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Two Tivos To Paradise 11.30.12: The Simpsons, Dallas, Girl Meets World, Sons of Anarchy, Duck Dynasty, and more!

November 30, 2012 | Posted by Al Norton

Hello friends. I hope everyone had a wonderful Black Friday and a productive Cyber Monday as well. I must admit I have had an extra spring in my step since Thanksgiving, the kind of energy that only comes from quality time with family and the knowledge that the best time of year is upon us. I am a full fledged sucker for the holidays, and the kids being so into the return of Goody, their Elf on the Shelf, plus eating up every Christmas special they can, makes it that much better. So good, in fact, that I am able to ignore that not only did they manage to watch a Scooby Doo episode that featured Scrappy Doo, but they liked it, too.

It seems odd that we’ve been around for six years and The Simpsons has been around for as long as it has and yet we’ve never done a Simpsons-related giveaway…UNTIL NOW!!! We’ve got season 15 of The Simpsons on DVD, including all 22 episodes plus audio commentary on EVERY episode and other cool extras. Go to Al Norton’s Two Tivos To Paradise on Facebook, click “Like” if you have not already, and then post “Best. TTTP Giveaway. Ever.” on our wall and you’ll be entered to win (standard rules apply – one win every six months, one entry per person, must have a US or Canadian mailing address). Good luck!

A new trailer for NBC’s upcoming Deception

And a full length look at the upcoming White House comedy 1600 Penn

Katee Sackhoff sent over an email this week to let folks know about the new (and VERY hot) calendar she and her former BSG co-star Tricia Helfer have on the market…

The Acting Outlaws 2013 Calendar was a way for Tricia and I to do something fun for the fans while continuing our goal of helping different charities along the way. We had success in 2010 with our LaLa Ride from LA to New Orleans to raise money for The Gulf Restoration Network after the BP oil spill (Downloadable Documentary of the trip available at and decided this time to help Amfar with the calendar. We’ve worked closely with the President of Amfar (Kevin Frost) over the years with Keihls and its president (Chris Salgardo) on the 3 different Life Rides (to raise money for Amfar) and it seemed only fitting to do an Acting Outlaws calendar in an attempt to do more to raise awareness and funds for the continued and necessary fight against HIVAids. Calendar available at www.Redbubblemcom

It’s because Katee’s intellect and sense of humor puts her very close to the top of my list of favorite TV people I have met that I am comfortable with a little objectification; she looks INCREDIBLE in the calendar, as does Tricia. This makes a GREAT holiday gift for any BSG fan with an interest in beautiful women.

And in a pipe she flies to the motherland, or sells news to another man.

I Feel Like I’ve Been Locked Up Tight For A Century Of Lonely Nights, Waiting For Someone To Release Me
Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor Larry Hagman, whose career spanned fifty years and two true classic TV series, passed away last Friday at the age of 81. Hagman had a bit of a renaissance this year when his work on TNT’s reboot of Dallas was widely praised but he’d been appearing on TV since the late 1950’s. He first rose to prominence for his portrayal of Major Tony Nelson on I Dream of Jeanie, which began its 163 episode run in 1965, and from there had a string of TV and movie appearances, but nothing could compare to the impact he had by creating the role of J.R. Ewing on CBS’ long running nighttime soap Dallas. The shooting of Hagman’s character on the last episode of season 3 in March of 1980 is credited with creating the season finale cliffhanger as we know it, and the episode that revealed “Who Shot JR” ranks # 2 on the all-time list of most watched episodes of TV, with a staggering 53.3% of all houses watching television that night in the US tuning in.

Larry Hagman’s place in any TV Hall of Fame was more than set well before Dallas returned earlier this year; the list of folks who have played leads on two classic TV series is a short one (Hagman, Mary Tyler Moore, James Garner, off the top of my head) and make no mistake, I Dream of Jeannie and Dallas are true classics. Hell, Hagman would be in any HoF for his work as JR Ewing alone, one of the best villains ever to grace the small screen and a true game changing role in the way the industry viewed what type of character could carry a series. Without J.R. showing you could build a series around something other than a strong, righteous do-good character, we wouldn’t have ever ended up with the likes of Tony Soprano, Dexter Morgan, or Walter White. Thanks to J.R.’s popularity with fans and critics alike, the networks realized they could explore the minds of more morally ambiguous characters without turning the audience off.

What TNT’s reboot of Dallas reminded everyone is just how powerful a presence Hagman continued to be when given the right material; he dominated scenes in the pilot with no words in ways I’ve seen folks with full page monologues not be able to do. I started working on our year end 2012 TTTP TV Entertainers of the Year column a few weeks back and one of the first names I wrote down for the list of 25 was Hagman’s. He will be missed, and his impact forever felt on television programming.

Well I’ve Finally Found What I’m Looking For But If They Get The Chance They’ll End It For Sure
Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel signed to reprise their roles of Corey Matthews and Topanga Lawrence Matthews in the Disney pilot Girl Meets World, a reboot/spinoff of the long running ABC comedy Boy Meets World that would focus on the Matthews’ almost teenager daughter. Michael Jacobs, who created and executive produced BMW, is in charge of this project as well.

I have to be honest and admit how stunned I am at the reaction to this show; we set multiple TTTP FB page records for comments and views with the postings about Girl Meets World. I knew many of us had watched the show growing up but usually reboots are viewed with heavy doses of the cisms – skepti and cyni – so to have this concept so openly embraced by so many so quickly was rather startlingly refreshing.

Based on the outpouring of positive feeling from the fans and that the original leads have been signed, the show would have to be truly awful to not get a first season pickup; it’s not very often a network gets a show where there would be tons of publicity without spending a dollar on marketing, and even less often that they wouldn’t jump at the opportunity. My fingers are crossed that William Daniels is signed as a cast member since TV is simply a better place when he is a regular presence. ran a fun feature this past week about the famous folks who guested on BMW during its 9 season run, including Adam Scott, Brittany Murphy, Marcia Cross, Rue McClanahan, Linda Cardellini, Mena Suvari, Shane West, and Keri Russell.

Don’t You Ever Be Sad, Lean On Me When Times Are Bad
The week after Thanksgiving is not a big one for TV news so I thought I’d take the slow period to highlight some new shows in development that have caught my interest…

*Trophy Wife (comedy, ABC); I was already very interested in the ABC pilot Trophy Wife – Malin Ackerman stars as a former party girl who falls for a rich older man (Bradley Whitford) with three emotionally manipulative kids and whose two ex-wives (Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden and SNL alum Michaela Watkins) are still a big part of his life – and now that I know TTTP fave Natalie Morales (The Middleman) has signed to play Ackerman’s best friend I am really on board!!! Morales has stints on 90210, Newsroom, Parks and Recreation, and White Collar on her resume but she’ll always be Wendy Watson to me!

*After Hours (drama, NBC); following those who staff the overnight shift at a hospital, it’s the cast that is being put together for this pilot that draws my interest; Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under), Jill Flint (Royal Pains), Brigid Brannagh (Army Wives), Ken Leung (Lost, The Sopranos), and Eoin Macken (Merlin) are on board, with Pierre Morel (Taken) signed to direct the pilot.

*Under the Dome (drama, CBS); CBS has bypassed the pilot stage of the process and ordered a 13 episode first season of Under the Dome, an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. Originally in development at Showtime, the show is set in a New England town that has a giant, see-through dome placed around it. Neal Baer (Law & Order: SVU) will be the showrunner, with Brian K Vaughn (Lost), who wrote the pilot, also on board as an executive producer along with King. Niels Arden Oplev, who directed the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, will helm the pilot. The show is expected to join Unforgettable as part of the network’s new summer programming push in 2013.

*Paper (drama, HBO); an adaptation of an essay in The New Yorker, this Brad Pitt executive produced project is about a single Dad trying to move past his former life as a well known mobster, making a career as a professional debt collector.

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
All you need to know about the Nielsen’s for the past 8 days…

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving hit a four year ratings high on Wednesday night, with 8.1 million total viewers and demos that were up 22% from last November…Literally all of the regular network programming was down from the previous week…Criminal Minds won the night in totals and demos…CSI won 10pm in totals and demos…Whitney had the biggest week-to-week drop, down 21%…

NBC’s coverage of the Pats – Jets game dominated the night in totals and demos…ABC’s airing of Bad 25 finished fourth in the demos, behind not only the football game and Fox’s new programming but also behind CBS’ reruns…

Last Man Standing and Malibu Country matched the previous week’s numbers, not a great sign when the only competition were holiday/kids specials and reruns…CBS finished a strong second from 8 – 10pm with their four holiday specials…6.4 million tuned into the series finale of iCarly

The Notre Dame – USC game pulled some amazing numbers; not only was it far and away the highest rated college football game of the season, it was the highest rated regular season game on ABC/ESPN since a 2006 Michigan – Ohio state match up and the highest rated regular season game on any network since 2006…

Liz and Dick was watched by 3.5 million people last night, numbers that made it the 4th most watched Lifetime Original Movie of the year (it ranked the same in the demos). As a point of comparison, Disney’s Dog with a Blog was watched by 3.7 million people… The Simpsons was up 38% to win the scripted (i.e. non Sunday Night Football) demo title for the night (thanks to the NFL lead-in it was also up 49% in total viewers)…Once Upon a Time was up 11% from last week’s season low…Revenge was down to a series low…666 Park Avenue matched last week, meaning the audience it had isn’t tuning out even though it’s been cancelled…The Mentalist was the most watched show of the night with roughly 10.5 million

A positive night for just about all the network programming, with demo gains for The Voice (+14% to win the night, as usual), Revolution (+12%, November high, winning 10pm), HIMYM (+17%), 2 Broke Girls (+18%, season high), Mike and Molly (+24%, season high), Hawaii 5-0 (+5%, season high), DWTS (+8%), Bones (+15%), Mob Doctor (+33% but still fourth), and 90210 (+25%)…The two hour return of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition did not perform well, finishing just ahead of Mob Doctor for 3rd place at 9pm and in last at 10pm.

NCIS won the night (and the week) with 19.6 million viewers and demos that topped the night for a scripted series…The Voice won the night in demos…A strong night for Fox comedies; Raising Hope was up 13%, Ben and Kate +20% up, New Girl 15% up, and The Mindy Project 15% up…Parenthood was up a shade in the demos to top Vegas, which dropped to a series low…DWTS was down 27% from last fall’s finale

Duck Dynasty hit a new series high with 4.9 million viewers along with a new A&E network high for the 25-54 demo. DD won the night for all of cable in the 18-49 demo and topped ABC’s Nashville as well in the timeslot…A Charlie Brown Christmas won 8pm in the demos and tied Criminal Minds for second on the night…Modern Family easily won the night in demos…Another night of gains; Christmas at Rockefeller Center hit a 4 year high while The X Factor (+27%), Survivor (+17%), Criminal Minds (+7%), CSI(+ 7%) and Suburgatory (+8%) all were up from their previous episodes…Nashville matched its last outing but finished last in totals and demos because SNL’s Christmas Special performed much stronger than regular time slot tenant Chicago Fire

All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…ITV has picked up an 8 episode + Christmas special fourth season of Downton Abbey in the UK, making it simply a matter of time until PBS announces their plans to continue airing the show here in the US. Season three of the show premieres on PBS on January 6th…The Hurricane Sandy benefit concert at Madison Square Garden on December 12th will be televised on HBO, Showtime, and AMC as well as live streamed on Hulu, Yahoo, and AOL. Artists lined up to perform include Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Who, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Eddie Vedder, Alicia Keys, Jon Bon Jovi, and Dave Grohl, with more expected to be added before the event…Audra McDonald’s Naomi will be back for the Private Practice series finale in January…Comedy Central has picked up a 13 episode third season of the (VERY funny) sketch comedy series Key & Peele…FX has given 13 episode orders to Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and BrandX with Russell Brand, the latter of which will expand from 30 minutes to one hour. Both shows were originally given six episode orders, with an additional 7 episodes picked up later, so this 13 week commitment to both is a big one from the network. BrandX returns on February 7th, with Totally Biased back on January 17th…USA has picked up a 10 episode third season of Necessary Roughness… Bravo is all about Atlanta these days; aside from The Real Housewives of Atlanta and the Kim-centric spinoff Don’t Be Tardy (that’s the new title for season two), they’re also working on the reality pilots Married to Medicine (following a group of Atlanta women who are Doctors, nurses, and/or involved with people in the field of medicine) and Taking Atlanta (young professionals trying to succeed in their careers as well as their personal lives)… Good Morning America is going to win November sweeps in the key 25-54 demo for the first time since 1994 (actually the first time they’ve won any sweeps since the mid-90’s). GMA also enjoyed the highest total viewer average for November sweeps as well…BBC One’s Merlin – shown in the states on Syfy – will wrap up its run with the current 5th season (premieres in the US in January), but the production company is looking at the idea of a spinoff series or two set in the same universe…My fellow Brookline High School alum (and current Boston Globe arts & entertainment writer) Geoff Edgers is the host of Travel Channel’s new Edge of America, where he goes around the country attending interesting and unique regional festivals and events. The 13 episode first season premieres on January 22nd…Lisa Edelstein will guest on two episodes of the upcoming second season of Showtime’s House of Lies…Donald Faison (The Exes, Scrubs) will host the TBS’ new series Who Gets the Last Laugh?, where celebrities compete against each other to see who can orchestrate the funniest practical joke, with the studio audience determining who wins the $10K to the charity of their choice. Those already lined up to participate include Andy Dick, Tom Green, D.L. Hughley, Chris Kattan, Cheri Oteri, Bam Margera, Bill Bellamy, Charlie Murphy, and Alan Thicke. The show, executive produced by the same team that brought us Punk’d, will premiere in the spring of 2013…Kevin Hart is executive producing the BET semi-scripted comedy Real Husbands of Hollywood, which stars Nick Cannon (married to Mariah Carey), Boris Kodjoe (Nicole Ari Parker), Duane Martin (Tisha Campbell-Martin), Robin Thicke (Paula Patton), and JB Smoove (Shahidah Omar). Jay Leno, Shaquille O’Neal, Cedric the Entertainer, and Nelly are set to guest star. The show premieres on January 15th, paired with the new sketch comedy show Second Generation Wayans, a scripted comedy about Craig and Damian Dante Wayans trying to succeed in the entertainment industry where their uncles have prospered…The CW has cancelled Emily Owens MD. It will air the last of the 13 episodes that were part of the original order but then that’s it…In one of the more interesting casting moves in recent memory, Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) will do multiple episodes of the new season of TNT’s Southland…FX has given season premiere dates to Justified (1/8) and Anger Management & Archer (both 1/17)…Syfy has given six episode 1st season orders to three new reality series; Ghost Mine (1/16) follows a group of miners going back to work in a just re-opened gold mine and the paranormal investigators looking into the history of where they work, Stranded (2/27) puts three people in a haunted building for a weekend with no contact with the outside world, and Notorious Hauntings (spring 2013) involves a team of experts looking into extreme reports of paranormal activity throughout the world…Fox has moved Touch yet again, pushing back the season two premiere to Friday, February 8th but making the night a two hour event for the show…AMC is adding Thursdays to their nights of original programming as of February 14th, with the second half of Comic Book Men’s second season kicking things off at 9pm, followed by the series premier of Freakshow at 9:30 (behind the scenes at a famed California tourist attraction) and then the taxidermy competition series Immortalized at 10pm. The network also ordered a first season of Owner’s Manual, where each week the hosts see if a task can be completed easier on its own or when using the owner’s manual (think driving a big rig truck, operating high tech security equipment)…

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 7 Days…)
“Give my nipples a purpose”… “So he’s saying everything up this point has been foreplay? Are you kidding me? That’s ridiculous! What are you going to do for 20 minutes? Boooring! Yaaaaawn! Am, I right, ladies?”…”vagenius”…”the downstairs girl cookie”…I could go on and on with lines that made me laugh out loud from Tuesday’s incredibly funny episode of New Girl, and that wouldn’t even mention Schmidt’s appointment at the gynecologist, which rivaled the classic Friends scene where Monica teaches Chandler how to please a woman by number.

One of the great things about a comedy that takes the time to fully flush out its characters is that when it then puts them in awkward or uncomfortable situations, we can anticipate the reactions as well as enjoy them. Nick’s freak out at the conversation matter at his dinner with four women was funny on its own but more so because we could see it coming.

I laughed – both inside and out – at almost the entire episode, plus it found time to have Schmidt come to the realization that he had been in love with CeCe in a way that was totally believable and in character.

Every episode isn’t perfect but New Girl has shown no signs of a sophomore slump. Actually, combining this week with the previous week’s Thanksgiving outing and one could make the claim the show has never been better.

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…

Over the long weekend I burned through a bunch of Late Late Show’s I had built up in my Tivo, including the above Jay Leno episode. I must admit that while not being a Leno fan, he did come across pretty well in this, like a funny and actually human person, which is rare for him. I credit Craig Ferguson for creating an environment where Leno could relax a bit for a change…I enjoyed the Ben and Kate pilot well enough but since then the show has really grown on me, with a genuine warmth and chemistry among the cast that translates on the screen; we had a mini-marathon last night and I came away more on board than ever. Yes, they need to let some of the supporting characters be supporting (a little less BJ, please), but I laugh throughout and usually am caught off guard by a joke or a plot point each week, which is high praise. Also, you can’t undersell how nice it is to have a show with an actual opening credits sequence that includes some great harmonies and shots that make sense in the grand scheme of the show…Last week’s Scarface-meets-The-Chocolate-War episode of Raising Hope was almost note perfect in its mockery/homage, another example of how fantastically adaptable this cast and writing staff is. Maw Maw in the closet may have provided the funniest lines of the night. This week’s outing was also top notch; “you can be happily married or you can be right but you can’t be both” may be an old line but it still works great…Fantastic execution to a slow build on the season finale of Cover Affairs. “I’m glad we’re having this talk” indeed…This week’s Comic Book Men was my favorite of the season and maybe even of the series because of the different-than-usual look we got at Walt, from his simulating dirty sex talk from a Smurf to his incredibly warm and genuine response to being reunited with a toy from his youth…Watching the Revolution mid-season finale last night it was clear the episode was written before NBC came up with their brilliant strategy of giving the show a 4 month break as there really was nothing about the cliffhanger different than anything else we had seen before, not to mention they aired essentially 100% of those final seconds on the commercials all week anyway. I don’t blame the show for that since no one told them to come up with an ending that would leave viewers on the edge of their seats for longer than the average summer hiatus. If it were in charge of the show I’d have done the entire episode based around the Miles – Monroe faceoff, complete with flashbacks of their friendship from kids to adults, instead of saving it for the last 8 minutes. I’d have ended the previous episode with them locking eyes for the first time in five years and then opened this week with them playing some sort of kid’s game. We could have really gotten a feel for Monroe’s descent into evil madness that way and also been given a look at how Miles ended up where he is now as well. I know that’s not really a critique as much as it is fantasy booking a TV show but I really do think my version is better…Not sure what was more shocking on last this week’s How I Met Your Mother, the return of alternate universe Willow or that Marshall’s professional future was in the hands of Mr. Belding. The final scene was a reminder of just how strong an actor Neil Patrick Harris is and why we root for Barney so much despite his Lothariac ways…The Mindy Project still needs to fully figure out its point of view but it makes me laugh out loud every week so I am more than happy to go along for the ride until it finds itself; given time to develop by Fox, I could see Mindy being huge in season two…I am not a huge fan of Geoffrey Zakarian being a judge on Next Iron Chef unless the plan going forward is to have the previous winner be on the panel the following season (that might be cool, actually) because I think he is too close to some of the competitors but I recognize that may be to the benefit of my personal favorite, Alex, so maybe I shouldn’t complain too much…Team Christina being out of the running proves just how strongly positive a change it was on The Voice to have the finalists go home purely by audience vote and not on a one-per-coach basis…Another week, another excellent hour from Homeland; while other high quality, high tension shows like Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead may take my breath away, Homeland is one of the few shows I watch and find myself holding my breath…Season three of Boardwalk Empire has been the show’s best to date…

TV Pick Of The Week
Two of the best shows on all of television sign off for a while this week, with Sons of Anarchy done until next fall while The Walking Dead’s break is for just a few months. Both series share the themes of family and what we will do to protect them; both series use exaggerated experiences that the average person could never truly understand to make their dramatic points and it’s a testament to the quality of the acting and the writing that the audience still finds themselves mentally walking in the character’s shoes and examining what they would do if it were them. Zombies and biker gangs may be the flashy diving in points but these shows are about love, trust, and the pain of betrayal. Both have produced laughs, tears, and chills this season and both will undoubtedly be in the top 5 on my upcoming Best of 2012 column.

Don’t miss the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, Sunday at 9pm, AMC, and the season finale of Sons of Anarchy, Tuesday at 10pm on FX.

Two Tivos To Paradise
3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, 30 Rock, After the Catch, American Idol, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, 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, 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 Academy, Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Lab, Glee, Gossip Girl, 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, 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, Texas Multi Mammas, Top Chef, Top Chef Just Desserts, Top Chef: Masters, Top Design, Tosh.0, True Blood, 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 a look at the last seven days in TV headlines!

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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