TV Roundup: “Terminator: TSCC” ratings, “Dollhouse” news and more

– Quality-wise, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” finished really strong, but the ratings stayed even over the course of the season, so the future of the show is definitely in question. The show finished with a nail-biting four- or five-episode run, but the series’ overall slow pace drove away all but the most faithful of viewers. This should have been a 13-episode-per-season series from the start.

– “Dollhouse” ratings from last Friday matched a season low. Not good. More bad news: Fox isn’t going to air the 13th (already shot) episode, though some in Joss Whedon’s camp suggest that the 12th episode (“Omega”) is his original vision for the season finale. (I’m as confused as you are.)

– TNT broke a streak of “successful” shows by canceling “Trust Me.” TNT head of programming Michael Wright said that “it just didn’t find an audience.”

– “Prison Break” returns this Friday with the first of the final eight (?) hours of the series.

  

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TNT’s “Trust Me” is struggling

According to Variety, the ratings for TNT’s new show, “Trust Me,” haven’t been all that good.

After enjoying a string of successful series launches, TNT is struggling with its latest entry, ad agency drama “Trust Me.”

The show, which stars Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanagh, scored just 1.9 million viewers in the 10 p.m. slot Monday, losing about 65% of the lead-in aud supplied by “The Closer.” The performance also represented a significant retreat from the show’s Jan. 26 premiere, which drew 3.4 million viewers.

Reviews for “Trust Me” have been mixed, with the New York Post perhaps summing up crix’ reception best: “The series isn’t bad. It just isn’t all that good.”

I haven’t watched the show, and here’s why: the initial promotion had only McCormack and Cavanagh being snarky to each other, and I had no idea what the show was about. Then the second wave of promotion showed the characters yelling at each other in an advertising setting, which wasn’t that much more appealing. I thought about recording the first episode, but never got around to it and based on the critical reception, I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

Is anyone else in the same boat? Are there fans out there that love this series or is this one of those shows that lacks a diehard fan base?

  

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Bullz-Eye’s TCA 2009 Winter Press Tour Recap

Wait, didn’t I just go to one of these press tours…?

Actually, that was back in July, when the networks were busy pimping their new fall schedules; this time, they were presenting us with an idea of what we can expect to see on our favorite broadcast and cable channels from now until they premiere their next fall schedule.

Going out to L.A. in January was a new thing for me, though. It was my first winter tour since becoming a member of the Television Critics Association in 2007 – last year’s was canceled due to the writers’ strike – and, if the rumblings throughout the ballrooms at the Universal Hilton were any indication, it may well prove to be my last January tour. I’m hopeful that this presumption turns out to be inaccurate, but given the current economic climate and an increasing tendency for newspapers and publications to only send their TV critics out for one tour per year, there’s every reason to suspect that the networks will join suit and only be willing to pamper those critics once per year.

Sorry, did I say “pamper”? Of course, I meant, “Treat with the utmost respect.”

It feels a bit odd to be doing a wrap-up of my experiences at the tour before I’ve even had a chance to write up all of the panels I attended while I was out there, but, hey, when you get a good spot on the calendar, you make it work however you can. So still keep your eyes open for my ongoing pieces on the various shows you can expect to find on the broadcast networks during the next few months, but in the meantime, here’s a look at some of the best and worst bits from the January ’09 tour as a whole.

Most enjoyable panel by a cable network: “Rescue Me,” FX.

I’ve been a big Denis Leary fan every since No Cure for Cancer, so I knew the guy was inevitably going to go off on a profanity-filled rant before the end of the panel. What I didn’t expect, however, was that Peter Tolan – who co-created the show with Leary – would start the proceedings by telling Leary to watch his mouth, adding, “If you were going to say ‘cunt,’ don’t.”

From there, the two of them seemingly battled each other in an attempt to offer up the most memorable line. Leary complained about his salary. (“I had a crazy idea of getting paid, like, $250,000 an episode. They put limits on that, let me tell you. That’s Kiefer Sutherland money right there.”) Then Tolan claimed that he was at fault for the show’s fourth-season slump, blaming it on a drug problem and that “I was heavy into a kazillion hookers that year.” Then Leary bitched about how Michael J. Fox was going to guest on “Rescue Me” and get the Emmy that Leary himself has yet to earn. (“Five fucking episodes, he comes in. God damn, $700 million from ‘Spin City.’ He never asked me to do the show. He’s going to walk away with the fucking Emmy. That son of a bitch.”) Then Tolan started mocking Hugh Laurie’s American accent by talking about how he could do a British accent. (“Aye, pip, pip, mate, aye! ‘Allo, Mary Poppins!”) And…well, as you can see, there was really no contest: this may well have been the greatest panel ever.

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It’s time to set your TiVos… (part 2)

A couple of weeks ago, we provided a list of shows that were debuting soon so that you’d have a chance to set your TiVos. Well, 14 days have past and, since that’s the amount of program data that TiVo can carry, it’s time to do it again.

Here is a list of the scripted shows that premiere in the next two weeks (through Feb. 2):

LOST (ABC)
1/21/09 at 9:00 PM
Two-hour 5th season premiere

LIE TO ME (FOX)
1/21/09 at 9:03 PM
(from FOX’s press release, September 2008) FOX has given a series commitment to LIE TO ME, a compelling new drama from Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox Television. Tim Roth (“The Incredible Hulk”) and Kelli Williams (“The Practice”) star in this fascinating character drama inspired by a real-life specialist who can read clues embedded in the human face, body and voice to expose the truth behind the lies in criminal investigations. LIE TO ME is scheduled to premiere midseason. When you scratch your chin, wring your hands, wrinkle your nose or swallow too much, Dr. Cal Lightman (Roth) knows you’re lying. He doesn’t just think so he knows so. As the foremost deception expert in the country, Dr. Lightman can uncover the deepest secrets and crack the hardest cases. More accurate than any polygraph, he knows whether those in front of him be they family, friends, criminals or complete strangers are honest or not. Dr. Lightman heads up The Lightman Group, a private agency contracted by the FBI, local police, law firms, corporations and private individuals when they hit roadblocks in their searches for the truth. Joining him at the agency are a variety of experts in the field of behavioral evaluation: Dr. Gillian Foster (Williams) is a gifted psychologist and Lightman’s professional partner, a woman whose guidance he needs whether he knows it or not; Will Loker (Brendan Hines) is Lightman’s lead researcher who practices “radical honesty” at all times; and Ria Torres (Monica Raymund) is the newest member of the team, selected for her innate ability to read body language and catch certain clues that her colleagues may miss.


Read the rest after the jump...

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TCA Tour, Jan. 2009: “Trust Me”

TNT must be patting themselves on the back for being able to wrangle Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanagh to star in their new drama, “Trust Me.” They’re such instantly recognizable faces – McCormack for his eight seasons as Will Truman on “Will & Grace,” Cavanagh for everything from “Ed” to “Eli Stone” – that they might actually help get the show over the hump of being the first new TV series about an ad agency to appear since the debut of “Mad Men.”

“We’re prepared to deal with the ‘Mad Men’ comparisons,” said co-creator John Coveny, “because we’ve had them for the last year as we brought this to you guys.”

McCormack seemed stunned that anyone would make such a comparison. “Is anybody going to confuse the show with ‘Mad Men’? I think it’s a question that only comes up if you haven’t seen the show yet. Once you’ve seen them both, they’re very different shows.”

Despite having both been on NBC shows at the same time and both being Canadian, McCormack and Cavanagh had somehow never managed to work together prior to being teamed up for this series.

“I remember the first time we rehearsed,” said McCormack. “We literally had not met until the day we rehearsed the day before we started to shoot, and we did one of the scenes from the pilot together. Off the cuff, Tom threw some stuff in; I threw it back at him. We kind of looked over at these guys, and everyone seemed very, very pleased. It was one of those sort of, ‘Please let this work,’ and it was absolutely just a great chemistry…despite the fact that he’s a dick.”

Cavanagh sighed and shook his head. “You couldn’t end it on sincerity,” he said. “Did you see that? What does that say about you?”

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