John F. Kennedy
Friday marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, Texas, and both broadcast and cable networks are featuring special programming tied to the national tragedy. Here's a complete roundup of how you can catch daily coverage of the anniversary on TV, though many networks are offering supplemental coverage online as well.
Sarah Shahi, Paige Turco and Taraji P. Henson
Last Thursday, I was honored to moderate a panel at the "Made in NY" PaleyFest at New York's Paley Center, celebrating the third season of CBS's terrific cyber-thriller Person of Interest. Before the discussion with many of the show's cast and executive producer Jonathan Nolan, there was a screening of this week's episode (Tuesday, 10/9c) — the best of the season to date, and a fairly pivotal one — that is especially enjoyable in how it showcases the series' fabulous femmes fatales. With the target du jour a chameleon Casanova, the women must act as nightclub and social-media bait: an off-duty and glammed-up Carter (Taraji P. Henson), the ferociously trigger-happy Shaw (Sarah Shahi, hilariously playing against her natural beauty) and Reese's favorite fixer, the alluring Zoe Morgan (recurring co-star Paige Turco). A CBS contact refers to them as "Finch's Angels," and if they want to spin themselves off, that would be fine by me. A scene where the three ladies of the evening compare their weaponry is a riot. So's a later scene in which Shaw reflects on her disdain for relationships. (When I asked Shahi if Shaw has a soft side, she wasted no time in barking a "No.")
League of Denial
The PBS investigative series Frontline tackles the NFL's stance on football and brain damage in Tuesday's episode, "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis." "What did the NFL know, and when did they know it?" asks Mark Fainaru-Wada, whose just-released book on the subject (coauthored with brother Steve Fainaru) is the basis for the documentary. "It's really powerful to see the depths to which some of the greatest football players have been suffering."
Remember when ABC Sports used to go "up close and personal" in its profiles of athletic greats? In its terrific new "Nine for IX" series of documentaries about women's accomplishments in sports, ESPN Films applies that same intimate, emotional style to a true legend of college basketball, University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, in the video love letter Pat XO (Tuesday, 8/7c, ESPN). Produced by Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, this entertaining collage of testimonials from players and colleagues — with Summitt's grown son Tyler providing an emotional narrative thread — is underscored with sadness in the wake of her diagnosis last year with early-onset Alzheimer's...
Amber Kelleher-Andrews, Matt Hussey, Tracy McMillan
Way to squander a Voice lead-in, NBC. Turns out America wasn't ready to waste another night of the broadcast week on a ridiculously padded dating show, so after this week, Ready for Love (Tuesday, 9:01/8:01c) goes into reality limbo — and honestly, if scripted duds can get yanked without notice, why should lousy competition-reality shows be exempt when shunned like this one was? On the plus side, with The Voice about to end its enjoyable "battle" rounds and move next week into the "knockout" phase, the expanded Tuesday edition will be joined April 30 by the clever supernatural thriller Grimm, given a well-deserved reprieve from the Friday trenches for the rest of the season. (Part of me wishes NBC would invest more heavily in Hannibal and give it a shot in this wide-open Tuesday time period, but Grimm is probably a better fit.)
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Most of television does its civic duty and turns to Washington, D.C. for State of the Union coverage (9/8c), as President Obama presents his first address of his second term. (As a curtain raiser, PBS' Frontline — check tvguide.com listings — relives those fun times when the White House sparred with the opposition over the deficit, taking the nation to the brink of the "fiscal cliff" in an installment appropriately titled "Cliffhanger.")
A different sort of dog-and-pony show — emphasis on dogs as show ponies — unfolds on USA Network...
Pioneers of Television
If I counted right, you can hear Betty White say "I'm the luckiest broad on two feet" at least three times during the course of the "Funny Ladies" retrospective that kicks off a new season of PBS' Pioneers of Television (check tvguide.com listings). Who could or would want to doubt her? The evidence is right there in clips and stills from this living legend's earliest TV appearances in the 1940s and '50s, establishing her as a versatile broadcaster and gung-ho performer even before Lucille Ball made us fall in love with her — and blazing a trail for all who would follow.
Courtney Cox, Josh Hopkins
Now here's about the nicest Valentine's Day present anyone could hope for: the long-awaited return of Cougar Town, a show that's so much fun to love, you can't help but wonder if ABC kept it off the air so long just to make our hearts grow fonder.
Fasten your recliner belts. With Labor Day behind us, it's time for some heavy TV lifting as new seasons begin and summer seasons continue to wrap things up. TV Guide Magazine's Fall Preview issue is out this week, which means the "regular" TV season is just around the corner. But there's still plenty to watch right now. Here's a quick look at the highlights for the rest of the week in TV.
The Learys live in a New Jersey mansion that the Sopranos wouldn't find unfamiliar, and paterfamilias Patrick (Holt McCallany) made his money violently. But that's where the similarities end (some of them, anyway): Patrick (aka "Lights") is an ex-heavyweight boxing champ. Alas, retirement hasn't been good to Lights, and his money's running out (so, yes, he'll get mixed up with the mob). But Lights' story isn't all boxing-movie clichés. For starters, he's married to a med student (Catherine McCormack) and he's a responsible father. And when he's diagnosed with "pugilistic dementia" in the series opener, it's only the beginning of the story. — Paul Droesch
Read on for previews of Frontline, Millionaire Matchmaker, NCIS, The Haney Project, Teen Mom and Onion SportsDome.