Friday, May 20, 2011

All in All, Not a Bad Summer of Viewing Ahead

The end of the TV season and a flimsy summer schedule leaves viewers in the lurch for the next few months, unless we want to go out and actually do stuff.  Pretty much.

The good news is that The Closer (July 11) and Rescue Me (July 12) will be back for their final seasons on TNT, though the network will stretch out The Closer off and on until next summer.  The last six episodes will set up a show called Major Crimes that will have some of the same actors.

White Collar and Covert Affairs come back to USA on June 7th.  Yay.  Rizzoli and Isles has returned to TNT while Leverage returns on June 26th.   

TV Land's smash, Hot in Cleveland, has 12 new episodes beginning Wednesday, June 15 at 10 PM ET/PT, immediately followed by Fran Drescher’s new sitcom Happily Divorced.  It centers on Drescher as a Los Angeles florist who starts dating after learning her realtor husband of 18 years (John Michael Higgins) is gay. (This storyline mirrors the comedienne’s own real life with gay husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, who co-produced The Nanny and is writing this entry with her.) 

In the new show, Fran juggles her relationships as she shares a home with her ex.  Also in the cast is her best friend, Judi (Tichina Arnold), her parents Dori and Glen (Rita Moreno and Robert Walden) and her flower delivery employee Cesar (Valente Rodriguez).

On Hot, new episodes pick up as Elka (Betty White) is on the lam with Amish people after being convicted of holding stolen goods appropriated by her late husband, a mob boss. The gals have to find her before her sentencing date.  Also in store for the season are a writing job at Woman’s Day for Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli), a reunion with a lost son for Joy (Jane Leeves) and a case of mistaken identity for Victoria (Wendie Mallick).

Even better will be the show’s continued use of fun guest stars: Buck Henry (Get Smart, 30 Rock), Dick Van Patten (Eight is Enough), John Mahoney (Leeves’ Frasier co-star), Doris Roberts, Jennifer Love Hewitt, George Wendt (Norm of Cheers), Mindy Cohn, soap star Antonio Sabato Jr. and the return of Huey Lewis and Wayne Knight.

In reality land, The Bachelorette for 2011 is Ashley Hebert, the 26-year-old University of Pennsylvania dental student who wasn’t good enough for loser Brad Womack.  He failed to find a woman in two attempts on The Bachelor.

Master Chef and Hell’s Kitchen will return on Fox.  These two qualify as semi-trash and trash, respectively, but I’m sure they will suck me in.

And speaking of s-cking, Bachelor Pad, America’s Got Talent, Marriage Ref and The Voice are also slated for the summer.  The Voice debuted in April, but I haven’t heard anyone talking about it, so I can’t imagine it’s worth watching.

Two programs I will check out for sure are Franklin and Bash on TNT and Expedition Impossible on ABC.

The first stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack from Saved by the Bell) and Breckin Myer (Garfield), as a couple of trial lawyers.  Premiering Wednesday, June 1st at 9, the two are ambulance chasers recruited by a big law firm where they are know-it-all fish-out-of-water.

Expedition Impossible is described by ABC as the following: 13 three-person teams find themselves racing across vast deserts, over snow-capped mountains and through raging rivers in the beautifully exotic, fabled Kingdom of Morocco. Yes, it sounds like Amazing Race.  The program will last 10 weeks beginning Thursday, June 23rd at 9pm.

The rest of the news is pretty disappointing.  There will be no My Boys this summer.  That magnificent show was cancelled with little fanfare.  The cable outlets have a few additional programs on the schedule that mean nothing to me.  They include HawthoRNe, Memphis Beat (both TNT) and Rookie Blue (ABC), which has actually received some positive notice.

All in all, not a bad summer of viewing, I guess, but there will be ample time for outdoor fun and that is good news.

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