

Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You
Here as some other noteworthy viewing options from the next seven days…

*It's wall-to-wall March Madness coverage from the next couple of weeks, with games all day today on CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV and continuing on Saturday and Sunday, with the Sweet 16 rounds starting on Thursday. Meanwhile ESPN's various networks start their coverage of the women's NCAA tournament on Saturday.

*The Kids' Choice Awards (Saturday, 8pm, Nickelodeon) are always good for a few laughs and some quality slime.

*Matthew Perry and Stockard Channing return to their recurring roles on The Good Wife (9 pm, CBS) this Sunday.

*HBO's Phil Spector, written and directed by David Mammet and starring Al Pacino and Helen Mirren, premieres Sunday at9pm…

*Chandler and Monica reunite! Kinda…sorta…Courteney Cox guests on Go On this Tuesday at9 pm.

*This week's New Girl (Tuesday, 9pm, Fox) finds the gang headed to Chicago for a funeral where we meet more of Nick's family, including guest stars Margo Martindale, Nick Kroll, and Bill Burr.

*BET's The Game is back for season six this Thursday at 10pm.

*The Real World: Portland premieres Wednesday at 10pm, MTV's TWENTY EIGHT season of the show…

*Raising Hope, perhaps the single most underrated/under watched comedy on TV right now, brings its third season to a close this Thursday with back-to-back episodes at 9 & 9:30pm. Fans can take joy in knowing the show has already been renewed for the fall.

Two Tivos To Paradise
3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, After the Catch, American Idol, Antiques Roadshow, Archer, Arrow, Around the World in 80 Plates, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, 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, Deception, Destination Truth, Fact or Faked, Falling Skies, Family Guy, Feed the Beast, Flipping Out, Food Network Challenge, Food Network Star, The Franchise, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Lab, Glee, 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, The Jeselnik Offensive, Justified, Key & Peele, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, The League, 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, 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, So You Think You Can Dance?, Sons of Anarchy, The Soup, Suits, Suburgatory, Supernatural, Top Chef, Top Chef Just Desserts, Top Chef: Masters, Top Design, Tosh.0, The Vampire Diaries, The Voice, The Walking Dead, Warehouse 13, 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 all the headlines from the last seven days!

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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