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Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2007

Latest ‘Survivor’ is made in China

September 20, 2007

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Shanghai welcomes 16 Americans and participants in the 15th chapter of the "Survivor" (7 p.m., CBS) franchise. The group, including a poker player, musician, student, teacher and grave digger, will assemble at a Buddhist temple, where they will rid themselves of their possessions before relocating to two separate islands located in Zhelin Lake in the Jiangxi Province.

¢ "Burn Notice" (9 p.m., USA) wraps up a successful first season. In the two-hour season finale, Michael discovers that Sam has been kidnapped by rogue Special Forces soldiers. This whimsical series about a spy who came in from the Cold - in Miami of all places - has reached a big enough audience to be renewed for a second season.

The same cannot yet be said for "Mad Men" (10 p.m., AMC). Despite near-universal critical acclaim, the superior advertising period drama may not be popular enough to justify another season on AMC.

It's obviously an expensive show to write and produce. Tonight's "Mad Men" is a repeat of the episode about Don receiving some unwanted attention after getting an award. A new episode of "Mad Men," the 10th of 13, will air next week. Keep your fingers crossed about its renewal.

¢ Emmy smiled on Thursday-night programs Sunday. "Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera won for best actress in a comedy, and the series pilot was recognized in the best director category. TV writers and executives should take note: Audiences love a show with heart, and "Ugly" is proof.

Of all of the Emmys bestowed, none provided a more welcome boost for its recipients than the best comedy nod for "30 Rock." As creator/writer/star Tina Fey made clear in her amusing acceptance speech, the award would make at least one strong argument for the show's survival. And she had the night's funniest and most self-deprecating line when she thanked the show's "dozens and dozens" of viewers.

"Greys' Anatomy" certainly got no accolades to justify its existence. So the best supporting actress Emmy for Katherine Heigl in the drama category has to be seen as part of an embarrassment of riches for an actress who starred in the summer's hottest big-screen comedy ("Knocked Up") and appears in one of television's highest rated series. But all that fame still couldn't keep one announcer from mispronouncing her name.

Jaime Pressly also took home a well-deserved best-supporting actress Emmy for her over-the-top portrayal of Joy on "My Name is Earl." No character on television is more savagely selfish and hilarious.

It's interesting to note that the best comedy-writing Emmy went to "The Office," a show better known for its improvisational acting. I would have thought it would have gone to "30 Rock," a series noted for tightly scripted comedy. At least to its "dozens and dozens" of viewers.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ Miami hosts Texas A&M in college football action (6:30 p.m., ESPN).

¢ Joy's trial commences on the hour-long season finale of "My Name is Earl" (8 p.m., NBC).

¢ Betty and Henry grow closer on "Ugly Betty" (8 p.m., ABC).

¢ Democratic candidates for president debate in Ames, Iowa (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings).

¢ Michael, Jim and Karen apply for the New York position on the season finale of "The Office" (8 p.m., NBC).

¢ The ship finds itself in dangerous waters on "Lobster Wars" (8 p.m., Discovery).

¢ The two part documentary series "Verdict: You Decide" (10 p.m., MSNBC) puts viewers in the juror box in a North Carolina murder case.

¢ Bill Clinton appears on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" (10 p.m., Comedy Central)

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