Fox's next season: Jack's back; so are comedies and the "Fringe" producers

For TV viewers, a lot of good news is wedged into Fox's plans for the 2013-14 season. That includes the return of "24" (now half its previous running time) and the arrival of two shows from "Fringe" producers. It also includes fresh interest in comedies, even tucking two of them behind the Super Bowl. Here's the story I sent to papers this morning (Monday):


A non-surprise ("Idol"), a huge surprise ("Fringe")

Several things:

1) Please read the previous blog. "Fringe" will be back next season; this is a terrific  surprise.

2) I guess we can't call tonight's "American Idol" a surprise, because it's what we predicted: Elise Testone and Hollie Cavanagh finished in the bottom; they'd been there often. Then Elise was sent home.

Good -- well, great -- news: "Fringe" will return


For science-fiction fans -- which is to say, for all reasonable human beings -- there's been good, bad and good news.

The good: "Fringe" will be back for a fifth season, after all. The current season -- three more Fridays -- could have been the last. But Fox announced tonight that the show will be back for a final, 13-episode season.

The bad: "Eureka" won't be back. This 14-episode season on Syfy is itslast.

Fox: In a state of excessive plenty

This is a busy time at the Television Critics Association sessions. Here's a story I sent to papers about Fox:


Life is very difficult – well, maybe
a little difficult – for a first-place TV network.

“We have some high-class problems,”
said Kevin Reilly, Fox's programming chief.

Fox this fall: Simon and Spielberg, but no "America's Most Wanted"

In previous blogs, I've cheered Fox for renewing "Fringe" and groaned when it canceled "Chicago Code" and "Human Target." Now the network has announced its fall schedule; here's the story I sent to papers this morning, after a group interview with network officials:


Bad news: "The Chicago Code" and "Human Target" won't be back

Lately, we've been used to a stream of good news from Fox: "Fringe" will be back next season, despite weak ratings ... Steven Spielberg's hugely ambitious "Terra Nova" is coming this falll ... Paula Abdul will re-unite with Simon Cowell, as judges on his "The X Factor."

So maybe we should have expected the bad news that came next: Reports surfaced today that "The Chicago Code" and "Human Target" won't be back; also being cancelled are "Lie to Me," "Traffic Light" and "Breaking In."

Friday's "Fringe": An "epic trilogy" begins

There is only one actor who deserves an Emmy more thoroughly than Hugh Laurie. That, of course, is John Noble of "Fringe."

Even when he was only one Walter, he was magnificent. As two of them, he's stunning. Now he's heading into the season's final three episodes, promising big things. Here's a quick-turnaround story (from a phone interview this afternoon) I sent to papers:


In a crueler world, “Fringe” would
be heading toward its series finale now.

"Fringe" renewed: That's really good news

ADDED NOTE TO THE BLOG BELOW: I just finished watching the "Fringe" that will air tonight (9 p.m. Friday, March 25) and it's extremely good. Please read the blog below and see the hour; sometimes, good things have to good TV shows.

Now the previous blog:

This has been a whip-saw week for fans of well-made TV.

OK, here are TV's 10 best

The best thing about 10-best lists is that they let us fume, fret and argue -- to ourselves, to anyone nearby or to whoever created the offending list.

With that in mind, here's the story I just sent to papers, with my picks for the 10 best shows of 2010. Fell free to commence griping, by posting a comment here or simply upsetting your neighbors:



Amid the cascade of 10-best lists,
there's an annual trend:

Fox and FX sorta save December

The Fox network started by cleverly going where the others weren't. At various points, it tried all the things the big networks had abandoned. Some failed (there are, at times, good reasons for abandoment) and some succeeded splendidly; Fox revived primetime cartoons ("Simpsons"), variety shows ("In Living Color"), sci-fi ("X-Files") and amateur competitions ("American Idol").