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Channel Surfing: "Heroes" Suffers, Lifetime Nabs "Mother" Reruns, "Knight Rider" Reviews, "Doctor Who," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. I spent last night watching Fringe (more on that in a bit), catching up on Gossip Girl, and sitting through another dull installment of 90210. At least it took the bad taste out of my mouth from Knight Rider. (Shudder.)

The Season Three premiere of NBC's Heroes (9.9 million viewers, 4.9/12 in adults 18-49) was down 25 percent from its sophomore launch , landing it second in the hour behind ABC's Dancing with the Stars. The slide for Heroes was not unexpected, coming as it did after a season that many fans found creatively lacking and middling and a curtailed season due to the writers strike. (Hollywood Reporter)

CBS will air the original pilot of new drama Eleventh Hour, starring Rufus Sewell and Marley Shelton, as its opening installment, after all. The Eye had previously announced that it would wait to air the original pilot of Eleventh Hour ("Resurrection")until later in the season but the network has now reversed its position. (Futon Critic)

Following the news that Rebecca Rand Kirchner (Gilmore Girls) will oversee the writing staff of CW's 90210, studio CBS Paramount has announced that they have signed a two-year overall deal with Kirchner. She will focus her energies on drama 90210 and, in the second year of her deal, develop new projects for the studio. Kirchner previously worked with executive producers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah on Freaks and Geeks. (Hollywood Reporter)

The CW has given a put pilot commitment to drama Light Years, about a teenager who discovers that her birth parents were teens who broke up after a one-night stand that led to her mother getting pregnant... and those teens have grown up to become a bar owner (dad) and a morning radio show host (mom). Project is from ABC Studios, writer/executive producer Liz Tigelaar (Brothers & Sisters), and director/executive producer Gary Fleder. (Variety)

Tigelaar will also write Mystic Confidential.com, about a "small-town blog and how it impacts the way a group of people live their lives." Project comes from writer/executive producer Liz Tigelaar, executive producers Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark, ABC Studios, and Berlanti Television. (Variety)

Missing Ryan Howard something fierce before The Office returns tomorrow night? The New York Times profiles The Office's writer/actor BJ Novak. (New York Times)

Battlestar Galactica's Mary McDonnell will guest star in an upcoming episode of ABC's Grey's Anatomy, though there's precious little detail about just what character she'll be playing. (E! Online)

Lifetime has snagged rerun rights to CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother; network--which beat out TBS, ABC Family, and FX for the rights--will launch the series in a weekly run beginning in fall of 2010 but will be able to repurpose two plays a week of the series starting in early 2009. (Variety)

I wanted to write this up but the folks at Sci Fi Wire beat me to the punch: Battlestar Galactica's Paul Campbell--last seen in NBC's short-lived viral series Nobody's Watching--has returned to television, playing yet another character named Billy in NBC series Knight Rider; this time he's a geeky tech with a penchant for porn, Torchwood, and awkward conversations with co-worker Zoe (Cho Smith). (Sci Fi Wire)

Speaking of Knight Rider--which launches tonight--I thought I'd feature some reviews of NBC's newest drama series. USA Today's Robert Bianco describes Knight as "much to despise in Knight Rider, a shockingly incompetent, barely coherent, ad-driven rip-off about a shape-shifting autobot that owes more to Transformers than it does to the cheesy '80s original that shares its name." (Wow.) Los Angeles Times' Robert Lloyd says, "... notwithstanding an ominously dark hole in Mike's memory, the remade Knight Rider is fundamentally of a piece with its predecessor. As drama and as spectacle, and with a remarkable lack of irony, it re-creates the cheesy sci-fi adventure from the 1980s" and that the series is "something for 12-year-old boys (and 12-year-old-boys at heart), undemanding, unsophisticated, no deeper than the thickness of a comic-book page." And Hollywood Reporter's Ray Richmond says of Knight: "Plenty of adrenaline, but a dopey story depletes the tank quickly."

100 lucky families will get the chance to go behind the scenes at Doctor Who and Torchwood as party of a fundraising effort for this year's BBC Children in Need appeal; all they need to is answer one multiple-choice question, which will be announced on the Chris Moyles show on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio Wales, and BBC Radio Cymru and will be available at the Beeb's Doctor Who site. "This is so exciting – giving fans the opportunity to take a behind the scenes look at where we film Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures is just brilliant," said Russell T. Davies. "It'll be the perfect opportunity for the whole family to experience something unique and truly extraordinary. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience – and the best thing is that all the money raised will go towards BBC Children in Need." (BBC)

Lauren Ambrose, Adam Kaufman, Susie Essman, Ricki Lake, and Mercedes Ruehl have signed on to star in CBS' new Hallmark Hall of Fame telepic Unorthodox. (Hollywood Reporter)

UK's Channel 4 will cut up to 15 percent of its workforce and slash budgets by $185 million over the next two years; broadcaster has told staff that it plans to cut a maximum of 150 jobs amid what the net describes as "some of the most challenging economic circumstances in its history." (Variety)

Stay tuned.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: New Adventures of Old Christine/Gary Unmarried (CBS); Knight Rider (NBC); America's Next Top Model (CW); Dancing with the Stars (ABC); Bones (FOX)

9 pm:
Criminal Minds (CBS); America's Got Talent (NBC); 90210 (CW); David Blaine: Dive of Death (ABC; 9-11 pm); 'Til Death/Do Not Disturb (FOX)

10 pm: CSI: New York (CBS); Lipstick Jungle (NBC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: America's Next Top Model.

On tonight's episode ("Fierce Eyes"), the models must wear blindfolds while practicing their runway walks (that should be amusing) and are then tasked with posing with their eyes during a photo shoot.

9 pm: Project Runway on Bravo.

Season Five (the final season on Bravo) of Project Runway continues tonight. On tonight's episode ("Rock n' Runway"), the contestants are tasked with designing outfits using musical inspiration from guest judge LL Cool J; Jerell considers sabotaging Suede; Jerell AND Korto consider sabotaging Kenley, who breaks down during judging.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Yikes. I guess Paul Campbell would have been better off staying on Battlestar Galactica. It doesn't sound like Knight Rider is going to do anything for his career. Those are some of the worst (but also some of the funniest) reviews I've ever seen.
Anonymous said…
RRK is one of the best examples of someone in Hollywood failing upwards. I never thought she was a very good writer though everyone talks about how she went to Harvard and wrote for the Lampoon. 90210 needs all the help it can get though so maybe this will be her chance to prove herself.
eAi said…
I thought Heroes had a couple of pretty strong episodes. I'm not sure it's got quite the 'focus' it should have though, but we'll see as the season progresses. The previous season suffered (like many others) from the strike and was not terribly satisfactory... I think the problem with Heroes is that it sometimes looks at 'The Long Game' more than it does the short-term 'Is this a good episode on it's own' view... Both are important, but without giving each episode a satisfactory sub-story you end up losing people. Heroes in particular runs multiple stories at once, making this even more confusing.

Prison Break on the other hand (this season at least) manages to provide both a compelling on-going story and substantial plots for each episode... Lost & 24 do this well too, though it can sometimes seem somewhat forced...

I think Heroes will be good, let's hope it gets the audience.

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