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It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these TV Breakage columns, but with new Fall seasons in full swing it seems like the right time. I actually have a few shows I want to talk about, so why not get into the thick of it? If you have a television show or channel that you’d like to see brought to attention here, feel free to comment and let us know.

Networks

Even though I think Donald Trump is scum of the Earth, I am getting excited for NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars, which debuts March 3. Trump himself adds little to the show aside from occasionally firing the wrong person on a whim, just because, but the rest of the dynamic is fun. Penn Jillette had an interesting piece on Trump a while back where he revealed that behind the scenes Trump would spend sometimes hours in the boardroom ranting and raving about bizarre radical right wing things. Of course, despite his critique, Jillette is back for this version of the show.

It’s a strong cast, probably stronger than any before it, but the female lineup is pretty weak. Unfortunately Trump seems to have only ever picked females on the Celebrity Apprentice based on their looks. NBC literally has nothing else going on and aside from some sort of pilot they’re working on about the life of Jessica Simpson in the style of Curb Your Enthusiasm, I can’t imagine I’ll be watching them much. Not that the Jessica show would make me watch anyway. I’m pretty sure her life is just getting pregnant all the time, right?

For the first time in a long time, I gave a show on FOX a shot and I’ve fallen in love with The Mindy Project. I honestly can’t recommend this show enough. If you gave it a shot and didn’t like it for some reason, I suggest trying it again. I caught just a couple minutes of an episode one night and decided to tape it. By the next day I was downloading all the episodes and my girlfriend and I were laughing regularly. It’s rare that a show has laugh out loud moments in it, but The Mindy Project does. The show is sort of a cross between Scrubs and 30 Rock, back when 30 Rock wasn’t just a ridiculous parody of itself, and although it might be a “girls” show, guys shouldn’t have any problem watching it.

Of course, since The Mindy Project is on FOX, it’s in jeopardy of being canceled. The show has done a bit better (but not gangbusters) in the ratings as of late, so I’m hoping it gets a second season. Elsewhere on FOX, it looks like lots of shows are going to be dumped and The Cleveland Show could get the axe too. I must confess I’ve never watched a single episode. The Following is getting a huge hype campaign from FOX and it will debut next Tuesday. I’m going to check it out, only because I like Kevin Bacon.

Fringe will air it’s final episode tonight in a two hour finale. I really liked Fringe, although I got on board a bit late. That said, what I’ve watched of the final season (I’ve only see a few as the rest are on my DVR) hasn’t been my favorite. I liked it when the show was much more of a supernatural police procedural, than whatever the heck this last season has become.

I’ve finally given up on ABC’s Last Man Standing and it’s a total shame too. I actually quite liked the show, even if it was sort of Home Improvement-lite in it’s first season. Season 2 is basically an entirely different show, with major cast changes, plot changes and the total arrangement of the program has shifted. Tim Allen is now Archie Bunker, but the show refuses to go full bore with it, both trying to have their cake and eat it too. Every other line out of Allen’s mouth is anti-Obama and it’s really annoying. I don’t tune into 30 minute sitcoms to hear political crap.

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Welcome to TV Breakage, an InfiniteHollywood.com exclusive, covering all the latest television industry news. Be sure to check out the bottom of the column this week as we have some exclusive C2E2 video content with Jon Bernthal from the Walking Dead. As always if you have a television show or channel that you’d like to see brought to attention here, feel free to comment and let us know.

Networks
Right off the bat, NBC is canceling Perfect Couples, but will be reviving a pilot from last season, The Paul Reiser Show. The latter was passed on but is now getting a second chance. I’ve always liked Paul Reiser, so it should be interesting to see if his new show works. It’s more or less like Curb Your Enthusiam as it’s a fake “real” look at his life.

Perhaps the best news on NBC is that Community, Parks & Recreation and The Office were all renewed. Of those shows, I only watch Community but I know they’re all fan favorites. The Office is in a bit of transition, with Steve Carell leaving. As for the show I do watch, I think Community is one of the funniest shows on television some of the time and at other times I think they go too far into the absurd to really be funny as they could be. I much preferred the show when there was some actual pretense that this was a show about adults in college. While this Thursday night comedy block is clearly the best thing NBC has going right now, every show was down this past week, including a new series low for the aforementioned Community. Ouch!

America’s Next Great Restaurant isn’t doing great on NBC, but I actually think it’s a fun show. Maybe it would have been a better fit for the Food Network. The new season of Celebrity Apprentice is doing fairly well, but I think perhaps NBC should have put it as the lead-in to ANGR.

ABC’s Mr. Sunshine has bounced up and down in the ratings and in quality, but was up quite a bit this past week in terms of numbers thanks to a big lead-in from Modern Family. I’ve been watching Mr. Sunshine now for several weeks and I don’t think it’s terrible. It’s nowhere near as good as Modern Family though and if the former didn’t come on after it, I doubt I’d waste my time DVRing Sunshine. Modern Family may be my favorite sitcom of all time, for the record.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent will begin it’s final season on May 1st, with NBC showing the first episode. NBC has been off and on with showing the program, but USA will also air the program as well. Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe will be back as Detectives Goren and Eames when it begins to air again. I quite liked Jeff Goldblum during his brief stint on the show and I think USA is to blame for the downfall of the program with their constant tinkering more than Goldblum. Of course I’d be lying if I didn’t say that every time I saw Goldblum on L&O:CI I was really wishing he was still on Raines. Goldblum was brilliant on Raines and that was a show that NBC should have invested in for a few seasons.

Cable
Torchwood: Miracle Day is the official new name for the next season of Torchwood, set to debut on Starz, Friday, July 8th. I guess I’m going to have to order Starz. I need me some Torchwood and I suspect ordering Starz just for the program might help the show get a second season.

Fox has renewed Fringe despite the fact that the show’s ratings are on the decline. That’s good news for fans of the JJ Abrams show. I’ve never watched it, but I hear good things. Once I heard it was getting a 4th season, I put it on the Netflix queue and will be watching starting from the beginning this weekend. Some are already speculating that it’s been renewed only so it can be put into a impossible ratings position and then can be quietly canceled next season without outrage. We shall see.

I mentioned a while back about SyFy doing a show about Houdini, but this year they’ve also got some other interesting shows on their plate. Three Inches will be a comedy about superheroes who have lame super powers… Like the ability to move objects with their mind, but only about 3 inches. Me and Lee is about a young guy who is repaired by bionics by Lee Majors. Both of those shows are comedy programs, which to my recollection is pretty new to the network. Unless you count WWE: NXT as comedy. Because it was hilariously, terrible.

FX continues to be one of the best cable networks on TV with shows like Justified and now Ryan Murphy creator of another former FX show, Nip/Tuck will be making a new show called American Horror Story. It’s being billed as “completely original and shocking exploration into the darkest depths of the American heartland”, which sounds interesting enough. Perhaps even more interesting is that each season is supposedly going to be an entire new cast of characters. Few other details are available. This project is being kept, hush-hush.

Anyone else watching Chopped: All Stars? I love the regular Chopped show and have been enjoying the “celebrity” chefs do battle. This weekend is the episode I’m most excited for as the regular judges will be entering the fray.

SUPER BONUS CONTENT
We had a lot of coverage of C2E2 this past week, but one of the highlights was the Walking Dead panel where stars Laurie Holden and Jon Bernthal discussed a lot of what goes into a project like that. The panel was entertaining and not too heavy handed, which made it much more enjoyable than some panels out there which focus too much on trying to tell you how important their work is.

There wasn’t a ton of new information, beyond the Stephen King rumor and news that Frank Darabont will write, but not direct the premiere episode. However the most interesting tidbit came via Jon Bernthal as he discussed Shane’s motivations as a character. Shane has become one of the most interesting characters in the TV adaptation and given that his comic book character was pretty much one note, it’s fascinating to get an inside look at him. Here’s some video I took with Bernthal basically summing up why he thinks Shane is the way he is:


Sources for this column include Travis Yanan, Daily Variety, TVBytheNumbers, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, C2E2 IGN Panel.

Another week down. Don’t let the discussion stop here, feel free to leave me feedback and comments, as well as any programming notes you might want to extend to your fellow man. With that, the remote is yours.


Welcome to TV Breakage, week #3 here at InfiniteHollywood.com, covering all the latest television industry news. We skipped last week because there just really wasn’t much going on and I felt it would be better to pack in twice the info this week than turn in a week’s worth of mostly saying the same. If you have a television show or channel that you’d like to see brought to attention here, feel free to comment and let us know.

Networks
While we’ve been talking a lot about new shows lately, it’s getting dangerously close to time for many shows to see the axe. Unfortunately it looks like CBS’ The Defenders, could be one of them. This upsets me as Defenders was one of the few shows I rolled the dice on and have enjoyed pretty much the whole time. It’s a lighter legal drama and I really think Jerry O’Connell and Jim Belushi play their roles well. CBS is an interesting network, in that shows like the Defenders as an example, score higher ratings than anything on NBC, but for CBS is considered bad. Blue Bloods is also in trouble on CBS, despite doing pretty good as well. The big issue with these shows is that they’re struggling in the coveted 18-49 demographic. Even shows which are stronger on CBS, like The Good Wife could be on their way out. It makes you wonder if someone like NBC wouldn’t try to pick these shows up if they got canceled, though highly unlikely.

Other shows on the chopping block is ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7, No Ordinary Family and V. Interesting to note that pretty much all of these shows had a good buzz coming into this season and yet managed to fizzle out for various reasons. Is there any wonder why jaded folks like myself like to wait until a show has been on the air for a few years before starting it?

Pretty much everything on NBC is on the bubble not named 30 Rock or Law & Order: SVU. The good news for fans of NBC shows is that the bar is set really low over at the peacock these days. Speaking of NBC, they’ve put Silas Weir Mitchell in as one of the leads as a “Big Bad Wolf” for the potential new fall show, Grimm. If you don’t know Silus, well, he’s pretty much that kind of ugly looking guy who’s been in a lot of TV shows the past few years.

Of course the big news of the week was Two and a Half Men basically getting destroyed from the inside by creator Chuck Lorre and star Charlie Sheen calling one another out. The former in one of his little TV signoffs “vanity cards” and the latter in a very public radio interview. Thus ends a turbulent week of changes and rumors on that show, with production completely halted for this season. Being essentially the hottest show on TV and far and away the highest rated sitcom on television, one would imagine this will eventually get resolved or will spell one of the strangest endings to a television show in history. I say swap in Emilio Estevez and see if anyone notices.

Finally, Lex Luthor, Michael Rosenbaum will return to Smallville for the two hour finale later this year. Sweet! I know that will make a lot of fans happy and it was really important to bring him round for the finale.

Cable
Syfy plans to show reruns of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in four hour blocks every Thursday starting next month. I really liked that show and ranked it as one of my Best Shows on Television back in 2008 and I really would have liked to seen another season to wrap up the storylines. Sadly now all that’s left in anyone’s mind about Terminator is that last dreadful movie and toys that won’t leave the shelves of TRU.

Speaking of Syfy, they actually have a pretty interesting pilot in the works putting Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle together as mystery solving buddies in the 1920′s. It’s untitled as of now, but it sounds like an interesting premise. The two men were actually friends in real life, though whether they ever really solved any mysteries together is unknown.

Justified held it’s own in ratings this week, although it didn’t set the world on fire. Hopefully it continues to do well on FX. Yours truly, of course, completely forgot to set it to tape this past week. D’oh! I really need to write down a list of what I’m watching and DVRing these days.

Even Cable is not immune to shows being axed as TBS is getting rid of Glory Daze despite really hyping it up for most the year. I thought the idea of a period piece (well 1980′s) sitcom had some potential, but this seemed a little too American Pie for it’s own good. Then again, I never actually watched it, so maybe it was better than the commercials led me to believe.

Wrasslin Ratings
Perhaps off the back of the return of the Rock or because of all the 2-21-11 nonsense or maybe even because it was a post PPV show WWE Raw jumped up to a 3.9 rating. That has to be pleasing someone in the Vince McMahon camp, though whether that spike can sustain is uncertain. WrestleMania season tends to bring high ratings in general.

Spike TV’s TNA iMPACT ended the week with a 1.3 which is pretty good for both the program and the network. Next week’s show is very hyped and features the return of Hulk Hogan along with some 2-3-11 mysteries of their own, so we’ll have to see if that manages to build off this week’s good rating or not.

Sources for this column include Travis Yanan, Daily Variety, TVBytheNumbers, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, PWTorch.

Another week down. Don’t let the discussion stop here, feel free to leave me feedback and comments, as well as any programming notes you might want to extend to your fellow man. With that, the remote is yours.


Welcome to TV Breakage, week #2 here at InfiniteHollywood.com, covering all the latest television industry news. We have lots of television updates on your favorite shows as we head into TV sweeps as well as plenty of news on the shows that could potentially become your new favorites. If you have a television show or channel that you’d like to see brought to attention here, feel free to comment and let us know.

Networks
NBC continues to be a network that has interesting pilots in the works, such as last week’s mention of Grimm, the police drama set in the world of Brother’s Grimm fairytales. Add The Crossing to that list. The Crossing is a Western set in the wild west, naturally. This marks the first time a major network has had interest in a “western” style show in ages. Of course these were big draws for decades in television with Gunsmoke being the longest-running dramatic series in the history of TV. Bonanza also had a 14 year run as well, which just goes to show you how powerful the genre used to be.

Of course, the era of the Western has long since passed, but recent films in the genre might give a show like The Crossing a chance to break out and breath life back into the small screen versions of the west. HBO’s Deadwood was an instant classic, but it would never have found a home on a non-cable network due to it’s racy nature. This was originally a project slated for FX, which is about as good a recommendation as one could have for something like this, although it should be noted that FX passed on the series. The real question will be if NBC is the network where a show like this could survive. That largely remains to be seen, but NBC’s dire straits of ratings has made them the network willing to take more chances in terms of ordering pilots.

While new programming might sound good on paper, NBC’s current lineup of new shows isn’t faring very well. Comedy Perfect Couples looks as though it’s set to be canceled after just one season. Perhaps Olivia Munn should have kept her day job? I never watched the show, but the previews looked terrible. Chuck is once again on the bubble. Of course Chuck fans will note that Chuck has been on the bubble every season it’s been on and at this point, smart money is actually to bet on Chuck sticking around than disappearing.

It’s a shame that NBC had no faith in Chuck during it’s first two seasons when the show was really hitting it’s stride creatively, as the writing seems to be consistently “wrapping up all the plotlines” in case it’s getting canceled, to having to reopen them all back up. Plus NBC cut the budget down to the point that pretty much all the fun side characters make one or two cameos per season, as opposed to being part of the every episode cast. Subsequent seasons have suffered as a result, though I do still enjoy the program, just not as much as I used to.

NBC isn’t the only network with an axe pointed at some popular shows as CBS isn’t sure if Blue Bloods or The Defenders will see another season. I liked both programs, though I haven’t seen as much of the former as I have the latter. For those keeping score at home, Defenders is almost certainly canceled, while Blue Bloods does have a better shot. Dan Akroyd will be appearing on Defenders tonight, though, and the show is fun enough that you might as well enjoy the ride out.

While the peacock is taking some interesting chances, CBS’ impending lineup of new shows sound downright terrible to me. Including an untitled project from “Deuce Bigalow” Rob Schneider about marrying into a Mexican-American family. Think My Big Fat Greek Life but with more taco jokes. Other “brilliant” ideas include Home Grown, a situational comedy about a man, his wife, her mom, their daughter and their daughter’s son all living in the same house. These are the “chances” that CBS is willing to take. Other CBS pilots include more of the same with cop and CIA shows, as The Rookies and Person of Interest respectively represent.

ABC is testing a pilot for a show that has a baffling title if nothing else going for it… Don’t Trust The Bitch in Apartment 23 will be getting a tryout on the network. Much to my dismay it’s not about living next to a suspected serial killer. Apparently it’s about a girl whose new roommate is a party girl. We’re a long way away from Perfect Strangers, are we not? I can’t even imagine TV Guide printing the name of the show, much less promoting it. Then again CBS has a program called Shit My Dad Says and that hasn’t done them any favors either.

Fox is gearing up for a pilot called Little In Common about families who have, well, little in common, but having to come together for school and sports stuff with their kids. I’m thinking some sort of Modern Family rip-off. Speaking of Modern Family (and jumping back to ABC programming), it continues to kick ass and take names, with a series high in total numbers this past week. Good for the crew over there at Modern Family as it’s one of the funniest and best shows on TV. It manages not only to provide a variety of layers of laughter, but has a heart and soul underneath as well. Very few shows can pull that off.

Perhaps off the back of Modern Family, ABC’s Mr. Sunshine debuted strong. I DVRed it, but haven’t watched it yet. Dailymotion was beating me over the head with advertisements last week for the program. I thought I’d give it a shot and see if Dailymotion was truly just annoying me or offering good advice.

Finally, CW has announced that Smallville will end on May 20th and run two hours. I suspect that will be treated as a big event. Smallville’s high ratings almost made CW consider doing one more season, but with a new Superman movie on the horizon, this will be as good a time as any to end the program.

Cable
Conan dipped two tenths in ratings after a brief resurgence this past week. It appeared that Coco had better guests, so I can only suggest that if you like O’Brien that you actually watch the show. TBS’ weak primetime lineup probably isn’t doing the redhead any favors, but the show has really been fun to watch and I hope more people tune back in.

Good news for fans of Justified as the FX show premiered to numbers just slightly below that of it’s original premiere and way up from the Season 1 finale. Even the second run of Justified at 11 PM did quite well in the ratings. It’s still sitting in the DVR for myself as I had a bit of a sleepy week, but I’m hearing the show hasn’t skipped a beat. Definitely something to check out if you want to watch a show that’s highly entertaining.

Mekhi Phifer has joined the cast of the BBC/Starz version of Torchwood and will be joining John Barrowman and Eve Myles in the 4th season of the show. I quite like the sci-fi drama and did a complete Torchwood Overview last year. However I should note that Phifer is one of those guys who’s mere face annoys me and I hope he gets eaten by a Blowfish monster in the first episode… Or at the very least the writing finds a way to make me like him.

After last week’s discussion of Pawn Stars I decided to tune in to see what the fuss was about. While I can see the appeal of the show, I quickly lost all interest as the whole point of the program appears to be to rip off the patrons of the store. Granted, I realize this is the point of pawn shops, but I don’t have the stomach for it. As one man’s historic George Washington buttons were appraised at around $15,000 they were sold for a mere $3,000. The “Pawn Star” then turned the camera and gloated about the fact that he could easily sell them for 3X as much and all that was missing was the laugh of Muttley to make me feel like I was watching a program about Dick Dastardly. I think I’ll stick to Antiques Roadshow, where at least I can pretend people are able to sell their stuff for big bucks, as opposed to being hoodwinked on national television.

Storage Wars is one the strongest shows ratings wise on television right now. So much so that it beat FX’s aforementioned Justified season premiere. The show is apparently about guys who go around and buy up repossessed storage units in search of treasure. Can someone tell me a good reason to watch this show? Or how such a show exists? Or how such an occupation exists?

Wrasslin Ratings
I won’t cover the wrestling ratings every week, but since there continues to be some shakeup and I mentioned it last week, I thought I should update this week as well. As suspected WWE Raw saw a drop from last week’s Post-Royal Rumble highs, as it slid to a 3.3 rating. That’s still higher than usual, but down .3 from last year at the same period. A good example of how much the WWE ratings continue to tumble year over year.

I speculated last week if the much hyped Feb. 3 edition of Spike TV’s TNA iMPACT would add up to higher ratings and it appears as though it did. Hitting a 1.31 for the night and peaking with a sixth quarter-hour with a 1.37 rating. The program ranked in the top 5 programs on all of cable for the time period. Anyone who doubts TNA’s growth and general presence on the market need only look at that fact.

Sources for this column include Travis Yanan, Daily Variety, TVBytheNumbers, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, PWTorch and WrestleHeat.

Another week down. Don’t let the discussion stop here, feel free to leave me feedback and comments, as well as any programming notes you might want to extend to your fellow man. With that, the remote is yours.


Welcome to TV Breakage, a new weekly column here at InfiniteHollywood.com, that will cover the latest television industry news. We will try to focus mostly on items that would be of interest to the regular readers of this website. If you have a television show or channel that you’d like to see brought to attention here, feel free to comment and let us know.

Networks
NBC continues to struggle, with comic book oriented show The Cape having it’s season cut short by several episodes. No new episodes have been filmed, meaning these episodes were filmed with the concept of more episodes coming and should the show get canceled (which is VERY likely) there will be no sort of tie-ups or conclusions. In essence, NBC will once again leave you hanging, Heroes style. This is why when NBC debuts a new show that’s not a reality format, I wait until it’s ran at least one season.

I may make an exception if their new show Grimm gets picked up, though. It’s essentially Law & Order, but set in the world of Brothers Grimm fairy tales and is from the writing staff behind Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel, sans Joss Whedon. It sounds fascinating on paper, at the very least. Law & Order: LA will see ADA Rubirosa from the original Law & Order as a new cast member in hopes of reviving some interest in that somewhat fledgling show.

As mentioned above, NBC seems only really capable of making moderate reality show hits. Their scripted television is in the toilet. The Event which was supposed to be NBC’s version of Lost has performed so miserably that it’s return to TV has been pushed out of sweeps and is in serious jeopardy of not seeing a season 2. Late Night isn’t much better, with Leno’s Tonight Show doing considerably worse in the demos than Conan did in the same time period last year as host of Tonight. Perhaps a drama about the late night drama should have been on the peacock’s schedule this year.

On the subject of NBC reality shows, guilty pleasure The Celebrity Apprentice returns on March 6th. I still have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth from the last real Apprentice, in which Trump chose the wrong winner. Still, with Meatloaf, Gary Busey and Dionne Warwick in the cast, it’s sure to be fun. NBC also has a new reality show that will be in a block with Celebrtiy Apprentice on the 6th called America’s Next Great Restaurant. The show which features Bobby Flay and Curtis Stone among others as judges, will see the winner receive their own restaurant chain. Sounds interesting enough to me, but I’m generally a fan of the Food Network style cooking reality shows.

CBS is brushing off the recent drama and current rehab stint for Charlie Sheen and will use extra episodes of Rules of Engagement and Mike & Molly to fill in the gap for missing Two and a Half Men eps. I don’t watch the Charlie Sheen comedy but it’s a huge hit. Sheen’s rehab is to my reward as I do like Patrick Warbuton’s Rules of Engagement. The GF and I gave Mike & Molly about a half dozen or so episodes, but the plot is the exact same every episode and it’s just not very realistic to me. Even for a sitcom it seems overly contrived, although it’s doing pretty fantastic in the ratings.

Elsewhere on the eye, Shat My Dad Says looks like it will be canceled after this season, although that’s not a lock. It certainly seemed like a stupid premise for a show and the show received several retooling efforts before it finally hit the air. It seems that people’s love of William Shatner will only get folks to watch for so long.

The CW will have a new episode of Smallville tonight, as the final season starts to wind down. Unfortunately for me, I’ve been quite behind on this season. I had most of the episodes on my DVR, when it went ker-plunk. I haven’t found the rest of the episodes online, but I hope to catch up before Clark and Lois take their final bow.

CW also has a new show in the works called Awakening which is a drama of sorts set during a zombie apocalypse. I’m not sure if there’s room for more zombie TV shows, but with AMC’s The Walking Dead being a massive hit it’s no surprise that more zombies are going to get greenlit. I suspect the CW show will trend younger than the AMC effort with more of a hip vibe. CW usually does pretty good with horror/sci-fi type shows, and I much lament the loss of Reaper from a few years ago. It, sadly, never quite caught on the way it should have.

Cable
Good news for Conan fans as ratings have started to increase after a pretty significant drop in the post-holiday season. Of interesting note, the crew over at Comedy Central sent a rather scathing press release about O’Brien’s show’s ratings during their touting of The Daily Show’s recent late night ratings victory. It should be noted that O’Brien and Jon Stewart are good friends and this jab seems to be a Comedy Central-TBS scuttlebutt more than anything.

In other late night news, The Late Late Show’s Craig Ferguson will be appearing on Conan’s new talk show soon. This isn’t the first time that Ferguson has appeared on one of Conan’s talk shows, but it is the first time that the two have been together in years. Ferguson is the best new act in late night in decades and getting him and Conan together on the same couch should bring the hilarity.

I’ll confess to being largely ignorant to stuff like Storage Wars, Pawn Stars and Desert Car Kings but they all perform really well in the ratings. Who watches this stuff? Cable is largely a barren wasteland of reality TV shows either about celebrities who are famous for nothing or mundane everyday jobs that wouldn’t be interesting if they weren’t on TV. I really need to get in my pitch to executives for “Plumbers Battle” and “Ice Crosswalk Attendants”, because I’m sure they’d be hits. Add “Goodwill Donation Stars” to that lineup as well.

Thankfully there are a few cable channels bringing the goodness. USA will have a Burn Notice spin-off movie in April titled, The Fall of Sam Axe. Your’s truly is already planning to set the DVR. USA isn’t the only network with some good non-reality programming, as FX’s Archer is back and doing decent in the ratings. The most exciting news in terms of cable programming from where I sit is the return of Justified this Wednesday on FX. Season one was a really good, entertaining ride from start to finish. It was perhaps a little slower than some episodic television, but Deadwood’s Timothy Olyphant is brilliant in the lead. You should check it out, if you haven’t already.

Wrasslin Ratings
USA’s WWE Raw saw a pretty significant spike in ratings post the Royal Rumble, up to a 3.5 total. Meanwhile WWE Smackdown on SyFy has been performing right at about 2.0 and WWE Superstars in the low .5 range. Meanwhile Spike TV’s TNA iMPACT was up as well this past Thursday with a 1.3 cable rating, the program’s highest rating since October 14. TNA averaged 1.93 million viewers over the course of two hours, which is about the third largest average audience in the program’s history.

Whether the Royal Rumble will have the same effect on Smackdown airing tonight or if TNA’s much hyped Feb. 3 episode will see a bump in the ratings isn’t known yet. The gap between WWE programming and TNA programming isn’t as large as some folks would have you believe. Raw will no doubt trend up heading towards Wrestlemania, but as a whole WWE has been trending down in the ratings for the majority of the last year while TNA has made some major strides despite a tumultuous year of scheduling changes and internal shakeups.

Sources for this column include Travis Yanan, Daily Variety, TVBytheNumbers, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide and Baltimore Sun.

Feel free to leave me feedback and comments, as well as any programming notes you might want to extend to your fellow man. With that, the remote is yours.