TV for Grownups

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Good news for those who like a little sentimentality sprinkled over their TV diet - CBS's Emmy-winning Undercover Boss returns Friday (11/2), with an episode featuring Mitchell Modell, whose family has owned and operated the Northeastern U.S. sporting goods stores bearing their name since 1889. According to Undercover Boss producer Chris Carlson, Modell has "a huge personality - a big character" that makes him ideal as a subject to build a show around.
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Talking to Robin Tunney about tonight's (10/28) 100th episode of The Mentalist was a kick. What she had to say about the show was interesting. Even more fun was what she had to say about leading man Simon Baker. 
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The sublime Connie Britton gets smacked in the face with ageism as a country super star who suddenly finds a brazen little man eater - Hayden Panettiere - usurping her territory in Nashville, premiering Wednesday (10/10) on ABC .
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There's no getting around it - Dancing With the Stars' all-star season tripped on its way out onto the floor in its premiere week last week, with ratings for Monday night down 32 percent from last year, and a Tuesday night results show that was clobbered by NCIS (11.79 million total viewers compared with 20.48 million), despite the presence of heartthrob Justin Bieber. Add to this former contestant Hope Solo's accusation that the competition is rigged and it was a tough start for season 15.
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 CBS's Vegas debuts Tuesday night (9/25) amid giant billboards and tall expectations, with Dennis Quaid as Ralph Lamb, the legendary "cowboy sheriff" of Las Vegas' Clark County, and Michael Chiklis as the casino owner/gangster who's his chief adversary.
S unday night's Emmy broadcast should be a great night for grownups -- viewers and nominees alike.  Will those cocktail-swilling '60s Manhattanites from Mad Men bring home a record-breaking fifth win for Outstanding Drama Series?  Or might they be overtaken the countesses and maids of Downton Abbey? The British melodrama won last year's mini-series Emmy for its first season, but is competing this year in the drama series category.  It's a close call - but I'm betting on Downton, and I'm not buying any talk of Showtime's dark Homeland thriller or HBO's fantastical cult favorite Game of Thrones springing the upset in the night's marquee category.  How about you? 
NBC's hoped-for comedy takeover - with 10 such shows packed into its new season prime-time schedule - invades our TV listings this week, beginning with a Tuesday night lineup that includes Glee creator Ryan Murphy's The New Normal. (The series gets a sneak preview Monday at 10 p.m. as well.)  This is the show, about a gay couple of wannabe baby daddies and their surrogate, that One Million Moms wants to squelch with a boycott, in case you hadn't heard. Of course, the controversy is helping assure event status for the sitcom instead. These groups never learn.
Tired of feeling hot and sticky this weekend?  Well, there are big chills guaranteed if you tune into A&E's four-hour "Coma" tomorrow and Tuesday nights (Sept. 3 and 4).
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Now that the baton has been passed from "The Closer" to "Major Crimes," will the new show maintain good momentum, or fade as the weeks go by?   If we are to believe star Mary McDonnell, it will run its own race with lots of kicks ahead for fans.
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Last week on "America's Got Talent," judge Howard Stern informed a couple of contestants that they were lucky; they happened to be on amid weak competition, so they would likely make it through to the next round. Well, here we are in the dog days of summer. It's after the Olympics, before the political conventions and the launch of TV's 2012-2013 season. The schedule is crammed full of reruns, and "America's Got Talent" is looking mighty interesting.
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