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Two Tivos To Paradise 11.29.13: Family Guy, The Following, Doctor Who, Mob City, More!
Posted by Al Norton on 11.29.2013

Hello friends. What's good? I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday yesterday, surrounded by loved ones, and that those of you who took part in the shopping madness got good deals! The twins are now big fans of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is fun because I used to love watching it as a kid and also because it occupies a good chunk of their time on a morning where Mrs. Tivo and I are just trying to relax a bit.

A holiday weekend giveaway – season one of Impractical Jokers on DVD!! The full 17 episode run includes commentary from the gang, deleted scenes, and a look behind the scenes. Go to our Facebook page – Al Norton's Two Tivos To Paradise – and, after you click like if you have not already, post "There's nothing Impractical about TTTP" on our wall. Follow the standard rules (one entry person, must have a US or Canadian mailing address) and you'll be entered to win. If you've got friends who are fans of the show let them know because we just might have more than one copy of the DVD set to giveaway!!!

A teaser for the return of Orphan Black

And a similar look at the new season of Sherlock

Enough of the teasers, let's get a full length preview of something – HBO's new Looking

Don't forget to check the site this Sunday for my interview with Comic Book Men's Ming Chen!

And we'll never be royals, it don't run in our news.

In The Meadow We Can Build A Snowman And Pretend That He Is Parson Brown
Fox made some changes to its winter lineup this week…

*Enlisted premieres on Friday, January 10th at 9:30pm

*The Following will get a two night season premiere, with hour one airing on Sunday, January 19th following the NFC Championship Game and then hour two in its regular Mondays at 9pm slot the next night.

*Rake (new legal drama starring Greg Kinnear) premieres Thursday, January 23rd at 9pm with American Idol as a lead-in.

*Glee's winter finale airs on 12/5 and then it returns in the new slot of Tuesdays at 8pm on February 25th. At that point Dads will be done and the 9:00 hour will be filled by New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

*The Mindy Project will be off from January 28th until April 1.

The most noteworthy item above is that it's now the season two premiere of The Following getting the NFC Championship Game as a lead-in whereas before it was Rake; not sure if this is the network perhaps not being so high on the latter or perhaps just doing everything possible to ensure the former keeps its status as the network's biggest scripted series and one of TV's top demo performers. Also, it's not like American Idol as a lead-in is going to be bad for Rake, it's just not AS good as the semi-final round of the NFL post-season would have been.

Syfy announced some plans for January as well…

*Ron Moore's new Helix (drama starring Billy Campbell about a team of scientists trying to prevent the outbreak of what could be a world-ending virus) debuts on Friday 1/10 at 10pm with TWO episodes.

*Monday 1/13 is a HUGE day - season four of Lost Girl begins at 8…

Followed by season four of Being Human at 9pm…

And at 10pm is the US premiere of Bitten (Canadian series about the world's only female werewolf, starring Laura Vandervoot)….

*Season six of Face Off begins debuts Tuesday 1/14 at 9pm.

*Opposite Worlds (a new, live reality competition series - think Big Brother, with half the house living with futuristic technology and the other half in the figurative dark ages) hits the air on Tuesday 1/21.

I think the second hour of Helix' premiere airing at 11pm is a bit odd but Fridays at 10pm is the old Battlestar Galactica timeslot, and at this point DVR viewership is so prevalent that it almost doesn't matter when it ends. I am pretty sure Mrs. Tivo will add Bitten to our Season Pass list, meaning Syfy's whole Monday lineup will be must-see TV at our house, which I suppose is the idea (not my house specifically, just that people will buy into the whole night of programming).

Just What Makes That Little Old Ant Think He'll Move That Rubber Tree Plant
How bad have NBC's Thursday night woes gotten? Last night they posted 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demos, their lowest number for an in-season Thursday EVER. They also lost to The CW in the two hours they went head-to-head, although they surged enough at 10pm to finish ahead of The CW for the overall nightly average.

There's not much NBC can do at this point in the season; Community comes back in January but their established Thursday night programming - Parks and Recreation, Community, and Parenthood are simply not big ratings producers. It's worth noting is that NBC is number one for the 2013-2014 season in the demos so far, dominating on Sundays and Mondays and regularly winning Tuesdays as well. They're just the gang that couldn't shoot straight on Thursdays. Their plan this season made sense; work new shows with recognizable faces in around established fan/critical favorites, it just failed miserably. They have some shows on the bench waiting for playing time but while both About a Boy and Growing up Fisher are VERY charming comedies (About A Boy was my favorite pilot last spring), I don't know that either are out of the gate ratings hits.

The whole story of NBC's Thursday night issues has become overblown in the media, mostly because the night is historically a huge won for the network, although the truth is it hasn't been so for more than a couple of years now. 30 Rock was NEVER a ratings hit, and The Office trailed off in a big way the last few seasons. It's an easy story for websites to run as they can put up pictures/video clips of show's from NBC's storied Thursday past, whether it's the Must-See TV days with Friends, Seinfeld, Cheers, and ER to going back even further to The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Night Court, and Hill Street Blues. Other shows to be a part of the famous run include Wings, Frasier, A Different World, Will & Grace, and LA Law.

Lest anyone thing all NBC did was hits on Thursdays, here is a sampling of some of the shows that ran as part of the lineup that you may (or may not) remember; The Single Guy, Boston Common, Madmen of the People, Veronica's Closet, Inside Schwartz, Jesse, Daddio, Stark Raving Mad, Good Morning Miami, Union Square, Four Kings, and Coupling.

ABC has had an issue with Thursdays at 8pm for years, with more than a half dozen bombs in a row in that spot…CBS has screwed the pooch with multiple Mondays at 8:30pm comedies the last couple of seasons…The CW has pretty much NEVER developed a comedy…All the networks have issues, it's just that most of NBC's are on the same night and it happens that night is quite famous for them, hence the ridiculously overwhelming amount of ink/inches being dedicated to it/them the last week or so.

As a point of reference, this week NBC officially won its second November Sweeps in the 18-49 demo (the one group that matters above all others to advertisers), and was also the ONLY of the big five networks to show growth in the total viewer category, up 4% to finish second to CBS, yet that story got only limited coverage. NBC doesn't need me to defend it, and it makes its share of programming/scheduling mistakes, but at this point the negative articles about Thursday nights need to get a piling on flag.

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…

The Big Bang Theory dominated in total viewers and demos, with The Millers and The Crazy Ones up a bit in the demos...Elementary was up in totals and demos but still finished behind Scandal in the latter...Grey's Anatomy & Parks and Recreation each established new series lows in the demos...Sean Saves the World, The MJF Show, and Parenthood all matched last week...Reign, The X Factor, and Glee were all up in the demos...The Vampire Diaries matched last week's strong numbers...

Big night for Bones, up 10% in total viewers & 25% in the demos from last Friday to win 8pm in the latter...Shark Tank was up a smidge and easily won the night in the demos (as usual)...Blue Bloods was the most watched show of the night and won 10pm in demos as well...Nikita opened down 33% from last season's debut and more than 35% down from last season's finale...Raising Hope matched last week...

The Day of the Doctor was watched by 2.4 million viewers on BBC America, an all-time viewership high for the channel, and the special also set a new record for the demo high as well. When the replay is factored in the total jumps to 3.6 million...All those viewers tuning in helped Atlantis get off to a good start later that night, bringing in more viewers than recent series premieres for Orphan Black and Copper.

The American Music Awards was up 30+% in totals and demos to crush everything on a broadcast network that wasn't an NFL game...Sunday Night Football won the night in both measure, somehow down a tiny bit from last week despite the amazing second half & overtime...The Mentalist had its largest audience since January and was the most watched scripted show of the night...All of Fox's animated comedies were up double digits...

Castle hit a demo season high but still finished second in the hour behind The Blacklist, which dominated the hour and had the best scripted demos on the night...DWTS was up in totals and demos, the former the best numbers on the night...Almost Human was down 17% in week two, with lead-out Sleepy Hollow down 12%...HIMYM was down, 2 Broke Girls was even, while Mike & Molly enjoyed modest improvement and Mom jumped 16%...

Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer was up in totals and demos from last year, winning the NIGHT in the latter...DWTS won the night in total viewers but was down from the last two finales...Marvel's Agents of SHIELD took advantage of no NCIS to hit a season/series high in total viewers and an increase in the demos (two weeks in a row now for that)...Brooklyn Nine-Nine matched last week while New Girl and The Mindy Project enjoyed modest gains...Person of Interest and Chicago Fire were both up at 10pm, matching each other's demos...The Voice was down from last week in total viewers (15%) and demos (9%), still winning 9pm in the latter with relative ease…Supernatural had its largest audience since the season premiere while The Originals matched a season/series demo high...The Biggest Loser was up a smidge...

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…After a two week run more noteworthy for the suspension that followed it than its ratings, MSNBC and Alec Baldwin both confirmed that his weekly talk show Up Late is done, with both parties calling it a mutual parting of the ways…Baz Luhrmann is in talks to direct a Steven Spielberg produced mini-series at HBO about the life on Napoleon Bonaparte that was written by Stanley Kubrick. Luhrmann's most recently directed this summer's The Great Gatsby and his resume includes Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, and Strictly Ballroom. Kubrick, who died in 1999, was trying to get the project made as far back as 1971, but couldn't get funding, and the script has taken on almost legendary status in the industry as one of the greatest films never made. Spielberg stunned Hollywood when he announced earlier this year that he would be producing the script as a mini-series and this is the first big update since…A&E officially renewed Longmire for a 10 episode third season…Complications - the USA pilot from Burn Notice/The Good Guys creator Matt nix - keeps looking better; TTTP fave Jason O'Mara (Terra Nova, Life on Mars) signed on a few weeks back as the lead, a Doctor who survives a shooting and decides to get more involved in the life of his patients, and now we know the cast also includes Beth Riesgraf (Leverage), Demetrius Grosse (Banshee, Justified), Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl), and Lauren Stromile (Burn Notice, Community, Grey's Anatomy)… Covert Affairs' Christopher Gorham will guest on the mid-season premiere of Once Upon a Time, playing someone who is billed as "an important character in the life of Emma Swan." The story also said the while this appearance is just one episode, the door is open for more…MTV has cancelled Nikki & Sara Live after the late night talkshow's two season run…John Corbett will reprise his role as Seth, Sarah's ex/Amber & Drew's Dad, on episode 13 of the current season of Parenthood…Adam Brody (House of Lies, The OC) will play an ex-boyfriend of Jess' on New Girl...TTTP fave Mark Valley will guest on the upcoming Hot in Cleveland episode that is also a crossover with the network's new comedy Kirstie...Pablo Schreiber will reprise his role as William Lewis on Law & Order: SVU when Benson's attacker goes on trial later this season...Gregg Henry (Scandal, Hung, White Collar, The Riches) and Sprague Grayden (Low Winter Sun, Sons of Anarchy, 24), will guest on The Following... Food Network has picked up a second season of Cutthroat Kitchen and is wasting no time rolling it out; the sophomore season premieres on December 15th…E! picked up second seasons of Total Divas, Hello Ross, and Eric & Jessie

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 am not sure Family Guy was the best thing I watched this week but the death of Brian Griffin was certainly the most surprising – and surprisingly emotional – episode of TV I witnessed since last Friday's column. It's rare for any sort of plot point like the death of a major character to be kept a secret, let alone the added rarity factor for an animated comedy series – as a contrast, there was a lot of coverage a few months back about The Simpsons' plan to kill someone off NEXT season – so I think I was like most viewers, waiting for some sort of other shoe to drop that never did.

The episode had barely ended before people were flocking to social media to call it a publicity stunt designed to spike ratings and/or sell more merchandise – I suppose those people missed the point that the point of pretty much every episode of TV is to get higher ratings/generate more revenue – and most seemed to agree that even if Brian stayed dead, he would likely frequently reappear in the form of flashbacks and or dream/ghost sequences.

Then, on Tuesday morning the website www.briansannouncement.com appeared, with a countdown clock letting folks know something was coming in a week. Then the clock sped up and it turned out to a fan site hoping to convince Seth MacFarlane to bring the character back. I was hoping it was from the show, with Brian telling people that yes, he is gone and that they need to find better things to do with their time than create/sign on-line petitions about bringing an animated – i.e. NOT REAL – dog back to live on a sitcom.

Regardless of how it turns out, Family Guy was on the front page of just about every major news website in the country at some point this week, so mission accomplished.

And, somewhat lost in all of this is that the episode itself was really well done, with all the laughter you'd expect from a Family Guy episode along with a lot more heartfelt emotion than you've have ever guessed.

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 waited a week to talk about Sons of Anarchy because I didn't want to spoil it for anyone and at the same time wanted to be able to fully process the death of Clay Morrow. First off, huge kudos to Ron Perlman for his work in the episode, which was subtle and grounded in an hour (really 90 minutes) that was filled with heightened activity. Second, Jimmy Smits seems to be on a direct path for his second straight Norty nomination, continuing to be excellent as Nero. As far as the storyline goes, it made sense for Clay to die, and it certainly made sense for Jax to be the one to do it; we've got two episodes left this season and then next season is (very likely) the show's last, so this lays the groundwork for the final act. My favorite thing about the episode was that Clay figured out what was going to happen before most of the audience did, and he got it, as in understood why it was going down that way, which is a fitting sendoff for the character, honoring his intelligence while at the same time finally letting him pay for his crimes…For a while it seemed like all this new version of Best Week Ever had going for it was Panties On/Panties Off and a group of somewhat funny people throwing lines around but the last few weeks The Sitchiation Room has become the show's second recurring segment that works big time, so I have high hopes for the show taking off in 2014…The highlights from this week hour of Raising Hope included the truly frightening stuffed animal museum, not one but TWO Helen Keller jokes, and getting new/quality laughs out of well mined material like someone getting a prostate exam/colonoscopy. I was thoroughly entertained (as usual) for the full sixty minutes!...My streak of tears shed during episodes of Parenthood continues; Adam's words of support to Kristina at the voting booth started the process but it was Kristina's friend Gwen showing up to vote that cinched it…This week's Brooklyn Nine-Nine may have been the best of the show's run to-date, with some high quality comedy and a tremendous job of balancing a talented ensemble cast. I am an unabashedly huge fan!... Marathoning Nashville and feeling like no scripted show on TV has ever produced music at this high a quality level. I so want that rumored tour to come together, even/especially if it's Scarlett, Gunner, Avery, and the supporting cast as opposed to a bigger tour with Rayna/Juliet.

TV Pick Of The Week
Mob City is Frank Darabont's first post-The Walking Dead TV project, a six episode mini-series about cops and the mob in late 1940's LA, running on three consecutive Wednesdays starting next week. The cast is excellent, including Ed Burns, Jon Bernthal, Neal McDonough, Jeffrey DeMunn, Robert Knepper, Alexa Devalos, and more…

Don't miss the premiere of Mob City, Wednesday at 9pm on TNT.

Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You
Other noteworthy programming from the coming week…

*How the Grinch Stole Christmas airs tonight at 8, followed by Shrek the Halls.

*Andy Garcia and Mary Louise Parker star in the holiday movie Christmas in Conway, this Sunday at 9pm on ABC…

*The Walking Dead brings the first half of season four to a close this Sunday at 9pm; something tells me there might be a pretty action packed last few scenes.

*Best Funeral Ever, a reality show about interesting and unique funerals, premieres Monday at 10pm on TLC…

*Wednesday's Top Chef (10pm, Bravo) is the annual "Restaurant Wars" episode (easily my favorite recurring challenge the show offers).

*The combined Emmy & Golden Globe power behind TVLand's new comedy Kristie (Wednesday, 10pm) is as good as there is on TV, with a cast that includes Kirstie Alley, Rhea Pearlman, and Michael Richards…

*Syfy is always looking to put a new spin on the Ghost Hunters formula and this week Killer Contact (Wednesday, 10pm) debuts, where a team of investigators looks for the ghosts/spirits of some of the most famous killers the world has even known…

*NBC has had a few big misses lately (see The Million Second Quiz), so they are hoping that this week's three hour live production of Sound of Music, starring Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer, and Audra McDonald, reverses the trend…

*Comedy Warriors (Thursday, 8pm, Showtime) is a pretty cool looking documentary, with comedians Bob Saget, Lewis Black, BJ Novak, and Zach Galifianakis teaching five severely wounded war veterans the art of standup comedy…

Two Tivos To Paradise
3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, @Midnight, After the Catch, American Idol, Antiques Roadshow, Archer, Arrow, Around the World in 80 Plates, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, Back in the Game, Boardwalk Empire, Being Human, Bones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Burger Land, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Chicago Fire, Chopped, Comic Book Men, Community, Cougar Town, Counting Cars, The Crazy Ones, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Dancing with the Stars, The Deadliest Catch, Deon Cole's Black Box, Destination Truth, Fact or Faked, Falling Skies, Family Guy, Feed the Beast, Flipping Out, Food Network Challenge, Food Network Star, The Fosters, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Lab, Ghost Mine, Glee, Graceland, Great Food Truck Race, Grey's Anatomy, Haunted Collector. Haunted Highways, Haunted Treasure, Hawaii 5-0, Hollywood Treasure, Hostages, House of Lies, How I Met Your Mother, Inside Comedy with David Steinberg, Inside Amy Schumer, 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 Michael J Fox Show, The Middle, Mike and Molly, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Monster Man, Nashville, Necessary Roughness, New Girl, The New Normal, Next Iron Chef, The Originals, Outside the Lines, Parks & Recreation, Project Runway, Psych, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook Off, Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook Off, Raising Hope, Ray Donovan, Real Time With Bill Maher, Rectify, 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, Tosh.0, Trophy Wife, 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 in seven days with all the latest in TV news.

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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