Wednesday's ratings rundown:
American Idol eliminated 750,000 viewers, but of course still won the hour with an audience of 26.26 million. Lagging behind a Criminal Minds repeat, Knight Rider dropped off 19 percent of its previous audience, hitting 4.94 mil. ABC's enhanced Lost repeat drew 4.8 mil.
Fox's Lie to Me stayed on top with 13 million viewers, up 900K from last week. Lost tied the Fox newbie in the demos while holding steady at 11 million viewers. NBC's Life returned to an audience of 6.76 mil, surging 30 percent from its last fresh outing. Katie Couric's Grammy special cued up 6.8 mil, but was bested by Life in its back half-hour.
Law & Order won the time period with 8.7 million viewers, followed by a CSI: NY repeat (7.54 mil) and Life on Mars (6.02 mil, down 480 thou).
Olivia Wilde (House), Ali Larter (Heroes), Kiefer Sutherland (24
Senior editors Matt Mitovich, Mickey O'Connor and Tim Molloy answer your questions. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
House is my favorite show, but I am getting sick of this season's Thirteen-centered storylines. When will we see more of Wilson, who has been woefully underused? — Gillian
MATT: Personally, I'm (Olivia) Wilde for Thirteen, partly because her portrayer gives great quotes on the red carpet (and, ahem, is definitely not chilly). But I hear your woe, and can promise that Robert Sean Leonard has meaty stuff coming up later this season, only some of which has to do with Wilson's long-lost brother. Also, for what it's worth (and as hinted at this week), we'll also be spending a bit more time with Peter Jacobson's Taub.
I hear that either Hayden Panettiere or Ali Larter wants to be released from her Heroes contract. Is this true? — Brian
TIM: One of the key Heroes dies at the end of this volume, so that would be an easy out. But Larter ...
Katie Couric and Lil' Wayne, Katie Couric's "All Access" Grammy Special
George Carlin: The Mark Twain Prize
9 pm/ET PBS (check local listings)
Calling George Carlin "cranky" is akin to calling the Mona Lisa "well done" — it's on target but misses the mark. The comedian, who passed away last year, was best known for spurring a Supreme Court case, hosting the first Saturday Night Live, and provoking much thought and many more laughs. Here, he's posthumously awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where spiritual heirs Lewis Black, Bill Maher, Garry Shandling and Jon Stewart as well as contemporaries Joan Rivers and Lily Tomlin are on hand.
Read on for previews of Katie Couric: "All Access" Grammy Special, Lost, Spectacle and Life.
Life beauty Sarah Shahi is expecting, and viewers can expect some changes for her character, according to the NBC cop drama's show runner.
"She's about four months pregnant," Rand Ravich told E! Online. Shahi's reps have yet to confirm the pregnancy.
What does this mean for Shahi's character, Dani Reese? Find out after the jump.
Brooke Shields, Lindsay Price and Kim Raver
As Tracy-Jordan-as-white-girl once said on 30 Rock: "Lipstick!" -- or, in this case, Lipstick Jungle! Read on to see Brooke Shields' good news...
Law & Order guest star Katee Sackhoff
This Wednesday, as Bones, Christine, Gary, K.I.T.T., the Criminal Minds and the CSIs of NY took a rest....
CBS' Rudolph shiny-nosed his way to the top of the pack, delivering 11.7 million total viewers and dominating the demos. NBC's coverage of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting came in second with 10.35 million.
Placing third was Fox's Secret Millionaire, which premiered to an audience of 7.37 mil. Pushing Daisies followed with 4.9 mil, a 10 percent bump from its previous outing.
In a four-horse race, Life took advantage of Criminal Minds's absence by surging 52 percent, to a season-high 8.1 million viewers. Trailing Secret Millionaire's second hour, Private Practice (7.84 mil) saw a 26 percent gain. CBS' Grammy noms special placed fourth with 7.15 mil.
Monopolizing this Wednesday's crime-drama audience, Law & Order soared 80 percent week-to-week, claiming a season's best 11.27 million viewers. It was followed by CBS' Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (8.73 mil, up 17 percent year-over-year) and Dirty Sexy Money (up a hair, to 5.7 mil).
Friday Night Lights hits NBC sooner rather than later (Jan. 16, to be exact).
NBC's midseason slate will bring viewers a largely revamped January, sidelining a handful of shows to make room for some new programming. Also on tap is a pair of Saturday Night Live specials.
The splashiest newcomer is So You Think You Can Dance boss Nigel Lythgoe's Superstars of the Dance — fancied as an internationally flavored "Olympic dance-off" and hosted by Michael Flatley — which premieres Sunday, Jan. 9, before moving to Mondays. There, it will air for several weeks from 8 to 10 pm/ET, bumping both Chuck and Heroes ...
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
TV Guide's Senior Critic Matt Roush takes your TV questions. Have a rant, rave or burning question about your favorite show you'd like addressed? E-mail him here!
Question: Sometimes I ask God why it was decided that I should be a sci-fi geek. I don't know about anyone else, but I have been impressed with the character development on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It is clear that Fox asked the producers to cut back on special effects to save money, so the writers had to actually (gasp!) write. I think they've done a wonderful job. I am enjoying the development of John and Cameron the most, but also of Sarah, Derek and Ellison. And then Fox pulls a Firefly on me and moves it to Friday along with Dollhouse. I don't understand how Fox and other networks cannot get this ...
See the rest of this question, Matt's response, and questions on Grey's Anatomy, Life, Brothers & Sisters, Pushing Daisies, Ghost Whispere, Kath & Kim and more after the jump
Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Padma Lakshmi and, Tom Colicchio, Top Chef
Top Chef: New York
10 pm/ET Bravo
Order up! The culinary-arts competition series gets cooking with its Season 5 opener, served up in a supersize ration no less.
Read on for previews of Bones, the 42nd Annual CMA Awards, Life and Stylista.
Sarah Shahi and Damian Lewis, Life
Life has received a sentence from NBC — for a full season.
The network has ordered the back nine episodes of the quirky cop drama, giving it a full 22-episode season pick-up.
The ratings-challenged sophomore series has ...