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Two Tivos To Paradise 4.04.14: Game of Thrones, How I Met Your Mother, David Letterman, More
Posted by Al Norton on 04.04.2014

Hello friends; what's good? Spring is finally here! Yes, it has literally been here for two weeks but the last few days have been the figurative coming of the season, with blue skies, chilly - but not cold – temperatures, and a sun that doesn't go down until 7:30. Good times indeed.

This is my semi-regular pitch to my readers who are also Facebook users to check out our Al Norton's Two Tivos To Paradise page, where you can keep fully up-to-date on all things TV plus take part in our highly interactive community of TV lovers! There's plenty of snark but all with a respectful tone – if there is any fun being made it's of the shows, not the people who watch them – and open arms for all.

Here's a full length trailer for ABC's upcoming limited series Black Box

Been around the world, don't speak the language, but your news don't need explaining.

All Around There Is Desolation And Scenes Of Devastation Of A Love Being Torn Apart
b>Game of Thrones, which boasts one of the most passionate and devoted fanbases on all of television, returns this Sunday with the start of season four.

And that's pretty much the whole story. I mean, why would you need more? If you are a thronehead (have GoT fans been given a nickname yet?), you are already pumped up at level that I couldn't touch anyway. Regular readers know I am not a big fan of the show – cue the comments section to let me know I've lost all credibility – but, to be clear, it's not that I think the show is not good, it's just that it does nothing for me. What I can say without reservation is that the show is easily among the most visually stunning in television history, with the single most vivid and visceral depictions of violence the medium has EVER seen. I get why people love it so much and I respect the hell out of any show that gets its fans this excited about new episodes, so it's without hesitation that I say the TV universe is a better place because of Game of Thrones.

The folks at Honest Trailers put together this pretty funny – and dead on – piece about the show this week…

I Leave My Heart Open But It Stays Right Here Empty For Days
Some stories from the week not worthy of their own items but too big for the notes section, with the highlights of Louis C.K.'s SNL mixed in…

*David Letterman announced his pending retirement on Thursday, telling The Late Show audience that he would be retiring in 2015. Letterman has been with CBS for 20 years, preceded by an 11 year run hosting Late Night on NBC. Aside from a year plus of guests fawning all over Dave, it also means we will know get months and months of speculation about who will take over as the new host.

*NBC has ordered Aquarius, a 13 episode event series where Golden Globe winner David Duchovny plays a 1960's cop who goes undercover to try to infiltrate the Manson Family. Written by John McNamara (Common Law, In Plain Sight, Jericho, Eyes), the gritty drama will follow Duchovny's character, an L.A.P.D. sergeant, as he tries to get info on Charles Manson, who the police are becoming suspicious of/worried about as his group of followers grows.

*Pharrell Williams will be one of the coaches on The Voice this fall, taking the open spot created when Cee-Lo Green announced he was leaving the show earlier this year.

*Good Morning America co-host Josh Elliot is leaving the show for a huge new role with NBC Sports. Elliot had been negotiating a new deal with ABC, looking to go from the $1.2 million range to $10 million a year, reportedly turning down an offer in the $4 - $5 million range to jump to a new network. Deadline.com is reporting that ABC allowed him to leave now in exchange for him not appearing on The Today Show for at least six months. Amy Robach, who has been on GMA for a while, filling in in a number of roles, has been named the new co-host.

*The start of production on season three of House of Cards has been delayed as Maryland state officials have not approved funding on tax credits to company's filming their shows in the state. Media Rights Capital, which makes the show, sent a strongly worded letter to the Governor of Maryland saying they would move production to another state if they were not guaranteed that the tax credit program, in place for the first two seasons of the Netflix series, would be extended and fully funded. In response, a Maryland state senator added language to the pending bill (approved by the state senate, with a house hearing scheduled for next week) which would allow the state to use eminent domain to buy or condemn the property of any production company that has claimed at least $10 million in tax credits.

While there is no doubt this will all get worked out, the irony of this level of political machinations going on involving the making of THIS show is delicious.

*Thursday's Saint George hit a series low in totals and demos and now is down 40% in the former and 28% from the latter since the series premiere, numbers that lead Deadline.com sources to believe it is virtually impossible for the show to hit the ratings thresholds needed to kick in FX's automatic pickup of an additional 90 episodes (the show was a 10-90 deal, similar to what the network did with Anger Management). The story does say that Lionsgate will look at all the numbers (the DVR stats in particular) and possibly look to sell the show in syndication. FX has a 10-90 deal with an upcoming comedy starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence, and Lionsgate is developing a series with Kevin James to be pitched to networks in that format as well.

*The cast of the Amazon drama pilot Hand of God was already stacked with Ron Perlman and Garret Dillahunt (the former playing a hard living judge with a high priced mistress who starts to think God may be talking to him through his son, who is hospitalized and on a ventilator) but it got even better today when two time Emmy winner Dana Delaney signed on to play Perlman's wife.

* Chelsea Handler's manager Irving Azoff has told THR.com that she will end her late night talk show Chelsea Lately and leave E! at the end of 2014 when her contract is up. Azoff said, "Chelsea intends to leave when her contract expires. She hired me to figure out her life after E! We have at least seven suitors and many ideas", with those suitors said to include broadcast networks, cable, radio, VOD, and more. Handler has publicly complained about the lack of support and vision at E! on numerous occasions. Her career success is in no way limited to her 8 year run on E!; she's a very popular stand-up comedian and an author (her latest book was at the top of the NY Times bestseller list for multiple weeks).

*Michael Strahan is set to join Good Morning America, appearing in a variety of segments in the opening 60 - 90 minutes of the show before heading over to the Live with Kelly and Michael studio about a mile away. The stories say this has been in the works for some time and is not a direct response to losing Josh Elliot, which has left George Stephanopoulos as the only male on the show.

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

Parenthood helped its renewal chances with its largest total audience since the September season premiere and its best demo performance since the first week in October...A rerun of Hollywood Game Night at 8pm beat and tied the demos put up by new episodes of Community and Parks and Recreation last week...The Vampire Diaries dropped 36% to a new series low...ABC was up across the board, with OUAT in Wonderland and Grey's each up a smidge and Scandal up double digits and enjoying the demo high for the night...Hell's Kitchen won 8pm in the demos...Surviving Jack had a ok premiere, retaining 60+% of its American Idol lead-in numbers...

Hannibal helped its renewal cause by hitting by jumping 33% in total viewers and 22% in the demos, tying a season high in the latter...Whose Line is it Anyway? was down a smidge but still topped Rake in the demos...Hart of Dixie was up a bit in the demos (always a good thing, esp. for a bubble show)...Enlisted was down a bit while Raising Hope was up that same small bit...Last Man Standing matched its last new episode while The Neighbors enjoyed having a new episode as a lead-in and went up in the demos...

TBS is thrilled with the numbers their coverage of Saturday's Elite Eight round of the NCAA's put up, with the Wisconsin - Arizona overtime thriller (9.9 million viewers) and Dayton - Florida (7.2 million viewers) ranking as the first and second most watched college basketball games in cable TV history.

The season finale of The Walking Dead was watched by 15.7 million viewers, a new season finale high for the AMC drama. The demo numbers were also a season finale high, a 25% increase from last April's sign off. Overall season four was up 24% in total viewers and 22% in the demos from season three and it continues to be the top demo performing series on all of television…CBS' prime time lineup was all up a bit in the demos, with The Good Wife being the most watched broadcast network show of the night with 10.2 million viewers and The Mentalist helping its slim renewal chances with a win in the demos at 10pm...Resurrection once again won the night in the demos, although down a bit...Not looking good for Crisis, down 16% in total viewers and 23% in the demos in week three...American Dream Builders was down from its poor premiere, again coming in last on the night in the demos...OUAT matched last week's demos...Shameless and House of Lies both hit series highs for total viewers combined over the three Sunday night airings of each of their new episodes…

HIMYM hit series highs in total viewers (12.9 million) and demos, easily winning the night in the former...DWTS won the night in total viewers...Strong night for The CW; Star-Crossed was up 25% in total viewers and The Tomorrow People spiked 42% in total viewers, giving the network its best Monday since February 2013...Intelligence was up in totals and demos with its season (series?) finale...The Blacklist won 10pm in totals and demos...

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and NCIS each tied season lows in total viewers and demos, with the latter winning the hour in both measures (and the night in viewers)...Glee tied a series low...The Mindy Project was down from its last new episode as well as from what New Girl & Brooklyn Nine-Nine had been doing in the 9:00 hour...The Voice won the night in the demos...About A Boy was up a bit in the demos and at this point seems like a lock for renewal...Growing Up Fisher matched last week, as did The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife...NCIS: LA had a strong night, topping its NCIS lead-in in the demos for the first time all season (and maybe ever) while finishing second on the night in demos and total viewers...

Good night for NBC, especially bubble show Revolution (best demos since January), with the whole lineup up in the demos...Criminal Minds topped American Idol in the demos, the first time that has ever happened when the two have gone head-to-head. Idol actually finished THIRD in the demos at 9pm, behind Minds and Modern Family, the latter winning the night in that measure...Nashville enjoyed a small demo gain...Survivor dropped to a season low but still winning 8pm in the demos...CSI was the 10pm champ in totals and demos...

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…Season six of Nurse Jackie doesn't premiere until next month but that hasn't stopped Showtime from renewing it for a 7th season…Amazon has ordered a second season of the political comedy Alpha House…VH-1 has won a competitive bidding situation (?!?!) and ordered an 8 episode first season of #CandidlyNicole, a reality series starring Nicole Ritchie based on her popular digital series of the same name, which follows her day-to-day life and her take on the world…Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. casting spoiler - Patrick Brennan (Breaking Dawn, Part II) will appear in at least two episodes this spring as Blackout, a super villain well known to fans of The Avengers comics…Emmy & Golden Globe winner Michael Chiklis has joined the cast of American Horror Story: Freak Show. Those returning from last season's AHS cast include Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Emma Robert, Dennis O'Hare, Even Peters, Gabourey Sidibe, Angela Basset, and Frances Conroy…Brian Baumgartner - Kevin from The Office - is going the character actor route in his post-Scranton career; we told you a few weeks back that he would guest on Criminal Minds later this season and now we know he will appear on the upcoming season of FX's The Bridge in what could become a recurring role…ABC cancelled Mind Games and pulled it from the schedule immediately, replacing it with reruns of Resurrection for a couple of weeks until it launches the new season of Celebrity Wife Swap in that spot on April 15th. This is Kyle Killen's third series to get cancelled during-or- right-after its first season, following Lone Star (Fox) and Awake (NBC)… Wil Wheaton used his blog to announce his new Syfy series; The Wil Wheaton Project is a pop-culture week in review show that Wheaton describes as "Talk Soup for geeks...with a heavy focus on those hilariously bad paranormal reality shows." No word yet on a premiere date… Lifetime will premiere True Tori on Tuesday April 22nd, a new reality series following Tori Spelling as she and husband Dean McDermott try to put their marriage back together after tabloids made his infidelity public. Unlike other reality series, which can be months between filming and airing, the series will premiere just three weeks after cameras start rolling…Season two of Guy's Grocery Games premieres on Food Network on May 11th, with a brand new grocery store set and a new set of challenges. The rotating panel of judges will include Melissa d'Arabian, Richard Blais, G. Garvin, Troy Johnson, Catherine McCord, and Aarti Sequeira, and this season there will be a special Next Food Network Star battle (all four competitors will be former winners of NFNS) plus a Food Network all-stars showdown, featuring Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, Cat Cora, and Marcel Vigneron…The Leftovers - the new HBO drama from Tom Perrotta (who wrote the novel the show is based on) and Damon Lindeloff (Lost) about what happens to the folks left on earth after the reckoning, has been given the PRIME series premiere slot of airing immediately following the Game of Thrones season finale on Sunday, June 15th. A week later the final season of True Blood premieres in the GoT spot…

Turns Out Not Where But Who You're With That Really Matters
The best thing I've watched this week…
It's not the best thing I watched this week but the How I Met Your Mother series finale certainly was the biggest TV event of the week. I can't say that I loved or hated it but there were moments of both for sure...I didn't have a huge issue with Barney and Robin's divorce because, frankly, that sort of thing happens all the time, and it's easier for me to imagine Barney going back to his old lifestyle than staying married...Ted and Tracy's train station meeting was worth waiting 9 seasons for...Barney meeting his daughter brought tears to my eyes, perfectly played by Neil Patrick Harris...

As far as the end goes, on some level I felt like it took away from everything I had invested in over the years - the idea that we essentially got less than an hour of Ted and Tracy being happy together, and to have her die so young seemed kind of cruel to me - but I also remember how I felt watching the pilot, being so disappointed at the end to learn Robin was not who Ted ended up with, and that especially in the early years I'd find myself thinking of ways Ted and Robin could still end up together and have the show be true to the title because of how much I was pulling for them, and that part of me was happy. It's just that thanks to how great Cristin Milioti was as Tracy, that part of me was pretty small by the time the finale rolled around.

I didn't hate it but I certainly didn't love it, either, and I think I need more time to process to figure out how the final hour impacts how I feel about the series as a whole. As angry as some fans are, there are many who are thrilled with the final outcome and the return of the blue French horn.

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…If last Friday's Enlisted ends up being the last episode we see - the show has been pulled from Fox's lineup with no scheduled return date - it went out with a bang, with all its wonderful (and at times wonderfully twisted) comedic sensibilities on full display, right next to the heart it wore so openly on its sleeve. Rest assured, even if Fox doesn't remember Enlisted, we will this summer when the Norty Award nominations are announced…I'm not sure why I failed to mention it earlier but Doug Benson's return to Best Week Ever has brought joy to my Friday nights…I am very much enjoying Believe - the deeper back story on everyone is getting revealed at a smart pace - but I have to repeat myself from last week, and the week before that; every week can't be "Bo and Tate almost get caught" without that getting old FAST (frankly, it already is). I am not saying there shouldn't be elements of danger week in, week out, they just need to find new ways to display that tension…This past Thursday's Grey's Anatomy was a remarkable hour of TV, one of the best of the current season of network TV and one of the best the show has done in its 8+ seasons. Sandra Oh is so good as Christina Yang that perhaps she doesn't get the full credit she deserves, making an intelligent and emotionally complex role look so easy…Justified has never been a huge Emmy favorite but I am wondering how much more Michael Rapaport has to do to earn a Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series nomination. As I've mentioned before, I was not a fan of him or the character after the season premiere but since then he has become the Justified Big Bad that I most want to see get his comeuppance, and I mean that as the highest of praise. And then to see him on Raising Hope playing SUCH a different character and be so very entertaining is to wonder why he isn't a full time TV presence…Last week's Suits was yet another example of Rick Hoffman being one of the best character actors on TV; in just about ANYONE else's hands, Louis Litt would be an unlikable caricature but thanks to Hoffman's continued high level of work, he's one of my favorite characters on TV… Thanks to Monday's Being Human for giving us both 2014's creepiest little girl and most edge-of-your-seat final moment of an episode… Couldn't have been happier with the return of The Mindy Project, which was laugh out loud funny throughout while dealing with the repercussions of "the kiss." As we head down the home stretch of season two - with a season three already a guaranteed reality - Mindy is asserting itself as the high quality comedy I thought it could be after watching the pilot… A highly underrated aspect of The Blacklist is the music; the show has a fantastic soundtrack, with songs used to either set the tone or completely confound the overall feel of the scene, both to great effect…I think a full week has gone by without my lavishing praise on @Midnight, and that's simply not right; some episodes are obviously going to be funnier than others but it's so far and away my number 1 guaranteed good mood show right now that nothing even comes close. One of my favorite things is how the panelists make each other laugh. It's a show where everyone is happy to be there, and that makes me even happier to be watching…

TV Pick Of The Week
You don't have to be a total pop culture geek to be a fan of Robot Chicken but it certainly helps, as will being a comic book fan make you even more entertained when you tune in to Robot Chicken DC Comics Special II: Villains in Paradise. Seth Green et al have created another laugh fest that will require multiple viewings to guarantee you catch all the punch lines…

Don't miss Robot Chicken DC Comics Special II: Villains in Paradise, Sunday at 11:30pm on Cartoon Network.

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

*If you like both kinds of music then you won't want to miss the Academy of Country Music Awards this Sunday at 8pm on CBS.

*Being Human is going out on an absolute high note; the series finale airs Monday at 9pm, and this has been by far my favorite season of the show. The hour is sandwiched by the season finales of Bitten and Lost Girl.

*A new champion of division one men's college basketball is crowned this Monday at 9pm on CBS.

*Another fantastic season of Justified comes to a close this Tuesday at 10pm on FX, and I can't wait to see Darryl get his.

Two Tivos To Paradise
@Midnight, About A Boy, After the Catch, American Idol, Antiques Roadshow, Beat Bobby Flay, Archer, Arrow, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, Bakery Boss, Boardwalk Empire, Being Human, Bitten, The Blacklist, Bones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Burger Land, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chopped, Comic Book Men, Community, Cougar Town, Counting Cars, The Crazy Ones, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Cutthroat Kitchen, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Dancing with the Stars, The Deadliest Catch, Destination Truth, Enlisted, Face Off, Falling Skies, Family Guy, Flipping Out, Food Court Wars, Food Network Challenge, Food Network Star, The Fosters, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Mine, Glee, Graceland, Great Food Truck Race, Grey's Anatomy, Growing Up Fisher, Haunted Collector, Haunted Highway, Haunted Treasure, Hawaii Five-0, House of Lies, Inside Comedy with David Steinberg, Inside Amy Schumer, Iron Chef America, Justified, Key & Peele, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Seth Myers, Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, The League, Longmire, Lost Girl, Louie, Mad Men, Major Crimes, MasterChef, MasterChef: Junior, Masters of Sex, Men at Work, The Middle, Mike and Molly, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Monster Man, Nashville, New Girl, Next Iron Chef, The Originals, Outside the Lines, Parks & Recreation, Project Runway, Project Runway All-Stars, 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, Royal Pains, Saturday Night Live, Shark Wranglers, So You Think You Can Dance?, Sons of Anarchy, The Soup, Suits, Suburgatory, Supernatural, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Top Chef, Top Chef: Masters, Tosh.0, Trophy Wife, True Detective, 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 7 days with all the latest 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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