Thursday, October 05, 2006

A&E: The Ultimate Misnomer

Dear A&E:

You guys suck. Seriously.

First of all, have you seen your network lineup lately? Where is the "Art?" Where is the "Entertainment?" Between a glut of reality shows like "Dog, the incarcerated bounty hunter" and re-runs of "CSI: Miami," there is virtually nothing left worth watching on your network.

I say "virtually" because you had started to run "MI-5" once again. You put it in just about the worst time slot imaginable - Friday nights at 11 - to ensure the show would have no audience, then pull it after just two episodes for a rerun of, you guessed it, "CSI: Miami."

So, being both a loyal fan and watchful TV critic, I call your network. No live person seems to actually work there (perhaps they've become too embarrassed). After going through your voicemail system THREE TIMES, I finally give up and leave an emphatic message. (If a live person ever did show up to check the voicemail, that was me on the phone, pal.)

So I try to e-mail you to see what the deal was. I get a generic reply saying, "Thanks for e-mailing A&E. No live people with intelligence seem to work here anymore, so try not to grow old waiting for a response to your specific question." (I'm paraphrasing here.)

Desperate to find out what happened to TV's best spy show, I e-mailed TV Guide's Matt Roush, who, despite the mountains of e-mails he gets daily, found the time to respond more quickly than A&E's non-live person network. Roush told me that A&E plans to run a marathon of all the "MI-5s" for this season on Oct. 21. It's not that I don't believe Roush, but knowing A&E, I'm not going to hold my breath, since the network (I use that word in its loosest possible sense) tends to advertise one thing in the paper, then air something else.

I used to love watching A&E. They used to run all the shows PBS used to run, just with commercials. I didn't mind the commercials, I knew they paid the bills. But slowly, A&E started to get away from the quality stuff it used to air, and started to run network re-runs of "Crossing Jordan" and the like, and so-called reality shows about tattoo parlors and airlines. Fortunately, BBC America has come in to pick up the slack, so all is not lost. If A&E would give BBC America the rights to "MI-5," I would no longer even have to check the former on the schedule.

I'd wrap this up by saying that after Oct. 20, A&E will have permanently have one less viewer, but no living person at the network would seem to care anyway.

SCHEDULING CHANGES: CBS is flipping "The Class" with "How I Met Your Mother" since the former shows ratings haven't been great while the latter show is surpassing last year's numbers. Fine with me, "The Class" has been very uneven in its three airings.

Meanwhile, over on Fox, "Justice" will switch to the post "Prison Break" time slot of Mondays at 9 p.m. once the baseball playoffs end, while waste-of-airwaves "Vanished" is exiled to the Siberia of TV, Friday nights. (Thanks to the TV Guy's brother - - for that news).

I had this great posting all ready and waiting in anticipation of the debut of "Knights of Prosperity," which was set to come on next Thursday, but ABC has pushed the show back to January. Considering the run ABC has had between its new shows like "Ugly Betty" and "The Nine" and returning shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Lost," it's hard to bet against them right now even if they do leave me off their media list.

***EDIT: The CW also announced Thursday that it was flip-flopping its Sunday and Monday lineups. Monday nights will see "Everybody Hates Chris," "All of Us," "Girlfriends" and "The Game" run from 8-10 p.m. beginning Oct. 9. Oct. 15 will see the new Sunday lineup, beginning with an encore edition of "America's Next Top Model" and followed by episodes of "7th Heaven" and the new series "Runaway," running from 7-10 p.m.

THURSDAY'S BEST BET: I didn't catch the pilot for "Ugly Betty," (ABC, 8 p.m.) but my parents said it was great. (Talking about TV with us is a real family affair.) The ratings were through the roof, and no new show this season has generated more positive buzz from the critics.

Of course, the real drama tonight is whether the New York Mets can go up 2-0 on the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLDS (Fox, 8 p.m.) Wednesday's double play at home plate has to be the play of the year.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed Ugly Betty, even though I thought it would be a little campy.

What do you think of Studio 60?

Phillip Ramati said...

The subject matter of Ugly Betty didn't thrill me, either, but everyone seems to have come to a concensus on it.

I have enjoyed every episode of Studio 60. That I'm saying it's only one of the best new shows of the season and not THE best is more a testament to the great new shows that have made their debuts and not a knock on the show itself.

Matthew Perry and Steven Weber have been absolutely perfect in their roles, and I've really liked Amanda Peet and Bradley Whitford as well. The writing, as you can expect from Aaron Sorkin, has been top-notch. You can check out my earlier postings for more on Studio 60.

Zodin2008 said...

Though I wasn't an "MI:5" viewer, it sounds to me like a complete travesty as to what A&E has done. I am frankly not sure why BBC America hadn't grabbed the show from A&E.

And being replaced by garbage like "CSI: Miami" adds clear insult to injury.

As for "Ugly Betty", the subject matter didn't thrill me either, but I checked out the pilot on this past Sunday and what I saw was excellent. One of the best 4-5 new shows of the year. I highly recommend it. Thankfully, I have 2 DVR's which allows me to view "betty", "Smallville" and the NBC comedy duo, all which reside at 8 PM, the most dense hour of entertainment on Television.

By the way, "The Nine", let me say this again, was the best new Fall show anywhere. ABC is on a ridiculous roll and though I have been a loyal NBC guy for years (and still watch several NBC shows), I am just happy there's another network that's starting to kick CBS in the shin a bit.

tadkil said...

The good news. Battlestar Galactica Season 3 starts on Friday. It got a Peabody for a reason.

This is a definite offset to the current TV blight.