Thursday, October 30, 2014

News: The Meredith Vieira Show

NBC Stations Renew Meredith Vieira's Daytime Talk Show for Season Two
TVNews Check

NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution announced Thursday that its freshman syndicated daytime program, The Meredith Vieira Show has been renewed on the NBC Owned Television Stations for its second season.

The program, hosted by journalist and television host Meredith Vieira, premiered Sept. 8 and is currently sold in 98% of the country including the NBC Owned Television Stations. Keep reading.

Review: The McCarthys

CBS's Groan-Inducing Family Sitcom is Terrible (But That Probably Won't Stop It)
David Williams, TVFirstLook

The McCarthys (9:30pm), CBS’s new “comedy”—a word I use only to provide context for this review—smacks of desperation, throwing nearly every TV stereotype at the audience in search of laughs. It tries to provide the kind of safe family amusement that’ll secure it a long-term slot on the network’s lineup, which it'll probably get thanks in part to riding the coattails of Two and a Half Men.

Still, enduring this show’s 20-minute-or-so run time is the televised equivalent of letting air out of an already un-inflated tire.

Preview: Project Runway All Stars

A Triple Dose of Project Runway Anchored By All Stars

The just-concluded 13th season of Lifetime's Project Runway was one of the reality show's best, with talented designers like winner Sean Kelly churning out runway-ready designs from the first episode to the finale. Tonight at 8pm, the cast reunites for one final show.

That leads into the season premiere of Project Runway All Stars (9pm) with host Alyssa Milano, judges such as Isaac Mizrahi and designers from past seasons, like Chris March (think: hair as fabric).

Project Runway's newest spinoff, Threads with kid designers (10pm), wraps up the designer-y trio.

Preview: Slednecks

Young, Hot and Freezing in Alaska

Slednecks (10pm) is an MTV reality show about, essentially, partying in the Frozen North, which just goes to prove that the Frozen North is now officially a subgenre of reality show, and that if Jack London were alive today he would be a reality show producer.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: A Poet In New York

A Poet In New York Beautifully Captures the Tortured Soul of Genius Dylan Thomas

Tom Hollander, Essie Davis
As a poet, Dylan Thomas captured the dark, passionate and sometimes scary plight of being humans living alone, by ourselves no matter what other lives are swirling around us in poems such as "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night."

BBC America tonight, in the 100th year of Dylan's birth, captures the soul and the mind of a poetic genius seemingly terrified of living life. His end came at 39 years old in New York City after a booze-fueled binge in Hotel Chelsea.

A Poet in New York (8pm) is a beautiful, heartfelt - though, at times, inconsistently so - immersion into the mind of a genius, wonderfully portrayed by the physically and emotionally transformed Tom Hollander. (Read our 5Qs on Friday Q&A with Tom Hollander.)

Preview: To Russia With Love

Gay American Olympians Explore an Ugly Side of Russia
New York Post

Gay figure skater Johnny Weir has a lifelong, unwavering affection for Russia. But producing a documentary about gay issues there — To Russia With Love (Epix, 8pm) — made him realize he still had a lot to learn. “Russia’s a country I love. It’s very easy not to see things you don’t want to see,” he tells The Post. The 90-minute film’s backdrop is the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi last February. Keep reading.

Review: Rival Survival

Dumb Survivalist Show with Real-Life Senators But Nary a Pixelated Penis
Washington Post

Sen. Jeff Flake, Sen. Martin Heinrich

Rival Survival (Discovery, 10pm) - As channel-flippers everywhere know, if you’re not naked with your private parts pixelated into pathetic shadows of manhood, you’re not anything in cable’s tough-it-out world of extreme sunburns and starvation.

As opposed to those poor survivalists who volunteer for Discovery’s hit series Naked and Afraid, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) are allowed three survival items to share (instead of one each), picked from a collection of machetes, knives, spear-fishing slingshots and a 9-volt battery that might have helped spark a fire, had they chosen it. 

Keep reading.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Preview: The Rise of ISIS

Frontline Uncovers the Political Missteps That Led to the Rise of the Islamic State

PBS's fantastic and long-running documentary series Frontline (10pm) regularly uncovers the mistakes, blunders and outright lies that have led to some of the United States' worst moments.

Memorably, that includes scathing attacks on former Vice President Dick Cheney and his vengeance-fueled wars on Iraq.

Tonight, President Barack Obama and his administration are getting a bit of that bruising. Frontline explains how the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rose to power as a "disengaged" Obama pulled troops out of Iraq.

The Rise of Isis. PBS, 10pm.

Review: Benched

USA Network's Sitcom Benched Rises Above Its Paint-By-Numbers Premise
New York Times

Eliza Coupe, an actress who has a decent résumé (Happy Endings, Scrubs) but maybe hasn’t registered with you in that household-name way, gets a chance to anchor a series in Benched (10:30pm), a USA comedy that begins on Tuesday night. And she’s pretty darn likable. Keep reading.

News: CBS

CBS Gives Full Season Orders To Its Four New Dramas

CBS is having a banner year. Its comedy The Big Bang Theory, now in its 100th or so season, is by far TV's most-watched show with more than 22 million people watching each back-to-back episode on Mondays. And, somehow, the graying sitcom is still funny, maybe funnier than it has ever been. The show moves back to Thursdays this week.

But, more significant for CBS, the network launched Thursday Night Football this season - reliably among the most-watched shows on TV each week.

And, yesterday, CBS renewed all four of its rookie dramas, the same day that Nielsen's live-plus-seven-day ratings for the fall TV season's first three weeks - including DVR playback - showed that three of those dramas are among the 15 most-watched shows on TV this fall. CBS gave votes of confidence to NCIS: New Orleans, Scorpion, Madam Secretary and Stalker.

(Read TVFirstLook's reviews of all the fall TV season's new shows here.)