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August 9th, 2012

New on TV: The Next

the next“Fame is at your doorstep.” Aspiring musicians on the brink of success with a solid fan base are given a chance to make it over the hump to stardom on the newest musical talent search “The Next”. Music industry superstars Gloria Estefan, John Rich, Nelly, and Joe Jonas will scour Orlando, Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles looking for spectacular local musicians. In each city, each superstar will mentor one contestant for 72 hours – shadowing their every move – and then put them in a head-to-head local stage show. The winner will go on to the semi-finals to compete against the winners from the other cities. The losers will get a chance at redemption as America gets to vote for one wild card slot. Six contestants from six cities plus one fan favorite will compete on stage in the semi-finals with the winner receiving a recording contract from Atlantic Records.

“The Next” premieres Thursday, August 16 @ 9/8c on the CW.

[In photo: Nelly, Gloria Estefan, Joe Jonas, John Rich]

August 8th, 2012

New on TV: Toy Hunter

toy-hunterToy Hunter” Jordan Hembrough is known for his passion for collectible toys. He knows how to find them and how to sell them. Now he’s taking his job to a whole new level as he becomes a personal toy (collectible) hunter for others.

“Toy Hunter” premieres Wednesday, August 15 @ 8:00pm/7c on The Travel Channel.

(Photo: It looks like Jordan has way too much fun at his job as he searches for Star Wars memorabilia.)

[Photo credit: Elizabeth Fraser, Travel Channel]

August 8th, 2012

New on TV: Oh, Sit!

oh sitSomeone is really pushing the envelope with extreme musical chairs on the new game show “Oh, Sit!”! Contestants compete in head-to-head obstacle courses to claim a chair at the end. The one left sitting in the end wins the cash prize. And to liven things up, there’s a live band that plays during the competition. Hosted by Jamie Kennedy.

“Oh, Sit!” premieres Wednesday, August 15 @ 8/7c on the CW.

August 6th, 2012

New on TV: Stars Earn Stripes

stars earn stripesIn the new NBC series, “Stars Earn Stripes,” eight celebrities will be given complicated missions to complete that are inspired by real military exercises. The eight celebrities will be partnered with persons from a military branch or a person from a first-responders team. The winning team will receive a cash prize that will go to charity. “Stars Earn Stripes” is hosted by General Wesley Clark (retired) and Samantha Harris. Celebrity contestants are Laila Ali (world boxing champion), Dean Cain (actor), Terry Crews (actor and former NFL player), Nick Lachey (recording artist-actor-producer-TV personality), Todd Palin (Iron Dog snowmobile champion), Dolvett Quince (“The Biggest Loser” trainer), Picabo Street (Olympic gold medalist), and Eve Torres (WWE Diva).

Without having seen the first episode or a trailer, my first impression is this is going to backfire. The producers want to show the public what it takes to be a soldier, but having actors and celebrities go through “boot camp” or whatever it is they are going to do is just not going to cut it. I have my doubts that these softies will really be put through the grueling exercises real soldiers face. Maybe some real soldiers can give us some real insight on this production idea. What do you think?

“Star Earn Stripes” premieres Monday, August 13 @ 8/7c on NBC.

August 6th, 2012

New on TV: Hotel Hell

hotel-hell ramsayHe’s a culinary genius, but traveling to all those different restaurants makes staying at hotels a necessity for Chef Gordon Ramsay. When staying at a hotel guests expect the best but often receive the worst. Ramsay is packing his bags to stay in some of the worst hotels ever in his new series Hotel Hell. Whether it’s the décor that is horrendous, the horrible (non) housekeeping or incompetent staff, Ramsay is there to help the owners resolve their worst issues. Series Premiere.

The next time a hotel offers you an upgrade, just say no. Why? Let’s just say they’re never as clean as they look, according to Gordon Ramsay. "If [hotels] suggest they will upgrade you to the honeymoon suite, don’t take it. I’m trying to be serious because it is somewhat shocking," the Hotel Hell star told reporters at Fox’s Television Critics Association fall TV previews Monday, before adding: " I just didn’t think it could shoot that far." I’m talking about if you shake a can of Coke and open it," he quipped without missing a beat.

On the new reality series — Ramsay’s fourth for Fox (Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, and Kitchen Nightmares being the other three) — the foulmouthed restaurateur and his team of hospitality experts travel cross-country to revamp struggling motels, hotels and bed and breakfasts.  And "struggling," for the most part, means unhygienic. Ramsay said he and his crew visited one boutique hotel where they found a duvet cover that hadn’t been cleaned in 18 months.
"I don’t think common sense becomes that common in those scenarios. It’s so obvious what’s wrong," he said. "A dentist’s office is immaculate. Kitchens and hotels should be exactly along those lines. The biggest worry … was the state of the pillowcases. Flash a black light on there for 30 seconds, and I was literally horrified. … . I didn’t go in there to create havoc. I went in there to [make them take responsibility]."

In doing so, Ramsay’s notorious hotheaded ways will be front and center on Hotel Hell — and he believes more of that temperament is necessary if we want hotel hospitality up to par. "I don’t think as a nation we complain enough. You go into a boutique, try on clothes [that don't fit], you take it off and you don’t pay for it," he said. "I think in restaurants and hotels, it should be exactly along those lines. … We need to complain and demand our money back. In order for the industry to get better and the hospitality sector to raise its game, we need to complain more."

Hotel Hell premieres Monday, August 13 at 8/7c on Fox.

Whether in junction with the premiere of Hotel Hell on Fox or not, this article lists other reasons why travelers are fed up with hotels.

July 6th, 2012

New on TV: July 8 – 14, 2012

Matt Bomer is Neal Caffrey in "White Collar"

Sunday, July 8

8:00pm Sunday Best (BET)

Auditions and award-winning superstar judges. Season Premiere.


8:00pm *Xtreme Waterparks (TRAVEL)

Take a look at some of the most extreme, daring water parks in the country. Series Premiere.


9:00pm *Big Ang (VH1)

Angela Raiola (Mob Wives) is “Big Ang” who has landed her very own show about, who else? Herself. Series Premiere.


9:00pm *Insane Coaster Wars (TRAVEL)

In May, Travel Channel viewers were asked to vote for their favorite coaster in various categories. “Insane Coaster Wars” unveils the winners of the votes from G-Force Giants to Hang ‘em High coasters. Here’s a video showing how they filmed the coasters.  Series Premiere.


Monday, July 9


2:00pm *Good Afternoon America (ABC)

Hosted by Lara Spencer & Josh Elliott. Series Premiere.


10:00pm *Opening Act (E!)

Tune in to see what it takes to be an opening act for some of the biggest names in the music industry. Series Premiere.


10:00pm *Perception (TNT)

Dr. Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack) is a neuroscience professor with paranoid schizophrenia who aids the FBI with complex cases. Because his brilliant mind is damaged, he sometimes has hallucinations and paranoid delusions which can be either a gift or a curse in helping solve the case riddles. Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook) is the FBI agent who is willing to look beyond Daniel’s quirks, and bring him onboard to assist with special cases. “Perception ” also stars Arjay Smith as Max Lewicki, Daniel’s teaching assistant, Kelly Rowan as Natalie Vincent, Daniel’s best friend, and LeVar Burton as Paul Haley, a dean at the university. Series Premiere.


Tuesday, July 10


9:00pm *Trust Us With Your Life (ABC)

Improv is back with the usual suspects: Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady, and Greg Props leading the way accompanied by Jonathan Mangum and Nicole Parker. This show will use famous celebrities telling their stories for the comedians to act out. Some of the celebrity guest will include David Hasselhoff, Mark Cuban, and Jack & Kelly Osbourne. Series Premiere.


9:00pm White Collar (USA)

Wanted – Peter (Tin DeKay) tries to find Neal (Matt Bomer) and Mozzie before a bounty hunter does Season Premiere.


10:00pm *NY MED (ABC)

In this docu-drama, ABC filmed the miracle and mayhem that occur at Columbia and Weill Cornell Medical Centers of New York Presbyterian Hospital and Brooklyn’s Lutheran Medical Center. As with any gongs on at a hospital, the stakes are frequently life or death. Series Premiere.


8:00pm Destination Truth (SYFY)

Explorer Josh Gates returns for all-new quests-each an off-the-map adventure in search of the answers to some of the world’s most intriguing unexplained mysteries. Season Premiere.


10:00pm Covert Affairs (USA)

Annie and the rest of the staff find themselves in an unfamiliar situation. Season Premiere.


Wednesday, July 11


9:00pm *Beverly Hills Nannies (ABCF)

Do nannies working in Beverly Hills have it easier or harder than nannies in other parts of the country? This docu-series has the answer. Series Premiere.


Thursday, July 12


9:00pm Big Brother (CBS)

Tune in to see what kind of drama unfolds when a group of strangers have to live together with cameras documenting their every move 24/7. Season Premiere.


10:00pm *Top Spot (TRAVEL)

Miami – A dream vacation in Miami; a whirlwind tour of 3 amazing locations. Series Premiere.


10:00pm The Real L Word (SHO)

In this case, “L” is for lesbian. Follow these six females of mainly 30-somethings in their daily lives. Season Premiere.


Friday, July 13


9:00pm Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse (TBS)

Waiting for Larry White – Season Premiere.


Saturday, July 14


9:00pm Mobbed (FOX)

Hidden cameras record flash mobs surprising an unknowing person whose friends have put them in the spotlight in order to spring a big surprise on them. Surprises which include anything from marriage proposals to “I’m pregnant.” Howie Mandel guides the mob with his comedic insight while they spend countless hours prepping for the big event. Season Premiere.


June 30th, 2012

New on TV: July 1 – 7, 2012

Sunday, July 1

8:00pm *Queen & Country (PBS)

London: Royal City – The tradition of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace; the Horse Guards and the troops who guard the queen. Series Premiere.


10:00pm Weeds (SHO)

Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) found the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side of the fence (or south of the border) in her search for true love. Season Premiere.


10:30pm Episodes (SHO)

“Friends” Matt LeBlanc (Joey) stars in this new series which focuses on a British couple whose hit UK show is turned into an Americanized sitcom. Season Premiere.


Tuesday, July 3


10:00pm *Haunted Highway (SYFY)

Jack Osbourne & Dana Workman and Jael de Pardo & Devin Marble team up on a back roads paranormal search with self-documented research and eyewitness accounts of spooky activities on dark and dreary roads. Series Premiere.


Wednesday, July 4


9:00pm *America’s Lost Treasures (NATGEO)

It’s pickin’ 101 when Curt Doussett and Kinga Philipps scuttle through America’s barns, basements, attics and backyards looking for hidden treasures worthy enough to be displayed in the National Geographic Museum in 2013. Series Premiere.


Saturday, July 7


11:00 am Sell This House: Extreme (A&E)

Renton, Washington – A lakeside log cabin needs numerous renovations to accommodate the family that is growing too large for its dream home. Season Premiere.


June 18th, 2012

Howard Stern Meshes with AGT

agtHoward Stern made another baffling move when he agreed to become a judge to replace favorite bad guy Piers Morgan on the summer reality hit “America’s Got Talent.” The questions on everyone’s minds were how he was going to fit in with the other judges and how he would respond to the contestants? Stern has managed to tone down his crassness, which has been successful for him so far, for National TV. So far it looks like he is actually enjoying himself on the show, but he is still not as blunt with the contestants as Morgan used to be. I’ve already seen one act where Piers would have told the singer to ditch her partner and that she’d be better and go farther without him. No one stepped up to say that harsh truth we were sitting on our couches thinking. He has already approached the stage many times to face off with a contestant and consistently calls it “my stage” like he owns the place. It’s interesting to see him interact with the other 2 judges, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel who has previously had a run in with Stern when the shock jock goaded Howie into an anxiety attack on air. (Read about it in Howie’s book “Here’s My Deal: Don’t Touch Me.”) Now they sit at the AGT judges table with Sharon as their buffer between them. Oh my! But I think she can handle the both of them.

June 15th, 2012

Falling Skies Returns

June 17, 9:00pm, TNT

FallingSkies1If aliens mess with planet Earth, then they’ll have to face off with Noah Wyle and his team of rebels. The previously mild-mannered professor and unlikeliest of Earth-defending action heroes returns to defend his family and take back his home planet from an alien invasion. The first season gave us the story background including family ties, alien invaders and local militia who are fighting off the unwanted aliens and trying to get back their children who have been harnessed to be used as slaves for their personal purpose. This season get ready for more political jousting in the militia and gnarly combat scenes with the Skitters.

Sci-fi adventure and family dynamics remain the trademarks of Falling Skies, which became an instant hit last summer. But that formula — a signature of exec producer Steven Spielberg — is pumped with more testosterone in Season 2. Producers and cast are confident they’ll be delivering more edge and ramped up action this summer. “Everything’s stepped up a notch,” Wyle tells, “especially the level of threat and deprivation.” Wyle promises the big questions will be answered this season: “Why are the aliens here? What purpose does the planet serve to them?”

The season opens three months after Tom (Wyle) entered an enemy spaceship in last summer’s finale, invited by an Overlord, a rep of a previously unseen alien species. Tom agreed to go in search of more information about his son Ben, who was abducted by the aliens and attached to an organic harness that, though physically removed, has kept the teen psychically tethered to the oppressors. Visiting the enemy’s lair was not well-received by Tom’s team — or Twitter. “I didn’t know it was so controversial until 11:01 on the night it aired,” Wyle admits. “I got calls from friends and family, like ‘What the hell? You’re not going to wake up naked in a cornfield, are you?’”

“To me,” the actor protests, “it seemed like a bold move. It might not be a wise decision, but it’s an important plot point. Tom’s family is his Achilles’ heel and that’s the leverage they use on him.” Flashbacks will reveal the character’s ordeal and encounters with the mysterious alien who’s seemingly above the Skitters’ pay grade and giving the orders.

When Tom returns to the 2nd Mass, he finds a darker unit, demoralized by Skitter attacks that have killed hundreds and destroyed their schoolhouse haven. Among the most cynical is Ben. “He’s become distant and cold, and he’s taking out his anger on the Skitters,” says Jessup. Making it even worse, his comrades don’t view him as human now that he, as Roy puts it, is “full of Skitter juice,” which gives him superhuman senses and strength.

Pope (Colin Cunningham) and his shady “Berserkers” gang are not happy that Tom is back either. They ask the questions others are thinking: Did Tom make a deal with the aliens to save his son? How far will he go to save his family? The answer to the second question is, most likely, very far.

At least now Tom can seek solace from company medic Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood), as both try to move past tragic losses in what is called “postapocalyptic dating.” Their romance barely gets off the ground when a pilot flies in to spread the almost unbelievable word that there’s a new “Continental Congress” in Charleston ready to begin an organized resistance. Tom considers going, but suspicious unit commander Weaver (Will Patton) is certainly not ready to head south. After all, there are a lot of Skitters between Massachusetts and South Carolina.

One Skitter who might not be quite so menacing is Red Eye, a character that might reveal possible discord in the aliens’ structure. Could certain invaders have sympathy for the humans? “This season is about who’s on what side,” says Bloodgood. “The gray areas of war are always interesting to watch.”

Wyle acknowledges “the tricky line the show has to walk. We’re not on Syfy; we’re on TNT. We’re creating a show that has something for everyone.” To genre lover Bloodgood, this season is on the right side of the line: “This year, we’re primarily science fiction, which doesn’t mean we’re lacking in human story. The alien stories are just a little bit more clever, with one species after another ready to destroy humanity.” In other words, brace yourself for close encounters of the deadliest kind.

Falling Skies premieres Sunday at 9/8c on TNT.

June 12th, 2012

TV Shows That Have Been Cancelled at the End of the 2012 Spring TV Season

Did Your Favorite TV Show Get the Ax?

ChuckA new TV season brings both joy and grief to those of us who are couch potatoes. When one TV season ends and another begins it brings new TV shows to check out as well as the return of some all time favorites. But it also means the end of some shows forever. Some of these shows such as Chuck (NBC), Eureka (SYFY) and House(FOX) knew their demise was coming, but because the writers and producers knew this it gave them a chance to end the program series in the way they wanted to and it didn’t leave the viewers hanging. Other shows are barely given a chance and are given the ax after only a couple of episodes. Some shows get moved to a different time slot in an effort to try to give them a better chance but this rarely works.

According to TV, thirty-six shows have been cut from ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, and SYFY. Everyone talks about how Fox leads the pack in cutting TV shows before their time, but NBC leads this list with 10 programs cut from their lineup. They are “Are You There, Chelsea,” “Awake,” “Best Friends Forever,” “Bent,” “Chuck,” “The Firm,” “Free Agents,” “Harry’s Law,” “The Playboy Club,” and “Prime Suspect.”

Fox and ABC tie for second with 8 shows a piece getting the ax. The 8 shows cut from Fox’s lineup are “Alcatraz,” “Allen Gregory,” “Breaking In,” “The Finder,” “House,” “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” and “Terra Nova.” For ABC say goodbye to “Charlie’s Angels,” “Desperate Housewives,” “GCB,” “Man Up,” “Missing,” “Pan Am,” “The River” and “Work It” which was cancelled after only one or two episodes.

CBS lands in the middle with only 5 TV shows being cut including “CSI: Miami,” “A Gifted Man,” “NYC 22,” “Rob” and “Unforgettable.”

At the bottom of the list you’ll find the CW and SYFY with 3 and 2 shows getting the ax respectively. They are “One Tree Hill,” “Ringer” and newcomer “The Secret Circle” for the CW. SYFY fan favorites “Eureka” and “Sanctuary” have been sent to the TV graveyard by SYFY to make room for what?? More wrestling?

Eight of my personal favorites have been cut from the TV schedule forever. They are: Alcatraz (FOX), Chuck (NBC), Eureka (SYFY), The Finder (FOX), Harry’s Law (NBC), Sanctuary (SYFY), The Secret Circle (CW), and Terra Nova (FOX).

“Alcatraz” was supposed to be the new blockbuster hit taking the place of Lost and Fringe after its final season. It had a mix of history blended in with a lot of mystery that left viewers guessing what was going to happen next and how and why what was happening was happening to begin with.

“Chuck,” thanks to loyal viewers and Subway, got a reprieve from getting the blindside ax and was able to finish off the series with a 13-episode season to wrap things up for the super spies.

Seemingly out of the blue the sci-fi hit “Eureka,” about the little town that can’t be found on a map where all the braniacs live and make unusual things happen, got their pink slip. Fortunately they were also given prior notice and were able to end the series on their terms.

Based on the Locator novels by Richard Greener, “The Finder” was a fresh newcomer with some interesting characters to say the least. It bounced around looking for a good time slot and alas, not enough viewers were able to catch up with it.

Kathy Bates played the tenacious Harry Korn in “Harry’s Law” which was produced by David E. Kelley. Harry had a good following so I’m not sure why the gavel fell on them. It’s usually about the (low) numbers of the viewing audience. Nielsen sucks anyways.

“Sanctuary” is one of my all time favorites. Amanda Tapping, previously of Stargate fame, said it well: “Bloody hell.”

Even though “The Secret Circle” followed the very popular “Vampire Diaries,” the young witches couldn’t garner a loyal circle of followers. I guess witches, even good looking ones, aren’t as popular as vampires these days.

The biggest disappointment for most was the extinction of “Terra Nova.” Even though the dino-thriller had a good following in its first season, in the end the high cost of production (CGI dinosaurs, which I didn’t think we saw a whole lot of) was too high to justify trying to keep it alive. Yep, it’s all about the money.

Which show will you miss the most?