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Archive for Saturday, May 15, 2010

Betty White a tough act to follow for Alec Baldwin

May 15, 2010

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Once home to some of the most popular series on television, Saturday nights have become the most a la carte night of the week, offering video entrees suited to widely divergent tastes.

As a result, few people talk about or care to admit what they watch on Saturday nights. Last week, the big Saturday-night news was about an 88-year-old actress was hosting a 35-year-old comedy show.

We’re talking, of course, about the ageless Betty White’s outing on “Saturday Night Live” (10:35 p.m., NBC), a debut that scored some of the best ratings for “SNL” in years. Of course, that audience was a mere fraction of what White used to attract when she appeared on “Mary Tyler Moore” — on Saturday nights.

Tonight, “Saturday Night Live” ends its season with frequent host Alec Baldwin and musical guests Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Saturday nights have become the time when you can kick back and watch eight consecutive episodes of “NCIS.” But don’t go looking for them on CBS. The military-justice drama unspools on USA (5 p.m. through 1 a.m.).

Over on CBS, Matt Damon stars in the 2007 action thriller “The Bourne Ultimatum” (7 p.m., CBS). Fans of the “Bourne” movies and the book series by that inspired them should not miss “The Real Story: The Bourne Identity” (7 p.m., Sunday, Smithsonian), a documentary look at the real people and true events that author Robert Ludlum used to create the “Bourne” novels.

Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon stars in the 2005 ghost-story tearjerker “Just Like Heaven” (7 p.m., ABC), as well as the cliche-ridden 2002 romantic comedy “Sweet Home Alabama” (7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Oxygen). Since when did cliches hurt a romantic comedy?

Nothing speaks to female audiences like a comedy ending with a wedding. No wonder so many guy-centric comedies depict chaos and complication on the way to or from the altar. Last summer’s “The Hangover” (7 p.m., HBO) mined memory lapses and bachelor-party excess to become one of the highest-grossing comedies of all time. In contrast, the 2007 remake of “The Heartbreak Kid” (7 p.m., TBS), about second thoughts on a honeymoon, was a rare box-office failure for Ben Stiller. Things are a little less messy for Taye Diggs in “The Best Man” (7 p.m., BET), and “American Wedding” (9:15 p.m.) applied the “American Pie” formula for the third time.

Today’s highlights

• The Weeping Angels descend on “Doctor Who” (8 p.m., BBC America).

• Scheduled on “48 Hours Mystery” (9:30 p.m., CBS): A woman stabs her husband 193 times and disposes of him in the fish pond.

Sunday’s season finales

• Five castaways vie to survive the last tribal council on “Survivor” (7 p.m., CBS). A recap and reunion (9 p.m.) follows.

• An ailing coach gets a boost on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (7 p.m., ABC).

• Things blow up on “Desperate Housewives” (8 p.m., ABC).

• Marines face an uncertain future after VJ Day on the finale of “The Pacific” (8 p.m., HBO).

• The Walkers contend with the loss of the family firm on “Brothers & Sisters” (9 p.m., ABC).

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