Monday, January 31, 2011

{alltv} Which network boasts the worst two-hour block? USA, LLC 

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Have you ever turned on the television and then been too lazy to change the channel and "accidentally" sat through two hours of the lamest broadcast network garbage you can imagine?

I hope not. Have some self-respect. We live in a world of remotes. Press the buttons, already.

However, one look at the winter schedule the networks are foisting on us right now opens up a world of weakness.

For example, ABC has two hours of "The Bachelor" Monday night. That's a big bowl of sad, people. Watching that just tells the world that you are no longer living the dream. On Tuesdays, the CW has an hour of "One Tree Hill" followed by an hour of "Hellcats," which roughly translates to seven hours of visual pain. Why would anyone do that to themselves?

On Wednesday, NBC's combo of "Minute to Win It" and "Chase" is like dumb chasing predictable. It's the kind of lineup that not only has no flow to it, but there's no one on earth who could write a reasonable defense of watching either back-to-back.

But my vote goes to NBC for packaging "The Cape" and "Harry's Law" together on Mondays. How could this be more heinous than what the Peacock dishes out on Wednesday, you ask? Easy. "Minute to Win It" is cheap reality programing. Any third-level executive could shepherd that witless hour onto the air and get a better office out of it. "Chase" is the kind of show you put on the air when you can't make "Justified" and you don't know any good writers.

But "The Cape" looks like something that people were excited about -- they had the ambition to make something different. And "Harry's Law" is from David E. Kelley, who talked Kathy Bates into the title role.

Translation: Unlike the other two shows, some heavy lifting, organizing and greenlighting took place for these Monday shows. And what are we left with? A guy in a cape. In a show that looks like it wants to be something other than what the guy in the cape wants. Plus, he's in a cape. No matter how many ways you draw that up on a napkin at the bar, you were drunk and you had a terrible idea. There's no fixing it now.

As for Kelley and Bates, well, have you seen "Harry's Law"? If the newbies at NBC haven't fired the people behind this show, then good luck with that overhaul. "Harry's Law" is the kind of show that someone at USA would scoff at. Obviously, the problem came well before the pilot got shot. But once it was actually filmed and screened for executives, nobody said the words they should have said. And those words are: "You're kidding me, right?"

So, that's my vote. Two hours of bad television that took actual muscle to get on the air. Those are big failures. Those are the shows that you can't sweep into the dustbin of forgotten history when they get canceled. And they will get canceled. Those are the kinds of shows where people say, "Remember the guy with the cape who wasn't a superhero?" And, "What was the show that really proved Kelley was in a rut? No not that one -- the one with Kathy Bates."

And now, two networks and I'll dub the Terrible Trifecta: On Fridays, ABC has "Supernanny," "Primetime: What Would You Do" and "20/20." Nothing says "the networks are turning Fridays into a graveyard like Saturdays" than that lineup. ABC should start a "Free Pizza Friday" promotion and feed any family willing to watch those three hours back-to-back.

Then, on Sundays starting in March, NBC (are you sensing a pattern here?) will lay "Dateline," "America's Next Great Restaurant" and "The Apprentice" end-to-end. Really? This can only be one massive joke by the outgoing execs at NBC, right?

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