A surprise: Older crimesolvers are welcome again

Right now, TV is going back to its future.
That’s almost 30 years back. That span connects “Murder, She Wrote” to “Elsbeth,” “Matlock” to … well, “Matlock.”
At the core is a key change: Broadcast networks were once ignoring older viewers; now they need them. Let’s go back to 1995, when:
— “Matlock” was canceled – again. NBC had dumped it after seven seasons; ABC took three more, then dropped it.
— “Murder She Wrote” was still thriving. In its 11th season, it was No. 8 in the Nielsen ratings; it reached the top-10 in seven other seasons, peaking at No. 4. But CBS moved it to an impossible timeslot, then cancelled it a year later. Read more…

These movie masters started with micro-budgets

Where do the great filmmakers come from?
Baseball has its minor leagues, NASCAR has county fairgrounds, music has juke joints and dive bars. And for a time, filmmakers had Roger Corman.
Now that will be noted in a cable marathon. In eight hours (starting at 8 p.m. ET, July 17), Turner Classic Movies has the first films of Francis Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Joe Dante, Jonathan Demme and Peter Bogdanovich (whose “Targets,” with Boris Karloff, is shown here). Read more…

Best-bets for July 11: ESPYs, Eva & Elsbeth

1) ESPYs, 8-11 p.m. ABC, The sports awards show is hosted byr Serena Williams (shown here), who has twice been female athlete of the year. Special awards are for Dawn Staley (coach of the undefeated South Carolina basketball champs), Steve Gleason (ex-football pro, helping others who have ALS) and Prince Harry (creator of Invictus Games for disabled veterans). Read more…

Best-bets for July 10: ABC plays games, TCM goes wild

1) “Claim to Fame” season-opener, 9 p.m., ABC. This fun show has players guessing about family links. In the first two seasons, we’ve met the daughter of Eddie Murphy and (shown here) the son of Donny Osmond; we’ve seen grandchildren of Jimmy Carter and Whoopi Goldbrg and the identical twin of Laverne Cox. Kevin Jonas hosts with his less-famous brother, Franklin. Read more…

Let’s talk about movies and/or urinals

So I’m in California now, ready for a spurt.
TV coverage has been fairly sparse in the first half of summer, but that will change when the Television Critics Association sessions begin Wednesday.
The 2,000-mile flight used to be draining, but not this time. I spent my time trying to decide if the flight attendant was Michael Cohen or merely a guy who looks exactly like Michael Cohen. (Anything’s possible when your original profession — altrnately listed as “fixer” or “thug” — dries up.) I also caught a double-feature of “Madame Web” (shown here) and “Lisa Frankenstein.” Read more…

Best-bets for July 9: Double-Feud leads game surge

1) “Family Feud: Decades of Laughs,” 8 p.m., ABC. It’s been five decades, almost. “Feud” did daytime for eight years on ABC and five on CBS, was gone for a while, then did syndication and prime time. From Richard Dawson to Steve Harvey (shown here), it’s had sharp hosts and a clever concept. This hour offers some of its funnier moments. Read more…

Best-bets for July 8: season-openers for dating and drama

1) “The Bachelorette” opener, 8-10 p.m., ABC. A big week for ABC — with four season-openers and two specials –starts with Jenn Tran (shown here), the first Asian-American star of a “Bachelor” show. She’s 26 and near a Master’s Degree in clinical medical studies. She’ll meet 25 men, ranging from a med student to guys who focus on wine and pet portraits.
Read more…

Here comes TV’s summer, Part II

No one seems to agree on when summer starts.
Many people say June, but the TV networks disagree. Two (NBC and Fox) started their summers in May; the others aited until July.
So now we get a mid-summer surge on ABC and CBS. It includes new seasons of– five game shows, plus “Big Brother” (shown here from last season), “The Bachelorette,” a light-hearted judge show and even a few specials. Read more…

Best-bets for July 7: more sharks, more dramas

1) Sharks (shown here), Discovery. The 37th annual “Shark Week” begins, with reruns during the day and new hours (21 of them) at night, hosted by John Cena. . The first two are in New Zealand — a 29-foot fake whale stirs a feeding frenzy (8 p.m.), a 60-foot real one battles a shark (9).Others, in California and Australia, are at 10 and 11. Read more…

Best-bets for July 6: feuds begin, sharks continue

1) “Celebrity Family Feud,” 8-11 p.m., ABC. This fun show is scooting in to save ABC’s summer. A special, viewing some of the funnier moments from 48 years of “Feud,” will be 8 p.m. Tuesday, with the season-opener at 9. First, here are three reruns; contestants include the casts of “Yellowjackets” (shown here) and “Drag Me to Dinner.” Read more…