Robert De Niro, Don Rickles
Insults never sounded sweeter than when Don Rickles was hurling hilarious barbs at his targets, whether innocent ringside onlookers or the rich and famous on a celebrity roast dais. At 88, though stooped and using a cane, he still gives as good as he gets, a fact brought home with delightful wit and genuine lump-in-the-throat sentiment in Spike TV's One Night Only: An All-Star Tribute to Don Rickles (Wednesday, 9/8c).
Here's a fearless (and rather obvious) prediction for what could be a pivotal week on Fox's American Idol. Regardless of what happens on the next performance show (Wednesday, 8/7c), if America's vote endangers any of the girls — none of whom have been sent home yet (sorry, guys, especially Burnell) — the judges will almost certainly use their season's one "save."
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Question: [SPOILER ALERT for anyone who's fallen behind on Scandal] I'm a loyal reader of your column, and always enjoy hearing your well-thought-out and articulate opinions on TV's hottest topics. I'm writing to you for the first time now because I wanted to know your take on the latest installments of Scandal. I saw in your last column the tag line "Scandal is the new Revenge," and I agree Scandal has been far more gripping lately than Revenge.
The world is Sir David Attenborough's playground, which he has revealed on camera in all of its natural wonder with irrepressible enthusiasm for the last 60 years, forging a career that encompasses what he calls "the golden age of natural history filmmaking." His breakthrough TV programs include 1979's epic Life on Earth, which launched a series of "Life" specials, and such recent phenoms as Planet Earth and Frozen Planet (although Discovery Channel replaced his narration with American actors for U.S. broadcast).
PBS' Nature celebrates his astonishing milestones over the next three Wednesdays with a miniseries, Attenborough's Life Stories (check tvguide.com listings), which functions as a visual history of how this sort of nature programming has evolved with the help of technological breakthroughs.
Happy New TV Year! With the brief holiday programming pause about to be over, it's already time to say goodbye to one of last year's better series: the evocative second season of BBC America's Golden Globe-nominated The Hour. A ticking-clock deadline fuels the suspense in Wednesday's gripping finale (9/8c). With showtime fast approaching for a new edition of the fictional '50s TV newsmagazine, The Hour's co-anchors find themselves embroiled in controversy and peril.
Gail Simmons, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio
They say "Everything's Bigger in Texas," which happens to be the episode title for the premiere of Bravo's Texas-set ninth season of Top Chef (10/9c). And it also may explain why a ginormous platoon of 29 chef-testants descends on the historic Alamo for the first round of competition, and why the process of narrowing the field to a Top 16 can't even be contained within the first pulse-pounding episode.
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.
Dancing with the Stars
Dancing with the Stars
"Unpredictable" best describes this show's 11th season, which has been full of surprising eliminations (Brandy and Audrina), new themes both good (the Instant Dance) and bad (TV theme songs), and cast bickering (Maks and Carrie Ann). As for the final three, Jennifer Grey, Kyle Massey and Bristol Palin represent a diverse group, consisting of an early favorite, a crowd-pleaser and a novice dancer who grew. After tonight's season finale, one will be described as a champion. Also: Christina Aguilera performs. — Jennifer Sankowski
Read on for previews of NCIS, Nova, Glee, Biggest Loser, Raising Hope and Nick Swardson's Pretend Time.
It's Halloween. What's a Gleek to do? Let's put on The Rocky Horror Picture Show! The reason that New Directions is putting its spin on the 1975 cult classic (at least according to the plot) is that Emma's a big fan and Will wants to impress Emma, so... it's time for "Time Warp." That's Kurt underneath the bald Riff-Raff wig, by the way. Movie alums Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf are in the guest cast, playing station managers at the TV station where Sue Sylvester hurls her "As Sue Sees It" darts. And, yes, Sue's scheming to stop the show. — Paul Droesch
Read on for previews of Stargate Universe, 30 for 30, NBA Basketball, Nova, Dance Cam Slam, Auction Kings.
After a delay to mid-season and some casting swaps, the family drama based on Ron Howard's hit 1989 film finally premieres. In the opener, Lauren Graham's character, Sarah Braverman, decides to move back home with her parents, played by Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia. The move thrusts single mom Sarah and her two kids into the midst of a big, colorful extended family. The well-rounded cast also includes Peter Krause, Monica Potter, Dax Shepard and Erika Christensen.
Read on for previews of American Idol, Lost, Nova and Southland.