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Archive for Wednesday, August 11, 2010

‘Modern Family’ makes product placement fun

August 11, 2010

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Easily the best new comedy of the past season, “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC) has received 14 Emmy nominations, trailing only “Glee” among network series. The earnest HBO miniseries “The Pacific” leads all comers with 24 nods.

In fact, tonight’s “Modern Family” is good enough to present what is essentially a show-length product placement for the Apple iPad and still seem funny, touching and utterly original.

The ability of Apple to consistently work its computers, iPods, iPhones and other gadgets into prime-time series is one of the underexplored entertainment stories of the past decade.

A recent episode of “iCarly” features her brother organizing an event using his “PearPad,” proving that even shows not saturated with Apple products acknowledge and lampoon their existence.

• When CNBC announced their new series biography series “Bizography” (8 p.m., CNBC), I figured they’d be profiling business or finance heavyweights like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

But the first episode of “Bizography” is devoted to George Foreman, the ageless boxer who regained his heavyweight title at 45 and has gone on to a long career as a TV pitchman, selling countless products, most notably the indoor grill that bears his name.

• The instant worldwide fame of Susan Boyle cemented the relationship between the Internet and TV talent shows. Tonight, “America’s Got Talent” (8 p.m., NBC) returns the favor when four acts of YouTube fame go on to the semifinals.

• “True Hollywood Story” (9 p.m., E!) profiles Charlie Sheen, the acclaimed “Platoon” star whose role as a womanizer on the top-rated “Two and a Half Men” mirrors his strange and troubled private life.

“Story” recalls his “hippie” childhood and his mother’s reputation as a nudist. Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss recalls Sheen and what she calls “Hollywood justice”: “I love it. Charlie gets 2 million an episode and I go to prison.” Speaking of prison, Sheen escaped jail time just last week, when charges of domestic violence, stemming from an alleged Christmas altercation with his wife, were dropped.

• After a sneak peek last week, “Hard Knocks” (9 p.m., HBO) spends an hour in training camp with the New York Jets as they prepare for a season filled with high expectations.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Part one of a two-night finale of “So You Think You Can Dance” (7 p.m., Fox).

• A newlywed bride fails to inform her new husband about her 40 feral dogs on “Confessions: Animal Hoarding” (8 p.m., Animal Planet).

• Signs of the Compass killer abound on “CSI: NY” (9 p.m., CBS).

• Peculiar religious symbols mark a murder scene on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (9 p.m., NBC).

• Cooperation with an FBI agent (Dana Delany) pays off on “Castle” (9 p.m., ABC).

• Melanie’s son (Joe Jonas) visits on “Hot in Cleveland” (9 p.m., TV Land).

• Drag racing on “Psych” (9 p.m., USA).

• “L.A. Ink” (9 p.m., TLC), featuring tattoo artist Kat Von D, returns for a fourth season.

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