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The Oscars get Spun Out in Chicagoland; TV must-sees for the week of March 2

- March 1st, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of March 2

1 Academy Awards
The 86th edition of the annual hardware handout will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. Scheduled performers include Bette Midler, Karen O, U2 and Pharrell Williams. What is this, the Grammys?
When: Sunday on ABC, CTV

2 Big Brother Canada
Second-season debut: Pack a bunch of young people into a confined space. What could go right? What could go wrong? Hosted again by Arisa Cox. And new this season is a Side Show following evictions.
When: Wednesday on Slice, Global

3 Bates Motel
Second-season debut: No, this isn’t a Downton Abbey spinoff with Mr. Bates starting his own business. Rather, it’s the return of a creepy Psycho prequel starring Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore.
When: Monday on A&E

4 Spun Out
Debut: Starring Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall, this sitcom is set at a dysfunctional PR agency. Hmmm, they never should have taken on Rob Ford as a client. Also with Rebecca Dalton and Holly Deveaux.
When: Thursday on CTV

5 Kirstie
Debut: Kirstie Alley plays a Broadway star suddenly faced with the son she gave up for adoption 26 years earlier, played by Eric Petersen. Not to be confused with Eric Peterson, a.k.a. Oscar on Corner Gas.
When: Friday on CTV

6 Seed
Second-season debut: Harry (Adam Korson) and “sperm recipient” Rose (Carrie-Lynne Neales) try to raise a baby in a platonic arrangement. Reminds me of Hermey in the Rudolph Christmas special: “Let’s be independent together.”
When: Thursday on City

7 Those Who Kill
Debut: It seems every second show on TV these days is about serial killers in some way, shape or form. Well, here’s another one, with Chloe Sevigny starring as a recently promoted Pittsburgh homicide detective.
When: Monday on A&E

8 Chicagoland
Debut: No, this isn’t yet another scripted series about cops or firefighters in the Windy City. It’s an eight-part documentary series, executive produced by Robert Redford, about real-life Chicago issues and politics.
When: Thursday on CNN

9 The Next Step
Season-two debut: The A-Troupe has won regionals, but the dancers are shocked to learn that prior to nationals they must re-audition with rivals from other studios. Bet those wimps on Fame never had to do that.
When: Friday on Family

10 Almost Human
Season finale: Years ago the father of Kennex (Karl Urban) put away a bad guy. Now new copycat murders are being committed. As always, Dorian (Michael Ealy) is there to help with his dreamy eyes.
When: Monday on Fox, Global

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Black Sails spook The Walking Dead in a House of Cards? TV’s must-sees for the week of Feb. 9

- February 9th, 2014

Beatles Grammys show, low res, two

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Feb. 9

1) The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles
Archival footage from the Fab Four’s first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show – which occurred 50 years ago, to the exact day and hour – is interspersed with tribute performances by current artists.
When: Sunday on CBS, City

2) The Walking Dead
Return: Eight episodes remain in season four. Following events in the mid-season finale, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) deals with old wounds while members of the prison try to accept their new environment.
When: Sunday on AMC

3) Black Sails
Debut: Taking place 20 years before Treasure Island, this pirate series centres on the tales of Captain Flint (Toby Stephens), who takes on a young addition to the crew named John Silver (Luke Arnold).
When: Friday on Super Channel

4) Dads
One-hour season finale: Eli (Seth Green) ignores David (Peter Riegert), putting one of them in the hospital. And when Crawford (Martin Mull) moves out, Warner (Giovanni Ribisi) has an odd reaction.
When: Tuesday on Fox, City

5) House of Cards
Second-season debut: With Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) set to become vice-president, he’s going to have to fly a little more under the radar with his underhanded shenanigans. Um, right?
When: Friday on Netflix

6) MasterChef Canada
The home cooks prepare lunch at the Air Canada Centre for a delegation from the Toronto Maple Leafs, including current player James Van Riemsdyk and alumni Darryl Sittler and Wendel Clark.
When: Monday on CTV

7) Twisted
Return: Jo (Maddie Hasson) struggles with conflicted feelings – really, are there any other kind on a show such as this? – while Danny (Avan Jogia) overhears some surprising information about his dad.
When: Tuesday on ABC Spark

8) Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid
Debut: No, this is not the movie with Robert Redford and Paul Newman. Airing as part of the American Experience series, this documentary about the real-life 1890s outlaws separates fact from fiction.
When: Tuesday on PBS

9) Girls
Hannah (Lena Dunham) gets a job writing advertorials, while shallow Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) reconsiders her breakup with Ray (Alex Karpovsky) in light of his new-found success.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

10) Super Fun Night
Work intervenes as Kimmie (Rebel Wilson) tries to celebrate Valentine’s Day with new boyfriend James (Nate Torrence). But Kendall (Kate Jenkinson) marks the occasion by hosting a sex-toy party.
When: Wednesday on ABC, City

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Quiet down, youngsters; Grammys special marks Beatles’ visit to Ed Sullivan Show, 50 years later

- February 7th, 2014

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What do Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Dave Grohl, Stevie Wonder, Ed Sheeran, John Legend, Keith Urban, John Mayer and Eurythmics have in common?

They’re all fans of the Beatles.

Those artists and many more took part in the concert extravaganza titled The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles. Taped a day after the Grammys late last month in Los Angeles, a two-hour version of the big show will air Sunday, Feb. 9 on CBS and City.

This is an anniversary event, and a technically exact anniversary event at that. The Night That Changed America is airing 50 years to the day that the Beatles made their first TV appearance in North America, on The Ed Sullivan Show, also on CBS. It’s even airing at the same hour.

All of the afore-mentioned acts performed at the concert, as did the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart of Eurythmics actually staged a one-night-only reunion for the event, because they wanted to be part of it so badly.

The broadcast will feature not only highlights from the concert, but also archival footage from Feb. 9, 1964, when more than 73 million Americans tuned in to see what the fuss was all about.

That loud noise you just heard was the collective sound of current TV executives fainting, overwhelmed by the thought of an audience that big.

Yes, there were only a handful of channels 50 years ago, so choices were limited. However, that merely upped the pressure, too. If you got a shot, you couldn’t blow it, or you were done.

Fortunately for Paul, Ringo, John Lennon and George Harrison, they looked and sounded different than anything North Americans had seen or heard before. Combine that with the iconic images of overwhelmed teens at the Ed Sullivan Theater (now the home of The Late Show with David Letterman), and you have a unique TV moment that can’t be forgotten or replicated.

As part of the special, Paul and Ringo will be chatting with Dave (see above photo).

Will I watch The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Sean and Catherine’s wedding is an American Horror Story at the Grammys? TV must-sees for the week

- January 26th, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Jan. 26

1) Grammy Awards
Live: Paul McCartney (above right) and Ringo Starr (above left), the two surviving Beatles, will take the stage as the legendary band is honoured with a lifetime achievement award. Fab, but should have happened long ago, huh?
When: Sunday on CBS, City

2) American Horror Story: Coven
Third-season finale: Another campaign for this innovative and frightening series comes to a close. Which witch will rise as the new “supreme?” The last episode sets up as a kind of in-coven Super Bowl.
When: Wednesday on FX Canada

3) Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials
Canadian viewers diverted by simulcasting often complain that they never get to see the American ads that air during the big game. Often it’s much ado about nothing, but here’s a chance to catch up.
When: Wednesday on CBS

4) Episodes
Frustrated by his current role and intrigued by an unexpected new opportunity, Matt (Matt LeBlanc) tries to convince Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tasmin Greig) to kill him off Pucks.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Monday on Movie Central

5) The Following
Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) receives some mysterious phone calls – no, not from telemarketers – while information comes to light about the new life put together by Joe Carroll (James Purefoy).
When: Monday on Fox, CTV

6) Community
As Annie (Alison Brie) and Professor Hickey (Jonathan Banks) prepare the cafeteria for the mid-term dance, they must negotiate with Greendale’s head custodian, played by guest star Nathan Fillion.
When: Thursday on NBC, City

7) True Detective
Maggie (Michelle Monaghan) sets up Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) with a friend, which you know won’t go well. Meanwhile, parishioners identify a scarred man who was seen with the murder victim.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

8) Republic of Doyle
This represents the back end of a crossover-episode arrangement with Murdoch Mysteries. Yannick Bisson guest-stars as Bill Murdoch, a descendant of Detective William Murdoch.
When: Wednesday on CBC

9) 19-2
Debut: Set in Montreal, this is a 10-episode English-language adaptation of a French Canadian series. It’s about two reluctantly partnered beat cops, in this case played by Jared Keeso and Adrian Holmes.
When: Wednesday on Bravo

10) The Bachelor: Sean and Catherine’s Wedding
Live: In this special presentation, Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici exchange vows in front of family, friends, paparazzi, gossip-mag reporters, hangers-on, puzzled passers-by, you know the drill.
When: Sunday on ABC, OMNI

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

‘Walking Dead’ runs away with ratings

- February 11th, 2013

walkingdeadnew

If Grammy organizers are wondering where their viewers went last night, they need only look at ‘The Walking Dead’ ratings to get an answer.

The AMC zombie show has been a monster hit for the network since it debuted back in 2010 and has consistently shattered new records with each new season or mid-season debut.

The third season of  ‘Dead’ resumed Sunday to a basic-cable record 12.3 million viewers in the 9 PM ET slot, with another 4.1 million joining the party when the show repeated an hour later, according to preliminary Nielsen data.

Not too shabby.

‘Dead’ was up 45% in the coveted 18-49 demographic and up 52% in total viewers from the second season premiere last winter.

And guess which show held the previous record for a telecast drama? Yup. It was ‘The Walking Dead’ third season debut episode which nabbed 10.87 millions viewers last year.

Did you watch last night’s episode? What did you think about it?

How long do you think these ratings will last?

Tell us what you think in the comment section below.