Reasons to Celebrate: Fox is 25, and Bart Simpson Is Still in Grade School
April 22, 2012 12:30 AM
Crazy like a Fox! It's impossible to overstate the influence this outrageous "fourth network" has had on TV since it stormed into prime time in April 1987 -- yes, 25 years ago, which accounts for Sunday night's clips-and-reunions salute, Fox's 25th Anniversary Special (April 22 at 8-10 p.m. ET)...
Hard to believe America survived before that, with just three broadcast networks and a few piddly cable channels airing mostly movies, reruns and sports. Cable originals? Keep dreaming. ABC, CBS and Fox were it, then. And they acted like it, delivering more of what already worked, aiming directly for the big fat safe mainstream middle.
Until Fox exploded that mold, daring to challenge The Big Three's Least Objectionable Programming with risky, riotous, edge-straddling stuff -- its chance-taking afforded by the largess of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's newspaper money. (Can you believe it? Newspapers were practically printing money then!)
If it took raising hell to raise his network's profile, the ostensibly conservative Murdoch (Fox News would launch in 1996) seemed happy to grab his piece of the TV profit pie that way.
Let's talk Married . . . With Children. Fox's debut-night sitcom subverted the era's "very special" family sentiment -- it was the anti-Cosby Show, with the bawdy adventures of its awful parents, awful kids and awful neighbors providing no lessons whatsoever. They killed Santa in the first Married . . . With Children Christmas episode, okay? (Fox replays the show's then-shocking 1987 premiere Sunday night at 7 ET.)
Let's talk The Simpsons, which revived prime-time animation big-time, 30 years after The Flintstones, with its equally untraditional nuclear clan of yelling yellow parents and bratty yellow kids. Suddenly, cartoons were not necessarily for kids anymore. Did pop culture touchstones ever play such a central role before this show skyrocketed onto the air in 1989, riffing off all things hot-and-not? Just ask South Park characters in search of a fresh plot: "Simpsons did it!"
Let's talk youth drama, not just drama with teens alongside adults, but dramas about the kids. 21 Jump Street was the first -- kids as cops, with star Johnny Depp catapulted to movie stardom (see photo at top of this column). Then came Beverly Hills 90210, high school soap (at right), followed by Melrose Place, post-school soap, and Party of Five, kids-on-their-own soap. Want a youth audience? Make serious shows about them. (Would The WB otherwise have aired Buffy the Vampire Slayer?)
Let's talk Fox Thursdays in the '90s, with shows aimed squarely at black viewers -- black-cast sitcoms (Martin), multiracial sketchcoms (In Living Color), and dramas of color (New York Undercover), pointing the way for other new networks (UPN, WB) and cablers to focus on under-served audiences.
Let's talk The X-Files, reestablishing tantalizing adult science-fiction 30 years after The Twilight Zone and, by giving conspiracy buffs everywhere a weekly fix, cementing TV's whole overarching-conspiracy genre. Hello, Lost. (Honorable mention: Fox's earlier societal sci-fi saga Alien Nation, better than the film that spawned it.)
Let's talk reality. Cops and America's Most Wanted proved huge audiences could flock to unscripted network fare, a decade before the competition craze explode Survivor and American Idol.
Fox even cooked up the coolest western since maybe ever, in Bruce Campbell's crazy steampunk hour, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (at right). Not to mention one of TV's all-time most brilliant but canceled (and indescribably sublime) comedies, Bakersfield P.D., with Giancarlo Esposito and Ron Eldard, and most gleefully warped dramas, Profit, starring Adrian Pasdar as a corporate sociopath.
And Fox isn't even 10 years old by the time all these shows premiered.
We could go on and on, through That '70s Show and 24, through Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, though Family Guy and Firefly, through The Tick and The Simple Life, through Titus, Bernie Mac, Malcolm in the Middle and House.
And still, Fox isn't even 20 years old.
Today? You think another network would have stuck with Fringe? Or Raising Hope? Would another network have ordered such out-there gems as Lone Star in the first place?
Because time flies, it's now easy to figure Fox has been around forever. But it hasn't. The fourth network's gradual but steady success -- it took Fox six years to expand from two nights a week to all seven (Fox still ends prime time nightly an hour before The Big Three) -- emboldened others to go where TV had never really gone before.
Whether that's a producer pitching a truly bizarre concept, a show inventing its own genre, a network demanding non-traditional casting, or a channel designed for a little-served demographic, they've got Fox to thank for proving it could be done.
And we've got Fox to thank for doing it in the first place.
Cheap Thrills Dept. -- Check out these promos from the very start of Fox!
TRUE CRIME: The 9/11 Deception
April 20, 2012 10:33 AM
Real life these days seems to provide the best mystery tales of all. And there's a doozy told Friday night in The Woman Who Wasn't There, the 8-9:30 p.m. ET encore of the film that earlier this week delivered the highest ratings ever for cable's Investigation Discovery channel.
It's a 9/11-centered suspenser that's thankfully far from ID's usual focus on deadly women, killer trials, stalkers, motives and murders.
And documentarian Angelo Guglielmo (The Heart of Steel) does a bang-up job of letting his story tell itself, in first-person testimony that gradually unfolds the circumstances behind a World Trade Center survivor who wasn't -- sorry, but the title's the spoiler, not me.
Knowing the kicker going in doesn't make this gem any less suspenseful. Like TV's classic Columbo, the greatness lies not in the destination but in the getting there.
It's WTC survivors who mostly provide witness to the impressive support provided by Tania Head, whose tale of crawling burned from the skyscrapers' remains made her subsequent unending efforts on behalf of other survivors all the more impressive. She made friends, she influenced people; she turned surly, she melted down when reporters sought interviews.
Guglielmo benefits from having inside access to Head herself, who had asked him to make a film about survivors for which Head wasn't intending to include her own story. But he pressed her to get it, and now we've all got a close-up look into the eyes of a very odd, perhaps dangerous, certainly disturbed person.
To that, the filmmaker adds so many more other interviews, of just the right tone at just the right time to give his narrative fascinating shape. Adding color are animated illustrations [like the one topping this column] of the moments being described, which become clues of their own, drawing us under the spell of Guglielmo's sly storytelling.
You may know this news-based tale already. But if not, don't Google now. Let it wash over you with its sudden sidetrips to foreign lands and its smart pacing, moodiness and reveals.
And stay tuned -- there's a final twist, one that heightens the mystery and makes us wish ID's other "crime" chronicles were half as impressive.
(The Woman Who Wasn't There also airs Friday at 11 p.m. ET and Saturday at 6 a.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.)
FREE HBO!: Watch 'Girls'/'Veep' Online, On-Demand
April 16, 2012 11:19 AM
You've read the reviews, now see the show. HBO is making the premiere of Girls available to non-subscribers now on various platforms -- and they'll do the same next week for Julia Louis-Dreyfus' new comedy Veep.
Obviously trying to build some buzz -- especially among younger viewers in the same demo as the shows' characters -- HBO has the Girls premiere streaming free at hbo.com/girls.
(You'll have to log-in with a birthdate to view; it's TV-MA content.)
It's also on YouTube and TV.com. Or try your cable/satellite provider to see if it's available among free on-demand options. GIrls viewing ends May 14.
Veep hits the web the day after its HBO debut at 10 p.m. ET Sunday (April 22). This premiere stays up through May 21, and also will be available free on iTunes during the sampling period.
SIGH: What's Up (or Down) With 'Dancing With the Stars'?
April 15, 2012 11:05 PM
Yawn, oh yawn. Another Dancing With the Stars season. Could it be more boring? Last Monday's two hours of terpsichore sent me do-not-pass-go to Slumberland.
And I love this show! But this season has a dullsville cast. Who are these people?
Not that I mind "stars" I don't know -- Brooke Burke, Sabrina Bryan, J.R. Martinez, they've been great -- but the nobodies had better be interesting and/or charming. Too many current contenders are unknown and who-cares. I can't even remember their names to type them. That's a TV death sentence. (And this season's ABC Dancing ratings reflect that.)
DWTS needs to get its paso doble together, and fast.
And I know how to do it.
It's all in the casting. Get some celebs we actually know and actually want to watch.
Yes, I know, DWTS can't get the people they'd truly like to cast. Bill Clinton probably won't do the show. Michael Jordan, either. Too many actors are actually working. Athletes are in-season and unavailable (other than footballers in the spring). Rockers and hip-hop acts are on tour or recording, or too hip for the room. Politicians -- well, um, remember Tom DeLay?
I've got some ideas, though -- some juicy pop culture possibilities. Could they be worse than Wayne Newton, Jerry Springer, Steve Wozniak [photo above, if you dare!] or Martina Navratilova?
George Jefferson -- I know the actor's name is actually Sherman Hemsley, and he was also the deacon on Amen. But it's struttin' George from The Jeffersons for which we know him. We'd simply have to watch him being bossed around by Karina Smirnoff or Cheryl Burke. (If only we could get Edyta back!)
A Monkee -- Hey, hey! Davy Jones would have been perfect, but he's gone. Peter Tork's a working musician. Michael Nesmith is rich (mom's Liquid Paper fortune, you know). That leaves Micky Dolenz. Go for him!
Boy George -- If any '80s rock icon is meant to dance with tattooed Lacey Schwimmer, he's it. Oh, wait -- what about Billy Idol?
Abe Vigoda -- Yeah, yeah, eightysomething Cloris Leachman was mostly comic relief. But the actor who played Barney Miller's elderly Fish was never a dumpy old guy. He was actually a runner! He's fit! He might be older than God, but wasn't he great in that Snickers commercial with Betty White? (Dream on. Betty's booked.)
Julie Newmar -- The Batman Catwoman and My Living Doll robot actually started in showbiz as a dancer (Broadway's Lil Abner). But that was more than 50 years ago. Can she still cut it? Let's find out. Even old, Julie Newmar's a looker!
Sitcom kids -- What's D.J. from Roseanne doing? What about those Cosby Show kids? Let's hope this season's snotty dud Jaleel White, Family Matters' Urkel, isn't ruining it for everybody; Melissa Gilbert from Little House on the Prairie is doing her best to keep grown-up TV kids in the spotlight. What about those teens from The Sopranos?
Tall and short of it -- You know you'd love to see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Or Yao Ming. How about Brad Garrett? On the other end of the spectrum, there's Webster shortie Emmanuel Lewis. Even height-challenged skater Scott Hamilton. Gotta love the physical challenge of pairing them with a pro. Hey, what about a sumo?
An entire cast -- Why not? Get everybody from Night Court or all the My Two Dads.
Redemption cases -- Think of the stakes! The backstage fireworks! Lindsay Lohan needs good press. So does Keith Olbermann. (Nah. He'll quit prematurely.) And though it sounds insane, let's not forget how badly Oprah Winfrey needs to get her OWN channel on the cable map.
Never forget TV's top-rated shows -- Showcase some performers who were at the top in the days when TV's top scripted series really did hit critical mass with tens of millions of viewers. Viewers still remember even the supporting actors they once watched weekly for years on blockbusters like ER and Seinfeld. (Oops, maybe Michael Richards belongs among Redemption cases.)
Bugs Bunny -- Is it so far-fetched to include an animated portion of the program? Lisa Simpson certainly needs more to do. (Or maybe a Muppet.)
Special editions -- Do one DWTS season as an All Over 50 edition. Or All Under 30 edition. All male celebs, all women, all athletes -- do something to shake it up.
The ultimate -- What's Regis Philbin up to?
EVENT: Titanic Is All Over TV
April 7, 2012 12:57 PM
Titanic painting by Ken Marschall
TV has scheduled a titanic number of shows about the RMS Titanic leading up to April 15's 100th anniversary of the legendary ship's sinking. Documentaries, miniseries dramas, new investigations, familiar encores -- anything Titanic-related is finding its way to the tube over the next week's culmination of commemoration.
Some shows have aired already, on channels as wide-ranging as Planet Green and WiMax. But there's plenty of fresh firepower coming up, especially this weekend and next.
Among the splashiest is the un-humbly named Titanic: The Final Word (Sunday, April 8 at 8-10 p.m. ET on NatGeo) from big-name underwater maven/movie director James Cameron. As if he hadn't gotten enough attention for last month's descent into the Challenger Deep of the Pacific's Mariana Trench, Cameron now avers to be solving the mystery behind the relatively quick sinking (less than 3 hours) of the White Star liner he memoralized in his 1997 big-screen blockbuster with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Cameron admits in The Final Word he basically made that $200 million Titanic melodrama so he'd have an excuse to dive the wreck and otherwise obsess over it, as apparently he was already doing. NatGeo's two-hour special documents Cameron gathering a panel of experts to sit down and obsess some more, going point-by-point through the process by which the Titanic sideswiped that iceberg, took on water, broke apart and sank, as only a mere third of its passengers and crew escaped with their lives.
So, it's essentially a film of guys (all guys) sittin' around talkin' -- at length and in technical detail -- while cameras watch them do it. Sure, there's computer animation and clips from Cameron's Titanic, along with historical facts and archival info, but it's mostly one big Cameron-for-Cameron indulgence that, in the end, doesn't really "solve" anything much. And it unreels for two hours.
If you've got those couple hours free, better to wait and watch Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved (Sunday, April 15, 8-10 p.m. ET on History). While its title is no more humble, its content is a lot more lively, as its own gathered team of experts assesses "the first ever complete map of the entire wreck site," as charted by underwater remote-operated vehicles. Half the fun is watching the robots do their thing, especially when their tethers get caught on parts of the wreck, threatening damage to both the ship and themselves. Of course this "mystery" is "solved" ahead of time -- they got the map, right? -- but it adds a little juice to what's essentially a computer operation leading to guys talkin' again.
History's Mystery Solved "virtually reassembles" the Titanic after mapping all its far-strewn wreck parts, which then also shows how the ship broke apart. It's sort of like a "CSI: Titanic" docudrama, told more in human-speak than Cameron's nerd-heaven convention.
And then there's Bob Ballard's new Save the Titanic (Monday, April 9 at 10 p.m. ET, NatGeo), delivered at a blessedly compact one-hour length. He's the underwater archaeologist whose team "discovered" the wreck in 1985, turning this "ship of dreams" into a "commodity." Ballard watches big businesses develop around both auctioned artifacts from the ship and public tours to the wreck -- just $60,000 a visit -- and worries he has "opened Pandora's box."
So his Save title has a double meaning. While he wants to protect this underwater museum from being "loved to death," Ballard also wants to celebrate the efforts of 100 years ago to save the ship from this fate in the first place. His NatGeo hour tells the parallel story of the "guarantee group" of Belfast shipbuilders who made the initial sail to make sure Titanic performed up to snuff. Their story has been told before, but not quite so personally, as their long-reluctant descendants and the city of Belfast itself finally open up to embrace their legacy, and Ballard, who gets a look at the original ship plans and other previously unfilmed evidence.
Consider it a sign of the times, however, that this embrace is happening now: Belfast is opening a $200 million Titanic center, and reports like Ballard's serve as one whale, or perhaps one iceberg, of an advertisement.
Seems when it comes to Titanic, it always, but always, comes down to money.
Titanic programs airing this week (all times ET)
(Program titles in ITALIC are dramas; others are documentary)
TItanic's Final Mystery (Smithsonian, Saturday, April 7 at 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.; Sunday, April 8 at 3 p.m.; April 11 at 9 a.m.; April 13 at 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.; April 14 at 4 p.m. and 2 a.m.; April 15 at 11 a.m., 8 p.m., 11 p.m.) - New: Producers of "The King's Speech" examine rare natural phenomena contributing to tragedy
Titanic: Ballard's Secret Mission (NatGeo, Saturday, April 7 at 7 p.m. and 2 a.m.) - Wreck discovery team leader recounts how the ship was found after seven decades in the deep
Titanic: The Final Word (NatGeo, Sunday, April 8 at 8 and 11 p.m.; Monday, April 9 at 8 p.m.; April 15 at 4 p.m.) - New: Movie director James Cameron convenes a panel of experts to discuss how the ship sank
Save the Titanic (NatGeo, Monday, April 9 at 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.; April 15 at 6 p.m.) - New: Ballard goes to Belfast to explore 1912 crew efforts to keep the ship afloat, as well as the ship's enduring legacy 100 years later
The Real Story: Titanic (Smithsonian, Monday, April 9 at 10 a.m., 6 p.m., 3 a.m.; April 13 at 5 p.m.; April 15 at 4 a.m., 10 p.m., 1 a.m.) - Comparing James Cameron's 1997 movie to what seems to have actually happened
Titanic With Len Goodman (check PBS listings; New York's WNET on Tuesday, April 10 at 8 p.m.) - New: "Dancing With the Stars" judge, who was once a welder for shipbuilder Harland and Woolf, reports on the continuing impact on Titanic descendants
Saving the Titanic (check PBS listings; New York's WNET on Tuesday, April 10 at 9 p.m.) - New: Dramatization of ship's final moments from viewpoint of engineers below deck trying to prevent sinking
Last Mysteries of the Titanic (Science, Wednesday, April 11 at 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.; April 13 at 5 a.m.) - Cameron's earlier underwater expeditions to the wreck
Titanic (ThrillerMAX, Thursday, April 12 at 3:50 a.m.) - Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb star in 1953 film about passengers on the doomed ship
Modern Marvels (H2, Thursday, April 12 at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.) - All-day marathon begins: "Titanic Tech" looks at the ship's technology breakthroughs
Lost Worlds (H2, April 12 at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.) - "Building the Titanic" revisits the ship's construction
TItanic's Tragic Sister (H2, April 12 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.) - Story of the Britannic's sinking in 1916 and rediscovery in 1976
Titanic's Achilles Heel (H2, April 12 at 8 p.m. and midnight; History, Aprili 15 at 11 a.m.) - Did the ship have a fatal design flaw?
Titanic's Final Moments: Missing Pieces (H2, April 12 at 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.) - Discovery of pristine components spurs debate over how the ship broke apart
Titanic (ABC, April 14 at 8-11 p.m., April 15 at 9 p.m.) - New: Linus Roache stars in new miniseries scripted by the creator of "Downton Abbey," Oscar-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes ("Gosford Park")
Titanic Belfast: Birthplace of a Legend (check PBS listings; New York's WLIW April 14 at 9 p.m.) - New: How the city in Northern Ireland became a shipbuilding powerhouse
Nazi Titanic (H2, April 14 at 9 p.m. and midnight) - New: Hitler's Third Reich commissions a film about the 1912 disaster as World War II propaganda
A Night to Remember (Turner Classic Movies, April 14 at 10 p.m.) - Acclaimed 1958 British film about the Titanic features Kenneth More, Honor Blackman
Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved (History, April 15 at 8 p.m. and midnight) - New: Underwater robots map the entire debris field to determine precisely how the ship broke apart and sank
FLICK PICKS: More 'Mockingbird'
April 3, 2012 5:03 PM
This week, PBS's American Masters is profiling novelist Harper Lee, and cable's USA is airing her To Kill a Mockingbird in honor of both the 50th anniversary of the film and the 100th anniversary of producing studio Universal.
Now President Barack Obama is part of the salute to this Oscar-winning cinema classic of the civil-rights era South.
Obama has been set to deliver a special introduction to USA's screening Saturday (April 7) at 8 p.m. ET, presented with limited commercial interruption. It's the first national showing of the landmark black-and-white gem since it was restored and remastered as part of Universal's impressive 100th Anniversary Collector's Series of disc releases. (The bargain-priced To Kill a Mockingbird DVD/Blu-ray book combo also includes feature-length documentaries on the film and on Peck, plus commentary, interviews and lots of archival footage.)
To Kill a Mockingbird earned Oscars for star Gregory Peck, for adapted screenplay, and for art direction of its atmospheric tale of widowed Alabama lawyer Atticus Finch, teaching his young children about fairness, justice and honor through a controversial trial charged with racial injustice. Five more Oscar nominations included best picture, director, music score, black-and-white cinematography and supporting actress, for 10-year-old first-timer Mary Badham, superbly embodying Atticus' inquisitive daughter, Scout.
Badham, now 59, is currently offering a touching remembrance of Peck (who died in 2003 at 87) as an interstitial time-filler on Turner Classic Movies. And TCM honors Peck this week with his own daylong marathon on Thursday (April 5, from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET). Included is his memorable early work as another father, in 1946's The Yearling (9:45 a.m. ET). For complete lineup, see TCM schedule here.
Later on TCM comes Peck's other legendary 1962 performance, in the original version of thriller Cape Fear (late April 13 at midnight ET). He's also seen this month on MGM HD -- in 1956's Moby Dick, Saturday, April 7 at 7:55 a.m. ET (and April 11 at noon ET); and in 1959's Pork Chop Hill and On the Beach late Wednesday, April 11 at 12:35 and 2:30 a.m. ET.
And look for additional airings of that American Masters profile "Harper Lee: Hey, Boo" in your local listings.
In New York, the documentary unreels again on the WLIW World digital channel Tuesday (April 3) at 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET, as well as on WNET/13 Saturday (April 7) at 2:30 p.m. ET and late Sunday (April 8) at midnight ET.
In Philadelphia, Harper Lee encores on digital channel Y Info Tuesday (April 3) at 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.
Or watch the full "Harper Lee: Hey, Boo" portrait online.
FLICK PICKS: 5 Nights of Doris Day
April 2, 2012 12:49 AM
She's more of an actress, and an icon, than you think. And there's plenty of proof this week when the perennially underrated Doris Day gets a different kind of Turner Classic Movies salute.
TCM usually offers a once-weekly dose of its Star of the Month. But for April, it's a weeklong festival -- a Monday-through-Friday nightly marathon of Day. Its 28 movies are divided into genres, in all of which mid-century America's favorite blonde (sorry, Marilyn) proves herself adept.
Day started as a band singer in the 1940s, and Monday's TCM intro spotlights her early movie musicals, from the late '40s and early '50s, in outings like first-up The Lullaby of Broadway (8 p.m. ET).
Tuesday's TCM slate (on Day's birthday, April 3) collects the kind of light romantic comedies that made her Hollywood's top box-office draw for four years between 1960-1964. Day stars opposite favorite leading man (and lifelong friend) Rock Hudson (Lover Come Back at 8 p.m. ET), then Cary Grant (That Touch of Mink at 10 p.m. ET) and James Garner (Move Over, Darling at midnight ET).
Day gets dramatic on TCM Wednesday night (April 4) with the thriller Midnight Lace (8 p.m. ET), the Klan expose Storm Warning opposite Ronald Reagan (10 p.m. ET), and the baseball saga The Winning Team (11:45 p.m. ET).
TCM's Thursday collects yet more comedies, including her 1960 hit Please Don't Eat the Daisies (8 p.m. ET).
But Friday's got the juice. Day does her best dramatic work opposite James Cagney in the abusive backstage showbiz story Love Me or Leave Me (8 p.m. ET) and Kirk Douglas in the moody jazz tale Young Man With a Horn (10:15 p.m. ET).
Not that there aren't some obvious quibbles with TCM's festival selections. Where's Pillow Talk, arguably the quintessential Day/Hudson rom-com? Or Day's Hitchcock flick, The Man Who Knew Too Much? And what about her final big-screen comedy, 1968's With Six You Get Eggroll?
We could also complain there's no Doris herself -- but, now turning 90, Day hasn't made public appearances in two decades. At least we get her voice in a TCM career reminiscence they've been running as an interstitial, recalling the joys of working with Hudson, Cagney and Jack Lemmon, among others.
No deep introspection there -- yet that seems as it should be. Day always did radiate that girl-next-door simplicity -- deceptively, as it was later argued by film historian Molly Haskell, among other latter-day admirers of Day's ostensibly pre-feminist films.
Take a look at Doris Day on TCM, and see what you think.
CALENDAR: Midseason Additions
March 24, 2012 4:27 PM
More shows have just been added to our calendar of midseason TV, including a firm date for Eddie Izzard's Treasure Island movie. And we've stretched our coverage into June, July and August, so you'll know when Dallas returns and The Closer starts its final run.
Check out dozens of upcoming series, movies, specials, awards shows, and a lengthening list of TItanic 100th anniversary programs.
We'll keep updating as more shows are announced.
UPCOMING 2012 MIDSEASON PROGRAMS
(Click links for info, previews, more)
Shows just added are in bold
Whitechapel (BBC America; Season 2)
Punk'd (MTV; prank series return)
Kids Choice Awards (Nickelodeon)
100th anniversary of sinking of the Titanic
April 1: Saving the Titanic (PBS)
April 5: Titanic's Final Mystery (Smithsonian)
April 8: Titanic: The Last Word With James Cameron (NatGeo)
April 9: Save the Titanic With Bob Ballard (NatGeo)
April 14-15: new docudrama miniseries Titanic with Linus Roache (ABC)
April 15: Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved (History; post-disaster reconstruction)
Also: Titanic Belfast: Birth of a Legend (PBS stations)
Game of Thrones (HBO; Season 2)
The Killing (AMC; Season 2)
Great Expectations (PBS' Masterpiece, with Gillian Anderson)
Academy of Country Music Awards (CBS special)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Hallmark; 10-hour marathon starts daily run)
Magic City (Starz; Miami 1960s drama)
NewNowNext Awards (Logo special)
Glee (Fox; new episodes begin)
Amish: Out of Order (NatGeo; ex-Amish docuseries)
Kathy (Bravo; Kathy Griffin talk show)
The Ricky Gervais Show (HBO; animated comedy)
The Making of 'Planet Earth (BBC America; 2-hour special, after 6 a.m.-9 p.m. marathon)
The L.A. Complex (CW; Hollywood wannabes drama)
TV Land Awards (TV Land)
Treasure Island (Syfy; 4-hour movie event with Eddie Izzard, Elijah Wood)
Around the World in 80 Plates (Bravo; culinary competition)
Common Law (USA; squabbling detectives hour with Michael Ealy, Warren Kole)
Men at Work (TBS; sitcom with Danny Masterson, James Lesure)
Design Star (HGTV, Season 7)
Melissa & Joey (ABC Family; Season 2 return)
Hemingway & Gellhorn (HBO; Clive Owen/Nicole Kidman movie)
MTV Movie Awards (MTV)
CMT Music Awards (CMT)
Tony Awards (CBS)
Bunheads (ABC Family; showgirl turns dance teacher, drama series with Sutton Foster)
Dallas (TNT; story continuation with new/old cast members)
Falling Skies (TNT; Season 2 return)
Baby Daddy (ABC Family; sitcom with Melissa Peterman)
Jersey Shore Shark Attack (Syfy movie)
Leverage (TNT; Season 5 continues)
Sullivan & Son (TBS; comedy series)
Breaking Bad (AMC; Season 5 return)
Major Crimes (TNT; drama spinoff with Mary McDonnell and other Closer cast)
GOOD SPORTS: NCAA Basketball's Best-Ever
March 19, 2012 6:31 PM
Need more Final Four?
How about the Greatest Sixteen?
That's 16, a new (mini)series of four 30-minute shows counting down the best teams ever to hit the court in men's college basketball. It debuts on cable's CBS Sports Network this Monday-Tuesday at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET.
Is North Carolina included? Sure. But it's the 1957 NC team (pictured above with legendary coach Frank McGuire; they beat Wilt Chamberlain).
And Georgetown? Yep, it's the '84 squad led by Patrick Ewing.
Along with 1991 UNLV and 1960 Ohio State, they're the first four teams to be revealed at CBS Sports Network's 16 web page, also loaded with video preview clips.
Not sure where to find the channel on your cable/satellite lineup? Try the CBS Sports Network channel finder here, halfway down the right-hand column.
(Tip: It used to be called College Sports TV.)
The first two parts of 16 encore late Monday night 1-2 a.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.
Or watch all four parts in one run -- late Tuesday night 12:30-2:30 a.m. ET; Wednesday 5-7 p.m. ET; Sunday 2:30-4:30 p.m. ET.
There's another, Final Four-adjacent chance on Saturday, March 31 at 9-11 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.
WATCH THIS: Cast Panels From PaleyFest
March 18, 2012 11:11 PM
Got Hulu Plus? Then you've got access to this month's PaleyFest panels featuring the casts and creators of some of TV's hottest shows. Spend 80 minutes hearing how they put together Modern Family. See David Boreanaz called on carpet for not knowing the ins-and-outs of Bones. Get an hour of inside scoop on Once Upon a Time.
Castle, Community, Revenge, New Girl -- Hulu has clips and full-length panels online/on-demand for lots of its PaleyFest 2012 panels, just held in Los Angeles.
Anyone can also check out quick pop-culture snippets of What I Learned at PaleyFest on the website of The Paley Center for Media -- the bi-coastal archive and conversation leader that used to be called the Museum of Television & Radio (and the Museum of Broadcasting before that).
Next time you're in Manhattan or Beverly Hills, visit either Paley Center facility to watch any of 150,000 vintage series, commercials, news coverage and more. That obscure old show you've always wanted to see? They've probably got it, for you to view at a private console.
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Raised on MTM
Ed Martin's TV Mix
Thinking Inside the Box
I Like to Watch
Tiny Tin Voice
The Son Also Criticizes
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