Brothers & Sisters
The cast of Brothers & Sisters returns to work in mid-July, with a few jarring changes besides the absence of Rob Lowe, whose character was killed off in the season finale's tragic multi-car pile-up that also left Patricia Wettig's character, Holly, hanging on by a limb. (Calls to Patricia's reps inquiring about her fate have not been returned.) But the biggest question involves ABC's downsized order of 18 episodes — shorter than a series' typical 22-episode order. Are the Walkers about to have their final group hug? Series star Rachel Griffiths, who plays eldest daughter Sarah, isn't exactly sure herself, telling me, "In my negotiation, I asked, 'does 18 mean it's the last season?' I would love to know. I feel like this is the last season, but I don't know for sure."
It's the most controversial soap plot of the year but is it really what we think it is? General Hospital has sent teenager Michael Corinthos III (Chad Duell) to prison for the death of his stepmother and, while there, he's been repeatedly beaten and presumably raped by Carter (Joshua Wingate), an inmate who is in league with the psychotic artist Franco (James Franco). Though the soap is dropping all sorts of hints that Michael has been sexually violated, no one on screen is using the R word. Nor is anyone at ABC Daytime. In fact, last week a network rep told TV Guide Magazine that the show wants viewers to make up their own minds about what's happening to Michael. But now GH's Emmy-winning head writer Bob Guza is coughing up a bit more info.
Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) starts Season 4 in deep trouble—again.
The superspy has been kidnapped by Management, the mysterious group that had him framed and banished from the CIA. Now, impressed by his recapture of the psycho ex-operative Simon, they want Michael's considerable talents on their side. He ends up partnering with his captor, the dapper Vaughn (The Wire's Robert Wisdom). "Vaughn is a more friendly collaborator than the other coercive faces of Management, but he's no less dangerous," warns exec producer Matt Nix.
Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights
(Friday, 8/7c, NBC) In one of the most heart-wrenching episodes of the season, Matt Saracen comes to terms with his feelings about his long-absent father, turning to his surrogate family at the Taylor household for solace at a time of personal crisis.
The 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee
(Friday, 8/7c, ABC) Chris Harrison (The Bachelor) hosts the prime-time coverage as the final championship round decides a winner in the annual white-knuckle spelling competition. (Semifinals air earlier in the day on ESPN.) Can you spell T-E-N-S-I-O-N?
Susie Essman and Jon Hamm
Cheers to Jon Hamm for showing his wry side once again. On the debut of TV Guide Network's Curb: The Discussion, the Golden Globe-winning actor best known as the dead-serious Don Draper (or is that Dick Whitman?) on Mad Men gamely analyzed the behavior of Larry David as part of a post-Curb Your Enthusiasm celebrity panel. He revealed he's "not a fan" of breast implants before joking he's got them, and "my nipples are just as sensitive as they were before the implants." This should come as no surprise—the sense of humor, not the sensitive nipples—to anyone who's seen Hamm cut loose on 30 Rock ...
OK, single ladies, help me out: Do you really have "ex-swaps"?
Watching the premiere of MTV's new reality peep show, Downtown Girls, Tuesday, we saw the show's quintet of horrifically named gal pals (what exactly is a Shallon, Gurj and Klo anyway?!) gather their former mattress giants ...
Could American Idol finally have a replacement for Simon Cowell? Fresh off his surprise appearance on the Idol finale, it suddenly seems Bret Michaels might be the most likely candidate for the job. And last Friday, in a concert at the Hard Rock Café in Biloxi, Miss., the rocker told the audience, "I can't say this is true yet, because I don't know. Next year they asked me to possibly be the judge on American Idol."
Though Fox issued a "no comment" in regards to the reports...
Forget Shrek. The summer's really entertaining donkeys are the poor souls serving under Gordon Ramsay this season. For round 6 of the blue-plate Top Chef, Fox has assembled another posse of Risotto-challenged chuckleheads who are sure to fire up ...