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Test Pattern: What's Your Indispensable TV Network?

We all have the networks--whether broadcast or cable, legacy or newbie--that we gravitate to, but I was wondering this morning about so-called indispensable networks. Given that I write about television, nearly all networks could be said to be indispensable in one way or another, but what I was pondering was that one specific television channel that you can't turn away from, that you automatically switch to when you turn on the television, or which you have on as background while you're doing other things in our multi-tasking obsessed society. Many years ago, that channel was--perhaps not surprisingly for those of you who know me--Food Network, but it was replaced by BBC America around 2000 and for many years that was my go-to network, the one spot on the metaphorical dial that I could always depend on for diverting fare, soothing background noise, or a sense of the familiar and comforting. For whatever the reason, sadly, that's not the case anymore and--shock, horror--

Culture Clash: Brief Thoughts on IFC's The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

I really wanted to like IFC's David Cross-led comedy The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret , a co-production with Channel 4's More4 in the UK. After all, the series was created by Cross and Shaun Pye ( Extras ) and stars Cross, Will Arnett, The Inbetweeners 's Blake Harrison, and Sharon Horgan ( Pulling ). So I should really love it as I would seem to be the target audience for such a dark and depraved comedy of errors set against a backdrop of cultural differences between Americans and Brits. But try though I might, there's something entirely off about Todd Margaret , at least in the three episodes that were submitted to the press for review. I couldn't shake off the feeling that this wasn't so much the story of an American adrift in England but rather an effort to smash together US and UK comedy styles. It doesn't quite gel, however. The effect feels a bit like a traditional US sitcom and a quirky UK one at the same time but also like neither

Channel Surfing: More on Party Down Cancellation, NBC Dumps Persons Unknown on Sats, Weeds, Big Love, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Following yesterday's brutal cancellation of Party Down , Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall talks to Party Down executive producer Rob Thomas about the cancellation of the Starz comedy. "No one on our side is particularly shocked by the news," Thomas told Sepinwall about the cancellation. "Frankly, the waiting has been excruciating, and there's a certain amount of relief in knowing and being able to move on." Thomas indicated that the series was heading towards a third season renewal before newly installed entertainment czar Chris Albrecht was brought in. "There's little to no doubt that we were going to get one until Chris came in," said Thomas. "But I do think if we had done better numbers, Chris would've kept us. I don't think Chris wanted to come in and clean house. I just don't think he had quite the emotional attachment that people who had been at Starz through the birth o

Channel Surfing: "Fringe" Stars Tease Season Two, Maura Tierney Leaves "Parenthood," ABC Lures "Secret Millionaire," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Fringe stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, and John Noble tease some details about the second season of the FOX sci-fi drama, which launches next week, during a video interview on the set of an Entertainment Weekly photo shoot for the magazine's Fall TV Issue (on newsstands today). ( Entertainment Weekly ) NBC has announced that Maura Tierney (ER) has left the cast of Parenthood in order to undergo treatment for breast cancer. The series, from executive producer Jason Katims, was originally slated to launch this fall on the Peacock but the network delayed the series until midseason in order to allow Tierney to begin treatment. Unfortunately, that treatment will continue to interfere with the series' production schedule. Tierney and Parenthood have agreed to go their separate ways and Tierney's role, that of harried single mother Sarah Braverman, will now be recast. ( E! Online's Watch with Kristin ) ABC has acquire

Channel Surfing: "Chuck" Tops Save Our Shows Poll, Adult Swim Hires UK "Office," Shonda Rhimes Talks Denny, "Grey's Anatomy," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Not unsurprisingly, NBC's Chuck has topped USA Today 's Save Our Show poll, scoring 54 percent of the 43,000 viewers who cast their votes in the ten-day online poll. The Warner Bros Television-produced series scored the top spot overall as well and was the most favored choice among men, teens and twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, forty-somethings, whites, Asians, Hispanics, Westerners, Southerners, Northeasterners, and Midwesterners and the fourth favored choice among women as well. (If that's not cross-cultural appeal, I don't know what is.) ( USA Today ) Adult Swim has acquired rights to the original UK series The Office , starring Ricky Gervais, from BBC Worldwide and will air both seasons as well as the Christmas special (which marked the series finale) this summer. Move marks the second deal between Adult Swim and BBC Worldwide, which previously sold rights to comedy The Mighty Boosh to the cabler, whic

Channel Surfing: IFC Stakes Claim to "Anita Blake," Bryan Fuller Talks "Heroes" Return, "Life on Mars" Series Finale, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. I promise no April Fool's Day jokes here, just real TV-related headlines this morning. IFC and Lionsgate Television are developing telepic Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter , based on Hamilton's best-selling Anita Blake novels about the female vampire hunter who also works as a police consultant on supernatural crimes. The movie, which will be produced by Lionsgate and After Dark Films, was written/executive produced by Glen Morgan ( The X-Files ) and will be shot this summer. ( Variety ) SCI FI Wire has an exclusive interview with Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller about his return to NBC's Heroes , what went wrong with the series, and how he intends to fix it. "After I finished watching [the "Villains" episodes the producers sent over], I wasn't sure I could do this," said Fuller. "I didn't recognize the show anymore. It had become something else entirely. My f

Channel Surfing: "Lost" Premiere Title Revealed; ABC "Maid" to Order, "Friday Night Lights," and More

Good morning and welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. (Is it really Wednesday already? Wow.) Doc Jensen has the scoop on the title of the fifth season premiere of Lost : "Because You Left." Wowsers, that's a fantastic title, no? You'll have to brave reading through Jeff's write-ups of the Lost panel at Comic-Con and the new Dharma Initiative-based ARG (along with an important message about the upcoming Stand Up 2 Cancer television special on September 5th) but it's right there at the very end of Doc's latest treatise on the ABC drama. ( Entertainment Weekly ) Sigh. Yet another feature film en route to the small screen: ABC has given a put pilot commitment to a series adaptation of the 2002 Jennifer Lopez feature film Maid in Manhattan , about a maid--not the Jennifer Lopez character but a different maid--and single mother who works at a posh Manhattan hotel and falls for a politician who mistakes her for a guest. (I guess those new mai