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Two Tivos To Paradise 04.05.13: Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Arrested Development, More
Posted by Al Norton on 04.05.2013

Hello friends. I hope all those who celebrated had a wonderful Easter and/or Passover and that you've enjoyed the start of the MLB season so far. My Red Sox are doing well (at least as of this writing) and this past weekend I got a pair of high quality seats to see Lyle Lovett this summer, so really, what could be wrong with the world?

This week's What I've Been Watching section is smaller than usual as my day job was CRAZY this week, leaving me less time to, you know, watch TV. My Tivos aren't speaking to me right now as they are feeling fat and bloated and blaming me for using the whole, "sorry, I had to work late" line one too many times.

Here's a look at Knife Fight, the first original series from Esquire Network (what G4 morphs into later this month)…

Rectify may be the most excited I have been about a new drama series in some time…

My twins are going to LOVE this…

We're not broken just bent and we can learn to news again.

The Reasons That I Can't Stay Don't Have A Thing To Do With Being In Love
Mad Men begins its sixth season this Sunday at 9pm with a two hour episode.

In case you need a refresher on season five…

I won't give away anything about the season premiere except to say it's a fantastic two hours of television that does a remarkable job of both reestablishing the roles everyone plays in the show (figuratively more than literally) and also sets the stage for the larger themes that will run through this batch of episodes. It's also very funny and this is more than a small amount of Roger Sterling greatness.

Mad Men was a little bit of a victim of its own success last season; I mean, with four Best Drama Series Emmys in a row, how do your fans not end up setting the bar so high that merely being a great show isn't enough anymore? Based on these opening two hours there is no question the show remains among the best television has to offer, with an attention to detail and consistency of character that is second to none.

And It's A Sad Picture, The Final Blow Hits You, Somebody Else Gets What You Wanted Again
After weeks of rumors, inside sources, and monologue jokes, it was confirmed on Wednesday that Jimmy Fallon would take over as host of The Tonight Show in February of 2014, with the show moving from LA to New York. Leno's deal isn't up until the end of August but NBC is hoping to capitalize on the huge audience that will be watching the network during the Winter Olympics by hyping the transition like crazy. Just about every story about the move also included the note that Seth Myers was the overwhelming frontrunner to take over Late Night when Fallon moves up to 11:35pm.

Leno's contract calls for a large payment if he is pulled from the air before it ends but the network wanted to give Fallon a head start; it's likely David Letterman will retire next summer – his deal is also up in August of 2014 – and they are trying to get Jimmy established with the 11:35 audience before whoever takes over at CBS debuts. Also, it's possible Leno could be hosting a show on another network this fall/winter and they want to give Fallon time to get comfortable before he might take on Jay head-to-head.

One of the things to remember is that this is a HUGE risk for NBC; Leno regularly wins the late night battle in total viewers (99% of the time) and the demos (75+% of the time) and it's not like his ratings have dropped precipitously since Jimmy Kimmel joined the 11:35 fray, so he is a proven commodity that is being pushed aside for who the network hopes is the next big thing. Don't get me wrong; I have no sympathy for Leno based on his well documented maneuverings of the last 20+ years, but his being a manipulative, self serving ass doesn't make this any smarter of a move.

I am a big Jimmy Fallon fan and think he is actually a much better fit for The Tonight Show than Conan O'Brien ever was, and I think the move to New York will give the show a new energy. I also think it's likely that CBS moves The Late Show to LA when Letterman retires because otherwise both NBC and CBS will be ceding all Hollywood-based guests to Jimmy Kimmel Live, and I don't see that happening.

NBC got this done in a good time frame as they can use it at their upfront presentations next month and also sell advertising on The Tonight Show for the 2013-2014 season with some sort of "Come say Goodbye to Jay" tag line that will likely boost ratings. And we've all got the next 12 – 14 months to debate what will happen next.

And I Would Gladly Hit The Road, Get Up And Go, If I Knew That Someday It Would Lead Me Back To You
Sunday night may have been the biggest single night in the history of original cable series…

*The Walking Dead season finale set new records last night, with the 12.4 million total viewers and the 8.1 million in the 18-49 demos each representing not only series highs but all-time highs for any cable series in TV history, with the demos being tops for all of television last week.

*The two hour finale of The Bible was a very strong performer for History, with the 11.7 million average audience finishing a very close second to The Walking Dead on the night. The finale was up 12% in the 18-49 demo and 18% in the network's target 25-54 demo from the previous week's two hours. Early projections have History being the most watched cable network for March as well as being tops for the month in that 25-54 demo.

*4.4 million watched the season premiere of Game of Thrones, a series high and an increase of 13% from the season two premiere audience. With the two replays added in the audience for last night's episode was 6.7 million (also a series high).

I did not spent a ton of time researching it but I am fairly confident in saying that last Sunday there were more people watching original cable series than on any other night in TV history.

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…

Literally no show that aired in broadcast network primetime had demo growth from their previous episode...American Idol was down 7% to hit a new all-time demo low...Grey's Anatomy was down a smidge but won the night in the demos, beating Idol for the second week in a row...Raising Hope enjoyed the Idol lead-in to jump 20% in total viewers but was actually down a bit in the demos...Wife Swap was down double digits in totals and demos from last week's season premiere...

Happy Endings did not return well, down almost 50% from the total audience numbers Last Man Standing and Malibu Country got in those slots last week as well as down 40+% in the demos...Shark Tank was down 20% in the demos but still won the night in that measure for non-March Madness programming...Fashion Star hit a season high in total viewers...Touch was down 14% in viewers...Nikita matched last week's demos while improving a tad in total viewers...

You read above about the ratings success on cable on Sunday night, which meant the broadcast networks took a beating…Revenge was down double digits in totals and demos and just barely passed a rerun of The VoiceRed Widow was down to a new season/series low…Celebrity Apprentice was down 12%...

The Voice easily won the night in demos, down only 4% from last week's season premiere...Revolution dropped to a season/series low but still won 10pm in the demos...For the second week in a row Castle set a new season high in total viewers...Bones was up a smidge in the demos...The Following dropped to a new season/series low but still did better in the demos than its Bones lead-in...DWTS was the night's most watched show but was down 12% in the demos...The Carrie Diaries was up 17% in total viewers...

The season finale of Justified was down 16% from last year's sign off in total viewers and down 30+% in the demos…The Voice won the night in total viewers and demos, up from last week in both measures…The New Normal may just have saved itself with two strong performing episodes, the latter being their season finale that hit an 11 week total viewer high…Splash was down 15% and now has lost 46% of the demo audience from week one…Body of Proof won 10pm in totals and demos…Despite having a New Girl rerun as a lead-in this time around, The Mindy Project matched last week's numbers…

Modern Family was up 16% in total viewers and 28% in the demos, winning the night in a big way in the latter...American Idol was the night's most watched show...Suburgatory in its new 8:30 slot was up 20% from what The Neighbors did in that spot last week...The series premiere of How To Live With Your Parents did decently, with solid retention of its Modern Family lead-in audience...Dateline at 8pm was up 40% in the demos and 100% in total viewers from the Whitney season finale that aired in that spot last week...Nashville was up from last week's season low, which meant Chicago Fire finished last in the demos at 10pm (CSI won the hour in totals and demos)...

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…Netflix announced that the full new season of Arrested Development would be available for viewing as of Sunday, May 26th. Even better for fans, they said the season will now be 15 episodes as opposed to the previously reported 14. Each episode will focus on a specific member of the Bluth family, although obviously characters will cross over throughout…USA Network has had conversations with Sony Pictures about a pickup of Happy Endings if ABC, as expected, cancels the show next month. USA will start airing Modern Family reruns this fall and has had several half hour comedies in development to pair it with but this would give them a show with a (small but passionate) built-in fan base. Endings enjoyed its best numbers on ABC when it was paired with Family on Wednesday nights, so the duo would be familiar to audiences...Conan was renewed by TBS through November 2015, which will mark the show's five year anniversary…Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman will write, direct, and executive produce How and Why, a comedy pilot for FX about a brilliant nuclear scientist who has very little social skills. Kaufman, whose incredible writing resume includes Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, spent time early in his career writing for the small screen on The Drew Carey Show, Ned and Stacey, and Get a Life…NBC's new game show Hollywood Game Night had piqued my interest with its concept (dinner/cocktail party-like setting with contestants taking part in party games with celebrities), its executive producer (Sean Hayes) and its host (Jane Lynch) and now I'm fully on board after Deadline.com has reported the celebrities lined up to take part - Amy Poehler, Dax Sheppard, Matthew Perry, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Maya Rudolph, Cheryl Hines, Ellie Kemper, Kal Penn, Martin Short, Fred Armisen, Molly Shannon, Max Greenfield, and Kristen Chenoweth. The eight episode first season will premiere later this year…Lifetime has cancelled America's Most Wanted but is hoping to continue its relationship with host/executive producer John Walsh by developing the new series John Walsh Investigates, where each week he and his team would look at a different unsolved case, some current and some decades old. AMW ran for 24 seasons on Fox before its 24 episode run on Lifetime and is credited with helping in the capture of over 1200 fugitives across the world…Disney has picked up a third season of Austin & Ally…The season finale of Two and a Half Men has Ashton Kutcher's Walden dating a young lady (played by Hilary Duff) only to find himself falling for her GRANDMOTHER (played by Marilu Henner)… Esquire Network launches later this month and they're doing a good job stocking up on quality reruns; it was previously announced that they would be airing Party Down, Parks and Recreation, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (the latter running a week after they air on NBC) and yesterday they added Psych and Burn Notice to their roster. They also have multiple original series in the works, including a cooking competition show from executive producer Drew Barrymore (Knife Fight, trailer above) and a new travel show from Anthony Bourdain…Whose Line Is It Anyway? fans should mark Tuesday July 16th on their calendars as that's when new episodes of the show premiere on The CW. The first night will feature two new episodes beginning at 8pm (followed by the series premiere of the new dating show Perfect Score at 9pm) with future weeks having a new episode at 8pm followed by an encore of the previous week at 8:30pm. This new version of the show is hosted by Aisha Tyler (The Talk, Archer) and stars returning favorites Wayne Brady, Ryan Stiles, and Colin Mochrie joined each week by a different special guest…OWN will be all about Tyler Perry come the end of May; the May 26th episode of Oprah's Next Chapter will have Perry as the guest and will be immediately followed by Tyler Perry Comes to OWN: Behind the Scenes, a one hour look at the making of his two new original series. The Haves and Have Nots, a one hour drama (Perry's first TV drama series) will premiere on May 28th at 9pm, and the next night at 9 finds his comedy Love The Neighbor debuting with back-to-back episodes…USA announced their summer premiere dates; Burn Notice (season seven) & Graceland (season one) - 6/6; Royal Pains (season five) - 6/12; Covert Affairs (season four) & Suits (season three) - 7/16...

Turns Out Not Where But Who You're With That Really Matters
AKA The Best Thing I've Watched In The Last Seven Days…

A good documentary can make you feel like you're right in the middle of what's going on despite the events taking place years ago, and by that measure Survive and Advance, the most recent documentary from ESPN's 30 for 30 series, is one of the best pieces of non-fiction television I've ever seen, capturing the spirit and essence of the 1983 NC State team absolutely perfectly. What's remarkable about the achievement is that the events they are revisiting are ones that are well documented, so it's not like any of this is news to most sports fans over the age of 35, yet I found myself totally caught up in the twisty road to the final four the team took.

The genuine depth of emotion these teammates have for each other thirty years later is amazing and a joy to behold; I laughed more during the reunion portions than I have at some popular and successful sitcoms. And for anyone unfamiliar with just how much of a charismatic force of nature Jim Valvano was, this will leave you searching YouTube for more clips of him.

The emotions that run through the piece are so universal that you don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy it, you just have to have a beating heart. ESPN is rerunning it all month and I highly urge you to take a look...and I dare you not to cry.

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…Really impressed with Sarah Chalke's work on Grey's Anatomy last week. Sure, Scrubs had its share of serious moments but she was nothing less than 100% authentic as a Mom fighting for her son and I came away an even bigger fan than I was before…Speaking of Chalke, as much as I like the cast of How To Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life), watching the pilot was a chore and I can't imagine myself tuning in again. I would, however, season pass a spinoff focused on just Brad Garret and Elizabeth Perkins' characters…I declared Justified the best show of the 2012-2013 season a couple of weeks ago and the season finale did nothing to dissuade me of that opinion. Timothy Olyphant is, like Jon Hamm and Hugh Laurie before him, cursed to be doing such amazing work at the same time Bryan Cranston is conducting a five season master class on Breaking Bad…I know there was some outrage over the season finale of The Walking Dead, seemingly as much for what didn't happen (as in, not a lot of action) as for what did, but this is a show that has always zigged when it wanted to and zagged when the traditional TV model said to do the opposite, so I can't fault their storytelling in any way on that front. Me watching a show and feeling like I have no real idea what's going to happen next is such a genuine rarity that I continue to hold Dead in the highest of esteem…The double shot of Happy Endings last Friday kicked my weekend off right, with both episodes being a reminder of everything I love so much about the show. Let's hope the news above involving the USA network comes to fruition because there is really no way ABC will renew it…Two examples of why The Voice is the best reality competition show on TV - the genuine joy on Adam's face when he turned and saw it was Garrett (a guy who didn't get picked last season) who had just made it on the show, and the sheer and honest frustration Blake felt over not spinning his chair for Julie Roberts. The coaches legitimately care about the folks on the stage and it shows in ways none of the other singing shows can come close to…

TV Pick Of The Week
What a Madness March was, with all sorts of upsets, the road to the final four littered with busted brackets. Louisville takes on Wichita State on Saturday at 6pm followed by Syracuse – Michigan (likely tipping off just before 9pm) And then the winners square off for the National Championship Monday at 8pm on CBS. And that's not the only hoops final four action for the weekend; the women's Division one final four takes places on Sunday with Louisville (yes, they have teams in both!!) taking on Cal at 6:30 on Sunday followed by Notre Dame-UConn, with the championship taking place on Tuesday at 8:30pm (all games on ESPN).

Don't miss the men's and women's Division one basketball final fours!

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

*Melissa McCarthy is back to host SNL again!

*It's not often The Carrie Diaries (8pm, The CW) and Being Human (9pm, Syfy) get mentioned in the same sentence but both bring their seasons to a close on Monday night.

*Ready For Love, given the prime post-The Voice timeslot this Tuesday at 9pm, is NBC's latest attempt to get into the reality dating show game…

*Cougar Town gives us its last episode until January 2014 this Tuesday at 10pm.

*Jack McBrayer makes his first post-30 Rock TV appearance with a guest spot on The Middle (Wednesday, 8pm, ABC).

*Archer, which continues to be both one of the best comedies on all of TV as well as one of TV best kept secrets, brings its current season to a close this Thursday at 10pm on FX.

*USA is hoping The Moment (Thursday, 10pm) helps them get started in the reality show game…

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 Collector. Haunted Highways, Haunted Treasure, Hawaii 5-0, Hollywood Treasure, House of Lies, How I Met Your Mother, Inside Comedy with David Steinberg, 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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