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Archive for Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Will ‘River’ stay afloat?

March 20, 2012

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“The River” (8 p.m., ABC) wraps up its first season tonight. It was the fourth-rated show in its time slot last Tuesday, so don’t hold your breath for more trips up the Amazon. It’s one thing to get beaten by a repeat of “NCIS: Los Angeles” and a dollop of “The Biggest Loser,” but it’s a sinking feeling to attract fewer young viewers than the unwatchable “Breaking In.”

It’s been tough sledding for new series centered on cosmic mysteries. Fox shows “Alcatraz” and “Fringe” have had difficulty finding traction with viewers, and not even a Spielberg pedigree could save Fox’s “Terra Nova” from cancellation. The only “Lost”-inspired series launched this year that’s guaranteed to return is “Person of Interest” on CBS.

l “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm appears on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” (11:35 p.m., NBC). Last week, Hamm, the actor who plays tortured ad executive Don Draper, stirred the pop-culture pot by citing Kim Kardashian as an example of television celebrating stupidity. His choice of words was unfortunate (and unprintable), but he’s onto something.

As someone who writes about TV on a daily basis, I’m keenly aware of how much the medium, particularly basic cable, has doubled down on the dumb. So it’s nice to see Hamm, the face of one of television’s smartest shows, taking a stand against a symbol of one of its trashiest.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Virginia mentors a teen on “Raising Hope” (7 p.m., Fox).

• A parent-teacher conference gets romantic on “New Girl” (8 p.m., Fox).

• The source of a lead may be a notorious sniper on “Unforgettable” (9 p.m., CBS).

• The talents clamor to place their products on “Fashion Star” (9 p.m., NBC).

• After her controversial acquittal, a woman is found dead on “Body of Proof” (9 p.m., ABC).

• Scheduled on “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” (9 p.m., HBO): the enduring Wallenda family.

• Raylan juggles to keep the lid on Dickie and Quarles on “Justified” (9 p.m., FX).

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