Monday’s future just got a little bit bleaker. Dancing With the Stars (ABC)—whose finale last Tuesday earned the network its best ratings on that night in over seven years—cha-cha-cha-ed out of our lives. CBS canceled their December 10th debates, as the Democratic nominees balked, fearing the bad publicity of a protest by striking news writers. (CBS is hurting: How I Met Your Mother is in repeats, as well as the rest of the network’s sitcoms.) And NBC announced this week that Chuck (NBC, 8 PM) will be replaced by American Gladiators—the original was obviously before its time—on January 7th.
What’s left? Moving forward, there’s Samantha Who? (ABC, 9 PM) and Notes From the Underbelly (ABC, 10 PM), both of which will certainly benefit from the lack of competition—if no longer from the big Dancing lead-in. Tonight, however, there are two choices: Santa’s Funniest Moments (MyNetworkTV, 8 PM)—hosted by Erik Estrada!—or actor John Cusack on Inside the Actor’s Studio (Bravo, 8 PM).
CBS has a night fit for the entire family. At eight, the kids get Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. At nine, there’s sexy, grey-haired Mark Harmon on NCIS for mommy (a repeat, though). And at ten, the man of the house can enjoy a bunch of ladies parading around in their underwear in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show—for, ahem, Christmas present ideas for the wifey.
Perhaps the Sci-Fi channel—with its loyal demographic of virginal geeks—didn’t check the TV listings when it scheduled the finale of its Tin Man mini-series—not to be confused with Barry Levinson’s Tin Men, which also starred Richard Dreyfuss—for the same time as the “fashion show,” or maybe, just maybe the network is vying for that elusive demographic, women. Dreyfuss toplines along with Zooey Deschanel and Alan Cumming in the modern-day re-imagining of L. Frank Baum’s The Wondeful Wizard of Oz—not be confused with the Broadway musicals Wicked or The Wiz.
At 40, it’s a sad fact that most Hollywood actresses’ careers are over. So, it’s only fitting that AMC would chose to give tribute to Julia Roberts, who just passed the dreaded mark (8 PM). Ironically, the evening will probably boast the youngest audience for the cable channel, which tends to skew AARP. Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Marcia Gay Harden, Shirley MacLaine, Dermot Mulroney, and Bruce Willis will be on hand to assure Roberts that she may just be able to find gigs at her ripe old age.
ABC scored big with last week’s Shrek the Halls: 20.83 million people tuned into the movie spin-off. The network, which won November sweeps in the coveted 18-49 demo, is sticking with the Christmas programming with Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (8 PM).
Otherwise, there’s two hours of Deal or No Deal (NBC, 8 PM) or the second episode of Sports Unfiltered With Dennis Miller (8 PM) on Vs., the same network known for showing Ultimate Fighting and classic boxing matches, which prompts the question: if a rant happens on Vs. and nobody hears it …
Thursdays are the only night where competition between the networks is still fierce. The only show in repeats is The Office. Tonight, however, two wrenches are to be thrown into the proverbial works: Barbara Walters Special: the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2007 (ABC, 10 PM) and the Top Chef Holiday special (Bravo, 9 PM). The former boasts interviews with Justin Timberlake, Katherine Heigl and Bill Clinton, while the latter features a cook-off between past contestants with the winner taking home $20,000. That’s a whole lotta Le Creuset!
Everybody loves Music! Everybody loves the movies! Put them together and you have an advertiser’s dream. Cynical, or the very thought process behind the Conde Nast magazine supplement Movies Rock! and the CBS special of the same name (9 PM)? Decide while watching Elton John, Beyoncé, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, and plenty of other aspiring singer/actors, duke it out for best over-emoter.