Stories

Morgan brings extra emotion to Memorial Day eve concert

Craig Morgan (shown here) woke at 4:30 one morning, with a song forming in his head.
That happens often; he keeps a notepad near his bed. But this was different, he recalled: “I don’t ever remember getting up and picking up the guitar.”
In less than an hour, he had finished “The Father, My Son and the Holy Ghost.” That’s the song he’ll do on the Capitol lawn for the “National Memorial Day Concert,” at 8 p.m. Sunday (Memorial Day eve) on PBS, with most stations repeating it at 9:30. Read more…

CBS schedule gets a major overhaul

At a time when other networks are timid, CBS is giving its schedule a full-scale renovation.
Gone are “Magnum P.I.” “Bull,” “Good Sam,” half the Thursday comedies and several reality shows. Arriving are three new dramas (including “Fire Country,” shown hre) and a dating show.
Others are changing nights, as the network shifts its philosophy. For instance: Read more…

Forget reruns: Here’s a round-up of new summer shows

In TV’s olden days, summer brought a slow slog through reruns. People had to settle for alternatives – friends and family, parks and playgrounds and such.
Not any more; summers have become fairly busy with new shows.
This is the season that spawned “Survivor,” “American Idol” and more; it’s still the time of “America’s Got Talent,” “The Bachelorette” and — returning after a two-year absence — “So You Think You Can Dance” (shown here). And now it also has a fairly good collection of new, scripted shows.
Here’s a sampling, with more announcements still coming. We’ll stick to the channels (broadcast or basic-cable) that most homes get. If you have premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Starz) and streamers (Netflix, Disney+, etc.), the list explodes. You might never reach the beach.
Read more…

Richie savors a life of music and history

Right now, Lionel Richie (shown here) seems to be in his happy place.
Then again, he sort of lives there; that’s what his adoptive daughter keeps telling people. “Nicole always says I’m the happiest guy in the world,” he said, without disputing it. And now he has extra reasons for joy, with:
— The finals for “American Idol,” which he judges alongside Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. At 8 p.m. Sunday (May 15) on ABC, the final five perform; a week later, the show has its 20th winner.
— The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, at 9 p.m. Tuesday (May 17) on PBS. He’s the 13th annual winner, putting him alongside such people as Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Gloria Estefan, Garth Brooks and two of his old Motown colleagues, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson. Read more…

Time-travel can be tough on romance

Time-travel is always kind of complicated. As humans, we like to know where we are and when we are.
But it’s infinitely tougher when you can’t control it. And you’re in love. And you’re naked.
That happens in “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (shown here) now in its third incarnation. It’s been a 2003 novel that sold 2.5 million copies in its first six year. … a 2009 movie that did fairly well, drawing $101 million worldwide …and now a six-part series on HBO — starting at 9 p.m. Sunday, May 15 — and HBO Max.
The longer format gave writer Steven Moffat room to play with the story, but he says he used restraint. “Everybody loves the book,” he told the Television Critics Association, “so there’s no messing around with the stuff that matters.” Read more…

TV celebrates (often) Broadway’s comeback

Standing before a jubilant crowd in Central Park, actress Susan Kelechi Watson noted the occasion. This marked “the return of live theater to New York City,” she said
It was clearly overdue, a colleague added. “It’s been a long year-and-a-half, you-all.”
That was last August, at the start of “Merry Wives.” Now the show is one of several reaching TV, as part of theater’s post-pandemic comeback. There’s:
— A jubilant “Anything Goes,” at 9 p.m. Friday (May 13) on PBS. It opened in London last July 23 (two months before Broadway returned), with its official opening Aug. 4. Sutton Foster (shown here) and director Read more…

Cable’s summer borrows from HBO Max

The wall between pay-TV and cable will lower slightly this summer.
Two shows that have already streamed will have weekly runs on basic cable. “Titans” (shown here) starts July 5 on TNT, with “Love Life” July 31 on TBS; both promise “limited commercial interruptions.”
For “Titans” – based on the “Teen Titans” comics — it’s the third stop in a journey through the Warner Brothers world. The first two seasons were on DC Universe, a streaming service that produced six scripted series before folding … its third was on HBO Max, where the fourth is also expected … and now its second slides to TNT.“Love Life” has had a simpler route – two seasons, with different characters in each, on HBO Max. The first season reran on TBS last August; now the second is part of the summer “tNets” plan: Read more…

Crow: Fame took a while … then consumed her life

Fame reached Sheryl Crow (shown here) at its own odd pace. It was slow and gradual … and then came in one big whoosh.
“There is no handbook for becoming famous when you’re a really private, small-town person,” she told the Television Critics Association. “It was emotional; it was exhausting.”
She’s still sorting it out in “Sheryl,” an involving documentary that debuts at 9 p.m. Friday (May 6) on Showtime. Read more…

His wife controls his life (or death)

Life is different, Stephen McGann has found, when you’re married to an in-demand TV writer.
Books keep arriving, in hopes that Heidi Thomas will adapt them. They form “the growing mountain of night-time reading we stack by our bedside,” McGann wrote in “Call the Midwife: A Labour of Love” (2022, Neal Street Productions).
Thomas reads fast and discards quickly. But a dozen years ago, she announced: “You know, I think I might be able to do something with this.”
The result is “Call the Midwife” (shown here with McGann and Max Mcmillan, who plays his son),now at a key point: Previous episodes are at www.pbs.org and the 11th-season finale is at 8 p.m. Sunday (May 8) on PBS: Last week, a crash left three people on a train, near death — Sister Julienne and a former patient … and Dr. Turner, played by McGann. Read more…

It’s a world filled with hard-trying teens

Donna Schmidt realized she was in an alternate universe.
Her daughter Rachel went to Lowell, the high-achievers’ San Francisco high school that’s now featured in a compelling PBS documentary (shown here). Everything was sort of backwards.
In other schools, kids might toss their books in a corner for the weekend and focus on leisure. Not Rachel or her classmates.
“Friday, when she gets home, she would start studying,” Schmidt told the Television Critics Association, in a press conference for “Try Harder!” (10 p.m. Monday, May 2, on PBS, under the “Independent Lens” banner). “That was just the weirdest thing …. So that’s (my) Friday, too.” Read more…