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Tune In Tonight: ‘Masters’ explores David Geffen’s star-making machinery
November 20, 2012
“American Masters: Inventing David Geffen” (7 p.m., PBS) offers a brisk and entertaining history of the popular culture of the past five decades.
Paul Giamatti narrates Nature’s ‘DUCKumentary’
November 14, 2012
Paul Giamatti’s (”John Adams”) voice is popping up all over. I heard it recently in some insurance commercial, and tonight he narrates “An Original DUCKumentary” on “Nature” (7 p.m., PBS).
History returns to History with ‘Mankind’
November 13, 2012
Josh Brolin narrates “Mankind: The Story of All of Us” (8 p.m., History), a six-part series. This is a follow-up of sorts to “America: The Story of Us.” Gosh, I was waiting for “Belgium: The Story of Them.”
Sitcoms carve out stories for the season
October 30, 2012
Nobody this side of grammar school pays as much attention to holidays as television writers. Every season seems to be awash with Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween and Valentine’s Day episodes. This spring, both “Modern Family” and “30 Rock” carved out special commemorations of Leap Year’s extra day — a fascinating milestone for the fourth-grader in all of us.
Tune In: ‘Mockingbird’ revives ‘Munsters’
October 26, 2012
A year ago, NBC looked at “Mockingbird Lane” (7 p.m., NBC) as a reinvention of “The Munsters.” After commissioning a pilot episode, the network decided not to give it a green light. But tonight the network will air the one-hour test-drive as a Halloween special.
Presidential candidates to face off in first of 3 debates
October 3, 2012
The campaign that seems to have lasted forever enters its homestretch.
‘Revolution’ and ‘Mob Doctor’ make debut
September 17, 2012
The search for the new “Lost” continues with “Revolution” (9 p.m., NBC). Set 15 years after a mysterious and permanent power blackout, “Revolution” is both epic in scope and frequently laughable in execution — often at the same time.
‘Boardwalk Empire’ dealing with identity crisis
September 16, 2012
What is “Boardwalk Empire” (8 p.m. Sunday, HBO)? Is it a gangster show? A costume drama? A history lesson? A soap opera? Or an ambitious and sometimes frustrating combination of all of the above? “Empire” returns for its third season, with its identity crisis unsettled.
Can ‘SNL’ bring election laughs?
September 15, 2012
Seth MacFarlane hosts the 38th season premiere of “Saturday Night Live” (10:30 p.m., NBC), featuring musical guest Frank Ocean. “SNL” begins anew after two major departures, three new hires, a last-minute retention and a prevailing sense that the 2012 presidential election just may not be so rich in comedy gold, at least compared to four years ago.
ABC reboots Friday ‘news’; Fox loses ‘Touch’
September 14, 2012
The Friday fall season begins to take shape. ABC launches its evening of all-nonfiction fare, straddling the line between faux-reality and entertainment-enhanced “news.” The entertaining ideas featured on “Shark Tank” (7 p.m.) include a novel way of checking coats, a solution to bedbugs and a belt buckle that holds beverages. Classy.
Talent contests real and imagined
September 13, 2012
Talent shows come and go tonight, and that doesn’t even include the season opener of “Glee,” which focuses on the arrival of new talents to replace recent graduates.
Can young judges save ‘X Factor’?
September 12, 2012
Britney Spears: She used to make a spectacle of herself. Now she wears them. Why put on Drew Carey’s glasses? To add a little gravitas to her new role as a judge/mentor on the second season of “The X Factor” (7 p.m., Fox).
NBC ready for football
September 5, 2012
The fall television season has not really begun, but it’s all but certain that the season’s most-watched programming begins tonight. Yes, I’m talking about “Football Night in America” (7 p.m., NBC) and NFL football (7:30 p.m., NBC). While tonight’s game features the Super Bowl champion New York Giants versus the nationally popular Dallas Cowboys, any NFL football game broadcast on any given Sunday should be the most-watched game of the week, every week, from now until the end of the season.
‘Roughness’ transcends star
August 29, 2012
“Necessary Roughness” (9 p.m., USA) wraps up its second season with a series of personal and professional crises.
Political theater and launching pads
August 28, 2012
Coverage of the Republican National Convention (6 p.m., CNN, Current; 7 p.m., PBS, Fox News, MSNBC; 8 p.m., Bloomberg; and 9 p.m., ABC, CBS and NBC) airs tonight.