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Two Tivos To Paradise 01.25.13: 30 Rock, Mad Men, House of Lies, The Walking Dead, and more!

January 25, 2013 | Posted by Al Norton

Hello friends. Hope everyone dealing with this Arctic chill made it through the week ok, using their favorite TV shows to keep them warm at night! I somehow neglected to mention that my brother got engaged over Christmas and that he and the Mrs.-to-be are looking at a June wedding. My daughter is already asking about what dress she is going to wear.

Here’s a quick look at the upcoming return of The Walking Dead

And a full length look at A&E’s upcoming Bates Motel

Mrs. Tivo and I are taking the twins to see Yo Gabba Gabba! Live: Get the Sillies Out on Saturday; I’ll have a full review of the show next Friday.

If you can’t get enough Al Norton today then you are in luck as I am taking part in 411movies Fact or Fiction – check it out on the main Movies/TV page now!

Well just a look at that girl with news comin’ up in her eyes.

There’s Colors On The Street, Red, White, And Blue, People Shufflin’ Their Feet, People Sleepin’ In Their Shoes
30 Rock brings its 7 season run to a close next Thursday with a one hour episode. While the show has never been a breakout ratings hit, it was a critical and industry favorite, racking up 17 Golden Globe nominations (including 3 wins for Alec Baldwin), 94 Emmy nominations (including 2 wins for Best Comedy), and 19 SAG Award nominations (including 6 wins for Baldwin).

When it was at its best, which was frequently, 30 Rock was as good as skewering pop culture as any show in TV history, tackling politics, movies, TV, relationship trends, celebrity causes, and more, all with razor sharp knives that demonstrated they were interested in getting laughs from any/all points of view. While folks knew her from Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock will also be remembered as the show that made the country realize Tina Fey is indeed one of the funniest and most talented people in comedy. And it turned Alec Baldwin back into a major player in entertainment as well.

This is not to say the show was perfect; there were episodes, even the majority of a particular season, that were subpar and self indulgent, where the writers seemed to be entertaining themselves instead of the audience, but the ship was always righted and the focus returned to Liz’ ridiculous romantic entanglements or Jack’s obsession with getting the cover of Meetings Magazines.

I think 30 Rock will have a particularly long shelf life because of those pop culture references since it will eventually provide a sense of nostalgia as well as bemusement at the incredible amount of material the world game them to work with. I would totally buy a series of 30 Rock compilations on DVD; Best of NBC’s Programming (MILF Island and Celebrity Homonym promos), Best of Crazy Tracy Jordan, Best of Liz’ Dates, The Business and Political Philosophies of Jack Donaghey, Best of Guest Stars…the list is endless and I hope they go back in and get creative with their rerun packages.

I will miss 30 Rock greatly but also think it’s leaving at the right time; the last season and a half has been fantastic so they are going out on a serious high note. I have no doubt that Thursday’s finale will strike exactly the right chord.

Like A Coin In Your Mint, I Am Dented And I’m Spent With High Treason
For the past few months we’ve told you about new programming the big five networks have in development but now we’ve entered the next stage, with pilots being ordered for the 2013-2014 season. This week was likely the busiest of the year for pilots, with all the details found below…FYI – Any show listed below has been given said order…

Pulling is from the writers of Bad Teacher and follows three female friends in their 30’s as they lead dysfunctional lives more appropriate for young people…Betrayal is an adaptation of a Dutch series being written here in the states by ER showrunner David Zabel and finds a woman engaged in a passionate adulterous affair with a man she discovers is the defense attorney for a murder trial where the prosecutor is her husband…Venice is a Romeo and Juliet-esque drama executive produced by McG…The Returned is an adaptation of a to-be-published novel of the same name and takes place in the town of Aurora, where one day the dead start to appear at their former homes as if nothing has happened…

Rake stars Greg Kinnear as a character described as “House but a lawyer”, executive produced by Peter Tolan (Rescue Me)…The List comes from Lost writer Paul Zbyszewski and follows a US Marshall on the hunt for the person or persons who stole the list of participants in the US Witness Relocation Program and is killing them off one by one…Sleepy Hollow is the story of a modern day Ichabod Crane as he teams up with a female sheriff to help solve the towns supernatural-themed mysteries…Delirium is an adaptation of a book series by Lauren Oliver about a world where love has been eliminated; three months before the date where the procedure is done to her, our main character falls in love…I Suck at Girls is a dating comedy by the same guy who created the Shit My Dad Says twitter feed and is executive produced by Bill Lawrence (Cougar Town, Scrubs)…To My Assistant is a comedy about assistants at a big time NYC law firm who bond together in order to stay sane…House Rules is a comedy where a highly neurotic family tries to deal with life in a small town where everyone knows each other’s business and is overly friendly/polite…Friends and Family is an adaptation of the British comedy Gavin and Stacey that shows the important moments in a couple’s lives as the build their relationship and try to merge their families…TTTP fave Terry Crews has joined Andy Samberg in the untitled police comedy from the creators of Parks and Recreation

Assistance is a comedy executive produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and focuses on a woman who finds herself torn between her work husband and her fiancé while at the same time dealing with a crazy boss…Donor Party finds a young man having to mature fast when he finds that his sperm donations have led to his son (and his son’s single Mom) knocking on his door…Greg Daniels (The Office) is an executive producer on an untitled comedy about dating in your 20’s…Sean Hayes stars in an untitled comedy from Better Off Ted creator Victor Fresco about a guy dealing with a crazy new boss at work and a 14 year old daughter at home…The Sixth Gun is based on the graphic novel of the same name, about young woman who comes into possession of the object in the title, which in the wrong hands could lead to evil taking over, and the selfish gunslinger-for-hire who becomes her protector. Carlton Cuse (Lost) is executive producing…Jason Bateman is executive producing an untitled family comedy about a family that somehow becomes closer after the parents’ divorce…,B>Nurse Jackie co-creator Liz Brixius has created Girlfriend in a Coma, about a 34 year old woman who wakes up after being in a coma for almost 18 years to discover she has a 17 year old daughter (she was unaware of her pregnancy when she had the accident that knocked her out)…Holding Patterns is a comedy (?!?) about a group of friends whose lives change after they all survive a plane crash…The Blacklist is a drama where a master criminal from the most wanted list shows up at FBI headquarters to turn himself in, agreeing to help capture everyone he has worked with as long as he can partner with one specific person, a brand new agent with whom he seems to have no connection. John Eisendrath (Alias) is executive producing)…Life creator/executive producer Rand Ravich has an untitled drama about a secret service agent who, in his first day on the job, is in the middle of a major international crisis that gives him a glimpse at what may or may not be a worldwide conspiracy involving the top levels of government…Welcome to the Family is a comedy from Rules of Engagement executive produced Mike Sikowitz about a white family and Latino family that have to merge in a hurry after am unexpected pregnancy happens with two of their children…TTTP fave Ken Marino (Party Down, Childrens Hospital) and Daily Show alum Aasif Mandavi are in talks to star in The Gates, about the craziness that surrounds the 15 minute pick up and drop off period in front of an elementary school…

Super Clyde is a comedy from Greg Garcia (Raising Hope, My Name is Earl) about a milquetoasty fast food worker who becomes a superhero…Also from Garcia is an untitled comedy about a newly divorced guy whose parents move in with him…The McCarthys is a comedy about a big Irish family in Boston who have issues with their son, not because he is gay, which he is, but because he doesn’t spend enough time with them. The show is written by Brian Gallivan (Happy Endings) and is semi-autobiographical…The Ordained is a drama about a Priest from a Kennedy-esque family who leaves the church to become a lawyer in an attempt to stop his sister from being killed (it’s a conspiracy drama, obviously)…To the shock of no one, Beverly Hills Cop is on this list…Backstom is an adaptation of a series of novels very popular in Scandinavia (over six million copies sold) about a dysfunction but brilliant police detective’ think House but overweight and a cop…Friends with Better Lives is a comedy about a group of friends who each think the grass is greener in the other’s yard.

The Selection was a failed pilot last year but the network is trying again, a Hunger Games-esque action series set in the future where 25 young women compete to marry the prince and become the new Queen…Company Town is set in a Virginia town where a Naval base is located as everyone recovers from a big scandal. Sera Gamble (Supernatural, Eyes) is writing and executive producing, with Oscar winner Taylor Hackford directing and executive producing…

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 mid-season premiere of Suits was up 3% in total viewers from the season premiere last summer (usually season premieres are higher) and jumped 11% in the demos…Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong was the second most watched telecast in OWN history, with its 3.2 million viewers finishing just behind a sit down with Whitney Houston’s family following the singer’s death. An additional 1.1 million tuned in to the replay, making the total audience last night 4.3 million…American Idol dominated the night, a strong show that matched last season’s second night after being down double digits on Wednesday…Parks and Recreation was up 27%, giving the show its best demos since Nov of 2011 and NBC it’s best timeslot performance since March of 2012…Grey’s Anatomy tied a season low in the demos and was beaten in total viewers by a Person of Interest rerun. On the plus side, that season low demo was the best of any scripted show on the night…The season premiere of Anger Management was down big time from the series premiere last year (to be expected) but was also down in totals and demos from the season one finale…The season premiere of Archer was the second most watched episode in series history and set series highs in the demos…The series premiere of Legit did not fare so well, losing 60% of its demo lead-in…The return of Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell was up 27% from the previous season average…TNT was quite happy with the 2 million viewers and strong demos pulled in by the series premiere of King of the Nerds

The Fringe series finale was up 31% in total viewers and 25% in demos from last week…Undercover Boss won the night in demos, which tied a season high…Blue Bloods 11.1 million won the night in total viewers while the show enjoyed season highs in totals and demos…Malibu Country dropped 21% from its already not-so-great demos…

NBC’s NHL opening day doubleheader on Saturday was the highest rated regular season coverage in over 10 years, up 67% from last season’s average on the network…

Sunday’s AFC (47.7 million viewers) and NFC (42 million viewers) Championship Games were both down a bit from last year but also ranked # 1 and 2 on the list of most watched NFL games this season…Revenge was down 15% to hit a new series low in demos for the second consecutive week…Once Upon a Time was down 14% to a new series demo low…Hawaii 5-0 enjoyed the football game lead in to almost double the demos that The Mentalist put up last Sunday in that slot…

The Following had a solid premiere for Fox, with 10.4 million viewers and demos that improved on its lead-in (it doubled the Mob Doctor premiere in that slot in totals and demos)…Bones hit a season high in total viewers…CBS won every half hour in the demos…Hawaii 5-0 won 10pm in totals and demos…Deception was down 19% in the demos to finish last in that measure for the second week in a row and now looks to be a long shot for renewal unless things turn around…The Biggest Loser matched last week’s numbers and is a consistent performer again after taking the fall off…The Bachelor was up 10% in the demos… Monday’s episode of Catfish, the first since the Manti Te’o story broke last week, was up 30% in the demos, winning all of cable on the night in that measure and providing MTV with the show’s best numbers since the series premiere in totals and demos…

Private Practice was up 45% in demos for its series finale but still finished second to Parenthood, which won the hour in that measure for the 4th week in a row…The Taste won the night in demos and was the most watched new program (an NCIS rerun topped all in total viewers)…Hart of Dixie tied a season demo high…Raising Hope & Ben and Kate were both up double digits in totals and demos…Go On and The New Normal both hit new season/series demo lows…

CSI was up 17% in the demos to a season high, winning the hour in that measure as well as in total viewers…Modern Family won the night in scripted demos but did so dropping to a season low…American Idol easily won the night in totals and demos…Arrow matched last week while Supernatural was up a smidge in total viewers…Criminal Minds was the most watched scripted show of the night while also enjoying a demo increase…

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…Fox skipped the pilot stage and gave Dads a six episode order; written by Seth MacFarlane and his Ted co-writers, the show is a live action comedy about two guys living the single highlife in their 30’s only to have their Dads move in with them…Amazon is getting into the original series business with a small screen version of Zombieland, following the four main characters as they make their way through the now zombie-fied world. The series was thought to be heading to CBS and then Fox but that was back in 2011, so this news comes as a bit of a (pleasant) surprise. Interesting note – the writers of Zombieland originally conceived it as a sitcom before turning the project into a movie script…Season six of Mad Men will begin on April 7th at 9pm with a two hour premiere episode…HBO is continuing in the Steven Spielberg-Tom Hanks World War II mini-series business with the purchase of the rights to Donald Miller’s book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought The Air War Against Nazi Germany…HBO is developing a Bored to Death movie for theaters that would reunite the main cast (Jonathan Schwartzman, Ted Danson, and Zach Galifinakis) and be written by series creator/executive producer Jonathan Ames…Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal are executive producing The 4th Reich, a drama series in development at Showtime that’s being described as “American History X meets The Town“, with the show, about a former leader of a neo-Nazi movement who gets out of jail to work as a confidential informant for the FBI only to find his teenage brother has joined the movement, taking place in South Boston…TNT has ordered a pilot for an untitled drama based on the life of unconventional bounty hunter/bail bondswoman Mackenzie Green that will star Oscar winner Geena Davis. Dean Devlin, who just finished up with Leverage on the network, with direct the pilot and be the co-showrunner should the series get picked up, sharing duties with Amy Berg (Leverage, Eureka, Person of Interest, The 4400 ), who co-wrote the script…The final 12 episode run of The Secret Life of the American Teenager will begin on March 18th at 8pm, preceded by an all-day marathon of the previous half season…Nickelodeon ordered a 20 episode first season of The Haunted Hathaways, a live action comedy being described as The Brady Bunch with ghosts… Andy Richter will play Penny’s (Casey Wilson) Dad on an episode of Happy Endings this spring…Natalie Moralez (CSI: NY) has signed on to CBS’ Under the Dome…Dave Annable’s first post-666 Park Avenue gig will be guesting on Ben and Kate…Summer Glau will appear on an episode of Hawaii 5-0 later this season…Natalie Martinez (CSI: NY) has joined the cast of Under the Dome…Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden will be a part of the cast for The Newsroom’s second season…Jack Wagner has already begun taping episodes of General Hospital – Frisco’s back!!!…Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Friday Night Lights) will be a regular on the upcoming season of True Blood… Travel Channel was busy, renewing EIGHT of their current series; Airport 24/7: Miami (season 2, 13 episodes), Baggage Battles (season 3, 13 episodes), Bizarre Foods America (season 8, 10 episodes), Dangerous Grounds (season two, 8 episodes), The Dead Files (season 4, 13 episodes), Ghost Adventures (season 8, 13 episodes), Hotel Impossible (season 3, 13 episodes), and Mysteries at the Museum (season 5, 13 episodes) will all be back with new episodes in 2013…Fox has pulled Ben and Kate from their lineup, going with back-to-back new episodes of Raising Hope starting next week. Hell’s Kitchen will premiere in the Tuesdays at 8pm slot as of March 12th. The one hour Raising Hope season finale will air on Thursday March 28th at 9pm with the American Idol results show as a lead-in…

Turns Out Not Where But Who You’re With That Really Matters
The Best of What’s Around AKA The Best Thing I’ve Watched In The Last Seven Days…
House of Lies second season has had moments that echoed what the first season did so well – give viewers a peak at the extreme bullshitting that goes on in the world of consulting, with the team gathered around the phone trying to figure out what line of business the client was in and the dinner in Vegas both being highlights – but what’s made these first two half hours so interesting is the new dynamic between Kristen Bell’s Jeannie and Don Cheadle’s Marty.

In season one it was certainly clear that Jeannie was every bit as smart as Marty, albeit with less real world experience and a whole lot less jaded cynicism, and the chemistry between the two was there, but in season two it’s been acknowledged by both as they try to remember the events of a night spent together; at first it seemed like the big question was, “did they do it?” but as it turns out it’s something much bigger and more important, along the lines of, “is the other person their one chance at true happiness, at saving themselves from this dark and lonely world they live and work in?”

Those are big things to be conveyed not so much with dialogue but with glances and pauses and Bell is proving herself to be every bit the equal of her Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Award nominated co-star, which is why the audience has no problems buying into their wondering if this is their one shot at something other than every other relationship they’ve ever had.

Sure, House of Lies is smart, funny, at times a bit too over the top, and at times very sexy, but so far season two can add “an examination of the human condition” to its resume and that has made it a much more interesting and richer viewing experience.

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 am not sure if I actually liked The Taste or rather simply enjoyed getting two hours of Anthony Bourdain being himself on my screen but either way, I’m in! He can be a bit of a dick sometimes but he is always himself, a trait which would make him a great candidate to be a permanent reality competition show judge, regardless of the competition. He could do a season on Idol, move over to America’s Next Top Model, jump to So You Think You Can Dance… This week’s HIMYM was a great example of how the show can have Ted date someone without the audience (figuratively) tuning out since we know said date isn’t the Mother; even before the twist, the scenario was genuinely funny and didn’t ask viewers to get emotionally invested in the couple but rather just sit back and giggle, which I did (“Charlie was everywhere”)…I mentioned above that Ben and Kate was pulled from the Fox lineup, likely canceled, and that makes me sad because it was a genuinely sweet and charming comedy that got the brother-sister dynamic perfectly…Julius Pepperwood immediately jumps to near-the-top of the list of great TV aliases. Ex cop. Ex marine. He’s from Chicago. Thin crust pizza? No thank you, he’s from Chicago. I would totally watch a series focused on his work as a zombie detective…The Parenthood season finale was as warm and sweet and tear-filled as I imagined, with the episode serving as a series finale just in case NBC makes the idiotic decision not to bring it back. I also liked the decision Sarah made in that frequently in life we make bad choices and sometimes, whether we know it or not, we feel like someone may actually be too good for us…Thought it was kind of funny (and not in a good way) that Addison seemed like an afterthought in the Private Practice series finale considering the show was built around her. Was Henry even in the episode?!?! On the plus side Sheldon, who long ago became my favorite character, got some more time to shine… I sang the praises of The Following last week so now that the pilot has aired I will vent on my one big issue, namely, the easiest prison break in TV history. This guy is a BIG TIME serial killer and he should be in the most maximum security prison the country has to offer, and instead he managed to get out by putting on a hat and keeping his head down?!?!

TV Pick Of The Week
Season one of Dallas was that rarest of TV rarities, a reboot that actually worked. Critics and fans alike enjoyed the way the show embraced its history and at the same time established new characters to get invested in, and everyone was blown away at just how well Larry Hagman fit into JR’s shoes after all the time away. Sadly, Hagman passed away while season two was in production and JR’s death will be one of the focal points of the second half of the season, a plot point that will lead to even more familiar faces returning to Southfork.

Don’t miss the season two premiere of Dallas, Monday at 9pm on TNT.

Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You
Most of the week’s major programming is covered about but here as some other noteworthy viewing options from the next seven days…

*The final season of Spartacus – War of the Damned – premieres tonight at 9pm on Starz…

*Tonight’s Real Time with Bill Maher opens with a one-on-one interview with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

*Ice skating fans will be in heaven this weekend; NBC has the US Figure Skating Championships, with pairs and ice dancing airing Saturday at 3pm, the ladies’ free skate that night at 9pm, and the men’s free skate Sunday afternoon at 3pm.

*Who doesn’t love a cheesy made-for-Syfy movie? Saturday at 9pm they give us The Abominable Snowman

*TR Knight begins his first multi-episode TV stint since leaving Grey’s Anatomy on The Good Wife starting this Sunday at 9pm.

*If you’re jonesing for some football before next week’s Super Bowl, check out the Pro Bowl, Sunday at 8pm on NBC.

*The latest episode of PBS’ excellent American Experience is Henry Ford (Tuesday, 9pm)…

*I have yet to watch the premiere of FX’s new drama The Americans (Wednesday, 10pm) but based on the overall quality of the network’s original programming and the talent of the cast, I am pretty excited…

*While not the most noteworthy program of the week, Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope (Thursday, 9pm, PBS) may be the one most deserving of your time…

Two Tivos To Paradise
3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, 30 Rock, After the Catch, American Idol, Antiques Roadshow, Archer, Arrow, Around the World in 80 Plates, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, Ben and Kate, The Big C, Boardwalk Empire, Being Human, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, Bones, Breaking Bad, Bunheads, Burn Notice, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Chicago Fire, Chopped, Comic Book Men, Community, Cougar Town, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Deadliest Catch, Deception, Destination Truth, Don’t Trust the B- in Apt 23, Fact or Faked, Falling Skies, Family Guy, Fast Food Mania, Flipping Out, Food Network Challenge, Food Network Star, The Franchise, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Lab, Glee, Great Food Truck Race, Grey’s Anatomy, Happy Endings, Haunted Highways, Haunted Treasure, Hawaii 5-0, Hollywood Treasure, House of Lies, How I Met Your Mother, Inside Comedy with David Steinberg, Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis, Iron Chef America, Justified, Key & Peele, Last Resort, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, The League, Longmire, Lost Girl, Louie, Mad Men, Major Crimes, Men at Work, The Middle, Mike and Molly, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Monster Man, Nashville, Necessary Roughness, New Girl, The New Normal, Next Iron Chef, The Office, Outside the Lines, Parks & Recreation, Private Practice, Project Accessory, Project Runway, PSYCH, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook Off, Raising Hope, Real Time With Bill Maher, Restaurant Impossible, Revenge, Revolution, Royal Pains, Rules Of Engagement, Saturday Night Live, Shark Wranglers, Shear Genius, So You Think You Can Dance?, Sons of Anarchy, The Soup, Suits, Suburgatory, Supernatural, Top Chef, Top Chef Just Desserts, Top Chef: Masters, Top Design, Tosh.0, The Vampire Diaries, The Voice, The Walking Dead, Warehouse 13, Wilfred, Worst Cooks In America,

People Love You When They Know You’re Leaving Soon
Here ends another Two Tivos To Paradise.

We’ll be back next week with all the headlines from the last seven days! Don’t miss my interview with Suits’ Rick Hoffman next Thursday!

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, &


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Al Norton

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