Mike Hughes

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…

Adam Reed (one of them) molds a Christmas cartoon

A logical mind might expect that all Adam Reeds are the same.
Or, at least, that all Adam Reeds who make animated TV shows are the same.
Not so. One such Adam Reed makes “Archer,” which is a popular Emmy-winner … and ripples with cynicism. The other is the creative force behind “Reindeer in Here” (shown here), which debuts at 9 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 29) on CBS, with abundant optimism.
“I couldn’t find a positive Christmas” book, the latter Reed said. He was particularly down on “Elf on the Shelf,” which he has called “creepy.” So he wrote a thoroughly non-creepy, non-cynical book. The basic notion, Reed said, is that “every child, at some point, feels different.” In this case, it’s a boy who has moved a lot and feels alone. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 28: Bright lights, strong singers … and Bumper

1) “The Great Christmas Lights Fight” opener (shown here), 8-10 p.m., ABC. For six hours (over three Mondays), we’ll see supersized holiday displays. Each hour has four homes, with one chosen as the winner. Tonight has a piano and a mini-golf course, both playable, and a ride through Lollipop Land. One display sprawls over a 90-acre farm; another (on a mere four acres) glows with 250,000 lights. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 27: a busy night for dance, music, more

1) “Magical Musical Celebration,” 8-10 p.m., ABC. Now ABC seizes the holiday. It debuts “Mickey Saves Christmas” (simulcast on Disney cable channels) at 7, reruns “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” at 7:30, then has two hours in Disney parks. There’s music from Derek Hough (shown here) and his sister Julianne Hough, who are the hosts, pluys Maren Morris, Ne-Yo, Meghan Trainor, Becky G, Jordin Sparks, Il Volo, Chloe Flower, Black Eyed Peas, Run DMC and David Foster and Katharine McPhee. Read more…

Chippendales: big biceps, big profits, big scandal

The Chippendales world began modestly enough, 43 years ago. A failing night club tried some strip shows using male dancers.
Then things soared in odd ways. There were huge crowds, big profits, creative differences … and investigations for murder and arson and more.
That’s already been the subject of movies, books and, last year, a four-part Discovery+ documentary. Now there’s the “Welcome to Chippendales” mini-serie (shown here), on Hulu. The third episode is Nov. 29, with the others on the next five Tuesdays.
This is a true story, peppered with odd details. “It has this glossy, kind of campy overlay, because it’s the Chippendale dancers,” said, Annale Ashford, who co-stars. “And then underneath that, there’s the belly of everything that was happening socially.” Read more…