Monday, July 18
OK, all you smart-alecks in the back of the bus—quiet down. The organizers of the Television Critics Association’s Summer Tour were nice enough to arrange a field trip this morning to the set of HBO’s Deadwood in Santa Clarita, Calif., and the least you can do is refrain from referring to this afternoon’s chat with former Vice President Al Gore as DeadwoodRevisited. Gore will be at the Beverly Hilton hotel, the TCA’s Los Angeles headquarters, for the two-week network cattle call showcase, to talk about his new televisual effort, the cable channel called Current. Hey, you there in the striped polo shirt—you make any more cracks about Current, like needing one of about 5,000 volts to animate Gore, and you can walk the rest of the way back to the hotel.
Tuesday, July 19
Extreme dodgeball. That’s what TCA can feel like when the critics smell blood, but CBS is likely to get off relatively easily today and tomorrow—folks might even be nice to Jennifer Love Hewitt as she touts the paranormal claptrap of Ghost Whisperer for the fall—because the gathering’s only half over, attendees aren’t fed up yet, and they’re holding their ammunition for inviting targets like NBC and Fox next week. So we’ll have to settle for Extreme Dodgeball, in its third season defending the concept that junior high gym class never has to end. The premiere is at 10 p.m. (ET) on GSN, “The Network for Games.” Or, as we like to think of it, The NG.
Wednesday, July 20
Criss Angel is theoretically working for A&E, since it’s the network of Criss Angel Mindfreak (premiere 10 p.m. ET). But the illusionist must be working his mindfreaking magic for Fox, because there’s something positively spooky about the timeliness of So You Think You Can Dance (two-hour premiere, 8 p.m. ET; see choreographer Mia Michaels below). Earlier this year when the project was announced, it just sounded like a dubious knock-off of American Idol by AI’s own producers. But in the interim, Dancing With the Stars unearthed a great national longing to see amateurish hoofing on TV, and suddenly So You Think You Can Dance looks like genius.
Thursday, July 21
Today’s theme at TCA: Everybody loves Everybody Hates Chris. Or at least the critical buzz was love-heavy in the run-up to the tour. It will be interesting to see if some contrarian types, instinctively resisting the Hates hype, start wondering out loud about how involved executive producer and narrator Chris Rock is going to be as the comedy about his childhood progresses and the material repurposed from his stand-up routine runs out. Here’s hoping Rock stays fanatically involved.
Friday, July 22
Football in July seems a tad early for anyone other than actual football players in training camps, but Spike TV is launching a reality show starring Detroit Lions rookie Shaun Cody tonight (10 ET). Super Agent tracks the former USC defensive lineman as he administers Apprentice-style challenges to nine sports agents who are salivating over the prospect of negotiating Cody’s first NFL contract. It’s not all about the money, though. The show is also educational: Product placements for Reebok, Pontiac and other brands teach this 22-year-old a marketing lesson that’s essential to any professional sports career. Hut-hut!
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