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Two Tivos To Paradise 6.20.14: True Blood, Heroes, Falling Skies, More
Posted by Al Norton on 06.20.2014

Hello friends; what's good? A wonderful Father's Day weekend at my house, with great quality time with the twins and a fantastic steak dinner on Sunday night (thank you, Capital Grille). It's been a busy week in terms of real life, with the twins having a random Boston holiday on Tuesday, lots of action at my day job, and the first real run of actual summer-like temperatures. Yes, I broke down on Wednesday afternoon and got the a/c's out of the basement. No, my back hasn't stopped hurting yet.

Here's our first look at the Cinemax original drama The Knick

Sorry to cut the cold open short this week but I need every spare second to get next week's Norty Award nominations done in time!

Isn't news lovely, isn't news wonderful?

I Can't Believe The News Today, I Can't Close My Eyes And Make It Go Away
There's a ton of season/series premieres over the next seven days, with no single day being bigger than Sunday, including…

*True Blood (HBO) beginning its final season…

*If you're worried about getting your Sunday night swordplay fix now that Game of Thrones is done for the season, check out The Musketeers on BBC America at 9pm…

*Meanwhile the stakes are high for TNT, with the series premiere of The Last Ship

…followed by the season four premiere of Falling Skies

Wow, between fantasy, action, sci-fi, and period drama, there's something for every genre lover on Sunday night! But the biggest premiere of the night is of the unscripted variety…

ABC has put a LOT of marketing/advertising behind Rising Star, and to be fair, the whole live voting via social media thing really is a new twist (putting aside the idea that perhaps the vast majority of the American public is not qualified to judge a singing competition). How much are the other networks taking notice? Well, on Wednesday NBC announced it was running new episodes of American Ninja Warrior (7 - 9pm) and America's Got Talent (9 - 11pm) on Sunday night. Not stopping there, NBC will also run two attempts at new Guinness Worlds Records (fastest jump over three moving cars and highest shallow dive into fire) throughout the evening, hosted by Howie Mandel. This is no small move as AGT has been the biggest show of the summer every year it's been on, so this will put a little (or big) dent into what were expected to be dominant numbers from Star.

What all of the above tells you that with cable and broadcast networks, scripted and reality series, summer TV is a big deal to all involved. The days of three months of reruns are gone, gone, gone, that's for sure.

Turn Around, Look At What You See, In Her Face, The Mirror Of Your Dreams
The stories this week that didn't deserve a full solo item but were too big to get stuck in the notes section...

*In what is hands down the best sounding new series of 2014, Cameron Crowe is writing, directing, and executive producing the Showtime comedy pilot Roadies, about a big time rock and roll tour seen through the eyes of the crew. Also on board as executive producers are J.J. Abrams and My So Call Life creator Winnie Holzman.

*Jack Coleman has become the first original Heroes cast member to sign on to NBC's upcoming Heroes Reborn mini-series, reprising his role as Noah Bennett aka HRG. Coleman is a longtime TTTP fave; he was one of Daytime TV's first serial killers as Jake Kositchek (aka The Salem Strangler) on Days of Our Lives, was Steven Carrington # 2 on Dynasty, and recently has had runs on Scandal, The Office, Castle, Burn Notice, and Vampire Diaries.

*Set your DVR's now - AMC will marathon ALL FOUR SEASONS of The Walking Dead starting Friday July 4th at 9am, leading into a Talking Dead Season 5 Preview Special Sunday the 6th at 9pm. AMC will also premiere two documentary specials on their hit show in July; Inside The Walking Dead (7/8 - 10pm) focuses on all production aspects of the show including special effects, costumes, sets, and makeup, and The Walking Dead: Walker University (7/15 - 10pm) dives into the training and preparation that goes in to someone playing a walker.

*NBC is developing a mini-series about The Beatles from Michael Hurst, who created The Tudors, and Ben Silverman and Teri Weinberg, who worked as executive producers on the Showtime period drama. The eight episode project would show the history of the greatest band in rock and roll history, although it's unclear if the focus would be just their time together or if it would continue to follow John, Paul, George, and Ringo after the band split up.

*Chelsea Handler has found a new home at Netflix; she's signed a deal to host a talkshow for them starting in 2016 (not clear if it's a nightly or a weekly), with a standup special and four comedy documentary specials running between now and then. Handler, a bestselling author and highly successful standup comedian, finishes up her seven year run hosting Chelsea Lately on E! at the end of August.

*Don't look now but NBC may have TWO scripted summer renewals on their hands; we talked last week about how The Night Shift will be a lock for a pick up if it keeps its numbers up (and with AGT as a lead-in, that looks like a good bet) and now we now last night's Undateable double dip was up 7% in the demos despite going up against Game 5 of the NBA Finals. What makes this more rare is that neither of these shows were ordered as summer series (unlike, say, Under the Dome or Mistresses, which were intended for the summer); both were picked up in May of 2013 as part of the new season and NBC didn't end up having any room to run them before now.

*Two kids shows from years past will be returning to the tube: DHX Media is launching a new version of Teletubbies, with 60 new episodes set to run on BBC's Cbeebies channel. It's clearly only a matter of time before these episodes find a US home as well. Cartoon Network is rebooting The Powerpuff Girls as a new series to launch in 2016. The original show, which premiered in 1998 and won two Emmys, ran for 78 episodes and has spawned a big screen movie, an anniversary special, and a CG special this past January.

*NBC will premiere Running Wild with Bear Grylss on July 28th, a new reality series where each week the survival expert spends 48 hours in the wild with a different celebrity. Those lined up to take part include Ben Stiller, Channing Tatum, Deion Sanders, Tom Arnold, Zac Efron, and Tamron Hall.

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…

Game 5 of the NBA Finals won the night in totals and demos, up double digits from last year's Game 5 in both measures...Hell's Kitchen was down in the demos (still winning the night among non-sports programming) while Gang Related matched last week...Last Comic Standing was down a bit...The Croatia - Brazil match was up 52% from the 2010 World Cup opener and had the highest overnight rating of any World Cup opening match since ESPN began broadcasting them in 1998…

Preliminary numbers have Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final up 15% from last year (and 77% from 2012) for the highest rated Game 5 in fourteen years, winning the night in total viewers and demos...

In the UK 11.5 million watched the England - Italy World Cup match, meaning 68.4% of the people watching TV in the country were watching the telecast. In Italy the numbers were 15.27 million viewers, representing an incredible 82% of the TV viewing audience.

7.1 million tuned in to the Game of Thrones season finale last night, up 35% from last year and an all-time season finale high for the HBO series. With the replays factored in the audience was 9.3 million...Game Five of the NBA Finals won the night in totals and demos, up a little under 20% in total viewers and 11% in the demos from last year's Game 5...The Believe series finale was down 18% in viewers and 12% in the demos...Enlisted matched last week's demos and was up slightly in total viewers...

MasterChef was up in totals and demos, winning the night in the latter...24: LAD was down 10% in total viewers and a small amount in the demos... The Bachelorette was down in totals and demos but was the nights most watched show...Mistresses matched last week...American Ninja Warrior was down a bit but did win 10pm in the demos...Beauty and the Beast matched last week...

AGT won the night handily, crushing all competition in total viewers and demos...The Night Shift was down for the first time, albeit only slightly...Extreme Weight Loss was down 29% in total viewers and 33% in the demos; Game 6 of the NBA Finals was originally scheduled so the fact that it was a new episode received very little publicity...Fox new block of comedy reruns was up from what Riot & I Wanna Marry Harry put up last week...

So You Think You Can Dance took advantage of almost no new network competition to the tune of a 31% demo spike, hitting a season high in that measure, while enjoying a 20% gain in total viewers…Motive enjoyed modest total viewer and demo gains...

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…Amazon has ordered a pilot on Point of Honor, a Civil War drama pilot from Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) and Randall Wallace, who directed Secretariat; the pair are writing together, with Wallace directing…Congratulations to Alex Trebek, who last Friday hosted his 6,829th episode of Jeopardy, which gives him "most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter" in the Guinness World Record…Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen will have a recurring role on next year's season three of Orange is the New Black…Kathy Griffin will host the 41st annual Daytime Emmy Awards later this month, to be aired via Livestream (i.e. on the internet, not on TV) this year…The Atlanta Falcons will be the subject of the ninth season of HBO's Hard Knocks; the five episode season premieres on August 5th at 10pm…TV legends Ed Asner and Marion Ross will guest on ABC Family's Chasing Life later this season as April's grandparents…Zendaya Coleman's first big non-Disney acting role will be playing the lead in the Lifetime original bio movie Aaliyah: Princess of R&B. She'll next be seen in Disney's Zapped later this month…Castle creator Andrew Marlowe is stepping down as the series' showrunner, with executive producer David Amann taking over the job. Marlowe will still be involved with the show but will be focusing his energy on developing new series for ABC Studios…Jennifer Johnson (Cold Case, Alcatraz) will be the new showrunner when The Following returns next January for season three. Series creator Kevin Williamson was in charge for seasons one and two but is now focusing on his new CBS drama Stalker….Syfy's Z Nation has started casting; the show, which follows a team tasked with transporting the sole survivor of a zombie virus that killed millions (as in, the only person to have the virus and not become a zombie) from New York to California so a vaccine can be made from their blood, has signed Harold Perrineau (Lost), Tom Everett Scott (Southland), and DJ Qualls as series regulars. The 13 episode first season premieres this fall….Ben & Jerry's is coming out with two new Saturday Night Live inspired flavors this year; Lazy Sunday (vanilla cake batter ice cream base with chocolate and yellow cupcake pieces and a chocolate frosting swirl) and Gilly's Catastrophic Crunch (chocolate and sweet cream ice creams with caramel clusters, fudge-covered almonds and marshmallow swirl).

Turns Out Not Where But Who You're With That Really Matters
The best of what's around aka The Best Thing I Watched Over The Last Seven Days… We live in a world where it's far too common for folks to walk around exhausted and/or cynical but the true moments of joy provided by the auditions rounds of shows like The Voice, American Idol, and currently So You Think You Can Dance, remind me why it is I invest the time and energy into what I do and why I love the medium of television; people may mock the genre or feel it's overplayed but there is no doubt of the exhilaration and emotional reward one gets from watching someone start down the road to their dreams coming true.

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…WOW, quite the hour of 24: Live Another Day this week, easily the best of the run (so far) and the first one that truly resembled the show in its heyday. If you've been saving them up in your DVR, start binging now!!!...Undateable holds a unique place in my Season Pass list right now in that I know it's not a particularly good show but at the same time it makes me actually laugh out loud more than many comedies I think of as higher quality/better made. The laugh track still annoys and I can't for the life of me figure out a) how the bar stays open with only six customers and b) what the floor plan of that place is (what is upstairs?!?!?) but I am always in a good mood after watching and frankly, what else matters?...Why doesn't NBC re-purpose SNL reruns in the summer? When you've got a new cast that is still trying to make an impression on the audience, why not do episodes that highlight each one's work? Or do an episode of all the sketches that got cut between rehearsal and air time (they are still filmed)? This would work in the DVR age as they would show up as new episodes and get recorded, so the Live + 3/7 Days numbers could still be strong. If they really wanted to get creative they could do sit down interviews with previous hosts and then run a Best Of that host's episode. I get airing reruns when you're trying to build an audience of a new show but in this case, it just seems lazy to me… Not sure if you watched Sing Your Face Off - surprisingly entertaining if you just gave into the silliness - but regardless of what Darryl Hammond got paid to be a judge, it HAD to be the highest per-word-salary in reality TV history… My last MasterChef complaint about the lack of audition rounds (until next week, of course). There was a contestant who had to leave last night because of illness and I felt like I had no idea who he was. Then, at the end of the episode, Cutter presented his food and I felt like I literally had not seen him at any point in the hour (I thought to myself, he's like the guy who took the bathroom pass at the start of Summer School). I get that the challenges are the best part of the show but to me the challenges are meaningless unless I have some investment in those taking part. There easily could have been a middle ground, where they did one week of auditions - just show the people who made it, or maybe a single two hour audition special, so you can appease the folks like me who want to get to know the competitors but at the same time dive right into the show itself in week two. What's happening now is someone does well or has an interesting moment on camera and I think to myself, "I wish I knew more about who he/she is."… With each new high quality episode of Enlisted that Fox burns off on Sunday nights comes frustration that such a strong comedy will not get the opportunity to really see what it could have done with a longer run. Why Fox couldn't have tried the show on Tuesdays at 8pm in the spot they wasted on Dads is beyond me. I haven't been this mad about a one-and-done comedy since The Class… At first I thought Sunday's Food Network Star was simply going to be an hour long commercial for Cutthroat Kitchen but by the end I realized how well it was testing the contestants "creativity under fire" as well as their presentation skills (having to sell their dish without mentioning whatever sabotages had been thrown their way), turning it into the best episode of the season so far. My one issue was Giada's absence; name another big reality competition show where one of the regular judges misses an episode? I know the show isn't as big as The Voice, American Idol, or even Top Chef, but it is that big to Food Network, so shouldn't they be able to make sure all the judges appear, if only for continuity in decision making? This isn't the first issue they've had with this - judges missed episodes last season, Bob and Susie went from being the decision makers to having some input to barely being a presence, and last year the weekly guest judges played too big a role - and they still haven't told us if this year's winner will be chosen via a public vote like last year or will be purely a judges' decision again… Last week I praised Game of Thrones for their ability to do large scale epic battle scenes as well as any show in TV history and last night's season finale proved they can maintain the same level of violence excellence with one on one fights as well…

TV Pick Of The Week
FX can pretty much can do no wrong when it comes to drama series, which is why I am so excited for Tyrant

Don't miss the series premiere of Tyrant, Tuesday at 10pm on FX.

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

*The two hour series finale of Crisis airs Saturday at 8pm on NBC.

*Almost Royals (Saturday, 10pm) is a very funny new mockumentary series from BBC America

*The Case Against 8 (Monday, 9pm, HBO) is a fascinating look at the legal battle for marriage equality…

*CBS is running Under the Dome: Inside Chester's Mill – a recap special – this Monday, week ahead of the season two premiere.

*Teen Wolf, the biggest show no one over 30 has ever heard of, returns for season four this Monday at 10pm…

*CeeLo Green's The Good Life premieres Monday at 10:30 on TBS.

*Botched is a new reality series from E! where plastic surgeons try to repair disastrous work done by their peers.

*Covert Affairs is back for season FIVE this Tuesday at 10pm…

*NBC is on a bit of a roll this summer with the success of The Night Shift and Undateable and will hope to keep that going with the debut of Taxi Brooklyn this Wednesday at 10pm…

*Bravo is never one to not milk a successful franchise dry, so we get Million Dollar Listing: Miami this Wednesday at 9pm.

*ABC Family brings out two new comedies this Wednesday; Young & Hungry at 9pm followed by Mystery Girls at 9:30pm…

*Wilfred begins its final season with back-to-back episodes this Wednesday at 10pm on FX.

*NY Med, a fantastic and actually REAL reality series, begins its eight episode 2nd season this Thursday at 10pm on ABC.

Two Tivos To Paradise
@Midnight, About A Boy, American Idol, America's Best Cook, Antiques Roadshow, Beat Bobby Flay, Archer, Arrow, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, Bakery Boss, Bitten, The Blacklist, Boardwalk Empire, Bones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Chasing Life, 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, Face Off, Falling Skies, Family Guy, Fargo, 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, 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, The Middle, Mike and Molly, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Monster Man, Murder in the First, Nashville, New Girl, Next Iron Chef, NY Med, The Originals, Outside the Lines, Parenthood, Parks & Recreation, Penny Dreadful, Project Runway, Project Runway All-Stars, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook Off, Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook Off, 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, Supernatural, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Top Chef, Top Chef: Masters, Tosh.0, True Detective, Undateable, Under the Gunn, The Vampire Diaries, The Voice, The Walking Dead, 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 the nominations for the 8th Annual Norty Awards!!!

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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