TNT earlier today announced a major promotion on behalf of "Dallas," which will return for its third season on February 24. The campaign is centered on the conversion of an existing gas station somewhere in the country into a flagship station for Ewing Energies, the global energy supply company formerly known in "Dallas" legend as Ewing Oil. In a move that is likely to propel awareness of this campaign beyond the norm, the Ewing Energies station will undercut the pricing (while supplies last) at competing gas outlets in the area.
Watching all four chapters of "Friday Night at the Luncheonette" isn't likely to propel "Parenthood" onto my must-see list when it returns to NBC's schedule later this month. But I'm going to savor every one of them. Has NBC stumbled onto something significant here? If a network is truly a brand, would said brand be reinforced if networks made after-life Web-off series featuring popular characters played by the same actors from cancelled shows? Is that a way to increase the aftermarket value of existing episodes of those shows once they are officially cancelled?
There's nothing wrong with a little good-natured prognostication as long as it's based on personal research. Because I read the original source material way back in the Nineties and found it remarkable and unforgettable in the very best ways, I'm comfortable predicting that "Preacher" -- a series being developed by AMC and Sony Pictures Television, based on the comic book of the same name -- will be AMC's next "Walking Dead." Given the strength of "The Walking Dead," any program with the true potential to enjoy similar success deserves the industry's attention right from the start.
Perhaps the best news about television in recent days was the announcement by Fox that "The X Factor" will not be returning to its schedule in the fall. That show was problematic from the very start in more ways than one can readily recall. If there was one overriding issue with "The X Factor" that doomed it from the beginning, it is that it was ridiculously overproduced in every way. Although the contestants could be sent back into obscurity at any time, they were treated like rock stars from the moment they made the final cut.
"The Walking Dead" -- the series that frightens and intimidates and frustrates network and studio executives throughout the television business like no show since Fox's "American Idol" in its early years -- returned to AMC's schedule last night with the first of eight episodes comprising the second half of its fourth season. And instantly, the Winter Olympic Games were forgotten, at least in my house. Nothing going on in Sochi could come close to finding out what was going to happen next to the ragtag band of human survivors struggling to survive amid the escalating horrors of a zombie apocalypse.
I'm not sure what I was expecting from Jay Leno's final night as host of "The Tonight Show," but it wasn't what we got: An hour filled with big laughs, great music and strong emotions, with a show-stopping performance at its center that is best described as a once-in-a-lifetime effort by an unlikely mix of famous people, all on hand to bid Leno an unforgettable farewell.
Sunday night at 8 p.m. -- exactly 50 years to the date and time that The Beatles made their legendary live appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" -- CBS will telecast the special "The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles." It will include an interview with the two surviving members of the group, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, conducted by David Letterman in The Ed Sullivan Theater, the home of Sullivan's show for most of its 23-season run. The special will also feature appearances by contemporary artists including Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Imagine Dragons and Dave …
Tomorrow night will bring with it the final installment of "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." NBC's late-night hours will then be filled with news reports and coverage of the Winter Olympic Games until February 17, when "Tonight" becomes something else entirely with new host Jimmy Fallon and a return to New York City. It's not the end of "Tonight" -- even if it is the end of the show as we currently know it. But it's the end of late-night dominance by Jay Leno.
One of the big stories during the 2013-14 "traditional" broadcast season has been the uncertain future (or "death" in some circles) of the network sitcom. I have to wonder what all the hand-wringing is about.
Maybe it was the painfully prolonged, suspense-free and ultimately uninteresting slaughter of the Denver Broncos by the Seattle Seahawks that was wrapped around them. But for some reason, the dozens of very expensive commercials that premiered in the outrageously high-priced real estate of Super Bowl XLVIII seemed more collectively unremarkable than any in recent memory.