Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart
How do we say this delicately? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Seriously, has there ever been a less captivating American Idol than Carole King night? Nothing against King, one of our nation's greatest musical contributors, but her folksy, classics just don't lend themselves to the kind of lively TV we've come to expect from the season of Idol.
Say it isn't so. After seven seasons of ruling the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch with an iron fist — well, more like an aluminum fist — misfiring manager Michael Scott walks out of his beloved office for the last time.
The trick, admits executive producer Paul Lieberstein, who also stars as Toby, was balancing the sentimental nature of Steve Carell's final episode with the requisite humor. "We try to play it pretty real, pretty simple," he says. "But it's not easy for a guy like Michael, who has such a low grasp on reality, to have a normal goodbye. That's where a lot of the comedy comes from."
Wide World of Sports
Long before there was ESPN (or ESPN2 or ESPNU or Versus or Speed or any of the numerous other channels dedicated to sports) ABC's Wild World of Sports was a pioneer in coverage of niche and emerging athletic events. The venerable anthology series premiered 50 years ago this week, on April 29, 1961, and is perhaps best known for host Jim McKay's iconic opening narration: "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat."
Cheers to Adam Arkin for becoming one of TV's highest-caliber directors.
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The veteran actor (Northern Exposure, Chicago Hope), who still does stellar guest shots on shows like The Chicago Code and Sons of Anarchy, has quietly emerged as one of the small screen's most reliable helmers. At FX, he's practically a house director, having shot episodes of The Riches, Dirt, SOA and Terriers. But his finest behind-the-camera work has been on Justified, and he outdid himself with this week's installment, "Reckoning."
If you go strictly by the reaction of the studio audience Wednesday night, James Durbin is the next winner of American Idol. Instead of marching drummers and flaming pianos, the hard-rocking Durbin, 22, filled the auditorium with the sweetness of his voice, starting a cappella, and doing a stunning rendition of the Carole King classic, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"
Gene Hackman, Tom Cruise
Looking for some good ratings counsel, NBC is turning to John Grisham's The Firm. The network is in talks to pick up a new series based on the best-selling legal thriller, which was also the basis of a 1993 movie starring Tom Cruise.
Lukas Reiter (The Forgotten, Law & Order) is adapting the book for TV and wrote the pilot script. The Firm has actually been in development for some time, originally at CBS. More recently, Reiter and Grisham, who are both executive producing, pitched The Firm to several cable networks.
The Cleveland Show (Sunday, 8:30/7:30c, Fox)
An ill wind is blowing through Fox's "Animation Domination" lineup — well, the Seth MacFarlane variety, anyway. In a crossover sweeps stunt, a hurricane storms its way through Stoolbend (Cleveland Show), Quahog (Family Guy) and Langley Falls (American Dad). On Cleveland, the storm wrecks the Brown/Tubbs family vacation plans. On Family Guy, the stress of the storm (never easy on dogs) drives Brian to overindulge in questionable substances. And on American Dad, the hurricane wreaks havoc on the Smiths, who foolishly decide to ride it out at home. As for Springfield... The Simpsons go to the Jersey Shore, so apparently they didn't get the memo.