The unwavering popularity of "How I Met Your Mother" among its fan base and its ability to attract new young viewers years after its debut are reasons enough for CBS to have kept the show going, even after its overall ratings began to decline. In many ways "HIMYM" has been the "Friends" of the millennial generation. I can't help but wonder what the next "Friends" will be.
What better way to end the week than with Joan Rivers' triumphant return last night to NBC's "Tonight Show" after being banished by former hosts Johnny Carson and Jay Leno for approximately 28 years? Yes -- she appeared for about 20 seconds on Jimmy Fallon's first night as host of "Tonight" along with many other giant celebrities to welcome him to the show. The decision to include Rivers after so many years of bad blood between network and comedienne was inspired -- and as strong a signal as any that things were going to be different at the new "Tonight."
I tuned in to "Hot in Cleveland" and "The Soul Man" for the live sitcom experience, and to see whether the live commercials would work (they did -- especially the spot for Bush's Grillin' Beans featuring "Soul Man" star Niecy Nash). But I got something else entirely -- something that played brilliantly to the strengths and weaknesses of live telecasts, and in the process, added yet another layer of lively TV Land-style nostalgia to the viewing experience.
In an ironic turn, the network that specializes in original programming with a retro flair tonight is doing something nostalgic in the digital space. The result promises to be a mashup of the very old and the very new, making for an hour of prime-time multi-screen entertainment the likes of which we haven't seen before.
The enormous media coverage of Sunday night's heart-stopping episode of CBS' "The Good Wife" in which one of its main characters, Attorney Will Gardner, was suddenly shot to death got me to thinking about the last time a surprise story turn on a broadcast drama had such a widespread impact on viewers and industry observers alike. What it makes it so special right now is that it was a major development on a high-profile broadcast series that was executed and presented in a manner that somehow avoided detection by reporters, bloggers and tweeters alike.
What stunned me most about last night's game-changing episode of "The Good Wife" was the fact that I didn't see it coming. There hadn't been a hint of a whisper of a guess anywhere in the media that something so huge was about to happen on one of the most talked-about series on broadcast television. The breathtaking event in the final act made the episode even more shocking than the one last fall in which attorneys Alicia Florrick and Cary Agos and a number of their associates left Lockhart Gardner to start their own firm. And yet, this event was …
One of the biggest stories of the television season is the continued audience erosion over at Fox's "American Idol." It seems the many changes in "Idol" this season could actually be contributing to its problems. It is suddenly spectacularly over-produced: everything on "Idol" is bigger this year, from the stage to the studio to the dazzling presentation of each contestant. "Idol" is more interactive than it has ever been, but that interactivity is less personal than ever before.
It looks like The CW might have a new success on its hands with the ambitious Juvenile Delinquents in Space drama "The 100," the premiere of which last night earned respectable numbers by the mini-net's standards. Interest in this series is not difficult to understand. It's based on a young adult novel -- a hot thing in movies and television these days -- and it's filled with pretty young people. Also, it's a science-fiction show and it holds the promise of many a star-crossed romance
It's that time of year when the fearsome fates of on-the-fence shows are front and center in the television business. Fox series "Enlisted," is one of the funniest comedies on television, and also one of the lowest-rated. This show is a complete gem. It's not just funny and entertaining; it is also one of the nicest shows on television and one of the most respectful. Given the significance of this show, the very least it deserves is a shot at a second season in a much better time slot.
One of the most memorable media sensations of summer 2013, at least as far as television was concerned, was a Grade-C monster flick -- Syfy's "Sharknado." A standout property at San Diego Comic-Con, it seemed to generate as much buzz there as any of the multimillion-dollar movies and television shows on grand display. Syfy yesterday announced that another flick with an equally tantalizing title -- "Big Ass Spider!" -- will premiere on the network on April 19. With a title like that it can't help but attract the "Sharknado" crowd and regular viewers of the network's cheese-tastic original movies.