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TV Bulletin Board, Thurs., July 2) -- ReelzChannel to the rescue (again)


No longer operative on NBC or Univision, it’ll be on ReelzChannel.

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The still obscure ReelzChannel again has stepped in as an adoption agency for orphaned TV programming.

It will proudly present the Donald Trump-tainted Miss USA pageant on July 12th after Univision backed out and NBC followed suit four days later.

Stan E. Hubbard, CEO of the Minnesota-based cable network, announced on Thursday that acquiring the rights to the pageant is “based on our belief that this special event, and the women who compete in it, are an integral part of American tradition. As one of only a few independent networks, we decided to exercise our own voice and committed ourselves to bringing this pageant to American viewers everywhere.”

Networks, hosts and judges began bailing on the Trump-owned pageant after his heavily publicized slams at Mexican immigrants during his June 16th announcement that he’s running for president as a Republican.

“When Mexico sends its people,” he said, “they’re not sending the best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.”

In 2011, ReelzChannel picked up The Kennedys miniseries after History Channel paid for its production and then decreed it “not a fit for the brand.” The 8-hour production, which starred Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, Tom Wilkinson and Barry Pepper, ended up receiving 10 Emmy nominations and won four.

There’s possibly more work to do for ReelzChannel on the abandoned programming front. The TV Land network this week yanked reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard because its signature General Lee vehicle has a Confederate flag on its roof. Co-star John Schneider angrily told The Hollywood Reporter, “Are people who grew up watching he show now suddenly racists? Will they have to go through a detox and a 12-step program to kick their Dukes habit?”

For now, ReelzChannel also is home to Hollywood Hillbillies, its most popular program, as well as Branson’s Taxi, Master P’s Family Empire, Celebrity Damage Control and repeats of Access Hollywood Live.

Its most immediate challenge, in light of the Miss USA pageant acquisition, will be finding identifiable people to host and judge it. Dropouts include previously announced hosts Cheryl Burke and Thomas Roberts (an anchor for MSNBC), and former Dallas Cowboys star Emmitt Smith, who had signed on as a judge.

***NBC has renewed one serial killer and canceled another. The network’s summer series Aquarius, starring David Duchovny and built around the pursuit of Charles Manson, is getting a second season. But Hannibal has been axed in its third season after being eaten alive in the prime-time ratings. For now, though, new episodes continue to air on Thursday nights.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Tues., March 24) -- The X Files returning to Fox while Easter Sunday is loaded with prime attractions


X-rated anew on Fox: truth-seekers Dana Scully and Fox Mulder.

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
It had begun to seem as though a continuation of The X Files on Fox was about as likely as a 24 feature film. Lots of false starts but no payoff.

But a renewal of the famed sci-fi series is now an officially announced reality, with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reuniting as Fox Mulder and Dana Scully in a six-episode “event series.” Creator/executive producer Chris Carter also is returning as show runner, Fox said Tuesday. Production is scheduled to start this summer.

“I think of it as a 13-year commercial break,” Carter said in a publicity release. “The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories.”

The X Files premiered on Fox in September, 1993, ages before Facebook, Twitter and the whole social media upheaval. It nonetheless became a much-talked about phenomenon in those primitive times. The series ran for nine seasons and 202 episodes while also spawning two big-screen films starring Duchovny and Anderson.


Showtime has ordered 12 episodes of Billions, a new drama series starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis, who will be returning to the network after three seasons as the ill-fated Nicholas Brody on Homeland.

The network describes it as a “complex and contemporary drama about power politics in the New York world of high finance.” The series is due in 2016, with Giamatti playing “hard-charging, politically savvy” U.S. attorney Chuck Rhoades and Lewis cast as “brilliant, ambitious” hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod.


Easter Sunday, April 5th, threatens to run DVRs into the ground with a wealth of significant premieres plus the return of AMC’s Mad Men for its concluding seven-episode run, subtitled “The End of an Era.”

Besides Don Draper’s last stand, here’s what else is coming on Easter night.

*PBS’ Wolf Hall, a six-part Masterpiece presentation starring Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and the aforementioned Lewis as Henry VIII.
*HBO’s Sinatra: All or Nothing At All, a two-night, four-hour documentary on the legendary singer.
*NBC’s American Odyssey, an ambitious, Homeland-like drama series delving into global politics, corporate espionage and military skullduggery.
*Lifetime’s The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, an eight-episode continuation of the network’s hit movie starring Christina Ricci in the title role.
*NBC’s A.D. The Bible Continues, post-crucifixion sequel to the History network’s The Bible.
*ABC’s annual reprise of The Ten Commandments

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Mon., March 9) -- demonic killers, big prize competitions spur NBC's summertime schedule


Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony) strums up business in Aquarius. NBC photo

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NBC’s “tentpole” summertime premieres include three name-brand returnees and a new series in which David Duchovny chases down Charles Manson.

Aquarius, starting on Thursday, May 28th, stars Duchovny as LAPD Sgt. Sam Hodiak, who joins two other cops in pursuing Manson (Gethin Anthony) “down a rabbit hole of drugs, sex, murder and a cultural revolution.” It’s set in 1967.

Another twisted psycho, Hannibal Lecter, is due back on Thursday, June 4th for Season 3 of Hannibal. That’ll put the series in tandem with Aquarius for a full two-hours of maniacal killers and manipulators.

The Peacock’s biggest summertime hit, America’s Got Talent, launches its 10th season on Tuesday, May 26th. And American Ninja Warrior will be back the night before on Monday, May 25th.


CBS has its major hot weather attractions lined up. Big Brother is first in line with a Wednesday, June 24th re-launch. It also will air on Thursdays and Sundays.

Season 3 of Under the Dome gets going on Thursday, June 25th and the second season of Extant is due on Wednesday, July 1st.

The network’s summertime newcomer is Zoo, adapted from the James Patterson novel. James Wolk (Mad Men, The Crazy Ones) heads the cast as a “renegade biologist” battling a wave of animal attacks against humans who presumably aren’t members of PETA. Kristen Connolly (House of Cards) co-stars.


Kevin Spacey, currently skewering his many enemies as President Frank Underwood on Netflix’s House of Cards, has been signed to produce the six-part docu-series Race For the White House for airing in 2016 on CNN.

Each of the one-hour chapters will revisit a “no-holds-barred” presidential campaign. CNN hasn’t announced which ones yet.


CBS on Monday, March 9th launched “Viewers to Volunteers,” which the network says “empowers people to give to a charity of their choice without spending their own money.” D-FW is the one of the first four “launch markets,” joining Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. For more information on how this all works, go here.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Tues., Feb. 3) -- Supie sets another record


Even last year’s blowout of the Denver Broncos by the Seattle Seahawks set a new record as the most-watched TV program ever with 112.2 million viewers nationally.

So it was hard to imagine Sunday’s down-to-the-wire Super Bowl XLIX classic not bettering that mark.

The New England Patriots’ 28-24 win over the Seahawks, still the sports commentary gift that keeps on giving, averaged 114.4 million viewers on NBC. So that makes it the new kingpin -- at least until the 2016 Supie.

On the other hand, NBC’s post-Super Bowl new episode of The Blacklist was no record-breaker. It drew 25.7 million viewers, the most since NBC’s 2012 followup, The Voice, amassed 37.6 million viewers.

The all-time record-holder for post-game attractions is still NBC’s 1996 guest star-studded episode of Friends, which drew 52.9 million viewers and likely will never be equaled.

Also on Sunday, NBC’s special live edition of Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show had 9.8 million viewers.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Tues., Jan. 6) -- Fallon's Tonight Show was the small screen's Colossus of 2014


Party on. Jimmy Fallon’s first new Tonight Show of the new year with guest Bradley Cooper. But yes, they’ve done this before. NBC photo

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Television’s man of the past year? Without question it was Jimmy Fallon.

Count me among the naysayers who initially thought he could never sustain this. Then number me among those who were very wrong.

Fallon took over NBC’s Tonight Show from Jay Leno on Feb. 17th of last year. He debuted to blockbuster ratings, which wasn’t surprising. But after almost a year on the job, Fallon continues to crush his late night competition in both total viewers and advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. This shows absolutely no signs of abating, even when Stephen Colbert takes over for David Letterman some time after his announced May 20th finale.

The Tonight Show doesn’t rely on its host’s interviewing skills, which remain pretty minimal. But the stunts he pulls with his game A-list guests continue to multiply and flourish. And Fallon, at a still very boyish looking age 40, is more than young enough to still pull them off. Edgy confrontation just isn’t his game. Instead it’s fun and games -- and the people have spoken. It’s what they want.

The “fourth quarter” ratings for 2014 (October through December) are just in. They’re not pretty for either Letterman or Jimmy Kimmel, who’s had the West Coast to himself for almost a year but can’t seem to make any real headway against Fallon.

The Tonight Show averaged 4.051 million viewers for last year’s closing three months. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! drew 2.784 million and CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman was a smidgen behind him with 2.719 million.

Among 18-to-49-year-olds, Fallon drew 1.486 million viewers. It took Kimmel (825,000) and Letterman (660,000) combined to equal him.

Fallon’s first new Tonight Show of 2015 kept the beat going with guest Bradley Cooper. They again wore funny hats and goofed on one another before Cooper did his air guitar version of the Neil Young solo from “Down By the River.” Another night, another show-stopper, with Kimmel and Letterman perhaps again wondering what hit them. Here’s the video to show what we mean.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net