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TV Bulletin Board (Mon., July 30) -- TV critics fete Louie, Homeland, Game of Thrones

Homeland's Claire Danes and Louis C.K. of FX's Louie.

Showtime's Homeland and FX's Louie topped honorees with two trophies apiece at Saturday night's 28th annual Television Critics Association awards in Beverly Hills.

But neither program was named program of the year. HBO's Game of Thrones instead prevailed while AMC's Breaking Bad beat out Homeland for "Outstanding Achievement in Drama." Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston hosted the ceremony.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Program of the Year -- Game of Thrones
Outstanding Achievement in Drama -- Breaking Bad
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy -- Louie
Individual Achievement in Drama -- Claire Danes, Homeland
Individual Achievement in Comedy -- Louis C.K., Louie
Outstanding New Program -- Homeland
Career Achievement -- David Letterman
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials -- Downton Abbey (PBS)
Outstanding Achievement in News and Information -- 60 Minutes (CBS)
Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming -- So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming -- Switched At Birth (ABC Family)
Heritage Award -- Cheers (NBC)

***CBS has given Unforgettable a reprieve and will return the mind-bending "procedural" crime drama next summer.

"We had very strong research on the show," CBS entertainment president told TV critics during the network's portion of the TCA press tour. "So we did not want to let it go. We saw this as a window of opportunity to put the show on for next season, and we jumped on it."

Unforgettable, which premiered last fall on CBS, stars Poppy Montgomery and Dylan Walsh. Thirteen episodes have been ordered.

***Actress Sarah Jones has rebounded quickly from Fox's cancellation of Alcatraz. She'll be a series regular on CBS' new Vegas, starting with the second episode this fall.

Alcatraz fans were left hanging, with Jones' detective character in critical condition in what turned out to be the final episode of Alcatraz. On Vegas, she'll play a Chicago mobster's daughter named Mia Rizzo. Her assignment in Sin City is running a scam from a casino "count room."

***The CW announced Monday that the three-part web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, will make its TV debut on Thursday, Oct. 9th. Its mastermind is Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), with Neil Patrick Harris starring as the title character and Nathan Fillion (Castle and Whedon's Firely) as his arch enemy, Captain Hammer.

TV Bulletin Board (Thurs., July 26) -- CBS This Morning makes host change, GMA tops Today in key demo after nearly 17-year drought

Norah O'Donnell in pose as White House correspondent. CBS photo

Perhaps it's only a blip compared to the recent morning drama on NBC's Today. But the ratings-starved CBS This Morning announced a similar host change Thursday, naming chief White House Correspondent Norah O'Donnell to replace Erica Hill.

Last month, after an embarrassing buildup to her rumored departure, Today sacked co-host Ann Curry in favor of that network's former chief White House correspondent, Savannah Guthrie. Curry then tearily said goodbye at the end of the show's June 28th telecast.

Hill, who teamed with incumbent Charlie Rose when CBS' latest morning makeover dawned on Jan. 9th, "is in discussions regarding a new role," the network said in a publicity release.

CBS News president David Rhodes said that O'Donnell, formerly with NBC News, "thrives on the kind of original reporting and newsmaker interviews that are the hallmark of CBS This Morning." She's scheduled to start on an undisclosed date this fall and will be giving up the White House beat.

The program, still a distant third in the network morning news ratings, has been positioned as a hard news alternative to the fluffier goings-on at Today and ABC's Good Morning America. So far the needle hasn't budged, with ABC trumpeting its latest GMA success story within minutes of the CBS announcement.

For the first time in nearly 17 years (dating to the week of Nov. 27, 1995), GMA is No. 1 in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. Measurements are for the week of July 16-20.

Actually GMA and Today tied in the latter demographic with 1.737 million viewers apiece while CBS This Morning lagged far back with 877,000.

ABC also noted that GMA's margin in total viewers -- 4.598 million to Today's 4.245 million -- is its largest since May 15, 1995. CBS This Morning averaged 2.341 million viewers for the week.

Today likely will regain its first place perch during two full weeks of on-scene coverage from London's Summer Olympics, which begin on Friday, July 27th with the opening ceremonies.

But is NBC otherwise worried? Yes, very, very worried that Guthrie may not wear well while Today's longtime godfather, Matt Lauer, is perhaps newly perceived by some as the guy who gets what he wants no matter whose heads roll.

***Meanwhile, on NBC's still troubled prime-time front, the network has announced a new 10-episode Dracula series, starring the notably troubled but otherwise very talented Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.

The former Henry VIII of Showtime's The Tudors will play the venerable bloodsucker in what NBC describes as a "sexy, updated twist on the classic." The network's further description says that Dracula "arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier. There's only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan: Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife." Production begins later this year.

Rhys Meyers has had his share of off-screen problems, with several stints in rehab for alcohol abuse and a lifetime ban from flying on United Airlines because of what the airline described as "belligerent and disruptive behavior" during a 2010 incident.

The Dublin-born actor first came to fame in the United States in the 2005 CBS miniseries Elvis, where he played the title role.

TV Bulletin Board (Friday, July 13) -- No mo' J Lo on Idol

Subtract the middle two: Jennifer Lopez also leaving Idol.

On the (high) heels of Steven Tyler's official departure announcement Thursday, Jennifer Lopez said Friday that she too is ending her days as an American Idol judge.

Her venue was the Los Angeles radio show of Idol host Ryan Seacrest. "The time has come," she told him. "It just started feeling like it's a lot. Something had to give."

Tyler said he was leaving to be a full-time member of Aerosmith. Lopez cited similar career reasons after Seacrest told her, "You're breaking up with me."

"I honestly feel the time has come to get back to do what I do," she said. "I have put it on hold because I love Idol so much. You have a lot of other responsibilities and other things you want to do."

"We had an amazing run," she added.

Fox has yet to issue an official release on Lopez's departure. She joined the show in 2011 in tandem with Tyler after alpha male Simon Cowell exited Idol to begin ramping up his own singing competition, The X Factor. That show returns for Season 2 in September with a pair of new judges, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, in place of the fired former Idol judge Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.

Idol seemed re-invigorated in its first post-Cowell season, with Tyler regularly running off the rails while Lopez stated her love for one and all while always looking stunning. But the past season sagged significantly in the ratings, even though Idol's weekly "performance" show reclaimed its position as prime-time's most-watched entertainment series. (NBC's Sunday Night Football ranked No. 1, with CBS' NCIS placing a close third behind Idol's performance shows and ahead of Idol's results shows.)

The ever-grinding rumor mill says that Idol's only remaining charter judge, Randy Jackson, also might be dispatched to a "mentor" role. If so, that's three seats to fill all at once, which is undeniably perilous for a show that had the same three judges in place for its first eight juggernaut seasons.

Season 12, which as usual will launch in January, will retain Seacrest as host amid a sea of rumored judge possibilities. The names in the hopper include Mariah Carey, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Adam Lambert, will.i.am, Fergie, Charlie Sheen and even Jerry Lewis (surely a joke).

Both Tyler and Lopez used Idol to rejuvenate both their singing careers and celebrity clout. But once you're back on top, being a judge can be both extraneous and too time-consuming.

TV Bulletin Board (Thurs., July 12) -- Tyler done with Idol

He began to look pretty bored this season anyway. But Fox's announcement that Steven Tyler is leaving American Idol after two years as a judge nonetheless went against the prevailing grain that Jennifer Lopez would be the first to jump.

The Aerosmith lead singer put it colorfully Thursday, saying in a publicity release, "I've decided it's time for me to let go of my mistress, American ldol, before she boils my rabbit. I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I'm back -- but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I've got two fists in the air and I'm kicking the door open with my band."

Tyler added that his next few years "are going to be dedicated to kicking some serious ass -- the ultimate in auditory takeover . . . Idol was over-the-top fun, and I loved every minute of it. Now it's time to bring rock back."

Fox alternative president Mike Darnell pronounced himself "very sad that Steven has chosen to focus more on his music, but we always knew when we hired a rock 'n' roll legend, he would go back to the music."

Season 12 of Idol won't return until January, so there's ample time to fill Tyler's spangled shoes. One or both of his former Idol mates, Lopez and charter judge Randy Jackson, also could be leaving as Fox hopes to restore momentum to a competition that slumped significantly in the ratings this past season. However, it remained prime-time's most-watched entertainment series despite the shortfall.

***ABC News and People Magazine (increasingly there's little difference) will be teaming in September to present the two-hour special Best In TV: The Greatest TV Shows Of Our Time. Barbara Walters is hosting, with the program tied to ABC's telecast of the annual prime-time Emmy awards. You can vote online for your favorites at bestintelevision.com.

***TNT has renewed its sci-fi drama Falling Skies for a third season. And HBO has announced the third season premiere dates for Boardwalk Empire (Sept. 16) and Treme (Sept. 23). Boardwalk gets 12 episodes and Treme, 10.

Plus, Showtime says that Homeland and Dexter will return for new seasons on Sept. 30th. It'll be Season 2 for Homeland and the seventh go-around for Dexter.