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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.

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7 Responses to TV Breakage Week #2

  • - Beth, the GF says:

    I thought I saw somewhere that Wayne Knight was joining the cast of Torchwood. True? Or did I see that here. (Although I didn't think so.)

  • NEWMAN!

    He's supposed to guest star in an episode. I could see him as a semi-regular in the cast, but I dunno if that will come to pass or not.

  • Anne Packrat says:

    Justified was great. It's one of the best written shows on TV (behind Psych and the sadly gone Terriers).

    I never really watched Torchwood before, but since I had just gotten into Doctor Who (Donna forever!) I gave Children of Earth a try and liked it a lot. Hopefully the new season / series lives up to that.

  • Bill says:

    I had hopes for "Mr. Sunshine", but it was terrible. I'm sure having the time slot after "Modern Family" helps it ratings-wise, but it looks extra bad by comparison.

    Can't wait till "Torchwood" comes back! Of course, I'll have to make friends with someone who gets Starz…

  • guest says:

    Hey Newt,

    I have to say that I think you should give Pawn stars another chance. I understand what you said about it, but as someone who watches the show a lot I can assure you they actually are fairly decent guys. I've seen several episodes where people have come in with stuff looking to get a few hundred bucks, and the guys tell them that their stuff is actually worth a lot more, and offer them a higher price than they asked for. And I've seen many episodes where they will buy something for more than it's worth, and get swindled on the deal. Plus, like you said, they call in experts to give appraisals, and if the people want more money they are free to walk out with their stuff and go home. Usually it's people trying to make a quick buck on some garage sale find or something they got out of an attic, which means even if the people only get half of what something is worth, then they still made a big profit.

    Now the Detroit version of the show, well, that's just sad. It's where there are real swindles going on.

    Great column. I'm enjoying the new format a lot!

  • I'm excited for Torchwood.

    I wasn't sold on Mr. Sunshine (now that I've watched it) but I might give it a few episodes to see if it can turn into something. As of right now, it's sort of, whatever.

  • Thanks for the kind words. I'll try to give the show another shot down the line. I was pretty turned off in my first viewing, but I suppose it's possible I caught a bad episode.