• 'Walking Dead': Extreme Violence Is Now Mainstream Entertainment
    For proof that the old "rules" of TV don't mean much anymore, consider this: The goriest, most violent show on TV is also one of the most popular. "The Walking Dead" is drawing the kinds of audiences that only a handful of shows can ever hope to attract these days -- and with 17.3 million viewers, it's approaching the neighborhood where TV's highest-rated, mainstream shows reside. It's difficult to get one's mind around the fact that a show this violent is scoring ratings in the manner of what used to be known as "mainstream" entertainment.
  • On NBC's New 'Marry Me,' Love Is Strange
    If love is blind, then that must explain why this guy named Jake loves this woman named Annie on NBC's new comedy series called "Marry Me." This show has its series premiere tonight, followed by the season premiere of another NBC sitcom, "About a Boy." if you choose to sample "Marry Me" tonight, you might be left with this question: Why does Jake love Annie in the first place? And here's another one: Why did my review copy of this "Marry Me" premiere contain so many four-letter words that I doubt will make it to air?
  • TV's Alaska Reality Craze Shows No Sign of Thawing
    National Geographic Channel has booked The Ice Bar for a party to promote two of its Alaska reality shows -- "Ultimate Survival Alaska" and "Life Below Zero" -- and intends to fly in a couple of personalities from these two shows for the occasion. The symbolism is clear: NatGeo is sending the message that reality TV shows based in Alaska are still cool, although a casual viewer of these shows might wonder if the nation's northernmost state is in danger of losing its frontier allure now that it's being overrun with reality-TV production crews.
  • Wow Factor: 'Project Runway' Still Making It Work In Season 13
    Unlike some other competition shows that go long, "Project Runway"'s 90 minutes never feel artificially filled or otherwise padded. This season's episodes in particular have been sufficiently suspenseful right up until their final moments, when Heidi Klum says auf wiedersehen to each week's losing designer.
  • Surprise, Surprise! These Two Moves Turned Out To Be Right
    Two high-profile moves made this year by two networks have turned out to be the right ones. Both moves have borne the fruit NBC and ABC were hoping for -- improved ratings, which is the only currency that really matters. Of the two, "World News" has been grabbing all the headlines this week, following the release on Tuesday of the most recent audience figures in the network newscast wars.
  • On 'Homeland,' The War On Terror Drones On
    On TV, as in real life, the War on Terror is a never-ending battle. With all due respect to the thousands of Americans working in our military and intelligence services waging this war in the real world every day, viewers can be excused for experiencing battle fatigue, especially when reflecting on all the War on Terror TV shows we've absorbed over the past dozen or more years. "Homeland" is one of them, and its return this past weekend on Showtime for Season No. 4 has me wondering if I have the stomach for another go-round of this.
  • Top TV Interviewers Could Learn A Thing Or Two From Andy Cohen
    The "mystique" of TV news just got tarnished as Bravo's Andy Cohen got the interview everyone else wanted and conducted it as well as anyone. The results were seen partially on Bravo Monday night in a 30-minute prime-time special featuring Cohen interviewing Bravo's embattled reality stars Joe and Teresa Giudice of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," who received prison sentences last Thursday following their convictions on numerous counts of fraud.
  • CNN Faces News Channel Challenge, Fills Airtime With Non-News Programming
    What's a news channel to do with all those hours when no one's watching? Fill 'er up with non-news programming, that's what. In the past week or so, CNN's filler programs have been receiving attention in various stories about CNN President Jeff Zucker. Like it or not, CNN is a news channel where people expect to find news when they tune in.
  • Fox Sends A Better 'Mulaney' Episode To TV Critics, Saves Show
    Here's a good example of the pitfalls of TV-column writing: I was all ready to blast this new Fox comedy series "Mulaney" as one of the worst shows I had the misfortune to waste time watching this past summer. But then I decided to watch the series premiere I received recently from Fox on a DVD before writing today's TV blog. And guess what: The pilot that Fox is airing this coming Sunday night at 9:30 (8:30 central) is completely different from the episode that Fox provided to TV columnists last summer.
  • From 'A To Z': What's Wrong And Right About TV Comedy
    NBC's new comedy series "A to Z" manages to encompass just about everything that's wrong with contemporary TV comedy writing -- and everything that's right too. Romantic sitcoms featuring characters who are either 30-something or possibly 20-something and who meet cute and then date are something of a mini-trend in the new fall TV season -- and so far, "A to Z" is the best of the bunch.
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