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TV Bulletin Board (Thurs., Sept. 26) -- Emmy ratings outnumber critical slams


Host Neil Patrick Harris after 2nd Emmy production number. CBS photo

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Sunday night’s 65th annual prime-time Emmy Awards telecast on CBS outflanked its critics by rolling up the show’s biggest national Nielsen numbers since 2005.

The three-hour, 11 minute salute to television’s finest averaged 17.76 million viewers, easily outdrawing last year’s ceremony (13.26 million). Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, who participated in not one but two lengthy onstage production numbers, the program also showed increases in three key audience demographic groups -- 18-to-34-year-olds, 18-to-49-year-olds and 25-to-54-year-olds.

CBS’ 2005 Emmy telecast, which aired in August and didn’t have to compete against NBC’s potent Sunday Night Football, drew 18.6 million viewers. But this year’s Emmy ceremony benefited in part from a substantial lead-in audience watching the closing minutes of a close New York Jets-Buffalo Bills game on CBS. The game ended two minutes before Emmy’s scheduled 7 p.m. (central) start time, although a subsequent bloc of commercials pushed it back a few minutes.


Renewal notices: HBO has green-lighted a Season 5 of Boardwalk Empire, whose fourth season fired up on September 8th. And FX has committed to a Season 2 of The Bridge, which will have its Season 1 finale on Wednesday, Oct. 2nd.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Wed., Sept. 11) -- AMC greenlights Breaking Bad spinoff


Bob Okenkirk as shyster attorney Saul Goodman. AMC photo

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Just three episodes remain in Breaking Bad’s 5th and final season, with a shootout in progress at the end of Sunday’s hour.

Bridging the gap, AMC has officially given a shout-out to creator Vince Gilligan’s publicly stated desire to do a BB spinoff series starring Bob Odenkirk’s super-crooked attorney character, Saul Goodman.

The network announced Wednesday that the tentatively titled Better Call Saul will be a one-hour prequel focusing on the “evolution of the popular Saul Goodman character before he ever became Walter White’s lawyer.”

This presumably could exhume some of Goodman’s prior associations with the now dead Gus Fring and Mike Ehrmantraut, respectively played by Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks. All three characters first appeared on Breaking Bad during Season 2.

The series finale of Breaking Bad is scheduled for Sept. 29th, when it will go directly against Showtime’s Season 3 premiere of Homeland.

AMC also has announced a second cancellation of The Killing after Season 3 failed to generate much buzz or ratings power. The Killing likewise was canceled after Season 2, but AMC later resurrected it.


The five new Kennedy Center honorees, announced Thursday, are Billy Joel, Shirley MacLaine, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock and opera singer Martina Arroyo. This will be the 36th time around, and CBS says it has telecast a taped presentation of the awards ceremony every year since its inception. This year’s program will be shown on Sunday, Dec. 29th.


Saturday Night Live’s new cast remains unannounced after the departures of Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen. But the show’s 38th season has its first three hosts and musical guests.

Former SNL stalwart Tina Fey will step in first, fronting the Sept. 28th season premiere with musical guest Arcade Fire.

Then comes, urp, Miley Cyrus, who will both host and perform on Oct. 5th.

The Oct. 12th host is Bruce Willis, with musical guest Katy Perry.

SNL also will be losing “Weekend Update” anchor and head writer Seth Meyers when he takes over NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon early next year. Fallon will be supplanting Jay Leno, who for a second time is being dropped as Tonight Show host despite remaining No. 1 in all key ratings measurements.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Wed., Sept. 4) -- Harper dares to dance


Valerie Harper during new DWTS cast announcement. ABC photo

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Valerie Harper won’t be asking for any pity parties. Then again, who’s going to vote her off?

Still diagnosed with terminal brain cancer but reportedly feeling better in recent weeks, 74-year-old Valerie Harper likely will be the prohibitive favorite when ABC’s Dancing with the Stars begins its 17th season on Monday, Sept. 16th.

Because of diminishing ratings and an increasingly older viewership, the show has been downsized to one night a week this fall. “When life asks you to dance, you just have to dance,” Harper says in the new issue of People.

Her pro partner will be Tristan MacManus in a field that also includes Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of Jersey Shore fame, the obligatory ex-NFL star (Kayshawn Johnson) and of course an entrant from the Disney Channel roster (Corbin Bleu). Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, still strongly identified with what ABC prefers to call “the cult hit” Showgirls, and Texas-born comedian Bill Engvall will be hoofing and puffing, too. Here’s the complete field, with pro partners in parentheses.

Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (Valentin Chmerkovskiy)
Corbin Bleu (Karina Smirnoff)
Brant Daugherty (Peta Murgatroyd)
Bill Engvall (Emma Slater)
Valerie Harper (Tristan MacManus)
Keyshawn Johnson (Sharna Burgess)
Christina Milian (Mark Ballas)
Bill Nye (Tyne Stecklein)
Jack Osbourne (Cheryl Burke)
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (Sasha Farber)
Leah Remini (Tony Dovolani
Amber Riley (Derek Hough)


Fox officially has its “Dream Team” set for Season 13 of American Idol, which it’s calling American Idol XIII in hopes of adding some luster.

Harry Connick Jr. will be the third judge, joining holdover Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez, who’s returning after a year’s absence. And Randy “Yo Dawg” Jackson, banished from the judge’s table, is now bouncing back as the show’s in-residence “mentor,” supplanting Jimmy Iovine. Ryan Seacrest returns as host, with the first auditions firing up in Boston.

As with DWTS, Idol has seen a substantial ratings erosion of late, although its percentage of advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds is still far superior to the ABC show.


The new FXX network, offshoot of FX, begins in earnest on Wednesday, Sept. 4th with the new season premieres of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (9 p.m. central), The League (9:30 p.m.) and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell (10 p.m.). FXX is replacing the Fox Soccer Channel.


HBO has announced that the seventh season of True Blood will be its last. Consisting of 10 episodes, it’s scheduled to launch next summer. On the upside, HBO has renewed The Newsroom for a Season 3, with star Jeff Daniels tweeting the news Tuesday night.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net