Mike Hughes

Best-bets for Dec. 4: country stars and animated pets

1) “George & Tammy” opener, 9 p.m., Showtime and Paramount Network. In 1967, George Jones was soaring (17 top-10 country hits) and sinking (twice-divorced and deeply alcoholic). Tammy Wynette had three singles on the country charts; she had three daughters, no money and a wobbly second marriage. Showtime’s six-parter (with Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, shown here) starts strongly, with great music and a cinematic feel. This opener is also on Paramount, right after “Yellowstone.” Read more…

“George & Tammy”: love, pain and intermittent triumph

It’s one of the great country-music stories, filled with love, pain, sex, addiction and triumph.
But it also seems to spiral downward. “That’s not the way it’s gotta be,” George Jones says near the end of the “George & Tammy” mini-series (shown here). “There’s a happy ending.”
Well … not really, but this six-part film does find pieces of one.
“George & Tammy” opens at 9 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 4) on Showtime and the Paramount Network (right after “Yellowstone”). Its other five episodes arrive Sundays on Showtime and Paramount+. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Dec. 5: Reality shows reach (or near) finish line

1) “The Amazing Race” finale, 9-10 p.m. Wednesday, CBS. The final three duos race for the million-dollar prize. There’s a Miami firefighter (Luis Colon) and his wife (Michelle Burgess), a dancer. And a couple that met in the 2021 “Big Brother” (Derek Xiao and Claire Rehfuss, shown here). And Emily Bushnell and Molly Sinert, adopted from Korea, who learned by accident, with DNA tests, that they are twins. They met in person this year, on their 36th birthday. Read more…

Best-bets for Dec. 3: flying deer, tackling hulks

1) Football. It’s conference-championship day, peaking at 4 p.m. ET on CBS, with top-ranked Georgia (shown here) and 5th-ranked Louisiana State. At 8 p.m., it’s Michigan (No. 3) and Purdue on Fox; and Clemson (No. 8) and North Carolina (No. 17) on ABC. That’s in an ABC tripleheader, with Texas Christian (No. 4) and Kansas State (No. 12) at noon, then Tulane (No. 19) and Central Florida (No. 22) at 4. There’s more at noon and 3:30 on ESPN and 4 on Fox. Read more…

Restless for mid-season? Here are return dates

Right about now, viewers could be grumbling.
Most scripted shows are starting long holiday breaks. Christmas specials are fine (sort of), but when do the real shows return? And when do the mid-season ones arrive?
Earlier, the big-four networks set their plans; we’ve attached those stories below. Now the CW has its news, mostly resuming its fall line-up in January … or, for “Kung Fu” (shown here), early February.
Still pending, however, are the starting dates for several key shows that were delayed to mid-season — a new “Superman & Lois” season and the final seasons of “The Flash,” “Riverdale” and “Nancy Drew.” Those could end up at 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 8-10 p.. Sundays. Meanwhile, we’ll start with the CW news: Read more…

Best-bets for Dec. 2: lots of cops, lots of football

1) “SWAT” (shown here), 8 p.m., CBS. Earlier we met Sanchez, who schemed to get Hondo’s job. He had it, briefly; then the team took a stand and he took a VIP security job. Now an intruder breaks into an actress’ home and the team must work with him. In a week with few new drama hours, CBS is all-new tonight. On “Fire Country” (9 p.m.), the guys are accused of stealing a valuable watch; on “Blue Bloods” (10), Anthony’s daughter is the only murder witness. Read more…

It’s a sweet, prah-lean kind of movie

Television, we all know, is an educational medium.
So here’s today’s lesson, via a Christmas movie: A tasty confection is not pronounced “pray lean,” as much of the world assumes. It’s “prah lean.”
“We learned that really fast,” said Keshia Knight Pulliam, the producer and star of “A New Orleans Noel” (shown here), at 8 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 3-4) on Lifetime.
Brad James, her husband and co-star, also had to learn this. But Angela Tucker, the director and co-writer, was well aware of how to say it … and how to eat it. “I had a praline, probably, for breakfast, lunch and dinner” while filming, she said. Read more…

Best-bets for Dec. 1: Dolly leads a Christmas spree

1) “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas” (shown here), 8-10 p.m., NBC. There’s a ragged feeling to this odd hybrid. But there are great moments … and a reminder that Parton, 76, is an amazing songwriter. She tosses off a couple of her hits (way too briefly) at the start, then does less-familiar ones, from gospel to pop, that are brilliantly done. The scripted parts are weak; the music – with Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Willie Nelson, Jimmie Allen and more – soars. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 30: a masked winner and a festive tree-lighting

1) “The Masked Singer” finale, 8-10 p.m., Fox. The first hour reviews what’s happened so far – which is a lot. The show has unmasked a boxer (George Foreman), a wrestler (Chris Jericho), a captain (William Shatner), real singers (Gloria Gaynor, Montell Jordan) and more. Last week it ousted Ray Parker Jr. (the “Ghosbusters” guy) and comedian Nikki Glaser. In the second hour, the finalists – the Lambs trio (shown here) and Harp – try for the championship. Read more…